The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa Part II

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(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Soon after the monthly season of the princess of
Kosala had been over, Satyavati, purifying her daughter-in-law with a bath,
led her into the sleeping apartment. There seating her upon a luxurious
bed, she addressed her, saying, 'O Princess of Kosala, thy husband hath an elder brother who shall this day enter thy womb as thy child. Wait for him tonight without dropping off to sleep.' Hearing these words of her mother-in-law, the amiable princess, as she lay on her bed, began to think of Bhishma and the other elders of the Kuru race. Then the Rishi of truthful speech, who had given his promise in respect of Amvika (the eldest of the princesses) in the first instance, entered her chamber while the lamp was burning. The princess, seeing his dark visage, his matted locks of copper hue, blazing eyes, his grim beard, closed her eyes in fear. The Rishi, from desire of accomplishing his mother's wishes, however knew her. But
the latter, struck with fear, opened not her eyes even once to look at him.
And when Vyasa came out, he was met by his mother, who asked him,

'Shall the princess have an accomplished son?' Hearing her, he replied, 'The son of the princess she will bring forth shall be equal in might unto ten
thousand elephants. He will be an illustrious royal sage, possessed of
great learning and intelligence and energy. The high-souled one shall have
in his time a century of sons. But from the fault of his mother he shall be blind.' At these words of her son, Satyavati said, 'O thou of ascetic wealth, how can one that is blind become a monarch worthy of the Kurus?
How can one that is blind become the protector of his relatives and family,
and the glory of his father's race? It behoveth thee to give another king
unto the Kurus.' Saying, 'So be it,' Vyasa went away. And the first
princess of Kosala in due time brought forth a blind son.

"Soon after Satyavati, O chastiser of foes, summoned Vyasa, after having
secured the assent of her daughter-in-law. Vyasa came according to his
promise, and approached, as before, the second wife of his brother. And
Ambalika beholding the Rishi, became pale with fear. And, O Bharata,
beholding her so afflicted and pale with fear, Vyasa addressed her and
said, 'Because thou hast been pale with fear at the sight of my grim
visage, therefore, thy child shall be pale in complexion. O thou of
handsome face, the name also thy child shall bear will be Pandu (the
pale).' Saying this, the illustrious and best of Rishis came out of her
chamber. And as he came out, he was met by his mother who asked him about
the would-be-child. The Rishi told her that the child would be of pale
complexion and known by the name of Pandu. Satyavati again begged of the
Rishi another child, and the Rishi told her in reply, 'So be it.'
Ambalika, then, when her time came, brought forth a son of pale
complexion. Blazing with beauty the child was endued with all auspicious
marks. Indeed, it was this child who afterwards became the father of
those mighty archers, the Pandavas.

"Some time after, when the oldest of Vichitravirya's widows again had her
monthly season, she was solicited by Satyavati to approach Vyasa once
again. Possessed of beauty like a daughter of a celestial, the princess
refused to do her mother-in-law's bidding, remembering the grim visage and
strong odour of the Rishi. She, however, sent unto him a maid of hers,
endued with the beauty of an Apsara and decked with her own ornaments.

And when the Vyasa arrived, the maid rose up and saluted him. And she waited
upon him respectfully and took her seat near him when asked. And, O king,
the great Rishi of rigid vows, was well-pleased with her, and when he rose
to go away, he addressed her and said, 'Amiable one, thou shalt no longer
be a slave. Thy child also shall be greatly fortunate and virtuous, and
the foremost of all intelligent men on earth!' And, O king, the son thus
begotten upon her by Krishna-Dwaipayana was afterwards known by the name
of Vidura. He was thus the brother of Dhritarashtra and the illustrious
Pandu. And Vidura was free from desire and passion and was conversant with
the rules of government, and was the god of justice born on earth under
the curse of the illustrious Rishi Mandavya. And Krishna-Dwaipayana, when
he met his mother as before, informed her as to how he had been deceived
by the seniormost of the princesses and how he had begotten a son upon a
Sudra woman. And having spoken thus unto his mother the Rishi disappeared
from her sight.

"Thus were born, in the field of Vichitravirya, even of Dwaipayana those
sons of the splendour of celestial children, those propagators of the Kuru


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'What did the god of justice do for which he was cursed?
And who was the Brahmana ascetic from whose curse the god had to be born
in the Sudra caste?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a Brahmana known by the name of Mandavya.
He was conversant with all duties and was devoted to religion, truth and
asceticism. The great ascetic used to sit at the entrance of his hermitage
at the foot of a tree, with his arms upraised in the observance of the vow
of silence. And as he sat there for years together, one day there came
into his asylum a number of robbers laden with spoil. And, O bull in
Bharata's race, those robbers were then being pursued by a superior body
as guardians of the peace. The thieves, on entering that asylum, hid their
booty there, and in fear concealed themselves thereabout before the guards
came. But scarcely had they thus concealed themselves when the constables
in pursuit came to the spot. The latter, observing the Rishi sitting under
the tree, questioned him, O king, saying, 'O best of Brahmanas, which way
have the thieves taken? Point it out to us so that we may follow it
without loss of time.' Thus questioned by the guardians of peace the
ascetic, O king, said not a word, good or otherwise, in reply. The
officers of the king, however, on searching that asylum soon discovered
the thieves concealed thereabout together with the plunder. Upon this,
their suspicion fell upon the Muni, and accordingly they seized him with
the thieves and brought him before the king. The king sentenced him to be
executed along with his supposed associates. And the officers, acting in
ignorance, carried out the sentence by impaling the celebrated Rishi.

And having impaled him, they went to the king with the booty they had
recovered. But the virtuous Rishi, though impaled and kept without food,
remained in that state for a long time without dying. And the Rishi by his
ascetic power not only preserved his life but summoned other Rishi to the
scene. And they came there in the night in the forms of birds, and
beholding him engaged in ascetic meditation though fixed on that stake,
became plunged into grief. And telling that best of Brahmanas who they
were, they asked him saying, 'O Brahmana, we desire to know what hath been
thy sin for which thou hast thus been made to suffer the tortures of


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus asked, the tiger among Munis then answered those
Rishis of ascetic wealth, 'Whom shall I blame for this? In fact, none else
(than my own self) hath offended against me!' After this, O monarch, the
officers of justice, seeing him alive, informed the king of it. The latter
hearing what they said, consulted with his advisers, and came to the place
and began to pacify the Rishi, fixed on the stake. And the king said, 'O
thou best of Rishis, I have offended against thee in ignorance. I beseech
thee to pardon me for the same. It behoveth thee not to be angry with me.'
Thus addressed by the king, the Muni was pacified. And beholding him free
from wrath, the king took him up with the stake and endeavoured to extract
it from his body. But not succeeding therein, he cut it off at the point
just outside the body. The Muni, with a portion of the stake within his
body, walked about, and in that state practised the austerest of penances
and conquered numberless regions unattainable by others. And for the
circumstances of a part of the stake being within his body, he came to be
known in the three worlds by the name of Ani-Mandavya (Mandavya with the
stake within). And one day that Brahamana acquainted with the highest
truth of religion went unto the abode of the god of justice. And beholding
the god there seated on his throne, the Rishi reproached him and said,
'What, pray, is that sinful act committed by me unconsciously, for which I
am bearing this punishment? O, tell me soon, and behold the power of my

"The god of justice, thus questioned, replied, 'O thou of ascetic wealth,
a little insect was once pierced by thee on a blade of grass. Thou bearest
now the consequence of the act. O Rishi, as a gift, however small,
multiplieth in respect of its religious merits, so a sinful act
multiplieth in respect of the woe it bringeth in its train.' On hearing
this, Ani-Mandavya asked, 'O tell me truly when this act was committed by
me.' Told in reply by the god of justice that he had committed it when a
child, the Rishi said, 'That shall not be a sin which may be done by a
child up to the twelfth year of his age from birth. The scriptures shall
not recognise it as sinful. The punishment thou hast inflicted on me for
such a venial offence hath been disproportionate in severity. The killing
of a Brahmana involves a sin that is heavier than the killing of any other
living being. Thou shall, therefore, O god of justice, have to be born
among men even in the Sudra order. And from this day I establish this
limit in respect of the consequence of acts that an act shall not be
sinful when committed by one below the age of fourteen. But when committed
by one above that age, it shall be regarded as sin.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Cursed for this fault by that illustrious Rishi,
the god of justice had his birth as Vidura in the Sudra order. And Vidura
was well-versed in the doctrines of morality and also politics and worldly
profit. And he was entirely free from covetousness and wrath. Possessed of
great foresight and undisturbed tranquillity of mind, Vidura was ever
devoted to the welfare of the Kurus.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Upon the birth of those three children,

Kurukshetra, and the Kurus grew in prosperity. The earth began to yield
abundant harvest, and the crops also were of good flavour. And the

began to pour rain in season and trees became full of fruits and

And the draught cattle were all happy and the birds and other animals
rejoiced exceedingly. And the flowers became fragrant and the fruits
became sweet; the cities and towns became filled with merchants,

traders and artists of every description. And the people became brave,
learned, honest and happy. And there were no robbers then, nor anybody

was sinful. And it seemed that the golden age had come upon every part

the kingdom. And the people devoted to virtuous acts, sacrifices and

and regarding one another with love and affection grew in prosperity.

free from pride, wrath and covetousness, they rejoiced in perfectly
innocent sports. And the capital of the Kurus, full as the ocean, was a
second Amaravati, teeming with hundreds of palaces and mansions, and
possessing gates and arches dark as the clouds. And men in great
cheerfulness sported constantly on rivers, lakes and tanks, and in fine
groves and charming woods. And the southern Kurus, in their virtuous
rivalry with their northern kinsmen, walked about in the company of
Siddhas and Charanas and Rishis. And all over that delightful country
whose prosperity was thus increased by the Kurus, there were no misers

no widowed women. And the wells and lakes were ever full; the groves
abounded with trees, and the houses and abodes of Brahmanas were full

wealth and the whole kingdom was full of festivities. And, O king,
virtuously ruled by Bhishma, the kingdom was adorned with hundreds of
sacrificial stakes. And the wheel of virtue having been set in motion

Bhishma, and the country became so contented that the subjects of other
kingdoms, quitting their homes, came to dwell there and increase its
population. And the citizens and the people were filled with hope, upon
seeing the youthful acts of their illustrious princes. And, O king, in

house of the Kuru chiefs as also of the principal citizens, 'give',

were the only words constantly heard. And Dhritarashtra and Pandu and
Vidura of great intelligence were from their birth brought up by

as if they were his own sons. And the children, having passed through

usual rites of their order, devoted themselves to vows and study. And

grew up into fine young men skilled in the Vedas and all athletic

And they became well-skilled in the practice of bow, in horsemanship,

encounters with mace, sword and shield, in the management of elephants

battle, and in the science of morality. Well-read in history and the
Puranas and various branches of learning, and acquainted with the

of the Vedas and their branches they acquired knowledge, which was
versatile and deep. And Pandu, possessed of great prowess, excelled all
men in archery while Dhritarashtra excelled all in personal strength,
while in the three worlds there was no one equal to Vidura in devotion

virtue and in the knowledge of the dictates of morality. And beholding

restoration of the extinct line of Santanu, the saying became current

all countries that among mothers of heroes, the daughters of the king

Kasi were the first; that among countries Kurujangala was the first;

among virtuous men, Vidura was the first; that among cities Hastinapura
was the first. Pandu became king, for Dhritarashtra, owing to the
blindness, and Vidura, for his birth by a Sudra woman, did not obtain

kingdom. One day Bhishma, the foremost of those acquainted with the

of a statesman and dictates of morality, properly addressing Vidura
conversant with the truth of religion and virtue, said as follows."


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma said, 'This our celebrated race, resplendent with every virtue
and accomplishment, hath all along sovereignty over all other monarchs

earth. Its glory maintained and itself perpetuated by many virtuous and
illustrious monarchs of old, the illustrious Krishna (Dwaipayana) and
Satyavati and myself have raised you (three) up, in order that it may

be extinct. It behoveth myself and thee also to take such steps that

our dynasty may expand again as the sea. It hath been heard by me that
there are three maidens worthy of being allied to our race. One is the
daughter of (Surasena of) the Yadava race; the other is the daughter of
Suvala; and the third is the princess of Madra. O son, all these

are of course of blue blood. Possessed of beauty and pure blood, they

eminently fit for an alliance with our family. O thou foremost of
intelligent men, I think we should choose them for the growth of our

Tell me what thou thinkest.' Thus addressed, Vidura replied, 'Thou art

father and thou art our mother, too. Thou art our respected spiritual
instructor. Therefore, do thou what may be best for us in thy eyes.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Soon after Bhishma heard from the Brahmanas

Gandhari, the amiable daughter of Suvala, having worshipped Hara (Siva)
had obtained from the deity the boon that she should have a century of
sons. Bhishma, the grandfather of the Kurus, having heard this, sent
messengers unto the king of Gandhara. King Suvala at first hesitated on
account of the blindness of the bridegroom, but taking into

the blood of the Kurus, their fame and behaviour, he gave his virtuous
daughter unto Dhritarashtra and the chaste Gandhari hearing that
Dhritarashtra was blind and that her parents had consented to marry her

him, from love and respect for her future husband, blindfolded her own
eyes. Sakuni, the son of Suvala, bringing unto the Kurus his sister

with youth and beauty, formally gave her away unto Dhritarashtra. And
Gandhari was received with great respect and the nuptials were

with great pomp under Bhishma's directions. And the heroic Sakuni,

having bestowed his sister along with many valuable robes, and having
received Bhishma's adorations, returned to his own city. And, O thou of
Bharata's race, the beautiful Gandhari gratified all the Kurus by her
behaviour and respectful attentions. And Gandhari, ever devoted to her
husband, gratified her superiors by her good conduct; and as she was
chaste, she never referred even by words to men other than her husband

such superiors.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'There was amongst the Yadavas a chief named

He was the father of Vasudeva. And he had a daughter called Pritha, who
was unrivalled for beauty on earth. And, O thou of Bharata's race,

always truthful in speech, gave from friendship this his firstborn
daughter unto his childless cousin and friend, the illustrious

the son of his paternal aunt--pursuant to a former promise. And Pritha

the house of her adoptive father was engaged in looking after the

of hospitality to Brahmanas and other guests. Once she gratified by her
attentions the terrible Brahmana of rigid vows, who was known by the

of Durvasa and was well-acquainted with the hidden truths of morality.
Gratified with her respectful attentions, the sage, anticipating by his
spiritual power the future (season of) distress (consequent upon the

to be pronounced upon Pandu for his unrighteous act of slaying a deer
while serving its mate) imparted to her a formula of invocation for
summoning any of the celestials she liked to give her children. And the
Rishi said, 'Those celestials that thou shall summon by this Mantra

certainly approach thee and give thee children.' Thus addressed by the
Brahmana, the amiable Kunti (Pritha) became curious, and in her

summoned the god Arka (Sun). And as soon as he pronounced the Mantra,

beheld that effulgent deity--that beholder of everything in the world--
approaching her. And beholding that extraordinary sight, the maiden of
faultless features was overcome with surprise. But the god Vivaswat

approaching her, said, 'Here I am, O black-eyed girl! Tell me what I am

do for thee.'

"Hearing this, Kunti said, 'O slayer of foes, a certain Brahamana gave

this formula of invocation as a boon, and, O lord, I have summoned thee
only to test its efficacy. For this offence I bow to thee. A woman,
whatever be her offence, always deserveth pardon.' Surya (Sun) replied,

know that Durvasa hath granted this boon. But cast off thy fears, timid
maiden, and grant me thy embraces. Amiable one, my approach cannot be
futile; it must bear fruit. Thou hast summoned me, and if it be for
nothing, it shall certainly be regarded as thy transgression.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Vivaswat thus spoke unto her many things with

view to allay her fears, but, O Bharata, the amiable maiden, from

and fear of her relatives, consented not to grant his request. And, O

of Bharata's race, Arka addressed her again and said, 'O princess, for

sake, it shall not be sinful for thee to grant my wish.' Thus speaking
unto the daughter of Kuntibhoja, the illustrious Tapana--the

of the universe--gratified his wish. And of this connection there was
immediately born a son known all over the world as Karna accountred

natural armour and with face brightened by ear-rings. And the heroic

was the first of all wielders of weapons, blessed with good fortune,

endued with the beauty of a celestial child. And after the birth of

child, the illustrious Tapana granted unto Pritha her maidenhood and
ascended to heaven. And the princess of the Vrishni race beholding with
sorrow that son born of her, reflected intently upon what was then the
best for her to do. And from fear of her relatives she resolved to

that evidence of her folly. And she cast her offspring endued with

physical strength into the water. Then the well-known husband of Radha,

the Suta caste, took up the child thus cast into the water, and he and

wife brought him up as their own son. And Radha and her husband

on him the name of Vasusena (born with wealth) because he was born with

natural armour and ear-rings. And endued as he was born with great
strength, as he grew up, he became skilled in all weapons. Possessed of
great energy, he used to adore the sun until his back was heated by his
rays (i.e., from dawn to midday), and during the hours of worship,

was nothing on earth that the heroic and intelligent Vasusena would not
give unto the Brahmanas. And Indra desirous of benefiting his own son
Phalguni (Arjuna), assuming the form of a Brahmana, approached Vasusena

one occasion and begged of him his natural armour. Thus asked Karna

off his natural armour, and joining his hands in reverence gave it unto
Indra in the guise of a Brahmana. And the chief of the celestials

the gift and was exceedingly gratified with Karna's liberality. He
therefore, gave unto him a fine dart, saying, 'That one (and one only)
among the celestials, the Asuras, men, the Gandharvas, the Nagas, and

Rakshasas, whom thou desirest to conquer, shall be certainly slain with
this dart.'

"The son of Surya was before this known by the name of Vasusena. But

he cut off his natural armour, he came to be called Karna (the cutter

peeler of his own cover).'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said. 'The large-eyed daughter of Kuntibhoja, Pritha by

was endued with beauty and every accomplishment. Of rigid vows, she was
devoted to virtue and possessed of every good quality. But though

with beauty and youth and every womanly attribute, yet it so happened

no king asked for her hand. Her father Kuntibhoja seeing this, invited,

best of monarchs, the princes and kings of other countries and desired

daughter to select her husband from among her guests. The intelligent
Kunti, entering the amphitheatre, beheld Pandu--the foremost of the
Bharatas--that tiger among kings--in that concourse of crowned heads.
Proud as the lion, broad-chested, bull-eyed, endued with great

and outshining all other monarchs in splendour, he looked like another
Indra in that royal assemblage. The amiable daughter of Kuntibhoja, of
faultless features, beholding Pandu--that best of men--in that

became very much agitated. And advancing with modesty, all the while
quivering with emotion, she placed the nuptial garland about Pandu's

The other monarchs, seeing Kunti choose Pandu for her lord, returned to
their respective kingdoms on elephants, horses and cars, as they had

Then, O king, the bride's father caused the nuptial rites to be

duly. The Kuru prince blessed with great good fortune and the daughter

Kuntibhoja formed a couple like Maghavat and Paulomi (the king and

of the celestials). And, O best of Kuru monarchs, king Kuntibhoja,

the nuptials were over, presented his son-in-law with much wealth and

him back to his capital. Then the Kuru prince Pandu, accompanied by a
large force bearing various kinds of banners and pennons, and eulogised

Brahmanas and great Rishis pronouncing benedictions, reached his

And after arriving at his own palace, he established his queen



(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Some time after, Bhishma the intelligent son

Santanu set his heart upon getting Pandu married to a second wife.
Accompanied by an army composed of four kinds of force, and also by

councillors and Brahmanas and great Rishis, he went to the capital of

king of Madra. And that bull of the Valhikas--the king of Madra--

that Bhishma had arrived, went out to receive him. And having received

with respect, he got him to enter his palace. Arriving there, the king

Madra offered unto Bhishma a white carpet for a seat; water to wash his
feet with, and usual oblation of various ingredients indicative of

And when he was seated at ease, the king asked him about the reason of

visit. Then Bhishma--the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus--

the king of Madra and said, 'O oppressor of all foes, know that I have
come for the hand of a maiden. It hath been heard by us that thou hast

sister named Madri celebrated for her beauty and endued with every

I would chose her for Pandu. Thou art, O king, in every respect worthy

an alliance with us, and we also are worthy of thee. Reflecting upon

this, O king of Madra, accept us duly.' The ruler of Madra, thus

by Bhishma, replied, 'To my mind, there is none else than one of thy
family with whom I can enter into an alliance. But there is a custom in
our family observed by our ancestors, which, be it good or bad, I am
incapable of transgressing. It is well-known, and therefore is known to
thee as well, I doubt not. Therefore, it is not proper for thee to say

me,--Bestow thy sister. The custom to which I allude is our family

With us that is a virtue and worthy of observance. It is for this only,

slayer of foes, I cannot give thee any assurance in the matter of thy
request.' On hearing this, Bhishma answered the king of Madra, saying,

king, this, no doubt, is a virtue. The self-create himself hath said

Thy ancestors were observant of custom. There is no fault to find with

It is also well-known, O Salya, that this custom in respect of family
dignity hath the approval of the wise and the good.' Saying this

of great energy gave unto Salya much gold both coined and uncoined, and
precious stones of various colours by thousands, and elephants and

and cars, and much cloth and many ornaments, and gems and pearls and
corals. And Salya accepting with a cheerful heart those precious gifts
then gave away his sister decked in ornaments unto that bull of the

race. Then the wise Bhishma, the son of the oceangoing Ganga, rejoiced

the issue of his mission, took Madri with him, and returned to the Kuru
capital named after the elephant.

"Then selecting an auspicious day and moment as indicated by the wise

the ceremony, King Pandu was duly united with Madri. And after the
nuptials were over, the Kuru king established his beautiful bride in
handsome apartments. And, O king of kings, that best of monarchs then

himself up to enjoyment in the company of his two wives as best he

and to the limit of his desires. And after thirty days had elapsed, the
Kuru king, O monarch, started from his capital for the conquest of the
world. And after reverentially saluting and bowing to Bhishma and the
other elders of the Kuru race, and with adieus to Dhritarashtra and

of the family, and obtaining their leave, he set out on his grand

accompanied by a large force of elephants, horses, and cars, and well-
pleased with the blessings uttered by all around and the auspicious

performed by the citizens for his success. And Pandu, accompanied by

a strong force marched against various foes. And that tiger among men--
that spreader of the fame of the Kurus--first subjugated the robber

of asarna. He next turned his army composed of innumerable elephants,
cavalry, infantry, and charioteers, with standards of various colours
against Dhirga--the ruler of the kingdom of Maghadha who was proud of

strength, and offended against numerous monarchs. And attacking him in

capital, Pandu slew him there, and took everything in his treasury and
also vehicles and draught animals without number. He then marched into
Mithila and subjugated the Videhas. And then, O bull among men, Pandu

his army against Kasi, Sumbha, and Pundra, and by the strength and

of his arms spread the fame of the Kurus. And Pandu, that oppressor of
foes, like unto a mighty fire whose far-reaching flames were

by his arrows and splendour by his weapons, began to consume all kings
that came in contact with him. These with their forces, vanquished by
Pandu at the head of his army, were made the vassals of the Kurus. And

kings of the world, thus vanquished by him, regarded him as the one

hero on earth even as the celestials regard Indra in heaven. And the

of earth with joined palms bowed to him and waited on him with presents

various kinds of gems and wealth, precious stones and pearls and

and much gold and silver, and first-class kine and handsome horses and
fine cars and elephants, and asses and camels and buffaloes, and goats

sheep, and blankets and beautiful hides, and cloths woven out of furs.

the king of Hastinapura accepting those offerings retraced his steps
towards his capital, to the great delight of his subjects. And the
citizens and others filled with joy, and kings and ministers, all began

say, 'O, the fame of the achievements of Santanu, that tiger among

and of the wise Bharata, which were about to die, hath been revived by
Pandu. They who robbed before the Kurus of both territory and wealth

been subjugated by Pandu--the tiger of Hastinapura--and made to pay
tribute.' And all the citizens with Bhishma at their head went out to
receive the victorious king. They had not proceeded far when they saw

attendants of the king laden with much wealth, and the train of various
conveyances laden with all kinds of wealth, and of elephants, horses,

kine, camels and other animals, was so long that they saw not its end.
Then Pandu, beholding Bhishma, who was a father to him, worshipped his
feet and saluted the citizens and others as each deserved. And Bhishma,
too, embracing Pandu as his son who had returned victorious after

many hostile kingdoms, wept tears of joy. And Pandu, instilling joy

the hearts of his people with a flourish of trumpets and conchs and

drums, entered his capital.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Pandu, then, at the command of Dhritarashtra,

the wealth he had acquired by the prowess of his arms to Bhishma, their
grand-mother Satyavati and their mothers. And he sent portion of his
wealth to Vidura also. And the virtuous Pandu gratified his other
relatives also with similar presents. Then Satyavati and Bhishma and

Kosala princes were all gratified with the presents Pandu made out of

acquisitions of his prowess. And Ambalika in particular, upon embracing
her son of incomparable prowess, became as glad as the queen of heaven
upon embracing Jayanta. And with the wealth acquired by that hero
Dhritarashtra performed five great sacrifices that were equal unto a
hundred great horse-sacrifices, at all of which the offerings to

were by hundreds and thousands.

"A little while after, O bull of Bharata's race, Pandu who had achieved

victory over sloth and lethargy, accompanied by his two wives, Kunti

Madri, retired into the woods. Leaving his excellent palace with its
luxurious beds, he became a permanent inhabitant of the woods, devoting
the whole of his time to the chase of the deer. And fixing his abode in

delightful and hilly region overgrown with huge sala trees, on the
southern slope of the Himavat mountains, he roamed about in perfect
freedom. The handsome Pandu with his two wives wandered in those woods
like Airavata accompanied by two she-elephants. And the dwellers in

woods, beholding the heroic Bharata prince in the company of his wives,
armed with sword, arrows, and bow, clad with his beautiful armour, and
skilled in all excellent weapons, regarded him as the very god

amongst them.

"And at the command of Dhritarashtra, people were busy in supplying

in his retirement with every object of pleasure and enjoyment.

"Meanwhile the son of the ocean-going Ganga heard that king Devaka had

daughter endued with youth and beauty and begotten upon a Sudra wife.
Bringing her from her father's abode, Bhishma married her to Vidura of
great wisdom. And Vidura begot upon her many children like unto himself



(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile, O Janamejaya, Dhritarashtra begat upon
Gandhari a hundred sons, and upon a Vaisya wife another besides those
hundred. And Pandu had, by his two wives Kunti and Madri, five sons who
were great charioteers and who were all begotten by the celestials for

perpetuation of the Kuru line.'

"Janamejaya said, 'O best of Brahmanas, how did Gandhari bring forth

hundred sons and in how many years? What were also the periods of life
allotted to each? How did Dhritarashtra also beget another son in a

wife? How did Dhritarashtra behave towards his loving obedient, and
virtuous wife Gandhari? How were also begotten the five sons of Pandu,
those mighty charioteers, even though Pandu himself laboured under the
curse of the great Rishi (he slew)? Tell me all this in detail, for my
thirst for hearing everything relating to my own ancestor hath not been

"Vaisampayana said, 'One day Gandhari entertained with respectful
attention the great Dwaipayana who came to her abode, exhausted with
hunger and fatigue. Gratified with Gandhari's hospitality, the Rishi

her the boon she asked for, viz., that she should have a century of

each equal unto her lord in strength and accomplishments. Some time

Gandhari conceived and she bore the burden in her womb for two long

without being delivered. And she was greatly afflicted at this. It was
then that she heard that Kunti had brought forth a son whose splendour

like unto the morning sun. Impatient of the period of gestation which

prolonged so long, and deprived of reason by grief, she struck her womb
with great violence without the knowledge of her husband. And thereupon
came out of her womb, after two years' growth, a hard mass of flesh

unto an iron ball. When she was about to throw it away, Dwaipayana,
learning everything by his spiritual powers, promptly came there, and

first of ascetics beholding that ball of flesh, addressed the daughter

Suvala thus, 'What hast thou done?' Gandhari, without endeavouring to
disguise her feelings, addressed the Rishi and said, 'Having heard that
Kunti had brought forth a son like unto Surya in splendour, I struck in
grief at my womb. Thou hadst, O Rishi, granted me the boon that I

have a hundred sons, but here is only a ball of flesh for those hundred
sons!' Vyasa then said, 'Daughter of Suvala, it is even so. But my

can never be futile. I have not spoken an untruth even in jest. I need

speak of other occasions. Let a hundred pots full of clarified butter

brought instantly, and let them be placed at a concealed spot. In the
meantime, let cool water be sprinkled over this ball of flesh.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'That ball of flesh then, sprinkled over with
water, became, in time, divided into a hundred and one parts, each

the size of the thumb. These were then put into those pots full of
clarified butter that had been placed at a concealed spot and were

with care. The illustrious Vyasa then said unto the daughter of Suvala
that she should open the covers of the pots after full two years. And
having said this and made these arrangements, the wise Dwaipayana went

the Himavat mountains for devoting himself to asceticism.

"Then in time, king Duryodhana was born from among those pieces of the
ball of flesh that had been deposited in those pots. According to the
order of birth, king Yudhishthira was the oldest. The news of

birth was carried to Bhishma and the wise Vidura. The day that the

Duryodhana was born was also the birth-day of Bhima of mighty arms and
great prowess.

"As soon as Duryodhana was born, he began to cry and bray like an ass.

hearing that sound, the asses, vultures, jackals and crows uttered

respective cries responsively. Violent winds began to blow, and there

fires in various directions. Then king Dhritarashtra in great fear,
summoning Bhishma and Vidura and other well-wishers and all the Kurus,

numberless Brahmanas, addressed them and said, 'The oldest of those
princes, Yudhishthira, is the perpetuator of our line. By virtue of his
birth he hath acquired the kingdom. We have nothing to say to this. But
shall this my son born after him become king? Tell me truly what is

and right under these circumstances.' As soon as these words were

O Bharata, jackals and other carnivorous animals began to howl

And marking those frightful omens all around, the assembled Brahmanas

the wise Vidura replied, 'O king, O bull among men, when these

omens are noticeable at the birth of thy eldest son, it is evident that

shall be the exterminator of thy race. The prosperity of all dependeth

his abandonment. Calamity there must be in keeping him. O king, if thou
abandonest him, there remain yet thy nine and ninety sons. If thou
desirest the good of thy race, abandon him, O Bharata! O king, do good

the world and thy own race by casting off this one child of thine. It

been said that an individual should be cast off for the sake of the

that a family should be cast off for the sake of a village; that a

may be abandoned for the sake of the whole country; and that the earth
itself may be abandoned for the sake of the soul.' When Vidura and

Brahmanas had stated so, king Dhritarashtra out of affection for his

had not the heart to follow that advice. Then, O king, within a month,
were born a full hundred sons unto Dhritarashtra and a daughter also in
excess of this hundred. And during the time when Gandhari was in a

of advanced pregnancy, there was a maid servant of the Vaisya class who
used to attend on Dhritarashtra. During that year, O king, was begotten
upon her by the illustrious Dhritarashtra a son endued with great
intelligence who was afterwards named Yuyutsu. And because he was

by a Kshatriya upon a Vaisya woman, he came to be called Karna.

"Thus were born unto the wise Dhritarashtra a hundred sons who were all
heroes and mighty chariot-fighters, and a daughter over and above the
hundred, and another son Yuyutsu of great energy and prowess begotten

a Vaisya woman.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O sinless one, thou hast narrated to me from the
beginning all about the birth of Dhritarashtra's hundred sons owing to

boon granted by the Rishi. But thou hast not told me as yet any
particulars about the birth of the daughter. Thou hast merely said that
over and above the hundred sons, there was another son named Yuyutsu
begotten upon a Vaisya woman, and a daughter. The great Rishi Vyasa of
immeasurable energy said unto the daughter of the king of Gandhara that
she would become the mother of a hundred sons. Illustrious one, how is
that thou sayest Gandhari had a daughter over and above her hundred

If the ball of flesh was distributed by the great Rishi only into a
hundred parts, and if Gandhari did not conceive on any other occasion,

was then Duhsala born. Tell me this, O Rishi! my curiosity hath been

"Vaisampayana said, 'O descendant of the Pandavas, thy question is

and I will tell thee how it happened. The illustrious and great Rishi
himself, by sprinkling water over that ball of flesh, began to divide

into parts. And as it was being divided into parts, the nurse began to
take them up and put them one by one into those pots filled with

butter. While this process was going on, the beautiful and chaste

of rigid vows, realising the affection that one feeleth for a daughter,
began to think within herself, 'There is no doubt that I shall have a
hundred sons, the Muni having said so. It can never be otherwise. But I
should be very happy if a daughter were born of me over and above these
hundred sons and junior to them all. My husband then may attain to

worlds that the possession of a daughter's sons conferreth. Then again,
the affection the women feel for their sons-in-law is great. If,

I obtain a daughter over and above my hundred sons, then, surrounded by
sons and daughter's sons, I may feel supremely blest. If I have ever
practised ascetic austerities, if I have ever given anything in

if I have ever performed the homa (through Brahamanas), if I have ever
gratified my superiors by respectful attentions, then (as the fruit of
those acts) let a daughter be born unto me.' All this while that
illustrious and best of Rishis, Krishna-Dwaipayana himself was dividing
the ball of flesh; and counting a full hundred of the parts, he said

the daughter of Suvala, 'Here are thy hundred sons. I did not speak

unto thee that was false. Here, however, is one part in excess of the
hundred, intended for giving thee a daughter's son. This part shall
develop into an amiable and fortunate daughter, as thou hast desired.'
Then that great ascetic brought another pot full of clarified butter,

put the part intended for a daughter into it.

"Thus have I, O Bharata, narrated unto thee all about the birth of

Tell me, O sinless one, what more I am now to narrate.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'Please recite the names of Dhritarashtra's sons
according to the order of their birth.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Their names, O king, according to the order of

are Duryodhana, Yuyutsu, Duhsasana, Duhsaha, Duhsala, Jalasandha, Sama,
Saha, Vinda and Anuvinda, Durdharsha, Suvahu, Dushpradharshana,
Durmarshana and Durmukha, Dushkarna, and Karna; Vivinsati and Vikarna,
Sala, Satwa, Sulochana, Chitra and Upachitra, Chitraksha, Charuchitra,
Sarasana, Durmada and Durvigaha, Vivitsu, Vikatanana; Urnanabha and
Sunabha, then Nandaka and Upanandaka; Chitravana, Chitravarman,

Durvimochana; Ayovahu, Mahavahu, Chitranga, Chitrakundala, Bhimavega,
Bhimavala, Balaki, Balavardhana, Ugrayudha; Bhima, Karna, Kanakaya,
Dridhayudha, Dridhavarman, Dridhakshatra, Somakitri, Anudara;

Jarasandha, Satyasandha, Sada, Suvak, Ugrasravas, Ugrasena, Senani,
Dushparajaya, Aparajita, Kundasayin, Visalaksha, Duradhara;

Suhasta, Vatavega, and Suvarchas; Adityaketu, Vahvashin, Nagadatta,
Agrayayin; Kavachin, Krathana, Kunda, Kundadhara, Dhanurdhara; the

Ugra and Bhimaratha, Viravahu, Alolupa; Abhaya, and Raudrakarman, and
Dridharatha; Anadhrishya, Kundabhedin, Viravi, Dhirghalochana Pramatha,
and Pramathi and the powerful Dhirgharoma; Dirghavahu, Mahavahu,

Kanakadhvaja; Kundasi and Virajas. Besides these hundred sons, there

was a
daughter named Duhsala. All were heroes and Atirathas, and were well-
skilled in warfare. All were learned in the Vedas, and all kinds of
weapons. And, O, king, worthy wives were in time selected for all of

by Dhritarashtra after proper examination. And king Dhritarashtra, O
monarch, also bestowed Duhsala, in proper time and with proper rites,

Jayadratha (the king of Sindhu).'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O utterer of Brahma, thou hast recited (everything
about) the extraordinary birth among men, of the sons of Dhritarashtra

consequence of the Rishi's grace. Thou hast also said what their names

according to the order of their birth. O Brahmana, I have heard all

from thee. But tell me now all about the Pandavas. While reciting the
incarnations on earth of the celestial, the Asuras, and the beings of
other classes, thou saidst that the Pandavas were all illustrious and
endued with the prowess of gods, and that they were incarnate portion

the celestials themselves. I desire, therefore, to hear all about those
beings of extraordinary achievements beginning from the moment of their
birth. O Vaisampayana, recite thou their achievements.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, one day Pandu, while roaming about in the
woods (on the southern slopes of the Himavat) that teemed with deer and
wild animals of fierce disposition, saw a large deer, that seemed to be
the leader of a herd, serving his mate. Beholding the animals, the

pierced them both with five of his sharp and swift arrows winged with
golden feathers. O monarch, that was no deer that Pandu struck at, but

Rishi's son of great ascetic merit who was enjoying his mate in the

of a deer. Pierced by Pandu, while engaged in the act of intercourse,

fell down to the ground, uttering cries that were of a man and began to
weep bitterly.

"The deer then addressed Pandu and said, 'O king, even men that are

to lust and wrath, and void of reason, and ever sinful, never commit

a cruel act as this. Individual judgment prevaileth not against the
ordinance, the ordinance prevaileth against individual judgment. The

never sanction anything discountenanced by the ordinance. Thou art

born, O
Bharata, in a race that hath ever been virtuous. How is it, therefore,
that even thou, suffering thyself to be overpowered by passion and

losest thy reason?' Hearing this, Pandu replied, 'O deer, kings behave

the matter of slaying animals of thy species exactly as they do in the
matter of slaying foes. It behoveth thee not, therefore, to reprove me
thus from ignorance. Animals of thy species are slain by open or covert
means. This, indeed, is the practice of kings. Then why dost thou

me? Formerly, the Rishi Agastya, while engaged in the performance of a
grand sacrifice, chased the deer, and devoted every deer in the forest
unto the gods in general. Thou hast been slain, pursuant to the usage
sanctioned by such precedent. Wherefore reprovest us then? For his
especial sacrifices Agastya performed the homa with fat of the deer.'

"The deer then said, 'O king, men do not let fly their arrows at their
enemies when the latter are unprepared. But there is a time for doing

(viz., after declaration of hostilities). Slaughter at such a time is


"Pandu replied, 'It is well-known that men slay deer by various

means without regarding whether the animals are careful or careless.
Therefore, O deer, why dost thou reprove me?'

"The deer then said, 'O, king, I did not blame thee for thy having

a deer, or for the injury thou hast done to me. But, instead of acting

cruelly, thou shouldst have waited till the completion of my act of
intercourse. What man of wisdom and virtue is there that can kill a

while engaged in such an act? The time of sexual intercourse is

to every creature and productive of good to all. O king, with this my

I was engaged in the gratification of my sexual desire. But that effort

mine hath been rendered futile by thee. O king of the Kurus, as thou

born in the race of the Pauravas ever noted for white (virtuous) deeds,
such an act hath scarcely been worthy of thee. O Bharata, this act must

regarded as extremely cruel, deserving of universal execration,

and sinful, and certainly leading to hell. Thou art acquainted with the
pleasures of sexual intercourse. Thou art acquainted also with the
teaching of morality and dictates of duty. Like unto a celestial as

art, it behoveth thee not to do such an act as leadeth to hell. O best

kings, thy duty is to chastise all who act cruelly, who are engaged in
sinful practices and who have thrown to the winds religion, profit, and
pleasure as explained in the scriptures. What hast thou done, O best of
men, in killing me who have given thee no offence? I am, O king, a Muni
who liveth on fruits and roots, though disguised as a deer. I was

in the woods in peace with all. Yet thou hast killed me, O king, for

I will curse thee certainly. As thou hast been cruel unto a couple of
opposite sexes, death shall certainly overtake thee as soon as thou
feelest the influence of sexual desire. I am a Muni of the name of

possessed of ascetic merit. I was engaged in sexual intercourse with

deer, because my feelings of modesty did not permit me to indulge in

an act in human society. In the form of a deer I rove in the deep woods

the company of other deer. Thou hast slain me without knowing that I am

Brahmana, the sin of having slain a Brahmana shall not, therefore, be
thine. But senseless man, as you have killed me, disguised as a deer,

such a time, thy fate shall certainly be even like mine. When,

thy wife lustfully, thou wilt unite with her even as I had done with

in that very state shalt thou have to go to the world of the spirits.

that wife of thine with whom thou mayst be united in intercourse at the
time of thy death shall also follow thee with affection and reverence

the domains of the king of the dead. Thou hast brought me grief when I

happy. So shall grief come to thee when thou art in happiness.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that deer, afflicted with grief
gave up the ghost; and Pandu also was plunged in woe at the sight.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After the death of that deer, king Pandu with his
wives was deeply afflicted and wept bitterly. And he exclaimed, 'The
wicked, even if born in virtuous families, deluded by their own

become overwhelmed with misery as the fruit of their own deeds. I have
heard that my father, though begotten by Santanu of virtuous soul, was

off while still a youth, only because he had become a slave to his

In the soil of that lustful king, the illustrious Rishi Krishna-

himself, of truthful speech, begot me. A son though I am of such a

with my wicked heart wedded to vice, I am yet leading a wandering life

the woods in the chase of the deer. Oh, the very gods have forsaken me!

shall seek salvation now. The great impediments to salvation are the
desire to beget children, and other concerns of the world. I shall now
adopt the Brahmacharya mode of life and follow in the imperishable wake

my father. I shall certainly bring my passions under complete control

severe ascetic penances. Forsaking my wives and other relatives and
shaving my head, alone shall I wander over the earth, begging for my
subsistence from each of these trees standing here. Forsaking every

of affection and aversion, and covering my body with dust, I shall make
the shelter of trees or deserted houses my home. I shall never yield to
influence of sorrow or joy, and I shall regard slander and eulogy in

same light. I shall not seek benedictions or bows. I shall be at peace
with all, and shall not accept gifts. I shall not mock anybody, nor

I knit my brows at any one, but shall be ever cheerful and devoted to

good of all creatures. I shall not harm any of the four orders of life
gifted with power of locomotion or otherwise, viz., oviparous and
viviparous creatures and worms and vegetables. But on the contrary,
preserve an equality of behaviour towards all, as if they were, my own
children. Once a day shall I beg of five or ten families at the most,

if I do not succeed in obtaining alms, I shall then go without food. I
shall rather stint myself than beg more than once of the same person.

If I
do not obtain anything after completing my round of seven or ten

moved by covetousness, I shall not enlarge my round. Whether I obtain

fail to obtain alms. I shall be equally unmoved like a great ascetic.

lopping off an arm of mine with a hatchet, and one smearing another arm
with sandal-paste, shall be regarded by me equally. I shall not wish
prosperity to the one or misery to the other. I shall not be pleased

life or displeased with death. I shall neither desire to live nor to

Washing my heart of all sins, I shall certainly transcend those sacred
rites productive of happiness, that men perform in auspicious moments,
days, and periods. I shall also abstain from all acts of religion and
profit and also those that lead to the gratification of the senses.

from all sins and snares of the world, I shall be like the wind subject

none. Following the path of fearlessness and bearing myself in this way

shall at last lay down my life. Destitute of the power of begetting
children, firmly adhering to the line of duty I shall not certainly
deviate therefrom in order to tread in the vile path of the world that

so full of misery. Whether respected or disrespected in the world that

who from covetousness casteth on others a begging look, certainly

like a dog. (Destitute as I am of the power of procreation, I should

certainly, from desire of offspring, solicit others to give me

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The king, having thus wept in sorrow, with a
sigh looked at his two wives Kunti and Madri, and addressing them said,
'Let the princess of Kosala (my mother), Vidura, the king with our

the venerable Satyavati, Bhishma, the priests of our family,

Soma-drinking Brahmanas of rigid vows and all elderly citizens

on us be informed, after being prepared for it, that Pandu hath retired
into the woods to lead a life of asceticism.' Hearing these words of

lord who had set his heart on a life of asceticism in the woods, both
Kunti and Madri addressed him in these proper words, 'O bull of

race, there are many other modes of life which thou canst adopt and in
which thou canst undergo the severest penances along with us, thy

wives--in which for the salvation of thy body (freedom from re-birth),
thou mayest obtain heaven. We also, in the company of our lord, and for
his benefit, controlling our passions and bidding adieu to all

shall subject ourselves to the severest austerities. O king, O thou of
great wisdom, if thou abandonest us, we shall then this very day truly
depart from this world.'

Pandu replied, 'If, indeed, this your resolve springeth from virtue,

with you both I shall follow the imperishable path of my fathers.
Abandoning the luxuries of cities and towns, clad in barks of trees,

living on fruits and roots, I shall wander in deep woods, practising

severest penances. Bathing morning and evening, I shall perform the

I shall reduce my body by eating very sparingly and shall wear rags and
skins and knotted locks on my head. Exposing myself to heat and cold

disregarding hunger and thirst, I shall reduce my body by severe

penances, I shall live in solitude and I shall give myself up to
contemplation; I shall eat fruit, ripe or green, that I may find. I

offer oblations to the Pitris (manes) and the gods with speech, water

the fruits of the wilderness. I shall not see, far less harm, any of

denizens of the woods, or any of my relatives, or any of the residents

cities and towns. Until I lay down this body, I shall thus practise the
severe ordinances of the Vanaprastha scriptures, always searching for
severer ones that they may contain.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Kuru king, having said this unto his

gave away to Brahmanas the big jewel in his diadem, his necklace of
precious gold, his bracelets, his large ear-rings, his valuable robes

all the ornaments of his wives. Then summoning his attendants, he
commended them, saying, 'Return ye to Hastinapura and proclaim unto all
that Pandu with his wives hath gone into the woods, foregoing wealth,
desire, happiness, and even sexual appetite.' Then those followers and
attendants, hearing these and other soft words of the king, set up a

wail, uttering, 'Oh, we are undone!' Then with hot tears trickling down
their cheeks they left the monarch and returned to Hastinapura with

carrying that wealth with them (that was to be distributed in charity).
Then Dhritarashtra, that first of men, hearing from them everything

had happened in the woods, wept for his brother. He brooded over his
affliction continually, little relishing the comfort of beds and seats


"Meanwhile, the Kuru prince Pandu (after sending away his attendants)
accompanied by his two wives and eating fruits and roots went to the
mountains of Nagasata. He next went to Chaitraratha, and then crossed

Kalakuta, and finally, crossing the Himavat, he arrived at

Protected by Mahabhutas, Siddhas, and great Rishis, Pandu lived, O

sometimes on level ground and sometimes on mountain slopes. He then
journeyed on to the lake of Indradyumna, whence crossing the mountains

Hansakuta, he went to the mountain of hundred peaks (Sata-sringa) and
there continued to practise ascetic austerities.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Pandu, possessed of great energy, then devoted
himself to asceticism. Within a short time he became the favourite of

whole body of the Siddhas and Charanas residing there. And, O Bharata,
devoted to the service of his spiritual masters, free from vanity, with
mind under complete control and the passions fully subdued, the prince,
becoming competent to enter heaven by his own energy, attained to great
(ascetic) prowess. Some of the Rishis would call him brother, some

while others cherished him as their son. And, O bull of Bharata's race,
having acquired after a long time great ascetic merit coupled with
complete singleness, Pandu became even like a Brahmarshi (though he was

Kshatriya by birth).

"On a certain day of the new moon, the great Rishis of rigid vows
assembled together, and desirous of beholding Brahman were on the point

starting on their expedition. Seeing them about to start, Pandu asked
those ascetics, saying, 'Ye first of eloquent men, where shall we go?'

Rishis answered, 'There will be a great gathering today, in the abode

Brahman, of celestials, Rishis and Pitris. Desirous of beholding the

create we shall go there today.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing this, Pandu rose up suddenly,

of visiting heaven along with the great Rishis. Accompanied by his two
wives, when he was on the point of following the Rishis in the

direction from the mountain of hundred peaks, those ascetics addressed

saying, 'In our northward march, while gradually ascending the king of
mountains, we have seen on its delightful breast many regions

to ordinary mortals; retreats also of the gods, and Gandharvas and

with palatial mansions by hundreds clustering thick around and

with the sweet notes of celestial music, the gardens of Kuvera laid out

even and uneven grounds, banks of mighty rivers, and deep caverns.

are many regions also on those heights that are covered with perpetual
snow and are utterly destitute of vegetable and animal existence. In

places the downpour of rain is so heavy that they are perfectly
inaccessible and incapable of being utilised for habitation. Not to

of other animals, even winged creatures cannot cross them. The only

that can go there is air, and the only beings, Siddhas and great

How shall these princesses ascend those heights of the king of

Unaccustomed to pain, shall they not droop in affliction? Therefore,

not with us, O bull of Bharata's race!'

"Pandu replied, 'Ye fortunate ones, it is said that for the sonless

is no admittance into heaven. I am sonless! In affliction I speak unto
you! I am afflicted because I have not been able to discharge the debt

owe to my ancestors. It is certain that with the dissolution of this my
body my ancestors perish! Men are born on this earth with four debts,

those due unto the (deceased) ancestors, the gods, the Rishis, and

men. In justice these must be discharged. The wise have declared that

regions of bliss exist for them that neglect to pay these debts in due
time. The gods are paid (gratified) by sacrifices, the Rishis, by

meditation, and asceticism, the (deceased) ancestors, by begetting
children and offering the funeral cake, and, lastly other men, by

a humane and inoffensive life. I have justly discharged my obligations

the Rishis, the gods, and other men. But those others than these three

sure to perish with the dissolution of my body! Ye ascetics, I am not

freed from the debt I owe to my (deceased) ancestors. The best of men

born in this world to beget children for discharging that debt. I would
ask you, should children be begotten in my soil (upon my wives) as I
myself was begotten in the soil of my father by the eminent Rishi?'

"The Rishis said, 'O king of virtuous soul, there is progeny in store

thee, that is sinless and blest with good fortune and like unto the

We behold it all with our prophetic eyes. Therefore, O tiger among men,
accomplish by your own acts that which destiny pointeth at. Men of
intelligence, acting with deliberation, always obtain good fruits; it
behoveth thee, therefore, O king, to exert thyself. The fruits thou
wouldst obtain are distinctly visible. Thou wouldst really obtain
accomplished and agreeable progeny.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the ascetics, Pandu,
remembering the loss of his procreative powers owing to the curse of

deer, began to reflect deeply. And calling his wedded wife the

Kunti, unto him, he told her in private, 'Strive thou to raise

at this time of distress. The wise expounders of the eternal religion
declare that a son, O Kunti, is the cause of virtuous fame in the three
worlds. It is said that sacrifices, charitable gifts, ascetic penances,
and vows observed most carefully, do not confer religious merit on a
sonless man. O thou of sweet smiles, knowing all this, I am certain

as I am sonless, I shall not obtain regions of true felicity. O timid

wretch that I was and addicted to cruel deeds, as a consequence of the
polluted life I led, my power of procreation hath been destroyed by the
curse of the deer. The religious institutes mention six kinds of sons

are heirs and kinsmen, and six other kinds that are not heirs but

I shall speak of them presently. O Pritha, listen to me. They are: 1st,
the son begotten by one's own self upon his wedded wife; 2nd, the son
begotten upon one's wife by an accomplished person from motives of
kindness; 3rd, the son begotten upon one's wife by a person for

consideration; 4th, the son begotten upon the wife after the husband's
death; 5th, the maiden-born son; 6th, the son born of an unchaste wife;
7th, the son given; 8th, the son bought for a consideration; 9th, the

self-given; 10th, the son received with a pregnant bride; 11th, the
brother's son; and 12th, the son begotten upon a wife of lower caste.

failure of offspring of a prior class, the mother should desire to have
offspring of the next class. In times of distress, men solicit

from accomplished younger brothers. The self-born Manu hath said that

failing to have legitimate offspring of their own may have offspring
begotten upon their wives by others, for sons confer the highest

merit. Therefore, O Kunti, being destitute myself of the power of
procreation, I command thee to raise good offspring through some person
who is either equal or superior to me. O Kunti, listen to the history

the daughter of Saradandayana who was appointed by her lord to raise
offspring. That warrior-dame, when her monthly season arrived, bathed

and in the night went out and waited on a spot where four roads met.

did not wait long when a Brahmana crowned with ascetic success came

The daughter of Saradandayana solicited him for offspring. After

libations of clarified butter on the fire (in the performance of the
sacrifice known by the name of Punsavana) she brought forth three sons
that were mighty car-warriors and of whom Durjaya was the eldest,

upon her by that Brahmana. O thou of good fortune, do thou follow that
warrior-dame's example at my command, and speedily raise offspring out

the seed of some Brahmana of high ascetic merit.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed, Kunti replied unto her heroic

king Pandu, that bull amongst the Kurus, saying, 'O virtuous one, it
behoveth thee not to say so unto me. I am, O thou lotus-eyed one, thy
wedded wife, devoted to thee. O, Bharata of mighty arms, thyself shalt,

righteousness, beget upon me children endued with great energy. Then I
shall ascend to heaven with thee; O prince of Kuru's race, receive me

thy embrace for begetting children. I shall not certainly, even in
imagination, accept any other man except thee in my embraces. What

man is there in this world superior to thee? O virtuous one, listen to
this Pauranic narrative that hath been, O thou of large eyes, heard by

and that I shall presently narrate.

"There was, in ancient times, a king in the race of Puru, known by the
name of Vyushitaswa. He was devoted to truth and virtue. Of virtuous

and mighty arms, on one occasion, while he was performing a sacrifice

gods with Indra and the great Rishis came to him, and Indra was so
intoxicated with the Soma juice he drank and the Brahmanas with the

presents they received, that both the gods and the great Rishis began
themselves to perform everything appertaining to that sacrifice of the
illustrious royal sage. And thereupon Vyushitaswa began to shine above

men like the Sun appearing in double splendour after the season of

is over. And the powerful Vyushitaswa, who was endued with the strength

ten elephants very soon performed the horse-sacrifice, overthrowing, O
best of monarchs, all the kings of the East, the North, the West and

South, and exacted tributes from them all. There is an anecdote, O best

the Kurus, that is sung by all reciters of the Puranas, in connection

that first of all men, the illustrious Vyushitaswa.--Having conquered

whole Earth up to the coast of the sea, Vyushitaswa protected every

of his subjects as a father does his own begotten sons.--Performing

great sacrifices he gave away much wealth to the Brahmanas. After
collecting unlimited jewels and precious stones he made arrangements

performing still greater ones. And he performed also the Agnishtoma,

other special Vedic sacrifices, extracting great quantities of Soma

And, O king, Vyushitaswa had for his dear wife, Bhadra, the daughter of
Kakshivat, unrivalled for beauty on earth. And it hath been heard by us
that the couple loved each other deeply. King Vyushitaswa was seldom
separated from his wife. Sexual excess, however, brought on an attack

phthisis and the king died within a few days, sinking like the Sun in

glory. Then Bhadra, his beautiful queen, was plunged into woe, and as

was sonless, O tiger among men, she wept in great affliction. Listen to

O king, as I narrate to you all that Bhadra said with bitter tears
trickling down her cheeks. 'O virtuous one', she said, 'Women serve no
purpose when their husbands are dead. She who liveth after her husband

dead, draggeth on a miserable existence that can hardly be called life.

bull of the Kshatriya order, death is a blessing to women without

I wish to follow the way thou hast gone. Be kind and take me with thee.

thy absence, I am unable to bear life even for a moment. Be kind to me,

king and take me hence pretty soon. O tiger among men, I shall follow

over the even and uneven ground. Thou hast gone away, O lord, never to
return. I shall follow thee, O king, as thy own shadow. O tiger among

I will obey thee (as thy slave) and will ever do what is agreeable to

and what is for thy good. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, without

from this day, mental agonies will overwhelm me and eat into my heart.

wretch that I am, some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me

a former life, for which, in this life, I am made to suffer the pangs

separation from thee. O king, that wretched woman who liveth even for a
moment separated from her lord, liveth in woe and suffereth the pangs

hell even here. Some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me

in a
former life, for which sinful act I am suffering this torture arising

my separation from thee. O king, from this day I will lay myself down

on a
bed of Kusa grass and abstain from every luxury, hoping to behold thee
once more. O tiger among men, show thyself to me. O king, O lord,

once more thy wretched and bitterly weeping wife plunged in woe.'

"Kunti continued, 'It was thus, O Pandu, that the beautiful Bhadra wept
over the death of her lord. And the weeping Bhadra clasped in her arms

corpse in anguish of heart. Then she was addressed by an incorporeal

in these words, "Rise up, O Bhadra, and leave this place. O thou of

smiles, I grant thee this boon. I will beget offspring upon thee. Lie

down with me on thy own bed, after the catamenial bath, on the night of
the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon.' Thus addressed by the
incorporeal voice, the chaste Bhadra did, as she was directed, for
obtaining offspring. And, O bull of the Bharatas, the corpse of her
husband begat upon her seven children viz., three Salwas and four

O bull of the Bharatas, do thou also beget offspring upon me, like the
illustrious Vyushitaswa, by the exercise of that ascetic power which



(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by his loving wife, king Pandu,

acquainted with all rules of morality, replied in these words of

import, 'O Kunti, what thou hast said is quite true. Vyushitaswa of old
did even as thou hast said. Indeed he was equal unto the celestials
themselves. But I shall now tell thee about the practices of old

by illustrious Rishis, fully acquainted with every rule of morality. O
thou of handsome face and sweet smiles, women formerly were not immured
within houses and dependent on husbands and other relatives. They used

go about freely, enjoying themselves as best as they liked. O thou of
excellent qualities, they did not then adhere to their husbands

and yet, O handsome one, they were not regarded sinful, for that was

sanctioned usage of the times. That very usage is followed to this day

birds and beasts without any (exhibition of) jealousy. That practice,
sanctioned by precedent, is applauded by great Rishis. O thou of taper
thighs, the practice is yet regarded with respect amongst the Northern
Kurus. Indeed, that usage, so lenient to women, hath the sanction of
antiquity. The present practice, however (of women's being confined to

husband for life) hath been established but lately. I shall tell thee

detail who established it and why.

"It hath been heard by us that there was a great Rishi of the name of
Uddalaka, who had a son named Swetaketu who also was an ascetic of

O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, the present virtuous practice hath

established by that Swetaketu from anger. Hear thou the reason. One

in the presence of Swetaketu's father a Brahmana came and catching
Swetaketu's mother by the hand, told her, 'Let us go.' Beholding his
mother seized by the hand and taken away apparently by force, the son

greatly moved by wrath. Seeing his son indignant, Uddalaka addressed

and said, 'Be not angry. O son! This is the practice sanctioned by
antiquity. The women of all orders in this world are free, O son; men

this matter, as regards their respective orders, act as kine.' The

son, Swetaketu, however, disapproved of the usage and established in

world the present practice as regards men and women. It hath been heard

us, O thou of great virtue, that the existing practice dates from that
period among human beings but not among beings of other classes.
Accordingly, since the establishment of the present usage, it is sinful
for women not to adhere to their husbands. Women transgressing the

assigned by the Rishi became guilty of slaying the embryo. And, men,

violating a chaste and loving wife who hath from her maidenhood

the vow of purity, became guilty of the same sin. The woman also who,
being commanded by her husband to raise offspring, refuses to do his
bidding, becometh equally sinful.

"Thus, O timid one, was the existing usage established of old by

the son of Uddalaka, in defiance of antiquity. O thou of taper thighs,

hath also been heard by us that Madayanti, the wife of Saudasa,

by her husband to raise offspring went unto Rishi Vasishtha. And on

in unto him, the handsome Madayanti obtained a son named Asmaka. She

this, moved by the desire of doing good to her husband. O thou of

eyes, thou knowest, O timid girl, how we ourselves, for the

of the Kuru race, were begotten by Krishna-Dwaipayana. O faultless one,
beholding all these precedents it behoveth thee to do my bidding, which

not inconsistent with virtue, O princess, who is devoted to her

it hath also been said by those acquainted with the rules of morality

a wife, when her monthly season cometh, must ever seek her husband,

at other times she deserveth liberty. The wise have declared this to be
the ancient practice. But, be the act sinful or sinless, those

with the Vedas have declared that it is the duty of wives to do what

husbands bid them do. Especially, O thou of faultless features, I, who

deprived of the power of procreation, having yet become desirous of
beholding offspring, deserve the more to be obeyed by thee. O amiable

joining my palms furnished with rosy fingers, and making of them a cup

of lotus leaves, I place them on my head to propitiate thee. O thou of
lair looks, it behoveth thee to raise offspring, at my command, through
some Brahmana possessed of high ascetic merit. For then, owing to thee,

thou of fair hips, I may go the way that is reserved for those that are
blessed with children.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Pandu, that subjugator of
hostile cities, the handsome Kunti, ever attentive to what was

and beneficial to her lord, then replied unto him, saying, 'In my

O lord, I was in my father's house engaged in attending upon all

guests. I
used to wait respectfully upon Brahmanas of rigid vows and great

merit. One day I gratified with my attentions that Brahmana whom people
call Durvasa, of mind under full control and possessing knowledge of

the mysteries of religion. Pleased with my services, that Brahmana gave

a boon in the form of a mantra (formula of invocation) for calling into

presence any one of the celestials I liked. And the Rishi, addressing

said, 'Anyone among the celestials whom thou callest by this shall, O

approach thee and be obedient to thy will, whether he liketh it or not.
And, O princess, thou shall also have offspring through his grace.' O
Bharata, that Brahmana told me this when I lived in my father's house.

words uttered by the Brahmana can never be false. The time also hath

when they may yield fruit. Commanded by thee, O royal sage, I can by

mantra summon any of the celestials, so that we may have good children.

foremost of all truthful men, tell me which of the celestials I shall
summon. Know that, as regards this matter, I await your commands.'

