Vaisampayana continued, “Thus dwelling with the Brahmanas in that best of mountains, in expectation of Arjuna’s return, when the Pandavas had grown confident and when all those Rakshasas together with Bhima’s son had departed, one day while Bhimasena was away, a Rakshasa all of a sudden carried off Yudhishthira the just and the twins and Krishna. That Rakshasa (in the guise of a Brahmana) had constantly remained in the company of the Pandavas, alleging that he was a high-class Brahmana, skilled in counsel, and versed in all the Sastras. His object was to possess himself of the bows, the quivers and the other material implements belonging to the Pandavas; and he had been watching for an opportunity of ravishing Draupadi. And that wicked and sinful one was named Jatasura. And, O king of kings, Pandu’s son (Yudhishthira) had been supporting him, but knew not that wretch like unto a fire covered with ashes.
“And once on a day while that represser of foes, Bhimasena, was out hunting, he (the Rakshasa), seeing Ghatotkacha and his followers scatter in different directions and seeing those vow-observing great rishis, of ascetic wealth, viz., Lomasa and the rest, away for bathing and collecting flowers, assumed a different form, gigantic and monstrous and frightful; and having secured all the arms (of the Pandavas) as also Draupadi, that wicked one fled away taking the three Pandavas. Thereupon that son of Pandu, Sahadeva, extricated himself with exertion, and by force snatched the sword named Kausika from the grasp of the enemy and began to call Bhimasena, taking the direction in which that mighty one had gone. And on being carried off Yudhishthira the just, addressed him (that Rakshasa), saying, ’O stupid one, thy merit decreaseth (even by this act of thine). Dost thou not pay heed unto the established order of nature? Whether belonging to the human race, or to the lower orders, all pay regard to virtue,—more specially the Rakshasas. In the first instance, they knew virtue better than others. Having considered all these, thou ought to adhere to virtue. O Rakshasa, the gods, the pitris, the Siddhas, the rishis, the Gandharvas, the brutes and even the worms and ants depend for their lives on men; and thou too liveth through that agency. If prosperity attendeth the human race, thy race also prospereth; and if calamities befall the former, even the celestials suffer grief. Being gratified by offerings, do the gods thrive. O Rakshasa, we are the guardians, governors and preceptors of kingdoms. If kingdoms become unprotected, whence can proceed prosperity and happiness? Unless there be offence, a Rakshasa should not violate a king. O man-eating one, we have committed no wrong, ever so little. Living on vighasa, we serve the gods and others to the best of our power. And we are ever intent upon bowing down to our superiors and Brahmanas. A friend, and one confiding, and he whose food hath