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SECTION CXLV (continued from previous e-book)
And the ruddy geese, and the gallinules and the ducks and the karandavas and the plavas and the parrots and the male kokilas and the herons in confusion flew in all directions, while some proud elephants urged by their mates, as also some lions and elephants in rage, flew at Bhimasena. And as they were distracted at heart through fear, these fierce animals discharging urine and dung, set up loud yells with gapping mouths. Thereupon the illustrious and graceful son of the wind-god, the mighty Pandava, depending upon the strength of his arms, began to slay one elephant with another elephant and one lion with another lion while he despatched the others with slaps. And on being struck by Bhima the lions and the tigers and the leopards, in fright gave loud cries and discharged urine and dung. And after having destroyed these the handsome son of Pandu, possessed of mighty strength, entered into the forest, making all sides resound with his shouts. And then the long-armed one saw on the slopes of the Gandhamadana a beautiful plantain tree spreading over many a yojana. And like unto a mad lion, that one of great strength proceeded amain towards that tree breaking down various plants. And that foremost of strong persons—Bhima—uprooting innumerable plaintain trunks equal in height to many palm-trees (placed one above another), cast them on all sides with force. And that highly powerful one, haughty like a male lion, sent up shouts. And then he encountered countless beasts of gigantic size, and stags, and monkeys, and lions, and buffaloes, and aquatic animals. And what with the cries of these, and what with the shouts of Bhima, even the beasts and birds that were at distant parts of the wood, became all frightened. And hearing those cries of beasts and birds, myriads of aquatic fowls suddenly rose up on wetted wings. And seeing these fowls of water, that bull among the Bharatas proceeded in that direction; and saw a vast and romantic lake. And that fathomless lake was, as it were, being fanned by the golden plantain trees on the coast, shaken by the soft breezes. And immediately descending into the lake abounding in lilies and lotuses, he began to sport lustily like unto a mighty maddened elephant. Having thus sported there for a long while, he of immeasurable effulgence ascended, in order to penetrate with speed into that forest filled with trees. Then the Pandava winded with all his might his loud-blowing shell. And striking his arms with his hands, the mighty Bhima made all the points of heaven resound. And filled with the sounds of the shell, and with the shouts of Bhimasena, and also with the reports produced by the striking of his arms, the caves of the mountain seemed as if they were roaring. And hearing those loud arm-strokes,
“On those sounds being heard the down of Bhima’s body stood on end; and he began to range that plantain wood, in search of those sounds. And that one of mighty arms saw the monkey-chief in the plantain wood, on an elevated rocky base. And he was hard to be looked at even as the lightning-flash; and of coppery hue like that of the lightning-flash: and endued with the voice of the lightning-flash; and quick moving as the lightning-flash; and having his short flesh neck supported on his shoulders; and with his waist slender in consequence of the fullness of his shoulders. And his tail covered with long hair, and a little bent at the end, was raised like unto a banner. And (Bhima) saw Hanuman’s head furnished with small lips, and coppery face and tongue, and red ears, and brisk eyes, and bare white incisors sharpened at the edge. And his head was like unto the shining moon; adorned with white teeth within the mouth; and with mane scattered over, resembling a heap of asoka flowers. And amidst the golden plantain trees, that one of exceeding effulgence was lying like unto a blazing fire, with his radiant body. And that slayer of foes was casting glances with his eyes reddened with intoxication. And the intelligent Bhima saw that mighty chief of monkeys, of huge body, lying like unto the Himalaya, obstructing the path of heaven. And seeing him alone in that mighty forest, the undaunted athletic Bhima, of long arms, approached him with rapid strides, and uttered a loud shout like unto the thunder. And at that shout of Bhima, beasts and birds became all alarmed. The powerful Hanuman, however, opening his eyes partially looked at him (Bhima) with disregard,
Vaisampayana said, “O represser of foes, hearing these words of the intelligent monkey-chief, the heroic Bhima answered, ’Who art thou? And why also hast thou assumed the shape of a monkey? It is a Kshatriya—one of a race next to the Brahmanas—that asketh thee. And he belongeth to the Kuru race and the lunar stock, and was borne by Kunti in her womb, and is one of the sons of Pandu, and is the off spring of the windgod, and is known by the name of Bhimasena.’ Hearing these words of the Kuru hero, Hanuman smiled, and that son of the wind-god (Hanuman) spake unto that offspring of the windgod (Bhimasena), saying, ’I am a monkey, I will not allow thee the passage thou desirest. Better desist and go back. Do thou not meet with destruction.’ At this Bhimasena replied. ’Destruction at anything else do I not ask thee about, O monkey. Do thou give me passage. Arise! Do not come by grief at my hands.’ Hanuman said, ’I have no strength to rise; I am suffering from illness. If go thou must, do thou go by overleaping me.’ Bhima said, ’The Supreme Soul void of the properties pervadeth a body all over. Him knowable alone by knowledge, I cannot disregard. And therefore, will I not overleap thee. If I had not known Him from Whom become manifest all creatures, I would have leapt over thee and also the mountain, even as Hanuman had bounded over the ocean.’ Thereupon Hanuman said, ’Who is that Hanuman, who had
Vaisampayana continued. “Then knowing him (Bhima) to be intoxicated with strength, and proud of the might of his arms, Hanuman, slighting him at heart, said the following words, ’Relent thou, O sinless one. In consequence of age, I have no strength to get up. From pity for me, do thou go, moving aside my tail.’ Being thus addressed by Hanuman, Bhima proud of the strength of his arms, took him for one wanting in energy and prowess, and thought within himself, ’Taking fast hold of the tail, will I send this monkey destitute of energy and prowess, to the region of Yama.’ Thereat, with a smile he slightingly took hold of the tail with his left hand; but could not move that tail of the mighty monkey. Then with both arms he pulled it, resembling the pole reared in honour of Indra. Still the mighty Bhima could not raise the tail with both his arms. And his eye-brows were contracted up, and his eyes rolled, and his face was contracted into wrinkles and his body was covered with sweat; and yet he could not raise it. And when after having striven, the illustrious Bhima failed in raising the tail, he approached the side of the monkey, and stood with a bashful countenance. And bowing down, Kunti’s son, with joined hands, spake these words, ’Relent thou, O foremost of monkeys; and forgive me for my harsh words. Art thou a Siddha, or a god, or a Gandharva, or a Guhyaka? I ask thee out of curiosity. Tell me who thou art that hast assumed the shape of monkey, if it be not a secret, O long-armed one, and if I can well hear it. I ask thee as a disciple, and I, O sinless one, seek thy refuge.’ Thereupon Hanuman said, ’O represser of foes, even to the extent of thy curiosity to know me, shall I relate all at length. Listen, O son of Pandu! O lotus-eyed one, I was begotten by the windgod that life of the world—upon the wife of Kesari. I am a monkey, by name Hanuman. All the mighty monkey-kings, and monkey-chiefs used to wait upon that son of the sun, Sugriva, and that son of Sakra, Vali. And, O represser of foes, a friendship subsisted between me and Sugriva, even as between the wind and fire. And for some cause, Sugriva, driven out by his brother, for a long time dwelt with me at the Hri-syamukh. And it came to pass that the mighty son of Dasaratha the heroic
“Hanuman said, ’And after his wife was carried away, that descendant of Raghu, while searching with his brother for his queen, met, on the summit of that mountain, with Sugriva, chief of the monkeys. Then a friendship was contracted between him and the high-souled Raghava. And the latter, having slain Vali installed Sugriva in the kingdom. And having obtained the kingdom, Sugriva sent forth monkeys by hundreds and by thousands in search of Sita. And, O best of men, I too with innumerable monkeys set out towards the south in quest of Sita, O mighty-armed one. Then a mighty vulture Sampati by name, communicated the tidings that Sita was in the abode of Ravana. Thereupon with the object of securing success unto Rama, I all of a sudden bounded over the main, extending for a hundred yojanas. And, O chief of the Bharatas, having by my own prowess crossed the ocean, that abode of sharks and crocodiles, I saw in Ravana’s residence, the daughter of king Janaka, Sita, like unto the daughter of a celestial. And having interviewed that lady, Vaidehi, Rama’s beloved, and burnt the whole of Lanka with its towers and ramparts and gates, and proclaimed my name there, I returned. Hearing everything from me the lotus-eyed Rama at once ascertained his course of action, and having for the passage of his army constructed a bridge across the deep, crossed it followed by myriads of monkeys. Then by prowess Rama slew those Rakshasas in battle, and also Ravana, the oppressor of the worlds together with his Rakshasa followers. And having slain the king of the Rakshasas, with his brother, and sons and kindred, he installed in the kingdom in Lanka the Rakshasa chief, Vibhishana, pious, and reverent, and kind to devoted dependants. Then Rama recovered his wife even like the lost Vaidic revelation. Then Raghu’s son, Rama, with his devoted wife, returned to his own city, Ayodhya, inaccessible to enemies; and that lord of men began to dwell there. Then that foremost of kings, Rama was established in the kingdom. Thereafter, I asked a boon of the lotus-eyed Rama, saying, “O slayer of foes, Rama, may I live as long as the history of thy deeds remaineth extant on earth!” Thereupon he said, “So be it.” O represser of foes, O Bhima, through the grace of Sita also, here all excellent objects of entertainment are supplied to me, whoever abide at this place. Rama reigned
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the powerful Bhimasena of mighty arms, affectionately, and with a cheerful heart, bowed unto his brother, Hanuman, the monkey-chief, and said in mild words, ’None is more fortunate than I am; now have I seen my elder brother. It is a great favour shown unto me; and I have been well pleased with thee. Now I wish that thou mayst fulfil this desire of mine. I desire to behold, O hero, that incomparable form of thine, which thou at that time hadst had, in bounding over the main, that abode of sharks and crocodiles. Thereby I shall be satisfied, and also believe in thy words.’ Thus addressed, that mighty monkey said with a smile, ’That form of mine neither thou, not any one else can behold. At that age, the state of things was different, and doth not exist at present. In the Krita age, the state of things was one; and in the Treta, another; and in the Dwapara, still another. Diminution is going on this age; and I have not that form now. The ground, rivers, plants, and rocks, and siddhas, gods, and celestial sages conform to Time, in harmony with the state of things in the different yugas. Therefore, do not desire to see my former shape, O perpetuator of the Kuru race. I am conforming to the tendency of the age. Verily, Time is irresistible.’ Bhimasena said, ’Tell me of the duration of the different yugas, and of the different manners and customs and of virtue, pleasure and profit, and of acts, and energy, and of life and death in the different yugas.’ Thereupon Hanuman said, ’O child, that yuga is called Krita when the one eternal religion was extant. And in that best of yugas, every one had religious perfection, and, therefore, there was no need of religious acts. And then virtue knew no deterioration; nor did people decrease. It is for this that this age is called Krita (perfect). But in time the yuga had come to be considered as an inferior one. And, O child, in the Krita age, there were neither gods, nor demons, nor Gandharvas, nor Yakshas, nor Rakshasas, nor Nagas. And there was no buying and selling. And the Sama, the Rich, and the Yajus did not exist. And there was no manual labour. And then the necessaries of life were obtained only by being thought of. And the only merit was in renouncing the world. And during that yuga, there was neither disease, nor
 Iti means these six things,
unfavourable to crops—excessive
rain, drought, rats, locusts, birds, and a neighbouring hostile
“Bhimasena said, ’Without beholding thy former shape, I will never go away. If I have found favour with thee, do thou then show me thine own shape.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Being thus addressed by Bhima, the monkey with a smile showed him that form of his in which he had bounded over the main. And wishing to gratify his brother, Hanuman assumed a gigantic body which (both) in length and breadth increased exceedingly. And that monkey of immeasurable effulgence stood there, covering the plantain grove furnished with trees, and elevating himself to the height reached by the Vindhya. And the monkey, having attained his lofty and gigantic body like unto a mountain, furnished with coppery eyes, and sharp teeth, and a face marked by frown, lay covering all sides and lashing his long tail. And that son of the Kurus, Bhima, beholding that gigantic form of his brother, wondered, and the hairs of his body repeatedly stood on end. And beholding him like unto the sun in splendour, and unto a golden mountain, and also unto the blazing firmament, Bhima closed his eyes. Thereupon Hanuman addressed Bhima with a smile, saying, ’O sinless one, thou art capable of beholding my size up to this extent. I can, however, go on swelling my size as long as I wish. And, O Bhima, amidst foes, my size increaseth exceedingly by its own energy.’”
Vaisampayana said, “Witnessing that dreadful and wonderful body of Hanuman, like unto the Vindhya mountain, the son of the wind-god became bewildered. Then with his down standing erect, the noble-minded Bhima, joining his hands, replied unto Hanuman saying (there), ’O lord, by me have been beheld the vast dimensions of thy body. Do thou (now), O highly powerful one, decrease thyself by thy own power. Surely I cannot look at thee, like unto the sun risen, and of immeasurable (power), and irrepressible, and resembling the mountain Mainaka. O hero, to-day this wonder of my heart is very great, that thou remaining by his side, Rama should have encountered Ravana personally. Depending on the strength of thy arms, thou wert capable of instantly destroying Lanka, with its warriors, and horses, elephants and chariots. Surely, O son of the wind-god, there is nothing that is incapable of being achieved by thee; and in fight, Ravana together with his followers was no match for thee single-handed.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Bhima, Hanuman, the chief of monkeys, answered in affectionate words uttered in solemn accents. ’O mighty-armed one, O Bharata, it is even as thou sayest. O Bhimasena, that worst of Rakshasas was no match for me. But if I had slain Ravana—that thorn of the worlds—the glory of Raghu’s son would have been obscured;—and for this it is that I left him alone. By slaying that lord of the Rakshasas together with his followers, and bringing back Sita unto his own city, that hero hath established his fame among men. Now, O highly wise one, being intent on the welfare of thy brothers, and protected by the wind-god, do thou go along a fortunate and auspicious way. O foremost of the Kurus, this way will lead thee to the Saugandhika wood. (Proceeding in this direction), thou wilt behold the gardens of Kuvera, guarded by Yakshas and Rakshasas. Do thou not pluck the flowers (there) personally by thy own force; for the gods deserve regard specially from mortals. O best of the Bharata race, the gods confer their favour (upon men), (being propitiated) by offerings, and homas, and reverential salutations, and recitation of mantras, and veneration, O Bharata. Do thou not, therefore, act with rashness, O child; and do thou not deviate from the duties of thy order. Sticking to the duties of thy order, do thou understand and follow the highest morality. Without knowing duties and serving the old, even persons like unto Vrihaspati cannot understand profit and religion. One should ascertain with discrimination those cases in which vice goeth under the name of virtue, and virtue goeth under the name of vice,—(cases) in which people destitute of intelligence become perplexed. From religious observances proceedeth merit; and in merit are established the Vedas; and from the Vedas sacrifices come into existence; and by sacrifices are established the gods. The gods are maintained by the (celebration of) sacrifices prescribed by the
Vaisampayana said, “Then contracting that huge body of his, which he had assumed at will, the monkey with his arms again embraced Bhimasena. And O Bharata, on Bhima being embraced by his brother, his fatigue went off, and all (the powers of body) as also his strength were restored. And having gained great accession of strength, he thought that there was none equal to him in physical power. And with tears in his eyes, the monkey from affection again addressed Bhima in choked utterance, saying, ’O hero, repair to thy own abode. May I be incidentally remembered by thee in thy talk! O best of Kurus, do not tell any one that I abide here. O thou of great strength, the most excellent of the wives of the gods and Gandharvas resort to this place, and the time of their arrival is nigh. My eyes have been blessed (by seeing thee). And, O Bhima, having felt a human being by coming in contact with thee, I have been put in mind of that son of Raghu, who was Vishnu himself under the name of Rama, and who delighted the heart of the world; and who was as the sun in regard to the lotus face of Sita, and also to that darkness—Ravana. Therefore, O heroic son of Kunti, let not thy meeting with me be fruitless. Do thou with fraternal feeling ask of me a boon, O Bharata. If this be thy wish, that going to Varanavata, I may destroy the insignificant sons of Dhritarashtra—even this will I immediately do. Or if this be thy wish that, that city may be ground by me with rocks, or that I may bind Duryodhana and bring him before thee, even this will I do to-day, O thou of mighty strength.’”
Vaisampayana said, “Hearing those words of that high-souled one, Bhimasena with a cheerful heart answered Hanuman, saying, ’O foremost of monkeys, I take all this as already performed by thee. Good happen to thee. O mighty-armed one! I ask of thee this,—be thou well pleased with me. O powerful one, on thy having become our protector, the Pandavas have found help. Even by thy prowess shall we conquer all foes.’ Thus addressed, Hanuman said unto Bhimasena, ’From fraternal feeling and affection, I will do good unto thee, by diving into the army of thy foes copiously furnished with arrows and javelins. And, O highly powerful one, O hero, when thou shall give leonine roars, then shall I with my own, add force to shouts. Remaining on the flagstaff of Arjuna’s car will I emit fierce shouts that will damp the energy of thy foes. Thereby ye will slay them easily.’ Having said this unto Pandu’s son, and also pointed him out the way. Hanuman vanished at that spot.”
Vaisampayana said, “When that foremost of monkeys had gone away, Bhima, the best of strong men, began to range the huge Gandhamadana along that path. And he went on, thinking of Hanuman’s body and splendour unrivalled on earth, and also of the greatness and dignity of Dasaratha’s son. And proceeding in search of the place filled with lotuses of that kind, Bhima beheld romantic woods, and groves, and rivers, and lakes graced with trees bearing blossoms, and flowery woodlands variegated with various flowers. And, O Bharata, he beheld herds of mad elephants besmeared with mud, resembling masses of pouring clouds. And that graceful one went on with speed, beholding by the wayside woods wherein there stood with their mates deer of quick glances, holding the grass in their mouths. And fearless from prowess, Bhimasena, as if invited by the breeze-shaken trees of the forest ever fragrant with flowers, bearing delicate coppery twigs, plunged into the mountainous regions inhabited by buffaloes, bears and leopards. And on the way, he passed by lotus-lakes haunted by maddened black-bees, having romantic descents and woods, and on account of the presence of lotus-buds, appearing as if they had joined their hands (before Bhima). And having for his provisions on the journey the words of Draupadi, Bhima went on with speed, his mind and sight fixed on the blooming slopes of the mountain. And when the sun passed the meridian, he saw in the forest scattered over with deer, a mighty river filled with fresh golden lotuses. And being crowded with swans and Karandavas, and graced with Chakravakas, the river looked like a garland of fresh lotuses put on by the mountain. And in that river that one of great strength found the extensive assemblage of Saugandhika lotuses, effulgent as the rising sun, and delightful to behold. And beholding it, Pandu’s son thought within himself that his object had been gained, and also mentally presented himself before his beloved worn out by exile.”
Vaisampayana said, “Having reached that spot, Bhimasena saw in the vicinity of the Kailasa cliff, that beautiful lotus lake surrounded by lovely woods, and guarded by the Rakshasas. And it sprang from the cascades contiguous to the abode of Kuvera. And it was beautiful to behold, and was furnished with a wide-spreading shade and abounded in various trees and creepers and was covered with green lilies. And this unearthly lake was filled with golden lotuses, and swarmed with diverse species of birds. And its banks were beautiful and devoid of mud. And situated on the rocky elevation this expanse of excellent water was exceedingly fair. And it was the wonder of the world and healthful and of romantic sight. In that lake the son of Kunti saw, the water of ambrosial taste and cool and light and clear and fresh; and the Pandava drank of it profusely. And that unearthly receptacle of waters was covered with celestial Saugandhika lotuses, and was also spread over with beautiful variegated golden lotuses of excellent fragrance having graceful stalks of lapis lazulis. And swayed by swans and Karandavas, these lotuses were scattering fresh farina. And this lake was the sporting region of the high-souled Kuvera, the king of the Yakshas. And it was held in high regard by the Gandharvas, the Apsaras and the celestials. And it was frequented by the celestial sages and the Yakshas and the Kimpurushas and the Rakshasas and the Kinnaras; and it was well-protected by Kuvera. And as soon as he beheld that river and that unearthly lake, Kunti’s son, Bhimasena of mighty strength became exceedingly delighted. And agreeably to the mandate of their king, hundreds and thousands of Rakshasas, named Krodhavasas, were guarding that lake, wearing uniforms and armed with various weapons. And as that repressor of foes, Kunti’s son, the heroic Bhima of dreadful prowess, clad in deer-skins and wearing golden armlets and equipped with weapons and girding his sword on, was fearlessly proceeding, with the view of gathering the lotus, those (Rakshasas) saw him and immediately began to address each other, shouting forth, ’It behoveth you to enquire for the errand on which this foremost of men, clad in deer skins, and equipped with arms, hath come.’ Then they all approached the effulgent Vrikodara of mighty arms and asked, ’Who art thou? Thou shouldst answer our questions. We see thee in the guise of an ascetic and yet armed with weapons. O thou of mighty intelligence, do thou unfold unto us the object with which thou hast come (hither).’”
“Bhima said, ’I am the son of Pandu, and next by birth to Yudhishthira the just, and my name is Bhimasena. O Rakshasas, I have come with my brothers to the jujube named Visala. At that place, Panchali saw an excellent Saugandhika lotus, which, of a certainty, was carried thither by the wind from this region. She wisheth to have those flowers in abundance. Know ye, ye Rakshasas, that I am engaged in fulfilling the desire of my wedded wife of faultless features, and have come hither to procure the flowers.’ Thereat the Rakshasas said, ’O foremost of men, this spot is dear unto Kuvera, and it is his sporting region. Men subject to death cannot sport here. O Vrikodara, the celestial sages, and the gods taking the permission of the chief of the Yakshas, drink of this lake, and sport herein. And, O Pandava, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras also divert themselves in this lake. That wicked person who, disregarding the lord of treasures, unlawfully attempteth to sport here, without doubt, meeteth with destruction. Disregarding him, thou seekest to take away the lotuses from this place by main force. Why then dost thou say that thou art the brother of Yudhishthira the just? First, taking the permission of the lord of Yakshas, do thou drink of this lake and take away the flowers. If thou dost not do this, thou shall not be able even to glance at a single lotus.’ Bhimasena said, ’Ye Rakshasas, I do not see the lord of wealth here. And even if I did see that mighty king, I would not beseech him: Kshatriyas never beseech (any body). This is the eternal morality; and I by no means wish to forsake the Kshatriya morality. And, further this lotus-lake hath sprung from the cascades of the mountain; it hath not been excavated in the mansion of Kuvera. Therefore it belongeth equally to all creatures with Vaisravana. In regard to a thing of such a nature, who goeth to beseech another?’”
Vaisampayana said, “Having said this unto the Rakshasas, the mighty-armed and exceedingly unforbearing Bhimasena of great strength plunged into the lotus-lake. Thereat that powerful one was forbidden by the Rakshasas, saying, ‘Do not do this;’ and they from all sides began to abuse him in anger. But slighting these Rakshasas, that mighty one of dreadful prowess plunged (farther and farther). Now they all prepared for opposing him. And with eyes rolling, they upraised their arms, and rushed in wrath at Bhimasena, exclaiming, ’Seize him! Bind him! Hew him! We shall cook Bhimasena, and eat him up!’ Thereupon that one of great force, taking his ponderous and mighty mace inlaid with golden plates, like unto the mace of Yama himself, turned towards those, and then said, ‘Stay!’ At this, they darted at him with vehemence, brandishing lances, and axes, and other weapons. And wishing to destroy Bhima, the dreadful and fierce Krodhavasas surrounded Bhima on all sides. But that one, being endued with strength, had been begotten by Vayu in the womb of Kunti; and he was heroic and energetic, and the slayer
“Beaten and pierced by Bhimasena, those Krodhavasas quitted the field of battle, and in confusion quickly fled towards the Kailasa cliff, supporting themselves in the sky. Having thus by the exercise of his prowess defeated those hosts, even as Sakra had defeated the armies of Daityas and Danavas, he (Bhima), now that he had conquered the enemy, plunged into the lake and began to gather the lotuses, with the object of gaining his purpose. And as he drank of the waters, like unto nectar, his energy and strength were again fully restored; and he fell to plucking and gathering Saugandhika lotuses of excellent fragrance. On the other hand, the Krodhavasas, being driven by the might of Bhima and exceedingly terrified, presented themselves before the lord of wealth, and gave an exact account of Bhima’s prowess and strength in fight. Hearing their words, the god (Kuvera) smiled and then said, ’Let Bhima take for Krishna as many lotuses as he likes. This is already known to me.’ Thereupon taking the permission of the lord of wealth, those (Rakshasas) renouncing anger, went to that foremost of the Kurus, and in that lotus-lake beheld Bhima alone, disporting in delight.”
Vaisampayana said, “Then, O best of the Bharatas, Bhima began to collect those rare unearthly, variegated and fresh flowers in abundance.
“And it came to pass that a high and violent wind, piercing to the touch, and blowing about gravels, arose, portending battle. And frightful meteors began to shoot, with thundering sounds. And being enveloped by darkness, the sun became pale, his rays being obscured. And on Bhima displaying his prowess, dreadful sounds of explosion rang through the sky. And the earth began to tremble, and dust fell in showers. And the points of the heavens became reddened. And beasts and birds began to cry in shrill tones. And every thing became enveloped in darkness; and nothing could be distinguished. And other evil omens besides these appeared there. Witnessing these strange phenomena, Dharma’s son Yudhishthira, the foremost of speakers, said, ’Who is it that will overcome us? Ye Pandavas who take delight in battle, good betide you! Do ye equip yourselves. From what I see, I infer that the time for the display of our prowess hath drawn nigh.’ Having said this, the king looked around. Then not finding Bhima, that represser of foes, Dharma’s son, Yudhishthira, enquired of Krishna and the twins standing
Vaisampayana said, “Once upon a time Yudhishthira, while living at that place, addressed Krishna, his brother, and the Brahmanas, saying, ’By us have been attentively seen one after another sacred and auspicious tirthas, and woods, delightful to beheld, which had ere this been visited by the celestials and the high-souled sages, and which had been worshipped by the Brahmanas. And in various sacred asylums we have performed ablutions with Brahmanas, and have heard from them the lives and acts of many sages, and also of many royal sages of yore, and other pleasant stories. And with flowers and water have the gods been worshipped by us. And with offerings of fruits and roots as available at each place we have gratified the pitris. And with the high-souled ones have we performed ablutions in all sacred and beautiful mountains and lakes, and also in the highly sacred ocean. And with the Brahmanas we have bathed in the Ila, and in the Saraswati, and in the Sindhu, and in the Yamuna, and in the Narmada, and in various other romantic tirthas. And having passed the source of the Ganga, we have seen many a lovely hill and the Himalaya mountains, inhabited by various species of birds, and also the jujube named Visala, where there is the hermitage of Nara and Narayana. And (finally) we have beheld this unearthly lake, held in veneration by the Siddhas, the gods and the sages. In fact, O foremost of Brahmanas, we have one by one carefully seen all celebrated and sacred spots in company with the high-souled Lomasa. Now, O Bhima, how shall we repair to the sacred abode of Vaisravana, inhabited by the Siddhas? Do thou think of the means of entering (the same).’”
Vaisampayana said, “When that king had said this, an aerial voice spake, saying. ’Thou will not be able to go to that inaccessible spot. By this very way, do thou repair from this region of Kuvera to the place whence thou hadst come even to the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, known by the name of Vadari. Thence, O Kaunteya, thou wilt repair to the hermitage of Vrishaparva, abounding in flowers and fruit, and inhabited by the Siddhas and the Charanas. Having passed that, O Partha, thou wilt proceed to the hermitage of Arshtishena, and from thence thou wilt behold the abode of Kuvera.’ Just at that moment the breeze became fresh, and gladsome and cool and redolent of unearthly fragrance; and it showered blossoms, And on hearing the celestial voice from the sky, they all were amazed,—more specially those earthly rishis and the Brahmanas. On hearing this mighty marvel, the Brahmana Dhaumya, said, ’This should not be gainsaid. O Bharata, let this be so.’ Thereupon, king Yudhishthira obeyed him. And having returned to the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, he began to dwell pleasantly, surrounded by Bhimasena and his other brothers, Panchali, and the Brahmanas.”
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
“Madri’s son, Sahadeva, was speaking thus, when Bhimasena made his appearance, with a mace in his hand, like unto Vasava himself wielding the thunder-bolt. And here he saw his two brothers and the noble-minded Draupadi (on the shoulders of the demon), and Sahadeva on the ground rebuking the Rakshasa and also that stupid Rakshasa himself deprived of sense by Fate, going round in different directions through bewilderment caused by Destiny. And finding his brothers and Draupadi being carried off, Bhima of mighty strength was fired with wrath, and addressed the Rakshasa, saying, ’I had ere this found thee out for a wicked wight from thy scrutiny of our weapons; but as I had no apprehension of thee, so I had not slain thee at that time. Thou wert in the disguise of a Brahmana—nor didst thou say anything harsh unto us. And thou didst take delight in pleasing us. And thou also didst not do us wrong. And, furthermore, thou wert our guest. How could I, therefore, slay thee, who wert thus innocent of
“Thus addressed by Bhima, the Rakshasa in alarm put them down; and being forced by Fate, approached for fight. And with his lips trembling in anger he spake unto Bhima, saying, ’Wretch! I have not been bewildered; I had been delaying for thee. Today will I offer oblations of thy blood to those Rakshasas who, I had heard, have been slain by thee in fight.’ Thus addressed, Bhima, as if bursting with wrath, like unto Yama himself at the time of the universal dissolution, rushed towards the Rakshasa, licking the corners of his mouth and staring at him as he struck his own arms with the hands. And seeing Bhima waiting in expectation of fight, the Rakshasa also darted towards him in anger, like unto Vali towards the wielder of the thunderbolt, repeatedly gaping and licking the corners of his mouth. And when a dreadful wrestling ensued between those two, both the sons of Madri, waxing exceeding wroth rushed forward; but Kunti’s son, Vrikodara, forbade them with a smile and said, ’Witness ye! I am more than a match for this Rakshasa. By my own self and by my brothers, and by my merit, and by my good deeds, and by my sacrifices, do I swear that I shall slay this Rakshasa.’ And after this was said, those two heroes, the Rakshasa and Vrikodara challenging each other, caught each other by the arms. And they not forgiving each other, then there ensued a conflict between the infuriated Bhima and the Rakshasa, like unto that between a god and a demon. And repeatedly uprooting trees, those two of mighty strength struck each other, shouting and roaring like two masses of clouds. And those foremost of athletes, each wishing to kill the other, and rushing at the other with vehemence, broke down many a gigantic tree by their thighs. Thus that encounter with trees, destructive of plants, went on like unto that between the two brothers Vali and Sugriva—desirous of the possession of a single woman. Brandishing trees for a moment, they struck each other with them, shouting incessantly. And when all the trees of the spot had been pulled down and crushed into fibres by them endeavouring to kill each other, then, O Bharata, those two of mighty strength, taking up rocks, began to fight for a while, like unto a mountain and a mighty mass of clouds. And not suffering each other, they fell to striking
Vaisampayana continued, “On that Rakshasa having been slain, that lord, the royal son of Kunti, returned to the hermitage of Narayana and began to dwell there. And once on a time, remembering his brother Jaya (Arjuna), Yudhishthira summoned all his brothers, together with Draupadi and said these words, ’We have passed these four years peacefully ranging the woods. It hath been appointed by Vibhatsu that about the fifth year he will come to that monarch of mountains, the excellent cliff Sweta, ever graced with festivities held by blooming plants and maddened Kokilas and black bees, and peacocks, and chatakas and inhabited by tigers, and boars and buffaloes, and gavayas, and deer, and ferocious beasts; and sacred; and lovely with blown lotuses of a hundred and a thousand petals, and blooming lilies and blue lilies and frequented by the celestials and the Asuras. And we also, eagerly anxious of meeting him on his arrival have made up our minds to repair thither. Partha of unrivalled prowess hath appointed with me, saying, “I shall remain abroad for five years, with the object of learning military science.” In the place like unto the region of the gods, shall we behold the wielder of Gandiva arrive after having obtained the weapons.’ Having said this, the Pandava summoned the Brahmanas, and the sons of Pritha having gone round the ascetics of rigid austerities and thereby pleased them, informed them of the matter mentioned above. Thereupon the Brahmanas gave their assent, saying, ’This shall be attended by prosperity and welfare. O foremost of the Bharatas, these troubles shall result in happiness. O pious one, gaining the earth by the Kshatriya virtue, thou shall govern it.’ Then in obedience to these words of the ascetics, that represser of
“Then Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira of unfailing prowess, together with his brothers, began to proceed on foot along the mountain path, inhabited by various kinds of beasts. And having dwelt at the mountain slopes, densely overgrown with trees, Pandu’s son on the fourth day reached the Sweta mountain, like unto a mighty mass of clouds, abounding in streams and consisting of a mass of gold and gems. And taking the way directed by Vrishaparva, they reached one by one the intended places, beholding various mountains. And over and over they passed with ease many inaccessible rocks and exceedingly impassable caves of the mountain. And Dhaumya and Krishna and the Parthas and the mighty sage Lomasa went on in a body and none grew tired. And those highly fortunate ones arrived at the sacred and mighty mountain
Vaisampayana said, “Having attained excellent state, those valiant and warlike repressers of foes with Draupadi and the high-souled Brahmanas were exceedingly delighted at heart, and they were not satiated by beholding that monarch of mountains. Thereafter they saw the hermitage of the royal sage Arshtishena, furnished with flowers and trees bearing fruits. Then they went to Arshtishena versed in all duties of rigid austerities, skeleton-like, and having muscles bare.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having approached that one, whose sins had been consumed by asceticism, Yudhishthira announced his name, and gladly greeted him, bending his head. And then Krishna, and Bhima, and the devout twins, having bowed down their heads unto the royal sage, stood (there) surrounding him. And that priest of the Pandavas, the virtuous Dhaumya, also duly approached that vow-observing sage. And by his prophetic eye that virtuous Muni had already known (the identity of) those foremost of the Kurus, the sons of Pandu. And he said unto them. ‘Be ye seated.’ And that one of rigid austerities, after having duly received that chief of the Kurus, when the latter with his brothers had seated himself enquired after his welfare saying, ’Dost
“Arshtishena said, ’During the Parvas sages subsisting on air and water come unto this best of the mountains ranging through the air. And on the summits of the mountain are seen amorous Kimpurushas with their paramours, mutually attached unto each other; as also, O Partha, many Gandharvas and Apsaras clad in white silk vestments; and lovely-looking Vidyadharas, wearing garlands; and mighty Nagas, and Suparnas, and Uragas, and others. And on the summits of the mountain are heard, during the Parvas, sounds of kettle-drums, and tabors, shells and mridangas. O foremost of the Bharatas, even by staying here, ye shall hear those sounds; do ye by no means feel inclined to repair thither. Further, O best of the Bharata race, it is impossible, to proceed beyond this. That place is the sporting-region of the celestials. There is no access thither for mortals. O Bharata, at this place all creatures bear ill-will to, and the Rakshasas chastise, that man who committeth aggression, be it ever so little. Beyond the summit of this Kailasa cliff, is seen the path of the celestial sages. If any one through impudence goeth beyond this, the Rakshasas slay him with iron darts and other weapons. There, O child, during the Parvas, he that goeth about on the shoulders of men, even Vaisravana is seen in pomp and grandeur surrounded by the Apsaras. And when that lord of all the Rakshasas is seated on the summit, all creatures behold him like unto the sun arisen. O best of Bharatas, that summit is the sporting-garden of the celestials, and the Danavas, and the Siddhas, and Vaisravana. And during the Parvas, as Tumburu entertaineth the Lord of treasures,
Janamejaya said, “How long did my great grandsires, the highsouled sons of Pandu of matchless prowess, dwell in the Gandhamadana mountain? And what did those exceedingly powerful ones, gifted with manliness, do? And what was the food of those high-souled ones, when those heroes of the worlds dwelt (there)? O excellent one, do thou relate all about this. Do thou describe the prowess of Bhimasena, and what that mighty-armed one did in the mountain Himalayan. Surely, O best of Brahmanas, he did not fight again with the Yakshas. And did they meet with Vaisravana? Surely, as Arshtishena said, the lord of wealth cometh thither. All this, O thou of ascetic wealth, I desire to hear in detail. Surely, I have not yet been fully satisfied by hearing about their acts.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard from that one of incomparable energy, (Arshtishena), that advice conducive to their welfare, those foremost of the Bharatas, began to behave always accordingly. Those best of men, the Pandavas, dwelt upon the Himavan, partaking of the food eaten by the Munis, and luscious fruit, and the flesh of deer killed with unpoisoned shafts and various kinds of pure honey. Living thus, they passed the fifth year, hearing various stories told by Lomasa. O lord, saying, ‘I shall be present when occasion ariseth,’ Ghatotkacha, together with all the Rakshasas, had ere this already gone away. Those magnanimous ones passed many months in the hermitage of Arshtishena, witnessing many marvels. And as the Pandavas were sporting there pleasantly, there came to see them some complacent vow-observing Munis and Charanas of high fortune, and pure souls. And those foremost of the Bharata race conversed with them on earthly topics. And it came to pass that when several days has passed, Suparna all of a sudden carried off an exceedingly powerful and mighty Naga, living in the large lake. And thereupon that mighty mountain began to tremble, and the gigantic trees, break. And all the creatures and the Pandavas witnessed the wonder. Then from the brow of that excellent mountain, the wind brought before the Pandavas various fragrant and fair blossoms. And the Pandavas, and the illustrious Krishna, together with their friends, saw those unearthly blossoms of five hues. And as the mighty-armed Bhimasena was seated at ease upon the mountain, Krishna addressed him, saying, ’O best of the Bharata race, in
“Thereupon, like a high-mettled bull that hath been struck, Bhimasena, considering himself as censured by Draupadi, could not bear (that). And that Pandava of the gait of a lion or a bull, and graceful, and generous, and having the splendour of gold, and intelligent, and strong, and proud, and sensitive, and heroic, and having red eyes, and broad shoulders, and gifted with the strength of mad elephants, and having leonine teeth and a broad neck, and tall like a young sala tree, and highsouled, and graceful in every limb, and of neck having the whorls of a shell and mighty-armed, took up his bow plaited at the back with gold, and also his sword. And haughty like unto a lion, and resembling a maddened elephant, that strong one rushed towards that cliff, free from fear or affliction. And all the creatures saw him equipped with bows and arrows, approaching like a lion or a maddened elephant. And free from fear or affliction, the Pandava taking his mace, proceeded to that monarch of mountains causing the delight of Draupadi. And neither exhaustion, nor fatigue, nor lassitude, nor the malice (of others), affected that son of Pritha and the Wind-god. And having arrived at a rugged path affording passage to one individual only, that one of great strength ascended that terrible summit high as several palmyra palms (placed one upon another). And having ascended that summit, and thereby gladdened Kinnaras, and great Nagas, and Munis, and Gandharvas, and Rakshasas, that foremost of the Bharata line, gifted with exceeding strength described the abode of Vaisravana, adorned with golden crystal palaces surrounded on all sides by golden walls having the splendour of all gems, furnished with gardens all around, higher than a mountain peak, beautiful with ramparts and towers, and adorned with door-ways and gates and rows of pennons. And the abode was graced with dallying damsels dancing around, and also with pennons waved by the breeze. And with bent arms, supporting himself on the end of his bow, he stood beholding with eagerness the city of the lord of treasures. And gladdening all creatures, there was blowing a
Vaisampayana said, “Hearing various sounds resounding in the caves of the mountain and not seeing Bhimasena, Kunti’s son, Ajatasatru and the twin sons of Madri and Dhaumya and Krishna and all the Brahmanas and the friends (of the Pandavas), were filled with anxiety. Thereupon, entrusting Draupadi to the charge of Arshtishena and equipped in their arms, those valiant and mighty charioteers together began to ascend the summit of the mountain. And having reached the summit, as those repressors of foes and mighty bowmen and powerful charioteers they were looking about, saw Bhima and those huge Rakshasas of mighty strength and courage weltering in a state of unconsciousness having been struck down by Bhima. And holding his mace and sword and bow, that mighty-armed one looked like Maghavan, after he had slain the Danava hosts. Then on seeing their brother, the Pandavas, who had attained excellent state, embraced him and sat down there. And with those mighty bowmen, that summit looked grand like heaven graced by those foremost of celestials, the highly fortunate Lokapalas.
Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this to his brother, Vrikodara the virtuous, the highly energetic and firm-minded son of Kunti, Yudhishthira versed in the particulars of (the science of) profit, ceased, and began to reflect on that matter.
“On the other hand, the Rakshasas that had survived those slain by Bhima fled in a body towards the abode of Kuvera. And they of exceeding fleetness having speedily reached Vaisravana’s abode, began to utter loud cries of distress, being afflicted with the fear of Bhima. And, O king bereft of their weapons and exhausted and with their mail besmeared with gore and with dishevelled hair they spake unto Kuvera, saying. ’O lord, all thy foremost Rakshasas fighting with maces and clubs and swords and lances and barbed darts, have been slain. O lord of treasures, a mortal, trespassing into the mountain, hath, singlehanded, slaughtered all thy Krodhavasa Rakshasas assembled together. And, O lord of wealth, there lie the foremost of the Yakshas and Rakshasas senseless and dead, having been struck down; and we have been let off through his favour. And thy friend, Maniman also hath been slain. All this hath been done by a mortal. Do thou what is proper, after this.’ Having heard this, that lord of all the Yaksha hosts waxing wroth, with eyes reddened in anger, exclaimed, ‘What!’ And hearing of Bhima’s second (act of) aggression, that lord of treasures, the king of the Yakshas, was filled with wrath, and said. ‘Yoke’ (the horses). Thereat unto a car of the hue of dark clouds, and high as a mountain summit, they yoked steeds having golden garments. And on being yoked unto the car, those excellent horses of his, graced with every noble quality and furnished with the ten auspicious curls of hair and having energy and strength, and adorned with various gems and looking splendid, as if desirous of speeding like the wind, began to neigh at each other the neighing emitted at (the hour of) victory. And that divine and effulgent king of the Yakshas set out, being eulogised by the celestials and Gandharvas. And a thousand foremost Yakshas of reddened eyes and golden lustre and having huge bodies, and gifted with great strength, equipped with weapons and girding on their swords, followed that
“And that one going about on the shoulders of men, on seeing Bhima stand desirous of fighting with sharpened shafts, said unto Dharma’s son, ’O Partha, all the creatures know thee as engaged in their good. Do thou, therefore, with thy brothers fearlessly dwell on this summit of the mountain. And, O Pandava, be thou not angry with Bhima. These Yakshas and Rakshasas had already been slain by Destiny: thy brother hath been the instrument merely. And it is not necessary to feel shame for the act of impudence that hath been committed. This destruction of the Rakshasas had been foreseen by the gods. I entertain no anger towards Bhimasena. Rather, O foremost of the Bharata race, I am pleased with him; nay,—even before coming here, I had been gratified with this deed of Bhima.’”
Vaisampayana said, “Having spoken thus unto the king, (Kuvera) said unto Bhimasena, ’O child, O best of the Kurus, I do not mind this, O Bhima, as in order to please Krishna, thou hast, disregarding the gods and me also, committed this rash act, namely, the destruction of the Yakshas and the Rakshasas, depending on the strength of thy arms, I am well-pleased with thee. O Vrikodara, to-day I have been freed from a terrible curse. For some offence, that great Rishi, Agastya, had cursed me in anger. Thou hast delivered me by this act (of thine). O Pandu’s son, my disgrace had ere this been fated. No offence, therefore, in any way, attaches unto thee, O Pandava.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O divine one, why wast thou cursed by the high-souled Agastya? O god, I am curious to hear about the occasion of that imprecation. I wonder that at that very moment, thou together with thy forces and attendants wast not consumed by the ire of that intelligent one.’
“Thereupon the lord of treasures said, ’At Kusasthali, O king, once there was held a conclave of the gods. And surrounded by grimvisaged Yakshas, numbering three hundred maha-padmas, carrying various weapons, I was going to that place. And on the way, I saw that foremost of sages, Agastya, engaged in the practice of severe austerities on the bank of the Yamuna, abounding in various birds and graced with blossoming trees. And, O king, immediately on seeing that mass of energy, flaming and brilliant as fire, seated with upraised arms, facing the sun, my friend, the graceful lord of the Rakshasas, Maniman, from stupidity, foolishness, hauteur and ignorance discharged his excrement on the crown of that Maharshi. Thereupon, as if burning all the cardinal points by his wrath, he said unto me, “Since, O lord of treasures, in thy very presence, disregarding me, this thy friend hath thus affronted me, he, together with thy forces, shall meet with destruction at the hands of a mortal. And, O wicked-minded one, thou also, being distressed on account of thy fallen soldiers, shalt be freed from thy sin, on beholding that mortal. But if they follow thy behests, their (the soldier’s) powerful sons shall not incur by this dreadful curse. This curse I received formerly from that foremost of Rishis. Now, O mighty king, have I been delivered by thy brother Bhima."’”
“The lord of treasures said, ’O Yudhishthira, patience, ability, (appropriate) time and place and prowess—these five lead to success in human affairs. O Bharata, in the Krita Yuga, men were patient and able in their respective occupations and they knew how to display prowess. And, O foremost of the Kshatriyas, a Kshatriya that is endued with patience and understandeth the propriety regarding place and time and is versed in all mortal regulations, can alone govern the world for a long time,—nay, in all transactions. He that behaveth thus, acquireth, O hero, fame in this world and excellent state in the next. And by having displayed his prowess at the proper place and time, Sakra with the Vasus hath obtained the dominion of heaven. He that from anger cannot see his fall and he that being naturally wicked and evilminded followeth evil and he that knoweth not the propriety relative to acts, meet with destruction both in this world and the next. The exertions of that stupid person become fruitless, who is not conversant with the expediency regarding time and acts, and he meeteth with destruction both in this world and the next. And the object of that wicked and deceitful persons is vicious, who, aiming at mastery
Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of the dispenser of wealth, the Pandavas were well-pleased with them. Then lowering his club and mace and sword and bow, that foremost of the Bharatas bowed down unto Kuvera. And that giver of protection, the lord of treasures, seeing him prostrate, said, ’Be thou the destroyer of the pride of foes, and the enhancer of the delight of friends. And ye oppressors of enemies, do ye live in our romantic region. The Yakshas will not cross your desires. Gudakesa, after having acquired mastery over weapons, will come back soon. Bidden adieu by Maghavat himself, Dhananjaya will join you.’
“Having thus instructed Yudhishthira of excellent deeds, the lord of the Guhyakas, vanished from that best of mountains. And thousands upon thousands of Yakshas, and Rakshasas followed him in vehicles spread over with checkered cushions, and decorated with various jewels. And as the horses proceeded towards the abode of Kuvera, a noise arose as of birds flying in the air. And the chargers of the lord of treasures speedily coursed through the sky as if drawing forward the firmament, and devouring the air.
“Then at the command of the lord of wealth, the dead bodies of the Rakshasas were removed from the summit of the mountain. As the intelligent Agastya had fixed this period as the limit of (the duration of) his curse, so being slain in conflict, the Rakshasas were freed from the imprecation. And being honoured by the Rakshasas, the Pandavas for several nights dwelt pleasantly in those habitations.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O represser of foes, at sunrise, having finished his daily devotions, Dhaumya came unto the Pandavas, with Arshtishena. And having bowed down unto the feet of Arshtishena and Dhaumya, they with joined hands paid homage unto all the Brahmanas. Then Dhaumya taking Yudhishthira’s right hand, said these words, looking at the east, ’O mighty monarch, this king of mountains, Mandara lieth vast, covering the earth up to the ocean. O Pandava, Indra and Vaisravana preside over this point graced with woods and forests and mountains. And, O child, the intelligent sages versed in every duty, say, that this (region) is the abode of Indra and king Vaisravana. And the twice-born ones, and the sages versed in the duties, and the Sidhas, and the Sadhyas, and the celestials pay their adorations unto the Sun as he riseth from this point. And that lord of all living beings, king Yama, conversant with duty, presideth over yonder southern region whither come the spirits of the departed. And this is Sanyamana, the abode of the lord of departed spirits, sacred, and wonderful to behold, and crowned with prime prosperity. And the intelligent ones call that monarch of mountains (by the name of) Asta. Having, O king, arrived at this, the Sun ever abideth by the truth. And king Varuna protects all creatures, abiding in this king of mountains, and also in the vast deep. And, O highly fortunate one, there illumining the northern regions, lieth the puissant Mahameru, auspicious and the refuge of those knowing Brahma, where is the court of Brahma, and remaining where that soul of all creatures, Prajapati, hath created all that is mobile and immobile. And the Mahameru is the auspicious and healthy abode even of the seven mind-born sons of Brahma, of whom Daksha was the seventh. And, O child, here it is that the seven celestial rishis
Vaisampayana continued, “Dwelling in that best of mountains those high-souled ones observing excellent vows, felt themselves attracted (to that place), and diverted themselves, eager to behold Arjuna. And multitudes of Gandharvas and Maharshis gladly visited those energetic ones, possessing prowess, of chaste desires and being the foremost of those endued with truth and fortitude. And having arrived at that excellent mountain furnished with trees bearing blossoms, those mighty charioteers were exceedingly delighted, even as the Marutas, on arriving at the celestial regions. And experiencing great exhilaration, they lived (there), seeing the slopes and summits of that mighty mountain, filled with flowers, and resonant with the cries of peacocks and cranes. And on that beautiful mountain they beheld lakes filled with lotuses, and having their shores covered with trees, and frequented by darkness, and karandavas and swans. And the flourishing sporting-regions, graceful on account of the various flowers, and abounding in gems, was capable of captivating that king, the dispenser of wealth (Kuvera). And always ranging (there), those foremost of ascetics (the Pandavas) were incapable of conceiving (the significance of) that Summit, furnished with mighty trees, and masses of wide-spreading clouds. And, O great hero, owing to its native splendour, and also on account of the brilliance of the annual plants, there was no difference there between night and day. And staying in the mountain, remaining in which the Sun of unrivalled energy cherisheth the mobile and immobile things, those heroes and foremost of men beheld the rising and the setting of the Sun. And having seen the rising and the setting points of the Sun and the rising and the setting mountain, and all the cardinal points, as well as the intervening spaces ever blazing with the rays of the Dispeller of darkness, those heroes, in expectation of the arrival of that mighty charioteer firm in truth, became engaged in reciting the Vedas, practising the daily rituals, chiefly discharging the religious duties, exercising sacred vows, and abiding by the truth. And saying, ’Let us even here experience delight by joining without delay Arjuna
Vaisampayana continued, “And it came to pass that one day as those mighty charioteers were thinking of Arjuna, seeing Mahendra’s car, yoked with horses of the effulgence of lightning, arrive all on a sudden, they were delighted. And driven by Matali, that blazing car, suddenly illuminating the sky, looked like smokeless flaming tongues of fire, or a mighty meteor embosomed in clouds. And seated in that car appeared Kiriti wearing garlands and new-made ornaments. Then Dhananjaya possessing the prowess of the wielder of the thunder-bolt, alighted on that mountain, blazing in beauty. And that intelligent one decked in a diadem and garlands, having alighted on the mountain, first bowed down at the feet of Dhaumya, and then at those of Ajatasatru. And he also paid homage unto Vrikodara’s feet; and the twins also bowed down unto him. Then going to Krishna, and having cheered her, he stood before his (elder) brother in humble guise. And on meeting with that matchless one, they were exceedingly delighted. And he also meeting with them rejoiced exceedingly, and began to eulogise the king. And seeing before them that car driving in which the slayer of Namuchi had annihilated seven phalanxes of Diti’s offspring, the magnanimous Parthas went round it. And being highly pleased, they offered excellent worship unto Matali, as unto the lord of the celestials himself. And then the son of the Kuru king duly enquired of him after the health of all the gods. And Matali also greeted them. And having instructed the Parthas even as a father doth his sons, he ascended that incomparable car, and returned to the lord of the celestials.
“And when Matali had gone away, that foremost of the royal race, Sakra’s son, the high-souled destroyer of all foes made over unto his love, the mother of Sutasoma, beautiful precious gems and ornaments having the splendour of the sun, which had been presented to him by Sakra. Then, sitting in the midst of those foremost of the Kurus, and those best of the Brahmanas, effulgent like unto fire or the sun, he began to relate all as it had happened, saying, ’In this way, I have learnt weapons from Sakra, Vayu, and the manifest Siva; and all the celestials with Indra also have been pleased with me, on account of my good behaviour, and concentration.’
“After having briefly narrated unto them his sojourn in heaven, Kiriti of spotless deeds agreeably slept that night with the two sons of Madri.”
