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Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted of male beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.
Janamejaya said, “How did my great-grandfathers, afflicted with the fear of Duryodhana, pass their days undiscovered in the city of Virata? And, O Brahman, how did the highly blessed Draupadi, stricken with woe, devoted to her lords, and ever adoring the Deity, spend her days unrecognised?”
Vaisampayana said, “Listen, O lord of men, how thy great grandfathers passed the period of unrecognition in the city of Virata. Having in this way obtained boons from the god of Justice, that best of virtuous men, Yudhishthira, returned to the asylum and related unto the Brahmanas all that had happened. And having related everything unto them, Yudhishthira restored to that regenerate Brahmana, who had followed him the churning staff and the fire-sticks he had lost. And, O Bharata, the son of the god of Justice, the royal Yudhishthira of high soul then called together all his younger brothers and addressed them, saying, ’Exiled from our kingdom, we have passed twelve years. The thirteenth year, hard to spend, hath now come. Do thou therefore, O Arjuna, the son of Kunti, select some spot where we may pass our days undiscovered by our enemies.’”
Arjuna replied, “Even by virtue of Dharma’s boon, we shall, O lord of men, range about undiscovered by men. Still, for purposes of residence, I shall mention some spots that are both delightful and secluded. Do thou select some one of them. Surrounding the kingdom of the Kurus, are, many countries beautiful and abounding in corn, such as Panchala, Chedi, Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Salva, Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, and the spacious Kuntirashtra. Which of these, O king, wouldst thou choose, and where, O foremost of monarchs, shall we spend this year?”
Yudhishthira said “O them of mighty arms, it is even so. What that adorable Lord of all creatures hath said must become true. Surely, after consulting together, we must select some delightful, auspicious, and agreeable region for our abode, where we may live free from fear. The aged Virata, king of the Matsyas, is virtuous and powerful and charitable, and is liked by all. And he is also attached to the Pandavas. Even in the city of Virata, O child, we shall, O Bharata, spend this year, entering his service. Tell me, ye sons of the Kuru race, in what capacities ye will severally present yourselves before the king of the Matsyas!”
Arjuna said, “O god among men, what service wilt thou take in Virata’s kingdom? O righteous one, in what capacity wilt thou reside in the city of Virata? Thou art mild, and charitable, and modest, and virtuous, and firm in promise. What wilt thou, O king, afflicted as thou art with calamity, do? A king is qualified to bear trouble like an ordinary person. How wilt thou overcome this great calamity that has overtaken thee?”
Yudhishthira replied, “Ye sons of the Kuru race, ye bulls among men, hear what I shall do on appearing before king Virata. Presenting myself as a Brahmana, Kanka by name, skilled in dice and fond of play, I shall become a courtier of that high-souled king. And moving upon chess-boards beautiful pawns made of ivory, of blue and yellow and red and white hue, by throws of black and red dice. I shall entertain the king with his courtiers and friends. And while I shall continue to thus delight the king, nobody will succeed in discovering me. And should the monarch ask me, I shall say, ‘Formerly I was the bosom friend of Yudhishthira.’ I tell you that it is thus that I shall pass my days (in the city of Virata). What office wilt thou, O Vrikodara, fill in the city of Virata?”
Bhima said, “I intend to present myself before the lord of Virata as a cook bearing the name of Vallabha. I am skilled in culinary art, and I shall prepare curries for the king, and excelling all those skilful cooks that had hitherto dressed his food I shall gratify the monarch. And I shall carry mighty loads of wood. And witnessing that mighty feat, the monarch will be pleased. And, O Bharata, beholding such superhuman feats of mine, the servants of the royal household will honour me as a king. And I shall have entire control over all kinds of viands and drinks. And commanded to subdue powerful elephants and mighty bulls, I will do as bidden. And if any combatants will fight with me in the lists, then will I vanquish them, and thereby entertain the monarch. But I shall not take the life of any of them. I shall only bring them down in such way that they may not be killed. And on being asked as regards my antecedent I shall say that—Formerly I was the wrestler and cook of Yudhishthira. Thus shall I, O king, maintain myself.”
Yudhishthira said, “And what office will be performed by that mighty descendant of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, that foremost of men possessed of long arms, invincible in fight, and before whom, while he was staying with Krishna, the divine Agni himself desirous of consuming the forest of Khandava had formerly appeared in the guise of a Brahmana? What office will be performed by that best of warriors, Arjuna, who proceeded to that forest and gratified Agni, vanquishing on a single car and slaying huge Nagas and Rakshasas, and who married the sister of Vasuki himself, the king of the Nagas? Even as the sun is the foremost of all heat-giving bodies, as the Brahmana is the best of all bipeds, as the cobra is the foremost of all serpents, as Fire is the first of all things possessed of energy, as the thunderbolt is the foremost of all weapons, as the humped bull is the foremost of all animals of the bovine breed, as the ocean is the foremost of all watery expanses, as clouds charged with rain are the foremost of all clouds, as Ananta is the first of all Nagas, as Airavata
Arjuna replied, “O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of the neuter sex. O monarch, it is, indeed difficult to hide the marks of the bowstring on my arms. I will, however, cover both my cicatrized arms with bangles. Wearing brilliant rings on my ears and conch-bangles on my wrists and causing a braid to hang down from my head, I shall, O king, appear as one of the third sex, Brihannala by name. And living as a female I shall (always) entertain the king and the inmates of the inner apartments by reciting stories. And, O king, I shall also instruct the women of Virata’s palace in singing and delightful modes of dancing and in musical instruments of diverse kinds. And I shall also recite the various excellent acts of men and thus conceal myself, O son of Kunti, by feigning disguise. And, O Bharata should the king enquire, I will say that, I lived as a waiting maid of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s palace. And, O foremost of kings, concealing myself by this means, as fire is concealed by ashes, I shall pass my days agreeably in the palace of Virata.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, Arjuna, that best of men and foremost of virtuous persons, became silent. Then the king addressed another brother of his."
Yudhishthira said, “Tender, possessed of a graceful presence, and deserving of every luxury as thou art, what office wilt thou, O heroic Nakula, discharge while living in the dominions of that king? Tell me all about it!”
Nakula said, “Under the name of Granthika, I shall become the keeper of the horses of king Virata. I have a thorough knowledge (of this work) and am skilful in tending horses. Besides, the task is agreeable to me, and I possess great skill in training and treating horses; and horses are ever dear to me as they are to thee, O king of the Kurus. At my hands even colts and mares become docile; these never become vicious in bearing a rider or drawing a car. And those persons in the city of Virata that may enquire of me, I shall, O bull of the Bharata race, say,—Formerly I was employed by Yudhishthira in the charge of his horses. Thus disguised, O king, I shall spend my days delightfully in the city of Virata. No one will be able to discover me as I will gratify the monarch thus!
Yudhishthira said, “How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before that king? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live in disguise.”
Sahadeva replied, “I will become a keeper of the kine of Virata’s king. I am skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in taming their fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripal, I shall perform my duties deftly. Let thy heart’s fever be dispelled. Formerly I was frequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I have a particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am well-acquainted with the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious marks and other matters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls with auspicious marks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren being forth child. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in work of this kind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and I will moreover gratify the monarch,”
Yudhishthira said, “This is our beloved wife dearer to us than our lives. Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and regarded like an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of womanly work, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, perform? Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted to her lords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her birth, she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfume? and ornaments and costly robes.”
Draupadi replied, “There is a class of persons called Sairindhris, who enter the services of other. Other females, however (that are respectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall give myself out as a Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata, on being questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waiting woman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s household. I shall thus pass my days in disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the king. Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so, O king.”
“Yudhishthira said, “O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl, thou wert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always engaged in observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do thou, therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil hearts may not be gladdened by gazing at thee.”
Yudhishthira said, “Ye have already said what offices ye will respectively perform. I also, according to the measure of my sense, have said what office I will perform. Let our priest, accompanied by charioteers and cooks, repair to the abode of Drupada, and there maintain our Agnihotra fires. And let Indrasena and the others, taking with then the empty cars, speedily proceeded to Dwaravati. Even this is my wish. And let all these maid-servants of Draupadi go to the Panchalas, with our charioteers and cooks. And let all of them say,—We do not know where the Pandavas have gone leaving us at the lake of Dwaitavana.”
Vaisampayana said, “Having thus taken counsel of one another and told one another the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought Dhaumya’s advice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following words, saying, Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made regarding the Brahmanas, yours friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred) fires, are excellent. But it behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna specially, to make provision for the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye are well-acquainted with the characters of men. Yet whatever may be your knowledge, friends may from affection be permitted to repeat what is already known. Even this is subservient to the eternal interests of virtue, pleasure, and profit. I shall, therefore speak to you something. Mark ye. To dwell with a king is, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye princes, how ye may reside in the royal household, avoiding every fault. Ye Kauravas, honourably or otherwise, ye will have to pass this year in the king’s palace, undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the fourteenth year, ye will live happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that cherisher and protector of all beings, the king, who is a deity in an embodied form, is as a great fire sanctified with all the mantras.  One should present himself before the king, after having obtained his permission at the gate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets. Nor should one desire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not, regarding himself to be a favourite, occupy (the king’s) car, or coach, or seat, or vehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is calculated raise alarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. No one should, unasked offer counsel (to a king). Paying homage in season unto the king, one should silently and respectfully sit beside the king, for kings take umbrage at babblers, and disgrace laying counsellors. A wise person should not contact friendship with the king’s wife, nor with the inmates of the inner apartments, nor with those that are objects of royal displeasure. One about the king should do even the most unimportant acts and with the king’s knowledge. Behaving
Yudhishthira said, “We have been well taught by thee. Blessed be thou. There is none that could say so to us, save our mother Kunti and Vidura of great wisdom. It behoveth thee to do all that is necessary now for our departure, and for enabling us to come safely through this woe, as well as for our victory over the foe.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhaumya, that best of Brahmanas, performed according to the ordinance the rites ordained in respect of departure. And lighting up their fires, he offered, with mantras, oblations on them for the prosperity and success of the Pandavas, as for their reconquest of the whole world. And walking round those fires and round the Brahmanas of ascetic wealth, the six set out, placing Yajnaseni in their front. And when those heroes had departed, Dhaumya, that best of ascetics, taking their sacred fires, set out for the Panchalas. And Indrasena, and others already mentioned, went to the Yadavas, and looking after the horses and the cars of the Pandavas passed their time happily and in privacy.”
Vaisampayana said, “Girding their waists with swords, and equipped with finger-protectors made of iguana skins and with various weapons, those heroes proceeded in the direction of the river Yamuna. And those bowmen desirous of (speedily) recovering their kingdom, hitherto living in inaccessible hills and forest fastnesses, now terminated their forest-life and proceeded to the southern bank of that river. And those mighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the lives of hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through Yakrilloma and Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country of the Panchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasarnas. And those bowmen, looking wan and wearing beards and equipped with swords, entered Matsya’s dominions leaving the forest, giving themselves out as hunters. And on arriving at that country, Krishna addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ’We see footpaths here, and various fields. From this it appears that Virata’s metropolis is still at a distance. Pass we here what part of the night is still left, for great is my fatigue.”
Yudhishthira answered, “O Dhananjaya of Bharata’s race, do thou take up Panchali and carry her. Just on emerging from this forest, we arrive at the city.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thereupon like the leader of a herd of elephants, Arjuna speedily took up Draupadi, and on coming to the vicinity of the city, let her down. And on reaching the city, Ruru’s son (Yudhishthira), addressed Arjuna, saying, ’Where shall we deposit our weapons, before entering the city? If, O child, we enter it with our weapons about us, we shall thereby surely excite the alarm of the citizens. Further, the tremendous bow, the Gandiva, is known to all men, so that people will, without doubt, recognise us soon. And if even one of us is discovered, we shall, according to promise, have to pass another twelve years in the forest.’”
Arjuna said, “Hard by yon cemetery and near that inaccessible peak is a mighty Sami tree, throwing-about its gigantic branches and difficult to ascend. Nor is there any human being, who, I think, O Pandu’s son, will espy us depositing our arms at that place. That tree is in the midst of an out-of-the way forest abounding in beasts and snakes, and is in the vicinity of a dreary cemetery. Stowing away our weapons on the Sami tree, let us, O Bharata, go to the city, and live there, free from anxiety!”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having O bull of the Bharata race spoken thus to king Yudhishthira the just, Arjuna prepared to deposit the weapons (on the tree). And that bull among the Kurus, then loosened the string of the large and dreadful Gandiva, ever producing thundering twang and always destructive of hostile hosts, and with which he had conquered, on a single car, gods and men and Nagas and swelling provinces. And the warlike Yudhishthira, that
Vaisampayana said, “And while Yudhishthira was on his way to the delightful city of Virata, he began to praise mentally the Divine Durga, the Supreme Goddess of the Universe, born on the womb of Yasoda, and fond of the boons bestowed on her by Narayana, sprung from the race of cowherd Nanda, and the giver of prosperity, the enhancer (of the glory) of (the worshipper’s) family, the terrifier of Kansa, and the destroyer of Asuras,—and saluted the Goddess—her who ascended the skies when dashed (by Kansa) on a stony platform, who is the sister of Vasudeva, one who is always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial robes,—who is armed with scimitar and shield, and always rescues the worshipper sunk in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of distress calls upon that eternal giver of blessings
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus praised by the son of Pandu, the Goddess showed herself unto him. And approaching the king, she addressed him in these words, ’O mighty armed king, listen, O Lord, to these words of mine. Having vanquished and slain the ranks of the Kauravas through my grace, victory in battle will soon be thine. Thou shalt again lord it over the entire Earth, having made thy dominions destitute of thorns. And, O king, thou shalt also, with thy brothers, obtain great happiness. And through my grace, joy and health will be thine. And they also in the world who will recite my attributes and achievements will be freed from their sins, and gratified. I will bestow upon them kingdom, long life, beauty of person, and offspring. And they, O king, who will invoke me, after thy manner, in exile or in the city, in the midst of battle or of dangers from foes, in forests or in inaccessible deserts, in seas or mountain fastnesses, there is nothing that they will not obtain in this world. And ye sons of Pandu, he will achieve success in every business of his that will listen to, or himself recite with devotion, this excellent hymn. And through my grace neither the Kuru’s spies, nor those that dwell in the country of the Matsyas, will succeed in recognising you all as long as ye reside in Virata’s city!’ And having said these words unto Yudhishthira, that chastiser of foes, and having arranged for the protection of the sons of Pandu, the Goddess disappeared there and then.”
Vaisampayana said, “Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and set with lapis lazuli, and holding them below his arm-pit, king Yudhishthira,—that illustrious lord of men—that high-souled perpetuator of the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might, and like unto a snake of virulent poison,—that bull among men, endued with strength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, and resembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped in dense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance when the famous king Virata was seated in his court. And beholding with his followers
“And as the king was indulging in these thoughts, that bull among men, Yudhishthira, came before Virata and addressed him, saying, ’O great king, know me for a Brahmana who, having lost his all hath come to thee for the means of subsistence. I desire, O sinless one, to live here beside thee acting under thy commands, O lord. The king then, well-pleased, replied unto him saying, ’Thou art welcome. Do thou then accept the appointment thou seekest!’ And having appointed the lion among kings in the post he had prayed for, king Virata addressed him with a glad heart, saying, ’O child, I ask thee from affection, from the dominions of what king dost thou come hither? Tell me also truly what is thy name and family, and what thou hast a knowledge of.’”
