The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa Part I




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

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

Ugrasrava, the son of Lomaharshana, surnamed Sauti, well-versed in the
Puranas, bending with humility, one day approached the great sages of
rigid vows, sitting at their ease, who had attended the twelve years'
sacrifice of Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, in the forest of Naimisha.

ascetics, wishing to hear his wonderful narrations, presently began to
address him who had thus arrived at that recluse abode of the

of the forest of Naimisha. Having been entertained with due respect by
those holy men, he saluted those Munis (sages) with joined palms, even

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

ascetics being again seated, the son of Lomaharshana humbly occupied

seat that was assigned to him. Seeing that he was comfortably seated,

recovered from fatigue, one of the Rishis beginning the conversation,
asked him, 'Whence comest thou, O lotus-eyed Sauti, and where hast thou
spent the time? Tell me, who ask thee, in detail.'

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

big assemblage of contemplative Munis a full and proper answer in words
consonant with their mode of life.

"Sauti said, 'Having heard the diverse sacred and wonderful stories

were composed in his Mahabharata by Krishna-Dwaipayana, and which were
recited in full by Vaisampayana at the Snake-sacrifice of the high-

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

the son of Parikshit, and having wandered about, visiting many sacred
waters and holy shrines, I journeyed to the country venerated by the
Dwijas (twice-born) and called Samantapanchaka where formerly was

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

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

your presence. Ye reverend sages, all of whom are to me as Brahma; ye
greatly blessed who shine in this place of sacrifice with the splendour

the solar fire: ye who have concluded the silent meditations and have

the holy fire; and yet who are sitting--without care, what, O ye Dwijas
(twice-born), shall I repeat, shall I recount the sacred stories

in the Puranas containing precepts of religious duty and of worldly

or the acts of illustrious saints and sovereigns of mankind?"

"The Rishi replied, 'The Purana, first promulgated by the great Rishi
Dwaipayana, and which after having been heard both by the gods and the
Brahmarshis was highly esteemed, being the most eminent narrative that
exists, diversified both in diction and division, possessing subtile
meanings logically combined, and gleaned from the Vedas, is a sacred

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

is elucidated by other Shastras, and comprehendeth the sense of the

Vedas. We are desirous of hearing that history also called Bharata, the
holy composition of the wonderful Vyasa, which dispelleth the fear of

just as it was cheerfully recited by the Rishi Vaisampayana, under the
direction of Dwaipayana himself, at the snake-sacrifice of Raja

"Sauti then said, 'Having bowed down to the primordial being Isana, to
whom multitudes make offerings, and who is adored by the multitude; who

the true incorruptible one, Brahma, perceptible, imperceptible,

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

universe and also distinct from the existing and non-existing universe;
who is the creator of high and low; the ancient, exalted, inexhaustible
one; who is Vishnu, beneficent and the beneficence itself, worthy of

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

the guide of all things moveable and immoveable; I will declare the

thoughts of the illustrious sage Vyasa, of marvellous deeds and

here by all. Some bards have already published this history, some are

teaching it, and others, in like manner, will hereafter promulgate it

the earth. It is a great source of knowledge, established throughout

three regions of the world. It is possessed by the twice-born both in
detailed and compendious forms. It is the delight of the learned for

embellished with elegant expressions, conversations human and divine,

a variety of poetical measures.'"

In this world, when it was destitute of brightness and light, and
enveloped all around in total darkness, there came into being, as the
primal cause of creation, a mighty egg, the one inexhaustible seed of

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

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

the wonderful and inconceivable being present alike in all places; the
invisible and subtile cause, whose nature partaketh of entity and non-
entity. From this egg came out the lord Pitamaha Brahma, the one only
Prajapati; with Suraguru and Sthanu. Then appeared the twenty-one
Prajapatis, viz., Manu, Vasishtha and Parameshthi; ten Prachetas,

and the seven sons of Daksha. Then appeared the man of inconceivable
nature whom all the Rishis know and so the Viswe-devas, the Adityas,

Vasus, and the twin Aswins; the Yakshas, the Sadhyas, the Pisachas, the
Guhyakas, and the Pitris. After these were produced the wise and most

Brahmarshis, and the numerous Rajarshis distinguished by every noble
quality. So the water, the heavens, the earth, the air, the sky, the
points of the heavens, the years, the seasons, the months, the

called Pakshas, with day and night in due succession. And thus were
produced all things which are known to mankind.

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

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

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

will be renovated, and, like the various fruits of the earth, succeed

other in the due order of their seasons. Thus continueth perpetually to
revolve in the world, without beginning and without end, this wheel

causeth the destruction of all things.

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

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

Vibhavasu, Savita, Richika, Arka, Bhanu, Asavaha, and Ravi. Of these
Vivaswans of old, Mahya was the youngest whose son was Deva-vrata. The
latter had for his son, Su-vrata who, we learn, had three sons,--Dasa-
jyoti, Sata-jyoti, and Sahasra-jyoti, each of them producing numerous
offspring. The illustrious Dasa-jyoti had ten thousand, Sata-jyoti ten
times that number, and Sahasra-jyoti ten times the number of Sata-

offspring. From these are descended the family of the Kurus, of the

and of Bharata; the family of Yayati and of Ikshwaku; also of all the
Rajarshis. Numerous also were the generations produced, and very

were the creatures and their places of abode. The mystery which is
threefold--the Vedas, Yoga, and Vijnana Dharma, Artha, and Kama--also
various books upon the subject of Dharma, Artha, and Kama; also rules

the conduct of mankind; also histories and discourses with various

all of which having been seen by the Rishi Vyasa are here in due order
mentioned as a specimen of the book.

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

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

details and the abridgement. Some read the Bharata beginning with the
initial mantra (invocation), others with the story of Astika, others

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

their various knowledge of the institutes in commenting on the

Some are skilful in explaining it, while others, in remembering its

The son of Satyavati having, by penance and meditation, analysed the
eternal Veda, afterwards composed this holy history, when that learned
Brahmarshi of strict vows, the noble Dwaipayana Vyasa, offspring of
Parasara, had finished this greatest of narrations, he began to

how he might teach it to his disciples. And the possessor of the six
attributes, Brahma, the world's preceptor, knowing of the anxiety of

Rishi Dwaipayana, came in person to the place where the latter was, for
gratifying the saint, and benefiting the people. And when Vyasa,
surrounded by all the tribes of Munis, saw him, he was surprised; and,
standing with joined palms, he bowed and ordered a seat to be brought.

Vyasa having gone round him who is called Hiranyagarbha seated on that
distinguished seat stood near it; and being commanded by Brahma
Parameshthi, he sat down near the seat, full of affection and smiling

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

"O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly
respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been
explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas;

compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the
three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination

the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a
description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the

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

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

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

ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences
called Nyaya, Orthoephy and Treatment of diseases; charity and
Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes;

also a
description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers,
mountains,, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the

of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the
manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;--all these have

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

"Brahma said. 'I esteem thee for thy knowledge of divine mysteries,

the whole body of celebrated Munis distinguished for the sanctity of

lives. I know thou hast revealed the divine word, even from its first
utterance, in the language of truth. Thou hast called thy present work

poem, wherefore it shall be a poem. There shall be no poets whose works
may equal the descriptions of this poem, even, as the three other modes
called Asrama are ever unequal in merit to the domestic Asrama. Let

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

"Sauti said, 'Brahma having thus spoken to Vyasa, retired to his own

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

ready to fulfil the desires of his votaries, was no sooner thought of,
than he repaired to the place where Vyasa was seated. And when he had

saluted, and was seated, Vyasa addressed him thus, 'O guide of the

be thou the writer of the Bharata which I have formed in my

and which I am about to repeat."

"Ganesa, upon hearing this address, thus answered, 'I will become the
writer of thy work, provided my pen do not for a moment cease writing."
And Vyasa said unto that divinity, 'Wherever there be anything thou

not comprehend, cease to continue writing.' Ganesa having signified his
assent, by repeating the word Om! proceeded to write; and Vyasa began;

by way of diversion, he knit the knots of composition exceeding close;

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

I am (continued Sauti) acquainted with eight thousand and eight hundred
verses, and so is Suka, and perhaps Sanjaya. From the mysteriousness of
their meaning, O Muni, no one is able, to this day, to penetrate those
closely knit difficult slokas. Even the omniscient Ganesa took a moment

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


The wisdom of this work, like unto an instrument of applying collyrium,
hath opened the eyes of the inquisitive world blinded by the darkness

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

discourses on religion, profit, pleasure and final release, dispel the
ignorance of men. As the full-moon by its mild light expandeth the buds

the water-lily, so this Purana, by exposing the light of the Sruti hath
expanded the human intellect. By the lamp of history, which destroyeth

darkness of ignorance, the whole mansion of nature is properly and
completely illuminated.

This work is a tree, of which the chapter of contents is the seed; the
divisions called Pauloma and Astika are the root; the part called

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

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

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

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

Salya, their sweet smell; the books entitled Stri and Aishika, the
refreshing shade; the book called Santi, the mighty fruit; the book

Aswamedha, the immortal sap; the denominated Asramavasika, the spot

it groweth; and the book called Mausala, is an epitome of the Vedas and
held in great respect by the virtuous Brahmanas. The tree of the

inexhaustible to mankind as the clouds, shall be as a source of

to all distinguished poets."

"Sauti continued, 'I will now speak of the undying flowery and fruitful
productions of this tree, possessed of pure and pleasant taste, and not

be destroyed even by the immortals. Formerly, the spirited and virtuous
Krishna-Dwaipayana, by the injunctions of Bhishma, the wise son of

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

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

Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura, he returned to his recluse abode to
prosecute his religious exercise.

It was not till after these were born, grown up, and departed on the
supreme journey, that the great Rishi Vyasa published the Bharata in

region of mankind; when being solicited by Janamejaya and thousands of
Brahmanas, he instructed his disciple Vaisampayana, who was seated near
him; and he, sitting together with the Sadasyas, recited the Bharata,
during the intervals of the ceremonies of the sacrifice, being

urged to proceed.

Vyasa hath fully represented the greatness of the house of Kuru, the
virtuous principles of Gandhari, the wisdom of Vidura, and the

of Kunti. The noble Rishi hath also described the divinity of Vasudeva,
the rectitude of the sons of Pandu, and the evil practices of the sons

partisans of Dhritarashtra.

Vyasa executed the compilation of the Bharata, exclusive of the

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

the learned as the Bharata. Afterwards, he composed an epitome in one
hundred and fifty verses, consisting of the introduction with the

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

it to others of his disciples who were possessed of the same
qualifications. After that he executed another compilation, consisting

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

in the world of the Devas; fifteen hundred thousand in the world of the
Pitris: fourteen hundred thousand among the Gandharvas, and one hundred
thousand in the regions of mankind. Narada recited them to the Devas,
Devala to the Pitris, and Suka published them to the Gandharvas,

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

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

those acquainted with the Vedas. Know that I, Sauti, have also repeated
one hundred thousand verses.

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

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

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


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

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

brought upon himself a very severe misfortune for having killed a stag
coupling with its mate, which served as a warning for the conduct of

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

the ordinances of the law might be fulfilled, admitted as substitutes

their embraces the gods Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, and the divinities the

Aswins. And when their offspring grew up, under the care of their two
mothers, in the society of ascetics, in the midst of sacred groves and
holy recluse-abodes of religious men, they were conducted by Rishis

the presence of Dhritarashtra and his sons, following as students in

habit of Brahmacharis, having their hair tied in knots on their heads.
'These our pupils', said they, 'are as your sons, your brothers, and

friends; they are Pandavas.' Saying this, the Munis disappeared.

When the Kauravas saw them introduced as the sons of Pandu, the
distinguished class of citizens shouted exceedingly for joy. Some,

said, they were not the sons of Pandu; others said, they were; while a

asked how they could be his offspring, seeing he had been so long dead.
Still on all sides voices were heard crying, 'They are on all accounts
welcome! Through divine Providence we behold the family of Pandu! Let
their welcome be proclaimed!' As these acclamations ceased, the

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

tremendous. There were showers of sweet-scented flowers, and the sound

shells and kettle-drums. Such were the wonders that happened on the
arrival of the young princes. The joyful noise of all the citizens, in
expression of their satisfaction on the occasion, was so great that it
reached the very heavens in magnifying plaudits.

Having studied the whole of the Vedas and sundry other shastras, the
Pandavas resided there, respected by all and without apprehension from


The principal men were pleased with the purity of Yudhishthira, the
courage of Arjuna, the submissive attention of Kunti to her superiors,

the humility of the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva; and all the people
rejoiced in their heroic virtues.

After a while, Arjuna obtained the virgin Krishna at the swayamvara, in
the midst of a concourse of Rajas, by performing a very difficult feat

archery. And from this time he became very much respected in this world
among all bowmen; and in fields of battle also, like the sun, he was

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

and every considerable tribe, he accomplished all that was necessary

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

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

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

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

of Rajasuya abounding in provisions and offering and fraught with
transcendent merits. And Duryodhana came to this sacrifice; and when he
beheld the vast wealth of the Pandavas scattered all around, the

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

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

and furs and carpets made of the skin of the Ranku; he was filled with
envy and became exceedingly displeased. And when he beheld the hall of
assembly elegantly constructed by Maya (the Asura architect) after the
fashion of a celestial court, he was inflamed with rage. And having
started in confusion at certain architectural deceptions within this
building, he was derided by Bhimasena in the presence of Vasudeva, like
one of mean descent.

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

various objects of enjoyment and diverse precious things, was becoming
meagre, wan, and pale. And Dhritarashtra, some time after, out of
affection for his son, gave his consent to their playing (with the
Pandavas) at dice. And Vasudeva coming to know of this, became

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

overlooked the gaming and sundry other horried unjustifiable

arising therefrom: and in spite of Vidura, Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa,

son of Saradwan, he made the Kshatriyas kill each other in the terrific
war that ensued.'

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

recollecting the resolutions of Duryodhana, Karna, and Sakuni, pondered

a while and addressed to Sanjaya the following speech:--

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

to treat me with contempt. Thou art well-versed in the shastras,
intelligent and endowed with wisdom. My inclination was never to war,

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

my own children and the children of Pandu. My own sons were prone to
wilfulness and despised me because I am old. Blind as I am, because of

miserable plight and through paternal affection, I bore it all. I was
foolish after the thoughtless Duryodhana ever growing in folly. Having
been a spectator of the riches of the mighty sons of Pandu, my son was
derided for his awkwardness while ascending the hall. Unable to bear it
all and unable himself to overcome the sons of Pandu in the field, and
though a soldier, unwilling yet to obtain good fortune by his own

with the help of the king of Gandhara he concerted an unfair game at


'Hear, O Sanjaya, all that happened thereupon and came to my knowledge.
And when thou hast heard all I say, recollecting everything as it fell

thou shall then know me for one with a prophetic eye. When I heard that
Arjuna, having bent the bow, had pierced the curious mark and brought

down to the ground, and bore away in triumph the maiden Krishna, in the
sight of the assembled princes, then, O Sanjaya I had no hope of

When I heard that Subhadra of the race of Madhu had, after forcible
seizure been married by Arjuna in the city of Dwaraka, and that the two
heroes of the race of Vrishni (Krishna and Balarama the brothers of
Subhadra) without resenting it had entered Indraprastha as friends,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna, by his
celestial arrow preventing the downpour by Indra the king of the gods,

gratified Agni by making over to him the forest of Khandava, then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the five Pandavas
with their mother Kunti had escaped from the house of lac, and that

was engaged in the accomplishment of their designs, then, O Sanjaya, I

no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna, after having pierced the
mark in the arena had won Draupadi, and that the brave Panchalas had
joined the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I
heard that Jarasandha, the foremost of the royal line of Magadha, and
blazing in the midst of the Kshatriyas, had been slain by Bhima with

bare arms alone, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

that in their general campaign the sons of Pandu had conquered the

of the land and performed the grand sacrifice of the Rajasuya, then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Draupadi, her

choked with tears and heart full of agony, in the season of impurity

with but one raiment on, had been dragged into court and though she had
protectors, she had been treated as if she had none, then, O Sanjaya, I
had no hope of success. When I heard that the wicked wretch Duhsasana,

striving to strip her of that single garment, had only drawn from her
person a large heap of cloth without being able to arrive at its end,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Yudhishthira,
beaten by Saubala at the game of dice and deprived of his kingdom as a
consequence thereof, had still been attended upon by his brothers of
incomparable prowess, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I
heard that the virtuous Pandavas weeping with affliction had followed
their elder brother to the wilderness and exerted themselves variously

the mitigation of his discomforts, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

'When I heard that Yudhishthira had been followed into the wilderness

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

Sanjaya, I
had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna, having, in combat,
pleased the god of gods, Tryambaka (the three-eyed) in the disguise of

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

of success. When I heard that the just and renowned Arjuna after having
been to the celestial regions, had there obtained celestial weapons

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

afterwards Arjuna had vanquished the Kalakeyas and the Paulomas proud

the boon they had obtained and which had rendered them invulnerable

to the celestials, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

that Arjuna, the chastiser of enemies, having gone to the regions of

for the destruction of the Asuras, had returned thence successful,

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

sons of Pritha (Kunti) accompanied by Vaisravana had arrived at that
country which is inaccessible to man then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that my sons, guided by the counsels of Karna,

on their journey of Ghoshayatra, had been taken prisoners by the
Gandharvas and were set free by Arjuna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

success. When I heard that Dharma (the god of justice) having come

the form of a Yaksha had proposed certain questions to Yudhishthira

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

to discover the Pandavas under their disguise while residing with

in the dominions of Virata, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.
When I heard that the principal men of my side had all been vanquished

the noble Arjuna with a single chariot while residing in the dominions

Virata, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that
Vasudeva of the race of Madhu, who covered this whole earth by one

was heartily interested in the welfare of the Pandavas, then, O

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

his virtuous daughter Uttara to Arjuna and that Arjuna had accepted her
for his son, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

Yudhishthira, beaten at dice, deprived of wealth, exiled and separated
from his connections, had assembled yet an army of seven Akshauhinis,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard Narada, declare that
Krishna and Arjuna were Nara and Narayana and he (Narada) had seen them
together in the regions of Brahma, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that Krishna, anxious to bring about peace, for

welfare of mankind had repaired to the Kurus, and went away without

been able to effect his purpose, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

When I heard that Karna and Duryodhana resolved upon imprisoning

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

success. Then I heard that at the time of his departure, Pritha (Kunti)
standing, full of sorrow, near his chariot received consolation from
Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that
Vasudeva and Bhishma the son of Santanu were the counsellors of the
Pandavas and Drona the son of Bharadwaja pronounced blessings on them,
then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Karna said unto

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

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

Arjuna and the bow Gandiva of immeasurable prowess, these three of
dreadful energy had come together, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that upon Arjuna having been seized with

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

his body, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that
Bhishma, the desolator of foes, killing ten thousand charioteers every

in the field of battle, had not slain any amongst the Pandavas then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Bhishma, the
righteous son of Ganga, had himself indicated the means of his defeat

the field of battle and that the same were accomplished by the Pandavas
with joyfulness, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

that Arjuna, having placed Sikhandin before himself in his chariot, had
wounded Bhishma of infinite courage and invincible in battle, then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the aged hero

having reduced the numbers of the race of shomaka to a few, overcome

various wounds was lying on a bed of arrows, then, O Sanjaya, I had no
hope of success. When I heard that upon Bhishma's lying on the ground

thirst for water, Arjuna, being requested, had pierced the ground and
allayed his thirst, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When

together with Indra and Suryya united as allies for the success of the
sons of Kunti, and the beasts of prey (by their inauspicious presence)
were putting us in fear, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

the wonderful warrior Drona, displaying various modes of fight in the
field, did not slay any of the superior Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I

no hope of success. When I heard that the Maharatha Sansaptakas of our
army appointed for the overthrow of Arjuna were all slain by Arjuna
himself, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

disposition of forces, impenetrable by others, and defended by

himself well-armed, had been singly forced and entered by the brave son

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

Maharathas, unable to overcome Arjuna, with jubilant faces after having
jointly surrounded and slain the boy Abhimanyu, then, O Sanjaya, I had

hope of success. When I heard that the blind Kauravas were shouting for
joy after having slain Abhimanyu and that thereupon Arjuna in anger

his celebrated speech referring to Saindhava, then, O Sanjaya, I had no
hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna had vowed the death of

and fulfilled his vow in the presence of his enemies, then, O Sanjaya,

had no hope of success. When I heard that upon the horses of Arjuna

fatigued, Vasudeva releasing them made them drink water and bringing

back and reharnessing them continued to guide them as before, then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that while his horses

fatigued, Arjuna staying in his chariot checked all his assailants,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Yuyudhana of the
race of Vrishni, after having thrown into confusion the army of Drona
rendered unbearable in prowess owing to the presence of elephants,

to where Krishna and Arjuna were, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that Karna even though he had got Bhima within

power allowed him to escape after only addressing him in contemptuous
terms and dragging him with the end of his bow, then, O Sanjaya, I had

hope of success. When I heard that Drona, Kritavarma, Kripa, Karna, the
son of Drona, and the valiant king of Madra (Salya) suffered Saindhava

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

celestial Sakti given by Indra (to Karna) was by Madhava's machinations
caused to be hurled upon Rakshasa Ghatotkacha of frightful countenance,
then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that in the
encounter between Karna and Ghatotkacha, that Sakti was hurled against
Ghatotkacha by Karna, the same which was certainly to have slain Arjuna

battle, then, O Sanjaya. I had no hope of success. When I heard that
Dhristadyumna, transgressing the laws of battle, slew Drona while alone

his chariot and resolved on death, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that Nakula. the son of Madri, having in the
presence of the whole army engaged in single combat with the son of

and showing himself equal to him drove his chariot in circles around,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When upon the death of Drona, his

misused the weapon called Narayana but failed to achieve the

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

that Bhimasena drank the blood of his brother Duhsasana in the field of
battle without anybody being able to prevent him, then, O Sanjaya, I

no hope of success. When I heard that the infinitely brave Karna,
invincible in battle, was slain by Arjuna in that war of brothers
mysterious even to the gods, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.
When I heard that Yudhishthira, the Just, overcame the heroic son of

Duhsasana, and the fierce Kritavarman, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

success. When I heard that the brave king of Madra who ever dared

in battle was slain by Yudhishthira, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard that the wicked Suvala of magic power, the root

the gaming and the feud, was slain in battle by Sahadeva, the son of

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

spent with fatigue, having gone to a lake and made a refuge for himself
within its waters, was lying there alone, his strength gone and without

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

Pandavas having gone to that lake accompanied by Vasudeva and standing

its beach began to address contemptuously my son who was incapable of
putting up with affronts, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

I heard that while, displaying in circles a variety of curious modes

attack and defence) in an encounter with clubs, he was unfairly slain
according to the counsels of Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of
success. When I heard the son of Drona and others by slaying the

and the sons of Draupadi in their sleep, perpetrated a horrible and
infamous deed, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard
that Aswatthaman while being pursued by Bhimasena had discharged the

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

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

weapon Brahmashira (discharged by Aswatthaman) was repelled by Arjuna

another weapon over which he had pronounced the word "Sasti" and that
Aswatthaman had to give up the jewel-like excrescence on his head,

then, O
Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that upon the embryo in
the womb of Virata's daughter being wounded by Aswatthaman with a

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

I had no hope of success.

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

and kindred, is to be pitied. Difficult is the task that hath been
performed by the Pandavas: by them hath a kingdom been recovered

without a

'Alas! I have heard that the war hath left only ten alive: three of our
side, and the Pandavas, seven, in that dreadful conflict eighteen
Akshauhinis of Kshatriyas have been slain! All around me is utter

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

mind is distracted."

"Sauti said, 'Dhritarashtra, bewailing his fate in these words, was
overcome with extreme anguish and for a time deprived of sense; but

revived, he addressed Sanjaya in the following words.

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

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

"Sauti said, 'The wise son of Gavalgana (Sanjaya) then addressed the
distressed lord of Earth while thus talking and bewailing, sighing like

serpent and repeatedly tainting, in words of deep import.

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

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

resplendent with worthy qualities, versed in the science of celestial

and in glory emblems of Indra; men who having conquered the world by
justice and performed sacrifices with fit offerings (to the Brahmanas),
obtained renown in this world and at last succumbed to the sway of

Such were Saivya; the valiant Maharatha; Srinjaya, great amongst
conquerors. Suhotra; Rantideva, and Kakshivanta, great in glory;

Damana, Saryati, Ajita, and Nala; Viswamitra the destroyer of foes;
Amvarisha, great in strength; Marutta, Manu, Ikshaku, Gaya, and

Rama the son of Dasaratha; Sasavindu, and Bhagiratha; Kritavirya, the
greatly fortunate, and Janamejaya too; and Yayati of good deeds who
performed sacrifices, being assisted therein by the celestials

and by whose sacrificial altars and stakes this earth with her habited

uninhabited regions hath been marked all over. These twenty-four Rajas
were formerly spoken of by the celestial Rishi Narada unto Saivya when
much afflicted for the loss of his children. Besides these, other Rajas
had gone before, still more powerful than they, mighty charioteers

in mind, and resplendent with every worthy quality. These were Puru,

Yadu, Sura and Viswasrawa of great glory; Anuha, Yuvanaswu, Kakutstha,
Vikrami, and Raghu; Vijava, Virihorta, Anga, Bhava, Sweta, and

Usinara, Sata-ratha, Kanka, Duliduha, and Druma; Dambhodbhava, Para,

Sagara, Sankriti, and Nimi; Ajeya, Parasu, Pundra, Sambhu, and holy

Vridha; Devahuya, Supratika, and Vrihad-ratha; Mahatsaha, Vinitatma,
Sukratu, and Nala, the king of the Nishadas; Satyavrata, Santabhaya,
Sumitra, and the chief Subala; Janujangha, Anaranya, Arka,

Chuchi-vrata, Balabandhu, Nirmardda, Ketusringa, and Brhidbala;
Dhrishtaketu, Brihatketu, Driptaketu, and Niramaya; Abikshit, Chapala,
Dhurta, Kritbandhu, and Dridhe-shudhi; Mahapurana-sambhavya, Pratyanga,
Paraha and Sruti. These, O chief, and other Rajas, we hear enumerated

hundreds and by thousands, and still others by millions, princes of

power and wisdom, quitting very abundant enjoyments met death as thy

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

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

the records of former times by sacred bards of great learning. Though
endued with every noble virtue, these have yielded up their lives. Thy
sons were malevolent, inflamed with passion, avaricious, and of very

disposition. Thou art versed in the Sastras, O Bharata, and art
intelligent and wise; they never sink under misfortunes whose
understandings are guided by the Sastras. Thou art acquainted, O

with the lenity and severity of fate; this anxiety therefore for the
safety of thy children is unbecoming. Moreover, it behoveth thee not to
grieve for that which must happen: for who can avert, by his wisdom,

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

Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain all have Time for their
root. Time createth all things and Time destroyeth all creatures. It is
Time that burneth creatures and it is Time that extinguisheth the fire.
All states, the good and the evil, in the three worlds, are caused by

Time cutteth short all things and createth them anew. Time alone is

when all things are asleep: indeed, Time is incapable of being

Time passeth over all things without being retarded. Knowing, as thou

that all things past and future and all that exist at the present

are the offspring of Time, it behoveth thee not to throw away thy


"Sauti said, 'The son of Gavalgana having in this manner administered
comfort to the royal Dhritarashtra overwhelmed with grief for his sons,
then restored his mind to peace. Taking these facts for his subject,
Dwaipayana composed a holy Upanishad that has been published to the

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

"The study of the Bharata is an act of piety. He that readeth even one
foot, with belief, hath his sins entirely purged away. Herein Devas,
Devarshis, and immaculate Brahmarshis of good deeds, have been spoken

and likewise Yakshas and great Uragas (Nagas). Herein also hath been
described the eternal Vasudeva possessing the six attributes. He is the
true and just, the pure and holy, the eternal Brahma, the supreme soul,
the true constant light, whose divine deeds wise and learned recount;

whom hath proceeded the non-existent and existent-non-existent universe
with principles of generation and progression, and birth, death and re-
birth. That also hath been treated of which is called Adhyatma (the
superintending spirit of nature) that partaketh of the attributes of

five elements. That also hath been described who is purusha being above
such epithets as 'undisplayed' and the like; also that which the

yatis exempt from the common destiny and endued with the power of
meditation and Tapas behold dwelling in their hearts as a reflected

in the mirror.

"The man of faith, devoted to piety, and constant in the exercise of
virtue, on reading this section is freed from sin. The believer that
constantly heareth recited this section of the Bharata, called the
Introduction, from the beginning, falleth not into difficulties. The

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

act freed from the sins contracted during the day or the night. This
section, the body of the Bharata, is truth and nectar. As butter is in
curd, Brahmana among bipeds, the Aranyaka among the Vedas, and nectar
among medicines; as the sea is eminent among receptacles of water, and

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

Bharata said to be among histories.

"He that causeth it, even a single foot thereof, to be recited to
Brahmanas during a Sradha, his offerings of food and drink to the manes

his ancestors become inexhaustible.

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

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

man who recites to other this Veda of Vyasa reapeth advantage. It may
without doubt destroy even the sin of killing the embryo and the like.

that readeth this holy chapter of the moon, readeth the whole of the
Bharata, I ween. The man who with reverence daily listeneth to this

work acquireth long life and renown and ascendeth to heaven.

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

on the other, these were weighed in the balance by the celestials
assembled for that purpose. And as the latter weighed heavier than the
four Vedas with their mysteries, from that period it hath been called

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

substance and gravity of import it is denominated Mahabharata on

of such substance and gravity of import. He that knoweth its meaning is
saved from all his sins.

"'Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the ordinance of the Vedas
prescribed for all the tribes are harmless, the acquisition of wealth

exertion is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it is
then that they become sources of evil.'"


"The Rishis said, 'O son of Suta, we wish to hear a full and
circumstantial account of the place mentioned by you as Samanta-


"Sauti said, 'Listen, O ye Brahmanas, to the sacred descriptions I

utter O
ye best of men, ye deserve to hear of the place known as Samanta-

In the interval between the Treta and Dwapara Yugas, Rama (the son of
Jamadagni) great among all who have borne arms, urged by impatience of
wrongs, repeatedly smote the noble race of Kshatriyas. And when that

meteor, by his own valour, annihilated the entire tribe of the

he formed at Samanta-panchaka five lakes of blood. We are told that his
reason being overpowered by anger he offered oblations of blood to the
manes of his ancestors, standing in the midst of the sanguine waters of
those lakes. It was then that his forefathers of whom Richika was the
first having arrived there addressed him thus, 'O Rama, O blessed Rama,

offspring of Bhrigu, we have been gratified with the reverence thou

shown for thy ancestors and with thy valour, O mighty one! Blessings be
upon thee. O thou illustrious one, ask the boon that thou mayst


"Rama said, 'If, O fathers, ye are favourably disposed towards me, the
boon I ask is that I may be absolved from the sins born of my having
annihilated the Kshatriyas in anger, and that the lakes I have formed

become famous in the world as holy shrines.' The Pitris then said, 'So
shall it be. But be thou pacified.' And Rama was pacified accordingly.

region that lieth near unto those lakes of gory water, from that time

been celebrated as Samanta-panchaka the holy. The wise have declared

every country should be distinguished by a name significant of some
circumstance which may have rendered it famous. In the interval between
the Dwapara and the Kali Yugas there happened at Samanta-panchaka the
encounter between the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. In that
holy region, without ruggedness of any kind, were assembled eighteen
Akshauhinis of soldiers eager for battle. And, O Brahmanas, having come
thereto, they were all slain on the spot. Thus the name of that region,

Brahmanas, hath been explained, and the country described to you as a
sacred and delightful one. I have mentioned the whole of what relateth

it as the region is celebrated throughout the three worlds.'

"The Rishis said, 'We have a desire to know, O son of Suta, what is
implied by the term Akshauhini that hath been used by thee. Tell us in
full what is the number of horse and foot, chariots and elephants,

compose an Akshauhini for thou art fully informed.'

"Sauti said, 'One chariot, one elephant, five foot-soldiers, and three
horses form one Patti; three pattis make one Sena-mukha; three sena-

are called a Gulma; three gulmas, a Gana; three ganas, a Vahini; three
vahinis together are called a Pritana; three pritanas form a Chamu;

chamus, one Anikini; and an anikini taken ten times forms, as it is

by those who know, an Akshauhini. O ye best of Brahmanas,

have calculated that the number of chariots in an Akshauhini is twenty

thousand eight hundred and seventy. The measure of elephants must be

at the same number. O ye pure, you must know that the number of foot-
soldiers is one hundred and nine thousand, three hundred and fifty, the
number of horse is sixty-five thousand, six hundred and ten. These, O
Brahmanas, as fully explained by me, are the numbers of an Akshauhini

said by those acquainted with the principles of numbers. O best of
Brahmanas, according to this calculation were composed the eighteen
Akshauhinis of the Kaurava and the Pandava army. Time, whose acts are
wonderful assembled them on that spot and having made the Kauravas the
cause, destroyed them all. Bhishma acquainted with choice of weapons,
fought for ten days. Drona protected the Kaurava Vahinis for five days.
Karna the desolator of hostile armies fought for two days; and Salya

half a day. After that lasted for half a day the encounter with clubs
between Duryodhana and Bhima. At the close of that day, Aswatthaman and
Kripa destroyed the army of Yudishthira in the night while sleeping
without suspicion of danger.

"'O Saunaka, this best of narrations called Bharata which has begun to

repeated at thy sacrifice, was formerly repeated at the sacrifice of
Janamejaya by an intelligent disciple of Vyasa. It is divided into

sections; in the beginning are Paushya, Pauloma, and Astika parvas,
describing in full the valour and renown of kings. It is a work whose
description, diction, and sense are varied and wonderful. It contains

account of various manners and rites. It is accepted by the wise, as

state called Vairagya is by men desirous of final release. As Self

things to be known, as life among things that are dear, so is this

that furnisheth the means of arriving at the knowledge of Brahma the

among all the sastras. There is not a story current in this world but

depend upon this history even as the body upon the foot that it taketh.

masters of good lineage are ever attended upon by servants desirous of
preferment so is the Bharata cherished by all poets. As the words
constituting the several branches of knowledge appertaining to the

and the Veda display only vowels and consonants, so this excellent

displayeth only the highest wisdom.

"'Listen, O ye ascetics, to the outlines of the several divisions

of this history called Bharata, endued with great wisdom, of sections

feet that are wonderful and various, of subtile meanings and logical
connections, and embellished with the substance of the Vedas.

"'The first parva is called Anukramanika; the second, Sangraha; then
Paushya; then Pauloma; the Astika; then Adivansavatarana. Then comes

Sambhava of wonderful and thrilling incidents. Then comes Jatugrihadaha
(setting fire to the house of lac) and then Hidimbabadha (the killing

Hidimba) parvas; then comes Baka-badha (slaughter of Baka) and then
Chitraratha. The next is called Swayamvara (selection of husband by
Panchali), in which Arjuna by the exercise of Kshatriya virtues, won
Draupadi for wife. Then comes Vaivahika (marriage). Then comes
Viduragamana (advent of Vidura), Rajyalabha (acquirement of kingdom),
Arjuna-banavasa (exile of Arjuna) and Subhadra-harana (the carrying

of Subhadra). After these come Harana-harika, Khandava-daha (the

of the Khandava forest) and Maya-darsana (meeting with Maya the Asura
architect). Then come Sabha, Mantra, Jarasandha, Digvijaya (general
campaign). After Digvijaya come Raja-suyaka, Arghyaviharana (the

of the Arghya) and Sisupala-badha (the killing of Sisupala). After

Dyuta (gambling), Anudyuta (subsequent to gambling), Aranyaka, and

badha (destruction of Krimira). The Arjuna-vigamana (the travels of
Arjuna), Kairati. In the last hath been described the battle between
Arjuna and Mahadeva in the guise of a hunter. After this Indra-
lokavigamana (the journey to the regions of Indra); then that mine of
religion and virtue, the highly pathetic Nalopakhyana (the story of

After this last, Tirtha-yatra or the pilgrimage of the wise prince of

Kurus, the death of Jatasura, and the battle of the Yakshas. Then the
battle with the Nivata-kavachas, Ajagara, and Markandeya-Samasya

with Markandeya). Then the meeting of Draupadi and Satyabhama,

Mirga-Swapna (dream of the deer). Then the story of Brihadaranyaka and
then Aindradrumna. Then Draupadi-harana (the abduction of Draupadi),
Jayadratha-bimoksana (the release of Jayadratha). Then the story of
'Savitri' illustrating the great merit of connubial chastity. After

last, the story of 'Rama'. The parva that comes next is called

harana' (the theft of the ear-rings). That which comes next is 'Aranya'
and then 'Vairata'. Then the entry of the Pandavas and the fulfilment

their promise (of living unknown for one year). Then the destruction of
the 'Kichakas', then the attempt to take the kine (of Virata by the
Kauravas). The next is called the marriage of Abhimanyu with the

of Virata. The next you must know is the most wonderful parva called
Udyoga. The next must be known by the name of 'Sanjaya-yana' (the

of Sanjaya). Then comes 'Prajagara' (the sleeplessness of Dhritarashtra
owing to his anxiety). Then Sanatsujata, in which are the mysteries of
spiritual philosophy. Then 'Yanasaddhi', and then the arrival of

Then the story of 'Matali' and then of 'Galava'. Then the stories of
'Savitri', 'Vamadeva', and 'Vainya'. Then the story of 'Jamadagnya and
Shodasarajika'. Then the arrival of Krishna at the court, and then
Bidulaputrasasana. Then the muster of troops and the story of Sheta.

must you know, comes the quarrel of the high-souled Karna. Then the

to the field of the troops of both sides. The next hath been called
numbering the Rathis and Atirathas. Then comes the arrival of the
messenger Uluka which kindled the wrath (of the Pandavas). The next

comes, you must know, is the story of Amba. Then comes the thrilling

of the installation of Bhishma as commander-in-chief. The next is

the creation of the insular region Jambu; then Bhumi; then the account
about the formation of islands. Then comes the 'Bhagavat-gita'; and

the death of Bhishma. Then the installation of Drona; then the

of the 'Sansaptakas'. Then the death of Abhimanyu; and then the vow of
Arjuna (to slay Jayadratha). Then the death of Jayadratha, and then of
Ghatotkacha. Then, must you know, comes the story of the death of Drona

surprising interest. The next that comes is called the discharge of the
weapon called Narayana. Then, you know, is Karna, and then Salya. Then
comes the immersion in the lake, and then the encounter (between Bhima

Duryodhana) with clubs. Then comes Saraswata, and then the descriptions

holy shrines, and then genealogies. Then comes Sauptika describing
incidents disgraceful (to the honour of the Kurus). Then comes the
'Aisika' of harrowing incidents. Then comes 'Jalapradana' oblations of
water to the manes of the deceased, and then the wailings of the women.
The next must be known as 'Sraddha' describing the funeral rites

for the slain Kauravas. Then comes the destruction of the Rakshasa
Charvaka who had assumed the disguise of a Brahmana (for deceiving
Yudhishthira). Then the coronation of the wise Yudhishthira. The next

called the 'Grihapravibhaga'. Then comes 'Santi', then
'Rajadharmanusasana', then 'Apaddharma', then 'Mokshadharma'. Those

follow are called respectively 'Suka-prasna-abhigamana', 'Brahma-
prasnanusana', the origin of 'Durvasa', the disputations with Maya. The
next is to be known as 'Anusasanika'. Then the ascension of Bhishma to
heaven. Then the horse-sacrifice, which when read purgeth all sins

The next must be known as the 'Anugita' in which are words of spiritual
philosophy. Those that follow are called 'Asramvasa', 'Puttradarshana'
(meeting with the spirits of the deceased sons), and the arrival of

The next is called 'Mausala' which abounds with terrible and cruel
incidents. Then comes 'Mahaprasthanika' and ascension to heaven. Then
comes the Purana which is called Khilvansa. In this last are contained
'Vishnuparva', Vishnu's frolics and feats as a child, the destruction

'Kansa', and lastly, the very wonderful 'Bhavishyaparva' (in which

are prophecies regarding the future).

The high-souled Vyasa composed these hundred parvas of which the above

only an abridgement: having distributed them into eighteen, the son of
Suta recited them consecutively in the forest of Naimisha as follows:

'In the Adi parva are contained Paushya, Pauloma, Astika,

Samva, the burning of the house of lac, the slaying of Hidimba, the
destruction of the Asura Vaka, Chitraratha, the Swayamvara of Draupadi,
her marriage after the overthrow of rivals in war, the arrival of

the restoration, Arjuna's exile, the abduction of Subhadra, the gift

receipt of the marriage dower, the burning of the Khandava forest, and

meeting with (the Asura-architect) Maya. The Paushya parva treats of

greatness of Utanka, and the Pauloma, of the sons of Bhrigu. The Astika
describes the birth of Garuda and of the Nagas (snakes), the churning

the ocean, the incidents relating to the birth of the celestial steed
Uchchaihsrava, and finally, the dynasty of Bharata, as described in the
Snake-sacrifice of king Janamejaya. The Sambhava parva narrates the

of various kings and heroes, and that of the sage, Krishna Dwaipayana:

partial incarnations of deities, the generation of Danavas and Yakshas

great prowess, and serpents, Gandharvas, birds, and of all creatures;

lastly, of the life and adventures of king Bharata--the progenitor of

line that goes by his name--the son born of Sakuntala in the hermitage

the ascetic Kanwa. This parva also describes the greatness of

and the births of the Vasus in the house of Santanu and their ascension

heaven. In this parva is also narrated the birth of Bhishma uniting in
himself portions of the energies of the other Vasus, his renunciation

royalty and adoption of the Brahmacharya mode of life, his adherence to
his vows, his protection of Chitrangada, and after the death of
Chitrangada, his protection of his younger brother, Vichitravirya, and

placing the latter on the throne: the birth of Dharma among men in
consequence of the curse of Animondavya; the births of Dhritarashtra

Pandu through the potency of Vyasa's blessings (?) and also the birth

the Pandavas; the plottings of Duryodhana to send the sons of Pandu to
Varanavata, and the other dark counsels of the sons of Dhritarashtra in
regard to the Pandavas; then the advice administered to Yudhishthira on
his way by that well-wisher of the Pandavas--Vidura--in the mlechchha
language--the digging of the hole, the burning of Purochana and the
sleeping woman of the fowler caste, with her five sons, in the house of
lac; the meeting of the Pandavas in the dreadful forest with Hidimba,

the slaying of her brother Hidimba by Bhima of great prowess. The birth

Ghatotkacha; the meeting of the Pandavas with Vyasa and in accordance

his advice their stay in disguise in the house of a Brahmana in the

of Ekachakra; the destruction of the Asura Vaka, and the amazement of

populace at the sight; the extra-ordinary births of Krishna and
Dhrishtadyumna; the departure of the Pandavas for Panchala in obedience

the injunction of Vyasa, and moved equally by the desire of winning the
hand of Draupadi on learning the tidings of the Swayamvara from the

of a Brahmana; victory of Arjuna over a Gandharva, called Angaraparna,

the banks of the Bhagirathi, his contraction of friendship with his
adversary, and his hearing from the Gandharva the history of Tapati,
Vasishtha and Aurva. This parva treats of the journey of the Pandavas
towards Panchala, the acquisition of Draupadi in the midst of all the
Rajas, by Arjuna, after having successfully pierced the mark; and in

ensuing fight, the defeat of Salya, Karna, and all the other crowned

at the hands of Bhima and Arjuna of great prowess; the ascertainment by
Balarama and Krishna, at the sight of these matchless exploits, that

heroes were the Pandavas, and the arrival of the brothers at the house

the potter where the Pandavas were staying; the dejection of Drupada on
learning that Draupadi was to be wedded to five husbands; the wonderful
story of the five Indras related in consequence; the extraordinary and
divinely-ordained wedding of Draupadi; the sending of Vidura by the

of Dhritarashtra as envoy to the Pandavas; the arrival of Vidura and

sight to Krishna; the abode of the Pandavas in Khandava-prastha, and

their rule over one half of the kingdom; the fixing of turns by the

of Pandu, in obedience to the injunction of Narada, for connubial
companionship with Krishna. In like manner hath the history of Sunda

Upasunda been recited in this. This parva then treats of the departure

Arjuna for the forest according to the vow, he having seen Draupadi and
Yudhishthira sitting together as he entered the chamber to take out

for delivering the kine of a certain Brahmana. This parva then

Arjuna's meeting on the way with Ulupi, the daughter of a Naga

it then relates his visits to several sacred spots; the birth of
Vabhruvahana; the deliverance by Arjuna of the five celestial damsels

had been turned into alligators by the imprecation of a Brahmana, the
meeting of Madhava and Arjuna on the holy spot called Prabhasa; the
carrying away of Subhadra by Arjuna, incited thereto by her brother
Krishna, in the wonderful car moving on land and water, and through

air, according to the wish of the rider; the departure for

with the dower; the conception in the womb of Subhadra of that prodigy

prowess, Abhimanyu; Yajnaseni's giving birth to children; then follows

pleasure-trip of Krishna and Arjuna to the banks of the Jamuna and the
acquisition by them of the discus and the celebrated bow Gandiva; the
burning of the forest of Khandava; the rescue of Maya by Arjuna, and

escape of the serpent,--and the begetting of a son by that best of

Mandapala, in the womb of the bird Sarngi. This parva is divided by

into two hundred and twenty-seven chapters. These two hundred and

seven chapters contain eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-four


The second is the extensive parva called Sabha or the assembly, full of
matter. The subjects of this parva are the establishment of the grand

by the Pandavas; their review of their retainers; the description of

lokapalas by Narada well-acquainted with the celestial regions; the
preparations for the Rajasuya sacrifice; the destruction of Jarasandha;
the deliverance by Vasudeva of the princes confined in the mountain-

the campaign of universal conquest by the Pandavas; the arrival of the
princes at the Rajasuya sacrifice with tribute; the destruction of
Sisupala on the occasion of the sacrifice, in connection with offering

arghya; Bhimasena's ridicule of Duryodhana in the assembly;

sorrow and envy at the sight of the magnificent scale on which the
arrangements had been made; the indignation of Duryodhana in

and the preparations for the game of dice; the defeat of Yudhishthira

play by the wily Sakuni; the deliverance by Dhritarashtra of his

daughter-in-law Draupadi plunged in the sea of distress caused by the
gambling, as of a boat tossed about by the tempestuous waves. The
endeavours of Duryodhana to engage Yudhishthira again in the game; and

exile of the defeated Yudhishthira with his brothers. These constitute
what has been called by the great Vyasa the Sabha Parva. This parva is
divided into seventh-eight sections, O best of Brahmanas, of two

five hundred and seven slokas.

Then comes the third parva called Aranyaka (relating to the forest)

parva treats of the wending of the Pandavas to the forest and the

following the wise Yudhishthira, Yudhishthira's adoration of the god of
day; according to the injunctions of Dhaumya, to be gifted with the

of maintaining the dependent Brahmanas with food and drink: the

of food through the grace of the Sun: the expulsion by Dhritarashtra of
Vidura who always spoke for his master's good; Vidura's coming to the
Pandavas and his return to Dhritarashtra at the solicitation of the

the wicked Duryodhana's plottings to destroy the forest-ranging

being incited thereto by Karna; the appearance of Vyasa and his

of Duryodhana bent on going to the forest; the history of Surabhi; the
arrival of Maitreya; his laying down to Dhritarashtra the course of

and his curse on Duryodhana; Bhima's slaying of Kirmira in battle; the
coming of the Panchalas and the princes of the Vrishni race to
Yudhishthira on hearing of his defeat at the unfair gambling by Sakuni;
Dhananjaya's allaying the wrath of Krishna; Draupadi's lamentations

Madhava; Krishna's cheering her; the fall of Sauva also has been here
described by the Rishi; also Krishna's bringing Subhadra with her son

Dwaraka; and Dhrishtadyumna's bringing the son of Draupadi to Panchala;
the entrance of the sons of Pandu into the romantic Dwaita wood;
conversation of Bhima, Yudhishthira, and Draupadi; the coming of Vyasa

the Pandavas and his endowing Yudhishthira with the power of

then, after the departure of Vyasa, the removal of the Pandavas to the
forest of Kamyaka; the wanderings of Arjuna of immeasurable prowess in
search of weapons; his battle with Mahadeva in the guise of a hunter;

meeting with the lokapalas and receipt of weapons from them; his

to the regions of Indra for arms and the consequent anxiety of
Dhritarashtra; the wailings and lamentations of Yudhishthira on the
occasion of his meeting with the worshipful great sage Brihadaswa. Here
occurs the holy and highly pathetic story of Nala illustrating the
patience of Damayanti and the character of Nala. Then the acquirement

Yudhishthira of the mysteries of dice from the same great sage; then

arrival of the Rishi Lomasa from the heavens to where the Pandavas

and the receipt by these high-souled dwellers in the woods of the
intelligence brought by the Rishi of their brother Arjuna staving in

heavens; then the pilgrimage of the Pandavas to various sacred spots in
accordance with the message of Arjuna, and their attainment of great

and virtue consequent on such pilgrimage; then the pilgrimage of the

sage Narada to the shrine Putasta; also the pilgrimage of the high-

Pandavas. Here is the deprivation of Karna of his ear-rings by Indra.

also is recited the sacrificial magnificence of Gaya; then the story of
Agastya in which the Rishi ate up the Asura Vatapi, and his connubial
connection with Lopamudra from the desire of offspring. Then the story

Rishyasringa who adopted Brahmacharya mode of life from his very

then the history of Rama of great prowess, the son of Jamadagni, in

has been narrated the death of Kartavirya and the Haihayas; then the
meeting between the Pandavas and the Vrishnis in the sacred spot called
Prabhasa; then the story of Su-kanya in which Chyavana, the son of

made the twins, Aswinis, drink, at the sacrifice of king Saryati, the

juice (from which they had been excluded by the other gods), and in

besides is shown how Chyavana himself acquired perpetual youth (as a

from the grateful Aswinis). Then hath been described the history of

Mandhata; then the history of prince Jantu; and how king Somaka by
offering up his only son (Jantu) in sacrifice obtained a hundred

then the excellent history of the hawk and the pigeon; then the
examination of king Sivi by Indra, Agni, and Dharma; then the story of
Ashtavakra, in which occurs the disputation, at the sacrifice of

between that Rishi and the first of logicians, Vandi, the son of

the defeat of Vandi by the great Ashtavakra, and the release by the

of his father from the depths of the ocean. Then the story of

and then that of the great Raivya: then the departure (of the Pandavas)
for Gandhamadana and their abode in the asylum called Narayana; then
Bhimasena's journey to Gandhamadana at the request of Draupadi (in

of the sweet-scented flower). Bhima's meeting on his way, in a grove of
bananas, with Hanuman, the son of Pavana of great prowess; Bhima's bath

the tank and the destruction of the flowers therein for obtaining the
sweet-scented flower (he was in search of); his consequent battle with

mighty Rakshasas and the Yakshas of great prowess including Hanuman;

destruction of the Asura Jata by Bhima; the meeting (of the Pandavas)

the royal sage Vrishaparva; their departure for the asylum of

and abode therein: the incitement of Bhima (to acts of vengeance) by
Draupadi. Then is narrated the ascent on the hills of Kailasa by

his terrific battle with the mighty Yakshas headed by Hanuman; then the
meeting of the Pandavas with Vaisravana (Kuvera), and the meeting with
Arjuna after he had obtained for the purpose of Yudhishthira many
celestial weapons; then Arjuna's terrible encounter with the
Nivatakavachas dwelling in Hiranyaparva, and also with the Paulomas,

the Kalakeyas; their destruction at the hands of Arjuna; the

of the display of the celestial weapons by Arjuna before Yudhishthira,

prevention of the same by Narada; the descent of the Pandavas from
Gandhamadana; the seizure of Bhima in the forest by a mighty serpent

as the mountain; his release from the coils of the snake, upon
Yudhishthira's answering certain questions; the return of the Pandavas

the Kamyaka woods. Here is described the reappearance of Vasudeva to

the mighty sons of Pandu; the arrival of Markandeya, and various

the history of Prithu the son of Vena recited by the great Rishi; the
stories of Saraswati and the Rishi Tarkhya. After these, is the story

Matsya; other old stories recited by Markandeya; the stories of
Indradyumna and Dhundhumara; then the history of the chaste wife; the
history of Angira, the meeting and conversation of Draupadi and

the return of the Pandavas to the forest of Dwaita; then the procession

see the calves and the captivity of Duryodhana; and when the wretch was
being carried off, his rescue by Arjuna; here is Yudhishthira's dream

the deer; then the re-entry of the Pandavas into the Kamyaka forest,

also is the long story of Vrihidraunika. Here also is recited the story

Durvasa; then the abduction by Jayadratha of Draupadi from the asylum;

pursuit of the ravisher by Bhima swift as the air and the ill-shaving

Jayadratha's crown at Bhima's hand. Here is the long history of Rama in
which is shown how Rama by his prowess slew Ravana in battle. Here also

narrated the story of Savitri; then Karna's deprivation by Indra of his
ear-rings; then the presentation to Karna by the gratified Indra of a
Sakti (missile weapon) which had the virtue of killing only one person
against whom it might be hurled; then the story called Aranya in which
Dharma (the god of justice) gave advice to his son (Yudhishthira); in
which, besides is recited how the Pandavas after having obtained a boon
went towards the west. These are all included in the third Parva called
Aranyaka, consisting of two hundred and sixty-nine sections. The number

slokas is eleven thousand, six hundred and sixty-four.

"The extensive Parva that comes next is called Virata. The Pandavas
arriving at the dominions of Virata saw in a cemetery on the outskirts

the city a large shami tree whereon they kept their weapons. Here hath
been recited their entry into the city and their stay there in

Then the slaying by Bhima of the wicked Kichaka who, senseless with

had sought Draupadi; the appointment by prince Duryodhana of clever

and their despatch to all sides for tracing the Pandavas; the failure

these to discover the mighty sons of Pandu; the first seizure of

kine by the Trigartas and the terrific battle that ensued; the capture

Virata by the enemy and his rescue by Bhimasena; the release also of

kine by the Pandava (Bhima); the seizure of Virata's kine again by the
Kurus; the defeat in battle of all the Kurus by the single-handed

the release of the king's kine; the bestowal by Virata of his daughter
Uttara for Arjuna's acceptance on behalf of his son by Subhadra--

--the destroyer of foes. These are the contents of the extensive fourth
Parva--the Virata. The great Rishi Vyasa has composed in these sixty-

sections. The number of slokas is two thousand and fifty.

"Listen then to (the contents of) the fifth Parva which must be known

Udyoga. While the Pandavas, desirous of victory, were residing in the
place called Upaplavya, Duryodhana and Arjuna both went at the same

to Vasudeva, and said, "You should render us assistance in this war."

high-souled Krishna, upon these words being uttered, replied, "O ye

of men, a counsellor in myself who will not fight and one Akshauhini of
troops, which of these shall I give to which of you?" Blind to his own
interests, the foolish Duryodhana asked for the troops; while Arjuna
solicited Krishna as an unfighting counsellor. Then is described how,

the king of Madra was coming for the assistance of the Pandavas,
Duryodhana, having deceived him on the way by presents and hospitality,
induced him to grant a boon and then solicited his assistance in

how Salya, having passed his word to Duryodhana, went to the Pandavas

consoled them by reciting the history of Indra's victory (over Vritra).
Then comes the despatch by the Pandavas of their Purohita (priest) to

Kauravas. Then is described how king Dhritarashtra of great prowess,
having heard the word of the purohita of the Pandavas and the story of
Indra's victory decided upon sending his purohita and ultimately
despatched Sanjaya as envoy to the Pandavas from desire for peace. Here
hath been described the sleeplessness of Dhritarashtra from anxiety

hearing all about the Pandavas and their friends, Vasudeva and others.

was on this occasion that Vidura addressed to the wise king

various counsels that were full of wisdom. It was here also that Sanat-
sujata recited to the anxious and sorrowing monarch the excellent

of spiritual philosophy. On the next morning Sanjaya spoke, in the

of the King, of the identity of Vasudeva and Arjuna. It was then that

illustrious Krishna, moved by kindness and a desire for peace, went
himself to the Kaurava capital, Hastinapura, for bringing about peace.
Then comes the rejection by prince Duryodhana of the embassy of Krishna
who had come to solicit peace for the benefit of both parties. Here

been recited the story of Damvodvava; then the story of the high-souled
Matuli's search for a husband for his daughter: then the history of the
great sage Galava; then the story of the training and discipline of the
son of Bidula. Then the exhibition by Krishna, before the assembled

of his Yoga powers upon learning the evil counsels of Duryodhana and

then Krishna's taking Karna in his chariot and his tendering to him of
advice, and Karna's rejection of the same from pride. Then the return

Krishna, the chastiser of enemies from Hastinapura to Upaplavya, and

narration to the Pandavas of all that had happened. It was then that

oppressors of foes, the Pandavas, having heard all and consulted

with each other, made every preparation for war. Then comes the march

Hastinapura, for battle, of foot-soldiers, horses, charioteers and
elephants. Then the tale of the troops by both parties. Then the

by prince Duryodhana of Uluka as envoy to the Pandavas on the day

to the battle. Then the tale of charioteers of different classes. Then

story of Amba. These all have been described in the fifth Parva called
Udyoga of the Bharata, abounding with incidents appertaining to war and
peace. O ye ascetics, the great Vyasa hath composed one hundred and

six sections in this Parva. The number of slokas also composed in this

the great Rishi is six thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight.

"Then is recited the Bhishma Parva replete with wonderful incidents. In
this hath been narrated by Sanjaya the formation of the region known as
Jambu. Here hath been described the great depression of Yudhishthira's
army, and also a fierce fight for ten successive days. In this the

souled Vasudeva by reasons based on the philosophy of final release

away Arjuna's compunction springing from the latter's regard for his
kindred (whom he was on the eve of slaying). In this the magnanimous
Krishna, attentive to the welfare of Yudhishthira, seeing the loss
inflicted (on the Pandava army), descended swiftly from his chariot
himself and ran, with dauntless breast, his driving whip in hand, to
effect the death of Bhishma. In this, Krishna also smote with piercing
words Arjuna, the bearer of the Gandiva and the foremost in battle

all wielders of weapons. In this, the foremost of bowmen, Arjuna,

Shikandin before him and piercing Bhishma with his sharpest arrows

him from his chariot. In this, Bhishma lay stretched on his bed of

This extensive Parva is known as the sixth in the Bharata. In this have
been composed one hundred and seventeen sections. The number of slokas

five thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four as told by Vyasa

with the Vedas.

"Then is recited the wonderful Parva called Drona full of incidents.

comes the installation in the command of the army of the great

in arms, Drona: then the vow made by that great master of weapons of
seizing the wise Yudhishthira in battle to please Duryodhana; then the
retreat of Arjuna from the field before the Sansaptakas, then the
overthrow of Bhagadatta like to a second Indra in the field, with the
elephant Supritika, by Arjuna; then the death of the hero Abhimanyu in

teens, alone and unsupported, at the hands of many Maharathas including
Jayadratha; then after the death of Abhimanyu, the destruction by

in battle of seven Akshauhinis of troops and then of Jayadratha; then

entry, by Bhima of mighty arms and by that foremost of warriors-in-

Satyaki, into the Kaurava ranks impenetrable even to the gods, in

of Arjuna in obedience to the orders of Yudhishthira, and the

of the remnant of the Sansaptakas. In the Drona Parva, is the death of
Alambusha, of Srutayus, of Jalasandha, of Shomadatta, of Virata, of the
great warrior-in-chariot Drupada, of Ghatotkacha and others; in this

Aswatthaman, excited beyond measure at the fall of his father in

discharged the terrible weapon Narayana. Then the glory of Rudra in
connection with the burning (of the three cities). Then the arrival of
Vyasa and recital by him of the glory of Krishna and Arjuna. This is

great seventh Parva of the Bharata in which all the heroic chiefs and
princes mentioned were sent to their account. The number of sections in
this is one hundred and seventy. The number of slokas as composed in

Drona Parva by Rishi Vyasa, the son of Parasara and the possessor of

knowledge after much meditation, is eight thousand, nine hundred and


"Then comes the most wonderful Parva called Karna. In this is narrated

appointment of the wise king of Madra as (Karna's) charioteer. Then the
history of the fall of the Asura Tripura. Then the application to each
other by Karna and Salya of harsh words on their setting out for the

then the story of the swan and the crow recited in insulting allusion:
then the death of Pandya at the hands of the high-souled Aswatthaman;

the death of Dandasena; then that of Darda; then Yudhishthira's

risk in single combat with Karna in the presence of all the warriors;

the mutual wrath of Yudhishthira and Arjuna; then Krishna's

of Arjuna. In this Parva, Bhima, in fulfilment of his vow, having

open Dussasana's breast in battle drank the blood of his heart. Then
Arjuna slew the great Karna in single combat. Readers of the Bharata

this the eighth Parva. The number of sections in this is sixty-nine and
the number of slokas is four thousand, nine hundred and sixty-tour.

"Then hath been recited the wonderful Parva called Salya. After all the
great warriors had been slain, the king of Madra became the leader of

(Kaurava) army. The encounters one after another, of charioteers, have
been here described. Then comes the fall of the great Salya at the

of Yudhishthira, the Just. Here also is the death of Sakuni in battle

the hands of Sahadeva. Upon only a small remnant of the troops

alive after the immense slaughter, Duryodhana went to the lake and
creating for himself room within its waters lay stretched there for

time. Then is narrated the receipt of this intelligence by Bhima from

fowlers: then is narrated how, moved by the insulting speeches of the
intelligent Yudhishthira, Duryodhana ever unable to bear affronts, came
out of the waters. Then comes the encounter with clubs, between

and Bhima; then the arrival, at the time of such encounter, of

then is described the sacredness of the Saraswati; then the progress of
the encounter with clubs; then the fracture of Duryodhana's thighs in
battle by Bhima with (a terrific hurl of) his mace. These all have been
described in the wonderful ninth Parva. In this the number of sections

fifty-nine and the number of slokas composed by the great Vyasa--the
spreader of the fame of the Kauravas--is three thousand, two hundred


"Then shall I describe the Parva called Sauptika of frightful

On the Pandavas having gone away, the mighty charioteers, Kritavarman,
Kripa, and the son of Drona, came to the field of battle in the evening
and there saw king Duryodhana lying on the ground, his thighs broken,

himself covered with blood. Then the great charioteer, the son of

of terrible wrath, vowed, 'without killing all the Panchalas including
Drishtadyumna, and the Pandavas also with all their allies, I will not
take off armour.' Having spoken those words, the three warriors leaving
Duryodhana's side entered the great forest just as the sun was setting.
While sitting under a large banian tree in the night, they saw an owl
killing numerous crows one after another. At the sight of this,
Aswatthaman, his heart full of rage at the thought of his father's

resolved to slay the slumbering Panchalas. And wending to the gate of

camp, he saw there a Rakshasa of frightful visage, his head reaching to
the very heavens, guarding the entrance. And seeing that Rakshasa
obstructing all his weapons, the son of Drona speedily pacified by

the three-eyed Rudra. And then accompanied by Kritavarman and Kripa he
slew all the sons of Draupadi, all the Panchalas with Dhrishtadyumna

others, together with their relatives, slumbering unsuspectingly in the
night. All perished on that fatal night except the five Pandavas and

great warrior Satyaki. Those escaped owing to Krishna's counsels, then

charioteer of Dhrishtadyumna brought to the Pandavas intelligence of

slaughter of the slumbering Panchalas by the son of Drona. Then

distressed at the death of her sons and brothers and father sat before

lords resolved to kill herself by fasting. Then Bhima of terrible

moved by the words of Draupadi, resolved, to please her; and speedily
taking up his mace followed in wrath the son of his preceptor in arms.

son of Drona from fear of Bhimasena and impelled by the fates and moved
also by anger discharged a celestial weapon saying, 'This is for the
destruction of all the Pandavas'; then Krishna saying. 'This shall not

neutralised Aswatthaman's speech. Then Arjuna neutralised that weapon

one of his own. Seeing the wicked Aswatthaman's destructive intentions,
Dwaipayana and Krishna pronounced curses on him which the latter

Pandava then deprived the mighty warrior-in-chariot Aswatthaman, of the
jewel on his head, and became exceedingly glad, and, boastful of their
success, made a present of it to the sorrowing Draupadi. Thus the tenth
Parva, called Sauptika, is recited. The great Vyasa hath composed this

eighteen sections. The number of slokas also composed (in this) by the
great reciter of sacred truths is eight hundred and seventy. In this

has been put together by the great Rishi the two Parvas called Sauptika
and Aishika.

"After this hath been recited the highly pathetic Parva called Stri,
Dhritarashtra of prophetic eye, afflicted at the death of his children,
and moved by enmity towards Bhima, broke into pieces a statue of hard

deftly placed before him by Krishna (as substitute of Bhima). Then

removing the distressed Dhritarashtra's affection for worldly things by
reasons pointing to final release, consoled that wise monarch. Then

been described the wending of the distressed Dhritarashtra accompanied

the ladies of his house to the field of battle of the Kauravas. Here
follow the pathetic wailings of the wives of the slain heroes. Then the
wrath of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra and their loss of consciousness.

the Kshatriya ladies saw those heroes,--their unreturning sons,

and fathers,--lying dead on the field. Then the pacification by Krishna

the wrath of Gandhari distressed at the death of her sons and

Then the cremation of the bodies of the deceased Rajas with due rites

that monarch (Yudhishthira) of great wisdom and the foremost also of

virtuous men. Then upon the presentation of water of the manes of the
deceased princes having commenced, the story of Kunti's acknowledgment

Karna as her son born in secret. Those have all been described by the
great Rishi Vyasa in the highly pathetic eleventh Parva. Its perusal
moveth every feeling heart with sorrow and even draweth tears from the
eyes. The number of sections composed is twenty-seven. The number of
slokas is seven hundred and seventy-five.

"Twelfth in number cometh the Santi Parva, which increaseth the
understanding and in which is related the despondency of Yudhishthira

his having slain his fathers, brothers, sons, maternal uncles and
matrimonial relations. In this Parva is described how from his bed of
arrows Bhishma expounded various systems of duties worth the study of
kings desirous of knowledge; this Parva expounded the duties relative

emergencies, with full indications of time and reasons. By

these, a person attaineth to consummate knowledge. The mysteries also

final emancipation have been expatiated upon. This is the twelfth Parva
the favourite of the wise. It consists of three hundred and thirty-nine
sections, and contains fourteen thousand, seven hundred and thirty-two

"Next in order is the excellent Anusasana Parva. In it is described how
Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, was reconciled to himself on

the exposition of duties by Bhishma, the son of Bhagirathi. This Parva
treats of rules in detail and of Dharma and Artha; then the rules of
charity and its merits; then the qualifications of donees, and the

ride-regarding gifts. This Parva also describes the ceremonials of
individual duty, the rules of conduct and the matchless merit of truth.
This Parva showeth the great merit of Brahmanas and kine, and

the mysteries of duties in relation to time and place. These are

in the excellent Parva called Anusasana of varied incidents. In this

been described the ascension of Bhishma to Heaven. This is the

Parva which hath laid down accurately the various duties of men. The
number of sections, in this is one hundred and forty-six. The number of
slokas is eight thousand.