Vaisampayana said, “Then when the night had been spent, Dhananjaya, together with his brothers, paid homage unto Yudhishthira the just. And, O Bharata, at this moment, proceeding from the celestials there arose mighty and tremendous sounds of a musical instrument, and the rattling of car-wheels, and the tolling of bells. And there at all the beasts and beasts of prey and birds emitted separate cries. And from all sides in cars resplendent as the sun, hosts of Gandharvas and Apsaras began to follow that represser of foes, the lord of the celestials. And ascending a car yoked with steeds, decorated with burnished gold, and roaring like clouds, that king of the celestials, Purandara blazing in beauty came unto the Parthas. And having arrived (at that place), he of a thousand eyes descended from his car. And as soon as Yudhishthira the just saw that high-souled one, he together with his brothers, approached that graceful king of the immortals. And in accordance with the ordinance that generous one duly worshipped him of immeasurable soul, in consequence with his dignity. And then Dhananjaya possessed of prowess, having bowed down unto Purandara, stood before the lord of the celestials in humble guise, like unto a servant. And seeing the sinless Dhananjaya having ascetic merit, bearing clotted hair, stand in humility before the lord of celestials, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, of great energy, smelt (the crown) of his head. And beholding Phalguna (in that attitude), he was exceedingly glad; and by worshipping the king of the celestials, he experienced the highest bliss. Then unto that strongminded monarch, swimming in felicity, the intelligent lord of the celestials, Purandara, spake, saying, ’Thou shalt rule the earth, O Pandava. Blessed be thou! Do thou, O Kunti’s son, again repair unto Kamyaka.’
“That learned man who for a year leading the Brahmacharya mode of life, subduing his senses and observing vows, peruseth with rapt attention this meeting of Sakra with the Pandavas, liveth a hundred years free from disturbances, and enjoying happiness.”
Vaisampayana continued, “When Sakra had gone to his proper place, Vibhatsu together with his brothers and Krishna, paid homage unto the son of Dharma. Then smelling the crown of the head of that Pandava, who was thus paying homage, (Yudhishthira) in accents faltering on account of you, addressed Arjuna, saying ’O Arjuna, how didst thou pass this period in heaven? And how has thou obtained the weapons, and how also hast thou gratified the lord of the celestials? And, O Pandava, has thou adequately secured the weapons? Have the lord of the celestials and Rudra gladly granted thee the weapons? And how hast thou beheld the divine Sakra, and the wielder of Pinaka? And how has thou obtained the weapons? And in what manner didst thou worship (them)? And what service hadst thou done unto that repressor of foes, the worshipful one of a hundred sacrifices, that he said unto thee, “By thee have I been gratified?” All this, O highly effulgent one, I wish to hear in detail. And, O sinless one, the manner in which thou didst please Mahadeva and the king of the celestials and, O repressor of foes, the service thou hadst done to the wielder of the thunder-bolt,—do thou, O Dhananjaya, relate all this in detail.’
“Arjuna said, ’O mighty monarch, listen how I duly beheld him of a hundred sacrifice and the divine Sankara also. O grinder of foes, O king, having acquired that science which thou hadst directed me (to learn), I at thy command went to the forest, for practising penances. From Kamyaka repairing to the Bhrigutunga, I spent there one night, being engaged in austerities. And it came to pass that on the next I saw a certain Brahmana. And he asked me, saying, “O son of Kunti, whither wilt thou go?” Thereupon, O descendant of the Kurus, I truly related unto him everything. And, O best of kings, having heard the true account, the Brahmana became well-pleased with me, and, O king, praised me. Then the Brahmana, pleased with me, said, “O Bharata, be thou engaged in austerities. By performing penances, thou wilt in a short time behold the lord of the celestials.” And according to his advice I ascended the Himavan, and, O mighty king, began to practise penances, (the first) month subsisting on fruit and roots. I spent the second month, subsisting on water. And, O Pandava, in the third month I totally abstained from food. And in the fourth month I remained with upraised arms. And a wonder it is that I did not lose any strength. And it came to pass that when the first day of the fifth month had been spent, there appeared before me a being wearing the form of a boar, turning up the earth with his mouth, stamping the ground with his feet, rubbing the earth with his breast, and momentarily going about in a frightful manner. And him followed a great being in the guise of a hunter furnished with the bow, arrows,
“Arjuna said, ’O Bharata, by the grace of that god of gods the Supreme Soul, Tryamvaka, I passed the night at that place. And having passed the night, when I had finished the morning rituals, I saw that foremost of the Brahmanas whom I had seen before. And unto him I told all as it had happened, O Bharata, namely, that I had met the divine Mahadeva. Thereupon, O king of kings, well-pleased, he said unto me, “Since thou hast beheld the great god, incapable of being beheld by any one else, soon wilt thou mix with Vaivaswata and the other Lokapalas and the lord of the celestials; and Indra too will grant thee weapons.” O king, having said this unto me and having embraced me again and again, that Brahmana resembling
“’Having said this, O Bharata, Matali soared in the sky and showed me the abodes of the celestials and their palaces. Then the chariot yoked with steeds coursed upwards. And the celestials and the sages began to worship (that car), O prime of men. And I saw the regions, moving anywhere at will, and the splendour also of the highly energetic Gandharvas, Apsaras, and the celestial sages. And Sakra’s charioteer, Matali, at once showed me Nandana and other gardens and groves belonging to the celestials. Next I beheld Indra’s abode, Amaravati, adorned with jewels and trees yielding any sort of fruit that is desired. There the Sun doth not shed heat; nor doth heat or cold or fatigue there affect (one), O king. And, O great monarch, the celestials feel neither sorrow nor poverty of spirit, nor weakness, nor lassitude, O grinder of foes. And, O ruler of men, the celestials and the others have neither anger nor covetousness. And, O king, in the abodes of the celestials, the beings are ever contented. And there the trees ever bear verdant foliage, and fruits, and flowers; and the various lakes are embalmed with the fragrance
“’And when I had acquired proficiency in weapons, and gained his confidence that one having for his vehicle the horse (Uchchaisrava), (Indra), patting me on the head with his hand, said these words, “Now even the celestials themselves cannot conquer thee,—what shall I say of imperfect mortals residing on earth? Thou hast become invulnerable in strength, irrepressible, and incomparable in fight.” Then with the hair of his body standing on end, he again accosted me saying, “O hero, in fighting with weapons none is equal unto thee. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, thou art even watchful, and dexterous, and truthful, and of subdued senses, and the protector of the Brahmanas and adept in weapons, and warlike. And, O Partha, together with (a knowledge of) the five modes, using (them), thou hast obtained five and ten weapons and, therefore, there existeth none, who is thy peer. And thou hast perfectly learnt the discharge (of those weapons) and (their) withdrawal, and (their) re-discharge and re-withdrawal, and the Prayaschitta connected (with them), and also their revival, in case of their being baffled. Now, O represser of foes, the time hath arrived for thy paying the preceptor’s fee. Do thou promise to pay the fee; then I shall unfold unto thee
“’Saying this he gave unto me the highly resplendent celestial car, conducted by Matali, furnished with hair resembling the down of peacocks. And on my head he set this excellent diadem. And he gave me ornaments for my body, like unto his own. And he granted unto me the impenetrable mail—the best of its kind, and easy to the touch; and fastened unto the Gandiva this durable string. Then I set out, ascending that splendid chariot riding on which in days of yore, the lord of the celestials and vanquished Vali—that son of Virochana. And, O ruler of men, startled by the rattling of the car, all the celestials, approached (there), taking me to be the king of the celestials. And seeing me, they asked, “O Phalguna, what art thou going to do?” And I told them as it had fallen out,—and said, “I shall even do this in battle. Ye that are highly fortunate, know that I have set out desirous of slaying the Nivata-Kavachas. O sinless ones, do ye bless me.” Thereupon, they began to eulogise me even as they (eulogise) the god, Purandara. And they said, “Riding on this car, Maghavan conquered in battle Samvara, and Namuchi, and Vala, and Vritra, and Prahrada, and Naraka. And mounted on this car also Maghavan, had conquered in battle many thousands and millions and hundreds of millions of Daityas. And, O Kaunteya, thou also, riding on this car, by thy prowess shalt conquer the Nivata-Kavachas in conflict, even as did the self-possessed Maghavan in days of yore. And here is the best of shells; by this also thou shalt defeat the Danavas. And by this it is that the high souled Sakra conquered the words.” Saying this, the gods offered (unto me) this shell, Devadatta, sprung in the deep; and I accepted it for the sake of victory. And at this moment, the gods fell extolling me. And in order to be engaged in action, I proceeded to the dreadful abode of the Danavas, furnished with the shell, the mail, and arrows, and taking my bow.’”
“Arjuna continued, ’Then at places eulogised by the Maharshis, I (proceeded, and at length) beheld the ocean—that inexhaustible lord of waters. And like unto flowing cliffs were seen on it heaving billows, now meeting together and now rolling away. And there (were seen) all around barks by thousands filled with gems. And there were seen timingilas and tortoises and makaras like unto rock submerged in water. And on all sides round thousands of shells sunk in water appeared like stars in the night covered by light clouds. And thousands upon thousands of gems were floating in heaps and a violent wind was blowing about in whirls—and this was wonderful to behold. And having beheld that excellent lord of all waters with powerful tides, I saw at a short distance the city of the demons filled with the Danavas. And even there, entering underneath the earth, Matali skilled in guiding the car, sitting fast on the chariot drove it with force; and he dashed on, frightening that city with the rattling of his chariot. And hearing that rattling of the chariot like unto the rumbling of the clouds in the sky, the Danavas, thinking me to be the lord of the celestials, became agitated. And thereupon they all, frightened at heart, stood holding in their hands bows and arrows and swords and javelins and axes and maces and clubs. Then having made arrangements for the defence of the city, the Danavas, with minds alarmed, shut the gates, so that nothing could be discovered. Thereupon taking my shell, Devadatta, of tremendous roars, I again and again winded it with exceeding cheerfulness. And filling all the firmament, those sounds produced echoes. Thereat mighty beings were terrified and they hid (themselves). And then, O Bharata, all of them adorned with ornaments, those offsprings of Diti—the Nivata-Kavachas—made their appearance by thousands, donning diverse mail and taking in their hands various weapons and equipped with mighty iron javelins and maces and clubs and hatchets and sabres and discs and sataghnis and bhusundis and variegated and ornamented swords. Then, after deliberating much as to the course of the car, Matali began to guide the steeds on a (piece of) level ground, O foremost of the Bharatas. And owing to the swiftness of those fleet coursers conducted by him, I could see nothing—and this was strange. Then the Danavas there began to sound thousands of musical instruments, dissonant and of odd shapes. And at those sounds, fishes by hundreds and by thousands, like unto hills, having their senses bewildered by that noise, fled suddenly. And mighty force flew at me, the demons discharging sharpened shafts by hundreds and by thousands. And then, O Bharata, there ensued a dreadful conflict between me and the demons, calculated to extinguish the Nivata Kavachas. And there came to the mighty battle the Devarshis and the Danavarshis and the Brahmarshis and the Siddhas. And desirous of victory, the Munis eulogised me with the same sweet-speeches that (they had eulogised) Indra with, at the war, (which took place) for the sake of Tara.’”
“Arjuna continued, ’Then, O Bharata, vehemently rushed at me in battle in a body the Nivata-Kavachas, equipped with arms. And obstructing the course of the car, and shouting loudly, those mighty charioteers, hemming me in on all sides, covered me with showers of shafts. Then other demons of mighty prowess, with darts and hatchets in their hands, began to throw at me spears and axes. And that mighty discharge of darts, with numerous maces and clubs incessantly hurled fell upon my car. And other dreadful and grim-visaged smiters among the Nivata-Kavachas, furnished with bows and sharpened weapons, ran at me in fight. And in the conflict, shooting from the Gandiva sundry swift arrows coursing straight, I pierced each of them with ten. And they were driven back by those stone-whetted shafts of mine. Then on my steeds being swiftly driven by Matali, they began to display various movements with the speed of the wind. And being skilfully guided by Matali, they began to trample upon the sons of Diti. And although the steeds yoked unto that mighty chariot numbered hundreds upon hundreds, yet being deftly conducted by Matali, they began to move, as if they were only a few. And by their tread, and by the rattling of the chariot wheels and by the volleys of my shafts, the Danavas began to fall by hundreds. And others accoutred in bows, being deprived of life, and having their charioteers slain, were carried about by the horses. Then, covering all sides and directions, all (the Danavas) skilled in striking entered into the contest with various weapons, and thereat my mind became afflicted. And I witnessed (this instance of) the marvellous prowess of Matali, viz., that he guided those fiery steeds with ease. Then, O king, in the conflict, with diverse fleet weapons I pierced by hundreds and by thousands (demons) bearing arms. And, O slayer of foes, seeing me thus range the field putting forth every exertion, the heroic charioteer of Sakra was well-pleased. And oppressed by those steeds and that car, some (of them) met with annihilation; and others desisted from fight; while (other) Nivata-Kavachas, challenged by us in battle and being harassed with shafts offered opposition unto me, by (discharging) mighty showers of arrows. Thereupon, with hundreds and thousands of sundry fleet weapons inspired with the mantras relating to Brahma’s weapons, I swiftly began to burn them. And being sore pressed by me, those mighty asuras waxing wroth afflicted me together, by pouring torrents of clubs and darts and swords. Then, O Bharata, I took up that favourite weapon of the lord of the celestials, Maghavan by name, prime and of fiery energy and by the energy of that weapon I cut into a thousand pieces the Tomaras, together with the swords and the tridents hurled by them. And having cut off their arms I in ire pierced
“Arjuna said, ’Then with rocks of the proportions of trees, there commenced a mighty shower of crags; and this exercised me exceedingly. And in that high encounter, I crushed (those crags) by swift-speeding showers of arrows, issuing from Mahendra’s weapon, like unto the thunder-bolt itself. And when the rocks had been reduced to powder, there was generated fire; and the rocky dust fell like unto masses of flames. And when the showers of crags had been repelled, there happened near me a mightier shower of water, having currents of the proportions of an axle. And falling from the welkin, those thousands of powerful torrents covered the entire firmament and the directions and the cardinal points. And on account of the pouring of the shower, and of the blowing of the wind, and of roaring of the Daityas, nothing could be perceived. And touching heaven and the entire earth, and incessantly falling on the ground, the showers bewildered me. Thereupon, I discharged that celestial weapon which I had learnt from Indra—even the dreadful and flaming Visoshana: and by that the water was dried up. And, O Bharata, when the rocky shower had been destroyed, and the watery shower had been dried up, the Danavas began to spread illusions of fire and wind. Then by aqueous appliances I extinguished the flames; and by a mighty rock-issuing arm, resisted the fury of the winds. And when these had been repelled, the Danavas, irrepressible in battle, O Bharata, simultaneously created various illusions. And there happened a tremendous horrifying shower of rocks and dreadful weapons of fire and wind. And that illusory downpour afflicted me in fight. And then on all sides there appeared a dense and thick darkness. And when the world had been enveloped in deep and dense darkness, the steeds turned away, Matali fell off, and from his hand the golden lash fell to the earth. And, O foremost of the Bharatas, being frightened, he again and again cried, “Where art thou?” And when he had been stupefied, a
“Arjuna continued, ’Remaining invisible the Daityas began to fight with the help of illusion. And I too fought with them, resorting to the energy of visible weapons. And the shafts duly discharged from the Gandiva, began to sever their heads at those different places where they were respectively stationed. And thus assailed by me in the conflict, the Nivata-Kavachas, all on a sudden withdrawing the illusion, entered into their own city. And when the Daityas had fled, and when all had become visible, I there discovered hundreds and thousands of the slain. And there I saw by hundreds their shivered weapons,
“Arjuna continued, ’After having destroyed the Danavas, and also subdued that city, with Matali I again went to that abode of the celestials.’”
“Arjuna continued, ’Then while returning, I happened to descry a mighty unearthly city, moving at will, and having the effulgence of fire or the sun. And that city contained various trees composed of gems, and sweet-voiced feathered ones. And furnished with four gates, and gate-ways, and towers, that impregnable (city) was inhabited by the Paulamas and Kalakanjas. And it was made of all sorts of jewels and was unearthly, and of wonderful appearance. And it was covered with trees of all kinds of gems, bearing fruits and flowers. And it contained exceedingly beautiful unearthly birds. And it always swarmed throughout with cheerful Asuras, wearing garlands, and bearing in their hands darts, two edged swords, maces, bows, and clubs. And, O king, on seeing this wonderful city of the Daityas, I asked Matali saying, “What is this that looketh so wonderful?” Thereat, Matali replied, “Once on a time a Daitya’s daughter, named Pulama and a mighty female of the Asura order, Kalaka by name, practised severe austerities for a thousand celestial years. And at the end of their austerities, the self-create conferred on them boons. And, O king of kings, they received these boons,—that their offspring might never suffer misfortune; that they might be incapable of being destroyed even by the gods, the Rakshasas and the Pannagas; and that they might obtain a highly effulgent and surpassingly fair aerial city, furnished with all manner of gems and invincible even by the celestials, the Maharshis, the Yakshas, the Gandharvas, the Pannagas, the Asuras and the Rakshasas. O best of the Bharatas, this is that unearthly aerial city devoid of the celestials,
“Arjuna continued, ’O lord of men, learning that they were incapable of being destroyed by the celestials and the Asuras, I cheerfully said unto Matali, “Do thou speedily repair into yonder city. With weapons will I compass the annihilation of the haters of the lord of the celestials. Surely, there exist no wicked haters of the gods who ought not to be slain by me.” Thereupon Matali took me to the vicinity of Hiranyapura on the celestial chariot yoked with steeds. And seeing me, those sons of Diti, wearing various kinds of attire and ornament and accoutred in mail, flew at me with a mighty rush. And those foremost of the Danavas, of exceeding prowess, in wrath attacked me with arrows and bhallas and clubs and two-edged swords, and tomaras. Thereat, O king, resorting to my strength of lore, I resisted that great volley of weapons by a mighty shower of shafts; and also confounded them in conflict by ranging around in my car. And being bewildered, the Danavas began to push each other down. And having been confounded, they rushed at one another. And with flaming arrows, I severed their heads by hundreds. And hard pressed by me, the offspring of Diti, taking shelter within (their) city, soared with it to the firmament, resorting to the illusion proper to the Danavas. Thereupon, O son of the Kurus, covering the way of the Daityas, with a mighty discharge of shafts I obstructed their course. Then by virtue of the bestowal of the boon, the Daityas supported themselves easily on that sky-ranging unearthly aerial city, going anywhere at will and like unto the sun. And now (the city) entered unto the earth and now it rose upwards; and at one time it went in a crooked way and at another time it submerged into water. At this, O represser of foes, I assailed that mighty city, going anywhere at will, and resembling Amaravati. And, O best of the Bharatas, I attacked the city containing those sons of Diti, with multitudes of shafts, displaying celestial weapons. And battered and broken by the straight-coursing iron shafts, shot by me, the city of the Asuras, O king, fell to the earth. And they also, wounded by my iron arrows having the speed of the thunder,
“Arjuna continued, ’Then firmly confident, the sovereign of the celestials considering as his own, pertinently said these words unto me wounded by cleaving shafts, “All the celestial weapons, O Bharata, are with thee, so no man on earth will by any means be able to over-power thee. And, O son, when thou art in the field, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna and Sakuni together with other Kshatriyas shall not amount unto one-sixteenth part of thee.” And the lord Maghavan granted me this golden garland and this shell, Devadatta, of mighty roars, and also his celestial mail impenetrable and capable of protecting the body. And Indra himself set on my (head) this diadem. And Sakra presented me with these unearthly apparels and unearthly ornaments, elegant and rare. In this manner, O king, (duly) honoured, I delightfully dwelt in Indra’s sacred abode with the children of the Gandharvas. Then, well-pleased, Sakra, together with the celestials, addressed me, saying, “O Arjuna, the time hath come for thy departure; thy brothers have thought of thee.” Thus, O Bharata, remembering the dissensions arising from that gambling, did I, O king, pass those five years in the abode of Indra. Then have I come and seen thee surrounded by our brothers on the summit of this lower range of the Gandhamadana.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O Dhananjaya, by fortune it is that the weapons have been obtained by thee; by fortune it is that the master of the immortals hath been adored by thee. O repressor of foes, by fortune it is that the divine Sthanu together with the goddess had become manifest unto thee and been gratified by thee in battle, O sinless one; by fortune it is that thou hadst met with the Lokapalas, O best of the Bharatas. O Partha, by fortune it is that we have prospered; and by fortune it is that thou hast come back. To-day I consider as if the entire earth engarlanded with cities hath already been conquered, and as if the sons of Dhritarashtra have already been subdued. Now, O Bharata, I am curious to behold those celestial weapons wherewith thou hadst slain the powerful Nivata-Kavachas.’
“Thereat Arjuna said, ’Tomorrow in the morning thou wilt see all the celestial weapons with which I slew the fierce Nivata-Kavachas.’”
Vaisampayana said, “Thus having related (the facts touching) the arrival, Dhananjaya passed that night there, together with all his brothers.”
Vaisampayana continued, “And when the night had passed, Yudhishthira the just, arose and together with his brothers, performed the necessary duties. He then spake unto Arjuna, that delight of his mother, saying, ’O Kaunteya, do thou show (me) those weapons with which thou vanquished the Danavas.’ Thereat, O king, the exceedingly powerful Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, duly practising extreme purity, showed those weapons, O Bharata, which had been given unto him by the celestials. Dhananjaya seated on the earth, as his chariot, which had the mountain for its pole, the base of the axle and the cluster of beautiful-looking bamboo trees for its socket-pole, looked resplendent with that celestial armour of great lustre, took his bow Gandiva and the conch-shell given to him by the gods, commenced to exhibit those celestial weapons in order. And as those celestial weapons had been set, the Earth being oppressed with the feet (of Arjuna), began to tremble with (its) trees; and the rivers and the mighty main became vexed; and the rocks were riven; and the air was hushed. And the sun did not shine; and fire did not flame; and by no means did the Vedas of the twice-born once shine. And, O Janamejaya, the creatures peopling the interior of the earth, on being afflicted, rose and surrounded the Pandava, trembling with joined hands and contorted countenances. And being burnt by those weapons, they besought Dhananjaya (for their lives). Then the Brahmarshis, and the Siddhas, and the Maharshis and the mobile beings—all these appeared (on the scene). And the foremost Devarshis, and the celestials and the Yakshas and the Rakshasas and the Gandharvas and the feathered tribes and the (other) sky-ranging beings—all these appeared (on the scene). And the Great-sire and all the Lokapalas and the divine Mahadeva, came thither, together with their followers. Then, O great king, bearing unearthly variegated blossoms Vayu (the Wind-god) fell to strewing them around the Pandava. And sent by the celestials, the Gandharvas chanted various ballads; and, O monarch, hosts of the Apsaras danced (there). At such a moment, O king, sent by the celestials, Narada arrived (there) and addressed Partha in these sweet words, ’O Arjuna, Arjuna, do thou not discharge the celestial weapons. These should never be discharged when there is no object (fit). And when there is an object (present), they should also by no means be hurled, unless one is sore pressed; for, O son of the Kurus, to discharge the weapons (without occasion), is fraught with great evil. And, O Dhananjaya, being duly kept as thou hast been instructed to these powerful weapons will doubtless conduce to thy strength and happiness. But if they are not properly kept, they, O Pandava, will become the instrument for the destruction of the three worlds. So thou shouldst not act in this way again. O Ajatasatru, thou too wilt behold even these weapons, when Partha will use them for grinding (thy) enemies in battle.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having prevented Partha the immortals with others that had come there, went to each his place, O foremost of men. And, O Kaurava, after they had all gone, the Pandavas began to dwell pleasantly in the same forest, together with Krishna.”
Janamejaya said, “When that prime among heroes, having been accomplished in arms, had returned from the abode of the slayer of Vritra, what did Pritha’s sons do in company with the warlike Dhananjaya?”
Vaisampayana said, “In company with that hero equal unto Indra, Arjuna—that foremost of men, sported in the pleasure-gardens of the lord of treasures (situated) in those woods on that romantic and excellent mountain. And surveying those peerless and various pleasure-grounds filled with diverse trees, that chief of men, Kiriti, ever intent upon arms, ranged at large, bow in hand. And having through the grace of king Vaisravana obtained a residence, those sons of a sovereign cared not for the prosperity of men. And, O king, that period of their (lives) passed peacefully. And having Partha in their company, they spent four years there even like a single night. And as the Pandavas lived in the wood, (these four years) and the former six, numbering ten, passed smoothly with them.
“Then having seated themselves before the king, the vehement son of the Wind-god, with Jishnu and the heroic twins, like unto the lord of the celestials, earnestly addressed the king in these beneficial and pleasant words. ’It is only to render thy promise effectual and to advance thy interests, that, O king of the Kurus, forsaking the forest, we do not go to slay Suyodhana together with all his followers. Although deserving of happiness, yet have we been deprived of happiness. And this is the eleventh year that (in this state) we have been living (in the forest). And hereafter, deluding that one of evil mind and character, shall we easily live out the period of non-discovery. And at thy mandate, O monarch, free from apprehension, we have been ranging the woods, having relinquished our honour. Having been tempted by our residence in the vicinity, they (our enemies) will not believe that we have removed to a distant realm. And after having lived there undiscovered for a year, and having wreaked our revenge on that wicked wight, Suyodhana, with his followers, we shall easily root out that meanest of men, slaying him and regaining our kingdom. Therefore, O Dharmaraja, do thou descend unto the earth. For, O king, if we dwell in this region like unto heaven itself, we shall forget our sorrows. In that case, O Bharata, thy fame like, unto a fragrant flower shall vanish from the mobile and the immobile worlds. By gaining that kingdom of the Kuru chiefs, thou wilt be able to attain (great glory), and to perform various sacrifices. This that thou art receiving from Kuvera, thou wilt, O foremost of men, be able to attain any time.
Vaisampayana continued, “Then having learnt that intention of theirs, the magnanimous and excellent son of Dharma, versed in religion and profit, and of immeasurable prowess, went round Vaisravana’s abode. And Yudhishthira the just, after bidding adieu unto the palaces, the rivers, the lakes, and all the Rakshasas, looked towards the way by which (he) had come (there). And then looking at the mountain also, the high-souled and pure-minded one besought that best of mountains, saying, ’O foremost of mountains, may I together with my friends, after having finished my task, and slain my foes, and regained my kingdom, see thee again, carrying on austerities with subdued soul.’ And this also he determined on. And in company with his younger brothers and the Brahmanas, the lord of the Kurus proceeded even along that very road. And Ghatotkacha with his followers began to carry them over the mountain cascades. And as they started, the great sage Lomasa, advising them even as a father doth his son, with a cheerful heart, went unto the sacred abode of the dwellers of heaven. Then advised also by Arshtishena, those first of men, the Parthas, went alone beholding romantic tirthas and hermitages, and other mighty lakes.”
Vaisampayana said, “When they had left their happy home in the beautiful mountain abounding in cascades, and having birds, and the elephants of the eight quarters, and the supernatural attendants of Kuvera (as dwellers thereof), all happiness forsook those foremost of men of Bharata’s race. But afterwards on beholding Kuvera’s favourite mountain, Kailasa, appearing like clouds, the delight of those pre-eminent heroes of the race of Bharata, became very great. And those foremost of heroic men, equipped with scimitars and bows, proceeded contentedly, beholding elevations and defiles, and dens of lions and craggy causeways and innumerable water-falls and lowlands, in different places, as also other great forests inhabited by countless deer and birds and elephants. And they came upon beautiful woodlands and rivers and lakes and caves and mountain caverns; and these frequently by day and night became
Janamejaya said, “How was it, O sage! that Bhima, of mighty prowess and possessing the strength of ten thousand elephants, was stricken with panic at (the sight of) that snake? Thou hast described him, that slayer of his enemies, as dismayed and appalled with fear, even him, who by fighting at the lotus lake (of Kuvera) became the destroyer of Yakshas and Rakshasas and who, in proud defiance, invited to a single combat, Pulastya’s son, the dispenser of all riches. I desire to hear this (from you); great indeed is my curiosity.”
Vaisampayana continued, “O king, having reached king Vrishaparva’s hermitage, while those fearful warriors were living in various wonderful woods, Vrikodara roaming at pleasure, with bow in hand and armed with a scimitar, found that beautiful forest, frequented by gods and Gandharvas. And then he beheld (some) lovely spots in the Himalayan mountains, frequented by Devarshis and Siddhas and inhabited by hosts of Apsaras, resounded here and there with (the warbling of) birds—the chakora, the chakrabaka, the jibajibaka and the cuckoo and the Bhringaraja, and abounding with shady trees, soft with the touch of snow and pleasing to the eye and mind, and bearing perennial fruits and flowers. And he beheld mountain streams with waters glistening like the lapis lazuli and with ten thousand snow-white ducks and swans and with forests of deodar trees forming (as it were) a trap for the clouds; and with tugna and kalikaya forests, interspersed with yellow sandal trees. And he of mighty strength, in the pursuit of the chase, roamed in the level and desert tracts of the mountain, piercing his game with unpoisoned arrows. In that forest the famous and mighty Bhimasena, possessing
Vaisampayana continued, “And the powerful Bhimasena, having thus come under the power of the snake, thought of its mighty and wonderful prowess; and said unto it, ’Be thou pleased to tell me, O snake, who thou art. And, O foremost of reptiles, what wilt thou do with me? I am Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, and next by birth to Yudhishthira the just. And endued as I am with the strength of ten thousand elephants, how hast thou been able to overpower me? In fight have been encountered and slain by me innumerable lions, and tigers, and buffaloes, and elephants. And, O best of serpents, mighty Rakshasas and Pisachas, and Nagas, are unable to stand the force of my arms. Art thou possessed of any magic, or hast thou received any boon, that although exerting myself, I have been overcome by thee? Now I have been convinced that the strength of men is false, for, O serpent, by thee hath such mighty strength of men been baffled.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “When the heroic Bhima of noble deed had said this, the snake caught him, and coiled him all round with his body, having thus subdued that mighty-aimed one, and freed his plump arms alone, the serpent spake these words, ’By good fortune it is that, myself being hungry, after long time the gods have to-day destined thee for my food; for life is dear unto every embodied being, I should relate unto thee the way in which I have come by this snake form. Hear, O best of the pious, I have fallen into this plight on account of the wrath of the Maharshis. Now desirous of getting rid of the curse, I will narrate unto thee all about it. Thou hast, no doubt, heard of the royal sage, Nahusha. He was the son of Ayu, and the perpetuator of the line of thy ancestors. Even I am that one. For having affronted the Brahmanas I, by (virtue of) Agastya’s malediction, have come by this condition. Thou art my agnate, and lovely to behold.—so thou shouldst not be slain by me,—yet I shall to-day devour thee! Do thou behold the dispensation of Destiny! And be it a buffalo, or an elephant, none coming within my reach at the sixth division of the day, can, O best of men, escape. And, O best of the Kurus, thou hast not been taken by an animal of the lower order, having strength alone,—but this (hath been so) by reason only of the boon I have received. As I was falling rapidly from Sakra’s throne placed on the front of his palace, I spake unto that worshipful sage (Agastya), “Do thou free me from this curse.” Thereat filled with compassion, that energetic one said unto me, “O king, thou shall be freed after the lapse of some time.” Then I fell to the earth (as a snake); but my recollection (of former life) did not renounce me. And although it be so ancient, I still recollect all that was said. And the sage said unto me, “That person who conversant with the relation subsisting between the soul and the Supreme Being, shall be able to answer the questions put by thee, shall deliver thee.
“On the other hand, Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira, (seeing) and reflecting on dreadful ill omens, became alarmed. Terrified by the blaze of the points of the horizon, jackals stationing themselves on the right of that hermitage, set up frightful and inauspicious yells. And ugly Vartikas as of dreadful sight, having one wing, one eye, and one leg, were seen to vomit blood, facing the sun. And the wind began to blow dryly, and violently, attracting grits. And to the right all the beasts and birds began to cry. And in the rear the black crows cried, ‘Go!’
Vaisampayana continued, “Yudhishthira, finding his beloved brother coiled by the body of the serpent, said these words: ’O son of Kunti, how hast thou come by this misfortune! And who is this best of serpents having a body like unto a mountain mass?’ Bhimasena said, ’O worshipful one, this mighty being hath caught me for food. He is the royal sage Nahusha living in the form of a serpent.’ Yudhishthira said, ’O longlived one, do thou free my brother of immeasurable prowess; we will give thee some other food which will appease thy hunger.’ The serpent said, ’I have got for diet even this son of a king, come to my mouth of himself. Do thou go away. Thou shouldst not stay here. (If thou remainest here) thou too shall be my fare to-morrow. O mighty-armed one, this is ordained in respect of me, that he that cometh unto my place, becometh my food and thou too art in my quarter. After a long time have I got thy younger brother as my food; I will not let him off; neither do I like to have any other food.’ Thereat Yudhishthira said, ’O serpent, whether thou art a god, or a demon, or an Uraga, do thou tell me truly, it is Yudhishthira that asketh thee, wherefore, O snake, hast thou taken Bhimasena? By obtaining which, or by knowing what wilt thou receive satisfaction, O snake, and what food shall I give thee? And how mayst thou free him.’ The serpent said, ’O sinless one, I was thy ancestor, the
“The serpent said, ’O Yudhishthira, say—Who is a Brahmana and what should be known? By thy speech I infer thee to be highly intelligent.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O foremost of serpents, he, it is asserted by the wise, in whom are seen truth, charity, forgiveness, good conduct, benevolence, observance of the rites of his order and mercy is a Brahmana. And, O serpent, that which should be known is even the supreme Brahma, in which is neither happiness nor misery—and attaining which beings are not affected with misery; what is thy opinion?’
“The serpent said, ’O Yudhishthira, truth, charity, forgiveness, benevolence, benignity, kindness and the Veda which worketh the benefit of the four orders, which is the authority in matters of religion and which is true, are seen even in the Sudra. As regards the object to be known and which thou allegest is without both happiness and misery, I do not see any such that is devoid of these.’
 In as much as the rites
performed by the Sudras have their
origin in the Vedas.
“Yudhishthira said, ’Those characteristics that are present in a Sudra, do not exist in a Brahmana; nor do those that are in a Brahmana exist in a Sudra. And a Sudra is not a Sudra by birth alone—nor a Brahmana is Brahmana by birth alone. He, it is said by the wise, in whom are seen those virtues is a Brahmana. And people term him a Sudra in whom those qualities do not exist, even though he be a Brahmana by birth. And again, as for thy assertion that the object to be known (as asserted by me) doth not exist, because nothing exists that is devoid of both (happiness and misery), such indeed is the opinion, O serpent, that nothing exists that is without (them) both. But as in cold, heat doth not exist, nor in heat, cold, so there cannot exist an object in which both (happiness and misery) cannot exist?’
“The serpent said, ’O king, if thou recognise him as a Brahmana by characteristics, then, O long-lived one, the distinction of caste becometh futile as long as conduct doth not come into play.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’In human society, O mighty and highly intelligent serpent, it is difficult to ascertain one’s caste, because of promiscuous intercourse among the four orders. This is my opinion. Men belonging to all orders (promiscuously) beget offspring upon women of all the orders. And of men, speech, sexual intercourse, birth and death are common. And to this the Rishis have borne testimony by using as the beginning of a sacrifice such expressions as—of what caste so ever we may be, we celebrate the sacrifice. Therefore, those that are wise have asserted that character is the chief essential requisite. The natal ceremony of a person is performed before division of the umbilical cord. His mother then acts as its Savitri and his father officiates as priest. He is considered as a Sudra as long as he is not initiated in the Vedas. Doubts having arisen on this point, O prince, of serpents, Swayambhuba Manu has declared, that the mixed castes are to be regarded as better than the (other) classes, if having gone through the ceremonies of purification, the latter do not conform to the rules of good conduct, O excellent snake! Whosoever now conforms to the rules of pure and virtuous conduct, him have I, ere now, designated as a Brahmana.’ The serpent replied, ’O Yudhishthira, thou art acquainted with all that is fit to be known and having listened to thy words, how can I (now) eat up thy brother Vrikodara!’”
“Yudhishthira said, ’In this world, you are so learned in the Vedas and Vedangas; tell me (then), what one should do to attain salvation?’
“The serpent replied, ’O scion of the Bharata’s race, my belief is that the man who bestows alms on proper objects, speaks kind words and tells the truth and abstains from doing injury to any creature goes to heaven.’
“Yudhishthira enquired, ’Which, O snake, is the higher of the two, truth or alms-giving? Tell me also the greater or less importance of kind behaviour and of doing injury to no creature.’
“The snake replied, ’The relative merits of these virtues, truth and alms-giving, kind speech and abstention from injury to any creature, are known (measured) by their objective gravity (utility). Truth is (sometimes) more praiseworthy than some acts of charity; some of the latter again are more commendable than true speech. Similarly, O mighty king, and lord of the earth, abstention from doing injury to any creature is seen to be important than good speech and vice-versa. Even so it is, O king, depending on effects. And now, if thou hast anything else to ask, say it all, I shall enlighten thee!’ Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me, O snake, how the
 More literally, the state of the gods. It may appropriately be remarked here that the ordinary Hindu gods, of the post-Vedic period, like the gods of Ancient Greece and Italy, were simply a class of superhuman beings, distinctly contra-distinguished from the Supreme Spirit, the Paramatman or Parabrahma. After death, a virtuous man was supposed to be transformed into one of these so-called gods.
 This is the well-known
and popular doctrine of
transmigration of souls.
“Yudhishthira asked, ’O snake, tell me truly and without confusion how that dissociated spirit becomes cognisant of sound, touch, form, flavour, and taste. O great-minded one, dost thou not perceive them, simultaneously by the senses? Do thou, O best of snakes, answer all these queries!’ The snake replied, ’O long-lived one, the thing called Atman (spirit), betaking itself to corporeal tenement and manifesting itself through the organs of sense, becomes duly cognisant of perceptible objects. O prince of Bharata’s race, know that the senses, the mind, and the intellect, assisting the soul in its perception of objects, are called Karanas. O my son, the eternal spirit, going out of its sphere, and aided by the mind, acting through the senses, the receptacles of all perceptions, successively perceives these things (sound, form, flavour, &c). O most valiant of men, the mind of living creatures is the cause of all perception, and, therefore, it cannot be cognisant of more than one thing at a time. That spirit, O foremost of men, betaking itself to the space between the eyebrows, sends the high and low intellect to different objects. What the Yogins perceive after the action of the intelligent principle by that is manifested the action of the soul.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me the distinguishing characteristics of the mind and the intellect. The knowledge of it is ordained as the chief duty of persons meditating on the Supreme Spirit.’
“The snake replied, ’Through illusion, the soul becomes subservient to the intellect. The intellect, though known to be subservient to the soul, becomes (then) the director of the latter. The intellect is brought into play by acts of perception; the mind is self-existent. The Intellect does not cause the sensation (as of pain, pleasure, &c), but the mind does. This, my son, is the difference between the mind and the intellect. You too are learned in this matter, what is your opinion?’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O most intelligent one, you have fine intelligence and you know all that is fit to be known. Why do you ask me that question? You knew all and you performed such wonderful deeds and you lived in heaven. How could then illusion overpower you? Great is my doubt on this point.’ The snake replied, ’Prosperity intoxicates even the wise and valiant men. Those who live in luxury, (soon) lose their reason. So, I too, O Yudhishthira, overpowered by the infatuation of prosperity, have fallen from my high state and having recovered my self-consciousness, am enlightening thee thus! O victorious king, thou hast done me a good turn. By conversing with thy pious self, my painful curse has been expiated. In days of yore, while I used to sojourn in heaven in a celestial chariot, reveling in my pride, I did not think of anything else, I used to exact tribute from Brahmarshis, Devas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Pannagas and all other dwellers of the three worlds. O lord of earth, such was the spell of my eyes, that on whatever creature, I fixed them, I instantly destroyed his power. Thousands of Brahmarshis used to draw my chariot. The delinquency, O king, was the cause of my fall from my high prosperity. Among them, Agastya was one day drawing my conveyance, and my feet came in contact with his body; Agastya then pronounced (this curse) on me, in anger, “Ruin seize thee, do thou become a snake.” So, losing my glory, I fell down from that excellent car and while falling, I beheld myself turned into a snake, with head downwards. I thus implored that Brahmana, “May this curse be extinguished, O adorable one! You ought to forgive one who has been so foolish from infatuation.” Then he kindly told me this, as I was being hurled down (from heaven), “The virtuous king Yudhishthira will save thee from this curse, and when, O king, horrible sin of pride will be extinguished in thee, thou shalt attain salvation.” And I was struck with wonder on seeing (this) power of his austere virtues; and therefore, have I questioned thee about the attributes of the Supreme Spirit and of Brahmanas. Truth, charity, self-restraint, penance, abstention from doing injury to any creature, and constancy in virtue, these, O king, and not his race of family connections, are the means, by which a man must always secure salvation. May this brother of thine, the mighty Bhimasena, meet with good luck and may happiness abide with thee! I must go to Heaven again.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “So saying, that king, Nahusha, quitted his serpentine form, and assuming his celestial shape he went back to Heaven. The glorious and pious Yudhishthira, too, returned to his hermitage with Dhaumya and his brother Bhima. Then the virtuous Yudhishthira narrated all that, in detail, to the Brahmanas who had assembled (there). On hearing that, his three brothers and all the Brahmanas and the renowned Draupadi too were covered with shame. And all those excellent Brahmanas desiring the welfare of the Pandavas, admonished Bhima for his foolhardiness, telling him not to attempt such things again, and the Pandavas too were greatly pleased at seeing the mighty Bhima out of danger, and continued to live there pleasantly.”
Vaisampayana said, “While they were dwelling at that place, there set in the season of the rains, the season that puts an end to the hot weather and is delightful to all animated beings. Then the black clouds, rumbling loudly, and covering the heavens and the cardinal points, ceaselessly rained during day and night. These clouds, counted by hundreds and by thousands, looked like domes in the rainy season. From the earth disappeared the effulgence of the sun; its place was taken by the stainless lustre of the lightning; the earth became delightful to all, being overgrown with grass, with gnats and reptiles in their joy; it was bathed with rain and possessed with calm. When the waters had covered all, it could not be known whether the ground was at all even or uneven;—whether there were rivers or trees or hills. At the end of the hot season, the rivers added beauty to the woods being themselves full of agitated waters, flowing with great force and resembling serpents in the hissing sound they made. The boars, the stags and the birds, while the rain was falling upon them began to utter sounds of various kinds which could be heard within the forest tracts. The chatakas, the peacocks and the host of male Kohilas and the excited frogs, all ran about in joy. Thus while the Pandavas were roaming about in the deserts and sandy tracts, the happy season of rain, so various in aspect and resounding with clouds passed away. Then set in the season of autumn, thronged with ganders and cranes and full of joy; then the forest tracts were overrun with grass; the river turned limpid; the firmament and stars shone brightly., And the autumn, thronged with beasts and birds, was joyous and pleasant for the magnanimous sons of Pandu. Then were seen nights, that were free from dust and cool with clouds and beautified by myriads of planets and stars and the moon. And they beheld rivers and ponds, adorned with lilies and white lotuses, full of cool and pleasant water. And while roving by the river Saraswati whose banks resembled the firmament itself and were overgrown with canes, and as such
Vaisampayana said, “O son of Kuru, they, Yudhishthira and others, having reached the forest of Kamyaka, were hospitably received by hosts of saints and they lived together with Krishna. And while the sons of Pandu were dwelling in security in that place, many Brahmanas came to wait upon them. And a certain Brahmana said, ’He the beloved friend of Arjuna, of powerful arms and possessed of self control, descendant of Sura, of a lofty intellect, will come, for, O ye foremost of the descendants of Kuru, Hari knows that ye have arrived here. For, Hari has always a longing for your sight and always seeks your welfare. And Markandeya, who lived very many years devoted to great austerities, given to study and penance, will erelong come and meet you.’ And the very moment that he was uttering these words, there was beheld Krishna, coming thitherward upon a car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya and Sugriva,—he the best of those that ride on cars, accompanied by Satyabhama, is like Indra by Sachi, the daughter of Pulaman. And the son of Devaki came, desirous to see those most righteous of the descendants of Kuru. And the sagacious Krishna, having alighted from the car, prostrated himself, with pleasure in his heart, before the virtuous king, in the prescribed way, and also before Bhima, that foremost of powerful men. And he paid his respects to Dhaumya, while the twin brothers prostrated themselves to him. And he embraced Arjuna of the curly hair; and spoke words of solace to the daughter of Drupada. And the descendant of the chief of the Dasaraha tribe, that chastiser of foes, when he saw the beloved Arjuna come near him, having seen him after a length of time, clasped him again and again. And so too Satyabhama also, the beloved consort of Krishna, embraced the daughter of Drupada, the beloved wife of the sons of Pandu. Then these sons of Pandu, accompanied by their wife and priests, paid their respects to Krishna, whose eyes resembled the white lotus and surrounded him on all sides. And Krishna, when united with Arjuna, the son of Pritha, the winner of riches and the terror of the demons assumed a beauty comparable to that of Siva, the magnanimous lord of all created beings, when he,
Vaisampayana said, “O descendant of Bharata, while Krishna, the descendant of the Vrishnis and the virtuous king, were thus talking, there appeared then the saint Markandeya, grown grey in the practise of penances. And he had seen many thousand years of life, was of a pious soul, and devoted to great austerities. Signs of old age he had none; and deathless he was, and endued with beauty and generous and many good qualities. And he looked like one only twenty-five years old. And when the aged saint, who had seen many thousand years of life, came, all the Brahmanas paid their respects to him and so did Krishna together with Pandu’s son. And when that wisest saint, thus honoured, took his seat in a friendly way, Krishna addressed him, in accordance with the views of the Brahmanas and of Pandu’s sons, thus,—
“’The sons of Pandu, and the Brahmanas assembled here, and the daughter of Drupada, and Satyabhama, likewise myself, are all anxious to hear your most excellent words, O Markandeya! Propound to us the holy stories of events of bygone times, and the eternal rules of righteous conduct by which are guided kings and women and saints!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “When they had all taken their seats, Narada also, the divine saint, of purified soul, came on a visit to Pandu’s sons. Him also, then, of great soul, all those foremost men of superior intellect, honoured in the prescribed form, by offering water to wash his feet, and the well-known oblation called the Arghya. Then the godlike saint, Narada, learning that they were about to hear the speech of Markandeya, expressed his assent to the arrangement. And he, the deathless, knowing what would be opportune, said smilingly, ’O saint of the Brahmana caste, speak what you were about to say unto the sons of Pandu!’ Thus addressed, Markandeya, devoted to great austerities, replied, ‘Wait a moment. A great deal will be narrated.’ Thus addressed, the sons of Pandu, together with those twice-born ones, waited a moment, looking at that great saint, (bright) as the mid-day sun.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Pandu’s son, the king of the Kuru tribe, having observed that the great saint as willing to speak, questioned him with a view to suggesting topics to speak upon, saying, ’You who are ancient (in years), know the deeds of gods and demons, and illustrious saints, and of all the royal ones. We consider you as worthy of being worshipped and honoured; and we have long yearned after your company. And here is this son of Devaki, Krishna, who has come to us on a visit. Verily, when I look at myself, fallen away from happiness, and when I contemplate the sons of Dhritarashtra, of evil life, flourishing in every way, the idea arises in me that it is man who does all acts, good or bad, and that it is he that enjoys the fruit the acts bring forth. How then is god the agent? And, O best of those that are proficient in the knowledge
“Markandeya said, ’O best of those that can speak, this question befits thee, and is just what it should be. Thou knowest all that there is to know. But thou art asking this question, simply for the sake of form. Here I shall answer thee: listen to me with an attentive mind, as to how in this world and in that to come, a man experienceth happiness and misery. The lord of born beings, himself sprung first of all, created, for all embodied beings, bodies which were stainless, pure, and obedient to virtuous impulses, O wisest of the descendants of Kuru! The ancient men had all their desires fulfilled, were given to praiseworthy courses of life, were speakers of truth, godly and pure. All were equal to the gods, could ascend to the sky at their pleasure, and could come back again; and all went about at their pleasure. And they had their death and their life also under their own control; and they had few sufferings; had no fear; and had their wishes fulfilled; and they were free from trouble; could visit the gods and the magnanimous saints; knew by heart all righteous rules; were self-controlled and free from envy. And they lived many thousand years; and had many thousand sons. Then in course of time they came to be restricted to walking solely on the surface of the earth, overpowered by lust and wrath, dependent for subsistence upon falsehood and trick, overwhelmed by greed and senselessness. Then those wicked men, when disembodied, on account of their unrighteous and unblessed deeds, went to hell in a crooked way. Again and again, they were grilled, and, again and again they began to drag their miserable existence in this wonderful world. And their desires were unfulfilled, the objects unaccomplished, and their knowledge became unavailing. And their senses were paralysed and they became apprehensive of everything and the cause of other people’s sufferings. And they were generally marked by wicked deeds, and born in low families; they became wicked and afflicted with diseases, and the terror of others. And they became short-lived and sinful and they reaped the fruit of their terrible deeds. And coveting everything, they became godless and indifferent in mind, O son of Kunti! The destiny of every creature after death is determined by his acts in this world. Thou hast asked me where this treasure of acts of the sage and the ignorant remain, and where they enjoy the fruit of their good and evil deeds! Do thou
Vaisampayana continued,—“The sons of Pandu said to the high-souled Markandeya, ’We long to hear of the greatness of the Brahmanas. Do thou tell us of it!’ Thus asked, the revered Markandeya, of austere virtue and high spiritual energy, and proficient in all departments of knowledge, replied, ’A strong-limbed, handsome young prince of the race of the Haihayas, a conqueror of hostile cities, (once) went out hunting. And (while) roaming in the wilderness of big trees and thickets of grass, he saw, at no great distance from him, a Muni with the skin of a black antelope for his upper garment, and killed him for a deer. Pained at what he had done, and his senses paralysed with grief, he repaired to the presence of the more distinguished of the Haihaya chiefs. The lotus-eyed prince related to them the particulars. On hearing the account, O my son, and beholding the body of the Muni who had subsisted on fruits and roots, they were sorely afflicted in mind. And they all set out enquiring here and there as they proceeded, as to whose son the Muni might be. And they soon after reached the hermitage of Arishtanemi, son of Kasyapa. And saluting that great Muni, so constant in austerity, they all remained standing, while the Muni, on his part, busied himself about their reception. And they said unto the illustrious Muni, “By a freak of destiny, we have ceased to merit thy welcome: indeed, we have killed a Brahmana!” And the regenerate Rishi said to them, “How hath a Brahmana come to be killed by you, and say where may be he? Do ye all witness the power of my ascetic practices!” And they, having related everything to him as it had happened went back, but found not the body of the dead Rishi on the spot (where they had left it). And having searched for him, they returned, ashamed and bereft of all perception, as in a dream. And then, O thou conqueror of hostile cities, the Muni Tarkshya, addressed them, saying, “Ye princes, can this be the Brahmana of your killing? This Brahmana, endowed with occult gifts from spiritual exercises, is, indeed, my son!” Seeing that Rishi, O lord of the earth, they were struck with bewilderment. And they said, “What
“Markandeya continued, ’Do ye again hear from me the glory of the Brahmanas! It is said that a royal sage of the name of Vainya was once engaged in performing the horse-sacrifice and that Atri desired to go to him for alms. But Atri subsequently gave up his desire of wealth, from religious scruples. After much thought he, of great power, became desirous of living in the woods, and, calling his wife and sons together, addressed them thus, “Let us attain the highly tranquil and complete fruition of our desires. May it, therefore, be agreeable to you to repair quickly to the forest for a life of great merit.” His wife, arguing from motives of virtue also then said to him, “Hie thee to the illustrious prince Vainya, and beg of him vast riches! Asked by thee, that royal sage, engaged in sacrifice will give thee wealth. Having gone there, O regenerate Rishi, and received from him vast wealth, thou canst distribute it among thy sons and servants and then thou canst go whithersoever thou pleasest. This, indeed, is the higher virtue as instanced by men conversant with religion.” Atri replied, “I am informed, O virtuous one, by the high-souled Gautama, that Vainya is a pious prince, devoted to the cause of truth; but there are Brahmanas (about his persons) who are jealous of me; and as Gautama hath told me this, I do not venture to go there, for (while) there, if I were to advise what is good and calculated to secure piety and the fulfilment of one’s desires, they would contradict me with words unproductive of any good. But I approve of any counsel and will go there; Vainya will give me kine and hoards of riches."’
“Markandeya continued, ’So saying, he, of great ascetic merit, hastened to Vainya’s sacrifice and reaching the sacrificial altar and making his obeisance to the king and praising him with well-meaning speeches, he spoke these words, “Blessed art thou, O king! Ruling over the earth, thou art the foremost of sovereigns! The Munis praise thee, and besides thee there is none so versed in religious lore!” To him the Rishi Gautama, of great ascetic merit, then indignantly replied saying, “Atri, do not repeat this nonsense. (It seems) thou art not in thy proper senses. In this world of ours, Mahendra the lord of all created beings (alone) is the foremost of all sovereigns!” Then, O, great prince, Atri said to Gautama, “As Indra, the lord of all creatures, ruleth over our destinies, so doth this king! Thou art mistaken. It is thou who hast lost thine senses from want of spiritual perception!” Gautama replied, “I know I am not mistaken; it is thou who art labouring under a misconception in this matter. To secure the king’s countenance, thou art flattering him in (this) assembly of the people. Thou dost not know what the highest virtue, nor dost thou feel the need for it. Thou art like a child steeped in ignorance, for what then hast thou become (so) old in years?"’