Yudhishthira said, “My name is Kanka, and I am a Brahmana belonging to the family known by the name of Vaiyaghra. I am skilled in casting dice, and formerly I was a friend of Yudhishthira.”
Virata replied, “I will grant thee whatever boon thou mayst desire. Do thou rule the Matsyas.—I shall remain in submission to thee. Even cunning gamblers are liked by me. Thou, on the other hand, art like a god, and deservest a kingdom.”
Yudhishthira said, “My first prayer, O lord of earth, is that I may not be involved in any dispute (on account of dice) with low people. Further, a person defeated by me (at dice) shall not be permitted to retain the wealth (won by me). Let this boon be granted to me through thy grace.”
Virata replied, “I shall certainly slay him who may happen to displease thee, and should be one of the twice-born ones, I shall banish him from my dominions. Let the assembled subjects listen! Kanka is as much lord of this realm as I myself, Thou (Kanka) shalt be my friend and shalt ride the same vehicles as I. And there shall also be at thy disposal apparel in plenty, and various kinds of viands and drinks. And thou shalt look into my affairs, both internal and external. And for thee all my doors shall be open. When men out of employ or of strained circumstances will apply to thee, do thou at all hours bring their words unto me, and I will surely give them whatever they desire. No fear shall be thine as long as thou residest with me.”
Vaisampayana said, “Having thus obtained an interview with Virata’s king, and received from him boons, that heroic bull among men, began to live happily, highly regarded by all. Nor could any one discover him as he lived there.”
Vaisampayana said, “Then another endued with the dreadful strength and blazing in beauty, approached king Virata, with the playful gait of the lion. And holding in hand a cooking ladle and a spoon, as also an unsheathed sword of sable hue and without a spot on the blade, he came in the guise of a cook illumining all around him by his splendour like the sun discovering the whole world. And attired in black and possessed of the strength of the king of mountains, he approached the king of the Matsyas and stood before him. And beholding that king-like person before him, Virata addressed his assembled subjects saying, ’Who is that youth, that bull among men, with shoulders broad like those of a lion, and so exceedingly beautiful? That person, never seen before, is like the sun. Revolving the matter in my mind, I cannot ascertain who he is, nor can I with even serious thoughts guess the intention of that bull among men (in coming here). Beholding him, it seems to me that he is either the king of the Gandharvas, or Purandara himself. Do ye ascertain who it is that standeth before my eyes. Let him have quickly what he seeks.’ Thus commanded by king Virata, his swift-footed messengers went up to the son of Kunti and informed that younger brother of Yudhishthira of everything the king had said. Then the high-souled son of Pandu, approaching Virata, addressed him in words that were not unsuited to his object, saying, ’O foremost of kings, I am a cook, Vallava by name. I am skilled in dressing dishes. Do thou employ me in the kitchen!’”
Virata said, “I do not believe, O Vallava, that cooking is thy office. Thou resemblest the deity of a thousand eyes; and in grace and beauty and prowess, thou shinest among these all as a king!”
Bhima replied, “O king of kings, I am thy cook and servant in the first place. It is not curries only of which I have knowledge, O monarch, although king Yudhishthira always used in days gone by to taste my dishes. O lord of earth, I am also a wrestler. Nor is there one that is equal to me in strength. And engaging in fight with lions and elephants, I shall, O sinless one, always contribute to thy entertainment.”
Virata said, “I will even grant thee boons. Thou wilt do what thou wishest, as thou describest thyself skilled in it. I do not, however, think, that this office is worthy of thee, for thou deservest this (entire) earth girt round by the sea. But do as thou likest. Be thou the superintendent of my kitchen, and thou art placed at the head of those who have been appointed there before by me.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus appointed in the kitchen, Bhima soon became the favourite of king Virata. And, O king, he continued to live there unrecognised by the other servants of Virata as also by other people!”
Vaisampayana said, “Binding her black, soft, fine, long and faultless tresses with crisped ends into a knotted braid, Draupadi of black eyes and sweet smiles, throwing it upon her right shoulders, concealed it by her cloth. And she wore a single piece of a black and dirty though costly cloth. And dressing herself as a Sairindhri, she began to wander hither and thither in seeming affliction. And beholding her wandering, men and women came to her hastily and addressed her, saying, ’Who are you? And what do you seek?’ And she replied, ’I am a king’s Sairindhri. I desire to serve any one that will maintain me.’ But beholding her beauty and dress, and hearing also her speech that was so sweet, the people could not take her for a maid-servant in search of subsistence. And it came to pass that while looking this way and that from the terrace, Virata’s beloved queen, daughter of the king of Kekaya, saw Draupadi. And beholding her forlorn and clad in a single piece of cloth, the queen addressed her saying, ’O beautiful one, who are you, and what do you seek?’ Thereupon, Draupadi answered her, saying, ’O foremost of queen, I am Sairindhri. I will serve anybody that will maintain me.’ Then Sudeshna said, ’What you say (regarding your profession) can never be compatible with so much beauty. (On the contrary) you might well be the mistress of servants both, male and female. Your heels are not prominent, and your thighs touch each other. And your intelligence is great, and your navel deep, and your words solemn. And your great toes, and bust and hips, and back and sides, and toe-nails, and palms are all well-developed. And your palms, soles, and face are ruddy. And your speech is sweet even as the voice of the swan. And your hair is beautiful, and your bust shapely, and you are possessed of the highest grace. And your hips and bust are plump. And like a Kashmerean mare you are furnished with every auspicious mark. And your eye-lashes are (beautiful) bent, and your nether-lip is like the ruddy ground. And your waist is slender, and your neck bears lines that resemble those of the conch. And your veins are scarcely visible. Indeed, your countenance is like the full moon, and your eyes resemble the leaves of the autumnal lotus, and your body is fragrant as the lotus itself. Verily, in beauty you resemble Sri herself, whose seat is the autumnal lotus. Tell me, O beautiful damsel, who thou art. Thou canst never be a maidservant. Art thou a Yakshi, a Goddess, a Gandharvi, or an Apsara? Art thou the daughter of a celestial, or art thou a female Naga? Art thou the guardian goddess of some city, a Vidyadhari, or a Kinnari,—or art thou Rohini herself? Or art thou Alamvusha, or Misrakesi, Pundarika, or Malini, or the queen of Indra, or of Varuna? Or, art thou the spouse of Viswakarma, or of the creative Lord himself? Of these goddesses who art renowned in the celestial regions, who art thou, O graceful one?’
“Draupadi replied, ’O auspicious lady, I am neither a goddess nor a Gandharvi, nor a Yakshi, nor a Rakshasi. I am a maid-servant of the Sairindhri class. I tell thee this truly. I know to dress the hair to pound (fragrant substances) for preparing unguents, and also to make beautiful and variegated garlands. O beauteous lady, of jasmines and lotuses and blue lilies and Champakas. Formerly I served Krishna’s favourite queen Satyabhama, and also Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas and the foremost beauty of the Kuru race. I wander about alone, earning good food and dress; and as long as I get these, I continue to live in the place where they are obtainable. Draupadi herself called me Malini (maker of garlands).’
“Hearing this, Sudeshna said, ’I would keep thee upon my head itself, if the doubt did not cross my mind that the king himself would be attracted towards thee with his whole heart. Attracted by thy beauty, the females of the royal household and my maids are looking at thee. What male person then is there that can resist thy attraction? Surely, O thou of well-rounded hips, O damsel of exquisite charms, beholding thy form of superhuman beauty, king Virata is sure to forsake me, and will turn to thee with his whole heart. O thou of faultless limbs, O thou that art endued with large eyes casting quick glances, he upon whom thou wilt look with desire is sure to be stricken. O thou of sweet smiles, O thou that possessest a faultless form, he that will behold thee constantly, will surely catch the flame. Even as a person that climbs up a tree for compassing his own destruction, even as the crab conceives for her own ruin, I may, O thou of sweet smiles, bring destruction upon myself by harbouring thee.’
“Draupadi replied, ’O fair lady, neither Virata nor any other person will be able to have me, for my five youthful husbands, who are Gandharvas and sons of a Gandharva king of exceeding power, always protect me. None can do me a wrong. It is the wish of my Gandharva husbands that I should serve only such persons as will not give me to touch food already partaken of by another, or tell me to wash their feet. Any man that attempts to have me like any common woman, meeteth with death that very night. No one can succeed in having me, for, O beautiful lady, O thou of sweet smiles, those beloved Gandharvas, possessed of great energy and mighty strength always protect me secretly.’
“Sudeshna said, ’O thou that bringest delight to the heart, if it is as thou sayest, I will take thee into my household. Thou shalt not have to touch food that hath been partaken of by another, or to wash another’s feet.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by Virata’s wife, O Janamejaya, Krishna (Draupadi) ever devoted to her lords, began to live in that city. Nor could anyone ascertain who in reality she was!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then clad in a cowherd’s dress, and speaking the dialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata’s city. And beholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king was struck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva. And when the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, ’To whom dost thou belong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I have never seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about thee.’
’Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered in accents deep as the roar of the cloud, ’I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi by name. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of the Kuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to live beside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons of Pritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not like to enter into the service of anyone else save thee.’
“Hearing these words, Virata said, ’Thou must either be a Brahmana or a Kshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earth surrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes. The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions of what king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity thou wouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.’
“Sahadeva answered, ’Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu, had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, and another, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. I was employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala. I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living within ten Yojanas, and whose tale has been taken. My merits were known to that illustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased with me. I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in multiplying within a short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity from disease. Also these arts are known to me. I can also single out bulls having auspicious marks for which they are worshipped by men, and by smelling whose urine, the barren may conceive.’
“Virata said, ’I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinct herds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge. Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then, O king, undiscovered by that monarch, that lord of men, Sahadeva, maintained by Virata, began to live happily. Nor did anyone else (besides his brothers) recognise him.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Next appeared at the gate of the ramparts another person of enormous size and exquisite beauty decked in the ornaments of women, and wearing large ear-rings and beautiful conch-bracelets overlaid with gold. And that mighty-armed individual with long and abundant hair floating about his neck, resembled an elephant in gait. And shaking the very earth with his tread, he approached Virata and stood in his court. And beholding the son of the great Indra, shining with exquisite lustre and having the gait of a mighty elephant,—that grinder of foes having his true form concealed in disguise, entering the council-hall and advancing towards the monarch, the king addressed all his courtiers, saying, ‘Whence doth this person come? I have never heard of him before.’ And when the men present spoke of the newcomer as one unknown to them, the king wonderingly said, ’Possessed of great strength, thou art like unto a celestial, and young and of darkish hue, thou resemblest the leader of a herd of elephants. Wearing conch-bracelets overlaid with gold, a braid, and ear-rings, thou shinest yet like one amongst those that riding on chariots wander about equipped with mail and bow and arrows and decked with garlands and fine hair. I am old and desirous of relinquishing my burden. Be thou like my son, or rule thou like myself all the Matsyas. It seemeth to me that such a person as thou can never be of the neuter sex.’
“Arjuna said, ’I sing, dance, and play on instruments. I am proficient in dance and skilled in song. O lord of men, assign me unto (the princess) Uttara. I shall be dancing-master to the royal maiden. As to how I have come by this form, what will it avail thee to hear the account which will only augment my pain? Know me, O king of men, to be Vrihannala, a son or daughter without father or mother.’
“Virata said, ’O Vrihannala, I give thee what thou desirest. Instruct my daughter, and those like her, in dancing. To me, however, this office seemeth unworthy of thee. Thou deserves! (the dominion of) the entire earth girt round by the ocean.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’The king of the Matsyas then tested Vrihannala in dancing, music, and other fine arts, and consulting with his various ministers forthwith caused him to be examined by women. And learning that this impotency was of a permanent nature, he sent him to the maiden’s apartments. And there the mighty Arjuna began giving lessons in singing and instrumental music to the daughter of Virata, her friends, and her waiting-maids, and soon won their good graces. And in this manner the self-possessed Arjuna lived there in disguise, partaking of pleasures in their company, and unknown to the people within or without the palace.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’After a while, another powerful son of Pandu was seen making towards king Virata in haste. And as he advanced, he seemed to everyone like solar orb emerged from the clouds. And he began to observe the horses around. And seeing this, the king of the Matsyas said to his followers, ’I wonder whence this man, possessed of the effulgence of a celestial, cometh. He looks intently at my steeds. Verily, he must be proficient in horse-lore. Let him be ushered into my presence quickly. He is a warrior and looks like a god!’ And that destroyer of foes then went up to the king and accosted him, saying, ’Victory to thee, O king, and blest be ye.’ As a trainer of horses, I have always been highly esteemed by kings. I will be a clever keeper of thy horses.’
“Virata said, ’I will give thee vehicles, wealth, and spacious quarters. Thou shalt be the manager of my horses. But first tell me whence thou comest, who thou art, and how also thou happenest to come here. Tell us also all the arts thou art master of.’ Nakula replied, ’O mower of enemies, know that Yudhishthira is the eldest brother of the five sons of Pandu. I was formerly employed by him to keep his horses. I am acquainted with the temper of steeds, and know perfectly the art of breaking them. I know also how to correct vicious horses, and all the methods of treating their diseases. No animal in my hands becometh weak or ill. Not to speak of horses, even mares in my hands will never be found to be vicious. People called me Granthika by name and so did Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu.’
“Virata said, ’Whatever horses I have, I consign to thy care even from today. And all the keepers of my horses and all my charioteers will from today be subordinate to thee. If this suits thee, say what remuneration is desired by thee. But, O thou that resemblest a celestial, the office of equerry is not worthy of thee. For thou lookest like a king and I esteem thee much. The appearance here hath pleased me as much as if Yudhishthira himself were here. Oh, how does that blameless son of Pandu dwell and divert himself in the forest, now destitute of servants as he is.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’That youth, like unto a chief of the Gandharvas, was treated thus respectfully by the delighted king Virata. And he conducted himself there in such a manner as to make himself dear and agreeable to all in the palace. And no one recognised him while living under Virata’s protection. And it was in this manner then the sons of Pandu, the very sight of whom had never been fruitless, continued to live in the country of the Matsyas. And true to their pledge those lords of the earth bounded by her belt of seas passed their days of incognito with great composure notwithstanding their poignant sufferings.’”
“Janamejaya said, ’While living thus disguised in the city of the Matsyas, what did those descendants of the Kuru race endued with great prowess, do, O regenerate one!’