"Then comes the fourteenth Parva Aswamedhika. In this is the excellent
story of Samvarta and Marutta. Then is described the discovery (by the
Pandavas) of golden treasuries; and then the birth of Parikshit who was
revived by Krishna after having been burnt by the (celestial) weapon of
Aswatthaman. The battles of Arjuna the son of Pandu, while following

sacrificial horse let loose, with various princes who in wrath seized

Then is shown the great risk of Arjuna in his encounter with

the son of Chitrangada (by Arjuna) the appointed daughter of the chief

Manipura. Then the story of the mongoose during the performance of the
horse-sacrifice. This is the most wonderful Parva called Aswamedhika.

number of sections is one hundred and three. The number of slokas

(in this) by Vyasa of true knowledge is three thousand, three hundred


"Then comes the fifteenth Parva called Asramvasika. In this,

abdicating the kingdom, and accompanied by Gandhari and Vidura went to

woods. Seeing this, the virtuous Pritha also, ever engaged in

her superiors, leaving the court of her sons, followed the old couple.

this is described the wonderful meeting through the kindness of Vyasa

the king (Dhritarashtra) with the spirits of his slain children, grand-
children, and other princes, returned from the other world. Then the
monarch abandoning his sorrows acquired with his wife the highest fruit

his meritorious actions. In this Parva, Vidura after having leaned on
virtue all his life attaineth to the most meritorious state.

"The learned son of Gavalgana, Sanjaya, also of passions under full
control, and the foremost of ministers, attained, in the Parva, to the
blessed state. In this, Yudhishthira the just met Narada and heard from
him about the extinction of the race of Vrishnis. This is the very
wonderful Parva called Asramvasika. The number of sections in this is
forty-two, and the number of slokas composed by Vyasa cognisant of

is one thousand five hundred and six.

"After this, you know, comes the Maushala of painful incidents. In

those lion-hearted heroes (of the race of Vrishni) with the scars of

a field on their bodies, oppressed with the curse of a Brahmana, while
deprived of reason from drink, impelled by the fates, slew each other

the shores of the Salt Sea with the Eraka grass which (in their hands)
became (invested with the fatal attributes of the) thunder. In this,

Balarama and Kesava (Krishna) after causing the extermination of their
race, their hour having come, themselves did not rise superior to the

of all-destroying Time. In this, Arjuna the foremost among men, going

Dwaravati (Dwaraka) and seeing the city destitute of the Vrishnis was

affected and became exceedingly sorry. Then after the funeral of his
maternal uncle Vasudeva the foremost among the Yadus (Vrishnis), he saw
the heroes of the Yadu race lying stretched in death on the spot where
they had been drinking. He then caused the cremation of the bodies of

illustrious Krishna and Balarama and of the principal members of the
Vrishni race. Then as he was journeying from Dwaraka with the women and
children, the old and the decrepit--the remnants of the Yadu race--he

met on the way by a heavy calamity. He witnessed also the disgrace of

bow Gandiva and the unpropitiousness of his celestial weapons. Seeing

this, Arjuna became despondent and, pursuant to Vyasa's advice, went to
Yudhishthira and solicited permission to adopt the Sannyasa mode of

This is the sixteenth Parva called Maushala. The number of sections is
eight and the number of slokas composed by Vyasa cognisant of truth is
three hundred and twenty.

"The next is Mahaprasthanika, the seventeenth Parva.

"In this, those foremost among men the Pandavas abdicating their

went with Draupadi on their great journey called Mahaprasthana. In

they came across Agni, having arrived on the shore of the sea of red
waters. In this, asked by Agni himself, Arjuna worshipped him duly,
returned to him the excellent celestial bow called Gandiva. In this,
leaving his brothers who dropped one after another and Draupadi also,
Yudhishthira went on his journey without once looking back on them.

the seventeenth Parva is called Mahaprasthanika. The number of sections

this is three. The number of slokas also composed by Vyasa cognisant of
truth is three hundred and twenty.

"The Parva that comes after this, you must know, is the extraordinary

called Svarga of celestial incidents. Then seeing the celestial car

to take him, Yudhishthira moved by kindness towards the dog that
accompanied him, refused to ascend it without his companion. Observing

illustrious Yudhishthira's steady adherence to virtue, Dharma (the god

justice) abandoning his canine form showed himself to the king. Then
Yudhishthira ascending to heaven felt much pain. The celestial

showed him hell by an act of deception. Then Yudhishthira, the soul of
justice, heard the heart-rending lamentations of his brothers abiding

that region under the discipline of Yama. Then Dharma and Indra showed
Yudhishthira the region appointed for sinners. Then Yudhishthira, after
leaving the human body by a plunge in the celestial Ganges, attained to
that region which his acts merited, and began to live in joy respected

Indra and all other gods. This is the eighteenth Parva as narrated by

illustrious Vyasa. The number of slokas composed, O ascetics, by the

Rishi in this is two hundred and nine.

"The above are the contents of the Eighteen Parvas. In the appendix
(Khita) are the Harivansa and the Vavishya. The number of slokas

in the Harivansa is twelve thousand."

These are the contents of the section called Parva-sangraha. Sauti
continued, "Eighteen Akshauhinis of troops came together for battle.

encounter that ensued was terrible and lasted for eighteen days. He who
knows the four Vedas with all the Angas and Upanishads, but does not

this history (Bharata), cannot be regarded as wise. Vyasa of

intelligence, has spoken of the Mahabharata as a treatise on Artha, on
Dharma, and on Kama. Those who have listened to his history can never

to listen to others, as, indeed, they who have listened to the sweet

of the male Kokila can never hear the dissonance of the crow's cawing.

the formation of the three worlds proceedeth from the five elements, so

the inspirations of all poets proceed from this excellent composition.

ye Brahman, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous, oviparous, born

hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on space for their

so the Puranas depend upon this history. As all the senses depend for
their exercise upon the various modifications of the mind, so do all

(ceremonials) and moral qualities depend upon this treatise. There is

a story current in the world but doth depend on this history, even as

upon the food it taketh. All poets cherish the Bharata even as servants
desirous of preferment always attend upon masters of good lineage. Even

the blessed domestic Asrama can never be surpassed by the three other
Asramas (modes of life) so no poets can surpass this poem.

"Ye ascetics, shake off all inaction. Let your hearts be fixed on

for virtue is the one only friend of him that has gone to the other

Even the most intelligent by cherishing wealth and wives can never make
these their own, nor are these possessions lasting. The Bharata uttered

the lips of Dwaipayana is without a parallel; it is virtue itself and
sacred. It destroyeth sin and produceth good. He that listeneth to it
while it is being recited hath no need of a bath in the sacred waters

Pushkara. A Brahmana, whatever sins he may commit during the day

his senses, is freed from them all by reading the Bharata in the

Whatever sins he may commit also in the night by deeds, words, or mind,

is freed from them all by reading Bharata in the first twilight

He that giveth a hundred kine with horns mounted with gold to a

well-posted up in the Vedas and all branches of learning, and he that
daily listeneth to the sacred narrations of the Bharata, acquireth

merit. As the wide ocean is easily passable by men having ships, so is
this extensive history of great excellence and deep import with the

of this chapter called Parva sangraha."

Thus endeth the section called Parva-sangraha of the Adi Parva of the
blessed Mahabharata.


(Paushya Parva)

Sauti said, "Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, was, with his brothers,
attending his long sacrifice on the plains of Kurukshetra. His brothers
were three, Srutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhimasena. And as they were

at the sacrifice, there arrived at the spot an offspring of Sarama (the
celestial bitch). And belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya, he ran
away to his mother, crying in pain. And his mother seeing him crying
exceedingly asked him, 'Why criest thou so? Who hath beaten thee?' And
being thus questioned, he said unto his mother, 'I have been belaboured

the brothers of Janamejaya.' And his mother replied, 'Thou hast

some fault for which hast thou been beaten!' He answered, 'I have not
committed any fault. I have not touched the sacrificial butter with my
tongue, nor have I even cast a look upon it.' His mother Sarama hearing
this and much distressed at the affliction of her son went to the place
where Janamejaya with his brothers was at his long-extending sacrifice.
And she addressed Janamejaya in anger, saying, 'This my son hath

no fault: he hath not looked upon your sacrificial butter, nor hath he
touched it with his tongue. Wherefore hath he been beaten?' They said

a word in reply; whereupon she said, 'As ye have beaten my son who hath
committed no fault, therefore shall evil come upon ye, when ye least
expect it.'

"Janamejaya, thus addressed by the celestial bitch, Sarama, became
exceedingly alarmed and dejected. And after the sacrifice was concluded
returned to Hastinapura, and began to take great pains in searching for

Purohita who could by procuring absolution for his sin, neutralise the
effect of the curse.

"One day Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, while a-hunting, observed in

particular part of his dominions a hermitage where dwelt a certain

of fame, Srutasrava. He had a son named Somasrava deeply engaged in
ascetic devotions. Being desirous of appointing that son of the Rishi

his Purohita, Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, saluted the Rishi and
addressed him, saying, 'O possessor of the six attributes, let this thy
son be my purohita.' The Rishi thus addressed, answered Janamejaya, 'O
Janamejaya, this my son, deep in ascetic devotions, accomplished in the
study of the Vedas, and endued with the full force of my asceticism, is
born of (the womb of) a she-snake that had drunk my vital fluid. He is
able to absolve thee from all offences save those committed against
Mahadeva. But he hath one particular habit, viz. he would grant to any
Brahmana whatever might be begged of him. If thou canst put up with it,
then thou take him.' Janamejaya thus addressed replied to the Rishi,

shall be even so.' And accepting him for his Purohita, he returned to

capital; and he then addressed his brothers saying, 'This is the person

have chosen for my spiritual master; whatsoever he may say must be
complied with by you without examination.' And his brothers did as they
were directed. And giving these directions to his brothers, the king
marched towards Takshyashila and brought that country under his


"About this time there was a Rishi, Ayoda-Dhaumya by name. And Ayoda-
Dhaumya had three disciples, Upamanyu, Aruni, and Veda. And the Rishi

one of these disciples, Aruni of Panchala, to go and stop up a breach

the water-course of a certain field. And Aruni of Panchala, thus

by his preceptor, repaired to the spot. And having gone there he saw

he could not stop up the breach in the water-course by ordinary means.

he was distressed because he could not do his preceptor's bidding. But

length he saw a way and said, 'Well, I will do it in this way.' He then
went down into the breach and lay down himself there. And the water was
thus confined.

"And some time after, the preceptor Ayoda-Dhaumya asked his other
disciples where Aruni of Panchala was. And they answered, 'Sir, he hath
been sent by yourself saying, 'Go, stop up the breach in the water-

of the field,' Thus reminded, Dhaumya, addressing his pupils, said,

let us all go to the place where he is.'

"And having arrived there, he shouted, 'Ho Aruni of Panchala! Where art
thou? Come hither, my child.' And Aruni hearing the voice of his

speedily came out of the water-course and stood before his preceptor.

addressing the latter, Aruni said, 'Here I am in the breach of the

course. Not having been able to devise any other means, I entered

for the purpose of preventing the water running out. It is only upon
hearing thy voice that, having left it and allowed the waters to

escape, I
have stood before thee. I salute thee, Master; tell me what I have to


"The preceptor, thus addressed, replied, 'Because in getting up from

ditch thou hast opened the water-course, thenceforth shalt thou be

Uddalaka as a mark of thy preceptor's favour. And because my words have
been obeyed by thee, thou shalt obtain good fortune. And all the Vedas
shall shine in thee and all the Dharmasastras also.' And Aruni, thus
addressed by his preceptor, went to the country after his heart.

"The name of another of Ayoda-Dhaumya's disciples was Upamanyu. And
Dhaumya appointed him saying, 'Go, my child, Upamanyu, look after the

And according to his preceptor's orders, he went to tend the kine. And
having watched them all day, he returned in the evening to his

house and standing before him he saluted him respectfully. And his
preceptor seeing him in good condition of body asked him, 'Upamanyu, my
child, upon what dost thou support thyself? Thou art exceedingly

And he answered, 'Sir, I support myself by begging.' And his preceptor
said, 'What is obtained in alms should not be used by thee without
offering it to me.' And Upamanyu, thus told, went away. And having
obtained alms, he offered the same to his preceptor. And his preceptor
took from him even the whole. And Upamanyu, thus treated, went to

the cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned in the evening

his preceptor's abode. And he stood before his preceptor and saluted

with respect. And his preceptor perceiving that he still continued to

of good condition of body said unto him, 'Upamanyu, my child, I take

thee even the whole of what thou obtainest in alms, without leaving
anything for thee. How then dost thou, at present, contrive to support
thyself?' And Upamanyu said unto his preceptor, 'Sir, having made over

you all that I obtain in alms, I go a-begging a second time for

myself.' And his preceptor then replied, 'This is not the way in which
thou shouldst obey the preceptor. By this thou art diminishing the

of others that live by begging. Truly having supported thyself so, thou
hast proved thyself covetous.' And Upamanyu, having signified his

to all that his preceptor said, went away to attend the cattle. And

watched them all day, he returned to his preceptor's house. And he

before his preceptor and saluted him respectfully. And his preceptor
observing that he was still fat, said again unto him, 'Upamanyu, my

I take from thee all thou obtainest in alms and thou dost not go a-

a second time, and yet art thou in healthy condition. How dost thou
support thyself?' And Upamanyu, thus questioned, answered, 'Sir, I now
live upon the milk of these cows.' And his preceptor thereupon told

'It is not lawful for thee to appropriate the milk without having first
obtained my consent.' And Upamanyu having assented to the justice of

observations, went away to tend the kine. And when he returned to his
preceptor's abode, he stood before him and saluted him as usual. And

preceptor seeing that he was still fat, said, 'Upamanyu, my child, thou
eatest no longer of alms, nor dost thou go a-begging a second time, not
even drinkest of the milk; yet art thou fat. By what means dost thou
contrive to live now? And Upamanyu replied, 'Sir, I now sip the froth

these calves throw out, while sucking their mother's teats.' And the
preceptor said, 'These generous calves, I suppose, out of compassion

thee, throw out large quantities of froth. Wouldst thou stand in the

of their full meals by acting as thou hast done? Know that it is

for thee to drink the froth.' And Upamanyu, having signified his assent

this, went as before to tend the cows. And restrained by his preceptor,

feedeth not on alms, nor hath he anything else to eat; he drinketh not

the milk, nor tasteth he of the froth!

"And Upamanyu, one day, oppressed by hunger, when in a forest, ate of

leaves of the Arka (Asclepias gigantea). And his eyes being affected by
the pungent, acrimonious, crude, and saline properties of the leaves

he had eaten, he became blind. And as he was crawling about, he fell

a pit. And upon his not returning that day when the sun was sinking

behind the summit of the western mountains, the preceptor observed to

disciples that Upamanyu was not yet come. And they told him that he had
gone out with the cattle.

"The preceptor then said, 'Upamanyu being restrained by me from the use

everything, is, of course, and therefore, doth not come home until it

late. Let us then go in search of him.' And having said this, he went

his disciples into the forest and began to shout, saying, 'Ho Upamanyu,
where art thou?' And Upamanyu hearing his preceptor's voice answered in

loud tone, 'Here I am at the bottom of a well.' And his preceptor asked
him how he happened to be there. And Upamanyu replied, 'Having eaten of
the leaves of the Arka plant I became blind, and so have I fallen into
this well.' And his preceptor thereupon told him, 'Glorify the twin

the joint physicians of the gods, and they will restore thee thy

And Upamanyu thus directed by his preceptor began to glorify the twin
Aswins, in the following words of the Rig Veda:

'Ye have existed before the creation! Ye first-born beings, ye are
displayed in this wondrous universe of five elements! I desire to

you by the help of the knowledge derived from hearing, and of

for ye are Infinite! Ye are the course itself of Nature and intelligent
Soul that pervades that course! Ye are birds of beauteous feathers

on the body that is like to a tree! Ye are without the three common
attributes of every soul! Ye are incomparable! Ye, through your spirit

every created thing, pervade the Universe!

'Ye are golden Eagles! Ye are the essence into which all things

Ye are free from error and know no deterioration! Ye are of beauteous
beaks that would not unjustly strike and are victorious in every
encounter! Ye certainly prevail over time! Having created the sun, ye
weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the white thread of

day and the black thread of the night! And with the cloth so woven, ye
have established two courses of action appertaining respectively to the
Devas and the Pitris. The bird of Life seized by Time which represents

strength of the Infinite soul, ye set free for delivering her unto

happiness! They that are in deep ignorance, as long as they are under
delusions of their senses, suppose you, who are independent of the
attributes of matter, to be gifted with form! Three hundred and sixty

represented by three hundred and sixty days produce one calf between

which is the year. That calf is the creator and destroyer of all.

of truth following different routes, draw the milk of true knowledge

its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the creators of that calf!

'The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred
and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights. The

of this wheel represented by twelve months is without end. This wheel

full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures
whether to this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins, this wheel of time

set in motion by you!

'The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave represented by
the six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve

represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This wheel of Time
manifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The presiding deities

Time abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence,

Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time. Ye Aswins, ye are this
universe of five elements! Ye are the objects that are enjoyed in this

in the other world! Make me independent of the five elements! And

ye are the Supreme Brahma, yet ye move over the Earth in forms enjoying
the delights that the senses afford.

'In the beginning, ye created the ten points of the universe! Then have

placed the Sun and the Sky above! The Rishis, according to the course

the same Sun, perform their sacrifices, and the gods and men, according

what hath been appointed for them, perform their sacrifices also

the fruits of those acts!

'Mixing the three colours, ye have produced all the objects of sight!

is from these objects that the Universe hath sprung whereon the gods

men are engaged in their respective occupations, and, indeed, all
creatures endued with life!

'Ye Aswins, I adore you! I also adore the Sky which is your handiwork!

are the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even the gods

not free! Ye are yourselves free from the fruits of your acts!

'Ye are the parents of all! As males and females it is ye that swallow

food which subsequently develops into the life creating fluid and

The new-born infant sucks the teat of its mother. Indeed it is ye that
take the shape of the infant! Ye Aswins, grant me my sight to protect


"The twin Aswins, thus invoked, appeared and said, 'We are satisfied.

is a cake for thee. Take and eat it.' And Upamanyu thus addressed,

'Your words, O Aswins, have never proved untrue. But without first
offering this cake to my preceptor I dare not take it.' And the Aswins
thereupon told him, 'Formerly, thy preceptor had invoked us. We

gave him a cake like this; and he took it without offering it to his
master. Do thou do that which thy preceptor did.' Thus addressed,

again said unto them, 'O Aswins, I crave your pardon. Without offering

to my preceptor I dare not apply this cake.' The Aswins then said, 'O,

are pleased with this devotion of thine to thy preceptor. Thy master's
teeth are of black iron. Thine shall be of gold. Thou shall be restored

sight and shall have good fortune.'

"Thus spoken to by the Aswins he recovered his sight, and having gone

his preceptor's presence he saluted him and told him all. And his
preceptor was well-pleased with him and said unto him, 'Thou shalt

prosperity even as the Aswins have said. All the Vedas shall shine in

and all the Dharma-sastras.' And this was the trial of Upamanyu.

"Then Veda the other disciple of Ayoda-Dhaumya was called. His

once addressed him, saying, 'Veda, my child, tarry some time in my

and serve thy preceptor. It shall be to thy profit.' And Veda having
signified his assent tarried long in the family of his preceptor

of serving him. Like an ox under the burthens of his master, he bore

and cold, hunger and thirst, at all times without a murmur. And it was

long before his preceptor was satisfied. And as a consequence of that
satisfaction, Veda obtained good fortune and universal knowledge. And

was the trial of Veda.

"And Veda, having received permission from his preceptor, and leaving

latter's residence after the completion of his studies, entered the
domestic mode of life. And while living in his own house, he got three
pupils. And he never told them to perform any work or to obey

his own behests; for having himself experienced much woe while abiding

the family of his preceptor, he liked not to treat them with severity.

"After a certain time, Janamejaya and Paushya, both of the order of
Kshatriyas, arriving at his residence appointed the Brahman, Veda, as
their spiritual guide (Upadhyaya). And one day while about to depart

some business related to a sacrifice, he employed one of his disciples,
Utanka, to take charge of his household. 'Utanka', said he, 'whatsoever
should have to be done in my house, let it be done by thee without

And having given these orders to Utanka, he went on his journey.

"So Utanka always mindful of the injunction of his preceptor took up

abode in the latter's house. And while Utanka was residing there, the
females of his preceptor's house having assembled addressed him and

'O Utanka, thy mistress is in that season when connubial connection

be fruitful. The preceptor is absent; then stand thou in his place and

the needful.' And Utanka, thus addressed, said unto those women, 'It is
not proper for me to do this at the bidding of women. I have not been
enjoined by my preceptor to do aught that is improper.'

"After a while, his preceptor returned from his journey. And his

having learnt all that had happened, became well-pleased and,

Utanka, said, 'Utanka, my child, what favour shall I bestow on thee? I
have been served by thee duly; therefore hath our friendship for each
other increased. I therefore grant thee leave to depart. Go thou, and

thy wishes be accomplished!'

"Utanka, thus addressed, replied, saying, 'Let me do something that you
wish, for it hath been said, "He who bestoweth instruction contrary to
usage and he who receiveth it contrary to usage, one of the two dieth,

enmity springeth up between the two." I, therefore, who have received

leave to depart, am desirous of bringing thee some honorarium due to a
preceptor.' His master, upon hearing this, replied, 'Utanka, my child,

a while.' Sometime after, Utanka again addressed his preceptor, saying,
'Command me to bring that for honorarium, which you desire.' And his
preceptor then said, 'My dear Utanka, thou hast often told me of your
desire to bring something by way of acknowledgment for the instruction
thou hast received. Go then in and ask thy mistress what thou art to

And bring thou that which she directs.' And thus directed by his

Utanka addressed his preceptress, saying, 'Madam, I have obtained my
master's leave to go home, and I am desirous of bringing something
agreeable to thee as honorarium for the instruction I have received, in
order that I may not depart as his debtor. Therefore, please command me
what I am to bring.' Thus addressed, his preceptress replied, 'Go unto
King Paushya and beg of him the pair of ear-rings worn by his Queen,

bring them hither. The fourth day hence is a sacred day when I wish to
appear before the Brahmanas (who may dine at my house) decked with

ear-rings. Then accomplish this, O Utanka! If thou shouldst succeed,

fortune shall attend thee; if not, what good canst thou expect?'

"Utanka thus commanded, took his departure. And as he was passing along
the road he saw a bull of extraordinary size and a man of uncommon

mounted thereon. And that man addressed Utanka and said, 'Eat thou of

dung of this bull.' Utanka, however, was unwilling to comply. The man

again, 'O Utanka, eat of it without scrutiny. Thy master ate of it

And Utanka signified his assent and ate of the dung and drank of the
urine of that bull, and rose respectfully, and washing his hands and

went to where King Paushya was.

'On arriving at the palace, Utanka saw Paushya seated (on his throne).

approaching him Utanka saluted the monarch by pronouncing blessings and
said, 'I am come as a petitioner to thee.' And King Paushya, having
returned Utanka's salutations, said, 'Sir, what shall I do for thee?'

Utanka said, 'I came to beg of thee a pair of ear-rings as a present to

preceptor. It behoveth thee to give me the ear-rings worn by the


"King Paushya replied, 'Go, Utanka, into the female apartments where

Queen is and demand them of her.' And Utanka went into the women's
apartments. But as he could not discover the Queen, he again addressed

king, saying, 'It is not proper that I should be treated by thee with
deceit. Thy Queen is not in the private apartments, for I could not

her.' The king thus addressed, considered for a while and replied,
'Recollect, Sir, with attention whether thou art not in a state of
defilement in consequence of contact with the impurities of a repast.

Queen is a chaste wife and cannot be seen by any one who is impure

to contact with the leavings of a repast. Nor doth she herself appear

sight of any one who is defiled.'

"Utanka, thus informed, reflected for a while and then said, 'Yes, it

be so. Having been in a hurry I performed my ablutions (after meal) in

standing posture.' King Paushya then said, 'Here is a transgression,
purification is not properly effected by one in a standing posture, not

one while he is going along.' And Utanka having agreed to this, sat

with his face towards the east, and washed his face, hands, and feet
thoroughly. And he then, without a noise, sipped thrice of water free

scum and froth, and not warm, and just sufficient to reach his stomach

wiped his face twice. And he then touched with water the apertures of

organs (eyes, ears, etc.). And having done all this, he once more

the apartments of the women. And this time he saw the Queen. And as the
Queen perceived him, she saluted him respectfully and said, 'Welcome,

command me what I have to do.' And Utanka said unto her, 'It behoveth

to give me those ear-rings of thine. I beg them as a present for my
preceptor.' And the Queen having been highly pleased with Utanka's

and, considering that Utanka as an object of charity could not be

over, took off her ear-rings and gave them to him. And she said, 'These
ear-rings are very much sought after by Takshaka, the King of the

Therefore shouldst thou carry them with the greatest care.'

"And Utanka being told this, said unto the Queen, 'Lady, be under no
apprehension. Takshaka, Chief of the serpents, is not able to overtake

And having said this, and taking leave of the Queen, he went back into
the presence of Paushya, and said, 'Paushya, I am gratified.' Then

said to Utanka, 'A fit object of charity can only be had at long

Thou art a qualified guest, therefore do I desire to perform a sraddha.
Tarry thou a little. And Utanka replied, 'Yes, I will tarry, and beg

the clean provisions that are ready may be soon brought in.' And the

having signified his assent, entertained Utanka duly. And Utanka seeing
that the food placed before him had hair in it, and also that it was

thought it unclean. And he said unto Paushya, 'Thou givest me food that

unclean, therefore shalt thou lose thy sight.' And Paushya in answer

'And because dost thou impute uncleanliness to food that is clean,
therefore shalt thou be without issue.' And Utanka thereupon rejoined,

behoveth thee not, after having offered me unclean food, to curse me in
return. Satisfy thyself by ocular proof.'

"And Paushya seeing the food alleged to be unclean satisfied himself of
its uncleanliness. And Paushya having ascertained that the food was

unclean, being cold and mixed with hair, prepared as it was by a woman
with unbraided hair, began to pacify the Rishi Utanka, saying, 'Sir,

food placed before thee is cold, and doth contain hair, having been
prepared without sufficient care. Therefore I pray thee pardon me. Let

not become blind.' And Utanka answered, 'What I say must come to pass.
Having become blind, thou mayst, however, recover the sight before

Grant that thy curse also doth not take effect on me.' And Paushya said
unto him, 'I am unable to revoke my curse. For my wrath even now hath

been appeased. But thou knowest not this. For a Brahmana's heart is

as new-churned butter, even though his words bear a sharp-edged razor.

is otherwise in respect of these with the Kshatriya. His words are soft

new-churned butter, but his heart is like a sharp-edged tool, such

the case, I am unable, because of the hardness of my heart, to

my curse. Then go thou thy own way.' To this Utanka made answer, 'I

thee the uncleanliness of the food offered to me, and I was even now
pacified by thee. Besides, saidst thou at first that because I imputed
uncleanliness to food that was clean I should be without issue. But the
food truly unclean, thy curse cannot affect me. Of this I am sure.' And
Utanka having said this departed with the ear-rings.

"On the road Utanka perceived coming towards him a naked idle beggar
sometimes coming in view and sometimes disappearing. And Utanka put the
ear-rings on the ground and went for water. In the meantime the beggar
came quickly to the spot and taking up the ear-rings ran away. And

having completed his ablutions in water and purified himself and having
also reverently bowed down to the gods and his spiritual masters

the thief with the utmost speed. And having with great difficulty
overtaken him, he seized him by force. But at that instant the person
seized, quitting the form of a beggar and assuming his real form, viz.,
that of Takshaka, speedily entered a large hole open in the ground. And
having got in, Takshaka proceeded to his own abode, the region of the

"Now, Utanka, recollecting the words of the Queen, pursued the Serpent,
and began to dig open the hole with a stick but was unable to make much
progress. And Indra beholding his distress sent his thunder-bolt

to his assistance. Then the thunder-bolt entering that stick enlarged

hole. And Utanka began to enter the hole after the thunder-bolt. And
having entered it, he beheld the region of the serpents infinite in

filled with hundreds of palaces and elegant mansions with turrets and
domes and gate-ways, abounding with wonderful places for various games

entertainments. And Utanka then glorified the serpents by the following

'Ye Serpents, subjects of King Airavata, splendid in battle and

weapons in the field like lightning-charged clouds driven by the winds!
Handsome and of various forms and decked with many coloured ear-rings,

children of Airavata, ye shine like the Sun in the firmament! On the
northern banks of the Ganges are many habitations of serpents. There I
constantly adore the great serpents. Who except Airavata would desire

move in the burning rays of the Sun? When Dhritarashtra (Airavata's
brother) goes out, twenty-eight thousand and eight serpents follow him

his attendants. Ye who move near him and ye who stay at a distance from
him, I adore all of you that have Airavata for your elder brother.

'I adore thee also, to obtain the ear-rings, O Takshaka, who formerly
dwelt in Kurukshetra and the forest of Khandava! Takshaka and Aswasena,

are constant companions who dwell in Kurukshetra on the banks of the
Ikshumati! I also adore the illustrious Srutasena, the younger brother

Takshaka, who resided at the holy place called Mahadyumna with a view

obtaining the chiefship of the serpents.

"The Brahmana Rishi Utanka having saluted the chief serpents in this
manner, obtained not, however, the ear-rings. And he thereupon became

thoughtful. And when he saw that he obtained not the ear-rings even

he had adored the serpents, he then looked about him and beheld two

at a loom weaving a piece of cloth with a fine shuttle; and in the loom
were black and white threads. And he likewise saw a wheel, with twelve
spokes, turned by six boys. And he also saw a man with a handsome

And he began to address them the following mantras:

'This wheel whose circumference is marked by twenty-four divisions
representing as many lunar changes is furnished with three hundred

It is set in continual motion by six boys (the seasons)! These damsels
representing universal nature are weaving without intermission a cloth
with threads black and white, and thereby ushering into existence the
manifold worlds and the beings that inhabit them! Thou wielder of the
thunder, the protector of the universe, the slayer of Vritra and

thou illustrious one who wearest the black cloth and displayest truth

untruth in the universe, thou who ownest for thy carrier the horse

was received from the depths of the ocean, and which is but another

of Agni (the god of fire), I bow to thee, thou supreme Lord, thou Lord

the three worlds, O Purandara!'

"Then the man with the horse said unto Utanka, 'I am gratified by this

adoration. What good shall I do to thee?' And Utanka replied, 'Even let
the serpents be brought under my control.' Then the man rejoined, 'Blow
into this horse.' And Utanka blew into that horse. And from the horse

blown into, there issued, from every aperture of his body, flames of

with smoke by which the region of the Nagas was about to be consumed.

Takshaka, surprised beyond measure and terrified by the heat of the

hastily came out of his abode taking the ear-rings with him, and said

Utanka, 'Pray, Sir, take back the ear-rings.' And Utanka took them


"But Utanka having recovered his ear-rings thought, 'O, this is that
sacred day of my preceptress. I am at a distance. How can I, therefore,
show my regard for her? And when Utanka was anxious about this, the man
addressed him and said, 'Ride this horse, Utanka, and he will in a

carry thee to thy master's abode.' And Utanka having signified his

mounted the horse and presently reached his preceptor's house.

"And his preceptress that morning after having bathed was dressing her
hair sitting, thinking of uttering a curse on Utanka if he should not
return within time. But, in the meantime, Utanka entered his

abode and paid his respects to his preceptress and presented her the

rings. 'Utanka', said she, 'thou hast arrived at the proper time at the
proper place. Welcome, my child; thou art innocent and therefore I do

curse thee! Good fortune is even before thee. Let thy wishes be crowned
with success!'

"Then Utanka waited on his preceptor. And his preceptor said, 'Thou art
welcome! What hath occasioned thy long absence?' And Utanka replied to

preceptor, 'Sir, in the execution of this my business obstruction was
offered by Takshaka, the King of serpents. Therefore I had to go to the
region of the Nagas. There I saw two damsels sitting at a loom, weaving

fabric with black and white threads. Pray, what is that? There likewise

beheld a wheel with twelve spokes ceaselessly turned by six boys. What

doth that import? Who is also the man that I saw? And what the horse of
extraordinary size likewise beheld by me? And when I was on the road I
also saw a bull with a man mounted thereon, by whom I was endearingly
accosted thus, 'Utanka, eat of the dung of this bull, which was also

by thy master?' So I ate of the dung of that bull according to his

Who also is he? Therefore, enlightened by thee, I desire to hear all


"And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, 'The two damsels thou
hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote

and day; the wheel of twelve spokes turned by the six boys signified

year comprising six seasons. The man is Parjanya, the deity of rain,

the horse is Agni, the god of fire. The bull that thou hast seen on the
road is Airavata, the king of elephants; the man mounted thereon is

and the dung of the bull which was eaten by thee was Amrita. It was
certainly for this (last) that thou hast not met with death in the

of the Nagas; and Indra who is my friend having been mercifully

showed thee favour. It is for this that thou returnest safe, with the

rings about thee. Then, O thou amiable one, I give thee leave to

Thou shall obtain good fortune.'

"And Utanka, having obtained his master's leave, moved by anger and
resolved to avenge himself on Takshaka, proceeded towards Hastinapura.
That excellent Brahmana soon reached Hastinapura. And Utanka then

upon King Janamejaya who had some time before returned victorious from
Takshashila. And Utanka saw the victorious monarch surrounded on all

by his ministers. And he pronounced benedictions on him in a proper

And Utanka addressed the monarch at the proper moment in speech of

accent and melodious sounds, saying, 'O thou the best of monarchs! How

it that thou spendest thy time like a child when there is another

that urgently demandeth thy attention?'"

Sauti said, "The monarch Janamejaya, thus addressed, saluting that
excellent Brahmana replied unto him, 'In cherishing these my subjects I

discharge the duties of my noble tribe. Say, what is that business to

done by me and which hath brought thee hither.'

"The foremost of Brahmanas and distinguished beyond all for good deeds,
thus addressed by the excellent monarch of large heart, replied unto

'O King! the business is thy own that demandeth thy attention;

do it, please. O thou King of kings! Thy father was deprived of life by
Takshaka; therefore do thou avenge thy father's death on that vile

The time hath come, I think, for the act of vengeance ordained by the
Fates. Go then avenge the death of thy magnanimous father who, being
bitten without cause by that vile serpent, was reduced to five elements
even like a tree stricken by thunder. The wicked Takshaka, vilest of

serpent race, intoxicated with power committed an unnecessary act when

bit the King, that god-like father, the protector of the race of royal
saints. Wicked in his deeds, he even caused Kasyapa (the prince of
physicians) to run back when he was coming for the relief of thy

It behoveth thee to burn the wicked wretch in the blazing fire of a

sacrifice. O King! Give instant orders for the sacrifice. It is thus

canst avenge the death of thy father. And a very great favour shall

also been shown to me. For by that malignant wretch, O virtuous Prince,

business also was, on one occasion, obstructed, while proceeding on
account of my preceptor."

Sauti continued, "The monarch, having heard these words, was enraged

Takshaka. By the speech of Utanka was inflamed the prince, even as the
sacrificial fire with clarified butter. Moved by grief also, in the
presence of Utanka, the prince asked his ministers the particulars of

father's journey to the regions of the blessed. And when he heard all
about the circumstances of his father's death from the lips of Utanka,

was overcome with pain and sorrow.

And thus endeth the section called Paushya of the Adi Parva of the



(Pauloma Parva)

Ugrasrava Sauti, the son of Lomaharshana, versed in the Puranas, while
present in the forest of Naimisha, at the twelve years' sacrifice of
Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, stood before the Rishis in attendance.

studied Puranas with meticulous devotion and thus being thoroughly
acquainted with them, he addressed them with joined hands thus, "I have
graphically described to you the history of Utanka which is one of the
causes of King Janamejaya's Snake-sacrifice. What, revered Sirs, do ye
wish to hear now? What shall I relate to you?" The holy men replied, "O
son of Lomaharshana, we shall ask thee about what we are anxious to

and thou wilt recount the tales one by one. Saunaka, our revered

is at present attending the apartment of the holy fire. He is

with those divine stories which relate to the gods and asuras. He
adequately knoweth the histories of men, serpents, and Gandharvas.

O Sauti, in this sacrifice that learned Brahmana is the chief. He is

faithful to his vows, wise, a master of the Sastras and the Aranyaka, a
speaker of truth, a lover of peace, a mortifier of the flesh, and an
observer of the penances according to the authoritative decrees. He is
respected by us all. It behoveth us therefore to wait for him. And when

is seated on his highly respected seat, thou wilt answer what that best

Dwijas shall ask of thee."

Sauti said, "Be it so. And when the high-souled master hath been seated

shall narrate, questioned by him, sacred stories on a variety of

After a while that excellent Brahmana (Saunaka) having duly finished

his duties, and having propitiated the gods with prayers and the manes
with oblations of water, came back to the place of sacrifice, where

Sauti seated before was the assembly of saints of rigid vows sitting at
ease. And when Saunaka was seated in the midst of the Ritwiks and

who were also in their seats, he spake as followeth.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'Child, thy father formerly read the whole of the

O son of Lomaharshana, and the Bharata with Krishna-Dwaipayana. Hast

also made them thy study? In those ancient records are chronicled
interesting stories and the history of the first generations of the

men, all of which we heard being rehearsed by thy sire. In the first

I am desirous of hearing the history of the race of Bhrigu. Recount

that history, we shall attentively listen to thee."

"Sauti answered, 'By me hath been acquired all that was formerly

by the high-souled Brahmanas including Vaisampayana and repeated by

by me hath been acquired all that had been studied by my father. O
descendant of the Bhrigu race, attend then to so much as relateth to

exalted race of Bhrigu, revered by Indra and all the gods, by the

of Rishis and Maruts (Winds). O great Muni, I shall first properly

the story of this family, as told in the Puranas.

"The great and blessed saint Bhrigu, we are informed, was produced by

self-existing Brahma from the fire at the sacrifice of Varuna. And

had a son, named Chyavana, whom he dearly loved. And to Chyavana was

a virtuous son called Pramati. And Pramati had a son named Ruru by
Ghritachi (the celestial dancer). And to Ruru also by his wife

was born a son, whose name was Sunaka. He was, O Saunaka, thy great
ancestor exceedingly virtuous in his ways. He was devoted to

of great reputation, proficient in law, and eminent among those having

knowledge of the Vedas. He was virtuous, truthful, and of well-


"Saunaka said, 'O son of Suta, I ask thee why the illustrious son of
Bhrigu was named Chyavana. Do tell me all.'

"Sauti replied, 'Bhrigu had a wife named Puloma whom he dearly loved.

became big with child by Bhrigu. And one day while the virtuous

Puloma was in that condition, Bhrigu, great among those that are true

their religion, leaving her at home went out to perform his ablutions.

was then that the Rakshasa called Puloma came to Bhrigu's abode. And
entering the Rishi's abode, the Rakshasa saw the wife of Bhrigu,
irreproachable in everything. And seeing her he became filled with lust
and lost his senses. The beautiful Puloma entertained the Rakshasa thus
arrived, with roots and fruits of the forest. And the Rakshasa who

with desire upon seeing her, became very much delighted and resolved, O
good sage, to carry her away who was so blameless in every respect.

'My design is accomplished,' said the Rakshasa, and so seizing that
beautiful matron he carried her away. And, indeed, she of agreeable

had been betrothed by her father himself, to him, although the former
subsequently bestowed her, according to due rites, on Bhrigu. O thou of
the Bhrigu race, this wound rankled deep in the Rakshasa's mind and he
thought the present moment very opportune for carrying the lady away.

"And the Rakshasa saw the apartment in which the sacrificial fire was

burning brightly. The Rakshasa then asked the flaming element 'Tell me,

Agni, whose wife this woman rightfully is. Thou art the mouth of gods;
therefore thou art bound to answer my question. This lady of superior
complexion had been first accepted by me as wife, but her father
subsequently bestowed her on the false Bhrigu. Tell me truly if this

one can be regarded as the wife of Bhrigu, for having found her alone,

have resolved to take her away by force from the hermitage. My heart
burneth with rage when I reflect that Bhrigu hath got possession of

woman of slender waist, first betrothed to me.'"

"Sauti continued, 'In this manner the Rakshasa asked the flaming god of
fire again and again whether the lady was Bhrigu's wife. And the god

afraid to return an answer. 'Thou, O god of fire,' said he, 'residest
constantly within every creature, as witness of her or his merits and
demerits. O thou respected one, then answer my question truly. Has not
Bhrigu appropriated her who was chosen by me as my wife? Thou shouldst
declare truly whether, therefore, she is my wife by first choice. After
thy answer as to whether she is the wife of Bhrigu, I will bear her

from this hermitage even in sight of thee. Therefore answer thou


"Sauti continued, 'The Seven flamed god having heard these words of the
Rakshasa became exceedingly distressed, being afraid of telling a
falsehood and equally afraid of Bhrigu's curse. And the god at length

answer in words that came out slowly. 'This Puloma was, indeed, first
chosen by thee, O Rakshasa, but she was not taken by thee with holy

and invocations. But this far-famed lady was bestowed by her father on
Bhrigu as a gift from desire of blessing. She was not bestowed on thee

Rakshasa, this lady was duly made by the Rishi Bhrigu his wife with

rites in my presence. This is she--I know her. I dare not speak a
falsehood. O thou best of the Rakshasas, falsehood is never respected

this world.'"


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, having heard these words from the god of

the Rakshasa assumed the form of a boar, and seizing the lady carried

away with the speed of the wind--even of thought. Then the child of

lying in her body enraged at such violence, dropped from his mother's

for which he obtained the name of Chyavana. And the Rakshasa perceiving
the infant drop from the mother's womb, shining like the sun, quitted

grasp of the woman, fell down and was instantly converted into ashes.

the beautiful Pauloma, distracted with grief, O Brahmana of the Bhrigu
race, took up her offspring Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu and walked

And Brahma, the Grandfather of all, himself saw her, the faultless wife

his son, weeping. And the Grandfather of all comforted her who was
attached to her son. And the drops of tears which rolled down her eyes
formed a great river. And that river began to follow the foot-steps of

wife of the great ascetic Bhrigu. And the Grandfather of the worlds

that river follow the path of his son's wife gave it a name himself,

he called it Vadhusara. And it passeth by the hermitage of Chyavana.

in this manner was born Chyavana of great ascetic power, the son of


"And Bhrigu saw his child Chyavana and its beautiful mother. And the

in a rage asked her, 'By whom wast thou made known to that Rakshasa who
resolved to carry thee away? O thou of agreeable smiles, the Rakshasa
could not know thee as my wife. Therefore tell me who it was that told

Rakshasa so, in order that I may curse him through anger.' And Pauloma
replied, 'O possessor of the six attributes! I was identified to the
Rakshasa by Agni (the god of fire). And he (the Rakshasa) bore me away,
who cried like the Kurari (female osprey). And it was only by the

splendour of this thy son that I was rescued, for the Rakshasa (seeing
this infant) let me go and himself falling to the ground was turned


"Sauti continued, 'Bhrigu, upon hearing this account from Pauloma,

exceedingly enraged. And in excess of passion the Rishi cursed Agni,
saying, 'Thou shalt eat of all things.'"

So ends the sixth section called "the curse on Agni" in the Adi Parva.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'the god of fire enraged at the curse of Bhrigu, thus
addressed the Rishi, 'What meaneth this rashness, O Brahmana, that thou
hast displayed towards me? What transgression can be imputed to me who

labouring to do justice and speak the truth impartially? Being asked I
gave the true answer. A witness who when interrogated about a fact of
which he hath knowledge, representeth otherwise than it is, ruineth his
ancestors and descendants both to the seventh generation. He, too, who,
being fully cognisant of all the particulars of an affair, doth not
disclose what he knoweth, when asked, is undoubtedly stained with

guilt. I
can also curse thee, but Brahmanas are held by me in high respect.
Although these are known to thee, O Brahmana, I will yet speak of them,

please attend! Having, by ascetic power, multiplied myself, I am

in various forms, in places of the daily homa, at sacrifices extending

years, in places where holy rites are performed (such as marriage,

and at other sacrifices. With the butter that is poured upon my flame
according to the injunctions prescribed in the Vedas, the Devas and the
Pitris are appeased. The Devas are the waters; the Pitris are also the
waters. The Devas have with the Pitris an equal right to the sacrifices
called Darshas and Purnamasas. The Devas therefore are the Pitris and

Pitris, the Devas. They are identical beings, worshipped together and

separately at the changes of the moon. The Devas and the Pitris eat

is poured upon me. I am therefore called the mouth of the Devas and the
Pitris. At the new moon the Pitris, and at the full moon the Devas, are
fed through my mouth, eating of the clarified butter that is poured on

Being, as I am, their mouth, how am I to be an eater of all things

and unclean)?'

"Then Agni, after reflecting for a while, withdrew himself from all

from places of the daily homa of the Brahmanas, from all long-extending
sacrifices, from places of holy rites, and from other ceremonies.

their Oms and Vashats, and deprived of their Swadhas and Swahas
(sacrificial mantras during offerings), the whole body of creatures

much distressed at the loss of their (sacrificial) fire. The Rishis in
great anxiety went to the gods and addressed them thus, 'Ye immaculate
beings! The three regions of the universe are confounded at the

of their sacrifices and ceremonies in consequence of the loss of fire!
Ordain what is to be done in this matter, so that there may be no loss

time.' Then the Rishis and the gods went together to the presence of
Brahma. And they represented to him all about the curse on Agni and the
consequent interruption of all ceremonies. And they said, 'O thou

fortunate! Once Agni hath been cursed by Bhrigu for some reason.

being the mouth of the gods and also the first who eateth of what is
offered in sacrifices, the eater also of the sacrificial butter, how

Agni be reduced to the condition of one who eateth of all things
promiscuously?' And the creator of the universe hearing these words of
theirs summoned Agni to his presence. And Brahma addressed Agni, the
creator of all and eternal as himself, in these gentle words, 'Thou art
the creator of the worlds and thou art their destroyer! Thou preserves
the three worlds and thou art the promoter of all sacrifices and
ceremonies! Therefore behave thyself so that ceremonies be not

And, O thou eater of the sacrificial butter, why dost thou act so
foolishly, being, as thou art, the Lord of all? Thou alone art always

in the universe and thou art its stay! Thou shall not, with all thy

be reduced to the state of one who eateth of all things promiscuously.

thou of flames, the flame that is in thy viler parts shall alone eat of
all things alike. The body of thine which eateth of flesh (being in the
stomach of all carnivorous animals) shall also eat of all things
promiscuously. And as every thing touched by the sun's rays becometh

so shall everything be pure that shall be burnt by thy flames. Thou

art, O
fire, the supreme energy born of thy own power. Then, O Lord, by that
power of thine make the Rishi's curse come true. Continue to receive

own portion and that of the gods, offered at thy mouth.'

Sauti continued, "Then Agni replied to the Grandfather, 'So be it.' And
he then went away to obey the command of the supreme Lord. The gods and
the Rishis also returned in delight to the place whence they had come.

the Rishis began to perform as before their ceremonies and sacrifices.

the gods in heaven and all creatures of the world rejoiced exceedingly.
And Agni too rejoiced in that he was free from the prospect of sin.

"Thus, O possessor of the six attributes, had Agni been cursed in the

of yore by Bhrigu. And such is the ancient history connected with the
destruction of the Rakshasa, Pauloma and the birth of Chyavana.'"

Thus endeth the seventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva

the blessed Mahabharata.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, begot a son in

womb of his wife Sukanya. And that son was the illustrious Pramati of
resplendent energy. And Pramati begot in the womb of Ghritachi a son
called Ruru. And Ruru begot on his wife Pramadvara a son called Sunaka.
And I shall relate to you in detail, O Brahmana, the entire history of
Ruru of abundant energy. O listen to it then in full!

"Formerly there was a great Rishi called Sthulakesa possessed of

power and learning and kindly disposed towards all creatures. At that

O Brahmana sage, Viswavasu, the King of the Gandharvas, it is said, had
intimacy with Menaka, the celestial dancing-girl. And the Apsara,

O thou of the Bhrigu race, when her time was come, brought forth an

near the hermitage of Sthulakesa. And dropping the newborn infant on

banks of the river, O Brahmana, Menaka, the Apsara, being destitute of
pity and shame, went away. And the Rishi, Sthulakesa, of great ascetic
power, discovered the infant lying forsaken in a lonely part of the

side. And he perceived that it was a female child, bright as the

of an Immortal and blazing, as it were, with beauty: And the great
Brahmana, Sthulakesa, the first of Munis, seeing that female child, and
filled with compassion, took it up and reared it. And the lovely child
grew up in his holy habitation, the noble-minded and blessed Rishi
Sthulakesa performing in due succession all the ceremonies beginning

that at birth as ordained by the divine law. And because she surpassed

of her sex in goodness, beauty, and every quality, the great Rishi

her by the name of Pramadvara. And the pious Ruru having seen

in the hermitage of Sthulakesa became one whose heart was pierced by

god of love. And Ruru by means of his companions made his father

the son of Bhrigu, acquainted with his passion. And Pramati demanded

of the far-famed Sthulakesa for his son. And her foster-father

the virgin Pramadvara to Ruru, fixing the nuptials for the day when the
star Varga-Daivata (Purva-phalguni) would be ascendant.

"Then within a few days of the time fixed for the nuptials, the

virgin while at play with companions of her own sex, her time having

impelled by fate, trod upon a serpent which she did not perceive as it

in coil. And the reptile, urged to execute the will of Fate, violently
darted its envenomed fangs into the body of the heedless maiden. And

by that serpent, she instantly dropped senseless on the ground, her

faded and all the graces of her person went off. And with dishevelled

she became a spectacle of woe to her companions and friends. And she

was so agreeable to behold became on her death what was too painful to
look at. And the girl of slender waist lying on the ground like one

being overcome with the poison of the snake--once more became more
beautiful than in life. And her foster-father and the other holy

who were there, all saw her lying motionless upon the ground with the
splendour of a lotus. And then there came many noted Brahmanas filled

compassion, and they sat around her. And Swastyatreya, Mahajana,

Sankhamekhala, Uddalaka, Katha, and Sweta of great renown, Bharadwaja,
Kaunakutsya, Arshtishena, Gautama, Pramati, and Pramati's son Ruru, and
other inhabitants of the forest, came there. And when they saw that

lying dead on the ground overcome with the poison of the reptile that

bitten her, they all wept filled with compassion. But Ruru, mortified
beyond measure, retired from the scene.'"

So ends the eighth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the
blessed Mahabharata.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'While those illustrious Brahmanas were sitting around the
dead body of Pramadvara, Ruru, sorely afflicted, retired into a deep

and wept aloud. And overwhelmed with grief he indulged in much piteous
lamentation. And, remembering his beloved Pramadvara, he gave vent to

sorrow in the following words, 'Alas! The delicate fair one that
increaseth my affliction lieth upon the bare ground. What can be more
deplorable to us, her friends? If I have been charitable, if I have
performed acts of penance, if I have ever revered my superiors, let the
merit of these arts restore to life my beloved one! If from my birth I
have been controlling my passions, adhered to my vows, let the fair
Pramadvara rise from the ground.'

"And while Ruru was indulging in these lamentations for the loss of his
bride, a messenger from heaven came to him in the forest and addressed

thus, 'The words thou utterest, O Ruru, in thy affliction are certainly
ineffectual. For, O pious man, one belonging to this world whose days

run out can never come back to life. This poor child of a Gandharva and
Apsara has had her days run out! Therefore, O child, thou shouldst not
consign thy heart to sorrow. The great gods, however, have provided
beforehand a means of her restoration to life. And if thou compliest

it, thou mayest receive back thy Pramadvara.'

"And Ruru replied, 'O messenger of heaven! What is that which the gods

ordained. Tell me in full so that (on hearing) I may comply with it. It
behoveth thee to deliver me from grief!' And the celestial messenger

unto Ruru, 'Resign half of thy own life to thy bride, and then, O Ruru

the race of Bhrigu, thy Pramadvara shall rise from the ground.' 'O best

celestial messengers, I most willingly offer a moiety of my own life in
favour of my bride. Then let my beloved one rise up once more in her

and lovable form.'

"Sauti said, 'Then the king of Gandharvas (the father of Pramadvara)

the celestial messenger, both of excellent qualities, went to the god
Dharma (the Judge of the dead) and addressed him, saying, 'If it be thy
will, O Dharmaraja, let the amiable Pramadvara, the betrothed wife of

now lying dead, rise up with a moiety of Ruru's life.' And Dharmaraja
answered, 'O messenger of the gods, if it be thy wish, let Pramadvara,

betrothed wife of Ruru, rise up endued with a moiety of Ruru's life.'

"Sauti continued, 'And when Dharmaraja had said so, that maiden of
superior complexion, Pramadvara, endued with a moiety of Ruru's life,

as from her slumber. This bestowal by Ruru of a moiety of his own span

life to resuscitate his bride afterwards led, as it would be seen, to a
curtailment of Ruru's life.

"And on an auspicious day their fathers gladly married them with due

And the couple passed their days, devoted to each other. And Ruru

obtained such a wife, as is hard to be found, beautiful and bright as

filaments of the lotus, made a vow for the destruction of the serpent-

And whenever he saw a serpent he became filled with great wrath and

killed it with a weapon.

"One day, O Brahmana, Ruru entered an extensive forest. And there he

an old serpent of the Dundubha species lying stretched on the ground.

Ruru thereupon lifted up in anger his staff, even like to the staff of
Death, for the purpose of killing it. Then the Dundubha, addressing

said, 'I have done thee no harm, O Brahmana! Then wherefore wilt thou

me in anger?'"

So ends the ninth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the
blessed Mahabharata.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And Ruru, on hearing those words, replied, 'My wife, dear

me as life, was bit by a snake; upon which, I took, O snake, a dreadful
vow, viz., that I would kill every snake that I might come across.
Therefore shall I smite thee and thou shalt be deprived of life.'

"And the Dundubha replied, 'O Brahmana, the snakes that bite man are

different in type. It behoveth thee not to slay Dundubhas who are

only in name. Subject like other serpents to the same calamities but

sharing their good fortune, in woe the same but in joy different, the
Dundubhas should not be slain by thee under any misconception.'

"Sauti continued, 'And the Rishi Ruru hearing these words of the

and seeing that it was bewildered with fear, albeit a snake of the
Dundubha species, killed it not. And Ruru, the possessor of the six
attributes, comforting the snake addressed it, saying, 'Tell me fully,

snake, who art thou thus metamorphosed?' And the Dundubha replied, 'O
Ruru! I was formerly a Rishi by name Sahasrapat. And it is by the curse

a Brahmana that I have been transformed into a snake.' And Ruru asked,

thou best of snakes, for what wast thou cursed by a Brahmana in wrath?

how long also will thy form continue so?'"

And so ends the tenth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti continued 'The Dundubha then said, 'In former times, I had a

Khagama by name. He was impetuous in his speech and possessed of

power by virtue of his austerities. And one day when he was engaged in

Agni-hotra (Fire-sacrifice), I made a mock snake of blades of grass,

in a frolic attempted to frighten him with it. And anon he fell into a
swoon. On recovering his senses, that truth-telling and vow-observing
ascetic, burning with wrath, exclaimed, 'Since thou hast made a

mock snake to frighten me, thou shalt be turned even into a venomless
serpent thyself by my curse.' O ascetic, I well knew the power of his
penances; therefore with an agitated heart, I addressed him thus,

low with joined hands, 'Friend, I did this by way of a joke, to excite

laughter. It behoveth thee to forgive me and revoke thy curse.' And

me sorely troubled, the ascetic was moved, and he replied, breathing

and hard. 'What I have said must come to pass. Listen to what I say and
lay it to thy heart. O pious one! when Ruru the pure son of Pramati,

appear, thou shall be delivered from the curse the moment thou seest

Thou art the very Ruru and the son of Pramati. On regaining my native

I will tell thee something for thy good.'

"And that illustrious man and the best of Brahmanas then left his

body, and attained his own form and original brightness. He then

the following words to Ruru of incomparable power, 'O thou first of
created beings, verily the highest virtue of man is sparing the life of
others. Therefore a Brahmana should never take the life of any

creature. A
Brahmana should ever be mild. This is the most sacred injunction of the
Vedas. A Brahmana should be versed in the Vedas and Vedangas, and

inspire all creatures with belief in God. He should be benevolent to

creatures, truthful, and forgiving, even as it is his paramount duty to
retain the Vedas in his memory. The duties of the Kshatriya are not

To be stern, to wield the sceptre and to rule the subjects properly are
the duties of the Kshatriya. Listen, O Ruru, to the account of the
destruction of snakes at the sacrifice of Janamejaya in days of yore,

the deliverance of the terrified reptiles by that best of Dwijas,

profound in Vedic lore and might in spiritual energy.'"

And so ends the eleventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti continued, 'Ruru then asked, 'O best of Dwijas, why was king
Janamejaya bent upon destroying the serpents?--And why and how were

saved by the wise Astika? I am anxious to hear all this in detail.'

"The Rishi replied, 'O Ruru, the important history of Astika you will
learn from the lips of Brahmanas.' Saying this, he vanished.

"Sauti continued, 'Ruru ran about in search of the missing Rishi, and
having failed to find him in all the woods, fell down on the ground,
fatigued. And revolving in his mind the words of the Rishi, he was

confounded and seemed to be deprived of his senses. Regaining
consciousness, he came home and asked his father to relate the history

question. Thus asked, his father related all about the story.'"

So ends the twelfth section in the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva)

"Saunaka said, 'For what reason did that tiger among kings, the royal
Janamejaya, determine to take the lives of the snakes by means of a
sacrifice? O Sauti, tell us in full the true story. Tell us also why
Astika, that best of regenerate ones, that foremost of ascetics,

the snakes from the blazing fire. Whose son was that monarch who
celebrated the snake-sacrifice? And whose son also was that best of
regenerate ones?'

"Sauti said, 'O best of speakers, this story of Astika is long. I will
duly relate it in full, O listen!'

"Saunaka said, 'I am desirous of hearing at length the charming story

that Rishi, that illustrious Brahmana named Astika.'

"Sauti said, 'This history (first) recited by Krishna-Dwaipayana, is
called a Purana by the Brahmanas. It was formerly narrated by my wise
father, Lomaharshana, the disciple of Vyasa, before the dwellers of the
Naimisha forest, at their request. I was present at the recital, and, O
Saunaka, since thou askest me, I shall narrate the history of Astika
exactly as I heard it. O listen, as I recite in full that sin-


"The father of Astika was powerful like Prajapati. He was a Brahma-

always engaged in austere devotions. He ate sparingly, was a great

and had his lust under complete control. And he was known by the name

Jaratkaru. That foremost one among the Yayavaras, virtuous and of rigid
vows, highly blessed and endued with great ascetic power, once

undertook a
journey over the world. He visited diverse places, bathed in diverse
sacred waters, and rested where night overtook him. Endued with great
energy, he practised religious austerities, hard to be practised by men

unrestrained souls. The sage lived upon air only, and renounced sleep

ever. Thus going about like a blazing fire, one day he happened to see

ancestors, hanging heads down in a great hole, their feet pointing

On seeing them, Jaratkaru addressed them, saying:

'Who are you thus hanging heads down in this hole by a rope of virana
fibres that is again secretly eaten into on all sides by a rat living

"The ancestors said, 'We are Rishis of rigid vows, called Yayavaras. We
are sinking low into the earth for want of offspring. We have a son

Jaratkaru. Woe to us! That wretch hath entered upon a life of

only! The fool doth not think of raising offspring by marriage! It is

that reason, viz., the fear of extinction of our race, that we are
suspended in this hole. Possessed of means, we fare like unfortunates

have none! O excellent one, who art thou that thus sorrowest as a

on our account? We desire to learn, O Brahmana, who thou art that

by us, and why, O best of men, thou sorrowest for us that are so

"Jaratkaru said, 'Ye are even my sires and grandsires; I am that

O, tell me, how I may serve you.'

"The fathers then answered, 'Try thy best, O child, to beget a son to
extend our line. Thou wilt then, O excellent one, have done a

art for both thyself and us. Not by the fruits of virtue, not by

penances well hoarded up, acquireth the merit which one doth by

becoming a
father. Therefore, O child, by our command, set thy heart upon marriage
and offspring. Even this is our highest good.'

"Jaratkaru replied, 'I shall not marry for my sake, nor shall I earn
wealth for enjoyment, but I shall do so for your welfare only.

to this understanding, I shall, agreeably to the Sastric ordinance,

take a
wife for attaining the end. I shall not act otherwise. If a bride may

had of the same name with me, whose friends would, besides, willingly

her to me as a gift in charity, I shall wed her duly. But who will give
his daughter to a poor man like me for wife. I shall, however, accept

daughter given to me as alms. I shall endeavour, ye sires, even thus to
wed a girl! Having given my word, I will not act otherwise. Upon her I
will raise offspring for your redemption, so that, ye fathers, ye may
attain to eternal regions (of bliss) and may rejoice as ye like.'"

So ends the thirteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'That Brahmana of rigid vows then wandered over the earth

a wife but a wife found he not. One day he went into the forest, and
recollecting the words of his ancestors, he thrice prayed in a faint

for a bride. Thereupon Vasuki rose and offered his sister for the

acceptance. But the Brahmana hesitated to accept her, thinking her not

be of the same name with himself. The high-souled Jaratkaru thought

himself, 'I will take none for wife who is not of the same name with
myself.' Then that Rishi of great wisdom and austere penances asked

saying, 'Tell me truly what is the name of this thy sister, O snake.'

"Vasuki replied, 'O Jaratkaru, this my younger sister is called

Given away by me, accept this slender-waisted damsel for thy spouse. O
best of Brahmanas, for thee I reserved her. Therefore, take her.'

this, he offered his beautiful sister to Jaratkaru who then espoused

with ordained rites."

So ends the thirteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O foremost of persons acquainted with Brahma, the mother

the snakes had cursed them of old, saying, 'He that hath the Wind for

charioteer (viz., Agni) shall burn you all in Janamejaya's sacrifice!'

was to neutralise that curse that the chief of the snakes married his
sister to that high-souled Rishi of excellent vows. The Rishi wedded

according to the rites ordained (in the scriptures), and from them was
born a high-souled son called Astika. An illustrious ascetic; versed in
the Vedas and their branches, he regarded all with an even eye, and
removed the fears of both his parents.

"Then, after a long space of time, a king descending from the Pandava

celebrated a great sacrifice known as the Snake-sacrifice, After that
sacrifice had commenced for the destruction of the snakes, Astika
delivered the Nagas, viz., his brothers and maternal uncles and other
snakes (from a fiery death). And he delivered his fathers also by
begetting offspring. And by his austerities, O Brahmana, and various

and study of the Vedas, he freed himself from all his debts. By

at which various kinds of offerings were made, he propitiated the gods.

practising the Brahmacharya mode of life he conciliated the Rishis; and

begetting offspring he gratified his ancestors.

"Thus Jaratkaru of rigid vows discharged the heavy debt he owed to his
sires who being thus relieved from bondage ascended to heaven. Thus

acquired great religious merit, Jaratkaru, after a long course of

went to heaven, leaving Astika behind. There is the story of Astika

that I
have related duly Now, tell me, O tiger of Bhrigu's race, what else I
shall narrate."

So ends the fifteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O Sauti, relate once more in detail this history of the
learned and virtuous Astika. Our curiosity for hearing it is great. O
amiable one, thou speakest sweetly, with proper accent and emphasis;

we are well-pleased with thy speech. Thou speakest even as thy father.

sire was ever ready to please us. Tell us now the story as thy father

related it.'

"Sauti said, 'O thou that art blest with longevity, I shall narrate the
history of Astika as I heard it from my father. O Brahmana, in the

age, Prajapati had two daughters. O sinless one, the sisters were

with wonderful beauty. Named Kadru and Vinata, they became the wives of
Kasyapa. Kasyapa derived great pleasure from his two wedded wives and
being gratified he, resembling Prajapati himself, offered to give each

them a boon. Hearing that their lord was willing to confer on them

choice blessings, those excellent ladies felt transports of joy. Kadru
wished to have for sons a thousand snakes all of equal splendour. And
Vinata wished to bring forth two sons surpassing the thousand

of Kadru in strength, energy, size of body, and prowess. Unto Kadru her
lord gave that boon about a multitude of offspring. And unto Vinata

Kasyapa said, 'Be it so!' Then Vinata, having obtained her prayer,
rejoiced greatly. Obtaining two sons of superior prowess, she regarded

boon fulfilled. Kadru also obtained her thousand sons of equal

'Bear the embryos carefully,' said Kasyapa, and then he went into the
forest, leaving his two wives pleased with his blessings.'

"Sauti continued, 'O best of regenerate ones, after a long time, Kadru
brought forth a thousand eggs, and Vinata two. Their maid-servants
deposited the eggs separately in warm vessels. Five hundred years

away, and the thousand eggs produced by Kadru burst and out came the
progeny. But the twins of Vinata did not appear. Vinata was jealous,

therefore she broke one of the eggs and found in it an embryo with the
upper part developed but the lower one undeveloped. At this, the child

the egg became angry and cursed his mother, saying. 'Since thou hast
prematurely broken this egg, thou shall serve as a slave. Shouldst thou
wait five hundred years and not destroy, or render the other egg half-
developed, by breaking it through impatience, then the illustrious

within it will deliver thee from slavery! And if thou wouldst have the
child strong, thou must take tender care of the egg for all this time!'
Thus cursing his mother, the child rose to the sky. O Brahmana, even he

the charioteer of Surya, always seen in the hour of morning!

"Then at the expiration of the five hundred years, bursting open the

egg, out came Garuda, the serpent-eater. O tiger of Bhrigu's race,
immediately on seeing the light, that son of Vinata left his mother.

the lord of birds, feeling hungry, took wing in quest of the food

to him by the Great Ordainer of all.".

So ends the sixteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O ascetic, about this time the two sisters saw

near, that steed of complacent appearance named Uchchaihsravas who was
worshipped by the gods, that gem of steeds, who arose at the churning

the Ocean for nectar. Divine, graceful, perpetually young, creation's
master-piece, and of irresistible vigour, it was blest with every
auspicious mark.'

"Saunaka asked, 'Why did the gods churn the Ocean for nectar, and under
what circumstances and when as you say, did that best of steeds so
powerful and resplendent spring?'

"Sauti said, 'There is a mountain named Meru, of blazing appearance,

looking like a heap of effulgence. The rays of the Sun falling on its
peaks of golden lustre are dispersed by them. Decked with gold and
exceedingly beautiful, that mountain is the haunt of the gods and the
Gandharvas. It is immeasurable and unapproachable by men of manifold

Dreadful beasts of prey wander over its breasts, and it is illuminated

many divine life-giving herbs. It stands kissing the heavens by its

and is the first of mountains. Ordinary people cannot even think of
ascending it. It is graced with trees and streams, and resounds with

charming melody of winged choirs. Once the celestials sat on its

peak--in conclave. They who had practised penances and observed

vows for amrita now seemed to be eager seekers after amrita (celestial
ambrosia). Seeing the celestial assembly in anxious mood Nara-yana said

Brahman, 'Do thou churn the Ocean with the gods and the Asuras. By

so, amrita will be obtained as also all drugs and gems. O ye gods,

the Ocean, ye will discover amrita.'"

So ends the seventeenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued]

"Sauti said, 'There is a mountain called Mandara adorned with cloud-

peaks. It is the best of mountains, and is covered all over with
intertwining herbs. There countless birds pour forth their melodies,

beasts of prey roam about. The gods, the Apsaras and the Kinnaras visit
the place. Upwards it rises eleven thousand yojanas, and descends
downwards as much. The gods wanted to tear it up and use it as a

rod but failing to do so came to Vishnu and Brahman who were sitting
together, and said unto them, 'Devise some efficient scheme, consider,

gods, how Mandara may be dislodged for our good.'