"Hearing this, Pandu replied, 'O handsome one, strive duly this very

to gratify our wishes. Fortunate one, summon thou the god of justice.

is the most virtuous of the celestials. The god of justice and virtue

never be able to pollute us with sin. The world also, O beautiful

will then think that what we do can never be unholy. The son also that

shall obtain from him shall in virtue be certainly the foremost among

Kurus. Begotten by the god of justice and morality, he would never set

heart upon anything that is sinful or unholy. Therefore, O thou of

smiles, steadily keeping virtue before thy eyes, and duly observing

vows, summon thou the god of justice and virtue by the help of thy
solicitations and incantations.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Kunti, that best of women, thus

by her lord, said, 'So be it.' And bowing down to him and reverently
circumambulating his person, she resolved to do his bidding.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O Janamejaya, when Gandhari's conception had been

full year old, it was then that Kunti summoned the eternal god of

to obtain offspring from him. And she offered without loss of time,
sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that

had imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by her
incantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his car
resplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, 'O Kunti, what am I to give
thee?' And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, 'Thou must even give

offspring.' Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) with

god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a son

to the good of all creatures. And she brought his excellent child, who
lived to acquire a great fame, at the eighth Muhurta called Abhijit, of
the hour of noon of that very auspicious day of the seventh month
(Kartika), viz., the fifth of the lighted fortnight, when the star
Jyeshtha in conjunction with the moon was ascendant. And as soon as the
child was born, an incorporeal voice (from the skies) said, 'This child
shall be the best of men, the foremost of those that are virtuous.

with great prowess and truthful in speech, he shall certainly be the

of the earth. And this first child of Pandu shall be known by the name

Yudhishthira. Possessed of prowess and honesty of disposition, he shall

a famous king, known throughout the three worlds.'

"Pandu, having obtained that virtuous son, again addressed his wife and
said, 'The wise have declared that a Kshatriya must be endued with
physical strength, otherwise he is no Kshatriya.' Therefore, ask thou

an offspring of superior strength.' Thus commanded by her lord, Kunti

invoked Vayu. And the mighty god of wind, thus invoked, came unto her,
riding upon a deer, and said, 'What, O Kunti, am I to give thee? Tell

what is in thy heart.' Smiling in modesty, she said to him, 'Give me, O
best of celestials, a child endued with great strength and largeness of
limbs and capable of humbling the pride of every body.' The god of wind
thereupon begat upon her the child afterwards known as Bhima of mighty
arms and fierce prowess. And upon the birth of that child endued with
extraordinary strength, an incorporeal voice, O Bharata, as before,

'This child shall be the foremost of all endued with strength.' I must
tell you, O Bharata, of another wonderful event that occurred after the
birth of Vrikodara (Bhima). While he fell from the lap of his mother

the mountain breast, the violence of the fall broke into fragments the
stone upon which he fell without his infant body being injured in the
least. And he fell from his mother's lap because Kunti, frightened by a
tiger, had risen up suddenly, unconscious of the child that lay asleep

her lap. And as she had risen, the infant, of body hard as the

falling down upon the mountain breast, broke into a hundred fragments

rocky mass upon which he fell. And beholding this, Pandu wondered much.
And it so happened that that very day on which Vrikodara was born, was
also, O best of Bharatas, the birthday of Duryodhana who afterwards

the ruler of the whole earth.'

"After the birth of Vrikodara, Pandu again began to think, 'How am I to
obtain a very superior son who shall achieve world-wide fame? Every

in the world dependeth on destiny and exertion. But destiny can never

successful except by timely exertion. We have heard it said that Indra

the chief of the gods. Indeed, he is endued with immeasurable might and
energy and prowess and glory. Gratifying him with my asceticism, I

obtain from him a son of great strength. Indeed, the son he giveth me

be superior to all and capable of vanquishing in battle all men and
creatures other than men. I shall, therefore, practise the severest
austerities, with heart, deed and speech.'

"After this, the Kuru king Pandu, taking counsel with the great Rishis
commanded Kunti to observe an auspicious vow for one full year, while

himself commenced, O Bharata, to stand upon one leg from morning to
evening, and practise other severe austerities with mind rapt in
meditation, for gratifying the lord of the celestials.

"It was after a long time that Indra (gratified with such devotion)
approached Pandu and, addressing him, said, 'I shall give thee, O king,

son who will be celebrated all over the three worlds and who will

the welfare of Brahmanas, kine and all honest men. The son I shall give
thee will be the smiter of the wicked and the delight of friends and
relatives. Foremost of all men, he will be an irresistible slayer of

foes.' Thus addressed by Vasava (the king of the celestials), the

king of the Kuru race, well-recollecting those words, said unto Kunti,

fortunate one, thy vow hath become successful. The lord of the

hath been gratified, and is willing to give thee a son such as thou
desirest, of superhuman achievements and great fame. He will be the
oppressor of all enemies and possessed of great wisdom. Endued with a
great soul, in splendour equal unto the Sun, invincible in battles, and

great achievements, he will also be extremely handsome. O thou of fair
hips and sweet smiles, the lord of the celestials hath become gracious

thee. Invoking him, bring thou forth a child who will be the very home

all Kshatriya virtues.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The celebrated Kunti, thus addressed by her

invoked Sakra (the king of the gods) who thereupon came unto her and

him that was afterwards called Arjuna. And as soon as this child was

an incorporeal voice, loud and deep as that of the clouds and filling

whole welkin, distinctly said, addressing Kunti in the hearing of every
creature dwelling in that asylum, 'This child of thine, O Kunti, will

equal unto Kartavirya in energy and Siva in prowess. Invincible like

himself he will spread thy fame far and wide. As Vishnu (the youngest

Aditi's sons) had enhanced Aditi's joy, so shall this child enhance thy
joy. Subjugating the Madras, the Kurus along with the Somakas, and the
people of Chedi, Kasi and Karusha, he will maintain the prosperity of

Kurus. (Surfeited with libations at the sacrifice of king Swetaketu),

will derive great gratification from the fat of all creatures dwelling

the Khandava woods (to be burnt down) by the might of this one's arms.
This mighty hero, vanquishing all the monarchs of the earth, will with
his brothers perform three great sacrifices. In prowess, O Kunti, he

be even as Jamadagnya or Vishnu. The foremost of all men endued with
prowess, he will achieve great fame. He will gratify in battle (by his
heroism) Sankara, the god of gods (Mahadeva), and will receive from him
the great weapon named Pasupata. This thy son of mighty arms will also
slay, at the command of Indra, those Daityas called the Nivatakavachas

are the enemies of the gods. He will also acquire all kinds of

weapons, and this bull among men will also retrieve the fortunes of his

"Kunti heard these extraordinary words, while lying in the room. And
hearing those words uttered so loudly, the ascetics dwelling on the
mountain of a hundred peaks, and the celestials with Indra sitting in
their cars, became exceedingly glad. The sounds of the (invisible) drum
filled the entire welkin. There were shouts of joy, and the whole

was covered with flowers showered down by invisible agents. The various
tribes of celestials assembled together, began to offer their

adorations to the son of Pritha. The sons of Kadru (Nagas), the son of
Vinata, the Gandharvas, the lords of the creation, and the seven great
Rishis, viz., Bharadwaja, Kasyapa, Gautama, Viswamitra, Jamadagni,
Vasishtha, and the illustrious Atri who illumined the world of old when
the Sun was lost, all came there. And Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya,

Kratu, Daksha the lord of creation, the Gandharvas, and Apsaras, came
there also. The various tribes of Apsaras, decked with celestial

and every ornament, and attired in fine robes, came there and danced in
joy, chanting the praises of Vibhatsu (Arjuna). All around, the great
Rishis began to utter propitiatory formulas. And Tumvuru accompanied by
the Gandharvas began to sing in charming notes. And Bhimasena and

Urnayus and Anagha, Gopati and Dhritarashtra and Suryavarchas the

Yugapa and Trinapa, Karshni, Nandi, and Chitraratha, Salisirah the
thirteenth, Parjanya the fourteenth, Kali the fifteenth, and Narada the
sixteenth in this list, Vrihatta, Vrihaka, Karala of great soul,
Brahmacharin, Vahuguna, Suvarna of great fame, Viswavasu, Bhumanyu,
Suchandra, Sam and the celebrated tribes of Haha and Huhu gifted with
wonderful melody of voice,--these celestial Gandharvas, O king, all

there. Many illustrious Apsaras also of large eyes, decked with every
ornament came there to dance and sing. And Anuchana and Anavadya,
Gunamukhya and Gunavara, Adrika and Soma, Misrakesi and Alambusha,

and Suchika, Vidyutparna and Tilottama and Ambika, Lakshmana, Kshema

Rambha, Manorama, Asita, Suvahu, Supriya, Suvapuh, Pundarika, Sugandha,
Surasa, Pramathini, Kamya and Saradwati, all danced there together. And
Menaka, Sahajanya, Karnika, Punjikasthala, Ritusthala, Ghritachi,

Purvachiti, the celebrated Umlocha, Pramlocha the tenth and Urvasi the
eleventh,--these large-eyed dancing girls of heaven,--came there and

in chorus. And Dharti and Aryaman and Mitra and Varuna, Bhaga and

Vivaswat, Pushan, Tvastri and Parjanya or Vishnu, these twelve Adityas
came there to glorify Pandu's son. And, O king, Mrigavyadha, Sarpa, the
celebrated Niriti, Ajaikapada, Ahivradhna, Pinakin, Dahana, Iswara,
Kapalin, Sthanu and the illustrious Bhaga--these eleven Rudras,--also

there. And the twin Aswins, the eight Vasus, the mighty Maruts, the
Viswedevas, and the Sadhyas, also came there. And Karkotaka, Vasuki,
Kachchhapa, Kunda and the great Naga Takshaka,--these mighty and

snakes possessed of high ascetic merit also came there. And Tarkshya,
Arishtanemi, Garuda, Asitadvaja,--these and many other Nagas, came

so also Aruna and Aruni of Vinata's race also came there. And only

Rishis crowned with ascetic success and not others saw those celestials
and other beings seated in their cars or waiting on the mountain peaks.
Those best of Munis beholding that wonderful sight, became amazed, and
their love and affection for the children of Pandu was in consequence

"The celebrated Pandu, tempted by the desire of having more children
wished to speak again unto his wedded wife (for invoking some other

But Kunti addressed him, saying, 'The wise do not sanction a fourth
delivery even in a season of distress. The woman having intercourse

four different men is called a Swairini (wanton), while she having
intercourse with five becometh a harlot. Therefore, O learned one, as

art well-acquainted with the scripture on this subject, why dost thou,
beguiled by desire of offspring, tell me so in seeming forgetfulness of
the ordinance?'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After the birth of Kunti's sons and also of the
hundred sons of Dhritarashtra the daughter of the king of the Madras
privately addressed Pandu, saying, 'O slayer of foes, I have no

even if thou beest unpropitious to me. I have, O sinless one, also no
complaint that though by birth I am superior to Kunti yet I am inferior

her in station. I do not grieve, O thou of Kuru's race, that Gandhari

obtained a hundred sons. This, however, is my great grief that while

and I are equal, I should be childless, while it should so chance that
thou shouldst have offspring by Kunti alone. If the daughter of

should so provide that I should have offspring, she would then be

doing me a great favour and benefiting thee likewise. She being my

I feel a delicacy in soliciting any favour of her. If thou beest, O

propitiously disposed to me, then ask her to grant my desire.'

"Hearing her, Pandu replied, 'O Madri, I do revolve this matter often

my own mind, but I have hitherto hesitated to tell thee anything, not
knowing how thou wouldst receive it. Now that I know what your wishes

I shall certainly strive after that end. I think that, asked by me,

will not refuse.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Pandu addressed Kunti in private,
saying, 'O Kunti, grant me some more offspring for the expansion of my
race and for the benefit of the world. O blessed one, provide thou that

myself, my ancestors, and thine also, may always have the funeral cake
offered to us. O, do what is beneficial to me, and grant me and the

what, indeed, is the best of benefits. O, do what, indeed, may be
difficult for thee, moved by the desire of achieving undying fame.

Indra, even though he hath obtained the sovereignty of the celestials,
doth yet, for fame alone, perform sacrifices. O handsome one,

well-acquainted with the Vedas, and having achieved high ascetic merit,

yet, for fame alone, approach their spiritual masters with reverence.

also all royal sages and Brahmanas possessed of ascetic wealth have
achieved, for fame only, the most difficult of ascetic feat. Therefore,

blameless one, rescue this Madri as by a raft (by granting her the

of obtaining offspring), and achieve thou imperishable fame by making

a mother of children.'

"Thus addressed by her lord, Kunti readily yielded, and said unto

'Think thou, without loss of time, of some celestial, and thou shall
certainly obtain from him a child like unto him.' Reflecting for a few
moments. Madri thought of the twin Aswins, who coming unto her with

begat upon her two sons that were twins named Nakula and Sahadeva,
unrivalled on earth for personal beauty. And as soon as they were born,

incorporeal voice said, 'In energy and beauty these twins shall

even the twin Aswins themselves.' Indeed possessed of great energy and
beauty, they illumined the whole region.

"O king, after all the children were born the Rishis dwelling on the
mountain of a hundred peaks uttering blessings on them and

performing the first rites of birth, bestowed appellations on them. The
eldest of Kunti's children was called Yudhishthira, the second

and the third Arjuna, and of Madri's sons, the first-born of the twins

called Nakula and the next Sahadeva. And those foremost sons born at an
interval of one year after one another, looked like an embodied period

five years. And king Pandu, beholding his children of celestial beauty

of super-abundant energy, great strength and prowess, and of largeness

soul, rejoiced exceedingly. And the children became great favourites of
the Rishis, as also of their wives, dwelling on the mountain of a


"Some time after, Pandu again requested Kunti on behalf of Madri.
Addressed, O king, by her lord in private, Kunti replied, 'Having given
her the formula of invocation only once, she hath, O king, managed to
obtain two sons. Have I not been thus deceived by her, I fear, O king,
that she will soon surpass me in the number of her children. This,

is the way of all wicked women. Fool that I was, I did not know that by
invoking the twin gods I could obtain at one birth twin children. I
beseech thee, O king, do not command me any further. Let this be the

granted (by thee) to me.'

"Thus, O king, were born unto Pandu five sons who were begotten by
celestials and were endued with great strength, and who all lived to
achieve great fame and expand the Kuru race. Each bearing every

mark on his person, handsome like Soma, proud as the lion, well-skilled

the use of the bow, and of leonine tread, breast, heart, eyes, neck and
prowess, those foremost of men, resembling the celestials themselves in
might, began to grow up. And beholding them and their virtues growing

years, the great Rishis dwelling on that snowcapped sacred mountain

filled with wonder. And the five Pandavas and the hundred sons of
Dhritarashtra--that propagator of the Kuru race--grew up rapidly like a
cluster of lotuses in a lake.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, "Beholding his five handsome sons growing up before
him in that great forest on the charming mountain slope, Pandu felt the
last might of his arms revive once more. One day in the season of

which maddens every creature the king accompanied by his wife (Madri),
began to rove in the woods where every tree had put forth new blossoms.

beheld all around Palasas and Tilakas and Mangoes and Champakas and
Parihadrakas and Karnikaras, Asokas and Kesaras and Atimuktas and
Kuruvakas with swarms of maddened bees sweetly humming about. And there
were flowers of blossoming Parijatas with the Kokilas pouring forth

melodies from under every twig echoing with the sweet hums of the black
bees. And he beheld also various other kinds of trees bent down with

weight of their flowers and fruits. And there were also many fine pools

water overgrown with hundreds of fragrant lotuses. Beholding all these,
Pandu felt the soft influence of desire. Roving like a celestial with a
light heart amidst such scenery, Pandu was alone with his wife Madri in
semi-transparent attire. And beholding the youthful Madri thus attired,
the king's desire flamed up like a forest-fire. And ill-able to

his desire thus kindled at the sight of his wife of eyes like lotus-

he was completely overpowered. The king then seized her against her

but Madri trembling in fear resisted him to the best of her might.
Consumed by desire, he forgot everything about his misfortune. And, O

of Kuru's race unrestrained by the fear of (the Rishi's) curse and
impelled by fate, the monarch, overpowered by passion, forcibly sought

embraces of Madri, as if he wished to put an end to his own life. His
reason, thus beguiled by the great Destroyer himself by intoxicating

senses, was itself lost with his life. And the Kuru king Pandu, of
virtuous soul, thus succumbed to the inevitable influence of Time,

united in intercourse with his wife.

"Then Madri, clasping the body of her senseless lord, began to weep

And Kunti with her sons and the twins of Madri, hearing those cries of
grief, came to the spot where the king lay in that state. Then, O king,
Madri addressing Kunti in a piteous voice, said, 'Come hither alone, O
Kunti, and let the children stay there.' Hearing these words, Kunti,

children stay, ran with speed, exclaiming, 'Woe to me!' And beholding

Pandu and Madri lying prostrate on the ground she went in grief and
affliction, saying, 'Of passions under complete control, this hero, O
Madri, had all along been watched by me with care. How did he then
forgetting the Rishi's curse, approach thee with enkindled desire? O

this foremost of men should have been protected by thee. Why didst thou
tempt him into solitude? Always melancholy at the thought of the

curse, how came he to be merry with thee in solitude? O princess of
Valhika, more fortunate than myself, thou art really to be envied, for
thou hast seen the face of our lord suffused with gladness and joy.'

"Madri then replied, saying, 'Revered sister, with tears in my eyes, I
resisted the king, but he could not control himself, bent on, as it

making the Rishi's curse true.'

"Kunti then said, 'I am the older of his wedded wives; the chief

merit must be mine. Therefore, O Madri, prevent me not from achieving

which must be achieved. I must follow our lord to the region of the

Rise up, O Madri, and yield me his body. Rear thou these children.'

replied, saying, 'I do clasp our lord yet, and have not allowed him to
depart; therefore, I shall follow him. My appetite hath not been

Thou art my older sister, O let me have thy sanction. This foremost one

the Bharata princes had approached me, desiring to have intercourse.

appetite unsatiated, shall I not follow him in the region of Yama to
gratify him? O revered one, if I survive thee, it is certain I shall

be able to rear thy children as if they were mine. Will not sin touch

on that account? But, thou O Kunti, shall be able to bring my sons up

if they were thine. The king, in seeking me wishfully, hath gone to the
region of spirits; therefore, my body should be burnt with his. O

sister, withhold not thy sanction to this which is agreeable to me.

wilt certainly bring up the children carefully. That indeed, would be

agreeable to me. I have no other direction to give!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the daughter of the king of
Madras, the wedded wife of Pandu, ascended the funeral pyre of her

that bull among men.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The godlike Rishis, wise in counsels, beholding

death of Pandu, consulted with one another, and said, 'The virtuous and
renowned king Pandu, abandoning both sovereignty and kingdom came

for practising ascetic austerities and resigned himself to the ascetics
dwelling on this mountain. He hath hence ascended to heaven, leaving

wife and infant sons as a trust in our hands. Our duty now is to repair

his kingdom with these his offspring, and his wife.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those godlike Rishis of magnanimous

and crowned with ascetic success, summoning one another, resolved to go

Hastinapura with Pandu's children ahead, desiring to place them in the
hands of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. The ascetics set out that very

taking with them those children and Kunti and the two dead bodies. And
though unused to toil all her life, the affectionate Kunti now regarded

very short the really long journey she had to perform. Having arrived

Kurujangala within a short time, the illustrious Kunti presented

at the principal gate. The ascetics then charged the porters to inform

king of their arrival. The men carried the message in a trice to the

And the citizens of Hastinapura, hearing of the arrival of thousands of
Charanas and Munis, were filled with wonder. And it was soon after

that they began to come out in numbers with their wives and children to
behold those ascetics. Seated in all kinds of cars and conveyances by
thousands, vast numbers of Kshatriyas with their wives, and Brahmanas

theirs came out. And the concourse of Vaisyas and Sudras too was as

on the occasion. The vast assemblage was very peaceful, for every heart
then was inclined to piety. And there also came out Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, and Somadatta or Valhika and the royal sage (Dhritarashtra)
endued with the vision of knowledge and Vidura himself and the

Satyavati and the illustrious princess of Kosala and Gandhari

by the other ladies of the royal household. And the hundred sons of
Dhritarashtra, decked with various ornaments, also came out.

"The Kauravas, then, accompanied by their priest, saluted the Rishis by
lowering their heads, and took their seats before them. The citizens

saluting the ascetics and bowing down unto them with touching the

took their seats there. Then Bhishma, setting that vast concourse
perfectly still, duly worshipped, O king, those ascetics by offering

water to wash their feet with and the customary Arghya. And having done
this, he spoke unto them about the sovereignty and the kingdom. Then

oldest of the ascetics with matted locks on head and loins covered with
animal skin, stood up, and with the concurrence of the other Rishis,

as follows, 'You all know that that possessor of the sovereignty of the
Kurus who was called king Pandu, had, after abandoning the pleasures of
the world, repaired hence to dwell on the mountain of a hundred peaks.

adopted the Brahmacharya mode of life, but for some inscrutable purpose
the gods have in view, this his eldest son, Yudhishthira, was born

begotten by Dharma himself. Then that illustrious king obtained from

this other son--the foremost of all mighty men--called Bhima. This

son, begotten upon Kunti by Indra, is Dhananjaya whose achievements

humble all bowmen in the world. Look here again at these tigers among

mighty in the use of the bow, the twin children begotten upon Madri by

twin Aswins. Leading in righteousness the life of a Vanaprastha in the
woods, illustrious Pandu hath thus revived the almost extinct line of

grandfather. The birth, growth, and Vedic studies of these children of
Pandu, will, no doubt, give you great pleasure. Steadily adhering to

path of the virtuous and the wise, and leaving behind him these

Pandu departed hence seventeen days ago. His wife Madri, beholding him
placed in the funeral pyre and about to be consumed, herself ascended

same pyre, and sacrificing her life thus, hath gone with her lord to

region reserved for chaste wives. Accomplish now whatever rites should

performed for their benefit. These are (the unburnt portions of) their
bodies. Here also are their children--these oppressors of foes--with

mother. Let these be now received with due honours. After the

of the first rites in honour of the dead, let the virtuous Pandu, who

all along been the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, have the

annual Sraddha (sapindakarana) performed with a view to installing him
formally among the Pitris.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The ascetics with Guhyakas, having said this
unto the Kurus, instantly disappeared in the very sight of the people.

beholding the Rishis and the Siddhas thus vanish in their sight like
vapoury forms appearing and disappearing in the skies, the citizens

with wonder returned to their homes.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Dhritarashtra then said, 'O Vidura, celebrate
the funeral ceremonies of that lion among kings viz., Pandu, and of

also, in right royal style. For the good of their souls, distribute

cloths, gems and diverse kinds of wealth, every one receiving as much

he asketh for. Make arrangements also for Kunti's performing the last
rites of Madri in such a style as pleaseth her. And let Madri's body be

carefully wrapped up that neither the Sun nor Vayu (god of wind) may
behold it. Lament not for the sinless Pandu. He was a worthy king and

left behind him five heroic sons equal unto the celestials themselves.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vidura, O Bharata, saying, 'So be it,'

consultation with Bhishma, fixed upon a sacred spot for the funeral

of Pandu. The family priests went out of the city without loss of time,
carrying with them the blazing sacred fire fed with clarified butter

rendered fragrant therewith. Then friends, relatives, and adherents,
wrapping it up in cloth, decked the body of the monarch with the

of the season and sprinkled various excellent perfumes over it. And

also decked the hearse itself with garlands and rich hangings. Then
placing the covered body of the king with that of his queen on that
excellent bier decked out so brightly, they caused it to be carried on
human shoulders. With the white umbrella (of state) held over the

with waving yak-tails and sounds of various musical instruments, the

scene looked bright and grand. Hundreds of people began to distribute

among the crowd on the occasion of the funeral rites of the king. At
length some beautiful robes, and white umbrellas and larger yak-tails,
were brought for the great ceremony. The priests clad in white walked

the van of the procession pouring libations of clarified butter on the
sacred fire blazing in an ornamental vessel. And Brahmanas, and

and Vaisyas, and Sudras by thousands followed the deceased king, loudly
wailing in these accents, 'O prince, where dost thou go, leaving us

and making us forlorn and wretched for ever?' And Bhishma, and Vidura,

the Pandavas, also all wept aloud. At last they came to a romantic wood

the banks of the Ganga. There they laid down the hearse on which the
truthful and lion-hearted prince and his spouse lay. Then they brought
water in many golden vessels, washed the prince's body besmeared before
with several kinds of fragrant paste, and again smeared it over with
sandal paste. They then dressed it in a white dress made of indigenous
fabrics. And with the new suit on, the king seemed as if he was living

only sleeping on a costly bed.

"When the other funeral ceremonies also were finished in consonance

the directions of the priests, the Kauravas set fire to the dead bodies

the king and the queen, bringing lotuses, sandal-paste, and other

substances to the pyre.

"Then seeing the bodies aflame, Kausalya burst out, 'O my son, my

and fell down senseless on the ground. And seeing her down the citizens
and the inhabitants of the provinces began to wail from grief and
affection for their king. And the birds of the air and the beasts of

field were touched by the lamentations of Kunti. And Bhishma, the son

Santanu, and the wise Vidura, and the others also that were there,


"Thus weeping, Bhishma, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, the Pandavas and the

ladies, all performed the watery ceremony of the king. And when all

was over, the people, themselves filled with sorrow, began to console

bereaved sons of Pandu. And the Pandavas with their friends began to

on the ground. Seeing this the Brahmanas and the other citizens also
renounced their beds. Young and old, all the citizens grieved on

of the sons of king Pandu, and passed twelve days in mourning with the
weeping Pandavas.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Bhishma and Kunti with their friends

the Sraddha of the deceased monarch, and offered the Pinda. And they
feasted the Kauravas and thousands of Brahmanas unto whom they also

gems and lands. Then the citizens returned to Hastinapura with the sons

Pandu, now that they had been cleansed from the impurity incident to

demise of their father. All then fell to weeping for the departed king.

seemed as if they had lost one of their own kin.

"When the Sraddha had been celebrated in the manner mentioned above,

venerable Vyasa, seeing all the subjects sunk in grief, said one day to
his mother Satyavati, 'Mother, our days of happiness have gone by and

of calamity have succeeded. Sin beginneth to increase day by day. The
world hath got old. The empire of the Kauravas will no longer endure
because of wrong and oppression. Go thou then into the forest, and

thyself to contemplation through Yoga. Henceforth society will be

with deceit and wrong. Good work will cease. Do not witness the
annihilation of thy race, in thy old age.'

"Acquiescing in the words of Vyasa, Satyavati entered the inner

and addressed her daughter-in-law, saying, 'O Ambika, I hear that in
consequence of the deeds of your grandsons, this Bharata dynasty and

subjects will perish. If thou permit, I would go to the forest with
Kausalya, so grieved at the loss of her son.' O king, saying this the
queen, taking the permission of Bhishma also, went to the forest. And
arriving there with her two daughters-in-law, she became engaged in
profound contemplation, and in good time leaving her body ascended to

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the sons of king Pandu, having gone

all the purifying rites prescribed in the Vedas, began to grow up in
princely style in the home of their father. Whenever they were engaged

play with the sons of Dhritarashtra, their superiority of strength

marked. In speed, in striking the objects aimed at, in consuming

of food, and scattering dust, Bhimasena beat all the sons of

The son of the Wind-god pulled them by the hair and made them fight

one another, laughing all the while. And Vrikodara easily defeated

hundred and one children of great energy as if they were one instead of
being a hundred and one. The second Pandava used to seize them by the

and throwing them down, to drag them along the earth. By this, some had
their knees broken, some their heads, and some their shoulders. That

sometimes holding ten of them, drowned them in water, till they were
nearly dead. When the sons of Dhritarashtra got up to the boughs of a

for plucking fruits, Bhima used to shake that tree, by striking it with
his foot, so that down came the fruits and the fruitpluckers at the

time. In fact, those princes were no match for Bhima in pugilistic
encounters, in speed, or in skill. Bhima used to make a display of his
strength by thus tormenting them in childishness but not from malice.

"Seeing these wonderful exhibitions of the might of Bhima, the powerful
Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, began to conceive

towards him. And the wicked and unrighteous Duryodhana, through

and ambition, prepared himself for an act of sin. He thought, 'There is

other individual who can compare with Bhima, the second son of Pandu,

point of prowess. I shall have to destroy him by artifice. Singly,

dares a century of us to the combat. Therefore, when he shall sleep in

garden, I shall throw him into the current of the Ganga. Afterwards,
confining his eldest brother Yudhishthira and his younger brother

I shall reign sole king without molestation.' Determined thus, the

Duryodhana was ever on the watch to find out an opportunity for

Bhima. And, O Bharata, at length at a beautiful place called

on the banks of the Ganga, he built a palace decorated with hangings of
broad-cloth and other rich stuffs. And he built this palace for

in the water there, and filled it with all kinds of entertaining things
and choice viands. Gay flags waved on the top of this mansion. The name

the house was 'the water-sport house.' Skilful cooks prepared various
kinds of viands. When all was ready, the officers gave intimation to
Duryodhana. Then the evil-minded prince said unto the Pandavas, 'Let us
all go to the banks of the Ganga graced with trees and crowned with
flowers and sport there in the water.' And upon Yudhishthira agreeing

this, the sons of Dhritarashtra, taking the Pandavas with them, mounted
country-born elephants of great size and cars resembling towns, and

the metropolis.

"On arriving at the place, the princes dismissed their attendants, and
surveying the beauty of the gardens and the groves, entered the palace,
like lions entering their mountain caves. On entering they saw that the
architects had handsomely plastered the walls and the ceilings and that
painters had painted them beautifully. The windows looked very

and the artificial fountains were splendid. Here and there were tanks

pellucid water in which bloomed forests of lotuses. The banks were

with various flowers whose fragrance filled the atmosphere. The

and the Pandavas sat down and began to enjoy the things provided for

They became engaged in play and began to exchange morsels of food with

another. Meanwhile the wicked Duryodhana had mixed a powerful poison

a quantity of food, with the object of making away with Bhima. That

youth who had nectar in his tongue and a razor in his heart, rose at
length, and in a friendly way fed Bhima largely with that poisoned

and thinking himself lucky in having compassed his end, was exceedingly
glad at heart. Then the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu together became
cheerfully engaged in sporting in the water. Their sport having been
finished, they dressed themselves in white habiliments, and decked
themselves with various ornaments. Fatigued with play, they felt

in the evening to rest in the pleasurehouse belonging to the garden.
Having made the other youths take exercise in the waters, the powerful
second Pandava was excessively fatigued. So that on rising from the

he lay down on the ground. He was weary and under the influence of the
poison. And the cool air served to spread the poison over all his

so that he lost his senses at once. Seeing this Duryodhana bound him

chords of shrubs, and threw him into the water. The insensible son of
Pandu sank down till he reached the Naga kingdom. Nagas, furnished with
fangs containing virulent venom, bit him by thousands. The vegetable
poison, mingled in the blood of the son of the Wind god, was

by the snake-poison. The serpents had bitten all over his frame, except
his chest, the skin of which was so tough that their fangs could not
penetrate it.

"On regaining consciousness, the son of Kunti burst his bands and began

press the snakes down under the ground. A remnant fled for life, and

to their king Vasuki, represented, 'O king of snakes, a man drowned

the water, bound in chords of shrubs; probably he had drunk poison. For
when he fell amongst us, he was insensible. But when we began to bite

he regained his senses, and bursting his fetters, commenced laying at

May it please Your Majesty to enquire who is.'

"Then Vasuki, in accordance with the prayer of the inferior Nagas, went

the place and saw Bhimasena. Of the serpents, there was one, named

He was the grandfather of the father of Kunti. The lord of serpents saw
his relative and embraced him. Then, Vasuki, learning all, was pleased
with Bhima, and said to Aryaka with satisfaction, 'How are we to please
him? Let him have money and gems in profusion."

"On hearing the words of Vasuki, Aryaka said, 'O king of serpents, when
Your Majesty is pleased with him, no need of wealth for him! Permit him

drink of rasakunda (nectar-vessels) and thus immeasurable strength.

is the strength of a thousand elephants in each one of those vessels.

this prince drink as much as he can.'

"The king of serpents gave his consent. And the serpents thereupon

auspicious rites. Then purifying himself carefully, Bhimasena facing

east began to drink nectar. At one breath, he quaffed off the contents

a whole vessel, and in this manner drained off eight successive jars,

he was full. At length, the serpents prepared an excellent bed for him,

which he lay down at ease.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile the Kauravas and the Pandavas, after

thus sported there, set out, without Bhima, for Hastinapura, some on
horses, some on elephants, while others preferred cars and other
conveyances. And on their way they said to one another, 'Perhaps, Bhima
hath gone before us.' And the wicked Duryodhana was glad at heart to

Bhima, and entered the city with his brothers in joy.

"The virtuous Yudhishthira, himself unacquainted with vice and

regarded others to be as honest as himself. The eldest son of Pritha,
filled with fraternal love, going unto his mother, said, after making
obeisance to her, 'O mother, hath Bhima come? O good mother, I don't

him here. Where may he have gone? We long sought for him everywhere in

gardens and the beautiful woods; but found him nowhere. At length, we
thought that the heroic Bhima preceded us all. O illustrious dame, we

hither in great anxiety. Arrived here, where hath he gone? Have you

him anywhere? O tell me, I am full of doubts respecting the mighty

He had been asleep and hath not come. I conclude he is no more.'

"Hearing these words of the highly intelligent Yudhishthira, Kunti
shrieked, in alarm, and said, 'Dear son, I have not seen Bhima. He did

come to me. O, return in haste, and with your brothers search for him.'

"Having said this in affliction to her eldest son, she summoned Vidura,
and said, 'O illustrious Kshattri, Bhimasena is missing! Where has he
gone? The other brothers have all come back from the gardens, only

of mighty arms does not come home! Duryodhana likes him not. The

is crooked and malicious and low-minded and imprudent. He coveteth the
throne openly. I am afraid he may have in a fit of anger slain my

This afflicts me sorely, indeed, it burns my heart.'

"Vidura replied, 'Blessed dame, say not so! Protect thy other sons with
care. If the wicked Duryodhana be accused, he may slay thy remaining

The great sage hath said that all thy sons will be long-lived.

Bhima will surely return and gladden thy heart.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The wise Vidura, having said this unto Kunti,
returned to his abode, while Kunti, in great anxiety, continued to stay

home with her children.

"Meanwhile, Bhimasena awoke from that slumber on the eighth day, and

strong beyond measure in consequence of the nectar he had taken having
been all digested. Seeing him awake, the Nagas began to console and

him, saying, 'O thou of mighty arms, the strength-giving liquor thou

drunk will give thee the might of ten thousand elephants! No one now

be able to vanquish thee in fight. O bull of Kuru's race, do thou bath

this holy and auspicious water and return home. Thy brothers are
disconsolate because of thee.'

"Then Bhima purified himself with a bath in those waters, and decked in
white robes and flowery garlands of the same hue, ate of the paramanna
(rice and sugar pudding) offered to him by the Nagas. Then that

of all foes, decked in celestial ornaments, received the adorations and
blessings of the snakes, and saluting them in return, rose from the

region. Bearing up the lotus-eyed Pandava from under the waters, the

placed him in the selfsame gardens wherein he had been sporting, and
vanished in his very sight.

"The mighty Bhimasena, arrived on the surface of the earth, ran with

to his mother. And bowing down unto her and his eldest brother, and
smelling the heads of his younger brothers, that oppressor of all foes

himself embraced by his mother and every one of those bulls among men.
Affectionate unto one another, they all repeatedly exclaimed, 'What is

joy today, O what joy!'

"Then Bhima, endued with great strength and prowess, related to his
brothers everything about the villainy of Duryodhana, and the lucky and
unlucky incidents that had befallen him in the world of the Serpents.
Thereupon Yudhishthira said, 'Do thou observe silence on this. Do not
speak of this to any one. From this day, protect ye all one another

care.' Thus cautioned by the righteous Yudhishthira, they all, with
Yudhishthira himself, became very vigilant from that day. And lest
negligence might occur on the part of the sons of Kunti, Vidura
continually offered them sage advice.

"Some time after, Duryodhana again mixed in the food of Bhima a poison
that was fresh, virulent, and very deadly. But Yuyutsu (Dhritarashtra's
son by a Vaisya wife), moved by his friendship for the Pandavas,

them of this. Vrikodara, however, swallowed it without any hesitation,

digested it completely. And, though virulent the poison produced no
effects on Bhima.

"When that terrible poison intended for the destruction of Bhima failed

its effect, Duryodhana, Karna and Sakuni, without giving up their

design had recourse to numerous other contrivances for accomplishing

death of the Pandavas. And though every one of these contrivances was
fully known to the Pandavas, yet in accordance with the advice of

they suppressed their indignation.

"Meanwhile, the king (Dhritarashtra), beholding the Kuru princes

their time in idleness and growing naughty, appointed Gautama as their
preceptor and sent them unto him for instruction. Born among a clump of
heath, Gautama was well-skilled in the Vedas and it was under him (also
called Kripa) that the Kuru princes began to learn the use of arms.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, it behoveth thee to relate to me

about the birth of Kripa. How did he spring from a clump of heath?

also did he obtain his weapons?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, the great sage Gautama had a son named
Saradwat. This Saradwat was born with arrows (in hand). O oppressor of
foes, the son of Gautama exhibited great aptitude for the study of the
science of weapons, but none for the other sciences. Saradwat acquired

his weapons by those austerities by which Brahmanas in student life
acquire the knowledge of Vedas. Gautama (the son of Gotama) by his
aptitude for the science of weapons and by his austerities made Indra
himself greatly afraid of him. Then, O thou of Kuru's race, the chief

the gods summoned a celestial damsel named Janapadi and sent her unto
Gautama, saying, 'Do thy best to disturb the austerities of Gautama.'
Repairing unto the charming asylum of Saradwat, the damsel began to

the ascetic equipped with bow and arrows. Beholding that Apsara, of

unrivalled on earth for beauty, alone in those woods and clad in a

piece of cloth, Saradwat's eyes expanded with delight. At the sight of

damsel, his bow and arrows slipped from his hand and his frame shook

over with emotion; but possessed of ascetic fortitude and strength of

the sage mustered sufficient patience to bear up against the

The suddenness, however, of his mental agitation, caused an unconscious
emission of his vital fluid. Leaving his bow and arrows and deer-skin
behind, he went away, flying from the Apsara. His vital fluid, however,
having fallen upon a clump of heath, was divided into two parts, whence
sprang two children that were twins.

"And it happened that a soldier in attendance upon king Santanu while

monarch was out a-hunting in the woods, came upon the twins. And seeing
the bow and arrows and deer-skin on the ground, he thought they might

the offspring of some Brahmana proficient in the science of arms.

thus, he took up the children along with the bow and arrows, and showed
what he had to the king. Beholding them the king was moved with pity,

saying, 'Let these become my children,' brought them to his palace.

that first of men, Santanu, the son of Pratipa having brought Gautama's
twins into his house, performed in respect of them the usual rites of
religion. And he began to bring them up and called them Kripa and

in allusion to the fact that he brought them up from motives of pity
(Kripa). The son of Gotama having left his former asylum, continued his
study of the science of arms in right earnest. By his spiritual insight

learnt that his son and daughter were in the palace of Santanu. He
thereupon went to the monarch and represented everything about his

He then taught Kripa the four branches of the science of arms, and

other branches of knowledge, including all their mysteries and

details. In a short time Kripa became an eminent professor of the

(of arms). And the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, and the Pandavas

with the Yadavas, and the Vrishnis, and many other princes from various
lands, began to receive lessons from him in that science.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Desirous of giving his grandsons a superior

Bhishma was on the look-out for a teacher endued with energy and well-
skilled in the science of arms. Deciding, O chief of the Bharatas, that
none who was not possessed of great intelligence, none who was not
illustrious or a perfect master of the science of arms, none who was

of godlike might, should be the instructor of the Kuru (princes), the

of Ganga, O tiger among men, placed the Pandavas and the Kauravas under
the tuition of Bharadwaja's son, the intelligent Drona skilled in all

Vedas. Pleased with the reception given him by the great Bhishma, that
foremost of all men skilled in arms, viz., illustrious Drona of world-

fame, accepted the princes as his pupils. And Drona taught them the
science of arms in all its branches. And, O monarch, both the Kauravas

the Pandavas endued with immeasurable power, in a short time became
proficient in the use of all kinds of arms.'

"Janamejaya asked, 'O Brahmana, how was Drona born? How and whence did

acquire his arms? How and why came he unto the Kurus? Whose son also

endued with such energy? Again, how was his son Aswatthaman, the
foremost of all skilled in arms born? I wish to hear all this! Please
recite them in detail.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'There dwelt at the source of the Ganga, a great

named Bharadwaja, ceaselessly observing the most rigid vows. One day,

old, intending to celebrate the Agnihotra sacrifice he went along with
many great Rishis to the Ganga to perform his ablutions. Arrived at the
bank of the stream, he saw Ghritachi herself, that Apsara endued with
youth and beauty, who had gone there a little before. With an

of pride in her countenance, mixed with a voluptuous languor of

the damsel rose from the water after her ablutions were over. And as

was gently treading on the bank, her attire which was loose became
disordered. Seeing her attire disordered, the sage was smitten with
burning desire. The next moment his vital fluid came out, in

of the violence of his emotion. The Rishi immediately held it in a

called a drona. Then, O king, Drona sprang from the fluid thus

in that vessel by the wise Bharadwaja. And the child thus born studied

the Vedas and their branches. Before now Bharadwaja of great prowess

the foremost of those possessing a knowledge of arms, had communicated

the illustrious Agnivesa, a knowledge of the weapon called Agneya. O
foremost one of Bharata's race, the Rishi (Agnivesa) sprung from fire

communicated the knowledge of that great weapon to Drona the son of his

"There was a king named Prishata who was a great friend of Bharadwaja.
About this time Prishata had a son born unto him, named Drupada. And

bull among Kshatriyas, viz., Drupada, the son of Prishata, used every

to come to the hermitage of Bharadwaja to play with Drona and study in

company. O monarch, when Prishata was dead, this Drupada of mighty arms
became the king of the northern Panchalas. About this time the

Bharadwaja also ascended to heaven. Drona continuing to reside in his
father's hermitage devoted himself to ascetic austerities. Having

well-versed in the Vedas and their branches and having burnt also all

sins by asceticism, the celebrated Drona, obedient to the injunctions

his father and moved by the desire of offspring married Kripi, the
daughter of Saradwat. And this woman, ever engaged in virtuous acts and
the Agnihotra, and the austerest of penances, obtained a son named
Aswatthaman. And as soon as Aswatthaman was born, he neighed like the
(celestial) steed Ucchaihsravas. Hearing that cry, an invisible being

the skies said, 'The voice of this child hath, like the neighing of a
horse, been audible all around. The child shall, therefore, be known by
the name of Aswatthaman, (the horse-voiced).' The son of Bharadwaja
(Drona) was exceedingly glad at having obtained that child. Continuing
to reside in that hermitage he devoted himself to the study of the
science of arms.

"O king, it was about this time that Drona heard that the illustrious
Brahmana Jamadagnya, that slayer of foes, that foremost one among all
wielders of weapons, versed in all kinds of knowledge, had expressed a
desire of giving away all his wealth to Brahmanas. Having heard of

knowledge of arms and of his celestial weapons also, Drona set his

upon them as also upon the knowledge of morality that Rama possessed.

Drona of mighty arms, endued with high ascetic virtues, accompanied by
disciples who were all devoted to vows ascetic austerities, set out for
the Mahendra mountains. Arrived at Mahendra, the son of Bharadwaja
possessed of high ascetic merit, beheld the son of Bhrigu, the
exterminator of all foes, endued with great patience and with mind

complete control. Then, approaching with his disciples that scion of

Bhrigu race Drona, giving him his name, told him of his birth in the

of Angiras. And touching the ground with his head, he worshipped Rama's
feet. And beholding the illustrious son of Jamadagni intent upon

into the woods after having given away all his wealth, Drona said,

me to have sprung from Bharadwaja, but not in any woman's womb! I am a
Brahmana of high birth, Drona by name, come to thee with the desire of
obtaining thy wealth.'

"On hearing him, that illustrious grinder of the Kshatriya race

'Thou art welcome, O best of regenerate ones! Tell me what thou

Thus addressed by Rama, the son of Bharadwaja replied unto that

of all smiters, desirous of giving away the whole of his wealth, 'O

of multifarious vows, I am a candidate for thy eternal wealth.' 'O thou

ascetic wealth, returned Rama, 'My gold and whatever other wealth I

have all been given away unto Brahmanas! This earth also, to the verge

the sea, decked with towns and cities, as with a garland of flowers, I
have given unto Kasyapa. I have now my body only and my various

weapons left. I am prepared to give either my body or my weapons. Say,
which thou wouldst have! I would give it thee! Say quickly!'

"Drona answered, O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy
weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.'

"Saying, 'So be it,' the son of Bhrigu gave all his weapons unto

indeed, the whole science of arms with its rules and mysteries.

them all, and thinking himself amply rewarded that best of Brahmanas

glad at heart, set out, for (the city of) his friend Drupada.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then, O king, the mighty son of Bharadyaja

himself before Drupada, and addressing that monarch, said, 'Know me for
thy friend.' Thus addressed by his friend, the son of Bharadwaja, with

joyous heart, the lord of the Panchalas was ill-able to bear that

The king, intoxicated with the pride of wealth, contracted his brows in
wrath, and with reddened eyes spake these words unto Drona, 'O

thy intelligence is scarcely of a high order, inasmuch as thou sayest

me, all on a sudden, that thou art my friend! O thou of dull

great kings can never be friends with such luckless and indigent wights

thou! It is true there had been friendship between thee and me before,

we were then both equally circumstanced. But Time that impaireth
everything in its course, impaireth friendship also. In this world,
friendship never endureth for ever in any heart. Time weareth it off

anger destroyeth it too. Do not stick, therefore, to that worn-off
friendship. Think not of it any longer. The friendship I had with thee,

first of Brahmanas, was for a particular purpose. Friendship can never
subsist between a poor man and a rich man, between a man of letters and

unlettered mind, between a hero and a coward. Why dost thou desire the
continuance of our former friendship? There may be friendship or

between persons equally situated as to wealth or might. The indigent

the affluent can neither be friends nor quarrel with each other. One of
impure birth can never be a friend to one of pure birth; one who is not

car-warrior can never be a friend to one who is so; and one who is not

king never have a king for his friend. Therefore, why dost thou desire

continuance of our former friendship?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Drupada, the mighty son of
Bharadwaja became filled with wrath, and reflecting for a moment, made

his mind as to his course of action. Seeing the insolence of the

king, he wished to check it effectually. Hastily leaving the Panchala
capital Drona bent his steps towards the capital of the Kurus, named

the elephant.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Arrived at Hastinapura, that best of Brahmanas,

son of Bharadwaja, continued to live privately in the house of Gautama
(Kripa). His mighty son (Aswatthaman) at intervals of Kripa's teaching,
used to give the sons of Kunti lessons in the use of arms. But as yet

knew of Aswatthaman's prowess.

"Drona had thus lived privately for some time in the house of Kripa

one day the heroic princes, all in a company, came out of Hastinapura.

coming out of the city, they began to play with a ball and roam about

gladness of heart. And it so happened that the ball with which they had
been playing fell into a well. And thereupon the princes strove their

to recover it from the well. But all the efforts the princes made to
recover it proved futile. They then began to eye one another bashfully,
and not knowing how to recover it, their anxiety became great. Just at
this time they beheld a Brahmana near enough unto them, of darkish hue,
decrepit and lean, sanctified by the performance of the Agnihotra and

had finished his daily rites of worship. And beholding that illustrious
Brahmana, the princes who had despaired of success surrounded him
immediately. Drona (for that Brahmana was no other), seeing the princes
unsuccessful, and conscious of his own skill, smiled a little, and
addressing them said, 'Shame on your Kshatriya might, and shame also on
your skill in arms! You have been born in the race of Bharata! How is

that ye cannot recover the ball (from the bottom of this well)? If ye
promise me a dinner today, I will, with these blades of grass, bring up
not only the ball ye have lost but this ring also that I now throw

Thus saying, Drona that oppressor of foes, taking off his ring, threw

down into the dry well. Then Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressing
Drona, said, 'O Brahmana (thou askest for a trifle)! Do thou, with

permission, obtain of us that which would last thee for life!' Thus
addressed, Drona with smiles replied unto the Bharata princes, saying,
'This handful of long grass I would invest, by my mantras, with the

of weapons. Behold these blades possess virtues that other weapons,

not! I will, with one of these blades, pierce the ball, and then pierce
that blade with another, and that another with a third, and thus shall

by a chain, bring up the ball.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Drona did exactly what he had said. And

princes were all amazed and their eyes expanded with delight. And
regarding what they had witnessed to be very extraordinary, they said,

learned Brahmana, do thou bring up the ring also without loss of time.'

"Then the illustrious Drona, taking a bow with an arrow, pierced the

with that arrow and brought it up at once. And taking the ring thus
brought up from the well still pierced with his arrow, he coolly gave

to the astonished princes. Then the latter, seeing the ring thus

said, 'We bow to thee, O Brahmana! None else owneth such skill. We long

know who thou art and whose son. What also can we do for thee?'

"Thus addressed, Drona replied unto the princes, saying, 'Do ye repair
unto Bhishma and describe to him my likeness and skill. The mighty one
will recognize me.' The princes then saying, 'So be it,' repaired unto
Bhishma and telling him of the purport of that Brahmana's speech,

everything about his (extraordinary) feat. Hearing everything from the
princes, Bhishma at once understood that the Brahmana was none else

Drona, and thinking that he would make the best preceptor for the

went in person unto him and welcoming him respectfully, brought him

to the place. Then Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of arms,
adroitly asked him the cause of his arrival at Hastinapura. Asked by

Drona represented everything as it had happened, saying, 'O sir, in

past I went to the great Rishi Agnivesa for obtaining from him his

desirous also of learning the science of arms. Devoted to the service

my preceptor, I lived with him for many years in the humble guise of a
Brahmacharin, with matted locks on my head. At that time, actuated by

same motives, the prince of Panchala, the mighty Yajnasena, also lived

the same asylum. He became my friend, always seeking my welfare. I

him much. Indeed, we lived together for many, many years. O thou of

race, from our earliest years we had studied together and, indeed, he

my friend from boyhood, always speaking and doing what was agreeable to

For gratifying me, O Bhishma, he used to tell me, 'O Drona, I am the
favourite child of my illustrious father. When the king installeth me

monarch of the Panchalas, the kingdom shall be thine. O friend, this,
indeed, is my solemn promise. My dominion, wealth and happiness, shall

be dependent on thee.' At last the time came for his departure. Having
finished his studies, he bent his steps towards his country. I offered

my regards at the time, and, indeed, I remembered his words ever

"Some time after, in obedience to the injunctions of my father and

also by the desire of offspring, I married Kripi of short hair, who

with great intelligence, had observed many rigid vows, and was ever
engaged in the Agnihotra and other sacrifices and rigid austerities.
Gautami, in time, gave birth to a son named Aswatthaman of great

and equal in splendour unto the Sun himself. Indeed, I was pleased on
having obtained Aswatthaman as much as my father had been on obtaining


"And it so happened that one day the child Aswatthaman observing some

men's sons drink milk, began to cry. At this I was so beside myself

that I
lost all knowledge of the point of the compass. Instead of asking him

had only a few kine (so that if he gave me one, he would no longer be

to perform his sacrifices and thus sustain a loss of virtue), I was
desirous of obtaining a cow from one who had many, and for that I

from country to country. But my wanderings proved unsuccessful, for I
failed to obtain a milch cow. After I had come back unsuccessful, some

my son's playmates gave him water mixed with powdered rice. Drinking

the poor boy, was deceived into the belief that he had taken milk, and
began to dance in joy, saying, 'O, I have taken milk. I have taken

Beholding him dance with joy amid these playmates smiling at his
simplicity, I was exceedingly touched. Hearing also the derisive

of busy-bodies who said, 'Fie upon the indigent Drona, who strives not

earn wealth, whose son drinking water mixed with powdered rice

it for milk and danceth with joy, saying, 'I have taken milk,--I have
taken milk!'--I was quite beside myself. Reproaching myself much, I at
last resolved that even if I should have to live cast off and censured

Brahmanas, I would not yet, from desire of wealth, be anybody's

which is ever hateful. Thus resolved, O Bhishma, I went, for former
friendship, unto the king of the Somakas, taking with me my dear child

wife. Hearing that he had been installed in the sovereignty (of the
Somakas), I regarded myself as blessed beyond compare. Joyfully I went
unto that dear friend of mine seated on the throne, remembering my

friendship with him and also his own words to me. And, O illustrious

approaching Drupada, I said, 'O tiger among men, know me for thy

Saying this, I approached him confidently as a friend should. But

laughing in derision cast me off as if I were a vulgar fellow.

me he said, 'Thy intelligence scarcely seemeth to be of a high order
inasmuch as approaching me suddenly, thou sayest thou art my friend!

that impaireth everything, impaireth friendship also. My former

with thee was for a particular purpose. One of impure birth can never

be a
friend of one who is of pure birth. One who is not a car-warrior can

be a friend of one who is such. Friendship can only subsist between
persons that are of equal rank, but not between those that are

situated. Friendship never subsisteth for ever in my heart. Time

friendships, as also anger destroyeth them. Do thou not stick,

to that worn-off friendship between us. Think not of it any longer. The
friendship I had with thee, O best of Brahmanas, was for a special

There cannot be friendship between a poor man and a rich man, between

unlettered hind and a man of letters, between a coward and a hero. Why
dost thou, therefore, desire the revival of our former friendship? O

of simple understanding, great kings can never have friendship with

indigent and luckless wight as thou. One who is not a king can never

a king for his friend. I do not remember ever having promised thee my
kingdom. But, O Brahmana, I can now give thee food and shelter for one
night.'--Thus addressed by him, I left his presence quickly with my

vowing to do that which I will certainly do soon enough. Thus insulted

Drupada, O Bhishma, I have been filled with wrath, I have come to the
Kurus, desirous of obtaining intelligent and docile pupils. I come to
Hastinapura to gratify thy wishes. O, tell me what I am to do.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by the son of Bharadwaja,

said unto him, 'String thy bow, O Brahmana, and make the Kuru princes
accomplished in arms. Worshipped by the Kurus, enjoy with a glad heart

thy fill every comfort in their abode. Thou art the absolute lord, O
Brahmana, of what ever wealth the Kurus have and of their sovereignty

kingdom! The Kurus are thine (from this day). Think that as already
accomplished which may be in thy heart. Thou art, O Brahmana, obtained

us as the fruit of our great good luck. Indeed, the favour thou hast
conferred upon me by thy arrival is great.'


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus worshipped by Bhishma, Drona, that first of

endued with great energy, took up his quarters in the abode of the

and continued to live there, receiving their adorations. After he had
rested a while, Bhishma, taking with him his grandsons, the Kaurava
princes, gave them unto him as pupils, making at the same time many
valuable presents. And the mighty one (Bhishma) also joyfully gave unto
the son of Bharadwaja a house that was tidy and neat and well-filled

paddy and every kind of wealth. And that first of archers, Drona,
thereupon joyfully accepted the Kauravas, viz., the sons of Pandu and
Dhritarashtra, as his pupils. And having accepted them all as his

one day Drona called them apart and making them touch his feet, said to
them with a swelling heart, 'I have in my heart a particular purpose.
Promise me truly, ye sinless ones, that when ye have become skilled in
arms, ye will accomplish it.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, the Kuru princes

silent. But Arjuna, O king, vowed to accomplish it whatever it was.

then cheerfully clasped Arjuna to his bosom and took the scent of his

repeatedly, shedding tears of joy all the while. Then Drona endued with
great prowess taught the sons of Pandu (the use of) many weapons both
celestial and human. And, O bull of the Bharata race, many other

also flocked to that best of Brahmanas for instruction in arms. The
Vrishnis and the Andhakas, and princes from various lands, and the
(adopted) son of Radha of the Suta caste, (Karna), all became pupils of
Drona. But of them all, the Suta child Karna, from jealousy, frequently
defied Arjuna, and supported by Duryodhana, used to disregard the

Arjuna, however, from devotion to the science of arms, always stayed by
the side of his preceptor, and in skill, strength of arms, and
perseverance, excelled all (his class-fellows). Indeed, although the
instruction the preceptor gave, was the same in the case of all, yet in
lightness and skill Arjuna became the foremost of all his fellow-

And Drona was convinced that none of his pupils would (at any time) be
able to be equal to that son of Indra.

"Thus Drona continued giving lessons to the princes in the science of
weapons. And while he gave unto every one of his pupils a narrow-

vessel (for fetching water) in order that much time may be spent in
filling them, he gave unto his own son Aswatthaman a broad-mouthed

so that, filling it quickly, he might return soon enough. And in the
intervals so gained, Drona used to instruct his own son in several
superior methods (of using weapons). Jishnu (Arjuna) came to know of

and thereupon filling his narrow-mouthed vessel with water by means of

Varuna weapon he used to come unto his preceptor at the same time with

preceptor's son. And accordingly the intelligent son of Pritha, that
foremost of all men possessing a knowledge of weapons, had no

to his preceptor's son in respect of excellence. Arjuna's devotion to

service of his preceptor as also to arms was very great and he soon

the favourite of his preceptor. And Drona, beholding his pupil's

to arms, summoned the cook, and told him in secret, 'Never give Arjuna

food in the dark, nor tell him that I have told thee this.' A few days
after, however, when Arjuna was taking his food, a wind arose, and
thereupon the lamp that had been burning went out. But Arjuna, endued

energy, continued eating in the dark, his hand, from habit, going to

mouth. His attention being thus called to the force of habit, the

armed son of Pandu set his heart upon practising with his bow in the

And, O Bharata, Drona, hearing the twang of his bowstring in the night,
came to him, and clasping him, said, 'Truly do I tell thee that I shall

that unto thee by which there shall not be an archer equal to thee in


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thereafter Drona began to teach Arjuna the

of fighting on horse-back, on the back of elephants, on car, and on the
ground. And the mighty Drona also instructed Arjuna in fighting with

mace, the sword, the lance, the spear, and the dart. And he also
instructed him in using many weapons and fighting with many men at the
same time. And hearing reports of his skill, kings and princes,

of learning the science of arms, flocked to Drona by thousands. Amongst
those that came there, O monarch, was a prince named Ekalavya, who was

son of Hiranyadhanus, king of the Nishadas (the lowest of the mixed
orders). Drona, however, cognisant of all rules of morality, accepted

the prince as his pupil in archery, seeing that he was a Nishada who

(in time) excel all his high-born pupils. But, O oppressor of all

the Nishada prince, touching Drona's feet with bent head, wended his

into the forest, and there he made a clay-image of Drona, and began to
worship it respectfully, as if it was his real preceptor, and practised
weapons before it with the most rigid regularity. In consequence of his
exceptional reverence for his preceptor and his devotion to his

all the three processes of fixing arrows on the bowstring, aiming, and
letting off became very easy for him.

"And one day, O grinder of foes, the Kuru and the Pandava princes, with
Drona's leave, set out in their cars on a hunting excursion. A servant,

king, followed the party at leisure, with the usual implements and a

Having come to the woods, they wandered about, intent on the purpose

had in view. Meanwhile, the dog also, in wandering alone in the woods,
came upon the Nishada prince (Ekalavya). And beholding the Nishada of

hue, of body besmeared with filth, dressed in black and bearing matted
locks on head, the dog began to bark aloud.