“Vaisampayana said, ’Hear, O king, what those descendants of Kuru did while they dwelt thus in disguise in the city of the Matsyas, worshipping the king thereof. By the grace of the sage Trinavindu and of the high-souled lord of justice, the Pandavas continued to live unrecognised by others in the city of Virata. O lord of men, Yudhishthira, as courtier made himself agreeable to Virata and his sons as also to all the Matsyas. An adept in the mysteries of dice, the son of Pandu caused them to play at dice according to his pleasure and made them sit together in the dice-hall like a row of birds bound in a string. And that tiger among men, king Yudhishthira the Just, unknown to the monarch, distributed among his brothers, in due proportion, the wealth he won from Virata. And Bhimasena on his part, sold to Yudhishthira for price, meat and viands of various kinds which he obtained from the king. And Arjuna distributed among all his brothers the proceeds of worn-out cloths which he earned in the inner apartments of the palace. And Sahadeva, too, who was disguised as a cowherd gave milk, curds and clarified butter to his brothers. And Nakula also shared with his brothers the wealth the king gave him, satisfied with his management of the horses. And Draupadi, herself in a pitiable condition, looked after all those brothers and behaved in such a way as to remain unrecognized. And thus ministering unto one another’s wants, those mighty warriors lived in the capital of Virata as hidden from view, as if they were once more in their mother’s womb. And those lords of men, the sons of Pandu, apprehensive of danger from the son of Dhritarashtra, continued to dwell there in concealment, watching over their wife Draupadi. And after three months had passed away, in the fourth, the grand festival in honour of the divine Brahma which was celebrated with pomp in the country of the Matsyas, came off. And there came athletes from all quarters by thousands, like hosts of celestials to the abode of Brahma or of Siva to witness that festival. And they were endued with huge bodies and great prowess, like the demons called Kalakhanjas. And elated with their prowess and proud of their strength, they were highly honoured by the king. And their shoulders and waists and necks were like those of lions, and their bodies were very clean, and their hearts were quite at ease. And they had many a time won success in the lists in the presence of kings. And amongst them there was one who towered above the rest and challenged them all to a combat. And there was none that dared to approach him as he proudly stalked in the arena. And when all the athletes stood sad and dispirited, the king of the Matsyas made him fight with his cook. And urged by the king, Bhima made up his mind reluctantly, for he could not openly disobey the royal behest. And that tiger among men then having worshipped the king, entered the spacious arena, pacing with the careless steps of a tiger.
“Vaisampayana said, ’Living in such disguise, those mighty warriors, the sons of Pritha, passed ten months in Matsya’s city. And, O monarch, although herself deserving to be waited upon by others, the daughter of Yajnasena, O Janamejaya, passed her days in extreme misery, waiting upon Sudeshna. And residing thus in Sudeshna’s apartments, the princess of Panchala pleased that lady as also the other females of the inner apartments. And it came to pass that as the year was about to expire, the redoubtable Kichaka, the Commander of Virata’s forces, chanced to behold the daughter of Drupada. And beholding that lady endued with the splendour of a daughter of the celestials, treading the earth like a goddess, Kichaka, afflicted with the shafts of Kama, desired to possess her. And burning with desire’s flame, Virata’s general came to Sudeshna (his sister) and smilingly addressed her in these words, ’This beauteous lady had never before been seen by me in king Virata’s abode. This damsel maddens me with her beauty, even as a new wine maddens one with its fragrance. Tell me, who is this graceful and captivating lady possessed of the beauty of a goddess, and whose she is, and whence she hath come. Surely, grinding my heart she hath reduced me to subjection. It seems to me that (save her) there is no other medicine for my illness. O, this fair hand-maid of thine seemeth to me to be possessed of the beauty of a goddess. Surely, one like her is ill suited to serve thee. Let her rule over me and whatever is mine. O, let her grace my spacious and beautiful palace, decked with various ornaments of gold, full of viands and drinks in profusion, with excellent plates, and containing
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by the Sairindhri, the wicked Kichaka losing control over his senses and overcome by lust, although aware of the numerous evils of fornication, evils condemned by everybody and sometimes leading to the destruction of life itself,—then spoke unto Draupadi, ’It behoveth thee not, O beauteous lady, O thou of graceful features, thus to disregard me who am, O thou of sweet smiles, under the power of Manmatha on thy account. If now, O timid one, thou disregardest me who am under thy influence and who speak to thee so fair, thou wilt, O black-eyed damsel, have to repent for it afterwards. O thou of graceful eye-brows, the real lord of this entire kingdom, O slender-waisted lady, is myself. It is me depending upon whom the people of this realm live. In energy and prowess I am unrivalled on earth. There is no other man on earth who rivals me in beauty of person, in youth, in prosperity, and in the possession of excellent objects of enjoyment. Why it is, O auspicious lady, that having it in thy power to enjoy here every object of desire and every luxury and comfort without its equal, thou preferest servitude. Becoming
“Vaisampayana said, ’Rejected thus by the princess, Kichaka, afflicted with maddening lust and forgetting all sense of propriety, addressed Sudeshna saying, ’Do thou, Kekaya’s daughter, so act that thy Sairindhri may come into my arms. Do thou, O Sudeshna, adopt the means by which the damsel of the gait of an elephant may accept me; I am dying of absorbing desire.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing his profuse lamentations, that gentle lady, the intelligent queen of Virata, was touched with pity. And having taken counsel with her own self and reflected on Kichaka’s purpose and on the anxiety of Krishna, Sudeshna addressed the Suta’s son in these words, ’Do thou, on the occasion of some festival, procure viands and wines for me. I shall then send my Sairindhri to thee on the pretence of bringing wine. And when she will repair thither do thou in solitude, free from interruption, humour her as thou likest. Thus soothed, she may incline her mind to thee.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, he went out of his sister’s apartments. And he soon procured wines well-filtered and worthy of a king. And employing skilled cooks, he prepared many and various kinds of choice viands and delicious drinks and many and various kinds of meat of different degrees of excellence. And when all this had been done, that gentle lady Sudeshna, as previously counselled by Kichaka, desired her Sairindhri to repair to Kichaka’s abode, saying, ’Get up, O Sairindhri and repair
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And that helpless damsel then adored Surya for a moment. And Surya, having considered all that she urged, commanded a Rakshasa to protect her invisibly. And from that time the Rakshasa began to attend upon that blameless lady under any circumstances. And beholding Krishna in his presence like a frightened doe, the Suta rose up from his seat, and felt the joy that is felt by a person wishing to cross to the other shore, when he obtains a boat.’”
“Kichaka said, ’O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, thou art welcome. Surely, the night that is gone hath brought me an auspicious day, for I have got thee today as the mistress of my house. Do what is agreeable to me. Let golden chains, and conchs and bright ear-rings made of gold, manufactured in various countries, and beautiful rubies and gems, and silken robes and deer-skins, be brought for thee. I have also an excellent bed prepared for thee. Come, sitting upon it do thou drink with me the wine prepared from the honey flower.’ Hearing these words, Draupadi said, ’I have been sent to thee by the princess for taking away wine. Do thou speedily bring me wine, for she told me that she is exceedingly thirsty.’ And this, Kichaka said, ’O gentle lady, others will carry what the princess wants.’ And saying this, the Suta’s son caught hold of Draupadi’s right arm. And at this, Draupadi exclaimed, ’As I have never, from intoxication of the senses, been unfaithful to my husbands even at heart, by that Truth, O wretch, I shall behold thee dragged and lying powerless on the ground.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Seeing that large-eyed lady reproving him in that strain, Kichaka suddenly seized her by the end of her upper garment as she attempted to run away. And seized with violence by Kichaka, the beautiful princess, unable to tolerate it, and with frame trembling with wrath, and breathing quickly, dashed him to the ground. And dashed to the ground thus, the sinful wretch tumbled down like a tree whose roots had been cut. And having thrown Kichaka down on the ground when the latter had seized her, she, trembling all over rushed to the court, where king Yudhishthira was, for protection. And while she was running with all her speed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair, and bringing her down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of the king. Thereupon, O Bharata, the Rakshasa that had been appointed by Surya to protect Draupadi, gave Kichaka a shove with a force mighty as that of the wind. And overpowered by the force of Rakshasa, Kichaka reeled and fell down senseless on the ground, even like an uprooted tree. And both Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathful eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing the destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed his teeth in rage. And his forehead was covered with sweat, and terrible wrinkles appeared thereon. And a smoky exhalation shot forth from his eyes, and his eye-lashes stood on end. And that slayer of hostile heroes pressed his forehead with his hands. And impelled by rage, he was on the point of starting up with speed. Thereat king Yudhishthira, apprehensive of discovery, squeezed his thumbs and commanded Bhima to forbear. And Bhima who then looked like an infuriate elephant eyeing a large tree, was thus forbidden by his elder brother. And the latter said, ’Lookest thou, O cook, for trees for fuel. If thou art in need of faggots, then go out and fell trees.’ And the weeping Draupadi of fair hips, approaching the entrance of the court, and seeing her melancholy lords, desirous yet of keeping up the disguise duty-bound by their pledge, with eyes burning in fire, spoke these words unto the king of the Matsyas, ’Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those whose foe can never sleep in peace even if four kingdoms intervene between him and them. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those truthful personages, who are devoted to Brahmanas and who always give away without asking any thing in gift. Alas! the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those, the sounds of whose kettle-drums and the twangs of whose bow-strings are ceaselessly heard. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who are possessed of abundant energy and might, and who are liberal in gifts and proud of their dignity. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those
“Vaisampayana continued, ’With these and other words of the same kind the beautiful Krishna with tearful eyes rebuked the king of the Matsyas. And hearing her, Virata said, ’I do not know what your dispute has been out of our sight. Not knowing the true cause how can I show my discrimination?’ Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing, applauded Krishna, and they all exclaimed, ‘Well done!’ ‘Well done!’ and censured Kichaka. And the courtiers said, ’That person who owneth this large-eyed lady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his wife, possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to indulge in any grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and limbs perfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that she is a goddess.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And while the courtiers, having beheld Krishna (under such circumstances), were applauding her thus, Yudhishthira’s forehead, from ire, became covered with sweat. And that bull of the Kuru race then addressed that princess, his beloved spouse, saying, ’Stay not here, O Sairindhri; but retire to the apartments of Sudeshna. The wives of heroes bear affliction for the sake of their husbands, and undergoing toil in ministering unto their lords, they at last attain to region where their husbands may go. Thy Gandharva husbands, effulgent as the sun, do not, I imagine, consider this as an occasion for manifesting their wrath, inasmuch as they do not rush to thy aid. O Sairindhri, thou art ignorant of the timeliness of things, and it is for this that thou weepest as an actress, besides interrupting the play of dice in Matsya’s court. Retire, O Sairindhri; the Gandharvas will do what is agreeable to thee. And they will surely display thy woe and take the life of him that hath wronged thee.’ Hearing these words the Sairindhri replied, ’They of whom I am the wedded wife are, I ween, extremely kind. And as the eldest of them all is addicted to dice, they are liable to be oppressed by all.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And having said this, the fair-hipped Krishna with dishevelled hair and eyes red in anger, ran towards the apartments of Sudhesna. And in consequence of having wept long her face looked beautiful like the lunar disc in the firmament, emerged from the clouds. And beholding her in that condition, Sudeshna asked, ’Who, O beauteous lady, hath insulted thee? Why, O amiable damsel, dost thou weep? Who, gentle one, hath done thee wrong? Whence is this thy grief?’ Thus addressed, Draupadi said, ’As I went to bring wine for thee, Kichaka struck me in the court in the very presence of the king, as if in the midst of a solitary wood.’ Hearing this, Sudeshna said, ’O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, as Kichaka, maddened by lust hath insulted thee that art incapable of being possessed by him, I shall cause him to be slain if thou wishest it.’ Thereupon Draupadi answered, ’Even others will slay him,—even they whom he hath wronged, I think it is clear that he will have to go to the abode of Yama this very day!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus insulted by the Suta’s son, that illustrious princess, the beautiful Krishna, eagerly wishing for the destruction of Virata’s general, went to her quarters. And Drupada’s daughter of dark hue and slender waist then performed her ablutions. And washing her body and cloths with water Krishna began to ponder weepingly on the means of dispelling her grief. And she reflected, saying, ’What am I to do? Whither shall I go? How can my purpose be effected?’ And while she was thinking thus, she remembered Bhima and said to herself, ’There is none else, save Bhima, that can today accomplish the purpose on which my heart is set!’ And afflicted with great grief, the large-eyed and intelligent Krishna possessed of powerful protectors then rose up at night, and leaving her bed speedily proceeded towards the quarters of Bhimasena, desirous of beholding her lord. And possessed of great intelligence, the daughter of Drupada entered her husband’s quarters, saying, ’How canst thou sleep while that wretched commander of Virata’s forces, who is my foe, yet liveth, having perpetrated today that (foul act)?’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then the chamber where Bhima slept, breathing hard like a lion, being filled with the beauty of Drupada’s daughter and of the high-souled Bhima, blazed forth in splendour. And Krishna of sweet smiles, finding Bhimasena in the cooking apartments, approached him with the eagerness of a three-year old cow brought up in the woods, approaching a powerful bull, in her first season, or of a she-crane living by the water-side approaching her mate in the pairing season. And the Princess of Panchala then embraced the second son of Pandu, even as a creeper embraces a huge and mighty Sala on the banks of the Gomati. And embracing him with her arms, Krishna of faultless features awaked him as a lioness awaketh
“Draupadi said, ’What grief hath she not who hath Yudhishthira for her husband? Knowing all my griefs, why dost thou ask me? The Pratikamin dragged me to the court in the midst of an assembly of courtiers, calling me a slave. That grief, O Bharata, consumeth me. What other princess, save Draupadi, would live having suffered such intense misery? Who else, save myself, could bear such second insult as the wicked Saindhava offered me while residing in the forest? Who else of my position, save myself, could live, having been kicked by Kichaka in the very sight of the wicked king of the Matsyas? Of what value is life, O Bharata, when thou, O son of Kunti, dost not think me miserable, although I am afflicted with such woes? That vile and wicked wretch, O Bharata, known by the name of Kichaka, who is the brother-in-law of king Virata and the commander of his forces, every day, O tiger among men, addresses me who am residing in the palace as a Sairindhri, saying, ’Do thou become my wife.’—Thus solicited, O slayer of foes, by that wretch deserving to be slain, my heart is bursting like a fruit ripened in season. Censure thou that elder brother of thine addicted to execrable dice, through whose act alone I have been afflicted with such woe. Who else, save him that is a desperate gambler, would play, giving up kingdom and everything including even myself, in order to lead a life in the woods? If he had gambled morning and evening for many years together, staking nishkas by thousand and other kinds of substantial wealth, still his silver, and gold, and robes, and vehicles, and teams, and goats, and sheep, and multitudes of steeds and mares and mules would not have sustained any diminution. But now deprived of prosperity by the rivalry of dice,
“Draupadi said, ’This O Bharata, that I am going to tell thee is another great grief of mine. Thou shouldst not blame me, for I tell thee this from sadness of heart. Who is there whose grief is not enhanced at sight of thee, O bull of the Bharata race, engaged in the ignoble office of a cook, so entirely beneath thee and calling thyself as one of Vallava caste? What can be sadder than this, that people should know thee as Virata’s cook, Vallava by name, and therefore one that is sunk in servitude? Alas, when thy work of the kitchen is over, thou humbly sittest beside Virata, calling thyself as Vallava the cook, then despondency seizeth my heart. When the king of kings in joy maketh thee fight with elephants, and the women of the inner apartments (of the palace) laugh all the while, then I am sorely distressed. When thou fightest in the inner apartments with lions, tigers, and buffaloes, the princess Kaikeyi looking on, then I almost swoon away. And when Kaikeyi and those maidservants, leaving their seats, come to assist me and find that instead of suffering any injury in limbs mine is only a swoon, the princess speaks unto her women, saying, ’Surely, it is from affection and the duty begot of intercourse that this lady of sweet smiles grieveth for the exceedingly powerful cook when he fights with the beasts. Sairindhri is possessed of great beauty and Vallava also is eminently handsome. The heart of woman is hard to know, and they, I fancy, are deserving of each other. It is, therefore, likely that the Sairindhri invariably weepeth (at such times) on account of her connection with her lover. And then, they both have entered this royal family at the same time. And speaking such words she always upbraideth me. And beholding me wroth at this, she suspects me to be attached to thee.’ When she speaketh thus, great is the grief that I feel. Indeed, on beholding thee, O Bhima of terrible prowess, afflicted with such calamity, sunk as I already am in grief on account of Yudhishthira. I do not desire to live. That youth who on a single car had vanquished all celestials and men, is now, alas, the dancing master of king Virata’s daughter. That Pritha’s son of immeasurable soul, who had gratified Agni in the forest of Khandava, is now living in the inner apartments (of a palace) like fire hid in a well. Alas, the bull among men, Dhananjaya, who was ever the terror of foes, is now living in a guise that is despaired by all. Alas, he whose mace-like arms have been cicatrized in consequence of the strokes of his bow-string, alas that Dhananjaya is passing the days in grief covering his wrists with bracelets of conchs. Alas, that Dhananjaya the twang of whose bow-string and the sound of whose leathern fences made every foe tremble, now entertains only gladdened women with his songs. Oh, that Dhananjaya whose head was formerly decked with a diadem of solar splendour, is now wearing braids ending in unsightly curls. O Bhima, beholding that terrible bowman,
“Draupadi said, ’Alas, on account of that desperate gambler, I am now under Sudeshna’s command, living in the palace in the guise of a Sairindhri. And, O chastiser of foes, behold the plight of poignant woe which I, a princess, am now in. I am living in expectation of the close of this stated period. The extreme of misery, therefore, is mine. Success of purpose, victory, and defeat, as regards mortals, are transitory. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the return of prosperity to my husbands. Prosperity and adversity revolve like a wheel. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the return of prosperity to my husbands. That cause which bringeth on victory, may bring defeat as well. I live in this hope. Why dost thou not, O Bhimasena, regard me as one dead? I have heard that persons that give may beg: that they who slay may be slain; and that they who over-throw others may themselves be overthrown by foes. Nothing is difficult for Destiny and none can over-ride Destiny. It is for this that I am awaiting the return of favourable fortune. As a tank once dried, is filled up once again, so hoping for a change for the better, I await the return of prosperity. When one’s business that hath been well-provided for is seen to be frustrated, a truly wise person should never strive for bringing back good fortune. Plunged as I am an sorrow, asked or unasked by thee to explain the purpose of these words spoken by me, I shall tell thee everything. Queen of the sons of Pandu and daughter of Drupada, who else, save myself, would wish to live, having fallen into such a plight? O represser of foes, the misery, therefore, that hath overtaken me, hath really humiliated the entire Kuru race, the Panchalas, and the sons of Pandu. Surrounded by numerous brothers and father-in-law and sons, what other woman having such cause for joy, save myself, would be afflicted with such woe? Surely, I must, in my childhood, have committed act highly offensive to Dhatri through whose displeasure, O bull of the Bharata race, I have
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Relating her woes thus, O Bharata, unto Bhimasena, Krishna began to weep silently, casting her eyes on Bhima. And then, with words choked in tears, and sighing repeatedly, she addressed Bhima in these words, powerfully stirring his heart, ’Signal, O Bhima, must have been my offence of old unto the gods, for, unfortunate as I am. I am yet alive, when, O Pandava, I should die.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then that slayer of hostile heroes, Vrikodara, covering his face with those delicate hands of his wife marked with corns, began to weep. And that mighty son of Kunti, holding the hands of Draupadi in his, shed copious tears. And afflicted with great woe, he spoke these words.’”