“Markandeya continued, ’While those two men were thus disputing in the presence of the Munis, who were engaged in Vainya’s sacrifice the latter enquired, “What is the matter with them, that maketh them talk so vociferously?” Then the very pious Kasyapa learned in all religious lore, approaching the disputants asked them what was the matter. And then Gautama, addressing that assembly of great Munis said, “Listen, O great Brahmanas, to the point in dispute between us. Atri hath said that Vainya is the ruler of our destinies; great is our doubt on this point."’
“Markandeya continued, ’On hearing this, the great-mind Munis went instantly to Sanatkumara who was well versed in religion to clear their doubt. And then he of great ascetic merit, having heard the particulars from them addressed them these words full of religious meaning. And Sanatkumara said, “As fire assisted by the wind burneth down forests, so a Brahmana’s energy in union with a Kshatriya’s or a Kshatriya’s joined with a Brahmana’s destroyeth all enemies. The sovereign is the distinguished giver of laws and the protector of his subjects. He is (a protector of created beings) like Indra, (a propounder of morals) like Sukra, (a counsellor) like Vrihaspati and (hence he is also called) the ruler of men’s destinies. Who does not think it proper to worship the individual of whom such terms as ‘preserver of created beings,’ ‘royal,’ ‘emperor,’ ‘Kshatriya’ (or saviour of the earth), ‘lord of earth,’ ‘ruler of men,’ are applied in praise? The king is (also) styled the prime cause (of social order, as being the promulgator of laws), ’the virtuous in wars,’ (and therefore, preserver
“Markandeya continued, ’Then that illustrious prince, highly pleased with the victorious party, joyfully said to Atri, who had praised him erewhile. “O regenerate Rishi, thou hast made and styled me the greatest and most excellent of men here, and compared me to the gods; therefore, shall I give thee vast and various sorts of wealth. My impression is that thou art omniscient. I give thee, O well-dressed and well-adorned one, a hundred millions of gold coins and also ten bharas of gold.” Then Atri, of high austere virtues and great spiritual powers, thus welcomed (by the king), accepted all the gifts without any breach of propriety, and returned home. And then giving his wealth to his sons and subduing his self, he cheerfully repaired to the forest with the object of performing penances.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’O thou conqueror of hostile cities, in this connection Saraswati too, when interrogated by that intelligent Muni Tarkshya, had said (this). Do thou listen to her words! Tarkshya had asked, saying, “Excellent lady, what is the best thing for a man to do here below, and how must he act so that he may not deviate from (the path of) virtue. Tell me all this, O beautiful lady, so that instructed by thee, I may not fall away from the path of virtue! When and how must one offer oblations to the (sacred) fire and when must he worship so that virtue may not be compromised? Tell me all this, O excellent lady, so that I may live without any passions, craving, or desire, in this world."’
“Markandeya continued, ’Thus questioned by that cheerful Muni and seeing him eager to learn and endued with high intelligence, Saraswati addressed these pious and beneficial words to the Brahmana, Tarkshya.’
“’Saraswati said, “He who is engaged in the study of the Vedas, and with sanctity and equanimity perceives the supreme Godhead in his proper sphere, ascends the celestial regions and attains supreme beatitude with the Immortals. Many large, beautiful, pellucid and sacred lakes are there, abounding with fish, flowers, and golden lilies. They are like shrines and their very sight is calculated to assuage grief. Pious men, distinctively worshipped by virtuous well-adorned golden-complexioned Apsaras,
“’Tarkshya said, “O beautiful lady, explain to me who ask thee, the rules for the maintenance of the sacred fire as inculcated in the Vedas. I shall now learn from thee the time-honoured rules for perpetually keeping up the sacred fire."’”
“Then Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, said to the Brahmana, Markandeya, ‘Do thou now narrate the history of Vaivaswata Manu.’
“Markandeya replied, ’O king, O foremost of men, there was a powerful and great Rishi of the name of Manu. He was the son of Vivaswan and was equal unto Brahma in glory. And he far excelled his father and grandfather in strength, in power, in fortune, as also in religious austerities. And standing on one leg and with uplifted hand, that lord of men did severe penance in the jujube forest called Visala. And there with head downwards and with steadfast eyes he practised the rigid and severe penance for ten thousand years. And one day, whilst he was practising austerities there with
“’So saying the fish vanished instantly. And Vaivaswata Manu himself became desirous of creating the world. In this work of creation illusion overtook him and he, therefore, practised great asceticism. And endowed with ascetic merit, Manu, O ornament of Bharata’s race, again set about his work of creating all beings in proper and exact order. This story which I have narrated to thee and the hearing of which destroyeth all sin, is celebrated as the Legend of the Fish. And the man who listeneth every day to this primeval history of Manu, attaineth happiness and all other objects of desire and goeth to heaven.’”
“Then the virtuous king Yudhishthira in all humility again enquired of the illustrious Markandeya, saying, ’O great Muni, thou hast seen many thousands of ages pass away. In this world there is none so longlived as thou! O best of those that have attained the knowledge of Supreme Spirit, there is none equal to thee in years except the great-minded Brahma living in the most exalted place. Thou, O Brahmana, worshippest Brahma at the time of the great dissolution of the universe, when this world is without sky and without the gods and Danavas. And when that cataclysm ceaseth and the Grandsire awaketh, thou alone, O regenerate Rishi, beholdest Brahma duly re-create the four orders of beings after having filled the cardinal points with air and consigned the waters to their proper place. Thou, O great Brahmana, hast worshipped in his presence the great Lord and Grandsire of all creatures with soul rapt in meditation and entirely swallowed up in Him! And, O Brahmana, thou hast many a time witnessed with thy eyes, the primeval acts of creation, and, plunged in severe ascetic austerities, thou hast also surpassed the Prajapatis themselves! Thou art esteemed as one who is nearest to Narayana, in the next world. Many a time in days of yore hast thou beheld the Supreme Creator of the universe with eyes of spiritual abstraction and renunciation, having first opened thy pure and lotus-like heart—the only place where the multiform Vishnu of universal knowledge may be seen! It is for this, O learned Rishi, by the grace of God neither all-destroying Death, nor dotage that causeth the decay of the body, hath any power over thee! When neither the sun, nor the moon, nor fire, nor earth, nor air, nor sky remains, when all the world being destroyed looketh like one vast ocean, when the Gods and Asuras and the great Uragas are annihilated, and when the great-minded Brahma, the Lord of all creatures, taking his seat on a lotus flower, sleepeth there, then thou alone remainest to worship him! And, O best of Brahman as thou hast seen all this that occurred before, with thy own eyes. And thou alone hast witnessed many things by the senses, and never in all the worlds hath there been any thing unknown to thee! Therefore do I long to hear any discourse explaining the causes of things!’
“Markandeya replied, ’Indeed, I shall explain all, after having bowed down to that Self-existent, Primordial Being, who is eternal and undeteriorating and inconceivable, and who is at once vested with and divested of attributes. O tiger among men, this Janardana attired in yellow robes is the grand Mover and Creator of all, the Soul and Framer of all things, and the lord of all! He is also called the Great, the Incomprehensible, the Wonderful and the Immaculate. He is without beginning and without end, pervades all the world, is Unchangeable and Undeteriorating. He is the Creator of all, but is himself uncreate and is the Cause of all power. His knowledge is greater than that of all the gods together. O best of kings and pre-eminent of men, after the dissolution of the universe, all this wonderful creation again comes into life. Four thousand years have been said to constitute the Krita Yuga. Its dawn also, as well as its eve, hath been said to comprise four hundred years. The Treta-Yuga is said to comprise three thousand years, and its dawn, as well as its eve, is said to comprise three hundred years. The Yuga that comes next is called Dwapara, and it hath been computed to consist of two thousand years. Its dawn, as well as its eve, is said to comprise two hundred years. The next Yuga, called Kali, is said to comprise one thousand years and its dawn, as well as eve, is said to comprise one hundred years. Know, O king, that the duration of the dawn is the same as that of the eve of a Yuga. And after the Kali Yuga is over, the Krita Yuga comes again. A cycle of the Yugas thus comprised a period of twelve thousand years. A full thousand of such cycles would constitute a day of Brahma. O tiger among men, when all this universe is withdrawn and ensconced within its home—the Creator himself—that disappearance of all things is called by the learned to be Universal Destruction. O bull of the Bharata race, towards the end of the last mentioned period of one thousand years, i.e., when the period wanted to complete a cycle is short, men generally become addicted to falsehood in speech. O son of Pritha, then sacrifices and gifts and vows, instead of being performed by principals are suffered to be performed by representatives! Brahmanas then perform acts that are reserved for the Sudras, and the Sudras betake themselves to the acquisition of wealth. Then Kshatriyas also betake themselves to the practice of religious acts. In the Kali age, the Brahmanas also abstain from sacrifices and the study of the Vedas, are divested of their staff and deer-skin, and in respect of food become omnivorous. And, O son, the Brahmanas in that age also abstain from prayers and meditation while the Sudras betake themselves to these! The course of the world looketh contrary, and indeed, these are the signs that foreshadow the Universal Destruction. And, O lord
“’O king, towards the end of those thousands of years constituting the four Yugas and when the lives of men become so short, a drought occurs extending for many years. And then, O lord of the earth, men and creatures endued with small strength and vitality, becoming hungry die by thousands. And then, O lord of men, seven blazing Suns, appearing in the firmament, drink up all the waters of the Earth that are in rivers or seas. And, O bull of the Bharata race, then also everything of the nature of wood and grass that is wet to dry, is consumed and
“’And then when the universe become one dead expanse of water, when all mobile and immobile creatures have been destroyed, when the gods and the Asuras cease to be, when the Yakshas and the Rakshasas are no more, when man is not, when trees and beasts of prey have disappeared, when the firmament itself has ceased to exist, I alone, O lord of the earth, wander in affliction. And, O best of kings, wandering over that dreadful expanse of water, my heart becometh afflicted in consequence of my not beholding any creature! And, O king, wandering without cessation, through that flood, I become fatigued, but I obtain no resting place! And some time after I behold in that expanse of accumulated waters a vast and wide-extending banian tree, O lord of earth! And I then behold, O Bharata, seated on a conch, O king, overlaid with a celestial bed and attached to a far-extended bough of that banian, a boy, O great king, of face fair as the lotus or the moon, and of eyes, O ruler of men, large as petals of a full blown lotus! And at this sight, O lord of earth, wonder filled my heart. And I asked myself, “How doth this boy alone sit here when the world itself hath been destroyed?” And, O king, although I have full knowledge of the Past, the Present, and the Future, still I failed to learn anything of this by means of even ascetic meditation. Endued with the lustre of the Atasi flower, and decked with the mark of Sreevatsa, he seemed to me to be like the abode of Lakshmi, herself. And that boy, of eyes like the petals of the lotus, having the mark of Sreevatsa, and possessed of blazing effulgence, then addressed me in words highly pleasant to the ear, saying, “O sire, I know thee to be fatigued and desirous of rest. O Markandeya of Bhrigu’s race, rest thou here as long as thou wishest. O best of Munis, entering within my body, rest thou there. That hath been the abode assigned to thee by me. I have been pleased with thee.” Thus addressed by that boy, a sense of total disregard possessed me in respect both of my long life and state of manhood. Then that boy suddenly opened his mouth, and as fate would have it, I entered his mouth deprived of the power of motion. But O king, having suddenly entered into the stomach of that boy, I behold there the whole earth teeming with cities and kingdoms. And, O best of men, while wandering through the stomach of that illustrious one, I behold the Ganga, the Satudru, the Sita, the Yamuna, and the Kausiki; the Charmanwati, the Vetravati; the Chandrabhaga, the Saraswati, the Sindhu, the Vipasa, and the Godavari; the Vaswokasara, the Nalini and the Narmada; the Tamra, and the Venna also of delightful current and sacred waters; the Suvenna, the Krishna-venna, the Irama, and the Mahanadi; the Vitasti, O great king, and that large river, the Cavery; the one also, O tiger among men, the Visalya, and the Kimpuna also. I beheld all these and many other rivers that are on the earth! And,
“Markandeya continued, ’The Deity then said, “O Brahmana, the gods even do not know me truly! As however, I have been gratified with thee, I will tell thee how I created the universe! O regenerate Rishi, thou art devoted to thy ancestors and hast also sought my protection! Thou hast also beheld me with thy eyes, and thy ascetic merit also is great! In ancient times I called the waters by the name of Nara; and because the waters have ever been my ayana or home,
“Markandeya continued, ’Having said so unto me that wonderful Deity vanished, O son, from my sight! I then beheld this varied and wondrous creation start into life. O king, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, I witnessed all this, so wonderful, O thou foremost of all virtuous men, at the end of the Yuga! And the Deity, of eyes large as lotus leaves, seen by me, in days of yore is this tiger among men, this Janardana who hath become thy relative! It is in consequence of the boon granted to me by this one that memory doth not fail me, that the period of my life, O son of Kunti, is so long and death itself is under my control. This is that ancient and supreme Lord Hari of inconceivable soul who hath taken his birth as Krishna of the Vrishni race, and who endued with mighty arms, seemeth to sport in this world! This one is Dhatri and Vidhatri, the Destroyer of all the Eternal, the bearer of the Sreevatsa mark on his breast, the Lord of the lord of all creatures, the highest of the high, called also Govinda! Beholding this foremost of all gods, this ever-victorious Being, attired in yellow robes, this chief of the Vrishni race, my recollection cometh back to me! This Madhava is the father and mother of all creatures! Ye bulls of the Kuru race, seek ye the refuge of this Protector!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the sons of Pritha and those bulls among men—the twins, along with Draupadi, all bowed down unto Janardana. And that tiger among men deserving of every respect thus revered by the sons of Pandu, then consoled them all with words of great sweetness.”
Vaisampayana said “Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, once more asked the great Muni Markandeya about the future course of the government of the Earth.
“And Yudhishthira said, ’O thou foremost of all speakers, O Muni of Bhrigu’s race, that which we have heard from thee about the destruction and re-birth of all things at the end of the Yuga, is, indeed, full of wonder! I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect of what may happen in the Kali age. When morality and virtue will be at an end, what will remain there! What will be the prowess of men in that age, what their food, and what their amusements? What will be the period of life at the end of the Yuga? What also is the limit, having attained which the Krita age will begin anew? Tell me all in detail, O Muni, for all that thou narratest is varied and delightful.’
“Thus addressed, that foremost of Munis began his discourse again, delighting that tiger of the Vrishni race and the sons of Pandu as well. And Markandeya said, ’Listen, O monarch, to all that hath been seen and heard by me, and to all, O king of kings, that hath been known to me by intuition from the grace of the God of gods! O bull of the Bharata race, listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during the sinful age. O bull of the Bharata race, in the Krita age, everything was free from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and morality like a bull was among men, with all the four legs complete. In the Treta age sin took away one of these legs and morality had three legs. In the Dwapara, sin and morality are mixed half and half; and accordingly morality is said to have two legs only. In the dark age (of Kali), O thou best of the Bharata race, morality mixed with three parts of sin liveth by the side of men. Accordingly morality then is said to wait on men, with only a fourth part of itself remaining. Know, O Yudhishthira, that the period of life, the energy, intellect and the physical strength of men decrease in every Yuga! O Pandava, the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, (in the Kali age) will practise morality and virtue deceitfully and men in general will deceive their fellows by spreading the net of virtue. And men with false reputation of learning will, by their acts, cause Truth to be contracted and concealed. And in consequence of the shortness of their lives they will not be able to acquire much knowledge. And in consequence of the littleness of their knowledge, they will have no wisdom.
 The word in the text is
Kora-dushakas, supposed by Wilson
to be the Paspalum frumentacea (vide Dict.).
 The word in the text is mlecchibhutam. The Sanskrit grammar affords a great facility for the formation of verbs from substantives. Mlecchify may be hybrid, but it correctly and shortly signifies the Sanskrit word.
“’And when those terrible times will be over, the creation will begin anew. And men will again be created and distributed into the four orders beginning with Brahmanas. And about that time, in order that men may increase, Providence, according to its pleasure, will once more become propitious. And then when the Sun, the Moon, and Vrihaspati will, with the constellation Pushya, enter the same sign, the Krita age will begin again. And the clouds will commence to shower seasonably, and the stars and stellar conjunctions will become auspicious. And the planets, duly revolving in their orbits, will become exceedingly propitious. And all around, there will be prosperity and abundance and health and peace. And commissioned by Time, a Brahmana of the name of Kalki will take his birth. And he will glorify Vishnu and possess great energy, great intelligence, and great prowess. And he will take his birth in a town of the name of Sambhala in an auspicious Brahmana family. And vehicles and weapons, and warriors and arms, and coats of mail will be at his disposal as soon as he will think of them. And he will be the king of kings, and ever victorious with the strength of virtue. And he will restore order and peace in this world crowded with creatures and contradictory in its course. And that blazing Brahmana of mighty intellect, having appeared, will destroy all things. And he will be the Destroyer of all, and will inaugurate a new Yuga. And surrounded by the Brahmanas, that Brahmana will exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge.’”
 Pushya is the eighth
lunar asterism consisting of three
stars, of which one is, the Cancer. (Vide Wilson’s Diet.).
“Markandeya continued, ’Having exterminated
the thieves and robbers, Kalki will, at a great
Horse-sacrifice, duly give away this earth to the
Brahmanas, and having established anew the blessed
rectitude ordained by the Self-create, Kalki,
of sacred deeds and illustrious reputation, will enter
a delightful forest, and the people of this earth
will imitate his conduct, and when the Brahmanas will
have exterminated the thieves and robbers, there will
be prosperity everywhere (on earth). And as the
countries of the earth will one after another be subjugated,
that tiger among Brahmanas, Kalki, having placed
deer skins and lances and tridents there, will roam
over the earth, adored by foremost Brahmanas and showing
his regard for them and engaged all the while in slaughtering
thieves and robbers. And he will exterminate the
thieves and robbers amid heart-rending cries of “Oh,
father—Oh, mother!—O son!”
and the like, and O Bharata, when sin will thus have
been rooted out and virtue will flourish on arrival
of the Krita age, men will once more betake
themselves to the practice of religious rites.
And in the age that will set in, viz., the Krita,
well-planted gardens and sacrificial compounds and
large tanks and educational centres for the cultivation
of Brahmanic lore and ponds and temples will re-appear
everywhere. And the ceremonies and rites of sacrifices
will also begin to be performed. And the Brahmanas
will become good and honest, and the regenerate ones,
devoted to ascetic austerities, will become Munis
and the asylums of ascetics, which had before been
filled with wretches will once more be homes of men
devoted to truth, and men in general will begin to
honour and practise truth. And all seeds, sown
on earth, will grow, and, O monarch, every kind of
crop will grow in every season. And men will
devotedly practise charity and vows and observances,
and the Brahmanas devoted to meditation and sacrifices
will be of virtuous soul and always cheerful, and
the rulers of the earth will govern their kingdoms
virtuously, and in the Krita age, the Vaisyas
will be devoted to the practices of their order.
And the Brahmanas will be devoted to their six-fold
duties (of study, teaching, performance of sacrifices
on their own account, officiating at sacrifices performed
by others, charity and acceptance of gifts), and the
Kshatriyas will be devoted to feats of prowess.
And Sudras will be devoted to service of the three
“’These, O Yudhishthira, are the courses of the Krita, the Treta, the Dwapara and the succeeding age. I have now narrated to thee everything. I have also told thee, O son of Pandu, the periods embraced by the several Yugas as generally known. I have now told thee everything appertaining to both the past and the future as narrated by Vayu in the Parana (which goes by his name and) which is adored by the Rishis. Being immortal I have many a time beheld and otherwise ascertained the courses of the world. Indeed, all I have seen and felt I have now told thee. And, O thou of unfading glory, listen now with thy brothers to something else I will presently tell thee for clearing thy doubts about religion! O thou foremost of virtuous men, thou shouldst always fix thy soul on virtue, for, O monarch, a person of virtuous soul obtaineth bliss both here and hereafter. And, O sinless one, listen to the auspicious words that I will now speak to thee. Never do thou humiliate a Brahmana, for a Brahmana, if angry, may by his vow destroy the three worlds.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Markandeya, the royal head of the Kurus, endued with intelligence and possessed of great lustre, spoke these words of great wisdom, ’O muni, if I am to protect my subjects, to what course of conduct should I adhere? And how should I behave so that I may not fall away from the duties of my order?’
“Markandeya, hearing this, answered, ’Be merciful to all creatures, and devoted to their good. Love all creatures, scorning none. Be truthful in speech, humble, with passions under complete control, and always devoted to the protection of thy people. Practise virtue and renounce sin, and worship thou the manes and the god and whatever thou mayst have done from ignorance or carelessness, wash them off and expiate them by charity. Renouncing pride and vanity, be thou possessed to humility and good behaviour. And subjugating the whole earth, rejoice thou and let happiness be thine. This is the course of conduct that accords with virtue. I have recited to thee all that was and all that will be regarded as virtuous. There is nothing appertaining to the past or the future that is unknown to thee. Therefore, O son, take not to heart this present calamity of thine. They that are wise are never overwhelmed when they are persecuted by Time. O thou of mighty arms, the very dwellers of heaven cannot rise superior to Time. Time afflicts all creatures. O sinless one, let not doubt cross thy mind regarding the truth of what I have told thee, for, if thou sufferest doubt to enter thy heart, thy virtue will suffer diminution! O bull of the Bharata race, thou art born in the celebrated family of the Kurus. Thou shouldst practise that which I have told thee, in thought, word and deed.’
“Yudhishthira answered, ’O thou foremost of the regenerate ones, at thy command I will certainly act according to all the instructions thou hast given me, and which, O lord, are all so sweet to the ear. O foremost of Brahmanas, avarice and lust I have none, and neither fear nor pride nor vanity. I shall, therefore, O lord, follow all that thou hast told me.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having listened to the words of the intelligent Markandeya, the sons of Pandu, O king, along with the wielder of the bow called Saranga, and all those bulls among Brahmanas, and all others that were there, became filled with joy. And having heard those blessed words appertaining to olden time, from Markandeya gifted with wisdom, their hearts were filled with wonder.”
Janamejaya said, “It behoveth thee to narrate to me in full the greatness of the Brahmanas even as the mighty ascetic Markandeya had expounded it to the sons of Pandu.”
Vaisampayana said, “The eldest son of Pandu had asked Markandeya saying, ‘It behoveth thee to expound to me the greatness of Brahmanas.’ Markandeya answered him saying, ’Hear, O king, about the behaviour of Brahmanas in days of old.’
“And Markandeya continued, ’There was a king, by name Parikshit in Ayodhya and belonging to the race of Ikshvaku. And once upon a time Parikshit went a-hunting. And as he was riding alone on a horse chasing deer, the animal led him to a great distance (from the habitations of men). And fatigued by the distance he had ridden and afflicted with hunger and thirst he beheld in that part of the country whither he had been led, a dark and dense forest, and the king, beholding that forest, entered it and seeing a delightful tank within the forest, both the rider and the horse bathed in it, and refreshed by the bath and placing before his horse some stalks and fibres of the lotus, the king sat by the side of the tank. And while he was lying by the side of the tank, he heard certain sweet strains of music, and hearing those strains, he reflected, “I do not see here the foot-prints of men. Whose and whence then these strains?” And the king soon beheld a maiden of great beauty gathering flowers singing all the while, and the maiden soon came before the king, and the king thereupon asked her, “Blessed one, who art thou and whose?” And she replied, “I am a maiden.” And the king said, “I ask thee to be mine.” And the maiden answered, “Give me a pledge, for then only I can be thine, else not.” And the king then asked about the pledge and the girl answered, “Thou wilt never make me cast my eyes on water”, and the king saying, “So be it,” married her, and king Parikshit having married her sported (with her) in great joy, and sat with her in silence, and while the king was staying there, his troops reached the spot, and those troops beholding the monarch stood surrounding him, and cheered by the presence of troops, the king entered a handsome vehicle accompanied by his (newly) wedded wife. And having arrived at his capital he began to live with her in privacy. And persons that were even near enough to the king could not obtain any interview with him and the minister-in-chief enquired of those females that waited upon the king, asking, “What do ye do here?” And those women replied, “We behold here a female of unrivalled beauty. And the king sporteth with her, having married her with a pledge that he would never show her water.” And hearing those words, the minister-in-chief caused an artificial forest to be created, consisting of many trees with abundant flowers and fruits, and he caused to be excavated within that forest and towards one of its sides a large tank, placed in a secluded spot and full of water that was sweet as Amrita. The tank was well covered with a net of pearls. Approaching the king one day in private, he addressed the king saying, “This is a fine forest without water. Sport thou here joyfully!” And the king at those words of his minister entered that forest with that adorable wife of his, and the king sported with her in that delightful forest, and afflicted with hunger and thirst and fatigued and spent, the king beheld a bower of Madhavi creepers
 An Indian creeper of the
order of Goertnera racemosa. It
bears large white flowers of much fragrance.
“’Meanwhile the Rishi reflected, “The prince is young. Having obtained an excellent pair of animals, he is sporting with it in joy without returning it to me. Alas, what a pity it is!” And reflecting in this strain, the Rishi said unto a disciple of his, after the expiration of a month, “Go, O Atreya, and say to the king that if he has done with the Vami steeds, he should return them unto thy preceptor.” And the disciple Atreya, thereupon, repairing to the king, spoke unto him as instructed, and the king replied saying, “This pair of steeds deserves to be
“Markandeya continued, ’After Vamadeva had said this, there arose, O king, (four) Rakshasas of terrible mien, and as they, with lances in their hands, approached the king for slaying him, the latter cried aloud, saying, “If, O Brahmana, all the descendants of Ikshvaku’s race, if (my brother) Dala, if all these Vaisyas acknowledge my sway, then I will not yield up the Vami steeds to Vamadeva, for these men can never be virtuous.” And while he was uttering those words, those Rakshasas slew him, and the lord of earth was soon prostrated on the ground. And the Ikshvakus, learning that their king had been slain, installed Dala on the throne, and the Brahmana Vamadeva thereupon going to the kingdom (of the Ikshvakus), addressed the new monarch, saying, “O king, it hath been declared in all the sacred books that persons should give away unto Brahmanas. If thou fearest sin, O king, give me now the Vami steeds without delay.” And hearing these words of Vamadeva, the king in anger spoke unto his charioteer, saying, “Bring me an arrow from those I have kept, which is handsome to behold and tempered with poison, so that pierced by it Vamadeva may lie prostrate in pain, torn by the dogs.” Hearing this, Vamadeva answered, “I know, O king, that thou hast a son of ten years of age, called Senajita, begotten upon thy queen. Urged by my word, slay thou that dear boy of thine without delay by means of thy frightful arrows!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’At these words of Vamadeva, O king, that arrow of fierce energy, shot by the monarch, slew the prince in the inner apartments, and hearing this, Dala said there and then, “Ye people of Ikshvaku’s race, I will do ye good. I shall slay this Brahmana today, grinding him with force. Bring me another arrow of fierce energy. Ye lords of earth, behold my prowess now.” And at these words of Dala, Vamadeva said, “This arrow of terrible mien and tempered with poison, that thou aimest at me, thou shall not, O ruler of men, be able to aim nor even to shoot.” And thereupon the king said, “Ye men of Ikshvaku’s race, behold me incapable of shooting the arrow that hath been taken up by me. I fail to compass the death of this Brahmana. Let Vamadeva who is blessed with a long life live.” Then Vamadeva said, “Touching thy queen with this arrow, thou mayst purge thyself of the sin (of attempting to take the life of a Brahmana).” And king Dala did as he was directed and the queen then addressed the Muni, and said, “O Vamadeva, let me be able to duly instruct this wretched husband of mine from day to day, imparting unto him words of happy import; and let me always wait upon and serve the Brahmanas, and by this acquire, O Brahmana, the sacred regions hereafter.” And hearing these words of the queen, Vamadeva said, “O thou of beautiful eyes, thou hast saved this royal race. Beg thou an incomparable boon. I will grant thee whatever thou mayst ask. And, O thou faultless one, rule thou, O princess, these thy kinsmen and this great kingdom of the Ikshvakus!” And hearing these words of Vamadeva the princess said, “This, O holy one, is the boon I seek, viz., that my husband may now be freed from his sin, and that thou mayst be employed in thinking of the weal of his son and kinsmen. This is the boon that I ask, O thou foremost of Brahmanas!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Hearing these words of the queen, that Muni, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, said, “So be it.” And thereupon king Dala became highly glad and gave unto the Muni his Vami steeds, having bowed down unto him with reverence!’”
Vaisampayana said, “The Rishis, the Brahmanas, and Yudhishthira then asked Markandeya, saying, ’How did the Rishi Vaka become so long lived?’
“Thus asked by them, Markandeya answered, ’The royal sage Vaka is a great ascetic and endowed with long life. Ye need not enquire into the reason of this.’
“Hearing this, O Bharata, the son of Kunti, king Yudhishthira the just, along with his brothers, then asked Markandeya saying, ’It hath been heard by us that both Vaka and Dalvya are of great souls and endowed with immortality and that those Rishis, held in universal reverence, are the friends of the chief of the gods. O Holy One, I desire to listen to the (history of the) meeting of Vaka and Indra that is full of both joy and woe. Narrate thou that history unto us succinctly.’
“Markandeya said, ’When that horrible conflict between the gods and the Asuras was over, Indra became the ruler of the three worlds. The clouds showered rain copiously. And the dwellers of the world had abundance of harvests, and were excellent in disposition. And devoted to virtue, they always practised morality and enjoyed peace. And all persons, devoted to the duties of their respective orders, were perfectly happy and cheerful, and the slayer of Vala, beholding all the creatures of the world happy and cheerful, became himself filled with joy. And he of a hundred sacrifices, the chief of the gods seated on the back of his elephant Airavata, surveyed his happy subjects, and he cast his eyes on delightful asylums of Rishis, on various auspicious rivers, towns full of prosperity, and villages and rural regions in the enjoyment of plenty. And he also cast his eyes upon kings devoted to the practice of virtue and well-skilled in ruling their subjects. And he also looked upon tanks and reservoirs and wells and lakes and smaller lakes all full of water and adored by best of Brahmanas in the observance, besides, of various excellent vows, and then descending on the delightful earth, O king, the god of a hundred sacrifices, proceeded towards a blessed asylum teeming with animals and birds, situated by the side of the sea, in the delightful and auspicious regions of the East on a spot overgrown with abundance of vegetation. And the chief of the gods beheld Vaka in that asylum, and Vaka also, beholding the ruler of the Immortals, became highly glad, and he worshipped Indra by presenting him with water to wash his feet, a carpet to sit upon, the usual offering of the Arghya, and fruit and roots. And the boon-giving slayer of Vala, the divine ruler of those that know not old age, being seated at his ease, asked Vaka the following question, “O sinless Muni, thou hast lived for a hundred years! Tell me, O Brahmana, what the sorrows are of those that are immortal!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Hearing this, Vaka answered, saying, “Life with persons that are disagreeable, separation from those that are agreeable and beloved, companionship with the wicked, these are the evils which they that are immortal have to bear. The death of sons and wives, of kinsmen and friends, and the pain of dependence on others, are some of the greatest of evils. (These may all be noticed in a deathless life). There is no more pitiable sight in the world, as I conceive, than that of men destitute of wealth being insulted by others. The acquisition of family dignity by those that have it not, the loss of family dignity by those that have it, unions and disunions,—these all are noticeable by those that lead deathless lives. How they that have no family dignity but have prosperity, win what they have not—all this, O god of a hundred sacrifices, is before thy very eyes! What can be more pitiable than the calamities and reverses sustained by the gods, the Asuras, the Gandharvas, men, the snakes, and the Rakshasas! They that have been of good families suffer afflictions in consequence of their subjection to persons that are ill-born and the poor are insulted by the rich. What can be more pitiable than these? Innumerable examples of such contradictory dispensations are seen in the world. The foolish and the ignorant are cheerful and happy while the learned and the wise suffer misery! Plentiful instances of misery and woe are seen among men in this world! (They that lead deathless lives are destined to behold all these and suffer on that account.)”
“’Indra then said, “O thou of great good fortune, tell me again, what the joys are of those persons that lead deathless lives,—joys that are adored by gods and Rishis!”
“’Vaka answered, “If without having to associate with a wicked friend, a man cooks scanty vegetables in his own house at the eight or the twelfth part of the day, there can be nothing happier than that. He in whose case the day is not counted is not called voracious. And, O Maghavan, happiness is even his own whose scanty vegetables are cooked. Earned by his own efforts, without having to depend upon any one, he that eateth even fruits and vegetables in his own house is entitled to respect. He that eateth in another’s house the food given to him in contempt, even if that food be rich and sweet, doth what is despicable. This, therefore, is the opinion of the wise that fie on the food of that mean wretch who like a dog or a Rakshasa eateth at another’s house. If after treating guests and servants and offering food to the manes a good Brahmana eateth what remains, there can be nothing happier than that. There is nothing sweeter or more sacred, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, than that food which such a person takes after serving the guest with the first portion thereof. Each mouthful (of rice) that the Brahmana eats after having served the guest, produces merit equal to what attaches to the gift of a thousand kine. And whatever sins such a one may have committed in his youth are all washed away of a certainty. The water in the hands of the Brahmana that hath been fed and honoured with a pecuniary gift (after the feeding is over) when touched with water (sprinkled by him that feeds), instantly purges off all the sins of the latter!”
 They, therefore, that
lead deathless lives can enjoy this
bliss from day to day for ever.
“’Speaking of these and various other things with Vaka, the chief of the gods went away to heaven.’"
 It is difficult to understand how all that Vaka says can be an answer to Indra’s question. The chief of the gods enquires: What are the joys of those that lead deathless lives? Vaka breaks away unto a confused rigmarole about the merits of independence and the religious merit of entertaining guests and servants. All the printed editions have the passage as rendered here.
Vaisampayana said, “Then the sons of Pandu again addressed Markandeya saying, ’Thou hast told us of greatness of Brahmanas. We desire now to hear of the greatness of the royal Kshatriyas!” Thus addressed by them, the great Rishi Markandeya spoke, ’Listen now to the greatness of the royal Kshatriyas. A certain king of the name of Suhotra belonging to the Kuru race went on a visit to the great Rishis. And as he was returning from that visit, he beheld king Sivi the son of Usinara, seated on his car, and as each came before the other, each saluted the other as best befitted his age and each regarding himself as the equal of the other in respect of qualities, refused to give the way to the other. And at this juncture Narada appeared there, and beholding what had happened, the celestial Rishi asked, “Why is it that ye both stand here blocking each other’s way?” And thus questioned both of them spoke to Narada saying, “O holy one, do not speak so. The sages of old have declared that the way should be given to one who is superior or to him that is abler. We, however, that stand blocking each other’s way are equal to each other in every respect. Judged properly there is no superiority amongst us.” Thus addressed by them, Narada recited three slokas. (They are these), “O thou of the Kuru race, he that is wicked behaveth wickedly even unto him that is humble; he also that is humble behaveth with humility and honestly unto him that is wicked! He that is honest behaveth honestly even towards the dishonest. Why should he not behave honestly towards him that is honest? He that is honest regardeth the service that is done to him, as if it were a hundred times greater than it is. Is this not current amongst the gods themselves? Certainly it is the royal son of Usinara who is possessed of goodness that is greater than thine. One should conquer the mean by charity; the untruthful by truth, the man of wicked deeds by forgiveness; and the dishonest by honesty. Both of you are large-hearted. Let one amongst you stand aside, according to the indication of the above slokas.” And having said so Narada became silent, and hearing what Narada had said the king of the Kuru race walking round Sivi, and praising his numerous achievements, gave him the way and went on in his course. It was even thus that Narada had described the high blessedness of the royal Kshatriyas.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’Listen now to another story. One day as king Yayati, the son of Nahusha, was sitting on his throne, surrounded by the citizens, there came unto him a Brahmana desirous of soliciting wealth for his preceptor, and approaching the king, the Brahmana said, “O king, I beg of thee wealth for my preceptor according to my covenant.” And the king said, “O Holy One, tell me what thy covenant is.” And thereupon the Brahmana said, “O king, in this world when men are asked for alms, they entertain contempt for him that asketh it. I therefore, ask thee, O king, with what feelings thou wilt give me what I ask and upon which I have set my heart.” And the king replied saying, “Having given away a thing, I never boast of it. I never also listen to solicitations for things that cannot be given. I listen, however, to prayers for things that can be given and giving them away I always become happy. I will give thee a thousand kine. The Brahmana that asks me for a gift is always dear to me. I am never angry with the person that begs of me and I am never sorry for having given away a thing!” And the Brahmana then obtained from the king a thousand kine and went away.’”
Vaisampayana said, “The son of Pandu again addressed the Rishi and said, ‘Speak thou unto us of the high fortune of royal Kshatriyas!’ And Markandeya said, ’There were two kings of the name of Vrishadarbha and Seduka and both of them were conversant with morals and with weapons of attack and defence. And Seduka knew that Vrishadarbha had from his boyhood an unuttered vow that he would give no other metal unto Brahmanas save gold and silver. And once on a time a Brahmana having completed his study of the Vedas came unto Seduka and uttering a benediction upon him begged of him wealth for his preceptor, saying, “Give me a thousand steeds.” And thus addressed, Seduka said unto him, “It is not possible for me to give thee this for thy preceptor. Therefore, go thou unto king Vrishadarbha, for, O Brahmana, he is a highly virtuous king. Go and beg of him. He will grant thy request. Even this is his unuttered vow.” Hearing these words that Brahmana went to Vrishadarbha and begged of him a thousand steeds, and the king thus solicited, struck the Brahmana with a whip and thereupon the Brahmana said, “Innocent as I am, why dost thou attack me thus?” And the Brahmana was on the point of cursing the king, when the latter said, “O Brahmana, dost thou curse him that doth not give thee what thou askest? Or, is this behaviour proper for a Brahmana?” And the Brahmana said, “O king of kings, sent unto thee by Seduka, I come before thee for this.” The king said, “I will give thee now whatever tribute may come to me before the morning expire. How indeed, can I send away the man empty-handed who hath been whipped by me.” And having said this the king gave unto that Brahmana the entire proceeds of that day and that was more than the value of a thousand horses.’”
“Markandeya said, ’One day it was resolved by the gods that they should descend on the earth and try the goodness and virtue of king Sivi, the son of Usinara. And addressing each other,—“Well”—Agni and Indra came to the earth. And Agni took the form of a pigeon flying away from Indra who pursued him in the form of a hawk, and that pigeon fell upon the lap of king Sivi who was seated on an excellent seat. And the priest thereupon addressing the king said, “Afraid of the hawk and desirous of saving its life, this pigeon hath come to thee for safety. The learned have said that the falling of a pigeon upon one’s body forebodeth a great danger. Let the king that understands omens give away wealth for saving himself from the danger indicated.” And the pigeon also addressed the king and said, “Afraid of the hawk and desirous of saving my life I have come to thee for protection. I am a Muni. Having assumed the form of a pigeon, I come to thee as a seeker of thy protection. Indeed, I seek thee as my life. Know me as one possessed of Vedic lore, as one leading the Brahmacharya mode of life, as one possessed also of self-control and ascetic virtues. And know me further as one that has never spoken disagreeably unto his preceptor, as one possessed of every virtue indeed, as one that is sinless. I repeat the Vedas, I know their prosody; indeed, I have studied all the Vedas letter by letter. I am not a pigeon. Oh, do not yield me up to the hawk. The giving up of a learned and pure Brahmana can never be a good gift.” And after the pigeon said so, the hawk addressed the king, and said, “Creatures do not come into the world in the same particular order. In the order of creation, thou mayst, in a former birth, have been begotten by this pigeon. It is not proper for thee, O king, to interfere with my food by protecting this pigeon (even though he might have been thy father).” And thus addressed, the king said, “Hath any one, before this, seen birds thus speak the pure speech of man? Knowing what this pigeon sayeth, and this hawk also, how can we act to-day according to virtue? He that giveth up an affrighted creature seeking protection, unto its foe, doth not obtain protection when he is in need of it himself. Indeed, the very clouds do not shower rain seasonably for him, and the seeds though scattered do not grow for him. He that giveth up an afflicted creature seeking protection unto its foe, hath to see his offspring die in childhood. The ancestor of such a person can never dwell in heaven; indeed, the very gods decline to accept the libations of clarified butter poured by him into the fire. He that giveth up an affrighted creature seeking protection, unto its foe, is struck with the thunder-bolt by the gods with Indra at their head. The food that he eateth is unsanctified, and he, of a narrow soul, falleth from heaven very soon. O hawk, let the
Vaisampayana said, “And the son of Pandu once more addressed Markandeya, saying, ‘Tell us again of the great good fortune of kings.’ And Markandeya said, ’There came unto the horse-sacrifice of king Ashtaka of Viswamitra’s race, many kings. And there came unto that sacrifice the three brothers also of that king, viz., Pratardana, Vasumanas, and Sivi, the son of Usinara. And after the sacrifice was completed, Ashtaka was proceeding on his car along with his brothers when they all beheld Narada coming that way and they saluted the celestial Rishi and said unto him, “Ride thou on this car with us.” And Narada, saying, So be it, mounted on the car, and one among those kings having gratified the holy and celestial Rishi Narada, said, “O Holy One, I desire, to ask thee something.” And the Rishi said, “Ask.” And the person, thus permitted, said, “All four of us are blessed with long lives and have indeed every virtue. We shall, therefore, be permitted to go to a certain heaven and dwell there for a long period. Who amongst us, however, O king, shall fall down first?” Thus questioned the Rishi said, “This Ashtaka shall first come down.” And thereupon the enquirer asked, “For what cause?” And the Rishi answered, “I lived for a few days in the abode of Ashtaka. He carried me (one day) on his car out of the town and there I beheld thousands of kine distinguished from one another by difference of hue. And beholding those kine I asked Ashtaka whose they were and Ashtaka answered me, saying, ’I have given away these kine.’ By this answer he gave expression to his own praise. It is for this answer of his that Ashtaka shall have to come down.” And after Narada had said so, one of them again enquired, saying, “Three of us then will stay in heaven. Amongst us three, who shall fall down first?” And the Rishi answered, “Pratardana.” And the enquirer asked, “For what cause?” And the Rishi answered, “I lived for some days in the abode of Pratardana also. And he carried me on his car one day. And while doing so, a Brahmana asked him saying, ‘Give me a horse!’ And Pratardana replied, ‘After returning, I will give thee one!’ And thereupon the Brahmana said, ‘Let it be given to me soon.’ And as the Brahmana spoke those words, the king gave unto him the steed that had been yoked on the right-hand wheel of the car. And there came unto him another Brahmana desirous of obtaining a steed. And the king having spoken to him in the same way, gave him the steed that had been yoked on the left wheel of his car. And having given away the horse unto him, the king proceeded on his journey. And then there came unto the king another Brahmana desirous of obtaining a horse. And the king soon gave him the horse on the left front of his car, unyoking the animal. And having done so, the king proceeded on his journey. And then
 The ceremony of Swastivachana is described to be “a religious rite, preparatory to any important observance, in which the Brahmanas strew boiled rice on the ground, and invoke the blessings of the gods on the ceremony about to commence” (Vide Wilson’s Diet).
A flowery car was, probably, one of celestial make that the kings procured from heaven by performing costly rites and ceremonies. These were sometimes exhibited to the people, and prior to these exhibitions, the ceremony of Swastivachana was performed.
“’And one among them said, “Of the one who is to go with thee, who will go and who will fall down?” And Narada answered, saying, “Sivi will go, but I will fall down.” “For what reason?” asked the enquirer. And Narada said, “I am not the equal of Sivi. For one day a Brahmana came unto Sivi and addressing him, said, ‘O Sivi, I came to thee for food.’ And Sivi replied unto him, saying. ‘What shall I do? Let me have thy orders.’ And the Brahmana answered, ’This thy son known by the name of Vrihadgarbha should be killed. And, O king, cook him for my food.’ And hearing this, I waited to see what would follow. And Sivi then killed his son and cooking him duly
Vaisampayana said, “The sons of Pandu and those Rishis then asked Markandeya, ’Is there anybody that is blessed with longer life than thou?’ And Markandeya answered them, saying, ’There is without doubt, a royal sage of the name of Indradyumna and his virtue having diminished, he fell from heaven, crying, “My achievements are lost!” And he came unto me and asked, “Dost thou know me?” And I answered him, saying, “From our anxiety to acquire religious merit we do not confine ourselves to any home. We live but for a night in the same village or town. A person like us, therefore, cannot possibly know thy pursuits. The fasts and vows we observe render us weak in body and unable to follow any worldly pursuits on our own behalf. Hence, one like us cannot possibly know thee.” He then asked me, “Is there any one who is longer lived than thou?” I answered him, saying, “There liveth on the Himavat an owl of the name of Pravarakarna.
“’"And hearing these words, the king said, ’Let the car stay here as long as I do not take these old persons to the places whence I brought them.’ And having brought me and the owl Pravarakarna to our respective places, he went away, riding on that car, to the place that was fit for him. Being longlived, I witness all this."’”
Vaisampayana continued, “It was thus that Markandeya narrated all this unto the son of Pandu. And after Markandeya finished, the sons of Pandu said, ’Blessed be thou! Thou hadst acted properly in causing king Indradyumna who had fallen from Heaven to regain his sphere!’ And Markandeya answered them, saying, ’Devaki’s son, Krishna, also had thus raised the royal sage Nriga who had sunk in hell and caused him to regain Heaven!’”
Vaisampayana said, “King Yudhishthira, hearing from the illustrious Markandeya the story of the royal sage Indradyumna’s regaining of Heaven, again asked the Muni, saying, ’O great Muni, tell me in what condition should a man practise charity in order to gain admission into the regions of Indra? Is it by practising charity while leading a domestic mode of life, or in boyhood, or in youth, or in old age? O, tell me about the respective merits reaped from the practice of charity in these different stages of life.’
“Markandeya said, ’Life that is futile is of four kinds. Charity also that is futile is of sixteen kinds. His life is vain who hath no son; and his also who is out of pale of virtue: and his too who liveth on the food of other; and, lastly, his who cooketh for himself without giving therefrom unto the Pitris, the gods, and the guests, and who eateth of it before these all. The gift to one that has fallen away from the practice of virtuous vows, as also the gift of wealth that has been earned wrongly, are both in vain. The gift to a fallen Brahmana, that to a thief, that also to a preceptor that is false, is in vain. The gift to an untruthful man, to a person that is sinful, to one that is ungrateful, to one that officiates at sacrifices performed by all classes of people residing in a village, to one that sells the Vedas, to a Brahmana that cooks for Sudra, to one that too by birth is a Brahmana but who is destitute of the occupations of his order, is in vain. The gift to one that has married a girl after the accession of puberty, to females, to one that sports with snakes, and to one that is employed in menial offices, is also in vain. These sixteen kinds of gifts are productive of no merits. That man who with mind clouded with darkness giveth away from fear or anger, enjoyeth the merit of such gift while he is in the womb of his mother. The man who (under other circumstances) maketh gifts unto the Brahmanas, enjoyeth the fruit thereof while he is in old age. Therefore, O king, the man who wishes to win the way of heaven, should under all conditions, make gifts unto Brahmanas of everything that he wishes to give away.’
 A man is said to sell
the Vedas who lectures on the Vedas
taking fees from the hearers.
“Yudhishthira said, ’By what means do Brahmanas, who accept gifts from all the four orders, save others as well as themselves?”
“Markandeya said, ’By Japa, and Mantras, and Homa and the study of the Vedas, the Brahmanas construct a Vedic boat wherewith they save both others and themselves. The gods themselves are pleased with that man who gratifieth the Brahmanas. Indeed, a man may attain heaven at the command of a Brahmana. Thou wilt, O king, without doubt ascend to regions of everlasting bliss, in consequence of thy worship of the Pitris and the gods, and thy reverence for the Brahmanas, even though thy body is filled with phlegmatic humours and withal so dull and inert! He that desires virtue and heaven should adore the Brahmanas. One should feed Brahmanas with care on occasions of Sraddhas, although those among them that are cursed or fallen should be excluded. They also should be carefully excluded that are either excessively fair or excessively black, that have diseased nails, that are lepers, that are deceitful, that are born in bastardy of widows or of women having husbands alive; and they also that support themselves by the profession of arms. That Sraddha which is censurable, consumeth the performer thereof like fire consuming fuel. If they that are to be employed in Sraddhas happen to be dumb, blind, or deaf, care should be taken to employ them along with Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas. O Yudhishthira, listen now unto whom thou shouldst give. He that knoweth all the Vedas should give only to that able Brahmana who is competent to rescue both the giver and himself, for he, indeed, is to be regarded as able who can rescue both the giver and himself. O son of Pritha, the sacred fires do not receive such gratification from libations of clarified butter, from offerings of flowers and sandal and other perfumed pastes as from the entertainment of guests. Therefore, do thou strive to entertain guests, O son of Pandu! O king, they that give unto guests water to wash their feet, butter to rub over their (tired) legs, light during the hours of darkness, food, and shelter, have not to go before Yama. The removal (after worship) of the flowery offerings unto the gods, the removal of the remnants of a Brahmana’s feast, waiting (upon a Brahmana) with perfumed pastes, and the massaging of a Brahmana’s limbs, are, each of them, O foremost of kings, productive of greater merit than the gift of kine. A person, without doubt, rescueth himself by the gift of a Kapila cow. Therefore, should one give away a Kapila cow decked with ornaments unto Brahmanas. O thou of the Bharata race, one should give unto a person of good lineage and conversant with the Vedas; unto a person that is poor; unto one leading a domestic mode of life but burdened with wife and children; unto one that daily adoreth the sacred fire; and unto one that hath done thee no service. Thou shouldst always give unto such persons but not to them that are in affluence. What merit is there, O thou foremost of the Bharata
 Japa is the silent recitation of particular Mantras.
 Mantras are particular
formulae of worship. They are for
the most part rhythmic compositions, believed to be of great
 The Homa is that
sacrificial rite which consists of
pouring libations of clarified butter into fire.
 Vedamayi nou. Lit, a boat made of the Vedas.
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing all this, Yudhishthira, along with his younger brothers, impelled by curiosity, again addressed the high-souled Markandeya, saying, ’O great Muni, what is the distance of Yama’s region from that of men? What is its measurement? How also do men pass it over? And by what means? O, tell me all this!’
“Markandeya said, ’O king, O them foremost of virtuous men, this question of thine appertains to a great mystery. It is sacred and much applauded by the Rishis. Appertaining as it also does to virtue, I will speak of it to thee. The distance of Yama’s region from the abode of men is, O king, eighty-six thousand Yojanas! The way is over space, without water, and very terrible to behold; Nowhere on that road is the shade of a tree, nowhere any water, and nowhere any resting place in which the traveller, when fatigued, may rest for some moments. And men and women and all on earth that have life, are forcibly led along this way by the messengers of Yama. Those creatures that obey the mandates of the grim king, and they, O king, that have given horses and other good conveyances unto Brahmanas, proceed along this way on those animals and vehicles. And they that have given umbrellas proceed along this way with umbrellas warding off the sun’s rays. And they that have given food, proceed without hunger, while they that have not given food proceed afflicted with hunger. And they that have given robes, proceed along this way attired in robes while they that have given none, proceed naked. And they that have given gold, proceed in happiness, themselves decked in ornaments. And they that have given land, proceed with every desire completely gratified. And they that have given grain, proceed without being afflicted with any want. And they that have given houses, proceed happily on cars. And those men that have given something to drink, proceed with cheerful hearts unafflicted with thirst. And they that have given lights, proceed happily lighting the way before them. And they that have given kine, proceed along the way happily, freed from all their sins. And they that have fasted for a month, proceed on cars drawn by swans. And they who have fasted for six nights, proceed on cars drawn by peacocks. And, O son of Pandu, he that fasteth three nights upon only one meal without a second during this period goeth into a region free from disease and anxiety. And water hath this excellent property that it produceth happiness in the region of Yama. And they that give water find for themselves a river there of the name of Pushpodaka. And the givers of water on the earth drink cool and ambrosial draughts from that stream. And they that are of evil deeds have pus ordained for them. Thus, O great king, that river serveth all purposes. Therefore, O king, adore thou duly these Brahmanas (that are with thee). Weak in limbs owing to the way he has walked, and besmeared with the dust of the high-road, the traveller enquireth for the name of him who giveth food, and cometh in hope to his house. Adore thou him with reverent attention, for he indeed is a guest, and he is a Brahmana. The gods with Indra at their head follow him as he proceedeth. And if he is adored, the gods with Indra become gratified, and if he is not adored, the celestials with their chief become cheerless. Therefore, O thou foremost of kings, worship thou these Brahmanas duly. I have thus spoken to thee upon a hundred subjects. What dost thou desire to hear from me again?’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O master, conversant thou art with virtue and morality, and so I desire to repeatedly listen to thee as thou speakest on sacred subjects appertaining to virtue and morals.’