"Thereupon the Nishada prince, desirous of exhibiting his lightness of
hand, sent seven arrows into its mouth (before it could shut it). The

thus pierced with seven arrows, came back to the Pandavas. Those

who beheld that sight, were filled with wonder, and, ashamed of their

skill, began to praise the lightness of hand and precision of aim by
auricular precision (exhibited by the unknown archer). And they

began to seek in those woods for the unknown dweller therein that had
shown such skill. And, O king, the Pandavas soon found out the object

their search ceaselessly discharging arrows from the bow. And beholding
that man of grim visage, who was totally a stranger to them, they

'Who art thou and whose son?' Thus questioned, the man replied, 'Ye

I am the son of Hiranyadhanus, king of the Nishadas. Know me also for a
pupil of Drona, labouring for the mastery of the art of arms.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas then, having made themselves
acquainted with everything connected with him, returned (to the city),

going unto Drona, told him of that wonderful feat of archery which they
had witnessed in the woods. Arjuna, in particular, thinking all the

O king, Ekalavya, saw Drona in private and relying upon his preceptor's
affection for him, said, 'Thou hadst lovingly told me, clasping me, to

bosom, that no pupil of thine should be equal to me. Why then is there

pupil of thine, the mighty son of the Nishada king, superior to me?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing these words, Drona reflected for a
moment, and resolving upon the course of action he should follow, took
Arjuna with him and went unto the Nishada prince. And he beheld

with body besmeared with filth, matted locks (on head), clad in rags,
bearing a bow in hand and ceaselessly shooting arrows therefrom. And

Ekalavya saw Drona approaching towards him, he went a few steps

and touched his feet and prostrated himself on the ground. And the son

the Nishada king worshipping Drona, duly represented himself as his

and clasping his hands in reverence stood before him (awaiting his
commands). Then Drona, O king, addressed Ekalavya, saying, 'If, O hero,
thou art really my pupil, give me then my fees.' On hearing these

Ekalavya was very much gratified, and said in reply, 'O illustrious
preceptor, what shall I give? Command me; for there is nothing, O

of all persons conversant with the Vedas, that I may not give unto my
preceptor.' Drona answered, 'O Ekalavya, if thou art really intent on
making me a gift, I should like then to have the thumb of thy right


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these cruel words of Drona, who had
asked of him his thumb as tuition-fee, Ekalavya, ever devoted to truth

desirous also of keeping his promise, with a cheerful face and an
unafflicted heart cut off without ado his thumb, and gave it unto

After this, when the Nishada prince began once more to shoot with the

of his remaining fingers, he found, O king, that he had lost his former
lightness of hand. And at this Arjuna became happy, the fever (of
jealousy) having left him.

"Two of Drona's pupils became very much accomplished in the use of

These were Druvodhana and Bhima, who were, however, always jealous of

other. Aswatthaman excelled everyone (in the mysteries of the science

arms). The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) excelled everybody in handling

sword. Yudhishthira surpassed everybody as a car-warrior; but Arjuna,
however, outdistanced everyone in every respect--in intelligence,
resourcefulness, strength and perseverance. Accomplished in all

Arjuna became the foremost of even the foremost of car-warriors; and

fame spread all over the earth to the verge of the sea. And although

instruction was the same, the mighty Arjuna excelled all (the princes

lightness of hand). Indeed, in weapons as in devotion to his preceptor,

became the foremost of them all. And amongst all the princes, Arjuna

became an Atiratha (a car-warrior capable of fighting at one time with
sixty thousand foes). And the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, beholding
Bhimasena endued with great strength and Arjuna accomplished in all

became very jealous of them.

"O bull among men, one day Drona desirous of testing the comparative
excellence of all his pupils in the use of arms, collected them all
together after their education had been completed. And before

them together, he had caused an artificial bird, as the would be aim,

be placed on the top of a neighbouring tree. And when they were all
together, Drona said unto them, 'Take up your bows quickly and stand

aiming at that bird on the tree, with arrows fixed on your bowstrings;
shoot and cut off the bird's head, as soon as I give the order. I shall
give each of you a turn, one by one, my children.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Drona, that foremost of all Angira's

first addressed Yudhishthira saying, 'O irrepressible one, aim with thy
arrow and shoot as soon as I give the order.' Yudhishthira took up the

first, as desired, O king, by his preceptor, and stood aiming at the

But, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona in an instant, addressing the Kuru
prince standing with bow in hand, said, 'Behold, O prince, that bird on
top of the tree.' Yudhishthira replied unto his preceptor, saying, 'I

But the next instant Drona again asked him, 'What dost thou see now, O
prince? Seest thou the tree, myself or thy brothers?' Yudhishthira
answered, 'I see the tree, myself, my brothers, and the bird.' Drona
repeated his question, but was answered as often in the same words.

then, vexed with Yudhishthira, reproachingly said, 'Stand thou apart.

is not for thee to strike the aim.' Then Drona repeated the experiment
with Duryodhana and the other sons of Dhritarashtra, one after another,

also with his other pupils, Bhima and the rest, including the princes

had come unto him from other lands. But the answer in every case was

same as Yudhishthira's viz., 'We behold the tree, thyself, our fellow-
pupils, and the bird.' And reproached by their preceptor, they were all
ordered, one after another, to stand apart.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When everyone had failed, Drona smilingly called
Arjuna and said unto him, 'By thee the aim must be shot; therefore,

thy eyes to it. Thou must let fly the arrow as soon as I give the

Therefore, O son, stand here with bow and arrow for an instant.' Thus
addressed, Arjuna stood aiming at the bird as desired by his preceptor,
with his bow bent. An instant after Drona asked him as in the case of
others, 'Seest thou, O Arjuna, the bird there, the tree, and myself?'
Arjuna replied, 'I see the bird only, but nor the tree, or thyself.'

the irrepressible Drona, well-pleased with Arjuna, the instant after,
again said unto that mighty car-warrior amongst the Pandavas, 'If thou
seest the vulture, then describe it to me.' Arjuna said, 'I see only

head of the vulture, not its body.' At these words of Arjuna, the hair

Drona's body) stood on end from delight. He then said to Partha,

And the latter instantly let fly (his arrow) and with his sharp shaft
speedily struck off the head of the vulture on the tree and brought it
down to the ground. No sooner was the deed done than Drona clasped
Phalguna to his bosom and thought Drupada with his friends had already
been vanquished in fight.

"Some time after, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona, accompanied by all

his pupils, went to the bank of the Ganga to bathe in that sacred

And when Drona had plunged into the stream, a strong alligator, sent as

were, by Death himself seized him by the thigh. And though himself

capable, Drona in a seeming hurry asked his pupil to rescue him. And he
said, 'O, kill this monster and rescue me.' Contemporaneously with this
speech, Vibhatsu (Arjuna) struck the monster within the water with five
sharp arrows irresistible in their course, while the other pupils stood
confounded, each at his place. Beholding Arjuna's readiness, Drona
considered him to be the foremost of all his pupils, and became highly
pleased. The monster, in the meantime cut into pieces by the arrows of
Arjuna, released the thigh of illustrious Drona and gave up the ghost.

son of Bharadwaja then addressed the illustrious and mighty car-warrior
Arjuna and said, 'Accept, O thou of mighty arms, this very superior and
irresistible weapon called Brahmasira with the methods of hurling and
recalling it. Thou must not, however, ever use it against any human

for if hurled at any foe endued with inferior energy, it might burn the
whole universe. It is said, O child, that this weapon hath not a peer

the three worlds. Keep it, therefore, with great care, and listen to

I say. If ever, O hero, any foe, not human, contendeth against thee

mayst then employ it against him for compassing his death in battle.'
Pledging himself to do what he was bid, Vibhatsu then, with joined

received that great weapon.

The preceptor then, addressing him again, said, 'None else in this

will ever become a superior bowman to thee. Vanquished thou shall never

by any foe, and thy achievements will be great.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Bharata's race, beholding the sons of
Dhritarashtra and Pandu accomplished in arms, Drona, O monarch,

king Dhritarashtra, in the presence of Kripa, Somadatta, Valhika, the

son of Ganga (Bhishma), Vyasa, and Vidura, and said, 'O best of Kuru

thy children have completed their education. With thy permission, O

let them now show their proficiency.' Hearing him, the king said with a
gladdened heart, 'O best of Brahmanas, thou hast, indeed, accomplished

great deed. Command me thyself as to the place and the time where and

and the manner also in which the trial may be held. Grief arising from

own blindness maketh me envy those who, blessed with sight, will behold

children's prowess in arm. O Kshatri (Vidura), do all that Drona

sayeth. O
thou devoted to virtue, I think there is nothing that can be more
agreeable to me.' Then Vidura, giving the necessary assurance to the

went out to do what he was bid. And Drona endued with great wisdom,

measured out a piece of land that was void of trees and thickets and
furnished with wells and springs. And upon the spot of land so measured
out, Drona, that first of eloquent men, selecting a lunar day when the
star ascendant was auspicious, offered up sacrifice unto the gods in

presence of the citizens assembled by proclamation to witness the same.
And then, O bull among men, the artificers of the king built thereon a
large and elegant stage according to the rules laid down in the

and it was furnished with all kinds of weapons. They also built another
elegant hall for the lady-spectators. And the citizens constructed many
platforms while the wealthier of them pitched many spacious and high

all around.

"When the day fixed for the Tournament came, the king accompanied by

ministers, with Bhishma and Kripa, the foremost of preceptors, walking
ahead, came unto that theatre of almost celestial beauty constructed of
pure gold, and decked with strings of pearls and stones of lapis

And, O first of victorious men, Gandhari blessed with great good

and Kunti, and the other ladies of the royal house-hold, in gorgeous
attire and accompanied by their waiting women, joyfully ascended the
platforms, like celestial ladies ascending the Sumeru mountain. And the
four orders including the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, desirous of

the princes' skill in arms, left the city and came running to the spot.
And so impatient was every one to behold the spectacle, that the vast
crowd assembled there in almost an instant. And with the sounds of
trumpets and drums and the noise of many voices, that vast concourse
appeared like an agitated ocean.

"At last, Drona accompanied by his son, dressed in white (attire), with

white sacred thread, white locks, white beard, white garlands, and

sandal-paste rubbed over his body, entered the lists. It seemed as if

Moon himself accompanied by the planet Mars appeared in an unclouded

On entering Bharadwaja performed timely worship and caused Brahmanas
versed in mantras to celebrate the auspicious rites. And after

and sweet-sounding musical instruments had been struck up as a
propitiatory ceremony, some persons entered, equipped with various

And then having girded up their loins, those mighty warriors, those
foremost ones of Bharata's race (the princes) entered, furnished with
finger-protectors (gauntlet), and bows, and quivers. And with

at their head, the valiant princes entered in order of age and began to
show wonderful skill with their weapons. Some of the spectators lowered
their heads, apprehending fall of arrows while others fearlessly gazed

with wonder. And riding swiftly on horses and managing them

the princes began to hit marks with shafts engraved with their

names. And seeing the prowess of the princes armed with bows and

the spectators thought that they were beholding the city of the

became filled with amazement. And, O Bharata, all on a sudden, some
hundreds and thousands, with eyes wide open in wonder, exclaimed, 'Well
done! Well done!' And having repeatedly displayed their skill and
dexterity in the use of bows and arrows and in the management of cars,

mighty warriors took up their swords and bucklers, and began to range

lists, playing their weapons. The spectators saw (with wonder) their
agility, the symmetry of their bodies, their grace, their calmness, the
firmness of their grasp and their deftness in the use of sword and

Then Vrikodara and Suyodhana, internally delighted (at the prospect of
fight), entered the arena, mace in hand, like two single-peaked

And those mighty-armed warriors braced their loins, and summoning all
their energy, roared like two infuriate elephants contending for a cow-
elephant; and like two infuriated elephants those mighty heroes
faultlessly (in consonance with the dictates of the science of arm)
careered right and left, circling the lists. And Vidura described to
Dhritarashtra and the mother of the Pandavas (Kunti) and Gandhari, all

feats of the princes.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon the Kuru king and Bhima, the foremost of
all endued with strength, having entered the arena, the spectators were
divided into two parties in consequence of the partiality swaying their
affections. Some cried, 'Behold the heroic king of the Kurus!'--some--
'Behold Bhima!'--And on account of these cries, there was, all on a

a loud uproar. And seeing the place become like a troubled ocean, the
intelligent Bharadwaja said unto his dear son, Aswatthaman, 'Restrain

these mighty warriors so proficient in arms. Let not the ire of the
assembly be provoked by this combat of Bhima and Duryodhana.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the son of the preceptor of the princes
restrained those combatants with their maces uplifted and resembling

swollen oceans agitated by the winds that blow at the universal
dissolution. And Drona himself entering the yard of the arena commanded
the musicians to stop, and with a voice deep as that of the clouds
addressed these words, 'Behold ye now that Partha who is dearer to me

my own son, the master of all arms, the son of Indra himself, and like
unto the younger brother of Indra, (Vishnu)! And having performed the
propitiatory rites, the youthful Phalguna, equipped with the finger
protector (gauntlet) and his quiver full of shafts and bow in hand,
donning his golden mail, appeared in the lists even like an evening

reflecting the rays of the setting sun and illumined by the hues of the
rainbow and flashes of lightning.

"On seeing Arjuna, the whole assembly were delighted and conchs began

be blown all around with other musical instruments. And there arose a
great uproar in consequence of the spectators' exclaiming,--'This is

graceful son of Kunti!'--'This is the middle (third) Pandava!'--'This

the son of the mighty Indra!'--'This is the protector of the Kurus'-

is the foremost of those versed in arms!'--'This is the foremost of all
cherishers of virtue!'--'This is the foremost of the persons of correct
behaviour, the great repository of the knowledge of manners!' At those
exclamations, the tears of Kunti, mixing with the milk of her breast,
wetted her bosom. And his ears being filled with that uproar, that

of men, Dhritarashtra, asked Vidura in delight, 'O Kshatri, what is

great uproar for, like unto that of the troubled ocean, arising all on

sudden and rending the very heavens?' Vidura replied, 'O mighty

the son of Pandu and Pritha, Phalguna, clad in mail hath entered the

And hence this uproar!' Dhritarashtra said, 'O thou of soul so great,

the three fires sprung from Pritha who is even like the sacred fuel, I
have, indeed, been blessed, favoured and protected!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, excited with delight,

somewhat regained their equanimity, Vibhatsu began to display his
lightness in the use of weapons. By the Agneya weapon, he created fire,
and by the Varuna weapon he created water, by the Vayavya weapon, he
created air, and by the Parjanya weapon he created clouds. And by the
Bhauma weapon, he created land, and by the Parvatya weapon, he brought
mountains into being. By the Antardhana weapon all these were made to
disappear. Now the beloved one of his preceptor (Arjuna) appeared tall

now short; now he was seen on the yoke of his car, and now on the car
itself; and the next moment he was on the ground. And the hero favoured

his practised dexterity, hit with his various butts--some tender, some
fine and some of thick composition. And like one shaft, he let fly at a
time into the mouth of a moving iron-boar five shafts together from his
bow-string. And that hero of mighty energy discharged one and twenty
arrows into the hollow of a cow's horn hung up on a rope swaying to and
fro. In this manner, O sinless one, Arjuna showed his profound skill in
the use of sword, bow, and mace, walking over the lists in circles.

"And, O Bharata, when the exhibition had well-nigh ended, the

of the spectators had cooled, and the sounds of instruments had died

there was heard proceeding from the gate, the slapping of arms,

might and strength, and even like unto the roar of the thunder. And, O
king, as soon as this sound was heard, the assembled multitude

thought, 'Are the mountains splitting or is the earth itself rending
asunder, or is the welkin resounding with the roar of gathering

And then all the spectators turned their eyes towards the gate. And

stood, surrounded by the five brothers, the sons of Pritha, and looked
like the moon in conjunction with the five-starred constellation Hasta.
And Duryodhana, that slayer of foes, stood up in haste and was

by his century of haughty brothers with Aswatthaman amongst them. And

prince, mace in hand, thus surrounded by his hundred brothers with
uplifted weapons appeared like Purandara in days of yore, encircled by

celestial host on the occasion of the battle with the Danavas.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, with eyes expanded with
wonder, made way for that subjugator of hostile cities, Karna, that

with his natural mail and face brightened with ear-rings, took up his

and girded on his sword, and then entered the spacious lists, like a
walking cliff. That far-famed destroyer of hostile hosts, the large-

Karna, was born of Pritha in her maidenhood. He was a portion of the

beamed Sun and his energy and prowess were like unto those of the lion,

the bull, or the leader of a herd of elephants. In splendour he

the Sun, in loveliness the Moon, and in energy the fire. Begotten by

Sun himself, he was tall in stature like a golden palm tree, and,

with the vigour of youth, he was capable of slaying a lion. Handsome in
features, he was possessed of countless accomplishments. The mighty-

warrior, eyeing all around the arena, bowed indifferently to Drona and
Kripa. And the entire assembly, motionless and with steadfast gaze,
thought, 'Who is he?' And they became agitated in their curiosity to

the warrior. And that foremost of eloquent men, the offspring of the

in a voice deep as that of the clouds, addressed his unknown brother,

son of the subduer of the Asura, Paka (Indra), saying, 'O Partha, I

perform feats before this gazing multitude; excelling all thou hast
performed! Beholding them, thou shall be amazed.' And, O thou best of
those blest with speech, he had hardly done when the spectators stood

all at once, uplifted by some instrument, as it were. And, O tiger

men, Duryodhana was filled with delight, while Vibhatsu was instantly

abashment and anger. Then with the permission of Drona, the mighty

delighting in battle, there did all that Partha had done before. And, O
Bharata, Duryodhana with his brothers thereupon embraced Karna in joy

then addressed him saying, 'Welcome O mighty-armed warrior! I have
obtained thee by good fortune, O polite one! Live thou as thou

and command me, and the kingdom of the Kurus.' Karna replied, 'When

hast said it, I regard it as already accomplished. I only long for thy
friendship. And, O lord, my wish is even for a single combat with

Duryodhana said, 'Do thou with me enjoy the good things of life! Be

the benefactor of thy friend, and, O represser of enemies, place thou

feet on the heads of all foes.'

"Arjuna, after this, deeming himself disgraced, said unto Karna
stationed amidst the brothers like unto a cliff, 'That path which the
unwelcome intruder and the uninvited talker cometh to, shall be thine,
O Karna, for thou shall be slain by me.' Karna replied, 'This arena is
meant for all, not for thee alone, O Phalguna! They are kings who are
superior in energy; and verily the Kshatriya regardeth might and might
alone. What need of altercation which is the exercise of the weak? O
Bharata, speak then in arrows until with arrows I strike off thy head
today before the preceptor himself!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hastily embraced by his brothers, Partha that
subduer of hostile cities, with the permission of Drona, advanced for

combat. On the other side, Karna, having been embraced by Duryodhana

his brothers, taking up his bow and arrows, stood ready for the fight.
Then the firmament became enveloped in clouds emitting flashes of
lightning, and the coloured bow of Indra appeared shedding its

rays. And the clouds seemed to laugh on account of the rows of white
cranes that were then on the wing. And seeing Indra thus viewing the

from affection (for his son), the sun too dispersed the clouds from

his own offspring. And Phalguna remained deep hid under cover of the
clouds, while Karna remained visible, being surrounded by the rays of

Sun. And the son of Dhritarashtra stood by Karna, and Bharadwaja and

and Bhishma remained with Partha. And the assembly was divided, as also
the female spectators. And knowing the state of things, Kunti the

of Bhoja, swooned away. And by the help of female attendants, Vidura,
versed in the lore of all duties, revived the insensible Kunti by
sprinkling sandal-paste and water on her person. On being restored to
consciousness, Kunti, seeing her two sons clad in mail, was seized with
fear, but she could do nothing (to protect them). And beholding both

warriors with bows strung in their hands the son of Saradwat, viz.,

knowing all duties and cognisant of the rules regulating duels,

Karna, saying 'This Pandava, who is the youngest son of Kunti,

to the Kaurava race: he will engage in combat with thee. But, O mighty-
armed one, thou too must tell us thy lineage and the names of thy

and mother and the royal line of which thou art the ornament. Learning

this, Partha will fight with thee or not (as he will think fit). Sons

kings never fight with men of inglorious lineage.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When he was thus addressed by Kripa, Karna's
countenance became like unto a lotus pale and torn with the pelting
showers in the rainy season. Duryodhana said, 'O preceptor, verily the
scriptures have it that three classes of persons can lay claim to

viz., persons of the blood royal, heroes, and lastly, those that lead
armies. If Phalguna is unwilling to fight with one who is not a king, I
will install Karna as king of Anga.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'At that very moment, seated on a golden seat, with
parched paddy and with flowers and water-pots and much gold, the mighty
warrior Karna was installed king by Brahmanas versed in mantras. And

royal umbrella was held over his head, while Yak-tails waved around

redoubtable hero of graceful mien. And the cheers, having ceased, king
(Karna) said unto the Kaurava Duryodhana, 'O tiger among monarchs, what
shall I give unto thee that may compare with thy gift of a kingdom? O

I will do all thou biddest!' And Suyodhana said unto him, 'I eagerly

for thy friendship.' Thus spoken to, Karna replied, 'Be it so.' And

embraced each other in joy, and experienced great happiness.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After this, with his sheet loosely hanging down,
Adhiratha entered the lists, perspiring and trembling, and supporting
himself on a staff.

"Seeing him, Karna left his bow and impelled by filial regard bowed

his head still wet with the water of inauguration. And them the

hurriedly covering his feet with the end of his sheet, addressed Karna
crowned with success as his son. And the charioteer embraced Karna and
from excess of affection bedewed his head with tears, that head still

with the water sprinkled over it on account of the coronation as king

Anga. Seeing the charioteer, the Pandava Bhimasena took Karna for a
charioteer's son, and said by way of ridicule, 'O son of a charioteer,
thou dost not deserve death in fight at the hands of Partha. As befits

race take thou anon the whip. And, O worst of mortals, surely thou art

worthy to sway the kingdom of Anga, even as a dog doth not deserve the
butter placed before the sacrificial fire.' Karna, thus addressed, with
slightly quivering lips fetched a deep sigh, looked at the God of the

in the skies. And even as a mad elephant riseth from an assemblage of
lotuses, the mighty Duryodhana rose in wrath from among his brothers,

addressed that performer of dreadful deeds, Bhimasena, present there,

Vrikodara, it behoveth thee not to speak such words. Might is the

virtue of a Kshatriya, and even a Kshatriya of inferior birth deserveth

be fought with. The lineage of heroes, like the sources of a lordly

is ever unknown. The fire that covereth the whole world riseth from the
waters. The thunder that slayeth the Danavas was made of a bone of (a
mortal named) Dadhichi. The illustrious deity Guha, who combines in his
composition the portions of all the other deities is of a lineage

Some call him the offspring of Agni; some, of Krittika, some, of Rudra,
and some of Ganga. It hath been heard by us that persons born in the
Kshatriya order have become Brahmanas. Viswamitra and others (born
Kshatriyas) have obtained the eternal Brahma. The foremost of all

of weapons, the preceptor Drona hath been born in a waterpot and Kripa

the race of Gotama hath sprung from a clump of heath. Your own births,

Pandava princes, are known to me. Can a she-deer bring forth a tiger

Karna), of the splendour of the Sun, and endued with every auspicious

and born also with a natural mail and ear-rings? This prince among men
deserveth the sovereignty of the world, not of Anga only, in

of the might of his arm and my swearing to obey him in everything. If
there be anybody here to whom all that I have done unto Karna hath

intolerable, let him ascend his chariot and bend his bow with the help

his feet.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then there arose a confused murmur amongst

spectators approving of Duryodhana's speech. The sun, however, went

but prince Duryodhana taking Karna's hand led him out of the arena

with countless lamps. And, O king, the Pandavas also, accompanied by

and Kripa and Bhishma, returned to their abodes. And the people, too,

away, some naming Arjuna, some Karna, and some Duryodhana (as the

of the day). And Kunti, recognising her son in Karna by the various
auspicious marks on his person and beholding him installed in the
sovereignty of Anga, was from motherly affection, very pleased. And
Duryodhana, O monarch, having obtained Karna (in this way), banished

fears arising out of Arjuna's proficiency in arms. And the heroic

accomplished in arms, began to gratify Duryodhana by sweet speeches,

Yudhishthira was impressed with the belief that there was no warrior on
earth like unto Karna.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Beholding the Pandavas and the son of
Dhritarashtra accomplished in arms, Drona thought the time had come

he could demand the preceptorial fee. And, O king, assembling his

one day together, the preceptor Drona asked of them the fee, saying,
'Seize Drupada, the king of Panchala in battle and bring him unto me.

shall be the most acceptable fee.' Those warriors then answering, 'So

it', speedily mounted up on their chariots, and for bestowing upon

preceptor the fee he had demanded, marched out, accompanied by him.

bulls among men, smiting the Panchalas on their way, laid siege to the
capital of the great Drupada. And Duryodhana and Karna and the mighty
Yuyutsu, and Duhsasana and Vikarna and Jalasandha and Sulochana,--these
and many other foremost of Kshatriya princes of great prowess, vied

one another in becoming the foremost in the attack. And the princes,
riding in first class chariots and following the cavalry, entered the
hostile capital, and proceeded along the streets.

"Meanwhile, the king of Panchala, beholding that mighty force and

its loud clamour, came out of his palace, accompanied by his brothers.
Though king Yajnasena was well-armed, the Kuru army assailed him with a
shower of arrows, uttering their war-cry. Yajnasena, however, not easy

be subdued in battle, approaching the Kurus upon his white chariot,

to rain his fierce arrows around.

"Before the battle commenced, Arjuna, beholding the pride of prowess
displayed by the princes, addressed his preceptor, that best of

Drona, and said, 'We shall exert ourselves after these have displayed
their prowess. The king of Panchala can never be taken on the field of

battle by any of these.' Having said this, the sinless son of Kunti
surrounded by his brothers, waited outside the town at a distance of a
mile from it. Meanwhile Drupada beholding the Kuru host, rushed forward
and pouring a fierce shower of arrows around, terribly afflicted the

ranks. And such was his lightness of motion on the field of battle

though he was fighting unsupported on a single chariot, the Kurus from
panic supposed that there were many Drupadas opposed to them. And the
fierce arrows of that monarch fell fast on all sides, till conchs and
trumpets and drums by thousands began to be sounded by the Panchalas

their houses (giving the alarm). Then there arose from the mighty

host a roar terrible as that of the lion, while the twang of their bow-
strings seemed to rend the very heavens. Then Duryodhana and Vikarna,
Suvahu and Dirghalochana and Duhsasana becoming furious, began to

their arrows upon the enemy. But the mighty bowman, Prishata's son,
invincible in battle, though very much pierced with the arrows of the
enemy, instantly began, O Bharata, to afflict the hostile ranks with
greater vigour. And careering over the field of battle like a fiery

king Drupada with his arrows smote Duryodhana and Vikarna and even the
mighty Karna and many other heroic princes and numberless warriors, and
slaked their thirst for battle. Then all the citizens showered upon the
Kurus various missiles like clouds showering rain-drops upon the earth.
Young and old, they all rushed to battle, assailing the Kurus with

The Kauravas, then, O Bharata, beholding the battle become frightful,
broke and fled wailing towards the Pandavas.

"The Pandavas, hearing the terrible wail of the beaten host,

saluted Drona and ascended their chariots. Then Arjuna hastily bidding
Yudhishthira not to engage in the fight, rushed forward, appointing the
sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva) the protectors of his chariot-

while Bhimasena ever fighting in the van, mace in hand, ran ahead. The
sinless Arjuna, thus accompanied by his brothers, hearing the shouts of
the enemy, advanced towards them, filling the whole region with the

of his chariot-wheels. And like a Makara entering the sea, the mighty-
armed Bhima, resembling a second Yama, mace in hand, entered the

ranks, fiercely roaring like the ocean in a tempest. And Bhima, mace in
hand, first rushed towards the array of elephants in the hostile force,
while Arjuna, proficient in battle, assailed that force with the

of his arms. And Bhima, like the great Destroyer himself, began to slay
those elephants with his mace. Those huge animals, like unto mountains,
struck with Bhima's mace, had their heads broken into pieces. Covered

stream of blood, they began to fall upon the ground like cliffs

by thunder. And the Pandavas prostrated on the ground elephants and

and cars by thousands and slew many foot-soldiers and many car-

Indeed, as a herdsman in the woods driveth before him with his staff
countless cattle with ease, so did Vrikodara drive before him the

and elephants of the hostile force.

"Meanwhile, Phalguna, impelled by the desire of doing good unto
Bharadwaja's son, assailed the son of Prishata with a shower of arrows

felled him from the elephant on which he was seated. And, O monarch,
Arjuna, like unto the terrible fire that consumeth all things at the

of the Yuga, began to prostrate on the ground horses and cars and
elephants by thousands. The Panchalas and the Srinjayas, on the other

thus assailed by the Pandava, met him with a perfect shower of weapons

various kinds. And they sent up a loud shout and fought desperately

Arjuna. The battle became furious and terrible to behold. Hearing the
enemy's shouts, the son of Indra was filled with wrath and assailing

hostile host with a thick shower of arrows, rushed towards it furiously
afflicting it with renewed vigour. They who observed the illustrious
Arjuna at that time could not mark any interval between his fixing the
arrows on the bowstring and letting them off. Loud were the shouts that
rose there, mingled with cheers of approval. Then the king of the
Panchalas, accompanied by (the generalissimo of his forces) Satyajit,
rushed with speed at Arjuna like the Asura Samvara rushing at the chief

the celestials (in days of yore). Then Arjuna covered the king of

with a shower of arrows. Then there arose a frightful uproar among the
Panchala host like unto the roar of a mighty lion springing at the

of a herd of elephants. And beholding Arjuna rushing at the king of
Panchala to seize him, Satyajit of great prowess rushed at him. And the
two warriors, like unto Indra and the Asura Virochana's son (Vali),
approaching each other for combat, began to grind each other's ranks.

Arjuna with great force pierced Satyajit with ten keen shafts at which
feat the spectators were all amazed. But Satyajit, without losing any

assailed Arjuna with a hundred shafts. Then that mighty car-warrior,
Arjuna, endued with remarkable lightness of motion, thus covered by

shower of arrows, rubbed his bow-string to increase the force and

of his shafts. Then cutting in twain his antagonist's bow, Arjuna

at the king of the Panchalas, but Satyajit, quickly taking up a tougher
bow, pierced with his arrows Partha, his chariot, charioteer, and

Arjuna, thus assailed in battle by the Panchala warrior, forgave not

foe. Eager to slay him at once, he pierced with a number of arrows his
antagonist's horses, flags, bow, clenched (left) fist, charioteer, and

attendant at his back. Then Satyajit, finding his bows repeatedly cut

twain and his horses slain, desisted from the fight.

"The king of the Panchalas, beholding his general thus discomfited in

encounter, himself began to shower his arrows upon the Pandava prince.
Then Arjuna, that foremost of warriors, crowned with success, began to
fight furiously, and quickly cutting his enemy's bow in twain as also

flagstaff which he caused to fall down, pierced his antagonist's

and charioteer also with five arrows. Then throwing aside his bow

took his quiver, and taking out a scimitar and sending forth a loud

leaped from his own chariot upon that of his foe. And standing there

perfect fearlessness he seized Drupada as Garuda seizeth a huge snake
after agitating the waters of the ocean. At the sight of this, the
Panchala troops ran away in all directions.

"Then Dhananjaya, having thus exhibited the might of his arm in the
presence of both hosts, sent forth a loud shout and came out of the
Panchala ranks. And beholding him returning (with his captive), the
princes began to lay waste Drupada's capital. Addressing them Arjuna

'This best of monarchs, Drupada, is a relative of the Kuru heroes.
Therefore, O Bhima, slay not his soldiers. Let us only give unto our
preceptor his fee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, thus prevented by Arjuna, the mighty
Bhimasena, though unsatiated with the exercise of battle, refrained

the act of slaughter. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the princes

taking Drupada with them after having seized him on the field of battle
along with his friends and counsellors, offered him unto Drona. And

beholding Drupada thus brought under complete control--humiliated and
deprived of wealth--remembered that monarch's former hostility and
addressing him said, 'Thy kingdom and capital have been laid waste by

But fear not for thy life, though it dependeth now on the will of thy

Dost thou now desire to revive thy friendship (with me)?' Having said

he smiled a little and again said, 'Fear not for thy life, brave king!

Brahmanas, are ever forgiving. And, O bull among Kshatriyas, my

and love for thee have grown with me in consequence of our having

together in childhood in the hermitage. Therefore, O king, I ask for

friendship again. And as a boon (unasked), I give thee half the kingdom
(that was thine). Thou toldest me before that none who was not a king
could be a king's friend. Therefore is it, O Yajnasena, that I retain

thy kingdom. Thou art the king of all the territory lying on the

side of the Bhagirathi, while I become king of all the territory on the
north of that river. And, O Panchala, if it pleaseth thee, know me

for thy friend.'

"On hearing these words, Drupada answered, 'Thou art of noble soul and
great prowess. Therefore, O Brahmana, I am not surprised at what thou
doest. I am very much gratified with thee, and I desire thy eternal

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Drona released the

of Panchala, and cheerfully performing the usual offices of regard,
bestowed upon him half the kingdom. Thenceforth Drupada began to reside
sorrowfully in (the city of) Kampilya within (the province of) Makandi

the banks of the Ganga filled with many towns and cities. And after his
defeat by Drona, Drupada also ruled the southern Panchalas up to the

of the Charmanwati river. And Drupada from that day was well-convinced
that he could not, by Kshatriya might alone, defeat Drona, being very

his inferior in Brahma (spiritual) power. And he, therefore, began to
wander over the whole earth to find out the means of obtaining a son

would subjugate his Brahmana foe).

"Meanwhile Drona continued to reside in Ahicchatra. Thus, O king, was

territory of Ahicchatra full of towns and cities, obtained by Arjuna,

bestowed upon Drona."


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the expiration, O king, of a year from
this, Dhritarashtra, moved by kindness for the people, installed
Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, as the heir-apparent of the kingdom on
account of his firmness, fortitude, patience, benevolence, frankness

unswerving honesty (of heart). And within a short time Yudhishthira,

son of Kunti, by his good behaviour, manners and close application to
business, overshadowed the deeds of his father. And the second Pandava,
Vrikodara, began to receive continued lessons from Sankarshana

in encounters with the sword and the mace and on the chariot. And after
Bhima's education was finished, he became in strength like unto

himself and continuing to live in harmony with his brothers, he began

exert his prowess. And Arjuna became celebrated for the firmness of his
grasp (of weapons), for his lightness of motion, precision of aim, and

proficiency in the use of the Kshura, Naracha, Vala and Vipatha

indeed, of all weapons, whether straight or crooked or heavy. And Drona
certified that there was none in the world who was equal to Arjuna in
lightness of hand and general proficiency.

"One day, Drona, addressing Arjuna before the assembled Kaurava

said, 'There was a disciple of Agastya in the science of arms called
Agnivesa. He was my preceptor and I, his disciple. By ascetic merit I
obtained from him a weapon called Brahmasira which could never be

and which was like unto thunder itself, capable of consuming the whole
earth. That weapon, O Bharata, from what I have done, may now pass from
disciple to disciple. While imparting it to me, my preceptor said, 'O

of Bharadwaja, never shouldst thou hurl this weapon at any human being,
especially at one who is of poor energy. Thou hast, O hero, obtained

celestial weapon. None else deserveth it. But obey the command of the
Rishi (Agnivesa).' And, look here, Arjuna, give me now the preceptorial
fee in the presence of these thy cousins and relatives.' When Arjuna,

hearing this, pledged his word that he would give what the preceptor
demanded, the latter said, 'O sinless one, thou must fight with me when

fight with thee.' And that bull among the Kuru princes thereupon

his word unto Drona and touching his feet, went away northward. Then

arose a loud shout covering the whole earth bounded by her belt of seas

the effect that there was no bowman in the whole world like unto

And, indeed, Dhananjaya, in encounters with the mace and the sword and

the chariot as also with the bow, acquired wonderful proficiency.

obtained the whole science of morality and duties from (Vrihaspati) the
spiritual chief of celestials, and continued to live under the control

his brothers. And Nakula, the favourite of his brothers taught by

became known as a skilful warrior and a great car-warrior (Ati-ratha).
Indeed, Arjuna and the other Pandava princes became so powerful that

slew in battle the great Sauvira who had performed a sacrifice

over three years, undaunted by the raids of the Gandharvas. And the

of the Yavanas himself whom the powerful Pandu even had failed to bring
under subjection was brought by Arjuna under control. Then again

the king of the Sauviras, endued with great prowess, who had always

a disregard for the Kurus, was made by the intelligent Arjuna to feel

edge of his power. And Arjuna also repressed by means of his arrows

pride of) king Sumitra of Sauvira, also known by the name of Dattamitra
who had resolutely sought an encounter with him. The third of the

princes, assisted by Bhima, on only a single car subjugated all the

of the East backed by ten thousand cars. In the same way, having

on a single car the whole of the south, Dhananjaya sent unto the

of the Kurus a large booty.

"Thus did those foremost of men, the illustrious Pandavas, conquering

territories of other kings, extend the limits of their own kingdom. But
beholding the great prowess and strength of those mighty bowmen, king
Dhritarashtra's sentiments towards the Pandavas became suddenly

and from that day the monarch became so anxious that he could hardly


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing that the heroic sons of Pandu

with excess of energy had become so mighty, king Dhritarashtra became

miserable with anxiety. Then summoning unto his side Kanika, that

of minister, well-versed in the science of politics and an expert in
counsels the king said, 'O best of Brahmanas, the Pandavas are daily
overshadowing the earth. I am exceedingly jealous of them. Should I

peace or war with them? O Kanika, advise me truly, for I shall do as


"Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, thus addressed by the
king, freely answered him in these pointed words well-agreeing with the
import of political science."

"Listen to me, O sinless king, as I answer thee. And, O best of Kuru

it behoveth thee not to be angry with me after hearing all I say. Kings
should ever be ready with uplifted maces (to strike when necessary),

they should ever increase their prowess. Carefully avoiding all faults
themselves they should ceaselessly watch over the faults of their foes

take advantage of them. If the king is always ready to strike,

feareth him. Therefore the king should ever have recourse to

in all he doeth. He should so conduct himself that, his foe may not

any weak side in him. But by means of the weakness he detecteth in his

he should pursue him (to destruction). He should always conceal, like

tortoise concealing its body, his means and ends, and he should always
keep back his own weakness from the sight of others. And having begun a
particular act, he should ever accomplish it thoroughly. Behold, a

if not extracted wholly, produceth a festering sore. The slaughter of a
foe who doeth thee evil is always praiseworthy. If the foe be one of

prowess, one should watch for the hour of his disaster and then kill

without any scruples. If he should happen to be a great warrior, his

of disaster also should be watched and he should then be induced to

fly. O
sire, an enemy should never be scorned, however contemptible. A spark

fire is capable of consuming an extensive forest if only it can spread
from one object to another in proximity. Kings should sometimes feign
blindness and deafness, for if impotent to chastise, they should

not to notice the faults that call for chastisement. On occasions, such

these, let them regard their bows as made of straw. But they should be
always on the alert like a herd of deer sleeping in the woods. When thy
foe is in thy power, destroy him by every means open or secret. Do not
show him any mercy, although he seeketh thy protection. A foe, or one

hath once injured thee, should be destroyed by lavishing money, if
necessary, for by killing him thou mayest be at thy ease. The dead can
never inspire fear. Thou must destroy the three, five and seven
(resources) of thy foes. Thou must destroy thy foes root and branch.

shouldst thou destroy their allies and partisans. The allies and

can never exist if the principal be destroyed. If the root of the tree

torn up, the branches and twigs can never exist as before. Carefully
concealing thy own means and ends, thou shouldst always watch thy foes,
always seeking their flaws. Thou shouldst, O king, rule thy kingdom,
always anxiously watching thy foes. By maintaining the perpetual fire

sacrifices, by brown cloths, by matted locks, and by hides of animals

thy bedding, shouldst thou at first gain the confidence of thy foes,

when thou has gained it thou shouldst then spring upon them like a

For it hath been said that in the acquisition of wealth even the garb

holiness might be employed as a hooked staff to bend down a branch in
order to pluck the fruits that are ripe. The method followed in the
plucking of fruits should be the method in destroying foes, for thou
shouldst proceed on the principle of selection. Bear thy foe upon thy
shoulders till the time cometh when thou canst throw him down, breaking
him into pieces like an earthen pot thrown down with violence upon a

surface. The foe must never be let off even though he addresseth thee

piteously. No pity thou show him but slay him at once. By the arts of
conciliation or the expenditure of money should the foe be slain. By
creating disunion amongst his allies, or by the employment of force,
indeed by every means in thy power shouldst thou destroy thy foe.'

"Dhritarashtra said, 'Tell me truly how a foe can be destroyed by the

of conciliation or the expenditure of money, or by producing disunion

by the employment of force.'

"Kanika replied, 'Listen, O monarch, to the history of a jackal

in days of yore in the forest and fully acquainted with the science of
politics. There was a wise jackal, mindful of his own interests who

in the company of four friends, viz., a tiger, a mouse, a wolf, and a
mongoose. One day they saw in the woods a strong deer, the leader of a
herd, whom, however, they could not seize for his fleetness and

They thereupon called a council for consultation. The jackal opening

proceedings said, 'O tiger, thou hast made many an effort to seize this
deer, but all in vain simply because this deer is young, fleet and very
intelligent. Let now the mouse go and eat into its feet when it lieth
asleep. And when this is done, let the tiger approach and seize it.

shall we all, with great pleasure feast on it.' Hearing these words of

jackal, they all set to work very cautiously as he directed. And the

ate into the feet of the deer and the tiger killed it as anticipated.

beholding the body of the deer lying motionless on the ground, the

said unto his companions, 'Blessed be ye! Go and perform your

In the meantime I will look after the deer.' Hearing what the jackal

they all went into a stream. And the jackal waited there, deeply
meditating upon what he should do. The tiger endued with great

returned first of all to the spot after having performed his ablutions.
And he saw the jackal there plunged in meditation. The tiger said, 'Why
art thou so sorrowful, O wise one! Thou art the foremost of all
intelligent beings. Let us enjoy ourselves today by feasting on this
carcass.' The jackal said, 'Hear, O mighty-armed one, what the mouse

said. He hath even said, 'O, fie on the strength of the king of the
beasts! This deer hath been slain by me. By might of my arm he will

gratify his hunger.' When he hath boasted in such a language, I, for my
part, do not wish to touch this food.' The tiger replied, 'If, indeed,
the mouse hath said so, my sense is now awakened. I shall, from this

slay with the might of my own arms, creatures ranging the forest and

feast on their flesh.' Having said this, the tiger went away.

"And after the tiger had left the spot, the mouse came. And seeing the
mouse come, the jackal addressed him and said, 'Blest be thou, O mouse,
but listen to what the mongoose hath said. He hath even said, The

of this deer is poison (the tiger having touched it with his claws). I
will not eat of it. On the other hand, if thou, O jackal, permittest

it, I
will even slay the mouse and feast on him.' Hearing this the mouse

alarmed and quickly entered his hole. And after the mouse had gone, the
wolf, O king, came there having performed his ablutions. And seeing the
wolf come, the jackal said unto him, 'The king of the beasts hath been
angry with thee. Evil is certain to overtake thee. He is expected here
with his wife. Do as thou pleasest.' Thus was the wolf also, fond of
animal flesh, got rid of by the jackal. And the wolf fled, contracting

body into the smallest dimensions. It was then that the mongoose came.

O king, the jackal, seeing him come, said, 'By the might of my arm have

defeated the others who have already fled. Fight with me first and then
eat of this flesh as you please.' The mongoose replied, 'When, indeed,

tiger, the wolf, and the intelligent mouse have all been defeated by

heroes as they are, thou seemest to be a greater hero still. I do not
desire to fight with thee.' Saying this, the mongoose also went away.

"Kanika continued, 'When they all had thus left the place, the jackal,
well-pleased with the success of his policy, alone ate up that flesh.

kings always act in this way, they can be happy. Thus should the timid

exciting their fears, the courageous by the arts of conciliation, the
covetous by gift of wealth, and equals and inferiors by exhibition of
prowess be brought under thy sway. Besides all this, O king, that I

said, listen now to something else that I say.'

"Kanika continued, 'If thy son, friend, brother, father, or even the
spiritual preceptor, anyone becometh thy foe, thou shouldst, if

of prosperity, slay him without scruples. By curses and incantations,

gift of wealth, by poison, or by deception, the foe should be slain. He
should never be neglected from disdain. If both the parties be equal

success uncertain, then he that acteth with diligence groweth in
prosperity. If the spiritual preceptor himself be vain, ignorant of

should be done and what left undone, and vicious in his ways, even he
should be chastised. If thou art angry, show thyself as if thou art not

speaking even then with a smile on thy lips. Never reprove any one with
indications of anger (in thy speech). And O Bharata, speak soft words
before thou smitest and even while thou art smiting! After the smiting

over, pity the victim, and grieve for him, and even shed tears.

thy foe by conciliation, by gift of wealth, and smooth behaviour, thou
must smite him when he walketh not aright. Thou shouldst equally smile

heinous offender who liveth by the practice of virtue, for the garb of
virtue simply covereth his offences like black clouds covering the
mountains. Thou shouldst burn the house of that person whom thou

with death. And thou shouldst never permit beggars and atheists and
thieves to dwell in thy kingdom. By a sudden sally or pitched battle by
poison or by corrupting his allies, by gift of wealth, by any means in

power, thou shouldst destroy thy foe. Thou mayest act with the greatest
cruelty. Thou shouldst make thy teeth sharp to give a fatal bite. And

should ever smite so effectually that thy foe may not again raise his

Thou shouldst ever stand in fear of even one from whom there is no

not to speak of him from whom there is such. For if the first be ever
powerful he may destroy thee to the root (for thy unpreparedness). Thou
shouldst never trust the faithless, nor trust too much those that are
faithful, for if those in whom thou confidest prove thy foes, thou art
certain to be annihilated. After testing their faithfulness thou

employ spies in thy own kingdom and in the kingdoms of others. Thy

in foreign kingdoms should be apt deceivers and persons in the garb of
ascetics. Thy spies should be placed in gardens, places of amusement,
temples and other holy places, drinking halls, streets, and with the
(eighteen) tirthas (viz., the minister, the chief priest, the heir-
presumptive, the commander-in-chief, the gate-keepers of the court,
persons in the inner apartments, the jailor, the chief surveyor, the

of the treasury, the general executant of orders, the chief of the town
police, the chief architect, the chief justice, the president of the
council, the chief of the punitive department, the commander of the

the chief of the arsenal, the chief of the frontier guards, and the

of the forests), and in places of sacrifice, near wells, on mountains

in rivers, in forests, and in all places where people congregate. In
speech thou shouldst ever be humble, but let thy heart be ever sharp as
razor. And when thou art engaged in doing even a very cruel and

act, thou shouldst talk with smiles on thy lips. If desirous of

thou shouldst adopt all arts--humility, oath, conciliation, worshipping
the feet of others by lowering thy head, inspiring hope, and the like.

a person conversant with the rules of policy is like a tree decked with
flowers but bearing no fruit; or, if bearing fruit, these must be at a
great height not easily attainable from the ground; and if any of these
fruits seem to be ripe care must be taken to make it appear raw.
Conducting himself in such a way, he shall never fade. Virtue, wealth

pleasure have both their evil and good effects closely knit together.
While extracting the effects that are good, those that are evil should

avoided. Those that practise virtue (incessantly) are made unhappy for
want of wealth and the neglect of pleasure. Those again in pursuit of
wealth are made unhappy for the neglect of two others. And so those who
pursue pleasure suffer for their inattention to virtue and wealth.
Therefore, thou shouldst pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure, in such a

that thou mayest not have to suffer therefrom. With humiliation and
attention, without jealousy and solicitous of accomplishing thy

shouldst thou, in all sincerity, consult with the Brahmanas. When thou

fallen, thou shouldst raise thyself by any means, gentle or violent;

after thou hast thus raised thyself thou shouldst practise virtue. He

hath never been afflicted with calamity can never have prosperity. This
may be seen in the life of one who surviveth his calamities. He that is
afflicted with sorrow should be consoled by the recitation of the

of persons of former times (like those of Nala and Rama). He whose

hath been unstrung by sorrow should be consoled with hopes of future
prosperity. He again who is learned and wise should be consoled by
pleasing offices presently rendered unto him. He who, having concluded

treaty with an enemy, reposeth at ease as if he hath nothing more to

is very like a person who awaketh, fallen down from the top of a tree
whereon he had slept. A king should ever keep to himself his counsels
without fear of calumny, and while beholding everything with the eyes

his spies, he should take care to conceal his own emotions before the
spies of his enemies. Like a fisherman who becometh prosperous by

and killing fish, a king can never grow prosperous without tearing the
vitals of his enemy and without doing some violent deeds. The might of

foe, as represented by his armed force, should ever be completely
destroyed, by ploughing it up (like weeds) and mowing it down and
otherwise afflicting it by disease, starvation, and want of drink. A
person in want never approacheth (from love) one in affluence; and when
one's purpose hath been accomplished, one hath no need to approach him
whom he had hitherto looked to for its accomplishment. Therefore, when
thou doest anything never do it completely, but ever leave something to

desired for by others (whose services thou mayest need). One who is
desirous of prosperity should with diligence seek allies and means, and
carefully conduct his wars. His exertions in these respects should

be guided by prudence. A prudent king should ever act in such a way

friends and foes may never know his motive before the commencement of

acts. Let them know all when the act hath been commenced or ended, and

long as danger doth not come, so long only shall thou act as if thou

afraid. But when it hath overtaken thee, thou must grapple with it
courageously. He who trusteth in a foe who hath been brought under
subjection by force, summoneth his own death as a crab by her act of
conception. Thou shouldst always reckon the future act as already

(and concert measures for meeting it), else, from want of calmness

by haste, thou mayest overlook an important point in meeting it when it

before thee. A person desirous of prosperity should always exert with
prudence, adopting his measures to time and place. He should also act

an eye to destiny as capable of being regulated by mantras and

rites; and to virtue, wealth, and pleasure. It is well-known that time

place (if taken into consideration) always produce the greatest good.

the foe is insignificant, he should not yet be despised, for he may

grow like a palmyra tree extending its roots or like a spark of fire in
the deep woods that may soon burst into an extensive conflagration. As

little fire gradually fed with faggots soon becometh capable of

even the biggest blocks, so the person who increaseth his power by

alliances and friendships soon becometh capable of subjugating even the
most formidable foe. The hope thou givest unto thy foe should be long
deferred before it is fulfilled; and when the time cometh for its
fulfilment, invent some pretext for deferring it still. Let that

be shown as founded upon some reason, and let that reason itself be

to appear as founded on some other reason. Kings should, in the matter

destroying their foes, ever resemble razors in every particular;

as these are sharp, hiding their intents as these are concealed in

leathern cases, striking when the opportunity cometh as these are used

proper occasions, sweeping off their foes with all their allies and
dependants as these shave the head or the chin without leaving a single
hair. O supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, bearing thyself towards

Pandavas and others also as policy dictateth, act in such a way that

mayest not have to grieve in future. Well do I know that thou art

with every blessing, and possessed of every mark of good fortune.
Therefore, O king, protect thyself from the sons of Pandu! O king, the
sons of Pandu are stronger than their cousins (thy sons); therefore, O
chastiser of foes, I tell thee plainly what thou shouldst do. Listen to

O king, with thy children, and having listened to it, exert yourselves

do the needful). O king, act in such a way that there may not be any

for thee from the Pandavas. Indeed, adopt such measures consonant with

science of policy that thou mayest not have to grieve in the future.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having delivered himself thus Kanika returned

his abode, while the Kuru king Dhritarashtra became pensive and


(Jatugriha Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of Suvala (Sakuni), king Duryodhana,
Duhsasana and Karna, in consultation with one another, formed an evil
conspiracy. With the sanction of Dhritarashtra, the king of the Kurus,
they resolved to burn to death Kunti and her (five) sons. But that wise
Vidura, capable of reading the heart by external signs, ascertained the
intention of these wicked persons by observing their countenances

Then the sinless Vidura, of soul enlightened by true knowledge, and
devoted to the good of the Pandavas, came to the conclusion that Kunti
with her children should fly away from her foes. And providing for that
purpose a boat strong enough to withstand both wind and wave, he

Kunti and said, 'This Dhritarashtra hath been born for destroying the

and offspring of the (Kuru) race. Of wicked soul, he is about to cast

eternal virtue. O blessed one, I have kept ready on the stream a boat
capable of withstanding both wind and wave. Escape by it with thy

from the net that death hath spread around you.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, the illustrious Kunti

deeply grieved, and with her children, O bull of Bharata's race,

into the boat and went over the Ganges. Then leaving the boat according

the advice of Vidura, the Pandavas took with them the wealth that had

given to them (while at Varanavata) by their enemies and safely entered
the deep woods. In the house of lac, however, that had been prepared

the destruction of the Pandavas, an innocent Nishada woman who had come
there for some purpose, was, with her children burnt to death. And that
worst of Mlechchhas, the wretched Purochana (who was the architect
employed in building the house of lac) was also burnt in the

And thus were the sons of Dhirtarashtra with their counsellors deceived

their expectations. And thus also were the illustrious Pandavas, by the
advice of Vidura, saved with their mother. But the people (of

knew not of their safety. And the citizens of Varanavata, seeing the

of lac consumed (and believing the Pandavas to have been burnt to

became exceedingly sorry. And they sent messengers unto king

to represent everything that had happened. And they said to the

'Thy great end hath been achieved! Thou hast at last burnt the Pandavas

death! Thy desire fulfilled, enjoy with thy children. O king of the

the kingdom.' Hearing this, Dhritarashtra with his children, made a

of grief, and along with his relatives, including Kshattri (Vidura) and
Bhishma the foremost of the Kurus, performed the last honours of the

"Janamejaya said, 'O best of Brahmanas, I desire to hear in full this
history of the burning of the house of lac and the escape of the

there from. That was a cruel act of theirs (the Kurus), acting under

counsels of the wicked (Kanika). Recite the history to me of all that
happened. I am burning with curiosity to hear it.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O chastiser of all foes, listen to me, O monarch,

I recite the (history of the) burning of the house of lac and the

of the Pandavas. The wicked Duryodhana, beholding Bhimasena surpass
(everybody) in strength and Arjuna highly accomplished in arms became
pensive and sad. Then Karna, the offspring of the Sun, and Sakuni, the

of Suvala, endeavoured by various means to compass the death of the
Pandavas. The Pandavas too counteracted all those contrivances one

another, and in obedience to the counsels of Vidura, never spoke of

afterwards. Then the citizens, beholding the son of Pandu possessed of
accomplishments, began, O Bharata, to speak of them in all places of
public resort. And assembled in courtyards and other places of

they talked of the eldest son of Pandu (Yudhishthira) as possessed of

qualifications for ruling the kingdom. And they said, 'Dhritarashtra,
though possessed of the eye of knowledge, having been (born) blind, had
not obtained the kingdom before. How can he (therefore) become king

Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, of rigid vows and devoted to truth,
having formerly relinquished the sovereignty would never accept it now.

shall, therefore, now install (on the throne) with proper ceremonies

eldest of the Pandavas endued with youth, accomplished in battle,

in the Vedas, and truthful and kind. Worshipping Bhishma, the son of
Santanu and Dhritarashtra conversant with the rules of morality, he

certainly maintain the former and the latter with his children in every
kind of enjoyment.'

"The wretched Duryodhana, hearing these words of the parting partisans

Yudhishthira, became very much distressed. Deeply afflicted, the wicked
prince could not put up with those speeches. Inflamed with jealousy, he
went unto Dhritarashtra, and finding him alone he saluted him with
reverence and distressed at (the sight of) the partiality of the

for Yudhishthira, he addressed the monarch and said, 'O father, I have
heard the parting citizens utter words of ill omen. Passing thee by,

Bhishma too, they desire the son of Pandu to be their king. Bhishma

sanction this, for he will not rule the kingdom. It seems, therefore,

the citizens are endeavouring to inflict a great injury on us. Pandu
obtained of old the ancestral kingdom by virtue of his own

but thou, from blindness, didst not obtain the kingdom, though fully
qualified to have it. If Pandu's son now obtaineth the kingdom as his
inheritance from Pandu, his son will obtain it after him and that son's
son also, and so on will it descend in Pandu's line. In that case, O

of the world, ourselves with our children, excluded from the royal

shall certainly be disregarded by all men. Therefore, O monarch, adopt
such counsels that we may not suffer perpetual distress, becoming
dependent on others for our food. O king, if thou hadst obtained the
sovereignty before, we would certainly have succeeded to it, however

the people might be unfavourable to us.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, "King Dhritarashtra whose knowledge only was

eyes, on hearing these words of his son and recollecting everything

Kanika had, said unto him, became afflicted with sorrow, and his mind

thereupon began to waver. Then Duryodhana and Karna, and Sakuni, the

of Suvala, and Duhsasana as their fourth, held a consultation together.
Prince Duryodhana said unto Dhritarashtra, 'Send, O father, by some

contrivance, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata. We shall then have

fear of them.' Dhritarashtra, on hearing these words uttered by his

reflected for a moment and replied unto Duryodhana, saying, 'Pandu,

devoted to virtue, always behaved dutifully towards all his relatives

particularly towards me. He cared very little for the enjoyments of the
world, but devotedly gave everything unto me, even the kingdom. His son

as much devoted to virtue as he, and is possessed of every

Of world-wide fame, he is again the favourite of the people. He is
possessed of allies; how can we by force exile him from his ancestral
kingdom? The counsellors and soldiers (of the state) and their sons and
grandsons have all been cherished and maintained by Pandu. Thus

of old by Pandu, shall not, O child, the citizens slay us with all our
friends and relatives now on account of Yudhishthira?'

"Duryodhana replied, 'What thou sayest, O father, is perfectly true.

in view of the evil that is looming on the future as regards thyself,

we conciliate the people with wealth and honours, they would assuredly
side with us for these proofs of our power. The treasury and the

of state, O king, are at this moment under our control. Therefore, it
behoveth thee now to banish, by some gentle means, the Pandavas to the
town of Varanavata; O king, when the sovereignty shall have been vested

me, then, O Bharata, may Kunti with her children come back from that

"Dhritarashtra replied, 'This, O Duryodhana, is the very thought

in my mind. But from its sinfulness I have never given expression to

Neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Kshattri, nor Gautama (Kripa) will ever
sanction the exile of the Pandavas. In their eyes, O dear son, amongst

Kurus ourselves and the Pandavas are equal. Those wise and virtuous
persons will make no difference between us. If therefore, we behave so
towards the Pandavas, shall we not, O son, deserve death at the hands

the Kurus, of these illustrious personages, and of the whole world?'

"Duryodhana answered, 'Bhishma hath no excess of affection for either

and will, therefore, be neutral (in case of dispute). The son of Drona
(Aswatthaman) is on my side. There is no doubt that where the son is,
there the father will be. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, must be on the

on which Drona and Aswatthaman are. He will never abandon Drona and his
sister's son (Aswatthaman). Kshattri (Vidura) is dependent on us for

means of life, though he is secretly with the foe. If he sides the
Pandavas, he alone can do us no injury, Therefore, exile thou the

to Varanavata without any fear. And take such steps that they may go
thither this very day. By this act, O father, extinguish the grief that
consumeth me like a blazing fire, that robbeth me of sleep, and that
pierces my heart even like a terrible dart.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then prince Duryodhana, along with his brothers
began to gradually win over the people to his side by grants of wealth
and honours. Meanwhile, some clever councillors, instructed by
Dhritarashtra, one day began to describe (in court) the town of
Varanavata as a charming place. And they said, The festival of Pasupati
(Siva) hath commenced in the town of Varanavata. The concourse of

is great and the procession is the most delightful of all ever

on earth. Decked with every ornament, it charmed the hearts of all
spectators.' Thus did those councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra,
speak of Varanavata, and whilst they were so speaking, the Pandavas, O
king, felt the desire of going to that delightful town. And when the
king (Dhritarashtra) ascertained that the curiosity of the Pandavas had
been awakened, the son of Ambika addressed them, saying, 'These men of
mine often speak of Varanavata as the most delightful town in the

If therefore, ye children, ye desire to witness that festival, go to
Varanavata with your followers and friends and enjoy yourselves there
like the celestials. And give ye away pearls and gems unto the

and the musicians (that may be assembled there). And sporting there for
some time as ye please like the resplendent celestials and enjoying as
much pleasure as ye like, return ye to Hastinapura again.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yudhishthira, fully understanding the motives

Dhritarashtra and considering that he himself was weak and friendless,
replied unto the king, saying, 'So be it.' Then addressing Bhishma, the
son of Santanu, the wise Vidura, Drona, Valhika, the Kaurava,

Kripa, Aswatthaman, Bhurisravas, and the other councillors, and

and ascetics, and the priests and the citizens, and the illustrious
Gandhari, he said slowly and humbly, 'With our friends and followers we

to the delightful and populous town of Varanavata at the command of
Dhritarashtra. Cheerfully give us your benedictions so that acquiring
prosperity, therewith we may not be touched by sin.' Thus addressed by

eldest of Pandu's sons, the Kaurava chiefs all cheerfully pronounced
blessings on them, saying, 'Ye sons of Pandu, let all the elements

you along your way and let not the slightest evil befall you.'