"Sauti continued, 'O son of Bhrigu! Vishnu with Brahman assented to it.
And the lotus-eyed one (Vishnu) laid the hard task on the mighty

the prince of snakes. The powerful Ananta, directed thereto both by
Brahman and Narayana, O Brahmana, tore up the mountain with the woods
thereon and with the denizens of those woods. And the gods came to the
shore of the Ocean with Ananta and addressed the Ocean, saying, 'O

we have come to churn thy waters for obtaining nectar.' And the Ocean
replied, 'Be it so, as I shall not go without a share of it. I am able

bear the prodigious agitation of my waters set up by the mountain.' The
gods then went to the king of tortoises and said to him, 'O Tortoise-

thou wilt have to hold the mountain on thy back!' The Tortoise-king

and Indra contrived to place the mountain on the former's back.

"And the gods and the Asuras made of Mandara a churning staff and

the cord, and set about churning the deep for amrita. The Asuras held
Vasuki by the hood and the gods held him by the tail. And Ananta, who

on the side of the gods, at intervals raised the snake's hood and

lowered it. And in consequence of the stretch Vasuki received at the

of the gods and the Asuras, black vapours with flames issued from his
mouth. These, turned into clouds charged with lightning, poured showers
that refreshed the tired gods. And flowers that also fell on all sides

the celestials from the trees on the whirling Mandara, refreshed them.

"Then, O Brahmana, out of the deep came a tremendous roar like unto the
roar of the clouds at the Universal Dissolution. Diverse aquatic

being crushed by the great mountain gave up the ghost in the salt

And many denizens of the lower regions and the world of Varuna were

Large trees with birds on the whirling Mandara were torn up by the

and fell into the water. The mutual friction of those trees also

fires that blazed up frequently. The mountain thus looked like a mass

dark clouds charged with lightning. O Brahmana, the fire spread, and
consumed the lions, elephants and other creatures that were on the
mountain. Then Indra extinguished that fire by pouring down heavy


"After the churning, O Brahmana, had gone on for some time, gummy
exudations of various trees and herbs vested with the properties of

mingled with the waters of the Ocean. And the celestials attained to
immortality by drinking of the water mixed with those gums and with the
liquid extract of gold. By degrees, the milky water of the agitated

turned into clarified butter by virtue of those gums and juices. But
nectar did not appear even then. The gods came before the boon-granting
Brahman seated on his seat and said, 'Sire, we are spent up, we have no
strength left to churn further. Nectar hath not yet arisen so that now

have no resource save Narayana.'

"On hearing them, Brahman said to Narayana, 'O Lord, condescend to

the gods strength to churn the deep afresh.'

"Then Narayana agreeing to grant their various prayers, said, 'Ye wise
ones, I grant you sufficient strength. Go, put the mountain in position
again and churn the water.'

"Re-established thus in strength, the gods recommenced churning. After

while, the mild Moon of a thousand rays emerged from the Ocean.

sprung forth Lakshmi dressed in white, then Soma, then the White Steed,
and then the celestial gem Kaustubha which graces the breast of

Then Lakshmi, Soma and the Steed, fleet as the mind, all came before

gods on high. Then arose the divine Dhanwantari himself with the white
vessel of nectar in his hand. And seeing him, the Asuras set up a loud

saying, 'It be ours.'

"And at length rose the great elephant, Airavata, of huge body and with
two pair of white tusks. And him took Indra the wielder of the

But with the churning still going on, the poison Kalakuta appeared at

Engulfing the Earth it suddenly blazed up like a fire attended with

And by the scent of the fearful Kalakuta, the three worlds were

And then Siva, being solicited by Brahman, swallowed that poison for

safety of the creation. The divine Maheswara held it in his throat, and

is said that from that time he is called Nilakantha (blue-throated).
Seeing all these wondrous things, the Asuras were filled with despair,

got themselves prepared for entering into hostilities with the gods for
the possession of Lakshmi and Amrita. Thereupon Narayana called his
bewitching Maya (illusive power) to his aid, and assuming the form of

enticing female, coquetted with the Danavas. The Danavas and the

charmed with her exquisite beauty and grace lost their reason and
unanimously placed the Amrita in the hands of that fair damsel.'"

So ends the eighteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then the Daityas and the Danavas equipped with first-

armours and various weapons attacked the gods. In the meantime the

Lord Vishnu in the form of an enchantress accompanied by Nara deceived

mighty Danavas and took away the Amrita from their hands.

"And all the gods at that time of great fright drank the Amrita with
delight, receiving it from Vishnu. And while the gods were partaking of

after which they had so much hankered, a Danava named Rahu was also
drinking it among them in the guise of a god. And when the Amrita had
reached Rahu's throat only, Surya and Soma (recognised him and)

the fact to the gods. And Narayana instantly cut off with his discus

well-adorned head of the Danava who was drinking the Amrita without
permission. And the huge head of the Danava, cut off by the discus and
resembling a mountain peak, then rose up to the sky and began to utter
dreadful cries. And the Danava's headless trunk, falling upon the

and rolling thereon, made the Earth tremble with her mountains, forests
and islands. And from that time there is a long-standing quarrel

Rahu's head and Surya and Soma. And to this day it swalloweth Surya and
Soma (during solar and lunar eclipses).

"Then Narayana quitting his enchanting female form and hurling many
terrible weapons at the Danavas, made them tremble. And thus on the

of the salt-water sea, commenced the dreadful battle of the gods and

Asuras. And sharp-pointed javelins and lances and various weapons by
thousands began to be discharged on all sides. And mangled with the

and wounded with swords, darts and maces, the Asuras in large numbers
vomited blood and lay prostrate on the earth. Cut off from the trunks

sharp double-edged swords, heads adorned with bright gold, fell
continually on the field of battle. Their bodies drenched in gore, the
great Asuras lay dead everywhere. It seemed as if red-dyed mountain

lay scattered all around. And when the Sun rose in his splendour,
thousands of warriors struck one another with weapons. And cries of
distress were heard everywhere. The warriors fighting at a distance

one another brought one another down by sharp iron missiles, and those
fighting at close quarters slew one another with blows of their fists.

the air was filled with shrieks of distress. Everywhere were heard the
alarming sounds,--'cut', 'pierce', 'at them', 'hurl down', 'advance'.

"And when the battle was raging fiercely, Nara and Narayana entered the
field. And Narayana seeing the celestial bow in the hand of Nara,

to mind his own weapon, the Danava-destroying discus. And lo! the

Sudarsana, destroyer of enemies, like to Agni in effulgence and

in battle, came from the sky as soon as thought of. And when it came,
Narayana of fierce energy, possessing arms like the trunk of an

hurled with great force that weapon of extraordinary lustre, effulgent

blazing fire, dreadful and capable of destroying hostile towns. And

discus blazing like the fire that consumeth all things at the end of

hurled with force from the hands of Narayana, and falling constantly
everywhere, destroyed the Daityas and the Danavas by thousands.

it blazed like fire and consumed them all; sometimes it struck them

as it coursed through the sky; and sometimes, falling on the earth, it
drank their life-blood like a goblin.

"On the other hand, the Danavas, white as the clouds from which the

hath dropped, possessing great strength and bold hearts, ascended the

and by hurling down thousands of mountains, continually harassed the

And those dreadful mountains, like masses of clouds, with their trees

flat tops, falling from the sky, collided with one another and produced

tremendous roar. And when thousands of warriors shouted without
intermission in the field of battle and mountains with the woods

began to fall around, the earth with her forests trembled. Then the

Nara appeared at the scene of the dreadful conflict between the Asuras

the Ganas (the followers of Rudra), and reducing to dust those rocks by
means of his gold-headed arrows, he covered the heavens with dust. Thus
discomfited by the gods, and seeing the furious discus scouring the

of heaven like a blazing flame, the mighty Danavas entered the bowels

the earth, while others plunged into the sea of salt-waters.

"And having gained the victory, the gods offered due respect to Mandara
and placed him again on his own base. And the nectar-bearing gods made

heavens resound with their shouts, and went to their own abodes. And

gods, on returning to the heavens, rejoiced greatly, and Indra and the
other deities made over to Narayana the vessel of Amrita for careful

And so ends the nineteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Thus have I recited to you the whole story of how Amrita

churned out of the Ocean, and the occasion on which the horse
Uchchaihsravas of great beauty and incomparable prowess was obtained.

was this horse about which Kadru asked Vinata, saying, 'Tell me,

sister, without taking much time, of what colour Uchchaishravas is.'

Vinata answered, 'That prince of steeds is certainly white. What dost

think, sister? Say thou what is its colour. Let us lay a wager upon

Kadru replied, then, 'O thou of sweet smiles. I think that horse is

in its tail. Beauteous one, bet with me that she who loseth will become
the other's slave.'

'Sauti continued, 'Thus wagering with each other about menial service

as a
slave, the sisters went home, and resolved to satisfy themselves by
examining the horse next day. And Kadru, bent upon practising a

ordered her thousand sons to transform themselves into black hair and
speedily cover the horse's tail in order that she might not become a

But her sons, the snakes, refusing to do her bidding, she cursed them,
saying, 'During the snake-sacrifice of the wise king Janamejaya of the
Pandava race, Agni shall consume you all.' And the Grandsire (Brahman)
himself heard this exceedingly cruel curse pronounced by Kadru,

by the fates. And seeing that the snakes had multiplied exceedingly,

Grandsire, moved by kind consideration for his creatures, sanctioned

all the gods this curse of Kadru. Indeed, as the snakes were of

poison, great prowess and excess of strength, and ever bent on biting
other creatures, their mother's conduct towards them--those persecutors

all creatures,--was very proper for the good of all creatures. Fate

inflicts punishment of death on those who seek the death of other
creatures. The gods, having exchanged such sentiments with one another,
supported Kadru's action (and went away). And Brahman, calling Kasyapa

him, spake unto him these words, 'O thou pure one who overcomest all
enemies, these snakes begotten by you, who are of virulent poison and

bodies, and ever intent on biting other creatures, have been cursed by
their mother. O son, do not grieve for it in the least. The destruction

the snakes in the sacrifice hath, indeed, been ordained long ago.'

this, the divine Creator of the Universe comforted Kasyapa and imparted

that illustrious one the knowledge of neutralising poison."

And so ends the twentieth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then when the night had passed away and the sun had risen

the morning, O thou whose wealth is asceticism, the two sisters Kadru

Vinata, having laid a wager about slavery, went with haste and

to view the steed Uchchaishravas from a near point. On their way they

the Ocean, that receptacle of waters, vast and deep, rolling and
tremendously roaring, full of fishes large enough to swallow the whale,
and abounding with huge makaras and creatures of various forms by
thousands, and rendered inaccessible by the presence of other terrible,
monster-shaped, dark, and fierce aquatic animals, abounding with

and crocodiles, the mine of all kinds of gems, the home of Varuna (the
water-God), the excellent and beautiful residence of the Nagas, the

of all rivers, the abode of the subterranean fire, the friend (or

of the Asuras, the terror of all creatures, the grand reservoir of

and ever immutable. It is holy, beneficial to the gods, and is the

source of nectar; without limits, inconceivable, sacred, and highly
wonderful. It is dark, terrible with the sound of aquatic creatures,
tremendously roaring, and full of deep whirl-pools. It is an object of
terror to all creatures. Moved by the winds blowing from its shores and
heaving high, agitated and disturbed, it seems to dance everywhere with
uplifted hands represented by its surges. Full of swelling billows

by the waxing and waning of the moon the parent of Vasudeva's great

called Panchajanya, the great mine of gems, its waters were formerly
disturbed in consequence of the agitation caused within them by the

Govinda of immeasurable prowess when he had assumed the form of a wild
boar for raising the (submerged) Earth. Its bottom, lower than the

regions, the vow observing regenerate Rishi Atri could not fathom after
(toiling for) a hundred years. It becomes the bed of the lotus-naveled
Vishnu when at the termination of every Yuga that deity of immeasurable
power enjoys yoga-nidra, the deep sleep under the spell of spiritual
meditation. It is the refuge of Mainaka fearful of falling thunder, and
the retreat of the Asuras overcome in fierce encounters. It offers

as sacrificial butter to the blazing fire issuing from the mouth of

(the Ocean-mare). It is fathomless and without limits, vast and
immeasurable, and the lord of rivers.

"And they saw that unto it rushed mighty rivers by thousands with proud
gait, like amorous competitors, each eager for meeting it, forestalling
the others. And they saw that it was always full, and always dancing in
its waves. And they saw that it was deep and abounding with fierce

and makaras. And it resounded constantly with the terrible sounds of
aquatic creatures. And they saw that it was vast, and wide as the

of space, unfathomable, and limitless, and the grand reservoir of


And so ends the twenty-first section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'The Nagas after consultation arrived at the conclusion

they should do their mother's bidding, for if she failed in obtaining

desire she might withdraw her affection and burn them all. If, on the
other hand, she were graciously inclined, she might free them from her
curse. They said, 'We will certainly render the horse's tail black.'

it is said that they then went and became hairs in the horse's tail.

"Now the two co-wives had laid the wager. And having laid the wager, O
best of Brahmanas, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, the daughters of
Daksha, proceeded in great delight along the sky to see the other side

the Ocean. And on their way they saw the Ocean, that receptacle of

incapable of being easily disturbed, mightily agitated all of a sudden

the wind, and roaring tremendously; abounding with fishes capable of
swallowing the whale and full of makaras; containing also creatures of
diverse forms counted by thousands; frightful from the presence of
horrible monsters, inaccessible, deep, and terrible, the mine of all

of gems, the home of Varuna (the water-god), the wonderful habitations

the Nagas, the lord of rivers, the abode of the subterranean fire; the
residence of the Asuras and of many dreadful creatures; the reservoir

water, not subject to decay, aromatic, and wonderful, the great source

the amrita of the celestials; immeasurable and inconceivable,

waters that are holy, filled to the brim by many thousands of great

dancing as it were in waves. Such was the Ocean, full of rolling waves,
vast as the expanse of the sky, deep, of body lighted with the flames

subterranean fire, and roaring, which the sisters quickly passed


And so ends the twenty-second section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Having crossed the Ocean, Kadru of swift speed,

by Vinata, soon alighted near the horse. They then both beheld that
foremost of steeds of great speed, with body white as the rays of the

but having black hairs (in the tail). And observing many black hairs in
the tail, Kadru put Vinata, who was deeply dejected, into slavery. And
thus Vinata having lost the wager, entered into a state of slavery and
became exceedingly sorry.

"In the meantime, when his time came, burst forth from the egg without
(the help of his) mother, Garuda of great splendour, enkindling all the
points of the universe, that mighty being endued with strength, that

capable of assuming at will any form, of going at will everywhere, and

calling to his aid at will any measure of energy. Effulgent like a heap

fire, he shone terribly. Of lustre equal to that of the fire at the end

the Yuga, his eyes were bright like the lightning-flash. And soon after
birth, that bird grew in size and increasing his body ascended the

Fierce and vehemently roaring, he looked as terrible as second Ocean-

And all the deities seeing him, sought the protection of Vibhavasu

And they bowed down to that deity of manifold forms seated on his seat

spake unto him these words, 'O Agni, extend not thy body! Wilt thou
consume us? Lo, this huge heap of thy flames is spreading wide!' And

replied, 'O, ye persecutors of the Asuras, it is not as ye imagine.

is Garuda of great strength and equal to me in splendour, endued with
great energy, and born to promote the joy of Vinata. Even the sight of
this heap of effulgence hath caused this delusion in you. He is the

son of Kasyapa, the destroyer of the Nagas, engaged in the well-being

the gods, and the foe of the Daityas and the Rakshasas. Be not afraid

it in the least. Come with me and see.' Thus addressed, the gods from a

"The gods said, 'Thou art a Rishi (i.e., one cognisant of all mantras),
share of the largest portion in sacrifices, ever resplendent, the
controller along with the Rishi wended their way towards Garuda and

him of birds, the presiding spirit of the animate and the inanimate
universe. Thou art the destroyer of all, the creator of all; thou art

very Hiranyagarbha; thou art the progenitor of creation in the form of
Daksha and the other Prajapatis; thou art Indra (the king of the gods),
thou art Hayagriva the steed necked incarnation of Vishnu; thou art the
arrow (Vishnu himself, as he became such in the hands of Mahadeva at

burning of Tripura); thou art the lord of the universe; thou art the

of Vishnu; thou art the four-faced Padmaja; thou art the Brahmana

wise), thou art Agni, Pavana, etc. (i.e., the presiding deity of every
object in the universe). Thou art knowledge, thou art the illusion to
which we are all subject; thou art the all-pervading spirit; thou art

lord of the gods; thou art the great Truth; thou art fearless; thou art
ever unchanged; thou art Brahma without attributes; thou art the energy

the Sun; thou art the intellectual functions; thou art our great

thou art the ocean of holiness; thou art purity; thou art bereft of the
attributes of darkness; thou art the possessor of the six high

thou art he who cannot be withstood in contest. From thee have emanated
all things; thou art of excellent deeds; thou art all that hath not

and all that hath been. Thou art pure knowledge; thou displayest to us,

Surya does by his rays, this animate and inanimate universe; thou
darkenest the splendour of Surya at every moment, and thou art the
destroyer of all; thou art all that is perishable and all that is
imperishable. O thou resplendent as Agni, thou burnest all even as

in his anger burneth all creatures. O terrible one, thou resistest even

the fire that destroys everything at the time of the Universal

O mighty Garuda who movest in the skies, we seek thy protection. O lord

birds thy energy is extraordinary, thy splendour is that of fire, thy
brightness is like that of the lightning that no darkness can approach.
Thou reachest the very clouds, and art both the cause and the effect;

dispenser of boons and invincible in prowess. O Lord, this whole

is rendered hot by thy splendour, bright as the lustre of heated gold.
Protect these high-souled gods, who overcome by thee and terrified

are flying along the heavens in different directions on their celestial
cars. O thou best of birds, thou Lord of all, thou art the son of the
merciful and high-souled Rishi Kasyapa; therefore, be not wroth but

mercy on the universe. Thou art Supreme. O pacify thy anger and

us. At thy voice, loud as the roar of the thunder, the ten points, the
skies, the heavens, the Earth and our hearts, O bird, thou art
continuously shaking. O, diminish this thy body resembling Agni. At the
sight of the splendour resembling that of Yama when in wrath, our

lose all equanimity and quake. O thou lord of birds, be propitious to

who solicit thy mercy! O illustrious one, bestow on us good fortune and

'And that bird of fair feathers, thus adored by the deities and diverse
sections of Rishis, reduced his own energy and splendour.'"

And thus ends the twenty-third section in the Astika Parva of the Adi


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then hearing of and beholding his own body, that bird of
beautiful feathers diminished its size.'

"And Garuda said, 'Let no creature be afraid; as ye are in a fright at

sight of my terrible form, I shall diminish my energy.'

"Sauti continued, 'Then that bird capable of going everywhere at will,
that ranger of the skies capable of calling to his aid any measure of
energy, bearing Aruna on his back, wended from his father's home and
arrived at his mother's side on the other shore of the great ocean. And

placed Aruna of great splendour in the eastern regions, just at a time
when Surya had resolved to burn the worlds with his fierce rays.'

"Saunaka said, 'When did the revered Surya resolve at the time to burn

worlds? What wrong was done to him by the gods that provoked his ire?'

"Sauti said, 'O sinless one, when Rahu was drinking nectar among the

at the time of the churning of the ocean he was pointed out to the gods

Surya and Soma, and from that time he conceived an enmity towards those
deities. And upon this Rahu sought to devour his afflictor (Surya),

wroth, and thought, 'Oh, this enmity of Rahu towards me hath sprung

my desire of benefiting the gods. And this dire consequence I alone

to sustain. Indeed, at this pass help I obtain not. And before the very
eyes of the denizens of heaven I am going to be devoured and they brook

quietly. Therefore, for the destruction of the worlds must I strive.'

with this resolution he went to the mountains of the west.

"And from that place he began to radiate his heat around for the
destruction of the world. And then the great Rishis, approaching the

spake unto them, 'Lo, in the middle of the night springeth a great heat
striking terror into every heart, and destructive of the three worlds.'
Then the gods, accompanied by the Rishis, wended to the Grandsire, and
said unto him, 'O what is this great heat today that causeth such

Surya hath not yet risen, still the destruction (of the world) is

O Lord, what will happen when he doth rise?' The Grandsire replied,
'Indeed, Surya is prepared to rise today for the destruction of the

As soon as he will appear he will burn everything into a heap of ashes.

me, however, hath the remedy been provided beforehand. The intelligent

of Kasyapa is known to all by the name of Aruna. He is huge of body and

great splendour; he shall stay in front of Surya, doing the duty of his
charioteer and taking away all the energy of the former. And this will
ensure the welfare of the worlds, of the Rishis, and of the dwellers in

"Sauti continued, 'Aruna, at the behest of the Grandsire, did all that

was ordered to do. And Surya rose veiled by Aruna's person. I have told
thee now why Surya was in wrath, and how Aruna, the brother of Garuda,

appointed as his charioteer. Hear next of that other question asked by
thee a little while ago.'"

And so ends the twenty-fourth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then that bird of great strength and energy and capable

going at will to every place repaired to his mother's side on the other
shore of the great ocean. Thither lived Vinata in affliction, defeated

wager and put into a state of slavery. Once Kadru calling Vinata who

prostrated herself before the former, addressed her these words in the
presence of her son, 'O gentle Vinata, there is in the midst of the

in a remote quarter, a delightful and fair region inhabited by the

Bear me thither!' At this that mother of the bird of fair feathers bore
(on her shoulders) the mother of the snakes. And Garuda also, directed

his mother's words, carried (on his back) the snakes. And that ranger

the skies born of Vinata began to ascend towards the Sun. And thereupon
the snakes, scorched by the rays of the Sun, swooned away. And Kadru
seeing her sons in that state prayed to Indra, saying, 'I bow to thee,
thou Lord of all the gods! I bow to thee, thou slayer of Vritra! I bow

thee, thou slayer of Namuchi! O thou of a thousand eyes, consort of

By thy showers, be thou the protector of the snakes scorched by the

Sun. O
thou best of the deities, thou art our great protector. O Purandara,

art able to grant rain in torrents. Thou art Vayu (the air), the

fire, and the lightning of the skies. Thou art the propeller of the

and hast been called the great cloud (i.e., that which will darken the
universe at the end of Yuga). Thou art the fierce and incomparable

and the roaring clouds. Thou art the Creator of the worlds and their
Destroyer. Thou art unconquered. Thou art the light of all creatures,
Aditya, Vibhavasu, and the wonderful elements. Thou art the ruler of

the gods. Thou art Vishnu. Thou hast a thousand eyes. Thou art a god,

the final resource. Thou art, O deity, all amrita, and the most adored
Soma. Thou art the moment, the lunar day, the bala (minute), thou art

kshana (4 minutes). Thou art the lighted fortnight, and also the dark
fortnight. Thou art kala, thou kashtha, and thou Truti. Thou art the

the seasons, the months, the nights, and the days. Thou art the fair

with her mountains and forests. Thou art also the firmament,

with the Sun. Thou art the great Ocean with heaving billows and

with whales, swallowers of whales, and makaras, and various fishes.

art of great renown, always adored by the wise and by the great Rishis
with minds rapt in contemplation. Thou drinkest, for the good of all
creatures, the Soma juice in sacrifices and the clarified butter

with sacred invocation. Thou art always worshipped at sacrifices by
Brahmanas moved by desire of fruit. O thou of incomparable mass of
strength, thou art sung in the Vedas and Vedangas. It is for that

that learned Brahmanas bent upon performing sacrifices, study the Vedas
with every care.'"

And so ends the twenty-fifth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And then Indra, the king of gods, having the best of

for his bearer, thus adored by Kadru, covered the entire firmament with
masses of blue clouds. And he commanded the clouds, saying, Pour ye,

vivifying and blessed drops!' And those clouds, luminous with

and incessantly roaring against each other in the welkin, poured

water. And the sky, in consequence of those wonderful and terribly-

clouds that were incessantly begetting vast quantities of water, looked

if the end of Yuga had come. And in consequence of the myriads of waves
caused in the falling torrents, the deep roar of the clouds, the

of lightning, the violence of the wind, and the general agitation, the

looked as if dancing in madness. The sky became overcast, and the rays

the Sun and the Moon totally disappeared in consequence of that


"And upon Indra's causing that downpour, the Nagas became exceedingly
delighted. And the Earth was filled with water all around. And the

clear water reached even the nether regions. And there were countless
waves of water all over the Earth. And the snakes with their mother
reached (in safety) the island called Ramaniyaka."

And so ends the twenty-sixth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And then the Nagas drenched by that shower, became
exceedingly glad. And borne by that bird of fair feathers, they soon
arrived at the island. That island had been fixed by the Creator of the
Universe as the abode of the makaras. There they saw the terrible

Samudra (ocean of salt). On arriving there with Garuda, they saw there

beautiful forest washed by the waters of the sea and resounding with

music of winged choirs. And there were clusters of trees all around

with various fruits and flowers. And there were also fair mansions all
around; and many tanks full of lotuses. And it was also adorned with

lakes of pure water. And if was refreshed with pure incense-breathing
breezes. And it was adorned with many a tree that grew only on the

of Malaya, and seemed by their tallness to reach the very heavens. And
there were also various other trees whose flowers were scattered all
around by the breeze. And that forest was charming and dear to the
Gandharvas and always gave them pleasure. And it was full of bees

with the honey they sucked. And the sight of all this was exceedingly
delightful. And in consequence of many things there, capable of

everybody, that forest was fair, delightful, and holy. And, echoing

the notes of various birds, it delighted greatly the sons of Kadru.

"And the snakes, after arriving at that forest, began to enjoy

And they commanded the lord of birds, viz., Garuda, of great energy,
saying, 'Convey us to some other fair island with pure water. Thou

of the skies, thou must have seen many fair regions while coursing
(through the air).' Garuda, after reflecting for a few moments, asked

mother Vinata, saying, 'Why, mother, have I to do the bidding of the
snakes?' Vinata thus questioned by him spake unto that ranger of the

her son, invested with every virtue, of great energy, and great

as follows: "Vinata said, 'O thou best of birds, I have become, from
misfortune, the slave of my co-wife. The snakes, by an act of

caused me to lose my bet and have made me so.' When his mother had told
him the reason, that ranger of the skies, dejected with grief,

the snakes, saying, 'Tell me, ye snakes, by bringing what thing,

gaining a
knowledge of what thing, or doing what act of prowess, we may be freed
from this state of bondage to you.'" Sauti continued, 'The snakes,

him, said, 'Bring thou amrita by force. Then O bird, shall you be freed
from bondage.'" And so ends the twenty-seventh section in the Astika

of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Garuda, thus addressed by the snakes, then said unto his
mother, 'I shall go to bring amrita, I desire to eat something in the

Direct me to it.' Vinata replied, 'In a remote region in the midst of

ocean, the Nishadas have their fair home. Having eaten the thousands of
Nishadas that live there, bring thou amrita. But let not thy heart be

set on taking the life of a Brahmana. Of all creatures a Brahmana must

be slain. He is, indeed, like fire. A Brahmana, when angry, becomes

fire or the Sun, like poison or an edged weapon. A Brahmana, it has

said, is the master of all creatures. For these and other reasons, a
Brahmana is the adored of the virtuous. O child, he is never to be

by thee even in anger. Hostility with Brahmanas, therefore, would not

proper under any circumstances. O sinless one, neither Agni nor Surya
truly can consume so much as does a Brahmana of rigid vows, when angry.

these various indications must thou know a good Brahmana. Indeed, a
brahmana is the first-born of all creatures, the foremost of the four
orders, the father and the master of all.' Garuda then asked, 'O

of what form is a Brahmana, of what behaviour, and of what prowess?

he shine like fire, or is he of tranquil mien? And, O mother, it

thee to tell my inquiring self, those auspicious signs by which I may
recognise a Brahmana.' Vinata replied, saying, 'O child, him shouldst
thou know as the best amongst Brahmanas who having entered thy throat
would torture thee as a fish-hook or burn thee as blazing charcoal. A
Brahmana must never be slain by thee even in anger.' And Vinata out of
affection for her son, again told him these words, 'Him shouldst thou

as a good Brahmana who would not be digested in thy stomach.' Although

knew the incomparable strength of her son, yet she blessed him

for, deceived by the snakes, she was very much afflicted by woe. And

said. 'Let Marut (the god of the winds) protect thy wings, and Surya

Soma thy vertebral regions; let Agni protect thy head, and the Vasus

whole body. I also, O child (engaged in beneficial ceremonies), shall

here for your welfare. Go then, O child, in safety to accomplish thy

"Sauti continued, 'Then Garuda, having heard the words of his mother,
stretched his wings and ascended the skies. And endued with great

he soon fell upon the Nishadas, hungry and like another Yama. And bent
upon slaying the Nishadas, he raised a great quantity of dust that
overspread the firmament, and sucking up water from amid the ocean,

the trees growing on the adjacent mountains. And then that lord of

obstructed the principal thoroughfares of the town of the Nishadas by

mouth, increasing its orifice at will. And the Nishadas began to fly in
great haste in the direction of the open mouth of the great serpent-

And as birds in great affliction ascend by thousand into the skies when
the trees in a forest are shaken by the winds, so those Nishadas

by the dust raised by the storm entered the wide-extending cleft of
Garuda's mouth open to receive them. And then the hungry lord of all
rangers of the skies, that oppressor of enemies, endued with great
strength, and moving with greatest celerity to achieve his end, closed

mouth, killing innumerable Nishadas following the occupation of

So ends the twenty-eighth section in the Astika Parva of Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti continued, 'A certain Brahmana with his wife had entered the

of that ranger of the skies. The former began to burn the bird's throat
like a piece of flaming charcoal. Him Garuda addressed, saying, 'O best

Brahmanas, come out soon from my mouth which I open for thee. A

must never be slain by me, although he may be always engaged in sinful
practices.' Unto Garuda who had thus addressed him that Brahmana said,

let this woman of the Nishada caste, who is my wife, also come out with
me.' And Garuda said, 'Taking the woman also of the Nishada caste with
thee, come out soon. Save thyself without delay since thou hast not yet
been digested by the heat of my stomach.'

"Sauti continued, 'And then that Brahmana, accompanied by his wife of

Nishada caste, came out, and praising Garuda wended whatever way he

And when that Brahmana had come out with his wife, that lord of birds,
fleet as the mind, stretching his wings ascended the skies. He then saw
his father, and, hailed by him, Garuda, of incomparable prowess made
proper answers. And the great Rishi (Kasyapa) then asked him, 'O child,

it well with thee? Dost thou get sufficient food every day? Is there

in plenty for thee in the world of men?'

"Garuda replied, 'My mother is ever well. And so is my brother, and so

I. But, father, I do not always obtain plenty of food, for which my

is incomplete. I am sent by the snakes to fetch the excellent amrita.
Indeed, I shall fetch it today for emancipating my mother from her

My mother command me, saying, 'Eat thou the Nishadas.' I have eaten

by thousands, but my hunger is not appeased. Therefore, O worshipful

point out to me some other food, by eating which, O master, I may be
strong enough to bring away amrita by force. Thou shouldst indicate

food wherewith I may appease my hunger and thirst.'

"Kasyapa replied, 'This lake thou seest is sacred. It hath been heard,

even in the heavens. There is an elephant, with face downwards, who
continually draggeth a tortoise, his elder brother. I shall speak to

in detail of their hostility in former life. Just listen as I tell you

they are here.

"There was of old a great Rishi of the name of Vibhavasu. He was
exceedingly wrathful. He had a younger brother of the name of

The latter was averse to keeping his wealth jointly with his brother's.
And Supritika would always speak of partition. After some time his

Vibhavasu told Supritika, 'It is from great foolishness that persons
blinded by love of wealth always desire to make a partition of their
patrimony. After effecting a partition they fight with each other,

by wealth. Then again, enemies in the guise of friends cause

between ignorant and selfish men alter they become separated in wealth,
and pointing out faults confirm their quarrels, so that the latter soon
fall one by one. Absolute ruin very soon overtakes the separated. For
these reasons the wise never speak approvingly of partition amongst
brothers who, when divided, do not regard the most authoritative

and live always in fear of each other. But as thou, Supritika, without
regarding my advice impelled by desire of separation, always wishest to
make an arrangement about your property, thou shall become an

Supritika, thus cursed, then spake unto Vibhavasu, 'Thou also shall

a tortoise moving in the midst of the waters.'

"And thus on account of wealth those two fools, Supritika and

from each other's curse, have become an elephant and a tortoise
respectively. Owing to their wrath, they have both become inferior

And they are engaged in hostilities with each other, proud of their
excessive strength and the weight of their bodies. And in this lake

two beings of huge bodies are engaged in acts according to their former
hostility. Look here, one amongst them, the handsome elephant of huge

is even now approaching. Hearing his roar, the tortoise also of huge

living within the waters, cometh out, agitating the lake violently. And
seeing him the elephant, curling his trunk, rusheth into the water. And
endued with great energy, with motion of his tusks and fore-part of his
trunk and tail and feet, he agitates the water of the lake abounding

fishes. And the tortoise also of great strength, with upraised head,
cometh forward for an encounter. And the elephant is six yojanas in

and twice that measure in circumference. And the height of the tortoise
also is three yojanas and his circumference ten. Eat thou up both of

that are madly engaged in the encounter and bent upon slaying each

and then accomplish the task that thou desirest. Eating that fierce
elephant which looketh like a huge mountain and resembleth a mass of

clouds, bring thou amrita.'

"Sauti continued, 'Having said so unto Garuda, he (Kasyapa) blessed

saying, 'Blest be thou when thou art in combat with the gods. Let water
pitchers filled to the brim, Brahmanas, kine, and other auspicious

bless thee, thou oviparous one. And, O thou of great strength, when

art engaged with the gods in combat, let the Riks, the Yajus, the

the sacred sacrificial butter, all the mysteries (Upanishads),

thy strength.'

"Garuda, thus addressed by his father, wended to the side of that lake.

saw that expanse of clear water with birds of various kinds all around.
And remembering the words of his father, that ranger of the skies
possessed of great swiftness of motion, seized the elephant and the
tortoise, one in each claw. And that bird then soared high into the

And he came upon a sacred place called Alamva and saw many divine

And struck by the wind raised by his wings, those trees began to shake
with fear. And those divine trees having golden boughs feared that they
would break. And the ranger of the skies seeing that those trees

of granting every wish were quaking with fear, went to other trees of
incomparable appearance. And those gigantic trees were adorned with

of gold and silver and branches of precious gems. And they were washed
with the water of the sea. And there was a large banian among them,

had grown into gigantic proportions, that spoke unto that lord of bird
coursing towards it with the fleetness of the mind, 'Sit thou on this
large branch of mine extending a hundred yojanas and eat the elephant

the tortoise.' When that best of birds, of great swiftness and of body
resembling a mountain, quickly alighted upon a bough of that banian

the resort of thousands of winged creatures--that bough also full of
leaves shook and broke down.'"

So ends the twenty-ninth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'At the very touch by Garuda of great might with his feet,
the branch of the tree broke as it was caught by Garuda. Casting his

around in wonder he saw Valakhilya Rishis hanging therefrom with heads
downwards and engaged in ascetic penances. Reflecting that if that

fell down, the Rishis would be slain, the mighty one held the elephant

the tortoise still more firmly with his claws. And from fear of slaying
the Rishis and desire of saving them, held that bough in his beaks, and
rose on his wings. The great Rishis were struck with wonder at the

of that act of his which was beyond even the power of the gods, and

that mighty bird a name. And they said, 'As this ranger of the skies

on its wings bearing a heavy burden, let this foremost of birds having
snakes for his food be called Garuda (bearer of heavy weight).'

"And shaking the mountains by his wings, Garuda leisurely coursed

the skies. And as he soared with the elephant and the tortoise (in his
claws), he beheld various regions underneath. Desiring as he did to

the Valakhilyas, he saw not a spot whereon to sit. At last he went to

foremost of mountains called Gandhamadana. There he saw his father

engaged in ascetic devotions. Kasyapa also saw his son, that ranger of

skies, of divine form, possessed of great splendour, and energy and
strength, and endued with the speed of the wind or the mind, huge as a
mountain peak, a ready smiter like the curse of a Brahmana,

indescribable, frightful to all creatures, possessed of great prowess,
terrible, of the splendour of Agni himself, and incapable of being
overcome by the deities, Danavas, and invincible Rakshasas, capable of
splitting mountain summits and sucking the ocean itself and destroying

three worlds, fierce, and looking like Yama himself. The illustrious
Kasyapa, seeing him approach and knowing also his motive, spoke unto

these words:

"Kasyapa said, 'O child, do not commit a rash act, for then thou

have to suffer pain. The Valakhilyas, supporting themselves by drinking
the rays of the sun, might, if angry, blast thee.'

"Sauti continued, 'Kasyapa then propitiated, for the sake of his son,

Valakhilyas of exceeding good fortune and whose sins had been destroyed

ascetic penances.' And Kasyapa said, 'Ye whose wealth is asceticism,

essay of Garuda is for the good of all creatures. The task is great

he is striving to accomplish. It behoveth you to accord him your

"Sauti continued, 'Those ascetics thus addressed by the illustrious
Kasyapa, abandoned that bough and went to the sacred mountain of

for purposes of ascetic penances. After those Rishis had gone away, the
son of Vinata, with voice obstructed by the bough in his beaks, asked

father Kasyapa saying, 'O illustrious one, where shall I throw this arm

the tree? O illustrious one, indicate to me some region without human
beings.' Then Kasyapa spoke of a mountain without human beings with

and dales always covered with snow and incapable of approach by

creatures even in thought. And the great bird bearing that branch, that
elephant, and that tortoise, proceeded with great speed towards that
mountain. The great arm of the tree with which that bird of huge body

away could not be girt round with a cord made of a hundred (cow) hides.
Garuda, the lord of birds, then flew away for hundreds of thousand of
yojanas within--the shortest time. And going according to the

of his father to that mountain almost in a moment, that ranger of the
skies let fall the gigantic bough. And it fell with a great noise. And
that Prince of mountains shook, struck with the storm raised by

wings. And the trees thereon dropped showers of flowers. And the peaks
decked with gems and gold adorning that great mountain itself, were
loosened and tell down on all sides. And the falling bough struck down
numerous trees which, with golden flowers amid dark foliage, shone

like clouds charged with lightning. And those trees, bright as gold,
falling down upon the ground and, dyed with mountain metals, shone as

they were bathed in the rays of the sun.

"Then that best of birds, Garuda, perching on the summit of that

ate both the elephant and the tortoise, rose on his wings with great

from the top of the mountain.

"And various omens began to appear among the gods foreboding fear.

favourite thunderbolt blazed up in a fright. Meteors with flames and

loosened from the welkin, shot down during the day. And the weapons of

Vasus, the Rudras, the Adityas, the Sabhyas, the Maruts, and other

began to spend their force against one another. Such a thing had never
happened even during the war between the gods and the Asuras. And the
winds blew accompanied with thunder, and meteors fell by thousands. And
the sky, though cloudless, roared tremendously. And even he who was the
god of gods shed showers of blood. And the flowery garlands on the

of the gods faded and their prowess suffered diminution. And terrible
masses of clouds dropped thick showers of blood. And the dust raised by
the winds darkened the splendour of the very coronets of the gods. And

of a thousand sacrifices (Indra), with the other gods, perplexed with

at the sight of those dark forebodings spoke unto Vrihaspati thus,

'Why, O
worshipful one, have these natural disturbances suddenly arisen? No foe

I behold who would oppress us in war.' Vrihaspati answered, 'O chief of
the gods, O thou of a thousand sacrifices, it is from thy fault and
carelessness, and owing also to the ascetic penance of the high-souled
great Rishis, the Valakhilyas, that the son of Kasyapa and Vinata, a
ranger of the skies endued with great strength and possessing the

of assuming at will any form, is approaching to take away the Soma. And
that bird, foremost among all endued with great strength, is able to

you of the Soma. Everything is possible with him; the unachievable he


"Sauti continued, 'Indra, having heard these words, then spoke unto

that guarded the amrita, saying, 'A bird endued with great strength and
energy has set his heart on taking away the amrita. I warn you

so that he may not succeed in taking it away by force. Vrihaspati has

me that his strength is immeasurable.' And the gods hearing of it were
amazed and took precautions. And they stood surrounding the amrita and
Indra also of great prowess, the wielder of the thunder, stood with

And the gods wore curious breastplates of gold, of great value, and set
with gems, and bright leathern armour of great toughness. And the

deities wielded various sharp-edged weapons of terrible shapes,

in number, emitting, even all of them, sparks of fire with smoke. And

were also armed with many a discus and iron mace furnished with spikes,
and trident, battle-axe, and various kinds of sharp-pointed missiles

polished swords and maces of terrible form, all befitting their

bodies. And decked with celestial ornaments and resplendent with those
bright arms, the gods waited there, their fears allayed. And the gods,

incomparable strength, energy, and splendour, resolved to protect the
amrita. Capable of splitting the towns of the Asuras, all displayed
themselves in forms resplendent as the fire. And in consequence of the
gods standing there, that (would be) battle-field, owing to hundreds of
thousands of maces furnished with iron spikes, shone like another
firmament illumined by the rays of the Sun.'"

So ends the thirtieth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O son of Suta, what was Indra's fault, what his act of
carelessness? How was Garuda born in consequence of the ascetic

of the Valakhilyas? Why also Kasyapa--a Brahman--had the king of birds

a son? Why, too, was he invincible of all creatures and unslayable of

Why also was that ranger of the skies capable of going into every place

will and of mustering at will any measure of energy? If these are
described in the Purana, I should like to hear them.'

"Sauti said, 'What thou askest me is, indeed, the subject of the

Purana. O
twice-born one, listen as I briefly recite it all.

"Once upon a time, when the lord of creation, Kasyapa, was engaged in a
sacrifice from desire of offspring, the Rishis, the gods, and the
Gandharvas, all gave him help. And Indra was appointed by Kasyapa to

the sacrificial fuel; and with him those ascetics the Valakhilyas, and

the other deities. And the lord Indra, taking up according to his own
strength, a weight that was mountain-like, brought it without any

And he saw on the way some Rishis, of bodies of the measure of the

all together carrying one single stalk of a Palasa (Butea frondosa)

And those Rishis were, from want of food, very lean and almost merged

their own bodies. And they were so weak that they were much afflicted

sunk in the water that collected in an indentation on the road produced

the hoof of a cow. And Purandara, proud of his strength, beheld them

surprise, and laughing at them in derision soon left them behind

them, besides, by passing over their heads. And those Rishis being thus
insulted were filled with rage and sorrow. And they made preparations

a great sacrifice at which Indra was terrified. Hear, O Saunaka, of the
wish for accomplishment of which those vow-observing wise, and

ascetics poured clarified butter of the sacrificial fire with loudly
uttered mantras, 'There shall be another Indra of all gods, capable of
going everywhere at will, and of mustering at will any measure of

and striking tear into the (present) king of the gods. By the fruit of

ascetic penance, let one arise, fleet as the mind, and fierce withal.'

the lord of the celestials of a hundred sacrifices, having come to know

this, became very much alarmed and sought the protection of the vow-
observing Kasyapa. And the Prajapati Kasyapa, hearing everything from
Indra, went to the Valakhilyas and asked them if their sacrifice had

successful. And those truth-speaking Rishis replied to him, saying,

it be as thou sayest!' And the Prajapati Kasyapa pacifying them, spake
unto them as follows, 'By the word of Brahman, this one (Indra) hath

made the Lord of the three worlds. Ye ascetics, ye also are striving to
create another Indra! Ye excellent ones, it behoveth you not to falsify
the word of Brahman. Let not also this purpose, for (accomplishing)

ye are striving, be rendered futile. Let there spring an Indra (Lord)

winged creatures, endued with excess of strength! Be gracious unto

who is a suppliant before you.' And the Valakhilyas, thus addressed by
Kasyapa, after offering reverence to that first of the Munis, viz., the
Prajapati Kasyapa, spake unto him:

"The Valakhilyas said, 'O Prajapati, this sacrifice of us all is for an
Indra! Indeed this hath also been meant for a son being born unto thee!
Let this task be now left to thee. And in this matter do whatsoever

seest to be good and proper.'

"Sauti continued, 'Meanwhile, moved by the desire of offspring, the

daughter of Daksha, the vow-observing, amiable, and fortunate Vinata,

ascetic penances over, having purified herself with a bath in that

when connubial companionship might prove fruitful, approached her lord.
And Kasyapa spake unto her, 'Respected one, the sacrifice commenced by

hath borne fruit. What hath been desired by thee shall come to pass.

heroic sons, shall be born unto thee, who shall be the lords of the

worlds. By the penances of the Valakhilyas and by virtue of the desire
with which I commenced my sacrifice, those sons shall be of exceedingly
good fortune and worshipped in the three worlds!' And the illustrious
Kasyapa spake unto her again, 'Bear thou these auspicious seeds with

care. These two will be the lords of all winged creatures. These heroic
rangers of the skies will be respected in all the worlds, and capable

assuming any form at will.'

"And the Prajapati, gratified with all that took place, then addressed
Indra of a hundred sacrifices, saying, 'Thou shalt have two brothers of
great energy and prowess, who shall be to thee even as the helpmates.

them no injury shall result unto thee. Let thy sorrow cease; thou shalt
continue as the lord of all. Let not, however, the utterers of the name

Brahma be ever again slighted by thee. Nor let the very wrathful ones,
whose words are even the thunderbolt, be ever again insulted by thee.'
Indra, thus addressed, went to heaven, his fears dispelled. And Vinata
also, her purpose fulfilled, was exceedingly glad. And she gave birth

two sons, Aruna and Garuda. And Aruna, of undeveloped body, became the
fore-runner of the Sun. And Garuda was vested with the lordship over

birds. O thou of Bhrigu's race, hearken now to the mighty achievement


So ends the thirty-first section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O foremost of Brahmanas, the gods having prepared for

in that way, Garuda, the king of birds, soon came upon those wise ones.
And the gods beholding him of excessive strength began to quake with

and strike one another with all their weapons. And amongst those that
guarded the Soma was Brahmana (the celestial architect), of measureless
might, effulgent as the electric fire and of great energy. And after a
terrific encounter lasting only a moment, managed by the lord of birds
with his talons, beak, and wings, he lay as dead on the fields. And the
ranger of the skies making the worlds dark with the dust raised by the
hurricane of his wings, overwhelmed the celestials with it. And the

overwhelmed with that dust, swooned away. And the immortals who guarded
the amrita, blinded by that dust, could no longer see Garuda. Even thus
did Garuda agitate the region of the heavens. And even thus he mangled

gods with the wounds inflicted by his wings and beak.

"Then the god of a thousand eyes commanded Vayu (the god of wind),

'Dispel thou this shower of dust soon. O Maruta, this is indeed, thy

Then the mighty Vayu soon drove away that dust. And when the darkness

disappeared, the celestials attacked Garuda. And as he of great might

attacked by the gods, he began to roar aloud, like the great cloud that
appeareth in the sky at the end of the Yuga, frightening every

And that king of birds, of great energy, that slayer of hostile heroes,
then rose on his wings. All the wise ones (the celestials) with Indra
amongst them armed with double-edged broad swords, iron maces furnished
with sharp spikes, pointed lances, maces, bright arrows, and many a

of the form of the sun, saw him over head. And the king of birds,

them on all sides with showers of various weapons and fought

hard without wavering for a moment. And the son of Vinata, of great
prowess blazing in the sky, attacked the gods on all sides with his

and breast. And blood began to flow copiously from the bodies of the

mangled by the talons and the beak of Garuda. Overcome by the lord of
birds, the Sadhyas with the Gandharvas fled eastwards, the Vasus with

Rudras towards the south, the Adityas towards the west, and the twin
Aswins towards the north. Gifted with great energy, they retreated
fighting, looking back every moment on their enemy.

"And Garuda had encounters with the Yakshas, Aswakranda of great

Rainuka, the bold Krathanaka, Tapana, Uluka, Swasanaka, Nimesha,

and Pulina. And the son of Vinata mangled them with his wings, talons,

beak, like Siva himself, that chastiser of enemies, and the holder of
Pinaka in rage at the end of the Yuga. And those Yakshas of great might
and courage, mangled all over by that ranger of the skies, looked like
masses of black clouds dropping thick showers of blood.

"And Garuda, depriving them of life, and then went to where the amrita

And he saw that it was surrounded on all sides by fire. And the

flames of that fire covered the entire sky. And moved by violent winds,
they seemed bent on burning the Sun himself. The illustrious Garuda

assumed ninety times ninety mouths and quickly drinking the waters of

rivers with those mouths and returning with great speed, that chastiser

enemies, having wings for his vehicle extinguished that fire with that
water. And extinguishing that fire, he assumed a very small form,

of entering into (the place where the Soma was)."

So ends the thirty-second section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Santi said, 'And that bird, assuming a golden body bright as the rays

the Sun, entered with great force (the region where the Soma was), like

torrent entering the ocean. And he saw, placed near the Soma, a wheel

steel keen-edged, and sharp as the razor, revolving incessantly. And

fierce instrument, of the splendour of the blazing sun and of terrible
form, had been devised by the gods for cutting in pieces all robbers of
the Soma. Garuda, seeing a passage through it, stopped there for a

Diminishing his body, in an instant he passed through the spokes of

wheel. Within the line of the wheel, he beheld, stationed there for
guarding the Soma two great snakes of the effulgence of blazing fire,

tongues bright as the lightning-flash, of great energy, with mouth
emitting fire, with blazing eyes, containing poison, very terrible,

in anger, and of great activity. Their eyes were ceaselessly inflamed

rage and were also winkless. He who may be seen by even one of the two
would instantly be reduced to ashes. The bird of fair feathers suddenly
covered their eyes with dust. And unseen by them he attacked them from

sides. And the son of Vinata, that ranger of the skies, attacking their
bodies, mangled them into pieces. He then approached the Soma without

of time. Then the mighty son of Vinata, taking up the Amrita from the
place where it was kept, rose on his wings with great speed, breaking

pieces the machine that had surrounded it. And the bird soon came out,
taking the Amrita but without drinking it himself. And he then wended

his way without the least fatigue, darkening the splendour of the Sun.

"And the son of Vinata then met Vishnu on his way along the sky. And
Narayana was gratified at that act of self-denial on the part of

And that deity, knowing no deterioration, said unto the ranger of the
skies, 'O, I am inclined to grant thee a boon.' The ranger of the skies
thereupon said, 'I shall stay above thee.' And he again spake unto
Narayana these words, 'I shall be immortal and free from disease

(drinking) Amrita.' Vishnu said unto the son of Vinata, 'Be it so.'

receiving those two boons, told Vishnu, 'I also shall grant thee a

therefore, let the possessor of the six attributes ask of me.' Vishnu

asked the mighty Garuda to become his carrier. And he made the bird sit

the flagstaff of his car, saying, 'Even thus thou shalt stay above me.'
And the ranger of the skies, of great speed, saying unto Narayana, 'Be

so,' swiftly wended on his way, mocking the wind with his fleetness.

"And while that foremost of all rangers of the skies, that first of

creatures, Garuda, was coursing through the air after wresting the

Indra hurled at him his thunderbolt. Then Garuda, the lord of birds,
struck with thunderbolt, spake laughingly unto Indra engaged in the
encounter, in sweet words, saying, 'I shall respect the Rishi

of whose bone the Vajra hath been made. I shall also respect the Vajra,
and thee also of a thousand sacrifices. I cast this feather of mine

end thou shalt not attain. Struck with thy thunder I have not felt the
slightest pain.' And having said this, the king of birds cast a feather

his. And all creatures became exceedingly glad, beholding that

feather of Garuda so cast off. And seeing that the feather was very
beautiful, they said, 'Let this bird be called Suparna (having fair
feathers).' And Purandara of a thousand eyes, witnessing this wonderful
incident, thought that bird to be some great being and addressed him

"And Indra said, 'O best of birds, I desire to know the limit of thy

strength. I also desire eternal friendship with thee.'"

So ends the thirty-third section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti continued, 'Garuda then said, 'O Purandara, let there be

between thee and me as thou desirest. My strength, know thou, is hard

bear. O thou of a thousand sacrifices, the good never approve of

highly of their own strength, nor do they speak of their own merits.

being made a friend, and asked by thee, O friend, I will answer thee,
although self-praise without reason is ever improper. I can bear, on a
single feather of mine, O Sakra, this Earth, with her mountains and
forests and with the waters of the ocean, and with thee also stationed
thereon. Know thou, my strength is such that I can bear without fatigue
even all the worlds put together, with their mobile and immobile


"Sauti continued, 'O Saunaka, after Garuda of great courage had thus
spoken, Indra the chief of the gods, the wearer of the (celestial)

ever bent upon the good of the worlds, replied, saying, 'It is as thou
sayest. Everything is possible in thee. Accept now my sincere and

friendship. And if thou hast no concern with the Soma, return it to me.
Those to whom thou wouldst give it would always oppose us.' Garuda
answered, 'There is a certain reason for which the Soma is being

by me. I shall not give the Soma to any one for drink. But, O thou of a
thousand eyes, after I have placed it down, thou, O lord of the

canst then, taking it up, instantly bring it away.' Indra then said, 'O
oviparous one, I am highly gratified with these words now spoken by

O best of all rangers of the skies; accept from me any boon that thou

"Sauti continued, 'Then Garuda, recollecting the sons of Kadru and
remembering also the bondage of his mother caused by an act of

owing to the well-known reason (viz., the curse of Aruna), said,

I have power over all creatures, yet I shall do your bidding. Let, O

the mighty snakes become my food.' The slayer of the Danavas having

unto him, 'Be it so,' then went to Hari, the god of gods, of great

and the lord of Yogins. And the latter sanctioned everything that had

said by Garuda. And the illustrious lord of heaven again said unto

'I shall bring away the Soma when thou placest it down.' And having

so, he bade farewell to Garuda. And the bird of fair feathers then went

the presence of his mother with great speed.

"And Garuda in joy then spake unto all the snakes, 'Here have I brought
the Amrita. Let me place it on some Kusa grass. O ye snakes, sitting

drink of it after ye have performed your ablutions and religious rites.

said by you, let my mother become, from this day, free, for I have
accomplished your bidding.' The snakes having said unto Garuda, 'Be it
so,' then went to perform their ablutions. Meanwhile, Sakra taking up

Amrita, wended back to heaven. The snakes after performing their

their daily devotions, and other sacred rites, returned in joy,

of drinking the Amrita. They saw that the bed of kusa grass whereon the
Amrita had been placed was empty, the Amrita itself having been taken

by a counter-act of deception. And they began to lick with their

the kusa grass, as the Amrita had been placed thereon. And the tongues

the snakes by that act became divided in twain. And the kusa grass,

from the contact with Amrita, became sacred thenceforth. Thus did the
illustrious Garuda bring Amrita (from the heavens) for the snakes, and
thus were the tongues of snakes divided by what Garuda did.

"Then the bird of fair feathers, very much delighted, enjoyed himself

those woods accompanied by his mother. Of grand achievements, and

reverenced by all rangers of the skies, he gratified his mother by
devouring the snakes.

"That man who would listen to this story, or read it out to an assembly

good Brahmanas, must surely go to heaven, acquiring great merit from

recitation of (the feats of) Garuda.'"

And so ends the thirty-fourth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O son of Suta, thou hast told us the reason why the

were cursed by their mother, and why Vinata also was cursed by her son.
Thou hast also told us about the bestowal of boons, by their husband,

Kadru and Vinata. Thou hast likewise told us the names of Vinata's

But thou hast not yet recited to us the names of the snakes. We are
anxious to hear the names of the principal ones.'

"Sauti said, O thou whose wealth is asceticism, from fear of being

I shall not mention the names of all the snakes. But I will recite the
names of the chief ones. Listen to me!

"Sesha was born first, and then Vasuki. (Then were born) Airavata,
Takshaka, Karkotaka, Dhananjaya, Kalakeya, the serpent Mani, Purana,
Pinjaraka, and Elapatra, Vamana, Nila, Anila, Kalmasha, Savala, Aryaka,
Ugra, Kalasapotaka, Suramukha, Dadhimukha, Vimalapindaka, Apta,

Samkha, Valisikha, Nisthanaka, Hemaguha, Nahusha, Pingala, Vahyakarna,
Hastipada, Mudgarapindaka, Kamvala Aswatara, Kaliyaka, Vritta,

Padma, Mahapadma, Sankhamukha, Kushmandaka, Kshemaka, Pindaraka,

Pushpadanshtraka, Vilwaka, Vilwapandara, Mushikada, Sankhasiras,
Purnabhadra, Haridraka, Aparajita, Jyotika, Srivaha, Kauravya,
Dhritarashtra, Sankhapinda, Virajas, Suvahu, Salipinda, Prabhakara,
Hastipinda, Pitharaka, Sumuksha, Kaunapashana, Kuthara, Kunjara,

Kumudaksha, Tittri, Halika, Kardama, Vahumulaka, Karkara, Akarkara,
Kundodara, and Mahodara.

"Thus, O best of regenerate ones, have I said the names of the

serpents. From fear of being tedious I do not give names of the rest. O
thou whose wealth is asceticism, the sons of these snakes, with their
grandsons, are innumerable. Reflecting upon this, I shall not name them

thee. O best ascetics, in this world the number of snakes baffles
calculation, there being many thousands and millions of them."

So ends the thirty-fifth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O child, thou hast named many of the serpents gifted

great energy and incapable of being easily overcome. What did they do
after hearing of that curse?'

"Sauti said, 'The illustrious Sesha amongst them, of great renown,

his mother practised hard penances, living upon air and rigidly

his vows. He practised these ascetic devotions, repairing to

Vadri, Gokarna, the woods of Pushkara, and the foot of Himavat. And he
passed his days in those sacred regions, some of which were sacred for
their water and others for their soil in the rigid observance of his

with singleness of aim, and his passions under complete control. And

Grandsire of all, Brahma, saw that ascetic with knotted hair, clad in

and his flesh, skin, and sinews dried up owing to the hard penances he

practising. And the Grandsire addressing him, that penance-practising

of great fortitude, said, 'What is that thorn doest, O Sesha? Let the
welfare of the creatures of the worlds also engage thy thoughts. O

one, thou art afflicting all creatures by thy hard penances. O Sesha,

me the desire implanted in thy breast.'

"And Sesha replied, 'My uterine brothers are all of wicked hearts. I do
not desire to live amongst them. Let this be sanctioned by thee. Like
enemies they are always jealous of one another. I am, therefore,

in ascetic devotions. I will not see them even. They never show any
kindness for Vinata and her son. Indeed, Vinata's son capable of

through the skies, is another brother of ours. They always envy him.

he, too, is much stronger owing to the bestowal of that boon by our

the high-souled Kasyapa. For these, I engaged in ascetic penances, and

will cast off this body of mine, so that I may avoid companionship with
them, even in another state of life.'

"Unto Sesha who had said so, the Grandsire said, 'O Sesha, I know the
behaviour of all thy brothers and their great danger owing to their
offence against their mother. But O Snake, a remedy (for this) hath

provided by me even beforehand. It behoveth thee not to grieve for thy
brothers. O Sesha, ask of me the boon thou desirest. I have been highly
gratified with thee and I will grant thee today a boon. O best of

it is fortunate that thy heart hath been set on virtue. Let thy heart

more and more firmly set on virtue.'

"Then Sesha replied, 'O divine Grandsire, this is the boon desired by

viz., may my heart always delight in virtue and in blessed ascetic
penances, O Lord of all!'

"Brahman said, 'O Sesha, I am exceedingly gratified with this thy self-
denial and love of peace. But, at my command, let this act be done by

for the good of my creatures. Bear thou, O Sesha, properly and well

Earth so unsteady with her mountains and forests, her seas and towns

retreats, so that she may be steady.'

"Sesha said, 'O divine Lord of all creatures, O bestower of boons, O

of the Earth, lord of every created thing, lord of the universe, I

even as thou sayest hold the Earth steady. Therefore, O lord of all
creatures, place her on my head.'

"Brahman said, 'O best of snakes, go underneath the Earth. She will
herself give thee a crevice to pass through. And, O Sesha, by holding

Earth, thou shalt certainly do what is prized by me very greatly.'

"Sauti continued, 'Then the elder brother of the king of the snakes,
entering a hole, passed to the other side of the Earth, and holding

supported with his head that goddess with her belt of seas passing all

"Brahman said, 'O Sesha, O best of snakes, thou art the god Dharma,
because alone, with thy huge body, thou supportest the Earth with
everything on her, even as I myself, or Valavit (Indra), can.'

"Sauti continued, 'The snake, Sesha, the lord Ananta, of great prowess,
lives underneath the Earth, alone supporting the world at the command

Brahman. And the illustrious Grandsire, the best of the immortals, then
gave unto Ananta the bird of fair feathers, viz., the son of Vinata,

Ananta's help.'"

So ends the thirty-sixth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'That best of snakes, viz., Vasuki, hearing the curse of

mother, reflected how to render it abortive. He held a consultation

all his brothers, Airavata and others, intent upon doing what they

best for themselves.'

"And Vasuki said, 'O ye sinless ones, the object of this curse is known

you. It behoveth us to strive to neutralise it. Remedies certainly

for all curses, but no remedy can avail those cursed by their mother.
Hearing that this curse hath been uttered in the presence of the

the Infinite, and the True one, my heart trembleth. Surely, our
annihilation hath come. Otherwise why should not the Immutable Lord
prevent our mother while uttering the curse? Therefore, let us consult
today how we may secure the safety of the snakes. Let us not waste

All of you are wise and discerning. We will consult together and find

the means of deliverance as (did) the gods of yore to regain lost Agni

had concealed himself within a cave, so that Janamejaya's sacrifice for
the destruction of the snakes may not take place, and so that we may

meet with destruction.'

"Sauti continued, 'Thus addressed all the offspring of Kadru assembled
together, and, wise in counsels, submitted their opinions to one

One party of the serpents said, 'We should assume the guise of superior
Brahmanas, and beseech Janamejaya, saying, 'This (intended) sacrifice

yours ought not to take place.' Other snakes thinking themselves wise,
said, 'We should all become his favourite counsellors. He will then
certainly ask for our advice in all projects. And we will then give him
such advice that the sacrifice may be obstructed. The king, the

of wise men, thinking us of sterling worth will certainly ask us about

sacrifice. We will say, 'It must not be!' And pointing to many serious
evils in this and the next worlds, we will take care that the sacrifice
may not take place. Or, let one of the snakes, approaching, bite the
person who, intending the monarch's good, and well-acquainted with the
rites of the snake-sacrifice, may be appointed as the sacrificial

so that he will die. The sacrificial priest dying, the sacrifice will

be completed. We will also bite all those who, acquainted with the

of the snake-sacrifice, may be appointed Ritwiks of the sacrifice, and

that means attain our object.' Other snakes, more virtuous and kind,

'O, this counsel of yours is evil. It is not meet to kill Brahmanas. In
danger, that remedy is proper, which is blessed on the practices of the
righteous. Unrighteousness finally destroyeth the world.' Other

said, 'We will extinguish the blazing sacrificial fire by ourselves
becoming clouds luminous with lightning and pouring down showers.'

snakes, the best of their kind, proposed, 'Going, by night, let us

away the vessel of Soma juice. That will disturb the rite. Or, at that
sacrifice, let the snakes, by hundreds and thousands, bite the people,

spread terror around. Or, let the serpents defile the pure food with

food-defiling urine and dung.' Others said, 'Let us become the king's
Ritwiks, and obstruct his sacrifice by saying at the outset, 'Give us

sacrificial fee.' He (the king), being placed in our power, will do
whatever we like.' Others there said, 'When the king will sport in the
waters, we will carry him to our home and bind him, so that that

will not take place!' Other serpents who deemed themselves wise, said,
'Approaching the king, let us bite him, so that our object will be
accomplished. By his death the root of all evil will be torn up. This

the final deliberation of us all, O thou who hearest with thy eyes!

do speedily what thou deemest proper.' Having said this, they looked
intently at Vasuki, that best of snakes. And Vasuki also, after

answered saying, 'Ye snakes, this final determination of you doth not

worthy of adoption. The advice of you all is not to my liking. What

I say which would be for your good? I think the grace of the

Kasyapa (our father) can alone do us good. Ye snakes, my heart doth not
know which of all your suggestions is to be adopted for the welfare of

race as also of me. That must be done by me which would be to your

It is this that makes me so anxious, for the credit or the discredit

the measure) is mine alone.'"

So ends the thirty-seventh section in the Astika Parva of the Adi



(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Hearing the respective speeches of all the snakes, and
hearing also the words of Vasuki, Elapatra began to address them,

'That sacrifice is not one that can be prevented. Nor is king

of the Pandava race from whom this fear proceedeth, such that he can be
hindered. The person, O king, who is afflicted by fate hath recourse to
fate alone; nothing else can be his refuge. Ye best of snakes, this

of ours hath fate for its root. Fate alone must be our refuge in this.
Listen to what I say. When that curse was uttered, ye best of snakes,

fear I lay crouching on the lap of our mother. Ye best of snakes, and O
lord (Vasuki) of great splendour, from that place I heard the words the
sorrowing gods spake unto the Grandsire. The gods said, 'O Grandsire,

god of gods who else than the cruel Kadru could thus, after getting

dear children, curse them so, even in thy presence? And, O Grandsire,

thee also hath been spoken, with reference to those words of hers, 'Be

so.' We wish to know the reason why thou didst not prevent her.'

replied, 'The snakes have multiplied. They are cruel, terrible in form

highly poisonous. From desire of the good of my creatures, I did not
prevent Kadru then. Those poisonous serpents and others who are sinful,
biting others for no faults, shall, indeed, be destroyed, but not they

are harmless and virtuous. And hear also, how, when the hour comes, the
snakes may escape this dreadful calamity. There shall be born in the

of the Yayavaras a great Rishi known by the name of Jaratkaru,

with passions under complete control. That Jaratkaru shall have a son

the name of Astika. He shall put a stop to that sacrifice. And those
snakes who shall be virtuous shall escape therefrom.' The gods said, 'O
thou truth-knowing one, on whom will Jaratkaru, that foremost Muni,

with great energy and asceticism, beget that illustrious son?' Brahma
answered, 'Gifted with great energy, that best Brahmana shall beget a

possessed of great energy on a wife of the same name as his. Vasuki,

king of the snakes, hath a sister of the name of Jaratkaru; the son, of
whom I speak, shall be born of her, and he shall liberate the snakes.'

"Elapatra continued, 'The gods then said unto the Grandsire, 'Be it

And the lord Brahman, having said so unto the gods, went to heaven. O
Vasuki, I see before me that sister of thine known by the name of
Jaratkaru. For relieving us from fear, give her as alms unto him (i.e.,
the Rishi), Jaratkaru, of excellent vows, who shall roam abegging for a
bride. This means of release hath been heard of by me!'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O best of regenerate ones, hearing these words of

all the serpents, in great delight, exclaimed, 'Well said, well said!'

from that time Vasuki set about carefully bringing up that maiden,

his sister Jaratkaru. And he took great delight in rearing her.

"And much time did not elapse from this, when the gods and the Asuras,
assembling together, churned the abode of Varuna. And Vasuki, the

of all gifted with strength, became the churning-cord. And directly the
work was over, the king of the snakes presented himself before the
Grandsire. And the gods, accompanied by Vasuki, addressed the

saying, 'O lord, Vasuki is suffering great affliction from fear of (his
mother's curse). It behoveth thee to root out the sorrow, begotten of

curse of his mother, that hath pierced the heart of Vasuki desirous of

weal of his race. The king of the snakes is ever our friend and

O Lord of the gods, be gracious unto him and assuage his mind's fever.'

"Brahman replied, 'O ye immortals, I have thought, in my mind, of what

have said. Let the king of the snakes do that which hath been

to him before by Elapatra. The time hath arrived. Those only shall be
destroyed that are wicked, not those that are virtuous. Jaratkaru hath
been born, and that Brahmana is engaged in hard ascetic penances. Let
Vasuki, at the proper time, bestow on him his sister. Ye gods, what

been spoken by the snake Elapatra for the weal of the snakes is true

not otherwise.'