“Markandeya said, ’O king, I will now speak on another sacred subject appertaining to eternal interests and capable of washing off all sins. Listen thou with rapt attention. O thou foremost of the Bharatas, the merit equal to that of giving away a Kapila cow in (the tirtha called) Jyeshtha-Pushkara arises from washing the feet of Brahmanas. As long as the earth remains wet with water which a Brahmana hath touched with his feet, so long do Pitris drink water of cups made of lotus-leaves. If the guest is welcomed (with enquiries about his welfare), the deities of fire become glad; and if he is offered a seat, it is the god of a hundred sacrifices, who is gratified. If his feet are washed, it is the Pitris who are delighted; and if he is fed it is Prajapati that is pleased. One should with collected soul, give a cow when (during her throes) the feet and head of her calf are visible, before her delivery is complete. A cow with her calf in the air in course of falling from the uterus to the earth, is to be regarded as equal to the earth herself. He, therefore, that giveth away such a cow, reapeth the merit of giving away the earth. And he that giveth away such a cow, is adored in heaven for as many thousands of Yugas as there are bristles on the bodies of the animal and her young one together. And, O Bharata, he that having accepted a thing in gift giveth it away immediately unto a person that is virtuous and honest, reapeth very great merit. Without doubt, he reapeth the fruit of giving away the whole earth to her utmost limits and with her oceans and seas and caves, her mountains and forests and woods. That Brahmana who eateth in silence from a plate, keeping his hands between his knees, succeedeth in rescuing others. And those Brahmanas that abstain from drink and who are never spoken of by others as having any faults and who daily read the Samhitas, are capable of rescuing others. Libations of butter and edible offerings should all be presented to a Brahmana who is learned in the Vedas. And as libations of clarified butter poured into fire never go in vain, so gift to virtuous Brahmanas learned in the Vedas can never go in vain. The Brahmanas have anger for their weapon; they never fight with arms of iron and steel. Indeed the Brahmanas slay with anger like Indra slaying the Asuras with his thunder-bolt. Thus prelection appertaining to virtue and morality is now over. Hearing this, the Munis of the forest of Naimisha were filled with delight. And those ascetics were also freed from grief and anger by listening to it. And they were also purged of all their sins in consequence of this. And, O king, those human beings that listen to it become freed from the obligation of rebirth.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O thou of great wisdom, what purification is there by which a Brahmana may always keep himself pure? I desire to hear of it from thee, O thou foremost of all virtuous men!’
“Markandeya answered, ’There are three kinds of purity, viz., purity in speech, purity in deed, and purity achieved by use of water. He that has recourse to these three different kinds of purity, attains, without doubt, to heaven. That Brahmana who adoreth the goddess Sandhya in the morning and the evening, and who recites meditatively the sacred goddess Gayairi who is the mother of the Vedas, sanctified by the latter, is freed from all his sins. Even if he accepts in gift the entire earth with her oceans, he doth not, on that account, suffer the least unhappiness. And those heavenly bodies in the sky including the sun that may be inauspicious and hostile towards him soon become auspicious and favourable towards him in consequence of these acts of his, while those stars that are auspicious and favourable become more auspicious and more favourable in consequence of such conduct of his. And terrible Rakshasas subsisting on animal food, of gigantic and fierce mien, all become unable to prevail over a Brahmana who practiseth these purifications. The Brahmanas are even like blazing fires. They incur no fault in consequence of teaching, of officiating at sacrifices, and of accepting gifts from others. Whether the Brahmana be cognisant of the Vedas or ignorant of them, whether they be pure or impure, they should never be insulted, for Brahmanas are like fires. As the fire that blazeth up in the place set apart for the cremation of the dead is never regarded impure on that account, so the Brahmana, be he learned or ignorant, is always pure. He is great and a very god! Cities that are adorned with walls and gates and palaces one after another, lose their beauty if they are bereft of Brahmanas. That, indeed, O king, is a city where Brahmanas accomplished in the Vedas, duly observing the duties of their order and possessed of learning and ascetic merit, reside. O son of Pritha, that spot, be it a wood or pasture land, where learned Brahmanas reside, hath been called a city. And that place, O king, becometh a tirtha also. By approaching a king that offereth protection, as also a Brahmana possessed of ascetic merit, and by offering worship unto both, a man may purge off his sins immediately. The learned have said that ablutions in the sacred tirthas, recitation of the names of holy ones, and converse with the good and virtuous, are all acts worthy of applause. They that are virtuous and honest always regard themselves as sanctified by the holy companionship of persons like themselves and by the water of pure and sacred converse. The carrying of three staffs, the vow of silence, matted hair on head, the shaving of the crown, covering one’s person with barks and deerskins, the practice
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, O great king, by the Rishi, Yudhishthira of great fame then said, ’O holy one, I desire to listen to the rules about that charity which is meritorious.’
“Markandeya said, ’O great king, O Yudhishthira, the rules about charity which thou wishest to hear from me are always highly regarded by me. Listen now to the mysteries of charity as expounded in the sruti and the smritis! A man that performs a sraddha in the conjunction called Gajacchaya at a place that is fanned by the leaves of the Aswattha tree enjoys the fruits thereof, O Yudhishthira, for a hundred thousand kalpas. O king, he that foundeth a dharmasala and established there a person to look after all comers, is crowned with the merits of all the sacrifices. He that giveth away a horse at a tirtha where the current of the river runneth in a direction opposite to its general course, reapeth merit that is inexhaustible. The guest that comes to one’s house for food is none other than Indra himself. If he is entertained with food, Indra himself conferreth on the best merit that is inexhaustible. As men cross seas by vessels, so are the givers mentioned above are saved from all their sins. So what is given unto Brahmanas produceth, like gift of curds, inexhaustible merits. A gift on particular lunations produceth merit that is twice as much as a gift on other days. That in a particular season produceth merit ten times greater that in other seasons. That in a particular year produceth merit a hundred times greater than in other years. And lastly, a gift on the last day of the last month
Vaisampayana said, “Having, O great king, heard from the illustrious Markandeya the history of the attainment of heaven by the royal sage Indradyumna, Yudhishthira, that bull of the Bharata race, once more asked that sinless Muni endued with great ascetic merit and long life, saying, ’Thou knowest, O virtuous one, the entire host of the gods, the Danavas, and the Rakshasas. Thou art acquainted also with various royal genealogies and many eternal lines of Rishis! O best of Brahmanas, there is nothing in this world that thou dost not know! Thou knowest also, O Muni, many delightful stories about men, Snakes and Rakshasas; about gods, Gandharvas, and Yakshas, and about Kinnaras and Apsaras! I desire now to hear from thee, O best of Brahmanas, as to why Kuvalaswa—that unvanquished king of Ikshavaku’s race changed his name, assuming another, viz., Dhundhumara. O thou best of Bhrigu’s line, I desire to know in detail why the name of Kuvalaswa of great intelligence underwent such a change!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the great Muni Markandeya, O Bharata, then began the history of Dhundhumara!”
“Markandeya said, ’O royal Yudhishthira, listen to me, I will tell thee all! The story of Dhundhumara is a moral one. Listen to it then! Listen now, O king, to the story of how the royal Kuvalaswa of Ikshvaku’s race came to be known as Dhundhumara. O son, O Bharata, there was a celebrated Rishi of the name of Utanka and, O thou of the Kuru race, Utanka had his hermitage in a delightful wilderness. And, O great king, the Rishi Utanka underwent ascetic austerities of the severest kind and the lord Utanka underwent those penances for numberless years with the object of obtaining the favours of Vishnu, and gratified with his penances that illustrious Lord presented himself before Utanka. And beholding the Deity, the Rishi in all humility began to gratify him with many hymns, and Utanka said, “O thou of great effulgence all creatures with the gods, Asuras and human beings, all things that are mobile or immobile, even Brahma himself, the Vedas, and all things that are capable of being known, have, O lord, been created by thee! The firmament is thy head, O god, and the sun and the moon are thy eyes! And, O Unfading One, the winds are thy breath and fire thy energy! The directions of the horizon constitute thy arms and the great ocean thy stomach! And, O god, the hills and mountains constitute thy thigh and the sky thy hips, O slayer of Madhu! The earth constitutes thy feet, and the plants the bristles on thy body. And, O lord, Indra and Soma and Agni and Varuna, indeed all the gods, the Asuras and the great Snakes all wait upon thee with humility, adoring thee with various hymns! O Lord of the Universe, created things are pervaded by thee. The great Rishis of high energy and ever plunged in ascetic meditation, always adore thee. When thou art gratified, the universe is in peace. And when thou art angry, terror pervadeth every soul. Thou art, O Lord, the great dispeller of all terrors and thou art the One Supreme Male Being! Thou art the cause of happiness of both gods and human beings! And, O Lord, by three steps of thine thou didst cover the three worlds! And it was by thee that the Asuras in the height of their power were destroyed! It is owing to thy prowess, O God, that the celestials obtained peace and happiness and, O thou of great effulgence, it was the anger that destroyed hundred great Daitya chiefs. Thou art the Creator and destroyer of all creatures in the world. It is by adoring thee that the gods have obtained happiness.” It was thus, O Yudhishthira, that the high-souled Utanka praised the Lord of the senses. And Vishnu, therefore, said unto Utanka, “I am gratified with thee. Ask thou the boon that thou desirest.” And Utanka said, “This indeed hath been a great boon to me, in that I have been able to behold Hari, that eternal Being, that divine Creator, that Lord of the universe!” Thus addressed Vishnu said, “I am gratified with this absence of all desires on thy part and with
“Markandeya said, ’O king, after the death of Ikshvaku, a highly virtuous king of the name of Sasada, ascending the throne of Ayodhya ruled this earth. And from Sasada was descended Kakutstha of great energy. And Kakutshta had a son of name Anenas. And Anenas had a son named Prithu and Prithu had a son named Viswagaswa and from Viswagaswa sprang Adri and from Adri sprang Yuvanaswa and from Yuvanaswa sprang Sravastha and it was by this Sravastha that the city called Sravasthi was built and from Sravastha was descended Vrihadaswa and from Vrihadaswa sprang Kuvalaswa and Kuvalaswa had twentyone thousand sons and all these sons were fierce and powerful and skilled in learning. And Kuvalaswa excelled his father in every quality. And when the time came, his father Vrihadaswa installed him—the brave and highly virtuous Kuvalaswa—on the throne. And having thus made over the royal dignity to his son, that slayer of foes—king Vrihadaswa of great intelligence— retired into the woods for asceticism.’
“Markandeya continued, ’O king, when the royal sage Vrihadaswa was about to retire into the woods, that best of Brahmanas, Utanka heard of it. And Utanka who was possessed of great energy and immeasurable soul, approached that foremost of all wielders of weapons and best of men. And approaching him, the Rishis began to persuade him to give up asceticism. And Utanka said, “O king, to
“Markandeya said, ’Thus addressed by Utanka, that unvanquished royal sage, with joined hands, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, replied unto Utanka, saying, “This visit of thine, O Brahmana, will not be in vain. This my son, O holy one, known by the name of Kuvalaswa is endued with steadiness and activity. In prowess also he is unequaled on earth. Without doubt he will accomplish all this that is agreeable to thee, aided by all his brave sons endued with arms like unto iron maces. Give me leave to retire, O Brahmana, for I have now given up my weapons.” Thus addressed by the king, that Muni of immeasurable energy replied unto him, saying, “So be it.” And the royal sage Vrihadaswa then, having commended his son to obey the behest of the high-souled Utanka saying, “Let it be done by thee,” himself retired into an excellent forest.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O holy one, O thou possessed of the wealth of asceticism, who was this Daitya of great energy? Whose son and whose grandson was he? I desire to know all this; O thou possessed of the wealth of asceticism I never heard of this mighty Daitya before. I desire to know all this truly, O holy one, and with all particulars in detail, O thou of great wisdom and ascetic wealth!’
“Markandeya said, ’O monarch, know everything as it happened, O ruler of men, as I narrate the particulars truly, O thou of great wisdom! When the world became one broad expanse of water and creatures mobile and immobile were destroyed, when, O bull of the Bharata race, the entire creation came to its end. He who is the Source and Creator of the Universe, viz., the Eternal and unfading Vishnu, He who is called by Munis crowned with ascetic success as the Supreme Lord of the Universe, that Being of great holiness, then lay in Yoga sleep on the wide hood of the Snake Sesha of immeasurable energy, and the Creator of the Universe, that highly-blessed and holy Hari, knowing no deterioration, lay on the hood of that Snake encircling the whole Earth and as the Deity lay asleep on that bed, a lotus, endued with great beauty and effulgence equal unto that of the Sun, sprang from his navel. And from that lotus possessed of effulgence like unto the Sun’s, sprang the Grandsire Brahma, that lord of the worlds who is the four Vedas, who hath four forms and four faces, who is invincible in consequence of his own energy and who is endued with mighty strength and great prowess and as the Lord Hari of wondrous frame, possessed of great lustre and decked with a crown and the Kaustubha gem and attired in purple silk, lay stretched for many a yojana on that excellent bed furnished by the hood of the snake itself extending far and wide, blazing, O king, in his beauty and the lustre of his own body like a thousand Suns concentrated in one mass. He was beheld some time after by two Danavas of great prowess
“Markandeya continued, ’Then Govinda began to reflect but uncovered space found he none and when he could not discover any spot that was uncovered on earth or in the sky, that foremost Deity then beheld his thighs to be absolutely uncovered. And there, O king, the illustrious Deity cut off the heads of Madhu and Kaitabha with his keenedged discus!’”
“Markandeya said, ’The illustrious Dhundhu, O king, was the son of Madhu and Kaitabha, and possessed of great energy and prowess, he underwent ascetic penances of great austerity and he stood erect on one leg and reduced his body to a mass of only veins and arteries, and Brahma, gratified with him, gave him a boon. And the boon he had asked of the lord Prajapati was in these words, “Let no one among the gods, the Danavas, the Rakshas, the Snakes, the Gandharvas and the Rakshasas be capable of slaying me. Even this is the boon that I ask of thee.” And the Grandsire replied unto him saying, “Let it be as thou wishest. Go thy way.” And thus addressed by the Grandsire, the Danava placed the feet of the Deity on his head and having thus touched with reverence the Deity’s feet he went away and possessed of mighty energy and prowess. Dhundhu, having obtained the boon hastily approached Vishnu remembering the death of his father at the hands of that Deity, and the wrathful Dhundhu having vanquished the gods with the Gandharvas began to distress all the celestials with Vishnu at their head. And at last O bull of the Bharata race, that wicked souled Asura arriving at a sea of sands known by the name of Ujjalaka, began to distress to the utmost of his might the asylum of Utanka. And endued with fierce energy, Dhundhu, the son of Madhu and Kaitabha, lay in his subterranean cave underneath the sands in the observance of fierce ascetic and severe austerities with the object of destroying the triple world, and while the Asura lay breathing near the asylum of Utanka that Rishi possessed of the splendour of fire, king Kualaswa with his troops, accompanied by the Brahmana Utanka, as also by all his sons set out for that region, O bull of the Bharata race! And after that grinder of foes, the royal Kuvalaswa, had set out, accompanied by his twenty-one thousand sons all of whom were exceedingly powerful, the illustrious Lord Vishnu filled him with his own energy at the command of Utanka and impelled by the desire of benefiting the triple world and while that invincible hero was proceeding on his way a loud voice was heard in the sky repeating the words, “This fortunate and unslayable one will become the destroyer of Dhundhu to-day.” And the gods began to shower upon him celestial flowers. And the celestial kettle drums began to sound their music although none played upon them. And during the march of that wise one, cool breezes began to blow and the chief of the celestials poured gentle showers wetting the dust on the roads and, O Yudhishthira, the cars of the celestials could be seen high over the spot where the mighty Asura Dhundhu was. The gods and Gandharvas and great Rishis urged by curiosity, came there to behold the encounter between Dhundhu and Kuvalaswa and, O thou of the Kuru race, filled by Narayana with his own energy, king Kuvalaswa, aided by his sons, soon surrounded that sea of sands
“’It was thus, O best of king, that that great Daitya of the name Dhundhu, the son of Madhu and Kaitabha was slain by Kuvalaswa and it was for this also that king came to be called by the name of Dhundhumara. And indeed, the name he assumed was no empty one but was literally true.
“’I have now told thee all that thou hadst asked me, viz., all about that person in consequence of whose act the story of Dhundhu’s death hath become famous. He that listeneth to this holy history connected with the glory of Vishnu, becometh virtuous and obtaineth children. By listening to this story on particular lunations, one becometh blessed with long life and great good fortune. And freed from every anxiety one ceaseth to have any fear of diseases.’”
Vaisampayana said, “O thou foremost of the Bharata race, king Yudhishthira then asked the illustrious Markandeya a difficult question about morality, saying, ’I desire to hear, O holy one, about the high and excellent virtue of women. I desire to hear from thee, O Brahmana, discourse about the subtle truths of morality. O regenerate Rishi, O best of men, the Sun, the Moon, the Wind, the Earth, the Fire, the father, the mother, the preceptor—these and other objects ordained by the gods, appear to us as Deities embodied! All these that are reverend ones are worthy of our best regard. So also is the woman who adoreth one lord. The worship that chaste wives offer unto their husbands appeareth to me to be fraught with great difficulty. O adorable one, it behoveth thee to discourse to us of the high and excellent virtue of chaste wives—of wives who restraining all their senses and keeping their hearts under complete control regard their husbands as veritable gods. O holy and adorable one, all this appears to me to be exceedingly difficult of accomplishment. O regenerate one, the worship that sons offer to their mothers and fathers and that wives offer to their husbands, both seem to me to be highly difficult. I do not behold anything that is more difficult than the severe virtue of chaste women. O Brahmana, the duties that women of good behaviour discharge with care and the conduct that is pursued by good sons towards their fathers and
“Markandeya said, ’O thou foremost of the Bharata race, I will discourse to thee on all this truly, however difficult of answer thy question may be. Listen to me, therefore, as I speak unto thee. Some regard the mother as superior and some the father. The mother, however, that bringeth forth and some the father. The mother, however, that bringeth forth and reareth up offspring what is more difficult. Fathers also, by ascetic penances, by worship of the gods, by adorations addressed to them, by bearing cold and heat, by incantations and other means desire to have children. And having by these painful expedients obtained children that are so difficult of acquisition, they then, O hero, are always anxious about the future of their sons and, O Bharata, both the father and the mother desire to see in their sons fame and achievements and prosperity and offspring and virtue. That son is virtuous who realises these hopes of his parents. And, O great king, that son with whom the father and the mother are gratified, achieveth eternal fame and eternal virtue both here and thereafter. As regards women again, neither sacrifice nor sraddhas, nor fasts are of any efficacy. By serving their husbands only they can win heaven. O king, O Yudhishthira, remembering this alone, listen thou with attention to the duties of chaste women.’”
“Markandeya said, ’There was, O Bharata, a virtuous ascetic of the name of Kausika and endued with wealth of asceticism and devoted to the study of the Vedas, he was a very superior Brahmana and that best of Brahmanas studied all the Vedas with the Angas and the Upanishadas and one day he was reciting the Vedas at the foot of a tree and at that time there sat on the top of that tree a female crane and that she-crane happened
“Markandeya continued, ’Having repeated these words many times, that learned Brahmana entered a village for procuring alms. And, O bull of the Bharata race, in course of his eleemosynary round among the houses of persons of good lineage, the Brahmana entered one such house that he knew from before. And as he entered the house, he said, “Give.” And he was answered by a female with the word, “Stay.” And while the housewife was engaged, O king, in cleaning the vessel from which alms are given, her husband, O thou best of the Bharatas, suddenly entered the house, very much afflicted with hunger. The chaste housewife beheld her husband and disregarding the Brahmana, gave her lord water to wash his feet and face and also a seat and after that the black-eyed lady, placing before her lord savoury food and drink, humbly stood beside him desirous of attending to all his wants. And, O Yudhishthira, that obedient wife used every day to eat the orts of her husband’s plate and, always conducting herself in obedience to the wishes of the lord, that lady ever regarded her husband, and all her heart’s affections inclined towards her lord. Of various and holy behaviour and skilful in all domestic duties and attentive to all her relatives, she always did what was agreeable and beneficial to her husband and she also, with rapt senses attended to the worship of the gods and the wants of guests and servants and her mother-in-law and father-in-law.
“’And while the lady of handsome eyes was still engaged in waiting upon her lord, she beheld that Brahmana waiting for alms and beholding him, she remembered that she had asked him to wait. And remembering all this, she felt abashed. And then that chaste woman possessed of great fame, took something for alms and went out, O thou foremost of the Bharatas, for giving it unto that Brahmana. And when she came before him, the Brahmana said, “O best of women, O blessed one, I am surprised at thy conduct! Having requested me to wait saying, “Stay” thou didst not dismiss me!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’O lord of men, beholding that Brahmana filled with wrath and blazing with his energy, that chaste woman began to conciliate him and said, “O learned one, it behoveth thee to forgive me. My husband is my supreme god. He came hungry and tired and was being served and waited upon by me.” Hearing this, the Brahmana said, “With thee Brahmanas are not worthy of superior regard. Exaltest thou thy husband above
“’At these words of the chaste woman, the Brahmana replied, saying, “I am gratified with thee. Blessed be thou; my anger hath subsided, O beautiful one! The reproofs uttered by thee will be of the highest advantage to me. Blessed be thou, I shall now go and accomplish what is so conducive, O handsome one, to my benefit!”
“Markandeya continued, ’Dismissed by her, Kausika, that best of regenerate ones, left her house, and, reproaching himself, returned to his own abode.’”
“Markandeya said, ’Continually reflecting upon that wonderful discourse of the woman, Kausika began to reproach himself and looked very much like a guilty person and meditating on the subtle ways of morality and virtue, he said to himself, “I should accept with reverence what the lady hath said and should, therefore, repair to Mithila. Without doubt there dwelleth in that city a fowler of soul under complete control and fully acquainted with the mysteries of virtue and morality. This very day will I repair unto that one endued with wealth of asceticism for enquiring of him about virtue.” His faith in her was assured by her knowledge of the death of the she-crane and the excellent words of virtuous import she had uttered. Kausika thus reflecting with reverence upon all she had said, set out for
“Markandeya continued, ’"So be it,” said the Brahmana unto him, gladly. And thereupon, the fowler proceeded towards his home with the Brahmana walking before him. And entering his abode that looked delightful, the fowler reverenced his guest by offering him a seat. And he also gave him water to wash his feet and face. And accepting these, that best of Brahmanas sat at his ease. And he then addressed the fowler, saying, “It seems to me that this profession doth not befit thee. O fowler, I deeply regret that thou shouldst follow such a cruel trade.” At these words of the Brahmana the fowler said, “This profession is that of my family, myself having inherited it from my sires and grandsires. O regenerate one, grieve not for me owing to my adhering to the duties that belong to me by birth. Discharging the duties ordained for me beforehand by the Creator, I carefully
“Markandeya continued, ’At these words, O best of men, of the fowler, that Brahmana endued with great wisdom, then asked the fowler, saying, “How shall I know what is virtuous conduct? Blessed be thou, I desire to hear this, O thou foremost of virtuous men, from thee. Therefore, O thou of exalted soul, tell me all about it truly.” Hearing these words, the fowler replied, saying, “O best of Brahmanas, Sacrifices, Gift, Asceticism, the Vedas, and Truth—these five holy things are ever present in conduct that is called virtuous. Having subjugated lust and wrath, pride, avarice, and crookedness, they that take pleasure in virtue because it is virtue, are regarded as really virtuous and worthy of the approbation of persons that are virtuous. These persons who are devoted to sacrifices, and study of the Vedas have no independent behaviour. They follow only the practices of the honest and the good. This indeed, is the second attribute of the virtuous. Waiting upon superiors, Truth, Freedom from anger, and Gift, these four, O Brahmana, are inseparably connected with behaviour that is virtuous. For the reputation that a person acquires by setting his heart on virtuous behaviour and adhering to it rigidly is incapable of acquisition except by practising the four virtues named above. The essence of the Vedas is Truth: the essence of Truth is self-control, and the essence of self-control is abstention from the pleasures of the world. These all are to be noticed in behaviour that is virtuous. They that follow those deluded fools that mock the forms of faith prevailing among men, are dragged into destruction for walking in such a sinful path. They, however, that are virtuous and engaged in the observance of vows, who are devoted to the srutis and the virtue of abstention from the pleasure of the world, they in fact who tread in virtue’s path and follow the true religion, they that are obedient to the mandates of their preceptors, and who reflect upon the sense of the scriptures with patience and
“Markandeya continued, ’The pious fowler, O Yudhishthira, then said to that Brahmana, “Undoubtedly my deeds are very cruel, but, O Brahmana, Destiny is all-powerful and it is difficult to evade the consequence of our past actions. And this is the karmic evil arising out of sin committed in a former life. But, O Brahmana, I am always assiduous in eradicating the evil. The Deity takes away life, the executioner acts only as a secondary agent. And we, O good Brahmana, are only such agents in regard to our karma. Those animals that are slain by me and whose meat I sell, also acquire karma,
“Markandeya continued, ’O Yudhishthira, the virtuous fowler, eminent in pity, then skilfully addressed himself again to that foremost of Brahmanas, saying, “It is the dictum of the aged that the ways of righteousness are subtle, diverse and infinite. When life is at stake and in the matter of marriage, it is proper to tell an untruth. Untruth sometimes leads to the triumph of truth, and the latter dwindles into untruth. Whichever conduces most to the good of all creatures is considered to be truth. Virtue is thus perverted; mark thou its subtle ways.
“’The Brahmana replied, “O best of those versed in the doctrine of karma, and in the delivery of discourses, I long to know accurately how the soul becomes eternal.” The fowler replied, “The spirit dies not, there being simply a change of tenement. They are mistaken, who foolishly say that all creatures die. The soul betakes itself to another frame, and its change of habitation is called its death. In the world of men, no man reaps the consequences of another man’s karma. Whatever one does, he is sure to reap the consequences thereof; for the consequences of the karma that is once done, can never be obviated. The virtuous become endowed with great virtues, and sinful men become the perpetrators of wicked deeds. Men’s actions follow them; and influenced by these, they are born again.” The Brahmana enquired, “Why does the spirit take its birth, and why does its nativity become sinful or virtuous, and how, O good man, does it come to belong to a sinful or virtuous race?” The fowler replied, “This mystery seems to belong to the subject of procreation, but I shall briefly describe to you, O good Brahmana, how the spirit is born again with its accumulated load of karma, the righteous in a virtuous, and the wicked in a sinful nativity. By the performance of virtuous actions it attains to the state of the gods, and by a combination of good and evil, it acquires the human state; by indulgence in sensuality and similar demoralising practices it is born in the lower species of animals, and by sinful acts, it goes to the infernal regions. Afflicted with the miseries of birth and dotage, man is fated to rot here below from the evil consequences of his own actions. Passing through thousands of births as also the infernal regions, our spirits wander about, secured by the fetters of their own karma. Animate beings become miserable in the next world on account of these actions done by themselves and from the reaction of those miseries, they assume lower births and then they accumulate a new series of actions, and they consequently suffer misery over again, like sickly men partaking of unwholesome food; and although they are thus afflicted, they consider themselves to be happy and at ease and consequently their fetters are not loosened and new karma arises; and suffering from diverse miseries they turn about in this world like a wheel. If casting off their fetters they purify themselves by their actions and practise austerities and religious meditations, then, O best of Brahmanas, they attain the Elysian regions by these numerous acts and by casting off their fetters and by the purification of karma, men attain those blissful regions where misery is unknown to those who go there. The sinful man who is addicted to vices, never comes to the end of his course of iniquities. Therefore must we strive to do what is virtuous and forbear from doing what is unrighteous. Whoever with a heart full of gratefulness and free
“Markandeya continued, ’Hear, O king Yudhishthira what the virtuous fowler, thus interrogated by that Brahmana, said to him in reply. The fowler said, “Men’s minds are at first bent on the acquisition of knowledge. That acquired, O good Brahmana, they indulge in their passions and desires, and for that end, they labour and set about tasks of great magnitude and indulge in much-desired pleasures of beauty, flavour, &c. Then follows fondness, then envy, then avarice and then extinction of all spiritual
“Markandeya continued, ’O Bharata, the Brahmana, thus interrogated by the virtuous fowler, resumed again this discourse so pleasing to the mind. The Brahmana said, “O best of the cherishers of religion, it is said that there are five great elements; do thou describe to me in full the properties of any one of the five.” The fowler replied, “The earth, water, fire, air and sky all have properties interlapping each other. I shall describe them to thee. The earth, O Brahmana, has five qualities, water four, fire three and the air and sky together three also. Sound, touch, form, odour and taste—these five qualities belong to earth, and sound, touch, form and taste, O austere Brahmana, have been described to thee as the properties of water, and sound, touch and form are the three properties of fire and air has two properties sound and touch, and sound is the property of sky. And, O Brahmana, these fifteen properties inherent in five elements, exist in all substances of which this universe is composed. And they are not opposed to one another; they exist, O Brahmana, in proper combination. When this whole universe is thrown into a state of confusion, then every corporeal being in the fulness of time, assumes another corpus. It arises and perishes in due order. And there are present the five elementary substances of which all the mobile and immobile world is composed. Whatever is perceptible by the senses, is called vyakta (knowable or comprehensible) and whatever is beyond the reach of the senses and can only be perceived by guesses, is known to be avyakta (not vyakta). When a person engages in the discipline of self-examination, after having subdued the senses which have of their own proper objective play in the external conditions of sound, form, &c, then he beholds his own spirit pervading the universe, and the universe reflected in itself. He who is wedded to his previous karma, although skilled in the highest spiritual wisdom, is cognisant only of his soul’s objective existence, but the person whose soul is never affected by the objective conditions around, is never subject to ills, owing to its absorption in the elementary spirit of Brahma. When a person has overcome the domination of illusion, his manly virtues consisting of the essence of spiritual wisdom, turn to the spiritual enlightenment which illumines the intelligence of sentient beings. Such a person is styled by the omnipotent, intelligent Spirit as one who is without beginning and without end, self-existent, immutable, incorporeal and incomparable. This, O Brahmana, that thou hast enquired of me is only the result of self discipline. And this self-discipline can only be acquired by subduing the senses. It cannot be otherwise, heaven and hell are both dependent on our senses. When subdued, they lead to heaven; when indulged in, they lead to perdition. This subjugation of the senses is the highest means of attaining spiritual light. Our senses are at the
“Markandeya continued, ’O Bharata, the fowler having expounded these abstruse points, the Brahmana with great attention again enquired of him about these subtle topics. The Brahmana said, “Do thou truly describe to me, who now duly ask thee, the respective virtues of the qualities of sattwa, rajas, and tamas.” The fowler replied, “Very well, I shall tell thee what thou hast asked. I shall describe separately their respective virtues, do thou listen. Of them tamas is characterised by illusion (spiritual), rajas incites (men to action), sattwa is of great grandeur, and on that account, it is said to be the greatest of them. He who is greatly under the influence of spiritual ignorance, who is foolish, senseless and given to dreaming, who is idle, unenergetic and swayed by anger and haughtiness, is said to be under the influence of tamas. And, O Brahmana rishi, that excellent man who is agreeable in speech, thoughtful, free from envy, industrious in action from an eager desire to reap its fruits, and of warm temperament, is said to be under the influence of rajas. And he who is resolute, patient, not subject to anger, free from malice, and is not skilful in action from want of a selfish desire to reap its fruits, wise and forbearing, is said to be under the influence of sattwa. When a man endowed with the sattwa quality, is influenced by worldliness, he suffers misery; but he hates worldliness, when he realises its full significance. And then a feeling of indifference to worldly affairs begins to influence him. And then his pride decreases, and uprightness becomes more prominent, and his conflicting moral sentiments are reconciled. And then self-restraint in any matter becomes unnecessary. A man, O Brahmana, may be born in the Sudra caste, but if he is possessed of good qualities, he may attain the state of Vaisya and similarly that of a Kshatriya, and if he is steadfast in rectitude, he may even become a Brahmana. I have described to thee these virtues, what else dost thou wish to learn?"’”
“’The Brahmana enquired, “How is it that fire (vital force) in combination with the earthly element (matter), becomes the corporeal tenement (of living creatures), and how doth the vital air (the breath of life) according to the nature of its seat (the muscles and nerves) excite to action (the corporeal frame)?"’ Markandeya said, ’This question, O Yudhishthira, having been put to the Brahmana by the fowler, the latter, in reply, said to that high-minded Brahmana. (The fowler said):—“The vital spirit manifesting itself in the seat of consciousness, causes the action of the corporeal frame. And the soul being present in both of them acts (through them). The past, the present and the future are inseparably associated with the soul. And it is the highest of a creature’s possessions; it is of the essence of the Supreme Spirit and we adore it. It is the animating principle of all creatures, and it is the eternal pumsha (spirit). It is great and it is the intelligence and the ego, and it is the subjective seat of the various properties of elements. Thus while seated here (in a corporeal frame) it is sustained in all its relations external or internal (to matter or mind) by the subtle ethereal air called prana, and thereafter, each creature goes its own way by the action of another subtle air called Samana. And this latter transforming itself into Apana air, and supported by the head of the stomach carries the refuse matter of the body, urine &c, to the kidneys and intestines. That same air is present in the three elements of effort, exertion and power, and in that condition it is called Udana air by persons learned in physical science, and when manifesting itself by its presence at all the junctional points of the human system, it is known by the name Vyana. And the internal heat is diffused over all the tissues of our system, and supported by these kinds of air, it transforms our food and the tissues and the humours of our system. And by the coalition of Prana and other airs, a reaction (combination) ensues, and the heat generated thereby is known as the internal heat of the human system which causes the digestion of our food. The Prana and the Apana air are interposed within the Samana and the Udana air. And the heat generated by their coalition causes the growth of the body (consisting of the seven substances, bones, muscles, &c). And that portion of its seat extending to as far as the rectum is called Apana; and from that arteries arise in the five airs Prana, &c. The Prana air, acted on by the heat strikes against the extremity of the Apana region and then recoiling, it reacts on the heat. Above the navel is the region of undigested food and below it the region of digestion. And the Prana and all other airs of the system are seated in the navel. The arteries issuing
“Markandeya said, ’When, O Yudhishthira, all this mystery of salvation was explained to that Brahmana, he was highly pleased and he said addressing the fowler, “All this that thou hast explained, is rational, and it seems to me that there is nothing in connection with the mysteries of religion which thou dost not know.” The fowler replied, “O good and great Brahmana, thou shalt perceive with thine own eyes, all the virtue that I lay claim to, and by reason of which I have attained this blissful state. Rise, worshipful sir, and quickly enter this inner apartment. O virtuous man, it is proper that thou shouldst see my father and my mother."’ Markandeya continued, ’Thus addressed the Brahmana went in, and beheld a fine beautiful mansion. It was a magnificent house divided in four suites of rooms, admired by gods and looking like one of their palaces; it was also furnished with seats and beds, and redolent of excellent perfumes. His revered parents clad in white robes, having finished
“Markandeya continued, ’The virtuous fowler, having introduced his (both) parents to that Brahmana as his highest gurus, again spoke to him as follows, “Mark thou the power of this virtue of mine, by which my inner spiritual vision is extended. For this, thou wast told by that self-restrained, truthful lady, devoted to her husband, ’Hie thee to Mithila; for there lives a fowler who will explain to thee, the mysteries of religion.’” The Brahmana said, “O pious man, so constant in fulfilling thy religious obligations, bethinking myself of what that truthful good-natured lady so true to her husband, hath said, I am convinced that thou art really endowed with every high quality.” The fowler replied, “I have no doubt, my lord, that what that lady, so faithful to her husband, said to thee about me, was said with full knowledge of the facts. I have, O Brahmana, explained to thee all this as a matter of favour. And now, good sir, listen to me. I shall explain what is good for thee. O good Brahmana, of irreproachable character, thou hast wronged thy father and thy mother, for thou hast left home without their permission, for the purpose of learning the Vedas. Thou hast not acted properly in this matter, for thy ascetic and aged parents have become entirely blind from grief at thy loss. Do thou return home to console them. May this virtue never forsake thee. Thou art high-minded, of ascetic merit, and always devoted to thy religion but all these have become useless to thee. Do thou without delay return to console thy parents. Do have some regard for my words and not act otherwise; I tell thee what is good for thee, O Brahmana Rishi. Do thou return home this very day.” The Brahmana replied, “This that thou hast said, is undoubtedly true; mayst thou, O pious man, attain prosperity; I am much pleased with thee.” The fowler said, “O Brahmana, as thou practisest with assiduousness those divine, ancient, and eternal virtues which are so difficult of attainment even by pure-minded persons, thou appearest (to me) like a divine being. Return to the side of thy father and mother and be quick and diligent in honouring thy parents; for, I do not know if there is any virtue higher than this.” The Brahmana replied, “By a piece of singular good luck have I arrived here, and by a piece of similar good luck have I thus been associated with thee. It is very difficult to find out, in our midst, a person who can so well expound the mysteries of religion; there is scarcely one man among thousands, who is well versed in the science of religion. I am very glad, O great man, to have secured thy friendship; mayst thou be prosperous. I was on the point of falling into hell, but was extricated by thee. It was destined to be so, for thou didst (unexpectedly) come in my way. And, O great man, as the fallen King Yayati was saved by his virtuous grandsons (daughter’s sons), so have I know been saved by thee. According
“’The fowler replied, “O good Brahmana, Brahmanas are worthy of all respect from me. Listen, O sinless one, to this story of a previous existence of mine. O son of an excellent Brahmana, I was formerly a Brahmana, well-read in the Vedas, and an accomplished student of the Vedangas. Through my own fault I have been degraded to my present state. A certain king, accomplished in the science of dhanurveda (science of archery), was my friend; and from his companionship, O Brahmana, I, too became skilled in archery; and one day the king, in company with his ministers and followed by his best warriors, went out on a hunting expedition. He killed a large number of deer near a hermitage. I, too, O good Brahmana, discharged a terrible arrow. And a rishi was wounded by that arrow with its head bent out. He fell down upon the ground, and screaming loudly said, ’I have harmed no one, what sinful man has done this?’ And, my lord, taking him for a deer, I went up to him and found that he was pierced through the body by my arrow. On account of my wicked deed I was sorely grieved (in mind). And then I said to that rishi of severe ascetic merit, who was loudly crying, lying upon the ground, ‘I have done this unwittingly, O rishi.’ And also this I said to the muni: ’Do thou think it proper to pardon all this transgression.’ But, O Brahmana, the rishi, lashing himself into a fury, said to me, ’Thou shalt be born as a cruel fowler in the Sudra class.’"’”
“’The fowler continued, “Thus cursed by that rishi, I sought to propitiate him with these words: ’Pardon me, O muni, I have done this wicked deed unwittingly. It behooves thee to pardon all that. Do thou, worshipful sir, soothe yourself.’ The rishi replied, ’The curse that I have pronounced can never be falsified, this is certain. But from kindness towards thee, I shall do thee a favour. Though born in the Sudra class thou shalt remain a pious man and thou shalt undoubtedly honour thy parents; and by honouring them thou shalt attain great spiritual perfection; thou shalt also remember the events of thy past life and shalt go to heaven; and on the expiation of this curse, thou shalt again become a Brahmana.’ O best of men, thus, of old was I cursed by that rishi
“’The fowler replied, “The bodily afflictions should be cured with medicines, and the mental ones with spiritual wisdom. This is the power of knowledge. Knowing this, the wise should not behave like boys. Men of low intelligence are overpowered with grief at the occurrence of something which is not agreeable to them, or non-occurrence of something which is good or much desired. Indeed, all creatures are subject to this characteristic (of grief or happiness). It is not merely a single creature or class that is subject to misery. Cognisant of this evil, people quickly mend their ways, and if they perceive it at the very outset they succeed in curing it altogether. Whoever grieves for it, only makes himself uneasy. Those wise men whose knowledge has made them happy and contented, and who are indifferent to happiness and misery alike, are really happy. The wise are always contented and the foolish always discontented. There is no end to discontentment, and contentment is the highest happiness. People who have reached the perfect way, do not grieve, they are always conscious of the final destiny of all creatures. One must not give way to discontent for it is like a virulent poison. It kills persons of undeveloped intelligence, just as a child is killed by an enraged snake. That man has no manliness whose energies have left him and who is overpowered with perplexity when an occasion for the exercise of vigour presents itself. Our actions are surely followed by their consequences.
 Vishada is the
original. It means discontent, but here it
means more a mixture of discontent, perplexity and confusion
than mere discontent.
“Markandeya continued, ’The fowler said to him, “Be it so.” And the good Brahmana walked round him and then departed. And the Brahmana returning home was duly assiduous in his attention to his old parents. I have thus, O pious Yudhishthira, narrated in detail to thee this history full of moral instruction, which thou, my good son, didst ask me to recite,—the virtue of women’s devotion to their husbands and that of filial piety.’ Yudhishthira replied, ’O most pious Brahmana and best of munis, thou hast related to me this good and wonderful moral story; and listening to thee, O learned man, my time has glided away like a moment; but, O adorable sir, I am not as yet satiated with hearing this moral discourse.’”
 A form of Hindu etiquette at parting.
 It is so very difficult
to translate the word
Karma,—religion and morals were invariably associated with
each other in ancient Hindu mind.
Vaisampayana continued, “The virtuous king Yudhishthira, having listened to this excellent religious discourse, again addressed himself to the rishi Markandeya saying, ’Why did the fire-god hide himself in water in olden times, and why is it that Angiras of great splendour officiating as fire-god, used to convey oblations during his dissolution. There is but one fire, but according to the nature of its action, it is seen to divide itself into many. O worshipful sir, I long to be enlightened on all these points,—How the Kumara was born, how he came to be known as the son of Agni (the fire-god) and how he was begotten by Rudra or Ganga and Krittika. O noble scion of Bhrigu’s race, I desire to learn all this
 Agni or fire was supposed
to convey the oblations offered
by men to the gods.
 Kumara means a
boy, hence a prince. Here Kartika the
war-god is meant.
 By carrying their oblations to the gods.
 Portions of the Vedas.
“Markandeya continued, ’O ornament of Kuru’s race, he (Angiras) who was the third son of Brahma had a wife of the name of Subha. Do thou hear of the children he had by her. His son Vrihaspati, O king, was very famous, large-hearted and of great bodily vigour. His genius and learning were profound, and he had a great reputation as a counsellor. Bhanumati was his first-born daughter. She was the most beautiful of all his children. Angiras’s second daughter was called Raga. She was so named because she was the object of all creature’s love. Siniwali was the third daughter of Angiras. Her body was of such slender make that she was visible at one time and invisible at another; and for this reason she was likened to Rudra’s daughter. Archismati was his fourth daughter, she was so named from her great refulgence. And his fifth daughter was called Havishmati, so named from her accepting havis or oblations. The sixth daughter of Angiras was called Mahismati the pious. O keen-witted being, the seventh daughter of Angiras is known by the name of Mahamati, who is always present at sacrifices of great splendour, and that worshipful daughter of Angiras, whom they call unrivalled and without portion, and about whom people utter the words kuhu kuhu (wonder), is known by the name of Kuhu.’”
 Raga means love.
“Markandeya continued, ’Vrihaspati had a wife (called Tara) belonging to the lunar world. By her, he had six sons partaking of the energy of fire, and one daughter. The fire in whose honour oblations of clarified butter are offered at the Paurnamasya and other sacrifices, was a son of Vrihaspati called Sanju; he was of great ascetic merit. At the Chaturmasya (four-monthly) and Aswamedha (horse) sacrifices, animals are offered first in his honour, and this powerful fire is indicated by numerous flames. Sanju’s wife was called Satya, she was of matchless beauty and she sprang from Dharma (righteousness) for the sake of truth. The blazing fire was his son, and he had three daughters of great religious merit. The fire which is honoured with the first oblations at sacrifices is his first son called Bharadwaja. The second son of Sanju is called Bharata in whose honour oblations of clarified butter are offered with the sacrificial ladle (called Sruk) at all the full moon (Paurnamasaya) sacrifices. Beside these, three sons of whom Bharata is the senior, he had a son named Bharata and a daughter called Bharati. The Bharata fire is the son of Prajapati Bharata Agni (fire). And, O ornament of Bharata’s race, because he is greatly honoured, he is also called the great. Vira is Bharadwaja’s wife; she gave birth to Vira. It is said by the Brahmanas that he is worshipped like Soma (with the same hymns) with offerings of clarified butter. He is joined with Soma in the secondary oblation of clarified
 Kama is the name of the god of love, Indian Cupid.
 The body, the exciting
Cause of our actions is an uktha,
the soul of the vivifier of the body is the second uktha, and
the Supreme Spirit, the inciter of the soul is the third.
 The word of God.
“Markandeya continued, ’He (Uktha) performed a severe penance lasting for many years, with the view of having a pious son equal unto Brahma in reputation. And when the invocation was made with the vyahriti hymns and with the aid of the five sacred fires, Kasyapa, Vasistha, Prana, the son of Prana, Chyavana, the son of Angiras, and Suvarchaka—there arose a very bright energy (force) full of the animating (creative) principle, and of five different colours. Its head was of the colour of the blazing fire, its arms were bright like the sun and its skin and eyes were golden-coloured and its feet, O Bharata, were black. Its five colours were given to it by those five men by reason of their great penance. This celestial being is therefore described as appertaining to five men, and he is the progenitor of five tribes. After having performed a penance for ten thousand years, that being of great ascetic merit produced the terrible fire appertaining to the Pitris (manes) in order to begin the work of creation, and from his head and mouth respectively he created Vrihat and Rathantara (day and night) who quickly steal away (life, &c.). He also created Siva from his navel, Indra from his might and wind and fire from his soul, and from his two arms sprang the hymns Udatta and Anudatta. He also produced the mind, and the five senses, and other creatures. Having created these, he produced the five sons of the Pitris. Of these Pranidhi was the son of Vrihadratha. Vrihadratha was the son of Kasyapa. Bhanu was the godson of Chyavana, Saurabha, the son of Suvarchaka, and Anudatta, the son of Prana. These twenty-five beings are reputed (to have been created by him). Tapa also created fifteen other gods who obstruct sacrifices. They are Subhima, Bhima, Atibhima, Bhimavala, Avala, Sumitra, Mitravana, Mitasina, Mitravardhana and Mitradharaman, and Surapravira, Vira, Suveka, Suravarchas and Surahantri. These gods are divided into three classes of five each. Located here in this world, they destroy the sacrifices of the gods in heaven; they frustrate their objects and spoil their oblations of clarified butter. They do this only to spite the sacred fires carrying oblations to the gods. If the officiating priests are careful, they place the oblations in their honour outside of the sacrificial altar. To that particular place where the sacred fire may be placed, they cannot go. They carry the oblation of their votaries by means of wings. When appeased by hymns, they do not frustrate the sacrificial rites. Vrihaduktha, another son of Tapa, belongs to the Earth. He is worshipped here in this world by pious men performing Agnihotra sacrifices. Of the son of Tapa who is known as Rathantara, it is said by officiating priests that the sacrificial oblation offered in his honour is offered to Mitravinda. The celebrated Tapa was thus very happy with his sons.’”
 In Hindu Mythology there are no gods who destroy sacrifices. It is only the Asuras who do so. The Burdwan translator renders this passage,—“fifteen other gods belonging to western nations or Asuras.” It is noticeable that the beings that were denounced as Asuras by the Hindus were worshipped as Gods (Asuras) by the followers of Zarathustra.
 In connection with the
names of these Mitra-gods, it is to
be remembered that Mitra was the name of the principal god of
the ancient Persians.
“Markandeya continued, ’The fire called Bharata was bound by severe rules of asceticism. Pushtimati is another name of his fire; for when he is satisfied he vouchsafes pushti (development) to all creatures, and for this reason he is called Bharata (or the Cherisher). And that other fire, by name Siva, is devoted to the worship of Sakti (the forces of the presiding deity of the forces of Nature), and because he always relieves the sufferings of all creatures afflicted with misery, he is called Siva (the giver of good). And on the acquisition of great ascetic wealth by Tapa, an intelligent son named Puranda was born to inherit the same. Another son named Ushma was also born. This fire is observed in the vapour of all matter. A third son Manu was born. He officiated as Prajapati. The Brahmanas who are learned in the Vedas, then speak of the exploits of the fire Sambhu. And after that the bright Avasathya fire of great refulgence is spoken of by the Brahmanas. Tapa thus created the five Urjaskara fires, all bright as gold. These all share the Soma drink in sacrifices. The great sun-god when fatigued (after his day’s labours) is known as the Prasanta fire. He created the terrible Asuras and various other creatures of the earth. Angiras, too created the Prajapati Bhanu, the son of Tapa. He is also called Vrihadbhanu (the great Bhanu) by Brahmanas learned in the Vedas. Bhanu married Supraja, and Brihadbhanu the daughter of Surya (the sun-god). They gave birth to six sons; do thou hear of their progeny. The fire who gives strength to the weak is called Valada (or the giver of strength). He is the first son of Bhanu, and that other fire who looks terrible when all the elements are in a tranquil state is called the Manjuman fire; he is the second son of Bhanu. And the fire in whose honour oblations of clarified butter are enjoined to be made here at the Darsa and Paurnamasya sacrifices and who is known as Vishnu in this world, is (the third son of Bhanu) called Angiras, or Dhritiman. And the fire to whom with Indra, the Agrayana oblation is enjoined to be made is called the Agrayana fire. He is the (fourth) son of Bhanu. The fifth son of Bhanu is Agraha who is the source of the oblations which are daily made for the performance of the Chaturmasya
“Markandeya continued, ’Mudita, the favourite wife of the fire Swaha, used to live in water. And Swaha who was the regent of the earth and sky begot in that wife of his a highly sacred fire called Advanta. There is a tradition amongst learned Brahmanas that this fire is the ruler and inner soul of all creatures. He is worshipful, resplendent and the lord of all the great Bhutas here. And that fire, under the name of Grihapati, is ever worshipped at all sacrifices and conveys all the oblations that are made in this world. That great son of Swaha—the great Adbhuta fire is the soul of the waters and the prince and regent of the sky and the lord of everything great. His (son), the Bharata fire, consumes the dead bodies of all creatures. His first Kratu is known as Niyata at the performance of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. That powerful prime fire (Swaha) is always missed by the gods, because when he sees Niyata approaching him he hides himself in the sea from fear of contamination. Searching for him in every direction, the gods could not (once) find him out and on beholding Atharvan the fire said to him, “O valiant being, do thou carry the oblations for the gods! I am disabled from want of strength. Attaining the state of the red-eyed fire, do thou condescend to do me this favour!” Having thus advised Atharvan, the fire went away to some other place. But his place of concealment was divulged by the finny tribe. Upon them the fire pronounced this curse in anger, “You shall be the food of all creatures in various ways.” And then that carrier of oblations spoke unto Atharvan (as before). Though entreated by the gods, he did not agree to continue carrying their oblations. He then became insensible and instantly gave up the ghost. And leaving his material body, he entered into the bowels of the earth. Coming into contact with the earth, he created the different metals. Force and scent arose from his pus; the Deodar pine from his bones; glass from his phlegm; the Marakata jewel from his bile; and the black iron from his liver. And all the world has been embellished with these three substances (wood, stone and iron). The clouds were made from his nails, and corals from his veins. And, O king, various other metals were produced from his body. Thus leaving his material body, he remained absorbed in (spiritual) meditation. He was roused by the penance of Bhrigu and Angiras. The powerful fire thus gratified with penance, blazed forth intensely. But on beholding the Rishi (Atharvan), he again sought his watery refuge. At this extinction of the fire, the whole world was frightened, and sought the protection of Atharvan, and the gods and others began to worship him. Atharvan rummaged the whole sea in the presence of all those beings eager with expectation, and finding out the fire, himself began the work of creation. Thus in olden times the fire was destroyed and called back to life by the adorable Atharvan. But now he invariably carries the oblations of all creatures. Living in the sea and travelling about various countries, he produced the various fires mentioned in the Vedas.