"The Pandavas, having performed propitiatory rites for obtaining (their
share of) the kingdom, and finishing their preparations, set out for


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The wicked Duryodhana became very pleased when the
king, O Bharata, had said so unto Pandavas. And, O bull of Bharata's

Duryodhana, then, summoning his counsellor, Purochana in private, took
hold of his right hand and said, 'O Purochana, this world, so full of
wealth, is mine. But it is thine equally with me. It behoveth thee,
therefore, to protect it. I have no more trustworthy counsellor than

with whom to consult. Therefore, O sire, keep my counsel and

my foes by a clever device. O, do as I bid thee. The Pandavas have, by
Dhritarashtra, been sent to Varanavata, where they will, at
Dhritarashtra's command, enjoy themselves during the festivities. Do

by which thou mayest this very day reach Varanavata in a car drawn by
swift mules. Repairing thither, cause thou to be erected a quadrangular
palace in the neighbourhood of the arsenal, rich in the materials and
furniture, and guard thou the mansion well (with prying eyes). And use
thou (in erecting that house) hemp and resin and all other inflammable
materials that are procurable. And mixing a little earth with clarified
butter and oil and fat and a large quantity of lac, make thou a plaster
for lining the walls, and scatter thou all around that house hemp and

and clarified butter and lac and wood in such a way that the Pandavas,

any others, may not, even with scrutiny behold them there or conclude

house to be an inflammable one. And having erected such mansion, cause
thou the Pandavas, after worshipping them with great reverence, to

in it with Kunti and all their friends. And place thou there seats and
conveyances and beds, all of the best workmanship, for the Pandavas, so
that Dhritarashtra may have no reason to complain. Thou must also so
manage it all that none of Varanavata may know anything till the end we
have in view is accomplished. And assuring thyself that the Pandavas

sleeping within in confidence and without fear, thou must then set fire

that mansion beginning at the outer door. The Pandavas thereupon must

burnt to death, but the people will say that they have been burnt in

accidental) conflagration of their house.'

"Saying, 'So be it' unto the Kuru prince, Purochana repaired to

in a car drawn by fleet mules. And going thither, O king, without loss

time, obedient to the instructions of Duryodhana, did everything that

prince had bid him do."


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile the Pandavas got into their cars, yoking
thereto some fine horses endued with the speed of wind. While they were

the point of entering their cars, they touched, in great sorrow, the

of Bhishma, of king Dhritarashtra, of the illustrious Drona, of Kripa,

Vidura and of the other elders of the Kuru race. Then saluting with
reverence all the older men, and embracing their equals, receiving the
farewell of even the children, and taking leave of all the venerable
ladies in their household, and walking round them respectfully, and
bidding farewell unto all the citizens, the Pandavas, ever mindful of
their vows, set out for Varanavata. And Vidura of great wisdom and the
other bulls among the Kurus and the citizens also, from great

followed those tigers among men to some distance. And some amongst the
citizens and the country people, who followed the Pandavas, afflicted
beyond measure at beholding the sons of Pandu in such distress, began

say aloud, 'King Dhritarashtra of wicked soul seeth no things with the
same eye. The Kuru monarch casteth not his eye on virtue. Neither the
sinless Yudhishthira, nor Bhima the foremost of mighty men, nor

the (youngest) son of Kunti, will ever be guilty (of the sin of waging

rebellious war). When these will remain quiet, how shall the

son of Madri do anything? Having inherited the kingdom from their

Dhritarashtra could not bear them. How is that Bhishma who suffers the
exile of the Pandavas to that wretched place, sanctions this act of

injustice? Vichitravirya, the son of Santanu, and the royal sage Pandu

Kuru's race both cherished us of old with fatherly care. But now that
Pandu that tiger among men, hath ascended to heaven, Dhritarashtra

bear with these princes his children. We who do not sanction this exile
shall all go, leaving this excellent town and our own homes, where
Yudhishthira will go.'

"Unto those distressed citizens talking in this way, the virtuous
Yudhishthira, himself afflicted with sorrow, reflecting for a few

said, 'The king is our father, worthy of regard, our spiritual guide,

our superior. To carry out with unsuspicious hearts whatever he

is indeed, our duty. Ye are our friends. Walking round us and making us
happy by your blessings, return ye to your abodes. When the time cometh
for anything to be done for us by you, then, indeed, accomplish all

is agreeable and beneficial to us.' Thus addressed, the citizens walked
round the Pandavas and blessed them with their blessings and returned

their respective abodes.

"And after the citizens had ceased following the Pandavas, Vidura,
conversant with all the dictates of morality, desirous of awakening the
eldest of the Pandavas (to a sense of his dangers), addressed him in

words. The learned Vidura, conversant with the jargon (of the

addressed the learned Yudhishthira who also was conversant with the

jargon, in the words of the Mlechchha tongue, so as to be

to all except Yudhishthira. He said, 'He that knoweth the schemes his

contrive in accordance with the dictates of political science, should,
knowing them, act in such a way as to avoid all danger. He that knoweth
that there are sharp weapons capable of cutting the body though not

of steel, and understandeth also the means of warding them off, can

be injured by foes. He liveth who protecteth himself by the knowledge

neither the consumer of straw and wood nor the drier of the dew burneth
the inmates of a hole in the deep woods. The blind man seeth not his

the blind man hath no knowledge of direction. He that hath no firmness
never acquireth prosperity. Remembering this, be upon your guard. The

who taketh a weapon not made of steel (i.e., an inflammable abode)

him by his foes, can escape from fire by making his abode like unto

of a jackal (having many outlets). By wandering a man may acquire the
knowledge of ways, and by the stars he can ascertain the direction, and

that keepeth his five (senses) under control can never be oppressed by


"Thus addressed, Pandu's son, Yudhishthira the just replied unto

that foremost of all learned men, saying, 'I have understood thee.'

Vidura, having instructed the Pandavas and followed them (thus far),
walked around them and bidding them farewell returned to his own abode.
When the citizens and Bhishma and Vidura had all ceased following,

approached Yudhishthira and said, 'The words that Kshattri said unto

in the midst of many people so indistinctly as if he did not say

and thy reply also to him in similar words and voice, we have not
understood. If it is not improper for us to know them I should then

to hear everything that had passed between him and thee.'

"Yudhishthira replied, 'The virtuous Vidura said unto me that we should
know that the mansion (for our accommodation at Varanavata) hath been
built of inflammable materials. He said unto me, 'The path of escape

shall not be unknown to thee,'--and further,--'Those that can control
their senses can acquire the sovereignty of the whole world.'--The

that I gave unto Vidura was, 'I have understood thee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas set out on the eighth day of the
month of Phalguna when the star Rohini was in the ascendant, and

at they beheld the town and the people.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the citizens (of Varanavata) on hearing

the son of Pandu had come, were filled with joy at the tidings,

came out of Varanavata, in vehicles of various kinds numbering by
thousands, taking with them every auspicious article as directed by the
Sastras, for receiving those foremost of men. And the people of

approaching the sons of Kunti blessed them by uttering the Jaya and

surrounding them. That tiger among men, viz., the virtuous Yudhishthira
thus surrounded by them looked resplendent like him having the

in his hands (viz., Indra) in the midst of the celestials. And those
sinless ones, welcomed by the citizens and welcoming the citizens in
return, then entered the populous town of Varanavata decked with every
ornament. Entering the town those heroes first went, O monarch, to the
abodes of Brahmanas engaged in their proper duties. Those foremost of

then went to the abodes of the officials of the town, and then of the
Sutas and the Vaisyas and then to those of even the Sudras, O bull of
Bharata's race, thus adored by the citizens, the Pandavas at last went
with Purochana going before them, to the palace that had been built for
them, Purochana then began to place before them food and drink and beds
and carpets, all of the first and most agreeable order. The Pandavas
attired in costly robes, continued to live there, adored by Purochana

the people having their homes in Varanavata.

"After the Pandavas had thus lived for ten nights, Purochana spoke to

of the mansion (he had built) called 'The Blessed Home,' but in reality
the cursed house. Then those tigers among men, attired in costly dress,
entered that mansion at the instance of Purochana like Guhyakas

the palace (of Siva) on the Kailasa mount. The foremost of all virtuous
men, Yudhishthira, inspecting the house, said unto Bhima that it was
really built of inflammable materials. Smelling the scent of fat mixed
with clarified butter and preparations of lac, he said unto Bhima, 'O
chastiser of foes, this house is truly built of inflammable materials!
Indeed, it is apparent that such is the case! The enemy, it is evident,

the aid of trusted artists well-skilled in the construction of houses,
have finely built this mansion, after procuring hemp, resin, heath,

and bamboos, all soaked in clarified butter. This wicked wretch,

acting under the instruction of Duryodhana, stayeth here with the

of burning me to death when he seeth me trustful. But, O son of Pritha,
Vidura of great intelligence, knew of this danger, and, therefore, hath
warned me of it beforehand. Knowing it all, that youngest uncle of

ever wishing our good from affection hath told us that this house, so

of danger, hath been constructed by the wretches under Duryodhana

in secrecy.'

"Hearing this, Bhima replied, 'If, sir, you know this house to be so
inflammable, it would then be well for us to return thither where we

taken up our quarters first.' Yudhishthira replied, 'It seems to me

we should rather continue to live here in seeming unsuspiciousness but

the while with caution and our senses wide awake and seeking for some
certain means of escape. If Purochana findeth from our countenances

we have fathomed designs, acting with haste he may suddenly burn us to
death. Indeed, Purochana careth little for obloquy or sin. The wretch
stayeth here acting under the instruction of Duryodhana. If we are

to death, will our grandfather Bhishma be angry? Why will he, by

his wrath, make the Kauravas angry with him? Or, perhaps, our

Bhishma and the other bull of Kuru's race, regarding indignation at

such a
sinful act to be virtuous, may become wrathful. If however, from fear

being burnt, we fly from here, Duryodhana, ambitious of sovereignty

certainly compass our death by means of spies. While we have no rank

power, Duryodhana hath both; while we have no friends and allies,
Duryodhana hath both; while we are without wealth, Duryodhana hath at

command a full treasury. Will he not, therefore, certainly destroy us

adopting adequate means? Let us, therefore, by deceiving this wretch
(Purochana) and that other wretch Duryodhana, pass our days, disguising
ourselves at times. Let us also lead a hunting life, wandering over the
earth. We shall then, if we have to escape our enemies, be familiar

all paths. We shall also, this very day, cause a subterranean passage

be dug in our chamber in great secrecy. If we act in this way,

what we do from all, fire shall never be able to consume us. We shall

here, actively doing everything for our safety but with such privacy

neither Purochana nor any of the citizens of Varanavata may know what

are after.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'A friend of Vidura's, well-skilled in mining,
coming unto the Pandavas, addressed them in secret, saying, 'I have

sent by Vidura and am a skilful miner. I am to serve the Pandavas. Tell

what I am to do for ye. From the trust he reposeth in me Vidura hath

unto me, 'Go thou unto the Pandavas and accomplish thou their good.'

shall I do for you? Purochana will set fire to the door of thy house on
the fourteenth night of this dark fortnight. To burn to death those

among men, the Pandavas, with their mother, is the design of that

wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra. O son of Pandu, Vidura also told thee
something in the Mlechchha tongue to which thou also didst reply in

language. I state these particulars as my credentials.' Hearing these
words, Yudhishthira, the truthful son of Kunti replied, 'O amiable one,

now know thee as a dear and trusted friend of Vidura, true and ever
devoted to him. There is nothing that the learned Vidura doth not know.

his, so ours art thou. Make no difference between him and us. We are as
much thine as his. O, protect us as the learned Vidura ever protecteth

I know that this house, so inflammable, hath been contrived for me by
Purochana at the command of Dhritarashtra's son. That wicked wretch
commanding wealth and allies pursueth us without intermission. O, save

with a little exertion from the impending conflagration. If we are

to death here, Duryodhana's most cherished desire will be satisfied.

is that wretch's well-furnished arsenal. This large mansion hath been
built abutting the high ramparts of the arsenal without any outlet. But
this unholy contrivance of Duryodhana was known to Vidura from the

and he it was who enlightened us beforehand. The danger of which

had foreknowledge is now at our door. Save us from it without

knowledge thereof.' On hearing these words, the miner said, 'So be it,'
and carefully beginning his work of excavation, made a large

passage. And the mouth of that passage was in the centre of that house,
and it was on a level with the floor and closed up with planks. The

was so covered from fear of Purochana, that wicked wretch who kept a
constant watch at the door of the house. The Pandavas used to sleep

their chambers with arms ready for use, while, during the day, they

went a-
hunting from forest to forest. Thus, O king, they lived (in that

very guardedly, deceiving Purochana by a show of trustfulness and
contentment while in reality they were trustless and discontented. Nor

the citizens of Varanavata know anything about these plans of the

In fact, none else knew of them except Vidura's friend, that good



(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Seeing the Pandavas living there cheerfully and
without suspicion for a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad.

beholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira, the virtuous son of

addressing Bhima and Arjuna and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) said,

cruel-hearted wretch hath been well-deceived. I think the time is come

our escape. Setting fire to the arsenal and burning Purochana to death

letting his body lie here, let us, six persons, fly hence unobserved by

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then on the occasion of an almsgiving, O

Kunti fed on a certain night a large number of Brahmanas. There came

a number of ladies who while eating and drinking, enjoyed there as they
pleased, and with Kunti's leave returned to their respective homes.
Desirous of obtaining food, there came, as though impelled by fate, to
that feast, in course of her wanderings, a Nishada woman, the mother of
five children, accompanied by all her sons. O king, she, and her

intoxicated with the wine they drank, became incapable. Deprived of
consciousness and more dead than alive, she with all her sons lay down

that mansion to sleep. Then when all the inmates of the house lay down

sleep, there began to blow a violent wind in the night. Bhima then set
fire to the house just where Purochana was sleeping. Then the son of

set fire to the door of that house of lac. Then he set fire to the

in several parts all around. Then when the sons of Pandu were satisfied
that the house had caught fire in several parts those chastisers of

with their mother, entered the subterranean passage without losing any
time. Then the heat and the roar of the fire became intense and

the townspeople. Beholding the house in flames, the citizens with
sorrowful faces began to say, 'The wretch (Purochana) of wicked soul

under the instruction of Duryodhana built his house for the destruction

his employer's relatives. He indeed hath set fire to it. O, fie on
Dhritarashtra's heart which is so partial. He hath burnt to death, as

he were their foe, the sinless heirs of Pandu! O, the sinful and

souled (Purochana) who hath burnt those best of men, the innocent and
unsuspicious princes, hath himself been burnt to death as fate would


"Vaisampayana continued, 'The citizens of Varanavata thus bewailed (the
fate of the Pandavas), and waited there for the whole night surrounding
that house. The Pandavas, however, accompanied by their mother coming

of the subterranean passage, fled in haste unnoticed. But those

of foes, for sleepiness and fear, could not with their mother proceed

haste. But, O monarch, Bhimasena, endued with terrible prowess and
swiftness of motion took upon his body all his brothers and mother and
began to push through the darkness. Placing his mother on his shoulder,
the twins on his sides, and Yudhishthira and Arjuna on both his arms,
Vrikodara of great energy and strength and endued with the speed of the
wind, commenced his march, breaking the trees with his breast and

deep the earth with his stamp.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'About this time, the learned Vidura had sent into
those woods a man of pure character and much trusted by him. This

going to where he had been directed, saw the Pandavas with their mother

the forest employed in a certain place in measuring the depth of a

The design that the wicked Duryodhana had formed had been, through his
spies, known to Vidura of great intelligence, and, therefore, he had

that prudent person unto the Pandavas. Sent by Vidura unto them, he

the Pandavas on the sacred banks of the Ganga a boat with engines and
flags, constructed by trusted artificers and capable of withstanding

and wave and endued with the speed of the tempest or of thought. He

addressed the Pandavas in these words to show that he had really been

by Vidura, 'O Yudhishthira,' he said, 'listen to these words the

Vidura had said (unto thee) as a proof of the fact that I come from

Neither the consumer of straw and the wood nor the drier of dew ever
burneth the inmates of a hole in the forest. He escapeth from death who
protecteth himself knowing this, etc. By these credentials know me to

the person who has been truly sent by Vidura and to be also his trusted
agent. Vidura, conversant with everything, hath again said, 'O son of
Kunti, thou shalt surely defeat in battle Karna, and Duryodhana with

brothers, and Sakuni.' This boat is ready on the waters, and it will

pleasantly thereon, and shall certainly bear you all from these


"Then beholding those foremost of men with their mother pensive and sad

caused them to go into the boat that was on the Ganga, and accompanied
them himself. Addressing them again, he said, 'Vidura having smelt your
heads and embraced you (mentally), hath said again that in commencing

auspicious journey and going alone you should never be careless.'

"Saying these words unto those heroic princes, the person sent by

took those bulls among men over to the other side of the Ganga in his

And having taken them over the water and seen them all safe on the
opposite bank, he uttered the word 'Jaya' (victory) to their success

then left them and returned to the place whence he had come.

"The illustrious Pandavas also sending through that person some message

Vidura, began, after having crossed the Ganga, to proceed with haste

in great secrecy.'"


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then, when the night had passed away, a large
concourse of the townspeople came there in haste to see the sons of

After extinguishing the fire, they saw that the house just burnt down

been built of lac in materials and that (Duryodhana's) counsellor
Purochana had been burnt to death. And the people began to bewail aloud
saying, 'Indeed, this had been contrived by the sinful Duryodhana for

destruction of the Pandavas. There is little doubt that Duryodhana

with Dhritarashtra's knowledge, burnt to death the heirs of Pandu, else
the prince would have been prevented by his father. There is little

that even Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and Drona and Vidura and Kripa

other Kauravas have not, any of them, followed the dictates of duty.

us now send to Dhritarashtra to say, 'Thy great desire hath been

Thou hast burnt to death the Pandavas!'

"They then began to extinguish the members to obtain some trace of the
Pandavas, and they saw the innocent Nishada woman with her five sons

to death. Then the miner sent by Vidura, while removing the ashes,

the hole he had dug with those ashes in such a way that it remained
unnoticed by all who had gone there.

"The citizens then sent to Dhritarashtra to inform him that the

along with (Duryodhana's) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death.
King Dhritarashtra, on hearing the evil news of the death of the

wept in great sorrow. And he said, 'King Pandu, my brother of great

hath, indeed, died today when those heroic sons of his together with

mother have been burnt to death. Ye men, repair quickly to Varanavata

cause the funeral rites to be performed of those heroes and of the
daughter of Kuntiraj! Let also the bones of the deceased be sanctified
with the usual rites, and let all the beneficial and great acts (usual

such occasions) be performed. Let the friends and relatives of those

have been burnt to death repair thither. Let also all other beneficial
acts that ought, under the circumstances, to be performed by us for the
Pandavas and Kunti be accomplished by wealth.'

"Having said this, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, surrounded by his
relatives, offered oblations of water to the sons of Pandu. And all of
them, afflicted with excessive sorrow, bewailed aloud, exclaiming, 'O
Yudhishthira! Oh prince of the Kuru race!'--While others cried aloud,

Bhima!--O Phalguna!'--while some again,--'Oh, the twins!--Oh, Kunti!'--
Thus did they sorrow for the Pandavas and offer oblations of water unto
them. The citizens also wept for the Pandavas but Vidura did not weep

because he knew the truth.

"Meanwhile the Pandavas endued with great strength with their mother
forming a company of six going out of the town of Varanavata arrived at
the banks of the Ganga. They then speedily reached the opposite bank

by the strength of the boatmen's arms, the rapidity of the river's

and a favourable wind. Leaving the boat, they proceeded in the southern
direction finding their way in the dark by the light of the stars.

much suffering they at last reached, O king, a dense forest. They were
then tired and thirsty; sleep was closing their eyes every moment. Then
Yudhishthira, addressing Bhima endued with great energy, said, 'What

be more painful than this? We are now in the deep woods. We know not

side is which, nor can we proceed much further. We do not know whether
that wretch Purochana hath or hath not been burnt to death. How shall

escape from these dangers unseen by others? O Bharata, taking us on
thyself, proceed thou as before. Thou alone amongst us art strong and
swift as the wind.'

"Thus addressed by Yudhishthira the just, the mighty Bhimasena, taking

on his body Kunti and his brothers, began to proceed with great


(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said," As the mighty Bhima proceeded, the whole forest

its trees and their branches seemed to tremble, in consequence of their
clash with his breast. The motion of his thighs raised a wind like unto
that which blows during the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha (May and

And the mighty Bhima proceeded, making a path for himself, but treading
down the trees and creepers before him. In fact, he broke (by the

of his body) the large trees and plants, with their flowers and fruits,
standing on his way. Even so passeth through the woods breaking down
mighty trees, the leader of a herd of elephants, of the age of sixty

angry and endued with excess of energy, during the season of rut when

liquid juice trickle down the three parts of his body. Indeed, so great
was the force with which Bhima endued with the speed of Garuda or of

(the god of wind), proceeded that the Pandavas seemed to faint in
consequence. Frequently swimming across streams difficult of being

the Pandavas disguised themselves on their way from fear of the sons of
Dhritarashtra. And Bhima carried on his shoulder his illustrious mother

delicate sensibilities along the uneven banks of rivers. Towards the
evening, O bull of Bharata's race, Bhima (bearing his brothers and

on his back) reached a terrible forest where fruits and roots and water
were scarce and which resounded with the terrible cries of birds and
beasts. The twilight deepened the cries of birds and beasts became

darkness shrouded everything from the view and untimely winds began to
blow that broke and laid low many a tree large and small and many

with dry leaves and fruits. The Kaurava princes, afflicted with fatigue
and thirst, and heavy with sleep, were unable to proceed further. They
then all sat down in that forest without food and drink. Then Kunti,
smitten with thirst, said unto her sons, 'I am the mother of the five
Pandavas and am now in their midst. Yet I am burning with thirst!'

repeatedly said this unto her sons. Hearing these words, Bhima's heart,
from affection for his mother, was warmed by compassion and he resolved

go (along as before). Then Bhima, proceeding through that terrible and
extensive forest without a living soul, saw a beautiful banian tree

widespreading branches. Setting down there his brothers and mother, O

of Bharata's race, he said unto them, 'Rest you here, while I go in

of water. I hear the sweet cries of aquatic fowls. I think there must

be a
large pool here.' Commanded, O Bharata, by his elder brother who said

him, 'Go', Bhima proceeded in the direction whence the cries of those
aquatic fowls were coming. And, O bull of Bharata's race, he soon came
upon a lake and bathed and slaked his thirst. And affectionate unto his
brothers, he brought for them, O Bharata, water by soaking his upper
garments. Hastily retracing his way over those four miles he came unto
where his mother was and beholding her he was afflicted with sorrow and
began to sigh like a snake. Distressed with grief at seeing his mother

brothers asleep on the bare ground, Vrikodara began to weep, 'Oh,

that I am, who behold my brothers asleep on the bare ground, what can
befall me more painful than this? Alas, they who formerly at Varanavata
could not sleep on the softest and costliest beds are now asleep on the
bare ground! Oh, what more painful sight shall I ever behold than that

Kunti--the sister of Vasudeva, that grinder of hostile hosts--the

of Kuntiraja,--herself decked with every auspicious mark, the daughter

law of Vichitravirya,--the wife of the illustrious Pandu,--the mother

us (five brothers),--resplendent as the filaments of the lotus and
delicate and tender and fit to sleep on the costliest bed--thus asleep,

she should never be, on the bare ground! Oh, she who hath brought forth
these sons by Dharma and Indra and Maruta--she who hath ever slept

palaces--now sleepeth, fatigued, on the bare ground! What more painful
sight shall ever be beheld by me than that of these tigers among men

brothers) asleep on the ground! Oh, the virtuous Yudhishthira, who
deserveth the sovereignty of the three worlds, sleepeth, fatigued, like

ordinary man, on the bare ground! This Arjuna of the darkish hue of

clouds, and unequalled amongst men sleepeth on the ground like an

person! Oh, what can be more painful than this? Oh the twins, who in
beauty are like the twin Aswins amongst the celestials, are asleep like
ordinary mortals on the bare ground! He who hath no jealous evil-minded
relatives, liveth in happiness in this world like a single tree in a
village. The tree that standeth single in a village with its leaves and
fruits, from absence of other of the same species, becometh sacred and

worshipped and venerated by all. They again that have many relatives

however, are all heroic and virtuous, live happily in the world without
sorrow of any kind. Themselves powerful and growing in prosperity and
always gladdening their friends and relatives, they live, depending on
each other, like tall trees growing in the same forest. We, however,

been forced in exile by the wicked Dhritarashtra and his sons having
escaped with difficulty, from sheer good fortune, a fiery death. Having
escaped from that fire, we are now resting in the shade of this tree.
Having already suffered so much, where now are we to go? Ye sons of
Dhritarashtra of little foresight, ye wicked fellows, enjoy your

success. The gods are certainly auspicious to you. But ye wicked

ye are alive yet, only because Yudhishthira doth not command me to take
your lives. Else this very day, filled with wrath, I would send thee,

Duryodhana), to the of Yama (Pluto) with thy children and friends and
brothers, and Karna, and (Sakuni) the son of Suvala! But what can I do,
for, ye sinful wretches, the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the eldest of

Pandavas, is not yet angry with you?'

"Having said this, Bhima of mighty arms, fired with wrath, began to
squeeze his palms, sighing deeply in affliction. Excited again with

like an extinguished fire blazing up all on a sudden, Vrikodara once

beheld his brothers sleeping on the ground like ordinary persons

in trustfulness. And Bhima said unto himself, 'I think there is some

not far off from this forest. These all are asleep, so I will sit

And this will slake their thirst after they rise refreshed from sleep.'
Saying this, Bhima sat there awake, keeping watch over his sleeping

and brothers.'"


(Hidimva-vadha Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Not far from the place where the Pandavas were

a Rakshasa by name Hidimva dwelt on the Sala tree. Possessed of great
energy and prowess, he was a cruel cannibal of visage that was grim in
consequence of his sharp and long teeth. He was now hungry and longing

human flesh. Of long shanks and a large belly, his locks and beard were
both red in hue. His shoulders were broad like the neck of a tree; his
ears were like unto arrows, and his features were frightful. Of red

and grim visage, the monster beheld, while casting his glances around,

sons of Pandu sleeping in those woods. He was then hungry and longing

human flesh. Shaking his dry and grizzly locks and scratching them with
his fingers pointed upwards, the large-mouthed cannibal repeatedly

at the sleeping sons of Pandu yawning wistfully at times. Of huge body

great strength, of complexion like the colour of a mass of clouds, of
teeth long and sharp-pointed and face emitting a sort of lustre, he was
ever pleased with human flesh. And scenting the odour of man, he

his sister, saying, 'O sister, it is after a long time that such

food hath approached me! My mouth waters at the anticipated relish of

food. My eight teeth, so sharp-pointed and incapable of being resisted

any substance, I shall, today, after a long time, put into the most
delicious flesh. Attacking the human throat and even opening the veins,

shall (today) drink a plentiful quantity of human blood, hot and fresh

frothy. Go and ascertain who these are, lying asleep in these woods.

strong scent of man pleaseth my nostrils. Slaughtering all these men,
bring them unto me. They sleep within my territory. Thou needest have

fear from them. Do my bidding soon, for we shall then together eat

flesh, tearing off their bodies at pleasure. And after feasting to our
fill on human flesh we shall then dance together to various measures!'

"Thus addressed by Hidimva in those woods, Hidimva, the female

at the command of her brother, went, O bull of Bharata's race, to the

where the Pandavas were. And on going there, she beheld the Pandavas
asleep with their mother and the invincible Bhimasena sitting awake.

beholding Bhimasena unrivalled on earth for beauty and like unto a
vigorous Sala tree, the Rakshasa woman immediately fell in love with

and she said to herself, 'This person of hue like heated gold and of
mighty arms, of broad shoulders as the lion, and so resplendent, of

marked with three lines like a conch-shell and eyes like lotus-petals,

worthy of being my husband. I shall not obey the cruel mandate of my
brother. A woman's love for her husband is stronger than her affection

her brother. If I slay him, my brother's gratification as well as mine
will only be momentary. But if I slay him not, I can enjoy with him for
ever and ever.' Thus saying, the Rakshasa woman, capable of assuming

at will, assumed an excellent human form and began to advance with slow
steps towards Bhima of mighty arms. Decked with celestial ornaments she
advanced with smiles on her lips and a modest gait, and addressing

said, 'O bull among men, whence hast thou come here and who art thou?

besides, are these persons of celestial beauty sleeping here? Who also,

sinless one, is this lady of transcendent beauty sleeping so trustfully

these woods as if she were lying in her own chamber? Dost thou not know
that this forest is the abode of a Rakshasa. Truly do I say, here

the wicked Rakshasa called Hidimva. Ye beings of celestial beauty, I

been sent hither even by that Rakshasa--my brother--with the cruel

of killing you for his food. But I tell thee truly that beholding thee
resplendent as a celestial, I would have none else for my husband save
thee! Thou who art acquainted with all duties, knowing this, do unto me
what is proper. My heart as well as my body hath been pierced by (the
shafts of) Kama (Cupid). O, as I am desirous of obtaining thee, make me
thine. O thou of mighty arms, I will rescue thee from the Rakshasa who
eateth human flesh. O sinless one, be thou my husband. We shall then

on the breasts of mountains inaccessible to ordinary mortals. I can

the air and I do so at pleasure. Thou mayest enjoy great felicity with

in those regions.'

"Hearing these words of hers, Bhima replied, 'O Rakshasa woman, who

like a Muni having all his passions under control, abandon his sleeping
mother and elder and younger brothers? What man like me would go to
gratify his lust, leaving his sleeping mother and brothers as food for


"The Rakshasa woman replied, 'O, awaken all these, I shall do unto you

that is agreeable to thee! I shall certainly rescue you all from my
cannibal brother.'

"Bhima then said, 'O Rakshasa woman, I will not, from fear of thy

brother, awaken my brothers and mother sleeping comfortably in the

O timid one, Rakshasas are never able to bear the prowess of my arms.

O thou of handsome eyes, neither men, nor Gandharvas, nor Yakshas are

to bear my might. O amiable one, thou mayst stay or go as thou likest,

mayst even send thy cannibal brother, O thou of delicate shape. I care


(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hidimva, the chief of the Rakshasas, seeing that

sister returned not soon enough, alighted from the tree, proceeded

to the spot where the Pandavas were. Of red eyes and strong arms and

arms and the hair of his head standing erect, of large open mouth and

like unto a mass of dark clouds, teeth long and sharp-pointed, he was
terrible to behold. And Hidimva, beholding her brother of frightful

alight from the tree, became very much alarmed, and addressing Bhima

'The wicked cannibal is coming hither in wrath. I entreat thee, do with
thy brothers, as I bid thee. O thou of great courage, as I am endued

the powers of a Rakshasa, I am capable of going whithersoever I like.
Mount ye on my hips, I will carry you all through the skies. And, O
chastiser of foes, awaken these and thy mother sleeping in comfort.

them all on my body, I will convey you through the skies.'

"Bhima then said, 'O thou of fair hips, fear not anything. I am sure

as long as I am here, there is no Rakshasa capable of injuring any of
these, O thou of slender waist. I will slay this (cannibal) before thy
very eyes. This worst of Rakshasas, O timid one, is no worthy

of mine, nor can all the Rakshasas together bear the strength of my

Behold these strong arms of mine, each like unto the trunk of an

Behold also these thighs of mine like unto iron maces, and this broad

adamantine chest. O beautiful one, thou shall today behold my prowess

unto that of Indra. O thou of fair hips, hate me not, thinking that I

am a

"Hidimva replied saying, 'O tiger among men, O thou of the beauty of a
celestial, I do not certainly hold thee in contempt. But I have seen

prowess that Rakshasas exert upon men.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, the wrathful Rakshasa eating
human flesh heard these words of Bhima who had been talking in that

And Hidimva beheld his sister disguised in human form, her head decked
with garlands of flowers and her face like the full moon and her

and nose and eyes and ringlets all of the handsomest description, and

nails and complexion of the most delicate hue, and herself wearing

kind of ornament and attired in fine transparent robes. The cannibal,
beholding her in that charming human form, suspected that she was

of carnal intercourse and became indignant. And, O best of the Kurus,
becoming angry with his sister, the Rakshasa dilated his eyes and
addressing her said, 'What senseless creature wishes to throw obstacles

my path now that I am so hungry? Hast thou become so senseless, O

that thou fearest not my wrath? Fie on thee, thou unchaste woman! Thou

even now desirous of carnal intercourse and solicitous of doing me an
injury. Thou art ready to sacrifice the good name and honour of all the
Rakshasas, thy ancestors! Those with whose aid thou wouldst do me this
great injury, I will, even now, slay along with thee.' Addressing his
sister thus, Hidimva, with eyes red with anger and teeth pressing

teeth, ran at her to kill her then and there. But beholding him rush at
his sister, Bhima, that foremost of smiter, endued with great energy,
rebuked him and said, 'Stop--Stop!'"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Bhima, beholding the Rakshasa angry with

sister, smiled (in derision), and said, addressing him, 'O Hidimva,

need is there for thee to awaken these persons sleeping so comfortably?

wicked cannibal, approach me first without loss of time. Smite me

it behoveth thee not to kill a woman, especially when she hath been

against instead of sinning. This girl is scarcely responsible for her

in desiring intercourse with me. She hath, in this, been moved by the
deity of desire that pervadeth every living form. Thou wicked wretch

the most infamous of Rakshasas, thy sister came here at thy command.
Beholding my person, she desireth me. In that the timid girl doth no
injury to thee. It is the deity of desire that hath offended. It

thee not to injure her for this offence. O wicked wretch, thou shalt

slay a woman when I am here. Come with me, O cannibal, and fight with
myself singly. Singly shall I send thee today to the abode of Yama

O Rakshasa, let thy head today, pressed by my might, be pounded to

as though pressed by the tread of a mighty elephant. When thou art

by me on the field of battle, let herons and hawks and jackals tear in
glee thy limbs today on the ground. In a moment I shall today make this
forest destitute of Rakshasas,--this forest that had so long been ruled

thee, devourer of human beings! Thy sister, O Rakshasa, shall today

thyself, huge though thou art like a mountain, like a huge elephant
repeatedly dragged by a lion. O worst of Rakshasas, thyself slain by

men ranging these woods will henceforth do so safely and without fear.'

"Hearing these words, Hidimva said, 'What need is there, O man, for

thy vaunt and this thy boast? Accomplish all this first, and then mayst
thou vaunt indeed. Therefore, delay thou not. Thou knowest thyself to

strong and endued with prowess, so thou shalt rightly estimate thy
strength today in thy encounter with me. Until that, I will not slay

(thy brothers). Let them sleep comfortably. But I will, as thou art a

and the utterer of evil speeches, slay thee first. After drinking thy
blood, I will slay these also, and then last of all, this (sister of

that hath done me an injury.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, the cannibal, extending his arms
ran in wrath towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes. Then Bhima of
terrible prowess quickly seized, as though in sport, with great force,

extended arms of the Rakshasa who had rushed at him. Then seizing the
struggling Rakshasa with violence, Bhima dragged him from that spot

thirty-two cubits like a lion dragging a little animal. Then the

thus made to feel the weight of Bhima's strength, became very angry and
clasping the Pandava, sent forth a terrible yell. The mighty Bhima then
dragged with force the Rakshasa to a greater distance, lest his yells
should awaken his brothers sleeping in comfort. Clasping and dragging

other with great force, both Hidimva and Bhimasena put forth their

Fighting like two full-grown elephants mad with rage, they then began

break down the trees and tear the creepers that grew around. And at

sounds, those tigers among men (the sleeping Pandavas) woke up with

mother, and saw Hidimva sitting before them.'"


(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Roused from sleep, those tigers among men, with

mother, beholding the extraordinary beauty of Hidimva, were filled with
wonder. And Kunti, gazing at her with wonder at her beauty, addressed

sweetly and gave her every assurance. She asked, 'O thou of the

of a daughter of the celestials, whose art thou and who art thou? O

of the fairest complexion, on what business hast thou come hither and
whence hast thou come? If thou art the deity of these woods or an

tell me all regarding thyself and also why thou stayest here?'

Hidimva replied, 'This extensive forest that thou seest, of the hue of
blue cloud, is the abode of a Rakshasa of the name of Hidimva. O

lady, know me as the sister of that chief of the Rakshasa. Revered

dame, I
had been sent by that brother of mine to kill thee with all thy

But on arriving here at the command of that cruel brother of mine, I
beheld thy mighty son. Then, O blessed lady, I was brought under the
control of thy son by the deity of love who pervadeth the nature of

being, and I then (mentally) chose that mighty son of thine as my

I tried my best to convey you hence, but I could not (because of thy

opposition). Then the cannibal, seeing my delay, came hither to kill

these thy children. But he hath been dragged hence with force by that
mighty and intelligent son of thine--my husband. Behold now that

man and Rakshasa--both endued with great strength and prowess, engaged

combat, grinding each other and filling the whole region with their

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words of hers, Yudhishthira
suddenly rose up and Arjuna also and Nakula and Sahadeva of great

and they beheld Bhima and the Rakshasa already engaged in fight, eager

overcome each other and dragging each other with great force, like two
lions endued with great might. The dust raised by their feet in
consequence of that encounter looked like the smoke of a forest-
conflagration. Covered with that dust their huge bodies resembled two

cliffs enveloped in mist. Then Arjuna, beholding Bhima rather oppressed

the fight by the Rakshasa, slowly, said with smiles on his lips, 'Fear

O Bhima of mighty arms! We (had been asleep and therefore) knew not

thou wast engaged with a terrible Rakshasa and tired in fight. Here do

stand to help thee, let me slay the Rakshasa, and let Nakula and

protect our mother.' Hearing him, Bhima said, 'Look on this encounter,

brother, like a stranger. Fear not for the result. Having come within

reach of my arms, he shall not escape with life.' Then Arjuna said,

need, O Bhima, for keeping the Rakshasa alive so long? O oppressor of
enemies, we are to go hence, and cannot stay here longer. The east is
reddening, the morning twilight is about to set in. The Rakshasa became
stronger by break of day, therefore, hasten, O Bhima! Play not (with

victim), but slay the terrible Rakshasa soon. During the two twilights
Rakshasas always put forth their powers of deception. Use all the

of thy arms.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'At this speech of Arjuna, Bhima blazing up

anger, summoned the might that Vayu (his father) puts forth at the time

the universal dissolution. And filled with rage, he quickly raised high

the air the Rakshasa's body, blue as the clouds of heaven, and whirled

a hundred times. Then addressing the cannibal, Bhima said, 'O Rakshasa,
thy intelligence was given thee in vain, and in vain hast thou grown

thriven on unsanctified flesh. Thou deservest, therefore, an unholy

and I shall reduce thee today to nothing. I shall make this forest

today, like one without prickly plants. And, O Rakshasa, thou shalt no
longer slay human beings for thy food.' Arjuna at this juncture, said,

Bhima, if thou thinkest it a hard task for thee to overcome this

in combat, let me render thee help, else, slay him thyself without loss

time. Or, O Vrikodara, let me alone slay the Rakshasa. Thou art tired,

hast almost finished the affair. Well dost thou deserve rest.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Bhima was

with rage and dashing the Rakshasa on the ground with all his might

him as if he were an animal. The Rakshasa, while dying, sent forth a
terrible yell that filled the whole forest, and was deep as the sound

of a
wet drum. Then the mighty Bhima, holding the body with his hands, bent

double, and breaking it in the middle, greatly gratified his brothers.
Beholding Hidimva slain, they became exceedingly glad and lost no time

offering their congratulations to Bhima, that chastiser of all foes.

Arjuna worshipping the illustrious Bhima of terrible prowess, addressed
him again and said, 'Revered senior, I think there is a town not far

from this forest. Blest be thou, let us go hence soon, so that

may not trace us.'

"Then all those mighty car-warriors, those tigers among men, saying,

be it,' proceeded along with their mother, followed by Hidimva, the
Rakshasa woman.'"


(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressed
her, saying, 'Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adopting
deceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O

go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.' Then Yudhishthira
beholding Bhima in rage, said, 'O Bhima, O tiger among men, however
enraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is a
higher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with the
object of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sister

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

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti and
her son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, 'O revered lady,

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

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

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

for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is now come,
when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends and
relations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen this
son of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, O
illustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either,

will no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairest
complexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as

silly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thy
son, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me

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

bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come to you
immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I will rescue

from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and uneven regions.

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

be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath been said that in

season of distress one should protect one's life by any means. He, that
seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple about the means. He,
that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is the foremost of
virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger to virtue and
virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore is virtue
called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or the
observance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.'

"Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. 'It is even so, O
Hidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of

waist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hath
washed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual

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

as thou likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed of
the mind! But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day at night-

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all that
Yudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, 'Listen to me, O Rakshasa
woman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay with
thee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.' Then

saying, 'So be it,' took Bhima upon her body and sped through the

On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the

abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of feathered
tribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornament
and pouring forth at times mellifluous strains, Hidimva sported with

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

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

resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and their pebbly
banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks and mountain-currents, in
picturesque woods with blossoming trees and creepers in Himalayan

and various caves, on crystal pools smiling with lotuses, on sea-shores
shining with gold and pearls, in beautiful towns and fine gardens, in
woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, in the regions of Guhyakas

ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovara abounding with fruits and

of every season Hidimva, assuming the handsomest form, sported with

and studied to make him happy. Endued with the speed of the mind, she
sported with Bhima in all these regions, till in time, she conceived

brought forth a mighty son begotten upon her by the Pandava. Of

eyes and large mouth and straight arrowy ears, the child was terrible

behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharp teeth and loud roar, of

arms and great strength and excessive prowess, this child became a

bowman. Of long nose, broad chest, frightfully swelling calves,

of motion and excessive strength, he had nothing human in his

though born of man. And he excelled (in strength and prowess) all

and kindred tribes as well as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a
little child, he grew up a youth the very hour he was born. The mighty
hero soon acquired high proficiency in the use of all weapons. The
Rakshasa women bring forth the very day they conceive, and capable of
assuming any forms at will, they always change their forms. And the

headed child, that mighty bowman, soon after his birth, bowing down to

mother, touched her feet and the feet also of his father. His parents

bestowed upon him a name. His mother having remarked that his head was
(bald) like unto a Ghata (water-pot), both his parents thereupon called
him Ghatotkacha (the pot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly
devoted to the Pandavas, became a great favourite with them, indeed

one of them.

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

come to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment with
them went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha also--that
foremost of Rakshasas--promising unto his father that he would come

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

the illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) the
mighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of

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

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


(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the heroic Pandavas,

went, O king, from forest to forest killing deer and many animals (for
their food). And in the course of their wanderings they saw the

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

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

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

Indeed, with Kunti in their company those illustrious heroes were

in the garbs of ascetics. And those mighty car-warriors sometimes
proceeded in haste, carrying their mother on their backs; and sometimes
they proceeded in disguise, and sometimes again with great celerity.

they used to study the Rik and the other Vedas and also all the

as well as the sciences of morals and politics. And the Pandavas,
conversant with the science of morals, met, in course of their

their grandfather (Vyasa). And saluting the illustrious Krishna-

those chastisers of enemies, with their mother, stood before him with
joined hands.'

"Vyasa then said, 'Ye bulls of Bharata's race, I knew beforehand of

affliction of yours consisting in your deceitful exile by the son of
Dhritarashtra. Knowing this, I have come to you, desirous of doing you
some great good. Do not grieve for what hath befallen you. Know that

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

are all equal in my eye. But men are always partial to those who are in
misfortune or of tender years. It is therefore, that my affection for

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

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

danger can overtake you. Live ye there in disguise, waiting for my

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, thus comforting

Pandavas, led them into the town of Ekachakra. And the master also
comforted Kunti, saying, 'Live, O daughter! This son of thine,
Yudhishthira, ever devoted to truth, this illustrious bull among men,
having by his justice conquered the whole world, will rule over all the
other monarchs of the earth. There is little doubt that, having by

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

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

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

their dominions. These tigers among men will also perform various
sacrifices, such as the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice, in which the
presents unto the Brahmanas are very large. And these thy sons will

their ancestral kingdom, maintaining their friends and relatives in

and affluence and happiness.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words Vyasa introduced them into

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

of the Pandavas, said, 'Wait here for me! I will come back to you! By
adapting yourselves to the country and the occasion you will succeed in
becoming very happy.'

"Then, O king, the Pandavas with joined hands said unto the Rishi, 'So

it.' And the illustrious master, the Rishi Vyasa, then went away to the
region whence he had come.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva)

"Janamejaya asked, 'O first of Brahmanas, what did the Pandavas, those
mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, do after arriving at


"Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, on
arriving at Ekachakra, lived for a short time in the abode of a

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

various delightful forests and earthly regions, and many rivers and

and they became great favourites of the inhabitants of that town in
consequence of their own accomplishments. At nightfall they placed

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

the whole amongst them, each taking what was allotted to him. And those
heroic chastisers of foes, with their mother, together took one moiety

the whole, while the mighty Bhima alone took the other moiety. In this

O bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Pandavas lived there for some

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

mendicancy, it so happened that Bhima was (at home) with (his mother)
Pritha. That day, O Bharata, Kunti heard a loud and heart-rending wail

sorrow coming from within the apartments of the Brahmana. Hearing the
inmates of the Brahmana's house wailing and indulging in piteous
lamentations, Kunti, O king, from compassion and the goodness of her

could not bear it with indifference. Afflicted with sorrow, the amiable
Pritha, addressing Bhima, said these words full of compassion. 'Our

assuaged, we are, O son, living happily in the house of this Brahmana,
respected by him and unknown to Dhritarashtra's son. O son, I always

of the good I should do to this Brahmana, like what they do that live
happily in others' abodes! O child, he is a true man upon whom favours

never lost. He payeth back to others more than what he receiveth at

hands. There is no doubt, some affliction hath overtaken this Brahmana.

we could be of any help to him, we should then be requiting his


"Hearing these words of his mother, Bhima said, 'Ascertain, O mother

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

all about it, relieve it I will however difficult may the task prove.'

"Vaisampayana continued 'While mother and son were thus talking with

other, they heard again, O king, another wail of sorrow proceeding from
the Brahmana and his wife. Then Kunti quickly entered the inner

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

calf. She beheld the Brahmana with his wife, son and daughter, sitting
with a woeful face, and she heard the Brahmana say, 'Oh, fie on this
earthly life which is hollow as the reed and so fruitless after all

is based on sorrow and hath no freedom, and which hath misery for its

Life is sorrow and disease; life is truly a record of misery! The soul

one: but it hath to pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure. And because

are pursued at one and the same time, there frequently occurs a
disagreement that is the source of much misery. Some say that salvation

the highest object of our desire. But I believe it can never be

The acquisition of wealth is hell; the pursuit of wealth is attended

misery; there is more misery after one has acquired it, for one loves
one's possessions, and if any mishap befalls them, the possessor

afflicted with woe. I do not see by what means I can escape from this
danger, nor how I can fly hence, with my wife to some region free from
danger. Remember, O wife, that I endeavoured to migrate to some other
place where we would be happy, but thou didst not then listen to me.
Though frequently solicited by me, thou, O simple woman, said to me, 'I
have been born here, and here have I grown old; this is my ancestral
homestead.' Thy venerable father, O wife, and thy mother also, have, a
long time ago, ascended to heaven. Thy relations also had all been

Oh why then didst thou yet like to live here? Led by affection for thy
relatives thou didst not then hear what I said. But the time is now

when thou art to witness the death of a relative. Oh, how sad is that
spectacle for me! Or perhaps the time is come for my own death, for I
shall never be able to abandon cruelly one of my own as long as I

am alive. Thou art my helpmate in all good deeds, self-denying and

affectionate unto me as a mother. The gods have given thee to me as a

friend and thou art ever my prime stay. Thou hast, by my parents, been
made the participator in my domestic concerns. Thou art of pure lineage
and good disposition, the mother of children, devoted to me, and so
innocent; having chosen and wedded thee with due rites, I cannot

thee, my wife, so constant in thy vows, to save my life. How shall I
myself be able to sacrifice my son a child of tender years and yet

the hirsute appendages (of manhood)? How shall I sacrifice my daughter
whom I have begotten myself, who hath been placed, as a pledge, in my
hands by the Creator himself for bestowal on a husband and through whom

hope to enjoy, along with my ancestors, the regions attainable by those
only that have daughters' sons? Some people think that the father's
affection for a son is greater; others, that his affection for a

is greater; mine, however, is equal. How can I be prepared to give up

innocent daughter upon whom rest the regions of bliss obtainable by me

after life and my own lineage and perpetual happiness? If, again, I
sacrifice myself and go to the other world, I should scarcely know any
peace, for, indeed, it is evident that, left by me these would not be

to support life. The sacrifice of any of these would be cruel and
censurable. On the other hand, if I sacrifice myself, these, without

will certainly perish. The distress into which I have fallen is great;

do I know the means of escape. Alas, what course shall I take today

my near ones. It is well that I should die with all these, for I can

no longer.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

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

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

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

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

and daughter, all these are sought for one's own self. As thou art
possessed of a good understanding, kill thou thy sorrows. I will myself

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

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

an act done by me will make thee happy, and bring me fame in this world
and eternal bliss hereafter. This, indeed, is the highest virtue that I
tell thee, and thou mayest, by this, acquire both virtue and happiness.
The object for which one desireth a wife hath already been achieved by
thee through me. I have borne thee a daughter and a son and thus been
freed from the debt I had owed thee. Thou art well able to support and
cherish the children, but I however, can never support and cherish them
like thee. Thou art my life, wealth, and lord; bereft of thee, how

these children of tender years--how also shall I myself, exist? Widowed
and masterless, with two children depending on me, how shall I, without
thee, keep alive the pair, myself leading an honest life? If the

of thine is solicited (in marriage) by persons dishonourable and vain

unworthy of contracting an alliance with thee, how shall I be able to
protect the girl? Indeed, as birds seek with avidity for meat that hath
been thrown away on the ground, so do men solicit a woman that hath

her husband. O best of Brahmanas, solicited by wicked men, I may waver

may not be able to continue in the path that is desired by all honest

How shall I be able to place this sole daughter of thy house--this
innocent girl--in the way along which her ancestors have always walked?
How shall I then be able to impart unto this child every desirable
accomplishment to make him virtuous as thyself, in that season of want
when I shall become masterless? Overpowering myself who shall be
masterless, unworthy persons will demand (the hand of) this daughter of
thine, like Sudras desiring to hear the Vedas. And if I bestow not upon
them this girl possessing thy blood and qualities, they may even take

away by force, like crows carrying away the sacrificial butter. And
beholding thy son become so unlike to thee, and thy daughter placed

the control of some unworthy persons, I shall be despised in the world

even persons that are dishonourable, and I will certainly die. These
children also, bereft of me and thee, their father, will, I doubt not,
perish like fish when the water drieth up. There is no doubt that

of thee the three will perish: therefore it behoveth thee to sacrifice

O Brahmana, persons conversant with morals have said that for women

have borne children, to predecease their lords is an act of the highest
merit. Ready am I to abandon this son and this daughter, these my
relations, and life itself, for thee. For a woman to be ever employed

doing agreeable offices to her lord is a higher duty than sacrifices,
asceticism, vows, and charities of every description. The act,

which I intend to perform is consonant with the highest virtue and is

thy good and that of thy race. The wise have declared that children and
relatives and wife and all things held dear are cherished for the

of liberating one's self from danger and distress. One must guard one's
wealth for freeing one's self from danger, and it is by his wealth that

should cherish and protect his wife. But he must protect his own self

by (means of) his wife and his wealth. The learned have enunciated the
truth that one's wife, son, wealth, and house, are acquired with the
intention of providing against accidents, foreseen or unforeseen. The

have also said that all one's relations weighed against one's own self
would not be equal unto one's self. Therefore, revered sir, protect thy
own self by abandoning me. O, give me leave to sacrifice myself, and
cherish thou my children. Those that are conversant with the morals

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

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

is certain that the Rakshasa will kill a man, it is doubtful whether he
will kill a woman. It behoveth thee, therefore, being conversant with

rules of morality, to place me before the Rakshasa. I have enjoyed much
happiness, have obtained much that is agreeable to me, and have also
acquired great religious merit. I have also obtained from thee children
that are so dear to me. Therefore, it grieveth not me to die. I have

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

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

abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife. By her thou mayest again
acquire religious merit. There is no sin in this. For a man polygamy is

act of merit, but for a woman it is very sinful to betake herself to a
second husband after the first. Considering all this, and remembering

that sacrifice of thy own self is censurable, O, liberate today without
loss of time thy own self, thy race, and these thy children (by


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by her, O Bharata, the

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


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'On hearing these words of her afflicted parents,

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

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

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

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

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

Men desire to have children, thinking that children would save them (in
this world as well as in the region hereafter). O, cross the stream of
your difficulties by means of my poor self, as if I were a raft. A

rescueth his parents in this and the other regions; therefore is the

called by the learned Putra (rescuer). The ancestors desire daughter's
sons from me (as a special means of salvation). But (without waiting

my children) I myself will rescue them by protecting the life of my

This my brother is of tender years, so there is little doubt that he

perish if thou diest now. If thou, my father, diest and my brother
followeth thee, the funeral cake of the Pitris will be suspended and

will be greatly injured. Left behind by my father and brother, and by

mother also (for she will not survive her husband and son) I shall be
plunged deeper and deeper in woe and ultimately perish in great

There can be little doubt that if thou escape from this danger as also

mother and infant brother, then thy race and the (ancestral) cake will

perpetuated. The son is one's own self; the wife is one's friend; the
daughter, however, is the source of trouble. Do thou save thyself,
therefore, by removing that source of trouble, and do thou thereby set

in the path of virtue. As I am a girl, O father, destitute of thee, I
shall be helpless and plunged in woe, and shall have to go everywhere.

is therefore that I am resolved to rescue my father's race and share

merit of that act by accomplishing this difficult task. If thou, O best

Brahmanas, goest thither (unto the Rakshasa), leaving me here, then I
shall be very much pained. Therefore, O father, be kind to me. O thou

of men, for our sake, for that of virtue and also thy race, save

abandoning me, whom at one time thou shall be constrained to part from.
There need be no delay, O father, in doing that which is inevitable.

can be more painful than that, when thou hast ascended to heaven, we

have to go about begging our food, like dogs, from strangers. But if

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

in the region of the celestials. It hath been heard by us that if after
bestowing thy daughter in this way, thou offerest oblations to the gods
and the celestials, they will certainly be propitious.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Brahmana and his wife, hearing these

lamentations of their daughter, became sadder than before and the three
began to weep together. Their son, then, of tender years, beholding

and their daughter thus weeping together, lisped these words in a sweet
tone, his eyes having dilated with delight, 'Weep not, O father, nor

O mother, nor thou O sister!' And smilingly did the child approach each

them, and at last taking up a blade of grass said in glee, 'With this

I slay the Rakshasa who eateth human beings!' Although all of them had
been plunged in woe, yet hearing what the child lisped so sweetly, joy
appeared on their faces. Then Kunti thinking that to be the proper
opportunity, approached the group and said these words. Indeed, her

revived them as nectar reviveth a person that is dead.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued

"Kunti said, 'I desire to learn from you the cause of this grief, for I
will remove it, if possible.'

"The Brahmana replied, 'O thou of ascetic wealth, thy speech is, indeed
worthy of thee. But this grief is incapable of being removed by any

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

which cannibal is the lord of this country and town. Thriving on human
flesh, that wretched Rakshasa endued with great strength ruleth this
country. He being the chief of the Asuras, this town and the country in
which it is situate are protected by his might. We have no fear from

machinations of any enemy, or indeed from any living soul. The fee,
however, fixed for that cannibal is his food, which consists of a cart-
load of rice, two buffaloes, and a human being who conveyeth them unto

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

however, cometh to a particular family at intervals of many long years.

there are any that seek to avoid it, the Rakshasa slayeth them with

children and wives and devoureth them all. There is, in this country, a
city called Vetrakiya, where liveth the king of these territories. He

ignorant of the science of government, and possessed of little
intelligence, he adopts not with care any measure by which these
territories may be rendered safe for all time to come. But we certainly
deserve it all, inasmuch as we live within the dominion of that

and weak monarch in perpetual anxiety. Brahmanas can never be made to
dwell permanently within the dominions of any one, for they are

on nobody, they live rather like birds ranging all countries in perfect
freedom. It hath been said that one must secure a (good) king, then a

and then wealth. It is by the acquisition of these three that one can
rescue his relatives and sons. But as regards the acquisition of these
three, the course of my actions hath been the reverse. Hence, plunged

a sea of danger, am suffering sorely. That turn, destructive of one's
family, hath now devolved upon me. I shall have to give unto the

as his fee the food of the aforesaid description and one human being to
boot. I have no wealth to buy a man with. I cannot by any means consent

part with any one of my family, nor do I see any way of escape from

clutches of) that Rakshasa. I am now sunk in an ocean of grief from

there is no escape. I shall go to that Rakshasa today, attended by all

family in order that that wretch might devour us all at once.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Kunti said, 'Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger.

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

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

and helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or even
thyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, let

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

"Hearing this, the Brahmana replied, 'To save my own life I shall never
suffer this to be done. I shall never sacrifice, to save myself, the

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

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

that one should sacrifice one's self and one's offspring for the

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

When I have to choose between the death of a Brahmana and that of my

I would prefer the latter. The killing of a Brahmana is the highest

and there is no expiation for it. I think a reluctant sacrifice of

own self is better than the reluctant sacrifice of a Brahmana. O

lady, in sacrificing myself I do not become guilty of self-destruction.

sin can attach to me when another will take my life. But if I

consent to the death of a Brahmana, it would be a cruel and sinful act,
from the consequence of which there is no escape. The learned have said
that the abandonment of one who hath come to thy house or sought thy
protection, as also the killing of one who seeketh death at thy hands,

both cruel and sinful. The illustrious among those conversant with
practices allowable in seasons of distress, have before now said that

should never perform an act that is cruel and censurable. It is well

me that I should today perish myself with my wife, but I would never
sanction the death of a Brahmana.'

"Kunti said, 'I too am firmly of opinion, O Brahmana, that Brahmanas
should ever be protected. As regards myself, no son of mine would be

dear to me even if I had a hundred instead of the five I have. But this
Rakshasa will not be able to kill my son, for that son of mine is

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

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

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

in combat with my heroic son and killed too by him. But, O Brahmana, do
not disclose this fact to anybody, for if it be known, persons desirous

obtaining this power, will, from curiosity, always trouble my sons. The
wise have said that if my son imparteth any knowledge, without the

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

to profit by that knowledge.'

"Thus addressed by Pritha, the Brahmana with his wife became

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

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

asked him to accomplish (that difficult task). Bhima replied unto them,
saying, 'So be it.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhima had pledged himself to accomplish the
task, saying, 'I will do it,' the Pandavas, O Bharata, returned home

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

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

had undertaken to accomplish. Sitting by the side of his mother,
Yudhishthira asked her in private, 'What is the task, O mother, that

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

of his own accord?' Kunti replied, 'Bhima, that chastiser of foes, will

my command, do this great deed for the good of the Brahmana and the
liberation of this town.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'What rash act hast thou done, O mother! It is
difficult of being performed and almost amounteth to suicide! The

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

wish to sacrifice thy own child for the sake of another's? Thou hast, O
mother, by this abandonment of thy child, acted not only against the
course of human practices but also against the teachings of the Vedas.
That Bhima, relying on whose arms we sleep happily in the night and

to recover the kingdom of which we have been deprived by the covetous

of Dhritarashtra, that hero of immeasurable energy, remembering whose
prowess Duryodhana and Sakuni do not sleep a wink during the whole

and by whose prowess we were rescued from the palace of lac and various
other dangers, that Bhima who caused the death of Purochana, and

on whose might we regard ourselves as having already slain the sons of
Dhritarashtra and acquired the whole earth with all her wealth, upon

considerations, O mother, hast thou resolved upon abandoning him? Hast
thou been deprived of thy reason? Hath thy understanding been clouded

the calamities thou hast undergone?'

"On hearing these words of her son, Kunti said, 'O Yudhishthira, thou
needst not be at all anxious on account of Vrikodara. I have not come

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

with our sorrows assuaged, we have, O son, been living in the house of
this Brahmana, unknown to the sons of Dhritarashtra. For requiting, O

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

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

than the measure of the services he receiveth. Beholding the prowess of
Bhima on the occasion of (our escape from) the house of lac, and from

destruction also of Hidimva, my confidence in Vrikodara is great. The
might of Bhima's arms is equal unto that of ten thousand elephants. It

therefore, that he succeeded in carrying you all, each heavy as an
elephant, from Varanavata. There is no one on earth equal unto Bhima in
might; he may even overcome that foremost of warriors, the holder of

thunderbolt himself. Soon after his birth he fell from my lap on the
breast of the mountain. By the weight of his body the mass of stone on
which he fell down broke in pieces. From this also, O son of Pandu, I

come to know Bhima's might. For this reason have I resolved to set him
against the Brahmana's foe. I have not acted in this from foolishness

ignorance or from motive of gain. I have deliberately resolved to do

virtuous deed. By this act, O Yudhishthira, two objects will be
accomplished; one is a requital of the services rendered by the

and the other is the acquisition of high religious merit. It is my
conviction that the Kshatriya who rendereth help unto a Brahmana in
anything acquireth regions of bliss hereafter. So also a Kshatriya who
saveth the life of a Kshatriya achieveth that great fame in this world

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

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

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

in his next life he receiveth his birth in a royal line, commanding
prosperity and the respect of other kings. O scion of Puru's race, the
illustrious Vyasa of wisdom acquired by hard ascetic toil told me so in
bygone days. It is therefore, that I have resolved upon accomplishing


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Having heard these words of his mother, Yudhishthira said, 'What thou,

mother, hast deliberately done, moved by compassion for the afflicted
Brahmana, is, indeed, excellent. Bhima will certainly come back with

after having slain the cannibal, inasmuch as thou art, O mother, always
compassionate unto Brahmanas. But tell the Brahmana, O mother, that he
doth not do anything whereby the dwellers in this town may know all

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

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, when the night passed away, Bhimasena,

son of Pandu, taking with him the Rakshasa's food set out for the place
where the cannibal lived. The mighty son of Pandu, approaching the

where the Rakshasa dwelt, began to eat himself the food he carried,
calling loudly to the Rakshasa by name. The Rakshasa, inflamed with

at Bhima's words, came out and approached the place where Bhima was.