“Bhima said, ’Fie on the might of my arms and fie on the Gandiva of Falguni, inasmuch as thy hands, red before, now become covered with corns. I would have caused a carnage in Virata’s court but for the fact that Kunti’s son eyed me (by way of forbidding it), or like a mighty elephant. I would, without ado, have crushed the head of Kichaka intoxicated with the pride of sovereignty. When, O Krishna, I beheld thee kicked by Kichaka, I conceived at that instant a wholesale slaughter of the Matsyas. Yudhishthira, however, forbade me by a glance, and, O beauteous lady, understanding his intention I have kept quiet. That we have been deprived of our kingdom, that I have not yet slain the Kurus, that I have not yet taken the heads of Suyodhana and Karna, and Suvala’s son Sakuni, and the wicked Duhsasana, these acts and omissions, O lady, are consuming every limb of mine. The thought of those abides in my heart like a javelin implanted in it. O thou of graceful hips, do not sacrifice virtue, and, O noble-hearted lady, subdue thy wrath. If king Yudhishthira hear from thee such rebukes, he will surely put an end to his life. If also Dhananjaya and the twins hear thee speak thus, even they will renounce life. And if these, O slender-waisted maiden, give up life. I also shall not be able to bear my own. In olden days Sarjati’s daughter, the beautiful Sukanya, followed into the forest Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, whose mind was under complete control, and over whom, while engaged in ascetic meditation, the ants had built a hill. Thou mayst have heard that Indrasena also who in beauty was like unto Narayani herself, followed her husband aged a thousand years. Thou mayst have heard that Janaka’s daughter Sita, the princess of Videha, followed her lord while living in dense woods. And that lady of graceful hips, Rama’s beloved wife, afflicted with calamities and persecuted by the Rakshasas, at length regained the company of Rama. Lopamudra also, O timid one, endued with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing all the objects of enjoyment unattainable by men. And the intelligent and faultless Savitri also followed the heroic Satyavan, the son of Dyumatsena, alone into the world of Yama. Even like these chaste and beautiful ladies that I have named, thou, O blessed girl, bloomest with every virtue. Do thou spend a short while more that is measured by even a half month. And when the thirteenth year is complete, thou wilt (again) become the Queen regnant of a king.’ Hearing these words, Draupadi said, ’Unable, O Bhima, to bear my griefs, it is from grief alone that I have shed these tears. I do not censure Yudhishthira. Nor is there any use in dwelling on the past. O Bhima of mighty strength, come quickly forward to the work of the hour. O Bhima, Kaikeyi, jealous of my beauty, always pains me by her endeavours to prevent the king from taking a fancy to me. And understanding this disposition of hers, the wicked-souled Kichaka of immoral ways constantly solicits me himself.
“Vaisampayana Continued, ’Having said this, Krishna, hiding her face in Bhima’s breast began to weep. And Bhima, embracing her, consoled her to the best of his power. And having abundantly consoled that slender-waisted daughter of Drupada by means of words fraught with grave reason and sense, he wiped with his hands her face flooded with tears. And thinking of Kichaka and licking with his tongue the corners of his mouth, Bhima, filled with wrath thus spake to that distressed lady.’”
“Bhima said, ’I will, O timid one, do even as thou sayest. I will presently slay Kichaka with all his friends. O Yajnaseni of sweet smiles, tomorrow evening, renouncing sorrow and grief, manage to have a meeting with Kichaka. The dancing-hall that the king of the Matsya hath caused to be erected is used by the girls for dancing during the day. They repair, however, to their homes at night. There in that hall, is an excellent and well-placed wooden bed-stead. Even there I will make him see the spirits of his deceased grandsires. But, O beautiful one, when thou holdest converse with him, thou must manage it so that others may not espy thee.”
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having thus conversed with others, and shed tears in grief, they waited for the dawn of that night with painful impatience. And when the night had passed away, Kichaka, rising in the morning, went to the palace, and accosted Draupadi saying, ’Throwing thee down in the court I kicked thee in the presence of the king. Attacked by mighty self, thou couldst not obtain protection. This Virata is in name only the king of the Matsyas. Commanding the forces of this realm it is I, who am the real lord of the Matsyas. Do thou, O timid one, accept me cheerfully. I shall become thy slave. And, O thou of graceful hips, I will immediately give thee a hundred nishkas, and engage a hundred male and a hundred female servants (to tend thee), and will also bestow on thee cars yoked with she-mules. O timid lady, let our union take place.’ Draupadi replied, ’O Kichaka, know even this is my condition. Neither thy friends nor thy brothers should know thy union with me. I am a terror of detection by those illustrious Gandharvas.
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Reflecting on the subject of her conversation with Kichaka, that half a day seemed to Krishna as long as a whole month. And the stupid Kichaka also, not knowing that it was Death that had assumed the form of a Sairindhri, returning home experienced the greatest delight. And deprived of sense by lust, Kichaka became speedily engaged in embellishing his person with unguents and garlands and ornaments. And while he was doing all this, thinking of that damsel of large eyes, the day seemed to him to be without an end. And the beauty of Kichaka, who was about to forsake his beauty for ever, seemed to heighten, like the wick of a burning lamp about to expire. And reposing the fullest confidence in Draupadi, Kichaka, deprived of his senses by lust and absorbed in the contemplation of expected meeting, did not even perceive that the day had departed. Meanwhile, the beautiful Draupadi approaching her husband Bhima of the Kuru race, stood before him in the kitchen. And that lady with tresses ending in beautiful curls then spake unto him, saying, ’O chastiser of foes, even as thou hadst directed, I have given Kichaka to understand that our meeting will take place in the dancing-hall. Alone will he come at night to the empty hall. Slay him there, O thou of mighty arms. Do thou, O son of Kunti, repair to that dancing-hall, and take the life, O Pandava, of Kichaka, that son of a Suta intoxicated with vanity. From vanity alone, that son of a Suta slights the Gandharvas. O best of smiters, lift him up from the earth even as Krishna had lifted up the Naga (Kaliya) from the Yamuna. O Pandava, afflicted as I am with grief, wipe thou my tears, and blessed be thou, protect thy own honour and that of thy race.’
“Bhima said, ’Welcome, O beauteous lady, Except the glad tidings thou bringest me, I need, O thou of exceeding beauty, no other aid whatever. The delight that I feel, O thou of great beauty, on hearing from thee about my coming encounter with Kichaka, is equal to what I felt in slaying Hidimva. I swear unto thee by Truth, by my brothers, and by morality, that I will slay Kichaka even as the lord of the celestials slew Vritra. Whether secretly or openly, I will crush Kichaka, and if the Matsyas fight for him, then I will slay them too. And slaying Duryodhana
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Repairing first to the place of assignation at night, Bhima sat down, disguising himself. And he waited there in expectation of Kichaka, like a lion lying in wait for a deer. And Kichaka, having embellished his person as he chose, came to the dancing-hall at the appointed time in the hope of meeting Panchali. And thinking of the assignation, he entered the chamber. And having entered that hall enveloped in deep gloom, that wretch of wicked soul came upon Bhima of incomparable prowess, who had come a little before and who was waiting in a corner. And as an insect approacheth towards a flaming fire, or a puny animal towards a lion, Kichaka approached Bhima, lying down in a bed and burning in anger at the thought of the insult offered to Krishna, as if he were the Suta’s Death. And having approached Bhima, Kichaka possessed by lust, and his heart and soul filled with ecstacy smilingly said, ’O thou of pencilled eye-brows, to thee I have already given many and various kinds of wealth from the stores earned by me, as well as hundred maids and many fine robes, and also a mansion with an inner apartment adorned with beauteous and lovely and youthful maid servants and embellished by every kind of sports and amusements And having set all those apart for thee, I have speedily come hither. And all on a sudden, women have begun to praise me, saying, ’There is not in this world any other person like unto thee in beauty and dress!’ Hearing this, Bhima said, ’It is well that thou art handsome, and it is well thou praisest thyself. I think, however, that thou hadst never before this such pleasurable touch! Thou hast an acute touch, and knowest the ways of gallantry. Skilled in the art of love-making, thou art a favourite with women. There is none like thee in this world!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Saying this, that son of Kunti, the mighty-armed Bhima of terrible prowess, suddenly rose up, and laughingly said, ’Thy sister, O wretch, shall today behold thee dragged by me to the ground, like a mighty elephant, huge as a mountain, dragged to the ground by a lion. Thyself slain Sairindhri will live in peace, and we, her husbands, will also live in peace.’ Saying this, the mighty Bhima seized Kichaka by the hairs of his head, which were adorned with garlands. And thus seized with force by the hair, that foremost of mighty persons, Kichaka, quickly freed his hair
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then all the relatives of Kichaka, arriving at that place, beheld him there and began to wail aloud, surrounding him on all sides. And beholding Kichaka with every limb mangled, and lying like a tortoise dragged to dry ground from the water, all of them were overcome with exceeding fright, and the bristles of their bodies stood on end. And seeing him crushed all over by Bhima, like a Danava by Indra, they proceeded to take him outside, for performing his funeral obsequies. And then those persons of the Suta clan thus assembled together espied Krishna of faultless limbs hard by, who stood reclining on a pillar. And all the Kichakas assembled there, exclaimed, ’Let this unchaste woman be slain for whom Kichaka hath himself lost his life. Or, without slaying her here, let us cremate her with him that had lusted after her,—for it behoveth us to accomplish in every way what is agreeable to that deceased son of Suta.’ And then they addressed Virata, saying, ’It is for her sake that Kichaka hath lost his life. Let him, therefore, be cremated along with her. It behoveth thee to grant this permission.’ Thus addressed by them, king Virata, O monarch, knowing fully well the prowess of the Suta gave his assent to Sairindhri being burnt along with the Suta’s son. And at this, the Kichakas approaching the frightened and stupefied Krishna of lotus-like eyes, seized her with violence. And binding that damsel of slender-waist and placing her upon the bier, they set out with great energy towards the cemetary. And, O king, while thus forcibly carried towards the cemetary by those sons of the Suta tribe, the blameless and chaste Krishna living under the protections of her lords, then wailed aloud for the help of her husbands, saying, ’Oh, let Jaya, and Jayanta, and Vijaya and Jayatsena, and Jayadvala listen to my words. The Sutas are taking me away. Let those illustrious Gandharvas endued with speed of hand, the clatter of whose cars is loud and the twang of whose bowstrings in the midst of the mighty conflict are heard like the roar of thunder, listen to my words,—the Sutas are taking me away!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing those sorrowful words and lamentations of Krishna, Bhima, without a moment’s reflection started up from his bed and said, ’I have heard, O Sairindhri the words thou hast spoken. Thou hast, therefore, O timid lady, no more fear at the hands of the Sutas.