“’The river Indus, the five rivers (of the Punjab), the Sone, the Devika, the Saraswati, the Ganga, the Satakumbha, the Sarayu, the Gandaki, the Charmanwati, the Mahi, the Medha, the Medhatithi, the three rivers Tamravati, the Vetravati, and the Kausiki; the Tamasa, the Narmada, the Godavari, the Vena, the Upavena, the Bhima, the Vadawa, the Bharati, the Suprayoga, the Kaveri, the Murmura, the Tungavenna, the Krishnavenna and the Kapila, these rivers, O Bharata, are said to be the mothers of the fires! The fire called Adbhuta had a wife of the name of Priya, and Vibhu was the eldest of his sons by her. There are as many different kinds of Soma sacrifices as the number of fires mentioned before. All this race of fires, first-born of the spirit of Brahma, sprang also from the race of Atri. Atri in his own mind conceived these sons, desirous of extending the creation. By this act, the fires came out of his own Brahmic frame. I have thus narrated to thee the history of the origin of these fires. They are great, resplendent, and unrivalled in power, and they are the destroyers of darkness. Know that the powers of those fires are the same as those of the Adbhuta fire as related in the Vedas. For all these fires are one and same. This adorable being, the first born fire, must be considered as one. For like the Jyotishtoma sacrifice he came out of Angiras body in various forms. I have thus described to thee the history of the great race of Agni (fires) who when duly worshipped with the various hymns, carry the oblations of all creatures to the gods.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’O sinless scion of Kuru’s race, I have described to thee the various branches of the race of Agni. Listen now to the story of the birth of the intelligent Kartikeya. I shall tell thee of that wonderful and famous and highly energetic son of the Adbhuta fire begotten of the wives of the Brahmarshis. In ancient times the gods and Asuras were very active in destroying one another. And the terrible Asuras always succeeded in defeating the gods. And Purandara (Indra) beholding the great slaughter of his armies by them and anxious to find out a leader for the celestial host, thought within himself, “I must find out a mighty person who observing the ranks of the celestial army shattered by the Danavas will be able to reorganize it with vigour.” He then repaired to the Manasa mountains and was there deeply absorbed in thought of nature, when he heard the heart-rending cries of a woman to the effect, “May some one come quick and rescue me, and either indicate a husband for me, or be my husband himself.” Purandara said to her, “Do not be afraid, lady!” And having said these words, he saw Kesin (an Asura) adorned with a crown and mace in hand standing even like a hill of metals at a distance and holding that lady by the hand. Vasava addressed then that Asura saying, “Why
“’The lady replied, “I am a daughter of Prajapati (the lord of all creatures, Brahma) and my name is Devasena. My sister Daityasena has ere this been ravished by Kesin. We two sisters with our maids habitually used to come to these Manasa mountains for pleasures with the permission of Prajapati. And the great Asura Kesin used daily to pay his court to us. Daityasena, O conqueror of Paka, listened to him, but I did not. Daityasena was, therefore, taken away by him, but, O illustrious one, thou hast rescued me with thy might. And now, O lord of the celestials, I desire that thou shouldst select an invincible husband for me.” To this Indra replied, “Thou art a cousin of mine, thy mother being a sister of my mother Dakshayani, and now I desire to hear thee relate thine own prowess.” The lady replied, “O hero with long arms, I am Avala (weak) but my husband must be powerful. And by the potency of my father’s boon, he will be respected by gods and Asuras alike.” Indra said, “O blameless creature, I wish to hear from thee, what sort of power thou wishest thy husband to possess.” The lady replied, “That manly and famous and powerful being devoted to Brahma, who is able to conquer all the celestials, Asuras, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Uragas, Rakshasas, and the evil-minded Daityas and to subdue all the worlds with thee, shall be my husband."’
 Avala is a common
name of women. It means one who has no
vala or strength or power. The word is also used as an
“Markandeya continued, ’On hearing her speech, Indra was grieved and deeply thought within himself, “There is no husband for this lady, answering to her own description.” And that god adorned with sun-like effulgence, then perceived the Sun rising on the Udaya hill, and the great Soma (Moon) gliding into the Sun. It being the time of the new Moon, he of a hundred sacrifices, at the Raudra moment, observed the gods
 According to the Hindus,
the sun rises from and sets behind
two hills respectively. He rises from the Udaya or Sun-rise
hill and sets behind the Asta or sun-set hill.
to Rudra, the god of fury, violence,
 Devasena literally
means the celestial army. This fable
seems to be an allegorical representation of the attempts made
by Indra to procure a leader for the celestial host.
“Markandeya continued, ’The Adbhuta fire, thus transforming himself into a house-hold one, was highly gratified with seeing those gold-complexioned ladies and touching them with his flames. And influenced by their charms he dwelt there for a long time, giving them his heart and filled with an intense love for them. And baffled in all his efforts to win the hearts of those Brahmana ladies, and his own heart tortured by love, he repaired to a forest with the certain object of destroying himself. A little while before, Swaha, the daughter of Daksha, had bestowed her love on him. The excellent lady had been endeavouring for a long time to detect his weak moments; but that blameless lady did not succeed in finding out any weakness in the calm and collected fire-god. But now that the god had betaken himself to a forest, actually tortured by the pangs of love, she thought, “As I too am distressed with love, I shall assume the guise of the wives of the seven Rishis, and in that disguise I shall seek the fire-god so smitten with their charms. This done, he will be gratified and my desire too will be satisfied."’”
“Markandeya continued, ’O lord of men, the beautiful Siva endowed with great virtues and an unspotted character was the wife of Angiras (one of the seven Rishis). That excellent lady (Swaha) at first assuming the disguise of Siva, sought the presence of Agni unto whom she said, “O Agni, I am tortured with love for thee. Do thou think it fit to woo me. And if thou dost not accede to my request, know that I shall commit self-destruction. I am Siva the wife of Angiras. I have come here according to the advice of the wives of the other Rishis, who have sent me here after due deliberation.”
“’Agni replied, “How didst thou know that I was tortured with love and how could the others, the beloved wives of the seven Rishis, of whom thou hast spoken, know this?”
“’Swaha replied, “Thou art always a favourite with us, but we are afraid of thee. Now having read thy mind by well-known signs, they have sent to thy presence. I have come here to gratify my desire. Be thou quick, O Agni, to encompass the object of thy desire, my sisters-in-law are awaiting me. I must return soon.”
“Markandeya continued, ’Then Agni, filled with great joy and delight, married Swaha in the guise of Siva, and that lady joyfully cohabiting with him, held the semen virile in her hands. And then she thought within herself that those who would observe her in that disguise in the forest, would cast an unmerited slur upon the conduct of those Brahmana ladies in connection with Agni. Therefore, to prevent this, she should assume the disguise of a bird, and in that state she should more easily get out of the forest.’
“Markandeya continued, ’Then assuming the disguise of a winged creature, she went out of the forest and reached the White Mountain begirt with clumps of heath and other plants and trees, and guarded by strange seven-headed serpents with poison in their very looks, and abounding with Rakshasas, male and female Pisachas, terrible spirits, and various kinds of birds and animals. That excellent lady quickly ascending a peak of those mountains, threw that semen into a golden lake. And then assuming successively the forms of the wives of the high-souled seven Rishis, she continued to dally with Agni. But on account of the great ascetic merit of Arundhati and her devotion to her husband (Vasishtha), she was unable to assume her form. And, O chief of Kuru’s race, the lady Swaha on the first lunar day threw six times into that lake the semen of Agni. And thrown there, it produced a male child endowed with great power. And from the fact of its being regarded by the Rishis as cast off, the child born therefrom came to be called by the name of Skanda. And the child had six faces, twelve ears, as many eyes, hands, and feet, one neck, and one stomach. And it first assumed a form on the second lunar day, and it grew to the size of a little child on the third. And the limbs of Guha were developed on the fourth day. And being surrounded by masses of red clouds flashing forth lightning, it shone like the Sun rising in the midst of a mass of red clouds. And seizing the terrific and immense bow which was used by the destroyer of the Asura Tripura for the destruction of the enemies of the gods, that mighty being uttered such a terrible roar that the three worlds with their mobile and immobile divisions became struck with awe. And hearing that sound which seemed like the rumbling of a mass of big clouds, the great Nagas, Chitra and Airavata, were shaken with fear. And seeing them unsteady that lad shining with sun-like refulgence held them with both his hands. And with a dart in (another) hand, and with a stout, red-crested,
“Markandeya continued, ’When that powerful, high-souled, and mighty being was born, various kinds of fearful phenomena occurred. And the nature of males and females, of heat and cold, and of such other pairs of contraries, was reversed. And the planets, the cardinal points and the firmaments became radiant with light and the earth began to rumble very much. And the Rishis even, seeking the welfare of the world, while they observed all these terrific prodigies on all sides, began with anxious hearts to restore tranquillity in the universe. And those who used to live in that Chitraratha forest said, “This very miserable condition of ours
“’The great Muni Viswamitra had, after the conclusion of the sacrifices of the seven Rishis, followed unseen the god of fire, while the latter was tortured with lust. He, therefore, knew everything as it happened and he was the first to seek the protection of Mahasena. And he offered divine prayers to Mahasena and all the thirteen auspicious rites appertaining to childhood, such as the natal and other ceremonies, were all performed by the great Muni in respect of that child. And for the good of the world he promulgated the virtues of the six-faced Skanda, and performed ceremonies in honour of the cock, the goddess Sakti, and the first followers of Skanda. And for this reason he became a great favourite of the celestial youth. That great Muni then informed the seven Rishis of the transformations of Swaha and told them that their wives were perfectly innocent. But though thus informed the seven Rishis abandoned their spouses unconditionally.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’The celestials having heard of the prowess of Skanda, all said to Vasava, “O Sakra, do thou kill Skanda without delay for his prowess is unbearable. And if thou dost not exterminate him, he will conquer the three worlds with ourselves, and overpowering thee, will himself become the mighty lord of the celestials.” Perplexed in mind, Sakra replied unto them, “This child is endowed with great prowess. He can himself destroy the Creator of the Universe, in battle putting forth his might. I venture not, therefore, to do away with him.” To this the gods replied, “Thou hast no manliness in thee, in that thou talkest in this manner. Let the great Mothers of the Universe repair to-day to Skanda. They can master at will any degree of energy. Let them kill this child.” “It shall be so.”—the mothers replied. And then they went away. But on beholding that he was possessed of great might, they became dispirited, and considering that he was invincible, they sought his protection and said unto him, “Do thou, O mighty being, become our (adopted) son. We are full of affection for thee and desirous
 Anger personified is a deity.
“Markandeya continued, ’The planets with their satellites, the Rishis and the Mothers, Agni and numerous other blazing courtiers and many other dwellers of heaven of terrible mien, waited on Mahasena along with the Mothers. And the illustrious sovereign of the gods, desirous of victory but believing success to be doubtful mounted his elephant Airavata and attended by the other gods advanced towards Skanda. That mighty being followed by all the celestials was armed with his thunderbolt. And with the object of slaying Mahasena, he marched with terrible celestial army of great splendour, sounding their shrill war-cry and furnished with various sorts of standards, with warriors encased in various armour and armed with numerous bows and riding on various animals. When Mahasena beheld the gloriously decked Sakra, attired in his best clothes, advancing with the determination of slaying him, he (too on his part) advanced to meet that chief of the celestials. O Partha, the mighty Vasava, the lord of the celestials, then uttered a loud shout, to encourage his warriors and marching rapidly with the view of killing Agni’s son and praised by Tridasas and great Rishis, he at length reached the abode of Kartikeya. And then he shouted out with other gods; and Guha too in response to this, uttered a fearful war-cry resembling the roaring of the sea. On hearing that noise, the celestial army behaved like an agitated sea, and was stunned and fixed to the spot. And that son of Pavaka (the Fire-god) beholding the gods come near to him with the object of killing him, was filled with wrath, and gave out rising flame of fire from within his mouth. And these flames destroyed the celestial forces struggling on the ground. Their heads, their bodies, their arms and riding animals were all burnt in that conflagration and they appeared all on a sudden like stars displaced from their proper
 Another name of gods,
so named from their having only three
stages of life—viz., infancy, childhood, and youth—and being
exempt from the fourth—old age.
“Markandeya continued, ’Now hear of those terrible and curious-looking followers of Skanda. A number of male children came into being when Skanda was struck with the thunder-bolt,—those terrific creatures that steal (spirit away) little children, whether born, or in the womb and a number of female children too of great strength were born to him. Those children adopted Visakha as their father. That adorable and dexterous Bhadrasakha, having a face like that of a goat was at the time (of the battle) surrounded by all his sons and daughters whom he guarded carefully in the presence of the great mothers. And for this reason the inhabitants of this earth call Skanda the father of Kumaras (little children). Those persons who desire to have sons born to them, worship in their places the powerful Rudra in the form of the Fire-god, and Uma in the form of Swaha. And by that means they are blessed with sons. The daughters begotten by the Fire-god, Tapa, went over to Skanda, who said to them, “What can I do for you?” Those girls replied, “Do us this favour; by thy blessing, may we become the good and respected mothers of all the world!” He replied, “Be it so.” And that liberal-minded being repeated again and again, “Ye shall be divided into Siva and Asiva." And the mothers then departed, having first established Skanda’s sonship, Kaki, Halima, Malini, Vrinhila, Arya, Palala and Vaimitra, these were the seven mothers of Sisu. They had a powerful, red-eyed, terrific, and very turbulent son named Sisu born by the blessing of Skanda. He was reputed as the eighth hero, born of the mothers of Skanda. But he is also known as the ninth, when that being with the face of a goat, is included.
 i.e., good and evil spirits.
“Markandeya continued, ’Skanda was adorned with a golden amulet and wreath, and wore a crest and a crown of gold; his eyes were golden-coloured, and he had a set of sharp teeth; he was dressed in a red garment and looked very handsome; he had a comely appearance, and was endowed with all good characteristics and was the favourite of the three worlds. He granted boons (to people who sought them) and was brave, youthful, and adorned with bright ear-rings. Whilst he was reposing himself, the goddess of fortune, looking like a lotus and assuming a personal embodiment, rendered her allegiance to him. When he became thus possessed of good fortune, that famous and delicate-looking creature appeared to all like the moon at its full. And high-minded Brahmanas worshipped that mighty being, and the Maharshis (great rishis) then said as follows to Skanda, “O thou born of the golden egg, mayst thou be prosperous and mayst thou become an instrument of good to the universe! O best of the gods, although thou wast born only six nights (days) ago, the whole world has owned allegiance to thee (within this short time), and thou hast also allayed their fears. Therefore do thou become the Indra (lord) of the three worlds and remove their cause of apprehension.” Skanda replied, “You gentlemen of great ascetic wealth (tell me) what Indra does with all three worlds and how that sovereign of the celestials protects the hosts of gods unremittingly.” The Rishis replied, “Indra is the giver of strength, power, children and happiness to all creatures and when propitiated, that Lord of the celestials bestows on all the objects of their desire. He destroys the wicked and fulfils the desires of the righteous; and that Destroyer of Vala assigns to all creatures their various duties. He officiates for the sun and the moon in places where there is no sun or moon; he even when occasion requires it, acts for (serves the purposes of) fire, air, earth, and water. These are the duties of Indra; his capacities are immense. Thou too art mighty; therefore great hero, do thou become our Indra.”
“’Sakra said, “O mighty being, do thou make us happy, by becoming our lord. Excellent being, thou art worthy of the honour; therefore shall we anoint thee this very day.”
“’Skanda replied, “Do thou continue to rule the three worlds with self-possession, and with thy heart bent on conquest. I shall remain thy humble servant. I covet not thy sovereignty.”
“’Sakra replied, “Thy prowess is unrivalled, O hero, do thou therefore vanquish the enemies of the gods. People have been struck with wonder at thy prowess. More specially as I have been bereft of my prowess, and defeated by thee, now if I were to act as Indra, I should not command the respect of all creatures, and they would be busy in bringing about dissensions between us; and then, my lord, they would become the partisans of one or other of us. And when they formed themselves into two distinct factions, war as before would be the result of that defection. And in that war, thou wouldst undoubtedly defeat me without difficulty and thyself become the lord of all worlds.”
“’Skanda replied, “Thou, O Sakra, art my sovereign, as also of the three worlds; mayst thou be prosperous! Tell me if I can obey any commands of thine.”
“’Indra replied, “At thy bidding, O powerful being, I shall continue to act as Indra. And if thou hast said this deliberately and in earnest, then hear me how thou canst gratify thy desire of serving me. Do thou, O mighty being, take the leadership of the celestial forces accordingly.”
“’Skanda replied, “Do thou anoint me as leader, for the destruction of the Danavas, for the good of the celestials, and for the well-being of cows and Brahmanas."’
“Markandeya continued, “Thus anointed by Indra and all other gods, and honoured by the Maharshis, he looked grand at the moment. The golden umbrella held (over his head) looked like a halo of blazing fire. That famous god, the Conqueror of Tripura, himself fastened the celestial wreath of gold, of Viswakarma’s manufacture, round his neck. And, O great man and conqueror of thine enemies, that worshipful god with the emblem of the bull, had gone there previously with Parvati. He honoured him with a joyous heart. The Fire-god is called Rudra by Brahmanas, and from this fact Skanda is called the son of Rudra. The White Mountain was formed from discharges of Rudra’s semen virile and the sensual indulgences of the Fire-god with the Krittikas took place on that same White Mountain. And as Rudra was seen by all the dwellers of heaven to heap honours on the excellent Guha (Skanda), he was for that reason reputed as the son of Rudra. This child had his being by the action of Rudra entering into the constitution of the Fire-god, and for this reason, Skanda came to be known as the son of Rudra. And, O Bharata, as Rudra, the Fire-god, Swaha, and the six wives (of the seven Rishis) were instrumental to the birth of the great god Skanda, he was for that reason reputed as the son of Rudra.’
 One of the ensigns of royalty in Hindustan.
“’That son of Fire-god was clad in a pair of clean red cloths, and thus he looked grand and resplendent like the Sun peeping forth from behind a mass of red clouds. And the red cock given to him by the Fire-god, formed his ensign; and when perched on the top of his chariot, it looked like the image of the all-destroying fire. And the presiding deity of the power which conduces to the victory of the god, and which is the director of the exertions of all creatures, and constitutes their glory, prop and refuge, advanced before him. And a mysterious charm entered into his constitution, the charm which manifests its powers on the battlefield. Beauty, strength, piety, power, might, truthfulness, rectitude, devotion to Brahmanas, freedom from illusion or perplexity, protection of followers, destruction of foes, and care of all creatures,—these, O lord of men, are the inborn virtues of Skanda. Thus anointed by all the gods, he looked pleased and complacent; and dressed in his best style, he looked beautiful like the moon at its full. The much-esteemed incantation of Vedic hymns, the music of the celestial band, and the songs of gods and Gandharvas then rang on all sides. And surrounded by all the well-dressed Apsaras, and many other gay and happy-looking Pisachas and hosts of gods, that anointed (by gods) son of Pavaka disported himself in all his grandeur. To the dwellers of heaven, the anointed Mahasena appeared like the Sun rising after extinction of darkness. And then the celestial forces looking upon him as their leader, surrounded him on all sides in thousands. That adorable being followed by all creatures then assumed their commands, and praised and honoured by them, he encouraged them in return.
“’The Performer of a thousand sacrifices then thought of Devasena, whom he has rescued before. And considering that this being (Skanda) was undoubtedly destined to be the husband of this lady by Brahma himself, he had her brought there, dressed her with the best apparel. And the vanquisher of Vala then said to Skanda, “O foremost of gods, this lady was, even before thy birth, destined to be thy bride by that Self-existent Being. Therefore do thou duly accept her lotus-like beautiful right hand with invocation of the (marital) hymns.” Thus told, he duly married her. And Vrihaspati learned in hymns performed the necessary prayers and oblations. She who is called Shashthi, Lakshmi, Asa, Sukhaprada, Sinivali, Kuhu, Saivritti, and Aparajita, is known among men as Devasena, the wife of Skanda. When Skanda became united to Devasena in indissoluble bonds of matrimony, then the gods of prosperity in her own personal embodiment began to serve him with diligence. As Skanda attained celebrity on the fifth lunar day, that day is called Sripanchami (or the auspicious fifth day) and as he attained his object on the sixth, that lunar day is considered to be of great moment.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’Those six ladies, the wives of the seven Rishis when they learned that good fortune had smiled on Mahasena and that he had been made leader of the celestial forces, repaired to his camp. Those virtuous ladies of high religious merit had been disowned by the Rishis. They lost no time in visiting that leader of the celestial forces and then addressed him thus, “We, O son, have been cast out by our god-like husbands, without any cause. Some people spread the rumour that we gave birth to thee. Believing in the truth of this story, they became greatly indignant, and banished us from our sacred places. It behooves thee now to save us from this infamy. We desire to adopt thee as our son, so that, O mighty being, eternal bliss may be secured to us by that favour. Do thou thus repay the obligation thou owest to us.”
 Devasenapati is the original.
It may mean either the pati
(leader) of the sena (forces) of devas or the pati
(husband) of Devasena.
“’Skanda replied, “O ladies of faultless character, do you accordingly become my mothers. I am your son and ye shall attain all the objects of your desire.”
“Markandeya continued, ’Then Sakra having expressed a wish to say something to Skanda, the latter enquired, “What is it?” Being told by Skanda to speak it out, Vasava said, “The lady Abhijit, the younger sister of Rohini, being jealous of her seniority, has repaired to the woods to perform austerities. And I am at a loss to find out a substitute for the fallen star. May good luck attend on thee, do thou consult with Brahma (for the purpose of filling up the room) of this great asterism.” Dhanishtha and other asterisms were created by Brahma, and Rohini used to serve the purpose of one such; and consequently their number was full. And in accordance with Sakra’s advice, Krittika was assigned a place in the heavens, and that star presided over by Agni shines as if with seven heads. Vinata also said to Skanda, “Thou art as a son to me, and entitled to offer me the funeral cakes (at my funeral obsequies). I desire, my son, to live with thee always.”
“’Skanda replied, “Be it so, all honour to thee! Do thou guide me with a mother’s affection, and honoured by thy daughter-in-law, thou shalt always live with me."’
“Markandeya continued, ’Then the great mothers spoke as follows to Skanda, “We have been described by the learned as the mothers of all creatures. But we desire to be thy mothers, do thou honour us.”
“’Skanda replied, “Ye are all as mothers to me, and I am your son. Tell me what I can do to please you.”
“’The mothers replied, “The ladies (Brahmi, Maheswari, &c.) were appointed as mothers of the world in bygone ages. We desire, O great god, that they be dispossessed of that dignity, and ourselves installed in their place, and that we, instead of them, be worshipped by the world. Do thou now restore to us those of our progeny, of whom we have been deprived, by them on thy account.”
“’Skanda replied, “Ye shall not recover those that have been once given away, but I can give you other offspring if ye like.”
“’The mothers replied, “We desire that living with thee and assuming different shapes we be able to eat up the progeny of those mothers and their guardians. Do thou grant us this favour.”
“’Skanda said, “I can grant you progeny, but this topic on which ye have just now dilated is a very painful one. May ye be prosperous! All honour to you, ladies, do ye vouchsafe to them your protecting care.”
“’The mothers replied, “We shall protect them, O Skanda, as thou desirest. Mayst thou be prosperous! But, O mighty being, we desire to live with thee always.”
“’Skanda replied, “So long as children of the human kind do not attain the youthful state in the sixteenth year of their age, ye shall afflict them with your various forms, and I too shall confer on you a fierce inexhaustible spirit. And with that ye shall live happily, worshipped by all."’
“Markandeya continued, ’And then a fiery powerful being came out of the body of Skanda for the purpose of devouring the progeny of mortal beings. He fell down upon the ground, senseless and hungry. And bidden by Skanda, that genius of evil assumed a terrific form. Skandapasmara is the name by which it is known among good Brahmanas. Vinata is called the terrific Sakuni graha (spirit of evil). She who is known as Putana Rakshasi by the learned is the graha called Putana; that fierce and terrible looking Rakshasa of a hideous appearance is also called the pisacha, Sita Putana. That fierce-looking spirit is the cause of abortion in women. Aditi is also known by the name of Revati; her evil spirit is called Raivata, and that terrible graha also afflicts children. Diti, the mother of the Daityas (Asuras), is also called Muhkamandika, and that terrible creature is very fond of the flesh of little children. Those male and female children, O Kaurava, who are said to have been begotten by Skanda, are spirit of evil and they destroy the foetus in the womb. They (the Kumaras) are known as the husbands of those very ladies, and children are seized unawares by these cruel spirits. And, O king, Surabhi who is called the mother of bovine kind by the wise is best ridden by the evil spirit Sakuni, who in company with her, devours children on this earth. And Sarama, the mother of dogs, also habitually kills human beings while still in the womb. She who is the mother of all trees has her abode in a karanja tree. She grants boons and has a placid countenance and is always favourably disposed towards all creatures. Those persons who desire to have children, bow down to her, who is seated in a karanja tree. These eighteen evil spirits fond of meat and wine, and others of the same kind, invariably take up their abode in the lying-in-room for ten days. Kadru
“’The man who beholds gods while sleeping, or in a wakeful state soon turns mad, and the spirit under whose influence these hallucinations take place is called the celestial spirit. When a person beholds his dead ancestors while he is seated at ease, or lying in his bed, he soon loses his reason, and the spirit which causes this illusion of sensible perception, is called the ancestral spirit. The man who shows disrespect to the Siddhas and who is cursed by them in return, soon runs mad and the evil influence by which this is brought about, is called the Siddha spirit. And the spirit by whose influence a man smells sweet odour, and becomes cognisant of various tastes (when there are no odoriferous or tasteful substances about him) and soon becomes tormented, is called the Rakshasa spirit. And the spirit by whose action celestial musicians (Gandharvas) blend their existence into the constitution of a human being, and make him run mad in no time, is called the Gandharva spirit. And that evil spirit by whose influence men are always tormented by Pisachas, is called the Pisacha spirit. When the spirit of Yakshas enters into the system of a human being by some accident, he loses his reason immediately, and such a spirit is called the Yaksha spirit. The man who loses his reason on account of his mind being demoralised with vices, runs mad in no time, and his illness must
“Markandeya continued, ’When Skanda had bestowed these powers, Swaha appeared to him and said, “Thou art my natural son,—I desire that thou shalt grant exquisite happiness to me.”
“’Skanda replied, “What sort of happiness dost thou wish to enjoy?”
“’Swaha replied, “O mighty being, I am the favourite daughter of Daksha, by name Swaha; and from my youthful days I have been in love with Hutasana (the Fire-god); but that god, my son, does not understand my feelings. I desire to live for ever with him (as his wife).”
“’Skanda replied, “From this day, lady, all the oblations that men of virtuous character, who swerve not from the path of virtue, will offer to their gods or ancestors with incantation of purifying hymns by Brahmanas, shall always be offered (through Agni) coupled with the name of Swaha, and thus, excellent lady, wilt thou always live associated with Agni, the god of fire."’
“Markandeya continued, ’Thus addressed and honoured by Skanda, Swaha was greatly pleased; and associated with her husband Pavaka (the Fire-god), she honoured him in return.
“’Then Brahma, the lord of all creatures, said to Mahasena, “Do thou go and visit thy father Mahadeva, the conqueror of Tripura. Rudra coalescing with Agni (the Fire-god) and Uma with Swaha have combined to make thee invincible for the well-being of all creatures. And the semen of the high-souled Rudra cast into the reproductive organ of Uma was thrown back upon this hill, and hence the twin Mujika and Minjika came into being. A portion of it fell into the Blood Sea, another portion, into the rays of the sun, another upon the earth and thus was it distributed in five portions. Learned men ought to remember that these thy various and fierce-looking followers living on the flesh of animals were produced from the semen.” “Be it so,” so saying, the high-souled Mahasena with fatherly love, honoured his father Maheswara.’
“Markandeya continued, ’Men who are desirous of acquiring wealth, should worship those five classes of spirits with the sun flower, and for alleviation of diseases also worship must be rendered to them. The twin Mujika and Minjika begotten by Rudra must always be respected by persons desiring the welfare of little children; and persons who desire to have children born to them must always worship those female spirits who live on human flesh and are produced in trees. Thus all Pisachas are said to be divided into innumerable classes. And now, O king, listen to the origin of the bells and standards of Skanda. Airavata (Indra’s elephant) is known to have had two bells of the name of Vaijayanti, and the keen-witted Sakra had them brought to him, and personally gave them to Guha. Visakha took one of those bells and Skanda the other. The standards of both Kartikeya and Visakha were of a red colour. That mighty god Mahasena was pleased with the toys that had been given to him by the gods. Surrounded by hosts of gods and Pisachas and seated on the Golden Mountain, he looked splendid in all the grandeur of prosperity. And that mountain covered with fine forests, also looked grand in his companionship, just as the Mandara hill abounding with excellent caves shines with the rays of the sun. The White Mountain was adorned with whole tracts of wood-land covered with blossoming Santanaka flowers and with forests of Karavira, Parijata, Jaba and Asoke trees,—as also with wild tracts overgrown with Kadamva trees; and it abounded with herds of celestial deer and flocks of celestial birds. And the rumbling of clouds serving the purpose of musical instruments sounded like the murmur of an agitated sea, and celestial Gandharvas and Apsaras began to dance. And there arose a great sound of joy from the merriment of all creatures. Thus the whole world with Indra himself seemed to have been transferred to the White Mountain. And all the people began to observe Skanda with satisfaction in their looks, and they did not at all feel tired of doing so.’
“Markandeya continued, ’When that adorable son of the Fire-god was anointed as leader of the celestial army, that grand and happy lord, Hara (Mahadeva) riding with Parvati in a chariot shining with sunlike refulgence repaired to a place called Bhadravata. His excellent chariot was drawn by a thousand lions and managed by Kala. They passed through blank space, and seemed as if they were about to devour the sky; and striking terror into the heart of all creatures in the mobile divisions of the worlds, those maned beasts flitted through the air, uttering fearful growls. And that lord of all animals (Mahadeva) seated in that chariot with Uma, looked like the sun with flames of lightning illuminating masses of clouds begirt with Indra’s bow (rainbow). He was preceded by that adorable Lord of riches riding on the backs of human beings with his attendant Guhyakas riding in his beautiful car Pushpaka. And Sakra
 A kind of missile.
 Another kind of weapon.
“’The son of Krittika, the leader of the celestial army, respectful to Brahmanas, surrounded by the celestial forces, also followed that lord of the gods. And then Mahadeva said these weighty words to Mahasena, “Do thou carefully command the seventh army corps of the celestial forces.”
“’Skanda replied, “Very well, my lord! I shall command the seventh army corps. Now tell me quickly if there is anything else to be done.”
“’Rudra said, “Thou shall always find me in the field of action. By looking up to me and by devotion to me shalt thou attain great welfare."’
“Markandeya continued, ’With these words Maheswara received him in his embrace, and then dismissed him. And, O great king, after the dismissal of Skanda, prodigies of various kinds occurred to disturb the equanimity of the gods.
“’The firmament with the stars was in a blaze, and the whole universe in a state of utter confusion. The earth quaked and gave forth a rumbling sound, and darkness overspread the whole world. Then observing this terrible catastrophy, Sankara with the estimable Uma, and the celestials with the great Maharshis, were much exercised in mind. And when they had fallen into this state of confusion, there appeared before them a fierce and mighty host armed with various weapons, and looking like a mass of clouds and rocks. Those terrible and countless beings, speaking different languages directed their movements towards the point where Sankara and the celestials stood. They hurled into the ranks of the celestial army flights of arrows in all directions, masses of rock, maces, sataghnis, prasas and parighas. The celestial army was thrown into a state of confusion by a shower of these terrible weapons and their ranks were seen to waver. The Danavas made a great havoc by cutting up their soldiers, horses, elephants, chariots and arms. And the celestial troops then seemed as if they were about to turn their backs upon the enemy. And numbers of them fell, slain by the Asuras, like large trees in a forest burnt in a conflagration. Those dwellers of heaven fell with their heads separated from their bodies, and having none to lead them in that fearful battle, they were slaughtered by the enemy. And then the god Purandara (Indra), the slayer of Vala, observing that they were unsteady and hard-pressed by the Asuras, tried to rally them with this speech, “Do not be afraid, ye heroes, may success attend your efforts! Do ye all take up your arms, and resolve upon manly conduct, and ye will meet with no more misfortune, and defeat those wicked and terrible-looking Danavas. May ye be successful! Do ye fall upon the Danavas with me.”
“’The dwellers of heaven were re-assured on hearing this speech from Sakra; and under his leadership, they again rushed against the Danavas. And then the thirty-three crores of gods and all the powerful Marutas and the Sadhyas with the Vasus returned to the charge. And the arrows which they angrily discharged against the enemy drew a large quantity of blood from the bodies of the Daityas and of their horses and elephants. And those sharp arrows passing through their bodies fell upon the ground, looking like so many snakes falling from the sides of a hill. And, O king, the Daityas pierced by those arrows fell fast on all sides, looking like so many detached masses of clouds. Then the Danava host, struck with panic at that charge of the celestials on the field of battle, wavered at that shower of various weapons. Then all the gods loudly gave vent to their joy, with arms ready to strike; and the celestial bands too struck up various airs. Thus took place that encounter, so fearful to both sides: for all the battle-field was covered with blood and strewn with the bodies of both gods and Asuras. But the gods were soon worsted all on a sudden, and the terrible Danavas again made a great havoc of the celestial army. Then the Asuras drums struck up and their shrill bugles were sounded; and the Danava chiefs yelled their terrific war-cry.
“’Then a powerful Danava, taking a huge mass of rock in his hands, came out of that terrible Daitya army. He looked like the sun peering forth from against a mass of dark clouds. And, O king, the celestials, beholding that he was about to hurl that mass of rock at them, fled in confusion. But they were pursued by Mahisha, who hurled that hillock at them. And, O lord of the world, by the falling of that mass of rock, ten thousand warriors of the celestial army were crushed to the ground and breathed their last. And this act of Mahisha struck terror into the hearts of the gods, and with his attendant Danavas he fell upon them like a lion attacking a herd of deer. And when Indra and the other celestials observed that Mahisha was advancing to the charge, they fled, leaving behind their arms and colours. And Mahisha was greatly enraged at this, and he quickly advanced towards the chariot of Rudra; and reaching near, he seized its pole with his hands. And when Mahisha in a fit of rage had thus seized the chariot of Rudra, all the Earth began to groan and the great Rishis lost their senses. And Daityas of huge proportions, looking like dark clouds, were boisterous with joy, thinking that victory was assured to them. And although that adorable god (Rudra) was in that plight, yet he did not think it worth while to kill Mahisha in battle; he remembered that Skanda would deal the deathblow to that evil-minded Asura. And the fiery Mahisha, contemplating with satisfaction the prize (the chariot of Rudra) which he had secured,
“’It was observed both by the gods and the Danavas that Skanda hurled his sakti again and again on the field of battle, and that it returned to his hands, after killing thousands of the enemy’s forces. And the terrible Danavas fell in large numbers by the arrows of the wise Mahasena. And then a panic seized them, and the followers of Skanda began to slay and eat them up by thousands and drink their blood. And they joyously exterminated the Danavas in no time, just as the sun destroys darkness, or as fire destroys a forest, or as the winds drive away the clouds. And in this manner the famous Skanda defeated all his enemies. And the gods came to congratulate him, and he, in turn, paid his respects to Maheswara. And that son of Krittika looked grand like the sun in all the glory of his effulgence. And when the enemy was completely defeated by Skanda and when Maheswara left the battle-field, Purandara embraced Mahasena and said to him, “This Mahisha, who was made invincible by the favour of Brahma hath been killed by thee. O best of warriors, the gods were like grass to him. O strong-limbed hero, thou hast removed a thorn of the celestials. Thou hast killed in battle hundreds of Danavas equal in valour to Mahisha who were all hostile to us, and who used to harass us before. And thy followers too have devoured them by hundreds. Thou art, O mighty being, invincible in battle like Uma’s lord; and this victory shall be celebrated as thy first achievement, and thy fame shall be undying in the three worlds. And, O strong-armed god, all the gods will yield their allegiance to thee.” Having spoken thus to Mahasena, the husband of Sachi left the place accompanied by the gods and with the permission of the adorable three-eyed god (Siva). And Rudra returned to Bhadravata, and the celestials too returned to their respective abodes. And Rudra spoke, addressing the gods, “Ye must render allegiance to Skanda just as ye do unto me.” And that son of the Fire-god, having killed the Danavas hath conquered the three worlds, in one day, and he hath been worshipped by the great Rishis. The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this story of the birth of Skanda, attaineth to great prosperity in this world and the companionship of Skanda hereafter.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O good and adorable Brahmana, I wish to know the different names of that high-souled being, by which he is celebrated throughout the three worlds.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by the Pandava in that assembly of Rishis, the worshipful Markandeya of high ascetic merit replied, ’Agneya (Son of Agni), Skanda (Cast-off), Diptakirti (Of blazing fame), Anamaya (Always hale), Mayuraketu (Peacock-bannered), Dharmatman (The virtuous-souled), Bhutesa (The lord of all creatures), Mahishardana (The slayer of Mahisha), Kamajit (The subjugator of desires), Kamada (The fulfiller of desires), Kanta (The handsome), Satyavak (The truthful in speech), Bhuvaneswara (The lord of the universe), Sisu (The child), Sighra (The quick), Suchi (The pure), Chanda (The fiery), Diptavarna (The bright-complexioned), Subhanana (Of beautiful face), Amogha (Incapable of being baffled), Anagha (The sinless), Rudra (The terrible), Priya (The favourite), Chandranana (Of face like the moon), Dipta-sasti (The wielder of the blazing lance), Prasantatman (Of tranquil soul), Bhadrakrit (The doer of good), Kutamahana (The chamber of even the wicked), Shashthipriya (True favourite of Shashthi), Pavitra (The holy), Matrivatsala (The reverencer of his mother), Kanya-bhartri (The protector of virgins), Vibhakta (Diffused over the universe), Swaheya (The son of Swaha), Revatisuta (The child of Revati), Prabhu (The Lord), Neta (The leader), Visakha (Reared up by Visakha), Naigameya (Sprang from the Veda), Suduschara (Difficult of propitiation), Suvrata (Of excellent vows), Lalita (The beautiful), Valakridanaka-priya (Fond of toys), Khacharin (The ranger of skies), Brahmacharin (The chaste), Sura (The brave), Saravanodbhava (Born in a forest of heath), Viswamitra priya (The favourite of Viswamitra), Devasena-priya (The lover of Devasena), Vasudeva-priya (The beloved of Vasudeva), and Priya-krit (The doer of agreeable things)—these are the divine names of Kartikeya. Whoever repeateth them, undoubtedly secureth fame, wealth, and salvation.’
“Markandeya continued, ’O valiant scion of Kuru’s race, I shall now with due devotion pray to that unrivalled, mighty, six-faced, and valiant Guha who is worshipped by gods and Rishis, enumerating his other titles of distinction: do thou listen to them: Thou art devoted to Brahma, begotten of Brahma, and versed in the mysteries of Brahma. Thou art called Brahmasaya, and thou art the foremost of those who are possessed of Brahma. Thou art fond of Brahma, thou art austere like the Brahmanas and art versed in the great mystery of Brahma and the leader of the Brahmanas. Thou art Swaha, thou art Swadha, and thou art the holiest of the holy, and art invoked in hymns and celebrated as the six-flamed fire. Thou art the year, thou art the six seasons, thou art the months, the (lunar) half months, the (solar) declinations, and the cardinal points of space.
“’The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this story of the birth of Skanda, or relateth it unto Brahmanas, or hears it narrated by regenerate men, attaineth to wealth, long life, fame, children, as also victory, prosperity and contentment, and the companionship of Skanda.’”
Vaisampayana said, “After those Brahmanas and the illustrious sons of Pandu had taken their seats, Draupadi and Satyabhama entered the hermitage. And with hearts full of joy the two ladies laughed merrily and seated themselves at their ease. And, O king, those ladies, who always spake sweetly to each other, having met after a long time, began to talk upon various delightful topics arising out of the stories of the Kurus and the Yadus. And the slender-waisted Satyabhama, the favourite wife of Krishna and the daughter of Satrajit, then asked Draupadi in private, saying, ’By what behaviour is it, O daughter of Drupada, that thou art able to rule the sons of Pandu—those heroes endued with strength and beauty and like unto the Lokapalas themselves? Beautiful lady, how is it that they are so obedient to thee and are never angry with thee? Without doubt the sons of Pandu, O thou of lovely features,
“When the celebrated Satyabhama, having said this, ceased, the chaste and blessed daughter of Drupada answered her, saying, ’Thou askedest me, O Satyabhama, of the practices of women that are wicked. How can I answer thee, O lady, about the cause that is pursued by wicked females? It doth not become thee, lady, to pursue the questions, or doubt me, after this, for thou art endued with intelligence and art the favourite wife of Krishna. When the husband learns that his wife is addicted to incantations and drugs, from that hour he beginneth to dread her like a serpent ensconced in his sleeping chamber. And can a man that is troubled with fear have peace, and how can one that hath no peace have happiness? A husband can never be made obedient by his wife’s incantations. We hear of painful diseases being transmitted by enemies. Indeed, they that desire to slay others, send poison in the shape of customary gifts, so that the man that taketh the powders so sent, by tongue or skin, is, without doubt, speedily deprived of life. Women have sometimes caused dropsy and leprosy, decrepitude and impotence and idiocy and blindness and deafness in men. These wicked women, ever treading in the path of sin, do sometimes (by these means) injure their husbands. But the wife should never do the least injury to her lord. Hear now, O illustrious lady, of the behaviour I adopt towards the high-souled sons of Pandu. Keeping aside vanity, and controlling desire and wrath, I always serve with devotion the sons of Pandu with their wives. Restraining jealousy, with deep devotion of heart, without a sense of degradation at the services I perform, I wait upon my husbands. Ever fearing to utter what is evil or false, or to look or sit or walk with impropriety, or cast glances indicative of the feelings of the heart, do I serve the sons of Pritha—those mighty warriors blazing like the sun or fire, and handsome as the moon, those endued with fierce energy and prowess, and capable of slaying their foes by a glance of the eye. Celestial, or man, or Gandharva, young or decked with ornaments, wealthy or comely of person, none else my heart liketh. I never bathe or eat or sleep till he that is my husband hath bathed or eaten or slept,—till, in fact, our attendants have bathed, eaten, or slept. Whether returning from the field, the forest, or the town, hastily rising up I always salute my husband with water and a seat. I always keep the house and all household articles and the food that is to be taken well-ordered and
 The word in the text is “Agrahara,” which, as Nilakantha explains, means here, “That which is first taken from a heap after the dedication of a portion to the Viswadevas.” What Draupadi means to say is, that she always took care to feed those Brahmanas with food “first” taken from the stores, without, in fact, having taken anything there from the use of anybody else.
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing those words of virtuous import uttered by Krishna, Satyabhama, having first reverenced the virtuous princess of Panchala, answered saying, ’O princess of Panchala, I have been guilty, O daughter of Yajnasena, forgive me! Among friends, conversations in jest arise naturally, and without premeditation.’”
“Draupadi said, ’I shall now indicate to thee, for attracting the heart of thy husbands a way that is free from deceit. By adopting it duly, dear friend, thou will be able to draw away thy lord from other females. In all the worlds, including that of the celestials, there is no god equal, O Satyabhama, unto the husband. When he is gratified with thee, thou mayst have (from thy husband) every object of desire; when he is angry, all these may be lost. It is from her husband that the wife obtaineth offspring and various articles of enjoyment. It is from thy husband that thou mayst have handsome beds and seats, and robes and garlands, and perfumes, and great fame and heaven itself hereafter. One cannot obtain happiness here by means that are easy. Indeed, the woman that is chaste, obtains weal with woe. Always adore Krishna, therefore, with friendship and love physical sufferings. And do thou also act in a way, by offering handsome seats and excellent garlands and various perfumes and prompt service, that he may be devoted to thee, thinking, “I am truly loved by her!” Hearing the voice of thy lord at the gate, rise thou up from thy seat and stay in readiness within the room. And as soon as thou seest him enter thy chamber, worship him by promptly offering him a seat and water to wash his feet. And even when he commands a maidservant to do anything, get thou up and do it thyself. Let Krishna understand this temper of thy mind and know that thou adorest him with all thy heart. And, O Satyabhama, whatever thy lord speaketh before thee, do not blab of it even if it may not deserve concealment,—for if any of thy co-wives were to speak of it unto Vasudeva, he might be irritated with thee. Feed thou by every means in thy power those that are dear and devoted to thy lord and always seek his good. Thou shouldst, however, always keep thyself aloof from those that are hostile to and against thy lord and seek to do him injury, as also from those that are addicted to deceit. Foregoing all excitement and carelessness in the presence of men, conceal thy inclinations by observing silence, and thou shouldst not stay or converse in private even with thy sons, Pradyumna and Samva. Thou shouldst form attachments with only such females as are high-born and sinless and devoted to their lords, and thou shouldst always shun women that are wrathful, addicted to drinks, gluttonous, thievish, wicked and fickle. Behaviour such as this is reputable and productive of prosperity; and while it is capable of neutralising hostility, it also leadeth to heaven. Therefore, worship thou thy husband, decking thyself in costly garlands and ornaments and smearing thyself with unguents and excellent perfumes.’”
Vaisampayana said, “Then Kesava, the slayer of Madhu, also called Janardana, having conversed on various agreeable themes with the illustrious sons of Pandu and with those Brahmanas that were headed by Markandeya and having bid them farewell, mounted his car and called for Satyabhama. And Satyabhama then, having embraced the daughter of Drupada, addressed her in these cordial words expressive of her feelings towards her: ’O Krishna, let there be no anxiety, no grief, for thee! Thou hast no cause to pass thy nights in sleeplessness, for thou wilt surely obtain back the earth subjugated by thy husbands, who are all equal unto the gods. O thou of black eyes, women endued with such disposition and possessed of such auspicious marks, can never suffer misfortune long. It hath been heard by me that thou shall, with thy husbands, certainly enjoy this earth peacefully and freed from all thorns! And, O daughter of Drupada, thou shalt certainly behold the earth ruled by Yudhishthira after the sons of Dhritarashtra have been slain and the deeds of their hostility avenged! Thou wilt soon behold those wives of the Kurus, who, deprived of sense by pride, laughed at thee while on thy way to exile, themselves reduced to a state of helplessness and despair! Know them all, O Krishna, that did thee any injury while thou wert afflicted, to have already gone to the abode of Yama. Thy brave sons, Prativindhya by Yudhishthira and Sutasoma by Bhima, and Srutakarman by Arjuna, and Satanika by Nakula, and Srutasena begot by Sahadeva, are well and have become skilled in weapons. Like Abhimanyu they are all staying at Dwaravati, delighted with the place. And Subhadra also, cheerfully and with her whole soul, looketh after them like thee, and like thee joyeth in them and deriveth much happiness from them. Indeed, she grieveth in their griefs and joyeth in their joys. And the mother of Pradyumna also loveth them with her whole soul. And Kesava with his sons Bhanu and others watcheth over them with especial affection. And my mother-in-law is ever attentive in feeding and clothing them. And the Andhakas and Vrishnis, including Rama and others, regard them with affection. And, O beautiful lady, their affection for thy sons is equal unto what they feel for Pradyumna.’
“Having said these agreeable and truthful and cordial words, Satyabhama desired to go to Vasudeva’s car. And the wife of Krishna then walked round the queen of the Pandavas. And having done so the beautiful Satyabhama mounted the car of Krishna. And the chief of the Yadavas, comforting Draupadi with a smile and causing the Pandavas to return, set out for his own city, with swift horses (yoked unto his car).”
Janamejaya said, “While those foremost of men—the sons of Pritha—were passing their days in the forest exposed to the inclemencies of the winter, the summer, the wind and the sun, what did they do, O Brahmana, after they had reached the lake and woods going by the name of Dwaita?”
Vaisampayana said, “After the sons of Pandu had arrived at that lake, they chose a residence that was removed from the habitations of men. And they began to roam through delightful woods and ever charming mountains and picturesque river-valleys. And after they had taken up their residence there, many venerable ascetics endued with Vedic lore often came to see them. And those foremost of men always received those Veda-knowing Rishis with great respect. And one day there came unto the Kaurava princes a certain Brahmana who was well known on earth for his powers of speech. And having conversed with the Pandavas for a while, he went away as pleased him to the court of the royal son of Vichitravirya. Received with respect by that chief of the Kurus, the old king, the Brahmana took his seat; and asked by the monarch he began to talk of the sons of Dharma, Pavana, Indra and of the twins, all of whom having fallen into severe misery, had become emaciated and reduced owing to exposure to wind and sun. And that Brahmana also talked of Krishna who was overwhelmed with suffering and who then had become perfectly helpless, although she had heroes for her lords. And hearing the words of that Brahmana, the royal son of Vichitravirya became afflicted with grief, at the thought of those princes of royal lineage then swimming in a river of sorrow. His inmost soul afflicted with sorrow and trembling all over with sighs, he quieted himself with a great effort, remembering that everything had arisen from his own fault. And the monarch said, ’Alas, how is it that Yudhishthira who is the eldest of my sons, who is truthful and pious and virtuous in his behaviour, who hath not a foe, who had formerly slept on beds made of soft Ranku skins, sleepeth now on the bare ground! Alas, wakened formerly by Sutas and Magadhas and other singers with his praises, melodiously recited every morning, that prince of the Kuru race, equal unto Indra himself, is now waked from the bare ground towards the small hours of the night by a multitude of birds! How doth Vrikodara, reduced by exposure to wind and sun and filled with wrath, sleep, in the presence of the princess of Panchala, on the bare ground, unfit as he is to suffer such lot! Perhaps also, the intelligent Arjuna, who is incapable of bearing pain, and who, though obedient to the will of Yudhishthira, yet feeleth himself to be pierced over all by the remembrance of his wrongs, sleepeth not in the night! Beholding the twins and Krishna and Yudhishthira and Bhima plunged in misery, Arjuna without doubt, sigheth like a serpent of fierce energy and sleepeth not from wrath in the night! The twins also, who are even like a couple of blessed celestials in heaven sunk in woe though deserving of bliss, without doubt pass their nights in restless wakefulness restrained (from avenging their wrongs) by virtue and truth! The mighty son of the Wind-god, who is equal to the Wind-god himself in strength, without doubt, sigheth and restraineth
“Hearing these words of the monarch, the son of Suvala, going unto Duryodhana, who was then sitting with Karna, told them everything in private. And Duryodhana, though possessed of little sense, was filled with grief at what he heard.”
Vaisampayana said, “Hearing those words of Dhritarashtra, Sakuni, when the opportunity presented itself, aided by Karna, spoke unto Duryodhana these words, ’Having exiled the heroic Pandavas by thy own prowess, O Bharata, rule thou this earth without a rival like the slayer of Samvara ruling the heaven! O monarch, the kings of the east, the south, the west, and the north, have all been made tributary to thee! O lord of earth, that blazing Prosperity which had before paid her court to the sons of Pandu, hath now been acquired by thee along with thy brothers! That blazing Prosperity, O king, which we not many days ago saw with heavy hearts in Yudhishthira at Indraprastha, is today seen by us to be owned by thee, she having, O mighty-armed monarch, been snatched by thee from the royal Yudhishthira by force of intellect alone. O slayer of hostile heroes, all the kings of the earth now living in subjection to thee, await thy commands, as they did before under Yudhishthira, awaiting his. O monarch, the goddess Earth with her boundless extent with girth of seas, with her mountains and forests, and towns and cities and mines, and decked with woodlands and hills is now thine! Adored by the Brahmanas and worshipped by the kings, thou blazest forth, O king, in consequence of thy prowess, like the Sun among the gods in heaven! Surrounded by the Kurus, O king, like Yama by the Rudra, or Vasava by the Maruts, thou shinest, O monarch, like the Moon among the stars! Let us, therefore, O king, go and look at the sons of Pandu—them who are now divested of prosperity, them who never obeyed commands, them who never owed subjection! It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that the Pandavas are now living on the banks of the lake called Dwaitavana, with a multitude of Brahmanas, having the wilderness for their home. Go thither, O king, in all thy prosperity, scorching the son of Pandu with a sight of thy glory, like the Sun scorching everything with his hot rays! Thyself a sovereign and they divested of sovereignty, thyself in prosperity and they divested of it, thyself possessing affluence and they in poverty, behold now, O king, the sons of Pandu. Let the sons of Pandu behold thee like Yayati, the son of Nahusha, accompanied by a large train of followers and enjoying bliss that is great. O king, that blazing Prosperity which is seen by both one’s friends and foes, is regarded as well-bestowed! What happiness can be more complete than that which he enjoyeth who while himself in prosperity, looketh upon his foes in adversity, like a person on the hill top looking down upon another crawling on the earth? O tiger among kings, the happiness
Vaisampayana continued, “Having thus spoken unto the king, Karna and Sakuni both remained silent, O Janamejaya, after their discourse was over.”
Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of Karna, king Duryodhana became highly pleased. Soon after, however, the prince became melancholy and addressing the speaker said, ’What thou tellest me, O Karna, is always before my mind. I shall not, however, obtain permission to repair to the place where the Pandavas are residing. King Dhritarashtra is always grieving for those heroes. Indeed, the king regarded the sons of Pandu to have become more powerful than before in consequence of their ascetic austerities. Or, if the king understands our motives, he will never, having regard to the future, grant us permission, for, O thou of great effulgence, we can have no other business in the woods of Dwaitavana than the destruction of the Pandavas in exile! Thou knowest the words that Kshatri spoke to me, to thyself, and to the son of Suvala, at the time of the match at dice! Reflecting upon all those words as also upon all those lamentations (that he and others indulged in), I cannot make up my mind as to whether I should or should not go! I shall certainly be highly pleased if I cast my eyes on Bhima and Phalguna passing their days in pain with Krishna in the woods. The joy that I may feel in obtaining the sovereignty of the entire earth is nothing to that which will be mine upon beholding the sons of Pandu attired in barks of trees and deer-skins. What joy can be greater, O Karna, that will be mine upon beholding the daughter of Drupada dressed in red rags in the woods? If king Yudhishthira and Bhima, the sons of Pandu, behold me graced with great affluence, then only shall I have attained the great end of my life! I do not, however, see the means by which I may repair to those woods, by which, in fact, I may obtain the king’s permission to go thither! Contrive thou, therefore, some skilful plan, with Suvala’s son and Dussasana, by which we may go to those woods! I also, making up my mind today as to whether I should go or not, approach the presence of the king tomorrow. And when I shall be sitting with Bhishma—that best of the Kurus—thou wilt, with Sakuni propose the pretext which thou mayst have contrived. Hearing then the words of Bhishma and of the king on the subject of our journey, I will settle everything beseeching our grandfather.’