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

was terrible to behold, and he came, pressing deep the earth with his
tread. The opening of his mouth, was from ear to ear and his ears
themselves were straight as arrows. Of grim visage, he had a forehead
furrowed into three lines. Beholding Bhima eating his food, the

advanced, biting his nether lip and expanding his eyes in wrath. And
addressing Bhima he said, 'Who is this fool, who desiring to go to the
abode of Yama, eateth in my very sight the food intended for me?'

these words, Bhima, O Bharata, smiled in derision and disregarding the
Rakshasa, continued eating with averted face. Beholding this, the

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

to kill him, there and then. Even then disregarding the Rakshasa and
casting only a single glance at him, Vrikodara, that slayer of hostile
heroes continued to eat the Rakshasa's food. Filled with wrath at this,
the Rakshasa struck from behind with both his arms a heavy blow on the
back of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti. But Bhima, though struck heavily

the mighty Rakshasa, with both his hands, did not even look up at the
Rakshasa but continued to eat as before. Then the mighty Rakshasa,
inflamed with wrath, tore up a tree and ran at Bhima for striking him
again. Meanwhile the mighty Bhima, that bull among men had leisurely

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

Then, O Bharata, possessed of great energy, Bhima, smiling in derision,
caught with his left hand the tree hurled at him by the Rakshasa in

Then that mighty Rakshasa, tearing up many more trees, hurled them at
Bhima, and the Pandava also hurled as many at the Rakshasa. Then, O

the combat with trees between that human being and the Rakshasa, became

terrible that the region around soon became destitute of trees. Then

Rakshasa, saying that he was none else than Vaka, sprang upon the

and seized the mighty Bhima with his arms. That mighty hero also

with his own strong arms the strong-armed Rakshasa, and exerting

actively, began to drag him violently. Dragged by Bhima and dragging

also, the cannibal was overcome with great fatigue. The earth began to
tremble in consequence of the strength they both exerted, and large

that stood there broke in pieces. Then Bhima, beholding the cannibal
overcome with fatigue, pressed him down on the earth with his knees and
began to strike him with great force. Then placing one knee on the

of the Rakshasa's back, Bhima seized his neck with his right hand and

cloth on his waist with his left, and bent him double with great force.
The cannibal then roared frightfully. And, O monarch, he also began to
vomit blood while he was being thus broken on Bhima's knee.'"


(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said 'Then Vaka, huge as a mountain, thus broken (on

knee), died, uttering frightful yells. Terrified by these sounds, the
relatives of that Rakshasa came out, O king, with their attendants.

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

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

not ever again kill human beings. If ye kill men, ye will have to die

as Vaka.' Those Rakshasas hearing this speech of Bhima, said, 'So be

and gave, O king, the desired promise. From that day, O Bharata, the
Rakshasas (of the region) were seen by the inhabitants of that town to

very peaceful towards mankind. Then Bhima, dragging the lifeless

placed him at one of the gates of the town and went away unobserved by

one. The kinsmen of Vaka, beholding him slain by the might of Bhima,
became frightened and fled in different directions.

"Meanwhile Bhima, having slain the Rakshasa, returned to the Brahmana's
abode and related to Yudhishthira all that had happened, in detail. The
next morning the inhabitants of the town in coming out saw the Rakshasa
lying dead on the ground, his body covered with blood. Beholding that
terrible cannibal, huge as a mountain cliff, thus mangled and lying on

ground, the hair of the spectators stood erect. Returning to Ekachakra,
they soon gave the intelligence. Then, O king, the citizens by

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

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

feat. Instantly, O monarch, they began to pray to their gods. Then they
began to calculate whose turn it had been the day before to carry food

the Rakshasa. And ascertaining this, they all came to that Brahmana and
asked him (to satisfy their curiosity). Thus asked by them repeatedly,
that bull among Brahmanas, desirous of concealing the Pandavas, said

words unto all the citizens, 'A certain high-souled Brahmana, skilled

mantras, beheld me weeping with my relatives after I had been ordered

supply the Rakshasa's food. Asking me the cause and ascertaining the
distress of the town, that first of Brahmanas gave me every assurance

with smiles said, 'I shall carry the food for that wretched Rakshasa

Do not fear for me.' Saying this he conveyed the food towards the

of Vaka. This deed, so beneficial unto us all, hath very certainly been
done by him.'

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

much. And the Vaisyas and the Sudras also became exceedingly glad, and
they all established a festival in which the worship of Brahmanas was

principal ceremony (in remembrance of this Brahmana who had relieved

from their fears of Vaka)."


(Chaitraratha Parva)

"After this citizens returned to their respective houses and the

continued to dwell at Ekachakra as before."

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, what did those tigers among men, the
Pandavas, do after they had slain the Rakshasa Vaka?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, O king, after slaying the Rakshasa

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

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

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

among Brahmanas, ever hospitable unto all guests, worshipping the

arrived Brahmana with due ceremonies, gave him quarters in his own

Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, with their mother Kunti,
solicited the new lodger to narrate to them his interesting

The Brahmana spake to them of various countries and shrines and (holy)
rivers, of kings and many wonderful provinces and cities. And after

narration was over, that Brahmana, O Janamejaya, also spoke of the
wonderful self-choice of Yajnasena's daughter, the princes of Panchala,
and of the births of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandi, and of the birth,
without the intervention of a woman, of Krishna (Draupadi) at the great
sacrifice of Drupada.

"Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, hearing of these

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

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

to satisfy their curiosity. The Pandavas said, 'How, O Brahmana, did

birth of Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupada, take place from the
(sacrificial) fire? How also did the extraordinary birth of Krishna

place from the centre of the sacrificial platform? How also did

son learn all weapons from the great bowman Drona? And, O Brahmana, how
and for whom and for what reason was the friendship between Drona and
Drupada broken off?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus questioned, O monarch, by those bulls

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


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Brahmana said, 'At that region where the Ganga entered the plains
there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of

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

the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi,
who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were

And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing
there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of
desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as
soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi's vital fluid came

And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid thus
preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the pot-
born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches. And
Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas.

about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son named
Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata's son, going every

to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona. And after
Prishata's death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona about this
time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of his

into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth. Hearing this,
the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to retire into

woods and addressing him, said, 'O best of Brahmanas, know me to be

who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.' Rama replied, saying, 'I

given away everything. All that I now have is this body of mine and my
weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one of these two, either my
body or my weapons.' Then Drona said, 'It behoveth thee, sir, to give

all thy weapons together with (the mysteries of) their use and

"The Brahmana continued, 'Then Rama of Bhrigu's race, saying, 'So be

gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as
crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all
weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired

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

great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that
tiger among men, said, 'Know me for thy friend.' Hearing this Drupada

'One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is pure,
nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his friend.

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

therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was
extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of
humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the

called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his
grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils
for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona,

of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and

them, 'Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been

in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my
heart.' Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, 'So be it.'--
After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure aims,
demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words, 'Drupada,

son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from him his
kingdom, and give it unto me.' Then the Pandavas, defeating Drupada in
battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers, offered him

Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, 'O king, I again
solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king deserveth to

the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am resolved to divide

kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king of the country to

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

"The Brahmana continued, 'The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by

wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of all
persons conversant with weapons, these words, 'O high-souled son of
Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal

between us as thou desirest!' Thus addressing each other and

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

of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But
the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king's mind for a

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


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Brahmana continued, 'King Drupada (after this), distressed at

wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior

well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly
yearning for children, the king always said, 'Oh, I have no offspring
surpassing all in accomplishments.' And the monarch, from great
despondency, always said 'Oh, fie on those children that I have and on

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

sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much
deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the
prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona.

along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once came upon

sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no Brahmana who

not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and none who was not
virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two Brahmana sages

Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under complete control

belonging to the most superior order. They were both devoted to the

of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race of Kasyapa. And

best of Brahmanas were well able to help the king in the attainment of

object. The king then, with great assiduity and singleness of purpose,
began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas. Ascertaining the

accomplishments of the younger of the two the king courted in private
Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every desirable acquisition.
Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja, always addressing in
sweet words and offering him every object of human desire, Drupada,

worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one day), saying, 'O Upayaja,

Brahmana, if thou, performest those sacrificial rites by (virtue of)

I may obtain a son who may slay Drona, I promise thee ten thousand

or whatever else may be agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly

I ready to make gifts to thee.' Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi
replied, saying, 'I cannot (perform such rites).' But Drupada without
accepting this reply as final, once more began to serve and pay homage
unto that Brahmana. Then, after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that
first of Brahmanas, O monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said,

elder brother (Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods,
took up a fruit that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he

not to enquire about. I was following him (at the time) and observed

unworthy act of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting

impure. In accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety

sinful nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is
not very likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in

house of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always
used to eat (impure) remnants of other people's feasts. He always

approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing

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

king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.' Hearing
these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion

Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still)
worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, 'O master, perform thou

offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine! Enmity with
Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool that heart

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

in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in a contest
arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great intelligence, the
son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the Kurus. There is

Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is full six cubits

and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of slaying every

being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, habited as

Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all over the earth. Indeed,

is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the extermination of the
Kshatriya race. There is no man on earth who can overcome the terrible
force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with clarified butter,

possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with Kshatriya might,

every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma force is greater in itself
than (Drona's) Brahma force united with Kshatriya might. Therefore, as

am inferior (to Drona) in consequence of my possession of Kshatriya

alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma force, having obtained thee so
superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma. O Yaja, perform that

by means of which I may obtain a son invincible in battle and capable

slaying Drona. Ready am I to give thee ten thousand kine.' Hearing

words of Drupada, Yaja said, 'So be it.' Yaja then began to recollect

various ceremonies appertaining to the particular sacrifice. And

the affair to be a very grave one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja

coveted nothing. Then Yaja promised to perform the sacrifice for the
destruction of Drona. Then the great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king
Drupada of everything required for the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire)
from which the king was to obtain offspring. And he said, 'O king, a

shall be born unto thee, endued, as thou desirest, with great prowess,
great energy, and great strength.'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of
obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his

to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was complete)
Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the

fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O

in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!'

this, the queen said, 'O Brahmana, my mouth is yet filled with saffron

other perfumed things. My body also beareth many sweet scents; I am

fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which is to give me

Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that happy consummation.' Yaja,
however, replied, 'O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should

the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath
already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja's invocations?'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified
libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child

a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was terrible to

With a crown on this head and his body encased in excellent armour,

in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he frequently sent forth loud

And immediately after his birth, he ascended an excellent chariot and

about in it for some time. Then the Panchalas in great joy shouted,
'Excellent, Excellent.' The very earth seemed at that time unable to

the weight of the Panchalas mad with joy. Then, marvellous to say, the
voice of some invisible spirit in the skies said, 'This prince hath

born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the
Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the
king.' And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial
platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blest with great good
fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as

petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. Her
nails were beautifully convex, and bright as burnished copper; her eye-
brows were fair, and bosom was deep. Indeed, she resembled the

daughter of a celestial born among men. Her body gave out fragrance

that of a blue lotus, perceivable from a distance of full two miles.

beauty was such that she had no equal on earth. Like a celestial

she could be desired (in marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a

When this girl of fair hips was born an incorporeal voice said, 'This

complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the
cause of the destruction of many Kshatriyas. This slender-waisted one

in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a
danger will overtake the Kauravas.' On hearing these words, the

uttered a loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the

of that joyous concourse. Then beholding the boy and the girl, the
daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and
said, 'Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.'
Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, 'So be it!' Then the
Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed
names upon the new-born pair, 'Let this son of king Drupada, they said,

called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because of
his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.' And they

said, 'Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be
called Krishna (the dark).'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Thus were born those twins of the great
sacrifice of Drupada. And the great Drona, bringing the Panchala prince
into his own abode, taught him all weapons in requital of half the

he had formerly taken from Drupada. The high-souled son of Bharadwaja,
regarding destiny to be inevitable, did what would perpetuate his own
great deeds.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, the sons of
Kunti seemed to be, as it were, pierced with darts. Indeed, all those
mighty heroes lost their peace of mind. Then the truthful Kunti,

all her sons listless and inattentive, addressed Yudhishthira and said,
'We have now lived many nights in the abode of this Brahmana. We have
passed our time pleasantly in this town, living on the alms obtained

many honest and illustrious persons. O oppressor of foes, as we have

seen often and often all the agreeable woods and gardens that are in

part of the country, seeing them again would no longer give any

O heroic scion of Kuru's race, alms also are not now obtainable here as
easily as before. If thou wishest it would be well for us now to go to
Panchala; we have not seen that country, it will, no doubt, O hero,

delightful to us. O crusher of foes, it hath been heard by us that alms
are obtainable in the country of the Panchala, and that Yajnasena, the
king thereof, is devoted to Brahmanas. I am of opinion that it is not

to live long in one place. Therefore, O son, if thou likest, it is good
for us to go there.'

"Hearing these words, Yudhishthira said, 'It is our duty to obey thy
command, which, besides, must be for our good. I do not, however, know
whether my younger brothers are willing to go.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Kunti spoke unto Bhimasena and Arjuna

the twins regarding the journey to Panchala. They all said, 'So be it.'
Then, O king, Kunti with her sons saluted the Brahmana (in whose house
they had dwelt) and set out for the delightful town of the illustrious

"Vaisampayana said, 'While the illustrious Pandavas were living

in the abode of the Brahmana, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, once went to
see them. Those chastisers of foes, beholding him coming rose up and
stepped onward to receive him. Saluting him reverentially and

him also the Pandavas stood in silence with joined hands. Thus

by them the sage became gratified. He asked them to be seated, and
cheerfully addressing them said, 'Ye slayers of foes, are ye living in

path of virtue and according to the scriptures? Do ye worship the
Brahmanas? Ye are not, I hope, backward in paying homage unto those

deserve your homage?' The illustrious Rishi, after this, spoke many

of virtuous import, and after discoursing upon many topics of great
interest, he said, 'An illustrious Rishi, living in a certain

had a daughter of tender waist, fair lips, and fine eye-brows, and
possessing every accomplishment. As a consequence of her own acts (in a
past life) the fair maid became very unfortunate. Though chaste and
beautiful, the damsel obtained not a husband. With a sorrowful heart

thereupon began to practise ascetic penances with the object of

a husband. She soon gratified by her severe the god Sankara (Mahadeva),
who became propitious unto her and said unto that illustrious damsel,

thou the boon thou desirest! Blest be thou! I am Sankara prepared to

thee what thou wilt ask.' Desirous of benefiting herself, the maid
repeatedly said unto the supreme lord, 'O give me, a husband endued

every accomplishment.' Then Isana (Mahadeva), that foremost of all
speakers, replied unto her, saying, 'O blessed one, thou shall have

husbands from among the Bharata princes.' Thus told, the maiden said

the god who had given her that boon, 'O lord, I desire to have only one
husband through thy grace.' The god then addressed her again and said
these excellent words, 'Thou hast, O girl, said full five times, 'Give

(a) husband.' Thou shalt, therefore, in another life have five

Ye princes of Bharata's line, that damsel of celestial beauty hath been
born in the line of Drupada. The faultless Krishna of Prishata's line

been appointed to be the wife of you all. Ye mighty ones, go therefore,

the capital of the Panchalas and dwell ye there. There is no doubt that
having obtained her as wife ye shall be very happy.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Pandavas, the
illustrious and blessed grandsire then bade them farewell. The great
ascetic then left them and went to the place whence he had come.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Vyasa had gone away, those bulls among men,

Pandavas, saluted the Brahmana and bade him farewell, and proceeded
(towards Panchala) with joyous hearts and with their mother walking

them. Those slayers of all foes, in order to reach their destination,
proceeded in a due northerly direction, walking day and night till they
reached a sacred shrine of Siva with the crescent mark on his brow.

those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, arrived at the banks of the
Ganga, Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior, walking before them, torch

hand, for showing the way and guarding them (against wild animals). And

so happened that at that time the proud king of the Gandharvas, with

wives, was sporting in that solitary region in the delightful waters of
the Ganga. The king of the Gandharvas heard the tread of the Pandavas

they approached the river. On hearing the sounds of their foot-steps,

mighty Gandharvas were inflamed with wrath, and beholding those

of foes, the Pandavas, approach towards him with their mother, he drew

frightful bow to a circle and said, 'It is known that excepting the

forty seconds the grey twilight preceding nightfall hath been appointed
for the wandering of the Yakshas, the Gandharvas and the Rakshasas, all

whom are capable of going everywhere at will. The rest of the time hath
been appointed for man to do his work. If therefore, men, wandering

those moments from greed of gain, come near us, both we and the

slay those fools. Therefore, persons acquainted with the Vedas never
applaud those men--not even kings at the head of their troops--who
approach any pools of water at such a time. Stay ye at a distance, and
approach me not. Know ye not that I am bathing in the waters of the
Bhagirathi? Know that I am Angaraparna the Gandharva, ever relying on

own strength! I am proud and haughty and am the friend of Kuvera. This

forest on the banks of the Ganga, where I sport to gratify all my

is called Angaraparna after my own name. Here neither gods, nor

nor Gandharvas nor Yakshas, can come. How dare ye approach me who am

brightest jewel on the diadem of Kuvera?'

"Hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'Blockhead, whether

be day, night, or twilight, who can bar others from the ocean, the

of the Himalayas, and this river? O ranger of the skies, whether the
stomach be empty or full, whether it is night or day, there is no

time for anybody to come to the Ganga--that foremost of all rivers. As
regards ourselves endued with might, we care not when we disturb thee.
Wicked being, those who are weak in fighting worship thee. This Ganga,
issuing out of the golden peaks of Himavat, falleth into the waters of

ocean, being distributed into seven streams. They who drink the waters

these seven streams, viz., Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Vitashtha, Sarayu,
Gomati, and Gandaki, are cleansed of all their sins. O Gandharva, this
sacred Ganga again, flowing through the celestial region is called

the Alakananda. It hath again in the region of the Pitris become the
Vaitarani, difficult of being crossed by sinners, and, Krishna-

himself hath said so. The auspicious and celestial river, capable of
leading to heaven (them that touch its waters), is free from all

Why dost thou then desire to bar us from it? This act of thine is not

consonance with eternal virtue. Disregarding thy words, why shall we

touch the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi free from all dangers and

which none can bar us?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Angaraparna
became inflamed with wrath and drawing his bow to a circle began to

his arrows like venomous snakes at the Pandavas. Then Dhananjaya, the

of Pandu, wielding a good shield and the torch he held in his hand,

off all those arrows and addressing the Gandharva again said, 'O

seek not to terrify those that are skilled in weapons, for weapons

at them vanish like froth. I think, O Gandharva, that ye are superior

prowess) to men; therefore shall I fight with thee, using celestial
weapons and not with any crooked means. This fiery weapon (that I shall
hurl at thee), Vrihaspati the revered preceptor of Indra, gave unto
Bharadwaja, from whom it was obtained by Agnivesya, and from Agnivesya

my preceptor, that foremost of Brahmanas, Drona, who gave it away to


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying these words, the Pandava wrathfully
hurled at the Gandharva that blazing weapon made of fire which burnt

Gandharva's chariot in a trice. Deprived of consciousness by the force

that weapon, the mighty Gandharva was falling, head downward, from his
chariot. Dhananjaya seized him by the hair of his head adorned with
garlands of flowers and thus dragged the unconscious Gandharva towards

brothers. Beholding this, that Gandharva's wife Kumbhinasi, desirous of
saving her husband, ran towards Yudhishthira and sought his protection.
The Gandharvi said, 'O exalted one, extend to me thy protection! O, set

husband free! O lord, I am Kumbhinasi by name, the wife of this

who seeketh thy protection!' Beholding her (so afflicted), the mighty
Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna and said, 'O slayer of foes, O child, who
would slay a foe who hath been vanquished in fight, who hath been

of fame, who is protected by a woman, and who hath no prowess?' Arjuna
replied, saying, 'Keep thou thy life, O Gandharva! Go hence, and grieve
not I. Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, commandeth me to show thee

"The Gandharva replied, 'I have been vanquished by thee. I shall,
therefore, abandon my former name Angaraparna (the blazing vehicle). In
name alone, O friend, I should not be boastful when my pride in my
strength hath been overcome: I have been fortunate in that I have

thee; O Arjuna, that wielder of celestial weapons! I like to impart to
thee the power of (producing) illusions which Gandharvas alone have. My
excellent and variegated chariot hath been burnt by means of thy fiery
weapon. I who had formerly been called after my excellent chariot

now be called after my burnt chariot. The science of producing

that I have spoken of was formerly obtained by me by ascetic penances.
That science I will today impart to the giver of my life--thy

self! What good luck doth he not deserve who, after overcoming a foe by
his might, giveth him life when that foe asketh for it? This science is
called Chakshushi. It was communicated by Manu unto Soma and by Soma

Viswavasu, and lastly by Viswavasu unto me. Communicated by my

that science, having come unto me who am without energy, is gradually
becoming fruitless. I have spoken to thee about its origin and
transmission. Listen now to its power! One may see (by its aid)

one wisheth to see, and in whatever way he liketh (generally or
particularly). One can acquire this science only after standing on one

for six months. I shall however, communicate to thee this science

thyself being obliged to observe any rigid vow. O king, it is for this
knowledge that we are superior to men. And as we are capable of seeing
everything by spiritual sight, we are equal to the gods. O best of men,

intend to give thee and each of thy brothers a hundred steeds born in

country of the Gandharvas. Of celestial colour and endued with the

of the mind, those horses are employed in bearing the celestial, and

Gandharvas. They may be lean-fleshed but they tire not, nor doth their
speed suffer on that account. In days of yore the thunderbolt was

for the chief of the celestials in order that he might slay (the Asura)
Vritra with it. But hurled at Vritra's head it broke in a thousand

The celestials worship with reverence those fragments of the

That which is known in the three worlds as glory is but a portion of

thunderbolt. The hand of the Brahmana with which he poureth libations

the sacrificial fire, the chariot upon which the Kshatriya fighteth,

charity of the Vaisya, and the service of the Sudra rendered unto the
three other classes, are all fragments of the thunderbolt. It hath been
said that horses, forming as they do a portion of the Kshatriya's

are, on that account, unslayable. Again horses which form a portion of

Kshatriya's chariot, are the offspring of Vadava. Those amongst them

are born in the region of the Gandharvas can go everywhere and assume

hue and speed at the will of their owners. These horses of mine that I
give thee will always gratify thy wishes.'

"On hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, if
from satisfaction for having obtained thy life at my hands in a

of danger, thou givest me thy science, and these horses, I would not
accept thy gift.' The Gandharva replied, saying, 'A meeting with an
illustrious person is ever a source of gratification; besides thou hast
given me my life. Gratified with thee, I will give thee my science.

the obligation, however, may not all be on one side, I will take from

O Vibhatsu, O bull in Bharata's race, thy excellent and eternal weapon


"Arjuna said, 'I would accept thy horses in exchange for my weapon. Let
our friendship last for ever. O friend, tell us for what we human

have to stand in fear of the Gandharvas. Chastisers of foes that we are
and virtuous and conversant with the Vedas, tell us, O Gandharva, why

travelling in the night-time we have been censured by thee.'

"The Gandharva said, 'Ye are without wives (though ye have completed

period of study). Ye are without a particular Asrama (mode of life).
Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before, therefore, ye

of Pandu, ye have been censured by me. The Yakshas, Rakshasas,

Pisachas, Uragas and Danavas, are possessed of wisdom and intelligence,
and acquainted with the history of the Kuru race. O hero, I have heard

from Narada and other celestial Rishis about the good deeds of your

ancestors. I myself, too, while roaming over the whole earth bounded by
her belt of seas, have witnessed the prowess of thy great race. O

I have personal knowledge of thy preceptor, the illustrious son of
Bharadwaja, celebrated throughout the three worlds for his knowledge of
the Vedas and the science of arms. O tiger in Kuru's race, O son of

I also know Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, the twin Aswins, and Pandu,--these six
perpetuators of Kuru race,--these excellent celestials and human
progenitors of you all. I also know that you five brothers are learned

high-souled, that ye are foremost of all wielders of weapons, that ye

brave and virtuous and observant of vows. Knowing that your

and hearts are excellent and your behaviour faultless, I have yet

you. For, O thou of Kuru's race, it behoveth no man endued with might

arms to bear with patience any ill usage in the sight of his wife.
Especially as, O son of Kunti, our might increaseth during the hours of
darkness, accompanied by my wife I was filled with wrath. O best of

observing men, I have, however, been vanquished by thee in battle.

to me as I tell thee the reasons that have led to my discomfiture. The
Brahmacharya is a very superior mode of life, and as art in that mode

it is for this, O Partha, that I have been defeated by thee in battle.

chastiser of foes, if any married Kshatriya fight with us at night, he

never escape, with life. But, O Partha, a married Kshatriya, who is
sanctified with Brahma, and who hath assigned the cares of his State to

priest, might vanquish all wanderers in the night. O child of Tapati,

should therefore, ever employ learned priests possessing self-command

the acquisition of every good luck they desire. That Brahmana is worthy

being the king's priest who is learned in the Vedas and the six

thereof, who is pure and truthful, who is of virtuous soul and

of self-command. The monarch becometh ever victorious and finally

heaven who hath for his priest a Brahmana conversant with the rules of
morality, who is a master of words, and is pure and of good behaviour.

king should always select an accomplished priest in order to acquire

he hath not and protect what he hath. He who desireth his own

should ever be guided by his priest, for he may then obtain ever the

earth surrounded by her belt of seas. O son of Tapati, a king, who is
without a Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or glory

birth alone. Know, therefore, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, that the
kingdom lasteth for ever in which Brahmanas have power.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna said, 'Thou hast addressed me (more than once) as Tapatya. I
therefore wish to know what the precise significance of this word is, O
virtuous Gandharva, being sons of Kunti, we are, indeed, Kaunteyas. But
who is Tapati that we should be called Tapatyas?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the Gandharva related to
Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, the (following) story well-known in the
three worlds.'

"The Gandharva said, 'O son of Pritha, O foremost of all intelligent

I will duly recite to you in full this charming narrative. O, listen

attention to what I say in explanation of why I have addressed thee as
Tapatya. That one in heaven who pervadeth by his light the whole

had a daughter named Tapati equal unto himself. Tapati, the daughter of
the god Vivaswat, was the younger sister of Savitri, and she was
celebrated throughout the three worlds and devoted to ascetic penances.
There was no woman amongst the celestials, the Asuras, the Yakshas, the
Rakshasas, the Apsaras, and the Gandharvas, who was equal to her in

Of perfect, and faultless features, of black and large eyes, and in
beautiful attire, the girl was chaste and of perfect conduct. And, O
Bharata, seeing her Savitri (the sun) thought that there was none in

three worlds who, for his beauty, accomplishments, behaviour, and

deserved to be her husband. Beholding her attain the age of puberty

therefore, worthy of being bestowed on a husband, her father knew no

of mind, always thinking of the person he should select. At that time,

son of Kunti, Riksha's son, that bull amongst the Kurus, the mighty

Samvarana, was duly worshipping Surya with offerings of Arghya and

garlands and scents, and with vows and fasts and ascetic penances of
various kinds. Indeed, Samvarana was worshipping Surya constantly in

his glory, with devotion and humility and piety. And beholding

conversant with all rules of virtue and unequalled on earth for beauty,
Surya regarded him as the fit husband for his daughter, Tapati. And, O
thou of Kuru's race, Vivaswat then resolved to bestow his daughter on

best of kings, viz., Samvarana, the scion of a race of world-wide fame.

Surya himself in the heavens filleth the firmament with his splendour,

did king Samvarana on earth fill every region with the splendour of his
good achievements. And all men, O Partha, except Brahmanas, worshipped
Samvarana. Blest with good luck, king Samvarana excelled Soma in

the hearts of friends and Surya in scorching the hearts of foes. And, O
Kaurava, Tapana (Surya) himself was resolved upon bestowing his

Tapati upon king Samvarana, who was possessed of such virtues and

"Once on a time, O Partha, king Samvarana, endued with beauty (of

and immeasurable prowess, went on a hunting expedition to the under-

on the mountain-breast. While wandering in quest of deer, the excellent
steed the king rode, overcome, O Partha, with hunger, thirst and

died on the mountains. Abandoning the steed, the king, O Arjuna, began

wander about upon the mountain-breast on foot and in course of his
wandering the monarch saw a maiden of large eyes and unrivalled beauty,
That grinder of hostile host--that tiger among kings--himself without a
companion, beholding there that maiden without a companion, stood
motionless gazing at her steadfastly. For her beauty, the monarch for

moment believed her to be (the goddess) Sri herself. Next he regarded

to be the embodiment of the rays emanating from Surya. In splendour of

person she resembled a flame of fire, though in benignity and

she resembled a spotless digit of the moon. And standing on the

breast, the black-eyed maiden appeared like a bright statue of gold.

mountain itself with its creepers and plants, because of the beauty and
attire of that damsel, seemed to be converted into gold. The sight of

maiden inspired the monarch with a contempt for all women that he had

before. By beholding her, the king regarded his eye-sight truly

Nothing the king had seen from the day of his birth could equal, he
thought, the beauty of that girl. The king's heart and eyes were
captivated by that damsel, as if they were bound with a cord and he
remained rooted to that spot, deprived of his senses. The monarch

that the artificer of so much beauty had created it only after churning
the whole world of gods Asuras and human beings. Entertaining these
various thoughts, king Samvarana regarded that maiden as unrivalled in

three worlds for wealth of beauty.

"And the monarch of pure descent, beholding the beautiful maiden, was
pierced with Kama's (Cupid's) shafts and lost his peace of mind. Burnt
with the strong flame of desire the king asked that charming maiden,

innocent, though in her full youth, saying, 'Who art thou and whose?

also dost thou stay here? O thou of sweet smiles, why dost thou wander
alone in these solitary woods? Of every feature perfectly faultless,

decked with every ornament, thou seemest to be the coveted ornament of
these ornaments themselves! Thou seemest not to be of celestial or

or Yaksha or Rakshasa or Naga or Gandharva or human origin. O excellent
lady, the best of women that I have ever seen or heard of would not
compare with thee in beauty! O thou of handsome face, at sight of thee
lovelier than the moon and graced with eyes like lotus-petals, the god

desire is grinding me.'

"King Samvarana thus addressed that damsel in the forest, who however,
spoke not a word unto the monarch burning with desire. Instead, like
lightning in the clouds, that large-eyed maiden quickly disappeared in

very sight of the monarch. The king then wandered through the whole

like one out of his senses, in search of that girl of eyes like lotus-
petals. Failing to find her, that best of monarchs indulged in copious
lamentations and for a time stood motionless with grief.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'When that maiden disappeared, that feller of
hostile ranks deprived of his senses by Kama (concupiscence) himself

down on the earth. And as the monarch fell down, that maiden of sweet
smiles and prominent and round hips appeared again before him, and

sweetly, said unto that perpetuator of Kuru's race these honeyed words,
'Rise, rise, O chastiser of foes! Blest be thou; it behoveth thee not,

tiger among kings, to lose thy reason, a celebrated man as thou art in

world.' Addressed in these honeyed words, the king opened his eyes and

before him that selfsame girl of swelling hips. The monarch who was
burning with the flame of desire then addressed that black-eyed damsel

accents, weak with emotion, and said, 'Blest be thou O excellent woman

black eyes! As I am burning with desire and paying thee court, O,

me! My life is ebbing away. O thou of large eyes, for thy sake it is, O
thou of the splendour of the filaments of the lotus, that Kama is
incessantly piercing me with his keen shafts without stopping for a
moment! O amiable and cheerful girl, I have been bitten by Kama who is
even like a venomous viper. O thou of swelling and large hips, have

on me! O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou of face like

the lotus-petal or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing
Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee! Without thee, O timid one, I am
unable to live! O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, Kama is piercing me
incessantly! O large-eyed girl, be merciful unto me! It becometh thee

O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; O handsome girl, it behoveth thee to
relieve me from such affliction by giving me thy love! At first sight

hast attracted my heart. My mind wandereth! Beholding thee I like not

cast my eyes on any other woman! Be merciful! I am thy obedient slave-

adorer! O, accept me! O beautiful lady, O large-eyed girl at the sight

thee, the god of desire hath entered my heart, and is piercing me with

shafts! O thou of lotus-eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me! O,
extinguish that flame with the water of thy love poured on it! O

lady, by becoming mine, pacify thou the irrepressible god of desire

hath appeared here armed with his deadly bow and arrows and that is
piercing me incessantly with those keen shafts of his! O thou of the
fairest complexion, wed me according to the Gandharva form, for, O thou

tapering hips, of all forms of marriage the Gandharva hath been said to

the best.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Hearing those words of the monarch, Tapati

answer, 'O king, I am not the mistress of my own self! Be it known that

am a maiden under the control of my father. If thou really entertainest

affection for me, demand me of my father. Thou sayest, O king, that thy
heart hath been robbed by me. But thou also hast, at first sight,

me of my heart; I am not the mistress of my body, and therefore, O best

kings, I do not approach thee; women are never independent. What girl

there in the three worlds that would not desire thee for her husband,

thou art kind unto all thy dependents and as thou art born in a pure

Therefore, when the opportunity comes, ask my father Aditya for my hand
with worship, ascetic penances, and vows. If my father bestoweth me

thee, then, O king, I shall ever be thy obedient wife. My name is

and I am the younger sister of Savitri, and the daughter, O bull

Kshatriyas of Savitri, of (Sun) the illuminator of the universe.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Saying this, Tapati of faultless features,
ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth.
His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest at
length came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding that
excellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the ground

a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief became like
one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection and

the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on the ground
and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, old in
achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised the

monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweet words that
were also for his good, he said, 'Blest be thou, O sinless one! Fear

O tiger among kings!' The minister thought that the monarch, that great
feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying on the ground

with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man then sprinkled over the
crownless head of the monarch water that was cold and rendered fragrant
with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness, the mighty

sent away all his attendants with the exception of his minister only.
After those attendants had retired at his command, the king sat upon

mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the king sat upon that
chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms and upturned face, to
worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes, thought also of
his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The king continued to

there day and night without intermission. The Brahmana sage Vasishtha

there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soul under perfect

knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarch had lost his senses

consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and best of Munis, as soon as

knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch who was ever observant of
vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance. The illustrious

in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upward to interview Surya,
himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary. The Brahmana then
approached with joined hands the god of a thousand rays and introduced
himself cheerfully unto him, saying, 'I am Vasishtha.' Then Vivaswat of
great energy said unto that best of Rishis, 'Welcome art thou, O great
Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great good fortune,

thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, I will confer on

however difficult it may be for me!' Thus addressed by Surya, the Rishi

great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light, replied, saying, 'O
Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri, I

of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mighty achievements,

with virtue, and of high soul. O firmament-ranger, Samvarana will make

worthy husband for thy daughter.' Thus addressed by the Rishi

resolved upon bestowing his daughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi,
and replied unto him, saying, 'Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs,

art the best of Rishis, Tapati is the best of women. What should we do,
therefore, but bestow her on Samvarana?' With these words, the god

made over his daughter, Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless,

the illustrious Vasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great
Rishi then accepted the girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came

to the spot, where that bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial

was. King Samvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on

beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha,

exceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from the

like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of the heavens.
And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached the monarch
after the latter's twelve nights' vow was over. It was thus that king
Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with like the full

And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru's race having his
curiosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha's ascetic

asked the Gandharva, saying, 'I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thou

mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of the
Gandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest

our forefathers.' The Gandharva replied, 'Vasishtha is Brahma's

(lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati's husband. Ever difficult of being
conquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered by
Vasishtha's ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his

was excited by Viswamitra's offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yet
exterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted at
the loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though really
otherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the

transgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the laws

Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king of the
dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered his

self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth.

O prince of Kuru's race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best of
Rishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grand
sacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assisted
these monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspati
assisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished and
desirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtue
prevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage,

of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, O Partha,
first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering the earth

have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let some accomplished

learned Brahmana, who has his senses under complete control and who is
conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be your priest.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing this, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva,

arose the hostility between Viswamitra and Vasishtha both of whom dwelt

a celestial hermitage? O, tell us all about it.'

"The Gandharva replied, 'O Partha, the story of Vasishtha is regarded

as a
Purana (legend) in all the three worlds. Listen to me as I recite it

There was, in Kanyakuvja, O bull of Bharata's race, a great king of
worldwide fame named Gadhi, the son of Kusika. The virtuous Gadhi had a
son named Viswamitra, that grinder of foes, possessing a large army and
many animals and vehicles. And Viswamitra, accompanied by his

used to roam in quest of deer through the deep woods and over

marascetic penances the propitious lord Vivaswat, by the help of
Vasishtha's (ascetic power). And Samvarana, that bull among men with

rites took Tapati's hand on that mountain-breast which was resorted to

the celestials and the Gandharvas. The royal sage, with the permission

Vasishtha, desired to sport with his wife on that mountain. And the

caused Vasishtha to be proclaimed his regent in his capital and

in the woods and gardens. And bidding farewell unto the monarch,

left him and went away. Samvarana, who sported on that mountain like a
celestial, sported with his wife in the woods and the under-woods on

mountain for twelve full years. And, O best of the Bharatas, the god of

thousand eyes poured no rain for twelve years on the capital and on the
kingdom of that monarch. Then, O chastiser of enemies, when that season

drought broke out, the people of that kingdom, as also the trees and

animals began to die fast. And during the continuance of that dreadful
drought, not even a drop of dew fell from the skies and no corn grew.

the inhabitants in despair, and afflicted with the fear of hunger, left
their homes and fled away in all directions. And the famished people of
the capital and the country began to abandon their wives and children

grew reckless of one another. The people being afflicted with hunger,
without a morsel of food and reduced to skeletons, the capital looked

much like the city of the king of the dead, full of only ghostly

On beholding the capital reduced to such a state, the illustrious and
virtuous and best of Rishis, Vasishtha was resolved upon applying a

and brought back unto the city that tiger among kings, Samvarana, along
with his wife, after the latter had passed so long a period in solitude
and seclusion. After the king had entered his capital, things became as
before, for, when that tiger among kings came back to his own, the god

a thousand eyes, the slayer of Asuras, poured rain in abundance and

corn to grow. Revivified by the foremost of virtuous souls the capital

the country became animated with extreme joy. The monarch, with his

Tapati, once more performed sacrifices for twelve years, like the lord
Indra (god of rain) performing sacrifices with his wife, Sachi.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'This, O Partha, is the history of Tapati of

the daughter of Vivaswat. It is for her that thou art (called) Tapatya.
King Samvarana begot upon Tapati a son named Kuru, who was the foremost

ascetics. Born in the race of Kuru, thou art, O Arjuna, to be called


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Once on a time, while king Viswamitra went
quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The

arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed and
illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage that
best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the

by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya, and

fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a cow

anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed, saying, 'O

she always yielded the article that was sought. And she yielded various
fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields, and milk, and

excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds of juice

and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of enjoyable

O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating, and for licking

sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of various kinds. With
these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was worshipped. And

king with his minister and troops became highly pleased. And the

wondered much, beholding that cow with six elevated limbs and the
beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that were broad, and eyes
prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in size, and high

and faultless make, and straight and uplifted ears, and handsome horns,
and well-developed head and neck.

"And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and

the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, 'O Brahmana, O

Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand kine, or my
kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).'

"Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, 'O sinless one,

cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the

as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for even

kingdom.' Viswamitra replied, 'I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a

devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in Brahmanas who

peaceful and who have their souls under perfect command? When thou

me not what I desire in exchange even for ten thousand cows, I will not
abandon the practice of my order; I will take thy cow even by force!'

"Vasishtha said, 'Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou

a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not to
consider its propriety.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O
Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or
the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes

persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha,

low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before

with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to

the Rishi's asylum.

"Beholding her in that plight, Vasishtha said, 'O amiable one, thou art
lowing repeatedly and I am hearing thy cries. But, O Nandini, even
Viswamitra is taking thee away by force, what can I do in this matter,

I am a forgiving Brahmana?'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O bull in Bharata's race, Nandini,
alarmed at the sight of Viswamitra's troops and terrified by Viswamitra
himself, approached the Rishi still closer, and said, 'O illustrious

why art thou so indifferent to my poor self afflicted with the stripes

the cruel troops of Viswamitra and crying so piteously as if I were
masterless?' Hearing these words of the crying and persecuted Nandini,

great Rishi lost not his patience nor turned from his vow of

He replied, 'The Kshatriya's might lies in physical strength, the
Brahmana's in forgiveness. Because I cannot give up forgiveness, go

O Nandini, if thou choosest.' Nandini answered, 'Castest thou me away,

illustrious one, that thou sayest so? If thou dost not cast me off, I
cannot, O Brahmana, be taken away by force.' Vasishtha said, 'O blessed
one, I do not cast thee off! Stay if thou canst! O, yonder is thy calf,
tied with a stout cord, and even now being weakened by it!'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then the cow of Vasishtha, hearing the word
stay, raised her head and neck upward, and became terrible to behold.

eyes red with rage and lowing repeatedly, she then attacked

troops on all sides. Afflicted with their stripes and running hither

thither with those red eyes of hers, her wrath increased. Blazing with
rage, she soon became terrible to behold like unto the sun in his

glory. And from her tail she began to rain showers of burning coals all
around. And some moments after, from her tail she brought forth an army

Palhavas, and from her udders, an army of Dravidas and Sakas; and from

womb, an army of Yavanas, and from her dung, an army of Savaras; and

her urine, an army of Kanchis; and from her sides, an army of Savaras.

from the froth of her mouth came out hosts of Paundras and Kiratas,
Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas

Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas with Keralas, and numerous other

And that vast army of Mlechchhas in various uniforms, and armed with
various weapons, as soon as it sprang into life, deploying in the very
sight of Viswamitra, attacked that monarch's soldiers. And so numerous

that Mlechchha host that each particular soldier of Viswamitra was
attacked by a band of six or seven of their enemies. Assailed with a
mighty shower of weapons, Viswamitra's troops broke and fled, panic-
stricken, in all directions, before his very eyes. But, O bull in
Bharata's race, the troops of Vasishtha, though excited with wrath,

not the life of any of Viswamitra's troops. Nandini simply caused the
monarch's army to be routed and driven off. And driven (from the

twenty-seven full miles, panic-stricken, they shrieked aloud and beheld
not anyone that could protect them. Viswamitra, beholding this

feat that resulted from Brahmana prowess, became disgusted with

prowess and said, 'O, fie on Kshatriya prowess! Brahmana prowess is

prowess! In judging of strength and weakness, I see that asceticism is
true strength.' Saying this, the monarch, abandoning his large domains

regal splendour and turning his back upon all pleasures, set his mind

asceticism. Crowned with success in asceticism and filling the three
worlds with the heat of his ascetic penances, he afflicted all

and finally became a Brahmana. The son of Kusika at last drank Soma

Indra himself (in Heaven).'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'There was, O Partha, a king in this world,
named Kalmashapada, who was of the race of Ikshvaku and was unequalled

earth for prowess. One day the king went from his capital into the

for purposes of hunting, and this grinder of foes pierced (with his
arrows) many deer and wild boars. And in those deep woods the king also
slew many rhinoceroses. Engaged in sport for some length of time, the
monarch became very much fatigued and at last he gave up the chase,
desiring to rest awhile.

"The great Viswamitra, endued with energy, had, a little while ago,
desired to make that monarch his disciple. As the monarch, afflicted

hunger and thirst, was proceeding through the woods, he came across

best of Rishis, the illustrious son of Vasishtha, coming along the same
path. The king ever victorious in battle saw that Muni bearing the name

Saktri, that illustrious propagator of Vasishtha's race, the eldest of

high-souled Vasishtha's hundred sons, coming along from opposite

The king, beholding him said, 'Stand out of our way.' The Rishi,
addressing the monarch in a conciliatory manner, said unto him sweetly,

king, this is my way. This is the eternal rule of morality indicated in
every treatise on duty and religion, viz., that a king should ever make
way for Brahmanas.' Thus did they address each other respecting their
right of way. 'Stand aside, stand aside', were the words they said unto
each other. The Rishi, who was in the right, did not yield, nor did the
king yield to him from pride and anger. That best of monarchs, enraged

the Rishi, refusing to yield him the way, acted like a Rakshasa,

him with his whip. Thus whipped by the monarch, that best of Rishis,

son of Vasishtha, was deprived of his senses by anger, and speedily

that first of monarchs, saying, 'O worst of kings, since thou

like a Rakshasa an ascetic, thou shalt from this day, became a Rakshasa
subsisting on human flesh! Hence, thou worst of kings! thou shalt

over the earth, affecting human form!' Thus did the Rishi Sakti, endued
with great prowess, speak unto king Kalmashapada. At this time

between whom and Vasishtha there was a dispute about the discipleship

Kalmashapada, approached the place where that monarch and Vasishtha's

were. And, O Partha, that Rishi of severe ascetic penances, viz.,
Viswamitra of great energy, approached the pair (knowing by his

insight that they had been thus quarrelling with each other). After the
curse had been pronounced, that best of monarchs knew that Rishi to be
Vasishtha's son and equal unto Vasishtha himself in energy. And, O

Viswamitra, desirous of benefiting himself, remained on that spot,
concealed from the sight of both by making himself invisible. Then that
best of monarchs, thus cursed by Saktri, desiring to propitiate the

began to humbly beseech him. And, O chief of the Kurus, Viswamitra,
ascertaining the disposition of the king (and fearing that the

might be made up), ordered a Rakshasa to enter the body of the king.

And a
Rakshasa of the name of Kinkara then entered the monarch's body in
obedience to Saktri's curse and Viswamitra's command. And knowing, O
chastiser of foes, that the Rakshasa had possessed himself of the

that best of Rishis, Viswamitra, then left the spot and went away.

"Shortly after, O Partha, the monarch, possessed by the Rakshasa and
terribly afflicted by him, lost all his senses. At this time a Brahmana
beheld the king in the woods. Afflicted with hunger, that Brahmana

of the king some food with meat. The royal sage, Kalmashapada, that
cherisher of friends, answered the Brahmana, saying, 'Stay thou here, O
Brahmana for a moment. On my return, I will give thee whatever food

desirest.' Having said this, the monarch went away, but the Brahmana
stayed on there. The high-minded king having roved for some time at
pleasure and according to his will, at last entered his inner

Thus waking at midnight and remembering his promise, he summoned his

and told him of his promise unto the Brahmana staying in the forest.

he commanded him, saying, 'Hie thee to that forest. A Brahmana waiteth

me in the hope of food. Go and entertain him with food and meat.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus commanded, the cook went out in search

meat. Distressed at not having found any, he informed the king of his
failure. The monarch, however, possessed as he was by the Rakshasa,
repeatedly said, without scruple of any kind, 'Feed him with human

The cook, saying, 'So be it,' went to the place where the (king's)
executioners were, and thence taking human flesh and washing and

it duly and covering it with boiled rice offered it unto that hungry
Brahmana devoted to ascetic penances. But that best of Brahmanas,

with his spiritual sight that the food was unholy and, therefore,

of being eaten, said these words with eyes red with anger, 'Because

worst of kings offereth me food that is unholy and unworthy of being

therefore that wretch shall have himself a fondness for such food. And
becoming fond of human flesh as cursed by Saktri of old, the wretch

wander over the earth, alarming and otherwise troubling all creatures.'
The curse, therefore, on that king, thus repeated a second time, became
very strong, and the king, possessed by a Rakshasa disposition, soon

all his senses.

"A little while after, O Bharata, that best of monarchs, deprived of

his senses by the Rakshasa within him, beholding Saktri who had cursed

said, 'Because thou hast pronounced on me this extraordinary curse,
therefore, I shall begin my life of cannibalism by devouring thee.'

said this, the king immediately slew Saktri and ate him up, like a

eating the animal it was fond of. Beholding Saktri thus slain and

Viswamitra repeatedly urged that Rakshasa (who was within the monarch)
against the other sons of Vasishtha. Like a wrathful lion devouring

animals, that Rakshasa soon devoured the other sons of the illustrious
Vasishtha that were junior to Saktri in age. But Vasishtha, learning

all his sons had been caused to be slain by Viswamitra, patiently bore

grief like the great mountain that bears the earth. That best of Munis,
that foremost of intelligent men, was resolved rather to sacrifice his

life than exterminate (in anger) the race of Kusikas. The illustrious
Rishi threw himself down from the summit of Meru, but he descended on

stony ground as though on a heap of cotton. And, O son of Pandu, when

illustrious one found that death did not result from that fall, he

a huge fire in the forest and entered it with alacrity. But that fire,
though burning brightly, consumed him not. O slayer of foes, that

fire seemed to him cool. Then the great Muni under the influence of

beholding the sea, tied a stony weight to his neck and threw himself

its waters. But the waves soon cast him ashore. At last when that

of rigid vows succeeded not in killing himself by any means, he

in distress of heart, to his asylum.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding his asylum bereft of his children,
the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his
wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the

season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its
margin. Beholding this, O thou of Kuru's race, the distressed Muni
thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters

that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung

under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty stream.

O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast the Rishi
ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords with

he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken off by the
violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the name of

(the cord-breaker). For his grief the Muni could not, from that time,

in one place; he began to wander over mountains and along rivers and

And beholding once again a river named Haimavati (flowing from Himavat)

terrible aspect and full of fierce crocodiles and other (aquatic)

the Rishi threw himself into it, but the river mistaking the Brahmana

a mass of (unquenchable) fire, immediately flew in a hundred different
directions, and hath been known ever since by the name of the Satadru

river of a hundred courses). Seeing himself on the dry land even there

exclaimed, 'O, I cannot die by my own hands!' Saying this, the Rishi

more bent his steps towards his asylum. Crossing numberless mountains

countries, as he was about to re-enter his asylum, he was followed by

daughter-in-law named Adrisyanti. As she neared him, he heard the sound
from behind of a very intelligent recitation of the Vedas with the six
graces of elocution. Hearing that sound, the Rishi asked, 'Who is it

followeth me?' His daughter-in-law then answered, 'I am Adrisyanti, the
wife of Saktri. I am helpless, though devoted to asceticism.' Hearing

Vasishtha said, 'O daughter, whose is this voice that I heard,

the Vedas along with the Angas like unto the voice of Saktri reciting

Vedas with the Angas?' Adrisyanti answered, 'I bear in my womb a child

thy son Saktri. He hath been here full twelve years. The voice thou
hearest is that of the Muni, who is reciting the Vedas.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by her the illustrious

became exceedingly glad. And saying, 'O, there is a child (of my

he refrained, O Partha, from self-destruction. The sinless one

by his daughter-in-law, then returned to his asylum. And the Rishi saw

day in the solitary woods (the Rakshasa) Kalmashapada. The king, O

possessed by fierce Rakshasa, as he saw the Rishi, became filled with
wrath and rose up, desiring to devour him. And Adrisyanti beholding

her that the Rakshasa of cruel deeds, addressed Vasishtha in these

full of anxiety and fear, 'O illustrious one, the cruel Rakshasa, like
unto Death himself armed with (his) fierce club, cometh towards us with

wooden club in hand! There is none else on earth, except thee, O
illustrious one, and, O foremost of all that are conversant with the

to restrain him today. Protect me, O illustrious one, from this cruel
wretch of terrible mien. Surely, the Rakshasa cometh hither to devour

Vasishtha, hearing this, said, 'Fear not, O daughter, there is no need

any fear from any Rakshasa. This one is no Rakshasa from whom thou
apprehendest such imminent danger. This is king Kalmashapada endued

great energy and celebrated on earth. That terrible man dwelleth in


"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding him advancing, the illustrious

Vasishtha, endued with great energy, restrained him, O Bharata, by
uttering the sound Hum. Sprinkling him again with water sanctified with
incantations the Rishi freed the monarch from that terrible curse. For
twelve years the monarch had been overwhelmed by the energy of

son like Surya seized by the planet (Rahu) during the season of an

Freed from the Rakshasa the monarch illumined that large forest by his
splendour like the sun illumining the evening clouds. Recovering his

of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with joined palms and

'O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and thy disciple, O best of
Munis! O, tell me what is thy pleasure and what I am to do.' Vasishtha
replied, saying, 'My desire hath already been accomplished. Return now

thy kingdom and rule thy subjects. And, O chief of men, never insult
Brahmanas any more.' The monarch replied, 'O illustrious one, I shall
never more insult superior Brahmanas. In obedience to thy command I

always worship Brahmanas. But, O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain
from thee that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the
Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku! O

of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of

race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of
Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a

saying, 'I will give you.' After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha,
accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter's capital known all over
the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to
receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven
coming out to receive their chief. The monarch, accompanied by

re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of
Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the
rising sun. The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled

his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling

his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in
consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the

of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the

heart. And, O prince of Kuru's race, the city filled as it was with

and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay like
Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After the
royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king's command,
approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her,

himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little

when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the

salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the
embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did not bring
forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then
that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull
amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O Partha, Adrisyanti, who had been
residing in Vasishtha's asylum, brought forth (when the time came) a

who was the perpetuator of Saktri's race and who was a second Saktri in
everything. O foremost of Bharatas, that best of Munis, the illustrious
Vasishtha himself performed the usual after-birth ceremonies of his
grandson. And, because the Rishi Vasishtha had resolved on self-
destruction but had abstained therefrom as soon as he knew of the
existence of that child, that child, when born, was called Parasara

vivifier of the dead). The virtuous Parasara, from the day of his

knew Vasishtha for his father and behaved towards the Muni as such. One
day, O son of Kunti, the child addressed Vasishtha, that first of

sages, as father, in the presence of his mother Adrisyanti. Adrisyanti,
hearing the very intelligible sound father sweetly uttered by her son,
addressed him with tearful eyes and said, 'O child, do not address this
thy grandfather as father? Thy father, O son, has been devoured by a
Rakshasa in a different forest. O innocent one, he is not thy father

thou regardest so. The revered one is the father of that celebrated

of thine.' Thus addressed by his mother that best of Rishis of truthful
speech, gave way to sorrow, but soon fired up and resolved to destroy

whole creation. Then that illustrious and great ascetic Vasishtha, that
foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma, that son of

that Rishi acquainted with positive truth, addressed his grandson who

set his heart upon the destruction of the world. Hear, O Arjuna, the
arguments by which Vasishtha succeeded in driving out that resolution

his grandson's mind.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then Vasishtha said, 'There was a celebrated
king of the name of Kritavirya. That bull among the kings of the earth

the disciple of the Veda-knowing Bhrigus. That king, O child, after
performing the Soma sacrifice, gratified the Brahmanas with great

of rice and wealth. After that monarch had ascended to heaven, an

came when his descendants were in want of wealth. And knowing that the
Bhrigus were rich, those princes went unto those best of Brahmanas, in

guise of beggars. Some amongst the Bhrigus, to protect their wealth,
buried it under earth; and some from fear of the Kshatriyas, began to

away their wealth unto (other) Brahmanas; while some amongst them duly
gave unto the Kshatriyas whatever they wanted. It happened, however,

some Kshatriyas, in digging as they pleased at the house of particular
Bhargava, came upon a large treasure. And the treasure was seen by all
those bulls among Kshatriyas who had been there. Enraged at what they
regarded as the deceitful behaviour of the Bhrigus, the Kshatriyas
insulted the Brahmanas, though the latter asked for mercy. And those
mighty bowmen began to slaughter the Bhrigus with their sharp arrows.

the Kshatriyas wandered over the earth, slaughtering even the embryos

were in the wombs of the women of the Bhrigu race. And while the Bhrigu
race was thus being exterminated, the women of that tribe fled from

to the inaccessible mountains of Himavat. And one amongst these women,

tapering thighs, desiring to perpetuate her husband's race, held in one

her thighs an embryo endued with great energy. A certain Brahmana

however, who came to know this fact, went from fear unto the Kshatriyas
and reported the matter unto them. And the Kshatriyas then went to

that embryo. Arrived at the place, they beheld the would-be mother

with inborn energy, and the child that was in her thigh came out

up the thigh and dazzling the eyes of those Kshatriyas like the midday

Thus deprived of their eyes, the Kshatriyas began to wander over those
inaccessible mountains. And distressed at the loss of sight, the

were afflicted with woe, and desirous of regaining the use of their

they resolved to seek the protection of that faultless woman. Then

Kshatriyas, afflicted with sorrow, and from loss of sight like unto a

that hath gone out, addressed with anxious hearts that illustrious

saying, 'By thy grace. O lady, we wish to be restored to sight. We

then return to our homes all together and abstain for ever from our

practice. O handsome one, it behoveth thee with thy child to show us

It behoveth thee to favour these kings by granting them their eye-



(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vasishtha continued, 'The Brahmana lady, thus addressed by them, said,
'Ye children, I have not robbed you of your eye-sight, nor am I angry

you. This child, however, of the Bhrigu race hath certainly been angry
with you. There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been robbed

your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been kindled at

remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children, while ye were
destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child was held by

in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the prosperity of
Bhrigu's race might be restored, the entire Vedas with their branches

unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is plain that this

of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his fathers, desireth

slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your eyes have been

Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my excellent child born of my
thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may restore your eye-sight.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all

princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, 'Be propitious!' And

child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana Rishis, in
consequence of his having been born after tearing open his mother's

came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name of Aurva

born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went away. But the

Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the whole world. And

high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the destruction of every
creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu race, for paying
homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors, devoted himself

the austerest of penances with the object of destroying the whole

And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the Rishi afflicted by his
severe asceticism the three worlds with the celestials, the Asuras and
human beings. The Pitris, then, learning what the child of their race

about, all came from their own region unto the Rishi and addressing him

'Aurva, O son, fierce thou hast been in thy asceticism. Thy power hath
been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control

wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls

complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own

at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we grew weary

the long periods of life alloted to us, it was then that we desired our
own destruction through the instrumentality of the Kshatriyas. The

that the Bhrigus had placed in their house underground had been placed
only with the object of enraging the Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel

them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as we were desirous of heaven, of what

could wealth be to us? The treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a

treasure for us. When we found that death could not, by any means,
overtake us all, it was then, O child, that we regarded this as the

means (of compassing our desire). They who commit suicide never attain

regions that are blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-
destruction. That which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable

us. Restrain thy mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the
whole world. O child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds.

kill this wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva said, 'Vasishtha after this, continued the narration

'Hearing words of the Pitris, Aurva, O child, replied unto them to this

'Ye Pitris, the vow I have made from anger for the destruction of all

worlds, must not go in vain. I cannot consent to be one whose anger and
vows are futile. Like fire consuming dry woods, this rage of mine will
certainly consume me if I do not accomplish my vow. The man that
represseth his wrath that hath been excited by (adequate) cause,

incapable of duly compassing the three ends of life (viz., religion,
profit and pleasure). The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the
whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain

wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother's
thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the
Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas. Ye

when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the Bhrigus
together with unborn children of their race, it was then that wrath

my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in an advanced
state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed, found not in
all the worlds a single protector. Then when the Bhrigu women found not

single protector, my mother held me in one of her thighs. If there be a
punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the worlds would dare
commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the number of sinners
becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent or punish sin

not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is himself defiled by
that sin. When kings and others, capable of protecting my fathers,

them not, postponing that duty preferring the pleasures of life, I have
just cause to be enraged with them. I am the lord of the creation,

of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable of obeying your command.

of punishing this crime, if I abstain from so doing, men will once more
have to undergo a similar persecution. The fire of my wrath too that is
ready to consume the worlds, if repressed, will certainly consume by

own energy my own self. Ye masters, I know that ye ever seek the good

the worlds: direct me, therefore, as to what may benefit both myself

the worlds.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire

is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the
waters. That will do thee good. The worlds, indeed, are all dependent

water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth

indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best of
Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If,

thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath abide in

great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been said that

worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one, thy word

be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be destroyed.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath
into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of

great ocean, became like unto a large horse's head which persons
conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting
itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean.

be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou
Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of
wise men!'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed

the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the

But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy--the son of Saktri--the
foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas--performed a grand
Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father)

the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in the
sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this
slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing

second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni
Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth

And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds,
illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into
which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then

and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as

he were the second Sun. Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul

of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for others,--
came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all foes,
Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great sacrifices,

influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O thou bull of

Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas had already

slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of all enemies:

'There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child!
Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those
innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father's death. It behoveth
thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the
occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest
virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O
Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice?

behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was well-
acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to

any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha's race, that which befell thy
father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own fault

Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was capable of
devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And, O

Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both Saktri and
Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great happiness.

the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were younger than
Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the celestials. And, O

O offspring of Vasishtha's son, thou hast also been, in this sacrifice,
only an instrument in the destruction of these innocent Rakshasas. O,
blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice of thine. Let it come to an end.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the
intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni--the son of Saktri then brought
that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had

for the purpose of the Rakshasas' sacrifice into the deep woods on the
north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming
Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna asked, 'What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command

queen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with the

the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and great Rishi
Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of morality know a
woman he should not have known? O friend, was this an act of sin on the
part of Vasishtha? It behoveth thee to remove the doubts I entertain

refer to thee for solution.'