"Sauti continued, 'Then the king of the snakes, Vasuki, afflicted with

curse of his mother, hearing these words of the Grandsire, and

to bestow his sister of the Rishi Jaratkaru, commanded all the

serpents, a
large numbers of whom were ever attentive to their duties, to watch the
Rishi Jaratkaru, saying, 'When the lord Jaratkaru will ask for a wife,
come immediately and inform me of it. The weal of our race depends upon


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O son of Suta, I desire to know the reason why the
illustrious Rishi whom thou hast named Jaratkaru came to be so called

earth. It behoveth thee to tell us the etymology of the name


"Sauti said, 'Jara is said to mean waste, and Karu implies huge. This
Rishi's body had been huge, and he gradually reduced it by severe

penances. For the same reason, O Brahmanas, the sister of Vasuki was
called Jaratkaru.'

The virtuous Saunaka, when he heard this, smiled and addressing

said, 'It is even so.'

Saunaka then said, 'I have heard all that thou hast before recited. I
desire to know how Astika was born.'

Sauti, on hearing these words, began to relate according to what was
written in the Sastras.

"Sauti said, 'Vasuki, desirous of bestowing his sister upon the Rishi
Jaratkaru, gave the snakes (necessary) orders. But days went on, yet

wise Muni of rigid vows, deeply engaged in ascetic devotions, did not

for a wife. That high-souled Rishi, engaged in studies and deeply

to asceticism, his vital seed under full control, fearlessly wandered

the whole earth and had no wish for a wife.

"Afterwards, once upon a time, there was a king, O Brahmana, of the

of Parikshit, born in the race of the Kauravas. And, like his great-
grandfather Pandu of old, he was of mighty arms, the first of all

of bows in battle, and fond of hunting. And the monarch wandered about,
hunting deer, and wild boars, and wolves, and buffaloes and various

kinds of wild animals. One day, having pierced a deer with a sharp

and slung his bow on his back, he penetrated into the deep forest,
searching for the animal here and there, like the illustrious Rudra
himself of old pursuing in the heavens, bow in hand, the deer which was
Sacrifice, itself turned into that shape, after the piercing. No deer

was pierced by Parikshit had ever escaped in the wood with life. This

however wounded as before, fled with speed, as the (proximate) cause of
the king's attainment to heaven. And the deer that Parikshit--that king

men--had pierced was lost to his gaze and drew the monarch far away

the forest. And fatigued and thirsty, he came across a Muni, in the

seated in a cow-pen and drinking to his fill the froth oozing out of

mouths of calves sucking the milk of their dams. And approaching him
hastily, the monarch, hungry and fatigued, and raising his bow, asked

Muni of rigid vows, saying, 'O Brahmana, I am king Parikshit, the son

Abhimanyu. A deer pierced by me hath been lost. Hast thou seen it?' But
that Muni observing then the vow of silence, spoke not unto him a word.
And the king in anger thereupon placed upon his shoulder a dead snake,
taking it up with the end of his bow. The Muni suffered him to do it
without protest. And he spoke not a word, good or bad. And the king

him in that state, cast off his anger and became sorry. And he returned

his capital but the Rishi continued in the same state. The forgiving

knowing that the monarch who was a tiger amongst kings was true to the
duties of his order, cursed him not, though insulted. That tiger

monarchs, that foremost one of Bharata's race, also did not know that

person whom he had so insulted was a virtuous Rishi. It was for this

he had so insulted him.

"That Rishi had a son by name Sringin, of tender years, gifted with

energy, deep in ascetic penances, severe in his vows, very wrathful,

difficult to be appeased. At times, he worshipped with great attention

respect his preceptor seated with ease on his seat and ever engaged in

good of creatures.

"And commanded by his preceptor, he was coming home when, O best of
Brahmanas, a companion of his, a Rishi's son named Krisa in a playful

laughingly spoke unto him. And Sringin, wrathful and like unto poison
itself, hearing these words in reference to his father, blazed up in


"And Krisa said, 'Be not proud, O Sringin, for ascetic as thou art and
possessed of energy, thy father bears on his shoulders a dead snake.
Henceforth speak not a word to sons of Rishis like ourselves who have
knowledge of the truth, are deep in ascetic penances, and have attained
success. Where is that manliness of thine, those high words of thine
begotten of pride, when thou must have to behold thy father bearing a

snake? O best of all the Munis, thy father too had done nothing to

this treatment, and it is for this that I am particularly sorry as if

punishment were mine.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Being thus addressed, and hearing that his sire was

a dead snake, the powerful Sringin burned with wrath. And looking at

and speaking softly, he asked him, 'Pray, why doth my father bear today

dead snake?' And Krisa replied, 'Even as king Parikshit was roving, for
purpose of hunting, O dear one, he placed the dead snake on the

of thy sire.'

"And Sringin asked, 'What wrong was done to that wicked monarch by my
father? O Krisa, tell me this, and witness the power of my asceticism.'

"And Krisa answered, 'King Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, while

had wounded a fleet stag with an arrow and chased it alone. And the

lost sight of the animal in that extensive wilderness. Seeing then thy
sire, he immediately accosted him. Thy sire was then observing the vow

silence. Oppressed by hunger, thirst and labour, the prince again and
again asked thy sire sitting motionless, about the missing deer. The

being under the vow of silence, returned no reply. The king thereupon
placed the snake on thy sire's shoulder with the end of his bow. O

thy sire engaged in devotion is in the same posture still. And the king
also hath gone to his capital which is named after the elephant!'

"Sauti continued, 'Having heard of a dead snake placed upon his

shoulders, the son of the Rishi, his eyes reddened with anger, blazed

with rage. And possessed by anger, the puissant Rishi then cursed the

touching water and overcome with wrath.'

"And Sringin said, 'That sinful wretch of a monarch who hath placed a

snake on the shoulders of my lean and old parent, that insulter of
Brahmanas and tarnisher of the fame of the Kurus, shall be taken within
seven nights hence to the regions of Yama (Death) by the snake

the powerful king of serpents, stimulated thereto by the strength of my

"Sauti continued, 'And having thus cursed (the king) from anger,

went to his father, and saw the sage sitting in the cow-pen, bearing

dead snake. And seeing his parent in that plight, he was again inflamed
with ire. And he shed tears of grief, and addressed his sire, saying,
'Father, having been informed of this thy disgrace at the hands of that
wicked wretch, king Parikshit, I have from anger even cursed him; and

worst of Kurus hath richly deserved my potent curse. Seven days hence,
Takshaka, the lord of snakes, shall take the sinful king to the

abode of Death.' And the father said to the enraged son, 'Child, I am

pleased with thee. Ascetics should not act thus. We live in the domains

that great king. We are protected by him righteously. In all he does,

reigning king should by the like of us forgiven. If thou destroy

verily Dharma will destroy thee. If the king do not properly protect

we fare very ill; we cannot perform our religious rites according to

desire. But protected by righteous sovereigns, we attain immense merit,
and they are entitled to a share thereof. Therefore, reigning royalty

by all means to be forgiven. And Parikshit like unto his great-

protecteth us as a king should protect his subjects. That penance-
practising monarch was fatigued and oppressed with hunger. Ignorant of

vow (of silence) he did this. A kingless country always suffereth from
evils. The king punisheth offenders, and fear of punishments to peace;
and people do their duties and perform their rites undisturbed. The

establisheth religion--establisheth the kingdom of heaven. The king
protecteth sacrifices from disturbance, and sacrifices to please the

The gods cause rain, and rain produceth grains and herbs, which are

useful to man. Manu sayeth, a ruler of the destinies of men is equal

dignity) to ten Veda-studying priests. Fatigued and oppressed with

that penance-practising prince hath done this through ignorance of my

Why then hast thou rashly done this unrighteous action through
childishness? O son, in no way doth the king deserve a curse from us.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And Sringin then replied to his father, saying, 'Whether
this be an act of rashness, O father, or an improper act that I have

whether thou likest it or dislikest it, the words spoken by me shall

be in vain. O father, I tell thee (a curse) can never be otherwise. I

never spoken a lie even in jest.'

"And Samika said, 'Dear child, I know that thou art of great prowess,

truthful in speech. Thou hast never spoken falsehood before, so that

curse shall never be falsified. The son, even when he attaineth to age,
should yet be always counselled by the father, so that crowned with

qualities he may acquire great renown. A child as thou art, how much

dost thou stand in need of counsel? Thou art ever engaged in ascetic
penances. The wrath of even the illustrious ones possessing the six
attributes increaseth greatly. O thou foremost of ordinance-observing
persons, seeing that thou art my son and a minor too, and beholding

thy rashness, I see that I must counsel thee. Live thou, O son,

to peace and eating fruits and roots of the forest. Kill this thy anger
and destroy not the fruit of thy ascetic acts in this way. Wrath surely
decreaseth the virtue that ascetics acquire with great pains. And then

those deprived of virtue, the blessed state existeth not. Peacefulness
ever giveth success to forgiving ascetics. Therefore, becoming

in thy temper and conquering thy passions, shouldst thou always live.

forgiveness shalt thou obtain worlds that are beyond the reach of

himself. Having adopted peacefulness myself, and with a desire also for
doing good as much as lies in my power, I must do something; even must

send to that king, telling him, 'O monarch, thou hast been cursed by my
son of tender years and undeveloped intellect, in wrath, at seeing thy

of disrespect towards myself.'

"Sauti continued, 'And that great ascetic, observer of vows, moved by
kindness, sent with proper instructions a disciple of his to king
Parikshit. And he sent his disciple Gaurmukha of good manners and

also in ascetic penances, instructing him to first enquire about the
welfare of the king and then to communicate the real message. And that
disciple soon approached that monarch, the head of the Kuru race. And

entered the king's palace having first sent notice of his arrival

the servant in attendance at the gate.

"And the twice-born Gaurmukha was duly worshipped by the monarch. And
after resting for a while, he detailed fully to the king, in the

of his ministers, the words of Samika, of cruel import, exactly as he

been instructed.'

"And Gaurmukha said, 'O king of kings, there is a Rishi, Samika, by

of virtuous soul, his passions under control, peaceful, and given up to
hard ascetic devotions, living in thy dominions! By thee, O tiger among
men, was placed on the shoulders of that Rishi observing at present the
vow of silence, a dead snake, with the end of thy bow! He himself

thee that act. But his son could not. And by the latter hast thou today
been cursed, O king of kings, without the knowledge of his father, to

effect that within seven nights hence, shall (the snake) Takshaka cause
thy death. And Samika repeatedly asked his son to save thee, but there

none to falsify his son's curse. And because he hath been unable to

his son possessed by anger, therefore have I been sent to thee, O king,
for thy good!'

"And that king of the Kuru race, himself engaged in ascetic practices,
having heard these cruel words and recollecting his own sinful act,

exceedingly sorry. And the king, learning that foremost of Rishis in

forest had been observing the vow of silence, was doubly afflicted with
sorrow and seeing the kindness of the Rishi Samika, and considering his
own sinful act towards him, the king became very repentant. And the

looking like a very god, did not grieve so much for hearing of his

as for having done that act to the Rishi.'

"And then the king sent away Gaurmukha, saying, 'Let the worshipful one
(Samika) be gracious to me!' And when Gaurmukha had gone away, the

in great anxiety, without loss of time, consulted his ministers. And
having consulted them, the king, himself wise in counsels, caused a
mansion to be erected upon one solitary column. It was well-guarded day
and night. And for its protection were placed there physicians and
medicines, and Brahmanas skilled in mantras all around. And the

protected on all sides, discharged his kingly duties from that place
surrounded by his virtuous ministers. And no one could approach that

of kings there. The air even could not go there, being prevented from

"And when the seventh day had arrived, that best of Brahmanas, the

Kasyapa was coming (towards the king's residence), desirous of treating
the king (after the snake-bite). He had heard all that had taken place,
viz., that Takshaka, that first of snakes, would send that best of
monarchs to the presence of Yama (Death). And he thought, I would cure

monarch after he is bit by that first of snakes. By that I may have

and may acquire virtue also.' But that prince of snakes, Takshaka, in

form of an old Brahmana, saw Kasyapa approaching on his way, his heart

upon curing the king. And the prince of snakes then spake unto that

among Munis, Kasyapa, saying, 'Whither dost thou go with such speed?

besides, is the business upon which thou art intent?'

"And Kasyapa, thus addressed, replied, 'Takshaka, by his poison, will
today burn king Parikshit of the Kuru race, that oppressor of all

I go with speed, O amiable one, to cure, without loss of time, the king

immeasurable prowess, the sole representative of the Pandava race,

he is bit by the same Takshaka like to Agni himself in energy.' And
Takshaka answered, 'I am that Takshaka, O Brahmana, who shall burn that
lord of the earth. Stop, for thou art unable to cure one bit by me.'

Kasyapa rejoined, 'I am sure that, possessed (that I am) of the power

learning, going thither I shall cure that monarch bit by thee.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And Takshaka, after this, answered, 'If, indeed, thou art
able to cure any creature bitten by me, then, O Kasyapa, revive thou

tree bit by me. O best of Brahmanas, I burn this banian in thy sight.

thy best and show me that skill in mantras of which thou hast spoken.'

"And Kasyapa said, If thou art so minded, bite thou then, O king of

this tree. O snake, I shall revive it, though bit by thee.

"Sauti continued, 'That king of snakes, thus addressed by the

Kasyapa, bit then that banian tree. And that tree, bit by the

snake, and penetrated by the poison of the serpent, blazed up all

And having burnt the banian so, the snake then spake again unto

saying, 'O first of Brahmanas, try thy best and revive this lord of the

"Sauti continued, 'The tree was reduced to ashes by the poison of that
king of snakes. But taking up those ashes, Kasyapa spoke these words.

king of snakes, behold the power of my knowledge as applied to this

of the forest! O snake, under thy very nose I shall revive it.' And

that best of Brahmanas, the illustrious and learned Kasyapa, revived,

his vidya, that tree which had been reduced to a heap of ashes. And

he created the sprout, then he furnished it with two leaves, and then

made the stem, and then the branches, and then the full-grown tree with
leaves and all. And Takshaka, seeing the tree revived by the

Kasyapa, said unto him, 'It is not wonderful in thee that thou shouldst
destroy my poison or that of any one else like myself. O thou whose

is asceticism, desirous of what wealth, goest thou thither? The reward
thou hopest to have from that best of monarchs, even I will give thee,
however difficult it may be to obtain it. Decked with fame as thou art,
thy success may be doubtful on that king affected by a Brahmana's curse
and whose span of life itself hath been shortened. In that case, this
blazing fame of thine that hath overspread the three worlds will

like the Sun when deprived of his splendour (on the occasion of the

"Kasyapa said, 'I go there for wealth, give it unto me, O snake, so

taking thy gold. I may return.' Takshaka replied, 'O best of regenerate
ones, even I will give thee more than what thou expectest from that

Therefore do not go.'

"Sauti continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, Kasyapa, of great prowess

intelligence, hearing those words of Takshaka, sat in yoga meditation

the king. And that foremost of Munis, viz., Kasyapa, of great prowess

gifted with spiritual knowledge, ascertaining that the period of life

that king of the Pandava race had really run out, returned, receiving

Takshaka as much wealth as he desired.

"And upon the illustrious Kasyapa's retracing his steps, Takshaka at

proper time speedily entered the city of Hastinapura. And on his way he
heard that the king was living very cautiously, protected by means of
poison-neutralising mantras and medicines.'

"Sauti continued, 'The snake thereupon reflected thus, 'The monarch

be deceived by me with power of illusion. But what must be the means?'
Then Takshaka sent to the king some snakes in the guise of ascetics

with them fruits, kusa grass, and water (as presents). And Takshaka,
addressing them, said, 'Go ye all to the king, on the pretext of

business, without any sign of impatience, as if to make the monarch

accept the fruits and flowers and water (that ye shall carry as

unto him).'

"Sauti continued, 'Those snakes, thus commanded by Takshaka, acted
accordingly. And they took to the king, Kusa grass and water, and

And that foremost of kings, of great prowess, accepted those offerings.
And after their business was finished, he said upto them, 'Retire.'

after those snakes disguised as ascetics had gone away, the king

his ministers and friends, saying, 'Eat ye, with me, all these fruits

excellent taste brought by the ascetics.' Impelled by Fate and the

of the Rishi, the king, with his ministers, felt the desire of eating
those fruits. The particular fruit, within which Takshaka had entered,

taken by the king himself for eating. And when he was eating it, there
appeared, O Saunaka, an ugly insect out of it, of shape scarcely
discernible, of eyes black, and of coppery colour. And that foremost of
kings, taking that insect, addressed his councillors, saying, 'The sun

setting; today I have no more fear from poison. Therefore, let this

become Takshaka and bite me, so that my sinful act may be expiated and

words of the ascetic rendered true.' And those councillors also,

by Fate, approved of that speech. And then the monarch smiled, losing

senses, his hour having come. And he quickly placed that insect on his
neck. And as the king was smiling, Takshaka, who had (in the form of

insect) come out of the fruit that had been offered to the king, coiled
himself round the neck of the monarch. And quickly coiling round the
king's neck and uttering a tremendous roar, Takshaka, that lord of

bit that protector of the earth.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then the councillors beholding the king in the coils of
Takshaka, became pale with fear and wept in exceeding grief. And

the roar of Takshaka, the ministers all fled. And as they were flying

in great grief, they saw Takshaka, the king of snakes, that wonderful
serpent, coursing through the blue sky like a streak of the hue of the
lotus, and looking very much like the vermilion-coloured line on a

crown dividing the dark masses of her hair in the middle.

"And the mansion in which the king was living blazed up with Takshaka's
poison. And the king's councillors, on beholding it, fled away in all
directions. And the king himself fell down, as if struck by lightning.

"And when the king was laid low by Takshaka's poison, his councillors

the royal priest--a holy Brahmana--performed all his last rites. All

citizens, assembling together, made the minor son of the deceased

their king. And the people called their new king, that slayer of all
enemies, that hero of the Kuru race, by the name of Janamejaya. And

best of monarchs, Janamejaya, though a child, was wise in mind. And

his councillors and priest, the eldest son Parikshita, that bull

the Kurus, ruled the kingdom like his heroic great-grand-father
(Yudhishthira). And the ministers of the youthful monarch, beholding

he could now keep his enemies in check, went to Suvarnavarman, the king

Kasi, and asked him his daughter Vapushtama for a bride. And the king

Kasi, after due inquiries, bestowed with ordained rites, his daughter
Vapushtama on that mighty hero of Kuru race. And the latter, receiving

bride, became exceedingly glad. And he gave not his heart at any time

any other woman. And gifted with great energy, he wandered in pursuit

pleasure, with a cheerful heart, on expanses of water and amid woods

flowery fields. And that first of monarchs passed his time in pleasure

Pururavas of old did, on receiving the celestial damsel Urvasi. Herself
fairest of the fair, the damsel Vapushtama too, devoted to her lord and
celebrated for her beauty having gained a desirable husband, pleased

by the excess of her affection during the period he spent in the

of pleasure.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Meanwhile the great ascetic Jaratkaru wandered over the whole earth
making the place where evening fell his home for the night. And gifted
with ascetic power, he roamed, practising various vows difficult to be
practised by the immature, and bathing also in various sacred waters.

the Muni had air alone for his food and was free from desire of worldly
enjoyment. And he became daily emaciated and grew lean-fleshed. And one
day he saw the spirits of his ancestors, heads down, in a hole, by a

of virana roots having only one thread entire. And that even single

was being gradually eaten away by a large rat dwelling in that hole.

the Pitris in that hole were without food, emaciated, pitiable, and
eagerly desirous of salvation. And Jaratkaru, approaching the pitiable

himself in humble guise, asked them, 'Who are ye hanging by this cord

virana roots? The single weak root that is still left in this cord of
virana roots already eaten away by the rat, dwelling in this hole, is
itself being gradually eaten away by the same rat with his sharp teeth.
The little that remains of that single thread will soon be cut away. It

clear ye shall then have to fall down into this pit with faces

Seeing you with faces downwards, and overtaken by this great calamity,

pity hath been excited. What good can I do to you. Tell me quickly

this calamity can be averted by a fourth, a third, or even by the
sacrifice of a half of this my asceticism, O, relieve yourselves even

the whole of my asceticism. I consent to all this. Do ye as ye please.'

"The Pitris said, 'Venerable Brahmacharin, thou desirest to relieve us.
But, O foremost of Brahmanas, thou canst not dispel our affliction by

asceticism. O child, O first of speakers, we too have the fruits of our
asceticism. But, O Brahmana, it is for the loss of children that we are
falling down into this unholy hell. The grandsire himself hath said

that a
son is a great merit. As we are about to be cast in this hole, our

are no longer clear. Therefore, O child, we know thee not, although thy
manhood is well-known on earth. Venerable thou art and of good fortune,
thou who thus from kindness grievest for us worthy of pity and greatly
afflicted. O Brahmana, listen, who we are. We are Rishis of the

sect, of rigid vows. And, O Muni, from loss of children, we have fallen
down from a sacred region. Our severe penances have not been destroyed;

have a thread yet. But we have only one thread now. It matters little,
however, whether he is or is not. Unfortunate as we are, we have a

in one, known as Jaratkaru. The unfortunate one has gone through the

and their branches and is practising asceticism alone. He being one

soul under complete control, desires set high, observant of vows,

engaged in ascetic penances, and free from greed for the merits or
asceticism, we have been reduced to this deplorable state. He hath no

no son, no relatives. Therefore, do we hang in this hole, our
consciousness lost, like men having none to take care of them. If thou
meetest him, O, tell him, from thy kindness to ourselves, Thy Pitris,

sorrow, are hanging with faces downwards in a hole. Holy one, take a

and beget children. O thou of ascetic wealth, thou art, O amiable one,

only thread that remaineth in the line of thy ancestors. O Brahmana,

cord of virana roots that thou seest we are hanging by, is the cord
representing our multiplied race. And, O Brahmana, these threads of the
cord of virana roots that thou seest as eaten away, are ourselves who

been eaten up by Time. This root thou seest hath been half-eaten and by
which we are hanging in this hole is he that hath adopted asceticism

The rat that thou beholdest is Time of infinite strength. And he (Time)

gradually weakening the wretch Jaratkaru engaged in ascetic penances
tempted by the merits thereof, but wanting in prudence and heart. O
excellent one, his asceticism cannot save us. Behold, our roots being

cast down from higher regions, deprived of consciousness by Time, we

going downwards like sinful wretches. And upon our going down into this
hole with all our relatives, eaten up by Time, even he shall sink with

into hell. O child, whether it is asceticism, or sacrifice, or whatever
else there be of very holy acts, everything is inferior. These cannot
count with a son. O child, having seen all, speak unto that Jaratkaru

ascetic wealth. Thou shouldst tell him in detail everything that thou

beheld. And, O Brahmana, from thy kindness towards us, thou shouldst

him all that would induce him to take a wife and beget children.

his friends, or of our own race, who art thou, O excellent one, that

grievest for us all like a friend? We wish to hear who thou art that
stayest here.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said. 'Jaratkaru, hearing all this, became excessively dejected.
And from sorrow he spoke unto those Pitris in words obstructed by

And Jaratkaru said, 'Ye are even my fathers and grand-fathers gone

Therefore, tell me what I must do for your welfare. I am that sinful

of yours, Jaratkaru! Punish me for my sinful deeds, a wretch that I


"The Pitris replied, saying, 'O son, by good luck hast thou arrived at
this spot in course of thy rambles. O Brahmana, why hast thou not taken


"Jaratkaru said. 'Ye Pitris, this desire hath always existed in my

that I would, with vital seed drawn up, carry this body to the other

My mind hath been possessed with the idea that I would not take a wife.
But ye grandsires, having seen you hanging like birds, I have diverted

mind from the Brahmacharya mode of life. I will truly do what you like.

will certainly marry, if ever I meet with a maiden of my own name. I

accept her who, bestowing herself of her own accord, will be as aims

me, and whom I shall not have to maintain. I shall marry if I get such

one; otherwise, I shall not. This is the truth, ye grandsires! And the
offspring that will be begot upon her shall be your salvation. And ye
Pitris of mine, ye shall live for ever in blessedness and without


'Sauti continued, 'The Muni, having said so unto the Pitris, wandered

the earth again. And, O Saunaka, being old, he obtained no wife. And he
grieved much that he was not successful. But directed (as before) by

ancestors, he continued the search. And going into the forest, he wept
loudly in great grief. And having gone into the forest, the wise one,
moved by the desire of doing good to his ancestors, said, 'I will ask

a bride,' distinctly repeating these words thrice. And he said,

creatures are here, mobile and immobile, so whoever there be that are
invisible, O, hear my words! My ancestors, afflicted with grief, have
directed me that am engaged in the most severe penances, saying, 'Marry
thou for (the acquisition of) a son.' 'O ye, being directed by my
ancestors, I am roaming in poverty and sorrow, over the wide world for
wedding a maiden that I may obtain as alms. Let that creature, amongst
those I have addressed, who hath a daughter, bestow on me that am

far and near. Such a bride as is of same name with me, to be bestowed

me as alms, and whom, besides, I shall not maintain, O bestow on me!'

those snakes that had been set upon Jaratkaru track, ascertaining his
inclination, gave information to Vasuki. And the king of the snakes,
hearing their words, took with him that maiden decked with ornaments,

went into the forest unto that Rishi. And, O Brahmana, Vasuki, the king

the snakes, having gone there, offered that maiden as alms unto that

souled Rishi. But the Rishi did not at once accept her. And the Rishi,
thinking her not to be of the same name with himself, and seeing that

question of her maintenance also was unsettled, reflected for a few
moments, hesitating to accept her. And then, O son of Bhrigu, he asked
Vasuki the maiden's name, and also said unto him, 'I shall not maintain


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then Vasuki spake unto the Rishi Jaratkaru these words,

best of Brahmanas, this maiden is of the same name with thee. She is my
sister and hath ascetic merit. I will maintain thy wife; accept her. O
thou of ascetic wealth, I shall protect her with all my ability. And, O
foremost of the great Munis, she hath been reared by me for thee.' And

Rishi replied, 'This is agreed between us that I shall not maintain

and she shall not do aught that I do not like. If she do, I leave her!'

"Sauti continued, 'When the snake had promised, saying, 'I shall

my sister,' Jaratkaru then went to the snake's house. Then that first

mantra-knowing Brahmanas, observing rigid vows, that virtuous and

ascetic, took her hand presented to him according to shastric rites.

taking his bride with him, adored by the great Rishi, he entered the
delightful chamber set apart for him by the king of the snakes. And in
that chamber was a bed-stead covered with very valuable coverlets. And
Jaratkaru lived there with his wife. And the excellent Rishi made an
agreement with his wife, saying, 'Nothing must ever be done or said by
thee that is against my liking. And in case of thy doing any such

thing, I
will leave thee and no longer continue to stay in thy house. Bear in

these words that have been spoken by me.'

"And then the sister of the king of the snakes in great anxiety and
grieving exceedingly, spoke unto him, saying, 'Be it so.' And moved by

desire of doing good to her relatives, that damsel, of unsullied
reputation, began to attend upon her lord with the wakefulness of a

the timidity of a deer, and knowledge of signs possessed by the crow.

one day, after the menstrual period, the sister of Vasuki, having

herself by a bath according to custom, approached her lord the great

And thereupon she conceived. And the embryo was like unto a flame of

possessed of great energy, and resplendent as fire itself. And it grew
like the moon in the bright fortnight.

"And one day, within a short time, Jaratkaru of great fame, placing his
head on the lap of his wife, slept, looking like one fatigued. And as

was sleeping, the sun entered his chambers in the Western mountain and

about to set. And, O Brahmana, as the day was fading, she, the

sister of Vasuki, became thoughtful, fearing the loss of her husband's
virtue. And she thought, 'What should I now do? Shall I wake my husband

not? He is exacting and punctilious in his religious duties. How can I

as not to offend him? The alternatives are his anger and the loss of
virtue of a virtuous man. The loss of virtue, I ween, is the greater of
the two evils. Again, if I wake him, he will be angry. But if twilight
passeth away without his prayers being said, he shall certainly sustain
loss of virtue.'

'And having resolved at last, the sweet-speeched Jaratkaru, the sister

Vasuki, spake softly unto that Rishi resplendent with ascetic penances,
and lying prostrate like a flame of fire, 'O thou of great good

awake, the sun is setting. O thou of rigid vows, O illustrious one, do
your evening prayer after purifying yourself with water and uttering

name of Vishnu. The time for the evening sacrifice hath come. Twilight,

lord, is even now gently covering the western side.'

"The illustrious Jaratkaru of great ascetic merit, thus addressed,

unto his wife these words, his upper lip quivering in anger, 'O amiable
one of the Naga race, thou hast insulted me. I shall no longer abide

thee, but shall go where I came from. O thou of beautiful thighs, I
believe in my heart that the sun hath no power to set in the usual

if I am asleep. An insulted person should never live where he hath met
with the insult, far less should I, a virtuous person, or those that

like me.' Jaratkaru, the sister of Vasuki, thus addressed by her lord,
began to quake with terror, and she spake unto him, saying, 'O

Brahmana, I
have not waked thee from desire of insult; but I have done it so that

virtue may not sustain any loss.'

"The Rishi Jaratkaru, great in ascetic merit, possessed with anger and
desirous of forsaking his spouse, thus addressed, spake unto his wife,
saying, O thou fair one, never have I spoken a falsehood. Therefore, go

shall. This was also settled between ourselves. O amiable one, I have
passed the time happily with thee. And, O fair one, tell thy brother,

I am gone, that I have left thee. And upon my going away, it behoveth

not to grieve for me.'

"Thus addressed Jaratkaru, the fair sister of Vasuki, of faultless
features, filled with anxiety and sorrow, having mustered sufficient
courage and patience, though her heart was still quaking, then spake

Rishi Jaratkaru. Her words were obstructed with tears and her face was
pale with fear. And the palms of her hands were joined together, and

eyes were bathed in tears. And she said, 'It behoveth thee not to leave

without a fault. Thou treadest over the path of virtue. I too have been

the same path, with heart fixed on the good of my relatives. O best of
Brahmanas, the object for which I was bestowed on thee hath not been
accomplished yet. Unfortunate that I am, what shall Vasuki say unto me?

excellent one, the offspring desired of by my relatives afflicted by a
mother's curse, do not yet appear! The welfare of my relatives

on the acquisition of offspring from thee. And in order that my

with thee may not be fruitless, O illustrious Brahmana, moved by the
desire of doing good to my race do I entreat thee. O excellent one,

souled thou art; so why shall thou leave me who am faultless? This is

is not just clear to me.'

"Thus addressed, the Muni of great ascetic merit spake unto his wife
Jaratkaru these words that were proper and suitable to the occasion.

he said, 'O fortunate one, the being thou hast conceived, even like

Agni himself is a Rishi of soul highly virtuous, and a master of the

and their branches.'

"Having said so, the great Rishi, Jaratkaru of virtuous soul, went

his heart firmly fixed on practising again the severest penances.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O thou of ascetic wealth, soon after her lord had left

Jaratkaru went to her brother. And she told him everything that had
happened. And the prince of snakes, hearing the calamitous news, spake
unto his miserable sister, himself more miserable still.'

"And he said, 'Thou knowest, O amiable one, the purpose of thy

the reason thereof. If, from that union, for the welfare of the snakes,

son be born, then he, possessed of energy, will save us all from the

sacrifice. The Grandsire had said so, of old, in the midst of the gods.

fortunate one, hast thou conceived from thy union with that best of
Rishis? My heart's desire is that my bestowal of thee on that wise one

not be fruitless. Truly, it is not proper for me to ask thee about

But from the gravity of the interests I ask thee this. Knowing also the
obstinacy of thy lord, ever engaged in severe penances, I shall not

him, for he may curse me. Tell me in detail all that thy lord, O

one, hath done, and extract that terribly afflicting dart that lies
implanted for a long time past in my heart.'

"Jaratkaru, thus addressed, consoling Vasuki, the king of the snakes,

length replied, saying, 'Asked by me about offspring, the high-souled

mighty ascetic said, 'There is,'--and then he went away. I do not

him to have ever before speak even in jest aught that is false. Why

he, O king, speak a falsehood on such a serious occasion? He said,

shouldst not grieve, O daughter of the snake race, about the intended
result of our union. A son shall be born to thee, resplendent as the
blazing sun.' O brother, having said this to me, my husband of ascetic
wealth went away--Therefore, let the deep sorrow cherished in thy heart

"Sauti continued, 'Thus addressed, Vasuki, the king of the snakes,
accepted those words of his sister, and in great joy said, 'Be it so!'

the chief of the snakes then adored his sister with his best regards,

of wealth, and fitting eulogies. Then, O best of Brahmanas, the embryo
endued with great splendour, began to develop, like the moon in the
heavens in the bright fortnight.

"And in due time, the sister of the snakes, O Brahmana, gave birth to a
son of the splendour of a celestial child, who became the reliever of
the fears of his ancestors and maternal relatives. The child grew up

in the house of the king of the snakes. He studied the Vedas and their
branches with the ascetic Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu. And though but a
boy, his vows were rigid. And he was gifted with great intelligence,

with the several attributes of virtue, knowledge, freedom from the

indulgences, and saintliness. And the name by which he was known to the
world was Astika. And he was known by the name of Astika (whoever is)
because his father had gone to the woods, saying. 'There is', when he

in the womb. Though but a boy, he had great gravity and intelligence.

he was reared with great care in the palace of the snakes. And he was

the illustrious lord of the celestials, Mahadeva of the golden form,

wielder of the trident. And he grew up day by day, the delight of all



(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'Tell me again, in detail,--all that king Janamejaya had
asked his ministers about his father's ascension to heaven.'

'Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, hear all that the king asked his ministers,

all that they said about the death of Parikshit.'

"Janamejaya asked, 'Know ye all that befell my father. How did that

king, in time, meet with his death? Hearing from you the incidents of

father's life in detail, I shall ordain something, if it be for the
benefit of the world. Otherwise, I shall do nothing.'

'The minister replied, 'Hear, O monarch, what thou hast asked, viz., an
account of thy illustrious father's life, and how also that king of

left this world. Thy father was virtuous and high-souled, and always
protected his people. O, hear, how that high-souled one conducted

on earth. Like unto an impersonation of virtue and justice, the

cognisant of virtue, virtuously protected the four orders, each engaged

the discharge of their specified duties. Of incomparable prowess, and
blessed with fortune, he protected the goddess Earth. There was none

hated him and he himself hated none. Like unto Prajapati (Brahma) he

equally disposed towards all creatures. O monarch, Brahmanas and
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, all engaged contentedly in the

of their respective duties, were impartially protected by that king.
Widows and orphans, the maimed and the poor, he maintained. Of handsome
features, he was unto all creatures like a second Soma. Cherishing his
subjects and keeping them contented, blessed with good fortune, truth-
telling, of immense prowess, he was the disciple of Saradwat in the
science of arms. And, O Janamejaya, thy father was dear unto Govinda.

great fame, he was loved by all men. And he was born in the womb of

when the Kuru race was almost extinct. And, therefore, the mighty son

Abhimanyu came to be called Parikshit (born in an extinct line). Well-
versed in the interpretation of treatises on the duties of kings, he

gifted with every virtue. With passions under complete control,
intelligent, possessing a retentive memory, the practiser of all

the conqueror of his six passions of powerful mind, surpassing all, and
fully acquainted with the science of morality and political science,

father had ruled over these subjects for sixty years. And he then died,
mourned by all his subjects. And, after him, O first of men, thou hast
acquired this hereditary kingdom of the Kurus for the last thousand

Thou wast installed while a child, and art thus protecting every

"Janamejaya said, 'There hath not been born in our race a king who hath
not sought the good of his subjects or been loved by them. Behold
especially the conduct of my grandsires ever engaged in great

How did my father, blessed with many virtues, meet with his death?
Describe everything to me as it happened. I am desirous of hearing it


"Sauti continued, 'Thus directed by the monarch, those councillors,

solicitous of the good of the king, told him everything exactly as it


'And the councillors said, 'O king, that father of thine, that

of the whole earth, that foremost of all persons obedient to the
scriptures, became addicted to the sports of the field, even as Pandu

mighty arms, that foremost of all bearers of the bow in battle. He made
over to us all the affairs of state from the most trivial to the most
important. One day, going into the forest, he pierced a deer with an

And having pierced it he followed it quickly on foot into the deep

armed with sword and quiver. He could not, however, come upon the lost
deer. Sixty years of age and decrepit, he was soon fatigued and became
hungry. He then saw in the deep woods a high-souled Rishi. The Rishi

then observing the vow of silence. The king asked him about the deer,

though asked, he made no reply. At last the king, already tired with
exertion and hunger, suddenly became angry with that Rishi sitting
motionless like a piece of wood in observance of his vow of silence.
Indeed, the king knew not that he was a Muni observing the vow of

Swayed by anger, thy father insulted him. O excellent one of the

race, the king, thy father taking up from the ground with the end of

bow a dead snake placed it on the shoulders of that Muni of pure soul.

the Muni spake not a word good or bad and was without anger. He

in the same posture, bearing the dead snake.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

'Sauti continued, 'The ministers said, 'That king of kings then, spent
with hunger and exertion, and having placed the snake upon the

of that Muni, came back to his capital. The Muni had a son, born of a

of the name of Sringin. He was widely known, possessed of great prowess
and energy, and very wrathful. Going (every day) to his preceptor he

in the habit of worshipping him. Commanded by him, Sringin was

home, when he heard from a friend of his about the insult of his father

thy parent. And, O tiger among kings, he heard that his father, without
having committed any fault, was bearing, motionless like a statue, upon
his shoulders a dead snake placed thereon. O king, the Rishi insulted

thy father was severe in ascetic penances, the foremost of Munis, the
controller of passions, pure, and ever engaged in wonderful acts. His

was enlightened with ascetic penances, and his organs and their

were under complete control. His practices and his speech were both

nice. He was contented and without avarice. He was without meanness of

kind and without envy. He was old and used to observe the vow of

And he was the refuge whom all creatures might seek in distress.

"Such was the Rishi insulted by thy father. The son, however, of that
Rishi, in wrath, cursed thy father. Though young in years, the powerful
one was old in ascetic splendour. Speedily touching water, he spake,
burning as it were with spiritual energy and rage, these words in

to thy father, 'Behold the power of my asceticism! Directed by my

the snake Takshaka of powerful energy and virulent poison, shall,

seven nights hence, burn, with his poison the wretch that hath placed

dead snake upon my un-offending father.' And having said this, he went

where his father was. And seeing his father he told him of his curse.

tiger among Rishis thereupon sent to thy father a disciple of his,

Gaurmukha, of amiable manners and possessed of every virtue. And having
rested a while (after arrival at court) he told the king everything,
saying in the words of his master, 'Thou hast been cursed, O king, by

son. Takshaka shall burn thee with his poison! Therefore, O king, be
careful.' O Janamejaya, hearing those terrible words, thy father took
every precaution against the powerful snake Takshaka.

"And when the seventh day had arrived, a Brahmana Rishi, named Kasyapa,
desired to come to the monarch. But the snake Takshaka saw Kasyapa. And
the prince of snakes spake unto Kasyapa without loss of time, saying,
'Where dost thou go so quickly, and what is the business on which thou
goest?' Kasyapa replied, saying, 'O Brahmana, I am going whither king
Parikshit, that best of the Kurus, is. He shall today be burnt by the
poison of the snake Takshaka. I go there quickly in order to cure him,

fact, in order that, protected by me, the snake may not bite him to
death.' Takshaka answered, saying, 'Why dost thou seek to revive the

to be bitten by me? I am that Takshaka. O Brahmana, behold the

power of my poison. Thou art incapable of reviving that monarch when

by me.' So saying, Takshaka, then and there, bit a lord of the forest

banian tree). And the banian, as soon as it was bit by the snake, was
converted into ashes. But Kasyapa, O king, revived it. Takshaka

tempted him, saying, 'Tell me thy desire.' And Kasyapa, too, thus
addressed, spake again unto Takshaka, saying, 'I go there from desire

wealth.' And Takshaka, thus addressed, then spake unto the high-souled
Kasyapa in these soft words, 'O sinless one, take from me more wealth

what thou expectest from that monarch, and go back!' And Kasyapa, that
foremost of men, thus addressed by the snake, and receiving from him as
much wealth as he desired, wended his way back.

"And Kasyapa going back, Takshaka, approaching in disguise, blasted,

the fire of his poison, thy virtuous father, the first of kings, then
staying in his mansion with all precautions. And after that, thou hast,

tiger among men, been installed (on the throne). And, O best of

we have thus told thee all that we have seen and heard, cruel though

account is. And hearing all about the discomfiture of thy royal father,
and of the insult to the Rishi Utanka, decide thou that which should

'Sauti continued, 'King Janamejaya, that chastiser of enemies, then

upto all his ministers. And he said, 'When did ye learn all that

upon that, banian reduced to ashes by Takshaka, and which, wonderful as

is, was afterwards revived by Kasyapa? Assuredly, my father could not

died, for the poison could have been neutralised by Kasyapa with his
mantras. That worst of snakes, of sinful soul, thought within his mind
that if Kasyapa resuscitated the king bit by him, he, Takshaka, would

an object of ridicule in the world owing to the neutralisation of his
poison. Assuredly, having thought so, he pacified the Brahmana. I have
devised a way, however, of inflicting punishment upon him. I like to

however, what ye saw or heard, what happened in the deep solitude of

forest,--viz., the words of Takshaka and the speeches of Kasyapa.

known it, I shall devise the means of exterminating the snake race.'

"The ministers said, 'Hear, O monarch of him who told us before of the
meeting between that foremost Brahmana and that prince of snakes in the
woods. A certain person, O monarch, had climbed up that tree containing
some dry branches with the object of breaking them for sacrificial

He was not perceived either by the snake or by the Brahmana. And, O

that man was reduced to ashes along with the tree itself. And, O king

kings, he was revived with the tree by the power of the Brahmana. That

a Brahmana's menial, having come to us, represented fully everything as

happened between Takshaka and the Brahmana. Thus have we told thee, O

all that we have seen and heard. And having heard it, O tiger among

ordain that which should follow.'

"Sauti continued, 'King Janamejaya, having listened to the words of his
ministers, was sorely afflicted with grief, and began to weep. And the
monarch began to squeeze his hands. And the lotus-eyed king began to
breathe a long and hot breath, shed tears, and shrieked aloud. And
possessed with grief and sorrow, and shedding copious tears, and

water according to the form, the monarch spake. And reflecting for a
moment, as if settling something in his mind, the angry monarch,
addressing all ministers, said these words.

'I have heard your account of my father's ascension to heaven. Know ye

what my fixed resolve is. I think no time must be lost in avenging this
injury upon the wretch Takshaka that killed my father. He burnt my

making Sringin only a secondary cause. From malignity alone he made
Kasyapa return. If that Brahmana had arrived, my father assuredly would
have lived. What would he have lost if the king had revived by the

of Kasyapa and the precautionary measures of his ministers? From

of the effects of my wrath, he prevented Kasyapa--that excellent of
Brahmanas--whom he could not defeat, from coming to my father with the
desire of reviving him. The act of aggression is great on the part of

wretch Takshaka who gave wealth unto that Brahmana in order that he

not revive the king. I must now avenge myself on my father's enemy to
please myself, the Rishi Utanka and you all.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

'Sauti said, 'King Janamejaya having said so, his ministers expressed
their approbation. And the monarch then expressed his determination to
perform a snake-sacrifice. And that lord of the Earth--that tiger of

Bharata race--the son of Parikshit, then called his priest and Ritwiks.
And accomplished in speech, he spake unto them these words relating to

accomplishment of his great task. 'I must avenge myself on the wretch
Takshaka who killed my father. Tell me what I must do. Do you know any

by which I may cast into the blazing fire the snake Takshaka with his
relatives? I desire to burn that wretch even as he burnt, of yore, by

fire of his poison, my father.'

"The chief priest answered, 'There is, O king, a great sacrifice for

devised by the gods themselves. It is known as the snake-sacrifice, and

read of in the Puranas. O king, thou alone canst accomplish it, and no

else. Men versed in the Puranas have told us, there is such a


"Sauti continued, 'Thus addressed, the king, O excellent one, thought
Takshaka to be already burnt and thrown into the blazing mouth of Agni,
the eater of the sacrificial butter. The king then said unto those
Brahmanas versed in mantras, 'I shall make preparations for that

Tell me the things that are necessary.' And the king's Ritwiks, O
excellent Brahmana, versed in the Vedas and acquainted with the rites

that sacrifice measured, according to the scriptures, the land for the
sacrificial platform. And the platform was decked with valuable

and with Brahmanas. And it was full of precious things and paddy. And

Ritwika sat upon it at ease. And after the sacrificial platform had

thus constructed according to rule and as desired, they installed the

at the snake-sacrifice for the attainment of its object. And before the
commencement of the snake-Sacrifice that was to come, there occurred

very important incident foreboding obstruction to the sacrifice. For

the sacrificial platform was being constructed, a professional builder

great intelligence and well-versed in the knowledge of laying

a Suta by caste, well-acquainted with the Puranas, said, 'The soil upon
which and the time at which the measurement for the sacrificial

has been made, indicate that this sacrifice will not be completed, a
Brahmana becoming the reason thereof.' Hearing this, the king, before

installation, gave orders to his gate-keepers not to admit anybody

his knowledge."


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'The snake-sacrifice then commenced according to due form.
And the sacrificial priests, competent in their respective duties
according to the ordinance, clad in black garments and their eyes red

contact with smoke, poured clarified butter into the blazing fire,
uttering the appropriate mantras. And causing the hearts of all the

to tremble with fear, they poured clarified butter into the mouth of

uttering the names of the snakes. And the snakes thereupon began to

into the blazing fire, benumbed and piteously calling upon one another.
And swollen and breathing hard, and twining each other with their heads
and tails, they came in large numbers and fell into the fire. The

the black, the blue, the old and the young--all fell alike into the

uttering various cries. Those measuring a krosa, and those measuring a
yojana, and those of the measure of a gokarna, fell continuously with
great violence into that first of all fires. And hundreds and thousands
and tens of thousands of snakes, deprived of all control over their

perished on that occasion. And amongst those that perished, there were
some that were like horses, other like trunks of elephants, and others

huge bodies and strength like maddened elephants Of various colours and
virulent poison, terrible and looking like maces furnished with iron-
spikes, of great strength, ever inclined to bite, the snakes, afflicted
with their mother's curse, fell into the fire.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka asked, 'What great Rishis became the Ritwiks at the snake-
sacrifice of the wise king Janamejaya of the Pandava line? Who also

the Sadasyas in that terrible snake-sacrifice, so frightful to the

and begetting such sorrow in them? It behoveth thee to describe all

in detail, so that, O son of Suta, we may know who were acquainted with
the rituals of the snake-sacrifice.'

"Sauti replied, 'I will recite the names of those wise ones who became

monarch's Ritwiks and Sadasyas. The Brahmana Chandabhargava became the
Hotri in that sacrifice. He was of great reputation, and was born in

race of Chyavana and was the foremost of those acquainted with the

The learned old Brahmana, Kautsa, became the Udgatri, the chanter of

Vedic hymns. Jaimini became the Brahmana, and Sarngarva and Pingala the
Adhvaryus, Vyasa with his son and disciples, and Uddalaka, Pramataka,
Swetaketu, Pingala, Asita, Devala, Narada, Parvata, Atreya,

the Brahmana Kalaghata, Vatsya, old Srutasravas ever engaged in japa

the study of the Vedas. Kohala Devasarman, Maudgalya, Samasaurava, and
many other Brahmanas who had got through the Vedas became the Sadasyas

that sacrifice of the son of Parikshit.

"When the Ritwiks in that snake-sacrifice began to pour clarified

into the fire, terrible snakes, striking fear into every creature,

to fall into it. And the fat and the marrow of the snakes thus falling
into the fire began to flow in rivers. And the atmosphere was filled

an insufferable stench owing to the incessant burning of the snakes.

incessant also were the cries of the snakes fallen into the fire and

in the air about to fall into it.

'Meanwhile, Takshaka, that prince of snakes, as soon as he heard that

Janamejaya was engaged in the sacrifice, went to the palace of

(Indra). And that best of snakes, having represented all that had taken
place, sought in terror the protection of Indra after having

his fault. And Indra, gratified, told him, 'O prince of snakes, O

here thou hast no fear from that snake-sacrifice. The Grandsire was
pacified by me for thy sake. Therefore, thou hast no fear. Let this

of thy heart be allayed.'

"Sauti continued, 'Thus encouraged by him, that best of snakes began to
dwell in Indra's abode in joy and happiness. But Vasuki, seeing that

snakes were incessantly falling into the fire and that his family was
reduced to only a few, became exceedingly sorry. And the king of the
snakes was afflicted with great grief, and his heart was about to

And summoning his sister, he spake unto her, saying, 'O amiable one, my
limbs are burning and I no longer see the points of the heavens. I am
about to fall down from loss of consciousness. My mind is turning, my
sight is falling and my heart is breaking. Benumbed, I may fall today

that blazing fire! This sacrifice of the son of Parikshit is for the
extermination of our race. It is evident I also shall have to go to the
abode of the king of the dead. The time is come, O my sister, on

of which thou wert bestowed by me on Jaratkaru to protect us with our
relatives. O best of the women of the snake race, Astika will put an

to the sacrifice that is going on. The Grandsire told me this of old.
Therefore, O child, solicit thy dear son who is fully conversant with

Vedas and regarded even by the old, for the protection of myself and

of those dependent on me."'


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Then the snake-dame Jaratkaru, calling her own son, told

the following words according to the directions of Vasuki, the king of

snakes. 'O son, the time is come for the accomplishment of that object

which I was bestowed on thy father by my brother. Therefore, do thou

which should be done.'

"Astika asked, 'Why wert thou, O mother, bestowed on my father by my
uncle? Tell me all truly so that on hearing it, I may do what is


"Then Jaratkaru, the sister of the king of the snakes, herself unmoved

the general distress, and even desirous of the welfare of her

said unto him, 'O son, it is said that the mother of all the snakes is
Kadru. Know thou why she cursed in anger her sons.' Addressing the

she said, 'As ye have refused to falsely represent Uchchaihsravas, the
prince of horses, for bringing about Vinata's bondage according to the
wager, therefore, shall he whose charioteer is Vayu burn you all in
Janamejaya's sacrifice. And perishing in that sacrifice, ye shall go to
the region of the unredeemed spirits.' The Grandsire of all the worlds
spake unto her while uttering this curse, 'Be it so,' and thus approved

her speech. Vasuki, having heard that curse and then the words of the
Grandsire, sought the protection of the gods, O child, on the occasion
when the amrita was being churned for. And the gods, their object
fulfilled, for they had obtained the excellent amrita, with Vasuki

approached the Grandsire. And all the gods, with king Vasuki, sought to
incline Him who was born of the lotus to be propitious, so that the

might be made abortive.'

"And the gods said, 'O Lord, Vasuki, the king of the snakes, is sorry

account of his relatives. How may his mother's curse prove abortive?'

"Brahman thereupon replied, saying, 'Jaratkaru will take unto himself a
wife of the name of Jaratkaru; the Brahmana born of her will relieve


"Vasuki, the best of snakes, hearing those words, bestowed me, O thou

godlike looks, on thy high-souled father some time before the

of the sacrifice. And from that marriage thou art born of me. That time
has come. It behoveth thee to protect us from this danger. It behoveth
thee to protect my brother and myself from the fire, so that the

viz., our relief, for which I was bestowed on thy wise father, may not

unfulfilled. What dost thou think, O son?'

"Sauti continued, 'Thus addressed, Astika said unto his mother, 'Yes, I
will.' And he then addressed the afflicted Vasuki, and as if infusing

into him, said, 'O Vasuki, thou best of snakes, thou great being, truly

I say, I shall relieve thee from that curse. Be easy, O snake! There is

fear any longer. I shall strive earnestly so that good may come! Nobody
hath ever said that my speech, even in jest, hath proved false. Hence

serious occasions like this, I need not say anything more, O uncle,

thither today I shall gratify, with words mixed with blessings, the
monarch Janamejaya installed at the sacrifice, so that, O excellent

the sacrifice may stop. O highminded one, O king of the snakes, believe
all that I say. Believe me, my resolve can never be unfulfilled.'

"And Vasuki then said, 'O Astika, my head swims and my heart breaks. I
cannot discern the points of the earth, as I am afflicted with a


"And Astika said, 'Thou best of snakes, it behoveth thee not to grieve

longer. I shall dispel this fear of thine from the blazing fire. This
terrible punishment, capable of burning like the fire at the end of the
Yuga, I shall extinguish. Nurse not thy fear any longer.'

"Sauti continued, 'Then that best of Brahmanas, Astika, quelling the
terrible fear of the Vasuki's heart, and taking it, as it were, on

wended, for the relief of the king of the snakes, with speed to
Janamejaya's sacrifice blessed with every merit. And Astika having gone
thither, beheld the excellent sacrificial compound with numerous

on it whose splendour was like unto that of the Sun or Agni. But that

of Brahmanas was refused admittance by the door-keepers. And the mighty
ascetic gratified them, being desirous of entering the sacrificial
compound. And that best of Brahmanas, that foremost of all virtuous

having entered the excellent sacrificial compound, began to adore the

of infinite achievements, Ritwiks, the Sadasyas, and also the sacred


(Astika Parva continued)

"Astika said, 'Soma and Varuna and Prajapati performed sacrifices of

in Prayaga. But thy sacrifice, O foremost one of Bharata's race, O son

Parikshit, is not inferior to any of those. Let those dear unto us be
blessed! Sakra performed a hundred sacrifices. But this sacrifice of

O foremost one of Bharata's race, O son of Parikshit, is fully equal to
ten thousand sacrifices of Sakra. Let those dear unto us be blessed!

the sacrifice of Yama, of Harimedha, or of king Rantideva, is the
sacrifice of thine, O foremost one of Bharata's race, O son of

Let those dear unto us be blessed! Like the sacrifice of Maya, of king
Sasavindu, or of king Vaisravana, is this sacrifice of thine, O

one of Bharata's race, O son of Satyavati, in which he himself was the
chief priest, is this sacrifice of Nriga, of Ajamida, of the son of
Dasaratha, is this sacrifice of thine, O foremost one of Bharata's

race, O
son of Parikshit. Let those dear unto us be blessed! Like the sacrifice

king Yudhishthira, the son of a god and belonging to Ajamida race,

of (even) in the heavens, is this sacrifice of thine. O foremost one of
Bharata's race, O son of Parikshit, let those dear unto us be blessed!
Like the sacrifice of Krishna (Dwaipayana), the son of Satyavati, in

he himself was the chief priest, is this sacrifice of thine, O foremost
one of Bharata's race, O son of Parikshit. Let those dear unto us be
blessed! These (Ritwiks and Sadasyas) that are here engaged in making

sacrifice, like unto that of the slayer of Vritra, are of splendour

to that of the sun. There now remains nothing for them to know, and

made to them become inexhaustible (in merit). It is my conviction that
there is no Ritwik in all the worlds who is equal to thy Ritwik,
Dwaipayana. His disciples, becoming Ritwiks, competent for their

travel over the earth. The high-souled bearer of libation (viz., Agni),
called also Vibhavasu and Chitrabhanu, having gold for his vital seed

having his path, marked by black smoke, blazing up with flames inclined

the right, beareth these thy libations of clarified butter to the gods.

this world of men there is no other monarch equal to thee in the
protection of subjects. I am ever well-pleased with thy abstinence.

thou art either Varuna, or Yama, the god of Justice. Like Sakra

thunderbolt in hand, thou art, in this world, the protector of all
creatures. In this earth there is no man so great as thou and no

who is thy equal in sacrifice. Thou art like Khatwanga, Nabhaga, and
Dilipa. In prowess thou art like Yayati and Mandhatri. In splendour

to the sun, and of excellent vows, thou art O monarch, like Bhishma!

Valmiki thou art of energy concealed. Like Vasishtha thou hast

thy wrath. Like Indra is thy lordship. Thy splendour also shines like

of Narayana. Like Yama art thou conversant with the dispensation of
justice. Thou art like Krishna adorned with every virtue. Thou art the
home of the good fortune that belongs to the Vasus. Thou art also the
refuge of the sacrifices. In strength thou art equal to Damvodbhava.

Rama (the son of Jamadagni) thou art conversant with the scriptures and
arms. In energy thou art equal to Aurva and Trita. Thou inspirest

by thy looks like Bhagiratha.'

"Sauti said, 'Astika, having thus adored them, gratified them all,

the king, the Sadasyas, the Ritwiks and the sacrificial fire. And king
Janamejaya beholding the signs and indications manifested all around,
addressed them as follows.'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'Though this one is but a boy, he speaks yet like a

old man. He is not a boy but one wise and old. I think, I desire to

on him a boon. Therefore, ye Brahmanas, give me the necessary


"The Sadasyas said, 'A Brahmana, though a boy, deserves the respect of
kings. The learned ones do more so. This boy deserves every desire of

being fulfilled by thee, but not before Takshaka comes with speed.'

"Sauti continued, 'The king, being inclined to grant the Brahmana a

said 'Ask thou a boon.' The Hotri, however, being rather displeased,

'Takshaka hath not come as yet into this sacrifice.'

"Janamejaya replied, 'Exert ye to the best of your might, so that this
sacrifice of mine may attain completion, and Takshaka also may soon

here. He is my enemy.'

"The Ritwiks replied, 'As the scriptures declare unto us, and as the

also saith, O monarch, (it seems that) Takshaka is now staying in the
abode of Indra, afflicted with fear.'

"Sauti continued, 'The illustrious Suta named Lohitaksha also,

with the Puranas, had said so before.

"Asked by the king on the present occasion he again told the monarch,
'Sire, it is even so as the Brahmanas have said--Knowing the Puranas, I
say, O monarch, that Indra hath granted him this boon, saying, 'Dwell

me in concealment, and Agni shall not burn thee.'

"Sauti continued, 'Hearing this, the king installed in the sacrifice
became very sorry and urged the Hotri to do his duty. And as the Hotri,
with mantras, began to pour clarified butter into the fire Indra

appeared on the scene. And the illustrious one came in his car, adorned

all the gods standing around, followed by masses of clouds, celestial
singers, and the several bevies of celestial dancing girls. And

anxious with fear, hid himself in the upper garment of Indra and was

visible. Then the king in his anger again said unto his mantra-knowing
Brahmanas these words, bent upon the destruction of Takshaka, 'If the
snake Takshaka be in the abode of Indra, cast him into the fire with


"Sauti continued, 'Urged thus by the king Janamejaya about Takshaka,

Hotri poured libations, naming that snake then staying there. And even

the libations were poured, Takshaka, with Purandara himself, anxious

afflicted, became visible in a moment in the skies. Then Purandara,

that sacrifice, became much alarmed, and quickly casting Takshaka off,
went back to his own abode. After Indra had gone away, Takshaka, the
prince of snakes, insensible with fear, was by virtue of the mantras,
brought near enough the flames of the sacrificial fire.'

"The Ritwiks then said, 'O king of kings, the sacrifice of thine is

performed duly. It behoveth thee, O Lord, to grant a boon now to this
first of Brahmanas.'

"Janamejaya then said, 'Thou immeasurable one of such handsome and

like features, I desire to grant thee a worthy boon. Therefore, ask

that which thou desirest in thy heart. I promise thee, that I will

it even if it be ungrantable.'

"The Ritwiks said, 'O monarch, behold, Takshaka is soon coming under

control! His terrible cries, and loud roar is being heard. Assuredly,

snake hath been forsaken by the wielder of thunder. His body being
disabled by your mantras, he is falling from heaven. Even now, rolling

the skies, and deprived of consciousness, the prince of snakes cometh,
breathing loudly.'

"Sauti continued, 'While Takshaka, the prince of snakes was about to

into the sacrificial fire, during those few moments Astika spoke as
follows, 'O Janamejaya, if thou wouldst grant me a boon, let this
sacrifice of thine come to an end and let no more snakes fall into the

"O Brahmana, the son of Parikshit, being thus addressed by Astika,

exceedingly sorry and replied unto Astika thus, 'O illustrious one,

silver, kine, whatever other possessions thou desirest I shall give

thee. But let not my sacrifice come to an end.'

"Astika thereupon replied, 'Gold, silver or kine, I do not ask of thee,

monarch! But let thy sacrifice be ended so that my maternal relations


"Sauti continued, 'The son of Parikshit, being thus addressed by

repeatedly said this unto that foremost of speakers, 'Best of the
Brahmanas, ask some other boon. O, blessed be thou!' But, O thou of
Bhrigu's race, he did not beg any other boon. Then all the Sadasyas
conversant with the Vedas told the king in one voice, 'Let the Brahmana
receive his boon!'"


(Astika Parva continued)

"Saunaka said, 'O son of a Suta, I desire to hear the names of all

snakes that fell into the fire of this snake-sacrifice!'

"Sauti replied, 'Many thousands and tens of thousands and billions of
snakes fell into the fire. O most excellent Brahmana, so great is the
number that I am unable to count them all. So far, however, as I

hear the names I mention of the principal snakes cast into the fire.

first the names of the principal ones of Vasuki's race alone, of colour
blue, red and white of terrible form and huge body and deadly poison.
Helpless and miserable and afflicted with their mother's curse, they

into the sacrificial fire like libations of butter.

"Kotisa, Manasa, Purna, Cala, Pala Halmaka, Pichchala, Kaunapa, Cakra,
Kalavega, Prakalana, Hiranyavahu, Carana, Kakshaka, Kaladantaka--these
snakes born of Vasuki, fell into the fire. And, O Brahmana, numerous

snakes well-born, and of terrible form and great strength, were burnt

the blazing fire. I shall now mention those born in the race of

Hear thou their names. Puchchandaka, Mandalaka, Pindasektri, Ravenaka;
Uchochikha, Carava, Bhangas, Vilwatejas, Virohana; Sili, Salakara,

Sukumara, Pravepana, Mudgara and Sisuroman, Suroman and Mahahanu. These
snakes born of Takshaka fell into the fire. And Paravata, Parijata,
Pandara, Harina, Krisa, Vihanga, Sarabha, Meda, Pramoda, Sauhatapana--
these born in the race of Airavata fell into the fire. Now hear, O best

Brahmanas, the names of the snakes I mention born in the race of

Eraka, Kundala Veni, Veniskandha, Kumaraka, Vahuka, Sringavera,

Pratara and Astaka. There born in the race of Kauravya fell into the

Now hear the names I mention, in order, of those snakes endued with the
speed of the wind and with virulent poison, born in the race of
Dhritarashtra: Sankukarna, Pitharaka, Kuthara, Sukhana, and Shechaka;
Purnangada, Purnamukha, Prahasa, Sakuni, Dari, Amahatha, Kumathaka,
Sushena, Vyaya, Bhairava, Mundavedanga, Pisanga, Udraparaka, Rishabha,
Vegavat, Pindaraka; Raktanga, Sarvasaranga, Samriddha, Patha and

Varahaka, Viranaka, Suchitra, Chitravegika, Parasara, Tarunaka,
Maniskandha and Aruni.

"O Brahmana, thus I have recited the names of the principal snakes

widely for their achievements--I have not been able to name all, the
number being countless. The sons of these snakes, the sons of those

that were burnt having fallen into the fire, I am unable to mention.

are so many! Some of three heads, some of seven, others of ten, of

like unto the fire at the end of the yuga and terrible in form,--they

burnt by thousands!

"Many others, of huge bodies, of great speed, tall as mountain summits,

the length of a yama, of a yojana, and of two yojanas, capable of

at will any form and of mastering at will any degree of strength, of
poison like unto blazing fire, afflicted by the curse of a mother, were
burnt in that great 'sacrifice.'"


(Astika Parva, continued)

"Sauti said, 'Listen now to another very wonderful incident in

with Astika. When king Janamejaya was about to gratify Astika by

the boon, the snake (Takshaka), thrown off Indra's hands, remained in

without actually falling. King Janamejaya thereupon became curious, for
Takshaka, afflicted with fear, did not at once fall into the fire

libations were poured in proper form into the blazing sacrificial Agni

his name.'

"Saunaka said, 'Was it, O Suta, that the mantras of those wise

were not potent; since Takshaka did not fall into the fire?'

"Sauti replied, 'Unto the unconscious Takshaka, that best of snakes,

he had been cast off Indra's hands, Astika had thrice said, 'Stay,'
'Stay,' 'Stay.' And he succeeded in staying in the skies, with

heart, like a person somehow staying between the welkin and the earth.

"The king then, on being repeatedly urged by his Sadasyas, said, 'Let

be done as Astika hath said. Let the sacrifice be ended, let the snakes

safe, let this Astika also be gratified, O Suta, thy words also be

When the boon was granted to Astika, plaudits expressive of joy rang
through the air. Thus the sacrifice of the son of Parikshit--that king

the Pandava race--came to an end. The king Janamejaya of the Bharata

was himself pleased, and on the Ritwiks with the Sadasyas, and on all

had come there, the king, bestowed money by hundreds and thousands. And
unto Suta Lohitaksha--conversant with the rules of building and
foundations--who had at the commencement said that a Brahmana would be

cause of the interruption of the snake-sacrifice, the king gave much
wealth. The king, of uncommon kindness, also gave him various things,

food and wearing apparel, according to his desire, and became very much
pleased. Then he concluded his sacrifice according to the prescribed

and after treating him with every respect, the king in joy sent home

wise Astika exceedingly gratified, for he had attained his object. And

king said unto him, 'Thou must come again to become a Sadasya in my

Horse-sacrifice.' And Astika said, 'yes' and then returned home in

joy, having achieved his great end after gratifying the monarch. And
returning in joy to his uncle and mother and touching their feet, he
recounted to them everything as it had happened.'

"Sauti continued, 'Hearing all he had said, the snakes that had come
thither became very much delighted, and their fears were allayed. They
were much pleased with Astika and asked him to solicit a boon, saying,

learned one, what good shall we do unto thee? We have been very much
gratified, having been all saved by thee. What shall we accomplish for
thee, O child!'

"Astika said, 'Let those Brahmanas, and other men, who shall, in the
morning or in the evening, cheerfully and with attention, read the

account of this my act, have no fear from any of you.' And the snakes

joy thereupon said, 'O nephew, in the nature of thy boon, let it be
exactly as thou sayest. That which thou askest we all shall cheerfully

O nephew! And those also that call to mind Astika, Artiman and Sunitha,

the day or in the night, shall have no fear of snakes. He again shall

no fear of snakes who will say, 'I call to mind the famous Astika born

Jaratkaru, that Astika who saved the snakes from the snake-sacrifice.
Therefore, ye snakes of great good fortune, it behoveth you not to bite

But go ye away, blessed be ye, or go away thou snake of virulent

and remember the words of Astika after the snake sacrifice of

That snake who does not cease from biting after hearing such mention of
Astika, shall have his hood divided a hundredfold like the fruit of


"Sauti continued, 'That first of Brahmanas, thus addressed by the

of the chief snakes assembled together, was very much gratified. And

high-souled one then set his heart upon going away.

"And that best of Brahmanas, having saved the snakes from the snake-
sacrifice, ascended to heaven when his time came, leaving sons and
grandsons behind him.

'Thus have I recited to thee this history of Astika exactly as it

Indeed, the recitation of this history dispelleth all fear of snakes.'