“Saying ‘So be it,’ they then all went away to their respective quarters. And as soon as the night had passed away, Karna came to the king. And coming to him, Karna smilingly spoke unto Duryodhana, saying, ’A plan hath been contrived by me. Listen to it, O lord of men! Our herds are now waiting in the woods of Dwaitavana in expectation of thee! Without doubt, we may all go there under the pretext of supervising our cattle stations, for, O monarch, it is proper that kings should frequently repair to their cattle stations. If this be the motive put forth, thy father, O prince, will certainly grant thee permission!’ And while Duryodhana and Karna were thus conversing laughingly, Sakuni addressed them and said, ’This plan, free from difficulties, was what I also saw for going thither! The king will certainly grant us permission, or even send us thither of his own accord. Our herds are now all waiting in the woods of Dwaitavana expecting thee. Without doubt, we may all go there under the pretext of supervising our cattle stations!’
“They then all three laughed together, and gave their hands unto one another. And having arrived at that conclusion, they went to see the chief of Kurus.”
Vaisampayana said, “They then all saw king Dhritarashtra, O Janamejaya, and having seen him, enquired after his welfare, and were, in return, asked about their welfare. Then a cow-herd named Samanga, who had been instructed beforehand by them, approaching the king, spoke unto him of the cattle. Then the son of Radha and Sakuni, O king, addressing Dhritarashtra, that foremost of monarchs, said, ’O Kaurava, our cattle-stations are now in a delightful place. The time for their tale as also for marking the calves hath come. And, O monarch, this also is an excellent season for thy son to go ahunting! It behoveth thee, therefore, to grant permission to Duryodhana to go thither.’
“Dhritarashtra replied, ’The chase of the deer, as also the examination of cattle is very proper, O child! I think, indeed, that the herdsmen are not to be trusted. But we have heard that those tigers among men, the Pandavas, are now staying in the vicinity of those cattle stations. I think, therefore, ye should not go thither yourselves! Defeated by deceitful means they are now living in the deep forest in great suffering. O Radheya, they are mighty warriors and naturally able, they are now devoted to ascetic austerities. King Yudhishthira will not suffer his wrath to be awakened, but Bhimasena is naturally passionate. The daughter of Yajnasena is energy’s self. Full of pride and folly, ye are certain to give offence. Endued with ascetic merit she will certainly consume you, or perhaps, those heroes, armed with swords and weapons! Nor, if from force of numbers, ye seek to injure them in any respect, that will be a highly improper act, although, as I think, ye will never be able to succeed.
“Sakuni said, ’The eldest of the sons of Pandu is cognisant of morality. He pledged in the midst of the assembly, O Bharata, that he would live for twelve years in the forest. The other sons of Pandu are all virtuous and obedient to Yudhishthira. And Yudhishthira himself, the son of Kunti, will never be angry with us. Indeed, we desire very much to go on a hunting expedition, and will avail of that opportunity for supervising the tale of our cattle. We have no mind to see the sons of Pandu. We will not go to that spot where the Pandavas have taken up their residence, and consequently no exhibition of misconduct can possibly arise on our part.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Sakuni, that lord of men, Dhritarashtra, granted permission, but not very willingly, to Duryodhana and his counsellors to go to the place. And permitted by the monarch the Bharata prince born of Gandhari started, accompanied by Karna and surrounded by a large host. And he was also accompanied by Dussasana and Suvala’s son of great intelligence and by many other brothers of his and by ladies in thousands. And as the mighty-armed prince started for beholding the lake that was known by the name of Dwaitavana, the citizens (of Hastina), also accompanied by their wives began to follow him to that forest. Eight thousand cars, thirty thousand elephants, nine thousand horses, and many thousands of foot-soldiers, and shops and pavilions and traders, bards and men trained in the chase by hundreds and thousands followed the prince. And as the king started, followed by this large concourse of people, the uproar that was caused there resembled, O king, the deep tumult of the ranging winds in the rainy season. And reaching the lake Dwaitavana with all his followers and vehicles, king Duryodhana took up his quarters at the distance of four miles from it.”
Vaisampayana said, “King Duryodhana then moving from forest to forest, at last approached the cattle-stations, and encamped his troops. And his attendants, selecting a well-known and delightful spot that abounded in water and trees and that possessed every convenience constructed an abode for him. And near enough to the royal residence they also erected separate abodes for Karna and Sakuni and the brothers of the king. And the king beheld his cattle by hundreds and thousands and examining their limbs and marks supervised their tale. And he caused the calves to be marked and took note of those that required to be tamed. And he also counted those kine whose calves had not yet been weaned. And completing the task of tale by marking and counting every calf that was three years old, the Kuru prince, surrounded by the cowherds, began to sport and wander cheerfully. And the citizens also and the soldiers by thousands began to sport, as best pleased them, in those woods, like the celestials. And the herdsmen, well skilled in singing and dancing and instrumental music, and virgins decked in ornaments, began to minister to the pleasures of Dhritarashtra’s son. And the king surrounded by the ladies of the royal household began cheerfully to distribute wealth and food and drinks of various kinds amongst those that sought to please him, according to their desires.
“And the king, attended by all his followers, began also to slay hyenas and buffaloes and deer and gayals and bears and boars all around. And the king, piercing by his shafts those animals by thousands in deep forest, caused the deer to be caught in the more delightful parts of the woods. Drinking milk and enjoying, O Bharata, various other delicious articles and beholding, as he proceeded, many delightful forests and woods swarming with bees inebriate with floral honey and resounding with the notes of the peacock, the king at last reached the sacred lake of Dwaitavana. And the spot which the king reached swarmed with bees inebriate with floral honey, and echoed with the mellifluous notes of the blue-throated jay and was shaded by Saptacchadas and punnagas and Vakulas. And the king graced with high prosperity proceeded thither like the thunder-wielding chief of the celestials himself. And, O thou best of the Kuru race, King Yudhishthira the just, endued with high intelligence, was then, O monarch, residing in the vicinity of that lake at will and celebrating with his wedded wife, the daughter of Drupada, the diurnal sacrifice called Rajarshi, according to the ordinance sanctioned for the celestials and persons living in the wilderness. And, O monarch, having reached that spot, Duryodhana commanded his men by thousands, saying, ’Let pleasure-houses be constructed soon.’ Thus commanded, those doers of the king’s behests replying to the Kuru chief with the words, ‘So be it,’ went towards the banks of the lake for constructing pleasure-houses. And as the picked soldiers of
Vaisampayana said, “Those soldiers then, O king, all went back to Duryodhana and repeated to him every word that the Gandharvas had said. And, O Bharata, finding that his soldiers had been opposed by the Gandharvas, Dhritarashtra’s son, endued with energy, was filled with rage. And the king addressed his soldiers, saying, ’Punish these wretches who desire to oppose my will, even if they have come hither to sport, accompanied by all the celestials with him of a hundred sacrifices.’ And hearing these words of Duryodhana, the sons and officers of Dhritarashtra all endued with great strength, as also warriors by thousands, began to arm themselves for battle. And filling the ten sides with loud leonine roars and rushing at those Gandharvas that had been guarding the gates, they entered the forest. And as the Kuru soldiers entered the forest, other Gandharvas came up and forbade them to advance. And though gently forbidden by the Gandharvas to advance, the Kuru soldiers, without regarding them in the least, began to enter
“And seeing the Gandharva host yielding to fear, the angry Chitrasena sprang from his seat, resolved to exterminate the Kuru army. And conversant with various modes of warfare, he waged on the fight, aided by his weapons of illusion. And the Kaurava warriors were then all deprived of their senses by the illusion of Chitrasena. And then, O Bharata, it seemed that every warrior of the Kuru army was fallen upon and surrounded by ten Gandharvas. And attacked with great vigour, the Kuru host was
Vaisampayana said, “After that great warrior Karna had been routed by the Gandharvas, the whole of the Kuru army, O monarch, fled from the field in the very sight of Dhritarashtra’s son. And beholding all his troops flying from the field of battle with their back to the foe, king Duryodhana refused to fly. Seeing the mighty host of the Gandharvas rushing towards him, that represser of foes poured down upon them a thick shower of arrows. The Gandharvas, however, without regarding that arrowy shower, and desirous also of slaying him, surrounded that car of his. And by means of their arrows, they cut off into fragments the yoke, the shaft, the fenders, the flagstaff, the three-fold bamboo poles, and the principal turret of his car. And they also slew his charioteer and horses, hacking them to pieces. And when Duryodhana, deprived of his car, fell on the ground, the strong-armed Chitrasena rushed towards him and seized him in such a way that it seemed his life itself was taken. And after the Kuru king had been seized, the Gandharvas, surrounding Dussasana, who was seated on his car, also took him prisoner. And some Gandharvas seized Vivinsati and Chitrasena, and some Vinda and Anuvinda, while others seized all the ladies of royal household. And the warriors of Duryodhana, who were routed by the Gandharvas, joining those who had fled first, approached the Pandavas (who were living in the vicinity). And after Duryodhana had been made captive, the vehicles, the shops, the pavilions, the carriages, and the draught animals, all were made over to the Pandavas for protection. And those soldiers said, ’The mighty-armed son of Dhritarashtra, possessed of great strength and handsome mien, is being taken away captive by the Gandharvas! Ye sons of Pritha, follow them! Dussasana, Durvishasa, Durmukha, and Durjaya, are all being led away as captives in chains by the Gandharvas, as also all the ladies of the royal household!’
“Crying thus, the followers of Duryodhana, afflicted with grief and melancholy, approached Yudhishthira, desirous of effecting the release of the king. Bhima then answered those old attendants of Duryodhana, who, afflicted with grief and melancholy, were thus soliciting (the aid of Yudhishthira), saying, ’What we should have done with great efforts, arraying ourselves in line of battle, supported by horses and elephants hath, indeed, been done by the Gandharvas! They that come hither for other purposes, have been overtaken by consequences they had not foreseen! Indeed, this is the result of the evil counsels of a king who is fond of deceitful play! It hath been heard by us that the foe of a person who is powerless, is overthrown by others. The Gandharvas have, in an extraordinary way illustrated before our eyes the truth of this saying! It seems that there is still fortunately some person in the world who is desirous of doing us good who hath, indeed, taken upon his own shoulders our pleasant load, although we are sitting idly! The wretch had come hither to cast his eyes on us,—himself in prosperity while ourselves are sunk in adversity and emaciated by ascetic austerities and are exposed to wind, cold and heat. They that imitate the behaviour of that sinful and wretched Kaurava, are now beholding his disgrace! He that had instructed Duryodhana to do this, had certainly acted sinfully. That the sons of Kunti are not wicked and sinful, I tell it before you all!’
“And while Bhima, the son of Kunti, was speaking thus in a voice of sarcasm, king Yudhishthira told him, ’This is not time for cruel words!’”
“Yudhishthira said, ’O child, why dost thou use language such as this, towards the frightened Kurus, who are now in adversity and who have come to us, solicitous of protection! O Vrikodara, disunions and disputes do take place amongst those that are connected in blood. Hostilities such as these do go on. But the honour of the family is never suffered to be interfered with. If any stranger seeketh to insult the honour of a family, they that are good never tolerate such insult coming from the stranger. The wicked-souled king of the Gandharvas knoweth that we are living here from some time. Yet disregarding us, he hath done this deed which is so disagreeable to us! O exalted one, from this forcible seizure of Duryodhana and from this insult to the ladies of our house by a stranger, our family honour is being destroyed. Therefore, ye tigers among men, arise and arm yourselves without delay for rescuing those that have sought our protection and for guarding the honour of our family. Ye tigers among men, let Arjuna and the twins and thyself also that art brave and unvanquished, liberate Duryodhana, who is even now being taken away a captive! Ye foremost of warriors, these blazing cars, furnished with golden flagstaffs and every kind of weapons belonging
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Ajatasatru, Dhananjaya pledged himself, from respect for these commands of his superior, to liberate the Kauravas. And Arjuna said, ’If the Gandharvas do not set the Dhartarashtras free peacefully, the Earth shall this day drink the blood of the king of the Gandharvas!’ And hearing that pledge of the truth-speaking Arjuna, the Kauravas then, O king, regained (the lost) tenor of their minds.”
Vaisampayana said, “Hearing the words of Yudhishthira, those bulls among men, headed by Bhimasena, rose up with faces beaming in joy. And those mighty warriors, O Bharata, then began to case themselves in impenetrable mail that were besides variegated with pure gold, and armed themselves with celestial weapons of various kinds. And the Pandavas thus cased in mail, and mounted on those chariots furnished with flagstaffs and armed with bows and arrows, looked like blazing fires. And those tigers among warriors, riding upon those well furnished cars drawn by fleet horses, proceeded to that spot without losing a moment. And beholding those mighty warriors—the sons of Pandu—thus proceeding together (for the liberation of Duryodhana), the Kuru army sent forth a loud shout. And soon did those rangers of the sky flushed with victory, and those impetuous
Vaisampayana said, “Then those Gandharvas decked in golden garlands and accomplished in celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts, encountered the Pandavas from every side. And as the sons of Pandu were only four in number and the Gandharvas counted by thousands, the battle that ensued appeared to be extraordinary. And as the cars of Karna and Duryodhana had formerly been broken into a hundred fragments by the Gandharvas, so were the cars of the four heroes attempted to be broken. But those tigers among men began to encounter with their showers of arrows thousands upon thousands of Gandharvas rushing towards them. Those rangers
Vaisampayana said, “Then that mighty bowman of blazing splendour, Arjuna, smilingly said unto Chitrasena in the midst of the Gandharva host, ’What purpose dost thou serve, O hero, in punishing the Kauravas? O, why also hath Suyodhana with his wives been thus punished?’
“Chitrasena replied, ’O Dhananjaya, without stirring from my own abode I became acquainted with the purpose of the wicked Duryodhana and the wretched Karna in coming hither. The purpose was even this,—knowing that ye are exiles in the forest and suffering great afflictions as if ye had none to take care of you, himself in prosperity, this wretch entertained the desire of beholding you plunged in adversity and misfortune. They came hither for mocking you and the illustrious daughter of Drupada. The lord of the celestials also, having ascertained this purpose of theirs, told me, “Go thou and bring Duryodhana hither in chains along with his counsellors. Dhananjaya also with his brother should always be protected by thee in battle, for he is thy dear friend and disciple.” At these words of the lord of the celestials I came hither speedily. This wicked prince hath also been put in chains. I will now proceed to the region of the celestials, whither I will lead this wicked wight at the command of the slayer of Paka!’
“Arjuna answered, saying, ’O Chitrasena, if thou wishest to do what is agreeable to me, set Suyodhana free, at the command of king Yudhishthira the just, for he is our brother!’
“Chitrasena said, ’This sinful wretch is always full of vanity. He deserveth not to be set free. O Dhananjaya, he hath deceived and wronged both king Yudhishthira the just and Krishna. Yudhishthira the son of Kunti as yet knoweth not the purpose on which the wretch came hither. Let the king, therefore, do what he desires after knowing everything!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “After this, all of them went to king Yudhishthira the just. And going unto the king, they represented unto him everything about Duryodhana’s conduct. And Ajatasatru, hearing everything that the Gandharvas had said, liberated all the Kauravas and applauded the Gandharvas. And the king said, ’Fortunate it is for us that though gifted with great strength, ye did not yet slay the wicked son of Dhritarashtra along with all counsellors and relatives. This, O sir, hath been an act of great kindness done to me by the Gandharvas. The honour also of my family is saved by liberating this wicked wight. I am glad at seeing you all. Command me what I am to do for you. And having obtained all you wish, return ye soon whence ye came!’
“Thus addressed by the intelligent son of Pandu, the Gandharvas became well-pleased and went away with the Apsaras. And the lord of the celestials then, coming to that spot, revived those Gandharvas that had been slain in the encounter with the Kurus, by sprinkling the celestial Amrita over them. And the Pandavas also, having liberated their relatives along with the ladies of the royal household, and having achieved that difficult feat (the defeat of the Gandharvas host) became well-pleased. And those illustrious and mighty warriors worshipped by the Kurus along with their sons and wives, blazed forth in splendour like flaming fires in the sacrificial compound. And Yudhishthira then addressing the liberated Duryodhana in the midst of his brothers, from affection, told him these words: ’O child, never again do such a rash act. O Bharata, a rash wight never cometh by happiness. O son of the Kuru race, pleased be thou with all thy brothers. Go back to thy capital as pleaseth thee, without yielding thyself to despondency or cheerlessness!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus dismissed by the son of Pandu, king Duryodhana then saluted king Yudhishthira the just and overwhelmed with shame, and his heart rent in twain, mechanically set out for his capital, like one destitute of life. And after the Kaurava prince had departed, the brave Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, along with his brothers, was worshipped by the Brahmanas, and surrounded by those Brahmanas endued with the wealth of asceticism, like Sakra himself by the celestials, he began to pass his days happily in the woods of Dwaita.”
Janamejaya said, “After his defeat and capture by the foe and his subsequent liberation by the illustrious sons of Pandu by force of arms, it seemeth to me that the entry into Hastinapura of the proud, wicked, boastful, vicious, insolent, and wretched Duryodhana, engaged in insulting the sons of Pandu and bragging of his own superiority, must have been exceedingly difficult. Describe to me in detail, O Vaisampayana, the entry into the capital, of that prince overwhelmed with shame and unmanned by grief!”
Vaisampayana said, “Dismissed by the king Yudhishthira the just, Dhritarashtra’s son Suyodhana, bending his head down in shame and afflicted with grief and melancholy, set out slowly. And the king, accompanied by his four kinds of forces, proceeded towards his city, his heart rent in grief and filled with thoughts of his defeat along the way in a region that abounded in grass and water. The king encamped on a delightful piece of ground as pleased him best, with his elephants and cars and cavalry and infantry stationed all around. And as the king Duryodhana was seated on an elevated bedstead endued with the effulgence of fire, himself looking like the moon under an eclipse, towards the small hours of the morning Karna, approaching him, said, ’Fortunate it is, O son of Gandhari, that thou art alive! Fortunate it is, that we have once more met! By good luck it is that thou hast vanquished the Gandharvas capable of assuming any form at will. And, O son of the Kuru race, it is by good luck alone, that I am enabled to see thy brothers—mighty warriors all—come off victorious from that encounter, having subjugated their foes! As regards myself, assailed by all the Gandharvas, I fled before thy eyes, unable to rally our flying host. Assailed by the foe with all his might, my body mangled with their arrows, I sought safety in flight. This however, O Bharata, seemed to me to be a great marvel that I behold you all come safe and sound in body, with your wives, troops, and vehicles, out of that super-human encounter. O Bharata, there is another man in this world who can achieve what thou, O king, hast achieved in battle to-day with thy brothers.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana replied unto the ruler of the Angas in a voice choked with tears.”
“Duryodhana said, ’O Radheya, thou knowest not what hath happened. Therefore, I do not resent thy words. Thou thinkest the hostile Gandharvas to have been vanquished by me with my own energy. O thou of mighty arms, my brothers, indeed had for a long time, aided by me fought with the Gandharvas. The slaughtered, indeed, on both sides were great. But when those brave Gandharvas, resorting to their many powers of illusion, ascended the skies and began to fight with us thence, our encounter with them ceased to be an equal one. Defeat then was ours and even captivity. And afflicted with sorrow, we along with our attendants and counsellors and children and wives and troops and vehicles were being taken by them through the skies. It was then that some soldiers of ours and some brave officers repaired in grief unto the sons of Pandu—those heroes that never refuse succour to those that ask for it. And having gone to them they said, “Here is king Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, who with his younger brothers and friends and wives is being led away a captive by the Gandharvas along the sky.
“Duryodhana said, ’That slayer of hostile heroes, Arjuna, then approaching Chitrasena, smilingly addressed him in these manly words: “O hero, O foremost of the Gandharvas, it behoveth thee to set my brothers at liberty. They are incapable of being insulted as long as the sons of Pandu are alive.” Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, the chief of the Gandharvas, O Karna, disclosed unto the Pandavas the object we had in view in proceeding to that place, viz., that we came there for casting our eyes on the sons of Pandu with their wife, all plunged in misery. And while the Gandharva was disclosing those counsels of ours, overwhelmed with shame I desired the earth to yield me a crevice, so that I might disappear there and then. The Gandharvas then, accompanied by the Pandavas, went to Yudhishthira, and, disclosing unto him also counsels, made us over, bound as we were, to him. Alas, what greater sorrow could be mine than that I should thus be offered as a tribute unto Yudhishthira, in the very sight of the women of our household, myself in chains and plunged in misery, and under the absolute control of my enemies. Alas, they, who have ever been persecuted by me, they unto whom I have ever been a foe released me from captivity, and wretch that I am, I am indebted to them for my life. If, O hero, I had met with my death in that great battle, that would have been far better than that I should have obtained my life in this way.
Vaisampayana continued, “While giving way to such reflections Duryodhana spoke unto Dussasana thus: ’O Dussasana, listen to these words of mine, O thou of the Bharata race! Accepting this installation that I offer thee, be thou king in my place. Rule thou the wide earth protected by Karna and Suvala’s sons. Like Indra himself looking after the Maruts, cherish thou thy brothers in such a way that they may all confide in thee. Let thy friends and relatives depend on thee like the gods depending on him of a hundred sacrifices. Always shouldst thou bestow pensions on Brahmanas, without idleness, and be thou ever the refuge of thy friends and relatives. Like Vishnu looking after the celestials, thou shouldst always look after all consanguineous relatives. Thou shouldst also ever cherish thy superiors. Go, rule thou the earth gladdening thy friends and reproving thy foes.’ And clasping his neck, Duryodhana said, ‘Go!’ Hearing these words of his, Dussasana in perfect cheerlessness and overwhelmed with great sorrow, his voice choked in tears, said, with joined hands and bending his head unto his eldest brother, ‘Relent!’ And saying this he fell down on earth with heavy heart. And afflicted
“And beholding Dussasana and Duryodhana thus weeping, Karna in great grief approached them both and said, ’Ye Kuru princes, why do you thus yield to sorrow like ordinary men, from senselessness? Mere weeping can never ease a sorrowing man’s grief. When weeping can never remove one’s griefs, what do you gain by thus giving way to sorrow? Summon patience to your aid to not gladden the foe by such conduct. O king, the Pandavas only did their duty in liberating thee. They that reside in the dominions of the king, should always do what is agreeable to the king. Protected by thee, the Pandavas are residing happily in thy dominion. It behoveth thee not to indulge in such sorrow like an ordinary person. Behold, thy uterine brothers are all sad and cheerless at seeing thee resolved to put an end to thy life by forgoing food. Blest be thou! Rise up and come to thy city and console these thy uterine brothers.’”
“Karna continued, ’O king, this conduct of thine to-day appeareth to be childish. O hero, O slayer of foes, what is to be wondered at in this that the Pandavas liberated thee when thou wert vanquished by the foe? O son of the Kuru race, those that reside in the territories of the king, especially those (amongst them) that lead the profession of arms, should always do what is agreeable to the king whether they happen to be known to their monarch or unknown to him. It happened often that foremost men who crush the ranks of the hostile host, are vanquished by them, and are rescued by their own troops. They that leading the profession of arms, reside in the king’s realm should always combine and exert themselves to the best of their power, for the king. If, therefore, O king, the Pandavas, who live in the territories, have liberated thee, what is there to be regretted at in this? That the Pandavas, O best of kings, did not follow thee when thou didst march forth to battle at the head of thy troops, has been an improper act on their part. They had before this come under thy power, becoming thy slaves. They are, therefore, bound to aid thee now, being endued with courage and might and incapable of turning away from the field of battle. Thou art enjoying
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana, firmly resolved to leave the world, desired not to rise from where he sat.”
Vaisampayana said, “Beholding king Duryodhana, incapable of putting up with an insult, seated with the resolution of giving up life by forgoing food, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, said these words to comfort him. Sakuni said, ’O son of the Kuru race, you have just heard what Karna hath said. His words are, indeed fraught with wisdom. Why wouldst thou abandoning from foolishness the high prosperity that I won for thee, cast off thy life today, O king, yielding to silliness? It seemeth to me to-day that thou hast never waited upon the old. He that cannot control sudden accession of joy or grief, is lost even though he may have obtained prosperity, like an unburnt earthen vessel in water. That king who is entirely destitute of courage, who hath no spark of manliness, who is the slave of procrastination, who always acts with indiscretion, who is addicted to sensual pleasures, is seldom respected by his subjects. Benefited as thou has been, whence is this unreasonable grief of thine? Do not undo this graceful act done by the sons of Pritha, by indulging in such grief. When thou shouldst joy and reward the Pandavas, thou art grieving, O king? Indeed, this behaviour of thine is inconsistent. Be cheerful, do not cast away thy life; but remember with a pleased heart the good they have done thee. Give back unto the sons of Pritha their kingdom, and win thou both virtue and renown by such conduct. By acting in this way, thou mayst be grateful. Establish brotherly relations with the Pandavas by being friends, and give them their paternal kingdom, for then thou wilt be happy!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Sakuni, and seeing the brave Dussasana lying prostrate before him unmanned by fraternal love, the king raised Dussasana and, clasping him in his well round arms, smelt his head from affection. And hearing these words of Karna and Sauvala, king Duryodhana lost heart more than ever, and he was overwhelmed with shame and utter despair overtook his soul. And hearing all that his friends said, he answered with sorrow, ’I have nothing more to do with virtue, wealth, friendship, affluence, sovereignty, and enjoyments. Do not obstruct my purpose, but leave me all of you. I am firmly resolved to cast away my life by forgoing food. Return to the city, and treat my superiors there respectfully.’
“Thus addressed by him, they replied unto that royal grinder of foes, saying, ’O monarch, the course that is thine, is also ours, O Bharata. How can we enter the city without thee?’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Though addressed in all manner of ways by his friends and counsellors and brothers and relatives, the king wavered not from his purpose. And the son of Dhritarashtra in accordance with his purpose spread Kusa grass on the earth, and purifying himself by touching water, sat down upon that spot. And clad in rags and Kusa grass he set himself to observe the highest vow. And stopping all speech, that tiger among kings, moved by the desire of going to heaven, began to pray and worship internally suspending all external intercourse.
“Meanwhile the fierce Daityas and the Danavas who had been defeated of old by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions having ascertained Duryodhana’s purpose and knowing that if the king died their party would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for summoning Duryodhana to their presence. And mantra knowing persons then commenced with the help of formulae declared by Brihaspati and Usanas, those rites that are indicated in the Atharva Veda and the Upanishads and which are capable of being achieved by mantras and prayers. And Brahmins of rigid vows, well-versed in the Vedas and the branches, began, with rapt soul, to pour libations of clarified butter and milk into the fire, uttering mantras. And after those rites were ended, a strange goddess, O king, with mouth wide open, arose (from the sacrificial fire), saying, ‘What am I to do?’ And the Daityas with well-pleased hearts, commanded her, saying, ’Bring thou hither the royal son of Dhritarashtra, who is even now observing the vow of starvation for getting rid of his life.’ Thus commanded, she went away saying, ’So be it.’ And she went in the twinkling of an eye to that spot where Suyodhana was. And taking up the king back to the nether regions, and having brought him thus in a moment, she apprised the Danavas of it. And the Danavas beholding the king brought into their midst in the night, united together, and all of them with well-pleased hearts and eyes expanded in delight addressed these flattering words to Duryodhana.”
“The Danavas said, ’O Suyodhana, O great king! O perpetuator of the race of Bharata, thou art ever surrounded by heroes and illustrious men. Why hast thou, then, undertaken to do such a rash act as the vow of starvation? The suicide ever sinketh into hell and becometh the subject of calumnious speech. Nor do intelligent persons like thee ever set their hands to acts that are sinful and opposed to their best interests and striking at the very root of their purposes. Restrain this resolve of thine, therefore, O king, which is destructive of morality,
 Lit, Soldiers that have sworn to conquer or die. A full Akshauhini of these soldiers was owned by Krishna, who gave them to Duryodhana to fight for him. The story of Krishna’s offering to Duryodhana the choice between these soldiers on the one side, and himself sworn not to fight but only to aid with his counsels on the other, is given in full in the Udyoga Parva. Duryodhana, from folly, accepted the former, who were all slain by Arjuna.
Vaisampayana continued, “Having addressed him thus, those Daityas embraced that elephant among kings, and those bulls among the Danavas cheered that irrepressible one like a son. And, O Bharata, pacifying his mind by soft speech, they permitted him to depart, saying, ’Go and attain victory!’ And when they had given leave to the mighty-armed one, that very goddess carried him back to the spot where he had sat down, intent upon putting an end to his life. And having set that hero down and paid him homage, the goddess vanished, taking the king’s permission. O Bharata, when she had gone, king Duryodhana considered all (that had happened) as a dream. He then thought within himself, ’I shall defeat the Pandavas in battle.’ And Suyodhana thought that Karna and the Samsaptaka army were both able (to destroy) and intent upon destroying that slayer of foes, Partha. Thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the hope was strengthened of the wicked minded son of Dhritarashtra, of conquering the Pandavas. And Karna also, his soul and faculties possessed by the inmost soul of Naraka, had at that time cruelly determined to slay Arjuna. And those heroes—the Samsaptakas also—having their sense possessed by the Rakshasas, and influenced by the qualities of emotion and darkness, were desirous of slaying Phalguna. And, O king, others with Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa at their head, having their faculties influenced by the Danavas, were not so affectionate towards the sons of Pandu as they had been. But king Suyodhana did not tell any one of this.
“When the night passed away, Karna, that offspring of the Sun, with joined hands, smilingly addressed these wise words to king Duryodhana, ’No dead man conquereth his foes: it is when he is alive that he can see his good. Where is the good of the dead person; and, O Kauravya, where is his victory? Therefore, this is no time for grief, or fear or death.’ And having, with his arms embraced that mighty-armed
Janamejaya said, “When the high-souled sons of Pritha were living in the forest, what did those foremost of men and mighty archers—the sons of Dhritarashtra—do? And what did the offspring of the Sun, Karna, and the mighty Sakuni, and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa do? It behoveth thee to relate this unto me.”
Vaisampayana said, “When, O mighty king, in this manner the Pandavas had gone, leaving Suyodhana, and when, having been liberated by Pandu’s sons, he had come to Hastinapura, Bhishma said these words to the son of Dhritarashtra, ’O child, I had told thee before, when thou wert intent upon going to the hermitage that thy journey did not please me. But thou didst do so. And as a consequence, O hero, wert thou forcibly taken captive by the enemy, and wert delivered by the Pandavas versed in morality. Yet art thou not ashamed. Even in the presence of thee, O son of Gandhari, together with thy army, did the Suta’s son, struck with panic, fly from the battle of the Gandharvas, O king. And, O foremost of kings, O son of the monarch! while thou with thy army wert crying distressfully, thou didst witness the prowess of the high-souled Pandavas, and also, O mighty-armed one, of the wicked son of the Suta, Karna. O best of kings, whether in the science of arms, or heroism, or morality, Karna, O thou devoted to virtue, is not a fourth part of the Pandavas. Therefore, for the welfare of this race, the conclusion of peace is, I think, desirable with the high-souled Pandavas.’
“Having been thus addressed by Bhishma, Dhritarashtra’s son the king, laughed a good deal, and then suddenly sailed out with the son of Suvala. Thereupon, knowing that he was gone, those mighty bowmen with Karna, and Dussasana at their head, followed the highly powerful son of Dhritarashtra. And seeing them gone, Bhishma, the grandfather of the Kurus, hung down his head from shame, and then, O king, went to his own quarters. And, O mighty monarch, when Bhishma had left, that lord of men, Dhritarashtra’s son came there again, and began to consult with his counsellors, ’What is it that is good for me? What remaineth to be done? And how we can most effectively bring about the good we shall discuss to-day.’ Karna said, ’O Kuru’s son, Duryodhana, do thou lay to heart the words that I say. Bhishma always blameth us, and praiseth the Pandavas. And from the ill-will he beareth towards thee, he hateth me also. And, O lord of men, in thy presence he ever crieth me down. I shall never, O Bharata, bear these words that Bhishma had said in thy presence in relation to this matter, extolling the Pandavas, and censuring thee, O represser of foes! Do thou, O king, enjoin on me, together with servants, forces, and cars. I shall, O monarch, conquer the earth furnished with mountains and woods and forests. The earth had been conquered by the four powerful Pandavas. I shall, without doubt, conquer it for thee single-handed. Let that wretch of the Kuru race, the exceedingly wicked-minded Bhishma, see it,—he who vilifies those that do not deserve censure, and praises those that should not be praised. Let him this day witness my might, and blame himself. Do thou, O king, command me. Victory shall surely be thine. By my weapon, O monarch, I swear this before thee.’
“O king, O bull of the Bharata race, hearing those words of Karna, that lord of men, experiencing the highest delight, spoke unto Karna, saying, ’I am blessed. I have been favoured by thee,—since thou, endued with great strength, art ever intent on my welfare. My life hath borne fruit, to-day. As thou, O hero, intendest to subdue all our enemies, repair thou. May good betide thee! Do thou command me (what I am to do).’ O subduer of foes, having been thus addressed by Dhritarashtra’s intelligent son, Karna ordered all the necessaries for the excursion. And on an auspicious lunar day, at an auspicious moment, and under the influence of a star presided over by an auspicious deity, that mighty bowman, having been honoured by twice-born ones, and been bathed with auspicious and holy substances and also worshipped by speech set out, filling with the rattle of his car the three worlds, with their mobile and immobile objects.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O bull among the Bharatas, that mighty bowman, Karna, surrounded by a large army, besieged the beautiful city of Drupada. And he, after a hard conflict, brought the hero under subjection, and, O best of monarchs, made Drupada contribute silver and gold and gems, and also pay tribute. And, O foremost of kings, having subdued him, (Karna) brought under subjection those princes that were under him (Drupada) and made them pay tribute. Then going to the north, he subdued the sovereigns (of that quarter) and having effected the defeat of Bhagadatta, Radha’s son ascended that mighty mountain Himavat, all along fighting his foes. And ranging all sides, he conquered and brought under subjection all the kings inhabiting the Himavat, and made them pay dues. Then descending from the mountain and rushing to the east, he reduced the Angas, and the Bangas, and the Kalingas, and the Mandikas, and the Magadhas. the Karkakhandas; and also included with them the Avasiras, Yodhyas, and the Ahikshatras. Having (thus) conquered the eastern quarter Karna then presented himself before Batsa-bhumi. And having taken Batsa-bhumi, he reduced Kevali, and Mrittikavati, and Mohana and Patrana, and Tripura, and Kosala,—and compelled all these to pay tribute. Then going to the south, Karna vanquished the mighty charioteers (of that quarter) and in Dakshinatya, the Suta’s son entered into conflict with Rukmi. After having fought dreadfully, Rukmi spake to the Suta’s son saying, ’O foremost of monarchs, I have been pleased with thy might and prowess. I shall not do thee wrong: I have only fulfilled the vow of a Kshatriya. Gladly will I give thee as many gold coins as thou desirest.’ Having met with Rukmi, Karna repaired to Pandya and the mountain, Sri. And by fighting, he made Karala, king Nila, Venudari’s son, and other best of kings living in the southern direction pay tribute. Then going to Sisupala’s son, the son of the Suta defeated him and that highly powerful one also brought under his sway all the neighbouring rulers. And, O bull of the Bharata race, having subjugated the Avantis and concluded peace with them, and having met with the Vrishnis, he conquered the west. And, having come to the quarter of Varuna, he made all the Yavana and Varvara kings pay tribute. And, having conquered the entire earth—east, west, north and south—that hero without any aid brought under subjection all the nations of the Mlechchhas, the mountaineers, the Bhadras, the Rohitakas, the Agneyas and the Malavas. And, having conquered the mighty charioteers, headed by the Nagnajitas, the Suta’s son brought the Sasakas and the Yavanas under his sway. Having thus conquered and brought under his subjection the world, the mighty charioteer and tiger among men came (back) to Hastinapura. That lord of men, Dhritarashtra’s son, accompanied by his father and brothers and friends, came to that mighty bowman, who had arrived, and duly paid homage unto Karna crowned with martial merit.
“Then, O king, there arose in the city of Hastinapura a clamour, and sounds of Oh! and Alas! and, O lord of men, some of the kings praised him (Karna), while others censured him, while others, again, remained silent. Having thus, O foremost of monarchs, in a short time conquered this earth furnished with mountains and forests and skies, and with oceans, and fields, and filled with high and low tracts, and cities, and replete also with islands, O lord of earth, and brought the monarchs under subjection,—and having gained imperishable wealth, the Suta’s son appeared before the king. Then, O represser of foes, entering into the interior of the palace that hero saw Dhritarashtra with Gandhari, O tiger among men, that one conversant with morality took hold of his feet even like a son. And Dhritarashtra embraced him affectionately, and then dismissed him. Ever since that time, O monarch, O Bharata, king Duryodhana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, thought that Pritha’s sons had already been defeated in battle by Karna.”
Vaisampayana continued, “O king, O lord of men, that slayer of hostile heroes, the Suta’s son, said these words to Duryodhana, ’O Kaurava Duryodhana, do thou lay unto thy heart the words that I shall tell thee; and, O represser of foes, after having heard my words, it behoveth thee to act accordingly every way. Now, O best of monarchs, O hero, hath the earth been rid of foes. Do thou rule her even like the mighty-minded Sakra himself, having his foes destroyed.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having been thus addressed by Karna, the king again spake unto him, saying, ’O bull among men, nothing whatever is unattainable to him who hath thee for refuge, and to whom thou art attached and on whose welfare thou art entirely intent. Now, I have a purpose, which do thou truly listen to. Having beheld that foremost of sacrifices, the mighty Rajasuya, performed by the Pandavas, a desire hath sprung up in me (to celebrate the same). Do thou, O Suta’s son, fulfil this desire of mine.’ Thus addressed, Karna spake thus unto the king, ’Now that all the rulers of the earth have been brought under thy subjection, do thou summon the principal Brahmanas, and, O best of Kurus, duly procure the articles required for the sacrifice. And, O represser of foes, let Ritwijas as prescribed, and versed in the Vedas, celebrate thy rites according to the ordinance, O king. And, O bull of the Bharata race, let thy great sacrifice also, abounding in meats and drinks, and grand with parts, commence.’
“O king, having been thus addressed by Karna, Dhritarashtra’s son summoned the priest, and spake unto him these words, ’Do thou duly and in proper order celebrate for me that best of sacrifices, the Rajasuya furnished with excellent Dakshinas.’ Thus accosted, that best of Brahmanas spake unto the king, saying, ’O foremost of the Kauravas, while Yudhishthira is living, that best of sacrifices cannot be performed in thy family, O Prince of kings! Further, O monarch, thy father Dhritarashtra, endued with long life, liveth. For this reason also, O best of kings, this sacrifice cannot be undertaken by thee. There is, O lord, another great sacrifice, resembling the Rajasuya. Do thou, O foremost of kings, celebrate that sacrifice. Listen to these words of mine. All these rulers of the earth, who have, O king, become tributary to thee, will pay thee tribute in gold, both pure and impure. Of that gold, do thou, O best of monarchs, now make the (sacrificial) plough, and do thou, O Bharata, plough the sacrificial compound with it. At that spot, let there commence, O foremost of kings, with due rites, and without any disturbance the sacrifice, sanctified with mantras abounding in edibles. The name of that sacrifice worthy of virtuous persons, is Vaishnava. No person save the ancient Vishnu hath performed it before. This mighty sacrifice vies with that best of sacrifices—the Rajasuya itself. And, further, it liketh us—and it is also for thy welfare (to celebrate it). And, moreover, it is capable of being celebrated without any disturbance. (By undertaking this), thy desire will be fufilled.’
“Having been thus addressed by those Brahmanas, Dhritarashtra’s son, the king, spake these words to Karna, his brothers and the son of Suvala, ’Beyond doubt, the words of the Brahmanas are entirely liked by me. If they are relished by you also, express it without delay.’ Thus appealed, they all said unto the king, ‘So be it.’ Then the king one by one appointed persons to their respective tasks; and desired all the artisans to construct the (sacrificial) plough. And, O best of kings, all that had been commanded to be done, was gradually executed.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Then all the artisans, the principal counsellors, and the highly wise Vidura said unto Dhritarashtra’s son, ’All the preparations for the excellent sacrifice have been made, O king; and the time also hath come, O Bharata. And the exceedingly precious golden plough hath been constructed.’ Hearing this, O monarch, that best of kings, Dhritarashtra’s son commanded that prime among sacrifices to be commenced. Then commenced that sacrifice sanctified by mantras, and abounding in edibles, and the son of Gandhari was duly initiated according to the ordinance. And Dhritarashtra, and the illustrious Vidura, and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and the celebrated
“Hearing these words of the messenger, that tiger among kings, the royal Yudhishthira, said, ’By good luck it is that that enhancer of the glory of his ancestors, king Suyodhana is celebrating this best of sacrifices. We should certainly repair thither; but we cannot do now; for till (the completion of) the thirteenth year, we shall have to observe our vow.’ Hearing this speech of Yudhishthira the just, Bhima said these words, ’Then will king Yudhishthira the just go thither, when he will cast him (Duryodhana) into the fire kindled by weapons. Do thou say unto Suyodhana. “When after the expiration of the thirteenth year, that lord of men, the Pandava, will, in the sacrifice of battle, pour upon the Dhritarashtras, the clarified butter of his ire, then will I come!” But the other Pandavas, O king, did not say anything unpleasant. The messenger (on his return) related unto Dhritarashtra’s son all as it had fallen out. Then there came to the city of Dhritarashtra many foremost of men, lords of various countries, and highly virtuous Brahmanas. And duly received in order according to the ordinance, those lords of men experienced great delight and were all well-pleased. And that foremost among monarchs—Dhritarashtra—surrounded by all the Kauravas, experienced the height of joy, and spake unto Vidura, saying, ’Do thou, O Kshatta, speedily so act that all persons in the sacrificial compound may be served with food, be refreshed and satisfied.’ Thereupon, O represser of foes, assenting to that order, the learned Vidura versed in morality, cheerfully entertained all the orders in proper measure with meat and beverages to eat and drink, and fragrant garland and various kinds of attire. And having constructed pavilions (for their accommodation), that hero and foremost of kings, duly entertained the princes and the Brahmanas by thousands, and also bestowing upon them wealth of various kinds, bade them farewell. And having dismissed all the kings, he entered Hastinapura, surrounded by his brothers, and in company with Karna and Suvala’s son.”
Vaisampayana said, “While, O great king, Duryodhana was entering (the city), the panegyrists eulogized the prince of unfailing prowess. And others also eulogized that mighty bowman and foremost of kings. And sprinkling over him fried paddy and sandal paste the citizens said, ’By good luck it is, O king, that thy sacrifice hath been completed without obstruction.’ And some, more reckless of speech, that were present there, said unto that lord of the earth, ’Surely this thy sacrifice cannot be compared with Yudhishthira’s: nor doth this come up to a sixteenth part of that (sacrifice).’ Thus spake unto that king some that were reckless of consequences. His friends, however, said, ’This sacrifice of thine hath surpassed all others. Yayati and Nahusha, and Mandhata and Bharata, having been sanctified by celebrating such a sacrifice, have all gone to heaven.’ Hearing such agreeable words from his friends, that monarch, O bull of the Bharata’s race, well-pleased, entered the city and finally his own abode. Then, O king, worshipping the feet of his father and mother and of others headed by Bhishma, Drona and Kripa, and of the wise Vidura, and worshipped in turn by his younger brothers, that delighter of brothers sat down upon an excellent seat, surrounded by the latter. And the Suta’s son, rising up, said, ’By good luck it is, O foremost of the Bharata race, that this mighty sacrifice of thine hath been brought to a close. When, however, the sons of Pritha shall have been slain in battle and thou wilt have completed the Rajasuya sacrifice, once again, O lord of men, shall I honour thee thus.’ Then that mighty king, the illustrious son of Dhritarashtra, replied unto him, ’Truly hath this been spoken by thee. When, O foremost of men, the wicked-minded Pandavas have been slain, and when also the grand Rajasuya hath been celebrated by me, then thou shalt again, O hero, honour me thus.’ And having said this, O Bharata, the Kaurava embraced Karna, and began, O mighty king, to think of the Rajasuya, that foremost of sacrifices. And that best of kings also addressed the Kurus around him, saying, ’When shall I, ye Kauravas, having slain all the Pandavas, celebrate that costly and foremost of sacrifices, the Rajasuya.’ Then spake Karna unto him, saying, ’Hear me, O elephant among kings! So long as I do not slay Arjuna, I shall not allow any one to wash my feet, nor shall I taste meat. And I shall observe the Asura vow and whoever may solicit me (for any thing), I never shall say, “I have it not."’ When Karna had thus vowed to slay Phalguna in battle, those mighty charioteers and bowmen, the sons of Dhritarashtra, sent up a loud cheer; and Dhritarashtra’s sons thought that the Pandavas had already been conquered. Then that chief of kings, the graceful Duryodhana, leaving those bulls among men, entered his apartment, like the lord Kuvera entering the garden of Chitraratha. And all those mighty bowmen also, O Bharata, went to their respective quarters.
 The vow of the Asuras was (according to the Burdwan Pundits) never to drink wine. It is more rational to suppose that Karna swears to give up the refined manners and practices of the Arvas and adopt those of the Asuras till the consummation of the cherished desire.
“Meanwhile those mighty bowmen, the Pandavas, excited by the words the messenger had spoken, became anxious, and they did not (from that time) experience the least happiness. Intelligence, further, O foremost of kings, had been brought by spies regarding the vow of the Suta’s son to slay Vijaya. Hearing this, O lord of men, Dharma’s son became exceedingly anxious. And considering Karna of the impenetrable mail to be of wonderful prowess, and remembering all their woes, he knew no peace. And that high-souled one filled with anxiety, made up his mind to abandon the woods about Dwaitavana abounding with ferocious animals.
“Meanwhile the royal son of Dhritarashtra began to rule the earth, along with his heroic brothers as also with Bhishma and Drona and Kripa. And with the assistance of the Suta’s son crowned with martial glory, Duryodhana remained ever intent on the welfare of the rulers of the earth, and he worshipped the foremost of Brahmanas by celebrating sacrifices with profuse gifts. And that hero and subduer of foes, O king, was engaged in doing good to his brothers, concluding for certain in his mind that giving and enjoying are the only use of riches.”
Janamejaya said, “After having delivered Duryodhana, what did the mighty sons of Pandu do in that forest? It behoveth thee to tell me this.”
Vaisampayana said, “Once on a time, as Yudhishthira lay down at night in the Dwaita woods, some deer, with accents choked in tears, presented themselves before him in his dreams. To them standing with joined hands, their bodies trembling all over that foremost of monarchs said, ’Tell me what ye wish to say. Who are ye? And what do ye desire?’ Thus accosted by Kunti’s son—the illustrious Pandava, those deer, the remnant of those that had been slaughtered, replied unto him, saying, ’We are, O Bharata, those deer that are still alive after them that had been slaughtered. We shall be exterminated totally. Therefore, do thou change thy residence. O mighty king, all thy brothers are heroes, conversant with weapons; they have thinned the ranks of the rangers of the forest. We few—the remnants,—O mighty-minded one, remain like seed. By thy favour, O king of kings, let us increase.’ Seeing these deer, which remained like seed after the rest had been destroyed trembling and afflicted with fear, Yudhishthira the just was greatly affected with grief. And the king, intent on the welfare of all creatures, said unto them, ‘So be it. I shall act as ye have said.’ Awaking after such a vision, that excellent king, moved by pity towards
Vaisampayana continued, “Dwelling in the woods, O bull of the Bharata race, the high-souled Pandavas spent one and ten years in a miserable plight. And although deserving of happiness, those foremost of men, brooding over their circumstances, passed their days miserably, living on fruits and roots. And that royal sage, the mighty-armed Yudhishthira, reflecting that the extremity of misery that had befallen his brothers, was owing to his own fault, and remembering those sufferings that had arisen from his act of gambling, could not sleep peacefully. And he felt as if his heart had been pierced with a lance. And remembering the harsh words of the Suta’s son, the Pandava, repressing the venom of his wrath, passed his time in humble guise, sighing heavily. And Arjuna and both the twins and the illustrious Draupadi, and the mighty Bhima—he that was strongest of all men—experienced the most poignant pain in casting their eyes on Yudhishthira. And thinking that a short time only remained (of their exile), those bulls among men, influenced by rage and hope and by resorting to various exertions and endeavours, made their bodies assume almost different shapes.
“After a little while, that mighty ascetic, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, came there to see the Pandavas. And seeing him approach, Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira, stepped forward, and duly received that high-souled one. And having gratified Vyasa by bowing down unto him, Pandu’s son of subdued senses, after the Rishi had been seated, sat down before him, desirous of listening to him. And beholding his grandsons lean and living in the forest on the produce of the wilderness, that mighty sage, moved by compassion, said these words, in accents
“Yudhishthira said, ’O eminently virtuous one, O mighty sage, of the bestowal of gifts and the observance of asceticism, which is of greater efficacy in the next world, and which, harder of practice?’
“Vyasa said, ’There is nothing, O child, in this world harder to practise than charity. Men greatly thirst after wealth, and wealth also is gotten with difficulty. Nay, renouncing even dear life itself, heroic men, O magnanimous one, enter into the depths of the sea and the forest for the sake of wealth. For wealth, some betake themselves to agriculture and the tending of kine, and some enter into servitude. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to part with wealth that is obtained with such trouble. Since nothing is harder to practise than charity, therefore, in my opinion, even the bestowal of boons is superior to everything. Specially is this
 A very small measure.
“Yudhishthira said, ’Why did that high-souled one give away a drona of corn? And, O eminently pious one, to whom and in what prescribed way did he give it? Do thou tell me this. Surely, I consider the life of that virtuous person as having borne fruit with whose practices the possessor himself of the six attributes, witnessing everything, was well pleased.’
“Vyasa said, ’There lived, O king, in Kurukshetra a virtuous man (sage), Mudgala by name. And he was truthful, and free from malice, and of subdued senses. And he used to lead the Sila and Unchha modes of life. And although living like a pigeon, yet that one of mighty austerities entertained his guests, celebrated the sacrifice called Istikrita, and performed other rites. And that sage together with his son and wife, ate for a fortnight, and during the other fortnight led the life of a pigeon, collecting a drona of corn. And celebrating the Darsa and Paurnamasya sacrifices, that one devoid of guile, used to pass his days by taking the food that remained after the deities and the guests had eaten. And on auspicious lunar days, that lord of the three worlds, Indra himself, accompanied by the celestials used, O mighty monarch, to partake of the food offered at his sacrifice. And that one, having adopted the life of a Muni, with a cheerful heart entertained his guests also with food on such days. And as that high-souled one distributed his food with alacrity, the remainder of the drona of corn increased as soon as a guest appeared. And by virtue of the pure spirit in which the sage gave a way, that food of his increased so much that hundreds upon hundreds of learned Brahmanas were fed with it.
 Picking up for support (1) ears of corn and (2) individual grains, left on the field by husbandmen after they have gathered and carried away the sheaves, are called the Sila and the Unchha modes of life.
“’And, O king, it came to pass that having heard of the virtuous Mudgala observant of vows, the Muni Durvasa, having space alone for his covering, his accoutrements worn like that of maniac, and his head bare of hair, came there, uttering, O Pandava various insulting words. And having arrived there that best of Munis said unto the Brahmana,
“’Whilst the Muni Durvasa was speaking thus, a celestial messenger appeared before Mudgala, upon a car yoked with swans and cranes, hung with a neat work of bells, scented with divine fragrance, painted picturesquely, and possessed of the power of going everywhere at will. And he addressed the Brahmana sage, saying, “O sage, do thou ascend into this chariot earned by thy acts. Thou hast attained the fruit of thy asceticism!”
“’As the messenger of the gods was speaking thus, the sage told him, “O divine messenger, I desire that thou mayst describe unto me the attributes of those that reside there. What are their austerities, and what their purposes? And, O messenger of the gods, what constitutes happiness in heaven, and what are the disadvantages thereof? It is declared by virtuous men of good lineage that friendship with pious people is contracted by only walking with them seven paces. O lord, in the name of that friendship I ask thee, Do thou without hesitation tell me the truth, and that which is good for me now. Having heard thee, I shall, according to thy words, ascertain the course I ought to follow."’”