"The Gandharva replied, saying, 'O irrepressible Dhananjaya, listen to

as I answer the question thou hast asked in respect of Vasishtha and

Kalmashapada that cherisher of friends. O thou best of the Bharatas, I
have told thee all about the curse of king Kalmashapada by Saktri, the
illustrious son of Vasishtha. Brought under the influence of the curse,
that smiter of all foes--king Kalmashapada--with eyes whirling in anger
went out of his capital accompanied by his wife. And entering with his
wife the solitary woods the king began to wander about. And one day

the king under the influence of the curse was wandering through that
forest abounding in several kinds of deer and various other animals and
overgrown with numerous large trees and shrubs and creepers and

with terrible cries, he became exceedingly hungry. And the monarch
thereupon began to search for some food. Pinched with hunger, the king

last saw, in a very solitary part of the woods, a Brahmana and his wife
enjoying each other. Alarmed at beholding the monarch the couple ran

their desire ungratified. Pursuing the retreating pair, the king

seized the Brahmana. Then the Brahmani, beholding her lord seized,
addressed the monarch, saying, 'Listen to what I say, O monarch of
excellent vows! It is known all over the world that thou art born in

solar race, and that thou art ever vigilant in the practice of morality
and devoted to the service of thy superiors. It behoveth thee not to
commit sin, O thou irrepressible one, deprived though thou hast been of
thy senses by (the Rishi's) curse. My season hath come, and wishful of

husband's company I was connected with him. I have not been gratified

Be propitious unto us, O thou best of kings! Liberate my husband.' The
monarch, however, without listening to her cries cruelly devoured her
husband like a tiger devouring its desirable prey. Possessed with wrath

this sight, the tears that that woman shed blazed up like fire and
consumed everything in that place. Afflicted with grief at the calamity
that overtook her lord, the Brahmani in anger cursed the royal sage
Kalmashapada, 'Vile wretch, since thou hast today cruelly devoured

my very nose my illustrious husband dear unto me, even before my

have been gratified, therefore shall thou, O wicked one afflicted by my
curse, meet with instant death when thou goest in for thy wife in

And thy wife, O wretch, shall bring forth a son uniting herself with

Rishi Vasishtha whose children have been devoured by thee. And that

O worst of kings, shall be the perpetuator of thy race.' And cursing

monarch thus, that lady of Angira's house bearing every auspicious

entered the blazing fire in the very sight of the monarch. And, O thou
oppressor of all foes, the illustrious and exalted Vasishtha by his
ascetic power and spiritual insight immediately knew all. And long

this, when the king became freed from his curse, he approached his wife
Madayanati when her season came. But Madayanati softly sent him away.
Under the influence of passion the monarch had no recollection of that
curse. Hearing, however, the words of his wife, the best of kings

terribly alarmed. And recollecting the curse he repented bitterly of

he had done. It was for this reason, O thou best of men, that the

infected with the Brahmani's curse, appointed Vasishtha to beget a son
upon his queen.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna asked, 'O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell

therefore, which Veda-knowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as our

"The Gandharva replied, 'There is in these woods a shrine of the name

Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in
ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest."

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that

happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting
ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, 'O thou best of
Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time.
When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.'
Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other,
left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they
desired. Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred
asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the
foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents

wild fruits and (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And

Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having
obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and
kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as
already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata

having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded
themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled
Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule

morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas,

them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples). And that Brahmana, beholding
those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance

unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of

own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom. Then those kings

men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana,

to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of


(Swayamvara Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those tigers among men--those brothers--the

Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi and

festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among men--

oppressors of all enemies--in going along with their mother, saw on the
way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those Brahmanas who

all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked them, 'Where are

going to? Whence also are ye come?' And Yudhishthira replied unto them,
saying, 'Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are uterine brothers
proceeding together with our mother. We are coming even from

The Brahmanas then said, 'Go ye this very day to the abode of Drupada

the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara takes place there, on
which a large sum of money will be spent. We also are proceeding

Let us all go together. Extraordinary festivities will take place (in
Drupada's abode). The illustrious Yajnasena, otherwise called Drupada,

a daughter risen from the centre of the sacrificial altar. Of eyes like
lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and

she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every
feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like

that of the blue lotus for two full miles around, is the sister of the
strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted with great prowess--the (would-be)
slayer of Drona--who was born with natural mail and sword and bow and
arrows from the blazing fire, himself like unto the second Fire. And

daughter of Yajnasena will select a husband from among the invited

And we are repairing thither to behold her and the festivities on the
occasion, like unto the festivities of heaven. And to that Swayamvara

come from various lands kings and princes who are performers of

in which the presents to the Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to

are holy, illustrious, and of rigid vows; who are young and handsome;

who are mighty car-warriors and accomplished in arms. Desirous of

(the hand of) the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth

kine and food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will
give away and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities,

shall go wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that
Swayamvara, from various countries, actors, and bards singing the
panegyrics of kings, and dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds,
and powerful athletes. And beholding all these sights and taking what

be given away to illustrious ones, ye will return with us. Ye are all
handsome and like unto the celestials! Beholding you, Krishna may, by
chance, choose some one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy

of mighty arms and handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in
(athletic) encounters, may, by chance, earn great wealth.'

"On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye
Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden's Swayamvara

that excellent jubilee.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O
Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas

over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the
illustrious Dwaipayana--that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless.

duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation

over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada's abode. And those

chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time within
those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along their

Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and sweet-speeched,
the Pandavas at last entered the country of the Panchalas. And

the capital, as also the fort, they took up their quarters in the house

a potter. Adopting the Brahmanical profession, they began to lead an
eleemosynary life. And no men recognised those heroes during their stay

Drupada's capital.

"Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on

(Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O
Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff
bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna.
Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark
attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, 'He that will string this
bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine
shall obtain my daughter.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words king Drupada proclaimed the
Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands

to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of
beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and

Kurus accompanied by Karna. There also came many superior Brahmanas

every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with
reverence by the illustrious Drupada. Desirous of beholding the

the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on the

that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch entered the

amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the amphitheatre which

had been erected on an auspicious and level plain to the north-east of
Drupada's capital, was surrounded by beautiful mansions. And it was
enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat with arched doorways

and there. The vast amphitheatre was also shaded by a canopy of various
colours. And resounding with the notes of thousands of trumpets, it was
scented with black aloes and sprinkled all over with water mixed with
sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of flowers. It was surrounded
with high mansions perfectly white and resembling the cloud-kissing

of Kailasa. The windows of those mansions were covered with net works

gold; the walls were set with diamonds and precious costly carpets and
cloths. All those mansions adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers
and rendered fragrant with excellent aloes, were all white and

like unto the necks of swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be
perceived from the distance of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were

furnished with a hundred doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons;
they were adorned with costly beds and carpets, and beautified with
various metals; they resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those
seven-storied houses of various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by
Drupada whose persons were adorned with every ornament and who were
possessed with the desire of excelling one another. And the inhabitants

the city and the country who had come to behold Krishna and taken their
seats on the excellent platforms erected around, beheld seated within
those mansions those lions among kings who were all endued with the

of great souls. And those exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the
fragrant paste of the black aloe. Of great liberality, they were all
devoted to Brahma and they protected their kingdoms against all foes.

for their own good deeds they were loved by the whole world.

"The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas

beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And that
concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the
performances of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of

being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted, O

several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full, the
daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed
herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with
every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the
usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of
the lunar race--a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras--ignited

sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified
butter. And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas
utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical
instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast

O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed of a voice
deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold of his
sister's arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with a

loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of

import, 'Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the mark,

these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine
with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed of
lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great

shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.' Having thus
spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada's son then addressed his

reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of those
assembled lords of the earth.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Dhrishtadyumna said, 'Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha and
Dushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu and
Vayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana,
Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and

and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of
Dhritarashtra--all heroes--accompanied by Karna, have come for thy

Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas--have
also come for thee. Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrisaka, and Vrihadvala,--these

of the king Gandhara--have also come. Foremost of all wielders of

--the illustrious Aswatthaman and Bhoja, adorned with every ornament

also come for thee. Vrihanta, Manimana, Dandadhara, Sahadeva,

Meghasandhi, Virata with his two sons Sankha and Uttara, Vardhakshemi,
Susarma, Senavindu, Suketu with his two sons Sunama and Suvarcha,

Sukumara, Vrika, Satyadhriti, Suryadhwaja, Rochamana, Nila,

Agsuman, Chekitana, the mighty Sreniman, Chandrasena the mighty son of
Samudrasena, Jarasandha, Vidanda, and Danda--the father and son,

Vasudeva, Bhagadatta endued with great energy, Kalinga, Tamralipta, the
king of Pattana, the mighty car-warrior Salya, the king of Madra, with

son, the heroic Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta of the Kuru race with
his three sons, all mighty chariot-fighters and heroes, viz., Bhuri,
Bhurisrava, and Sala, Sudakshina, Kamvoja of the Puru race, Vrihadvala,
Sushena, Sivi, the son of Usinara, Patcharanihanta, the king of

Sankarshana (Valadeva), Vasudeva (Krishna) the mighty son of Rukmini,
Samva, Charudeshna, the son of Pradyumna with Gada, Akrura, Satyaki,

high-souled Uddhava, Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, Prithu, Viprithu,
Viduratha, Kanka, Sanku with Gaveshana, Asavaha, Aniruddha, Samika,
Sarimejaya, the heroic Vatapi Jhilli Pindaraka, the powerful Usinara,

these of the Vrishni race, Bhagiratha, Vrihatkshatra, Jayadratha the

of Sindhu, Vrihadratha, Valhika, the mighty charioteer Srutayu, Uluka,
Kaitava, Chitrangada and Suvangada, the highly intelligent Vatsaraja,

king of Kosala, Sisupala and the powerful Jarasandha, these and many

great kings--all Kshatriyas celebrated throughout the world--have come,

blessed one, for thee. Endued with prowess, these will shoot the mark.

thou shalt choose him for thy husband who amongst these will shoot the


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-

vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in arms

gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. And intoxicated
with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth, and youth,

were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut with crowns split

excess of temporal juice. And beholding each other with jealousy and
influenced by the god of desire, they suddenly rose up from their royal
seats, exclaiming 'Krishna shall be mine.' And the Kshatriyas assembled

that amphitheatre, each desirous of winning the daughter of Drupada,
looked like the celestial (of old) standing round Uma, the daughter of

King of mountains. Afflicted with the shafts of the god of the flowery

and with hearts utterly lost in the contemplation of Krishna, those
princes descended into the amphitheatre for winning the Panchala maiden
and began to regard even their best friends with jealousy. And there

also the celestials on their cars, with the Rudras and the Adityas, the
Vasus and the twin Aswins, the Swadhas and all the Marutas, and Kuvera
with Yama walking ahead. And there came also the Daityas and the

the great Nagas and the celestial Rishis, the Guhyakas and the Charanas
and Viswavasu and Narada and Parvata, and the principal Gandharvas with
Apsaras. And Halayudha (Valadeva) and Janardana (Krishna) and the chief

the Vrishni, Andhaka, and Yadava tribes who obeyed the leadership of
Krishna were also there, viewing the scene. And beholding those

in rut--the five (Pandavas)--attracted towards Draupadi like mighty
elephants towards a lake overgrown with lotuses, or like fire covered

ashes, Krishna the foremost of Yadu heroes began to reflect. And he

unto Rama (Valadeva), 'That is Yudhishthira; that is Bhima with Jishnu
(Arjuna); and those are the twin heroes.' And Rama surveying them

cast a glance of satisfaction at Krishna. Biting their nether lips in
wrath, the other heroes there--sons and grandsons of kings--with their
eyes and hearts and thoughts set on Krishna, looked with expanded eyes

Draupadi alone without noticing the Pandavas. And the sons of Pritha

of mighty arms, and the illustrious twin heroes, beholding Draupadi,

all likewise struck by the shafts of Kama. And crowded with celestial
Rishis and Gandharvas and Suparnas and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas,

filled with celestial perfumes and scattered over with celestial

and resounding with the kettle-drum and the deep hum of infinite

and echoing with the softer music of the flute, the Vina, and the

the cars of the celestials could scarcely find a passage through the
firmament. Then those princes--Karna, Duryodhana, Salwa, Salya,
Aswatthaman, Kratha, Sunitha, Vakra, the ruler of Kalinga and Banga,
Pandya, Paundra, the ruler of Videha, the chief of the Yavanas, and

other sons and grandsons of kings,--sovereigns of territories with eyes
like lotus-petals,--one after another began to exhibit prowess for
(winning) that maiden of unrivalled beauty. Adorned with crowns,

bracelets, and other ornaments, endued with mighty arms, possessed of
prowess and vigour and bursting with strength and energy, those princes
could not, even in imagination, string that bow of extraordinary

"And (some amongst) those kings in exerting with swelling lips each
according to his strength, education, skill, and energy,--to string

bow, were tossed on the ground and lay perfectly motionless for some

Their strength spent and their crowns and garlands loosened from their
persons, they began to pant for breath and their ambition of winning

fair maiden was cooled. Tossed by that tough bow, and their garlands

bracelets and other ornaments disordered, they began to utter

of woe. And that assemblage of monarchs, their hope of obtaining

gone, looked sad and woeful. And beholding the plight of those

Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to where the bow

and quickly raising it strung it and placed the arrows on the string.

beholding the son of Surya--Karna of the Suta tribe--like unto fire, or
Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the mark, those foremost of
bowmen--the sons of Pandu--regarded the mark as already shot and

down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi loudly said, 'I will

select a Suta for my lord.' Then Karna, laughing in vexation and

glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already drawn to a circle.

"Then when all those Kshatriyas gave up the task, the heroic king of

Chedis--mighty as Yama (Pluto) himself--the illustrious and determined
Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa, in endeavouring to string the bow,

fell upon his knees on the ground. Then king Jarasandha endued with

strength and powers, approaching the bow stood there for some moment,
fixed and motionless like a mountain. Tossed by the bow, he too fell

his knees on the ground, and rising up, the monarch left the

for (returning to) his kingdom. Then the great hero Salya, the king of
Madra, endued with great strength, in endeavouring to string the bow

upon his knees on the ground. At last when in that assemblage

of highly respectable people, all the monarchs had become subjects of
derisive talk that foremost of heroes--Jishnu, the son of Kunti--

to string the bow and placed the arrows on the bow-string.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When all the monarchs had desisted from
stringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd

Brahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing the
complexion of Indra's banner, advancing towards the bow, the principal
Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour. And while

were displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some

were, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one

said, 'Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms

weak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas as
Salya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science and
practice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in this

task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyish unsteadiness, the
entire body of Brahmanas here will be rendered ridiculous in the eyes

the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid this Brahmana that he may not

to string the bow which he is even now desirous of doing from vanity,
or mere childish daring.' Others replied, 'We shall not be made
ridiculous, nor shall we incur the disrespect of anybody or the
displeasure of the sovereigns. Some remarked, 'This handsome youth is

like the trunk of a mighty elephant, whose shoulders and arms and

are so well-built, who in patience looks like the Himavat, whose gait

even like that of the lion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of

elephant in rut, and who is so resolute, that it is probable that he

accomplish this feat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none,

would never go of his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the

worlds that Brahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining

all food or living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their

and emaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy.

should never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong,

supposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little,

that is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated

battle, all the Kshatriyas. Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off the
fathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, 'Let this youth bend the bow and
string it with ease' (and many said), 'So be it.' And the Brahmanas
continued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjuna
approached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking round

bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons--the lord Isana--and
remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow which Rukma,

Vakra, Radha's son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other kings

in the science and practice of arms, could not even with great

string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of all persons endued

energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra (Vishnu) in might,
strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up the five arrows he

the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground through the hole in

machine above which it had been placed. Then there arose a loud uproar

the firmament, and the amphitheatre also resounded with a loud clamour.
And the gods showered celestial flowers on the head of Partha the

of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began to wave their upper garments

joy. And all around, the monarchs who had been unsuccessful, uttered
exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers were rained from the

all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians struck up in concert.

and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the praises (of the hero who
accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna, Drupada--that slayer of

was filled with joy. And the monarch desired to assist with his forces

hero if the occasion arose. And when the uproar was at its height,
Yudhishthira, the foremost of all virtuous men, accompanied by those

of men the twins, hastily left the amphitheatre for returning to his
temporary home. And Krishna beholding the mark shot and beholding

also like unto Indra himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with

and approached the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of

And Arjuna the accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi

his success in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the
Brahmanas. And he soon after left the lists followed close by her who

became his wife.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the king (Drupada) expressed his desire of
bestowing his daughter on that Brahmana (who had shot the mark), all

monarchs who had been invited to the Swayamvara, looking at one

were suddenly filled with wrath. And they said, 'Passing us by and
treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to

his daughter--that first of women,--on a Brahmana! Having planted the

he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch regardeth

not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect nor the
veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall,

slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son. Inviting
all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he
disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a
conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto
himself? The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for
the Kshatriyas. The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection

husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth

to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and
return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath,

officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should

yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and
whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must

done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire

maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras

not terminate in this way.'

"Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued
with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed

Drupada to slay him then and there. And Drupada beholding those

all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows, sought,
from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty bowmen

and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all foes, advanced

oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously like elephants

the season of rut. Then the monarchs with gloved fingers and upraised
weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima and Arjuna, to slay
them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary achievements, endued with

strength of thunder, tore up like an elephant a large tree and divested

of its leaves. And with that tree, the strong-armed Bhima, the son of
Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood, like unto the mace-bearing king of
the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce mace, near Arjuna that bull

men. And beholding that feat of his brother, Jishnu of extraordinary
intelligence, himself also of inconceivable feats, wondered much. And
equal unto Indra himself in achievements, shaking off all fear he stood
with his bow ready to receive those assailants. And beholding those

of both Jishnu and his brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman
intelligence and inconceivable feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha
(Valadeva) of fierce energy, said, 'That hero there, of tread like that

a mighty lion, who draweth the large bow in his hand four full cubits

length, is Arjuna! There is no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I

Vasudeva. That other hero who having speedily torn up the tree hath
suddenly become ready to drive off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no

in the world, except Vrikodara, could today perform such a feat in the
field of battle. And that other youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals,

full four cubits height, of gait like that of a mighty lion, and humble
withal, of fair complexion and prominent and shining nose, who had, a
little before, left the amphitheatre, is Dharma's son (Yudhishthira).

two other youths, like unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the
twin Aswins. I heard that the sons of Pandu along with their mother

had all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.' Then
Halayudha of complexion like unto that of clouds uncharged with rain,
addressing his younger brother (Krishna), said with great satisfaction,

I am happy to hear, as I do from sheer good fortune, that our father's
sister Pritha with the foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped
(from death)!'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those bulls among Brahmanas shaking their

skins and water-pots made of cocoanut-shells exclaimed, 'Fear not, we

fight the foe!' Arjuna smilingly addressing those Brahmanas exclaiming
thus, said, 'Stand ye aside as spectators (of the fray). Showering

of arrows furnished with straight points even I shall check, like

with mantras, all those angry monarchs.' Having said this, the mighty
Arjuna taking up the bow he had obtained as dower accompanied by his
brother Bhima stood immovable as a mountain. And beholding those
Kshatriyas who were ever furious in battle with Karna ahead, the heroic
brothers rushed fearlessly at them like two elephants rushing against a
hostile elephant. Then those monarchs eager for the fight fiercely
exclaimed, 'The slaughter in battle of one desiring to fight is
permitted.' And saying this, the monarchs suddenly rushed against the
Brahmanas. And Karna endued with great energy rushed against Jishnu for
fight. And Salya the mighty king of Madra rushed against Bhima like an
elephant rushing against another for the sake of a she-elephant in

while Duryodhana and others engaged with the Brahmanas, skirmished with
them lightly and carelessly. Then the illustrious Arjuna beholding

the son of Vikartana (Surya), advancing towards him, drew his tough bow
and pieced him with his sharp arrows. And the impetus of those whetted
arrows furnished with fierce energy made Radheya (Karna) faint.
Recovering consciousness Karna attacked Arjuna with greater care than
before. Then Karna and Arjuna, both foremost of victorious warriors,
desirous of vanquishing each other, fought madly on. And such was the
lightness of hand they both displayed that (each enveloped by the

shower of arrows) they both became invisible (unto the spectators of

encounter). 'Behold the strength of my arms.'--'Mark, how I have
counteracted that feat,'--those were the words--intelligible to heroes
alone--in which they addressed each other. And incensed at finding the
strength and energy of Arjuna's arms unequalled on the earth, Karna,

son of Surya, fought with greater vigour. And parrying all those

arrows shot at him by Arjuna, Karna sent up a loud shout. And this feat

his was applauded by all the warriors. Then addressing his antagonist,
Karna said, 'O thou foremost of Brahmanas, I am gratified to observe

energy of thy arms that knoweth no relaxation in battle and thy weapons
themselves fit for achieving victory. Art thou the embodiment of the
science of weapons, or art thou Rama that best of Brahmanas, or Indra
himself, or Indra's younger brother Vishnu called also Achyuta, who for
disguising himself hath assumed the form of a Brahmana and mustering

energy of arms fighteth with me? No other person except the husband
himself of Sachi or Kiriti, the son of Pandu, is capable of fighting

me when I am angry on the field of battle.' Then hearing those words of
his, Phalguna replied, saying, 'O Karna, I am neither the science of

(personified), nor Rama endued with superhuman powers. I am only a
Brahmana who is the foremost of all warriors and all wielders of

By the grace of my preceptor I have become accomplished in the Brahma

the Paurandara weapons. I am here to vanquish thee in battle.

Therefore, O
hero, wait a little.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by Arjuna), Karna the adopted
son of Radha desisted from the fight, for that mighty chariot-fighter
thought that Brahma energy is ever invincible. Meanwhile on another

of the field, the mighty heroes Salya and Vrikodara, well-skilled in
battle and possessed of great strength and proficiency, challenging

other, engaged in fight like two elephants in rut. And they struck each
other with their clenched fists and knees. And sometimes pushing each
other forward and sometimes dragging each other near, sometimes

each other down; face downward, and sometimes on the sides, they fought

striking, each other at times with their clenched fists. And

each other with blows hard as the clash of two masses of granite, the
lists rang with the sounds of their combat. Fighting with each other

for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes taking up

on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that bull amongst

surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though he threw Salya

the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when Salya was thus
thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other monarchs were all
alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima and exclaimed, 'Surely these
bulls amongst Brahmanas are excellent (warriors)! Ascertain in what

they have been born and where they abide. Who can encounter Karna, the

of Radha, in fight, except Rama or Drona, or Kiriti, the son of Pandu?

also can encounter Duryodhana in battle except Krishna, the son of

and Kripa, the son of Saradwan? Who also can overthrow in battle Salya,
that first of mighty warriors, except the hero Valadeva or Vrikodara,

son of Pandu, or the heroic Duryodhana? Let us, therefore, desist from
this fight with the Brahmanas. Indeed, Brahmanas, however offending,
should yet be ever protected. And first let us ascertain who these are;
for after we have done that we may cheerfully fight with them.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Krishna, having beheld that feat of

believed them both to be the son of Kunti. And gently addressing the
assembled monarchs, saying, 'This maiden hath been justly acquired (by

Brahmana),' he induced them to abandon the fight. Accomplished in

those monarchs then desisted from the fight. And those best of monarchs
then returned to their respective kingdoms, wondering much. And those

had come there went away saying, 'The festive scene hath terminated in

victory of the Brahmanas. The princess of Panchala hath become the

of a Brahmana.' And surrounded by Brahmanas dressed in skins of deer

other wild animals, Bhima and Dhananjaya passed with difficulty out of

throng. And those heroes among men, mangled by the enemy and followed

Krishna, on coming at last out of that throng, looked like the full

and the sun emerging from the clouds.

"Meanwhile Kunti seeing that her sons were late in returning from their
eleemosynary round, was filled with anxiety. She began to think of

evils having overtaken her sons. At one time she thought that the sons

Dhritarashtra having recognised her sons had slain them. Next she

that some cruel and strong Rakshasas endued with powers of deception

slain them. And she asked herself, 'Could the illustrious Vyasa himself
(who had directed my sons to come to Panchala) have been guided by
perverse intelligence?' Thus reflected Pritha in consequence of her
affection for her offspring. Then in the stillness of the late

Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode of the
potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those illustrious sons of Pritha, on

to the potter's abode, approached their mother. And those first of men
represented Yajnaseni unto their mother as the alms they had obtained

day. And Kunti who was there within the room and saw not her sons,

saying, 'Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).' The moment after, she
beheld Krishna and then she said, 'Oh, what have I said?' And anxious

fear of sin, and reflecting how every one could be extricated from the
situation, she took the cheerful Yajnaseni by the hand, and approaching
Yudhishthira said, 'The daughter of king Yajnasena upon being

to me by thy younger brothers as the alms they had obtained, from
ignorance, O king, I said what was proper, viz., 'Enjoy ye all what

been obtained.' O thou bull of the Kuru race, tell me how my speech may
not become untrue; how sin may not touch the daughter of the king of
Panchala, and how also she may not become uneasy.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother that hero among

that foremost scion of the Kuru race, the intelligent king

reflecting for a moment, consoled Kunti, and addressing Dhananjaya,

'By thee, O Phalguna, hath Yajnaseni been won. It is proper, therefore,
that thou shouldst wed her. O thou withstander of all foes, igniting

sacred fire, take thou her hand with due rites.'

"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'O king, do not make me a participator

sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed

the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strong-armed Bhima of
inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all,

endued with great activity. Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins

this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the
state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and
conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the

of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of
respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the

of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And
casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked

one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi

Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at

the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush all their
senses. As the lavishing beauty of Panchali who had been modelled by

Creator himself, was superior to that of all other women on earth, it
could captivate the heart of every creature. And Yudhishthira, the son

Kunti, beholding his younger brothers, understood what was passing in
their minds. And that bull among men immediately recollected the words

Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king, then, from fear of a division amongst
the brothers, addressing all of them, said, 'The auspicious Draupadi

be the common wife of us all.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The sons of Pandu, then, hearing those words

their eldest brother, began to revolve them in their minds in great
cheerfulness. The hero of the Vrishni race (Krishna suspecting the five
persons he had seen at the Swayamvara to be none else than the heroes

the Kuru race), came accompanied by the son of Rohini (Valadeva), to

house of the potter where those foremost of men had taken up their
quarters. On arriving there, Krishna and Valadeva beheld seated in that
potter's house Ajatasanu (Yudhishthira) of well developed and long

and his younger brothers passing the splendour of fire sitting around

Then Vasudeva approaching that foremost of virtuous men--the son of

and touching the feet of that prince of the Ajamida race, said, 'I am
Krishna.' And the son of Rohini (Valadeva) also approaching

did the same. And the Pandavas, beholding Krishna and Valadeva, began

express great delight. And, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, those
heroes of the Yadu race thereafter touched also the feet of Kunti,

father's sister. And Ajatasatru, that foremost of the Kuru race,

Krishna, enquired after his well-being and asked, 'How, O Vasudeva,

thou been able to trace us, as we are living in disguise?' And

smilingly answered, 'O king, fire, even if it is covered, can be known.
Who else among men than the Pandavas could exhibit such might? Ye
resisters of all foes, ye sons of Pandu, by sheer good fortune have ye
escaped from that fierce fire. And it is by sheer good fortune alone

the wicked son of Dhritarashtra and his counsellors have not succeeded

accomplishing their wishes. Blest be ye! And grow ye in prosperity like

fire in a cave gradually growing and spreading itself all around. And

any of the monarchs recognise ye, let us return to our tent.' Then,
obtaining Yudhishthira's leave, Krishna of prosperity knowing no

accompanied by Valadeva, hastily went away from the potter's abode.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the Kuru princes (Bhima and Arjuna) were

towards the abode of the potter, Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchala prince
followed them. And sending away all his attendants, he concealed

in some part of the potter's house, unknown to the Pandavas. Then

that grinder of all foes, and Jishnu, and the illustrious twins, on
returning from their eleemosynary round in the evening, cheerfully gave
everything unto Yudhishthira. Then the kind-hearted Kunti addressing

daughter of Drupada said, 'O amiable one, take thou first a portion

this and devote it to the gods and give it away to Brahmanas, and feed
those that desire to eat and give unto those who have become our

Divide the rest into two halves. Give one of these unto Bhima, O

one, for this strong youth of fair complexion--equal unto a king of
elephants--this hero always eateth much. And divide the other half into
six parts, four for these youths, one for myself, and one for thee.'

the princess hearing those instructive words of her mother-in-law
cheerfully did all that she had been directed to do. And those heroes

all ate of the food prepared by Krishna. Then Sahadeva, the son of

endued with great activity, spread on the ground a bed of kusa grass.

those heroes, each spreading thereon his deer-skin, laid themselves

to sleep. And those foremost of the Kuru princes lay down with heads
towards the south. And Kunti laid herself down along the line of their
heads, and Krishna along that of their feet. And Krishna though she lay
with the sons of Pandu on that bed of kusa grass along the line of

feet as if she were their nether pillow, grieved not in her heart nor
thought disrespectfully of those bulls amongst the Kurus. Then those
heroes began to converse with one another. And the conversations of

princes, each worthy to lead an army, was exceedingly interesting, they
being upon celestial cars and weapons and elephants, and swords and

and battle-axes. And the son of the Panchala king listened (from his

of concealment) unto all they said. And all those who were with him

Krishna in that state.

"When morning came, the prince Dhristadyumna set out from his place of
concealment with great haste in order to report to Drupada in detail

that had happened at the potter's abode and all that he had heard those
heroes speak amongst themselves during the night. The king of Panchala

been sad because he knew not the Pandavas as those who had taken away

daughter. And the illustrious monarch asked Dhristadyumna on his

'Oh, where hath Krishna gone? Who hath taken her away? Hath any Sudra

anybody of mean descent, or hath a tribute-paying Vaisya by taking my
daughter away, placed his dirty foot on my head? O son, hath that

of flowers been thrown away on a grave-yard? Hath any Kshatriya of high
birth, or any one of the superior order (Brahmana) obtained my

Hath any one of mean descent, by having won Krishna, placed his left

on my head? I would not, O son, grieve but feel greatly happy, if my
daughter hath been united with Partha that foremost of men! O thou

one, tell me truly who hath won my daughter today? O, are the sons of

foremost of Kurus, Vichitravirya's son alive? Was it Partha (Arjuna)

took up the bow and shot the mark?'"


(Vaivahika Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of

Lunar princes, cheerfully said unto his father all that had happened

by whom Krishna had been won. And the prince said, 'With large, red

attired in deer-skin, and resembling a celestial in beauty, the youth

strung that foremost of bows and brought down to the ground the mark

on high, was soon surrounded by the foremost of Brahmanas who also

him their homage for the feat he had achieved. Incapable of bearing the
sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to exert his
prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the thunder-

Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the Rishis. And like

she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna cheerfully

that youth catching hold of his deer-skin. Then when the assembled
monarchs incapable of bearing that sight rose up in wrath and advanced

fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large tree rushed at
that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like Yama himself
smiting down creatures endued with life. Then, O monarch, the assembled
kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes, while they,
resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them, left the
amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs of the
town, and there at the potter's abode sat a lady like unto a flame of

who, I think, is their mother. And around her also sat three other
foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of

having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said unto
Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those

of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time after when
they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained as alms,
devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion away

gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a portion

that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those five

of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last of all. Then,

monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna lying along

line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on which they

was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their deer-skins. And

going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in voices deep as of

clouds. The talk of those heroes indicated them to be neither Vaisyas

Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O monarch, they are bulls amongst
Kshatriyas, their discourse having been on military subjects. It seems,

father, that our hope hath been fructified, for we have heard that the
sons of Kunti all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.

the way in which the mark was shot down by that youth, and the strength
with which the bow was strung by him, and the manner in which I have

them talk with one another proves conclusively, O monarch, that they

the sons of Pritha wandering in disguise.'

"Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad,

he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were

whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed, the
king's priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the

message duly, saying, 'Ye who are worthy of preference in everything,

boon-giving king of the earth--Drupada--is desirous of ascertaining who

are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no
bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye

feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of
Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was the dear friend of
Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all
along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu

his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king
Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna

strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the
ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better;

more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as
Drupada is concerned.'

"Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an
answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded

who sat near, saying, 'Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya

offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada's priest and, therefore,
worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary
reverence.' Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the

thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his

Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, 'The king of the Panchalas

by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to
the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by satisfying
that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing

to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who
hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by
the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by

what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away

from among the assembled monarchs. In these circumstances, the king of

Lunar race should not indulge in any regrets which can only make him
unhappy without mending matters in the least. The desire that king

hath all along cherished will be accomplished for his handsome princess
who beareth, I think, every auspicious mark. None that is weak in

could string that bow, and none of mean birth and unaccomplished in

could have shot down the mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of

Panchalas to grieve for his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the

undo that act of shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not
grieve for what must take its course.'

"While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the

of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, 'The (nuptial) feast'



(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The messenger said, 'King Drupada hath, in

of his daughter's nuptials prepared a good feast for the bride-groom's
party. Come ye thither after finishing your daily rites. Krishna's

will take place there. Delay ye not. These cars adorned with golden
lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on them,
come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those bulls among the Kurus, dismissing

priest and causing Kunti and Krishna to ride together on one of those

themselves ascended those splendid vehicles and proceeded towards
Drupada's place. Meanwhile, O Bharata, hearing from his priest the

that Yudhishthira had said, king Drupada, in order to ascertain the

to which those heroes belonged, kept ready a large collection of

(required by the ordinance for the wedding of each of the four orders).
And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and
shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles

implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch,

article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and

of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail

shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and

chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and
various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold. And he also kept ready
darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And

were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and
cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada's abode, Kunti
taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of

king. The ladies of the king's household with joyous hearts worshipped

queen of the Kurus. Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each
possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their

garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and

hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and the
king's ministers, and the king's son, and the king's friends and
attendants, all became exceedingly glad. Those heroes sat on excellent
seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and

And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly
seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After

heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful
cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and
silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and

well-pleased. And after the dinner was over, those heroes among men,
passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the
various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada's son and Drupada

along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the sons of
Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressing
prince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfully
enquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, 'Are we to know you

Kshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials who
disguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come

for the hand of Krishna? O tell us truly, for we have great doubts!

we not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of

have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly!

becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks.
Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of a

O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall make arrangements for my
daughter's wedding according to the order to which ye belong.'

"Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying 'Be not
cheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by thee
hath certainly been accomplished. We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons

the illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti

these to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won

the concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti

where Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy

for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus been
transferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our

superior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words, the king Drupada's eyes
rolled in ecstasy. And filled with delight the king could not, for some
moments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort,

chastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words.

virtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town of
Varanavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in

of their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything that
the son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler

men. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to

Yudhishthira to his paternal throne.

"Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded

the king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Then
king Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened,

Yudhishthira, said, 'O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjuna
take with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day,

let him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuous
king Yudhishthira replied, saying, 'O great king, I also shall have to
marry.' Hearing him, Drupada said, 'If it pleaseth thee, take thou the
hand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in

unto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.' Yudhishthira said, 'Thy
daughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hath
been ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhima
also is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hath
been won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoy
equally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule of
conduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become the

wife of us all. Let her take our hands, one after another before the

'Drupada answered, 'O scion of Kuru's race, it hath been directed that

man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one woman

have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquainted

the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that is
sinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thy
understanding become so?' Yudhishthira said in reply, 'O monarch,

is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the way trodden by

illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never uttered an untruth. My
heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mother commandeth so;

my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, that is quite
conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without any scruples.
Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.'

"Drupada said, 'O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna

thyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me

result of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti

Dhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however,
the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of his


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the Pandavas and the illustrious king of

Panchalas and all others there present stood up and saluted with

the illustrious Rishi Krishna (Dwaipayana). The high-souled Rishi,
saluting them in return and enquiring after their welfare, sat down on

carpet of gold. And commanded by Krishna (Dwaipayana) of immeasurable
energy, those foremost of men all sat down on costly seats. A little

O monarch, the son of Prishata in sweet accents asked the illustrious
Rishi about the wedding of his daughter. And he said, 'How, O

one, can one woman become the wife of many men without being defiled by
sin? O, tell me truly all about this.' Hearing these words Vyasa

'This practice, O king, being opposed to usage and the Vedas, hath

obsolete. I desire, however, to hear what the opinion of each of you is
upon this matter.'

"Hearing these words of the Rishi, Drupada spoke first, saying, 'The
practice is sinful in my opinion, being opposed to both usage and the
Vedas. O best of Brahmanas, nowhere have I seen many men having one

The illustrious ones also of former ages never had such a usage amongst
them. The wise should never commit a sin. I, therefore, can never make

mind to act in this way. This practice always appeareth to me to be of
doubtful morality.

"After Drupada had ceased, Dhrishtadyumna spoke, saying 'O bull amongst
Brahmanas, O thou of ascetic wealth, how can, O Brahmana, the elder
brother, if he is of a good disposition, approach the wife of his

brother? The ways of morality are ever subtle, and, therefore, we know
them not. We cannot, therefore, say what is conformable to morality and
what not. We cannot do such a deed, therefore, with a safe conscience.
Indeed, O Brahmana, I cannot say, 'Let Draupadi become the common wife

five brothers.'

"Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth

my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of

it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name
Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of

had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a

had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all
bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by
asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of
morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious.
Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the

Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained

alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed)
act as virtuous.'

"Kunti then said, 'The act is even so as the virtuous Yudhishthira hath
said. I greatly fear, O Brahmana, lest my speech should become untrue.

shall I be saved from untruth?'

"When they had all finished speaking, Vyasa said, 'O amiable one, how
shall thou be saved from the consequence of untruth? Even this is

virtue! I will not, O king of the Panchalas, discourse on this before

all. But thou alone shalt listen to me when I disclose how this

hath been established and why it is to be regarded as old and eternal.
There is no doubt that what Yudhishthira hath said is quite conformable


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa--the master
Dwaipayana--rose, and taking hold of Drupada's hand led him to a

apartment. The Pandavas and Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata's race
sat there, waiting for the return of Vyasa and Drupada. Meanwhile,
Dwaipayana began his discourse with illustrious monarch for explaining

the practice of polyandry could not be regarded as sinful.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Vyasa continued, 'In days of yore, the celestials

once commenced a grand sacrifice in the forest of Naimisha. At that
sacrifice, O king, Yama, the son of Vivaswat, became the slayer of the
devoted animals. Yama, thus employed in that sacrifice, did not (during
that period), O king, kill a single human being. Death being suspended

the world, the number of human beings increased very greatly. Then Soma
and Sakra and Varuna and Kuvera, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vasus,

twin Aswins,--these and other celestials went unto Prajapati, the

of the universe. Struck with fear for the increase of the human

of the world they addressed the Master of creation and said, 'Alarmed,

lord, at the increase of human beings on earth, we come to thee for

Indeed, we crave thy protection.' Hearing those words the Grandsire

'Ye have little cause to be frightened at this increase of human

Ye all are immortal. It behoveth you not to take fright at human

The celestials replied, 'The mortals have all become immortal. There is

distinction now between us and them. Vexed at the disappearance of all
distinction, we have come to thee in order that thou mayest distinguish

from them.' The Creator then said, 'The son of Vivaswat is even now
engaged in the grand sacrifice. It is for this that men are not dying.

when Yama's work in connection with the sacrifice terminates, men will
again begin to die as before. Strengthened by your respective energies,
Yama will, when that time comes, sweep away by thousands the

on earth who will scarcely have then any energy left in them.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the first-born deity, the
celestials returned to the spot where the grand sacrifice was being
performed. And the mighty one sitting by the side of the Bhagirathi saw

(golden) lotus being carried along by the current. And beholding that
(golden) lotus, they wondered much. And amongst them, that foremost of
celestials, viz., Indra, desirous of ascertaining whence it came,
proceeded up along the course of the Bhagirathi. And reaching that spot
whence the goddess Ganga issues perennially, Indra beheld a woman
possessing the splendour of fire. The woman who had come there to take
water was washing in the stream, weeping all the while. The tear-drops
she shed, falling on the stream, were being transformed into golden
lotuses. The wielder of the thunderbolt, beholding that wonderful

approached the woman and asked her, 'Who art thou, amiable lady? Why

thou weep? I desire to know the truth. O, tell me everything.'

"Vyasa continued, 'The woman thereupon answered, 'O Sakra, thou mayest
know who I am and why, unfortunate that I am, I weep, if only, O chief

the celestials, thou comest with me as I lead the way. Thou shall then

what it is I weep for." Hearing these words of the lady, Indra followed
her as she led the way. And soon he saw, not far off from where he was,

handsome youth with a young lady seated on a throne placed on one of

peaks of Himavat and playing at dice. Beholding that youth, the chief

the celestials said, 'Know, intelligent youth, that this universe is

my sway.' Seeing, however, that the person addressed was so engrossed

dice that he took no notice of what he said, Indra was possessed by

and repeated, 'I am the lord of the universe.' The youth who was none

than the god Mahadeva (the god of the gods), seeing Indra filled with
wrath, only smiled, having cast a glance at him. At that glance,

the chief of the celestials was at once paralysed and stood there like

stake. When the game at dice was over, Isana addressing the weeping

said, 'Bring Sakra hither, for I shall soon so deal with him that pride
may not again enter his heart.' As soon as Sakra was touched by that

the chief of the celestials with limbs paralysed by that touch, fell

on the earth. The illustrious Isana of fierce energy then said unto

'Act not, O Sakra, ever again in this way. Remove this huge stone, for

strength and energy are immeasurable, and enter the hole (it will
disclose) where await some others possessing the splendour of the sun

who are all like unto thee.' Indra, then, on removing that stone,

beheld a
cave in the breast of that king of mountains, within which were four
others resembling himself. Beholding their plight, Sakra became seized
with grief and exclaimed, 'Shall I be even like these?' Then the god
Girisha, looking full at Indra with expanded eyes, said in anger, 'O

of a hundred sacrifices, enter this cave without loss of time, for thou
hast from folly insulted me.' Thus addressed by the lord Isana, the

of the celestials, in consequence of that terrible imprecation, was

pained, and with limbs weakened by fear trembled like the wind-shaken

of a Himalayan fig. And cursed unexpectedly by the god owning a bull

his vehicle, Indra, with joined hands and shaking from head to foot,
addressed that fierce god of multi-form manifestations, saying, 'Thou

O Bhava, the over-looker of the infinite Universe!' Hearing these words
the god of fiery energy smiled and said, 'Those that are of disposition
like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the cave) had at
one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there
for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of

shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having

many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again

the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra.

shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds

work.' Then those Indras, of their shorn glory said, 'We shall go from

celestial regions even unto the region of men where salvation is

to be difficult of acquisition. But let the gods Dharma, Vayu,

and the twin Aswins beget us upon our would-be mother. Fighting with

by means of both celestial and human weapons, we shall again come back
into the region of Indra.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the former Indras, the

of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying,
'Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create
from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou

to form the fifth among these!' Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great
energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five
Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his
kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And

also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else

celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in

world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went
unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the
Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes

limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in
the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body,

of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs

the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one

these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair

was black was born as Kesava's self, Krishna. And those Indras of old

had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the

of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas,
called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a
portion of Sakra.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Thus, O king, they who have been born as the

are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself

had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary

How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the moon,

fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any other

an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue of the
sacrificial rites? Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this other

in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti endued

their sacred and celestial bodies of old!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of
generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight
unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with
their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial

with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra
himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with
every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and

measuring about five cubits. Endued with every accomplishment, and

with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of excellent
making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods (Mahadeva), or
Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves. And observing the Pandavas in

forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form of Indra

from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And the monarch
wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial power under
deep disguise. The king looking at his daughter, that foremost of women
endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel and possessed of
the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the worthy wife of
those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and fame. And

that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of Satyavati's son,
exclaiming, 'O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in thee!' The Rishi

cheerfully continued, 'In a certain hermitage there was an illustrious
Rishi's daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, obtained not a

The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances, the god Sankara
(Mahadeva). The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances, told her

'Ask thou the boon thou desirest.' Thus addressed, the maiden

said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, 'I desire to obtain a husband
possessed of every accomplishment.' Sankara, the chief of the gods,
gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, 'Thou shall

amiable maiden, five husbands.' The maiden, who had succeeded in
gratifying the god, said again, 'O Sankara, I desire to have from thee
only one husband possessed of every virtue?' The god of gods, well-

with her, spake again, saying, 'Thou hast, O maiden, addressed me five
full times, repeating, 'Give me a husband.' Therefore, O amiable one,

shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All this, however,

happen in a future life of thine!'

"Vyasa continued, 'O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is
that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata's race
hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The
celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the
sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of

grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the

as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of five
husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having
listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Drupada, on hearing this, observed, O great Rishi,

was only when I had not heard this from thee that I had sought to act

the way I told thee of. Now, however, that I know all, I cannot be
indifferent to what hath been ordained by the gods. Therefore do I

to accomplish what thou hast said. The knot of destiny cannot be

Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which had

appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now
terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had

said, 'O, give me a husband!' the great god himself even gave her the

she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of this. As
regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong, no sin

attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained, the hand

Krishna with the rites.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing
Yudhishthira the just, said, 'This day is an auspicious day, O son of
Pandu! This day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya.

thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!'

Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for the
wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as marriage
presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked, after a

with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the wedding all
the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state, and many
Brahmanas and citizens. And they all took their seats according to

respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men, with

yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and beautified
with lines of troops, king Drupada's palace, festooned around with
diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with
brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth
and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with
sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and
accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour

fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with
glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen. Then Dhaumya, well-
conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due
mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And
calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united

with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took
each other's hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya,
taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the
palace. Then those mighty car-warriors,--those perpetuators of the Kuru
line,--those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that
best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king,

celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing in
connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess of
slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous

After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those mighty car-
warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave unto them
one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four steeds with
golden bridles. And he gave them one hundred elephants all possessing
auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a hundred
mountains with golden peaks. He also gave them a hundred female

all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments and
floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave unto
each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a
witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments

great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after

wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a

Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and happiness,

so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the Panchalas,'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'King Drupada, after his alliance with the

had all his fears dispelled. Indeed, the monarch no longer stood in

even of the gods. The ladies of the illustrious Drupada's household
approached Kunti and introduced themselves unto her, mentioning their
respective names, and worshipped her feet with heads touching the

Krishna also, attired in red silk and her wrists still encircled with

auspicious thread, saluting her mother-in-law with reverence, stood
contentedly before her with joined palms. Pritha, out of affection,
pronounced a blessing upon her daughter-in-law endued with great beauty
and every auspicious mark and possessed of a sweet disposition and good
character, saying, 'Be thou unto thy husband as Sachi unto Indra, Swaha
unto Vibhavasu, Rohini unto Soma, Damayanti unto Nala, Bhadra unto
Vaisravana, Arundhati unto Vasishtha, Lakshmi unto Narayana! O amiable

be thou the mother of long-lived and heroic children, and possessed of
everything that can make thee happy! Let luck and prosperity ever wait

thee! Wait thou ever on husbands engaged in the performance of grand
sacrifices. Be thou devoted to thy husbands. And let thy days be ever
passed in duly entertaining and reverencing guests and strangers

at thy abode, and the pious and the old; children and superiors. Be

installed as the Queen of the kingdom and the capital of Kurujangala,

thy husband Yudhishthira the just! O daughter, let the whole earth,
conquered by the prowess of thy husbands endued with great strength, be
given away by thee unto Brahmanas at horse-sacrifice! O accomplished

whatever gems there are on earth possessed of superior virtues, obtain
them, O lucky one, and be thou happy for a full hundred years! And, O
daughter-in-law, as I rejoice today beholding thee attired in red silk,

shall I rejoice again, when, O accomplished one, I behold thee become

mother of a son!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the sons of Pandu had been married,

(Krishna) sent unto them (as presents) various gold ornaments set with
pearls and black gems (lapis lazuli). And Madhava (Krishna) also sent

them costly robes manufactured in various countries, and many beautiful
and soft blankets and hides of great value, and many costly beds and
carpets and vehicles. He also sent them vessels by hundreds, set with

and diamonds. And Krishna also gave them female servants by thousands,
brought from various countries, and endued with beauty, youth and
accomplishments and decked with every ornament. He also gave them many
well-trained elephants brought from the country of Madra, and many
excellent horses in costly harness, cars drawn by horses of excellent
colours and large teeth. The slayer of Madhu, of immeasurable soul,

sent them coins of pure gold by crores upon crores in separate heaps.

Yudhishthira the just, desirous of gratifying Govinda, accepted all

presents with great joy.'"


(Viduragamana Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who

come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the
handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu.

they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow

shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious
warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became
known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra,

the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by

of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all

in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of

ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all

The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the

of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with

her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of

They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who

come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel

contrived by Purochana, they began to say, 'O, fie on Bhishma, fie on
Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!'

"After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come

hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for

own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the
owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed.
Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and
Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then
Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said,

Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have
succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that

one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme.
Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas

still alive!' Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for
his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with
cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha,
escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and
thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada

accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with

"Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas

that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in shame,
their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king,

Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, 'The Kurus are prospering by good luck!'
Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering,

in great glee, 'What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!' From

the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been
chosen by Drupada's daughter as her lord. And the king immediately

various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both
Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to

It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the
Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at

and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And

also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the
many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and

many others who had come to that self-choice.

"Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, 'Those children are

me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my
affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are

and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and

whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength.

amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have

with his relatives as an ally?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard these words of the monarch,

said, 'O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a
hundred years!' Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode.

Then, O
monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of

Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, 'We cannot, O king, speak of

transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone,

will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O

desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it

thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of

in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in

way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way

to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father,
for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow

all with our children and friends and relatives.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do

what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even

a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding the
Pandavas in Vidura's presence, so that he might not know even by a sign
what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the time, O
Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon, and

O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.'

"Duryodhana said. 'Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful

adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti
and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of
state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon
the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. Or, let our spies induce

Pandavas to settle in Drupada's dominions, by describing to them,
separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that,
separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let

clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among

Pandavas, make them jealous of one another. Or, let them incite Krishna
against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any
difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves

with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be dissatisfied with

Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing thither, secretly compass
the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest of them all. Relying

Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us, of old. Bhima is fierce
and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas. If he be slain, the
others will be deprived of strength and energy. Deprived of Bhima who

their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to regain their kingdom.
Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima protecteth him from
behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a fourth part of
Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their own feebleness
without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive to recover

kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove docile and

to us, we would then seek to repress them according to the dictates of
political science (as explained by Kanika). Or, we may tempt them by

of handsome girls, upon which the princess of Panchala will get annoyed
with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be despatched to bring them
hither, so that, when arrived, we may through trusted agents, by some

the above methods, cause them to be slain. Strive, O father, to employ

of these (various) methods that may appear to thee faultless. Time

Before their confidence in king Drupada--that bull amongst kings--is
established we may succeed, O monarch, to encounter them. But after

confidence hath been established in Drupada, we are sure to fail.

These, O
father, are my views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge

they be good or bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, 'It doth
not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O
perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the

O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to
carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes. They
were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of

years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a
distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm
resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine.
This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they

desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in
injuring them by any means in our power. It is impossible to create
disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken

to a
common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas

any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in

Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women
always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She

never be estranged from the Pandavas. The king of Panchala is honest

virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom

will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada's son also possesseth every
accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not

that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power.

O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now,

to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course
recommend itself to thee. As long as our party is strong and that of

king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple.

son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals,
friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O

to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together

his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting
with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy
prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava
host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to

the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of

kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake

the Pandavas. The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by

prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by
prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O
bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave.

us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds

forces, grind Drupada without loss of time, and bring hither the

Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy

conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish
them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess,

thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we

accomplish our end.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Radheya,

endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then
addressed him and said, 'Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great
wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the
exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona,

Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal

may lead to our benefit.'

Vaisampayana continued, "'Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all
those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion,

replied, 'O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I can

approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And the sons

Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti. I should protect them as well as

should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas are as much
near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the other Kurus.
Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I never like.
Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be given unto
them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost

of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this
kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as

paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the

how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata

If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the
possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have
lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give

half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to

If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be
covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name.

good name is, indeed, the source of one's strength. It hath been said

one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth

die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one's fame

and dieth when one's fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the
practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms,

thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not

We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch
Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself
perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja's
daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to
meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that
overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it
regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu

life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy
evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru's race, that as long as those heroes
live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their
ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united.

are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou
shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if

shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto



(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhishma had concluded, Drona spoke, saying,

king Dhritarashtra, it hath been heard by us that friends summoned for
consultation should always speak what is right, true, and conductive to
fame. O sire, I am of the same mind in this matter with the illustrious
Bhishma. Let a share of the kingdom be given unto the Pandavas. This is
eternal virtue. Send, O Bharata, unto Drupada without loss of time some
messenger of agreeable speech, carrying with him a large treasure for

Pandavas. And let the man go unto Drupada carrying costly presents for
both the bridegrooms and the bride, and let him speak unto that monarch

thy increase of power and dignity arising from this new alliance with

And, O monarch, let the man know also that both thyself and Duryodhana
have become exceedingly glad in consequence of what hath happened. Let

say this repeatedly unto Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. And let him speak
also about the alliance as having been exceedingly proper, and

unto thee, and of thyself being worthy of it. And let the man

propitiate the sons of Kunti and those of Madri (in proper words). And

thy command, O king, let plenty of ornaments of pure gold be given unto
Draupadi. And let, O bull of Bharata's race, proper presents be given

all the sons of Drupada. Let the messenger then propose the return of

Pandavas to Hastinapura. After the heroes will have been permitted (by
Drupada), to come hither, let Duhsasana and Vikarna go out with a

train to receive them. And when they will have arrived at Hastinapura,

those foremost of men be received with affection by thee. And let them
then be installed on their paternal throne, agreeably to the wishes of

people of the realm. This, O monarch of Bharata's race, is what I think
should be thy behaviour towards the Pandavas who are to thee even as

own sons.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After Drona had ceased, Karna spake again,

Bhishma and Drona have been pampered with wealth that is thine and

conferred by thee! They are also always regarded by thee as thy trusted
friends! What can therefore be more amusing than that they both should
give thee advice which is not for thy good? How can the wise approve

advice which is pronounced good by a person speaking with wicked intent
but taking care to conceal the wickedness of his heart? Indeed, in a
season of distress, friends can neither benefit nor injure. Every one's
happiness or the reverse dependeth on destiny. He that is wise and he

is foolish, he that is young (in years) and he that is old, he that

allies and he that hath none, all become, it is seen everywhere, happy

unhappy at times. It hath been heard by us that there was, of old, a

by name Amvuvicha. Having his capital at Rajagriha, he was the king of

the Magadha chiefs. He never attended to his affairs. All his exertion
consisted in inhaling the air. All his affairs were in the hands of his
minister. And his minister, named Mahakarni, became the supreme

in the state. Regarding himself all powerful, he began to disregard the
king. And the wretch himself appropriated everything belonging unto the
king, his queens and treasures and sovereignty. But the possession of

these, instead of satisfying his avarice, only served to inflame him

more. Having appropriated everything belonging to the king, he even
coveted the throne. But it hath been heard by us that with all his best
endeavours he succeeded not in acquiring the kingdom of the monarch,

master, even though the latter was inattentive to business and content
with only breathing the air. What else can be said, O king, than that
monarch's sovereignty was dependent on destiny? If, therefore, O king,
this kingdom be established in thee by destiny, it will certainly

in thee, even if the whole world were to become thy enemy! If, however,
destiny hath ordained otherwise, howsoever mayest thou strive, it will

last in thee! O learned one, remembering all this, judge of the honesty

otherwise of thy advisers. Ascertain also who amongst them are wicked

who have spoken wisely and well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Karna, Drona replied,

thou art wicked it is evident thou sayest so in consequence of the
wickedness of thy intent. It is for injuring the Pandavas that thou
findest fault with us. But know, O Karna, what I have said is for the

of all and the prosperity of the Kuru race. If thou regardest all this

productive of evil, declare thyself what is for our good. If the good
advice I have given be not followed, I think the Kurus will be
exterminated in no time.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Drona had ceased, Vidura spoke, saying, 'O
monarch, thy friends without doubt, are saying unto thee what is for

good. But as thou art unwilling to listen to what they say, their words
scarcely find a place in thy ears. What that foremost one of Kuru's

viz., Bhishma, the son of Santanu, hath said, is excellent and is for

good. But thou dost not listen to it. The preceptor Drona also hath

much that is for thy good which however Karna, the son of Radha, doth

regard to be such. But, O king, reflecting hard I do not find any one

is better a friend to thee than either of these two lions among men

Bhishma and Drona), or any one who excels either of them in wisdom.

two, old in years, in wisdom, and in learning, always regard thee, O

and the sons of Pandu with equal eyes. Without doubt, O king of

race, they are both, in virtue and truthfulness, not inferior to Rama,

son of Dasaratha, and Gaya. Never before did they give thee any evil
advice. Thou also, O monarch, hast never done them any injury. Why

therefore, these tigers among men, who are ever truthful, give thee

advice, especially when thou hast never injured them? Endued with

these foremost of men, O king, will never give thee counsels that are
crooked. O scion of Kuru's rate, this is my firm conviction that these

acquainted with all rules of morality, will never, tempted by wealth,
utter anything betraying a spirit of partisanship. What they have said,

Bharata, I regard highly beneficial to thee. Without doubt, O monarch,

Pandavas are thy sons as much as Duryodhana and others are. Those
ministers, therefore, that give thee any counsel fraught with evil unto
the Pandavas, do not really look to thy interests. If there is any
partiality in thy heart, O king, for thy own children, they who by

counsel seek to bring it out, certainly do thee no good. Therefore, O

these illustrious persons endued with great splendour, have not I

said anything that leadeth to evil. Thou, however, dost not understand

What these bulls among men have said regarding the invincibility of the
Pandavas is perfectly true. Think not otherwise of it, O tiger among

Blest be thou! Can the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, using the
right and the left hand with equal activity, be vanquished in battle

by Maghavat himself? Can the great Bhimasena of strong arms possessing

might of ten thousand elephants, be vanquished in battle by the

themselves? Who also that desireth to live can overcome in battle the
twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) like unto the sons of Yama himself, and

skilled in fight? How too can the eldest one of the Pandavas in whom
patience, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and prowess always live together,

vanquished? They who have Rama (Valadeva) as their ally, and Janardana
(Krishna) as their counsellor, and Satyaki as their partisan, have

defeated everybody in war. They who have Drupada for their father-in-

and Drupada's sons--the heroic brothers, viz., Dhristadyumna and others

Prishata's race for their brothers-in-law, are certainly invincible.
Remembering this, O monarch, and knowing that their claim to the

is even prior to thine, behave virtuously towards them. The stain of
calumny is on thee, O monarch, in consequence of that act of Purochana.
Wash thyself of it now, by a kindly behaviour towards the Pandavas.

kindly behaviour of thine, O monarch, towards the Pandavas will be an

of great benefit to us, protecting the lives of us all that belong to
Kuru's race, and leading to the growth of the whole Kshatriya order! We
had formerly warred with king Drupada; if we can now secure him as an

it will strengthen our party. The Dasarhas, O king, are numerous and
strong. Know where Krishna is, all of them must be, and where Krishna

there victory also must be! O king, who, unless cursed by the gods,

seek, to effect that by means of war which can be effected by
conciliation? Hearing that the sons of Pritha are alive, the citizens

other subjects of the realm have become exceedingly glad and eager for
beholding them. O monarch, act in a way that is agreeable to them.
Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, are sinful, foolish
and young; listen not to them. Possessed of every virtue thou art I

ago told thee, O monarch that for Duryodhana's fault, the subjects of

kingdom would be exterminated.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these various speeches, Dhritarashtra

'The learned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and the illustrious Rishi

and thyself also (O Vidura), have said the truth and what also is most
beneficial to me. Indeed, as those mighty car-warriors, the heroic sons

Kunti, are the children of Pandu, so are they, without doubt, my

according to the ordinance. And as my sons are entitled to this

so are the sons of Pandu certainly entitled to it. Therefore, hasten to
bring hither the Pandavas along with their mother, treating them with
affectionate consideration. O thou of Bharata's race, bring also

of celestial beauty along with them. From sheer good fortune the sons

Pritha are alive; and from good fortune alone those mighty car-warriors
have obtained the daughter of Drupada. It is from good fortune alone

our strength hath increased, and it is from good fortune alone that
Purochana hath perished. O thou of great splendour, it is from good
fortune that my great grief hath been killed!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vidura, at the command of Dhritarashtra,
repaired, O Bharata, unto Yajnasena and the Pandavas. And he repaired
thither carrying with him numerous jewels and various kinds of wealth

Draupadi and the Pandavas and Yajnasena also. Arrived at Drupada's

Vidura conversant with every rule of morality and deep in every

properly accosted the monarch and waited upon him. Drupada received

in proper form and they both enquired after each other's welfare.

then saw there the Pandavas and Vasudeva. As soon as he saw them he
embraced them from affection and enquired after their well being. The
Pandavas also along with Vasudeva, in due order, worshipped Vidura of
immeasurable intelligence. But Vidura, O king, in the name of
Dhritarashtra repeatedly enquired with great affection after their

He then gave, O monarch, unto the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi, and
unto Drupada and Drupada's sons, the gems and various kinds of wealth

the Kauravas had sent through him. Possessed of immeasurable

the modest Vidura then, in the presence of the Pandavas and Keshava,
addressed the well-behaved Drupada thus:

"With thy ministers and sons, O monarch, listen to what I say. King
Dhritarashtra, with ministers, sons, and friends, hath with a joyous

O king, repeatedly enquired after thy welfare. And, O monarch, he hath
been highly pleased with this alliance with thee. So also, O king,

of great wisdom, the son of Santanu, with all the Kurus, enquired after
thy welfare in every respect. Drona also of great wisdom the son of
Bharadwaja and thy dear friend, embracing thee mentally, enquired of

happiness. And, O king of Panchalas, Dhritarashtra and all the Kurus,

consequence of this alliance with thee regard themselves supremely

O Yajnasena, the establishment of this alliance with thee hath made

happier than if they had acquired a new kingdom. Knowing all this, O
monarch, permit the Pandavas to re-visit their ancestral kingdom. The
Kurus are exceedingly eager to behold the sons of Pandu. These bulls

men have been long absent (from their kingdom). They as well as Pritha
must be very eager to behold their city. And all the Kuru ladies and

citizens and our subjects are eagerly waiting to behold Krishna the
Panchala Princess. This, therefore, is my opinion, O monarch, that thou
shouldst, without delay, permit the Pandavas to go thither with their

And after the illustrious Pandavas, O king, will have received thy
permission to go thither, I shall send information unto Dhritarashtra

quick messengers. Then, O king, will the Pandavas set out with Kunti



(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Vidura, Drupada said, 'It

even so as thou, O Vidura of great wisdom, hast said. Venerable one, I

have been exceedingly happy in consequence of this alliance. It is

proper that these illustrious princes should return to their ancestral
kingdom. But it is not proper for me to say this myself. If the brave

of Kunti viz., Yudhishthira, if Bhima and Arjuna, if these among men,

the twins, themselves desire to go and if Rama (Valadeva) and Krishna,
both acquainted with every rule of morality, be of the same mind, then

the Pandavas go thither. For these tigers among men (Rama and Krishna)

ever engaged in doing what is agreeable and beneficial to the sons of

"Hearing this, Yudhishthira said, 'We are now, O monarch, with all our
younger brothers, dependent on thee. We shall cheerfully do what thou

pleased to command.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vasudeva said, 'I am of opinion that the
Pandavas should go. But we should all abide by the opinion of king

who is conversant with every rule of morality.'