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said this, the mighty-armed Bhima desirous of slaying the Kichakas, began to swell his body. And carefully changing his attire, he went out of the palace by a wrong egress. And climbing over a wall by the aid of a tree, he proceeded towards the cemetary whither the Kichakas had gone. And having leapt over the wall, and gone out of the excellent city, Bhima impetuously rushed to where the Sutas were. And, O monarch, proceeding towards the funeral pyre he beheld a large tree, tall as palmyra-palm, with gigantic shoulders
“Vaisampayana continued, ’It was thus, O Bharata, that a hundred and five of those Kichakas were slain. And their corpses lay on the ground, making the place look like a great forest overspread with uprooted trees after a hurricane. Thus fell those hundred and five Kichakas. And including Virata’s general slain before, the slaughtered Sutas numbered one hundred and six. And beholding that exceedingly wonderful feat, men and women that assembled together, were filled with astonishment. And the power of speech, O Bharata, was suspended in every one.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’And beholding the Sutas slain, the citizens went to the king, and represented unto him what had happened, saying, ’O king, those mighty sons of the Sutas have all been slain by the Gandharvas. Indeed, they lie scattered on the earth like huge peaks of mountains riven by thunder. Sairindhri also, having been set free, returneth to thy palace in the city. Alas, O king, if Sairindhri cometh, thy entire kingdom will be endangered. Sairindhri is endued with great beauty; the Gandharvas also here exceedingly powerful. Men again, without doubt, are naturally sexual. Devise, therefore, O king, without delay, such means that in consequence of wrongs done to Sairindhri, thy kingdom may not meet with destruction.’ Hearing those words of theirs, Virata, that lord of
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus delivered by Bhimasena after the slaughter of the Sutas, the intelligent and youthful Krishna relieved from all her fears, washed her limbs and clothes in water, and proceeded towards the city, like a doe frightened by a tiger. And beholding her, the citizens, O king, afflicted with the fear of the Gandharvas fled in all directions. And some of them went so far as to shut their eyes. And then, O king at the gate of the kitchen, the princess of Panchala saw Bhimasena staying, like an infuriate elephant of gigantic proportions. And looking upon him with wonder-expanded eyes, Draupadi, by means of words intelligible to them alone, said, ’I bow unto that prince of the Gandharvas, who hath rescued me.’ At these words of her, Bhima said, ’Hearing these words of hers in obedience to whom those persons were hitherto living in the city, they will henceforth range here, regarding themselves as freed from the debt.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then she beheld the mighty-armed Dhananjaya, in the dancing-hall instructing king Virata’s daughters in dancing. And issuing with Arjuna from the dancing-hall, all those damsels came to Krishna who had arrived there, and who had been persecuted so sorely, all innocent though she was. And they said, ’By good luck also it is, O Sairindhri, that thou hast been delivered from thy dangers. By good luck it is that thou hast returned safe. And by good luck also it is that those Sutas have been slain that had wronged thee, innocent though thou art.’ Hearing this, Virhannala said, ’How hast thou, O Sairindhri, been delivered? And how have those sinful wretches been slain? I wish to learn all this from thee exactly as it occurred.’ Sairindhri replied, ’O blessed Vrihannala, always passing thy days happily in the apartments of the girls, what concern hast thou with Sairindhri’s fate to say? Thou hast no grief to bear that Sairindhri hath to bear! It is for this, that thou askest me thus, distressed as I am in ridicule.’ Thereat Vrihannala said, ’O blessed one, Vrihannala also hath unparalleled sorrows of her own. She hath become as low as a brute. Thou dost not, O girl, understand this. I have lived with thee, and thou, too hast lived with us. When, therefore, thou art afflicted with misery, who is it that will not, O thou of beautiful hips, feel it? But no one can completely read another’s heart. Therefore it is, O amiable one, that thou knowest not my heart!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then Draupadi, accompanied by those girls entered the royal abode, desirous of appearing before Sudeshna. And when she came before the queen, Virata’s wife addressed her at the command of the king, saying, ’Do thou, O Sairindhri, speedily go whithersoever thou likest. The king, good betide thee, hath been filled with fear at this discomfiture at the hands of the Gandharvas. Thou art, O thou of graceful eye-brows, young and unparalleled on earth in beauty. Thou art, besides, an object of desire with men. The Gandharvas again, are exceedingly wrathful.’ Thereat Sairindhri said, ’O beauteous lady, let the king suffer me to live here for only thirteen days more. Without doubt, the Gandharvas also will be highly obliged at this. They will then convey me hence and do what would be agreeable to Virata. Without doubt, the king, by doing this, with his friends, will reap great benefit.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’At the slaughter of Kichaka and brothers, people, O king, thinking of this terrible feat, were filled with surprise. And in the city and the provinces it was generally bruited about that for bravery the king’s Vallava and Kichaka were both mighty warriors. The wicked Kichaka, however, had been an oppressor of men and a dishonourer of other people’s wives. And it was for this that wicked of sinful soul had been slain by the Gandharvas. And it was thus, O king, that people began to speak, from province to province of the invincible Kichaka, that slayer of hostile ranks.
’Meanwhile, the spies employed by Dhritarashtra’s son, having searched various villages and towns and kingdoms and done all that they had been commanded to do and completed their examination, in the manner directed, of the countries indicated in their orders, returned to Nagarupa, gratified with at least one thing that they had learnt. And seeing Dhritarashtra’s son king Duryodhana of the Kuru race seated in his court with Drona and Karna and Kripa, with the high-souled Bhishma, his own brothers, and those great warriors—the Trigartas, they addressed him, saying, ’O lord of men, great hath been the care always bestowed by us in the search after the sons of Pandu in that mighty forest. Searched have we through the solitary wilderness abounding with deer and other animals and overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kind. Searched have we also in arbours of matted woods and plants and creepers of every species, but we have failed in discovering that track by which Pritha’s son of irrepressible energy may have gone. Searched have we in these and other places for their foot-prints. Searched have we closely, O king, on mountain tops and in inaccessible fastnesses, in various kingdoms and provinces teeming with people, in encampments and cities. No trace have yet been found of the sons of Pandu. Good betide thee, O bull among men, it seems that they have perished without leaving
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having listened to these words of his spies, king Duryodhana reflected inwardly for some time and then addressed his courtiers, saying, ’It is difficult to ascertain the course of events definitely. Discern ye all, therefore, whither the sons of Pandu have gone, of this thirteenth year which they are to pass undiscovered by us all, the greater part hath already expired. What remains is by much the smaller. If, indeed, the sons of Pandu can pass undiscovered what remains of this year, devoted to the vow of truth as they are, they will then have fulfilled their pledge. They will then return like mighty elephants with temporal juice trickling down, or like snakes of virulent poison. Filled with wrath, they will, without doubt, be inflicters of terrible chastisement on the Kurus. It behoveth ye, therefore, to make such efforts without loss of time as may induce the sons of Pandu, acquainted as they are with the proprieties of time, and staying as they now are in painful disguise, to re-enter the woods suppressing their rage. Indeed, adopt ye such means as may remove all causes of quarrel and anxiety from the kingdom, making it tranquil and foeless and incapable of sustaining a diminution of territory.’ Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Kama said, ’Let other spies, abler and more cunning, and capable of accomplishing their object, quickly go hence, O Bharata. Let them, well-disguised, wander through swelling
“Vaisampayana said, “Endued with mighty energy and possessed of great discernment, Drona then said, ’Persons like the sons of Pandu never perish nor undergo discomfiture. Brave and skilled in every science, intelligent and with senses under control, virtuous and grateful and obedient to the virtuous Yudhishthira, ever following in the wake of their eldest brother who is conversant with the conclusions of policy and virtue and profit, who is attached to them as a father, and who strictly adhereth to virtue and is firm in truth,—persons like them that are thus devoted to their illustrious and royal brother, who gifted with great intelligence, never injureth any body and who in his turn himself obeyeth his younger brothers, never perish in this way. Why, then, should not (Yudhishthira) the son of Pritha possessing a knowledge of policy, be able to restore the prosperity of his brothers who are so obedient and devoted and high-souled? It is for this that they are carefully waiting for the arrival of their opportunity. Men such as these never perish. This is what I see by my intellect. Do, therefore, quickly and without loss of time, what should now
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then that grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma the son of Sutanu, conversant with the Vedas, acquainted with the proprieties of time and place, and possessing a knowledge of every duty of morality, after the conclusion of Drona’s speech, applauded the words of the preceptor and spake unto the Bharatas for their benefit these words consistent with virtue, expressive of his attachment to the virtuous Yudhishthira, rarely spoken by men that are dishonest, and always meeting with the approbation of the honest. And the words that Bhishma spake were thoroughly impartial and worshipped by the wise. And the grandsire of the Kurus said, ’The words that the regenerate Drona acquainted with the truth of every affair hath uttered, are approved by me. I have no hesitation in saying so. Endued with every auspicious mark, observant of virtuous vows, possessed of Vedic lore, devoted to religious observances, conversant with various sciences, obedient to the counsels of the aged, adhering to the vow of truth, acquainted with the proprieties of time, observant of the pledge they have given (in respect of their exile), pure in their behaviour, ever adhering to the duties of the Kshatria order, always obedient to Kesava, high-souled, possessed of great strength, and ever-bearing the burthens of the wise, those heroic ones can never wither under misfortune. Aided by their own energy, sons of Pandu who are now leading a life of concealment in obedience to virtue, will surely never perish. It is even this that my mind surmiseth. Therefore, O Bharata, I am for employing the aid of honest counsel in our behaviour towards the sons of Pandu. It would not be the policy of any wise man to cause them to be discovered now by means of spies, what we should do unto the sons of Pandu, I shall say, reflecting with the aid of the intellect. Know that I shall say nothing from ill will to thee. People like me should never give such counsels to him that is dishonest, for only counsels (like those I would give) should be offered unto them that are honest. Counsels, however, that are evil, should under no circumstances
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then Saradwata’s son, Kripa said, ’What the aged Bhishma hath said concerning the Pandavas is reasonable, suited to the occasion, consistent with virtue and profit, agreeable to the ear, fraught with sound reason, and worthy of him. Listen also to what I would say on this subject. It behoveth thee to ascertain the track they have followed and their abode also by means of spies, and to adopt that policy which may bring about thy welfare. O child, he that is solicitous of his welfare should not disregard even an ordinary foe. What shall I say, then, O child, of the Pandavas who are thorough masters of all weapons in battle. When, therefore, the time cometh for the reappearance of the high-souled Pandavas, who, having entered the forest, are now passing their days in close disguise, thou shouldst ascertain thy strength both in thy own kingdom and in those of other kings. Without doubt, the return of the Pandavas is at hand. When their promised term of exile is over, the illustrious and mighty sons of Pritha, endued with immeasurable prowess, will come hither bursting with energy. Do thou, therefore, in order to conclude an advantageous treaty with them, have recourse to sound policy and address thyself to increase thy forces and improve the treasury. O child, ascertaining all these, reckon thou thy own strength in respect of all thy allies weak and strong. Ascertaining the efficiency, and weakness, and indifference of thy forces, as also who amongst them are well-affected and who are disaffected, we should either fight the foe or make treaty with him. Having recourse to the arts of conciliation, disunion, chastisement, bribery, presents and fair behaviour, attack thy foes and subdue the weak by might, and win over thy allies and troops and by soft speeches. When thou hast (by these means) strengthened thy army and filled thy treasury, entire success will be thine. When thou hast done all this, thou wilt be able to fight with powerful enemies that may present themselves, let alone the sons of Pandu deficient in troops animals of their own. By adopting all these expedients according to the customs of thy order, thou wilt, O foremost of men, attain enduring happiness in due time!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Discomfited before, O monarch, many a time and oft by Matsya’s Suta Kichaka aided by the Matsyas and the Salyas, the mighty king of the Trigartas, Susarman, who owned innumerable cars, regarding the opportunity to be a favourable one, then spoke the following words without losing a moment. And, O monarch, forcibly vanquished along with his relatives by the mighty Kichaka, king Susarman, eyeing Karna in askance, spoke these words unto Duryodhana, ’My kingdom hath many a time been forcibly invaded by the king of the Matsyas. The mighty Kichaka was that king’s generalissimo. Crooked and wrathful and of wicked soul, of prowess famed over all the world, sinful in deeds and highly cruel, that wretch, however, hath been slain by the Gandharvas, Kichaka being dead, king Virata, shorn of pride and his refuge gone, will, I imagine, lose all courage I think, we ought now to invade that kingdom, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, as also the illustrious Karna and all the Kauravas. The accident that hath happened is, I imagine, a favourable one for us. Let us, therefore, repair to Virata’s kingdom abounding in corn. We will appropriate his gems and other wealth of diverse kinds, and let us go to share with each other as regards his villages and kingdom. Or, invading his city by force, let us carry off by thousands his excellent kine of various species. Uniting, O king, the forces of the Kauravas and the Trigartas, let us lift his cattle in droves. Or, uniting our forces well, we will check his power by forcing him to sue for peace. Or, destroying his entire host, we will bring Matsya under subjection. Having brought him under subjection by just means, we will live in our kingdom happily, while thy power also will, without doubt, be enhanced.’ Hearing these words of Susarman, Karna addressed the king, saying, ’Susarman hath spoken well; the opportunity is favourable and promises to be profitable to us. Therefore, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, let us, drawing up our forces in battle array and marshalling them in divisions, speedily set out. Or, let the expedition be managed as Saradwata’s son Kripa, the preceptor Drona, and the wise and aged grandsire of the Kurus may think. Consulting with each other, let us, O lord of earth, speedily set out to attain our end. What business have we with the sons of Pandu, destitute as they are of wealth, might, and prowess? They have either disappeared for good or have gone to the abode of Yama? We will, O king, repair without anxiety to Virata’s city, and plunder his cattle and other wealth of diverse kinds.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Accepting these words of Karna, the son of Surya, king Duryodhana speedily commanded his brother Dussasana, born immediately after him and always obedient to his wishes, saying, ’Consulting with the elders, array without delay, our forces. We will, with all the Kauravas go to the appointed place. Let also the mighty warrior, king Susarman, accompanied by a sufficient force with vehicles and animals, set out with the Trigartas for the dominions of Matsyas. And let Susarman proceed first, carefully concealing his intention. Following in their wake, we will set out the day after in close array, for the prosperous dominions of king Matsya. Let the Trigartas, however, suddenly repair to the city of Virata, and coming upon the cowherds, seize that immense wealth (of kine). We also marching in two divisions, will seize thousands of excellent kine furnished with auspicious marks.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O king, on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas also accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by thousands.”