“’The messenger of the gods said, “O great sage, thou art of simple understanding; since, having secured that celestial bliss which bringeth great honour, thou art still deliberating like an unwise person. O Muni, that region which is known as heaven, existeth there above us. Those regions tower high, and are furnished with excellent paths, and are, O sage, always ranged by celestial cars. Atheists, and untruthful persons, those that have not practised ascetic austerities and those that have not performed great sacrifices, cannot repair thither. Only men of virtuous souls, and those of subdued spirits, and those that have their faculties in subjection, and those that have controlled their senses, and those that are free from malice, and persons intent on the practice of charity; and heroes, and men bearing marks of battle, after having, with subdued senses and faculties, performed the most meritorious rites, attain those regions, O Brahmana, capable of being obtained only by virtuous acts, and inhabited by pious men. There, O Mudgala, are established separately myriads of beautiful, shining, and resplendent worlds bestowing every object of desire, owned by those celestial beings, the gods, the Sadhyas, and the Vaiswas, the great sages, Yamas, and the Dharmas, and the Gandharvas and the Apsaras. And there is that monarch of mountains the golden Meru extending over a space of thirty-three thousand Yojanas. And there, O Mudgala, are the sacred gardens of the celestials, with Nandana at their head, where sport the persons of meritorious acts. And neither hunger, nor thirst, nor lassitude, nor fear, nor anything that is disgusting or inauspicious is there. And all the odours of that place are delightful, and all the breezes delicious to the touch. And all the sounds there are captivating, O sage, to the ear and the heart. And neither grief, nor decrepitude, nor labour, nor repentance also is there. That world, O Muni, obtained as the fruit of one’s own acts, is of this nature. Persons repair thither by virtue of their meritorious deeds. And the persons of those that dwell there look resplendent, and this, O Mudgala, solely by virtue of their own
“’"Thus have I described unto thee the blessing of the celestial regions. Do thou now hear from me some of the disadvantages thereof. That in the celestial regions a person, while reaping the fruit of the acts he hath already performed, cannot be engaged in any others, and that he must enjoy the consequences of the former until they are completely exhausted, and, further, that he is subject to fall after he hath entirely exhausted his merit, form, in my opinion, the disadvantages of heaven. The fall of a person whose mind hath been steeped in happiness, must, O Mudgala, be pronounced as a fault. And the discontent and regret that must follow one’s stay at an inferior seat after one hath enjoyed more auspicious and brighter regions, must be hard to bear. And the consciousness of those about to fall is stupefied,
“Vyasa continued, ’Having heard this speech, Mudgala began to reflect in his mind. And having deliberated well, that best of Munis spake thus unto the celestial messenger, “O messenger of the gods, I bow unto thee. Do thou, O sire, depart in peace. I have nothing to do with either happiness, or heaven having such prominent defects. Persons who enjoy heaven suffer, after all, huge misery and extreme regret in this world. Therefore, I do not desire heaven. I shall seek for that unfailing region repairing whither people have not to lament, or to be pained, or agitated. Thou hast described unto me these great defects belonging to the celestial regions. Do thou now describe unto me a region free from faults.” Thereupon the celestial messenger said, “Above the abode of Brahma, there is the supreme seat of Vishnu, pure, and eternal, and luminous known by the name of Para Brahma. Thither, O Brahmana, cannot repair persons who are attached to the objects of the senses: nor can those subject to arrogance, covetousness, ignorance, anger, and envy, go to that place. It is only those that are free from affection, and those free from pride, and those free from conflicting emotions, and those that have restrained their senses, and those given to contemplation and Yoga, that can repair thither.” Having heard these words, the Muni bade farewell to the celestial messenger, and that virtuous one leading the Unchha mode of life, assumed perfect contentment. And then praise and dispraise became equal unto him; and a brickbat, stone, and gold assumed the same aspect in his eyes. And availing himself of the means of attaining Brahma, he became always engaged in meditation. And having obtained power by means of knowledge, and acquired excellent understanding, he attained that supreme state of emancipation which is regarded as Eternal. Therefore, thou also, O Kunti’s son, ought not to grieve. Deprived thou hast truly been of a flourishing kingdom, but thou wilt regain it by thy ascetic austerities. Misery after happiness, and happiness after misery, revolve by turns round a man even like the point of a wheel’s circumference round the axle. After the thirteenth year hath passed away, thou wilt, O thou of immeasurable might, get back the kingdom possessed before thee by thy father and grand-father. Therefore, let the fever of thy heart depart!’”
Vaisampayana continued “Having said this to Pandu’s son, the worshipful Vyasa went back to his hermitage for the purpose of performing austerities.”
Janamejaya said, “While the high-souled Pandavas were living in those woods, delighted with the pleasant conversation they held with the Munis, and engaged in distributing the food they obtained from the sun, with various kinds of venison to Brahmanas and others that came to them for edibles till the hour of Krishna’s meal, how, O great Muni, did Duryodhana and the other wicked and sinful sons of Dhritarashtra, guided by the counsels of Dussasana, Karna and Sakuni, deal with them? I ask thee this. Do thou, worshipful Sir, enlighten me.”
Vaisampayana said, “When, O great king, Duryodhana heard that the Pandavas were living as happily in the woods as in a city, he longed, with the artful Karna, Dussasana and others, to do them harm. And while those evil-minded persons were employed in concerting various wicked designs, the virtuous and celebrated ascetic Durvasa, following the bent of his own will, arrived at the city of the Kurus with ten thousand disciples. And seeing the irascible ascetic arrived, Duryodhana and his brothers welcomed him with great humility, self-abasement and gentleness. And himself attending on the Rishi as a menial, the prince gave him a right worshipful reception. And the illustrious Muni stayed there for a few days, while king Duryodhana, watchful of his imprecations, attended on him diligently by day and night. And sometimes the Muni would say, ‘I am hungry, O king, give me some food quickly.’ And sometimes he would go out for a bath and, returning at a late hour, would say, ‘I shall not eat anything today as I have no appetite,’ and so saying would disappear from his sight. And sometimes, coming all on a sudden, he would say, ‘Feed us quickly.’ And at other times, bent on some mischief, he would awake at midnight and having caused his meals to be prepared as before, would carp at them and not partake of them at all. And trying the prince in this way for a while, when the Muni found that the king Duryodhana was neither angered, nor annoyed, he became graciously inclined towards him. And then, O Bharata, the intractable Durvasa said unto him, ’I have power to grant thee boons. Thou mayst ask of me whatever lies nearest to thy heart. May good fortune be thine. Pleased as I am with thee, thou mayst obtain from me anything that is not opposed to religion and morals.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of the great ascetic, Suyodhana felt himself to be inspired with new life. Indeed, it had been agreed upon between himself and Karna and Dussasana as to what the boon should be that he would ask of the Muni if the latter were pleased with his reception. And the evil-minded king, bethinking himself of what had previously been decided, joyfully solicited the following favour, saying, ’The great king Yudhishthira is the eldest and the best of our race. That pious man is now living in the forest with his brothers. Do thou, therefore, once become the guest of that illustrious one even as, O Brahmana, thou hast with thy disciples been mine for some time. If thou art minded to do me a favour, do thou go unto him at a time when that delicate and excellent lady, the celebrated princess of Panchala, after having regaled with food the Brahmanas, her husbands and herself, may lie down to rest.’ The Rishi replied, ’Even so shall I act for thy satisfaction.’ And having said this to Suyodhana, that great Brahmana, Durvasa, went away in the very same state in which he had come. And Suyodhana regarded himself to have attained all the objects of his desire. And holding Karna by the hand he expressed great satisfaction. And Karna, too, joyfully addressed the king in the company of his brothers, saying, ’By a piece of singular good luck, thou hast fared well and attained the objects of thy desire. And by good luck it is that thy enemies have been immersed in a sea of dangers that is difficult to cross. The sons of Pandu are now exposed to the fire of Durvasa’s wrath. Through their own fault they have fallen into an abyss of darkness.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “O king, expressing their satisfaction in this strain, Duryodhana and others, bent on evil machinations, returned merrily to their respective homes.”
Vaisampayana said, “One day, having previously ascertained that the Pandavas were all seated at their ease and that Krishna was reposing herself after her meal, the sage Durvasa, surrounded by ten thousand disciples repaired to that forest. The illustrious and upright king Yudhishthira, seeing that guest arrived, advanced with his mothers to receive him. And joining the palms of his hands and pointing to a proper and excellent seat, he accorded the Rishis a fit and respectful welcome. And the king said unto him, ’Return quick, O adorable sir, after performing thy diurnal ablutions and observances.’ And that sinless Muni, not knowing how the king would be able to provide a feast for him and his disciples, proceeded with the latter to perform his ablutions. And that host of the Muni, of subdued passions, went into the stream for performing their ablutions. Meanwhile, O king, the excellent princess Draupadi, devoted to her husbands, was in
 Both these words are
of doubtful meaning. It seems they are
employed in the Vedas to denote the faculties of knowledge and
the moral sense respectively.
Vaisampayana continued, “The great and sovereign God, and Lord of the earth, of mysterious movements, the lord Kesava who is ever kind to the dependents, thus adored by Krishna, and perceiving her difficulty, instantly repaired to that place leaving the bed of Rukmini who was sleeping by his side. Beholding Vasudeva, Draupadi bowed down to him in great joy and informed him of the arrival of the Munis and every other thing. And having heard everything Krishna said unto her, ’I am very much afflicted with hunger, do thou give me some food without delay, and then thou mayst go about thy work.’ At these words of Kesava, Krishna became confused, and replied unto him, saying, ’The sun-given vessel remains full till I finish my meal. But as I have already taken my meal today, there is no food in it now.’ Then that lotus-eyed and adorable being said unto Krishna, ’This is no time for jest, O Krishna.—I am much distressed with hunger, go thou quickly to fetch the vessel and show it to me.’ When Kesava, that ornament of the Yadu’s race, had the vessel brought unto
Vaisampayana continued, “All those Brahmanas, thus advised by their ascetic preceptor, became greatly afraid of the Pandavas and fled away in all directions. Then Bhimasena not beholding those excellent Munis in the celestial river, made a search after them here and there at all the landing places. And learning from the ascetics of those places that they had run away, he came back and informed Yudhishthira of what had happened. Then all the Pandavas of subdued senses, expecting them to come, remained awaiting their arrival for some time. And Yudhishthira said, ’Coming dead of night the Rishis will deceive us. Oh how, can we escape from this difficulty created by the facts?’ Seeing them absorbed in such reflections and breathing long deep sighs at frequent intervals, the illustrious Krishna suddenly appeared to them and addressed them these words: ’Knowing, ye sons of Pritha, your danger from that wrathful Rishi, I was implored by Draupadi to come, and (therefore) have I come here speedily. But now ye have not the least fear from the Rishi Durvasa. Afraid of your ascetic powers, he hath made himself scarce ere this. Virtuous men never suffer. I now ask your permission to let me return home. May you always be prosperous!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing Kesava’s words, the sons of Pritha, with Draupadi, became easy in mind. And cured of their fever (of anxiety), they said unto him, ’As persons drowning in the wide ocean safely reach the shore by means of a boat, so have we, by thy aid, O lord Govinda, escaped from this inextricable difficulty. Do thou now depart in peace, and may prosperity be thine.’ Thus dismissed, he repaired to his capital and the Pandavas too, O blessed lord, wandering from forest to forest passed their days merrily with Draupadi. Thus, O king, have I related to thee the story which thou askedest me to repeat. And it was thus that the machinations of the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra about the Pandavas in the forest, were frustrated.”
Vaisampayana said, “These great warriors of the race of Bharata sojourned like immortals in the great forest of Kamyaka, employed in hunting and pleased with the sight of numerous wild tracts of country and wide reaches of woodland, gorgeous with flowers blossoming in season. And the sons of Pandu, each like unto Indra and the terror of his enemies, dwelt there for some time. And one day those valiant men, the conquerors of their foes, went about in all directions in search of game for feeding the Brahmanas in their company, leaving Draupadi alone at the hermitage, with the permission of the great ascetic Trinavindu, resplendent with ascetic grandeur, and of their spiritual guide Dhaumya. Meanwhile, the famous king of Sindhu, the son of Vriddhakshatra was, with a view to matrimony, proceeding to the kingdom of Salwa, dressed in his best royal apparel and accompanied by numerous princes. And the prince halted in the woods of Kamyaka. And in that secluded place, he found the beautiful Draupadi, the beloved and celebrated wife of the Pandavas, standing at the threshold of the hermitage. And she looked grand in the superb beauty of her form, and seemed to shed a lustre on the woodland around, like lightning illuminating masses of dark clouds. And they who saw her asked themselves, ’Is this an Apsara, or a daughter of the gods, or a celestial phantom?’ And with this thought, their hands also joined together, they stood gazing on the perfect and faultless beauty of her form. And Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, and the son of Vriddhakshatra, struck with amazement at the sight of that lady of faultless beauty, was seized with an evil intention. And inflamed with desire, he said to the prince named Kotika, ’Whose is this lady of faultless form? Is she of the human kind? I have no need to marry if I can secure this exquisitely beautiful creature. Taking her with me, I shall go back to my abode, Oh sir, and enquire who she is and whence she has come and why also that delicate being hath come into this forest beset with thorns. Will this ornament of womankind, this slender-waisted lady of so much beauty, endued with handsome teeth and large eyes, accept me as her lord? I shall certainly regard myself successful, if I obtain the hand of this excellent lady. Go, Kotika, and enquire who her husband may be.’ Thus asked, Kotika, wearing a kundala, jumped out of his chariot and came near her, as a jackal approacheth a tigress, and spake unto her these words.”
“Kotika said, ’Excellent lady, who art thou that standest alone, leaning on a branch of the Kadamva tree at this hermitage and looking grand like a flame of fire blazing at night time, and fanned by the wind? Exquisitely beautiful as thou art, how is it that thou feelest not any fear in these forests? Methinks thou art a goddess, or a Yakshi, or a Danavi, or an excellent Apsara, or the wife of a Daitya, or a daughter of the Naga king, or a Rakshasi or the wife of Varuna, or of Yama, or of Soma, or of Kuvera, who, having assumed a human form, wanderest in these forests. Or, hast thou come from the mansions of Dhatri, or of Vidhatri, or of Savitri, or of Vibhu, or of Sakra? Thou dost not ask us who we are, nor do we know who protects thee here! Respectfully do we ask thee, good lady, who is thy powerful father, and, O, do tell us truly the names of thy husband, thy relatives, and thy race, and tell us also what thou dost here. As for us, I am king Suratha’s son whom people know by the name of Kotika, and that man with eyes large as the petals of the lotus, sitting on a chariot of gold, like the sacrificial fire on the altar, is the warrior known by the name of Kshemankara, king of Trigarta. And behind him is the famous son of the king of Pulinda, who is even now gazing on thee. Armed with a mighty bow and endued with large eyes, and decorated with floral wreaths, he always liveth on the breasts of mountains. The dark and handsome young man, the scourge of his enemies, standing at the edge of that tank, is the son of Suvala of the race of Ikshwaku. And if, O excellent lady, thou hast ever heard the name of Jayadratha, the king of Sauviras, even he is there at the head of six thousand chariots, with horses and elephants and infantry, and followed by twelve Sauvira princes as his standard-bearers, named Angaraka, Kunjara, Guptaka, Satrunjaya, Srinjaya, Suprabiddha, Prabhankara, Bhramara, Ravi, Sura, Pratapa and Kuhana, all mounted on chariots drawn by chestnut horses and every one of them looking like the fire on the sacrificial altar. The brothers also of the king, viz., the powerful Valahaka, Anika, Vidarana and others, are among his followers. These strong-limbed and noble youths are the flowers of the Sauvira chivalry. The king is journeying in the company of these his friends, like Indra surrounded by the Maruts. O fine-haired lady, do tell us that are unacquainted (with these matters), whose wife and whose daughter thou art.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “The princess Draupadi, thus questioned by that ornament of Sivi’s race, moved her eyes gently, and letting go her hold of the Kadamva branch and arranging her silken apparel she said, ’I am aware, O prince, that it is not proper for a person like me to address you thus, but as there is not another man or woman here to speak with thee and as I am alone here just now, let me, therefore, speak. Know, worthy sir, that being alone in this forest here, I should not speak unto thee, remembering the usages of my sex. I have learned, O Saivya, that thou art Suratha’s son, whom people know by the name of Kotika. Therefore, on my part, I shall now tell thee of my relations and renowned race. I am the daughter of king Drupada, and people know me by the name of Krishna, and I have accepted as my husbands, five persons of whom you may have heard while they were living at Khandavaprastha. Those noble persons, viz., Yudhishthira, Bhimasena, Arjuna, and the two sons of Madri, leaving me here and having assigned unto themselves the four points of the horizon, have gone out on a hunting excursion. The king hath gone to the east, Bhimasena towards the south, Arjuna to the west, and the twin brothers towards the north! Therefore, do ye now alight and dismiss your carriages so that ye may depart after receiving a due welcome from them. The high-souled son of Dharma is fond of guests and will surely be delighted to see you!’ Having addressed Saivya’s son in this way, the daughter of Drupada, with face beautiful as the moon, remembering well her husband’s character for hospitality, entered her spacious cottage.”
Vaisampayana said, “O Bharata, Kotikakhya related to those princes who had been waiting, all that had passed between him and Krishna. And hearing Kotikakhya’s words, Jayadratha said to that scion of the race of Sivi, ’Having listened only to her speech, my heart has been lovingly inclined towards that ornament of womankind. Why therefore, hast thou returned (thus unsuccessful)? I tell thee truly, O thou of mighty arms, that having once seen this lady, other women now seem to me like so many monkeys. I having looked at her, she has captivated my heart. Do tell me, O Saivya, if that excellent lady is of the human kind.’ Kotika replied, ’This lady is the famous princess Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, and the celebrated wife of the five sons of Pandu. She is the much esteemed and beloved and chaste wife of the sons of Pritha. Taking her with thee, do thou proceed towards Sauvira!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the evil-minded Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, Sauvira and other countries, said, ’I must see Draupadi.’ And with six other men he entered that solitary hermitage, like a wolf entering the den of a lion. And he said unto Krishna, ’Hail to thee, excellent lady! Are thy husbands well and those, besides, whose prosperity thou always wishest.’ Draupadi replied, ’Kunti’s son king Yudhishthira of the race of Kuru, his brothers, myself, and all those of whom thou hast enquired of, are well. Is everything right with thy kingdom, thy government, exchequer, and thy army? Art thou, as sole ruler, governing with justice the rich countries of Saivya, Sivi, Sindhu and others that thou hast brought under thy sway? Do thou, O prince, accept this water for washing thy feet. Do thou also take this seat. I offer thee fifty animals for thy train’s breakfast. Besides these, Yudhishthira himself, the son of Kunti, will give thee porcine deer and Nanku deer, and does, and antelopes, and Sarabhas, and rabbits, and Ruru deer, and bears, and Samvara deer and gayals and many other animals, besides wild boars and buffaloes and other animals of the quadruped tribe.’ Hearing this Jayadratha replied, saying, ’All is well with me. By offering to provide our breakfast, thou hast in a manner actually done it. Come now and ride my chariot and be completely happy. For it becomes not thee to have any regard for the miserable sons of Pritha who are living in the woods, whose energies have been paralysed, whose kingdom hath been snatched and whose fortunes are at the lowest ebb. A woman of sense like thee doth not attach herself to a husband that is poor. She should follow her lord when he is in prosperity but abandon him when in adversity. The sons of Pandu have for ever fallen away from their high state, and have lost their kingdom for all time to come. Thou hast no need, therefore, to partake of their misery from any regard for them. Therefore, O thou of beautiful hips, forsaking the sons of Pandu, be happy by becoming my wife, and share thou with me the kingdoms of Sindhu and Sauvira.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these frightful words of the king of Sindhu, Krishna retired from that place, her face furrowed into a frown owing to the contraction of her eye-brows. But disregarding his words from supreme contempt, the slender-waisted Krishna reproving said unto the king of Sindhu, ’Speak not thus again! Art thou not ashamed? Be on thy guard!’ And that lady of irreproachable character anxiously expecting the return of her husband, began, with long speeches, to beguile him completely.”
Vaisampayana said, “The daughter of Drupada, though naturally handsome, was suffused with crimson arising from a fit of anger. And with eyes inflamed and eye-brows bent in wrath, she reproved the ruler of the Suviras, saying, ’Art thou not ashamed, O fool, to use such insulting words in respect of those celebrated and terrible warriors, each like unto Indra himself, and who are all devoted to their duties and who never waver in fight with even hosts of Yakshas and Rakshasas? O Sauvira, good men never speak ill of learned persons devoted to austerities and endued with learning, no matter whether they live in the wilderness or in houses. It is only wretches that are mean as thou who do so. Methinks there is none in this assemblage of Kshatriya, who is capable of holding thee by the hand to save thee from falling into the pit thou openest under thy feet. In hoping to vanquish king Yudhishthira the just, thou really hopest to separate, stick in hand, from a herd roaming in Himalayan valleys, its leader, huge as a mountain peak and with the temporal juice trickling down its rent temples. Out of childish folly thou art kicking up into wakefulness the powerful lion lying asleep, in order to pluck the hair from off his face! Thou shalt, however, have to run away when thou seest Bhimasena in wrath! Thy courting a combat with the furious Jishnu may be likened to thy kicking up a mighty, terrible, full-grown and furious lion asleep in a mountain cave. The encounter thou speakest of with those two excellent youths—the younger Pandavas—is like unto the act of a fool that wantonly trampleth on the tails of two venomous black cobras with bifurcated tongues. The bamboo, the reed, and the plantain bear fruit only to perish and not to grow in size any further. Like also the crab that conceiveth for her own destruction, thou wilt lay hands upon me who am protected by these mighty heroes!’
“Jayadratha replied, ’I know all this, O Krishna, and I am well aware of the prowess of those princes. But thou canst not frighten us now with these threats. We, too, O Krishna, belong by birth to the seventeen high clans, and are endowed with the six royal qualities. We, therefore, look down upon the Pandavas as inferior men! Therefore, do thou, O daughter of Drupada, ride this elephant or this chariot quickly, for thou canst not baffle us with thy words alone; or, speaking less boastfully, seek thou the mercy of the king of the Sauviras!’
 The six acts of a king
are peace, war, marching, halting,
sowing dissention, and seeking protection.
“Draupadi replied, ’Though I am so powerful, why doth the king of Sauvira yet consider me so powerless. Well-known as I am, I cannot, from fear of violence, demean myself before that prince. Even Indra himself cannot abduct her for whose protection Krishna and Arjuna would together follow, riding in the same chariot. What shall I say, therefore, of a weak human being. When Kiriti, that slayer of foes, riding on his car, will, on my account, enter thy ranks, striking terror into every heart, he will consume everything around like fire consuming a stack of dry grass in summer. The warring princes of the Andhaka and the Vrishni races, with Janardana at their head, and the mighty bowmen of the Kaikeya tribe, will all follow in my wake with great ardour. The terrible arrows of Dhananjaya, shot from the string of the Gandiva and propelled by his arms fly with great force through the air, roaring like the very clouds. And when thou wilt behold Arjuna shooting from the Gandiva a thick mass of mighty arrows like unto a flight of locusts, then wilt thou repent of thine own folly! Bethink thyself of what thou wilt feel when that warrior armed with the Gandiva, blowing his conch-shell and with gloves reverberating with the strokes of his bowstring will again and again pierce thy breast with his shafts. And when Bhima will advance towards thee, mace in hand and the two sons of Madri range in all directions, vomiting forth the venom of their wrath, thou wilt then experience pangs of keen regret that will last for ever. As I have never been false to my worthy lords even in thought, so by that merit shall I now have the pleasure of beholding thee vanquished and dragged by the sons of Pritha. Thou canst not, cruel as thou art, frighten me by seizing me with violence, for as soon as those Kuru warriors will espy me they will bring me back to the woods of Kamyaka.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Then that lady of large eyes, beholding them ready to lay violent hands on her, rebuked them and said, ’Defile me not by your touch!’ And in a great alarm she then called upon her spiritual adviser, Dhaumya. Jayadratha, however, seized her by her upper garment, but she pushed him with great vigour. And pushed by the lady, that sinful wretch fell upon the ground like a tree severed from its roots. Seized, however, once more by him with great violence, she began to pant for breath. And dragged by the wretch, Krishna at last ascended his chariot having worshipped Dhaumya’s feet. And Dhaumya then addressed Jayadratha and said, ’Do thou, O Jayadratha, observe the ancient custom of the Kshatriyas. Thou canst not carry her off without having vanquished those great warriors. Without doubt, thou shalt reap the painful fruits of this thy despicable act, when thou encounterest the heroic sons of Pandu with Yudhishthira the just at their head!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having said these words Dhaumya, entering into the midst of Jayadratha’s infantry, began to follow that renowned princess who was thus being carried away by the ravisher.”
Vaisampayana said, “Meanwhile those foremost of bowmen on the face of the earth, having wandered separately and ranged in all directions, and having slain plenty of deer and buffaloes, at length met together. And observing that great forest, which was crowded with hosts of deer and wild beasts, resounding with the shrill cries of birds, and hearing the shrieks and yells of the denizens of the wilderness. Yudhishthira said unto his brothers. ’These birds and wild beasts, flying towards that direction which is illuminated by the sun, are uttering dissonant cries and displaying an intense excitement. All this only shows that this mighty forest hath been invaded by hostile intruders. Without a moment’s delay let us give up the chase. We have no more need of game. My heart aches and seems to burn! The soul in my body, over-powering the intellect, seems ready to fly out. As a lake rid by Garuda of the mighty snake that dwells in it, as a pot drained of its contents by thirsty men, as a kingdom reft of king and prosperity, even so doth the forest of Kamyaka seem to me.’ Thus addressed, those heroic warriors drove towards their abode, on great cars of handsome make and drawn by steeds of the Saindharva breed exceedingly fleet and possessed of the speed of the hurricane. And on their way back, they beheld a jackal yelling hideously on the wayside towards their left. And king Yudhishthira, regarding it attentively, said unto Bhima and Dhananjaya, ’This jackal that belongs to a very inferior species of animals, speaking to our left, speaketh a language which plainly indicates that the sinful Kurus, disregarding us, have commenced to oppress us by resorting to violence.’ After the sons of Pandu had given up the chase and said these words, they entered the grove which contained their hermitage. And there they found their beloved one’s maid, the girl Dhatreyika, sobbing and weeping. And Indrasena then quickly alighting from the chariot and advancing with hasty steps towards her, questioned her, O king, in great distress of mind, saying, ’What makes thee weep thus, lying on the ground, and why is thy face so woe-begone and colourless? I hope no cruel wretches have done any harm to the princess Draupadi possessed of incomparable beauty and large eyes and who is the second self of every one of those bulls of the Kuru race? So anxious hath been Dharma’s son that if the princess hath entered the bowels of the earth or hath soared to heaven or dived into the bottom of the ocean, he and his brothers will go thither in pursuit of her. Who could that fool be that would carry away that priceless jewel belonging to the mighty and ever-victorious sons of Pandu, those grinders of foes, and which is dear unto them as their own lives? I don’t know who the person could be that would think of carrying away that princess who hath such powerful protectors and who is even like a walking embodiment of the hearts
“Yudhishthira said, ’Retire, good woman, and control thy tongue. Speak not this way before us. Kings or princes, whoever are infatuated with the possession of power, are sure to come to grief!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “With these words, they departed, following the track pointed out to them, and frequently breathing deep sighs like the hissing of snakes, and twanging the strings of their large bows. And then they observed a cloud of dust raised by the hoofs of the steeds belonging to Jayadratha’s army. And they also saw Dhaumya in the midst of the ravisher’s infantry, exhorting Bhima to quicken his steps. Then those princes (the sons of Pandu) with hearts undepressed, bade him be of good cheer and said unto him, ’Do thou return cheerfully!’—And then they rushed towards that host with great fury, like hawks swooping down on their prey. And possessed of the prowess of Indra, they had been filled with fury at the insult offered to Draupadi. But at sight of Jayadratha and of their beloved wife seated on his car, their fury knew no bounds. And those mighty bowmen, Bhima and Dhananjaya and the twin brothers and the king, called out Jayadratha to stop, upon which the enemy was so bewildered as to lose their knowledge of directions.”
Vaisampayana said, “The hostile Kshatriyas, incensed at sight of Bhimasena and Arjuna, sent up a loud shout in the forest. And the wicked king Jayadratha, when he saw the standards of those bulls of the Kuru race, lost his heart, and addressing the resplendent Yagnaseni seated on his car, said, ’Those five great warriors, O Krishna, that are coming, are I believe, thy husbands. As thou knowest the sons of Pandu well, do thou, O lady of beautiful tresses, describe them one by one to us, pointing out which of them rideth which car!’ Thus addressed, Draupadi replied, ’Having done this violent deed calculated to shorten thy life, what will it avail thee now, O fool, to know the names of those great warriors, for, now that my heroic husbands are come, not one of ye will be left alive in battle. However as thou art on the point of death and hast asked me, I will tell thee everything, this being consistent with the ordinance. Beholding king Yudhishthira the just with his younger brothers, I have not the slightest anxiety or fear from thee! That warrior at the top of whose flagstaff two handsome and sonorous tabours called Nanda and Upananda are constantly played upon,—he, O Sauvira chief, hath a correct knowledge of the morality of his own acts. Men that have attained success always walk in his train. With a complexion like that of pure gold, possessed of a prominent nose and large eyes, and endued with a slender make, that husband of mine is known among people by the name of Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma and the foremost of the Kuru race. That virtuous prince of men granteth life to even a foe that yields. Therefore, O fool, throwing down thy arms and joining thy hands, run to him for thy good, to seek his protection. And that other man whom thou seest with long arms and tall as the full-grown Sala tree, seated on his chariot, biting his lips, and contracting his forehead so as to bring the two eye-brows together, is he,—my husband Vrikodara! Steeds of the noblest breed, plump and strong, well-trained and endued with great might, draw the cars of that warrior! His achievements are superhuman. He is known, therefore, by the name of Bhima on earth. They that offend him are never suffered to live. He never forgetteth a foe. On some pretext or other he wrecketh his vengeance. Nor is he pacified even after he has wrecked a signal vengeance. And there, that foremost of bowmen, endued with intelligence and renown, with senses under complete control and reverence for the old—that brother and disciple of Yudhishthira—is my husband Dhananjaya! Virtue he never forsaketh, from lust or fear or anger! Nor doth he ever commit a deed that is cruel. Endued with the energy of fire and capable of withstanding every foe, that grinder of enemies is the son of Kunti. And that other youth, versed in every question of morality and profit, who ever dispelleth the fears of the affrighted,
Vaisampayana continued, “Then those five sons of Pritha, each like unto Indra, filled with wrath, leaving the panic-stricken infantry alone who were imploring them for mercy, rushed furiously upon the charioteers, attacking them on all sides and darkening the very air with the thick shower of arrows they shot.”
Vaisampayana said, “Meanwhile, the king of Sindhu was giving orders to those princes, saying, ‘Halt, strike, march, quick,’ and like. And on seeing Bhima, Arjuna and the twin brothers with Yudhishthira, the soldiers sent up a loud shout on the field of battle. And the warriors of the Sivi, Sauvira and Sindhu tribes, at the sight of those powerful heroes looking like fierce tigers, lost heart. And Bhimasena, armed with a mace entirely of Saikya iron and embossed with gold, rushed towards the Saindhava monarch doomed to death. But Kotikakhya, speedily surrounding Vrikodara with an array of mighty charioteers, interposed between and separated the combatants. And Bhima, though assailed with numberless spears and clubs and iron arrows hurled at him by the strong arms of hostile heroes, did not waver for one moment. On the other hand, he killed, with his mace, an elephant with its driver and fourteen foot-soldiers fighting in the front of Jayadratha’s car. And Arjuna also, desirous of capturing the Sauvira king, slew
Vaisampayana continued, “Bhimasena, thus exhorted by Arjuna of great wisdom, turning to Yudhishthira, replied, saying, ’As a great many of the enemy’s warriors have been slain and as they are flying in all directions, do thou, O king, now return home, taking with thee Draupadi and the twin brothers and high-souled Dhaumya, and console the princess after getting back to our asylum! That foolish king of Sindhu I shall not let alone as long as he lives, even if he find a shelter in the internal regions or is backed by Indra himself!’ And Yudhishthira replied, saying, ’O thou of mighty arms remembering (our sister) Dussala and the celebrated Gandhari, thou shouldst not slay the king of Sindhu even though he is so wicked!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words, Draupadi was greatly excited. And that highly intelligent lady in her excitement said to her two husbands, Bhima and Arjuna with indignation mixed with modesty, ’If you care to do what is agreeable to me, you must slay that mean and despicable wretch, that sinful, foolish, infamous and contemptible chief of the Saindhava clan! That foe who forcibly carries away a wife, and he that wrests a kingdom, should never be forgiven on the battle-field, even though he should supplicate for mercy!’ Thus admonished, those two valiant warriors went in search of the Saindhava chief. And the king taking Krishna with him returned home, accompanied by his spiritual adviser. And on entering the hermitage, he found it was laid over with seats for the ascetics and crowded with their disciples and graced with the presence of Markandeya and other Brahmanas. And while those Brahmanas were gravely bewailing the lot of Draupadi, Yudhishthira endued with great wisdom joined their company, with his brothers. And beholding the king thus come back after having defeated the Saindhava and the Sauvira host and recovered Draupadi, they were all elated with joy! And the king took his seat in their midst. And the excellent princess Krishna entered the hermitage with the two brothers.
“Meanwhile Bhima and Arjuna, learning the enemy was full two miles ahead of them urged their horses to greater speed in pursuit of him. And the mighty Arjuna performed a wonderful deed, killing the horse of Jayadratha although they were full two miles ahead of them. Armed with celestial weapons undaunted by difficulties he achieved this difficult feat with arrows inspired with Mantras. And then the two warriors, Bhima and Arjuna, rushed towards the terrified king of Sindhu whose horses had been slain and who was alone and perplexed in mind. And the latter was greatly grieved on seeing his steeds slain. And beholding Dhananjaya do such a daring deed, and intent on running away, he followed the same forest track by which he had come. And Phalguna, seeing the Saindhava chief so active in his fright, overtook him and addressed him saying, ’Possessed of so little manliness, how couldst thou dare to take away a lady by force? Turn round, O prince; it is not meet that thou shouldst run away! How canst thou act so, leaving thy followers in the midst of thy foes?’ Although addressed by the sons of Pritha thus, the monarch of Sindhu did not even once turn round. And then bidding him to what he chose the mighty Bhima overtook him in an instant, but the kind Arjuna entreated him not to kill that wretch.”
Vaisampayana said, “Jayadratha flying for his life upon beholding those two brothers with upraised arms, was sorely grieved and bolted off with speed and coolness. But the mighty and indignant Bhimasena, descending from his chariot, ran after him thus fleeing, and seized him by the hair of his head. And holding him high up in the air, Bhima thrust him on the ground with violence. And seizing the prince by the head, he knocked him about. And when the wretch recovered consciousness, he groaned aloud and wanted to get up on his legs. But that hero endued with mighty arms kicked him on the head. And Bhima pressed him on the breast with his knees as well as with his fists. And the prince thus belaboured, soon became insensible. Then Phalguna dissuaded the wrathful Bhimasena from inflicting further chastisement on the prince, by reminding him of what Yudhishthira had said regarding (their sister) Dussala. But Bhima replied, saying, ’This sinful wretch hath done a cruel injury to Krishna, who never can bear such treatment. He, therefore, deserveth to die at my hands! But what can I do? The king is always overflowing with mercy, and thou, too, art constantly putting obstacles in my way from a childish sense of virtue!’ Having said these words, Vrikodara, with his crescent-shaped arrow, shaved the hair of the prince’s head, heaving five tufts in as many places. Jayadratha uttered not a word at this. Then Vrikodara, addressing the foe said, ’If thou wishest to live, listen to me. O fool! I shall tell thee the means to attain that wish! In public assemblies and in open courts
Vaisampayana continued, “Having said these words unto that prince, the adorable Hara of three eyes, the destroyer of all sins, the consort of Uma, and lord of wild beasts, the destroyer of (Daksha’s) sacrifice, the slayer of Tripura and He that had plucked out the eyes of Bhaga, surrounded by his dwarfish and hunch-backed and terrible followers having frightful eyes and ears and uplifted arms, vanished, O tiger among kings, from that place with his consort Uma! And the wicked Jayadratha also returned home, and the sons of Pandu continued to dwell in the forest of Kamyaka.”
Janamejaya said, “What did those tigers among men, the Pandavas, do, after they had suffered such misery in consequence of the ravishment of Draupadi?”
Vaisampayana said, “Having defeated Jayadratha and rescued Krishna, the virtuous king Yudhishthira took his seat by the side of that best of Munis. And among those foremost of ascetics who were expressing their grief upon hearing Draupadi’s misfortune, Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, addressed Markandeya, saying, ’O adorable Sire, amongst the gods and the ascetics, thou art known to have the fullest knowledge of both the past as well as the future. A doubt existeth in my mind, which I would ask thee to solve!
“Markandeya said, ’O bull of the Bharata race, even Rama suffered unparalleled misery, for the evil-minded Ravana, king of the Rakshasas, having recourse to deceit and overpowering the vulture Jatayu, forcibly carried away his wife Sita from his asylum in the woods. Indeed, Rama, with the help of Sugriva, brought her back, constructing a bridge across the sea, and consuming Lanka with his keen-edged arrows.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’In what race was Rama born and what was the measure of his might and prowess? Whose son also was Ravana and for what was it that he had any misunderstanding with Rama? It behoveth thee, O illustrious one, to tell me all this in detail; for I long to hear the story of Rama of great achievements!’
“Markandeya said, ’Listen, O prince of Bharata’s race, to this old history exactly as it happened! I will tell thee all about the distress suffered by Rama together with his wife. There was a great king named Aja sprung from the race of Ikshwaku. He had a son named Dasaratha who was devoted to the study of the Vedas and was ever pure. And Dasaratha had four sons conversant with morality and profit known by the names, respectively, of Rama, Lakshmana, Satrughna, and the mighty Bharata. And Rama had for his mother Kausalya, and Bharata had for his mother Kaikeyi, while those scourges of their enemies Lakshmana and Satrughna were the sons of Sumitra. And Janaka was the king of Videha,
“Markandeya said, ’The Muni named Visrava, who was begotten of half the soul of Pulastya, in a fit of passion, began to look upon Vaisravana with great anger. But, O monarch, Kuvera, the king of the Rakshasas, knowing that his father was angry with him, always sought to please him. And, O best of Bharata’s race, that king of kings living in Lanka, and borne upon the shoulders of men, sent three Rakshasa women to wait upon his father. Their names, O king, were Pushpotkata, Raka and Malini. And they were skilled in singing and dancing and were always assiduous in their attentions on that high-souled Rishi. And those slender-waisted ladies vied with one another, O king, in gratifying the Rishi. And that high-souled and adorable being was pleased with them and granted them boons. And to every one of them he gave princely sons according to their desire. Two sons—those foremost of Rakshasas named Kumvakarna and the Ten-headed Ravana,—both unequaled on earth in prowess, were born to Pushpotkata. And Malini had a son named Vibhishana, and Raka had twin children named Khara and Surpanakha. And Vibhishana surpassed them all in beauty. And that excellent person was very pious and assiduously performed all religious rites. But that foremost of Rakshasas, with ten heads, was the eldest to them all. And he was religious, and energetic and possessed of great strength and prowess. And the Rakshasa Kumvakarna was the most powerful in battle, for he was fierce and terrible and a thorough master of the arts of illusion. And Khara was proficient in archery, and hostile to the Brahmanas, subsisting as he did on flesh. And the fierce Surpanakha was constant source of trouble to the ascetics.
“Markandeya said, ’Thus addressed, the Ten-headed (Ravana) was highly gratified, for on account of his perverted understanding, the man-eating one slighted human beings. Then the great Grandsire addressed Kumbhakarna as before. His reason being clouded by darkness, he asked for long-lasting sleep. Saying, “It shall be so!” Brahma then addressed Vibhishana, “O my son, I am much pleased with thee! Ask any boon thou pleasest!” Thereupon, Vibhishana replied, “Even in great danger, may I never swerve from the path of righteousness, and though ignorant, may I, O adorable Sire, be illumined with the light of divine knowledge!” And Brahma replied, “O scourge of thy enemies, as thy soul inclines not to unrighteousness although born in the Rakshasa race, I grant thee immortality!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Having obtained this boon, the Ten-headed Rakshasa defeated Kuvera in battle and obtained from him the sovereignty of Lanka. That adorable Being, leaving Lanka and followed by Gandharvas, Yakshas, Rakshas, and Kinnaras, went to live on mount Gandhamadana. And Ravana forcibly took from him the celestial chariot Pushpaka. And upon this Vaisravana cursed him, saying, “This chariot shall never carry thee; it shall bear him who will slay thee in battle! And as thou hast insulted me, thy elder brother, thou shalt soon die!”
“’The pious Vibhishana, O King, treading in the path followed by the virtuous and possessed of great glory, followed Kuvera. That adorable Lord of wealth, highly pleased with his younger brothers, invested him with the command of the Yaksha and Raksha hosts. On the other hand, the powerful and man-eating Rakshasas and Pisachas, having assembled together, invested the Ten-headed Ravana with their sovereignty. And Ravana, capable of assuming any form at will and terrible in prowess, and capable also of passing through the air, attacked the gods and the Daityas and wrested from them all their valuable possessions. And as he had terrified all creatures, he was called Ravana. And Ravana, capable of mustering any measure of might inspired the very gods with terror.’”
“Markandeya said, ’Then the Brahmarshis, the Siddhas and the Devarshis, with Havyavaha as their spokesman, sought the protection of Brahma. And Agni said, “That powerful son of Visrava, the Ten-headed cannot be slain on account of thy boon! Endued with great might he oppresseth in every possible way the creatures of the earth. Protect us, therefore, O adorable one! There is none else save thee to protect us!”
“’Brahma said, “O Agni, he cannot be conquered in battle by either the gods or the Asuras! I have already ordained that which is needful for that purpose. Indeed his death is near! Urged by me, the four-headed God hath already been incarnate for that object. Even Vishnu, that foremost of smiters will achieve that object!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Then the Grandsire also asked Sakra, in their presence, “Be thou, with all the celestials, born on earth! And beget ye on monkeys and bears, heroic sons possessed of great strength and capable of assuming any form at will as allies of Vishnu!” And at this, the gods, the Gandharvas and the Danavas quickly assembled to take counsel as to how they should be born on earth according to their respective parts. And in their presence the boon-giving god commanded a Gandharvi, by name Dundubhi saying, “Go there for accomplishing this object!” And Dundubhi hearing these words of the Grandsire was born in the world of men as the hunchbacked Manthara. And all the principal celestials, with Sakra and others
“Yudhishthira said, ’O adorable one, thou hast described to me in detail the history of the birth of Rama and others. I wish to learn the cause of their exile. Do thou, O Brahmana, relate why the sons of Dasaratha—the brothers Rama and Lakshmana—went to the forest with famous princess of Mithila.’
“Markandeya said, ’The pious king Dasaratha, ever mindful of the old and assiduous in religious ceremonies, was greatly pleased when these sons were born. And his sons gradually grew up in might and they became conversant with the Vedas together with all their mysteries, and with the science of arms. And when after having gone through the Brahmacharya vows the princes were married, king Dasaratha became happy and highly pleased. And the intelligent Rama, the eldest of them all, became the favourite of his father, and greatly pleased the people with his charming ways. And then, O Bharata, the wise king, considering himself old in years took counsel with his virtuous ministers and spiritual adviser for installing Rama as regent of the kingdom. And all those great ministers were agreed that it was time to do so. And, O scion of Kuru’s race, king Dasaratha was greatly pleased to behold his son,—that enhancer of Kausalya’s delight—possessed of eyes that were red, and arms that were sinewy. And his steps were like those of a wild elephant. And he had long arms and high shoulders and black and curly hair. And he was valiant, and glowing with splendour, and not inferior to Indra himself in battle. And he was well-versed in holy writ and was equal to Vrihaspati in wisdom. An object of love with all the people, he was skilled in every science. And with senses under complete control, his very enemies were pleased to behold him. And he was terror of the wicked and the protector of the virtuous. And possessed of intelligence and incapable of being baffled, he was victorious over all and never vanquished by any. And, O descendant of Kurus, beholding his son—that enhancer of Kausalya’s joy—king Dasaratha
“’Meanwhile Manthara (the maid of Kaikeyi), hearing these words of the king, went to her mistress, and spoke unto her as was suited to the occasion. And she said, “Thy great ill-luck, O Kaikeyi, hath this day been proclaimed by the king! O unlucky one, mayst thou be bitten by a fierce and enraged snake of virulent poison! Kausalya, indeed, is fortunate, as it is her son that is going to be installed on the throne. Where, indeed, is thy prosperity, when thy son obtaineth not the kingdom?”
“’Hearing these words of her maid, the slender-waisted and beautiful Kaikeyi put on all her ornaments, and sought her husband in a secluded place. And with a joyous heart, and smiling pleasantly, she addressed these words to him with all the blandishments of love, “O king, thou art always true to thy promises. Thou didst promise before to grant me an object of my desire. Do thou fulfil that promise now and save thyself from the sin of unredeemed pledge!” The king replied, saying, “I will grant thee a boon. Ask thou whatever thou wishest! What man undeserving of death shall be slain today and who that deserves death is to be set at liberty? Upon whom shall I bestow wealth to-day, or whose wealth shall be confiscated? Whatever wealth there is in this world, save what belongeth to Brahmanas, is mine! I am the king of kings in this world, and the protector of all the four classes! Tell me quickly, O blessed lady, what that object is upon which thou hast set thy heart!” Hearing these words of the king, and tying him fast to his pledge, and conscious also of her power over him, she addressed him in these words, “I desire that Bharata be the recipient of that investiture which thou hast designed for Rama, and let Rama go into exile living in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years as an ascetic with matted locks on head and robed in rags and deer-skins!” Hearing these disagreeable words of cruel import, the king, O chief of the Bharata race, was sorely afflicted and became utterly speechless! But the mighty and virtuous Rama, learning that his father had been thus solicited, went into the forest so that the king’s truth might remain inviolate. And, blessed be thou, he was followed by the auspicious Lakshmana—that foremost of bowmen and his wife Sita, the princess of Videha and daughter of Janaka. And after Rama had gone into the forest, king Dasaratha took leave of his body, agreeably to the eternal law of time. And knowing that Rama not near and that the king was dead, queen Kaikeyi, causing Bharata to
“’And after these Rakshasas had been slain, Surpanakha with mutilated nose and lips, repaired to Lanka—the abode of her brother (Ravana). And when that Rakshasa woman, senseless with grief and with dry blood-stains on her face, appeared before Ravana, she fell down at his feet. And beholding her so horribly mutilated, Ravana became senseless with wrath and grinding his teeth sprung up from his seat. And dismissing his ministers, he enquired of her in private, saying, “Blessed sister, who hath made thee so, forgetting and disregarding me? Who is he that having got a sharp-pointed spear hath rubbed his body with it? Who is he that sleepeth in happiness and security, after placing a fire close to his head? Who is he that hath trodden upon a revengeful snake of virulent poison? Who indeed, is that person who standeth with his hand thrust into the mouth of the maned lion!” Then flames of wrath burst forth from his body, like those that are emitted at night from the hollows of a tree on fire.
“Markandeya said, ’Beholding Ravana come, Maricha received him with a respectful welcome, and offered him fruits and roots. And after Ravana had taken his seat, and rested himself a while, Maricha skilled in speech, sat beside Ravana and addressed him who was himself as eloquent in speech, saying, “Thy complexion hath assumed an unnatural hue; is it all right with thy kingdom, O king of the Rakshasas? What hath brought thee here? Do thy subjects continue to pay thee the same allegiance that they used to pay thee before? What business hath brought thee here? Know that it is already fulfilled, even if it be very difficult of fulfilment!” Ravana, whose heart was agitated with wrath and humiliation informed him briefly of the acts of Rama and the measures that were to be taken. And on hearing his story, Maricha briefly replied to him, saying, “Thou must not provoke Rama, for I know his strength! Is there a person who is capable of withstanding the impetus of his arrows? That great man hath been the cause of my assuming my present ascetic life. What evil-minded creature hath put thee up to this course calculated to bring ruin and destruction on thee?” To this Ravana indignantly replied, reproaching him thus, “If thou dost not obey my orders, thou shall surely die at my hands.” Maricha then thought within himself, “When death is inevitable, I shall do his biddings; for it is better to die at the hands of one that is superior.” Then he replied to the lord of the Rakshasas saying, “I shall surely render thee whatever help I can!” Then the Ten-headed Ravana said unto him, “Go and tempt Sita, assuming the shape of a deer with golden horns and a golden skin! When Sita will observe thee thus, she will surely send away Rama to hunt thee. And then Sita will surely come within my power, and I shall forcibly carry her away. And then that wicked Rama will surely die of grief at the loss of his wife. Do thou help me in this way!”
“’Thus addressed, Maricha performed his obsequies (in anticipation) and with a sorrowful heart, followed Ravana who was in advance of him. And having reached the hermitage of Rama of difficult achievements, they both did as arranged beforehand. And Ravana appeared in the guise of an ascetic with head shaven, and adorned with a Kamandala, and a treble staff. And Maricha appeared in the shape of a deer. And Maricha appeared before the princess of Videha in that guise. And impelled by Fate, she sent away Rama after that deer. And Rama, with the object of pleasing her, quickly took up his bow, and leaving Lakshmana behind to protect her, went in pursuit of that deer. And armed with his bow and quiver and scimitar, and his fingers encased in gloves of Guana skin, Rama went in pursuit of that deer, after the manner of Rudra following the stellar deer in days of yore. And that Rakshasa enticed away Rama to a great distance by appearing before him at one time and disappearing from his view at another. And when Rama at last knew who and what that deer was, viz., that he was a Rakshasa, that illustrious descendant of Raghu’s race took out an infallible arrow and slew that Rakshasa, in the disguise of a deer. And struck with Rama’s arrow, the Rakshasa, imitating Rama’s voice, cried out in great distress, calling upon Sita and Lakshmana. And when the princess of Videha heard that cry of distress, she urged Lakshmana to run towards the quarter from whence the cry came. Then Lakshmana said to her, “Timid lady, thou hast no cause of fear! Who is so powerful as to be able to smite Rama? O thou of sweet smiles, in a moment thou wilt behold thy husband Rama!” Thus addressed, the chaste Sita, from that timidity which is natural to women, became suspicious of even the pure Lakshmana, and began to weep aloud. And that chaste lady, devoted to her husband, harshly reproved Lakshmana, saying, “The object which thou, O fool, cherishest in thy heart, shall never be fulfilled! I would rather kill myself with a weapon or throw myself from the top of a hill or enter into a blazing fire than live with a sorry wretch like thee, forsaking my husband Rama, like a tigress under the protection of a jackal!”
 Tard-mrigam. Formerly Prajapati, assuming the Form of a deer, followed his daughter from lust, and Rudra, armed with a trident, pursued Prajapati and struck off his head. That deer-head of Prajapati severed from the trunk, became the star, or rather constellation, called Mrigasiras.