"Drupada then spoke, 'I certainly agree with what this foremost of men,
thinketh, having regard to the circumstances. For the illustrious sons

Pandu now are to me as they are, without doubt, to Vasudeva. Kunti's

Yudhishthira himself doth not seek the welfare of the Pandavas so
earnestly as, Kesava, that tiger among men.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by the illustrious Drupada, the
Pandavas, then, O king, and Krishna and Vidura, taking with them

the daughter of Drupada, and the renowned Kunti, journeyed towards the
city called after the elephant, stopping at various places along the

for purposes of pleasure and enjoyment. King Dhritarashtra, hearing

those heroes had neared the capital sent out the Kauravas to receive

They who were thus sent out were, O Bharata, Vikarna of the great bow,

Chitrasena, and Drona that foremost of warriors, and Kripa of Gautama's
line. Surrounded by these, those mighty heroes, their splendour

by that throng slowly entered the city of Hastinapura. The whole city
became radiant, as it were, with the gay throng of sight-seers animated

curiosity. Those tigers among men gladdened the hearts of all who

them. And the Pandavas, dear unto the hearts of the people, heard, as

proceeded, various exclamations with the citizens, ever desirous of
obeying the wishes of those princes, loudly uttered. Some exclaimed,

returns that tiger among men, conversant with all the rules of morality
and who always protects us as if we were his nearest relatives.' And
elsewhere they said, 'It seems that king Pandu--the beloved of his

returneth today from the forest, doubtless to do what is agreeable to

And there were some that said, 'What good is not done to us today when

heroic sons of Kunti come back to our town? If we have ever given away

charity, if we have ever poured libations of clarified butter on the

if we have any ascetic merit, let the Pandavas, by virtue of all those
acts stay in town for a hundred years.'

"At last the Pandavas, on arriving at the place, worshipped the feet of
Dhritarashtra, as also those of the illustrious Bhishma. They also
worshipped the feet of everybody else that deserved that honour. And

enquired after the welfare of every citizen (there present). At last,

the command of Dhritarashtra they entered the chambers that had been
assigned to them.

"After they had rested there for some time, they were summoned (to the
court) by king Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, the son of Santanu. When they
came, king Dhritarashtra addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'Listen, O son

Kunti, with thy brothers, to what I say. Repair ye to Khandavaprastha

that no difference may arise again (between you and your cousins). If

take up your quarters there no one will be able to do you any injury.
Protected by Partha (Arjuna), like the celestials by the thunderbolt,
reside ye at Khandavaprastha, taking half of the kingdom.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Agreeing to what Dhritarashtra said, those

among men worshipping the king set out from Hastinapura. And content

half the kingdom, they removed to Khandavaprastha, which was in
unreclaimed desert. Then those heroes of unfading splendour, viz., the
Pandavas, with Krishna at their head, arriving there, beautified the

and made it a second heaven. And those mighty car-warriors, selecting

Dwaipayana's assistance a sacred and auspicious region, performed

propitiatory ceremonies and measured out a piece of land for their

Then surrounded by a trench wide as the sea and by walls reaching high

to the heavens and white as the fleecy clouds or the rays of the moon,
that foremost of cities looked resplendent like Bhogavati (the capital

the nether kingdom) decked with the Nagas. And it stood adorned with
palatial mansions and numerous gates, each furnished with a couple of
panels resembling the out-stretched wings of Garuda. And it was

with gateways looking like the clouds and high as the Mandara

And well-furnished with numerous weapons of attack the missiles of the
foes could not make slightest impression on them. And they were almost
covered with darts and other missiles like double-tongued snakes. The
turrets along the walls were filled with armed men in course of

and the walls were lined with numerous warriors along their whole

And there were thousands of sharp hooks and Sataghnis (machines slaying

century of warriors) and numerous other machines on the battlements.

were also large iron wheels planted on them. And with all these was

foremost of cities adorned. The streets were all wide and laid out
excellently; and there was no fear in them of accident. And decked with
innumerable mansions, the city became like unto Amaravati and came to

called Indraprastha (like unto Indra's city). In a delightful and
auspicious part of the city rose the palace of the Pandavas filled with
every kind of wealth and like unto the mansion of the celestial

(Kuvera) himself. And it looked like a mass of clouds charged with

"When the city was built, there came, O king, numerous Brahmanas well-
acquainted with all the Vedas and conversant with every language,

to dwell there. And there came also unto that town numerous merchants

every direction, in the hope of earning wealth. There also came

persons well-skilled in all the arts, wishing to take up their abode

And around the city were laid out many delightful gardens adorned with
numerous trees bearing both fruits and flowers. There were Amras (mango
trees) and Amaratakas, and Kadamvas and Asokas, and Champakas; and
Punnagas and Nagas and Lakuchas and Panasas; and Salas and Talas (palm
trees) and Tamalas and Vakulas, and Ketakas with their fragrant loads;
beautiful and blossoming and grand Amalakas with branches bent down

the weight of fruits and Lodhras and blossoming Ankolas; and Jamvus
(blackberry trees) and Patalas and Kunjakas and Atimuktas; and

and Parijatas and numerous other kinds of trees always adorned with
flowers and fruits and alive with feathery creatures of various

And those verdant groves always resounded with the notes of maddened
peacocks and Kokilas (blackbirds). And there were various pleasure-

bright as mirrors, and numerous bowers of creepers, and charming and
artificial hillocks, and many lakes full to the brim of crystal water,

delightful tanks fragrant with lotuses and lilies and adorned with

and ducks and chakravakas (brahminy ducks). And there were many

pools overgrown with fine aquatic plants. And there were also diverse
ponds of great beauty and large dimension. And, O king, the joy of the
Pandavas increased from day to day, in consequence of their residence

that large kingdom that was peopled with pious men.

"Thus in consequence of the virtuous behaviour of Bhishma and king
Dhritarashtra towards them, the Pandavas took up their abode in
Khandavaprastha. Adorned with those five mighty warriors, each equal

Indra himself, that foremost of cities looked like Bhogavati (the

of the nether kingdom) adorned with the Nagas. And, O monarch, having
settled the Pandavas there, the heroic Krishna, obtaining their leave,
came back with Rama to Dwaravati.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva)

"Janamejaya said, 'O thou possessed of ascetic wealth, what did those

souled ones, my grandsires, the illustrious Pandavas, do, after

the kingdom of Indraprastha? How did their wife Draupadi obey them all?
How is it also that no dissensions arose amongst those illustrious

of men, all attached to one wife, viz., Krishna? O thou of the wealth

asceticism, I wish to hear everything in detail regarding the behaviour
towards one another of those rulers of men after their union with

"Vaisampayana said, 'Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, having
obtained their kingdom, at the command of Dhritarashtra, passed their

in joy and happiness at Khandavaprastha with Krishna. And Yudhishthira.
endued with great energy and ever adhering to truth, having obtained

sovereignty, virtuously ruled the land, assisted by his brothers. And

sons of Pandu, endued with great wisdom and devoted to truth and

having vanquished all their foes, continued to live there in great
happiness. And those bulls among men, seated on royal seats of great

used to discharge all the duties of government. And one day, while all
those illustrious heroes were so seated, there came unto them the
celestial Rishi Narada, in course of his wanderings. Beholding the

Yudhishthira offered him his own handsome seat. And after the celestial
Rishi had been seated, the wise Yudhishthira duly offered him the

with his own hands. And the king also informed the Rishi of the state

his kingdom. The Rishi accepting the worship, became well-pleased, and
eulogising him with benedictions, commanded the king to take his seat.
Commanded by the Rishi, the king took his seat. Then the king sent word
unto Krishna (in the inner apartments) of the arrival of the

one. Hearing of the Rishi's arrival Draupadi, purifying herself

came with a respectful attitude to where Narada was with the Pandavas.

virtuous princess of Panchala, worshipping the celestial Rishi's feet,
stood with joined hands before him, properly veiled. The illustrious
Narada, pronouncing various benedictions on her, commanded the princess

retire. After Krishna had retired, the illustrious Rishi, addressing in
private all the Pandavas with Yudhishthira at their head, said, 'The
renowned princess of Panchala is the wedded wife of you all. Establish

rule amongst yourselves so that disunion may not arise amongst you.

were, in former days, celebrated throughout the three worlds, two

named Sunda and Upasunda living together and incapable of being slain

anybody unless each slew the other. They ruled the same kingdom, lived

the same house, slept on the same bed, sat on the same seat, and ate

the same dish. And yet they killed each for the sake of Tilottama.
Therefore, O Yudhishthira, preserve your friendship for one another and

that which may not produce disunion amongst you.'

"On hearing this, Yudhishthira asked, 'O great Muni, whose sons were
Asuras called Sunda and Upasunda? Whence arose that dissension amongst
them, and why did they slay each other? Whose daughter also was this
Tilottama for whose love the maddened brothers killed each other? Was

an Apsara (water nymph) or the daughter of any celestial? O thou whose
wealth is asceticism, we desire, O Brahmana, to hear in detail

as it happened. Indeed, our curiosity hath become great.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, Narada

'O son of Pritha, listen with thy brothers to me as I recite this old
story, O Yudhishthira, exactly as everything happened. In olden days, a
mighty Daitya named Nikumbha, endued with great energy and strength was
born in the race of the great Asura, Hiranyakasipu. Unto this Nikumbha,
were born two sons called Sunda and Upasunda. Both of them were mighty
Asuras endued with great energy and terrible prowess. The brothers were
both fierce and possessed of wicked hearts. And those Daityas were both

the same resolution, and ever engaged in achieving the same tasks and

They were ever sharers with each other in happiness as well as in woe.
Each speaking and doing what was agreeable to the other, the brothers
never were unless they were together, and never went anywhere unless
together. Of exactly the same disposition and habits, they seemed to be
one individual divided into two parts. Endued with great energy and

of the same resolution in everything they undertook, the brothers
gradually grew up. Always entertaining the same purpose, desirous of
subjugating the three worlds, the brothers, after due initiation, went

the mountains of Vindhya. And severe were the ascetic penances they
performed there. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, with matted locks on
their heads and attired in barks of trees, they acquired sufficient
ascetic merit at length. Besmearing themselves with dirt from head to

living upon air alone, standing on their toes, they threw pieces of the
flesh of their bodies into the fire. Their arms upraised, and eye

long was the period for which they observed their vows. And during the
course of their ascetic penances, a wonderful incident occurred there.

the mountains of Vindhya, heated for a long course of years by the

of their ascetic austerities, began to emit vapour from every part of
their bodies. And beholding the severity of their austerities, the
celestials became alarmed. The gods began to cause numerous

to impede the progress of their asceticism. The celestials repeatedly
tempted the brothers by means of every precious possession and the most
beautiful girls. The brothers broke not their vows. Then the celestials
once more manifested, before the illustrious brothers, their powers of
illusion. For it seemed their sisters, mothers, wives, and other

with disordered hair and ornaments and robes, were running towards them

terror, pursued and struck by a Rakshasa with a lance in hand. And it
seemed that the women implored the help of the brothers crying, 'O save
us!' But all this went for nothing, for firmly wedded thereto, the
brothers did not still break their vows. And when it was found that all
this produced not the slightest impression on any of the two, both the
women and the Rakshasa vanished from sight. At last the Grandsire

the Supreme Lord ever seeking the welfare of all, came unto those great
Asuras and asked them to solicit the boon they desired. Then the

Sunda and Upasunda, both of great prowess, beholding the Grandsire,

from their seats and waited with joined palms. And the brothers both

unto the God, 'O Grandsire, if thou hast been pleased with these our
ascetic austerities, and art, O lord, propitious unto us, then let us

knowledge of all weapons and of all powers of illusion. Let us be

with great strength, and let us be able to assume any form at will. And
last of all, let us also be immortal.' Hearing these words of theirs,
Brahman said, 'Except the immortality you ask for, you shall be given

that you desire. Solicit you some form of death by which you may still

equal unto the immortals. And since you have undergone these severe
ascetic austerities from desire of sovereignty alone I cannot confer on
you the boon of immortality. You have performed your ascetic penances

for the subjugation of the three worlds. It is for this, O mighty

that I cannot grant you what you desire.'

"Narada continued, 'Hearing these words of Brahman, Sunda and Upasunda
said, 'O Grandsire, let us have no fear then from any created thing,
mobile or immobile, in the three worlds, except only from each other!'

Grandsire then said, 'I grant you what you have asked for, even this

desire'. And granting them this boon, the Grandsire made them desist

their asceticism, and returned to his own region. Then the brothers,

mighty Daityas, having received those several boons became incapable of
being slain by anybody in the universe. They then returned to their own
abode. All their friends and relatives, beholding those Daityas of

intelligence, crowned with success in the matter of the boons they had
obtained, became exceedingly glad. And Sunda and Upasunda then cut off
their matted locks and wore coronets on their heads. Attired in costly
robes and ornaments, they looked exceedingly handsome. They caused the
moon to rise over their city every night even out of his season. And
friends and relatives gave themselves up to joy and merriment with

hearts. Eat, feed, give, make merry, sing, drink--these were the sounds
heard everyday in every house. And here and there arose loud uproars of
hilarity mixed with clappings of hands which filled the whole city of

Daityas, who being capable of assuming any form at will, were engaged

every kind of amusement and sport and scarcely noticed the flight of

even regarding a whole year as a single day.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

'Narada continued, 'As soon as those festivities came to an end, the
brothers Sunda and Upasunda, desirous of the Sovereignty of the three
worlds, took counsel and commanded their forces to be arranged.

the assent of their friends and relatives, of the elders of the Daitya
race and of their ministers of state, and performing the preliminary

of departure, they set out in the night when the constellation Magha

in the ascendant. The brothers set out with a large Daitya force clad

mail and armed with maces and axes and lances and clubs. The Daitya

set out on their expedition with joyous hearts, the charanas (bards)
chanting auspicious panegyrics indicative of their future triumphs.
Furious in war, the Daitya brothers, capable of going everywhere at

ascended the skies and went to the region of the celestials. The
celestials knowing they were coming and acquainted also with the boons
granted unto them by the Supreme Deity left heaven and sought refuge in
the region of Brahman. Endued with fierce prowess, the Daitya heroes

subjugated the region of Indra, and vanquishing the diverse tribes of
Yakshas and Rakshasas and every creature ranging the skies, came away.
Those mighty car-warriors next subjugated the Nagas of the nether

and then the inmates of the ocean and then all the tribes of the
Mlechchhas. Desirous next of subjugating the whole earth, those heroes

irresistible sway, summoning their soldiers, issued these cruel

'Brahmanas and royal sages (on earth) with their libations and other

offered at grand sacrifices, increase the energy and strength of the

as also their prosperity. Engaged in such acts, they are the enemies of
the Asuras. All of us, therefore, mustering together should completely
slaughter them off the face of the earth!' Ordering their soldiers thus

the eastern shore of the great ocean, and entertaining such a cruel
resolution, the Asura brothers set out in all directions. And those

were performing sacrifices and the Brahmanas that were assisting at

sacrifices, the mighty brothers instantly slew. And slaughtering them

violence they departed for some other place. Whilst their soldiers

into the water the sacrificial fires that were in the asylums of Munis
with souls under complete control, the curses uttered by the

Rishis in wrath, rendered abortive by the boons granted (by Brahman),
affected not the Asura brothers. When the Brahmanas saw that their

produced not the slightest effect like shafts shot at stones they fled

all directions, forsaking their rites and vows. Even those Rishis on

that were crowned with ascetic success, and had their passions under
complete control and were wholly engrossed in meditation of the Deity,
from fear of the Asura brothers, fled like snakes at the approach of
Vinata's son (Garuda the snake-eater). The sacred asylums were all

down and broken. The sacrificial jars and vessels being broken, their
(sacred) contents were scattered over the ground. The whole universe
became empty, as if its creatures had all been stricken down during the
season of general dissolution. And, O king, after the Rishis had all
disappeared and made themselves invisible both the great Asuras,

upon their destruction, began to assume various forms. Assuming the

of maddened elephants with temples rent from excess of juice, the Asura
pair, searching out the Rishis who had sheltered themselves in caves,

them to the region of Yama. Sometimes becoming as lions and again as
tigers and disappearing the next moment, by these and other methods the
cruel couple, seeing the Rishis, slew them instantly. Sacrifice and

ceased, and kings and Brahmanas were exterminated. The earth became
utterly destitute of sacrifices and festivals. And the terrified people
uttered cries of Oh and Alas and all buying and selling were stopped.

religious rites ceased, and the earth became destitute of sacred
ceremonies and marriages. Agriculture was neglected and cattle were no
longer tended. Towns and asylums became desolate. And scattered over

bones and skeletons, the earth assumed a frightful aspect. All

in honour of the Pitris were suspended, and the sacred sound of Vashat

the whole circle of auspicious rites ceased. The earth became frightful

behold. The Sun and the Moon, the Planets and Stars, and

and the other dwellers in the firmament, witnessing these acts of Sunda
and Upasunda, grieved deeply. Subjugating all the points of heaven by
means of such cruel acts, the Asura brothers took up their abode in
Kurukshetra, without a single rival.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Narada continued, 'Then the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and the

souled Rishis possessing the attributes of tranquillity and self-

beholding that act of universal slaughter, were afflicted with great

With passions and senses and souls under complete control, they then

to the abode of the Grandsire, moved by compassion for the universe.
Arrived there, they beheld the Grandsire seated with gods, Siddhas, and
Brahmarshis around him. There were present that God of gods, viz.,
Mahadeva, and Agni, accompanied by Vayu, and Soma and Surya and Sakra,

Rishis devoted to the contemplation of Brahma, and the Vaikhanasas, the
Valakhilyas, the Vanaprasthas, the Marichipas, the Ajas, the Avimudas,

other ascetics of great energy. All those Rishis were sitting with the
Grandsire, when the celestial and other Rishis, approaching Brahman

sorrowful hearts, represented unto him all the acts of Sunda and

And they told the Grandsire in detail everything that the Asura

had done, and how they had done it, and in what order. Then all the
celestials and the great Rishis pressed the matter before the

The Grandsire, hearing everything they said, reflected for a moment and
settled in his mind what he should do. Resolving to compass the
destruction of the Asura brothers, he summoned Viswakarman (the

architect). Seeing Viswakarman before him, the Grandsire possessed of
supreme ascetic merit commanded him, saying, 'Create thou a damsel

of captivating all hearts.' Bowing down unto the Grandsire and

his command with reverence, the great artificer of the universe created

celestial maiden with careful attention. Viswakrit first collected all
handsome features upon the body of the damsel he created. Indeed, the
celestial maiden that he created was almost a mass of gems. And created
with great care by Viswakarman, the damsel, in beauty, became

among the women of the three worlds. There was not even a minute part

her body which by its wealth of beauty could not attract the gaze of
beholders. And like unto the embodied Sri herself, that damsel of
extraordinary beauty captivated the eyes and hearts of every creature.

because she had been created with portions of every gem taken in minute
measures, the Grandsire bestowed upon her the name of Tilottama. And as
soon as he started it into life, the damsel bowed to Brahman and with
joined palms said, 'Lord of every created thing, what task am I to
accomplish and what have I been created for?' The Grandsire answered,

O Tilottama, unto the Asuras, Sunda and Upasunda. O amiable one, tempt
them with thy captivating beauty. And, O damsel, conduct thyself there

such a way that the Asura brothers may, in consequence of the wealth of
thy beauty, quarrel with each other as soon as they cast their eyes


"Narada continued, 'Bowing unto the Grandsire and saying, 'So be it,'-

damsel walked round the celestial conclave. The illustrious Brahman was
then sitting with face turned eastwards, and Mahadeva with face also
towards the east, and all the celestials with faces northwards, and the
Rishis with faces towards all directions. While Tilottama walked round

conclave of the celestials, Indra and the illustrious Sthanu (Mahadeva)
were the only ones that succeeded in preserving their tranquillity of

But exceedingly desirous as Mahadeva was (of beholding Tilottama) when

damsel (in her progress round the celestial conclave) was at his side,
another face like a full-blown lotus appeared on the southern side of

body. And when she was behind him, another face appeared on the west.

when the damsel was on the northern side of the great god, a fourth

appeared on the northern side of his body. Mahadeva (who was eager to
behold the damsel) came also to have a thousand eyes, each large and
slightly reddish, before, behind and on his flanks. And it was thus

Sthanu the great god came to have four faces, and the slayer of Vala, a
thousand eyes. And as regards the mass of the celestials and the

they turned their faces towards all directions as Tilottama walked

them. Except the divine Grandsire himself, the glances of those
illustrious personages, even of all of them fell upon Tilottama's body.
And when Tilottama set out (for the city of the Asuras) with the wealth

her beauty, all regarded the task as already accomplished. After

had gone away, the great god who was the First Cause of the Universe,
dismissed all the celestials and the Rishis.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Narada continued, 'Meanwhile the Asura brothers having subjugated the
earth were without a rival. The fatigue of exertion gone, they, having
brought the three worlds under equal sway, regarded themselves as

that had nothing more to do. Having brought all the treasures of the

the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, and the kings of
the earth, the brothers began to pass their days in great happiness.

they saw they had no rivals (in the three worlds), they gave up all
exertion and devoted their time to pleasure and merriment, like the
celestials. They experienced great happiness by giving themselves up to
every kind of enjoyment, such as women, and perfumes and floral wreaths
and viands, and drinks and many other agreeable objects all in

In houses and woods and gardens, on hills and in forests, wherever they
liked they passed their time in pleasure and amusement, like the

And it so happened that one day they went for purposes of pleasure to a
tableland of the Vindhya range, perfectly level and stony, and

with blossoming trees. After every object of desire, all of the most
agreeable kind, had been brought, the brothers sat on an excellent

with happy hearts and accompanied by handsome women. And those damsels,
desirous of pleasing the brothers, commenced a dance in accompaniment

music, and sweetly chanted many a song in praise of the mighty pair.'

"Meanwhile Tilottama attired in a single piece of red silk that exposed
all her charms, came along, plucking wild flowers on her way. She

slowly to where those mighty Asuras were. The Asura brothers,

with the large portions they had imbibed, were smitten upon beholding

maiden of transcendent beauty. Leaving their seats they went quickly to
where the damsel was. Both of them being under the influence of lust,

sought the maiden for himself. And Sunda seized that maid of fair brows

her right hand. Intoxicated with the boons they had obtained, with
physical might, with the wealth and gems they had gathered from every
quarter, and with the wine they had drunk, maddened with all these, and
influenced by wishful desire, they addressed each other, each

his brow in anger. 'She is my wife, and therefore your superior,' said
Sunda. 'She is my wife, and therefore your sister-in-law', replied
Upasunda. And they said unto each other, 'She is mine not yours.' And

they were under the influence of rage. Maddened by the beauty of the
damsel, they soon forgot their love and affection for each other. Both

them, deprived of reason by passion, then took up their fierce maces.

repeating, 'I was the first, I was the first,' (in taking her hand)

the other. And the fierce Asuras, struck by each other with the mace,

down upon the ground, their bodies bathed in blood, like two suns
dislodged from the firmament. And beholding this, the women that had

there, and the other Asuras there present, all fled away trembling in
grief and fear, and took refuge in the nether regions. The Grandsire
himself of pure soul, then came there, accompanied by the celestials,

the great Rishis. And the illustrious Grandsire applauded Tilottama and
expressed his wish of granting her a boon. The Supreme Deity, before
Tilottama spoke, desirous of granting her a boon, cheerfully said, 'O
beautiful damsel, thou shalt roam in the region of the Adityas. Thy
splendour shall be so great that nobody will ever be able to look at

for any length of time!' The Grandsire of all creatures, granting this
boon unto her, establishing the three worlds in Indra as before,

to his own region.

"Narada continued, 'It was thus that Asuras, ever united and inspired

the same purpose slew each other in wrath for the sake of Tilottama.
Therefore, from affection I tell you, ye foremost ones of Bharata's

that if you desire to do anything agreeable to me, make some such
arrangements that you may not quarrel with one another for the sake of

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The illustrious Pandavas, thus addressed by

great Rishi Narada, consulting with one another, established a rule
amongst themselves in the presence of the celestial Rishi himself

with immeasurable energy. And the rule they made was that when one of

would be sitting with Draupadi, any of the other four who would see

one thus must retire into the forest for twelve years, passing his days

a Brahmacharin. After the virtuous Pandavas had established that rule
amongst themselves, the great Muni Narada, gratified with them, went to
the place he wished. Thus, O Janamejaya, did the Pandavas urged by

established a rule amongst themselves in regard to their common wife.

it was for this, O Bharata, that no dispute ever arose between them.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, having established such a rule,
continued to reside there. By the prowess of their arms they brought

kings under their sway. And Krishna became obedient unto all the five

of Pritha, those lions among men, of immeasurable energy. Like the

Saraswati decked with elephants, which again take pleasure in that

Draupadi took great delight in her five heroic husbands and they too

delight in her. And in consequence of the illustrious Pandavas being
exceedingly virtuous in their practice, the whole race of Kurus, free

sin, and happy, grew in prosperity.

"After some time, O king, it so happened that certain robbers lifted

cattle of a Brahmana, and while they were carrying away the booty, the
Brahmana, deprived of his senses by anger, repaired to Khandavaprastha,
and began to reprove the Pandavas in accents of woe. The Brahmana said,
'Ye Pandavas, from this your dominion, my kine are even now being taken
away by force by despicable and wicked wretches! Pursue ye the thieves.
Alas, the sacrificial butter of a peaceful Brahmana is being taken away

crows! Alas, the wretched jackal invadeth the empty cave of a lion! A

that taketh the sixth part of the produce of the land without

the subject, hath been called by the wise to be the most sinful person

the whole world. The wealth of a Brahmana is being taken away by

Virtue itself is sustaining a diminution! Take me up by the hand, ye
Pandavas for I am plunged in grief!"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, heard those
accents of the Brahmana weeping in bitter grief. As soon as he heard

accents, he loudly assured the Brahmana, saying, 'No fear!' But it so
happened that the chamber where the illustrious Pandavas had their

was then occupied by Yudhishthira the just with Krishna. Arjuna,

was incapable of entering it or, going alone with the Brahmana, though
repeatedly urged (to do either) by the weeping accents of the Brahmana.
Summoned by the Brahmana, Arjuna reflected, with a sorrowful heart,

this innocent Brahmana's wealth is being robbed! I should certainly dry

his tears. He hath come to our gate, and is weeping even now. If I do

protect him, the king will be touched with sin in consequence of my
indifference; our own irreligiousness will be cited throughout the

and we shall incur a great sin. If, disregarding the king, I enter the
chamber, without doubt I shall be behaving untruthfully towards the
monarch without a foe. By entering the chamber, again, I incur the

of an exile in the woods. But I must overlook everything. I care not if

have to incur sin by disregarding the king. I care not if I have to go

the woods and die there. Virtue is superior to the body and lasteth

the body hath perished!' Dhananjaya, arriving at this resolution,

the chamber and talked with Yudhishthira. Coming out with the bow, he
cheerfully told the Brahmana, 'Proceed, O Brahmana, with haste, so that
those wretched robbers may not go much ahead of us. I shall accompany

and restore unto thee thy wealth that hath fallen into the hands of the
thieves.' Then Dhananjaya, capable of using both his arms with equal

armed with the bow and cased in mail and riding in his war-chariot

with a standard, pursued the thieves, and piercing them with his

compelled them to give up the booty. Benefiting the Brahmana thus by
making over to him his kine, and winning great renown, the hero

to the capital. Bowing unto all the elders, and congratulated by

Partha at last approached Yudhishthira, and addressing him, said, 'Give

leave, O lord, to observe the vow I took. In beholding thee sitting

Draupadi, I have violated the rule established by ourselves. I shall
therefore go into the woods, for this is even our understanding.' Then
Yudhishthira, suddenly hearing those painful words, became afflicted

grief, and said in an agitated voice, 'Why!' A little while after, king
Yudhishthira in grief said unto his brother Dhananjaya of curly hair

never departed from his vows, these words, 'O sinless one, if I am an
authority worthy of regard, listen to what I say. O hero, full well do

know the reason why thou hadst entered my chamber and didst what thou
regardest to be an act disagreeable to me. But there is no displeasure

my mind. The younger brother may, without fault, enter the chamber

the elder brother sitteth with his wife. It is only the elder brother

acts against the rules of propriety by entering the room where the

brother sitteth with his wife. Therefore, O thou of mighty arms, desist
from thy purpose. Do what I say. Thy virtue hath sustained no

Thou hast not disregarded me.'

"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'I have heard, even from thee, that
quibbling is not permitted in the discharge of duty. I cannot waver

truth. Truth is my weapon.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Obtaining then the king's permission, Arjuna
prepared himself for a forest-life; and he went to the forest to live
there for twelve years.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When that spreader of the renown of Kuru's race,

strong-armed Arjuna, set out (for the forest), Brahmanas conversant

the Vedas walked behind that illustrious hero to a certain distance.
Followed by Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas and their branches and
devoted to the contemplation of the Supreme Spirit, by persons skilled

music, by ascetics devoted to the Deity, by reciters of Puranas, by
narrators of sacred stories by devotees leading celibate lives, by
Vanaprasthas, by Brahmanas sweetly reciting celestial histories, and by
various other classes of persons of sweet speeches, Arjuna journeyed

Indra followed by the Maruts. And, O thou of Bharata's race, that bull
among the Bharatas saw, as he journeyed, many delightful and

forests, lakes, rivers, seas, provinces, and waters. At length, on
arriving at the source of the Ganges the mighty hero thought of


"Listen now, O Janamejaya, to a wonderful feat which that foremost of

sons of Pandu, of high soul, did, while living there. When that son of
Kunti, O Bharata, and the Brahmanas who had followed him, took up their
residence in that region, the latter performed innumerable Agnihotras
(sacrificial rites by igniting the sacred fire). And, O king, in
consequence of those learned vow-observing, and illustrious Brahmanas,

never deviated from the right path, daily establishing and igniting

mantras on the banks of that sacred stream, after the performance of

ablutions, fires for their sacrifices, and pouring libations of

butter into the same, and worshipping those fires with offerings of
flowers, that region itself where the Ganges entered the plains became
exceedingly beautiful. One day that bull amongst the Pandavas, while
residing in that region in the midst of those Brahmanas, descended (as
usual) into the Ganges to perform his ablutions. After his ablutions

been over, and after he had offered oblations of water unto his

ancestors, he was about to get up from the stream to perform his
sacrificial rites before the fire, when the mighty-armed hero, O king,

dragged into the bottom of the water by Ulupi, the daughter of the king

the Nagas, urged by the god of desire. And it so happened that the son

Pandu was carried into the beautiful mansion of Kauravya, the king of

Nagas. Arjuna saw there a sacrificial fire ignited for himself.

that fire, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti performed his sacrificial rites
with devotion. And Agni was much gratified with Arjuna for the
fearlessness with which that hero had poured libations into his

form. After he had thus performed his rites before the fire, the son of
Kunti, beholding the daughter of the king of the Nagas, addressed her
smilingly and said, 'O handsome girl, what an act of rashness hast thou
done, O timid one! Whose is this beautiful region, who art thou and


"Hearing these words of Arjuna, Ulupi answered, 'There is a Naga of the
name of Kauravya, born in the line of Airavata. I am, O prince, the
daughter of that Kauravya, and my name is Ulupi. O tiger among men,
beholding thee descend into the stream to perform thy ablutions, I was
deprived of reason by the god of desire. O sinless one, I am still
unmarried. Afflicted as I am by the god of desire on account of thee, O
thou of Kuru's race, gratify me today by giving thyself up to me.'

"Arjuna replied, 'Commanded by king Yudhishthira, O amiable one, I am
undergoing the vow of Brahmacharin for twelve years. I am not free to

in any way I like. But, O ranger of the waters, I am still willing to

thy pleasure (if I can). I have never spoken an untruth in my life.

me, therefore, O Naga maid, how I may act so that, while doing thy
pleasure, I may not be guilty of any untruth or breach of duty.'

"Ulupi answered, 'I know, O son of Pandu, why thou wanderest over the
earth, and why thou hast been commanded to lead the life of a

by the superior. Even this was the understanding to which all of you

been pledged, viz., that amongst you all owning Drupada's daughter as

common wife, he who would from ignorance enter the room where one of

would be sitting with her, should lead the life of a Brahmacharin in

woods for twelve years. The exile of any one amongst you, therefore, is
only for the sake of Draupadi. Thou art but observing the duty arising
from that vow. Thy virtue cannot sustain any diminution (by acceding to

solicitation). Then again, O thou of large eyes, it is a duty to

the distressed. Thy virtue suffereth no diminution by relieving me. Oh,

(by this act), O Arjuna, thy virtue doth suffer a small diminution,

wilt acquire great merit by saving my life. Know me for thy worshipper,

Partha! Therefore, yield thyself up to me! Even this, O lord, is the
opinion of the wise (viz., that one should accept a woman that wooeth).

thou do not act in this way, know that I will destroy myself. O thou of
mighty arms, earn great merit by saving my life. I seek thy shelter, O
best of men! Thou protectest always, O son of Kunti, the afflicted and

masterless. I seek thy protection, weeping in sorrow. I woo thee, being
filled with desire. Therefore, do what is agreeable to me. It behoveth
thee to gratify my wish by yielding thy self up to me.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the daughter of the king of the
Nagas, the son of Kunti did everything she desired, making virtue his
motive. The mighty Arjuna, spending the night in the mansion of the

rose with the sun in the morning. Accompanied by Ulupi he came back

the palace of Kauravya to the region where the Ganges entereth the

The chaste Ulupi, taking her leave there, returned to her own abode.

O Bharata, she granted unto Arjuna a boon making him invincible in

saying, 'Every amphibious creature shall, without doubt, be

by thee.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of the wielder of the thunderbolt
narrated everything unto those Brahmanas (residing with him there), set
out for the breast of Himavat. Arriving at the spot called Agastyavata,

next went to Vasishtha's peak. Thence the son of Kunti proceeded to the
peak of Bhrigu. Purifying himself with ablutions and rites there, that
foremost of the Kurus gave away unto Brahmanas many thousands of cows

many houses. Thence that best of men proceeded to the sacred asylum

Hiranyavindu. Performing his ablutions there, that foremost of the sons

Pandu saw many holy regions. Descending from those heights that chief

men, O Bharata, accompanied by the Brahmanas, journeyed towards the

desiring to behold the regions that lay in that direction. That

one of Kuru's race saw many regions of sacred waters one after another.
And beholding in the forest of Naimisha the delightful river Utpalini
(full of lotuses) and the Nanda and the Apara Nanda, the far-famed

and the mighty rivers Gaya and Ganga, and all the regions of sacred

he purified himself, O Bharata, (with the usual rites), and gave away

cows unto Brahmanas. Whatever regions of sacred waters and whatever

holy palaces there were in Vanga and Kalinga, Arjuna visited all of

Seeing them all and performing proper ceremonies, he gave away much

Then, O Bharata, all those Brahmanas following the son of Pandu, bade

farewell at the gate of the kingdom of Kalinga and desisted from
proceeding with him any further. The brave Dhananjaya, the son of

obtaining their leave, went towards the ocean, accompanied by only a

attendants. Crossing the country of the Kalingas, the mighty one

seeing on his way diverse countries and sacred spots and diverse
delightful mansions and houses. Beholding the Mahendra mountain adorned
with the ascetics (residing there), he went to Manipura, proceeding

along the sea-shore. Beholding all the sacred waters and other holy

in that province, the strong-armed son of Pandu at last went, O king,

the virtuous Chitravahana, the ruler of Manipura. The king of Manipura

a daughter of great beauty named Chitrangada. And it so happened that
Arjuna beheld her in her father's palace roving at pleasure. Beholding

handsome daughter of Chitravahana, Arjuna desired to possess her. Going
unto the king (her father), he represented unto him what he sought. He
said, 'Give away unto me thy daughter, O king! I am an illustrious
Kshatriya's son.' Hearing this, the king asked him, 'Whose son art

Arjuna replied, 'I am Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu and Kunti.' The

hearing this, spoke unto him these words in sweet accents, 'There was

our race a king of the name of Prabhanjana, who was childless. To

obtain a
child, he underwent severe ascetic penances. By his severe asceticism,

Partha, he gratified that god of gods, Mahadeva, the husband of Uma,

supreme Lord holding (the mighty bow called) Pinaka. The illustrious

granted him the boon that each successive descendant of his race should
have one child only. In consequence of that boon only one child is born
unto every successive descendant of this race. All my ancestors (one

another) had each a male child. I, however, have only a daughter to
perpetuate my race. But, O bull amongst men, I ever look upon this
daughter of mine as my son. O bull of Bharata's race, I have duly made

a Putrika. Therefore, one amongst the sons that may be begotten upon

by thee, O Bharata, shall be the perpetuator of my race. That son is

dower for which I may give away my daughter. O son of Pandu, if thou
choosest, thou canst take her upon this understanding.' Hearing these
words of the king, Arjuna accepted them all, saying, 'So be it.' Taking
Chitravahana's daughter (as his wife), the son of Kunti resided in that
city for three years. When Chitrangada at last gave birth to a son,

embraced that handsome princess affectionately. And taking leave of the
king (her father), he set out on his wanderings again.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then that bull of Bharata's race went to the

waters on the banks of the southern ocean, all adorned with the

residing there. And there lay scattered five such regions where also

many ascetics. But those five waters themselves were shunned by all of
them. Those sacred waters were called Agastya, and Saubhadra and

of great holiness, and Karandhama of great propitiousness yielding the
fruits of a horse-sacrifice unto those that bathed there, and

that great washer of sins. That foremost one among the Kurus, beholding
those five sacred waters, and finding them uninhabited, and

also that they were shunned by the virtuous ascetics dwelling around,
asked those pious men with joined hands, saying, 'Why O ascetics, are
these five sacred waters shunned by utterers of Brahma?' Hearing him,

ascetics replied, 'There dwell in these waters five large crocodiles

take away the ascetics that may happen to bathe in them. It is for

this, O
son of Kuru's race, that these waters are shunned.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the ascetics, that
foremost of men endued with mighty arms, though dissuaded by them went

behold those waters. Arrived at the excellent sacred water called
Saubhadra after a great Rishi, the brave scorcher of all foes suddenly
plunged into it to have a bath. As soon as that tiger among men had
plunged into the water a great crocodile (that was in it) seized him by
the leg. But the strong-armed Dhananjaya the son of Kunti, that

of all men endued with might, seized that struggling ranger of the

and dragged it forcibly to the shore. But dragged by the renowned

to the land, that crocodile became (transformed into) a beautiful

bedecked with ornament. O king, that charming damsel of celestial form
seemed to shine for her beauty and complexion. Dhananjaya, the son of
Kunti, beholding that strange sight, asked that damsel with a pleased
heart, 'Who art thou, O beautiful one? Why hast thou been a ranger of

waters? Why also didst thou commit such a dreadful sin?' The damsel
replied, saying, 'I am, O mighty-armed one, an Apsara that sported in

celestial woods. I am, O mighty one, Varga by name, and ever dear unto

celestial treasurer (Kuvera). I have four other companions, all

and capable of going everywhere at will. Accompanied by them I was one

going to the abode of Kuvera. On the way we beheld a Brahmana of rigid
vows, and exceedingly handsome, studying the Vedas in solitude. The

forest (in which he was sitting) seemed to be covered with his ascetic
splendour. He seemed to have illuminated the whole region like the Sun
himself. Beholding his ascetic devotion of that nature and his

beauty, we alighted in that region, in order to disturb his

Myself and Saurabheyi and Samichi and Vudvuda and Lata, that Brahmana,

Bharata, at the same time. We began to sing and smile and otherwise

that Brahmana. But, O hero, that Brahmana (youth) set not his heart

once upon us. His mind fixed on pure meditation, that youth of great
energy suffered not his heart to waver, O bull among Kshatriyas, the
glance he cast upon us was one of wrath. And he said, staring at us,
'Becoming crocodiles, range ye the waters for a hundred years.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Varga continued, 'We were then, O foremost one of
Bharata's race, deeply distressed at this curse. We sought to

that Brahmana of ascetic wealth that departed not from his vow.

him, we said, 'Inflated with a sense of our beauty and youth, and urged

the god of desire, we have acted very improperly. It behoveth thee, O
Brahmana, to pardon us! Truly, O Brahmana, it was death to us that we

at all come hither to tempt thee of rigid vows and ascetic wealth. The
virtuous, however, have said that women should never be slain.

grow thou in virtue. It behoveth thee not to slay us so. O thou that

conversant with virtue, it hath been said that a Brahmana is ever the
friend of every creature. O thou of great prosperity, let this speech

the wise become true. The eminent always protect those that seek
protection at their hands. We seek thy protection. It behoveth thee to
grant us pardon.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, that Brahmana of virtuous

and good deeds and equal in splendour, O hero, unto the sun or the

became propitious unto them. And the Brahmana said, 'The words hundred

hundred thousand are all indicative of eternity. The word hundred,

as employed by me is to be understood as a limited period and not
indicative of a period without end. Ye shall, therefore, becoming
crocodiles, seize and take away men (for only a hundred years as

by me). At the end of that period, an exalted individual will drag you

from water to the land. Then ye will resume your real forms. Never have

spoken an untruth even in jest. Therefore, all that I have said must

to pass. And those sacred waters (within which I assign you your

will, after you will have been delivered by that individual, become

all over the world by the name of Nari-tirthas (or sacred waters

with the sufferings and the deliverance of females), and all of them

become sacred and sin cleansing in the eyes of the virtuous and the


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Varga then addressing Arjuna, finished her
discourse, saying, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, we saluted him
with reverence and walked round him. Leaving that region we came away

heavy hearts, thinking as we proceeded, 'Where shall we all soon meet

that man who will give us back our own shapes (after our

As we were thinking of it, in almost a moment, O Bharata, we beheld

the eminent celestial Rishi Narada. Beholding that Rishi of

energy, our hearts were filled with joy. Saluting him with reverence, O
Partha, we stood before him, with blushing faces. He asked of us the

of our sorrow and we told him all. Hearing what had happened the Rishi
said, 'In the low-lands bordering on the southern ocean, there are five
regions of sacred water. They are delightful and eminently holy. Go ye
thither without delay. That tiger among men, Dhananjaya, the son of

of pure soul, will soon deliver you, without doubt, from this sad

O hero, hearing the Rishi's words, all of us came hither. O sinless

true it is that I have today been delivered by thee. But those four
friends of mine are still within the other waters here. O hero, do a

deed by delivering them also.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O monarch, that foremost of the

endued with great prowess, cheerfully delivered all of them from that
curse. Rising from the waters they all regained their own forms. Those
Apsaras then, O king, all looked as before. Freeing those sacred waters
(from the danger for which they had been notorious), and giving the
Apsaras leave to go where they chose, Arjuna became desirous of once

beholding Chitrangada. He, therefore, proceeded towards the city of
Manipura. Arrived there, he beheld on the throne the son he had

upon Chitrangada, and who was called by the name of Vabhruvahana.

Chitrangada once more, Arjuna proceeded, O monarch, towards the spot
called Gokarna.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna of immeasurable prowess saw, one after
another, all the sacred waters and other holy places that were on the
shores of the western ocean. Vibhatsu reached the sacred spot called
Prabhasa. When the invisible Arjuna arrived at that sacred and

region, the slayer of Madhu (Krishna) heard of it. Madhava soon went

to see his friend, the son of Kunti. Krishna and Arjuna met together

embracing each other enquired after each other's welfare. Those dear
friends, who were none else than the Rishis Nara and Narayana of old,

down. Vasudeva asked Arjuna about his travels, saying, 'Why, O Pandava

thou wandering over the earth, beholding all the sacred waters and

holy places?' Then Arjuna told him everything that had happened.

everything, that mighty hero of Vrishni's race said, 'This is as it

be.' And Krishna and Arjuna having sported as they liked, for some time

Prabhasa, went to the Raivataka mountain to pass some days there.

they arrived at Raivataka, that mountain had, at the command of Krishna
been well-adorned by many artificers. Much food also had, at Krishna's
command, been collected there. Enjoying everything that had been

there for him, Arjuna sat with Vasudeva to see the performances of the
actors and the dancers. Then the high-souled Pandava, dismissing them

with proper respect, laid himself down on a well-adorned and excellent

As the strong-armed one lay on that excellent bed, he described unto
Krishna everything about the sacred waters, the lakes and the

the rivers and the forests he had seen. While he was speaking of these,
stretched upon that celestial bed, sleep, O Janamejaya, stole upon him.

rose in the morning, awakened, by sweet songs and melodious notes of

Vina (guitar) and the panegyrics and benedictions of the bards. After

had gone through the necessary acts and ceremonies, he was

accosted by him of the Vrishni race. Riding upon a golden car, the hero
then set out for Dwaraka, the capital of the Yadavas. And, O

for honouring the son of Kunti, the city of Dwaraka, was well-adorned,
even all the gardens and houses within it. The citizens of Dwaraka,
desirous of beholding the son of Kunti, began to pour eagerly into the
public thoroughfares by hundreds of thousands. In the public squares

thoroughfares, hundreds and thousands of women, mixing with the men,
swelled the great crowd of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas,
that had collected there. Arjuna was welcomed with respect by all the

of Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas. And he, in his turn,

those that deserved his worship, receiving their blessings. The hero

welcomed with affectionate reception by all the young men of the Yadava
tribe. He repeatedly embraced all that were equal to him in age.

then to the delightful mansion of Krishna that was filled with gems and
every article of enjoyment, he took up his abode there with Krishna for
many days.'"


(Subhadra-harana Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O best of monarchs, within a few days after this,
there commenced on the Raivataka mountain, a grand festival of the
Vrishnis and the Andhakas. At the mountain-festival of the Bhojas, the
Vrishnis and the Andhakas, the heroes of those tribes began to give

much wealth unto Brahmanas by thousands. The region around that hill, O
king was adorned with many a mansion decked with gems and many an
artificial tree of gaudy hue. The musicians struck up in concert and

dancers began to dance and the vocalists to sing. And the youth of the
Vrishni race, endued with great energy, adorned with every ornament,

riding in their gold-decked cars, looked extremely handsome. The

some on foot and some in excellent cars, with their wives and followers
were there by hundreds and thousands. And there was the lord Haladhara
(Valarama), roving at will, hilarious with drink, accompanied by (his
wife) Revati, and followed by many musicians and vocalists. There came
Ugrasena also, the powerful king of the Vrishni race, accompanied by

thousand wives and followed by sweet singers. And Raukmineya and Shamva
also, ever furious in battle, roved there, excited with drink and

with floral wreaths of great beauty and with costly attires, and

themselves like a pair of celestials. And Akrura and Sarana and Gada,

Vabhru, and Nisatha, and Charudeshna, and Prithu, Viprithu, and

and Satyaki, and Bhangakara, and Maharava, and Hardikya, and Uddhava,

many others whose names are not given, accompanied by their wives that
followed by bands of singers, adorned that mountain-festival. When that
delightful festival of immense grandeur commenced, Vasudeva and Partha
went about, together, beholding everything around. While wandering

they saw the handsome daughter of Vasudeva, Bhadra by name, decked with
every ornament, in the midst of her maids. As soon as Arjuna beheld her

was possessed by the god of desire. Then, O Bharata, that tiger among

Krishna, observing Partha contemplate her with absorbed attention, said
with a smile, 'How is this? Can the heart of one that rangeth the woods

agitated by the god of desire? This is my sister, O Partha, and the
uterine sister of Sarana. Blest be thou, her name is Bhadra and she is

favourite daughter of my father. Tell me if thy heart is fixed upon

for I shall then speak to my father myself.'

"Arjuna answered, 'She is Vasudeva's daughter and Vasudeva's (Krishna)
sister; endued with so much beauty, whom can she not fascinate? If this
thy sister, this maid of the Vrishni race, becometh my wife, truly may

win prosperity in everything. Tell me, O Janardana, by what means I may
obtain her. To get her I will achieve anything that is achievable by


"Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained
for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its

O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the
case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of
marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna,

away this my beautiful sister by force, for who knows what she may do

at a
self-choice.' Then Krishna and Arjuna, having thus settled as to what
should be done sent some speedy messengers unto Yudhishthira at
Indraprastha, informing him of everything. The strong-armed

as soon as he heard it, gave his assent to it.'"


(Subhadra-harana Parva continued)

"'Then Dhananjaya, informed of the assent of Yudhishthira, and
ascertaining, O Janamejaya, that the maiden had gone to the Raivataka

obtained the assent of Vasudeva also, after having settled in

with him all that required to be done. Then that bull of Bharata's

that foremost of men, with Krishna's assent, riding in his well-built

of gold equipped with rows of small bells and with every kind of weapon
and the clatter of whose wheels resembled the roar of the clouds and

splendour was like unto that of a blazing fire and which struck terror
into the hearts of all foes and unto which were yoked the steeds Saivya
and Sugriva, himself accoutred in mail and armed with sword and his
fingers encased in leathern gloves, set out, as it were, on a hunting
expedition. Meanwhile Subhadra, having paid her homage unto that prince

hills, Raivataka and having worshipped the deities and made the

utter benedictions upon her, and having also walked round the hill, was
coming towards Dwaravati. The son of Kunti, afflicted with the shafts

the god of desire, suddenly rushed towards that Yadava girl of

features and forcibly took her into his car. Having seized that girl of
sweet smiles, that tiger among men proceeded in his car of gold towards
his own city (Indraprastha). Meanwhile, the armed attendants of

beholding her thus seized and taken away, all ran, crying towards the

of Dwaraka. Reaching all together the Yadava court called by the name

Sudharma, they represented everything about the prowess of Partha unto

chief officer of the court. The chief officer of the court, having

everything from those messengers, blew his gold-decked trumpet of loud
blare, calling all to arms. Stirred up by that sound, the Bhojas, the
Vrishnis, and the Andhakas began to pour in from all sides. Those that
were eating left their food, and those that were drinking left their

Those tigers among men, those great warriors of the Vrishni and the
Andhaka tribes, took their seats upon their thousand thrones of gold
covered with excellent carpets and variegated with gems and corals and
possessed of the lustre of blazing fire. Indeed they took their seats

those thrones, like blazing fires receiving faggots to increase their
splendour. And after they were seated in that court which was like unto

conclave of the celestials themselves, the chief officer of the court,
assisted by those that stood at his back, spoke of the conduct of

The proud Vrishni heroes, of eyes red with wine, as soon as they heard

it, rose up from their seats, unable to brook what Arjuna had done.

amongst them said, 'Yoke our cars', and some, 'Bring our weapons' and

said, 'Bring our costly bows and strong coats of mail,' and some loudly
called upon their charioteers to harness their cars, and some, from
impatience, themselves yoked their horses decked with gold unto their

And while their cars and armours and standards were being brought, loud
became the uproar of those heroes. Then Valadeva, white and tall as the
peak of Kailasa, decked with garlands of wild flowers and attired in

robes, and proud and intoxicated with drink, said these words:

'Ye senseless men, what are ye doing, when Janardana sitteth silent?
Without knowing what is in his mind, vainly do we roar in wrath! Let

high-souled Krishna give out what he proposeth. Accomplish promptly

he desireth to do.' Then all of them, hearing those words of Halayudha
that deserved to be accepted, exclaimed, 'Excellent! Excellent!' They

all became silent. Silence having been restored by the words of the
intelligent Valadeva, they took their seats once more in that assembly.
Then Rama, that oppressor of foes, spoke unto Vasudeva, saying, 'Why, O
Janardana, sittest thou, gazing silently? O Achyuta, it was for thy

that the son of Pritha had been welcomed and honoured by us. It

however, that that vile wretch deserved not our homage. What man is

born of a respectable family that would break the plate after having

from it! Even if one desireth to make such an alliance, yet remembering
all the services he hath received, who is there, desirous of happiness,
that acts so rashly? That Pandava disregarding us and thee too hath

outraged Subhadra, desiring (to compass) his own death. He hath placed

foot on the crown of my head. How shall I, O Govinda, tamely bear it?
Shall I not resent it, even like a snake that is trodden upon? Alone

I today make the earth destitute of Kauravas! Never shall I put up with
this transgression by Arjuna.' Then all the Bhojas, Vrishnis, and

present there, approved of everything that Valadeva had said, deeply
roaring like unto a kettle-drum or the clouds.'"