“Vaisampayana said, ’O mighty king, entering into king Virata’s service, and dwelling in disguise in his excellent city, the high-souled Pandavas of immeasurable prowess, completed the promised period of non-discovery. And after Kichaka had been slain, that slayer of hostile heroes, the mighty king Virata began to rest his hopes on the sons of Kunti. And it was on the expiry of the thirteenth year of their exile, O Bharata, that Susarman seized Virata’s cattle by thousands. And when the cattle had been seized, the herdsman of Virata came with great speed to the city, and saw his sovereign, the king of Matsyas, seated on the throne in the midst of wise councillors, and those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu, and surrounded by brave warriors decked with ear-rings and bracelets. And appearing before that enhancer of his dominion—King Virata seated in court—the herdsman bowed down unto him, and addressed him, saying, ’O foremost of kings, defeating and humiliating us in battle along with our friends the Trigartas are seizing thy cattle by hundreds and by thousands. Do thou, therefore, speedily rescue them. Oh, see that they are not lost to thee.’ Hearing these words, the king arrayed for battle the Matsya force abounding in cars and elephants and horses and infantry and standards. And kings and princes speedily put on, each in its proper place, their shining and beautiful armour worthy of being worn by heroes. And Virata’s beloved brother, Satanika, put on
“Vaisampayana said, ’Marching out of the city, those heroic smiters the Matsyas, arrayed in order of battle, overtook the Trigartas when the sun had passed the meridian. And both excited to fury and both desirous of having the king, the mighty Trigartas and the Matsyas, irrepressible in battle, sent up loud roars. And then the terrible and infuriate elephants ridden over by the skilful combatants of both sides were urged on with spiked clubs and hooks. And the encounter, O king, that took place when the sun was low in the horizon, between the infantry and cavalry and chariots and elephants of both parties, was like unto that of old between the gods and the Asuras, terrible and fierce and sufficient for making one’s hair stand on end and calculated to increase the population of Yama’s kingdom. And as the combatants rushed against one another, smiting and slashing, thick clouds of dust began to rise, so that nothing could be discovered. And covered with the dust raised by the contending armies, birds began to drop down on the earth. And the sun himself disappeared behind the thick cloud of arrows shot, and the firmament looked bright as if with myriads of the fireflies. And shifting their bows, the staves of which were decked with gold, from one hand to another, those heroes began to strike each other down, discharging their arrows right and left. And cars encountered cars, and foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers, and horse-men with horsemen, and elephants with mighty elephants. And they furiously encountered one another with swords and axes, bearded darts and javelins, and iron clubs. And although, O king, those mighty-armed warriors furiously assailed one another in that conflict, yet neither party succeeded in prevailing over the other. And severed heads, some with beautiful noses, some with upper lips deeply gashed, some decked with ear-rings, and some divided with wounds about the well-trimmed hair were seen rolling on the ground covered with dust. And soon the field of battle was overspread with the limbs of Kshatriya warriors, cut off by means of arrows and lying like trunks of Sala trees. And scattered over with heads decked in ear-rings, and sandal-besmeared arms looking like the bodies of snakes, the field of battle became exceedingly beautiful. And as cars encountered cars, and horsemen encountered horsemen, and foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers, and elephants met with elephants, the frightful dust soon became drenched with torrents of blood. And some amongst the combatants began to swoon away, and the warriors began to fight reckless of consideration of humanity, friendship and relationship. And both their course and sight obstructed by the arrowy shower, vultures began to alight on the ground. But although those strong-armed combatants furiously fought with one another, yet the heroes of neither party succeeded in routing their antagonists. And Satanika having slain
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then, O Bharata, when the world was enveloped in dust and the gloom of night, the warriors of both sides, without breaking the order of battle, desisted for a while. And then, dispelling the darkness the moon arose illumining the night and gladdening the hearts of the Kshatriya warriors. And when everything became visible, the battle once more began. And it raged on so furiously that the combatants could not distinguish one another. And then Trigarta’s lord, Susarman with his younger brother, and accompanied by all his cars, rushed towards the king of Matsya. And descending from their cars, those bulls among Kshatriyas, the (royal) brothers, mace in hand, rushed furiously towards the cars of the foe. And the hostile hosts fiercely assailed each other with maces and swords and scimitars, battle-axes and bearded darts with keen edges and points of excellent temper. And king Susarman, the lord of the Trigartas having
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Beholding Bhima casting his eyes on that tree like a mad elephant, the heroic king Yudhishthira the just spake unto his brother, saying, ’Do not, O Bhima, commit such a rash act. Let the tree stand there. Thou must not achieve such feats in a super-human manner by means of that tree, for if thou dost, the people, O Bharata, will recognise thee and say, This is Bhima. Take thou, therefore, some human weapon such as a bow (and arrows), or a dart, or a sword, or a battle-axe. And taking therefore, O Bhima, some weapon that is human, liberate thou the king without giving anybody the means of knowing thee truly. The twins endued with great strength will defend thy wheels. Fighting together, O child, liberate the king of the Matsyas!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, the mighty Bhimasena endued with great speed, quickly took up an excellent bow and impetuously shot from it a shower of arrows, thick as the downpour of a rain-charged cloud. And Bhima then rushed furiously towards Susarman of terrible deeds, and assuring Virata with the words—O good king! said unto the lord of the Trigartas,—Stay! Stay! Seeing Bhima like unto Yama himself in his rear, saying, Stay! Stay! Do thou witness this mighty feat,—this combat that is at hand!—the bull among warriors, Susarman, seriously considered (the situation), and taking up his bow turned back, along with his brothers. Within the twinkling of an eye, Bhima destroyed those cars that sought to oppose him. And soon again hundreds of thousands of cars and elephants and horses
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus addressed by Yudhishthira Susarman was overwhelmed with shame and hung down his head. And liberated (from slavery), he went to king Virata, and having saluted the monarch, took his departure. And the Pandavas also replying on the might of their own arms, and endued with modesty and observant of vows, having slain their enemies and liberated Susarman, passed that night happily on the field of battle. And Virata gratified those mighty warriors, the sons of Kunti, possessed of super-human prowess with wealth and honour. And Virata said, “All these gems of mine are now as much mine as yours. Do ye according to your pleasure live here happily. And ye smiter of foes in battle, I will bestow on you damsels decked with ornaments, wealth in plenty, and other things that ye may like. Delivered from perils today by your prowess, I am now crowned with victory. Do ye all become the lords of the Matsyas.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And when the king of the Matsyas had addressed them thus, those descendants of the Kurus with Yudhishthira at their head, joining their hands, severally replied unto him saying, ’We are well-pleased with all that thou sayest, O monarch. We, however, have been much gratified that thou hast today been freed from thy foes.’ Thus answered, that foremost of kings, Virata the lord of the Matsyas, again addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ’Come, we will install thee in sovereignty of the Matsyas. And we will also bestow on thee things that are rare on earth and are objects of desire, for thou deservest everything at our hands. O foremost of Brahmanas of the Vaiyaghra order I will bestow on thee gems and kine and gold and rubies and pearls. I bow unto thee. It is owing to thee that I once more behold today my sons and kingdom. Afflicted and threatened as I had been with disaster and danger, it is through thy prowess that I have not succumbed to the foe.’ Then Yudhishthira again addressed the Matsyas, saying, ’Well-pleased are we with the delightful words that thou hast spoken. Mayst thou be ever happy, always practising humanity towards all creatures. Let messengers now, at thy command, speedily repair into the city, in order to communicate the glad tidings to our friends, and proclaim thy victory. Hearing these words of him, king Matsya ordered the messengers, saying,’ ’Do ye repair to the city and proclaim my victory in battle. And let damsels and courtesons, decked in ornaments, come out of the city with every kind of musical instruments.’ Hearing this command uttered by the king of the Matsyas, the men, laying the mandate on their head, all departed with cheerful hearts. And having repaired to the city that very night, they proclaimed at the hour of sunrise the victory of the king about the city-gates.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’When the king of the Matsyas, anxious of recovering the kine, had set out in pursuit of the Trigartas, Duryodhana with his counsellors invaded the dominions of Virata. And Bhishma and Drona, and Karna, and Kripa acquainted with the best of weapons, Aswatthaman, and Suvala’s son, and Dussasana, O lord of men, and Vivingsati and Vikarna and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Durmukha and Dussaha,—these and many other great warriors, coming upon the Matsya dominion speedily drove off the cowherds of king Virata and forcibly took away the kine. And the Kauravas, surrounding all sides with a multitude of cars, seized sixty thousands of kine. And loud was the yell of woe set up by the cowherds smitten by those warriors in that terrible conflict. And the chief of the cowherds, greatly affrighted speedily mounted on a chariot and set out for the city, bewailing in affliction. And entering the city of the king, he proceeded to the place, and speedily alighting from the chariot, got in for relating (what had happened). And beholding the proud
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by the cowherd in the presence of the females, in words breathing courage, the prince indulging in self-commendation within the female apartments, spoke these words.’”
“Uttara said, ’Firm as I am in the use of the bow, I would set out this very day in the track of the kine if only some one skilled in the management of horses becomes my charioteer. I do not, however, know the man who may be my charioteer. Look ye, therefore, without delay, for a charioteer for me that am prepared for starting. My own charioteer was slain in the great battle that was fought from day to day for a whole month or at least for eight and twenty nights. As soon as I get another person conversant with the management of the steeds. I will immediately set out, hoisting high my own standard. Penetrating into the midst of the hostile army abounding with elephants and horses and chariots, I will bring
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words uttered by the prince over and over again in the midst of the women, Panchali could not quietly bear those allusions to Vibhatsu. And bashfully stepping out from among the women, the poor princess of Panchala gently spake unto him these words, ’The handsome youth, looking like a mighty elephant and known by the name of Vrihannala, was formerly the charioteer of Arjuna. A disciple of that illustrious warrior, and inferior to none in use of the bow, he was known to me while I was living with the Pandavas. It was by him that the reins were held of Arjuna’s excellent steeds when Agni consumed the forest of Khandava. It was with him as charioteer that Partha conquered all creatures at Khandava-prastha. In fact, there is no charioteer equal unto him.’
“Uttara said, ’Thou knowest, O Sairindhri, this youth. Thou knowest, what this one of the neuter sex may or may not be, I cannot, however, O blessed one, myself request Vrihannala to hold the reins of my horses.’
“Draupadi said, ’Vrihannala, O hero, will without doubt, obey the words of thy younger sister—that damsel of graceful hips. If he consents to be thy charioteer, thou wilt, without doubt, return, having vanquished the Kurus and rescued thy kine.’
“Thus addressed by the Sairindhri, Uttara spake unto his sister, ’Go thyself, O thou of faultless beauty, and bring Vrihannala hither?’ And despatched by her brother, she hastily repaired to the dancing-hall where that strong-armed son of Pandu was staying in disguise.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus despatched by her elder brother, the far-famed daughter of king Matsya, adorned with a golden necklace, ever obedient to her brother and possessed of a waist slender as that of the wasp, endued with the splendour of Lakshmi herself, decked with the plumes of the peacock of slender make and graceful limbs, her hips encircled by a zone of pearls, her eye-lashes slightly curved, and her form endued with every grace, hastily repaired to the dancing-hall like a flash of lightning rushing towards a mass of dark clouds. And the faultless and auspicious daughter of Virata, of fine teeth and slender-waist, of thighs close unto each other and each like the trunk of an elephant, her person embellished with an excellent garland, sought the son of Pritha like a she-elephant seeking her mate. And like unto a precious gem or the very embodiment of prosperity of Indra, of exceeding beauty and large eyes, that charming and adored and celebrated damsel saluted Arjuna. And saluted by her, Partha asked that maiden of close thighs and golden complexion, saying ’What brings thee hither, a damsel decked in a necklace of gold? Why art thou in such a hurry, O gazelle-eyed maiden? Why is thy face, O beauteous lady, so cheerless? Tell me all this without delay!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Beholding, O king, his friend, the princess of large-eyes (in that plight), her friend (Arjuna) cheerfully enquired of her (in these words) the cause of her arrival there and then. And having approached that bull among men, the princess, standing in the midst of her female attendants, the displaying proper modesty, addressed him, saying, ’The kine of this realm, O Vrihannala, are being driven away by the Kurus, and it is to conquer them that my brother will set out bow in hand. Not long ago his own charioteer was slain in battle, and there is none equal unto the one slain that can act as my brother’s charioteer. And unto him striving to obtain a charioteer, Sairindhri,
O Vrihannala, hath spoken about thy skill in the management of steeds. Thou wert formerly the favourite charioteer of Arjuna, and it was with thee that that bull among the sons of Pandu had alone subjugated the whole earth. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, act as the charioteer of my brother. (By this time) our kine have surely been driven away by the Kurus to a great distance. Requested by me if thou dost not act up to my words, I who am asking this service of thee out of affection, will give up my life!’ Thus addressed by this friend of graceful hips, that oppressor of foes, endued with immeasurable prowess, went into the prince’s presence. And like unto a she-elephant running after her young one, the princess possessed of large eyes followed that hero advancing with hasty steps like unto an elephant with rent temples. And beholding him from a distance, the prince himself said, ’With thee as his charioteer, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti had gratified Agni at the Khandava forest and subjugated
“Uttara said, ’O Vrihannala, be thou a singer or a dancer, hold thou (for the present), without loss of time, the reins of my excellent steeds, mounting upon my car!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Although that oppressor of foes, the son of Pandu, was acquainted with everything, yet in the presence of Uttara, he began to make many mistakes for the sake of fun. And when he sought to put the coat of mail on his body by raising it upwards, the large-eyed maidens, beholding it, burst out into a loud laughter. And seeing him quite ignorant of putting on armour, Uttara himself equipped Vrihannala with a costly coat of mail. And casing his own person in an excellent armour of solar effulgence, and hoisting his standard bearing the figure of a lion, the prince caused Vrihannala to become his charioteer. And with Vrihannala to hold his reins, the hero set out, taking with him many costly bows and a large number of beautiful arrows. And his friend, Uttara and her maidens then said unto Vrihannala, ’Do thou, O Vrihannala, bring for our dolls (when thou comest back) various kinds of good and fine cloths after vanquishing the Kurus assembled for battle of whom Bhishma and Drona are foremost!’ Thus addressed, Partha the son of Pandu, in a voice deep as the roar of the clouds, smilingly said unto that bevy of fair maidens. If, thus ’Uttara can vanquish those mighty warriors in battle, I will certainly bring excellent and beautiful cloths.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said these words, the heroic Arjuna urged the steeds towards the Kuru army over which floated innumerable flags. Just, however, as they were starting elderly dames and maidens, and Brahmanas of rigid vows, beholding Uttara seated on his excellent car with Vrihannala as charioteer and under that great banner hoisted on high, walked round the car to bless the hero. And the women said, ’Let the victory that Arjuna treading like a bull had achieved of old on the occasion of burning the forest of Khandava, be thine, O Vrihannala, when thou encounterest the Kurus today with prince Uttara.’”
’Vaisampayana said, ’Having issued forth from the city, the dauntless son of Virata addressed his charioteer, saying, ’Proceed whither the Kurus are. Defeating the assembled Kurus who have come hither from desire of victory, and quickly rescuing my kine from them. I will return to the capital.’ At these words of the prince, the son of Pandu urged those excellent steeds. And endued with the speed of the wind and decked with necklaces of gold, those steeds, urged by that lion among men, seemed to fly through the air. And they had not proceeded far when those smiters of foes, Dhananjaya and the son of Matsya, sighted the army of the powerful Kurus. And proceeding towards the cemetary, they came upon the Kurus and beheld their army arrayed in order of battle. And that large army of theirs looked like the vast sea or a forest of innumerable trees moving through the sky. And then was seen, O best among the Kurus, the dust raised by that moving army which reached the sky and obstructed the sight of all creatures. And beholding that mighty host abounding in elephants, horses and chariots, and protected by Karna and Duryodhana and Kripa and Santanu’s son, and that intelligent and great bowman Drona, with his son (Aswatthaman), the son of Virata, agitated with fear and the bristles on his body standing on their ends, thus spake unto Partha, ’I dare not fight with the Kurus. See, the bristles on my body have stood on their ends. I am incapable of battling with this countless host of the Kurus, abounding in the heroic warriors, that are extremely fierce and difficult of being vanquished even by the celestials. I do not venture to penetrate into the army of the Bharatas consisting of terrible bowmen and abounding in horses and elephants and cars and footsoldiers and banners. My mind is too much perturbed by the very sight of the foe on the field of battle on which stand Drona and Bhishma, and Kripa, and Karna, and Vivingsati, and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Saumadatti, and Vahlika, and the heroic king Duryodhana also—that foremost of car-warriors, and many other splendid bowmen, all skilled in battle. My hairs have stood on their ends, and I am fainting with fear at the very sight of these smiters, the Kurus arrayed in order of battle.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And the low-minded and foolish Uttara out of folly alone, began to bewail (his fate) in the presence of the high-spirited (Arjuna) disguised (as his charioteer) in these words, ’My father hath gone out to meet the Trigartas taking with him his whole army, leaving me in the empty city. There are no troops to assist me. Alone and a mere boy who has not undergone much exercise in arms, I am unable to encounter these innumerable warriors and all skilled in weapons. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, cease to advance!’
“Vrihannala said, ’Why dost thou look so pale through fear and enhance the joy of thy foes? As yet thou hast done nothing on the field of battle with the enemy. It was thou that hadst ordered me, saying, Take me towards the Kauravas. I will, therefore, take thee, thither where those innumerable flags are. I will certainly take thee, O mighty-armed one, into the midst of the hostile Kurus, prepared to fight as they are for the kine like hawks for meat. I would do this, even if I regarded them to have come hither for battling for a much higher stake such as the sovereignty of the earth. Having, at the time of setting out, talked before both men and women so highly of thy manliness, why wouldst thou desist from the fight? If thou shouldst return home without recapturing the kine, brave men and even women, when they meet together, will laugh at thee (in derision). As regards myself, I cannot return to the city without having rescued the kine, applauded as I have been so highly by the Sairindhri in respect of my skill in driving cars. It is for those praises by the Sairindhri and for those words of thine also (that I have come). Why should I not, therefore, give battle to the Kurus? (As regards thyself), be thou still.’