'Sauti continued, 'O Brahmanas, O foremost one of Bhrigu's race, as thy
ancestor Pramati had cheerfully narrated unto his inquiring son Ruru,

as I had heard it, thus have I recited this blessed history, from the
beginning, of the learned Astika. And, O Brahmana, O oppressor of all
enemies, having heard this holy history of Astika that increaseth

and which thou hadst asked me about after hearing the story of the
Dundubha, let thy ardent curiosity be satisfied.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva)

"Saunaka said, 'O son, thou hast narrated to me this extensive and

history commencing from the progeny of Bhrigu. O son of Suta, I have

much gratified with thee. I ask thee again, to recite to me, O son of a
Suta, the history composed by Vyasa. The varied and wonderful

that were recited amongst those illustrious Sadasyas assembled at the
sacrifice, in the intervals of their duties of that long-extending
ceremony, and the objects also of those narrations, I desire to hear

thee, O son of a Suta! Recite therefore, all those to me fully.'

"Sauti said, 'The Brahmanas, in the intervals of the duties, spoke of

things founded upon the Vedas. But Vyasa recited the wonderful and

history called the Bharata.'

"Saunaka said, 'That sacred history called the Mahabharata, spreading

fame of the Pandavas, which Krishna-Dwaipayana, asked by Janamejaya,
caused to be duly recited after the completion of the sacrifice. I

to hear duly. That history hath been born of the ocean-like mind of the
great Rishi of soul purified by yoga. Thou foremost of good men, recite

unto me, for, O son of a Suta, my thirst hath not been appeased by all
thou hast said.'

"Sauti said, 'I shall recite to thee from the beginning of that great

excellent history called the Mahabharata composed by Vyasa. O Brahmana,
listen to it in full, as I recite it. I myself feel a great pleasure in
reciting it.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'Hearing that Janamejaya was installed in the snake-

the learned Rishi Krishna-Dwaipayana went thither on the occasion. And

the grand-father of the Pandavas, was born in an island of the Yamuna,

the virgin Kali by Sakti's son, Parasara. And the illustrious one
developed by his will alone his body as soon as he was born, and

the Vedas with their branches, and all the histories. And he readily
obtained that which no one could obtain by asceticism, by the study of

Vedas, by vows, by fasts, by progeny, and by sacrifice. And the first

Veda-knowing ones, he divided the Vedas into four parts. And the

Rishi had knowledge of the supreme Brahma, knew the past by intuition,

holy, and cherished truth. Of sacred deeds and great fame, he begot

and Dhritarashtra and Vidura in order to continue the line of Santanu.

"And the high-souled Rishi, with his disciples all conversant with the
Vedas and their branches, entered the sacrificial pavilion of the royal
sage, Janamejaya. And he saw that the king Janamejaya was seated in the
sacrificial region like the god Indra, surrounded by numerous Sadasyas,

kings of various countries whose coronal locks had undergone the sacred
bath, and by competent Ritwiks like unto Brahman himself. And that
foremost one of Bharata's race, the royal sage Janamejaya, beholding

Rishi come, advanced quickly with his followers and relatives in great

And the king with the approval of his Sadasyas, gave the Rishi a golden
seat as Indra did to Vrihaspati. And when the Rishi, capable of

boons and adored by the celestial Rishis themselves, had been seated,

king of kings worshipped him according to the rites of the scriptures.

the king then offered him--his grandfather Krishna--who fully deserved
them, water to wash his feet and mouth, and the Arghya, and kine. And
accepting those offerings from the Pandava Janamejaya and ordering the
kine also not to be slain, Vyasa became much gratified. And the king,
after those adorations bowed to his great-grandfather, and sitting in

asked him about his welfare. And the illustrious Rishi also, casting

eyes upon him and asking him about his welfare, worshipped the

having been before worshipped by them all. And after all this,

with all his Sadasyas, questioned that first of Brahmanas, with joined
palms as follows:

'O Brahmana, thou hast seen with thy own eyes the acts of the Kurus and
the Pandavas. I am desirous of hearing thee recite their history. What

the cause of the disunion amongst them that was fruitful of such
extraordinary deeds? Why also did that great battle, which caused the
death of countless creatures occur between all my grandfathers--their
clear sense over-clouded by fate? O excellent Brahmana, tell me all

in full as everything had happened.'

"Hearing those words of Janamejaya, Krishna-Dwaipayana directed his
disciple Vaisampayana seated by his side, saying, 'The discord that
happened between the Kurus and the Pandavas of old, narrate all to the
king even as thou hast heard from me.'

"Then that blessed Brahmana, at the command of his preceptor recited

whole of that history unto the king, the Sadasyas, and all the

there assembled. And he told them all about the hostility and the utter
extinction of the Kurus and the Pandavas.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Bowing down in the first place to my preceptor

the eight parts of my body touching the ground, with devotion and
reverence, and with all my heart, worshipping the whole assembly of
Brahmanas and other learned persons, I shall recite in full what I have
heard from the high-souled and great Rishi Vyasa, the first of

men in the three worlds. And having got it within thy reach, O monarch,
thou also art a fit person to hear the composition called Bharata.
Encouraged by the command of my preceptor my heart feeleth no fear.

"Hear, O monarch, why that disunion occurred between the Kurus and the
Pandavas, and why also that exile into the woods immediately proceeding
from the game at dice prompted by the desire (of the Kurus) for rule. I
shall relate all to thee who askest it thou best of the Bharata race!

"On the death of their father those heroes (the Pandavas) came to their
own home. And within a short time they became well-versed in archery.

the Kurus beholding the Pandavas gifted with physical strength, energy,
and power of mind, popular also with the citizens, and blessed with

fortune, became very jealous. Then the crookedminded Duryodhana, and

with (the former's uncle) the son of Suvala began to persecute them and
devise means for their exile. Then the wicked Duryodhana, guided by the
counsels of Sakuni (his maternal uncle), persecuted the Pandavas in
various ways for the acquirement of undisputed sovereignty. The wicked

of Dhritarashtra gave poison to Bhima, but Bhima of the stomach of the
wolf digested the poison with the food. Then the wretch again tied the
sleeping Bhima on the margin of the Ganges and, casting him into the

went away. But when Bhimasena of strong arms, the son of Kunti woke, he
tore the strings with which he had been tied and came up, his pains all
gone. And while asleep and in the water black snakes of virulent poison
bit him in every part of his body. But that slayer of foes did not

perish. And in all those persecutions of the Pandavas by their cousins,
the Kurus, the high-minded Vidura attentively engaged himself

those evil designs and rescuing the persecuted ones. And as Sakra from

heavens keeps in happiness the world of men, so did Vidura always keep

Pandavas from evil.

"When Duryodhana, with various means, both secret and open, found

incapable of destroying the Pandavas who were protected by the fates

kept alive for grave future purposes (such as the extermination of the
Kuru race), then called together his counsellors consisting of Vrisha
(Karna), Duhsasana and others, and with the knowledge of Dhritarashtra
caused a house of lac to be constructed. And king Dhritarashtra, from
affection for his children, and prompted by the desire of sovereignty,
sent the Pandavas tactfully into Varanavata. And the Pandavas then went
away with their mother from Hastinapura. And when they were leaving the
city, Vidura gave them some idea of impending danger and how they could
come out of it.

"The sons of Kunti reached the town of Varanavata and lived there with
their mother. And, agreeably to the command of Dhritarashtra, those
illustrious slayers of all enemies lived in the palace of lac, while in
that town. And they lived in that place for one year, protecting
themselves from Purochana very wakefully. And causing a subterranean
passage to be constructed, acting according to the directions of

they set fire to that house of lac and burnt Purochana (their enemy and
the spy of Duryodhana) to death. Those slayers of all enemies, anxious
with fear, then fled with their mother. In the woods beside a fountain
they saw a Rakshasa. But, alarmed at the risk they ran of exposure by

an act the Pandavas fled in the darkness, out of fear from the sons of
Dhritarashtra. It was here that Bhima gained Hidimva (the sister of the
Rakshasa he slew) for a wife, and it was of her that Ghatotkacha was

Then the Pandavas, of rigid vows, and conversant with the Vedas wended

a town of the name of Ekachakra and dwelt there in the guise of
Brahmacharins. And those bulls among men dwelt in that town in the

of a Brahmana for some time, with temperance and abstinence. And it was
here that Bhima of mighty arms came upon a hungry and mighty and man-
eating Rakshasa of the name of Vaka. And Bhima, the son of Pandu, that
tiger among men, slew him speedily with the strength of his arms and

the citizens safe and free from fear. Then they heard of Krishna (the
princess of Panchala) having become disposed to select a husband from
among the assembled princes. And, hearing of it, they went to Panchala,
and there they obtained the maiden. And having obtained Draupadi (as

common wife) they then dwelt there for a year. And after they became

those chastisers of all enemies went back to Hastinapura. And they were
then told by king Dhritarashtra and the son of Santanu (Bhishma) as
follows: 'In order, O dear ones, dissensions may not take place between
you and your cousins, we have settled that Khandavaprastha should be

abode. Therefore, go ye, casting off all jealousy, to Khandavaprastha
which contains many towns served by many broad roads, for dwelling

And accordingly the Pandavas went, with all their friends and

to Khandavaprastha taking with them many jewels and precious stones.

the sons of Pritha dwelt there for many years. And they brought, by

of arms, many a prince under their subjection. And thus, setting their
hearts on virtue and firmly adhering to truth, unruffled by affluence,
calm in deportment, and putting down numerous evils, the Pandavas
gradually rose to power. And Bhima of great reputation subjugated the

the heroic Arjuna, the North, Nakula, the West; Sahadeva that slayer of
all hostile heroes, the South. And this having been done, their

was spread over the whole world. And with the five Pandavas, each like
unto the Sun, the Earth looked as if she had six Suns.

"Then, for some reason, Yudhishthira the just, gifted with great energy
and prowess, sent his brother Arjuna who was capable of drawing the bow
with the left hand, dearer unto him than life itself, into the woods.

Arjuna, that tiger among men, of firm soul, and gifted with every

lived in the woods for eleven years and months. And during this period,

a certain occasion, Arjuna went to Krishna in Dwaravati. And Vibhatsu
(Arjuna) there obtained for a wife the lotus-eyed and sweet-speeched
younger sister of Vasudeva, Subhadra by name. And she became united, in
gladness, with Arjuna, the son of Pandu, like Sachi with the great

or Sri with Krishna himself. And then, O best of monarchs, Arjuna, the

of Kunti, with Vasudeva, gratified Agni; the carrier of the sacrificial
butter, in the forest of Khandava (by burning the medicinal plants in

woods to cure Agni of his indigestion). And to Arjuna, assisted as he

by Kesava, the task did not at all appear heavy even as nothing is

to Vishnu with immense design and resources in the matter of destroying
his enemies. And Agni gave unto the son of Pritha the excellent bow
Gandiva and a quiver that was inexhaustible, and a war-chariot bearing

figure of Garuda on its standard. And it was on this occasion that

relieved the great Asura (Maya) from fear (of being consumed in the

And Maya, in gratitude, built (for the Pandavas) a celestial palace

with every sort of jewels and precious stones. And the wicked

beholding that building, was tempted with the desire of possessing it.

deceiving Yudhishthira by means of the dice played through the hands of
the son of Suvala, Duryodhana sent the Pandavas into the woods for

years and one additional year to be passed in concealment, thus making

period full thirteen.

"And the fourteenth year, O monarch, when the Pandavas returned and
claimed their property, they did not obtain it. And thereupon war was
declared, and the Pandavas, after exterminating the whole race of
Kshatriyas and slaying king Duryodhana, obtained back their devastated

"This is the history of the Pandavas who never acted under the

of evil passions; and this the account, O first of victorious monarchs

the disunion that ended in the loss of their kingdom by the Kurus and

victory of the Pandavas.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O excellent Brahmana, thou hast, indeed, told me, in
brief, the history, called Mahabharata, of the great acts of the Kurus.
But, O thou of ascetic wealth, recite now that wonderful narration

I feel a great curiosity to hear it. It behoveth thee to recite it,
therefore, in full. I am not satisfied with hearing in a nutshell the
great history. That could never have been a trifling cause for which

virtuous ones could slay those whom they should not have slain, and for
which they are yet applauded by men. Why also did those tigers among

innocent and capable of avenging themselves upon their enemies, calmly
suffer the persecution of the wicked Kurus? Why also, O best of

did Bhima of mighty arms and of the strength of ten thousand elephants,
control his anger, though wronged? Why also did the chaste Krishna, the
daughter of Drupada, wronged by those wretches and able to burn them,

burn the sons of Dhritarashtra with her wrathful eyes? Why also did the
two other sons of Pritha (Bhima and Arjuna) and the two sons of Madri
(Nakula and Sahadeva), themselves injured by the wretched Kurus, follow
Yudhishthira who was greatly addicted to the evil habit of gambling?

also did Yudhishthira, that foremost of all virtuous men, the son of
Dharma himself, fully acquainted with all duties, suffer that excess of
affliction? Why also did the Pandava Dhananjaya, having Krishna for his
charioteer, who by his arrows sent to the other world that dauntless

of fighting men (suffer such persecution)? O thou of ascetic wealth,

to me of all these as they took place, and everything that those mighty
charioteers achieved.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O monarch, appoint thou a time for hearing it.

history told by Krishna-Dwaipayana is very extensive. This is but the
beginning. I shall recite it. I shall repeat the whole of the

in full, of the illustrious and great Rishi Vyasa of immeasurable

power, and worshipped in all the worlds. This Bharata consists of a
hundred thousand sacred slokas composed by the son of Satyavati, of
immeasurable mental power. He that reads it to others, and they that

it read, attain to the world of Brahman and become equal to the very

This Bharata is equal unto the Vedas, is holy and excellent; is the
worthiest of all to be listened to, and is a Purana worshipped by the
Rishis. It contains much useful instruction on Artha and Kama (profit

pleasure). This sacred history maketh the heart desire for salvation.
Learned persons by reciting this Veda of Krishna-Dwaipayana to those

are liberal, truthful and believing, earn much wealth. Sins, such as
killing the embryo in the womb, are destroyed assuredly by this. A

however cruel and sinful, by hearing this history, escapes from all his
sins like the Sun from Rahu (after the eclipse is over). This history

called Jaya. It should be heard by those desirous of victory. A king by
hearing it may bring the whole world under subjection and conquer all

foes. This history in itself is a mighty act of propitiation, a mighty
sacrifice productive of blessed fruit. It should always be heard by a
young monarch with his queen, for then they beget a heroic son or a
daughter to occupy a throne. This history is the high and sacred

of Dharma, Artha, and also of Moksha; it hath been so said by Vyasa
himself of mind that is immeasurable. This history is recited in the
present age and will be recited in the future. They that hear it, read,
have sons and servants always obedient to them and doing their behests.
All sins that are committed by body, word, or mind, immediately leave

that hear this history. They who hear, without the spirit of fault

the story of the birth of the Bharata princes, can have no fear of
maladies, let alone the fear of the other world.

"For extending the fame of the high-souled Pandavas and of other
Kshatriyas versed in all branches of knowledge, high spirited, and

known in the world for their achievements, Krishna-Dwaipayana, guided

by the desire of doing good to the world, hath composed this work. It

excellent, productive of fame, grants length of life, is sacred and
heavenly. He who, from desire of acquiring religious merit, causeth

history to be heard by sacred Brahmanas, acquireth great merit and

that is inexhaustible. He that reciteth the famous generation of the

becometh immediately purified and acquireth a large family himself, and
becometh respected in the world. That Brahmana who regularly studies

sacred Bharata for the four months of the rainy season, is cleansed

all his sins. He that has read the Bharata may be regarded as one
acquainted with the Vedas.

"This work presents an account of the gods and royal sages and sacred
regenerate Rishis, the sinless Kesava; the god of gods, Mahadeva and

goddess Parvati; the birth of Kartikeya who sprang from union of

with Mahadeva and was reared by many mothers; the greatness of

and of kine. This Bharata is a collection of all the Srutis, and is fit

be heard by every virtuous person. That learned man who reciteth it to
Brahmanas during the sacred lunations, becometh cleansed of all sins,

not caring for heaven as it were, attaineth to a union with Brahma. He
that causeth even a single foot of this poem to be heard by Brahmanas
during the performance of a Sraddha, maketh that Sraddha inexhaustible,
the Pitris becoming ever gratified with the articles once presented to
them. The sins that are committed daily by our senses or the mind,

that are committed knowingly or unknowingly by any man, are all

by hearing the Mahabharata. The history of the exalted birth of the
Bharata princes is called the Mahabharata. He who knoweth this

of the name is cleansed of all his sins. And as this history of the
Bharata race is so wonderful, that, when recited, it assuredly

mortals from all sins. The sage Krishna-Dwaipayana completed his work

three years. Rising daily and purifying himself and performing his

devotions, he composed this Mahabharata. Therefore, this should be

by Brahmanas with the formality of a vow. He who reciteth this holy
narration composed by Krishna (Vyasa) for the hearing of others, and

who hear it, in whatever state he or they may be, can never be affected

the fruit of deeds, good or bad. The man desirous of acquiring virtue
should hear it all. This is equivalent to all histories, and he that
heareth it always attaineth to purity of heart. The gratification that

deriveth from attaining to heaven is scarcely equal to that which one
deriveth from hearing this holy history. The virtuous man who with
reverence heareth it or causeth it to be heard, obtaineth the fruit of

Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. The Bharata is said to be as much a

of gems as the vast Ocean or the great mountain Meru. This history is
sacred and excellent, and is equivalent to the Vedas, worthy of being
heard, pleasing to the ear, sin-cleansing, and virtue-increasing. O
monarch, he that giveth a copy of the Bharata to one that asketh for it
doth indeed make a present of the whole earth with her belt of seas. O

of Parikshit, this pleasant narration that giveth virtue and victory I

about to recite in its entirety: listen to it. The sage Krishna-

regularly rising for three years, composed this wonderful history

Mahabharata. O bull amongst the Bharata monarchs, whatever is spoken

virtue, wealth, pleasure, and salvation may be seen elsewhere; but
whatever is not contained in this is not to be found anywhere.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a king of the name of Uparichara. That
monarch was devoted to virtue. He was very much addicted also to

That king of the Paurava race, called also Vasu, conquered the

and delightful kingdom of Chedi under instructions from Indra. Some

after, the king gave up the use of arms and, dwelling in a secluded
retreat, practised the most severe austerities. The gods with Indra at
their head once approached the monarch during this period, believing

he sought the headship of the gods, by those severe austerities of his.
The celestials, becoming objects of his sight, by soft speeches

in winning him away from his ascetic austerities.'

"The gods said, 'O lord of the earth, thou shouldst take care so that
virtue may not sustain a diminution on earth! Protected by thee, virtue
itself will in return protect the universe.' And Indra said, 'O king,
protect virtue on earth attentively and rigidly. Being virtuous, thou
shalt, for all time, behold (in after life) many sacred regions. And
though I am of Heaven, and thou art of earth, yet art thou my friend

dear to me. And, O king of men, dwell thou in that region on earth

is delightful, and aboundeth in animals, is sacred, full of wealth and
corn, is well-protected like heaven, which is of agreeable climate,

with every object of enjoyment, and blessed with fertility. And, O

of Chedi, this thy dominion is full of riches, of gems and precious

and containeth, besides, much mineral wealth. The cities and towns of

region are all devoted to virtue; the people are honest and contented;
they never lie even in jest. Sons never divide their wealth with their
fathers and are ever mindful of the welfare of their parents. Lean

are never yoked to the plough or the cart or engaged in carrying
merchandise; on the other hand, they are well-fed and fattened. In

the four orders are always engaged in their respective vocations. Let
nothing be unknown to thee that happens in the three worlds. I shall

thee a crystal car such as the celestials alone are capable of carrying
the car through mid air. Thou alone, of all mortals on earth, riding on
that best of cars, shall course through mid-air like a celestial endued
with a physical frame. I shall also give thee a triumphal garland of
unfading lotuses, with which on, in battle, thou shall not be wounded

weapons. And, O king, this blessed and incomparable garland, widely

on earth as Indra's garland, shall be thy distinctive badge.'

"The slayer of Vritra (Indra) also gave the king, for his

gratification, a
bamboo pole for protecting the honest and the peaceful. After the

of a year, the king planted it in the ground for the purpose of
worshipping the giver thereof, viz., Sakra. From that time forth, O
monarch, all kings, following Vasu's example, began to plant a pole for
the celebration of Indra's worship. After erecting the pole they decked

with golden cloth and scents and garlands and various ornaments. And

god Vasava is worshipped in due form with such garlands and ornaments.

the god, for the gratification of the illustrious Vasu, assuming the

of a swan, came himself to accept the worship thus offered. And the

beholding the auspicious worship thus made by Vasu, that first of

was delighted, and said unto him, 'Those men, and kings also, who will
worship me and joyously observe this festival of mine like the king of
Chedi, shall have glory and victory for their countries and kingdom.

cities also shall expand and be ever in joy.'

"King Vasu was thus blessed by the gratified Maghavat, the high-souled
chief of the gods. Indeed, those men who cause this festivity of Sakra

be observed with gifts of land, of gems and precious stones, become the
respected of the world. And king Vasu, the lord of Chedis bestowing

and performing great sacrifices and observing the festivity of Sakra,

much respected by Indra. And from Chedi he ruled the whole world
virtuously. And for the gratification of Indra, Vasu, the lord of the
Chedis, observed the festivity of Indra.

"And Vasu had five sons of great energy and immeasurable prowess. And

emperor installed his sons as governors of various provinces.

"And his son Vrihadratha was installed in Magadha and was known by the
name of Maharatha. Another son of his was Pratyagraha; and another,
Kusamva, who was also called Manivahana. And the two others were

and Yadu of great prowess and invincible in battle.

"These, O monarch, were the sons of that royal sage of mighty energy.

the five sons of Vasu planted kingdoms and towns after their own names

founded separate dynasties that lasted for long ages.

"And when king Vasu took his seat in that crystal car, with the gift of
Indra, and coursed through the sky, he was approached by Gandharvas and
Apsaras (the celestial singers and dancers). And as he coursed through

upper regions, he was called Uparichara. And by his capital flowed a

called Suktimati. And that river was once attacked by a life-endued
mountain called Kolahala maddened by lust. And Vasu, beholding the foul
attempt, struck the mountain with his foot. And by the indentation

by Vasu's stamp, the river came out (of the embraces of Kolahala). But

mountain begat on the river two children that were twins. And the

grateful to Vasu for his having set her free from Kolahala's embraces,
gave them both to Vasu. And the son was made the generalissimo to his
forces by Vasu, that best of royal sages and giver of wealth and

of enemies. And the daughter called Girika, was wedded by Vasu.

"And Girika, the wife of Vasu, after her menstrual course, purifying
herself by a bath, represented her state unto her lord. But that very

the Pitris of Vasu came unto that best of monarchs and foremost of wise
men, and asked him to slay deer (for their Sraddha). And the king,
thinking that the command of the Pitris should not be disobeyed, went

hunting thinking of Girika alone who was gifted with great beauty and

unto another Sri herself. And the season being the spring, the woods
within which the king was roaming, had become delightful like unto the
gardens of the king of the Gandharvas himself. There were Asokas and
Champakas and Chutas and Atimuktas in abundance: and there were

and Karnikaras and Vakulas and Divya Patalas and Patalas and Narikelas

Chandanas and Arjunas and similar other beautiful and sacred trees
resplendent with fragrant flowers and sweet fruits. And the whole

was maddened by the sweet notes of the kokila and echoed with the hum

maddened bees. And the king became possessed with desire, and he saw

his wife before him. Maddened by desire he was roaming hither and

when he saw a beautiful Asoka decked with dense foliage, its branches
covered with flowers. And the king sat at his ease in the shade of that
tree. And excited by the fragrance of the season and the charming

of the flowers around, and excited also by the delicious breeze, the

could not keep his mind away from the thought of the beautiful Girika.

beholding that a swift hawk was resting very near to him, the king,
acquainted with the subtle truths of Dharma and Artha, went unto him

said, 'Amiable one, carry thou this seed (semen) for my wife Girika and
give it unto her. Her season hath arrived.'

"The hawk, swift of speed, took it from the king and rapidly coursed
through the air. While thus passing, the hawk was seen by another of

species. Thinking that the first one was carrying meat, the second one
flew at him. The two fought with each other in the sky with their

While they were fighting, the seed fell into the waters of the Yamuna.

in those waters dwelt an Apsara of the higher rank, known by the name

Adrika, transformed by a Brahmana's curse into a fish. As soon as

seed fell into the water from the claws of the hawk, Adrika rapidly
approached and swallowed it at once. That fish was, some time after,
caught by the fishermen. And it was the tenth month of the fish's

swallowed the seed. From the stomach of that fish came out a male and a
female child of human form. The fishermen wondered much, and wending

king Uparichara (for they were his subjects) told him all. They said,

king, these two beings of human shape have been found in the body of a
fish!' The male child amongst the two was taken by Uparichara. That

afterwards became the virtuous and truthful monarch Matsya.

"After the birth of the twins, the Apsara herself became freed from her
curse. For she had been told before by the illustrious one (who had

her) that she would, while living in her piscatorial form, give birth

two children of human shape and then would be freed from the curse.

according to these words, having given birth to the two children, and

killed by the fishermen, she left her fish-form and assumed her own
celestial shape. The Apsara then rose up on the path trodden by the
Siddhas, the Rishis and the Charanas.

"The fish-smelling daughter of the Apsara in her piscatorial form was

given by the king unto the fishermen, saying, 'Let this one be thy
daughter.' That girl was known by the name of Satyavati. And gifted

great beauty and possessed of every virtue, she of agreeable smiles,

to contact with fishermen, was for some time of the fishy smell.

to serve her (foster) father she plied a boat on the waters of the


"While engaged in this vocation, Satyavati was seen one day by the

Rishi Parasara, in course of his wanderings. As she was gifted with

beauty, an object of desire even with an anchorite, and of graceful

the wise sage, as soon as he beheld her, desired to have her. And that
bull amongst Munis addressed the daughter of Vasu of celestial beauty

tapering thighs, saying, 'Accept my embraces, O blessed one!' Satyavati
replied, 'O holy one, behold the Rishis standing on either bank of the
river. Seen by them, how can I grant thy wish?'

"Thus addressed by her, the ascetic thereupon created a fog (which

not before and) which enveloped the whole region in darkness. And the
maiden, beholding the fog that was created by the great Rishi wondered
much. And the helpless one became suffused with the blushes of

And she said, 'O holy one, note that I am a maiden under the control of

father. O sinless one, by accepting your embraces my virginity will be
sullied. O best of Brahmanas, my virginity being sullied, how shall I,

Rishi, be able to return home? Indeed, I shall not then be able to bear
life. Reflecting upon all this, O illustrious one, do that which should

done.' That best of Rishis, gratified with all she said, replied, 'Thou
shall remain a virgin even if thou grantest my wish. And, O timid one,

beauteous lady, solicit the boon that thou desirest. O thou of fair

my grace hath never before proved fruitless.' Thus addressed, the

asked for the boon that her body might emit a sweet scent (instead of

fish-odour that it had). And the illustrious Rishi thereupon granted

wish of her heart.

"Having obtained her boon, she became highly pleased, and her season
immediately came. And she accepted the embraces of that Rishi of

deeds. And she thenceforth became known among men by the name of
Gandhavati (the sweet-scented one). And men could perceive her scent

the distance of a yojana. And for this she was known by another name

was Yojanagandha (one who scatters her scent for a yojana all around).

the illustrious Parasara, after this, went to his own asylum.

"And Satyavati gratified with having obtained the excellent boon in
consequence of which she became sweet-scented and her virginity

unsullied conceived through Parasara's embraces. And she brought forth

very day, on an island in the Yamuna, the child begot upon her by

and gifted with great energy. And the child, with the permission of his
mother, set his mind on asceticism. And he went away saying, 'As soon

thou rememberest me when occasion comes, I shall appear unto thee.'

"And it was thus that Vyasa was born of Satyavati through Parasara. And
because he was born in an island, he was called Dwaipayana (Dwaipa or
islandborn). And the learned Dwaipayana, beholding that virtue is

to become lame by one leg each yuga (she having four legs in all) and

the period of life and the strength of men followed the yugas, and

by the desire of obtaining the favour of Brahman and the Brahmanas,
arranged the Vedas. And for this he came to be called Vyasa (the

or compiler). The boon-giving great one then taught Sumanta, Jaimini,
Paila, his son Suka, and Vaisampayana, the Vedas having the Mahabharata
for their fifth. And the compilation of the Bharata was published by

through them separately.

"Then Bhishma, of great energy and fame and of immeasurable splendour,

sprung from the component parts of the Vasus, was born in the womb of
Ganga through king Santanu. And there was a Rishi of the name of
Animandavya of great fame. And he was conversant with the

of the Vedas, was illustrious, gifted with great energy, and of great
reputation. And, accused of theft, though innocent, the old Rishi was
impaled. He thereupon summoned Dharma and told him these words, 'In my
childhood I had pierced a little fly on a blade of grass, O Dharma! I
recollect that one sin: but I cannot call to mind any other. I have,
however, since practised penances a thousandfold. Hath not that one sin
been conquered by this my asceticism? And because the killing of a
Brahmana is more heinous than that of any other living thing,

hast thou, O Dharma, been sinful. Thou shalt, therefore, be born on

in the Sudra order.' And for that curse Dharma was born a Sudra in the
form of the learned Vidura of pure body who was perfectly sinless. And

Suta was born of Kunti in her maidenhood through Surya. And he came out

his mother's womb with a natural coat of mail and face brightened by

rings. And Vishnu himself, of world-wide fame, and worshipped of all

worlds, was born of Devaki through Vasudeva, for the benefit of the

worlds. He is without birth and death, of radiant splendour, the

of the universe and the Lord of all! Indeed, he who is the invisible

of all, who knoweth no deterioration, who is the all-pervading soul,

centre round which everything moveth, the substance in which the three
attributes of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas co-inhere, the universal soul,

immutable, the material out of which hath been created this universe,

Creator himself, the controlling lord, the invisible dweller in every
object, progenitor of this universe of five elements, who is united

the six high attributes, is the Pranava or Om of the Vedas, is

incapable of being moved by any force save his own will, illustrious,

embodiment of the mode of life called Sannyasa, who floated on the

before the creation, who is the source whence hath sprung this mighty
frame, who is the great combiner, the uncreate, the invisible essence

all, the great immutable, bereft of those attributes that are knowable

the senses, who is the universe itself, without beginning, birth, and
decay,--is possessed of infinite wealth, that Grandsire of all

became incarnate in the race of the Andhaka-Vrishnis for the increase


"And Satyaki and Kritavarma, conversant with (the use of) weapons
possessed of mighty energy, well-versed in all branches of knowledge,

obedient to Narayana in everything and competent in the use of weapons,
had their births from Satyaka and Hridika. And the seed of the great

Bharadwaja of severe penances, kept in a pot, began to develop. And

that seed came Drona (the pot-born). And from the seed of Gautama,

upon a clump of reeds, were born two that were twins, the mother of
Aswatthaman (called Kripi), and Kripa of great strength. Then was born
Dhrishtadyumna, of the splendour of Agni himself, from the sacrificial
fire. And the mighty hero was born with bow in hand for the destruction

Drona. And from the sacrificial altar was born Krishna (Draupadi)
resplendent and handsome, of bright features and excellent beauty. Then
was born the disciple of Prahlada, viz., Nagnajit, and also Suvala. And
from Suvala was born a son, Sakuni, who from the curse of the gods

the slayer of creatures and the foe of virtue. And unto him was also

a daughter (Gandhari), the mother of Duryodhana. And both were well-

in the arts of acquiring worldly profits. And from Krishna was born, in
the soil of Vichitravirya, Dhritarashtra, the lord of men, and Pandu of
great strength. And from Dwaipayana also born, in the Sudra caste, the
wise and intelligent Vidura, conversant with both religion and profit,

free from all sins. And unto Pandu by his two wives were born five sons
like the celestials. The eldest of them was Yudhishthira. And

was born (of the seed) of Dharma (Yama, the god of justice); and Bhima

the wolf's stomach was born of Marut (the god of wind), and Dhananjaya,
blessed with good fortune and the first of all wielders of weapons, was
born of Indra; and Nakula and Sahadeva, of handsome features and ever
engaged in the service of their superiors, were born of the twin

And unto the wise Dhritarashtra were born a hundred sons, viz.,

and others, and another, named Yuyutsu, who was born of a vaisya woman.
And amongst those hundred and one, eleven, viz., Duhsasana, Duhsaha,
Durmarshana, Vikarna, Chitrasena, Vivinsati, Jaya, Satyavrata,

and Yuyutsu by a Vaisya wife, were all Maharathas (great car-warriors).
And Abhimanyu was born of Subhadra, the sister of Vasudeva through

and was, therefore, the grandson of the illustrious Pandu. And unto the
five Pandavas were born five sons by (their common wife) Panchali. And
these princes were all very handsome and conversant with all branches

knowledge. From Yudhishthira was born Pritivindhya; from Vrikodara,
Sutasoma; from Arjuna, Srutakirti; from Nakula, Satanika; and from
Sahadeva, Srutasena of great prowess; and Bhima, in the forest begot on
Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. And from Drupada was born a daughter
Sikhandin who was afterwards transformed into a male child. Sikhandini

so transformed into a male by Yaksha named Sthuna from the desire of

her good.

"In that great battle of the Kurus came hundreds of thousands of

for fighting against one another. The names of the innumerable host I

unable to recount even in ten thousand years. I have named, however,

principal ones who have been mentioned in this history.'"


(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, those thou hast named and those thou

not named, I wish to hear of them in detail, as also of other kings by
thousands. And, O thou of great good fortune, it behoveth thee to tell

in full the object for which those Maharathas, equal unto the

themselves, were born on earth.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that what

askest is a mystery even to the gods. I shall, however, speak of it

thee, after bowing down (to the self-born). The son of Jamadagni
(Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth bereft of

wended to that best of mountains Mahendra and there began his ascetic
penances. And at that time when the earth was bereft of Kshatriyas, the
Kshatriya ladies, desirous of offspring, used to come, O monarch, to

Brahmanas and Brahmanas of rigid vows had connection with them during

womanly season alone, but never, O king, lustfully and out of season.

Kshatriya ladies by thousands conceived from such connection with
Brahmanas. Then, O monarch, were born many Kshatriyas of greater

boys and girls, so that the Kshatriya race, might thrive. And thus

the Kshatriya race from Kshatriya ladies by Brahmanas of ascetic

And the new generation, blessed with long life, began to thrive in

And thus were the four orders having Brahmanas at their head re-
established. And every man at that time went in unto his wife during

season and never from lust and out of season. And, O bull of the

race, in the same way, other creatures also, even those born in the

of birds went in unto their wives during the season alone. And, O
protector of the earth, hundreds of thousands of creatures were born,

all were virtuous and began to multiply in virtue, all being free from
sorrow and disease. And, O thou of the elephant's tread, this wide

having the ocean for her boundaries, with her mountains and woods and
towns, was once more governed by the Kshatriyas. And when the earth

to be again governed virtuously by the Kshatriyas, the other orders

Brahmanas for their first were filled with great joy. And the kings

up all vices born of lust and anger and justly awarding punishments to
those that deserved them protected the earth. And he of a hundred
sacrifices, possessed also of a thousand eyes, beholding that the
Kshatriya monarchs ruled so virtuously, poured down vivifying showers

proper times and places and blessed all creatures. Then, O king, no one

immature years died, and none knew a woman before attaining to age. And
thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the earth, to the very coasts of the
ocean, became filled with men that were all long-lived. The Kshatriyas
performed great sacrifices bestowing much wealth. And the Brahmanas

all studied the Vedas with their branches and the Upanishads. And, O

no Brahmana in those days ever sold the Vedas (i.e., taught for money)

ever read aloud the Vedas in the presence of a Sudra. The Vaisyas, with
the help of bullocks, caused the earth to be tilled. And they never

the cattle themselves. And they fed with care all cattle that were

And men never milked kine as long as the calves drank only the milk of
their dams (without having taken to grass or any other food). And no
merchant in those days ever sold his articles by false scales. And, O
tiger among men, all persons, holding to the ways of virtue, did
everything with eyes set upon virtue. And, O monarch, all the orders

mindful of their own respective duties. Thus, O tiger among men, virtue

those days never sustained any diminution. And, O bull of the Bharata

both kine and women gave birth to their offspring at the proper time.

trees bore flowers and fruit duly according to the seasons. And thus, O
king, the krita age having then duly set in, the whole earth was filled
with numerous creatures.

"And, O bull of the Bharata race, when such was the blessed state of

terrestrial world, the Asuras, O lord of men, began to be born in

lines. And the sons of Diti (Daityas) being repeatedly defeated in war

the sons of Aditi (celestials) and deprived also of sovereignty and

began to be incarnated on the earth. And, O king, the Asuras being
possessed of great powers, and desirous of sovereignty began to be born

earth amongst various creatures, such as kine, horses, asses, camels,
buffaloes, among creatures such as Rakshasas and others, and among
elephants and deer. And, O protector of the earth, owing to those

born and to those that were being born, the earth became incapable of
supporting herself. And amongst the sons of Diti and of Danu, cast out

heaven, some were born on the earth as kings of great pride and

Possessed of great energy, they covered the earth in various shapes.
Capable of oppressing all foes, they filled the earth having the ocean

its boundaries. And by their strength they began to oppress Brahmanas

Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras and all other creatures also.

and killing all creatures, they traversed the earth, O king, in bands

hundreds and thousands. Devoid of truth and virtue, proud of their
strength, and intoxicated with (the wine of) insolence, they even

the great Rishis in their hermitages.

"And the earth, thus oppressed by the mighty Asuras endued with great
strength and energy and possessed of abundant means, began to think of
waiting on Brahman. The united strength of the creatures (such as

the Tortoise, and the huge Elephant), and of many Seshas too, became
capable of supporting the earth with her mountains, burdened as she was
with the weight of the Danavas. And then, O king, the earth, oppressed
with weight and afflicted with fear, sought the protection of the
Grandsire of all creatures. And she beheld the divine Brahman--the

of the worlds who knoweth no deterioration--surrounded by the gods,
Brahmanas, and great Rishis, of exceeding good fortune, and adored by
delighted Gandharvas and Apsaras always engaged in the service of the
celestials. And the Earth, desirous of protection, then represented
everything to him, in the presence, O Bharata, of all the Regents of

worlds. But, O king, the Earth's object had been known beforehand to

Omniscient, Self-create, and Supreme Lord. And, O Bharata, Creator as

is of the universe, why should he not know fully what is in the minds

his creatures including the very gods and the Asuras? O king, the Lord

the Earth, the Creator of all creatures, also called Isa, Sambhu,
Prajapati, then spake unto her. And Brahman said, 'O holder of wealth,

the accomplishment of the object for which thou hast approached me, I
shall appoint all the dwellers in the heavens.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Earth, O king, the
divine Brahman bade her farewell. And the Creator then commanded all

gods saying, 'To ease the Earth of her burden, go ye and have your

in her according to your respective parts and seek ye strife (with the
Asuras already born there)'. And the Creator of all, summoning also all
the tribes of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, spake unto them these

of deep import, 'Go ye and be born amongst men according to your
respective parts in forms that ye like.'

"And all the gods with Indra, on hearing these words of the Lord of the
celestials--words that were true, desirable under the circumstances,

fraught with benefit,--accepted them. And they all having resolved to

down on earth in their respected parts, then went to Narayana, the

of all foes, at Vaikunth--the one who has the discus and the mace in

hands, who is clad in purple, who is of great splendour, who hath the
lotus on his navel, who is the slayer of the foes of the gods, who is

eyes looking down upon his wide chest (in yoga attitude), who is the

of the Prajapati himself, the sovereign of all the gods, of mighty
strength, who hath the mark of the auspicious whirl on his breast, who

the mover of every one's faculties and who is adored by all the gods.

Indra the most exalted of persons, addressed, saying, 'Be incarnate.'

Hari replied,--'Let it be.'"


(Sambhava Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Indra had a consultation with Narayana about

latter's descent on the earth from heaven with all the gods according

their respective parts. And, having commanded all the dwellers in

Indra returned from the abode of Narayana. And the dwellers in heaven
gradually became incarnate on earth for the destruction of the Asuras

for the welfare of the three worlds. And then, O tiger among kings, the
celestials had their births, according as they pleased, in the races of
Brahmarshis and royal sages. And they slew the Danavas, Rakshasas,
Gandharvas and Snakes, other man-eaters, and many other creatures. And,

bull in the Bharata race, the Danavas, Rakshasas and Gandharvas and

could not slay the incarnate celestials even in their infancy, so

they were.'

"Janamejaya said, 'I desire to hear from the beginning of the births of
the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, men, Yakshas and
Rakshasas. Therefore, it behoveth thee to tell me about the births of


"Vaisampayana said, 'Indeed, I shall, having bowed down to the Self-

tell thee in detail the origin of the celestials and other creatures.

is known that Brahman hath six spiritual sons, viz., Marichi, Atri,
Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha and Kratu. And Marichi's son is Kasyapa, and
from Kasyapa have sprung these creatures. Unto Daksha (one of the
Prajapatis) were born thirteen daughters of great good fortune. The
daughters of Daksha are, O tiger among men and prince of the Bharata

Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kala, Danayu, Sinhika, Krodha, Pradha, Viswa,

Kapila, Muni, and Kadru. The sons and grandsons of these, gifted with
great energy, are countless. From Aditi have sprung the twelve Adityas

are the lords of the universe. And, O Bharata, as they are according to
their names, I shall recount them to thee. They are Dhatri, Mitra,

Sakra, Varuna, Ansa, Vaga, Vivaswat, Usha, Savitri, Tvashtri, and

The youngest, however, is superior to them all in merit. Diti had one

called Hiranyakasipu. And the illustrious Hiranyakasipu had five sons,

famous throughout the world. The eldest of them all was Prahlada, the

was Sahradha; the third was Anuhrada; and after him were Sivi and

And, O Bharata, it is known everywhere that Prahlada had three sons.

were Virochana, Kumbha, and Nikumbha. And unto Virochana was born a

Vali, of great prowess. And the son of Vali is known to be the great

Vana. And blessed with good fortune, Vana was a follower of Rudra, and

known also by the name of Mahakala. And Danu had forty sons, O Bharata!
The eldest of them all was Viprachitti of great fame Samvara, and

and Pauloman; Asiloman, and Kesi and Durjaya; Ayahsiras, Aswasiras, and
the powerful Aswasanku; also Gaganamardhan, and Vegavat, and he called
Ketumat; Swarbhanu, Aswa, Aswapati, Vrishaparvan, and then Ajaka; and
Aswagriva, and Sukshama, and Tuhunda of great strength, Ekapada, and
Ekachakra, Virupaksha, Mahodara, and Nichandra, and Nikumbha, Kupata,

then Kapata; Sarabha, and Sulabha, Surya, and then Chandramas; these in
the race of Danu are stated to be well-known. The Surya and Chandramas
(the Sun and the Moon) of the celestials are other persons, and not the
sons of Danu as mentioned above. The following ten, gifted with great
strength and vigour, were also, O king, born in the race of Danu;--

Amritapa of heroic courage, Pralamva and Naraka, Vatrapi, Satrutapana,

Satha, the great Asura; Gavishtha, and Vanayu, and the Danava called
Dirghajiva. And, O Bharata, the sons and the grandsons of these were

to be countless. And Sinhika gave birth to Rahu, the persecutor of the

and the Moon, and to three others, Suchandra, Chandrahantri, and
Chandrapramardana. And the countless progeny of Krura (krodha) were as
crooked and wicked as herself. And the tribe was wrathful, of crooked
deeds, and persecutors of their foes. And Danayu also had four sons who
were bulls among the Asuras. They were Vikshara, Vala, Vira, and Vritra
the great Asura. And the sons of Kala were all like Yama himself and
smiter of all foes. And they were of great energy, and oppressors of

foes. And the sons of Kala were Vinasana and Krodha, and then

and Krodhasatru. And there were many others among the sons of Kala. And
Sukra, the son of a Rishi, was the chief priest of the Asuras. And the
celebrated Sukra had four sons who were priests of the Asuras. And they
were Tashtadhara and Atri, and two others of fierce deeds. They were

the Sun himself in energy, and set their hearts on acquiring the

of Brahman.

"Thus hath been recited by me, as heard in the Purana, of progeny of

gods and the Asuras, both of great strength and energy. I am incapable,

king, of counting the descendants of these, countless as they are, are

much known to fame.

"And the sons of Vinata were Tarkhya and Arishtanemi, and Garuda and

and Aruni and Varuni. And Sesha of Ananta, Vasuki, Takshaka, Kumara,

Kulika are known to be the sons of Kadru; and Bhimasena, Ugrasena,

Varuna, Gopati, and Dhritarashtra, and Suryavarchas the seventh,
Satyavachas, Arkaparna, Prayuta, Bhima, and Chitraratha known to fame,

great learning, and a controller of his passions, and then Kalisiras,

O king, Parjanya, the fourteenth in the list, Kali, the fifteenth, and
Narada, the sixteenth--these Devas and Gandharvas are known to be the

of Muni (Daksha's daughter as mentioned before). I shall recount many
others, O Bharata! Anavadya Manu, Vansa, Asura, Marganapria, Anupa,
Subhaga, Vasi, were the daughters brought forth by Pradha, Siddha, and
Purna, and Varhin, and Purnayus of great fame, Brahmacharin, Ratiguna,

Suparna who was the seventh; Viswavasu, Bhanu, and Suchandra who was

tenth, were also the sons of Pradha. All these were celestial

And it is also known that this Pradha of great fortune, through the
celestial Rishi (Kasyapa, her husband), brought forth the sacred of the
Apsaras, Alamvusha, Misrakesi, Vidyutparna, Tilottama, Aruna, Rakshita,
Rambha, Manorama, Kesini, Suvahu, Surata, Suraja, and Supria were the
daughters, and Ativahu and the celebrated Haha and Huhu, and Tumvuru

the sons--the best of Gandharvas--of Pradha and Amrita. The Brahmanas,
kine, Gandharvas, and Apsaras, were born of Kapila as stated in the


"Thus hath been recited to thee by me the birth of all creatures duly-

Gandharvas and Apsaras, of Snakes, Suparnas, Rudras, and Maruts; of

and of Brahmanas blessed with great good fortune, and of sacred deeds.

this account (if read) extendeth the span of life, is sacred, worthy of
all praise, and giveth pleasure to the ear. It should be always heard

recited to others, in a proper frame of mind.

"He who duly readeth this account of the birth of all high-souled
creatures in the presence of the gods and Brahmanas, obtaineth large
progeny, good fortune, and fame, and attaineth also to excellent worlds


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'It is known that the spiritual sons of Brahman

the six great Rishis (already mentioned). There was another of the name

Sthanu. And the sons of Sthanu, gifted with great energy, were, it is
known, eleven. They were Mrigavayadha, Sarpa, Niriti of great fame:
Ajaikapat, Ahivradhna, and Pinaki, the oppressor of foes; Dahana and
Iswara, and Kapali of great splendour; and Sthanu, and the illustrious
Bharga. These are called the eleven Rudras. It hath been already said,
that Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, and Kratu--these six

Rishis of great energy--are the sons of Brahman. It is well-known in

world that Angiras's sons are three,--Vrihaspati, Utathya, and

all of rigid vows. And, O king, it is said that the sons of Atri are
numerous. And, being great Rishis, they are all conversant with the

crowned with ascetic success, and of souls in perfect peace. And, O

among kings, the sons of Pulastya of great wisdom are Rakshasas,

Kinnaras (half-men and half-horses), and Yakshas. And, O king, the son

Pulaha were, it is said, the Salabhas (the winged insects), the lions,

Kimpurushas (half-lions and half-men), the tigers, bears, and wolves.

the sons of Kratu, sacred as sacrifices, are the companions of Surya,

Valikhilyas, known in three worlds and devoted to truth and vows. And,

protector of the Earth, the illustrious Rishi Daksha, of soul in

peace, and of great asceticism, sprung from the right toe of Brahman.

from the left toe of Brahman sprang the wife of the high-souled Daksha.
And the Muni begat upon her fifty daughters; and all those daughters

of faultless features and limbs and of eyes like lotus-petals. And the
lord Daksha, not having any sons, made those daughters his Putrikas (so
that their sons might belong both to himself and to their husbands).

Daksha bestowed, according to the sacred ordinance, ten of his

on Dharma, twenty-seven on Chandra (the Moon), and thirteen on Kasyapa.
Listen as I recount the wives of Dharma according to their names. They

ten in all--Kirti, Lakshmi, Dhriti, Medha, Pushti, Sraddha, Kria,

Lajja, and Mali. These are the wives of Dharma as appointed by the

create. It is known also throughout the world that the wives of Soma
(Moon) are twenty-seven. And the wives of Soma, all of sacred vows, are
employed in indicating time; and they are the Nakshatras and the

and they became so for assisting the courses of the worlds.

"And Brahman had another son named Manu. And Manu had a son of the name

Prajapati. And the sons of Prajapati were eight and were called Vasus

I shall name in detail. They were Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Aha, Anila,

Pratyusha, and Prabhasa. These eight are known as the Vasus. Of these,
Dhara and the truth-knowing Dhruva were born of Dhumra; Chandramas

and Swasana (Anila) were born of the intelligent Swasa; Aha was the son

Rata; and Hutasana (Anala) of Sandilya; and Pratyusha and Prabhasa were
the sons of Prabhata. And Dhara had two sons, Dravina and Huta-havya-

And the son of Dhruva is the illustrious Kala (Time), the destroyer of

worlds. And Soma's son is the resplendent Varchas. And Varchas begot

his wife Manohara three sons--Sisira, and Ramana. And the son of Aha

Jyotih, Sama, Santa, and also Muni. And the son of Agni is the handsome
Kumara born in a forest of reeds. And, he is also called Kartikeya

he was reared by Krittika and others. And, after Kartikeya, there were
born his three brothers Sakha, Visakha, Naigameya. And the wife of

is Siva, and Siva's son were Manojava and Avijnataagati. These two were
the sons of Anila. The son of Pratyusha, you must know, is the Rishi

Devala; and Devala had two sons who were both exceedingly forgiving and

great mental power. And the sister of Vrihaspati, the first of women,
uttering the sacred truth, engaged in ascetic penances, roamed over the
whole earth; and she became the wife of Prabhasa, the eighth Vasu. And

brought forth the illustrious Viswakarman, the founder of all arts. And

was the originator of a thousand arts, the engineer of the immortals,

maker of all kinds of ornaments, and the first of artists. And he it

who constructed the celestial cars of the gods, and mankind are enabled

live in consequence of the inventions of that illustrious one. And he

worshipped, for that reason, by men. And he is eternal and immutable,


"And the illustrious Dharma, the dispenser of all happiness, assuming a
human countenance, came out through the right breast of Brahman. And
Ahasta (Dharma) hath three excellent sons capable of charming every
creature. And they are Sama, Kama, Harsha (Peace, Desire, and Joy). And

their energy they are supporting the worlds. And the wife of Kama is

of Sama is Prapti; and the wife of Harsha is Nanda. And upon them,

are the worlds made to depend.

"And the son of Marichi is Kasyapa. And Kasyapa's offspring are the

and the Asuras. And, therefore, is Kasyapa, the Father of the worlds.

Tvashtri, of the form of Vadava (a mare), became the wife of Savitri.

she gave birth, in the skies, to two greatly fortunate twins, the

And, O king, the sons of Aditi are twelve with Indra heading them all.

the youngest of them all was Vishnu upon whom the worlds depend.

"These are the thirty-three gods (the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras,

twelve Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara). I shall now recount their
progeny according to their Pakshas, Kulas, and Ganas. The Rudras, the
Saddhyas, the Maruts, the Vasus, the Bhargavas, and the Viswedevas are
each reckoned as a Paksha. Garuda the son of Vinata and the mighty

also, and the illustrious Vrihaspati are reckoned among the Adityas.

twin Aswins, all annual plants, and all inferior animals, are reckoned
among the Guhyakas.

"These are the Ganas of the gods recited to thee, O king! This

washes men of all sins.

"The illustrious Bhrigu came out, ripping open the breast of Brahman.

learned Sukra is Bhrigu's son. And the learned Sukra becoming a planet

engaged according to the command of the Self-existent in pouring and
withholding rain, and in dispensing and remitting calamities,

for sustaining the lives of all the creatures in the three worlds,

the skies. And the learned Sukra, of great intelligence and wisdom, of
rigid vows, leading the life of a Brahmacharin, divided himself in

by power of asceticism, and became the spiritual guide of both the

and the gods. And after Sukra was thus employed by Brahman in seeking

welfare (of the gods and the Asuras), Bhrigu begot another excellent

This was Chyavana who was like the blazing sun, of virtuous soul, and

great fame. And he came out of his mother's womb in anger and became

cause of his mother's release, O king (from the hands of the

And Arushi, the daughter of Manu, became the wife of the wise Chyavana.
And, on her was begotten Aurva of great reputation. And he came out,
ripping open the thigh of Arushi. And Aurva begot Richika. And Richika
even in his boyhood became possessed of great power and energy, and of
every virtue. And Richika begot Jamadagni. And the high-souled

had four sons. And the youngest of them all was Rama (Parasurama). And
Rama was superior to all his brothers in the possession of good

And he was skilful in all weapons, and became the slayer of the

And he had his passions under complete control. And Aurva had a hundred
sons with Jamadagni the eldest. And these hundred sons had offspring by
thousands spread over this earth.

"And Brahman had two other sons, viz., Dhatri and Vidhatri who stayed

Manu. Their sister is the auspicious Lakshmi having her abode amid

And the spiritual sons of Lakshmi are the sky-ranging horses. And the
daughter born of Sukra, named Divi, became the eldest wife of Varuna.

her were born a son named Vala and a daughter named Sura (wine), to the
joy of the gods. And Adharma (Sin) was born when creatures (from want

food) began to devour one another. And Adharma always destroys every
creature. And Adharma hath Niriti for his wife, whence the Rakshasas

are called Nairitas (offspring of Niriti). And she hath also three

cruel sons always engaged in sinful deeds. They are Bhaya (fear),
Mahabhaya (terror), and Mrityu (Death) who is always engaged in slaying
every created thing. And, as he is all-destroying, he hath no wife, and

son. And Tamra brought forth five daughters known throughout the

They are Kaki (crow), Syeni (hawk), Phasi (hen), Dhritarashtri (goose),
and Suki (parrot). And Kaki brought forth the crows; Syeni, the hawks,

cocks and vultures; Dhritarashtri, all ducks and swans; and she also
brought forth all Chakravakas; and the fair Suki, of amiable qualities,
and possessing all auspicious signs brought forth all the parrots. And
Krodha gave birth to nine daughters, all of wrathful disposition. And
their names were Mrigi, Mrigamanda, Hari, Bhadramana, Matangi, Sarduli,
Sweta, Surabhi, and the agreeable Surasa blessed with every virtue.

And, O
foremost of men, the offspring of Mrigi are all animals of the deer
species. And the offspring of Mrigamanda are all animals of the bear
species and those called Srimara (sweet-footed). And Bhadramana begot

celestial elephants, Airavata. And the offspring of Hari are all

of the simian species endued with great activity, so also all the

And those animals also, that are called Go-langula (the cow-tailed),

said to be the offspring of Hari. And Sarduli begot lions and tigers in
numbers, and also leopards and all other strong animals. And, O king,

offspring of Matangi are all the elephants. And Sweta begat the large
elephant known by the name of Sweta, endued with great speed. And, O

Surabhi gave birth to two daughters, the amiable Rohini and the far-

Gandharvi. And, O Bharata, she had also two other daughters named

and Anala. From Rohini have sprung all kine, and from Gandharvi all
animals of the horse species. And Anala begat the seven kinds of trees
yielding pulpy fruits. (They are the date, the palm, the hintala, the

the little date, the nut, and the cocoanut.) And she had also another
daughter called Suki (the mother of the parrot species). And Surasa

bore a
son called Kanka (a species of long-feathered birds). And Syeni, the

of Aruna, gave birth to two sons of great energy and strength, named
Sampati and the mighty Jatayu. Surasa also bore the Nagas, and Kadru,

Punnagas (snakes). And Vinata had two sons Garuda and Aruna, known far

wide. And, O king of men, O foremost of intelligent persons, thus hath

genealogy of all the principal creatures been fully described by me. By
listening to this, a man is fully cleansed of all his sins, and

great knowledge, and finally attaineth to the first of states in after-


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O worshipful one, I wish to hear from thee in detail
about the birth, among men, of the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas,

Rakshasas, the lions, the tigers, and the other animals, the snakes,

birds, and in fact, of all creatures. I wish also to hear about the

and achievements of those, in due order, after they became incarnate in
human forms.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king of men, I shall first tell thee all about
those celestials and Danavas that were born among men--The first of
Danavas, who was known by the name of Viprachitti, became that bull

men, noted as Jarasandha. And, O king, that son of Diti, who was known

Hiranyakasipu, was known in this world among men as the powerful

He who had been known as Samhlada, the younger brother of Prahlada,

among men the famous Salya, that bull amongst Valhikas. The spirited
Anuhlada who had been the youngest became noted in the world as
Dhrishtaketu. And, O king, that son of Diti who had been known as Sivi
became on earth the famous monarch Druma. And he who was known as the
great Asura Vashkala became on earth the great Bhagadatta. The five

Asuras gifted with great energy, Ayahsira, Aswasira, the spirited

Gaganamurdhan, and Vegavat, were all born in the royal line of Kekaya

all became great monarchs. That other Asura of mighty energy who was

by the name of Ketumat became on earth the monarch Amitaujas of

deeds. That great Asura who was known as Swarbhanu became on earth the
monarch Ugrasena of fierce deeds. That great Asura who was known as

became on earth the monarch Asoka of exceeding energy and invincible in
battle. And, O king, the younger brother of Aswa who was known as

a son of Diti, became on earth the mighty monarch Hardikya. The great

fortunate Asura who was known as Vrishaparvan became noted on earth as
king Dirghaprajna. And, O king, the younger brother of Vrishaparvan who
was known by the name of Ajaka became noted on earth as king Salwa. The
powerful and mighty Asura who was known as Aswagriva became noted on

as king Rochamana. And, O king, the Asura who was known as Sukshma,

with great intelligence and whose achievements also were great, became

earth the famous king Vrihadratha. And that first of Asuras who was

by the name of Tuhunda, became noted on earth as the monarch,

That Asura of great strength who was known as Ishupa became the monarch
Nagnajita of famous prowess. The great Asura who was known as Ekachakra
became noted on earth as Pritivindhya. The great Asura Virupaksha

of displaying various modes of fight became noted on earth as king
Chitravarman. The first of Danavas, the heroic Hara, who humbled the

of all foes became on earth the famous and fortunate Suvahu. The Asura
Suhtra of great energy and the destroyer of foemen, became noted on

as the fortunate monarch, Munjakesa. That Asura of great intelligence
called Nikumbha, who was never vanquished in battle was born on earth

king Devadhipa, the first among monarchs. That great Asura known

the sons of Diti by the name of Sarabha became on earth the royal sage
called Paurava. And, O king, the great Asura of exceeding energy, the
fortunate Kupatha, was born on earth as the famous monarch Suparswa.

great Asura, O king, who was called Kratha, was born on earth as the

sage Parvateya of form resplendent like a golden mountain. He amongst

Asura who was known as Salabha the second, became on earth the monarch
Prahlada in the country of the Valhikas. The foremost, among the sons

Diti known by the name of Chandra and handsome as the lord of the stars
himself, became on earth noted as Chandravarman, the king of the

That bull amongst the Danavas who was known by the name of Arka became

earth, O king, the royal sage Rishika. That best of Asuras who was

as Mritapa became on earth, O best of kings, the monarch,

That great Asura of surpassing energy known as Garishtha became noted

earth as king Drumasena. The great Asura who was known as Mayura became
noted on earth as the monarch Viswa. He who was the younger brother of
Mayura and called Suparna became noted on earth as the monarch,

The mighty Asura who was known as Chandrahantri became on earth the

sage Sunaka. The great Asura who was called Chandravinasana became

on earth as the monarch, Janaki. That bull amongst the Danavas, O

of the Kuru race, who was called Dhirghajihva, became noted on earth as
Kasiraja. The Graha who was brought forth by Sinhika and who persecuted
the Sun and the Moon became noted on earth as the monarch Kratha. The
eldest of the four sons of Danayu, who was known by the name of

became known on earth the spirited monarch, Vasumitra. The second

of Vikshara, the great Asura, was born on earth as the king of the

called Pandya. That best of Asuras who was known by the name of Valina
became on earth the monarch Paundramatsyaka. And, O king, that great

who was known as Vritra became on earth the royal sage known by the

of Manimat. That Asura who was the younger brother of Vritra and known

Krodhahantri became noted on earth as king Danda. That other Asura who

known by the name Krodhavardhana became noted on earth as the monarch,
Dandadhara. The eight sons of the Kaleyas that were born on earth all
became great kings endued with the prowess of tigers. The eldest of

all became king Jayatsena in Magadha. The second of them, in prowess,

Indra, became noted on earth as Aparajita. The third of them, endued

great energy and power of producing deception, was born on earth as the
king of the Nishadas gifted with great prowess. That other amongst them
who was known as the fourth was noted on earth as Srenimat, that best

royal sages. That great Asura amongst them who was the fifth, became

on earth as king Mahanjas, the oppressor of enemies. That great Asura
possessing great intelligence who was the sixth of them became noted on
earth as Abhiru, that best of royal sages. The seventh of them became
known throughout earth, from the centre to the sea, as king Samudrasena
well acquainted with the truths of the scriptures. The eighth of the
Kaleyas known as Vrihat became on earth a virtuous king ever engaged in
the good of all creatures. The mighty Danava known by the name of

became on earth as Parvatiya from his brightness as of a golden

The mighty Asura Krathana gifted with great energy became noted on

as the monarch Suryaksha. The great Asura of handsome features known by
the name of Surya, became on earth the monarch of the Valhikas by name
Darada, that foremost of all kings. And, O king, from the tribe of

called Krodhavasa, of whom I have already spoken to thee, were born

heroic kings on earth. Madraka, and Karnaveshta, Siddhartha, and also
Kitaka; Suvira, and Suvahu, and Mahavira, and also Valhika, Kratha,
Vichitra, Suratha, and the handsome king Nila; and Chiravasa, and
Bhumipala; and Dantavakra, and he who was called Durjaya; that tiger
amongst kings named Rukmi; and king Janamejaya, Ashada, and Vayuvega,

also Bhuritejas; Ekalavya, and Sumitra, Vatadhana, and also Gomukha;

tribe of kings called the Karushakas, and also Khemadhurti; Srutayu,

Udvaha, and also Vrihatsena; Kshema, Ugratirtha, the king of the

and Matimat, and he was known as king Iswara; these first of kings were
all born of the Asura class called Krodhavasa.

"There was also born on earth a mighty Asura known amongst the Danavas

the name of Kalanemi, endued with great strength, of grand

and blessed with a large share of prosperity. He became the mighty son

Ugrasena and was known on earth by the name of Kansa. And he who was

among the Asuras by the name of Devaka and was besides in splendour

unto Indra himself, was born on earth as the foremost king of the
Gandharvas. And, O monarch, know thou that Drona, the son of

not born of any woman, sprung from a portion of the celestial Rishi
Vrihaspati of grand achievements. And he was the prince of all bowmen,
conversant with all weapons, of mighty achievements, of great energy.

shouldst know he was also well-acquainted with the Vedas and the

of arms. And he was of wonderful deeds and the pride of his race. And,

king, his son the heroic Aswatthaman, of eyes like the lotus-petals,
gifted with surpassing energy, and the terror of all foes, the great
oppressor of all enemies, was born on earth, of the united portions of
Mahadeva, Yama, Kama, and Krodha. And from the curse of Vasishtha and

command also of Indra, the eight Vasus were born of Ganga by her

Santanu. The youngest of them was Bhishma, the dispeller of the fears

the Kurus, gifted with great intelligence, conversant with the Vedas,

first speakers, and the thinner of the enemy's ranks. And possessed of
mighty energy and the first of all persons acquainted with weapons, he
encountered the illustrious Rama himself, the son of Jamadagni of the
Bhrigu race. And, O king, that Brahman sage who, on earth, was known by
the name of Kripa and was the embodiment of all manliness was born of

tribe of the Rudras. And the mighty chariot-fighter and king who on

was known by the name of Sakuni, that crusher of foes, thou shouldst

O king, was Dwapara himself (the third yuga). And he who was Satyaki of
sure aim, that upholder of the pride of Vrishni race, that oppressor of
foes, begotten of the portion of gods called the Maruts. And that royal
sage Drupada who on earth was a monarch, the first among all persons
bearing arms, was also born of the same tribe of the celestials. And, O
king, thou shouldst also know that Kritavarman, that prince among men,

deeds unsurpassed by any one, and the foremost of all bulls amongst
Kshatriyas, was born of the portion of the same celestials. And that

sage also, Virata by name, the scorcher of the kingdoms of others, and

great oppressor of all foes, was born of the portion of the same gods.
That son of Arishta who was known by the name of Hansa, was born in the
Kuru race and became the monarch of the Gandharvas. He who was known as
Dhritarashtra born of the seed of Krishna-Dwaipayana, and gifted with

arms and great energy, also a monarch, of the prophetic eye, became

in consequence of the fault of his mother and the wrath of the Rishi.

younger brother who was possessed of great strength and was really a

being known as Pandu, devoted to truth and virtue, was Purity's self.

O king, thou shouldst know that he who was known on earth as Vidura,

was the first of all virtuous men, who was the god of Justice himself,

the excellent and greatly fortunate son of the Rishi Atri. The evil-

and wicked king Duryodhana, the destroyer of the fair fame of the

was born of a portion of Kali on earth. He it was who caused all

to be slain and the earth to be wasted; and he it was who fanned the

of hostility that ultimately consumed all. They who had been the sons

Pulastya (the Rakshasas) were born on earth among men of Duryodhana's
brothers, that century of wicked individuals commencing with Duhasasana

their first. And, O bull among the Bharata princes, Durmukha, Duhsaha,

others whose names I do not mention, who always supported Duryodhana

all his schemes), were, indeed, the sons of Pulastya. And over and

these hundred, Dhritarashtra had one son named Yuyutsu born of a Vaisya

"Janamejaya said, 'O illustrious one, tell me the names of

sons according to the order of their birth beginning from the eldest.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, they are as follows: Duryodhana, and

and also Duhsasana; Duhsaha and Duhshala, and then Durmukha; Vivinsati,
and Vikarna, Jalasandha, Sulochna, Vinda and Anuvinda, Durdharsha,

Dushpradharshana; Durmarshana, and Dushkarna, and Karna; Chitra and
Vipachitra, Chitraksha, Charuchitra, and Angada, Durmada, and
Dushpradharsha, Vivitsu, Vikata, Sama; Urananabha, and Padmanabha,

and Upanandaka; Sanapati, Sushena, Kundodara; Mahodara; Chitravahu, and
Chitravarman, Suvarman, Durvirochana; Ayovahu, Mahavahu, Chitrachapa

Sukundala, Bhimavega, Bhimavala, Valaki, Bhimavikrama, Ugrayudha,
Bhimaeara, Kanakayu, Dridhayudha, Dridhavarman, Dridhakshatra

Anadara; Jarasandha, Dridhasandha, Satyasandha, Sahasravaeh;

Ugrasena, and Kshemamurti; Aprajita, Panditaka, Visalaksha, Duradhara,
Dridhahasta, and Suhasta, Vatavega, and Suvarchasa; Adityaketu,

Nagadatta and Anuyaina; Nishangi, Kuvachi, Dandi, Dandadhara,

Ugra, Bhimaratha, Vira, Viravahu, Alolupa; Abhaya, and Raudrakarman,

he who was Dridharatha; Anadhrishya, Kundaveda, Viravi, Dhirghalochana;
Dirghavahu; Mahavahu; Vyudhoru, Kanakangana; Kundaja and Chitraka.

was also a daughter named Duhsala who was over and above the hundred.