“’When the good natured Lakshmana, who was very fond of his brother, heard these words, he shut his ears (with his hands) and set out on the track that Rama had taken. And Lakshmana set out without casting a single glance on that lady with lips soft and red like the Bimba fruit. Meanwhile, the Rakshasa Ravana, wearing a genteel guise though wicked at heart, and like unto fire enveloped in a heap of ashes, showed himself there. And
“Markandeya said, ’That heroic king of the vultures, Jatayu, having Sampati for his uterine brother and Arjuna himself for his father, was a friend of Dasaratha. And beholding his daughter-in-law Sita on the lap of Ravana, that ranger of the skies rushed in wrath against the king of the Rakshasas. And the vulture addressed Ravana, saying, “Leave the princess of Mithila, leave her I say! How canst thou, O Rakshasa, ravish her when I am alive? If thou dost not release my daughter-in-law, thou shalt not escape from me with life!” And having said these words Jatayu began to tear the king of the Rakshasas with his talons. And he mangled him in a hundred different parts of his body by striking him with his wings and beaks. And blood began to flow as copiously from Ravana’s body as water from a mountain spring. And attacked thus by that vulture desirous of Rama’s good, Ravana, taking up a sword, cut off the two wings of that bird. And having slain that king of the vultures, huge as a mountain-peak shooting forth above the clouds, the Rakshasa rose high in the air with Sita on his lap. And the princess of Videha, wherever she saw an asylum
“’And while Sita was being carried away, the intelligent Rama, having slain the great deer, retraced his steps and saw his brother Lakshmana (on the way). And beholding his brother, Rama reproved him, saying, “How couldst thou come hither, leaving the princess of Videha in a forest that is haunted by the Rakshasa?” And reflecting on his own enticement to a great distance by that Rakshasa in the guise of a deer and on the arrival of his brother (leaving Sita alone in the asylum), Rama was filled with agony. And quickly advancing towards Lakshmana while reproving him still, Rama asked him, “O Lakshmana, is the princess of Videha still alive? I fear she is no more!” Then Lakshmana told him everything about what Sita had said, especially that unbecoming language of hers subsequently. With a burning heart Rama then ran towards the asylum. And on the way he beheld a vulture huge as a mountain, lying in agonies of death. And suspecting him to be a Rakshasa, the descendant of the Kakutstha race, along with Lakshmana rushed towards him, drawing with great force his bow to a circle. The mighty vulture, however, addressing them both, said, “Blessed be ye, I am the king of the vultures, and friend of Dasaratha!” Hearing these words of his, both Rama and his brother put aside their excellent bow and said, “Who is this one that speaketh the name of our father in these woods?” And then they saw that creature to be a bird destitute of two wings, and that bird then told them of his own overthrow at the hands of Ravana for the sake of Sita. Then Rama enquired of the vulture as to the way Ravana had taken. The vulture answered him by a nod of his head and then breathed his last. And having understood from the sign the vulture had made that Ravana had gone towards the south, Rama reverencing his father’s friend, caused his funeral obsequies to be duly performed. Then those chastisers of foes, Rama and Lakshmana, filled with grief at the abduction of the princess of Videha, took a southern path through the Dandaka woods beholding along their way many uninhabited asylums of ascetics, scattered over with seats of Kusa grass and umbrellas of leaves and broken water-pots, and abounding with hundreds of jackals. And in that great forest, Rama along
“Markandeya said, ’Afflicted with grief at the abduction of Sita, Rama had not to go much further before he came upon Pampa—that lake which abounded with lotuses of various kinds. And fanned by the cool, delicious and fragrant breezes in those woods, Rama suddenly remembered his dear spouse. And, O mighty monarch, thinking of that dear wife of his, and afflicted at the thought of his separation from her, Rama gave way to lamentations. The son of Sumitra then addressed him saying, “O thou that givest proper respect to those that deserve it, despondency such as this should not be suffered to approach thee, like illness that can never touch an old man leading a regular life! Thou hast obtained information of Ravana and of the princess of Videha! Liberate her now with exertion and intelligence! Let us now approach Sugriva, that foremost of monkeys, who is even now on the mountain top! Console thyself, when I, thy disciple and slave and ally, am near!” And addressed by Lakshmana in these and other words of the same import, Rama regained his own nature and attended to the business before him. And bathing in the waters of Pampa and offering oblations therewith unto their ancestors, both those heroic brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, set out (for Rishyamuka). And arriving at Rishyamuka which abounded with fruits and roots and trees, those heroes beheld five monkeys on the top of the mountain-peak. And seeing them approach, Sugriva sent his counsellor the intelligent Hanuman, huge as the Himavat-mountains, to receive them. And the brothers, having first exchanged words with Hanuman, approached Sugriva. And then, O king, Rama made friends with Sugriva. And when Rama informed Sugriva of the object he had in view, Sugriva showed him the piece of cloth that Sita had dropped among the monkeys, while being carried away by Ravana. And having obtained from him those credentials, Rama himself installed Sugriva—that foremost of monkeys—in sovereignty of all the monkeys of Earth. And Rama also pledged himself to slay Vali in battle. And having come to that understanding and placing the fullest confidence in each other, they all repaired to Kiskindhya, desirous of battle (with Vali). And arriving at Kiskindhya, Sugriva sent forth a loud roar deep as that of a cataract. Unable to bear that
“’Meanwhile Ravana excited by lust, having reached his city of Lanka, placed Sita in an abode, resembling Nandana itself, within a forest of Asokas, that looked like an asylum of ascetics. And the large-eyed Sita passed her days there in distress, living on fruits and roots, practising ascetic austerities with fasts, attired in ascetic garb, and waning thin day by day, thinking of her absent lord. And the king of the Rakshasas appointed many Rakshasa women armed with bearded darts and swords and lances and battle-axes and maces and flaming brands, for guarding her. And some of these had two eyes, and some three, and some had eyes on their foreheads. And some had long tongues and some had none. And some had three breasts and some had only one leg. And some had three matted braids on their heads, and some had only one eye. And these, and others of blazing eyes and hair stiff as the camel’s, stood beside Sita surrounding her day and night most watchfully. And those Pisacha women of frightful voice and terrible aspect always addressed that large-eyed lady in the harshest tones. And they said, “Let us eat her up, let us mangle her, let us tear her into pieces, her, that is, that dwelleth here disregarding our lord!” And filled with grief at the separation from her lord, Sita drew a deep sigh and answered those Rakshasa women, saying, “Reverend ladies, eat me up without delay! I have no desire to live without that husband of mine, of eyes like lotus-leaves and locks wavy, and blue in hue! Truly I will, without food and without the least love of life, emaciate my limbs, like a she-snake (hybernating) within a Tala tree. Know this for certain that I will never seek the protection of any other person than the descendant of Raghu. And knowing this, do what ye think fit!” And hearing these words of hers, those Rakshasas with dissonant voice went to the king of the Rakshasas, for representing unto him all she had said. And when those Rakshasas had gone away, one of their number known by the name of Trijata,
“Markandeya said, ’And while the chaste Sita was dwelling there afflicted with melancholy and grief on account of her lord, attired in mean garb, with but a single jewel (on the marital thread on her wrist), and incessantly weeping, seated on a stone, and waited upon by Rakshasa women, Ravana, afflicted by the shafts of the god of desire, came to her and approached her presence. And inflamed by desire, that conqueror in battle of the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, and the Kimpurushas, attired in celestial robes and possessing handsome features, decked with jewelled earrings and wearing a beautiful garland and crown, entered the Asoka woods, like an embodiment of the vernal season. And dressed with care, Ravana looked like the Kalpa tree in Indra’s garden. But though adorned with every embellishment, that inspired her only with awe, like a beautified banian in the midst of a cemetery. And that night wanderer, having approached the presence of that slender-waisted lady, looked like the planet Saturn in the presence of Rohini. And smitten with the shafts of the god of the flowery emblem he accosted that fair-hipped lady then affrighted like a helpless doe, and told her these words, “Thou hast, O Sita, shown thy regard for thy lord too much! O thou of delicate limbs, be merciful unto me. Let thy person be embellished now (by these maids in waiting). O excellent lady, accept me as thy lord! And, O thou of the most beautiful complexion, attired in costly robes and ornaments, take thou the first place among all the women of my household. Many are the daughters of the celestials and also the Gandharvas that I possess! I am lord also of many Danava and Daitya ladies! One hundred and forty millions of Pisachas, twice as many man-eating Rakshasa of terrible deed, and thrice as many Yaksha do my bidding! Some of these are under the sway of my brother who is the lord of all treasures. In my drinking hall, O excellent lady of beautiful thighs, Gandharvas and Apsaras wait on me as they do on my brother! I am, again, the son of that regenerate Rishi Visravas himself of high ascetic merit. I am renowned, again, as the fifth Regent of the Universe! And, O beautiful lady, of food and edibles and drinks of the very best kind, I have as much as the Lord himself of the celestials! Let all thy troubles consequent on a life in the woods cease! O thou of fair hips, be my Queen, as Mandodari herself!” Thus addressed by him, the beautiful princess of Videha, turning away and regarding him as something less than a straw, replied unto that wanderer of the night. And at that time the princess of Videha, that girl of beautiful hips, had her deep and compact bosom copiously drenched by her inauspicious tears shed ceaselessly. And she who regarded her husband as her god, answered that mean wretch,
“Markandeya said, ’Meanwhile the illustrious descendant of Raghu, along with his brother, hospitably treated by Sugriva, continued to dwell on the breast of the Malyavat hill, beholding every day the clear blue sky. And one night, while gazing from the mountain-top on the bright moon in the cloudless sky surrounded by planets and stars and stellar bodies, that slayer of foes was suddenly awakened (to a remembrance of Sita) by the cold breezes fragrant with the perfumes of the lily, lotus and other flowers of the same species. And virtuous Rama, dejected in spirits at the thought of Sita’s captivity in the abode of the Rakshasa, addressed the heroic Lakshmana in the morning saying, “Go, Lakshmana and seek in Kishkindhya that ungrateful king of the monkeys, who understands well his own interest and is even now indulging in dissipations, that foolish wretch of his race whom I have installed on a throne and to whom all apes and monkeys and bears owe allegiance, that fellow for whose sake, O mighty-armed perpetuator of Raghu’s race, Vali was slain by me with thy help in the wood of Kishkindhya!
“’Thus addressed by that intelligent king of the monkeys, the high-souled Lakshmana became appeased, and he in his turn worshipped Sugriva. And accompanied by Sugriva, he returned to Rama on the breast of the Malyavat hill. And approaching him, Lakshmana informed him of the beginning already made in respect of his undertaking. And soon thousands of monkey-chiefs began to return, after having carefully searched the three quarters of the earth, viz., the North, the East and the West. But they that had gone towards the South did not make their appearance. And they that came back represented to Rama, saying that although they had searched the whole earth with her belt of seas, yet they could not find either the princess of Videha or Ravana. But that descendant of Kakutstha’s race, afflicted at heart, managed to live yet, resting his hopes (of hearing Sita’s tidings) on the great monkeys that had gone towards the South.
“’After the lapse of two months, several monkeys seeking with haste the presence of Sugriva, addressed him, saying, “O king, that foremost of monkeys, the son of Pavana, as also Angada, the son of Vali, and the other great monkeys whom thou hadst despatched to search the southern region, have come back and are pillaging that great and excellent orchard called Madhuvana, which was always guarded by Vali and which hath been well-guarded by thee also after him!” Hearing of this act of liberty on their part, Sugriva inferred the success of their mission, for it is only servants that have been crowned with success that can act in this way. And that intelligent and foremost of monkeys communicated his suspicions to Rama. And Rama also, from this, guessed that the princess of Mithila had been seen. Then Hanuman and the other monkeys, having refreshed themselves thus, came towards their king, who was then staying with Rama and Lakshmana. And, O Bharata, observing the gait of Hanuman and the colour of his face, Rama was confirmed in the belief that Hanuman had really seen Sita. Then those successful monkeys with Hanuman at their head, duly bowed unto Rama and Lakshmana and Sugriva. And Rama then taking up his bow and quiver, addressed those monkeys, saying, “Have you been successful? Will ye impart life unto me? Will ye once more enable me to reign in Ayodhya after having slain my enemy in battle and rescued the daughter of Janaka? With the princess of Videha unrescued, and the foe unslain in battle, I dare not live, robbed of wife and honour!” Thus addressed by Rama, the son of Pavana, replied unto him, saying, “I bring thee good news, O Rama; for Janaka’s daughter hath been seen by me. Having searched the southern region with all its hills, forests, and mines for some time, we became very weary. At length we beheld a great cavern. And having beheld it, we entered that cavern which extended over many Yojanas. It was dark and deep and overgrown with trees and infested by worms. And having gone a great way through it, we came upon sun-shine and beheld a beautiful palace. It was, O Raghava, the abode of the Daitya Maya. And there we beheld a female ascetic named Prabhavati engaged in ascetic austerities. And she gave us food and drink of various kinds. And having refreshed ourselves therewith and regained our strength, we proceeded along the way shown by her. At last we came out of the cavern and beheld the brimy sea, and on its shores, the Sahya, the Malaya and the great Dardura mountains. And ascending the mountains of Malaya, we beheld before us the vast ocean. And beholding it we felt sorely grieved in mind. And dejected in spirits and afflicted with pain and famishing with hunger, we despaired of returning with our lives. Casting our eyes on the great ocean extending over many hundreds of Yojanas and abounding in whales and alligators and other aquatic animals, we became anxious and filled
 Abode of Varuna in the original.
 Pavana, the God of the wind.
“Markandeya said, ’It was on the breast of that very hill where Rama was seated with those foremost of monkeys that great monkey chiefs at the command of Sugriva, began to flock together. The father-in-law of Vali, the illustrious Sushena, accompanied by a thousand crores of active apes, came to Rama. And those two foremost of monkeys endued with mighty energy, viz., Gaya and Gavakshya, each accompanied by a hundred crores of monkeys, showed themselves there. And, O king, Gavakshya also of terrible mien and endued with a bovine tail, showed himself there, having collected sixty thousand crores of monkeys. And the renowned Gandhamadana, dwelling on the mountains of the same name, collected a hundred thousand crores of monkeys. And the intelligent and mighty monkey known by the name of Panasa mustered together fifty-two crores of monkeys. And that foremost and illustrious of monkeys named Dadhimukha of mighty energy mustered a large army of monkeys possessed of terrible prowess. And Jamvuvan showed himself there with a hundred thousand crores of black bears of terrible deeds and faces having the Tilaka mark. And these and many other chiefs of monkey-chiefs, countless in number, O king, came there for aiding Rama’s cause. And endued with bodies huge as mountain-peaks and roaring like lions, loud was the uproar that was heard there made by those monkeys running restlessly from place to place. And some of them looked like mountain-peaks, and some looked like buffaloes. And some were of the hue of autumnal clouds and the faces of some were red as vermillion. And some rose high, and some fell down, and some cut capers, and some scattered the dust, as they mustered together from various directions. And that monkey army, vast as the sea at full tide, encamped there at Sugriva’s bidding. And after those foremost of monkeys had mustered from every direction, the illustrious descendant of Raghu, with Sugriva by his side, set out in an auspicious moment of a very fair day under a lucky constellation,
 There is a difference
of reading here. Some texts read
 A difference of reading is observable here.
 As a purificatory ceremony,
called the Achamana. To this
day, no Hindu can perform any ceremony without going through the
Achamana in the first instance.
“’And while Rama was on this side of the ocean, the virtuous Vibhishana, the brother of the king of the Rakshasas accompanied by four of his counsellors, came unto Rama. And the high-souled Rama received him with due welcome. Sugriva, however, feared, thinking he might be a spy. The son of Raghu, meanwhile perfectly satisfied (with Vibhishana) in consequence of the sincerity of his exertions and the many indications of his good conduct, worshipped him with respect. And he also installed Vibhishana in the sovereignty of all the Rakshasas and made him his own junior counsellor, and a friend of Lakshmana’s. And it was under Vibhishana’s guidance, O king, that Rama with all his troops crossed the great ocean by means of that bridge in course of a month. And having crossed the ocean and arrived at Lanka, Rama caused its extensive and numerous gardens to be devastated by his monkeys. And while Rama’s
“Markandeya said, ’Having quartered his army in those groves abounding with food and water and with fruits and roots, the descendant of Kakutstha began to watch over them with care. Ravana, on the other hand, planted in his city many appliances constructed according to the rules of military science. And his city, naturally impregnable on account of its strong ramparts and gate-ways, had seven trenches, that were deep and full of water to the brim and that abounded with fishes and sharks and alligators, made more impregnable still by means of pointed stakes of Khadira wood. And the ramparts, heaped with stones, were made impregnable by means of catapults. And the warriors (who guarded the walls) were armed with earthen pots filled with venomous snakes, and with resinous powders of many kinds. And they were also armed with clubs, and fire-brands and arrows and lances and swords and battle-axes. And they had also Sataghnis and stout maces steeped in wax. And at all the gates of the city were planted movable and immovable encampments manned by large numbers of infantry supported by countless elephants and horses. And Angada, having reached one of the gates of the city, was made known to the Rakshasas. And he entered the town without suspicion or fear. And surrounded by countless Rakshasas, that hero in his beauty looked like the Sun himself in the midst of masses of clouds. And having approached the hero of Pulastya’s race in the midst of his counsellors, the eloquent Angada saluted the king and began to deliver Rama’s message in these words, “That descendant of Raghu, O king, who ruleth at Kosala and whose renown hath spread over the whole world, sayeth unto thee these words suited to the occasion. Accept thou that message and act according to it! Provinces and towns, in consequence of their connection with sinful kings incapable of controlling their souls, are themselves polluted and destroyed. By the violent abduction of Sita, thou alone hast injured me! Thou, however, wilt become the cause of death to many unoffending persons. Possessed of power and filled with pride, thou hast, before this, slain many Rishis living in the woods, and insulted the very gods. Thou hast slain also many great kings and many weeping women. For those transgressions of thine, retribution is about to overtake thee! I will slay thee with thy counsellors. Fight and show thy courage! O wanderer of the
 Lit. an engine killing
a hundred. Perhaps, some kind of
 Perhaps, brands or torches steeped in wax, intended to be thrown in a burning state, amongst the foe. Readers of Indian history know how Lord Lake was repulsed from Bharatpore by means of huge bales of cotton, steeped in oil, rolled from the ramparts of that town, in a burning state, towards the advancing English.
 Lit. be a Purusha (male)!
Manhood would not be appropriate
in connection with a Rakshasa.
“’The descendant of Raghu then caused the ramparts of Lanka to be broken down by a united attack of all those monkeys endued with the speed of the wind. Then Lakshmana, with Vibhishana and the king of the bears marching in the van, blew up the southern gate of the city that was almost impregnable. Rama then attacked Lanka with a hundred thousand crores of monkeys, all possessed of great skill in battle, and endued with reddish complexions like those of young camels. And those crores of greyish bears with long arms, and legs and huge paws, and generally supporting themselves on their broad haunches, were also urged on to support the attack. And in consequence of those monkeys leaping up and leaping down and leaping in transverse directions, the Sun himself, his bright disc completely shaded, became invisible for the dust they raised. And the citizens of Lanka beheld the wall of their town assume all over a tawny hue, covered by monkeys of complexions yellow as the ears of paddy, and grey as Shirisha flowers, and red as the rising Sun, and white as flax or hemp. And the Rakshasas, O king, with their wives and elders, were struck with wonders at that sight. And the monkey warriors began to pull down pillars made of precious stones and the terraces and tops of palatial mansions. And breaking into fragments the propellers of catapults and other engines, they began to cast them about in all directions. And taking up the Sataghnis along with the discs, the clubs, and stones, they threw them down into the city with great force and loud noise. And attacked thus by the monkeys, those Rakshasas that had been placed on the walls to guard them, fled precipitately by hundreds and thousands.
“’Then hundreds of thousands of Rakshasas, of terrible mien, and capable of assuming any form at will, came out at the command of the king. And pouring a perfect shower of arrows and driving the denizens of the forest, those warriors, displaying great prowess, adorned the ramparts. And soon those wanderers of the night, looking like masses of flesh, and of terrible mien, forced the monkeys to leave the walls. And mangled by the enemies’ lances, numerous monkey-chiefs fell down from the ramparts, and crushed by the falling columns and gate-ways, numerous Rakshasas also fell down to rise no more. And the monkeys and the brave Rakshasas that commenced to eat up the foe, struggled, seizing one another by the hair, and mangling and tearing one another with their nails and teeth. And the monkeys and the Rakshasas roared and yelled frightfully, and while many of both parties were slain and fell down to rise no more, neither side gave up the contest. And Rama continued all the while to shower a thick downpour of arrows like the very clouds. And the arrows he shot, enveloping Lanka, killed large numbers of Rakshasas. And the son of Sumitra, too, that mighty bowman incapable of being fatigued in battle, naming particular Rakshasas stationed on the ramparts, slew them with his clothyard shafts. And then the monkey host, having achieved success was withdrawn at the command of Rama, after it had thus pulled down the fortifications of Lanka and made all objects within the city capable of being aimed at by the besieging force.’”
“Markandeya said, ’And while those troops (thus withdrawn) were reposing themselves in their quarters, many little Rakshasas and Pisachas owning Ravana as their leader, penetrated amongst them. And among these were Parvana, Patana, Jambha, Khara, Krodha-vasa, Hari, Praruja, Aruja and Praghasa, and others. And as these wicked ones were penetrating (the monkey host) in their invisible forms, Vibhishana, who had the knowledge thereof, broke the spell of their invisibility. And once seen, O king, by the powerful and long-leaping monkeys, they were all slain and prostrated on the earth, deprived of life. And unable to endure this, Ravana marched out at the head of his troops. And surrounded by his terrible army of Rakshasas and Pisachas, Ravana who was conversant with the rules of warfare like a second Usanas invested the monkey host, having disposed his troops in that array which is named after Usanas himself. And beholding Ravana advancing with his army disposed in that array, Rama, following the mode recommended by Vrihaspati, disposed his troops in counter array for opposing that wanderer of the night. And coming up quickly, Ravana began to fight with Rama. And Lakshmana singled out Indrajit, and Sugriva singled out Virupakshya, and Nikharvata fought with Tara, and Nala with Tunda, and Patusa with Panasa.
“Markandeya said, ’Then Prahasta, suddenly advancing up to Vibhishana and uttering a loud yell, struck him with his mace. But though struck with that mace of terrible force, the mighty-armed Vibhishana of great wisdom, without wavering in the least, stood still as the mountains of Himavat. Then Vibhishana, taking up a huge and mighty javelin furnished with a hundred bells, inspired it with mantras and hurled it at the head of his adversary. And by the impetuosity of that weapon rushing with the force of the thunderbolt, Prahasta’s head was severed off, and he thereupon looked like a mighty tree broken by the wind. And beholding that wanderer of the night, Prahasta, thus slain in battle, Dhumraksha rushed with great impetuosity against the monkey-host. And beholding the soldiers of Dhumraksha, looking like the clouds and endued with terrible mien, advancing up towards them, the monkey-chief suddenly broke and fled. And seeing those foremost of monkeys suddenly give way, that tiger among monkeys, Hanuman, the son of Pavana, began to advance. And beholding the son of Pavana staying still on the field of battle, the retreating monkeys, O king, one and all quickly rallied. Then mighty and great and fearful was the uproar that arose there in consequence of the warriors of Rama and Ravana rushing against each other. And in that battle which raged terribly the field soon became miry with blood. And Dhumraksha afflicted the monkey-host with volleys of winged shafts. Then that vanquisher of foes, Hanuman, the son of Pavana, quickly seized that advancing leader of the Rakshasa. And the encounter that took place between that monkey and the Rakshasa hero, each desirous of defeating the other, was fierce and terrible, like that of Indra and Prahlada (in days of yore). And the Rakshasa struck the monkey with his maces and spiked clubs while the monkey struck the Rakshasa with
“Markandeya said, ’Then Kumbhakarna set out from the city, accompanied by his followers. And soon he beheld the victorious monkey troops encamped before him. And passing them by with the object of seeking out Rama, he beheld the son of Sumitra standing at his post, bow in hand. Then the monkey warriors, speedily advancing towards him, surrounded him on all sides. And then they commenced to strike him with numberless large trees. And many amongst them fearlessly began to tear his body with their nails. And those monkeys began to fight with him in various ways approved by the laws of warfare.
“Markandeya said, ’Learning that Kumbhakarna had with his followers, fallen in battle as also that great warrior Prahasta, and Dhumraksha too of mighty energy, Ravana then addressed his heroic son Indrajit saying, “O slayer of foes, slay thou in battle Rama and Sugriva and Lakshmana. My good son, it was by thee that this blazing fame of mine had been acquired by vanquishing in battle that wielder of the thunderbolt, the thousand-eyed Lord of Sachi! Having the power of appearing and vanishing at thy will, slay thou, O smiter of foes, my enemies by means, O thou foremost of all wielders of weapons, of thy celestial arrows received as boons (from the gods)! Rama and Lakshmana and Sugriva are incapable of enduring the bare touch of thy weapons. What shall I say, therefore, of their followers? That cessation of hostilities which could not be brought about by either Prahasta or Kumbhakarna in battle, be it thine, O mighty-armed one, to bring about! Slaying my enemies with all their army by means of thy keen-edged shafts, enhance my joy to-day, O son, as thou didst once before by vanquishing Vasava!” Thus addressed by him, Indrajit said—So be it,—and encased in mail he quickly ascended his chariot, and proceeded, O king, towards the field of battle. And then that bull amongst Rakshasas loudly announcing his own name, challenged Lakshmana endued with auspicious marks, to a single combat. And Lakshmana, thus challenged, rushed towards that Rakshasa, with his bow and arrows, and striking terror into his adversary’s heart by means of the flapping of his bow-string on the leathern case of his left hand. And the encounter that took place between
“Markandeya said, ’Beholding both the brothers Rama and Lakshmana prostrate on the ground, the son of Ravana tied them in a net-work of those arrows of his which he had obtained as boons. And tied by Indrajit on the field of battle by means of that arrowy net, those heroic tigers among men resembled a couple of hawks immured in a cage. And beholding those heroes prostrate on the ground pierced with hundreds of arrows, Sugriva with all the monkeys stood surrounding them on all sides. And the king of the monkeys stood there, accompanied by Sushena and Mainda and Dwivida, and Kumuda and Angada and Hanuman and Nila and Tara and Nala. And Vibhishana, having achieved success in another part of the field, soon arrived at that spot, and roused those heroes from insensibility, awakening them by means of the weapon called Prajna. Then Sugriva soon extracted the arrows from their bodies. And by means of that most efficacious medicine called the Visalya, applied with celestial mantras, those human heroes regained their consciousness. And the arrow having been extracted from their bodies, those mighty warriors in a moment rose from their recumbent posture, their pains and fatigue thoroughly alleviated. And beholding Rama the descendant of Ikshwaku’s race, quite at his ease, Vibhishana, O son of Pritha, joining his hands, told him these words, “O chastiser of foes, at the command of the king of the Guhyakas, a Guhyaka hath come from the White mountains, bringing with him his water! O great king, this water is a present to thee from Kuvera, so that all creatures that are invisible may, O chastiser of foes, become visible to thee! This water laved over the eyes will make every invisible creature visible to thee, as also to any other person to whom thou mayst give it!”—Saying—So be it,—Rama took that sacred water, and sanctified his own eyes therewith. And the high-minded Lakshmana also did the same. And Sugriva and Jambuvan, and Hanuman and Angada, and Mainda and Dwivida, and Nila and many other foremost of the monkeys, laved their eyes with that water. And thereupon it exactly happened as Vibhishana had said, for, O Yudhishthira, soon did the eyes of all these became capable of beholding things that could not be seen by the unassisted eye!
 This weapon could restore
an insensible warrior to
consciousness, as the Sam-mohana weapon could deprive one of
 Visalya a medicinal plant of great efficacy in healing cuts and wounds. It is still cultivated in several parts of Bengal. A medical friend of the writer tested the efficacy of the plant known by that name and found it to be much superior to either gallic acid or tannic acid in stopping blood.
 The Guhyakas occupy, in Hindu mythology, a position next only to that of the gods, and superior to that of the Gandharvas who are the celestial choristers. The White mountain is another
Page 289name of Kailasa, the peak where Siva hath his abode.
“’Meanwhile, Indrajit, after the success he had won, went to his father. And having informed him of the feats he had achieved, he speedily returned to the field of battle and placed himself at the van of his army. The son of Sumitra then, under Vibhishana’s guidance, rushed towards that wrathful son of Ravana coming back, from desire of battle, to lead the attack. And Lakshmana, excited to fury and receiving a hint from Vibhishana, and desiring to slay Indrajit who had not completed his daily sacrifice, smote with his arrows that warrior burning to achieve success. And desirous of vanquishing each other, the encounter that took place between them was exceedingly wonderful like that (in days of yore) between the Lord of celestials and Prahrada. And Indrajit pierced the son of Sumitra with arrows penetrating into his very vitals. And the son of Sumitra also pierced Ravana’s son with arrows of fiery energy. And pierced with Lakshmana’s arrows, the son of Ravana became senseless with wrath. And he shot at Lakshmana eight shafts fierce as venomous snakes. Listen now, O Yudhishthira, as I tell thee how the heroic son of Sumitra then took his adversary’s life by means of three winged arrows possessed of the energy and effulgence of fire! With one of these, he severed from Indrajit’s body that arm of his enemy which had grasped the bow. With the second he caused that other arm which had held the arrows, to drop down on the ground. With the third that was bright and possessed of the keenest edge, he cut off his head decked with a beautiful nose and bright with earrings. And shorn of arms and head, the trunk became fearful to behold. And having slain the foe thus, that foremost of mighty men then slew with his arrows the charioteer of his adversary. And the horses then dragged away the empty chariot into the city. And Ravana then beheld that car without his son on it. And hearing that his son had been slain, Ravana suffered his heart to be overpowered with grief. And under the influence of extreme grief and affliction, the king of the Rakshasas suddenly cherished the desire of killing the princess of Mithila. And seizing a sword, the wicked Rakshasa hastily ran towards that lady staying within the Asoka wood longing to behold her lord. Then Avindhya beholding that sinful purpose of the wicked wretch, appeased his fury. Listen, O Yudhishthira, to the reasons urged by Avindhya! That wise Rakshasa said, “Placed as thou art on the blazing throne of an empire, it behoveth thee not to slay a woman! Besides, this woman is already slain, considering that she is a captive in thy power! I think, she would not be slain if only her body were destroyed. Slay thou her husband! He being slain, she will be slain too! Indeed, not even he of an hundred sacrifices (Indra) is thy equal in prowess! The gods with Indra at their head, had repeatedly been affrighted by thee in battle!” With these and many other words of the same import, Avindhya succeeded in appeasing Ravana. And the latter did, indeed, listen to his counsellor’s speech. And that wanderer of the night, then, resolved to give battle himself, sheathed his sword, and issued orders for preparing his chariot.’”
“Markandeya said, ’The Ten-necked (Ravana), excited to fury at the death of his beloved son, ascended his car decked with gold and gems. And surrounded by terrible Rakshasas with various kinds of weapons in their hands, Ravana rushed towards Rama, fighting with numerous monkey-chiefs. And beholding him rushing in wrath towards the monkey army, Mainda and Nila and Nala and Angada, and Hanuman and Jambuvan, surrounded him with all their troops. And those foremost of monkeys and bears began to exterminate with trunks of trees, the soldiers of the Ten-necked (Ravana), in his very sight. And beholding the enemy slaughtering his troops, the Rakshasa king, Ravana, possessed of great powers of illusion, began to put them forth. And forth from his body began to spring hundreds and thousands of Rakshasas armed with arrows and lances and double-edged swords in hand. Rama, however, with a celestial weapon slew all those Rakshasas. The king of the Rakshasas then once more put forth his prowess of illusion. The Ten-faced, producing from his body numerous warriors resembling, O Bharata, both Rama and Lakshmana, rushed towards the two brothers. And then those Rakshasas, hostile to Rama and Lakshmana and armed with bows and arrows, rushed towards Rama, and beholding that power of illusion put forth by the king of Rakshasas, that descendant of Ikshwaku’s race, the son of Sumitra, addressed Rama in these heroic words, “Slay those Rakshasas, those wretches with forms like thy own!” And Rama, thereupon slew those and other Rakshasas of forms resembling his own. And that time Matali, the charioteer of Indra, approached Rama on the field of battle, with a car effulgent as the Sun and unto which were yoked horses of a tawny hue. And Matali said, “O son of Kakutstha’s race, this excellent and victorious car, unto which have been yoked this pair of tawny horses, belongs to the Lord of celestials! It is on this excellent car, O tiger among men, that Indra hath slain in battle hundreds of Daityas and Danavas! Therefore, O tiger among men, do thou, riding on the car driven by me, quickly slay Ravana in battle! Do not delay in achieving this!” Thus addressed by him, the descendant of Raghu’s race, however, doubted the truthful words of Matali, thinking this is another illusion produced by the Rakshasas—Vibhishana then addressed him saying, “This, O tiger among men, is no illusion of the wicked Ravana! Ascend thou this chariot quickly, for this, O thou of great effulgence, belongeth to Indra!” The descendant of Kakutstha then cheerfully said unto Vibhishana, “So be it”, and riding on that car, rushed wrathfully upon Ravana. And when Ravana, too, rushed against his antagonist, a loud wail of woe was set up by the creatures of the Earth, while the celestials in heaven sent forth a leonine roar accompanied
 According to both Vyasa and Valmiki, there is nothing so fierce as a Brahmana’s curse. The very thunderbolt of Indra is weak compared to a Brahmana’s curse. The reason is obvious. The thunder smites the individual at whom it may be aimed. The curse of Brahmana smites the whole race, whole generation, whole country.
“Markandeya said, ’Having slain Ravana, that wretched king of the Rakshasas and foe of the celestials, Rama with his friends and Sumitra’s son rejoiced exceedingly. And after the Ten-necked (Rakshasa) hath been slain, the celestials with the Rishis at their head, worshipped Rama of mighty arms, blessing and uttering the word Jaya repeatedly. And all the celestials and the Gandharvas and the denizens of the celestial regions gratified Rama of eyes like lotus leaves, with hymns and flowery showers. And having duly worshipped Rama, they all went away to those regions whence they had come. And, O thou of unfading glory, the firmament at that time looked as if a great festival was being celebrated.
“’And having slain the Ten-necked Rakshasa, the lord Rama of worldwide fame, that conqueror of hostile cities, bestowed Lanka on Vibhishana. Then that old and wise counsellor (of Ravana) known by the name of Avindhya, with Sita walking before him but behind Vibhishana who was at the front, came out of the city. And with great humility Avindhya said unto the illustrious descendant of Kakutstha, “O illustrious one, accept thou this goddess, Janaka’s daughter of excellent conduct!” Hearing these words, the descendant of Ikshwaku’s race alighted from his excellent chariot and beheld Sita bathed in tears. And beholding that beautiful lady seated within her vehicle, afflicted with grief, besmeared with filth, with matted locks on head, and attired in dirty robes, Rama, afraid of the loss of his honour, said unto her, “Daughter of Videha, go withersover thou likest! Thou art now free! What should have been done by me, hath been done! O blessed lady, owning me for thy husband, it is not meet that thou shouldst grow old in the abode of the Rakshasa! It is for this I have slain that wanderer of the night! But how can one like us, acquainted with every truth of morality, embrace even for a moment a woman that had fallen into other’s hands? O princess of Mithila whether thou art chaste or unchaste, I dare not enjoy thee, now that thou art like sacrificial butter lapped by a dog!” Hearing these cruel words, that adorable girl suddenly fell down in great affliction of heart, like a plantain tree severed from its roots. And the colour that was suffusing her face in consequence of the joy she had felt, quickly disappeared, like watery particles on a mirror blown thereon by the breath of the mouth. And hearing these words of Rama, all the monkeys also with Lakshmana became still as dead. Then the divine and pure-souled Brahma of four faces, that Creator of the Universe himself sprung from a lotus, showed himself on his car to Raghu’s son. And Sakra and Agni and Vayu, and Yama and Varuna and the illustrious Lord of the Yakshas, and the holy Rishis, and king Dasaratha also in a celestial and effulgent form and on car drawn by swans, showed themselves. And then the firmament crowded with
“Markandeya continued, ’Thus addressed, his father, O bull of the Bharata race, gladly answered Rama, the corners of whose eyes were of a reddish hue, saying, “Return to Ayodhya and rule thou that kingdom! O thou of great glory, thy fourteen years (of exile) have been completed.” Thus addressed by Dasaratha, Rama bowed to the gods, and saluted by his friends he was united with his wife, like the Lord of the celestials with the daughter of Puloman. And that chastiser of foes then gave a boon to Avindhya. And he also bestowed both riches and honours on the Rakshasa woman named Trijata. And when Brahma with all the celestials having Indra at their head, said unto Rama, “O thou that ownest Kausalya for thy mother, what boons after thy heart shall we grant thee?” Rama, thereupon, prayed them to grant him firm adherence to virtues and invincibility in respect of all foes. And he also asked for the restoration to life of all those monkeys that had been slain by the Rakshasas, and after Brahma had said—So be it, those monkeys, O king, restored to life, rose up from the field of battle, and Sita too, of great good fortune, granted unto Hanuman a boon, saying, “Let thy life, O son, last as long as (the fame of) Rama’s achievements! And, O Hanuman of yellow eyes, let celestial viands and drinks be ever available to thee through my grace!"’
“’Then the celestials with Indra at their head all disappeared in the very sight of those warriors of spotless achievements. And beholding Rama united with the daughter of Janaka, the charioteer of Sakra, highly pleased, addressed him in the midst of friends, and said these words, “O thou of prowess that can never be baffled thou hast dispelled the sorrow of the celestials, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, the Nagas, and human beings! As long, therefore, as the Earth will hold together, so long will all creatures with the celestials, the Asuras, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, and the Pannagas, speak of thee.” And having said these words unto Rama, Matali worshipped that son of Raghu, and having obtained the leave of that foremost of wielders of weapons, he went away, on that same chariot of solar effulgence. And Rama also, with Sumatra’s son and Vibhishana, and accompanied by all the monkeys with Sugriva at their head, placing Sita in the van and having made arrangements for the protection of Lanka, recrossed the ocean by the same bridge. And he rode on that beautiful and sky-ranging chariot called the Pushpaka that was capable of going everywhere at the will of the rider. And that subduer of passions was surrounded by his principal counsellors in order of precedence. And arriving at that part of the sea-shore where he had formerly laid himself down, the virtuous king, with all the monkeys, pitched his temporary abode. And the son of Raghu then, bringing the monkeys before him in due time, worshipped them all, and gratifying them
 Abhijit is lit. the eighth muhurta of the day, a muhurta being equal to an hour of 48 minutes, i.e. the thirtieth part of a whole day and night. The Vaishnava asterism is as explained by Nilakantha, the Sravava.
“Markandeya said, ’It was thus, O mighty-armed one, that Rama of immeasurable energy had suffered of old such excessive calamity in consequence of his exile in the woods! O tiger among men, do not grieve, for, O chastiser of foes, thou art Kshatriya! Thou too treadest in the path in which strength of arms is to be put forth,—the path that leadeth to tangible rewards. Thou hast not even a particle of sin. Even the celestials with Indra at their head, and the Asuras have to tread in the path that is trod by thee! It was after such afflictions that the wielder of the thunderbolt, aided by the Maruts, slew Vritra, and the invincible Namuchi and the Rakshasi of long tongue! He that hath assistance, always secureth the accomplishment of all his purposes! What is that which cannot be vanquished in battle by him that hath Dhananjaya for his brother? This Bhima, also, of terrible prowess, is the foremost of mighty persons. The heroic and youthful sons of Madravati again are mighty bowmen. With allies such as these, why dost thou despair, O chastiser of foes? These are capable of vanquishing the army of the wielder himself of the thunderbolt with the Maruts in the midst. Having these mighty bowmen of celestial forms for thy allies, thou, O bull of Bharata race, art sure to conquer in battle all thy foes! Behold, this Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, forcibly abducted by the wicked-minded Saindhava from pride of strength and energy, hath been brought back by these mighty warriors after achieving terrible feats! Behold, king Jayadratha was vanquished and lay powerless before thee! The princess of Videha was rescued with almost no allies by Rama after the slaughter in battle of the Ten-necked Rakshasa of terrible prowess! Indeed, the allies of Rama (in that contest) were monkeys and black-faced bears, creatures that were not even human! Think of all this, O king, in thy mind! Therefore, O foremost of Kurus, grieve not for all (that hath occurred), O bull of the Bharata race! Illustrious persons like thee never indulge in sorrow, O smiter of foes!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “It was thus that the king was comforted by Markandeya. And then that high-souled one, casting off his sorrows, once more spoke unto Markandeya.”
“Yudhishthira said, ’O mighty sage, I do not so much grieve for myself or these my brothers or the loss of my kingdom as I do for this daughter of Drupada. When we were afflicted at the game of the dice by those wicked-souled ones, it was Krishna that delivered us. And she was forcibly carried off from the forest by Jayadratha. Hast thou even seen or heard of any chaste and exalted lady that resembleth this daughter of Drupada?’
“Markandeya said, ’Listen, O king, how the exalted merit of chaste ladies, O Yudhishthira, was completely obtained by a princess named Savitri. There was a king among the Madras, who was virtuous and highly pious. And he always ministered unto the Brahmanas, and was high-souled and firm in promise. And he was of subdued senses and given to sacrifices. And he was the foremost of givers, and was able, and beloved by both the citizens and the rural population. And the name of that lord of Earth was Aswapati. And he was intent on the welfare of all beings. And that forgiving (monarch) of truthful speech and subdued senses was without issue. And when he got old, he was stricken with grief at this. And with the object of raising offspring, he observed rigid vows and began to live upon frugal fare, having recourse to the Brahmacharya mode of life, and restraining his senses. And that best of kings, (daily) offering ten thousand oblations to the fire, recited Mantras in honour of Savitri and ate temperately at the sixth hour. And he passed eighteen years, practising such vows. Then when the eighteen years were full, Savitri was pleased (with him). And O king, issuing with great delight, in embodied form, from the Agnihotra fire, the goddess showed herself to that king. And intent on conferring boons, she spoke these words unto the monarch, “I have been gratified, O king, with thy Brahmacharya practices, thy purity and self-restraint and observance of vows, and all thy endeavours and veneration! Do thou, O mighty king, O Aswapati, ask for the boon that thou desirest! Thou ought, however, by no means show any disregard for virtue.” Thereat Aswapati said, “It is with the desire of attaining virtue that I have been engaged in this task. O goddess, may many sons be born unto me worthy of my race! If thou art pleased with me, O goddess, I ask for this boon. The twice-born ones have assured me that great merit lieth in having offspring!” Savitri replied, “O king, having already learnt this thy intention, I had spoken unto that lord, the Grandsire, about thy sons. Through the favour granted by the Self-create, there shall speedily be born unto thee on earth a daughter of great energy. It behoveth thee not to make any reply. Well-pleased, I tell thee this at the command of the Grandsire."’
 Also called Gayatri, the wife of Brahma.
“Markandeya said, ’Having accepted Savitri’s words and saying, “So be it!” the king again gratified her and said, “May this happen soon!” On Savitri vanishing away, the monarch entered his own city. And that hero began to live in his kingdom, ruling his subjects righteously. And when some time had elapsed, that king, observant of vows, begat offspring on his eldest queen engaged in the practice of virtue. And then, O bull of the Bharata race, the embryo in the womb of the princess of Malava increased like the lord of stars in the heavens
“’And it came to pass that once on the occasion of a parva, having fasted and bathed her head, she presented herself before the (family) deity and caused the Brahmanas to offer oblations with due rites to the sacrificial fire. And taking the flowers that had been offered to the god, that lady, beautiful as Sree herself, went to her high-souled sire. And having reverenced the feet of her father and offering him the flowers she had brought, that maiden of exceeding grace, with joined hands, stood at the side of the king. And seeing his own daughter resembling a celestial damsel arrived at puberty, and unsought by people, the king became sad. And the king said, “Daughter, the time for bestowing thee is come! Yet none asketh thee. Do thou (therefore) thyself seek for a husband equal to thee in qualities! That person who may be desired by thee should be notified to me. Do thou choose for thy husband as thou listest. I shall bestow thee with deliberation. Do thou, O auspicious one, listen to me as I tell thee the words which I heard recited by the twice-born ones. The father that doth not bestow his daughter cometh by disgrace. And the husband that knoweth not his wife in her season meeteth with disgrace. And the son that doth not protect his mother when her husband is dead, also suffereth disgrace. Hearing these words of mine, do thou engage thyself in search of a husband. Do thou act in such a way that we may not be censured by the gods!"’
“Markandeya said, ’Having said these words to his daughter and his old counsellors, he instructed the attendants to follow her, saying,—Go! Thereat, bashfully bowing down unto her father’s feet, the meek maid went out without hesitation, in compliance with the words of her sire. And ascending a golden car, she went to the delightful asylum of the royal sages, accompanied by her father’s aged counsellors. There, O son, worshipping the feet of the aged ones, she gradually began to roam over all the woods. Thus the king’s daughter distributing wealth in all sacred regions, ranged the various places belonging to the foremost of the twice-born ones.’”
“Markandeya continued, ’On one occasion, O Bharata, when that king, the lord of the Madras, was seated with Narada in the midst of his court, engaged in conversation, Savitri, accompanied by the king’s counsellors, came to her father’s abode after having visited various sacred regions and asylums. And beholding her father seated with Narada, she worshipped the feet of both by bending down her head. And Narada then said, “Whither had this thy daughter gone? And, O king, whence also doth she come? Why also dost thou not bestow her on a husband, now that she hath arrived at the age of puberty?” Aswapati answered, saying, “Surely it was on this very business that she had been sent, and she returneth now (from her search). Do thou, O celestial sage, listen, even from her as to the husband she hath chosen herself!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Then the blessed maid, commanded by her father with the words,—Relate everything in detail,—regarded those words of her sire as if they were those of a god, and spoke unto him thus, “There was, amongst the Salwas, a virtuous Kshatriya king known by the name of Dyumatsena. And it came to pass that in course of time he became blind. And that blind king possessed of wisdom had an only son. And it so happened that an old enemy dwelling in the vicinity, taking advantage of the king’s mishap, deprived him of his kingdom. And thereupon the monarch, accompanied by his wife bearing a child on her breast, went into the woods. And having retired into the forests, he adopted great vows and began to practise ascetic austerities. And his son, born in the city, began to grow in the hermitage. That youth, fit to be my husband, I have accepted in my heart for my lord!” At these words of hers, Narada said, “Alas, O king, Savitri hath committed a great wrong, since, not knowing, she hath accepted for her lord this Satyavan of excellent qualities! His father speaketh the truth and his mother also is truthful in her speech. And it is for this that the Brahmanas have named the son Satyavan. In his childhood he took great delight in horses, and used to make horses of clay. And he used also to draw pictures of horses. And for this that youth is sometimes called by the name of Chitraswa.” The king then asked, “And is prince Satyavan, who is devoted to his father, endued with energy and intelligence and forgiveness and courage?” Narada replied, saying, “In energy Satyavan is like unto the sun, and in wisdom like unto Vrihaspati! And he is brave like unto the lord of the celestials and forgiving like unto the Earth herself!” Aswapati then said, “And is the prince Satyavan liberal in gifts and devoted to the Brahmanas? Is he handsome and magnanimous and lovely to behold?” Narada said, “In bestowal of gifts according to his power, the mighty son of Dyumatsena is like unto Sankriti’s son Rantideva. In truthfulness of speech and devotion unto Brahmanas, he is like Sivi, the son of Usinara. And he is magnanimous
“Markandeya continued, ’Having said this, Narada rose up into the sky and went to heaven. On the other hand, the king began to make preparations for his daughter’s wedding!’”
“Markandeya said, ’Having pondered over these words (of Narada) about his daughter’s marriage, the king began to make arrangements about the nuptials. And summoning all the old Brahmanas, and Ritwijas together with the priests, he set out with his daughter on an auspicious day. And arriving at the asylum of Dyumatsena in the sacred forest, the king approached the royal sage on foot,
“’Then summoning all the twice-born ones residing in the hermitages of that forest, the two kings caused the union to take place with due rites. And having bestowed his daughter with suitable robes and ornaments, Aswapati went back to his abode in great joy. And Satyavan, having obtained a wife possessed of every accomplishment, became highly glad, while she also rejoiced exceedingly upon having gained the husband after her own heart. And when her father had departed, she put off all her ornaments, and clad herself in barks and cloths dyed in red. And by her services and virtues, her tenderness and self-denial, and by her agreeable offices unto all, she pleased everybody. And she gratified her mother-in-law by attending to her person and by covering her with robes and ornaments. And she gratified her father-in-law by worshipping him as a god and controlling her speech. And she pleased her husband by her honeyed speeches, her skill in every kind of work, the evenness of her temper, and by the indications of her love in private. And thus, O Bharata, living in the asylum of those pious dwellers of the forest, they continued for some time to practise ascetic austerities. But the words spoken by Narada were present night and day in the mind of the sorrowful Savitri.’”
“Markandeya said, ’At length, O king, after a long time had passed away, the hour that had been appointed for the death of Satyavan arrived. And as the words that had been spoken by Narada were ever present in the mind of Savitri, she had counted the days as they passed. And having ascertained that her husband would die on the fourth day following, the damsel fasted day and night, observing the Triratra vow. And hearing of her vow, the king became exceedingly sorrowful and rising up soothed Savitri and said these words, “This vow that thou hast begun to observe, O daughter of a king, is exceedingly hard; for it is extremely difficult to fast for three nights together!” And hearing these words, Savitri said, “Thou needst not be sorry, O father! This vow I shall be able to observe! I have for certain undertaken this task with perseverance; and perseverance is the cause of the successful observance of vows.” And having listened to her, Dyumatsena said, “I can by no means say unto thee, Do thou break thy vow. One like me should, on the contrary, say,—Do thou complete thy vow!” And having said this to her, the high-minded Dyumatsena stopped. And Savitri continuing to fast began to look (lean) like a wooden doll. And, O bull of the Bharata race, thinking that her husband would die on the morrow, the woe-stricken Savitri, observing a fast, spent that night in extreme anguish. And when the Sun had risen about a couple of hand Savitri thinking within herself—To-day is that day, finished her morning rites, and offered oblations to the flaming fire. And bowing down unto the aged Brahmanas, and her father-in-law, and mother-in-law, she stood before them with joined hands, concentrating her senses. And for the welfare of Savitri, all the ascetics dwelling in that hermitage, uttered the auspicious benediction that she should never suffer widowhood. And Savitri immersed in contemplation accepted those words of the ascetics, mentally saying,—So be it!—And the king’s daughter, reflecting on those words of Narada, remained, expecting the hour and the moment.
“’Then, O best of the Bharatas, well-pleased, her father-in-law and mother-in-law said these words unto the princess seated in a corner, “Thou hast completed the vow as prescribed. The time for thy meal hath now arrived; therefore, do thou what is proper!” Thereat Savitri said, “Now that I have completed the purposed vow, I will eat when the Sun goes down. Even this is my heart’s resolve and this my vow!”
“Markandeya continued, ’And when Savitri had spoken thus about her meal, Satyavan, taking his axe upon his shoulders, set out for the woods. And at this, Savitri said unto her husband, “It behoveth thee not to go alone! I will accompany thee. I cannot bear to be separated from thee!” Hearing these words of hers, Satyavan said, “Thou hast never before repaired to the forest. And,
“Markandeya continued, ’Thus addressed by her lord, Savitri of high vows saluted her father-in-law and mother-in-law and addressed them, saying, “This my husband goeth to the forest for procuring fruits. Permitted by my revered lady-mother and father-in-law, I will accompany him. For to-day I cannot bear to be separated from him. Thy son goeth out for the sake of the sacrificial fire and for his reverend superiors. He ought not, therefore, to be dissuaded. Indeed, he could be dissuaded if he went into the forest on any other errand. Do ye not prevent me! I will go into the forest with him. It is a little less than a year that I have not gone out of the asylum. Indeed, I am extremely desirous of beholding the blossoming woods!” Hearing these words Dyumatsena said, “Since Savitri hath been bestowed by her father as my daughter-in-law, I do not remember that she hath ever spoken any words couching a request. Let my daughter-in-law, therefore, have her will in this matter. Do thou, however, O daughter, act in such a way that Satyavan’s work may not be neglected!"’
“Markandeya continued, ’Having received the permission of both, the illustrious Savitri, departed with her lord, in seeming smiles although her heart was racked with grief. And that lady of large eyes went on, beholding picturesque and delightful woods inhabited by swarms of peacocks. And Satyavan sweetly said unto Savitri, “Behold these rivers of sacred currents and these excellent trees decked with flowers!” But the faultless Savitri continued to watch her lord in all his moods, and recollecting the words of the celestial sage, she considered her husband as already dead. And with heart cleft in twain, that damsel, replying to her lord, softly followed him expecting that hour.’”
“Markandeya said, ’The powerful Satyavan then, accompanied by his wife, plucked fruits and filled his wallet with them. And he then began to fell branches of trees. And as he was hewing them, he began to perspire. And in consequence of that exercise his head began to ache. And afflicted with toil, he approached his beloved wife, and addressed her, saying, “O Savitri, owing to this hard exercise my head acheth, and all my limbs and my heart also are afflicted sorely! O thou of restrained speech, I think myself unwell, I feel as if my head is being pierced with numerous darts.
“Markandeya continued, ’Thus addressed by her, the illustrious lord of Pitris, with a view to oblige her, began to unfold to her truly all about his intentions. And Yama said, “This prince is endued with virtues and beauty of person, and is a sea of accomplishments. He deserveth not to be borne away by my emissaries. Therefore is it that I have come personally.” Saying this, Yama by main force pulled out of the body of Satyavan, a person of the measure of the thumb, bound in noose and completely under subjection. And when Satyavan’s life had thus been taken out, the body, deprived of breath, and shorn of lustre, and destitute of motion, became unsightly to behold. And binding Satyavan’s vital essence, Yama proceeded in a southerly direction. Thereupon, with heart overwhelmed in grief, the exalted Savitri, ever devoted to her lord and crowned with success in respect of her vows, began to follow Yama. And at this, Yama said, “Desist, O Savitri! Go back, and perform the funeral obsequies of thy lord! Thou art freed from all thy obligations to thy lord. Thou hast come as far as it is possible to come.” Savitri replied, “Whither my husband is being carried, or whither he goeth of his own accord, I will follow him thither. This is the eternal custom. By virtue of my asceticism, of my regard for my superiors, of my affection for my lord, of my observance of vows, as well as of thy favour, my course is unimpeded. It hath been declared by