“Uttara said, ’Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas off all their wealth. Let men and women, O Vrihannala, laugh at me. Let my kine perish, let the city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is no need of battle.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Saying this, that much affrighted prince decked in ear-ring jumped down from his car, and throwing down his bow and arrows began to flee, sacrificing honour and pride. Vrihannala, however, exclaimed, ’This is not the practice of the brave, this flight of a Kshatriya from the field of battle. Even death in battle is better than flight from fear.’ Having said this, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, coming down from that excellent car ran after that prince thus running away, his own long braid and pure red garments fluttering in the air. And some soldiers, not knowing that it was Arjuna who was thus running with his braid fluttering in the air, burst out into laughter at the sight. And beholding him thus running, the Kurus began to argue, ’Who is this person, thus disguised like fire concealed in ashes? He is partly a man and partly a woman. Although bearing a neuter form, he yet resembleth Arjuna. His are the same head and neck, and his the same arms like unto a couple of maces. And this one’s gait also is like unto his. He can be none else than Dhananjaya. As Indra is among the celestials, so Dhananjaya is among men. Who else in this world than Dhananjaya, would alone come against us? Virata left a single son of his in the empty city. He hath come out from childishness and not from true heroism. It is Uttara who must have come out of the city, having, without doubt, made as a charioteer Arjuna, the son of Pritha, now living in disguise. It seems that he is now flying away in panic at sight of our army. And without doubt Dhananjaya runneth after him to bring him back.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Beholding the disguised son of Pandu, the Kauravas, O Bharata, began to indulge in these surmises, but they could not come to any definite conclusion. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya, hastily pursuing the retreating Uttara, seized him by the hair within a hundred steps. And seized by Arjuna, the son of Virata began to lament most woefully like one in great affliction, and said, ’Listen, O good Vrihannala, O thou of handsome waist. Turn thou quickly the course of the car. He that liveth meeteth with prosperity. I will give thee a hundred coins of pure gold and eight lapis lazuli of great brightness set with gold, and one chariot furnished with a golden flag-staff and drawn by excellent steeds, and also ten elephants of infuriate prowess. Do thou, O Vrihannala, set me free.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, that tiger among men laughingly dragged Uttara who was almost deprived of his senses and who was uttering these words of lamentation towards the car. And the son of Pritha then addressed the affrighted prince who had nearly lost his senses, saying, ’If, O chastiser of foes, thou dost not venture to fight with enemy, come thou and hold the reins of the steeds as I fight with the foe. Protected by the might of my arms, penetrate thou yon formidable and invincible array of cars guarded by heroic and mighty warriors. Fear not, O chastiser of foes, thou art a Kshatriya and the foremost of royal princess. Why dost thou, O tiger among men, succumb in the midst of the foe? I shall surely fight with the Kurus and recover the kine, penetrating into this formidable and inaccessible array of cars. Be thou my charioteer, O best of men, I will fight with the Kurus.’ Thus speaking unto Uttara, the son of Virata, Vibhatsu, heretofore unconquered in battle, for a while comforted him. And then the son of Pritha, that foremost of smiters, raised on the car that fainting and reluctant prince stricken with fear!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Beholding that bull among men seated on the car in the habit of a person of the third sex, driving toward the Sami tree, having taken (the flying) Uttara up, all the great car-warriors of the Kurus with Bhishma and Drona at their head, became affrighted at heart, suspecting the comer to be Dhananjaya. And seeing them so dispirited and marking also the many wonderful portents, that foremost of all wielders of arms, the preceptor Drona, son of Bharadwaja, said, ’Violent and hot are the winds that below, showering gravels in profusion. The sky also is overcast with a gloom of ashy hue. The clouds present the strange sight of being dry and waterless. Our weapons also of various kinds are coming out of their cases. The jackals are yelling hideously affrighted at the conflagrations on all sides. The horses too are shedding tears, and our banners are trembling though moved by none. Such being the inauspicious indications seen, a great
“Vaisampayana continued, ’The son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, having said this, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son all applauded his manliness!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having reached that Sami tree, and having ascertained Virata’s son to be exceedingly delicate and inexperienced in battle, Partha addressed him, saying, ’Enjoined by me, O Uttara, quickly take down (from this tree) some bows that are there. For these bows of thine are unable to bear my strength, my heavy weight when I shall grind down horses and elephants, and the stretch of my arms when I seek to vanquish the foe. Therefore, O Bhuminjaya, climb thou up this tree of thick foliage, for in this tree are tied the bows and arrows and banners and excellent coats of mail of the heroic sons of Pandu, viz., Yudhishthira and Bhima and Vibhatsu and the twins. There also is that bow of great energy, the Gandiva of Arjuna, which singly is equal to many thousands of other bows and which is capable of extending the limits of a kingdom. Large like a palmyra tree, able to bear the greatest stress, the largest of all weapons, capable of obstructing the foe, handsome, and smooth, and broad, without a knot, and adorned with gold, it is stiff and beautiful in make and beareth the heaviest weight. And the other bows also that are there, of Yudhishthira and Bhima and Vibhatsu and the twins, are equally mighty and tough.’”
“Uttara said, ’It hath been heard by us that a corpse is tied in this tree. How can I, therefore, being a prince by birth, touch it with my hands? Born in the Kshatriya order, and the son of a great king, and always observant of mantras and vows, it is not becoming of me to touch it. Why shouldst thou, O Vrihannala, make me a polluted and unclean bearer of corpses, by compelling me to come in contact with a corpse?’
“Vrihannala said, ’Thou shalt, O king of kings, remain clean and unpolluted. Do not fear, there are only bows in this tree and not corpses. Heir to the king of the Matsyas, and born in a noble family, why should I, O prince, make thee do such a reproachable deed?’
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus addressed by Partha, Virata’s son, decked in ear-rings, alighted from the car, and climbed up that Sami tree reluctantly. And staying on the car, Dhananjaya, that slayer of enemies, said, unto him, ’Speedily bring thou down those bows from the top of the tree. And cutting off their wrappings first and then the ropes with which they were tied, the prince beheld the Gandiva there along with four other bows. And as they were united, the splendour of those bows radiant as the sun, began to shine with great effulgence like unto that of the planets about the time of their rising. And beholding the forms of those bows, so like unto sighing snakes, he become afflicted with fear and in a moment the bristles of his body stood on their ends. And touching those large bows of great splendour, Virata’s son, O king, thus spake unto Arjuna!’”
“Uttara said, ’To what warrior of fame doth this excellent bow belong, on which are a hundred golden bosses and which hath such radiant ends? Whose is this excellent bow of good sides and easy hold, on the staff of which shine golden elephants of such brightness? Whose is this excellent bow, adorned with three scores of Indragoapkas  of pure gold, placed on the back of the staff at proper intervals? Whose is this excellent bow, furnished with three golden suns of great effulgence, blazing forth with such brilliancy? Whose is this beautiful bow which is variegated with gold and gems, and on which are golden insects set with beautiful stones? Whose are these arrows furnished with wing around, numbering a thousand, having golden heads, and cased in golden quivers? Who owneth these large shafts, so thick, furnished with vulturine wings whetted on stone, yellowish in hue, sharp-pointed, well-tempered, and entirely made of iron? Whose is this sable quiver,  bearing five images of tigers, which holdeth shafts intermixed with boar-eared arrows altogether numbering ten? Whose are these seven hundred arrows, long and thick, capable of drinking (the enemy’s) blood, and looking like the crescent-shaped moon?  Whose are these gold-crested arrows whetted on
“Vrihannala said, ’That about which thou hath first enquired is Arjuna’s bow, of world-wide fame, called Gandiva, capable of devastating hostile hosts. Embellished with gold, this Gandiva, the highest and largest of all weapons belonged to Arjuna. Alone equal unto a hundred thousand weapons, and always capable of extending the confines of kingdoms, it is with this that Partha vanquisheth in battle both men and celestials. Worshipped ever by the gods, the Danavas and the Gandharvas and variegated with excellent colours, this large and smooth bow is without a knot or stain anywhere. Shiva held it first for a thousand years. Afterwards Prajapati held it for five hundred and three years. After that Sakra, for five and eighty years. And then Soma held it for five hundred years. And after that Varuna held it for a hundred years. And finally Partha, surnamed Swetavahana, hath held it for five and sixty years. Endued with great energy and of high celestial origin, this is the best of all bows. Adored among gods and men, it hath a handsome form. Partha obtained this beautiful bow from Varuna. This other bow of handsome sides and golden handle is Bhima’s with which that son of Pritha, that chastiser of foes, had conquered the whole of the eastern regions. This other excellent bow of beautiful shape, adorned with images of Indragopakas, belongeth, O Virata’s son, to king Yudhishthira. This other weapon with golden suns of blazing splendour shedding a dazzling effulgence around, belongeth to Nakula. And this bow adorned with golden images of insects and set also with gems
“Uttara said, ’Indeed, these weapons adorned with gold, belonging to the light-handed and high-souled Partha, look exceedingly beautiful. But where are that Arjuna, the son of Pritha, and Yudhishthira of the Kuru race, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons of Pandu? Having lost their kingdom at dice, the high-souled Pandavas, capable of destroying all foes, are no longer heard of. Where also is Draupadi, the princess of Panchala, famed as the gem among women, who followed the sons of Pandu after their defeat at dice to the forest?’
“Arjuna said, ’I am Arjuna, called also Partha. Thy father’s courtier is Yudhishthira and thy father’s cook Vallava is Bhimasena, the groom of horses is Nakula, and Sahadeva is in the cow-pen. And know thou that the Sairindhri is Draupadi, for whose sake the Kichakas have been slain.’
“Uttara said, ’I would believe all this if thou canst enumerate the ten names of Partha, previously heard by me!’
“Arjuna said, ’I will, O son of Virata, tell thee my ten names. Listen thou and compare them with what thou hadst heard before. Listen to them with close attention and concentrated mind. They are Arjuna, Falguna, Jishnu, Kiritin, Swetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin and Dhananjaya.”
“Uttara said, ’Tell me truly why art thou called Vijaya, and why Swetavahana. Why art thou named Krishna and why Arjuna and Falguna and Jishnu and Kiritin and Vibhatsu, and for what art thou Dhananjaya and Savyasachin? I have heard before about the origin of the several names of that hero, and can put faith in thy words if thou canst tell me all about them.’
“Arjuna said, ’They called me Dhananjaya because I lived in the midst of wealth, having subjugated all the countries and taking away their treasures. They called me Vijaya because when I go out to battle with invincible kings, I never return (from the field) without vanquishing them. I am called Swetavahana because when battling with the foe, white horses decked in golden armour are always yoked unto my car. They call me Falguna because I was born on the breast of the Himavat on a day when the constellation Uttara Falguna was on the ascendent. I am named Kiritin from a diadem, resplendent like the sun, having been placed of old on my head by Indra during my encounter with the powerful Danavas. I am known as Vibhatsu among gods and men, for my never having committed a detestable deed on the battle-field. And since both of my hands are capable of drawing the Gandiva, I am known as Savyasachin among gods and men. They call me Arjuna because my complexion is very rare within the four boundaries of the earth and because also my acts are always stainless. I am known among human beings and celestials by the name of Jishnu, because I am unapproachable and incapable of being kept down, and a tamer of adversaries and son of the slayer of Paka. And Krishna, my tenth appellation, was given to me by my father out of affection towards his black-skinned boy of great purity.’
“Vaisampayana continued, “The son of Virata then, approaching nearer saluted Partha and said, ’My name is Bhuminjaya, and I am also called Uttara. It is by good luck, O Partha, that I behold thee. Thou art welcome, O Dhananjaya. O thou with red eyes, and arms that are mighty and each like unto the trunk of an elephant, it behoveth thee to pardon what I said unto thee from ignorance. And as wonderful and difficult have been the feats achieved by thee before, my fears have been dispelled, and indeed the love I bear to thee is great.’”
“Uttara said, ’O hero, mounting on this large car with myself as driver, which division of the (hostile) army wouldst thou penetrate? Commanded by thee, I would drive thee thither?’
“Arjuna said, ’I am pleased with thee, O tiger among men. Thou hast no cause of fear. I will rout all thy foes in battle, O great warrior, And, O thou of mighty arms, be at thy ease. Accomplishing great and terrible feats in the melee, I will fight with thy foes. Tie quickly all those quivers to my car, and take (from among those) a sword of polished blade and adorned with gold.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of Arjuna, Uttara cast off all inactivity. And he speedily alighted from the tree, bringing with him Arjuna’s weapons. Then Arjuna addressed him, saying, ’Yes, I will fight with the Kurus and recover thy kine. Protected by me, the top of this car will be to thee as a citadel. The passages and alleys and other divisions of this car will be the streets and edifices of that fortified city. These my arms will be its ramparts and gateways. This treble pole and my quiver will constitute defensive works inaccessible to the foe. This my banner—single and grand—will it not alone be equal unto those of thy city? This my bow-string will constitute the catapults and cannons for vomiting forth missiles on the besiezing ghost. My excited wrath will make that fortress formidable, and the clatter of my car-wheels—will it not resemble the kettle-drums of thy capital? Ridden by myself wielding the Gandiva, this car will be incapable of being vanquished by the hostile host, O son of Virata, let thy fear be dispelled.’
“Uttara said, ’I am no longer afraid of these. I know thy steadiness in battle, which is even like unto that of Kesava or Indra himself. But reflecting on this, I am continually bewildered. Foolish as I am, I am incapable of arriving at certain conclusion. By what distressful circumstances could a person of such handsome limbs and auspicious signs become deprived of manhood! Indeed, thou seemest to me to be Mahadeva, or Indra, or the chief of the Gandharvas, dwelling in the guise only of one of the third sex.’
“Arjuna said, ’I tell thee truly that I am only observing this vow for a whole year agreeable to the behest of my elder brother. O thou of mighty arms, I am not truly one of the neuter sex, but I have adopted this vow of eunuchism from subservience to another’s will and from desire of religious merit. O prince, know me now to have completed my vow.’