Yuyutsu who was Dhritarashtra's son by a Vaisya wife, was also over and
above the hundred. Thus, O king, have I recited the names of the

sons and also that of the daughter (of Dhritarashtra). Thou hast now

their names according to the order of their births. All of them were
heroes and great car-warriors, and skilled in the art of warfare.

all of them were versed in the Vedas, and, O king, all of them had got
through the scriptures. All of them were mighty in attack and defence,

all were graced with learning. And, O monarch, all of them had wives
suitable to them in grace and accomplishments. And, O king, when the

came, the Kaurava monarch bestowed his daughter Duhsala on Jayadratha,

king of the Sindhus, agreeably to the counsels of Sakuni.

"And, O monarch, learn that king Yudhishthira was a portion of Dharma;
that Bhimasena was of the deity of wind; that Arjuna was of Indra, the
chief of the celestials; and that Nakula and Sahadeva, the handsomest
beings among all creatures, and unrivalled for beauty on earth, were
similarly portions of the twin Aswins. And he who was known as the

Varchas, the son of Soma, became Abhimanyu of wonderful deeds, the son

Arjuna. And before his incarnation, O king, the god Soma had said these
words to the celestials, 'I cannot give (part with) my son. He is

to me than life itself. Let this be the compact and let it be not
transgressed. The destruction of the Asuras on earth is the work of the
celestials, and, therefore, it is our work as well. Let this Varchas,
therefore, go thither, but let him not stay there long. Nara, whose
companion is Narayana, will be born as Indra's son and indeed, will be
known as Arjuna, the mighty son of Pandu. This boy of mine shall be his
son and become a mighty car-warrior in his boyhood. And let him, ye

of immortals, stay on earth for sixteen years. And when he attaineth to
his sixteenth year, the battle shall take place in which all who are

of your portions shall achieve the destruction of mighty warriors. But

certain encounter shall take place without both Nara and Narayana

any part in it). And, indeed, your portions, ye celestials, shall

having made that disposition of the forces which is known by the name

the Chakra-vyuha. And my son shall compel all foes to retreat before

The boy of mighty arms having penetrated the impenetrable array, shall
range within it fearlessly and send a fourth part of the hostile force,

course of half a day, unto the regions of the king of the dead. Then

numberless heroes and mighty car-warriors will return to the charge
towards the close of the day, my boy of mighty arms, shall reappear

me. And he shall beget one heroic son in his line, who shall continue

almost extinct Bharata race.' Hearing these words of Soma, the dwellers

heaven replied, 'So be it.' And then all together applauded and

(Soma) the king of stars. Thus, O king, have I recited to thee the
(particulars of the) birth of thy father's father.

"Know also, O monarch, that the mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna was a
portion of Agni. And know also that Sikhandin, who was at first a

was (the incarnation of) a Rakshasa. And, O bull in Bharata's race,

who became the five sons of Draupadi, those bulls amongst the Bharata
princes, were the celestials known as the Viswas. Their names were
Pritivindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakirti, Satanika, Nakula, and Srutasena,
endued with mighty energy.

"Sura, the foremost of the Yadus, was the father of Vasudeva. He had a
daughter called Pritha, who for her beauty, was unrivalled on earth.

Sura, having promised in the presence of fire that he would give his
firstborn child to Kuntibhoja, the son of his paternal aunt, who was
without offspring, gave his daughter unto the monarch in expectation of
his favours. Kuntibhoja thereupon made her his daughter. And she

thenceforth, in the house of her (adoptive) father, engaged in

upon Brahmanas and guests. One day she had to wait upon the wrathful
ascetic of rigid vows, Durvasa by name, acquainted with truth and fully
conversant with the mysteries of religion. And Pritha with all possible
care gratified the wrathful Rishi with soul under complete control. The
holy one, gratified with the attentions bestowed on him by the maiden,
told her, 'I am satisfied, O fortunate one, with thee! By this mantra
(that I am about to give thee), thou shall be able to summon (to thy

whatever celestials thou likest. And, by their grace, shall thou also
obtain children.' Thus addressed, the girl (a little while after),

with curiosity, summoned, during the period of her maiden-hood, the god
Surya. And the lord of light thereupon made her conceive and begot on

a son who became the first of all wielders of weapons. From fear of
relatives she brought forth in secrecy that child who had come out with
ear-rings and coat of mail. And he was gifted with the beauty of a
celestial infant, and in splendour was like unto the maker of day

And every part of his body was symmetrical and well-adorned. And Kunti
cast the handsome child into the water. But the child thus thrown into

water was taken up by the excellent husband of Radha and given by him

his wife to be adopted by her as their son. And the couple gave him the
name of Vasusena, by which appellation the child soon became known all
over the land. And, as he grew up, he became very strong and excelled

all weapons. The first of all successful persons, he soon mastered the
sciences. And when the intelligent one having truth for his strength
recited the Vedas, there was nothing he would not then give to the
Brahmanas. At that time Indra, the originator of all things, moved by

desire of benefiting his own son Arjuna, assumed the guise of a

came to him, and begged of the hero his ear-rings and natural armour.

the hero taking off his ear-rings and armour gave them unto the

And Sakra (accepting the gift) presented to the giver a dart, surprised
(at his open handedness), and addressed him in these words, 'O

one, amongst the celestials, Asuras, men, Gandharvas, Nagas, and

he at whom thou hurlest (this weapon), that one shall certainly be

And the son of Surya was at first known in the world by the name of
Vasusena. But, for his deeds, he subsequently came to be called Karna.

because that hero of great fame had taken off his natural armour,
therefore was he--the first son of Pritha--called Karna. And, O best of
kings, the hero began to grow up in the Suta caste. And, O king, know

that Karna--the first of all exalted men--the foremost of all wielders

weapons--the slayer of foes--and the best portion of the maker of day-

the friend and counsellor of Duryodhana. And he, called Vasudeva,

with great valour, was among men a portion of him called Narayana--the

of gods--eternal. And Valadeva of exceeding strength was a portion of

Naga, Sesha. And, O monarch, know that Pradyumna of great energy was
Sanatkumara. And in this way the portion of various other dwellers in
heaven became exalted men in the race of Vasudeva, increasing the glory
thereof. And, O king, the portions of the tribe of Apsaras which I have
mentioned already, also became incarnate on earth according to Indra's
commands--And sixteen thousand portions of those goddesses became, O

in this world of men, the wives of Vasudeva. And a portion of Sri

became incarnate on earth, for the gratification of Narayana, in the

of Bhishmaka. And she was by name the chaste Rukmini. And the faultless
Draupadi, slender-waisted like the wasp, was born of a portion of Sachi
(the queen of the celestials), in the line of Drupada. And she was

low nor tall in stature. And she was of the fragrance of the blue

of eyes large as lotus-petals, of thighs fair and round, of dense

of black curly hair. And endued with every auspicious feature and of
complexion like that of the emerald, she became the charmer of the

of five foremost of men. And the two goddesses Siddhi and Dhriti became
the mothers of those five, and were called Kunti and Madri. And she who
was Mati became the daughter (Gandhari) of Suvala.

"Thus, O king, have I recited to thee all about the incarnation,

to their respective portions, of the gods, the Asuras, the Gandharvas,

Apsaras, and of the Rakshasas. They who were born on earth as monarchs
invincible in battle, those high-souled ones who were born in the wide
extended line of the Yadus, they who were born as mighty monarchs in

lines, they who were born as Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, have
all been recited by me duly. And this account of the incarnation (of
superior beings according to their respective portions) capable of
bestowing wealth, fame, offspring, long life, and success, should

be listened to in a proper frame of mind. And having listened to this
account of incarnation, according to their portions, of gods,

and Rakshasas, the hearer becoming acquainted with the creation,
preservation, and destruction of the universe and acquiring wisdom, is
never cast down even under the most engrossing sorrows.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, I have, indeed, heard from thee this
account of the incarnation, according to their portions, of the gods,

Danavas, the Rakshasas, and also of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras. I
however, again desire to hear of the dynasty of the Kurus from the very
beginning. Therefore, O Brahmana, speak of this in the presence of all
these regenerate Rishis.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O exalted one of Bharata's race, the founder of

Paurava line was Dushmanta gifted with great energy. And he was the
protector of the earth bounded by the four seas. And that king had full
sway over four quarters of this world. And he was the lord also of

regions in the midst of the sea. And that great oppressor of all foes

sway over the countries even of the Mlechchhas.

"And during his rule there were no men of mixed castes, no tillers of

soil (for the land, of itself, yielded produce), no workers of mines

the surface of the earth yielded in abundance), and no sinful men. All
were virtuous, and did everything from virtuous motives, O tiger among

There was no fear of thieves, O dear one, no fear of famine, no fear of
disease. And all four orders took pleasure in doing their respective
duties and never performed religious acts for obtaining fruition of
desires. And his subjects, depending upon him, never entertained any

And Parjanya (Indra) poured showers at the proper time, and the produce

the fields was always pulpy and juicy. And the earth was full of all

of wealth and all kinds of animals. And the Brahmanas were always

in their duties and they were always truthful. And the youthful monarch
was endued with wonderful prowess and a physical frame hard as the
thunderbolt, so that he could, taking up the mountain Mandara with its
forests and bushes, support it on his arms. And he was well-skilled in
four kinds of encounters with the mace (hurling it at foes at a

striking at those that are near, whirling it in the midst of many, and
driving the foe before). And he was skilled also in the use of all

of weapons and in riding elephants and horses. And in strength he was

unto Vishnu, in splendour like unto the maker of day, in gravity like

the ocean, and in patience, like unto the earth. And the monarch was

by all his subjects, and he ruled his contented people virtuously.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'I desire to hear from thee about the birth and life

the high-souled Bharata and of the origin of Sakuntala. And, O holy

one, I
also desire to hear all about Dushmanta--that lion among men--and how

hero obtained Sakuntala. It behoveth thee, O knower of truth and the

of all intelligent men, to tell me everything.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Once on a time (king Dushmanta) of mighty arms,
accompanied by a large force, went into the forest. And he took with

hundreds of horses and elephants. And the force that accompanied the
monarch was of four kinds (foot-soldiers, car-warriors, cavalry, and
elephants)--heroes armed with swords and darts and bearing in their

maces and stout clubs. And surrounded by hundreds of warriors with

and spears in their hands, the monarch set out on his journey. And with
the leonine roars of the warriors and the notes of conchs and sound of
drums, with the rattle of the car-wheels and shrieks of huge elephants,
all mingling with the neighing of horses and the clash of weapons of

variously armed attendants in diverse dresses, there arose a deafening
tumult while the king was on his march. And ladies gifted with great
beauty beheld from the terraces of goodly mansions that heroic monarch,
the achiever of his own fame. And the ladies saw that he was like unto
Sakra, the slayer of his enemies, capable of repulsing the elephants of
foes--And they believed that he was the wielder of the thunderbolt

And they said, 'This is that tiger among men who in battle is equal

the Vasus in prowess, and in consequence of the might of whose arms no
foes are left.' And saying this, the ladies from affection gratified

monarch by showering flowers on his head. And followed by foremost of
Brahmanas uttering blessings all the way, the king in great gladness of
heart went towards the forest, eager for slaying the deer. And many
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras, followed the monarch who

like unto the king of the celestials seated on the back of a proud
elephant. The citizens and other classes followed the monarch for some
distance. And they at last refrained from going farther at the command

the king. And the king, then, ascending his chariot of winged speed,
filled the whole earth and even the heavens, with the rattle of his
chariot wheels. And, as he went, he saw around him a forest like unto
Nandana itself (the celestial garden). And it was full of Vilwa, Arka,
Khadira (catechu), Kapittha (wood-apple) and Dhava trees. And he saw

the soil was uneven and scattered over with blocks of stone loosened

the neighbouring cliffs. And he saw that it was without water and

human beings and lay extended for many Yojanas around. And it was full

deer, and lions, and other terrible beasts of prey.

"And king Dushmanta, that tiger among men, assisted by his followers

the warriors in his train, agitated that forest, killing numerous

And Dushmanta, piercing them with his arrows, felled numerous tigers

were within shooting range. And the king wounded many that were too
distant, and killed many that were too near with his heavy sword. And

foremost of all wielders of darts killed many by hurling his darts at

And well-conversant with the art of whirling the mace, the king of
immeasurable prowess fearlessly wandered over the forest. And the king
roamed about, killing the denizens of the wilderness sometimes with his
sword and sometimes by fast-descending blows of his mace and heavy


"And when the forest was so disturbed by the king possessed of

energy and by the warriors in his train delighting in warlike sports,

lions began to desert it in numbers. And herds of animals deprived of
their leaders, from fear and anxiety began to utter loud cries as they
fled in all directions. And fatigued with running, they began to fall

on all sides, unable to slake their thirst, having reached river-beds

were perfectly dry. And many so falling were eaten up by the hungry
warriors. While others were eaten up after having been duly quartered

roasted in fires lit up by them. And many strong elephants, maddened

the wounds they received and alarmed beyond measure, fled with trunks
raised on high. And those wild elephants, betraying the usual symptoms

alarm by urinating and ejecting the contents of their stomachs and
vomiting blood in large quantities, trampled, as they ran, many

to death. And that forest which had been full of animals, was by the

with his bands of followers and with sharp weapons soon made bereft of
lions and tigers and other monarchs of the wilderness.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the king with his followers, having killed
thousands of animals, entered another forest with a view to hunting.

attended by a single follower and fatigued with hunger and thirst, he

upon a large desert on the frontiers of the forest. And having crossed
this herbless plain, the king came upon another forest full of the
retreats of ascetics, beautiful to look at, delightful to the heart and

cool agreeable breezes. And it was full of trees covered with blossoms,
the soil overgrown with the softest and greenest grass, extending for

miles around, and echoing with the sweet notes of winged warblers. And

resounded with the notes of the male Kokila and of the shrill cicala.

it was full of magnificent trees with outstretched branches forming a
shady canopy overhead. And the bees hovered over flowery creepers all
around. And there were beautiful bowers in every place. And there was

tree without fruits, none that had prickles on it, none that had no

swarming around it. And the whole forest resounded with the melody of
winged choristers. And it was decked with the flowers of every season.

there were refreshing shades of blossoming trees.

"Such was the delicious and excellent forest that the great bowman

And trees with branches beautified with clusters began to wave gently

the soft breeze and rain their flowers over the monarch's head. And the
trees, clad in their flowery attires of all colours, with sweet-

warblers perched on them, stood there in rows with heads touching the

heavens. And around their branches hanging down with the weight of

the bees tempted by the honey hummed in sweet chorus. And the king,

with great energy, beholding innumerable spots covered with bowers of
creepers decked with clusters of flowers, from excess of gladness,

very much charmed. And the forest was exceedingly beautiful in

of those trees ranged around with flowery branches twining with each

and looking like so many rainbows for gaudiness and variety of colour.

it was the resort of bands of Siddhas, of the Charanas, of tribes of
Gandharvas, and Apsaras, of monkeys and Kinnaras drunk with delight.
Delicious cool, and fragrant breezes, conveying the fragrance from

flowers, blew in all directions as if they had come there to sport with
the trees. And the king saw that charming forest gifted with such

And it was situated in a delta of the river, and the cluster of high

standing together lent the place the look of a gaudy pole erected to
Indra's honour.

"And in that forest which was the resort of ever cheerful birds, the
monarch saw a delightful and charming retreat of ascetics. And there

many trees around it. And the sacred fire was burning within it. And

king worshipped that unrivalled retreat. And he saw seated in it

Yotis, Valakhilyas and other Munis. And it was adorned with many

containing sacrificial fire. And the flowers dropping from the trees

formed a thick carpet spread over the ground. And the spot looked
exceedingly beautiful with those tall trees of large trunks. And by it
flowed, O king, the sacred and transparent Malini with every species of
water-fowl playing on its bosom. And that stream infused gladness into

hearts of the ascetics who resorted to it for purposes of ablutions.

the king beheld on its banks many innocent animals of the deer species

was exceedingly delighted with all that he saw.

"And the monarch, the course of whose chariot no foe could obstruct,

entered that asylum which was like unto the region of the celestials,
being exceedingly beautiful all over. And the king saw that it stood on
the margin of the sacred stream which was like the mother of all the
living creatures residing in its vicinage. And on its bank sported the
Chakravaka, and waves of milkwhite foam. And there stood also the
habitations of Kinnaras. And monkeys and bears too disported themselves

numbers. And there lived also holy ascetics engaged in studies and
meditation. And there could be seen also elephants and tigers and

And it was on the banks of that stream that the excellent asylum of the
illustrious Kasyapa stood, offering a home to numerous Rishis of great
ascetic merit. And beholding that river, and also the asylum washed by
that river which was studded with many islands and which possessed

of so much beauty,--an asylum like unto that of Nara and Narayana laved

the water of the Ganga--the king resolved to enter into that sacred

And that bull among men, desirous of beholding the great Rishi of

wealth, the illustrious Kanwa of the race of Kasyapa, one who possessed
every virtue and who, for his splendour, could be gazed at with

approached that forest resounding with the notes of maddened peacocks

like unto the gardens of the great Gandharva, Chitraratha, himself. And
halting his army consisting of flags, cavalry, infantry, and elephants

the entrance of the forest, the monarch spoke as follows, 'I shall go

behold the mighty ascetic of Kasyapa's race, one who is without

Stay ye here until my return!'

"And the king having entered that forest which was like unto Indra's
garden, soon forgot his hunger and thirst. And he was pleased beyond
measure. And the monarch, laying aside all signs of royalty, entered

excellent asylum with but his minister and his priest, desirous of
beholding that Rishi who was an indestructible mass of ascetic merit.

the king saw that the asylum was like unto the region of Brahman. Here
were bees sweetly humming and there were winged warblers of various
species pouring forth their melodies. At particular places that tiger
among men heard the chanting of Rik hymns by first-rate Brahmanas
according to the just rules of intonation. Other places again were

with Brahmanas acquainted with ordinances of sacrifice, of the Angas

of the hymns of the Yajurveda. Other places again were filled with the
harmonious strains of Saman hymns sung by vow-observing Rishis. At

places the asylum was decked with Brahmanas learned in the Atharvan

At other places again Brahmanas learned in the Atharvan Veda and those
capable of chanting the sacrificial hymns of the Saman were reciting

Samhitas according to the just rules of voice. And at other places

other Brahmanas well-acquainted with the science of orthoepy were

mantras of other kinds. In fact, that sacred retreat resounding with

holy notes was like unto a second region of Brahman himself. And there
were many Brahmanas skilled in the art of making sacrificial platforms

in the rules of Krama in sacrifices, conversant with logic and the

sciences, and possessing a complete knowledge of the Vedas. There were
those also who were fully acquainted with the meanings of all kinds of
expressions; those that were conversant with all special rites, those

that were followers of Moksha-Dharma; those again that were well-

in establishing propositions; rejecting superfluous causes, and drawing
right conclusions. There were those having a knowledge of the science

words (grammar), of prosody, of Nirukta; those again that were

with astrology and learned in the properties of matter and the fruits

sacrificial rites, possessing a knowledge of causes and effects,

of understanding the cries of birds and monkeys, well-read in large
treatises, and skilled in various sciences. And the king, as he

heard their voices. And the retreat resounded also with voice of men
capable of charming human hearts. And the slayer of hostile heroes also
saw around him learned Brahmanas of rigid vows engaged in Japa (the
repeated muttering of the names of gods) and Homa (burnt-offering). And
the king wondered much on beholding the beautiful carpets which those
Brahmanas offered to him respectfully. And that best of monarchs, at

sight of the rites with which those Brahmanas worshipped the gods and

great Rishis, thought within himself that he was in the region of

And the more the king saw that auspicious and sacred asylum of Kasyapa
protected by that Rishi's ascetic virtues and possessing all the
requisites of a holy retreat, the more he desired to see it. In fact,

was not satisfied with his short survey. And the slayer of heroes at

accompanied by his minister and his priest, entered that charming and
sacred retreat of Kasyapa inhabited all around by Rishis of ascetic

and exalted vows.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch then, as he proceeded, left even his
reduced retinue at the entrance of the hermitage. And entering quite

he saw not the Rishi (Kanwa) of rigid vows. And not seeing the Rishi

finding that the abode was empty, he called loudly, saying, 'What ho,

is here?' And the sound of his voice was echoed back. And hearing the
sound of his voice, there came out of the Rishi's abode a maiden

as Sri herself but dressed as an ascetic's daughter. And the black-eyed
fair one, as she saw king Dushmanta, bade him welcome and received him
duly. And, showing him due respect by the offer of a seat, water to

his feet, and Arghya, she enquired about the monarch's health and

And having worshipped the king and asked him about his health and

the maiden reverentially asked, 'What must be done, O king! I await

commands.' The king, duly worshipped by her, said unto that maiden of
faultless features and sweet speech, 'I have come to worship the

blessed Rishi Kanwa. Tell me, O amiable and beautiful one, where has

illustrious Rishi gone?'

"Sakuntala then answered, 'My illustrious father hath gone away from

asylum to fetch fruit. Wait but a moment and thou wilt see him when he

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The king not seeing the Rishi and addressed

by her, beheld that the maiden was exceedingly beautiful and endued

perfect symmetry of shape. And he saw that she was of sweet smiles. And
she stood decked with the beauty of her faultless features, her ascetic
penances, and her humility. And he saw that she was in the bloom of

He therefore asked her, 'Who art thou? And whose daughter, O beautiful
one? Why hast thou come into the woods also? O handsome one, gifted

so much beauty and such virtues, whence hast thou come? O charming one,

the very first glance hast thou stolen my heart! I desire to learn all
about thee; therefore tell me all.' And thus addressed by the monarch,

maiden smilingly replied in these sweet words, 'O Dushmanta, I am the
daughter of the virtuous, wise, high-souled, and illustrious ascetic

"Dushmanta, hearing this, replied, 'The universally-worshipped and

blessed Rishi is one whose seed hath been drawn up. Even Dharma himself
might fall off from his course but an ascetic of rigid vows can never

off so. Therefore, O thou of the fairest complexion, how hast thou been
born as his daughter? This great doubt of mine it behoveth thee to

"Sakuntala then replied, 'Hear, O king, what I have learnt regarding

that befell me of old and how I became the daughter of the Muni. Once

on a
time, a Rishi came here and asked about my birth. All that the

one (Kanwa) told him, hear now from me, O king!

"My father Kanwa, in answer to that Rishi's enquiries, said,

of old, having been engaged in the austerest penances alarmed Indra,

chief of the celestials, who thought that the mighty ascetic of blazing
energy would, by his penances, hurl him down from his high seat in

Indra, thus alarmed, summoned Menaka and told her, 'Thou, O Menaka, art
the first of celestial Apsaras. Therefore, O amiable one, do me this
service. Hear what I say. This great ascetic Viswamitra like unto the

in splendour, is engaged in the most severe of penances. My heart is
trembling with fear. Indeed, O slender-waisted Menaka, this is thy
business. Thou must see that Viswamitra of soul rapt in contemplation

engaged in the austerest penances, who might hurl me down from my seat.

and tempt him and frustrating his continued austerities accomplish my

Win him away from his penances, O beautiful one, by tempting him with

beauty, youth, agreeableness, arts, smiles and speech.' Hearing all

Menaka replied, 'The illustrious Viswamitra is endued with great energy
and is a mighty ascetic. He is very short-tempered too, as is known to
thee. The energy, penances, and wrath of the high-souled one have made
even thee anxious. Why should I not also be anxious? He it was who made
even the illustrious Vasishtha bear the pangs of witnessing the

death of his children. He it was who, though at first born as

subsequently became a Brahmana by virtue of his ascetic penances. He it
was who, for purposes of his ablutions, created a deep river that can

difficulty be forded, and which sacred stream is known by the name of

Kausiki. It was Viswamitra whose wife, in a season of distress, was
maintained by the royal sage Matanga (Trisanku) who was then living

a father's curse as a hunter. It was Viswamitra who, on returning after
the famine was over, changed the name of the stream having his asylum

Kausik into Para. It was Viswamitra who in return for the services of
Matanga, himself became the latter's priest for purposes of a

The lord of the celestials himself went through fear to drink the Soma
juice. It was Viswamitra who in anger created a second world and

stars beginning with Sravana. He it was who granted protection to

smarting under a superior's curse. I am frightened to approach him of

deeds. Tell me, O Indra, the means that should be adopted so that I may
not be burnt by his wrath. He can burn the three worlds by his

can, by a stamp (of his foot), cause the earth to quake. He can sever

great Meru from the earth and hurl it to any distance. He can go round

ten points of the earth in a moment. How can a woman like me even touch
such a one full of ascetic virtues, like unto a blazing fire, and

his passions under complete control? His mouth is like unto a blazing

the pupils of his eyes are like the Sun and the Moon; his tongue is

unto Yama himself. How shall, O chief of the celestials, a woman like

even touch him? At the thought of his prowess Yama, Soma, the great

the Saddhyas, the Viswas, Valakhilyas, are terrified! How can a woman

me gaze at him without alarm? Commanded, however, by thee, O king of

celestials, I shall somehow approach that Rishi. But, O chief of the

devise thou some plan whereby protected by thee, I may safely move

that Rishi. I think that when I begin to play before the Rishi, Marut

god of wind) had better go there and rob me of my dress, and Manmatha

god of love) had also, at thy command, better help me then. Let also

on that occasion bear thither fragrance from the woods to tempt the
Rishi.' Saying this and seeing that all she had spoken about had been
duly provided, Menaka went to the retreat of the great Kausika."


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Kanwa continued, 'And Sakra, thus addressed by her, then commanded him
who could approach every place (viz., the god of the wind) to be

with Menaka at the time she would be before the Rishi. And the timid

beautiful Menaka then entered the retreat and saw there Viswamitra who

burnt, by his penances, all his sins, and was engaged still in ascetic
penances. And saluting the Rishi, she then began to sport before him.

just at that time Marut robbed her of her garments that were white as

Moon. And she thereupon ran, as if in great bashfulness, to catch hold

her attire, and as if she was exceedingly annoyed with Marut. And she

all this before the very eyes of Viswamitra who was endued with energy
like that of fire. And Viswamitra saw her in that attitude. And

her divested of her robes, he saw that she was of faultless feature.

that best of Munis saw that she was exceedingly handsome, with no marks

age on her person. And beholding her beauty and accomplishments that

amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and made a sign that he desired

companionship. And he invited her accordingly, and she also of

features expressed her acceptance of the invitation. And they then

a long time there in each other's company. And sporting with each

just as they pleased, for a long time as if it were only a single day,

Rishi begat on Menaka a daughter named Sakuntala. And Menaka (as her
conception advanced) went to the banks of the river Malini coursing

a valley of the charming mountains of Himavat. And there she gave birth

that daughter. And she left the new-born infant on the bank of that

and went away. And beholding the new-born infant lying in that forest
destitute of human beings but abounding with lions and tigers, a number

vultures sat around to protect it from harm. No Rakshasas or

animals took its life. Those vultures protected the daughter of Menaka.

went there to perform my ablution and beheld the infant lying in the
solitude of the wilderness surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither

have made her my daughter. Indeed, the maker of the body, the protector

life, the giver of food, are all three, fathers in their order,

to the scriptures. And because she was surrounded in the solitude of

wilderness, by Sakuntas (birds), therefore, hath she been named by me
Sakuntala (bird-protected). O Brahman, learn that it is thus that
Sakuntala hath become my daughter. And the faultless Sakuntala also
regards me as her father.'

"This is what my father had said unto the Rishi, having been asked by

O king of men, it is thus that thou must know I am the daughter of

And not knowing my real father, I regard Kanwa as my father. Thus have

told thee, O king, all that hath been heard by me regarding my birth!'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'King Dushmanta, hearing all this, said,

spoken, O princess, this that thou hast said! Be my wife, O beautiful

What shall I do for thee? Golden garlands, robes, ear-rings of gold,

and handsome pearls, from various countries, golden coins, finest

I shall present thee this very day. Let the whole of my kingdom be

today, O beautiful one! Come to me, O timid one, wedding me, O

one, according to the Gandharva form. O thou of tapering thighs, of all
forms of marriage, the Gandharva one is regarded as the first.'

"Sakuntala, hearing this, said, 'O king, my father hath gone away from
this asylum to bring fruit. Wait but a moment; he will bestow me on


"Dushmanta replied, 'O beautiful and faultless one, I desire that thou
shouldst be my life's companion. Know thou that I exist for thee, and

heart is in thee. One is certainly one's own friend, and one certainly

depend upon one's own self. Therefore, according to the ordinance, thou
canst certainly bestow thyself. There are, in all, eight kinds of
marriages. These are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura,

Rakshasa, and Paisacha, the eighth. Manu, the son of the self-create,

spoken of the appropriateness of all these forms according to their

Know, O faultless one, that the first four of these are fit for

and the first six for Kshatriyas. As regards kings, even the Rakshasa

is permissible. The Asura form is permitted to Vaisyas and Sudras. Of

first five the three are proper, the other two being improper. The
Paisacha and the Asura forms should never be practised. These are the
institutes of religion, and one should act according to them. The
Gandharva and the Rakshasa form are consistent with the practices of
Kshatriyas. Thou needst not entertain the least fear. There is not the
least doubt that either according to any one of these last-mentioned

or according to a union of both of them, our wedding may take place. O
thou of the fairest complexion, full of desire I am, thou also in a
similar mood mayst become my wife according to the Gandharva form.'

"Sakuntala, having listened to all this, answered, 'If this be the

sanctioned by religion, if, indeed, I am my own disposer, hear, O thou
foremost one of Puru's race, what my terms are. Promise truly to give

what I ask thee. The son that shall be begotten on me shall become thy
heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushmanta, if thou
grant this, then let our union take place.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The monarch, without taking time to consider

once told her, 'Let it be so. I will even take thee, O thou of

smiles, with me to my capital. I tell thee truly. O beautiful one, thou
deservest all this.' And so saying, that first of kings wedded the
handsome Sakuntala of graceful gait, and knew her as a husband. And
assuring her duly, he went away, telling her repeatedly, 'I shall send
thee, for thy escort, my troops of four classes. Indeed, it is even

that I shall take thee to my capital, O thou of sweet smiles!"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O Janamejaya, having promised so unto her,

king went away. And as he retraced his way homewards, he began to think

Kasyapa. And he asked himself, 'What will the illustrious ascetic say,
after he has known all?' Thinking of this, he entered his capital.

"The moment the king had left, Kanwa arrived at his abode. But

from a sense of shame, did not go out to receive her father. That great
ascetic, however, possessed of spiritual knowledge, knew all. Indeed
beholding everything with his spiritual eye, the illustrious one was
pleased, and addressing her, said, 'Amiable one, what hath been done by
thee today in secret, without, having waited for me--viz., intercourse
with a man--hath not been destructive of thy virtue. Indeed, union
according to the Gandharva form, of a wishful woman with a man of

desire, without mantras of any kind, it is said, is the best for
Kshatriyas. That best of men, Dushmanta, is also high-souled and

Thou hast, O Sakuntala, accepted him for thy husband. The son that

be born of thee shall be mighty and illustrious in this world. And he
shall have sway over the sea. And the forces of that illustrious king

kings, while he goeth out against his foes shall be irresistible.'

"Sakuntala then approached her fatigued father and washed his feet. And
taking down the load he had with him and placing the fruits in proper
order, she told him, 'It behoveth thee to give thy grace to that

whom I have accepted for my husband, as well as his ministers!'

"Kanwa replied, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, for thy sake I am
inclined to bless him. But receive from me, O blessed one, the boon

thou desirest.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Sakuntala, thereupon, moved by desire of
benefiting Dushmanta, asked the boon that the Paurava monarchs might

be virtuous and never deprived of their thrones.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Dushmanta had left the asylum having made

promises unto Sakuntala, the latter of tapering thighs brought forth a

of immeasurable energy. And when the child was three years old, he

in splendour like the blazing fire. And, O Janamejaya, he was possessed

beauty and magnanimity and every accomplishment. And that first of
virtuous men, Kanwa, caused all the rites of religion to be performed

respect of that intelligent child thriving day by day. And the boy

with pearly teeth and shining locks, capable of slaying lions even

with all auspicious signs on his palm, and broad expansive forehead,

up in beauty and strength. And like unto a celestial child in

he began to grow up rapidly. And when he was only six years of age,

with great strength he used to seize and bind to the trees that stood
around that asylum, lions and tigers and bears and buffaloes and

And he rode on some animals, and pursued others in sportive mood. The
dwellers at Kanwa's asylum thereupon bestowed on him a name. And they

because he seizes and restrains an animals however strong, let him, be
called Sarvadamana (the subduer of all). And it was thus that the boy

to be named Sarvadamana, endued as he was with prowess, and energy and
strength. And the Rishi seeing the boy and marking also his

acts, told Sakuntala that the time had come for his installation as the
heir-apparent. And beholding the strength of the boy, Kanwa commanded

disciples, saying, 'Bear ye without delay this Sakuntala with her son

this abode to that of her husband, blessed with every auspicious sign.
Women should not live long in the houses of their paternal or maternal
relations. Such residence is destructive of their reputation, their

conduct, their virtue. Therefore, delay not in bearing her hence.'

disciples of the Rishi thereupon, saying 'So be it,' went towards the

named after an elephant (Hastinapura) with Sakuntala and her son ahead

them. And then she of fair eye-brows, taking with her that boy of
celestial beauty, endued with eyes like lotus petals, left the woods

she had been first known by Dushmanta. And having approached the king,

with her boy resembling in splendour the rising sun was introduced to

And the disciples of the Rishi having introduced her, returned to the
asylum. And Sakuntala having worshipped the king according to proper

told him, 'This is thy son, O king! Let him be installed as thy heir-
apparent. O king, this child, like unto a celestial, hath been begotten

thee upon me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise thou

me. Call to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou

made on the occasion of thy union with me in the asylum of Kanwa.'

"The king, hearing these her words, and remembering everything said, 'I
do not remember anything. Who art thou, O wicked woman in ascetic

I do not remember having any connection with thee in respect of Dharma,
Kama and Arthas. Go or stay or do as thou pleasest.' Thus addressed by
him, the fair-coloured innocent one became abashed. Grief deprived her
of consciousness and she stood for a time like an wooden post. Soon,
however, her eyes became red like copper and her lips began to quiver.
And the glances she now and then cast upon the king seemed to burn the
latter. Her rising wrath however, and the fire of her asceticism, she
extinguished within herself by an extraordinary effort. Collecting her
thoughts in a moment, her heart possessed with sorrow and rage, she

addressed her lord in anger, looking at him, 'Knowing everything, O
monarch, how thou, like an inferior person, thus say that thou knowest
it not? Thy heart is a witness to the truth or falsehood of this

Therefore, speak truly without degrading thyself. He who being one

representeth himself as another thing to others, is like a thief and a
robber of his own self. Of what sin is he not capable? Thou thinkest
that thou alone hast knowledge of thy deed. But knowest thou not that
the Ancient, Omniscient one (Narayana) liveth in thy heart? He knoweth
all thy sins, and thou sinnest in His presence. He that sins thinks

none observes him. But he is observed by the gods and by Him also who

in every heart. The Sun, the Moon, the Air, the Fire, the Earth, the
Sky, Water, the heart, Yama, the day, the night, both twilights, and
Dharma, all witness the acts of man. Yama, the son of Surya, takes no
account of the sins of him with whom Narayana the witness of all acts,
is gratified. But he with whom Narayana is not gratified is tortured

his sins by Yama. Him who degradeth himself by representing his self
falsely, the gods never bless. Even his own soul blesseth him not. I am
a wife devoted to my husband. I have come of my own accord, it is true.
But do not, on that account, treat me with disrespect. I am thy wife
and, therefore, deserve to be treated respectfully. Wilt thou not treat
me so, because I have come hither of my own accord? In the presence of
so many, why dost thou treat me like an ordinary woman? I am not
certainly crying in the wilderness. Dost thou not hear me? But if thou
refuse to do what I supplicate thee for, O Dushmanta, thy head this
moment shall burst into a hundred pieces! The husband entering the womb
of the wife cometh out himself in the form of the son. Therefore is the
wife called by those cognisant of the Vedas as Jaya (she of whom one is
born). And the son that is so born unto persons cognisant of the Vedic
Mantras rescueth the spirits of deceased ancestors. And because the son
rescueth ancestors from the hell called Put, therefore, hath he been
called by the Self-create himself as Puttra (the rescuer from Put). By

son one conquereth the three worlds. By a son's son, one enjoyeth
eternity. And by a grandson's son great-grand-fathers enjoy everlasting
happiness. She is a true wife who is skilful in household affairs. She
is a true wife who hath borne a son. She is a true wife whose heart is
devoted to her lord. She is a true wife who knoweth none but her lord.
The wife is a man's half. The wife is the first of friends. The wife is
the root of religion, profit, and desire. The wife is the root of
salvation. They that have wives can perform religious acts. They that
have wives can lead domestic lives. They that have wives have the means
to be cheerful. They that have wives can achieve good fortune.
Sweet-speeched wives are friends on occasions of joy. They are as
fathers on occasions of religious acts. They are mothers in sickness

woe. Even in the deep woods to a traveller a wife is his refreshment

solace. He that hath a wife is trusted by all. A wife, therefore, is
one's most valuable possession. Even when the husband leaving this

goeth into the region of Yama, it is the devoted wife that accompanies
him thither. A wife going before waits for the husband. But if the
husband goeth before, the chaste wife followeth close. For these
reasons, O king, doth marriage exist. The husband enjoyeth the
companionship of the wife both in this and in the other worlds. It hath
been said by learned persons that one is himself born as one's son.
Therefore, a man whose wife hath borne a son should look upon her as

mother. Beholding the face of the son one hath begotten upon his wife,
like his own face in a mirror, one feeleth as happy as a virtuous man,
on attaining to heaven. Men scorched by mental grief, or suffering

bodily pain, feel as much refreshed in the companionship of their wives
as a perspiring person in a cool bath. No man, even in anger, should
ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife, seeing that
happiness, joy, and virtue,--everything dependeth on the wife. A wife

the sacred field in which the husband is born himself. Even Rishis
cannot create creatures without women. What happiness is greater than
what the father feeleth when the son running towards him, even though
his body be covered with dust, claspeth his limbs? Why then dost thou
treat with indifference such a son, who hath approached thee himself

who casteth wistful glances towards thee for climbing thy knees? Even
ants support their own eggs without destroying them; then why shouldst
not thou, a virtuous man that thou art, support thy own child? The

of soft sandal paste, of women, of (cool) water is not so agreeable as
the touch of one's own infant son locked in one's embrace. As a

is the foremost of all bipeds, a cow, the foremost of all quadrupeds, a
protector, the foremost of all superiors, so is the son the foremost of
all objects, agreeable to the touch. Let, therefore, this handsome

touch thee in embrace. There is nothing in the world more agreeable to
the touch than the embrace of one's son. O chastiser of foes, I have
brought forth this child, O monarch, capable of dispelling all thy
sorrows after bearing him in my womb for full three years. O monarch of
Puru's race, 'He shall perform a hundred horse-sacrifices'--these were
the words uttered from the sky when I was in the lying-in room. Indeed,
men going into places remote from their homes take up there others'
children on their laps and smelling their heads feel great happiness.
Thou knowest that Brahmanas repeat these Vedic mantras on the occasion
of the consecrating rites of infancy.--Thou art born, O son, of my

Thou art sprung from my heart. Thou art myself in the form of a son.
Live thou to a hundred years! My life dependeth on thee, and the
continuation of my race also, on thee. Therefore, O son, live thou in
great happiness to a hundred years. He hath sprung from thy body, this
second being from thee! Behold thyself in thy son, as thou beholdest

image in the clear lake. As the sacrificial fire is kindled from the
domestic one, so hath this one sprung from thee. Though one, thou hast
divided thyself. In course of hunting while engaged in pursuit of the
deer, I was approached by thee, O king, I who was then a virgin in the
asylum of my father. Urvasi, Purvachitti, Sahajanya, Menaka, Viswachi
and Ghritachi, these are the six foremost of Apsaras. Amongst them
again, Menaka, born of Brahman, is the first. Descending from heaven on
Earth, after intercourse with Viswamitra, she gave birth to me. That
celebrated Apsara, Menaka, brought me forth in a valley of Himavat.
Bereft of all affection, she went away, cast me there as if I were the
child of somebody else. What sinful act did I do, of old, in some other
life that I was in infancy cast away by my parents and at present am
cast away by thee! Put away by thee, I am ready to return to the refuge
of my father. But it behoveth thee not to cast off this child who is


"Hearing all this, Dushmanta said, 'O Sakuntala, I do not know having
begot upon thee this son. Women generally speak untruths. Who shall
believe in thy words? Destitute of all affection, the lewd Menaka is

mother, and she cast thee off on the surface of the Himavat as one

away, after the worship is over, the flowery offering made to his gods.
Thy father too of the Kshatriya race, the lustful Viswamitra, who was
tempted to become a Brahmana, is destitute of all affection. However,
Menaka is the first of Apsaras, and thy father also is the first of

Being their daughter, why dost thou speak like a lewd woman? Thy words
deserve no credit. Art thou not ashamed to speak them, especially

me? Go hence, O wicked woman in ascetic guise. Where is that foremost

great Rishis, where also is that Apsara Menaka? And why art thou, low

thou art, in the guise of an ascetic? Thy child too is grown up. Thou
sayest he is a boy, but he is very strong. How hath he soon grown like

Sala sprout? Thy birth is low. Thou speakest like a lewd woman.

hast thou been begotten by Menaka. O woman of ascetic guise, all that

sayest is quite unknown to me. I don't know thee. Go withersoever thou

"Sakuntala replied, 'Thou seest, O king, the fault of others, even

they be as small as a mustard seed. But seeing, thou noticest not thy

faults even though they be as large as the Vilwa fruit. Menaka is one

the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials.

birth, therefore, O Dushmanta, is far higher than thine. Thou walkest

the Earth, O king, but I roam in the skies! Behold, the difference

ourselves is as that between (the mountain) Meru and a mustard seed!
Behold my power, O king! I can repair to the abodes of Indra, Kuvera,

and Varuna! The saying is true which I shall refer to before thee, O
sinless one! I refer to it for example's sake and not from evil

Therefore, it behoveth thee to pardon me after thou hast heard it. An

person considereth himself handsomer than others until he sees his own
face in the mirror. But when he sees his own ugly face in the mirror,

is then that he perceiveth the difference between himself and others.

that is really handsome never taunts anybody. And he that always

evil becometh a reviler. And as the swine always look for dirt and

even when in the midst of a flower-garden, so the wicked always choose

evil out of both evil and good that others speak. Those, however, that

wise, on hearing the speeches of others that are intermixed with both

and evil, accept only what is good, like geese that always extract the
milk only, though it be mixed with water. As the honest are always

at speaking ill of others, so do the wicked always rejoice in doing the
same thing. As the honest always feel pleasure in showing regard for

old, so do the wicked always take delight in aspersing the good. The
honest are happy in not seeking for faults. The wicked are happy in
seeking for them. The wicked ever speak ill of the honest. But the

never injure the former, even if injured by them. What can be more
ridiculous in the world than that those that are themselves wicked

represent the really honest as wicked? When even atheists are annoyed

those that have fallen off from truth and virtue and who are really

angry snakes of virulent poison, what shall I say of myself who am
nurtured in faith? He that having begotten a son who is his own image,
regardeth him not, never attaineth to the worlds he coveteth, and

the gods destroy his good fortune and possessions. The Pitris have said
that the son continueth the race and the line and is, therefore, the

of all religious acts. Therefore, none should abandon a son. Manu hath
said that there are five kinds of sons; those begotten by one's self

his own wife, those obtained (as gift) from others, those purchased for

consideration, those reared with affection and those begotten upon

women than upon wedded wives. Sons support the religion and

of men, enhance their joys, and rescue deceased ancestors from hell. It
behoveth thee not, therefore, O tiger among kings, to abandon a son who

such. Therefore, O lord of Earth, cherish thy own self, truth, and

by cherishing thy son. O lion among monarchs, it behoveth thee not to
support this deceitfulness. The dedication of a tank is more

than that of a hundred wells. A sacrifice again is more meritorious

the dedication of a tank. A son is more meritorious than a sacrifice.
Truth is more meritorious than a hundred sons. A hundred horse-

had once been weighed against Truth, and Truth was found heavier than a
hundred horse-sacrifices. O king, Truth, I ween, may be equal to the

of, the entire Vedas and ablutions in all holy places. There is no

equal to Truth: there is nothing superior to Truth. O king, Truth is

himself; Truth is the highest vow. Therefore, violate not thy pledge, O
monarch! Let Truth and thee be even united. If thou placest no credit

my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship
should be avoided. But thou, O Dushmanta, that when thou art gone, this
son of mine shall rule the whole Earth surrounded by the four seas and
adorned with the king of the mountains.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Sakuntala having spoken to the monarch in

wise, left his presence. But as soon as she had left, a voice from the
skies, emanating from no visible shape, thus spoke unto Dushmanta as he
was sitting surrounded by his occasional and household priests, his
preceptors, and ministers. And the voice said, 'The mother is but the
sheath of flesh; the son sprung from the father is the father himself.
Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish thy son, and insult not Sakuntala. O

of men, the son, who is but a form of one's own seed, rescueth

from the region of Yama. Thou art the progenitor of this boy. Sakuntala
hath spoken the truth. The husband, dividing his body in twain, is born
of his wife in the form of son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish, O

thy son born of Sakuntala. To live by forsaking one's living son is a
great misfortune. Therefore, O thou of Puru's race, cherish thy high-
souled son born of Sakuntala--And because this child is to be cherished

thee even at our word, therefore shall this thy son be known by the

of Bharata (the cherished).' Hearing these words uttered by the

in heaven, the monarch of Puru's race became overjoyed and spoke as
follows unto his priests and ministers, 'Hear ye these words uttered by
the celestial messenger? I myself know this one to be my son. If I had
taken him as my son on the strength of Sakuntala's words alone, my

would have been suspicious and my son also would not have been regarded


"Vaisampayana continued, 'The monarch, then, O thou of Bharata's race,
seeing the purity of his son established by the celestial messenger,
became exceedingly glad. And he took unto him that son with joy. And

king with a joyous heart then performed all those rites upon his son

a father should perform. And the king smelt his child's head and hugged
him with affection. And the Brahmanas began to utter blessings upon him
and the bards began to applaud him. And the monarch then experienced

great delight that one feeleth at the touch of one's son. And Dushmanta
also received that wife of his with affection. And he told her these
words, pacifying her affectionately, 'O goddess, my union with thee

place privately. Therefore, I was thinking of how best to establish thy
purity. My people might think that we were only lustfully united and

as husband and wife, and therefore, this son that I would have

as my heir apparent would only have been regarded as one of impure

And dearest, every hard word thou hast uttered in thy anger, have I, O
large-eyed one, forgiven thee. Thou art my dearest!' And the royal sage
Dushmanta, having spoken thus unto his dear wife, O Bharata, received

with offerings of perfume, food, and drink. And king Dushmanta, then,
bestowed the name of Bharata upon his child, and formally installed him

the heir apparent. And the famous and bright wheels of Bharata's car,
invincible and like unto the wheels of the cars owned by the gods,
traversed every region, filling the whole Earth with their rattle. And

son of Dushmanta reduced to subjection all kings of the Earth. And he
ruled virtuously and earned great fame. And that monarch of great

was known by the titles of Chakravarti and Sarvabhauma. And he

many sacrifices like Sakra, the lord of the Maruts. And Kanwa was the
chief priest at those sacrifices, in which the offerings to Brahmanas

great. And the blessed monarch performed both the cow and the horse-
sacrifices. And Bharata gave unto Kanwa a thousand gold coins as the
sacerdotal fee. It is that Bharata from whom have emanated so many

achievements. It is from him that the great race called after him in

race are called after him. And in the Bharata race there have been born
many godlike monarchs gifted with great energy, and like unto Brahman
himself. Their number cannot be counted. But, O thou of Bharata's race,

shall name the principal ones that were blessed with great good

like unto the gods, and devoted to truth and honesty.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hear now, as I recite the recorded genealogy, that

sacred and subservient to religion, profit and pleasure, of these royal
sages--Daksha, the lord of creation, Manu, the son of Surya, Bharata,

Puru, and Ajamidha. I shall also recite to thee, O sinless one, the
genealogies of the Yadavas and of the Kurus and of the king of the

line. These genealogies are sacred and their recitation is a great act

propitiation. That recitation conferreth wealth, fame and long life.

O sinless one, all these I have named shone in their splendour and were
equal unto the great Rishis in energy.

"Prachetas had ten sons who were all devoted to asceticism and

of every virtue. They burnt, of old, by the fire emanating from their
mouths, several plants of poisonous and innumerable large trees that

covered the Earth and became a source of great discomfort to man. After
these ten, was born another named Daksha. It is from Daksha that all
creatures have sprung. Therefore is he, O tiger among men, called the
Grandfather. Born of Prachetas the Muni Daksha, uniting himself with
Virini, begat a thousand sons of rigid vows, all like himself. And

taught these thousand sons of Daksha the excellent philosophy of

as a means of salvation. And, O Janamejaya, the lord of creation,

then, from the desire of making creatures, begat fifty daughters. And

made all of them his appointed daughters (so that their sons might be

sons also for the performance of all religious acts). And he bestowed

of his daughters on Dharma, and thirteen on Kasyapa. And he gave

seven to Chandra, who are all engaged in indicating time. And Kasyapa,

son of Marichi, begat on the eldest of his thirteen wives, the Adityas,
the celestials endued with great energy and having Indra as their head

also Vivaswat (the Sun). And of Vivaswat was born the lord Yama. And
Martanda (Vivaswat) also begat another son after Yama, gifted with

intelligence and named Manu. And Manu was endued with great wisdom and
devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And in

race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been called
Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas,

and others have been descended, and are, therefore, all called Manavas.
Subsequently, O monarch, the Brahmanas became united with the

And those sons of Manu that were Brahmanas devoted themselves to the

of the Vedas. And Manu begat ten other children named Vena, Dhrishnu,
Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter
named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth. They all
betook themselves to the practices of Kshatriyas. Besides these, Manu

fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they all perished,
quarrelling with one another. The learned Pururavas was born of Ila. It
hath been heard by us that Ila was both his mother and father. And the
great Pururavas had sway over thirteen islands of the sea. And, though

human being, he was always surrounded by companions that were

And Pururavas intoxicated with power quarrelled with the Brahmanas and
little caring for their anger robbed them of their wealth. Beholding

this Sanatkumara came from the region of Brahman and gave him good

which was, however, rejected by Pururavas. Then the wrath of the great
Rishis was excited, and the avaricious monarch, who intoxicated with

had lost his reason, was immediately destroyed by their curse.

"It was Pururavas who first brought from the region of the Gandharvas

three kinds of fire (for sacrificial purpose). And he brought thence,

Apsara Urvasi also. And the son of Ila begat upon Urvasi six sons who

called Ayus, Dhimat, Amavasu and Dhridhayus, and Vanayus, and Satayus.

it is said that Ayus begat four sons named Nahusha, Vriddhasarman,
Rajingaya, and Anenas, on the daughter of Swarbhanu. And, O monarch,
Nahusha, of all the sons of Ayus, being gifted with great intelligence

prowess ruled his extensive kingdom virtuously. And king Nahusha

evenly the Pitris, the celestials, the Rishis, the Brahmanas, the
Gandharvas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, the Kshatriyas, and the Vaisyas.

he suppressed all robber-gangs with a mighty hand. But he made the

pay tribute and carry him on their backs like bests of burden. And,
conquering the very gods by the beauty of his person, his asceticism,
prowess, and energy, he ruled as if he were Indra himself. And Nahusha
begat six sons, all of sweet speech, named Yati, Yayati, Sanyati,

and Dhruva. Yati betaking himself to asceticism became a Muni like unto
Brahman himself. Yayati became a monarch of great prowess and virtue.

ruled the whole Earth, performed numerous sacrifices, worshipped the
Pitris with great reverence, and always respected the gods. And he

the whole world under his sway and was never vanquished by any foe. And
the sons of Yayati were all great bowmen and resplendent with every

And, O king, they were begotten upon (his two wives) Devayani and
Sarmishtha. And of Devayani were born Yadu and Turvasu, and of

were born Drahyu, Anu, and Puru. And, O king, having virtuously ruled

subjects for a long time, Yayati was attacked with a hideous

destroying his personal beauty. And attacked by decrepitude, the

then spoke, O Bharata, unto his sons Yadu and Puru and Turvasu and

and Anu these words, 'Ye dear sons, I wish to be a young man and to
gratify my appetites in the company of young women. Do you help me
therein.' To him his eldest son born of Devayani then said, 'What

thou, O king? Dost thou want to have your youth?' Yayati then told him,
'Accept thou my decrepitude, O son! With thy youth I would enjoy

During the time of a great sacrifice I have been cursed by the Muni
Usanas (Sukra). O son, I would enjoy myself with your youth. Take any

you this my decrepitude and with my body rule ye my kingdom. I would
enjoy myself with a renovated body. Therefore, ye my sons, take ye my
decrepitude.' But none of his sons accepted his decrepitude. Then his
youngest son Puru said unto him, 'O king, enjoy thyself thou once again
with a renovated body and returned youth! I shall take thy decrepitude
and at thy command rule thy kingdom.' Thus addressed, the royal sage,

virtue of his ascetic power then transferred his own decrepitude unto
that high-souled son of his and with the youth of Puru became a youth;
while with the monarch's age Puru ruled his kingdom.

"Then, after a thousand years had passed away, Yayati, that tiger among
kings, remained as strong and powerful as a tiger. And he enjoyed for a
long time the companionship of his two wives. And in the gardens of
Chitraratha (the king of Gandharvas), the king also enjoyed the company

the Apsara Viswachi. But even after all this, the great king found his
appetites unsatiated. The king, then recollected the following truths
contained in the Puranas, 'Truly, one's appetites are never satiated by
enjoyment. On the other hand, like sacrificial butter poured into the

they flame up with indulgence. Even if one enjoyed the whole Earth with
its wealth, diamonds and gold, animals and women, one may not yet be
satiated. It is only when man doth not commit any sin in respect of any
living thing, in thought, deed, or speech, it is then that he attaineth

purity as that of Brahman. When one feareth nothing, when one is not
feared by anything, when one wisheth for nothing, when one injureth
nothing, it is then that one attaineth to the purity of Brahman.' The

monarch seeing this and satisfied that one's appetites are never

set his mind at rest by meditation, and took back from his son his own
decrepitude. And giving him back his youth, though his own appetites

unsatiated, and installing him on the throne, he spoke unto Puru thus,
'Thou art my true heir, thou art my true son by whom my race is to be
continued. In the world shall my race be known by thy name.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then that tiger among kings, having installed
his son Puru on the throne, went away to the mount of Bhrigu for

himself to asceticism. And, having acquired great ascetic merit, after
long years, he succumbed to the inevitable influence of Time. He left

human body by observing the vow of fasting, and ascended to heaven with
his wives.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O thou of the wealth of asceticism, tell me how our
ancestor Yayati, who is the tenth from Prajapati, obtained for a wife

unobtainable daughter of Sukra. I desire to hear of it in detail. Tell

also, one after another, of those monarchs separately who were the
founders of dynasties.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Yayati was in splendour like unto

himself. I will tell thee, in reply to thy question, O Janamejaya, how
both Sukra and Vrishaparvan bestowed upon him, with due rites, their
daughters, and how his union took place with Devayani in special.

"Between the celestials and the Asuras, there happened, of yore,

encounters for the sovereignty of the three worlds with everything in

The gods, then, from desire of victory, installed the son of Angiras
(Vrihaspati) as their priest to conduct their sacrifices; while their
opponents installed the learned Usanas as their priest for the same
purpose. And between those two Brahmanas there are always much boastful
rivalry. Those Danavas assembled for encounter that were slain by the

were all revived by the seer Sukra by the power of his knowledge. And

starting again, into life,--these fought with the gods. The Asuras also
slew on the field of battle many of the celestials. But the open-minded
Vrihaspati could not revive them, because he knew not the science

Sanjivani (re-vivification) which Kavya endued with great energy knew

well. And the gods were, therefore, in great sorrow. And the gods, in
great anxiety of heart and entertaining a fear of the learned Usanas,

went to Kacha, the eldest son of Vrihaspati, and spoke unto him,

'We pay court to thee, be kind to us and do us a service that we regard

very great. That knowledge which resides in Sukra, that Brahmana of
immeasurable prowess, make thy own as soon as thou canst. Thou shalt

the Brahmana in the court of Vrishaparvan. He always protects the

but never us, their opponents. Thou art his junior in age, and,

capable of adoring him with reverence. Thou canst also adore Devayani,

favourite daughter of that high-souled Brahmana. Indeed, thou alone art
capable of propitiating them both by worship. There is none else that

do so. By gratifying Devayani with thy conduct, liberality, sweetness,

general behaviour, thou canst certainly obtain that knowledge.' The son

Vrihaspati, thus solicited by the gods, said 'So be it,' and went to

Vrishaparvan was. Kacha, thus sent by the gods, soon went to the

of the chief of the Asuras, and beheld Sukra there. And beholding him,

thus spoke unto him, 'Accept me as thy disciple. I am the grandson of

Rishi Angiras and son of Vrihaspati. By name I am known as Kacha.

becoming my preceptor, I shall practise the Brahmacharya mode of life

a thousand years. Command me, then, O Brahmana!'

"Sukra (hearing this) said, 'Welcome art thou, O Kacha! I accept thy
speech. I will treat thee with regard; for by so doing, it is

who will be regarded.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Kacha commanded by Kavya or Usanas himself,
called also Sukra, then said, 'So be it,' and took the vow he had

of. And, O Bharata, accepting the vow of which he had spoken, at the
proper time, Kacha began to conciliate regardfully both his preceptor

(his daughter) Devayani. Indeed, he began to conciliate both. And as he
was young, by singing and dancing and playing on different kinds of
instruments, he soon gratified Devayani who was herself in her youth.

O Bharata, with his whole heart set upon it, he soon gratified the

Devayani who was then a young lady, by presents of flowers and fruits

services rendered with alacrity. And Devayani also with her songs and
sweetness of manners used, while they were alone, to attend upon that
youth carrying out his vow. And when five hundred years had thus passed

Kacha's vow, the Danavas came to learn his intention. And having no
compunctions about slaying a Brahmana, they became very angry with him.
And one day they saw Kacha in a solitary part of the woods engaged in
tending (his preceptor's) kine. They then slew Kacha from their hatred

Vrihaspati and also from their desire of protecting the knowledge of
reviving the dead from being conveyed by him. And having slain him,

hacked his body into pieces and gave them to be devoured by jackals and
wolves. And (when twilight came) the kine returned to the fold without

who tended them. And Devayani, seeing the kine returned from the woods
without Kacha, spoke, O Bharata, unto her father thus:

'Thy evening-fire hath been kindled. The Sun also hath set, O father!

kine have returned without him who tendeth them. Kacha is, indeed, not

be seen. It is plain that Kacha hath been lost, or is dead. Truly do I

O father, that without him I will not live.'

"Sukra hearing this said, I will revive him by saying, 'Let this one
come.' Then having recourse to the science of reviving the dead, Sukra
summoned Kacha. And summoned by his preceptor, Kacha appeared before

in the gladness of heart tearing by virtue of his preceptor's science
the bodies of the wolves (that had devoured him). And asked about the
cause of his delay, he thus spoke unto Bhargava's daughter. Indeed,
asked by that Brahman's daughter, he told her, 'I was dead. O thou of
pure manners, burdened with sacrificial fuel, Kusa grass, and logs of
wood, I was coming towards our abode. I sat under a banian tree. The
kine also, having been brought together, were staying under the shade
of that same banian tree. The Asuras, beholding me, asked 'Who art
thou?' They heard me answer, 'I am the son of Vrihaspati.' As soon as
I said this, the Danavas slew me, and hacking my body into pieces gave
my remains to jackals and wolves. And they then went home in the
gladness of heart. O amiable one, summoned by the high-souled
Bhargava, I after all come before thee fully revived.'

"On another occasion, asked by Devayani, the Brahmana Kacha went into

woods. And as he was roving about for gathering flowers, the Danavas
beheld him. They again slew him, and pounding him into a paste they

it with the water of the ocean. Finding him long still (in coming), the
maiden again represented the matter unto her father. And summoned again

the Brahmana with the aid of his science, Kacha appearing before his
preceptor and his daughter told everything as it had happened. Then
slaying him for the third time and burning him and reducing him to

the Asuras gave those ashes to the preceptor himself, mixing them with

wine. And Devayani again spoke unto her father, saying, 'O father,

was sent to gather flowers. But he is not to be seen. It is plain he

been lost, or has died. I tell thee truly, I would not live without


"Sukra hearing this said, 'O daughter, the son of Vrihaspati hath gone

the region of the dead. Though revived by my science, he is thus slain
frequently. What, indeed, am I to do? O Devayani, do not grieve, do not
cry. One like thee should not grieve for one that is mortal. Thou art
indeed, O daughter, in consequence of my prowess, worshipped thrice a

during the ordained hours of prayer, by Brahmanas, the gods with Indra,
the Vasus, the Aswins, the Asuras, in fact, by the whole universe. It

impossible to keep him alive, for revived by me he is often killed.' To
all this Devayani replied, 'Why shall I, O father, not grieve for him
whose grandfather is old Angiras himself, whose father is Vrihaspati

is an ocean of ascetic merit, who is the grandson of a Rishi and the

also of a Rishi? He himself too was a Brahmacharin and an ascetic;

wakeful and skilled in everything. I will starve and follow the way

has gone. The handsome Kacha is, O father, dear unto me.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The great Rishi Kavya, then, afflicted by

Devayani said, cried in anger, 'Certainly, the Asuras seek to injure

for they slay my disciple that stayeth with me. These followers of

desire to divest me of my character as a Brahmana by making me

in their crime. Truly, this crime hath a terrible end. The crime of
slaying a Brahmana would even burn Indra himself.' Having said this,

Brahmana Sukra, urged by Devayani, began to summon Kacha who had

the jaws of Death. But Kacha, summoned with the aid of science, and

of the consequence to his preceptor, feebly replied from within the
stomach of his preceptor, saying, 'Be graceful unto me, O lord! I am

that worshippeth thee. Behave unto me as to thy own dearly-loved son.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Sukra then said, 'By what path, O Brahmana,

thou entered my stomach, where thou stayest now? Leaving the Asuras

very moment, I shall go over to the gods.' Kacha replied, 'By thy

memory hath not failed me. Indeed, I do recollect everything as it hath
happened. My ascetic virtues have not been destroyed. It is, therefore,
that I am able to bear this almost insufferable pain. O Kavya, slain by
the Asuras and burnt and reduced to powder, I have been given to thee

thy wine. When thou art present, O Brahmana, the art of the Asuras will
never be able to vanquish, the science of the Brahmana.'

"Hearing this, Sukra said, 'O daughter, what good can I do to thee? It

with my death that Kacha can get his life back. O Devayani, Kacha is

within me. There is no other way of his coming out except by ripping

my stomach.' Devayani replied, 'Both evils shall, like fire, burn me!

death of Kacha and thy own death are to me the same! The death of Kacha
would deprive me of life. If thou also diest, I shall not be able to

my life.' Then Sukra said, 'O son of Vrihaspati, thou art, indeed, one
already crowned with success, because Devayani regards thee so well.
Accept the science that I will today impart to thee, if, indeed, thou

not Indra in the form of Kacha. None can come out of my stomach with

A Brahmana, however, must not be slain, therefore, accept thou the

I impart to thee. Start thou into life as my son. And possessed of the
knowledge received from me, and revived by me, take care that, on

out of my body, thou dost act gracefully.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Receiving the science imparted to him by his
preceptor the handsome Kacha, ripped open his stomach, came out like

moon at evening on the fifteenth day of the bright fort-night. And
beholding the remains of his preceptor lying like a heap of penances,
Kacha revived him, aided by the science he had learned. Worshipping him
with regard, Kacha said unto his preceptor, 'Him who poureth the nectar

knowledge into one's ears, even as thou hast done into those of myself

was void of knowledge, him do I regard both as my father and mother.

remembering the immense service done by him, who is there so ungrateful

to injure him? They that, having acquired knowledge, injure their
preceptor who is always an object of worship, who is the giver of
knowledge, who is the most precious of all precious objects on Earth,

to be hated on Earth and finally go to the regions of the sinful.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The learned Sukra, having been deceived while
under the influence of wine, and remembering the total loss of
consciousness that is one of the terrible consequences of drink, and
beholding too before him the handsome Kacha whom he had, in a state of
unconsciousness, drunk with his wine, then thought of effecting a

in the manners of Brahmanas. The high-souled Usanas rising up from the
ground in anger, then spoke as follows: "The wretched Brahmana who from
this day, unable to resist the temptation, will drink wine shall be
regarded as having lost his virtue, shall be reckoned to have committed
the sin of slaying a Brahmana, shall be hated both in this and the

worlds. I set this limit to the conduct and dignity of Brahmanas
everywhere. Let the honest, let Brahmanas, let those with regard for

superiors, let the gods, let the three worlds, listen!' Having said

words that high-souled one, that ascetic of ascetics, then summoning

Danavas who had been deprived by fate of the good sense, told them

words, Ye foolish Danavas, know ye that Kacha hath obtained his wishes.

will henceforth dwell with me. Having obtained the valuable knowledge

reviving the dead, that Brahmana hath, indeed, become in prowess even

Brahman himself!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Bhargava having said so much cut short his
speech. The Danavas were surprised and went away to their homes. Kacha,
too, having stayed with his preceptor for a full thousand years, then
prepared to return to the abode of the celestials, after having

his preceptor's permission.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After the expiry of the period of his vow, Kacha,
having obtained his preceptor's leave, was about to return to the abode

the celestials, when Devayani, addressing him, said, 'O grandson of the
Rishi Angiras, in conduct and birth, in learning, asceticism and

thou shinest most brightly. As the celebrated Rishi Angiras is honoured
and regarded by my father, so is thy father regarded and worshipped by

O thou of ascetic wealth, knowing this, listen to what I say. Recollect

conduct towards thee during the period of thy vow (Brahmacharya). Thy

hath now been over. It behoveth thee to fix thy affections on me. O

my hand duly with ordained mantras.'

"Kacha replied, 'Thou art to me an object of regard and worship even as
thy father! O thou of faultless features, thou art, indeed, even an

of greater reverence! Thou art dearer than life to the high-souled
Bhargava, O amiable one! As the daughter of my preceptor, thou art ever
worthy of my worship! As my preceptor Sukra, thy father, is ever

of my regards, so art thou, O Devayani! Therefore, it behoveth thee not

say so.' Hearing this, Devayani replied, 'Thou, too, art the son of my
father's preceptor's son. Therefore, O best of Brahmanas, thou art
deserving of my regards and worship. O Kacha, when thou wert slain so

times by the Asuras, recollect today the affection I showed for thee.
Remembering my friendship and affection for thee, and, indeed, my

regard also, O virtuous one, it behoveth thee not to abandon me without
any fault. I am truly devoted to thee.'