(Haranaharana Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the heroes of the Vrishni race began to speak
repeatedly in this strain, Vasudeva uttered these words pregnant with

import and consistent with true morality. 'Gudakesa (the conqueror of

or he of the curly hair), by what he hath done, hath not insulted our
family. He hath without doubt, rather enhanced our respect. Partha

that we of the Satwata race are never mercenary. The son of Pandu also
regardeth a self-choice as doubtful in its results. Who also would

of accepting a bride in gift as if she were an animal? What man again

there on earth that would sell his offspring? I think Arjuna, seeing

faults in all the other methods took the maiden away by force,

to the ordinance. This alliance is very proper. Subhadra is a renowned
girl. Partha too possesseth renown. Perhaps, thinking of all this,

hath taken her away by force. Who is there that would not desire to

Arjuna for a friend, who is born in the race of Bharata and the

Santanu, and the son also of the daughter of Kuntibhoja? I do not see,

all the worlds with Indra and the Rudras, the person that can by force
vanquish Partha in battle, except the three-eyed god Mahadeva. His car

well-known. Yoked thereunto are those steeds of mine. Partha as a

is well-known; and his lightness of hand is well-known. Who shall be

to him? Even this is my opinion: go ye cheerfully after Dhananjaya and

conciliation stop him and bring him back. If Partha goes to his city

having vanquished us by force, our fame will be gone. There is no

however, in conciliation.' Hearing, O monarch, those words of Vasudeva,
they did as he directed. Stopped by them, Arjuna returned to Dwaraka

was united in marriage with Subhadra. Worshipped by the sons of

race, Arjuna, sporting there as he pleased, passed a whole year in

The last year of his exile the exalted one passed at the sacred region

Pushkara. After the twelve years were complete he came back to
Khandavaprastha. He approached the king first and then worshipped the
Brahmanas with respectful attention. At last the hero went unto

Draupadi, from jealousy, spoke unto him, saying, 'Why tarriest thou

O son of Kunti? Go where the daughter of the Satwata race is!' And
Krishna lamented much in this strain. But Dhananjaya pacified her
repeatedly and asked for her forgiveness. And returning soon unto where
Subhadra, attired in red silk, was staying, Arjuna, sent her into the
inner apartments dressed not as a queen but in the simple garb of a
cowherd woman. But arrived at the palace, the renowned Subhadra looked
handsomer in that dress. The celebrated Bhadra of large and slightly

eyes first worshipped Pritha. Kunti from excess of affection smelt the
head of that girl of perfectly faultless features, and pronounced

blessing upon her. Then that girl of face like the full moon hastily

unto Draupadi and worshipped her, saying, 'I am thy maid!' Krishna rose
hastily and embraced the sister of Madhava from affection, and said,

thy husband be without a foe!' Bhadra then, with a delighted heart,

unto Draupadi, 'So be it!' From that time, O Janamejaya, those great
warriors, the Pandavas, began to live happily, and Kunti also became


"Vaisampayana continued, 'When that scorcher of foes, viz., Kesava of

soul and eyes, like lotus-petals, heard that the foremost of the

viz., Arjuna, had reached his own excellent city of Indraprastha, he

thither accompanied by Rama and the other heroes and great warriors of

Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, and by his brothers and sons and many
other brave warriors. And Saurin came accompanied by a large army that
protected him. And there came with Saurin, that oppressor of foes,

the exceedingly liberal Akrura of great intelligence and renown, the
generalissimo of the brave Vrishni host. And there also came

of great prowess, and Uddhava of great renown, of great intelligence,

great soul, and a disciple of Vrihaspati himself. And there also came
Satyaka and Salyaka and Kritavarman and Satwata; and Pradyumna and

and Nisatha and Sanku; and Charudeshna, and Jhilli of great prowess,

Viprithu also and Sarana of mighty arms and Gada, the foremost of

men. These and many other Vrishnis and Bhojas, and Andhakas came to
Indraprastha, bringing with them many nuptial presents. King

hearing that Madhava had arrived, sent the twins out to receive him.
Received by them, the Vrishni host of great prosperity entered
Khandavaprastha well-adorned with flags and ensigns. The streets were

swept and watered and decked with floral wreaths and bunches. These

again, sprinkled over with sandalwood water that was fragrant and

Every part of the town was filled with the sweet scent of burning

And the city was full of joyous and healthy people and adorned with
merchants and traders. That best of men, viz., Kesava of mighty arms,
accompanied by Rama and many of the Vrishnis, Andhakas and Bhojas,

entered the town, was worshipped by the citizens and Brahmanas by
thousands. At last Kesava entered the palace of the king which was like
unto the mansion of Indra himself. Beholding Rama, Yudhishthira

him with due ceremonies. The king smelt the head of Kesava and embraced
him. Govinda, gratified with the reception, humbly worshipped

He also paid homage unto Bhima, that tiger among men. Yudhishthira the

of Kunti then received the other principal men of the Vrishni and the
Andhaka tribes with due ceremonies. Yudhishthira reverentially

some as his superiors, and welcomed others as equals. And some he

with affection and by some he was worshipped with reverence. Then
Hrishikesa of great renown gave unto the party of the bridegroom much
wealth. And unto Subhadra he gave the nuptial presents that had been

to her by her relatives. Krishna gave unto the Pandavas a thousand cars

gold furnished with rows of bells, and unto each of which were put four
steeds driven by well-trained charioteers. He also gave unto them ten
thousand cows belonging to the country of Mathura, and yielding much

and all of excellent colour. Well-pleased, Janardana also gave them a
thousand mares with gold harnesses and of colour white as the beams of

moon. He also gave them a thousand mules, all well-trained and

the speed of the wind, of white colour with black manes. And he of eyes
like lotus-petals also gave unto them a thousand damsels well-skilled

assisting at bathing and at drinking, young in years and virgins all
before their first-season, well-attired and of excellent complexion,

wearing a hundred pieces of gold around her neck, of skins perfectly
polished, decked with every ornament, and well-skilled in every kind of
personal service. Janardana also gave unto them hundreds of thousands

draft horses from the country of the Valhikas as Subhadra's excellent
dower. That foremost one of Dasarha's race also gave unto Subhadra as

peculium ten carrier-loads of first class gold possessing the splendour

fire, some purified and some in a state of ore. And Rama having the

for his weapon and always loving bravery gave unto Arjuna, as a nuptial
present, a thousand elephants with secretions flowing in three streams
from the three parts of their bodies (the temple, the ears, and the

each large as a mountain summit, irresistible in battle, decked with
coverlets and bells, well-adorned with other golden ornaments, and
equipped with excellent thrones on their backs. And that large wave of
wealth and gems that the Yadavas presented, together with the cloths

blankets that represented its foam, and the elephants its alligators

sharks, and the flags its floating weeds swelling into large

mingled with the Pandu ocean and filled it to the brim, to the great
sorrow of all foes. Yudhishthira accepted all those presents and
worshipped all those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka

Those illustrious heroes of the Kuru, the Vrishni, and the Andhaka

passed their days in pleasure and merriment there like virtuous men

death) in the celestial regions. The Kurus and the Vrishnis with joyous
hearts amused themselves there, setting up at times loud shouts mingled
with clappings of the hand. Spending many days in sports and merriment
there, and worshipped by the Kurus all the while, the Vrishni heroes
endued with great energy then returned to the city of Dwaravati. And

great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races set out with Rama

the van, carrying with them those gems of the purest rays that had been
given them by those foremost ones of Kuru's race. And, O Bharata, the

souled Vasudeva remained there with Arjuna in the delightful city of
Indraprastha. And the illustrious one wandered over the banks of the
Yamuna in search of deer. And he sported with Arjuna piercing with his
shafts deer and wild boars. Then Subhadra, the favourite sister of

gave birth to an illustrious son, like Puloma's daughter, (the queen of
heaven) bringing forth Jayanta. And the son that Subhadra brought forth
was of long arms, broad chest, and eyes as large as those of a bull.

hero and oppressor of foes came to be called Abhimanyu. And the son of
Arjuna, that grinder of foes and bull among men, was called Abhimanyu
because he was fearless and wrathful. And that great warrior was

upon the daughter of the Satwata race by Dhananjaya, like fire produced

a sacrifice from within the sami wood by the process of rubbing. Upon

birth of this child, Yudhishthira, the powerful son of Kunti, gave away
unto Brahmanas ten thousand cows and coins of gold. The child from his
earliest years became the favourite of Vasudeva and of his father and
uncles, like the moon of all the people of the world. Upon his birth,
Krishna performed the usual rites of infancy. The child began to grow

like the Moon of the bright fortnight. That grinder of foes soon became
conversant with the Vedas and acquired from his father the science of
weapon both celestial and human, consisting of four branches and ten

"Endued with great strength, the child also acquired the knowledge of
counteracting the weapons hurled at him by others, and great lightness

hand and fleetness of motion forward and backward and transverse and
wheeling. Abhimanyu became like unto his father in knowledge of the
scriptures and rites of religion. And Dhananjaya, beholding his son,
became filled with joy. Like Maghavat beholding Arjuna, the latter

his son Abhimanyu and became exceedingly happy. Abhimanyu possessed the
power of slaying every foe and bore on his person every auspicious

He was invisible in battle and broad-shouldered as the bull. Possessing

broad face as (the hood of) the snake, he was proud like the lion.
Wielding a large bow, his prowess was like that of an elephant in rut.
Possessed of a face handsome as the full-moon, and of a voice deep as

sound of the drum or the clouds, he was equal unto Krishna in bravery

energy, in beauty and in features. The auspicious Panchali also, from

five husbands, obtained five sons all of whom were heroes of the

rank and immovable in battle like the hills. Prativindhya by

Sutasoma by Vrikodara, Srutakarman by Arjuna, Satanika by Nakula, and
Srutasena by Sahadeva,--these were the five heroes and great warriors

Panchali brought forth, like Aditi bringing forth the Adityas. And the
Brahmanas, from their foreknowledge, said unto Yudhishthira that as the
son of his would be capable of bearing like the Vindhya mountains the
weapons of the foe, he should be called Prativindhya. And because the
child that Draupadi bore to Bhimasena was born after Bhima had

performed a
thousand Soma sacrifices, he came to be called Sutasoma. And because
Arjuna's son was born upon his return from exile during which he had
achieved many celebrated feats, that child came to be called

While Nakula named his son Satanika after a royal sage of that name, in
the illustrious race of Kuru. Again the son that Draupadi bore to

was born under the constellation called Vahni-daivata (Krittika),
therefore was he called after the generalissimo of the celestial host,
Srutasena (Kartikeya). The sons of Draupadi were born, each at the
interval of one year, and all of them became renowned and much attached

one another. And, O monarch, all their rites of infancy and childhood,
such as Chudakarana and Upanayana (first shave of the head and

with the sacred threads) were performed by Dhaumya according to the
ordinance. All of them, of excellent behaviour and vows, after having
studied the Vedas, acquired from Arjuna a knowledge of all the weapons,
celestial and human. And, O tiger among kings, the Pandavas, having
obtained sons all of whom were equal unto the children of the

and endued with broad chests, and all of whom became great warriors,

filled with joy.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, after they had taken up their abode

Indraprastha at the command of Dhritarashtra and Bhishma began to bring
other kings under their sway. All the subjects (of the kingdom) lived

happily depending upon Yudhishthira the just, like a soul living

depending upon a body blest with auspicious marks and pious deeds. And,

bull in Bharata's race, Yudhishthira paid homage unto virtue, pleasure,
and profit, in judicious proportion, as if each were a friend dear unto
him as his own self. It seemed as if the three pursuits--virtue,

and profit--became personified on earth, and amongst them the king

as a fourth. The subjects having obtained Yudhishthira as their king,
obtained in their monarch one that was devoted to the study of the

one that was performer of the great sacrifices, and one that was

of all good people. In consequence of Yudhishthira's influence, the

fortune of all the monarchs of the earth became stationary, and their
hearts became devoted to the meditation of the Supreme Spirit, and

itself began to grow every way all round. And in the midst of and

by his four brothers, the king looked more resplendent (than he would

done if he were alone), like a great sacrifice depending upon and

by the four Vedas. Many learned Brahmanas with Dhananjaya at their

each like unto Vrihaspati, waited upon the monarch, like the celestials
waiting upon the Lord of the creation. From excess of affection, the

and hearts of all the people equally took great delight in Yudhishthira
who was even as the full moon without a stain. The people took delight

him not only because he was their king but also from sincere affection.
The king always did what was agreeable to them. The sweet-speeched
Yudhishthira of great intelligence never uttered anything that was
improper or untrue or unbearable or disagreeable. The best of monarchs

the Bharata race, endued with great energy, passed his days happily for
the welfare of all as his own. His brothers also bringing by their

other kings under their sway, passed their days in happiness, without a
foe to disturb their peace.

"After a few days, Vibhatsu, addressing Krishna, said, 'The summer days
have set in, O Krishna! Therefore, let us go to the banks of the

Yamuna. O
slayer of Madhu, sporting there in the company of friends, we will, O
Janardana, return in the evening'. Thereupon Vasudeva said, 'O son of
Kunti, this is also my wish. Let us, O Partha, sport in the waters as

please, in the company of friends.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, having consulted thus with

other, Partha and Govinda, with Yudhishthira's leave, set out,

by friends. Reaching a fine spot (on the banks of the Yamuna) suitable

purposes of pleasure, overgrown with numerous tall trees and covered

several high mansions that made the place look like the celestial city

within which had been collected for Krishna and Partha numerous costly

well-flavoured viands and drinks and other articles of enjoyment and
floral wreaths and various perfumes, the party entered without delay

inner apartments adorned with many precious gems of pure rays. Entering
those apartments, everybody, O Bharata, began to sport, according to

pleasure. The women of the party, all of full rotund hips and deep

and handsome eyes, and gait unsteady with wine began to sport there at

command of Krishna and Partha. Some amongst the women sported as they
liked in the woods, some in the waters, and some within the mansions,

directed by Partha and Govinda. Draupadi and Subhadra, exhilarated with
wine, began to give away unto the women so sporting, their costly robes
and ornaments. And some amongst those women began to dance in joy, and
some began to sing; and some amongst them began to laugh and jest, and
some to drink excellent wines. Some began to obstruct one another's
progress and some to fight with one another, and to discourse with one
another in private. Those mansions and the woods, filled with the

music of flutes and guitars and kettledrums, became the scene of
Prosperity personified.

"When such was the state of things there, Arjuna and Vasudeva went to a
certain charming spot (in those woods) not far from the place where the
others were. O monarch, the high-souled Krishna, and that subjugator of
hostile cities, viz., Arjuna, going thither, sat down upon two very

seats. Vasudeva and Partha amused themselves there with discoursing

many past achievements of prowess and other topics. Unto Vasudeva and
Dhananjaya happily sitting there like the Aswins in heaven, a certain
Brahmana came. The Brahmana that came there looked like a tall Sala

His complexion was like unto molten gold; his beard was bright yellow
tinged with green; and the height and the thickness of the body were in
just proportion. Of matted locks and dressed in rags, he resembled the
morning sun in splendour. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of a tawny hue,

seemed to be blazing with effulgence. Beholding that foremost of

blazing with splendour approach towards them both Arjuna and Vasudeva,
hastily rising from their seats, stood, waiting (for his commands).'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then that Brahmana addressed Arjuna and Vasudeva

the Satwata race, saying, 'Ye who are now staying so near unto Khandava
are the two foremost of heroes on earth. I am a voracious Brahmana that
always eateth much. O thou of the Vrishni race, and O Partha, I solicit
you to gratify me by giving me sufficient food.' Thus addressed by the
Brahmana, Krishna and the son of Pandu answered him, saying, 'O, tell

what kind of food will gratify thee so that we may endeavour to give it
thee.' The illustrious Brahmana, thus replied to, said unto those

who were enquiring after the kind of food he sought, 'I do not desire

eat ordinary food. Know that I am Agni! Give me that food which suiteth

This forest of Khandava is always protected by Indra. And as it is
protected by the illustrious one, I always fail to consume it. In that
forest dwelleth, with his followers and family, a Naga, called

who is the friend of Indra. It is for him that the wielder of the
thunderbolt protecteth this forest. Many other creatures also are thus
protected here for the sake of Takshaka. Desiring to consume the forest

succeed not in my attempts in consequence of Indra's prowess. Beholding

blazing forth, he always poureth upon me water from the clouds.

I succeed not in consuming the forest of Khandava, although I desire

much to do so. I have now come to you--you who are both skilled in
weapons! If you help me I will surely consume this forest: for even

is the food that is desired by me! As ye are conversant with excellent
weapons, I pray you to prevent those showers from descending and any of
the creatures from escaping, when I begin to consume this forest!'

"Janamejaya said, 'Why did the illustrious Agni desire to consume the
forest of Khandava that was filled with various living creatures and
protected by the chief of the celestials? When Agni consumed in wrath

forest of Khandava, it is evident there was a grave cause. I desire, O
Brahmana, to hear all this in detail from thee. Tell me, O sage, how

Khandava forest was consumed in days of yore.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O chief of men, I will narrate to you the story of
the conflagration of Khandava as told by Rishis in the Purana. It hath
been heard, O king, in the Purana that there was a celebrated king of

name of Swetaki who was endued with strength and prowess and who was

unto Indra himself. No one on earth has equalled him in sacrifices,
charity, and intelligence. Swetaki performed the five great sacrifices

many others, at all of which the presents unto Brahmanas were large.

heart of that monarch, O king, was always set upon sacrifices,

rites, and gifts of all kinds. And king Swetaki of great intelligence,
assisted by his Ritwiks performed sacrifices for many long years, till
those sacrificial priests with eyes afflicted by the continued smoke

becoming very weak, left that monarch, wishing never more to assist at

sacrifices. The king, however, repeatedly asked those Ritwiks to come

him. But they came not to his sacrifice in consequence of the painful
state of their eyes. The king, therefore, invited at the command of his
own Ritwiks, others like unto them, and completed the sacrifice that he
had begun. After some days had elapsed, king Swetaki desired to perform
another sacrifice which should extend for a hundred years. But the
illustrious monarch obtained not any priest to assist him in it. The
celebrated king then, with his friends and relatives, casting off all
sloth, repeatedly courted his priests with great persistence, by bowing
down unto them, by conciliatory speeches, and by gifts of wealth. All

them, however, refused to accomplish the purpose which that king of
immeasurable energy had in view. Then that royal sage, getting angry,
addressed those Brahmanas sitting in their asylums, and said, 'If, ye
Brahmanas, I were a fallen person, or, if, I were wanting in homage and
service to you, I should then deserve to be abandoned without scruple

you and by other Brahmanas at the same time. But as I am neither

nor wanting in homage to you, it behoveth you not to obstruct the
performance by me of my sacrifice or to abandon me thus, ye foremost of
Brahmanas, without adequate reason. I seek, ye Brahmanas, your

It behoveth you to be propitious unto me. But, ye foremost of

if you abandon me from enmity alone or any improper motive, I shall go
unto other priests for their assistance in this sacrifice of mine, and
conciliating them by sweet words and gifts, I shall represent unto them
the business I have on hand, so that they may accomplish it.' Having

this, the monarch became silent. And, O chastiser of foes, when those
priests well knew that they could not assist at the king's sacrifice,

pretended to be angry, and addressing that best of monarchs said, 'O

of kings, thy sacrifices are incessant! By assisting thee always, we

all been fatigued. And as we have been wearied in consequence of these
labours, it behoveth thee to give us leave. O sinless one, from loss of
judgment thou canst not wait (but urgest us repeatedly). Go unto Rudra!

will assist at thy sacrifice!' Hearing those words of censure and

king Swetaki became angry. And the monarch wending to the mountains of
Kailasa, devoted himself to asceticism there. And, O king, the monarch
began to worship Mahadeva, with fixed attention, and by observing the

rigid vows. And foregoing all food at times, he passed a long period.

monarch ate only fruits and roots sometimes at the twelfth and

at the sixteenth hour of the whole day. King Swetaki stood for six

rapt in attention, with arms upraised and steadfast eyes, like the

of a tree or a column rooted to the ground. And, O Bharata, Sankara at
last gratified with that tiger among kings, who was undergoing such

penances, showed himself unto him. And the god spake unto the monarch

in a
calm and grave voice, saying, 'O tiger among kings, O chastiser of

foes, I
have been gratified with thee for thy asceticism! Blest be thou! Ask

the boon that thou, O king, desirest.' Hearing these words of Rudra of
immeasurable energy, the royal sage bowed unto that deity and replied,
saying, 'O illustrious one, O thou that art worshipped by the three

if thou hast been gratified with me, then, O god of gods, assist me
thyself, O lord of the celestials, in my sacrifice!' Hearing these

spoken by the monarch, the illustrious god was gratified, and smilingly
said, 'We do not ourselves assist at sacrifices: but as thou, O king,

undergone severe penances, desirous of obtaining a boon, I will, O
chastiser of foes, assist at thy sacrifice, upon, O king, this

And Rudra continued, 'If, O king of kings, thou canst, for twelve

pour without intermission libations of clarified butter into the fire,
thyself leading all the while the life of a Brahmacharin with rapt
attention, then thou shalt obtain from me what thou askest.' King

thus addressed by Rudra, did all that he was directed to do by the

of the trident. And after twelve years had elapsed, he again came unto
Maheswara. And Sankara, the Creator of the worlds upon seeing Swetaki,
that excellent monarch, immediately said, in great gratification, 'I

been gratified by thee, O best of kings, with this thy own act! But, O
chastiser of foes, the duty of assisting at sacrifices properly

to Brahmanas. Therefore, O oppressor of foes, I will not myself assist

thy sacrifice today. There is on earth an exalted Brahmana who is even

portion of my own self. He is known by the name of Durvasa. Even that
Brahmana endued with great energy will assist you in thy sacrifice.

therefore, every preparation be made.' Hearing these words uttered by
Rudra, the king, returning to his own capital, began to collect all

was necessary. After everything had been collected, the monarch again
presented himself before Rudra and said, 'Every necessary article hath
been collected, and all my preparations are complete, through thy

grace, O
god of gods! Let me, therefore, be installed at the sacrifice

Having heard these words of that illustrious king, Rudra summoned

before him and said. 'This, O Durvasa, is that best of monarchs called
Swetaki. At my command, O best of Brahmanas, assist even this king in

sacrifice.' And the Rishi Durvasa said unto Rudra, 'So be it.' Then the
sacrifice for which king Swetaki had made those preparations, took

And the illustrious monarch's sacrifice was performed according to the
ordinance and in proper season. And the gifts, on that occasion, unto

Brahmanas were large. And after that monarch's sacrifice had come to an
end, all the other priests who had come to assist at it went away with
Durvasa's leave. All other Sadasyas also of immeasurable energy, who

been installed at that sacrifice, then went away. That exalted monarch
then entered his own palace, worshipped by exalted Brahmanas conversant
with the Vedas, eulogised by chanters of panegyrical hymns and
congratulated by the citizens.

"Such was the history of that best of monarchs, the royal sage Swetaki,
who, when the time came, ascended to heaven, having won great renown on
earth, and accompanied by the Ritwiks and the Sadasyas that had helped

in life.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'At that sacrifice of Swetaki, Agni had drunk
clarified butter for twelve years. Indeed, clarified butter had been
poured into Agni's mouth in a continuous stream for that period. Having
drunk so much butter, Agni, satiated, desired not to drink butter again
from the hand of anybody else at any other sacrifice. Agni became pale,
having lost his colour, and he could not shine as before. He felt a

of appetite from surfeit, and his energy itself decreased and sickness
afflicted him. Then when the drinker of sacrificial libations perceived
that his energy was gradually diminishing, he went to the sacred abode

Brahman that is worshipped by all. Approaching the great Deity seated

his seat, Agni said, 'O exalted one, Swetaki hath (by his sacrifice)
gratified me to excess. Even now I am suffering from surfeit which I
cannot dispel. O Lord of the universe, I am being reduced both in
splendour and strength. I desire to regain, through thy grace, my own
permanent nature.' Hearing these words from Hutavaha, the illustrious
Creator of all things smilingly replied unto him, saying, 'O exalted

thou hast eaten, for twelve years, a continuous stream of sacrificial
butter poured into thy mouth! It is for this that illness hath seized

But, O Agni, grieve not for it. Thou shalt soon regain thy own nature.

shall dispel this surfeit of thine and the time for it is even come.

dreadful forest Khandava, that abode of the enemies of the gods, which
thou hadst of old once consumed to ashes at the request of the gods,

now become the home of numerous creatures. When thou will have eaten

fat of those creatures, thou shalt regain thy own nature. Proceed

in haste to consume that forest with its living population. Thou wilt

be cured of thy malady.' Hearing the words that fell from the lips of

Supreme Deity, Hutasana proceeded with great speed and soon reached the
forest of Khandava in great vigour. Arrived there, he suddenly blazed
forth in anger, assisted by Vayu. Beholding Khandava on fire the

(in the forest) that were there, made great efforts to extinguish the
conflagration. Elephants by hundreds of thousands, speeding in anger,
brought water in their trunks and scattered it upon the fire. Thousands

many-hooded snakes, mad with anger, hastily began to scatter upon fire
much water from those many hoods of theirs. And so, O bull of Bharata's
race, the other creatures dwelling in that forest, by various

and efforts, soon extinguished the fire. In this way, Agni blazed forth

Khandava repeatedly, even for seven times. And it was in this way that

blazing fire was extinguished there as often by the denizens of that


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Havyavahana (Agni) in anger and

with his ailment uncured, went to the Grandsire. And he represented

Brahman all that had happened: The illustrious deity, reflecting for a
moment, said unto him, 'O sinless one, I see a way by which thou mayest
consume the forest of Khandava today in the very sight of Indra. Those

deities, Nara and Narayana, have become incarnate in the world of men

accomplish the business of the celestials. They are called on earth

and Vasudeva. They are even now staying in the forest of Khandava.

them for aiding thee in consuming that forest. Thou shalt then consume

forest even if it be protected by the celestials. They will certainly
prevent the population of Khandava from escaping, and thwart Indra also
(in aiding any one in the escape). I have no doubt of this!' Hearing

words, Agni came in haste unto Krishna and Partha. O king, I have

told thee what he said, having approached the illustrious pair. O tiger
among kings, hearing those words of Agni who was desirous of consuming

forest of Khandava against the will of Indra, Vibhatsu said unto him

words well-suited to the occasion, 'I have numberless excellent

weapons with which I can fight even many wielders of the thunderbolt.

O exalted one, I have no bow suited to the strength of my arms, and
capable of bearing the might I may put forth in battle. In consequence

the lightness of my hands also I require arrows that must never be
exhausted. My car also is scarcely able to bear the load of arrows that

would desire to keep by me. I desire celestial steeds of pure white,
possessing the speed of the wind; and a car possessing the splendour of
the sun and the clatter of whose wheels should resemble the roar of the
clouds. Then, there is no weapon suited to Krishna's energy and with

Madhava can slay Nagas and Pisachas. O exalted one, it behoveth thee to
give us the means by which success may be achieved and by which we may
thwart Indra in pouring his showers upon that extensive forest. O

we are ready to do all that manliness and prowess can do. But, O

one, it behoveth thee to give us the adequate means.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana, said, 'Thus addressed by Arjuna, the smoke-bannered
Hutasana, desirous of an interview with Varuna, recollected that son of
Aditi,--that deity protecting one of the points of the heavens and

his home in the water and ruling that element. Varuna, knowing that he

thought of by Pavaka, immediately appeared before that deity. The

bannered celestial welcoming with reverence the ruler of the waters,

fourth of the Lokapalas, said unto that eternal god of gods, 'Give me
without loss of time that bow and quiver, and that ape-bannered car

which were obtained from king Soma. Partha will achieve a great task

Gandiva, and Vasudeva also with the discus! Give both, therefore, unto

today.' Hearing these words, Varuna replied unto Pavaka, saying, 'Well,

am giving them.' He then gave that wonderful jewel of a bow that was
endued with great energy. That bow was the enhancer of fame and
achievements, and was incapable of being injured by any weapon. It was

chief of all weapons, and the grinder of them all. And it was the

of hostile armies and was alone equal to a hundred thousand bows. It

the multiplier of kingdoms, and was variegated with excellent colours.

was well-adorned, and beautiful to behold, and without a mark of

or injury anywhere. And it was always worshipped both by the celestials
and the Gandharvas. Varuna also gave two inexhaustible quivers, and he
also gave a car furnished with celestial weapons and whose banner bore

large ape. Yoked unto that car were steeds white as silver of the

clouds, and born in the region of the Gandharvas, and decked with

harness, and resembling in fleetness the wind or the mind. And it was
equipped with implement of war, and was incapable of being vanquished

the celestials or the Asuras. Its splendour was great and the sounds of
its wheels was tremendous. It delighted the heart of every creature

looked at it. It had been made by Viswakarman, the architect of the
universe and one of the lords of creation, after severe ascetic

Its splendour, like that of the sun, was so great that no one could

at it. It was the very car from which the lord Soma had vanquished the
Danavas. Resplendent with beauty, it looked like an evening cloud
reflecting the effulgence of the setting sun. It was furnished with an
excellent flag-staff of golden colour and great beauty. And there sat

that flag-staff a celestial ape of form fierce like that of a lion or a
tiger. Stationed on high, the ape seemed bent upon burning everything

beheld. And upon the (other) flags were various creatures of large

whose roars and yells caused the enemy's soldiers to faint. Then

accoutred in mail and armed with the sword, and his fingers cased in
leathern gloves, walking round that excellent car adorned with numerous
flags and bowing unto the gods, ascended it like a virtuous man riding

the celestial car that bears him to heaven. And taking up that

and first of bows created by Brahman of old and called Gandiva, Arjuna

filled with joy. And bowing unto Hutasana, Partha endued with great

took up the bow and strung it forcibly. Those who heard the noise that

made while the mighty Pandava strung that bow, quaked with fear. And
having obtained that car and that bow, and the two inexhaustible

the son of Kunti became glad and thought himself competent to assist at
the task. And Pavaka then gave unto Krishna a discus with an iron pole
attached to a hole in the centre. And it was a fiery weapon and became

favourite. Having obtained that weapon, Krishna also became equal to

task. Pavaka then, addressing Krishna, said, 'With this, O slayer of

thou shalt be able without doubt to vanquish in battle even foes that

not human. With this weapon, without doubt, thou shalt be superior in
battle to men and gods, and Rakshasas and Pisachas, and Daityas and

And thou shalt certainly be able with this to smite all. And, O

hurled by thee in battle at thy foes, this weapon will irresistibly

the enemy and again come back into thy hands.' And the lord Varuna,

this, gave unto Krishna a mace, of name Kaumodaki, capable of slaying
every Daitya and producing, when hurled, a roar like that of the

Then Arjuna and Achyuta, filled with joy said unto Pavaka, 'O exalted

furnished with weapons and knowing their use, possessed of cars with

and flagstaffs, we are now able to fight with even all the celestials

the Asuras (together), let alone the wielder of the thunderbolt

of fighting for the sake of the Naga (his friend Takshaka).' Arjuna

said, 'O Pavaka, while Hrishikesa, endued with abundant energy, moves

the field of battle with this discus in hand, there is nothing in the
three worlds that he will not be able to consume by hurling this

Having obtained the bow Gandiva and this couple of inexhaustible

quivers I
also am ready to conquer in battle the three worlds. Therefore, O lord,
blaze thou forth as thou likest, surrounding this large forest on every
side. We are quite able to help thee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed both by Dasarha and Arjuna,

illustrious god then put forth his most energetic form, and prepared to
consume the forest. Surrounding it on all sides with his seven flames,

began to consume the forest of Khandava, exhibiting his all-consuming

like that at the end of the Yuga (cycle). And, O bull of Bharata's

surrounding that forest and catching it from all sides with a roar like
that of the clouds, Agni made every creature within it tremble. And, O
Bharata, that burning forest then looked resplendent like the king of
mountains, Meru, blazing with the rays of the sun fallen thereupon.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those foremost of car-warriors (Krishna and
Arjuna), riding in their cars and placing themselves on opposite sides

that forest, began a great slaughter, on all sides, of the creatures
dwelling in Khandava. At whatever point any of the creatures residing

Khandava could be seen attempting to escape, thither rushed those

heroes (to prevent its flight). Indeed those two excellent cars seemed

be but one, and the two warriors also therein but one individual. And
while the forest was burning, hundreds and thousands of living

uttering frightful yells, began to run about in all directions. Some

particular limbs burnt, some were scorched with excessive heat, and

came out, and some ran about from fear. And some clasping their

and some their parents and brothers, died calmly without, from excess

affection, being able to abandon these that were dear to them. And many
there were who biting their nether lips rose upwards and soon fell
whirling into the blazing element below. And some were seen to roll on

ground with wings, eyes, and feet scorched and burnt. These creatures

all seen to perish there almost soon enough. The tanks and ponds within
that forest, heated by the fire around, began to boil; the fishes and

tortoises in them were all seen to perish. During that great slaughter

living creatures in that forest, the burning bodies of various animals
looked as if fire itself had assumed many forms. The birds that took

to escape from that conflagration were pierced by Arjuna with his

and cut into pieces, they fell down into the burning element below.
Pierced all over with Arjuna's shafts, the birds dropped down into the
burning forest, uttering loud cries. The denizens of the forest, struck
with those shafts, began to roar and yell. The clamour they raised was
like unto the frightful uproar heard during the churning of the ocean

days of yore). The mighty flames of the blazing fire reaching the
firmament, caused great anxiety to the celestials themselves. Then all

illustrious dwellers in heaven went in a body unto him of a hundred
sacrifices and thousand eyes, viz., their chief, that grinder of

Approaching Indra, the celestial said, 'Why, O lord of immortals, doth
Agni burn these creatures below? Hath the time come for the destruction

the world?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the gods, and himself
beholding what Agni was doing, the slayer of Vritra set out for the
protection of the forest of Khandava. And Vasava, the chief of the
celestials soon covering the sky with masses of clouds of every kind

to shower upon the burning forest. Those masses of clouds by hundreds

thousands, commanded by Indra began to pour rain upon Khandava in

thick as the flag-staffs of battle-cars. But the showers were all dried

in the sky itself by the heat of the fire and could not, therefore,

the fire at all! Then the slayer of Namuchi, getting angry with Agni,
collected huge masses of clouds and caused them to yield a heavy

Then with the flames contending with those heavy showers, and with

of clouds overhead, that forest, filled with smoke and flashes of
lightning, became terrible to behold.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Vibhatsu, the son of Pandu, invoking his
excellent weapons, prevented that shower of rain by Indra, by means of

shower of his own weapons. And Arjuna of immeasurable soul soon covered
the forest of Khandava with innumerable arrows like the moon covering

atmosphere with a thick fog. When the sky above that forest was thus
covered with the arrows of Arjuna no living creature could then escape
from below. And it so happened that while that forest was burning,
Takshaka, the chief of the Nagas, was not there, having gone at that

to the field of Kurukshetra. But Aswasena, the mighty son of Takshaka,

there. He made great efforts to escape from that fire; but confined by
Arjuna's shafts he succeeded not in finding a way. It was then that his
mother, the daughter of a snake, determined to save him by swallowing

first. His mother first swallowed his head and then was swallowing his
tail. And desirous of saving her son, the sea-snake rose (up from the
earth) while still employed in swallowing her son's tail. But Arjuna as
soon as he beheld her escaping, severed her head from her body by means

a sharp and keen-edged arrow. Indra saw all this, and desiring to save

friend's son, the wielder of the thunderbolt, by raising a violent

deprived Arjuna of consciousness. During those few moments, Aswasena
succeeded in effecting his escape. Beholding that manifestation of the
power of illusion, and deceived by that snake, Arjuna was much enraged.

forthwith cut every animal seeking to escape by the skies, into two,

or more pieces. And Vibhatsu in anger, and Agni, and Vasudeva also,

the snake that had escaped so deceitfully, saying, 'Never shalt thou be
famous!' And Jishnu remembering the deception practised upon him,

angry, and covering the firmament with a cloud of arrows, sought to

with him of a thousand eyes. The chief of the celestials also, seeing
Arjuna in anger, sought to fight with him, and hurled his own fierce
weapons, covering the wide expanse of the firmament. Then the winds,
making a loud roar and agitating all the oceans, brought together

of clouds in the sky, charged with torrents of rain. Those masses of
clouds began to vomit thunder and terrible flashes of lightning charged
with the thunderclap. Then Arjuna possessing a knowledge of means,

the excellent weapon called Vayavya with proper mantras to dispel those
clouds. With that weapon the energy and force of Indra's thunderbolt

of those clouds were destroyed. And the torrents of rain with which

clouds were charged were all dried up, and the lightning that played
amongst them was also destroyed. Within a moment the sky was cleared of
dust and darkness, and a delicious, cool breeze began to blow and the

of the sun resumed its normal state. Then the eater of clarified butter
(Agni), glad because none could baffle him, assumed various forms, and
sprinkled over with the fat exuded by the bodies of creatures, blazed
forth with all his flames, filling the universe with his roar. Then
numerous birds of the Garuda tribe bearing excellent feathers,

that the forest was protected by Krishna and Arjuna, descended filled

pride, from the upper skies, desirous of striking those heroes with

thunderlike wings, beaks and claws. Innumerable Nagas also, with faces
emitting fire descending from high, approached Arjuna, vomiting the

virulent poison all the while. Beholding them approach, Arjuna cut them
into pieces by means of arrows steeped in the fire of his own wrath.

those birds and snakes, deprived of life, fell into the burning element
below. And there came also, desirous of battle, innumerable Asuras with
Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Nagas sending forth terrific
yells. Armed with machines vomiting from their throats (mouths) iron
balls and bullets, and catapults for propelling huge stones, and

they approached to strike Krishna and Partha, their energy and strength
increased by wrath. But though they rained a perfect shower of weapons,
Vibhatsu, addressing them reproachfully, struck off their heads with

own sharp arrows. That slayer of foes, Krishna, also, endued with great
energy, made a great slaughter of the Daitya and the Danava with his
discus. Many Asuras of immeasurable might, pierced with Krishna's

and smitten with the force of his discus, became motionless like waifs

strays stranded on the bank by the violence of the waves. Then Sakra

lord of the celestials, riding on his white elephant, rushed at those
heroes, and taking up his thunderbolt which could never go in vain,

it with great force. And the slayer of Asuras said unto the gods,

two are slain.' Beholding the fierce thunderbolt about to be hurled
by their chief, the celestials all took up their respective weapons.

O king, took up the death-dealing mace, and Kuvera his spiked club, and
Varuna his noose and beautiful missile. And Skanda (Kartikeya) took up

long lance and stood motionless like the mountain of Meru. The Aswins
stood there with resplendent plants in their hands. Dhatri stood, bow

hand, and Jaya with a thick club. Tvashtri of great strength took up in
wrath, a huge mountain and Surya stood with a bright dart, and Mrityu

a battle-axe. Aryaman stalked about with a terrible bludgeon furnished
with sharp spikes, and Mitra stood there with a discus sharp as a

And, O monarch, Pusha and Bhaga and Savitri, in wrath, rushed at

and Partha with bows and scimitars in hand. And Rudras and the Vasus,

mighty Maruts and the Viswedevas and the Sadhyas, all resplendent with
their own energy,--these and many other celestials, armed with various
weapons rushed against those exalted of men, Krishna and Partha, for
smiting them down. Then were seen in that great conflict wonderful
portents all around robbing every creature of his sense, and resembling
those that appeared at the time of the universal dissolution. But

and Krishna, fearless and invincible in battle, beholding Sakra and the
other celestials prepared for fight, calmly waited, bows in hands.

in battle, those heroes in wrath assailed the advancing host of

with their own thunderlike arrows. The celestials repeatedly routed by
Krishna and Arjuna, at last left the field of battle for fear and

the protection of Indra. The Munis who were witnessing the battle from

skies, beholding the celestials defeated by Madhava and Arjuna, were
filled with wonder. Sakra also repeatedly witnessing their prowess in
battle, became exceedingly gratified, and once more rushed to the

The chastiser of Paka then caused a heavy shower of stones, desiring to
ascertain the prowess of Arjuna who was able to draw the bow even with

left hand. Arjuna, in great wrath, dispelled with his arrows that thick
shower. Then he of a hundred sacrifices beholding that shower baffled,
once more caused a thicker shower of stones. But the son of the

of Paka (viz., Arjuna) gratified his father by baffling that shower

with his swift arrows. Then Sakra, desirous of smiting down the son of
Pandu, tore up with his hands a large peak from Mandara, with tall

on it, and hurled it against him. But Arjuna divided that mountain-peak
into a thousand pieces by his swift-going and fire-mouthed arrows. The
fragments of that mountain, in falling through the skies, looked as if

sun and the moon and the planets, displaced from their positions fell

on earth. That huge peak fell down upon that forest and by its fall

numerous living creatures that dwelt in Khandava.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the inhabitants of the forest of Khandava,

Danavas and Rakshasas and Nagas and wolves and bears and other wild
animals, and elephants with rent temples, and tigers, and lions with

and deer and buffaloes by hundreds, and birds, and various other

frightened at the falling stones and extremely anxious, began to fly in
all directions. They saw the forest (burning all around) and Krishna

Arjuna also ready with their weapons. Frightened at the terrible sounds
that were audible there those creatures lost their power of movement.
Beholding the forest burning in innumerable places and Krishna also

to smite them down with his weapons, they all set up a frightful roar.
With that terrible clamour as also with the roar of fire, the whole

resounded, as it were, with the voice of portentous clouds. Kesava of

hue and mighty arms, in order to compass their destruction, hurled at

his large and fierce discus resplendent with its own energy. The

dwellers including the Danavas and the Rakshasas, afflicted by that

were cut in hundreds of pieces and fell unto the mouth of Agni. Mangled

Krishna's discus, the Asuras were besmeared with blood and fat and

like evening clouds. And, O Bharata, he of the Vrishni race moved able
like death itself, slaying Pisachas and birds and Nagas and other
creatures by thousands. The discus itself, repeatedly hurled from the
hands of Krishna, that slayer of all foes, came back to his hands after
slaughtering numberless creatures. The face and form of Krishna that

of every created thing became fierce to behold while he was thus

in the slaughter of the Pisachas, Nagas and Rakshasas. No one among the
celestials, who had mustered there could vanquish in battle Krishna and
Arjuna. When the celestials saw that they could not protect that forest
from the might of Krishna and Arjuna by extinguishing that

they retired from the scene. Then, O monarch, he of a hundred

(Indra), beholding the immortals retreat, became filled with joy and
applauded Krishna and Arjuna. And when the celestials gave up the

an incorporeal voice, deep and loud, addressing him of a hundred
sacrifices, said, 'Thy friend Takshaka, that chief of snakes, hath not
been slain! Before the conflagration commenced in Khandava he had
journeyed to Kurukshetra. Know from my words, O Vasava, that Vasudeva

Arjuna are incapable of being vanquished in battle by any one! They are
Nara and Narayana--those gods of old heard of in heaven! Thou knowest

their energy is and what their prowess. Invincible in battle, these

of old Rishis are unconquerable by any one in all the worlds! They

the most reverential worship of all the celestials and Asuras; of

and Rakshasas and Gandharvas, of human beings and Kinnaras and Nagas.
Therefore, O Vasava, it behoveth thee to go hence with all the

The destruction of Khandava hath been ordained by Fate!' Then the chief

the immortals, ascertaining those words to be true abandoned his wrath

jealousy, and went back to heaven. The dwellers in heaven, O monarch,
beholding the illustrious Indra abandon the fight, followed him with

their soldiers. Then those heroes, Vasudeva and Arjuna, when they saw

chief of the celestials retreat accompanied by all the gods, set up a
leonine roar. And, O monarch, Kesava and Arjuna, after Indra had left

scene, became exceedingly glad. Those heroes then fearlessly assisted

the conflagration of the forest. Arjuna scattered the celestials like

wind scattering the clouds, and slew with showers of his arrows,
numberless creatures that dwelt in Khandava. Cut off by Arjuna's

no one amongst the innumerable creatures could escape from the burning
forest. Far from fighting with him, none amongst even the strongest
creatures mustered there could look at Arjuna whose weapons were never
futile. Sometimes piercing hundred creatures with one shaft and

a single creature with hundred shafts, Arjuna moved about in his car.

creatures themselves, deprived of life, began to fall into the mouth of
Agni (god of fire), struck down as it were by death itself. On the

of rivers or on uneven plains or on crematoriums, go where they did,

creatures (dwelling in Khandava) found no ease, for wherever they

shelter there they were afflicted by the heat. And hosts of creatures
roared in pain, and elephants and deer and wolves set up cries of
affliction. At that sound the fishes of the Ganges and the sea, and the
various tribes of Vidyadharas dwelling in that forest all became
frightened. O thou of mighty arms, let alone battling with them, no

could even gaze at Arjuna and Janardana of dark hue. Hari slew with his
discus those Rakshasas and Danavas and Nagas that rushed at him in

Of huge bodies, their heads and trunks were cut off by the swift motion

the discus, and deprived of life they fell down into the blazing fire.
Gratified with large quantities of flesh, blood, and fat, the flames

up to a great height without a curling wreath of smoke. Hutasana (fire-
god) with blazing and coppery eyes, and flaming tongue and large mouth,
and the hair on the crown of his head all fiery, drinking, with the

of Krishna and Arjuna, that nectar-like stream of animal fat, became
filled with joy. Gratified greatly, Agni derived much happiness.

"And it so happened that the slayer of Madhu suddenly beheld an Asura

the name of Maya escaping from the abode of Takshaka. Agni having Vayu

his car-driver, assuming a body with matted locks on head, and roaring
like the clouds, pursued the Asura, desirous of consuming him.

the Asura, Vasudeva stood with his weapon upraised, ready to smite him
down, seeing the discus uplifted and Agni pursuing from behind to burn

Maya said 'Run to me, O Arjuna, and protect me!' Hearing his affrighted
voice Arjuna said, 'Fear not!' That voice of Arjuna, O Bharata, seemed

give Maya his life. As the merciful son of Pritha said unto Maya that
there was nothing to fear, he of the Dasarha race no longer desired to
slay Maya who was the brother of Namuchi, and Agni also burned him


"Vaisampayana continued, 'Protected from Indra by Krishna and Partha,

gifted with great intelligence, burned that forest for five and ten

And while the forest burned Agni spared only six of its dwellers, viz.,
Aswasena, Maya, and four birds called Sarngakas.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, tell me why and when that forest burnt

that way, Agni consumed not the birds called Sarngakas? Thou hast, O
Brahmana, recited (to us) the cause of Aswasena and the Danava Maya not
having been consumed. But thou hast not as yet said what the cause was

the escape of the Sarngakas? The escape of those birds, O Brahmana,
appeareth to me to be wonderful. Tell us why they were not destroyed in
that dreadful conflagration.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O slayer of all foes, I shall tell thee all as to

Agni did not burn up those birds during the conflagration. There was, O
king, a great Rishi known by the name of Mandapala, conversant with all
the shastras, of rigid vows, devoted to asceticism, and the foremost of
all virtuous persons. Following in the wake of Rishis that had drawn up
their virile fluid, that ascetic, O monarch, with every sense under
complete control, devoted himself to study and virtue. Having reached

opposite shores of asceticism, O Bharata, he left his human form and

to the region of the Pitris. But going thither he failed to obtain the
(expected) fruit of his acts. He asked the celestials that sat around

king of the dead as to the cause of his treatment, saying, 'Why have

regions become unattainable by me,--regions that I had thought had been
acquired by me by my ascetic devotions? Have I not performed those acts
whose fruits are these regions? Ye inhabitants of heaven, tell me why
these regions are shut against me! I will do that which will give me

fruit of my ascetic penances.'

"The celestials answered, 'Hear, O Brahmana, of those acts and things

account of which men are born debtors. Without doubt, it is for

rites, studies according to the ordinance, and progeny, that men are

debtors. These debts are all discharged by sacrifices, asceticism, and
offspring. Thou art an ascetic and hast also performed sacrifices; but
thou hast no offspring. These regions are shut against thee only for

of children. Beget children, therefore! Thou shalt then enjoy

regions of felicity. The Vedas declared that the son rescueth the

from a hell called Put. Then, O best of Brahmanas, strive to beget

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Mandapala, having heard these words of the
dwellers in heaven, reflected how best he could obtain the largest

of offspring within the shortest period of time. The Rishi, after
reflection, understood that of all creatures birds alone were blest

fecundity. Assuming the form of a Sarngaka the Rishi had connection

with a
female bird of the same species called by the name of Jarita. And he

upon her four sons who were all reciters of the Vedas. Leaving all

sons of his with their mother in that forest, while they were still

eggs, the ascetic went to (another wife called by the name of) Lapita.

O Bharata, when the exalted sage went away for the company of Lapita,
moved by affection for her offspring, Jarita became very thoughtful.
Though forsaken by their father in the forest of Khandava, Jarita,

in her affection for them, could not forsake her offspring, those

Rishis encased in eggs. Moved by parental affection, she brought up

children born of her, herself following the pursuits proper to her own
species. Some time after, the Rishi, in wandering over that forest in

company of Lapita, saw Agni coming towards Khandava to burn it down.

the Brahmana Mandapala, knowing the intention of Agni and remembering

that his children were all young moved by fear, gratified the god, of

burning element, that regent of the universe, endued with great energy.
And he did this, desiring to put in a word for his unfledged offspring.
Addressing Agni, the Rishi said, 'Thou art, O Agni, the mouth of all

worlds! Thou art the carrier of the sacrificial butter! O purifier (of

sins), thou movest invisible with the frame of every creature! The

have spoken of thee as an One, and again as possessed of triple nature.
The wise perform their sacrifices before thee, taking thee as

of eight (mouths). The great Rishis declare that this universe hath

created by thee. O thou that feedest on sacrificial butter, without

this whole universe would be destroyed in a single day. Bowing to thee,
the Brahmanas, accompanied by their wives and children, go to eternal
regions won by them by help of their own deeds. O Agni, the learned
represent thee as the clouds in the heavens charged with lightning. O

the flames put forth by thee consume every creature. O thou of great
splendour, this universe hath been created by thee. The Vedas are thy

All creatures, mobile and immobile, depend upon thee. Water primarily
dependeth on thee, so also the whole of this universe. All offerings of
clarified butter and oblations of food to the pitris have been

in thee. O god, thou art the consumer, and thou art the creator and

art Vrihaspati himself (in intelligence). Thou art the twin Aswins;

art Surya; thou art Soma; thou art Vayu.

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O monarch, thus praised by Mandapala, Agni

gratified with that Rishi of immeasurable energy; and the god, well-
pleased, replied, 'What good can I do to thee?' Then Mandapala with

palms said unto the carrier of clarified butter, 'While thou burnest

forest of Khandava, spare my children.' The illustrious bearer of
clarified butter replied, 'So be it.' It was, therefore, O monarch,

he blazed not forth, while consuming the forest of Khandava, for the
destruction of Mandapala's children.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the fire blazed forth in the forest of

the infant birds became very much distressed and afflicted. Filled with
anxiety, they saw not any means of escape. Their mother, the helpless
Jarita, knowing that they were too young to escape, was filled with

and wept aloud. And she said, 'Oh, the terrible, illuminating the whole
universe and burning the forest down, approacheth towards us,

my woe. These infants with immature understanding, without feathers and
feet, and the sole refuge of our deceased ancestors, afflict me. Oh,

fire approacheth, spreading fear all around, and licking with its

the tallest trees. But my unfledged children are incapable of effecting
their escape. I myself am not capable of escaping, taking all these

me. Nor am I capable of abandoning them, for my heart is distressed on
their account. Whom amongst my sons, shall I leave behind, and whom

I carry with me? What (act) should I do now that is consistent with

What also do you, my infant sons, think? I do not, even by reflection,

any way of escape for you. I shall even cover you with my wings and die
with you. Your cruel father left me some time before, saying, 'Upon

Jaritari, because he is the eldest of my sons, will my race depend. My
second Sarisrikka will beget progeny for the expansion of my ancestors'
race. My third, Stamvamitra, will be devoted to asceticism, and my
youngest, Drona, will become the foremost of those acquainted with the
Vedas.' But how hath this terrible calamity overtaken us! Whom shall I
take with me? As I am deprived of judgment what should I do that is
consistent with duty? I do not see, by the exercise of my own judgment,
the escape of my children from the fire!'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Unto their mother indulging in these lamentations,
the infant ones said. 'O mother, relinquishing thy affection for us, go
thou to a place where there is no fire. If we are killed here, thou

have other children born to thee. If thou, O mother be killed, we can

no more children in our race. Reflecting upon both these calamities,

time hath come for thee, O mother, to do that which is beneficial to

race. Do not be influenced by affection for thy offspring, which

to destroy both us and thee. If thou savest thyself, our father, who is
even desirous of winning regions of felicity, may have his wishes

"Hearing what the infants said. Jarita replied, 'There is a hole here

the ground near to this tree, belonging to a mouse. Enter this hole
without loss of time. You shall have then no fear of fire. After ye

entered it, I shall, ye children, cover its mouth with dust. This is

only means of escape that I see from the blazing fire. Then when the

will be put out, I shall return hither to remove the dust. Follow my
advice if you are to escape from the conflagration.'

"The infant birds replied, 'Without feathers we are but so many balls

flesh. If we enter the hole, certain it is that the carnivorous mouse

destroy us all. Beholding this danger before us, we cannot enter this

Alas, we do not see any means by which we may escape from the fire or

the mouse. We do not see how our father's act of procreation may be
prevented from becoming futile, and how also our mother may be saved.

we enter the hole, the mouse will destroy us; we remain where we are

the sky-ranging fire will destroy us. Reflecting upon both the

a death by fire is preferable to a death by being eaten up. If we are
devoured by the mouse within the hole, that death is certainly ignoble,
whereas the destruction of the body in fire is approved by the wise.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing those words of her sons Jarita continued,
'The little mouse that had come out of this hole was seized by a hawk

his claws and carried away hence. Therefore, ye may fearlessly enter

hole now.' The young ones replied, 'We are not by any means certain of
that mouse having been taken away by the hawk. There may be other mice
living here. From them we have every fear. Whereas it is doubtful

fire will at all approach us here. Already we see an adverse wind

the flames away. If we enter the hole, death is certain at the hands of
the dwellers in the hole. But if we remain where we are, death is
uncertain. O mother, a position in which death is uncertain is better

that in which it is certain. It is thy duty, therefore, to escape

for, if thou livest thou mayest obtain other children as good.'

"Their mother then said, 'Ye children, I myself saw the mighty hawk,

best of birds, swoop down and fly away with the mouse from the hole.

while he was flying away swiftly, I followed him behind and pronounced
blessing on him for his having taken away the mouse from the hole. I

unto him. 'O king of hawks, because thou art flying away with our

the mouse, in thy claws, mayest thou, without a foe, live in heaven

with a
golden body.' Afterwards when that hawk devoured the mouse, I came

obtaining his leave. Therefore, ye children, enter this hole

Ye have nothing to fear. The mouse that was its inmate was seized and
taken away by the hawk in my sight.' The young ones again said, 'O

we do not by any means know that the mouse hath been carried away by

hawk. We cannot enter this hole in the ground without being certain of

fact.' Their mother said, 'I know to a certainty that the mouse hath

carried away by the hawk. Therefore, ye children, ye have nothing to

do what I say.' The young ones again said, 'We do not, O mother, say

thou art dispelling our fears with a false story. For whatever is done

a person when his reason hath been disturbed can scarcely be said to be
that person's deliberate act. Thou hast not been benefited by us, nor

thou know who we are. Why dost thou, therefore, strive to protect us at

much cost to thyself? Who are we to thee? Thou art young and handsome,

capable of seeking out thy husband. Go unto thy husband. Thou shalt

good children again. Let us by entering the fire attain to regions of
felicity. If, however, the fire consume us not, thou mayest come back

obtain us again.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'The parent bird then, thus addressed by her sons,
left them in Khandava and hastily went to the spot where there was no

and there was safety. Then Agni in haste and with fierce flames

the spot where the sons of Mandapala were. The young birds saw the

fire come towards them. Then Jaritari, the eldest of the four, in the
hearing of Agni, began to speak.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Jaritari said, 'The person that is wise remaineth wakeful in view of
death. Accordingly, when the hour of death approacheth, he feeleth no
pangs. But the person of perplexed soul, who remaineth not awake, when

hour of death comes, feeleth the pangs of death and never attaineth

"The second brother Sarisrikka, said, 'Thou art patient and

The time is come when our lives are threatened. Without doubt, one only
amongst many becometh wise and brave.'

"The third brother, Stamvamitra, said, 'The eldest brother is called

protector. It is the eldest brother that rescueth (the younger ones)

danger. If the eldest himself faileth to rescue them, what can the

ones do?'

"The fourth and the youngest brother, Drona said, 'The cruel god of

with seven tongues and seven mouths quickly cometh towards our

blazing forth in splendour and licking up everything in his path.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having addressed one another thus, the sons

Mandapala then each devotedly addressed an eulogistic hymn to Agni.

now, O monarch, to those hymns as I recite them.'

"Jaritari said, 'Thou art, O fire, the soul of air! Thou art the body

the Earth's vegetation! O Sukra, water is thy parent as thou art the
parent of water! O thou of great energy, thy flames, like the rays of

sun, extend themselves above, below, behind, and on each side.'

"Sarisrikka said, 'O smoke-bannered god, our mother is not to be seen,

we know not our father! Our feathers have not grown as yet. We have

to protect us save thee. Therefore, O Agni, infants that we are protect
us! O Agni, as we are distressed, protect us with that auspicious form
thou hast and with those seven flames of thine! We seek protection at

hands. Thou alone, O Agni, art the giver of heat (in the universe). O

there is none else (save thee) that giveth heat to the rays of the sun.

protect us who are young and who are Rishis. O Havyavaha (carrier of
sacrificial butter), be pleased to go hence by some other route.'

"Stamvamitra said, 'Thou alone, O Agni, art everything! This whole
universe is established in thee! Thou sustainest every creature, and

supportest the universe! Thou art the carrier of the sacrificial

and thou art the excellent sacrificial butter itself! The wise know

to be one (as cause) and many (as effects)! Having created the three
worlds, thou, O Havyavaha, again destroyest them when the time cometh,
swelling thyself forth! Thou art the productive cause of the whole
universe, and thou also art the essence in which the universe


"Drona said, 'O lord of the universe, growing in strength and remaining
within their bodies, thou causest the food that living creatures eat to

digested. Everything therefore, is established in thee. O Sukra, O thou
from whose mouth the Vedas have sprung, it is thou who assumests the

of the sun, and sucking up the waters of the earth and every liquid

that the earth yields, givest them back in time in the form of rain and
causest everything to grow! From thee, O Sukra, are these plants and
creepers with green foliage! From thee have sprung these tanks and

and the great ocean also that is ever blessed! O thou of fierce rays,

our (human) body dependeth on Varuna (the water-god)! We are unable to
bear thy heat. Be thou, therefore, our auspicious protector! O, destroy

not! O thou of copper-hued eyes, O thou of red neck, O thou whose path

marked by a black colour, save us by going along any remote route, as
indeed, the ocean saveth the house on its banks!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Drona--that utterer of

Agni, well-pleased at what he heard, and remembering also the promise

had made to Mandapala, replied unto him, saying, 'Thou art a Rishi, O
Drona! For what thou hast said is Brahma (Vedic truth). I shall do your
pleasure. Fear not! Indeed, Mandapala had spoken to me of you to the
effect that I should spare his sons, while consuming the forest. The

he spoke and thy speech also are entitled to great weight to me. Say

I am to do. O best of Brahmanas, I have been greatly pleased with thy

Blest be thou, O Brahmana!'

"Drona said, 'O Sukra, these cats trouble us every day. O Hutasana;
consume them with their friends and relatives.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Agni did what the Sarngakas asked him to
do, telling them of his intentions. And, O Janamejaya, growing in

he began then to consume the forest of Khandava.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Kuru's race, the Rishi Mandapala became
very anxious about his children, although he had spoken of them to the

of fierce rays. Indeed, his mind was not in peace. Distressed on

of his sons, he addressed Lapita (his second wife with whom he then

saying, 'O Lapita, as my children are incapable of the power of moving,
how are they? When the fire will grow in strength and the wind begin to
blow violently, my children will scarcely be able to save themselves.

will their mother be able to rescue them? That innocent woman will be
afflicted with great sorrow when she will find herself unable to save

offspring. Oh, how will she compose herself, uttering various

on account of my children who are all incapable of taking wing or

up into the air. Oh, how is Jaritari, my son, and how is Sarisrikka,

how is Stamvamitra, and how is Drona, and how also is their helpless

"Unto the Rishi Mandapala thus weeping in the forest, Lapita, O

thus replied, under the influence of jealousy, 'Thou need not worry for
thy children who, as thou hast assured me, are all Rishis endued with
energy and prowess! They can have no fear from fire. Didst thou not

to Agni in my presence, in their behalf? Has not the illustrious deity
promised to save them? One of the regents of the universe as Agni is,

will never falsify his speech. Thou hast no anxiety, nor is thy heart
inclined towards benefiting friends. It is only by thinking of her--my
rival (Jarita) that thou art so distracted! Certain it is that the love
thou bearest to me is not equal to what thou hadst for her at first. He
that hath two parties dividing his attention, can easily behold one of
those suffer all sorts of pangs; but he should not disregard the party
that is next to his heart. Then go thou to Jarita, for whom thy heart

sorrowing! As for myself, I shall henceforth wander alone, as a fit

for my having attached myself to a wicked person.'

"Hearing these words, Mandapala replied, 'I do not wander over the

with such intentions as thou conceivest. It is only for the sake of
progeny that I am here. And even those that I have are in danger. He

casteth off what he hath for the sake of what he may acquire, is a

person. The world disregardeth and insulteth him. (Therefore, go I

As for thyself thou art free to do what thou choosest. This blazing

that licketh up the trees causeth sorrow in my anxious heart and

therein evil presentiments.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Meanwhile, after the fire had left the spot
where the Sarngakas dwelt, Jarita, much attached to her children,

came thither to see how they were. She found that all of them had

from the fire and were perfectly well. Beholding their mother, they

to weep, though safe and sound. She too shed tears upon beholding them
alive. And she embraced, one by one, all her weeping children. Just at
that time, O Bharata, the Rishi Mandapala arrived there. But none of

sons expressed joy, upon beholding him. The Rishi, however, began to

to them one after another and unto Jarita also, repeatedly. But neither
his sons nor Jarita spoke anything well or ill unto him in return.'

"Mandapala then said, 'Who amongst these is thy first born, and who the
next after him? And who is the third, and who the youngest? I am

unto thee woefully; why dost thou not reply to me? I left thee, it is

but I was not happy where I was.'

"Jarita then said, 'What hast thou to do with the eldest of these, and
what with him that is next? And what with the third and what with the
youngest? Go now unto that Lapita of sweet smiles and endued with

unto whom thou didst go of old, beholding me deficient in everything!'
Mandapala replied, 'As regards females, there is nothing so destructive

their happiness whether in this or the other world as a co-wife and a
clandestine lover. There is nothing like these two that inflames the

of hostility and causes such anxiety. Even the auspicious and well-

Arundhati, celebrated amongst all creatures, had been jealous of the
illustrious Vasishtha of great purity of mind and always devoted to the
good of his wife. Arundhati insulted even the wise Muni amongst the
(celestial) seven. In consequence of such insulting thoughts of hers,

has become a little star, like fire mixed with smoke, sometimes visible
and sometimes invisible, like an omen portending no good (amongst a
constellation of seven bright stars representing the seven Rishis). I

to thee for the sake of children. I never wronged thee, like Vasishtha

never wronged his wife. Thou hast, therefore, by thy jealousy behaved
towards me like Arundhati of old towards Vasishtha. Men should never

women even if they be wives. Women, when they have become mothers, do

much mind serving their husbands.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, all his children came forward to
worship him. And he also began to speak kindly towards them all, giving
them every assurance.'"


(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Mandapala then addressed his children, saying, 'I

spoken unto Agni for the safety of you all. The illustrious deity had
assured me that he would grant my wish. At those words of Agni, and
knowing the virtuous disposition of your mother, as also the great

that is in yourselves, I came not here earlier. Therefore, ye sons, do

harbour in your hearts any resentment towards me. Ye are all Rishis
acquainted with the Vedas. Even Agni knoweth you well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having given such assurances unto his sons,

Brahmana Mandapala took with him his wife and sons, and leaving that
region, went away to some other country.

"It thus that the illustrious god of fierce rays, having grown in
strength consumed the forest of Khandava with the help of Krishna and
Arjuna, for the good of the world. And Agni having drunk several rivers

fat and marrow, became highly gratified, and showed himself to Arjuna.
Then Purandara, surrounded by the Maruts, descended from the firmament

addressing Partha and Kesava said, 'Ye have achieved a feat that a
celestial even could not. Ask ye each a boon that is not obtainable by

man. I have been gratified with you.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Partha asked from Indra all his weapons.

this Sakra of great splendour, having fixed the time for giving them,

'When the illustrious Madhava becomes pleased with thee, then, O son of
Pandu, I will give thee all my weapons! O prince of Kuru's race, I

know when the time cometh. Even for thy austere asceticism I will give
thee all my weapons of fire and all my Vayavya weapons, and thou also

accept them all of me.' Then Vasudeva asked that his friendship with
Arjuna might be eternal. The chief of the celestials granted unto the
intelligent Krishna the boon he desired. And having granted these boons
unto Krishna and Arjuna, the lord of the Maruts, accompanied by the
celestials, ascended to heaven, having also spoken to Hutasana (one

food is sacrificial butter). Agni also, having burnt that forest with

animals and birds for five and ten days, became gratified and ceased to
burn. Having eaten flesh in abundance and drunk fat and blood, he

highly gratified, and addressing Achyuta and Arjuna said, 'I have been
gratified by you two tigers among men. At my command, ye heroes, ye

be competent to go wheresoever ye choose!' Thus addressed by the
illustrious Agni, Arjuna and Vasudeva and the Danava Maya also--these
three,--having wandered a little at last sat themselves down on the
delightful banks of a river.'"