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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.
affection for thy brother Vichitravirya, for the perpetuation of our dynasty, for the sake of this Bhishma’s request and my command, for kindness to all creatures, for the protection of the people and from the liberality of thy heart, O sinless one, it behoveth thee to do what I say.  Thy younger brother hath left two widows like unto the daughters of the celestials themselves, endued with youth and great beauty.  For the sake of virtue and religion, they have become desirous of offspring.  Thou art the fittest person to be appointed.  Therefore beget upon them children worthy of our race and for the continuance of our line.’

“Vyasa, hearing this, said, ’O Satyavati, thou knowest what virtue is both in respect of this life and the other.  O thou of great wisdom, thy affections also are set on virtue.  Therefore, at thy command, making virtue my motive, I shall do what thou desirest.  Indeed, this practice that is conformable to the true and eternal religion is known to me, I shall give unto my brother children that shall be like unto Mitra and Varuna.  Let the ladies then duly observe for one full year the vow I indicate.  They shall then be purified.  No women shall ever approach me without having observed a rigid vow.’

“Satyavati then said, ’O sinless one, it must be as thou sayest.  Take such steps that the ladies may conceive immediately.  In a kingdom where there is no king, the people perish from want of protection; sacrifices and other holy acts are suspended; the clouds send no showers; and the gods disappear.  How can a kingdom be protected that hath no king?  Therefore, see thou that the ladies conceive.  Bhishma will watch over the children as long as they are in their mother’s wombs.

“Vyasa replied, ’If I am to give unto my brother children so unseasonably, then let the ladies bear my ugliness.  That in itself shall, in their case, be the austerest of penances.  If the princess of Kosala can bear my strong odour, my ugly and grim visage, my attire and body, she shall then conceive an excellent child.’”

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having spoken thus unto Satyavati, Vyasa of great energy addressed her and said, ’Let the princess of Kosala clad in clean attire and checked with ornaments wait for me in her bed-chamber.’  Saying this, the Rishi disappeared, Satyavati then went to her daughter-in-law and seeing her in private spoke to her these words of beneficial and virtuous import, ’O princess of Kosala, listen to what I say.  It is consistent with virtue.  The dynasty of the Bharatas hath become extinct from my misfortune.  Beholding my affliction and the extinction of his paternal line, the wise Bhishma, impelled also by the desire of perpetuating our race, hath made me a suggestion, which suggestion, however, for its accomplishment is dependent on thee.  Accomplish it, O daughter, and restore the lost line of the Bharatas.  O thou of fair hips, bring thou forth a child equal in splendour unto the chief of the celestials.  He shall bear the onerous burden of this our hereditary kingdom.’

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