"Hearing all this, Kacha said, 'O thou of virtuous vows, do not urge me
into such a sinful course. O thou of fair eye-brows, be gracious unto

Beautiful one, thou art to me an object of greater regard than my
preceptor. Full of virtuous resolves, O large-eyed one, of face as
handsome, as moon, the place where thou hadst resided, viz., the body

Kavya, hath also been my abode. Thou art truly my sister. Amiable one,
happily have we passed the days that we have been together. There is
perfect good understanding between us. I ask thy leave to return to my
abode. Therefore, bless me so that my journey may be safe. I must be
remembered by thee, when thou recallest me in connection with topics of
conversation, as one that hath not transgressed virtue. Always attend

my preceptor with readiness and singleness of heart.' To all this,
Devaniya answered, 'Solicited, by me, if, indeed, thou truly refusest

make me thy wife, then, O Kacha, this thy knowledge shall not bear


"Hearing this, Kacha said, 'I have refused thy request only because

art the daughter of my preceptor, and not because thou hast any fault.

hath my preceptor in this respect issued any command. Curse me if it
please thee. I have told thee what the behaviour should be of a Rishi.

do not deserve thy curse, O Devayani. But yet thou hast cursed me! Thou
hast acted under the influence of passion and not from a sense of duty.
Therefore, thy desire will not be fulfilled. No Rishi's son shall ever
accept thy hand in marriage. Thou hast said that my knowledge shall not
bear fruit. Let it be so. But in respect of him it shall bear fruit to
whom I may impart it.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'That first of Brahmanas, Kacha, having said

unto Devayani speedily wended his way unto the abode of the chief of

celestials. Beholding him arrived, the celestials with Indra ahead,

first worshipped him, spoke unto him as follows, 'Thou hast indeed,
performed an act of great benefit for us. Wonderful hath been thy
achievement! Thy fame shall never die! Thou shall be a sharer with us

sacrificial offerings.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The dwellers in heaven became exceedingly glad in
welcoming Kacha who had mastered the wonderful science. And, O bull of
Bharata's race, the celestials then learnt that science from Kacha and
considered their object already achieved. And assembling together, they
spoke unto him of a hundred sacrifices, saying, 'The time hath come for
showing prowess. Slay thy foes, O Purandara!' And thus addressed,

then accompanied by the celestials, set out, saying, 'So be it.' But on
his way he saw a number of damsels. These maidens were sporting in a

in the gardens of the Gandharva Chitraratha. Changing himself into

he soon mixed up the garments of those maidens which they had laid on

bank. A little while after, the maidens, getting up from the water,
approached their garments that had, indeed, got mixed up with one

And it so happened that from the intermingled heap, the garments of
Devayani were appropriated by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan,
from ignorance that it was not hers. And, O king, thereupon, between

Devayani and Sarmishtha, then ensued a dispute. And Devayani said, 'O
daughter of the Asura (chief), why dost thou take my attire, being, as
thou art, my disciple? As thou art destitute of good behaviour, nothing
good can happen to thee!' Sarmishtha, however, quickly replied, 'Thy
father occupying a lower seat, always adoreth with downcast looks, like

hired chanter of praises, my father, whether he sitteth at his ease or
reclineth at full length! Thou art the daughter of one that chanteth

praises of others, of one that accepteth alms. I am the daughter of one
who is adored, of one who bestoweth alms instead of ever accepting

Beggar-woman as thou art, thou art free to strike thy breast, to use

words, to vow enmity to me, to give way to thy wrath. Acceptress of

thou weepest tears of anger in vain! If so minded, I can harm thee, but
thou canst not. Thou desirest to quarrel. But know thou that I do not
reckon thee as my equal!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, Devayani became

angry and began to pull at her clothes. Sarmishtha thereupon threw her
into a well and went home. Indeed, the wicked Sarmishtha believing that
Devayani was dead, bent her steps home-wards in a wrathful mood.

"After Sarmishtha had left, Yayati the son of Nahusha soon came to that
spot. The king had been out a-hunting. The couple of horses harnessed

his car and the other single horse with him were all fatigued. And the
king himself was thirsty. And the son of Nahusha saw a well that was

And he saw that it was dry. But in looking down into it, he saw a

who in splendour was like a blazing fire. And beholding her within it,

blessed king addressed that girl of the complexion of the celestials,
soothing her with sweet words. And he said, 'Who art thou, O fair one,

nails bright as burnished copper, and with ear-rings decked with

gems? Thou seemest to be greatly perturbed. Why dost thou weep in
affliction? How, indeed, hast thou fallen into this well covered with
creepers and long grass? And, O slender-waisted girl, answer me truly
whose daughter thou art.

"Devayani then replied, 'I am the daughter of Sukra who brings back

life the Asuras slain by the gods. He doth not know what hath befallen

This is my right hand, O king, with nails bright as burnished copper.

art well-born; I ask thee, to take and raise me up! I know thou art of
good behaviour, of great prowess, and of wide fame! It behoveth thee,
therefore, to raise me from this well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'King Yayati, learning that she was a

daughter, raised her from that well by catching hold of her right hand.
And the monarch promptly raising her from the pit and squinting to her
tapering thighs, sweetly and courteously returned to his capital.

"When the son of Nahusha had gone away, Devayani of faultless features,
afflicted with grief, then spoke unto her maid, Ghurnika by name, who

her then. And she said, 'O Ghurnika, go thou quickly and speak to my
father without loss of time of everything as it hath happened. I shall

now enter the city of Vrishaparvan.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Ghurnika, thus commanded, repaired quickly to
the mansion, of the Asura chief, where she saw Kavya and spoke unto him
with her perception dimmed by anger. And she said, 'I tell thee, O

Brahmana, that Devayani hath been ill-used, O fortunate one, in the

by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan.' And Kavya, hearing that

daughter had been ill-used by Sarmishtha speedily went out with a heavy
heart, seeking her in the woods. And when he found her in the woods, he
clasped her with affection and spoke unto her with voice choked with

'O daughter, the weal or woe that befalleth people is always due to

own faults. Thou hast therefore some fault, I ween, which hath been
expiated thus.' Hearing this Devayani replied, 'Be it a penalty or not,
listen to me with attention. O, hear that all Sarmishtha, the daughter

Vrishaparvan, hath said unto me. Really hath she said that thou art

the hired chanter of the praises of the Asura king! Even thus hath she

that Sarmishtha, Vrishaparvan's daughter,--spoken to me, with reddened
eyes, these piercing and cruel words, 'Thou art the daughter of one

ever chanteth for hire the praises of others, of one that asketh for
charities, of one that accepteth alms; whereas I am the daughter of one
that receiveth adorations, of one that giveth, of one that never

anything as gift!' These have been the words repeatedly spoken unto me

the proud Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, with eyes red with
anger. If, O father, I am really the daughter of a hired chanter of
praises, of one that accepteth gifts, I must offer my adorations in the
hope of obtaining her grace! Oh, of this I have already told her!'

"Sukra replied, 'Thou art, O Devayani, no daughter of a hired adorer,

one that asketh for alms and accepteth gifts. Thou art the daughter of

that adores none, but of one that is adored by all! Vrishaparvan

knoweth it, and Indra, and king Yayati too. That inconceivable Brahma,
that unopposable Godhead, is my strength! The self-create, himself,
gratified by me, hath said that I am for aye the lord of that which is

all things on Earth or in Heaven! I tell thee truly that it is I who

rain for the good of creatures and who nourish the annual plants that
sustain all living things!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'It was by such sweet words of excellent

that the father endeavoured to pacify his daughter afflicted with woe

oppressed by anger.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Sukra continued, 'Know, then, O Devayani, that he that mindeth not the
evil speeches of others, conquereth everything! The wise say that he is

true charioteer who without slackening holdeth tightly the reins of his
horses. He, therefore, is the true man that subdueth, without indulging

his rising wrath. Know thou, O Devayani, that by him is everything
conquered, who calmly subdueth his rising anger. He is regarded as a

who by having recourse to forgiveness, shaketh off his rising anger

like a
snake casting off its slough. He that suppresseth his anger, he that
regardeth not the evil speeches of others, he that becometh not angry,
though there be cause, certainly acquireth the four objects for which

live (viz., virtue, profit, desire, and salvation). Between him that
performeth without fatigue sacrifices every month for a hundred years,

him that never feeleth angry at anything, he that feeleth not wrath is
certainly the higher. Boys and girls, unable to distinguish between

and wrong, quarrel with each other. The wise never imitate them.'

on hearing this speech of her father, said, 'O father, I know, also

the difference is between anger and forgiveness as regards the power of
each. But when a disciple behaveth disrespectfully, he should never be
forgiven by the preceptor if the latter is really desirous of

the former. Therefore, I do not desire to live any longer in a country
where evil behaviour is at a premium. The wise man desirous of good,
should not dwell among those sinfully inclined men who always speak ill

good behaviour and high birth. But there should one live,--indeed, that
hath been said to be the best of dwelling places,--where good behaviour
and purity of birth are known and respected. The cruel words uttered by
Vrishaparvan's daughter burn my heart even as men, desirous of kindling

fire, burn the dry fuel. I do not think anything more miserable for a

in the three worlds than to adore one's enemies blessed with good

himself possessing none. It hath been indeed said by the learned that

such a man even death would be better.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Kavya, the foremost of Bhrigu's line, became
angry himself. And approaching Vrishaparvan where the latter was

began to address him without weighing his words, 'O king,' he said,
'sinful acts do not, like the Earth, bear fruit immediately! But

and secretly do they extirpate their doers. Such fruit visiteth either

one's own self, one's son, or one's grandson. Sins must bear their

Like rich food they can never be digested. And because ye slew the
Brahmana Kacha, the grandson of Angiras, who was virtuous, acquainted

the precepts of religion, and attentive to his duties, while residing

my abode, even for this act of slaughter--and for the mal-treatment of

daughter too, know, O Vrishaparvan, I shall leave thee and thy

Indeed, O king, for this, I can no longer stay with thee! Dost thou, O
Asura chief, think that I am a raving liar? Thou makest light of thy
offence without seeking to correct it!'.

"Vrishaparvan then said, 'O son of Bhrigu, never have I attributed want

virtue, of falsehood, to thee. Indeed, virtue and truth ever dwell in

Be kind to me! O Bhargava, if, leaving us, thou really goest hence, we
shall then go into the depths of the ocean. Indeed, there is nothing

for us to do.'

"Sukra then replied, 'Ye Asuras, whether ye go into the depths of the
ocean or fly away to all directions, I care little. I am unable to bear

daughter's grief. My daughter is ever dear to me. My life dependeth on

Seek ye to please her. As Vrihaspati ever seeketh the good of Indra, so

I always seek thine by my ascetic merits.'

"Vrishaparvan then said, 'O Bhargava, thou art the absolute master of
whatever is possessed by the Asura chiefs in this world-their

kine and horses, and even my humble self!'

"Sukra then answered, 'If it is true, O great Asura, that I am the lord

all the wealth of the Asuras, then go and gratify Devayani.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'when the great Kavya was so addressed by
Vrishaparvan, he then went to Devayani and told her all. Devayani,

quickly replied, 'O Bhargava, if thou art truly the lord of the Asura

himself and of all his wealth, then let the king himself come to me and
say so in my presence.' Vrishaparvan then approached Devayani and told

'O Devayani of sweet smiles, whatever thou desirest I am willing to

thee, however difficult it may be to grant the same.' Devayani

'I desire Sarmishtha with a thousand maids to wait on me! She must also
follow me to where my father may give me away.'

"Vrishaparvan then commanded a maid-servant in attendance on him,

'Go and quickly bring Sarmishtha hither. Let her also accomplish what
Devayani wisheth.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The maid-servant then repaired to Sarmishtha

told her, 'O amiable Sarmishtha, rise and follow me. Accomplish the

of thy relatives. Urged by Devayani, the Brahmana (Sukra) is on the

of leaving his disciples (the Asuras). O sinless one, thou must do what
Devayani wisheth.' Sarmishtha replied, 'I shall cheerfully do what
Devayani wisheth. Urged by Devayani Sukra is calling me. Both Sukra and
Devayani must not leave the Asuras through my fault.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by her father, then, Sarmishtha,
accompanied by a thousand maidens, soon came, in a palanquin, out of

father's excellent mansion. And approaching Devayani she said, 'With my
thousand maids, I am thy waiting-maid! And I shall follow thee where

father may give thee away.' Devayani replied, 'I am the daughter of one
who chanteth the praises of thy father, and who beggeth and accepteth

thou, on the other hand, art the daughter of one who is adored. How

thou be my waiting-maid?'

"Sarmishtha answered, 'One must by all means contribute to the

of one's afflicted relatives. Therefore shall I follow thee wherever

father may give thee away.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When Sarmishtha thus promised to be

waiting-maid the latter, O king, then spoke unto her father thus, 'O

of all excellent Brahmanas, I am gratified. I shall now enter the Asura
capital! I now know that thy science and power of knowledge are not

"Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, of great reputation,
thus addressed by his daughter, then, entered the Asura capital in the
gladness of his heart. And the Danavas worshipped him with great


(Sambhava Parva continued)

Vaisampayana said, 'After some length of time, O best of monarchs,
Devayani of the fairest complexion went into the same woods for

of pleasure. And accompanied by Sarmishtha with her thousand maids she
reached the same spot and began to wander freely. And waited upon by

those companions she felt supremely happy. And sporting with light

they began drinking the honey in flowers, eating various kinds of fruit
and biting some. And just at that time, king Yayati, the son of

again came there tired and thirsty, in course of his wanderings, in

of deer. And the king saw Devayani and Sarmishtha, and those other

also, all decked with celestial ornaments and full of voluptuous

in consequence of the flower-honey they drank. And Devayani of sweet
smiles, unrivalled for beauty and possessed of the fairest complexion
amongst them all, was reclining at her ease. And she was waited upon by
Sarmishtha who was gently kneading her feet.

"And Yayati seeing all this, said, 'O amiable ones, I would ask you

your names and parentage. It seems that these two thousand maids wait

you two.' Hearing the monarch, Devayani then answered, 'Listen to me, O
best of men. Know that I am the daughter of Sukra, the spiritual guide

the Asuras. This my companion is my waiting-maid. She attendeth on me
wherever I go. She is Sarmishtha, the daughter of the Asura king

"Yayati then asked, 'I am curious to know why is this thy companion of
fair eye-brows, this maiden of the fairest complexion, the daughter of

Asura chief thy waiting-maid!' Devayani replied, 'O best of king,
everything resulteth from Fate. Knowing this also to be the result of

wonder not at it. Thy feature and attire are both like a king's. Thy
speech also is fair and correct as that of the Vedas. Tell me thy name,
whence thou art and whose son also.'

"The monarch replied, 'During my vow of Brahmacharya, the whole Vedas
entered my ears. I am known as Yayati, a king's son and myself a king.'
Devayani then enquired, 'O king, what hast thou come here for? Is it to
gather lotuses or to angle or to hunt?' Yayati said, 'O amiable one,
thirsty from the pursuit of deer, I have come hither in search of

water. I
am very much fatigued. I await but your commands to leave this spot.'

"Devayani answered, 'With my two thousand damsels and my waiting-maid
Sarmishtha, I wait but your commands. Prosperity to thee. Be thou my
friend and lord.'

"Yayati, thereupon, replied, 'Beautiful one, I do not deserve thee.

art the daughter of Sukra far superior to me. Thy father cannot bestow
thee even on a great king.' To this Devayani replied, 'Brahmanas had
before this been united with the Kshatriyas, and Kshatriyas with

Thou art the son of a Rishi and thyself a Rishi. Therefore, O son of
Nahusha, marry me.' Yayati, however, replied, 'O thou of the handsomest
features, the four orders have, indeed, sprung from one body. But their
duties and purity are not the same, the Brahmana being truly superior

all.' Devayani answered, 'This hand of mine hath never been touched

by any man save thee. Therefore, do I accept thee for my lord. How,

shall any other man touch my hand which had before been touched by

who art a Rishi?' Yayati then said, 'The wise know that a Brahmana is

to be avoided than an angry snake of virulent poison, or a blazing fire

spreading flames.' Devayani then told the monarch, 'O bull amongst men,
why dost thou, indeed, say that Brahmana should be more avoided than an
angry snake of virulent poison or a blazing fire of spreading flames?'

monarch answered, 'The snake killeth only one. The sharpest weapon

but a single person. The Brahmana, when angry destroyeth whole cities

kingdoms! Therefore, O timid one, do I deem a Brahmana as more to be
avoided than either. I cannot hence wed thee, O amiable one, unless thy
father bestoweth thee on me.' Devayani then said, 'Thou art, indeed,
chosen by me. And, O king, it is understood that thou wilt accept me if
my father bestoweth me on thee. Thou needst not fear to accept my poor
self bestowed on thee. Thou dost not, indeed, ask for me.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Devayani quickly sent a

to her father. The maid represented to Sukra everything as it had

And as soon as he had heard all, Bhargava came and saw Yayati. And
beholding Bhargava come, Yayati worshipped and adored that Brahmana,

stood with joined palms in expectation of his commands.'

"And Devayani then said, 'This O father, is the son of Nahusha. He took
hold of my hand, when I was in distress. I bow to thee. Bestow me upon

I shall not wed any other person in the world.' Sukra exclaimed, 'O

of splendid courage, thou hast, indeed, been accepted as her lord by

my dear daughter. I bestow her on thee. Therefore, O son of Nahusha,
accept her as thy wife.'

"Yayati then said, 'I solicit the boon, O Brahmana, that by so doing,

sin of begetting a half-breed might not touch me.' Sukra, however,

him by saying, 'I shall absolve thee from the sin. Ask thou the boon

thou desirest. Fear not to wed her. I grant thee absolution. Maintain
virtuously thy wife--the slender-waisted Devayani. Transports of

be thine in her company. This other maiden, Vrishaparvan's daughter,
Sarmishtha should ever be regarded by thee. But thou shall not summon

to thy bed.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Sukra, Yayati then walked
round the Brahmana. And the king then went through the auspicious

of marriage according to the rites of the scriptures. And having

from Sukra this rich treasure of the excellent Devayani with Sarmishtha
and those two thousand maidens, and duly honoured also by Sukra himself
and the Asuras, the best of monarchs, then, commanded by the high-

Bhargava, returned to his capital with a joyous heart.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati then, on returning to his capital which was
like unto the city of Indra, entered his inner apartments and

there his bride Devayani. And the monarch, directed by Devayani,
established Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha in a mansion especially
erected near the artificial woods of Asokas in his gardens. And the

surrounded Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha with a thousand maids and
honoured her by making every arrangement for her food and garments. But

was with Devayani that the royal son of Nahusha sported like a

for many years in joy and bliss. And when her season came, the fair
Devayani conceived. And she brought forth as her first child a fine

And when a thousand years had passed away, Vrishaparvan's daughter
Sarmishtha having attained to puberty saw that her season had come. She
became anxious and said to herself, 'My season hath arrived. But I have
not yet chosen a husband. O, what hath happened, what should I do? How

I to obtain the fruition of my wishes? Devayani hath become mother. My
youth is doomed to pass away in vain. Shall I choose him also for my
husband whom Devayani hath chosen? This is, indeed, my resolve: that
monarch should give me a son. Will not the virtuous one grant me a


"Vaisampayana continued, 'While Sarmishtha was thus busy with her

the king wandering listlessly came to that very wood of Asokas, and
beholding Sarmishtha before him, stood there in silence. Then

of sweet smiles seeing the monarch before her with nobody to witness

might pass, approached him and said with joined palms, 'O son of

no one can behold the ladies that dwell in the inner apartments of

of Indra, of Vishnu, of Yama, of Varuna, and of thee! Thou knowest, O

that I am both handsome and well-born. I solicit thee, O king! My

hath arrived. See that it goeth not in vain.'

"Yayati answered, 'Well do I know that honour of birth is thine, born

thou art in the proud race of the Danavas. Thou art also gifted with
beauty. I do not, indeed, see even the speck of a fault in thy feature.
But Usanas commanded me, while I was united with Devayani, that never
should Vrishaparvan's daughter he summoned to my bed.'

"Sarmishtha then said, 'It hath been said, O king, that it is not

to lie on the occasion of a joke, in respect of women sought to be

on occasions of marriage, in peril of immediate death and of the loss

one's whole fortune. Lying is excusable on these five occasions. O

it is not true that he is fallen who speaks not the truth when asked.

Devayani and myself have been called hither as companions to serve the
same purpose. When, therefore, thou hadst said that you wouldst confine
thyself to one only amongst as, that was a lie thou hadst spoken.'

replied, 'A king should ever be a model in the eyes of his people. That
monarch certainly meets with destruction who speaks an untruth. As for
myself, I dare not speak an untruth even if the greatest loss threatens
me!' Sarmishtha answered, 'O monarch, one may look upon her friend's
husband as her own. One's friend's marriage is the same as one's own.

hast been chosen by my friend as her husband. Thou art as much my

therefore.' Yayati then said, 'It is, indeed my vow always to grant

one asketh. As thou askest me, tell me then what I am to do.'

then said, 'Absolve me, O king, from sin. Protect my virtue. Becoming a
mother by thee, let me practise the highest virtue in this world. It is
said, O king, that a wife, a slave, and a son can never earn wealth for
themselves. What they earn always belongeth to him who owneth them. I

indeed, the slave of Devayani. Thou art Devayani's master and lord.

art, therefore, O king, my master and lord as much as Devayani's! I
solicit thee! O, fulfil my wishes!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Sarmishtha, the monarch was
persuaded into the truth of all she spoke. He therefore, honoured
Sarmishtha by protecting her virtue. And they passed some time

And taking affectionate farewell of each other, they then parted, each
returning to whence he or she had come.

"And it came to pass that Sarmishtha of sweet smiles and fair eyebrows
conceived in consequence of that connection of hers with that best of
monarchs. And, O king, that lotus-eyed lady then in due course of time
brought forth a son of the splendour of a celestial child and of eyes
like lotus-petals.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When Devayani of sweet smiles heard of the birth

this child, she became jealous, and O Bharata, Sarmishtha became an

of her unpleasant reflections. And Devayani, repairing to her,

her thus, 'O thou of fair eye-brows, what sin is this thou hast

by yielding to the influence of lust?' Sarmishtha replied, 'A certain
Rishi of virtuous soul and fully conversant with the Vedas came to me.
Capable of granting boons he was solicited by me to grant my wishes

were based on considerations of virtue. O thou of sweet smiles, I would
not seek the sinful fulfilment of my desires. I tell thee truly that

child of mine is by that Rishi!' Devayani answered, 'It is all right if
that be the case, O timid one! But if the lineage, name, and family of
that Brahmana be known to thee, I should like to hear them.' Sarmishtha
replied, 'O thou of sweet smiles, in asceticism and energy, that Rishi

resplendent like the Sun himself. Beholding him, I had not, any need to
make these enquiries--' Devayani then said, 'If this is true, if

thou hast obtained thy child from such a superior Brahmana, then, O
Sarmishtha, I have no cause of anger.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having thus talked and laughed with each

they separated, Devayani returning to the palace with the knowledge
imparted to her by Sarmishtha. And, O king, Yayati also begot on

two sons called Yadu and Turvasu, who were like Indra and Vishnu. And
Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, became through the royal sage
the mother of three sons in all, named Drahyu, Anu, and Puru.

"And, O king, it so came to pass that one day Devayani of sweet smiles,
by Yayati, went into a solitary part of the woods, (in the king's
extensive park). And there she saw three children of celestial beauty
playing with perfect trustfulness. And Devayani asked in surprise,

children are they, O king, who are so handsome and so like unto the
children of the celestials? In splendour and beauty they are like thee,

should think.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Devayani without waiting for a reply from
the king, asked the children themselves, 'Ye children, what is your
lineage? Who is your father? Answer me truly. I desire to know all.'

children then pointed at the king (with their forefingers) and spoke of
Sarmishtha as their mother.

"And having so said, the children approached the king to clasp his

But the king dared not caress them in the presence of Devayani. The

then left the place, and made towards their mother, weeping in grief.

the king, at this conduct of the boys, became very much abashed. But
Devayani, marking the affection of the children for the king learnt the
secret and addressing Sarmishtha, said, 'How hast thou dared to do me

injury, being, as thou art, dependent on me? Dost thou not fear to have
recourse once more to that Asura custom of thine?'

"Sarmishtha said, 'O thou of sweet smiles, all that I told thee of a

is perfectly true. I have acted rightly and according to the precepts

virtue, and therefore, do I not fear thee. When thou hadst chosen the

for thy husband, I, too, chose him as mine. O beautiful one, a friend's
husband is, according to usage, one's own husband as well. Thou art the
daughter of a Brahmana and, therefore, deservest my worship and regard.
But dost thou not know that this royal sage is held by me in greater
esteem still?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Devayani then, hearing those words of hers,

O king, thus, 'Thou hast wronged me, O monarch! I shall not live here

longer.' And saying this, she quickly rose, with tearful eyes, to go to
her father. And the king was grieved to see her thus, and alarmed

followed in her foot-steps, endeavouring to appease her wrath. But
Devayani, with eyes red with anger, would not desist. Speaking not a

to the king, with eyes bathed in tears, she soon reached the side of

father Usanas, the son of Kavi. And beholding her father, she stood

him, after due salutations. And Yayati also, immediately after, saluted
and worshipped Bhargava.'

"And Devayani said, 'O father, virtue hath been vanquished by vice. The
low have risen, and the high have fallen. I have been offended again by
Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan. Three sons have been begotten
upon her by this king Yayati. But, O father, being luckless I have got
only two sons! O son of Bhrigu, this king is renowned for his knowledge

the precepts of religion. But, O Kavya, I tell thee that he hath

from the path of rectitude.'

"Sukra, hearing all this, said, 'O monarch, since thou hast made vice

beloved pursuit, though fully acquainted with the precepts of religion,
invincible decrepitude shall paralyse thee!' Yayati answered, 'Adorable
one, I was solicited by the daughter of the Danava king to fructify her
season. I did it from a sense of virtue and not from other motives.

male person, who being solicited by a woman in her season doth not

her wishes, is called, O Brahmana, by those conversant with the Vedas,

slayer of the embryo. He who, solicited in secret by a woman full of
desire and in season, goeth not in unto her, loseth virtue and is

by the learned a killer of the embryo, O son of Bhrigu, for these

and anxious to avoid sin, I went into Sarmishtha.' Sukra then replied,
'Thou art dependent on me. Thou shouldst have awaited my command.

acted falsely in the matter of thy duty, O son of Nahusha, thou hast

guilty of the sin of theft.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yayati, the son of Nahusha, thus cursed by

angry Usanas, was then divested of his youth and immediately overcome

decrepitude. And Yayati said, 'O son of Bhrigu, I have not yet been
satiated with youth or with Devayani. Therefore, O Brahmana, be

unto me so that decrepitude might not touch me.' Sukra then answered,

never speak an untruth. Even now, O king, art thou attacked by

But if thou likest, thou art competent to transfer this thy decrepitude

another.' Yayati said, 'O Brahmana, let it be commanded by thee that

son of mine who giveth me his youth shall enjoy my kingdom, and shall
achieve both virtue and fame.' Sukra replied, 'O son of Nahusha,

of me thou mayst transfer this thy decrepitude to whomsoever thou

That son who shall give thee his youth shall become thy successor to

throne. He shall also have long life, wide fame, and numerous



(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati, then, overcome with decrepitude, returned

his capital and summoning his eldest son Yadu who was also the most
accomplished, addressed him thus, 'Dear child, from the curse of Kavya
called also Usanas, decrepitude and wrinkles and whiteness of hair have
come over me. But I have not been gratified yet with the enjoyment of
youth. Do thou, O Yadu, take this my weakness along with my

decrepitude. I
shall enjoy with thy youth. And when a full thousand years will have
elapsed, returning to thee thy youth, I shall take back my weakness

this decrepitude!'

"Yadu replied, 'There are innumerable inconveniences in decrepitude, in
respect of drinking and eating. Therefore, O king, I shall not take thy
decrepitude. This is, indeed, my determination. White hair on the head,
cheerlessness and relaxation of the nerves, wrinkles all over the body,
deformities, weakness of the limbs, emaciation, incapacity to work,

at the hands of friends and companions--these are the consequences of
decrepitude. Therefore, O king, I desire not to take it. O king, thou

many sons some of whom are dearer to thee. Thou art acquainted with the
precepts of virtue. Ask some other son of thine to take thy


"Yayati replied, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son, but thou givest

not thy youth. Therefore, thy children shall never be kings.' And he
continued, addressing another son of his, 'O Turvasu, take thou this
weakness of mine along with my decrepitude. With thy youth, O son, I

to enjoy the pleasure of life. After the lapse of a full thousand years

shall give back to thee thy youth, and take back from thee my weakness


"Turvasu replied, 'I do not like decrepitude, O father, it takes away

appetites and enjoyments, strength and beauty of person, intellect, and
even life.' Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son!

thou givest me not thy youth! Therefore, O Turvasu, thy race shall be
extinct. Wretch, thou shall be the king of those whose practices and
precepts are impure, amongst whom men of inferior blood procreate

upon women of blue blood, who live on meat, who are mean, who hesitate

to appropriate the wives of their superiors, whose practices are those

birds and beasts, who are sinful, and non-Aryan.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati, having thus cursed his son Turvasu, then,
addressed Sarmishtha's son Drahyu thus, 'O Drahyu, take thou for a
thousand years my decrepitude destructive of complexion and personal
beauty and give me thy youth. When a thousand years have passed away, I
shall return thee thy youth and take back my own weakness, and
decrepitude.' To this Drahyu replied, 'O king, one that is decrepit can
never enjoy elephants and cars and horses and women. Even his voice
becometh hoarse. Therefore, I do not desire (to take) thy decrepitude.'
Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son! But thou
refusest to give me thy youth. Therefore, thy most cherished desires
shall never be fulfilled. Thou shalt be king only in name, of that
region where there are no roads for (the passage of) horses and cars
and elephants, and good vehicles, and asses, and goats and bullocks,
and palanquins; where there is swimming only by rafts and floats.'
Yayati next addressed Anu and said, 'O Anu, take my weakness and
decrepitude. I shall with thy youth enjoy the pleasures of life for a
thousand years.' To this Anu replied, 'Those that are decrepit always
eat like children and are always impure. They cannot pour libations
upon fire in proper times. Therefore, I do not like to take thy
decrepitude.' Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, thou
givest not thy youth. Thou findest so many faults in decrepitude.
Therefore, decrepitude shall overcome thee! And, O Anu, thy progeny

as soon as they attain to youth, shall die. And thou shalt also not be
able to perform sacrifices before fire.'

"Yayati at last turned to his youngest child, Puru, and addressing him
said, 'Thou art, O Puru, my youngest son! But thou shall be the first

all! Decrepitude, wrinkles, and whiteness of hair have come over me in
consequence of the curse of Kavya called also Usanas. I have not yet
however, been satiated with my youth. O Puru, take thou this my

and decrepitude! With thy youth I shall enjoy for some years the

of life. And when a thousand years have passed away, I shall give back

thee thy youth and take back my own decrepitude.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the king, Puru answered with
humility, 'I shall do, O monarch, as thou bidest me. I shall take, O

thy weakness and decrepitude. Take thou my youth and enjoy as thou

the pleasures of life. Covered with thy decrepitude and becoming old, I
shall, as thou commandest, continue to live, giving thee my youth.'

then said, 'O Puru, I have been gratified with thee. And being

I tell thee that the people in thy kingdom shall have all their desires

"And having said this, the great ascetic Yayati, then thinking of

transferred his decrepitude unto the body of the high-souled Puru.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The excellent monarch Yayati, the son of Nahusha,
having received Puru's youth, became exceedingly gratified. And with it

once more began to indulge in his favourite pursuits to the full extent

his desires and to the limit of his powers, according to seasons, so as

derive the greatest pleasure therefrom. And, O king, in nothing that he
did, he acted against the precepts of his religion as behoved him well.

gratified the gods by his sacrifices; the pitris, by Sraddhas; the

by his charities; all excellent Brahmanas, by fulfilling their desires;
all persons entitled to the rites of hospitality, with food and drink;

Vaisyas, by protection; and the Sudras, by kindness. And the king
repressed all criminals by proper punishments. And Yayati, gratifying

sections of his subjects, protected them virtuously like another Indra.
And the monarch possessed of the prowess of a lion, with youth and

object of enjoyment under control, enjoyed unlimited happiness without
transgressing the precepts of religion. And the king became very happy

thus being able to enjoy all the excellent objects of his desires. And

was only sorry when he thought that those thousand years would come to

end. And having obtained youth for a thousand years, the king

with the mysteries of time, and watching proper Kalas and Kashthas

with (the celestial damsel) Viswachi, sometimes in the beautiful garden

Indra, sometimes in Alaka (the city of Kuvera), and sometimes on the
summit of the mountain Meru on the north. And when the virtuous monarch
saw that the thousand years were full, he summoned his son, Puru, and
addressed him thus, 'O oppressor of foes, with thy youth, O son, I have
enjoyed the pleasures of life, each according to its season to the full
extent of my desires, to the limit of my powers. Our desires, however,

never gratified by indulgence. On the other hand, with indulgence, they
only flame up like fire with libations of sacrificial butter. If a

person were owner of everything on Earth--all her yields of paddy and
barley, her silver, gold, and gems, her animals and women, he would not
still be content. Thirst of enjoyment, therefore, should be given up.
Indeed, true happiness belongeth to them that have cast off their

for worldly objects--a thirst which is difficult to be thrown off by

wicked and the sinful, which faileth not with the failing life, and

is truly the fatal disease of man. My heart hath for a full thousand

been fixed upon the objects of desires. My thirst for these, however,
increaseth day by day without abating. Therefore, I shall cast it off,

fixing my mind on Brahma I shall pass the rest of my days with the
innocent deer in the forest peacefully and with no heart for any

objects. And O Puru, I have been exceedingly gratified with thee!
Prosperity be thine! Receive back this thy youth! Receive thou also my
kingdom. Thou art, indeed, that son of mine who has done me the


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Yayati, the son of Nahusha, received

his decrepitude. And his son Puru received back his own youth. And

was desirous of installing Puru, his youngest son, on the throne. But

four orders, with the Brahmanas at their head, then addressed the

thus, 'O king, how shall thou bestow thy kingdom on Puru, passing over

eldest son Yadu born of Devayani, and, therefore, the grandson of the
great Sukra? Indeed, Yadu is thy eldest son; after him hath been born
Turvasu; and of Sarmishtha's sons, the first is Drahyu, then Anu and

Puru. How doth the youngest deserve the throne, passing all his elder
brothers over? This we represent to thee! O, conform to virtuous

"Yayati then said, 'Ye four orders with Brahmanas at their head, hear

words as to why my kingdom should not be given to my eldest son. My
commands have been disobeyed by my eldest son, Yadu. The wise say that

is no son who disobeyeth his father. That son, however, who doth the
bidding of his parents, who seeketh their good, who is agreeable to

is indeed, the best of sons. I have been disregarded by Yadu and by
Turvasu, too. Much I have been disregarded by Drahyu and by Anu also.

Puru alone hath my word been obeyed. By him have I been much regarded.
Therefore, the youngest shall be my heir. He took my decrepitude.

Puru is my friend. He did what was so agreeable to me. It hath also

commanded by Sukra himself, the son of Kavi, that, that son of mine who
should obey me will become king after me and bring the whole Earth

his sway. I, therefore, beseech thee, let Puru be installed on the

"The people then said, 'True it is, O king, that, that son who is
accomplished and who seeketh the good of his parents, deserveth

even if he be the youngest. Therefore, doth Puru, who hath done the

deserve the crown. And as Sukra himself hath commanded it, we have

to say to it.'

"Vaisampayana continued., 'The son of Nahusha, thus addressed by the
contented people, then installed his son, Puru, on the throne. And

bestowed his kingdom on Puru, the monarch performed the initiatory
ceremonies for retiring into the woods. And soon after he left his

followed by Brahmanas and ascetics.

"The sons of Yadu are known by the name of the Yadavas: while those of
Turvasu have come to be called the Yavanas. And the sons of Drahyu are

Bhojas, while those of Anu, the Mlechchhas. The progeny of Puru,

are the Pauravas, amongst whom, O monarch, thou art born, in order to

for a thousand years with thy passions under complete control.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'King Yayati, the son of Nahusha, having thus
installed his dear son on the throne, became exceedingly happy, and
entered into the woods to lead the life of a hermit. And having lived

some time into forest in the company of Brahmanas, observing many rigid
vows, eating fruits and roots, patiently bearing privations of all

the monarch at last ascended to heaven. And having ascended to heaven

lived there in bliss. But soon, however, he was hurled down by Indra.

it hath been heard by me, O king, that, though hurled from heaven,

without reaching the surface of the Earth, stayed in the firmament. I

heard that some time after he again entered the region of the

in company with Vasuman, Ashtaka, Pratarddana, and Sivi.'

"Janamejaya said, 'I desire to hear from thee in detail why Yayati,

first obtained admission into heaven, was hurled therefrom, and why

he gained re-admittance. Let all this, O Brahmana, be narrated by thee

the presence of these regenerate sages. Yayati, lord of Earth, was,

like the chief of the celestials. The progenitor of the extensive race

the Kurus, he was of the splendour of the Sun. I desire to hear in full
the story of his life both in heaven and on Earth, as he was

and of world-wide celebrity and of wonderful achievements.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Indeed, I shall recite to thee the excellent story

Yayati's adventures on Earth and in heaven. That story is sacred and
destroyeth the sins of those that hear it.

"King Yayati, the son of Nahusha, having installed his youngest son,

on the throne after casting his sons with Yadu for their eldest amongst
the Mlechchhas, entered the forest to lead the life of a hermit. And

king eating fruits and roots lived for some time in the forest. Having

mind and passions under complete control, the king gratified by

the Pitris and the gods. And he poured libations of clarified butter

the fire according to the rites prescribed for those leading the
Vanaprastha mode of life. And the illustrious one entertained guests

strangers with the fruit of the forest and clarified butter, while he
himself supported life by gleaning scattered corn seeds. And the king

this sort of life for a full thousand years. And observing the vow of
silence and with mind under complete control he passed one full year,
living upon air alone and without sleep. And he passed another year
practising the severest austerities in the midst of four fires around

the Sun overhead. And, living upon air alone, he stood erect upon one

for six months. And the king of sacred deeds ascended to heaven,

heaven as well as the Earth (with the fame of his achievements).'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'While that king of kings dwelt in heaven--the home

the celestials, he was reverenced by the gods, the Sadhyas, the Maruts,
and the Vasus. Of sacred deeds, and mind under complete control, the
monarch used to repair now and then from the abode of the celestials

the region of Brahman. And it hath been heard by me that he dwelt for a
long time in heaven.

"One day that best of kings, Yayati, went to Indra and there in course

conversation the lord of Earth was asked by Indra as follows:

'What didst thou say, O king, when thy son Puru took thy decrepitude on
Earth and when thou gavest him thy kingdom?'

"Yayati answered, 'I told him that the whole country between the rivers
Ganga and Yamuna was his. That is, indeed, the central region of the

while the out-lying regions are to be the dominions of thy brothers. I
also told him that those without anger were ever superior to those

its sway, those disposed to forgive were ever superior to the

Man is superior to the lower animals. Among men again the learned are
superior to the un-learned. If wronged, thou shouldst not wrong in

One's wrath, if disregarded, burneth one's own self; but he that

it not taketh away all the virtues of him that exhibiteh it. Never
shouldst thou pain others by cruel speeches. Never subdue thy foes by
despicable means; and never utter such scorching and sinful words as

torture others. He that pricketh as if with thorns men by means of hard
and cruel words, thou must know, ever carrieth in his mouth the

Prosperity and luck fly away at his very sight. Thou shouldst ever keep
the virtuous before thee as thy models; thou shouldst ever with
retrospective eye compare thy acts with those of the virtuous; thou
shouldst ever disregard the hard words of the wicked. Thou shouldst

make the conduct of the wise the model upon which thou art to act

The man hurt by the arrows of cruel speech hurled from one's lips,

day and night. Indeed, these strike at the core of the body. Therefore

wise never fling these arrows at others. There is nothing in the three
worlds by which thou canst worship and adore the deities better than by
kindness, friendship, charity and sweet speeches unto all. Therefore,
shouldst thou always utter words that soothe, and not those that

And thou shouldst regard those that deserve, thy regards, and shouldst
always give but never beg!"'


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After this Indra again asked Yayati, 'Thou didst
retire into the woods, O king, after accomplishing all thy duties. O
Yayati, son of Nahusha, I would ask thee to whom thou art equal in

austerities.' Yayati answered, 'O Vasava, I do not, in the matter of
ascetic austerities, behold my equal among men, the celestials, the
Gandharvas, and the great Rishis.' Indra then said, 'O monarch, because
thou disregardest those that are thy superiors, thy equals, and even

inferiors, without, in fact, knowing their real merits, thy virtues

suffered diminution and thou must fall from heaven.' Yayati then said,

Sakra, if, indeed, my virtues have really sustained diminution and I

on that account fall down from heaven, I desire, O chief of the

that I may at least fall among the virtuous and the honest.' Indra

'O king, thou shall fall among those that are virtuous and wise, and

shall acquire also much renown. And after this experience of thine, O
Yayati, never again disregard those that are thy superiors or even thy

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon this, Yayati fell from the region of the
celestials. And as he was falling, he was beheld by that foremost of

sages, viz., Ashtaka, the protector of his own religion. Ashtaka

him, enquired, 'Who art thou, O youth of a beauty equal to that of

in splendour blazing as the fire, thus falling from on high? Art thou

foremost of sky-ranging bodies--the sun--emerging from, dark masses of
clouds? Beholding thee falling from the solar course, possessed of
immeasurable energy and the splendour of fire or the sun, every one is
curious as to what it is that is so falling, and is, besides, deprived

consciousness! Beholding thee in the path of the celestials, possessed

energy like that of Sakra, or Surya, or Vishnu, we have approached thee

ascertain the truth. If thou hast first asked us who we were, we would
never have been guilty of the incivility of asking thee first. We now

thee who thou art and why thou approachest hither. Let thy fears be
dispelled; let thy woes and afflictions cease. Thou art now in the
presence of the virtuous and the wise. Even Sakra himself--the slayer

Vala--cannot here do thee any injury. O thou of the prowess of the

of the celestials, the wise and the virtuous are the support of their
brethren in grief. Here there are none but the wise and virtuous like

assembled together. Therefore, stay thou here in peace. Fire alone hath
power to give heat. The Earth alone hath power to infuse life into the
seed. The sun alone hath power to illuminate everything. So the guest
alone hath power to command the virtuous and the wise.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Yayati said, 'I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru.
Cast off from the region of the celestials and of Siddhas and Rishis

having disregarded every creature, I am falling down, my righteousness
having sustained diminution. In years I am older than you; therefore, I
have not saluted you first. Indeed, the Brahmanas always reverence him

is older in years or superior in learning or in ascetic merit.'

"Ashtaka then replied, 'Thou sayest, O monarch, that he who is older in
years is worthy of regard. But it is said that he is truly worthy of
worship who is superior in learning and ascetic merit.'

"Yayati replied to this, 'It is said that sin destroyeth the merits of
four virtuous acts. Vanity containeth the element of that which leadeth

hell. The virtuous never follow in the footsteps of the vicious. They

in such a way that their religious merit always increaseth. I myself

great religious merit, but all that, however, is gone. I will scarcely

able to regain it even by my best exertions. Beholding my fate, he that

bent upon (achieving) his own good, will certainly suppress vanity. He

having acquired great performeth meritorious sacrifices, who having
acquired all kinds of learning remaineth humble, and who having studied
the entire Vedas devoteth himself to asceticism with a heart withdrawn
from all mundane enjoyments, goeth to heaven. None should exult in

acquired great wealth. None should be vain of having studied the entire
Vedas. In the world men are of different dispositions. Destiny is

Both power and exertion are all fruitless. Knowing Destiny to be all-
powerful, the wise, whatever their portions may be, should neither

nor boast. When creatures know that their weal and woe are dependent on
Destiny and not on their own exertion or power, they should neither

nor exult, remembering that Destiny is all powerful. The wise should

live contented, neither grieving at woe nor exulting at weal. When

is supreme, both grief and exultation are one. O Ashtaka, I never

myself to be overcome by fear, nor do I ever entertain grief, knowing

certain that I shall be in the world what the great disposer of all

ordained. Insects and worms, all oviparous creatures, vegetable
existences, all crawling animals, vermin, the fish in the water,

grass, wood--in fact, all created things, when they are freed from the
effects of their acts, are united with the Supreme Soul. Happiness and
misery are both transient. Therefore, O Ashtaka, why should I grieve?

can never know how we are to act in order to avoid misery. Therefore,
none should grieve for misery.'

"Possessed of every virtue, king Yayati who was the maternal

of Ashtaka, while staying in the welkin, at the conclusion of his

was again questioned by Ashtaka. The latter said, 'O king of kings,

me, in detail, of all those regions that thou hast visited and enjoyed,

well as the period for which thou hast enjoyed each. Thou speakest of

precepts of religion even like the clever masters acquainted with the

and sayings of great beings!' Yayati replied, 'I was a great king on

owning the whole world for my dominion. Leaving it, I acquired by dint

religious merit many high regions. There I dwelt for a full thousand

and then I attained to a very high region the abode of Indra, of
extraordinary beauty having a thousand gates, and extending over a

yojanas all round. There too, I dwelt a full thousand years and then
attained to a higher region still. That is the region of perfect

where decay never exists, the region, viz., that of the Creator and the
Lord of Earth, so difficult of attainment. There also I dwelt for a

thousand years, and then attained to another very high region viz.,

of the god of gods (Vishnu) where, too, I had lived in happiness.

I dwelt in various regions, adored by all the celestials, and possessed

prowess and splendour equal unto those of the celestials themselves.
Capable of assuming any form at will, I lived for a million years in

gardens of Nandana sporting with the Apsaras and beholding numberless
beautiful trees clad in flowery vesture and sending forth delicious
perfume all round. And after many, many years had elapsed, while still
residing there in enjoyment of perfect beatitude, the celestial

of grim visage, one day, in a loud and deep voice, thrice shouted to

Ruined! Ruined! Ruined!--O lion among kings, this much do I remember. I
was then fallen from Nandana, my religious merits gone! I heard in the
skies, O king, the voices of the celestials exclaiming in grief,--Alas!
What a misfortune! Yayati, with his religious merits destroyed, though
virtuous and of sacred deeds, is falling!--And as I was falling, I

them loudly, 'Where, ye celestials, are those wise ones amongst whom I

to fall?' They pointed out to me this sacred sacrificial region

to you. Beholding the curls of smoke blackening the atmosphere and
smelling the perfume of clarified butter poured incessantly upon fire,

guided thereby, I am approaching this region of yours, glad at heart

I come amongst you.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Ashtaka said, 'Capable of assuming any form at will, thou hast lived

a million years in the gardens of Nandana. For what cause, O foremost

those that flourished in the Krita age, hast thou been compelled to

that region and come hither?' Yayati answered, 'As kinsmen, friends,

relatives forsake, in this world, those whose wealth disappears so, in

other world, the celestials with Indra as their chief, forsake him who
hath lost his righteousness.' Ashtaka said, 'I am extremely anxious to
know how in the other world men can lose virtue. Tell me also, O king,
what regions are attainable by what courses of action. Thou art

I know, with the acts and sayings of great beings.'

"Yayati answered, 'O pious one, they that speak of their own merits are
doomed to suffer the hell called Bhauma. Though really emaciated and

they appear to grow on Earth (in the shape of their sons and grandsons)
only to become food for vultures, dogs, and jackals. Therefore, O king,
this highly censurable and wicked vice should be repressed. I have now,

king, told thee all. Tell me what more I shall say.'

"Ashtaka said, 'When life is destroyed with age, vultures, peacocks,
insects, and worms eat up the human body. Where doth man then reside?

doth he also come back to life? I have never heard of any hell called
Bhauma on Earth!'

"Yayati answered, 'After the dissolution of the body, man, according to
his acts, re-entereth the womb of his mother and stayeth there in an
indistinct form, and soon after assuming a distinct and visible shape
reappeareth in the world and walketh on its surface. This is that

hell (Bhauma) where he falleth, for he beholdeth not the termination of
his existence and acteth not towards his emancipation. Some dwell for
sixty thousand years, some, for eighty thousand years in heaven, and

they fall. And as they fall, they are attacked by certain Rakshasas in

form of sons, grandsons, and other relatives, that withdraw their

from acting for their own emancipation.'

"Ashtaka asked, 'For what sin are beings, when they fall from heaven,
attacked by these fierce and sharp-toothed Rakshasas? Why are they not
reduced to annihilation? How do they again enter the womb, furnished


"Yayati answered, 'After falling from heaven, the being becometh a

substance living in water. This water becometh the semen whence is the
seed of vitality. Thence entering the mother's womb in the womanly

it developeth into the embryo and next into visible life like the fruit
from the flower. Entering trees, plants, and other vegetable

water, air, earth, and space, that same watery seed of life assumeth

quadrupedal or bipedal form. This is the case with all creatures that


"Ashtaka said, 'O tell me, I ask thee because I have my doubts. Doth a
being that hath received a human form enter the womb in its own shape

in some other? How doth it also acquire its distinct and visible shape,
eyes and ears and consciousness as well? Questioned by me, O, explain

all! Thou art, O father, one acquainted with the acts and sayings of

beings.' Yayati answered, 'According to the merits of one's acts, the
being that in a subtile form co-inheres in the seed that is dropped

the womb is attracted by the atmospheric force for purposes of re-

It then developeth there in course of time; first it becomes the

and is next provided with the visible physical organism. Coming out of

womb in due course of time, it becometh conscious of its existence as

and with his ears becometh sensible of sound; with his eyes, of colour

form; with his nose, of scent; with his tongue, of taste; by his whole
body, of touch; and by his mind, of ideas. It is thus, O Ashtaka, that

gross and visible body developeth from the subtile essence.'

"Ashtaka asked, 'After death, the body is burnt, or otherwise

Reduced to nothing upon such dissolution, by what principle is one
revived?' Yayati said, 'O lion among kings, the person that dies

assumes a
subtil form; and retaining consciousness of all his acts as in a dream,

enters some other form with a speed quicker than that of air itself.

virtuous attain to a superior, and the vicious to an inferior form of
existence. The vicious become worms and insects. I have nothing more to
say, O thou of great and pure soul! I have told thee how beings are

after development of embryonic forms, as four-footed, six-footed

and others with more feet. What more wilt thou ask me?'

"Ashtaka said, 'How, O father, do men attain to those superior regions
whence there is no return to earthly life? Is it by asceticism or by
knowledge? How also can one gradually attain to felicitous regions?

by me, O answer it in full.'

"Yayati answered, 'The wise say that for men there are seven gates

which admission may be gained into Heaven. There are asceticism,
benevolence, tranquillity of mind, self-command, modesty, simplicity,

kindness to all creatures. The wise also say that a person loseth all
these in consequence of vanity. That man who having acquired knowledge
regardeth himself as learned, and with his learning destroyed the
reputation of others, never attaineth to regions of indestructible
felicity. That knowledge also doth not make its possessor competent to
attain to Brahma. Study, taciturnity, worship before fire, and

these four remove all fear. When, however, these are mixed with vanity,
instead of removing it, they cause fear. The wise should never exult at
(receiving) honours nor should they grieve at insults. For it is the

alone that honour the wise; the wicked never act like the virtuous. I

given away so much--I have performed so many sacrifices,--I have

so much,--I have observed these vows,--such vanity is the root of fear.
Therefore, thou must not indulge in such feelings. Those learned men

accept as their support the unchangeable, inconceivable Brahma alone

ever showereth blessings on persons virtuous like thee, enjoy perfect
peace here and hereafter.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Ashtaka said, 'Those cognisant of the Vedas differ in opinion as to

the followers of each of the four modes of life, viz., Grihasthas,
Bhikshus, Brahmacharins, and Vanaprashthas, should conduct themselves

order to acquire religious merit.'

"Yayati answered, 'These are what a Brahmacharin must do. While

in the abode of his preceptor, he must receive lessons only when his
preceptor summons him to do so; he must attend to the service of his
preceptor without waiting for the latter's command; he must rise from

bed before his preceptor riseth, and go to bed after his preceptor hath
gone to bed. He must be humble, must have his passions under complete
control, must be patient, vigilant, and devoted to studies. It is then
only that he can achieve success. It hath been said in the oldest
Upanishad that a grihastha, acquiring wealth by honest means, should
perform sacrifices; he should always give something in charity, should
perform the rites of hospitality unto all arriving at his abode, and
should never use anything without giving a portion thereof to others. A
Muni, without search for woods, depending on his own vigour, should
abstain from all vicious acts, should give away something in charity,
should never inflict pain on any creature. It is then only that he can
achieve success. He, indeed, is a true Bhikshu who doth not support
himself by any manual arts, who possesseth numerous accomplishments,

hath his passions under complete control, who is unconnected with

concerns, who sleepeth not under the shelter of a householder's roof,

is without wife, and who going a little way every day, travelleth over

large extent of the country. A learned man should adopt the Vanaprastha
mode of life after performance of the necessary rites, when he hath

able to control his appetites for enjoyment and desire of acquiring
valuable possessions. When one dieth in the woods while leading the
Vanaprastha mode of life, he maketh his ancestors and the successors,
numbering ten generations including himself, mix with the Divine


"Ashtaka asked, 'How many kinds of Munis are there (observers of the

of the silence)?'

"Yayati answered, 'He is, indeed, a Muni who, though dwelling in the

hath an inhabited place near, or who, though dwelling in an inhabited
place, hath the woods near.'

"Ashtaka enquired what is meant by Muni. Yayati replied, 'A Muni
withdrawing himself from all worldly objects liveth in the woods. And
though he might never seek to surround himself with those objects that

procurable in an inhabited place, he might yet obtain them all by

of his ascetic power. He may truly be said to dwell in the woods having

inhabited place near to himself. Again a wise man withdrawn from all
earthly objects, might live in a hamlet leading the life of a hermit.

may never exhibit the pride of family, birth or learning. Clad in the
scantiest robes, he may yet regard himself as attired in the richest
vestments. He may rest content with food just enough for the support of
life. Such a person, though dwelling in an inhabited place, liveth yet

the woods.

"The person again, who, with passions under complete control, adopteth

vow of silence, refraining from action and entertaining no desire,
achieveth success. Why shouldst thou not, indeed, reverence the man who
liveth on clean food, who refraineth from ever injuring others, whose
heart is ever pure, who stands in the splendour of ascetic attributes,

is free from the leaden weight of desire, who abstaineth from injury

when sanctioned by religion? Emaciated by austerities and reduced in

marrow and blood, such a one conquereth not only this but the highest
world. And when the Muni sits in yoga meditation, becoming indifferent

happiness and misery, honour and insult, he then leaveth the world and
enjoyeth communion with Brahma. When the Muni taketh food like wine and
other animals, i. e., without providing for it beforehand and without

relish (like a sleeping infant feeding on the mother's lap), then like

all-pervading spirit he becometh identified with the whole universe and
attaineth to salvation.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Ashtaka asked, 'Who amongst these, O king, both exerting constantly

the Sun and the Moon, first attaineth to communion with Brahma, the
ascetic or the man of knowledge?'

"Yayati answered, 'The wise, with the help of the Vedas and of

having ascertained the visible universe to be illusory, instantly

the Supreme Spirit as the sole existent independent essence. While they
that devote themselves to Yoga meditation take time to acquire the same
knowledge, for it is by practice alone that these latter divest

of the consciousness of quality. Hence the wise attain to salvation

Then again if the person devoted to Yoga find not sufficient time in

life to attain success, being led astray by the attractions of the

in his next life he is benefited by the progress already achieved, for

devoteth himself regretfully to the pursuit of success. But the man of
knowledge ever beholdeth the indestructible unity, and, is, therefore,
though steeped in worldly enjoyments, never affected by them at heart.
Therefore, there is nothing to impede his salvation. He, however, who
faileth to attain to knowledge, should yet devote himself to piety as
dependent on action (sacrifices). But he that devoteth himself to such
piety, moved thereto by desire of salvation, can never achieve success.
His sacrifices bear no fruit and partake of the nature of cruelty.

which is dependent on action that proceedeth not from the desire of

is, in case of such men Yoga itself.'

"Ashtaka said, 'O king, thou lookest like a young man; thou art

and decked with a celestial garland. Thy splendour is great! Whence

thou come and where dost thou go? Whose messenger art thou? Art thou

down into the Earth?'

"Yayati said, 'Fallen from heaven upon the loss of all my religious

I am doomed to enter the Earth-hell. Indeed, I shall go there after I

finished my discourse with you. Even now the regents of the points of

universe command me to hasten thither. And, O king, I have obtained it

a boon from Indra that though fall I must upon the earth, yet I should
fall amidst the wise and the virtuous. Ye are all wise and virtuous

are assembled here.'

"Ashtaka said, 'Thou art acquainted with everything. I ask thee, O

are there any regions for myself to enjoy in heaven or in the

If there be, then, thou shalt not fall, though falling.'

"Yayati answered, 'O king, there are as many regions for thee to enjoy

heaven even as the number of kine and horses on Earth with the animals

the wilderness and on the hills.'

"Ashtaka said, 'If there are worlds for me to enjoy, as fruits of my
religious merits, in heaven, O king, I give them all unto thee.

though falling, thou shalt not fall. O, take thou soon all those,

they be, in heaven or in the firmament. Let thy sorrow cease.'

"Yayati answered, 'O best of kings, a Brahma-knowing Brahmana alone can
take in gift, but not one like ourselves. And, O monarch, I myself have
given away to Brahmanas as one should. Let no man who is not a Brahmana
and let not the wife of a learned Brahmana ever live in infamy by
accepting gifts. While on earth, I ever desired to perform virtuous

Having never done so before, how shall I now accept a gift?'

"Pratardana who was amongst them asked, 'O thou of the handsomest form,

am Pratardana by name. I ask thee if there are any worlds for me to

as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament? Answer

thou art acquainted with everything.'

"Yayati said, 'O king, numberless worlds, full of felicity, effulgent

the solar disc, and where woe can never dwell, await thee. If thou
dwellest in each but for seven days, they would not yet be exhausted.'

"Pratardana said, 'These then I give unto thee. Therefore, though

thou must not fall. Let the worlds that are mine be thine, whether they

in the firmament or heaven. O, soon take them. Let thy woes cease.'

"Yayati answered, 'O monarch, no king of equal energy should ever

to receive as gift the religious merits of another king acquired by

austerities. And no king who is afflicted with calamity through the

should, if wise, act in a censurable way. A king keeping his eye fixed

ever on virtue should walk along the path of virtue like myself and,
knowing what his duties are, should not act so meanly as thou

When others desirous of acquiring religious merits do not accept gifts,
how can I do what they themselves do not?' On the conclusion of this
speech, that best of kings, Yayati, was then addressed by Vasumat in

following words."


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vasumat said, 'I am Vasumat, the son of Oshadaswa. I would ask thee, O
king, whether there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my
religious merits, in heaven or the firmament. Thou art, O high-souled

acquainted with all holy regions.'

"Yayati answered, 'There are as many regions for thee to enjoy in

as the number of places in the firmament, the Earth and the ten points

the universe illumined by the Sun.'

"Vasumat then said, 'I give them to thee. Let those regions that are

me be thine. Therefore, though falling, thou shall not fall. If to

them as gift be improper for thee, then, O monarch, buy them for a


"Yayati answered, 'I do not remember having ever bought and sold

unfairly. This has never been done by other kings. How shall I

do it?'

"Vasumat said, 'If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as

then take them as gift from me. For myself I answer that I will never

to those regions that are for me. Let them, therefore, be thine.'

"Sivi then addressed the king thus, I am, O king, Sivi by name, the son

Usinara. O father, are there in the firmament or in heaven any worlds

me to enjoy? Thou knowest every region that one may enjoy as the fruit

his religious merit.'

"Yayati said, 'Thou hast never, by speech or in mind, disregarded the
honest and the virtuous that applied to thee. There are infinite worlds
for thee to enjoy in heaven, all blazing like lightning.' Sivi then

'If thou regardest their purchase as improper, I give them to thee.

them all, O king! I shall never take them, viz., those regions where

wise never feel the least disquiet.'

Yayati answered, 'O Sivi, thou hast indeed, obtained for thyself,
possessed of the prowess of Indra, infinite worlds. But I do not desire

enjoy regions given to me by others. Therefore, I accept not thy gift.'

"Ashtaka then said, 'O king, each of us has expressed his desire to

thee worlds that each of us has acquired by his religious merits. Thou
acceptest not them. But leaving them for thee, we shall descend into


"Yayati answered, 'Ye all are truth-loving and wise. Give me that which

deserve. I shall not be able to do what I have never done before.'

"Ashtaka then said, 'Whose are those five golden cars that we see? Do

that repair to these regions of everlasting bliss ride in them?'

"Yayati answered, 'Those five golden cars displayed in glory, and

as fire, would indeed, carry you to regions of bliss.'

"Ashtaka said, 'O king, ride on those cars thyself and repair to

We can wait. We follow thee in time.'

"Yayati said, 'We can now all go together. Indeed, all of us have
conquered heaven. Behold, the glorious path to heaven becomes visible."

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then all those excellent monarchs riding in
those cars set out for heaven for gaining admittance into it,

the whole firmament by the glory of their virtues.'

"Then Ashtaka, breaking the silence asked, 'I had always thought that
Indra was my especial friend, and that I, of all others, should first
obtain admittance into heaven. But how is it that Usinara's son, Sivi

already left us behind?'

"Yayati answered, 'This Usinara's son had given all he possessed for
attaining to the region of Brahman. Therefore, is he the foremost among

Besides, Sivi's liberality, asceticism, truth, virtue, modesty,
forgiveness, amiability, desire of performing good acts, have been so
great that none can measure them!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Ashtaka, impelled by curiosity,
again asked his maternal grandfather resembling Indra himself, saying,

king, I ask thee, tell me truly, whence thou art, who thou art, and

son? Is there any other Brahmana or Kshatriya who hath done what thou
didst on earth?' Yayati answered, 'I tell thee truly, I am Yayati, the

of Nahusha and the father of Puru. I was lord of all the Earth. Ye are

relatives; I tell thee truly, I am the maternal grandfather of you all.
Having conquered the whole earth, I gave clothes to Brahmanas and also

hundred handsome horses fit for sacrificial offering. For such acts of
virtue, the gods became propitious to those that perform them. I also

to Brahmanas this whole earth with her horses and elephants and kine

gold all kinds of wealth, along with a hundred Arbudas of excellent

cows. Both the earth and the firmament exist owing to my truth and

fire yet burneth in the world of men owing to my truth and virtue.

hath a word spoken by me been untrue. It is for this that the wise

Truth. O Ashtaka, all I have told thee, Pratardana, and Vasumat, is

itself. I know it for certain that the gods and the Rishis and all the
mansions of the blessed are adorable only because of Truth that
characteriseth them all. He that will without malice duly read unto

Brahmanas his account of our ascension to heaven shall himself attain

the same worlds with us.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'It was thus that the illustrious king Yayati

high achievements, rescued by his collateral descendants, ascended to
heaven, leaving the earth and covering the three worlds with the fame

his deeds.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O adorable one, I desire to hear the histories of

kings who were descended from Puru. O tell me of each as he was

of prowess and achievements. I have, indeed, heard that in Puru's line
there was not a single one who was wanting in good behaviour and

or who was without sons. O thou of ascetic wealth, I desire to hear the
histories in detail of those famous monarchs endued with learning and


"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by thee, I shall tell thee all about the

kings in Puru's line, all equal unto Indra in prowess, possessing great
affluence and commanding the respect of all for their accomplishments.

"Puru had by his wife Paushti three sons, Pravira, Iswara, and

all of whom were mighty car-warriors. Amongst them, Pravira was the
perpetuator of the dynasty. Pravira had by his wife Suraseni a son

Manasyu. And the latter of eyes like lotus-petals had his sway over the
whole Earth bounded by the four seas. And Manasyu had for his wife

And he begat upon her three sons called Sakta, Sahana, and Vagmi. And

were heroes in battle and mighty car-warriors. The intelligent and
virtuous Kaudraswa begat upon the Apsara Misrakesi ten sons who were

great bowmen. And they all grew up into heroes, performing numerous
sacrifices in honour of the gods. And they all had sons, were learned

all branches of knowledge and ever devoted to virtue. They are Richeyu,
and Kaksreyu and Vrikeyu of great prowess; Sthandileyu, and Vaneyu, and
Jaleyu of great fame; Tejeyu of great strength and intelligence; and
Satyeyu of the prowess of Indra; Dharmeyu, and Sannateyu the tenth of

prowess of the celestials. Amongst them all, Richeyu became the sole
monarch of the whole earth and was known by the name of Anadhrishti.

in prowess he was like unto Vasava amongst the celestials. And

had a son of the name of Matinara who became a famous and virtuous king
and performed the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. And Matinara had

sons of immeasurable prowess, viz., Tansu, Mahan, Atiratha, and Druhyu

immeasurable glory. (Amongst them, Tansu of great prowess became the
perpetrator of Puru's line). And he subjugated the whole earth and
acquired great fame and splendour. And Tansu begat a son of great

named Ilina. And he became the foremost of all conquerors and brought

whole world under his subjection. And Ilina begat upon his wife

five sons with Dushmanta at their head, all equal in might unto the

elements. They were Dushmanta, Sura, Bhima, Pravasu, and Vasu. And, O
Janamejaya, the eldest of them, Dushmanta, became king. And Dushmanta

by his wife Sakuntala an intelligent son named Bharata who became king.
And Bharata gave his name to the race of which he was the founder. And

is from him that the fame of that dynasty hath spread so wide. And

begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like
their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them. Their
mothers, therefore, became angry and slew them all. The procreation of
children by Bharata, therefore, became vain. The monarch then performed

great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son

Bhumanyu. And then Bharata, the great descendant of Puru, regarding
himself as really possessing a son, installed, O foremost one of

race, that son as his heir-apparent. And Bhumanyu begat upon his wife,
Pushkarini six sons named Suhotra, Suhotri, Suhavih, Sujeya, Diviratha

Kichika. The eldest of them all, Suhotra, obtained the throne and
performed many Rajasuyas and horse-sacrifices. And Suhotra brought

his sway the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas and full of
elephants, kine and horses, and all her wealth of gems of gold. And the
earth afflicted with the weight of numberless human beings and

horses, and cats, was, as it were, about to sink. And during the

reign of Suhotra the surface of the whole earth was dotted all over

hundreds and thousands, of sacrificial stakes. And the lord of the

Suhotra, begat, upon his wife Aikshaki three sons, viz., Ajamidha,

and Purumidha. The eldest of them, Ajamidha, was the perpetuator of the
royal line. And he begat six sons,--Riksha was born of the womb of

Dushmanta and Parameshthin, of Nili, and Jahnu, Jala and Rupina were

in that of Kesini. All the tribes of the Panchalas are descended from
Dushmanta and Parameshthin. And the Kushikas are the sons of Jahnu of
immeasurable prowess. And Riksha who was older than both Jala and

became king. And Riksha begat Samvarana, the perpetuator of the royal

And, O king, it hath been heard by us that while Samvarana, the son of
Riksha, was ruling the earth, there happened a great loss of people

famine, pestilence, drought, and disease. And the Bharata princes were
beaten by the troops of enemies. And the Panchalas setting out to

the whole earth with their four kinds of troops soon brought the whole
earth under their sway. And with their ten Akshauhinis the king of the
Panchalas defeated the Bharata prince. Samvarana then with his wife and
ministers, sons and relatives, fled in fear, and took shelter in the
forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the

There the Bharatas lived for a full thousand years, within their fort.

after they had lived there a thousand years, one day the illustrious

Vasishtha approached the exiled Bharatas, who, on going out, saluted

Rishi and worshipped him by the offer of Arghya. And entertaining him

reverence, they represented everything unto that illustrious Rishi. And
after he was seated on his seat, the king himself approached the Rishi

addressed him, saying, 'Be thou our priest, O illustrious one! We will
endeavour to regain our kingdom.' And Vasishtha answered the Bharatas

saying, 'Om' (the sign of consent). It hath been heard by us that
Vasishtha then installed the Bharata prince in the sovereignty of all

Kshatriyas on earth, making by virtue of his Mantras this descendant of
Puru the veritable horns of the wild bull or the tusks of the wild
elephants. And the king retook the capital that had been taken away

him and once more made all monarchs pay tribute to him. The powerful
Samvarana, thus installed once more in the actual sovereignty of the

earth, performed many sacrifices at which the presents to the Brahmanas
were great.

"Samvarana begat upon his wife, Tapati, the daughter of Surya, a son

Kuru. This Kuru was exceedingly virtuous, and therefore, he was

on the throne by his people. It is after his name that the field called
Kuru-jangala has become so famous in the world. Devoted to asceticism,

made that field (Kurukshetra) sacred by practising asceticism there.

it has been heard by us that Kuru's highly intelligent wife, Vahini,
brought forth five sons, viz., Avikshit, Bhavishyanta, Chaitraratha,

and the celebrated Janamejaya. And Avikshit begat Parikshit the

Savalaswa, Adhiraja, Viraja, Salmali of great physical strength,
Uchaihsravas, Bhangakara and Jitari the eighth. In the race of these

born, as the fruit of their pious acts seven mighty car-warriors with
Janamejaya at their head. And unto Parikshit were born sons who were

acquainted with (the secrets of) religion and profit. And they were

Kakshasena and Ugrasena, and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and
Indrasena and Sushena and Bhimasena. And the sons of Janamejaya were

endued with great strength and became celebrated all over the world.

they were Dhritarashtra who was the eldest, and Pandu and Valhika, and
Nishadha endued with great energy, and then the mighty Jamvunada, and

Kundodara and Padati and then Vasati the eighth. And they were all
proficient in morality and profit and were kind to all creatures. Among
them Dhritarashtra became king. And Dhritarashtra had eight sons, viz.,
Kundika, Hasti, Vitarka, Kratha the fifth, Havihsravas, Indrabha, and
Bhumanyu the invincible, and Dhritarashtra had many grandsons, of whom
three only were famous. They were, O king, Pratipa, Dharmanetra,

Among these three, Pratipa became unrivalled on earth. And, O bull in
Bharata's race, Pratipa begat three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu, and

mighty car-warrior Valhika. The eldest Devapi adopted the ascetic

of life, impelled thereto by the desire of benefiting his brothers. And
the kingdom was obtained by Santanu and the mighty car-warrior Valhika.

"O monarch, besides, there were born in the race of Bharata numberless
other excellent monarchs endued with great energy and like unto the
celestial Rishis themselves in virtue and ascetic power. And so also in
the race of Manu were born many mighty car-warriors like unto the
celestials themselves, who by their number swelled the Aila dynasty

gigantic proportions.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, I have now heard from thee this great
history of my ancestors. I had also heard from thee about the great
monarchs that were born in this line. But I have not been gratified,

charming account being so short. Therefore, be pleased, O Brahmana, to
recite the delightful narrative just in detail commencing from Manu,

lord of creation. Who is there that will not be charmed with such an
account, as it is sacred? The fame of these monarchs increased by their
wisdom, virtue, accomplishments, and high character, hath so swelled as

cover the three worlds. Having listened to the history, sweet as

of their liberality, prowess, physical strength, mental vigour, energy,
and perseverance, I have not been satiated!'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hear then, O monarch, as I recite in full the
auspicious account of thy own race just as I had heard it from


"Daksha begat Aditi, and Aditi begat Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begat Manu,
and Manu begat Ha and Ha begat Pururavas. And Pururavas begat Ayus, and
Ayus begat Nahusha, and Nahusha begat Yayati. And Yayati had two wives,
viz., Devayani, the daughter of Usanas, and Sarmishtha the daughter of
Vrishaparvan. Here occurs a sloka regarding (Yayati's) descendants,
'Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu; and Vrishaparvan's daughter,
Sarmishtha gave birth to Druhyu, Anu, and Puru. And the descendants of
Yadu are the Yadavas and of Puru are the Pauravas. And Puru had a wife

the name of Kausalya, on whom he begat a son named Janamejaya who
performed three horse-sacrifices and a sacrifice called Viswajit. And

he entered into the woods. And Janamejaya had married Ananta, the

of Madhava, and begat upon her a son called Prachinwat. And the prince

so called because he had conquered all the eastern countries up to the
very confines of the region where the Sun rises. And Prachinwat married
Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named

And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon
her a son named Ahayanti. And Ahayanti married Bhanumati, the daughter

Kritavirya and begat upon her a son named Sarvabhauma. And Sarvabhauma
married Sunanda, the daughter of the Kekaya prince, having obtained her

force. And he begat upon her a son named Jayatsena, who married

the daughter of the Vidarbha king and begat upon her Avachina. And
Avachina also married another princess of Vidarbha, Maryada by name.

he begat on her a son named Arihan. And Arihan married Angi and begat

her Mahabhauma. And Mahabhauma married Suyajna, the daughter of

And of her was born Ayutanayi. And he was so called because he had
performed a sacrifice at which the fat of an Ayuta (ten thousands) of

beings was required. And Ayutanayi took for a wife Kama, the daughter

Prithusravas. And by her was born a son named Akrodhana, who took to

Karambha, the daughter of the king of Kalinga. And of her was born
Devatithi, and Devatithi took for his wife Maryada, the princess of

And of her was born a son named Arihan. And Arihan took to wife Sudeva,
the princess of Anga, and upon her he begat a son named Riksha. And

married Jwala, the daughter of Takshaka, and he begat upon her a son of
the name of Matinara, who performed on the bank of Saraswati the twelve
years' sacrifice said to be so efficacious. On conclusion of the

Saraswati appeared in person before the king and chose him for husband.
And he begat upon her a son named Tansu. Here occurs a sloka

of Tansu's descendants.

"Tansu was born of Saraswati by Matinara. And Tansu himself begat a son
named Ilina on his wife, the princess Kalingi.

"Ilina begat on his wife Rathantari five sons, of whom Dushmanta was

eldest. And Dushmanta took to wife Sakuntala, the daughter of

And he begat on her a son named Bharata. Here occurs two slokas about
(Dushmanta's) descendants.

"The mother is but the sheath of flesh in which the father begets the

Indeed the father himself is the son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, support

son and insult not Sakuntala. O god among men, the father himself

the son rescueth himself from hell. Sakuntala hath truly said that thou
art the author of this child's being.

"It is for this (i.e., because the king supported his child after

the above speech of the celestial messenger) that Sakuntala's son came

be called Bharata (the supported). And Bharata married Sunanda, the
daughter of Sarvasena, the king of Kasi, and begat upon her the son

Bhumanyu. And Bhumanyu married Vijaya, the daughter of Dasarha. And he
begat upon her a son Suhotra who married Suvarna, the daughter of

To her was born a son named Hasti who founded this city, which has,
therefore, been called Hastinapura. And Hasti married Yasodhara, the
princess of Trigarta. And of her was born a son named Vikunthana who

for a wife Sudeva, the princess of Dasarha. And by her was born a son
named Ajamidha. And Ajamidha had four wives named Raikeyi, Gandhari,
Visala and Riksha. And he begat on them two thousand and four hundred

But amongst them all, Samvarana became the perpetuator of the dynasty.

Samvarana took for his wife Tapati, the daughter of Vivaswat. And of

was born Kuru, who married Subhangi, the princess of Dasarha. And he

on her a son named Viduratha, who took to wife Supriya, the daughter of
the Madhavas. And he begat upon her a son named Anaswan. And Anaswan
married Amrita, the daughter of the Madhavas. And of her was born a son
named Parikshit, who took for his wife Suvasa, the daughter of the

and begat upon her a son named Bhimasena. And Bhimasena married Kumari,
the princess of Kekaya and begat upon her Pratisravas whose son was
Pratipa. And Pratipa married Sunanda, the daughter of Sivi, and begat

her three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu and Valhika. And Devapi, while

a boy, entered the woods as a hermit. And Santanu became king. Here

a sloka in respect of Santanu.

"Those old men that were touched by this monarch not only felt an
indescribable sensation of pleasure but also became restored to youth.
Therefore, this monarch was called Santanu.

"And Santanu married Ganga, who bore him a son Devavrata who was
afterwards called Bhishma. And Bhishma, moved by the desire of doing

to his father, got him married to Satyavati who was also called

And in her maidenhood she had a son by Parasara, named Dwaipayana. And
upon her Santanu begat two other sons named Chitrangada and

And before they attained to majority, Chitrangada had been slain by the
Gandharvas. But Vichitravirya became king, and married the two

of the king of Kasi, named Amvika and Amvalika. But Vichitravirya died
childless. Then Satyavati began to think as to how the dynasty of
Dushmanta might be perpetuated. Then she recollected the Rishi

The latter coming before her, asked, 'What are thy commands?' She said,
'Thy brother Vichitravirya hath gone to heaven childless. Beget

children for him.' Dwaipayana, consenting to this, begat three

viz., Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. King Dhritarashtra had a

sons by his wife, Gandhari in consequence of the boon granted by
Dwaipayana. And amongst those hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, four

celebrated. They are Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Chitrasena.

Pandu had two jewels of wives, viz., Kunti, also called Pritha, and

One day Pandu, while out a-hunting, saw a deer covering its mate. That

really a Rishi in the form of a deer. Seeing the deer in that attitude,

killed it with his arrows, before its desire was gratified. Pierced

the king's arrow, the deer quickly changed its form and became a Rishi,
and said unto Pandu, 'O Pandu, thou art virtuous and acquainted also

the pleasure derived from the gratification of one's desire. My desire
unsatisfied, thou hast slain me! Therefore, thou also, when so engaged

before thou art gratified, shalt die!' Pandu, hearing this curse,

pale, and from that time would not go in unto his wives. And he told

these words, 'Through my own fault, I have been cursed! But I have

that for the childless there are no regions hereafter.' Therefore, he
solicited Kunti to have offspring raised for him. And Kunti said, 'Let

be.' So she raised up offspring. By Dharma she had Yudhishthira; by

Bhima: and by Sakra, Arjuna. And Pandu, well-pleased with her, said,

thy co-wife is also childless. Therefore, cause her also to bear

Kunti saying, 'So be it,' imparted unto Madri the mantra of invocation.
And on Madri were raised by the twin Aswins, the twins Nakula and

And (one day) Pandu, beholding Madri decked with ornaments, had his

kindled. And, as soon as he touched her, he died. Madri ascended the
funeral pyre with her lord. And she said unto Kunti, 'Let these twins

mine be brought up by thee with affection.' After some time those five
Pandavas were taken by the ascetics of the woods to Hastinapura and

introduced to Bhishma and Vidura. And after introducing them, the

disappeared in the very sight of all. And after the conclusion of the
speech of those ascetics, flowers were showered down upon the spot, and
the celestial drums also were beaten in the skies. The Pandavas were

taken (by Bhishma). They then represented the death of their father and
performed his last honours duly. And as they were brought up there,
Duryodhana became exceedingly jealous of them. And the sinful

acting like Rakshasa tried various means to drive them away. But what

be can never be frustrated. So all Duryodhana's efforts proved futile.
Then Dhritarashtra sent them, by an act of deception to Varanavata, and
they went there willingly. There an endeavour was made to burn them to
death; but it proved abortive owing to the warning counsels of Vidura.
After that the Pandavas slew Hidimva, and then they went to a town

Ekachakra. There also they slew a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka and then
went to Panchala. And there obtaining Draupadi for a wife they returned

Hastinapura. And there they dwelt for some time in peace and begat
children. And Yudhishthira begat Prativindhya; Bhima, Sutasoma; Arjuna,
Srutakriti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva, Srutakarman. Besides these,
Yudhishthira, having obtained for his wife Devika, the daughter of
Govasana of the Saivya tribe, in a self-choice ceremony, begat upon her

son named Yaudheya. And Bhima also obtaining for a wife Valandhara, the
daughter of the king of Kasi, offered his own prowess as dower and

upon her a son named Sarvaga. And Arjuna also, repairing to Dwaravati,
brought away by force Subhadra, the sweet-speeched sister of Vasudeva,

returned in happiness to Hastinapura. And he begat upon her a son named
Abhimanyu endued with all accomplishments and dear to Vasudeva himself.
And Nakula obtaining for his wife Karenumati, the princess of Chedi,

upon her a son named Niramitra. And Sahadeva also married Vijaya, the
daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, obtaining her in a self-choice
ceremony and begat upon her a son named Suhotra. And Bhimasena had some
time before begat upon Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. These are the
eleven sons of the Pandavas. Amongst them all, Abhimanyu was the
perpetuator of the family. He married Uttara, the daughter of Virata,

brought forth a dead child whom Kunti took up on her lap at the command

Vasudeva who said, 'I will revive this child of six months.' And though
born before time, having been burnt by the fire of Aswatthaman's weapon
and, therefore, deprived of strength and energy he was revived by

and endued with strength, energy and prowess. And after reviving him,
Vasudeva said, 'Because this child hath been born in an extinct race,
therefore, he shall be called Parikshit.' And Parikshit married

thy mother, O king, and thou art born to her, O Janamejaya! Thou hast

begotten two sons on thy wife Vapushtama, named Satanika and

And Satanika also hath begotten one son named Aswamedhadatta upon the
princess of Videha.

"Thus have I, O king, recited the history of the descendants of Puru

of the Pandavas. This excellent, virtue-increasing, and sacred history
should ever be listened to by vow-observing Brahmanas, by Kshatriyas
devoted to the practices of their order and ready to protect their
subjects; by Vaisyas with attention, and by Sudras with reverence,

chief occupation is to wait upon the three other orders. Brahmanas
conversant in the Vedas and other persons, who with attention and
reverence recite this sacred history or listen to it when recited,

the heavens and attain to the abode of the blessed. They are also

respected and adored by the gods, Brahamanas, and other men. This holy
history of Bharata hath been composed by the sacred and illustrious

Veda-knowing Brahmanas and other persons who with reverence and without
malice hear it recited, earn great religious merits and conquer the
heavens. Though sinning, they are not disregarded by any one. Here

a sloka, 'This (Bharata) is equal unto the Vedas: it is holy and

It bestoweth wealth, fame, and life. Therefore, it should be listened

by men with rapt attention.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a king known by the name of Mahabhisha

in the race of Ikshvaku. He was the lord of all the earth, and was
truthful (in speech) and of true prowess. By a thousand horse-

and a hundred Rajasuyas he had gratified the chief of the celestials

ultimately attained to heaven.

"One day the celestials had assembled together and were worshipping
Brahman. Many royal sages and king Mahabhisha also were present on the
spot. And Ganga, the queen of rivers, also came there to pay her
adorations to the Grandsire. And her garments white as the beams of the
moon was displaced by the action of the wind. And as her person became
exposed, the celestials bent down their heads. But the royal sage
Mahabhisha rudely stared at the queen of rivers. And Mahabhisha was for
this cursed by Brahman, who said, 'Wretch, as thou hast forgotten

at the sight of Ganga, thou shalt be re-born on earth. But thou shall
again and again attain to these regions. And she, too, shall be born in
the world of men and shall do thee injuries. But when thy wrath shall

provoked, thou shalt then be freed from my curse.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'King Mahabhisha then recollecting all the
monarchs and ascetics on earth, wished to be born as son to Pratipa of
great prowess. And the queen of rivers, too, seeing king Mahabhisha

his firmness, went away, thinking of him wishfully. And on her way, she
saw those dwellers in heaven, the Vasus, also pursuing the same path.

the queen of rivers beholding them in the predicament, asked them, 'Why
look ye so dejected? Ye dwellers in heaven, is everything right with

Those celestials, the Vasus, answered her, saying, 'O queen of rivers,

have been cursed, for a venial fault, by the illustrious Vasishtha in
anger. The foremost of excellent Rishis, Vasishtha, had been engaged in
his twilight adorations and seated as he was, he could not be seen by

We crossed him in ignorance. Therefore, in wrath he hath cursed us,

Be ye born among men!' It is beyond our power to frustrate what hath

said by that utterance of Brahma. Therefore, O river, thyself becoming

human female make us the Vasus, thy children. O amiable one, we are
unwilling to enter the womb of any human female.' Thus addressed, the
queen of rivers told them, 'Be it so and asked them, 'On earth, who is
that foremost of men whom ye will make your father?'

"The Vasus replied, 'On earth, unto Pratipa shall be born a son,

who will be a king of world-wide fame.' Ganga then said, 'Ye

that is exactly my wish which ye sinless ones have expressed. I shall,
indeed, do good to that Santanu. That is also your desire as just
expressed.' The Vasus then said, 'It behoveth thee to throw thy

after birth, into the water, so that, O thou of three courses

terrestrial, and subterranean) we may be rescued soon without having to
live on earth for any length of time.' Ganga then answered, 'I shall do
what ye desire. But in order that his intercourse with me may not be
entirely fruitless, provide ye that one son at least may live.' The

then replied, 'We shall each contribute an eighth part of our

energies. With the sum thereof, thou shall have one son according to

and his wishes. But this son shall not begat any children on earth.
Therefore, that son of thine endued with great energy, shall be

"The Vasus, making this arrangement with Ganga, went away without

to the place they liked.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said. 'There was a king of the name of Pratipa, who was

to all creatures. He spent many years in ascetic penances at the source

the river Ganga. The accomplished and lovely Ganga, one day, assuming

form of a beautiful female, and rising from the waters, made up to the
monarch. The celestial maiden, endued with ravishing beauty, approached
the royal sage engaged in ascetic austerities, and sat upon his right
thigh that was, for manly strength, a veritable Sala tree. When the

of handsome face had so sat upon his lap, the monarch said unto her, 'O
amiable one, what dost thou desire? What shall I do?' The damsel

'I desire thee, O king, for my husband! O foremost one of the Kurus, be
mine! To refuse a woman coming of her own accord is never applauded by

wise.' Pratipa answered, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, moved by

I never go in unto others' wives or women that are not of my order.

indeed, is my virtuous vow.' The maiden rejoined, 'I am not

or ugly. I am every way worthy of being enjoyed. I am a celestial

of rare beauty; I desire thee for my husband. Refuse me not, O king.'

this Pratipa answered, 'I am, O damsel, abstaining from that course to
which thou wouldst incite me. If I break my vow, sin will overwhelm and
kill me. O thou of the fairest complexion, thou hast embraced me,

on my right thigh. But, O timid one, know that this is the seat for
daughters and daughters-in-law. The left lap is for the wife, but thou
hast not accepted that. Therefore, O best of women, I cannot enjoy thee

an object of desire. Be my daughter-in-law. I accept thee for my son!'

"The damsel then said, 'O virtuous one, let it be as thou sayest. Let

be united with thy son. From my respect for thee, I shall be a wife of

celebrated Bharata race. Ye (of the Bharata race) are the refuge of all
the monarchs on earth! I am incapable of numbering the virtues of this
race even within a hundred years. The greatness and goodness of many
celebrated monarchs of this race are limitless. O lord of all, let it

understood now that when I become thy daughter-in-law, thy son shall

be able to judge of the propriety of my acts. Living thus with thy son,

shall do good to him and increase his happiness. And he shall finally
attain to heaven in consequence of the sons I shall bear him, and of

virtues and good conduct.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, having said so, the celestial damsel
disappeared then and there. And the king, too, waited for the birth of

son in order to fulfil his promise.'

"About this time Pratipa, that light of the Kuru race, that bull

Kshatriyas, was engaged, along with his wife, in austerities from

of offspring. And when they had grown old, a son was born unto them.

was no other than Mahabhisha. And the child was called Santanu because

was born when his father had controlled his passions by ascetic

And the best of Kurus, Santanu, knowing that region of indestructible
bliss can be acquired by one's deeds alone, became devoted to virtue.

Santanu grew up into a youth, Pratipa addressed him and said, 'Some

ago, O Santanu, a celestial damsel came to me for thy good. If thou
meetest that fair-complexioned one in secret and if she solicit thee

children, accept her as thy wife. And, O sinless one, judge not of the
propriety or impropriety of her action and ask not who she is, or whose

whence, but accept her as thy wife at my command!'" Vaisampayana

"Pratipa, having thus commanded his son Santanu and installed him on

throne, retired into the woods. And king Santanu endued with great
intelligence and equal unto Indra himself in splendour, became addicted

hunting and passed much of his time in the woods. And the best of

always slew deer and buffaloes. And one day, as he was wandering along

bank of the Ganges, he came upon a region frequented by Siddhas and
Charanas. And there he saw a lovely maiden of blazing beauty and like

another Sri herself; of faultless and pearly teeth and decked with
celestial ornaments, and attired in garments of fine texture that
resembled in splendour the filaments of the lotus. And the monarch, on
beholding that damsel, became surprised, and his raptures produced

horripilation. With steadfast gaze he seemed to be drinking her charms,
but repeated draughts failed to quench his thirst. The damsel also
beholding the monarch of blazing splendour moving about in great

was moved herself and experienced an affection for him. She gazed and
gazed and longed to gaze on him evermore. The monarch then in soft

addressed her and said, 'O slender-waisted one, be thou a goddess or

daughter of a Danava, be thou of the race of the Gandharvas, or

be thou of the Yakshas or the Nagas, or be thou of human origin, O thou

celestial beauty, I solicit thee to be my wife!'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The maiden then, hearing those soft and sweet

of the smiling monarch, and remembering her promise to the Vasus,
addressed the king in reply. Of faultless features, the damsel sending

thrill of pleasure into the heart by every word she uttered, said, 'O

I shall become thy wife and obey thy commands. But, O monarch, thou

not interfere with me in anything I do, be it agreeable or

Nor shall thou ever address me unkindly. As long as thou shalt behave
kindly I promise to live with thee. But I shall certainly leave thee

moment thou interferest with me or speakest to me an unkind word.' The
king answered, 'Be it so.' And thereupon the damsel obtaining that
excellent monarch, that foremost one of the Bharata race for her

became highly pleased. And king Santanu also, obtaining her for his

enjoyed to the full the pleasure of her company. And adhering to his
promise, he refrained from asking her anything. And the lord of earth,
Santanu, became exceedingly gratified with her conduct, beauty,
magnanimity, and attention to his comforts. And the goddess Ganga also,

three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean) assuming a

form of superior complexion and endued with celestial beauty, lived
happily as the wife of Santanu, having as the fruit of her virtuous

obtained for her husband, that tiger among kings equal unto Indra

in splendour. And she gratified the king by her attractiveness and
affection, by her wiles and love, by her music and dance, and became
herself gratified. And the monarch was so enraptured with his beautiful
wife that months, seasons, and years rolled on without his being

of them. And the king, while thus enjoying himself with his wife, had
eight children born unto him who in beauty were like the very

themselves. But, O Bharata, those children, one after another, as soon

they were born, were thrown into the river by Ganga who said, 'This is

thy good.' And the children sank to rise no more. The king, however,

not be pleased with such conduct. But he spoke not a word about it lest
his wife should leave him. But when the eighth child was born, and when
his wife as before was about to throw it smilingly into the river, the
king with a sorrowful countenance and desirous of saving it from
destruction, addressed her and said, 'Kill it not! Who art thou and

Why dost thou kill thy own children? Murderess of thy sons, the load of
thy sins is great!'" His wife, thus addressed, replied, 'O thou

of offspring, thou hast already become the first of those that have
children. I shall not destroy this child of thine. But according to our
agreement, the period of my stay with thee is at an end. I am Ganga,

daughter of Jahnu. I am ever worshipped by the great sages; I have

with thee so long for accomplishing the purposes of the celestials. The
eight illustrious Vasus endued with great energy had, from Vasishtha's
curse, to assume human forms. On earth, besides thee, there was none

to deserve the honour of being their begetter. There is no woman also

earth except one like me, a celestial of human form, to become their
mother. I assumed a human form to bring them forth. Thou also, having
become the father of the eight Vasus, hast acquired many regions of
perennial bliss. It was also agreed between myself and the Vasus that I
should free them from their human forms as soon as they would be born.

have thus freed them from the curse of the Rishi Apava. Blest be thou;

leave thee, O king! But rear thou this child of rigid vows. That I

live with thee so long was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let

child be called Gangadatta.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Santanu asked, 'What was the fault of the Vasus and who was Apava,
through whose curse the Vasus had to be born among men? What also hath
this child of thine, Gangadatta, done for which he shall have to live
among men? Why also were the Vasus, the lords of the three worlds,
condemned to be born amongst men? O daughter of Jahnu, tell me all.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the celestial daughter of

Ganga, then replied unto the monarch, her husband, that bull amongst

saying, 'O best of Bharata's race, he who was obtained as son by Varuna
was called Vasishtha, the Muni who afterwards came to be known as

He had his asylum on the breast of the king of mountains called Meru.

spot was sacred and abounded with birds and beasts. And there bloomed

all times of the year flowers of every season. And, O best of Bharata's
race, that foremost of virtuous men, the son of Varuna, practised his
ascetic penances in those woods abounding with sweet roots and water.

"Daksha had a daughter known by the name of Surabhi, who, O bull of
Bharata's race, for benefiting the world, brought forth, by her

with Kasyapa, a daughter (Nandini) in the form of a cow. That foremost

all kine, Nandini, was the cow of plenty (capable of granting every
desire). The virtuous son of Varuna obtained Nandini for his Homa

And Nandini, dwelling in that hermitage which was adored by Munis,

about fearlessly in those sacred and delightful woods.

"One day, O bull of Bharata's race, there came into those woods adored

the gods and celestial Rishis, the Vasus with Prithu at their head. And
wandering there with their wives, they enjoyed themselves in those
delightful woods and mountains. And as they wandered there, the

waisted wife of one of the Vasus, O thou of the prowess of Indra, saw

those woods Nandini, the cow of plenty. And seeing that cow possessing

wealth of all accomplishments, large eyes, full udders, fine tail,
beautiful hoofs, and every other auspicious sign, and yielding much

she showed the animal to her husband Dyu. O thou of the prowess of the
first of elephants, when Dyu was shown that cow, he began to admire her
several qualities and addressing his wife, said, 'O black-eyed girl of
fair thighs, this excellent cow belongeth to that Rishi whose is this
delightful asylum. O slender-waisted one, that mortal who drinketh the
sweet milk of this cow remaineth in unchanged youth for ten thousand
years.' O best of monarchs, hearing this, the slender-waisted goddess

faultless features then addressed her lord of blazing splendour and

'There is on earth a friend of mine, Jitavati by name, possessed of

beauty and youth. She is the daughter of that god among men, the royal
sage Usinara, endued with intelligence and devoted to truth. I desire

have this cow, O illustrious one, with her calf for that friend of

Therefore, O best of celestials, bring that cow so that my friend

of her milk may alone become on earth free from disease and

decrepitude. O
illustrious and blameless one, it behoveth thee to grant me this desire

mine. There is nothing that would be more agreeable to me.' On hearing
these words of his wife, Dyu, moved by the desire of humouring her,

that cow, aided by his brothers Prithu and the others. Indeed, Dyu,
commanded by his lotus-eyed wife, did her bidding, forgetting at the
moment the high ascetic merits of the Rishi who owned her. He did not
think at the time that he was going to fall by committing the sin of
stealing the cow.

"When the son of Varuna returned to his asylum in the evening with

he had collected, he beheld not the cow with her calf there. He began

search for them in the woods, but when the great ascetic of superior
intelligence found not his cow on search, he saw by his ascetic vision
that she had been stolen by the Vasus. His wrath was instantly kindled

he cursed the Vasus, saying, 'Because the Vasus have stolen my cow of
sweet milk and handsome tail, therefore, shall they certainly be born


"O thou bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Rishi Apava thus cursed
the Vasus in wrath. And having cursed them, the illustrious one set his
heart once more on ascetic meditation. And after that Brahmarshi of

power and ascetic wealth had thus in wrath cursed the Vasus, the

latter, O
king, coming to know of it, speedily came into his asylum. And

the Rishi, O bull among kings, they endeavoured to pacify him. But they
failed, O tiger among men, to obtain grace from Apava--that Rishi
conversant, with all rules of virtue. The virtuous Apava, however,

'Ye Vasus, with Dhava and others, ye have been cursed by me. But ye

be freed from my curse within a year of your birth among men. But he

whose deed ye have been cursed by me he, viz., Dyu, shall for his

act, have to dwell on earth for a length of time. I shall not make

the words I have uttered in wrath. Dyu, though dwelling on Earth, shall
not beget children. He shall, however, be virtuous and conversant with

scriptures. He shall be an obedient son to his father, but he shall

to abstain from the pleasure of female companionship.'

"Thus addressing the Vasus, the great Rishi went away. The Vasus then
together came to me. And, O king, they begged of me the boon that as

as they would be born, I should throw them into the water. And, O best

kings, I did as they desired, in order to free them from their earthly
life. And O best of kings, from the Rishi's curse, this one only, viz.,
Dyu, himself, is to live on earth for some time.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the goddess disappeared

and there. And taking with her the child, she went away to the region

chose. And that child of Santanu was named both Gangeya and Devavrata

excelled his father in all accomplishments.

"Santanu, after the disappearance of his wife, returned to his capital
with a sorrowful heart. I shall now recount to thee the many virtues

the great good fortune of the illustrious king Santanu of the Bharata

Indeed, it is this splendid history that is called the Mahabharata.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued )

"Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Santanu, the most adored of the gods

royal sages, was known in all the worlds for his wisdom, virtues, and
truthfulness (of speech). The qualities of self-control, liberality,
forgiveness, intelligence, modesty, patience and superior energy ever
dwelt in that bull among men, viz., Santanu, that great being endued

these accomplishments and conversant with both religion and profit, the
monarch was at once the protector of the Bharata race and all human

His neck was marked with (three) lines, like a conch-shell; his

were broad, and he resembled in prowess an infuriated elephant. It

seem that all the auspicious signs of royalty dwelt in his person,
considering that to be their fittest abode. Men, seeing the behaviour

that monarch of great achievements came to know that virtue was ever
superior to pleasure and profit. These were the attributes that dwelt

that great being--that bull among men--Santanu. And truly there was

a king like Santanu. All the kings of the earth, beholding him devoted

virtue, bestowed upon that foremost of virtuous men the title of King

kings. And all the kings of the earth during the time of that lord-
protector of the Bharata race, were without woe and fear and anxiety of
any kind. And they all slept in peace, rising from bed every morning

happy dreams. And owing to that monarch of splendid achievements
resembling Indra himself in energy, all the kings of the earth became
virtuous and devoted to liberality, religious acts and sacrifices. And
when the earth was ruled by Santanu and other monarchs like him, the
religious merits of every order increased very greatly. The Kshatriyas
served the Brahmanas; the Vaisyas waited upon the Kshatriyas, and the
Sudras adoring the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, waited upon the

And Santanu residing in Hastinapura, the delightful capital of the

ruled the whole earth bounded by seas. He was truthful and guileless,

like the king of the celestials himself conversant with the dictates of
virtue. And from the combination in him of liberality, religion and
asceticism, he acquired a great good fortune. He was free from anger

malice, and was handsome in person like Soma himself. In splendour he

like the Sun and in impetuosity of valour like Vayu. In wrath he was

Yama, and in patience like the Earth. And, O king, while Santanu ruled

earth, no deer, boars, birds, or other animals were needlessly slain.

his dominions the great virtue of kindness to all creatures prevailed,

the king himself, with the soul of mercy, and void of desire and wrath,
extended equal protection unto all creatures. Then sacrifices in honour

the gods, the Rishis, and Pitris commenced, and no creature was

of life sinfully. And Santanu was the king and father of all--of those
that were miserable and those that had no protectors, of birds and

in fact, of every created thing. And during the rule of the best of

of that king of kings-- speech became united with truth, and the minds

men were directed towards liberality and virtue. And Santanu, having
enjoyed domestic felicity for six and thirty years, retired into the


"And Santanu's son, the Vasu born of Ganga, named Devavrata resembled
Santanu himself in personal beauty, in habits and behaviour, and in
learning. And in all branches of knowledge worldly or spiritual his

was very great. His strength and energy were extraordinary. He became a
mighty car-warrior. In fact he was a great king.

"One day, while pursuing along the banks of the Ganges a deer that he

struck with his arrow, king Santanu observed that the river had become
shallow. On observing this, that bull among men, viz., Santanu, began

reflect upon this strange phenomenon. He mentally asked why that first

rivers ran out so quickly as before. And while seeking for a cause, the
illustrious monarch beheld that a youth of great comeliness, well-built
and amiable person, like Indra himself, had, by his keen celestial

checked the flow of the river. And the king, beholding this

feat of the river Ganga having been checked in her course near where

youth stood, became very much surprised. This youth was no other than
Santanu's son himself. But as Santanu had seen his son only once a few
moments after his birth, he had not sufficient recollection to identify
that infant with the youth before his eyes. The youth, however, seeing

father, knew him at once, but instead of disclosing himself, he clouded
the king's perception by his celestial powers of illusion and

in his very sight.

"King Santanu, wondering much at what he saw and imagining the youth to

his own son then addressed Ganga and said, 'Show me that child.' Ganga
thus addressed, assuming a beautiful form, and holding the boy decked

ornaments in her right arm, showed him to Santanu. And Santanu did not
recognise that beautiful female bedecked with ornaments and attired in
fine robes of white, although he had known her before. And Ganga said,

tiger among men, that eighth son whom thou hadst some time before begat
upon me is this. Know that this excellent child is conversant with all
weapons, O monarch, take him now. I have reared him with care. And go

O tiger among men, taking him with thee. Endued with superior

he has studied with Vasishtha the entire Vedas with their branches.
Skilled in all weapons and a mighty bowman, he is like Indra in battle.
And, O Bharata, both the gods and the Asuras look upon him with favour.
Whatever branches of knowledge are known to Usanas, this one knoweth
completely. And so is he the master of all those Sastras that the son

Angiras (Vrihaspati) adored by the gods and the Asuras, knoweth. And

the weapons known to the powerful and invincible Rama, the son of
Jamadagni are known to this thy son of mighty arms. O king of superior
courage, take this thy own heroic child given unto thee by me. He is a
mighty bowman and conversant with the interpretation of all treatises

the duties of a king.' Thus commanded by Ganga, Santanu took his child
resembling the Sun himself in glory and returned to his capital. And
having reached his city that was like unto the celestial capital, that
monarch of Puru's line regarded himself greatly fortunate. And having
summoned all the Pauravas together, for the protection of his kingdom

installed his son as his heir-apparent. And O bull of Bharata's race,

prince soon gratified by his behaviour his father and the other members

the Paurava race: in fact, all the subjects of the kingdom. And the

of incomparable prowess lived happily with that son of his.

"Four years had thus passed away, when the king one day went into the
woods on the bank of the Yamuna. And while the king was rambling there,

perceived a sweet scent coming from an unknown direction. And the

impelled by the desire of ascertaining the cause, wandered hither and
thither. And in course of his ramble, he beheld a black-eyed maiden of
celestial beauty, the daughter of a fisherman. The king addressing her,
said, 'Who art thou, and whose daughter? What dost thou do here, O

one?' She answered, 'Blest be thou! I am the daughter of the chief of

fishermen. At his command, I am engaged for religious merit, in rowing
passengers across this river in my boat.' And Santanu, beholding that
maiden of celestial form endued with beauty, amiableness, and such
fragrance, desired her for his wife. And repairing unto her father, the
king solicited his consent to the proposed match. But the chief of the
fishermen replied to the monarch, saying, 'O king, as soon as my

of superior complexion was born, it was of course, understood that she
should be bestowed upon a husband. But listen to the desire I have
cherished all along in my heart. O sinless one, thou art truthful: if

desirest to obtain this maiden as a gift from me, give, me then this
pledge. If, indeed, thou givest the pledge, I will of course bestow my
daughter upon thee for truly I can never obtain a husband for her equal


"Santanu, hearing this, replied, 'When I have heard of the pledge thou
askest, I shall then say whether I would be able to grant it. If it is
capable of being granted, I shall certainly grant it. Otherwise how

I grant it.' The fisherman said, 'O king, what I ask of thee is this:

son born of this maiden shall be installed by thee on thy throne and

else shall thou make thy successor.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O Bharata, when Santanu heard this, he felt

inclination to grant such a boon, though the fire of desire sorely

him within. The king with his heart afflicted by desire returned to
Hastinapura, thinking all the way of the fisherman's daughter. And

returned home, the monarch passed his time in sorrowful meditation. One
day, Devavrata approaching his afflicted father said, 'All is

with thee; all chiefs obey thee; then how is it that thou grievest

Absorbed in thy own thoughts, thou speakest not a word to me in reply.
Thou goest not out on horse-back now; thou lookest pale and emaciated,
having lost all animation. I wish to know the disease thou sufferest

so that I may endeavour to apply a remedy.' Thus addressed by his son,
Santanu answered, 'Thou sayest truly, O son, that I have become

I will also tell thee why I am so. O thou of Bharata's line, thou art

only scion of this our large race. Thou art always engaged in sports of
arms and achievements of prowess. But, O son, I am always thinking of

instability of human life. If any danger overtake thee, O child of

the result is that we become sonless. Truly thou alone art to me as a
century of sons. I do not, therefore, desire to wed again. I only

and pray that prosperity may ever attend thee so that our dynasty may

perpetuated. The wise say that he that hath one son hath no son.
Sacrifices before fire and the knowledge of the three Vedas yield, it

true, everlasting religious merit, but all these, in point of religious
merit, do not come up to a sixteenth part of the religious merit
attainable on the birth of a son. Indeed, in this respect, there is

any difference between men and the lower animals. O wise one, I do not
entertain a shadow of doubt that one attains to heaven in consequence

his having begotten a son. The Vedas which constitute the root of the
Puranas and are regarded as authoritative even by the gods, contain
numerous proof of this. O thou of Bharata's race, thou art a hero of
excitable temper, who is always engaged in the exercise of arms. It is
very probable that thou wilt be slain on the field of battle. If it so
happen, what then will be the state of the Bharata dynasty, It is this
thought that hath made me so melancholy. I have now told thee fully the
causes of my sorrow.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Devavrata who was endued with great

having ascertained all this from the king, reflected within himself for

while. He then went to the old minister devoted to his father's welfare
and asked him about the cause of the king's grief. O bull of Bharata's
race, when the prince questioned the minister, the latter told him

the boon that was demanded by the chief of the fishermen in respect of

daughter Gandhavati. Then Devavrata, accompanied by many Kshatriya

of venerable age, personally repaired to the chief of the fishermen and
begged of him his daughter on behalf of the king. The chief of the
fishermen received him with due adorations, and, O thou of Bharata's

when the prince took his seat in the court of the chief, the latter
addressed him and said, 'O bull among the Bharatas, thou art the first

all wielders of weapons and the only son of Santanu. Thy power is

But I have something to tell thee. If the bride's father was Indra

even then he would have to repent of rejecting such an exceedingly
honourable and desirable proposal of marriage. The great man of whose

this celebrated maiden named Satyavati was born, is, indeed, equal to

in virtue. He hath spoken to me on many occasions of the virtues of thy
father and told me that, the king alone is worthy of (marrying)

Let me tell you that I have even rejected the solicitations of that

of Brahmarshis--the celestial sage Asita--who, too, had often asked for
Satyavati's hand in marriage. I have only one word to say on the part

this maiden. In the matter of the proposed marriage there is one great
objection founded on the fact of a rival in the person of a co-wife's

O oppressor of all foes, he hath no security, even if he be an Asura or

Gandharva, who hath a rival in thee. There is this only objection to

proposed marriage, and nothing else. Blest be thou! But this is all I

to say in the matter of the bestowal or otherwise, of Satyavati.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O thou of Bharata's race, Devavrata, having
heard these words, and moved by the desire of benefiting his father

answered in the hearing of the assembled chiefs, 'O foremost of

men, listen to the vow I utter! The man has not been or will not be

who will have the courage to take such a vow! I shall accomplish all

thou demandest! The son that may be born of this maiden shall be our
king.' Thus addressed, the chief of the fishermen, impelled by desire

sovereignty (for his daughter's son), to achieve the almost impossible,
then said, 'O thou of virtuous soul, thou art come hither as full agent

behalf of thy father Santanu of immeasurable glory; be thou also the

manager on my behalf in the matter of the bestowal of this my daughter.
But, O amiable one, there is something else to be said, something else

be reflected upon by thee. O suppressor of foes, those that have

from the very nature of their obligations, must say what I say. O thou
that art devoted to truth, the promise thou hast given in the presence

these chiefs for the benefit of Satyavati, hath, indeed, been worthy of
thee. O thou of mighty arms, I have not the least doubt of its ever

violated by thee. But I have my doubts in respect of the children thou
mayst beget.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, the son of Ganga, devoted to truth,
having ascertained the scruples of the chief of the fishermen, then

moved thereto by the desire of benefiting his father, 'Chief of

thou best of men, listen to what I say in the presence of these

kings. Ye kings, I have already relinquished my right to the throne, I
shall now settle the matter of my children. O fisherman, from this day

adopt the vow of Brahmacharya (study and meditation in celibacy). If I

sonless, I shall yet attain to regions of perennial bliss in heaven!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon these words of the son of Ganga, the

on the fisherman's body stood on end from glee, and he replied, 'I

my daughter!' Immediately after, the Apsaras and the gods with diverse
tribes of Rishis began to rain down flowers from the firmament upon the
head of Devavrata and exclaimed, 'This one is Bhishma (the terrible).'
Bhishma then, to serve his father, addressed the illustrious damsel and
said, 'O mother, ascend this chariot, and let us go unto our house.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, Bhishma helped the

maiden into his chariot. On arriving with her at Hastinapura, he told
Santanu everything as it had happened. And the assembled kings, jointly
and individually, applauded his extraordinary act and said, 'He is

Bhishma (the terrible)!' And Santanu also, hearing of the extraordinary
achievements of his son, became highly gratified and bestowed upon the
high-souled prince the boon of death at will, saying, 'Death shall

come to thee as long as thou desirest to live. Truly death shall

thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O monarch, after the nuptials were over, king

established his beautiful bride in his household. Soon after was born

Satyavati an intelligent and heroic son of Santanu named Chitrangada.

was endued with great energy and became an eminent man. The lord

of great prowess also begat upon Satyavati another son named

who became a mighty bowman and who became king after his father. And
before that bull among men, viz., Vichitravirya, attained to majority,

wise king Santanu realised the inevitable influence of Time. And after
Santanu had ascended to heaven, Bhishma, placing himself under the

of Satyavati, installed that suppressor of foes, viz., Chitrangada, on

throne, who, having soon vanquished by his prowess all monarchs,
considered not any man as his equal. And beholding that he could

men, Asuras, and the very gods, his namesake, the powerful king of the
Gandharvas, approached him for an encounter. Between that Gandharva and
that foremost one of the Kurus, who were both very powerful, there
occurred on the field of Kurukshetra a fierce combat which lasted full
three years on the banks of the Saraswati. In that terrible encounter
characterised by thick showers of weapons and in which the combatants
ground each other fiercely, the Gandharva, who had greater prowess or
strategic deception, slew the Kuru prince. Having slain Chitrangada--

first of men and oppressor of foes--the Gandharva ascended to heaven.

that tiger among men endued with great prowess was slain, Bhishma, the

of Santanu, performed, O king, all his obsequies. He then installed the
boy Vichitravirya of mighty arms, still in his minority, on the throne

the Kurus. And Vichitravirya, placing himself under the command of

ruled the ancestral kingdom. And he adored Santanu's son Bhishma who

conversant with all the rules of religion and law; so, indeed, Bhishma
also protected him that was so obedient to the dictates of duty.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Kuru's race, after Chitrangada was

his successor Vichitravirya being a minor, Bhishma ruled the kingdom,
placing himself under the command of Satyavati. When he saw that his
brother, who was the foremost of intelligent men, attained to majority,
Bhishma set his heart upon marrying Vichitravirya. At this time he

that the three daughters of the king of Kasi, all equal in beauty to

Apsaras themselves, would be married on the same occasion, selecting

husbands at a self-choice ceremony. Then that foremost of car-warriors,
that vanquisher of all foes, at the command of his mother, went to the
city of Varanasi in a single chariot. There Bhishma, the son of

saw that innumerable monarchs had come from all directions; and there

also saw those three maidens that would select their own husbands. And
when the (assembled) kings were each being mentioned by name, Bhishma
chose those maidens (on behalf of his brother). And taking them upon

chariot, Bhishma, that first of smiters in battle, addressed the kings,

monarch, and said in a voice deep as the roar of the clouds, 'The wise
have directed that when an accomplished person has been invited, a

may be bestowed on him, decked with ornaments and along with many

presents. Others again may bestow their daughters by accepting a couple

kine. Some again bestow their daughters by taking a fixed sum, and some
take away maidens by force. Some wed with the consent of the maidens,

by drugging them into consent, and some by going unto the maidens'

and obtaining their sanction. Some again obtain wives as presents for
assisting at sacrifices. Of these, the learned always applaud the

form of marriage. Kings, however, speak highly of the Swyamvara (the

form as above) and themselves wed according to it. But the sages have

that, that wife is dearly to be prized who is taken away by force,

the slaughter of opponents, from amidst the concourse of princes and

invited to a self-choice ceremony. Therefore, ye monarchs, I bear away
these maidens hence by force. Strive ye, to the best of your might, to
vanquish me or to be vanquished. Ye monarchs, I stand here resolved to
fight!' Kuru prince, endued with great energy, thus addressing the
assembled monarchs and the king of Kasi, took upon his car those

And having taken them up, he sped his chariot away, challenging the
invited kings to a fight.

"The challenged monarchs then all stood up, slapping their arms and

their nether lips in wrath. And loud was the din produced, as, in a

hurry, they began to cast off their ornaments and put on their armour.

the motion of their ornaments and armour, O Janamejaya, brilliant as

were, resembled meteoric flashes in the sky. And with brows contracted

eyes red with rage, the monarchs moved in impatience, their armour and
ornaments dazzling or waving with their agitated steps. The charioteers
soon brought handsome cars with fine horses harnessed thereto. Those
splendid warriors then, equipped with all kinds of weapons, rode on

cars, and with uplifted weapons pursued the retreating chief of the

Then, O Bharata, occurred the terrible encounter between those

monarchs on one side and the Kuru warrior alone on the other. And the
assembled monarchs threw at their foe ten thousand arrows at the same

Bhishma, however speedily checked those numberless arrows before they
could come at him by means of a shower of his own arrows as innumerable

the down on the body. Then those kings surrounded him from all sides

rained arrows on him like masses of clouds showering on the mountain-
breast. But Bhishma, arresting with his shafts the course of that

downpour, pierced each of the monarchs with three shafts. The latter,

their turn pierced Bhishma, each with five shafts. But, O king, Bhishma
checked those by his prowess and pierced each of the contending kings

two shafts. The combat became so fierce with that dense shower of

and other missiles that it looked very much like the encounter between

celestials and the Asuras of old, and men of courage who took no part

it were struck with fear even to look at the scene. Bhishma cut off,

his arrows, on the field of battle, bows, and flagstaffs, and coats of
mail, and human heads by hundreds and thousands. And such was his

prowess and extraordinary lightness of hand, and such the skill with

he protected himself, that the contending car-warriors, though his

began to applaud him loudly. Then that foremost of all wielders of

having vanquished in battle all those monarchs, pursued his way towards
the capital of the Bharatas, taking those maidens with him.

"It was then, O king, that mighty car-warrior, king Salya of

prowess, from behind summoned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, to an

And desirous of obtaining the maidens, he came upon Bhishma like a

leader of a herd of elephants rushing upon another of his kind, and
tearing with his tusks the latter's hips at the sight of a female

in heat. And Salya of mighty arms, moved by wrath addressed Bhishma and
said, 'Stay, Stay.' Then Bhishma, that tiger among men, that grinder of
hostile armies, provoked by these words, flamed up in wrath like a

fire. Bow in hand, and brow furrowed into wrinkles, he stayed on his

in obedience to Kshatriya usage having checked its course in

of the enemy. All the monarchs seeing him stop, stood there to become
spectators of the coming encounter between him and Salya. The two then
began to exhibit their prowess (upon each other) like roaring bulls of
great strength at the sight of a cow in rut. Then that foremost of men,
king Salya covered Bhishma, the son of Santanu with hundreds and

of swift-winged shafts. And those monarchs seeing Salya thus covering
Bhishma at the outset with innumerable shafts, wondered much and

shouts of applause. Beholding his lightness of hand in combat, the

of regal spectators became very glad and applauded Salya greatly. That
subjugator of hostile towns, Bhishma, then, on hearing those shouts of

Kshatriyas, became very angry and said, 'Stay, Stay'. In wrath, he
commanded his charioteer, saying, 'Lead thou my car to where Salya is,

that I may slay him instantly as Garuda slays a serpent.' Then the Kuru
chief fixed the Varuna weapon on his bow-string, and with it afflicted

four steeds of king Salya. And, O tiger among kings, the Kuru chief,

warding off with his weapons those of his foe, slew Salya's charioteer.
Then that first of men, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, fighting for the

of those damsels, slew with the Aindra weapon the noble steeds of his
adversary. He then vanquished that best of monarchs but left him with

life. O bull of Bharata's race, Salya, after his defeat, returned to

kingdom and continued to rule it virtuously. And O conqueror of hostile
towns, the other kings also, who had come to witness the self-choice
ceremony returned to their own kingdoms.

"That foremost of smiters, viz., Bhishma, after defeating those

set out with those damsels, for Hastinapura whence the virtuous Kuru
prince Vichitravirya ruled the earth like that best of monarchs, viz.,

father Santanu. And, O king, passing through many forests, rivers,

and woods abounding with trees, he arrived (at the capital) in no time.

immeasurable prowess in battle, the son of the ocean-going Ganga,

slain numberless foes in battle without a scratch on his own person,
brought the daughters of the king of Kasi unto the Kurus as tenderly if
they were his daughters-in-law, or younger sisters, or daughters. And
Bhishma of mighty arms, impelled by the desire of benefiting his

having by his prowess brought them thus, then offered those maidens
possessing every accomplishment unto Vichitravirya. Conversant with the
dictates of virtue, the son of Santanu, having achieved such an
extraordinary feat according to (kingly) custom, then began to make
preparations for his brother's wedding. And when everything about the
wedding had been settled by Bhishma in consultation with Satyavati, the
eldest daughter of the king of Kasi, with a soft smile, told him these
words, 'At heart I had chosen the king of Saubha for my husband. He

in his heart, accepted me for his wife. This was also approved by my
father. At the self-choice ceremony also I would have chosen him as my
lord. Thou art conversant with all the dictates of virtue, knowing all
this, do as thou likest.' Thus addressed by that maiden in the presence

the Brahmanas, the heroic Bhishma began to reflect as to what should be
done. As he was conversant with the rules of virtue, he consulted with

Brahmanas who had mastered the Vedas, and permitted Amba, the eldest
daughter of the ruler of Kasi to do as she liked. But he bestowed with

rites the two other daughters, Ambika and Ambalika on his younger

Vichitravirya. And though Vichitravirya was virtuous and abstemious,

proud of youth and beauty, he soon became lustful after his marriage.

both Ambika and Ambalika were of tall stature, and of the complexion of
molten gold. And their heads were covered with black curly hair, and

finger-nails were high and red; their hips were fat and round, and

breasts full and deep. And endued with every auspicious mark, the

young ladies considered themselves to be wedded to a husband who was

way worthy of themselves, and extremely loved and respected

And Vichitravirya also, endued with the prowess of the celestials and

beauty of the twin Aswins, could steal the heart of any beautiful

And the prince passed seven years uninterruptedly in the company of his
wives. He was attacked while yet in the prime of youth, with phthisis.
Friends and relatives in consultation with one another tried to effect

cure. But in spite of all efforts, the Kuru prince died, setting like

evening sun. The virtuous Bhishma then became plunged into anxiety and
grief, and in consultation with Satyavati caused the obsequial rites of
the deceased to be performed by learned priests and the several of the
Kuru race.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The unfortunate Satyavati then became plunged in
grief on account of her son. And after performing with her daughters-

law the funeral rites of the deceased, consoled, as best she could, her
weeping daughters-in-law and Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of
weapons. And turning her eyes to religion, and to the paternal and
maternal lines (of the Kurus), she addressed Bhishma and said 'The

cake, the achievements, and the perpetuation of the line of the

and celebrated Santanu of Kuru's race, all now depend on thee. As the
attainment of heaven is inseparable from good deeds, as long life is
inseparable from truth and faith, so is virtue inseparable from thee. O
virtuous one, thou art well-acquainted, in detail and in the abstract,
with the dictates of virtue, with various Srutis, and with all the
branches of the Vedas; know very well that thou art equal unto Sukra

Angiras as regards firmness in virtue, knowledge of the particular

of families, and readiness of inventions under difficulties. Therefore,

foremost of virtuous men, relying on thee greatly, I shall appoint thee

a certain matter. Hearing me, it behoveth thee to do my bidding. O bull
among men, my son and thy brother, endued with energy and dear unto

hath gone childless to heaven while still a boy. These wives of thy
brother, the amiable daughters of the ruler of Kasi, possessing beauty

youth, have become desirous of children. Therefore, O thou of mighty

at my command, raise offspring on them for the perpetuation of our

It behoveth thee to guard virtue against loss. Install thyself on the
throne and rule the kingdom of the Bharatas. Wed thou duly a wife.

not thy ancestors into hell.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother and friends and
relatives, that oppressor of foes, the virtuous Bhishma, gave this

conformable to the dictates of virtue, 'O mother, what thou sayest is
certainly sanctioned by virtue. But thou knowest what my vow is in the
matter of begetting children. Thou knowest also all that transpired in
connection with thy dower. O Satyavati, I repeat the pledge I once

viz., I would renounce three worlds, the empire of heaven, anything

may be greater than that, but truth I would never renounce. The earth

renounce its scent, water may renounce its moisture, light may renounce
its attribute of exhibiting forms, air may renounce its attribute of

the sun may renounce his glory, fire, its heat, the moon, his cooling

space, its capacity of generating sound, the slayer of Vritra, his

the god of justice, his impartiality; but I cannot renounce truth.'

addressed by her son endued wealth of energy, Satyavati said unto

'O thou whose prowess is truth, I know of thy firmness in truth. Thou
canst, if so minded, create, by the help of thy energy, three worlds

than those that exist. I know what thy vow was on my account. But
considering this emergency, bear thou the burden of the duty that one
oweth to his ancestors. O punisher of foes, act in such a way that the
lineal link may not be broken and our friends and relatives may not
grieve.' Thus urged by the miserable and weeping Satyavati speaking

words inconsistent with virtue from grief at the loss of her son,

addressed her again and said, 'O Queen, turn not thy eyes away from

O, destroy us not. Breach of truth by a Kshatriya is never applauded in
our treatises on religion. I shall soon tell thee, O Queen, what the
established Kshatriya usage is to which recourse may be had to prevent
Santanu's line becoming extinct on earth. Hearing me, reflect on what
should be done in consultation with learned priests and those that are
acquainted with practices allowable in times of emergency and distress,
forgetting not at the same time what the ordinary course of social



(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma continued, 'In olden days, Rama, the son of Jamadagni, in

at the death of his father, slew with his battle axe the king of the
Haihayas. And Rama, by cutting off the thousand arms of Arjuna (the
Haihaya king), achieved a most difficult feat in the world. Not content
with this, he set out on his chariot for the conquest of the world, and
taking up his bow he cast around his mighty weapons to exterminate the
Kshatriyas. And the illustrious scion of Bhrigu's race, by means of his
swift arrows annihilated the Kshatriya tribe one and twenty times.

"And when the earth was thus deprived of Kshatriyas by the great Rishi,
the Kshatriya ladies all over the land had offspring raised by

skilled in the Vedas. It has been said in the Vedas that the sons so
raised belongeth to him that had married the mother. And the Kshatriya
ladies went in unto the Brahamanas not lustfully but from motives of
virtue. Indeed, it was thus that the Kshatriya race was revived.

"In this connection there is another old history that I will recite to

There was in olden days a wise Rishi of the name of Utathya. He had a

of the name Mamata whom he dearly loved. One day Utathya's younger

Vrihaspati, the priest of the celestials, endued with great energy,
approached Mamata. The latter, however, told her husband's younger

that foremost of eloquent men--that she had conceived from her

with his elder brother and that, therefore, he should not then seek for
the consummation of his wishes. She continued, 'O illustrious

the child that I have conceived hath studied in his mother's womb the
Vedas with the six Angas, Semen tuum frustra perdi non potest. How can
then this womb of mine afford room for two children at a time?

it behoveth thee not to seek for the consummation of thy desire at such

time.' Thus addressed by her, Vrihaspati, though possessed of great
wisdom, succeeded not in suppressing his desire. Quum auten jam cum

coiturus esset, the child in the womb then addressed him and said, 'O
father, cease from thy attempt. There is no space here for two. O
illustrious one, the room is small. I have occupied it first. Semen

perdi non potest. It behoveth thee not to afflict me.' But Vrihaspati
without listening to what that child in the womb said, sought the

of Mamata possessing the most beautiful pair of eyes. Ille tamen Muni

in venture erat punctum temporis quo humor vitalis jam emissum iret
providens, viam per quam semen intrare posset pedibus obstruxit. Semen

exhisum, excidit et in terram projectumest. And the illustrious
Vrihaspati, beholding this, became indignant, and reproached Utathya's
child and cursed him, saying, 'Because thou hast spoken to me in the

thou hast at a time of pleasure that is sought after by all creatures,
perpetual darkness shall overtake thee.' And from this curse of the
illustrious Vrishaspati Utathya's child who was equal unto Vrihaspati

energy, was born blind and came to be called Dirghatamas (enveloped in
perpetual darkness). And the wise Dirghatamas, possessed of a knowledge
of the Vedas, though born blind, succeeded yet by virtue of his

in obtaining for a wife a young and handsome Brahmana maiden of the

of Pradweshi. And having married her, the illustrious Dirghatamas, for

expansion of Utathya's race, begat upon her several children with

as their eldest. These children, however, were all given to

and folly. The virtuous and illustrious Dirghatamas possessing complete
mastery over the Vedas, soon after learnt from Surabhi's son the

of their order and fearlessly betook himself to those practices,

them with reverence. (For shame is the creature of sin and can never be
where there is purity of intention). Then those best of Munis that

in the same asylum, beholding him transgress the limits of propriety
became indignant, seeing sin where sin was not. And they said, 'O, this
man, transgresseth the limit of propriety. No longer doth he deserve a
place amongst us. Therefore, shall we all cast this sinful wretch off.'
And they said many other things regarding the Muni Dirghatamas. And his
wife, too, having obtained children, became indignant with him.

"The husband then addressing his wife Pradweshi, said, 'Why is it that
thou also hast been dissatisfied with me?' His wife answered, 'The

is called the Bhartri because he supporteth the wife. He is called Pati
because he protecteth her. But thou art neither, to me! O thou of great
ascetic merit, on the other hand, thou hast been blind from birth, it

is I
who have supported thee and thy children. I shall not do so in future.'

"Hearing these words of his wife, the Rishi became indignant and said

her and her children, 'Take me unto the Kshatriyas and thou shalt then

rich.' His wife replied (by saying), 'I desire not wealth that may be
procured by thee, for that can never bring me happiness. O best of
Brahmanas, do as thou likest. I shall not be able to maintain thee as
before.' At these words of his wife, Dirghatamas said, 'I lay down from
this day as a rule that every woman shall have to adhere to one husband
for her life. Be the husband dead or alive, it shall not be lawful for

woman to have connection with another. And she who may have such
connection shall certainly be regarded as fallen. A woman without

shall always be liable to be sinful. And even if she be wealthy she

not be able to enjoy that wealth truly. Calumny and evil report shall

dog her.' Hearing these words of her husband Pradweshi became very

and commanded her sons, saying, 'Throw him into the waters of Ganga!'

at the command of their mother, the wicked Gautama and his brothers,

slaves of covetousness and folly, exclaiming, 'Indeed, why should we
support this old man?--'tied the Muni to a raft and committing him to

mercy of the stream returned home without compunction. The blind old

drifting along the stream on that raft, passed through the territories

many kings. One day a king named Vali conversant with every duty went

the Ganges to perform his ablutions. And as the monarch was thus

the raft to which the Rishi was tied, approached him. And as it came,

king took the old man. The virtuous Vali, ever devoted to truth, then
learning who the man was that was thus saved by him, chose him for

up offspring. And Vali said, 'O illustrious one, it behoveth thee to

upon my wife a few sons that shall be virtuous and wise.' Thus

the Rishi endued with great energy, expressed his willingness.

king Vali sent his wife Sudeshna unto him. But the queen knowing that

latter was blind and old went not unto him, she sent unto him her

And upon that Sudra woman the virtuous Rishi of passions under full
control begat eleven children of whom Kakshivat was the eldest. And
beholding those eleven sons with Kakshivat as the eldest, who had

all the Vedas and who like Rishis were utterers of Brahma and were
possessed of great power, king Vali one day asked the Rishi saying,

these children mine?' The Rishi replied, 'No, they are mine. Kakshivat

others have been begotten by me upon a Sudra woman. Thy unfortunate

Sudeshna, seeing me blind and old, insulted me by not coming herself

sending unto me, instead, her nurse.' The king then pacified that best

Rishis and sent unto him his queen Sudeshna. The Rishi by merely

her person said to her, 'Thou shalt have five children named Anga,

Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma, who shall be like unto Surya (Sun) himself

glory. And after their names as many countries shall be known on earth.

is after their names that their dominions have come to be called Anga,
Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma.'

"It was thus that the line of Vali was perpetuated, in days of old, by

great Rishi. And it was thus also that many mighty bowmen and great

warriors wedded to virtue, sprung in the Kshatriya race from the seed

Brahmanas. Hearing this, O mother, do as thou likest, as regards the
matter in hand.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma, continued, 'Listen, O mother, to me as I indicate the means

which the Bharata line may be perpetuated. Let an accomplished Brahmana

invited by an offer of wealth, and let him raise offspring upon the

of Vichitravirya.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Satyavati, then, smiling softly and in voice
broken in bashfulness, addressed Bhishma saying, 'O Bharata of mighty

what thou sayest is true. From my confidence in thee I shall now

the means of perpetuating our line. Thou shall not be able to reject

being conversant, as thou art, with the practices permitted in seasons

distress. In our race, thou art Virtue, and thou art Truth, and thou

too, our sole refuge. Therefore hearing what I say truly, do what may


"My father was a virtuous man. For virtue's sake he had kept a (ferry)
boat. One day, in the prime of my youth, I went to ply that boat. It so
happened that the great and wise Rishi Parasara, that foremost of all
virtuous men, came, and betook himself to my boat for crossing the

As I was rowing him across the river, the Rishi became excited with

and began to address me in soft words. The fear of my father was

in my mind. But the terror of the Rishi's curse at last prevailed. And
having obtained from him a precious boon, I could not refuse his
solicitations. The Rishi by his energy brought me under his complete
control, and gratified his desire then and there, having first

the region in a thick fog. Before this there was a revolting fishy

in my body; but the Rishi dispelled it and gave me my present

The Rishi also told me that by bringing forth his child in an island of
the river, I would still continue (to be) a virgin. And the child of
Parasara so born of me in my maidenhood hath become a great Rishi

with large ascetic powers and known by the name of Dwaipayana (the

born). That illustrious Rishi having by his ascetic power divided the
Vedas into four parts hath come to be called on earth by the name of

(the divider or arranger), and for his dark colour, Krishna (the dark).
Truthful in speech, free from passion, a mighty ascetic who hath burnt

his sins, he went away with his father immediately after his birth.
Appointed by me and thee also, that Rishi of incomparable splendour

certainly beget good children upon the wives of thy brother. He told me
when he went away, 'Mother, think of me when thou art in difficulty.' I
will now call him up, if thou, O Bhishma of mighty arms so desirest. If
thou art willing, O Bhishma, I am sure that great ascetic will beget
children upon Vichitravirya's field.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Mention being made of the great Rishi,

with joined palms said, 'That man is truly intelligent who fixes his

judiciously on virtue, profit, and pleasure, and who after reflecting

patience, acteth in such a way that virtue may lead to future virtue,
profit to future profit and pleasure to future pleasure. Therefore,

which hath been said by thee and which, besides being beneficial to us,

consistent with virtue, is certainly the best advice and hath my full
approval.' And when Bhishma had said this, O thou of Kuru's race, Kali
(Satyavati) thought of the Muni Dwaipayana and Dwaipayana who was then
engaged in interpreting the Vedas, learning that he was being called up

his mother, came instantly unto her without anybody's knowing it.
Satayavati then duly greeted her son and embraced him with arms,

him in her tears, for the daughter of the fisherman wept bitterly at

sight of her son after so long a time. And her first son, the great

beholding her weeping, washed her with cool water, and bowing unto her,
said, 'I have come, O mother, to fulfil thy wishes. Therefore, O

one, command me without delay. I shall accomplish thy desire.' The

priest of the Bharatas then worshipped the great Rishi duly, and the
latter accepted the offerings of worship, uttering the usual mantras.

gratified with the worship he received, he took his seat. Satyavati,
beholding him seated at his ease, after the usual inquiries, addressed

and said, 'O learned one, sons derive their birth both from the father

the mother. They are, therefore, the common property of both parents.
There cannot be the least doubt about it that the mother hath as much
power over them as the father. As thou art, indeed, my eldest son
according to the ordinance, O Brahmarshi, so is Vichitravirya my

son. And as Bhishma is Vichitravirya's brother on the father's side, so
art thou his brother on the same mother's side. I do not know what you

think, but this is what, O son, I think. This Bhishma, the son of

devoted to truth, doth not, for the sake of truth, entertain the desire
of either begetting children or ruling the kingdom. Therefore, from
affection for thy brother Vichitravirya, for the perpetuation of our
dynasty, for the sake of this Bhishma's request and my command, for
kindness to all creatures, for the protection of the people and from

liberality of thy heart, O sinless one, it behoveth thee to do what I

Thy younger brother hath left two widows like unto the daughters of the
celestials themselves, endued with youth and great beauty. For the sake

virtue and religion, they have become desirous of offspring. Thou art

fittest person to be appointed. Therefore beget upon them children

of our race and for the continuance of our line.'

"Vyasa, hearing this, said, 'O Satyavati, thou knowest what virtue is

in respect of this life and the other. O thou of great wisdom, thy
affections also are set on virtue. Therefore, at thy command, making
virtue my motive, I shall do what thou desirest. Indeed, this practice
that is conformable to the true and eternal religion is known to me. I
shall give unto my brother children that shall be like unto Mitra and
Varuna. Let the ladies then duly observe for one full year the vow I
indicate. They shall then be purified. No women shall ever approach me
without having observed a rigid vow.'

"Satyavati then said, 'O sinless one, it must be as thou sayest. Take

steps that the ladies may conceive immediately. In a kingdom where

is no king, the people perish from want of protection; sacrifices and
other holy acts are suspended; the clouds send no showers; and the gods
disappear. How can a kingdom be protected that hath no king? Therefore,
see thou that the ladies conceive. Bhishma will watch over the children

long as they are in their mother's wombs.

"Vyasa replied, 'If I am to give unto my brother children so

then let the ladies bear my ugliness. That in itself shall, in their

be the austerest of penances. If the princess of Kosala can bear my

odour, my ugly and grim visage, my attire and body, she shall then
conceive an excellent child.'"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having spoken thus unto Satyavati, Vyasa of
great energy addressed her and said, 'Let the princess of Kosala clad

clean attire and checked with ornaments wait for me in her bed-

Saying this, the Rishi disappeared, Satyavati then went to her

law and seeing her in private spoke to her these words of beneficial

virtuous import, 'O princess of Kosala, listen to what I say. It is
consistent with virtue. The dynasty of the Bharatas hath become extinct
from my misfortune. Beholding my affliction and the extinction of his
paternal line, the wise Bhishma, impelled also by the desire of
perpetuating our race, hath made me a suggestion, which suggestion,
however, for its accomplishment is dependent on thee. Accomplish it, O
daughter, and restore the lost line of the Bharatas. O thou of fair

bring thou forth a child equal in splendour unto the chief of the
celestials. He shall bear the onerous burden of this our hereditary

"Satyavati having succeeded with great difficulty in procuring the

of her virtuous daughter-in-law to her proposal which was not

with virtue, then fed Brahmanas and Rishis and numberless guests who
arrived on the occasion.'"

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