“Uttara said, ’Thou hast conferred a great favour on me today, for I now find that my suspicion was not altogether unfounded. Indeed, such a person as thou, O best of men, cannot be of the neuter sex. I have now an ally in battle. I can now fight with the celestials themselves. My fears have been dispelled. What shall I do? Command me now. Trained in driving cars by a learned preceptor I will, O bull among men, hold the reins of thy horses that are capable of breaking the ranks of hostile cars. Know me, O bull among men, to be as competent a charioteer as Daruka of Vasudeva, or Matali of Sakra. The horse that is yoked unto the right-hand pole (of thy car) and whose hoofs as they light on the ground are scarcely visible when running, is like unto Sugriva of Krishna. This other handsome horse, the foremost of his race, that is yoked unto the left pole, is, I regard, equal in speed to Meghapushpa. This (third) beautiful horse, clad in golden mail, yoked unto the rear-pole on the left, is, I regard, Sivya equal in speed to but superior in strength. And this (fourth) horse, yoked to the rear-pole on the right, is regarded as superior to Valahaka in speed and strength. This car is worthy of bearing on the field of battle a bowman like thee, and thou also art worthy of fighting on this car. This is what I think!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then Arjuna, endued with great energy, took off the bracelets from his arms and wore on his hands a pair of beautiful gloves embroidered with gold. And he then tied his black and curling locks with a piece of white cloth. And seated on that excellent car with face turned to the east, the mighty-armed hero, purifying his body and concentrating his soul, recalled to his mind all his weapons. And all the weapons came, and addressing the royal son of Partha, said, ’We are here, O illustrious one. We are thy servants, O son of Indra.’ And bowing unto them, Partha received them unto his hands and replied unto them, saying, ‘Dwell ye all in my memory.’ And obtaining all his weapons, the hero looked cheerful. And quickly stringing his bow, the Gandiva, he twanged it. And the twang of that bow was as loud as the collision of two mighty bulls. And dreadful was the sound that filled the earth, and violent was the wind that blew on all sides. And thick was the shower of fallen meteors  and all sides were enveloped in gloom. And the birds began to totter in the skies and large trees began to shake.  And loud as the burst of the thunder, the Kurus knew from that sound that it was Arjuna that drew with his hands the string of his best of bows from his car. And Uttara said, ’Thou, O best of Pandavas, art alone. These mighty car-warriors are many. How wilt thou vanquish in battle all these that are skilled in every kind of weapon? Thou, O son of Kunti, art without a follower, while the Kauravas have many. It is for this, O thou of mighty arms, that I stay beside thee, stricken with fear.’ Bursting out into loud laughter, Partha said unto him, ’Be not afraid, O hero, what friendly follower had I while fighting with the mighty Gandharvas on the occasion of the Ghoshayatra? Who was my ally while engaged in the terrific conflict at Khandava against so many celestials and Danavas? Who was my ally when I fought, on behalf of the lord of the celestials against the mighty Nivatakavachas and the Paulomas! And who was my ally, O child, while I encountered in battle innumerable kings at the Swayamvara to the princess of Panchala? Trained in arms by the preceptor Drona, by Sakra, and Vaisravana, and Yama, and Varuna, and Agni, and Kripa, and Krishna of Madhu’s race, and by the wielder of the Pinaka (Siva), why shall I not fight with these? Drive thou my car speedily, and let thy heart’s fever be dispelled.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Making Uttara his charioteer, and circumambulating the Sami tree, the son of Pandu set out taking all his weapons with him. And that mighty car-warrior set out with Uttara as the driver of his car, having taken down that banner with the lion’s figure and deposited it at the foot of the Sami tree. And he hoisted on that car his own golden banner bearing the figure of an ape with a lion’s tail, which was a celestial
“Uttara said, ’Heard have I the blare of many a conch and many a trumpet and the roar of many an elephant stationed in the battle-array, but never have I heard before the blare of such conch. Nor have I ever seen a banner like this. Never before have I heard also the twang of a bow such as this. Truly, sir, with the blare of this conch, the twang of this bow, the superhuman cries of the creatures stationed on this banner, and the battle of this car, my mind is greatly bewildered. My perception of the directions also is confused, and my heart is painfully afflicted. The whole firmament seemeth to me to have been covered by this banner, and everything seemeth to be hidden from my view! My ears also have been deafened by the twang of the Gandiva!
“Arjuna said, ’Firmly stand thou on the car, pressing thy feet on it, and tightly catch hold of the bridles, for I will blow the conch again.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’Arjuna then blew his conch again, that conch which filled foes with grief and enhanced the joy of friends. And the sound was so loud that it seemed to split hills and mountains, and pierce mountain-caves and the cardinal points. And Uttara once again sat down on the car, clinging to it in fear. And with the blare of the conch and the rattle of the car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, the earth itself seemed to tremble. And beholding Uttara’s fight, Dhananjaya began to comfort him again.’
“Meanwhile, Drona said, ’From the rattle of the car, and from the manner in which the clouds have enveloped the sky and the earth itself trembles, this warrior can be none else than Savyasachin. Our weapons do not shine, our steeds are dispirited, and our fires, though fed with fuel, do not blare up. All this is ominous. All our animals are setting up a frightful howl, gazing towards the sun. The crows are perching on our banners. All this is ominous. Yon vultures and kites on our right portend a great danger. That jackal also, running through our ranks, waileth dismally. Lo, it hath escaped unstruck. All this portends a heavy calamity. The bristles also of ye all are on their ends. Surely, this forebodes a great destruction of Kshatriyas in battle. Things endued with light are all pale; beasts and birds look fierce; and there are to be witnessed many terrific portents indicative of the destruction of Kshatriyas. And these omens forebode great havoc among ourselves. O king, thy ranks seem to be confounded by these blazing meteors, and thy animals look dispirited and seem to be weeping. Vultures and kites are wheeling all around thy troops. Thou shalt have to repent upon beholding thy army afflicted by Partha’s arrows. Indeed, our ranks seem to have been already vanquished, for none is eager to go to fight. All our warriors are of pale face, and almost deprived of their senses. Sending the kine ahead we should stand here, ready to strike, with all our warriors arrayed in order of battle.”
“Vaisampayana said, ’King Duryodhana then, on the field of battle said unto Bhishma, and unto Drona—that tiger among warriors, and unto Kripa—that mighty car-warrior, these words, ’Both myself and Kama had said this unto the preceptors I refer to the subject again, for I am not satisfied with having said it once. Even this was the pledge of the sons of Pandu that if defeated (at dice) they would reside to our knowledge in countries and woods for twelve years, and one more year unknown to us. That thirteenth year, instead of being over, is yet running. Vibhatsu, therefore, who is still to live undiscovered hath appeared before us. And if Vibhatsu hath come before the term of exile is at end, the Pandavas shall have to pass another twelve years in the woods. Whether it is due to forgetfulness (on their part) induced by desire of dominion, or whether it is a mistake of ours, it behoveth Bhishma to calculate the shortness or excess (of the promised period). When an object of desire may or may not be attained, a doubt necessarily attaches to one of the alternatives, and what is decided in one way often ends differently.  Even moralists are puzzled in judging of their own acts.  As regards ourselves, we have come hither to fight with the Matsyas and to seize their kine stationed towards the north. If, meanwhile, it is Arjuna that hath come, what fault can attach to us? We have come
“Karna said, ’I behold all these blessed ones, looking as if alarmed and panic-struck and unresolved and unwilling to fight. If he that is come is the king of the Matsyas or Vibhatsu, even I will resist him as the banks resist the swelling sea. Shot from my bow these straight and flying arrows, like gliding snakes, are all sure of aim. Discharged by my light hands, these keen-edged arrows furnished with golden wings shall cover Partha all over, like locusts shrouding a tree. Strongly pressed by these winged arrows, the bow-string will cause these my leathern fences to produce sounds that will be heard to resemble those of a couple of kettle-drums. Having been engaged in ascetic austerities for the (last) eight and five years, Vibhatsu will strike me but mildly in this conflict, and the son of Kunti having become a Brahmana endued with good qualities, hath thus become a fit person to quietly receive shafts by thousands shot by me. This mighty bowman is indeed, celebrated over the three worlds. I, too, am, by no means, inferior to Arjuna, that foremost of human beings. With golden arrows furnished with vulturine wings shot on all sides, let the firmament seem today to swarm with fire-flies. Slaying Arjuna in battle, I will discharge today that debt, difficult of repayments, but promised of old by me unto Dhritarashtra’s son. When man is there, even amongst all the gods and the Asuras, that will endure to stand in the teeth of the straight arrows shot from my bow? Let my flying arrows, winged and depressed at the middle, present the spectacle of the coursing of the fire-flies through the welkin. Hard though he be as Indra’s thunderbolt and possessed of the energy of the chief of the celestials, I will surely grind Partha, even as one afflicts an elephant by means of burning brands. A heroic and mighty car-warrior as he is, and the foremost of all wielders of weapons I shall seize the unresisting
“Kripa said, ’O Radheya, thy crooked heart always inclineth to war. Thou knowest not the true nature of things; nor dost thou take into account their after-consequences. There are various kinds of expedients inferrable from the scriptures. Of these, a battle hath been regarded by those acquainted with the past, as the most sinful. It is only when time and place are favourable that military operations can lead to success. In the present instance, however, the time being unfavourable, no good results will be deprived. A display of prowess in proper time and place becometh beneficial. It is by the favourableness or otherwise (of time and place) that the opportuneness of an act is determined. Learned men can never act according to the ideas of a car-maker. Considering all this, an encounter with Partha is not advisible for us. Alone he saved the Kurus (from the Gandharvas), and alone he satiated Agni. Alone he led the life of a Brahmacharin for five years (on the breast of Himavat). Taking up Subhadra on his car, alone he challenged Krishna to single combat. Alone he fought with Rudra who stood before him as a forester. It was in this very forest that Partha rescued Krishna while she was being taken away (by Jayadratha). It is he alone that hath, for five years, studied the science of weapons under Indra. Alone vanquishing all foes he hath spread the fame of the Kurus.
“Aswatthaman said, ’The kine, O Karna, have not yet been won, nor have they yet crossed the boundary (of their owner’s dominions), nor have they yet reached Hastinapura. Why dost thou, therefore, boast of thyself? Having won numerous battles, and acquired enormous wealth, and vanquished hostile hosts, men of true heroism speak not a word of their prowess. Fire burneth mutely and mutely doth the sun shine. Mutely also doth the Earth bear creatures, both mobile and immobile. The Self-existent hath sanctioned such offices for the four orders that having recourse to them each may acquire wealth without being censurable. A Brahmana, having studied the Vedas, should perform sacrifices
“Bhishma said, ’Drona’s son observeth well, and Kripa, too observeth rightly. As for Kama, it is only out of regard for the duties of the Kshatriya order that he desireth to fight. No man of wisdom can blame the preceptor. I, however, am of opinion that fight we must, considering both the time and the place. Why should not that man be bewildered who hath five adversaries effulgent as five suns, who are heroic combatants and who have just emerged from adversity? Even those conversant with morality are bewildered in respect of their own interests. It is for this, O king, that I tell thee this, whether my words be acceptable to you or not. What Karna said unto thee was only for raising our (drooping) courage. As regards thyself, O preceptor’s son, forgive everything. The business at hand is very grave. When the son of Kunti hath come, this is not the time for quarrel. Everything should now be forgiven by thyself and the preceptor Kripa. Like light in the sun, the mastery of all weapons doth reside in you. As beauty is never separated from Chandramas, so are the Vedas and the Brahma weapon both established in you. It is often seen that the four Vedas dwell in one object and Kshatriya attributes in another. We have never heard of these two dwelling together in any other person than the preceptor of the Bharata race and his son. Even this is what I think. In the Vedantas, in the Puranas, and in old histories, who save Jamadagni, O king, would be Drona’s superior? A combination of the Brahma weapon with the Vedas,—this is never to be seen anywhere else. O preceptor’s son, do thou forgive. This is not the time for disunion. Let all of us, uniting, fight with Indra’s son who hath come. Of all the calamities that may befall an army that have been enumerated by men of wisdom, the worst is disunion among the leaders. Aswatthaman said, ’O bull among men, these thy just observations, need not be uttered in our presence; the preceptor, however, filled with wrath, had spoken of Arjuna’s virtues. The virtues of even an enemy should be admitted, while the faults of even one’s preceptor may be pointed out; therefore one should, to the best of his power, declare the merits of a son or a disciple.’
“Duryodhana said, ’Let the preceptor grant his forgiveness and let peace be restored. If the preceptor be at one with us, whatever should be done (in view of the present emergency) would seem to have been already done.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then, O Bharata, Duryodhana assisted by Kama and Kripa, and the high-souled Bhishma pacified Drona.’
“Drona said, ’Appeased I have already been at the words first spoken by Bhishma, the son of Santanu. Let such arrangements be made that Partha may not be able to approach Duryodhana in battle. And let such arrangements be made that king Duryodhana may not be captured by the foe, in consequence either of his rashness or want of judgment. Arjuna hath not, to be sure, revealed himself before the expiry of the term of exile. Nor will he pardon this act (of ours) today, having only recovered the kine. Let such arrangements, therefore, be made that he may not succeed in attacking Dhritarashtra’s son and defeating our troops. Like myself (who am doubtful of the completion of period of exile) Duryodhana also had said so before. Bearing it in mind, it behoveth the son of Ganga to say what is true.’”
“Bhishma said, ’The wheel of time revolves with its divisions, viz., with Kalas and Kasthas and Muhurtas and days and fortnights and months and constellations and planets and seasons and years. In consequence of their fractional excesses and the deviations of also of the heavenly bodies, there is an increase of two months in every five years. It seems to me that calculating this wise, there would be an excess of five months and twelve nights in thirteen years. Everything, therefore, that the sons of Pandu had promised, hath been exactly fulfilled by them. Knowing this to be certain, Vibhatsu hath made his appearance. All of them are high-souled and fully conversant with the meanings of the scriptures. How would they deviate from virtue that have Yudhishthira for their guide? The sons of Kunti do not yield to temptation. They have achieved a difficult feat. If they had coveted the possession of their kingdom by unfair means, then those descendants of the Kuru race would have sought to display their prowess at the time of the match at dice. Bound in bonds of virtue, they did not deviate from the duties of the Kshatriya order. He that will regard them to have behaved falsely will surely meet with defeat. The sons of Pritha would prefer death to falsehood. When the time, however, comes, those bulls among men—the Pandava’s—endued with energy like that of Sikra, would not give up what is theirs even if it is defended by the wielder himself of the thunderbolt. We shall have to oppose in battle the foremost of all wielders of weapons. Therefore, let such advantageous arrangements as have the sanction of the good and the honest be now made without loss of time so that our possessions may not be appropriated by
“Duryodhana said, ’I will not, O grandsire, give back the Pandavas their kingdom. Let every preparation, therefore, for battle be made without delay.’
“Bhishma said, ’Listen to what I regard as proper, if it pleases thee. I should always say what is for thy good, O Kaurava. Proceed thou towards the capital, without loss of time, taking with thee a fourth part of the army. And let another fourth march, escorting the kine. With half the troops we will fight the Pandava. Myself and Drona, and Karna and Aswatthaman and Kripa will resolutely withstand Vibhatsu, or the king of the Matsyas, or Indra himself, if he approaches. Indeed, we will withstand any of these like the bank withstanding the surging sea.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’These words spoken by the high-souled Bhishma were acceptable to them, and the king of the Kauravas acted accordingly without delay. And having sent away the king and then the kine, Bhishma began to array the soldiers in order of battle. And addressing the preceptor, he said, ’O preceptor, stand thou in the centre, and let Aswatthaman stand on the left, and let the wise Kripa, son of Saradwata, defend the right wing, and let Karna of the Suta caste, clad in mail, stand in the van. I will stand in the rear of the whole army, protecting it from that point.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’After the Kauravas, O Bharata, had taken their stand in this order, Arjuna, filling the air with the rattle and din of his car, advanced quickly towards them. And the Kurus beheld his banner-top and heard the rattle and din of his car as also the twang of the Gandiva stretched repeatedly by him. And noting all this, and seeing that great car-warrior—the wielder of the Gandiva—come, Drona spoke thus, ’That is the banner-top of Partha which shineth at a distance, and this is the noise of his car, and that is the ape that roareth frightfully. Indeed, the ape striketh terror in the troops. And there stationed on that excellent car, the foremost of car-warriors draweth that best of bows, the Gandiva, whose twang is as loud as the thunder. Behold, these two shafts coming together fall at my feet, and two others pass off barely touching my ears. Completing the period of exile and having achieved many wonderful feats, Partha saluteth me and whispereth in my ears. Endued with wisdom and beloved of his relatives, this Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, is, indeed, beheld by us after a long time, blazing with beauty and grace. Possessed of car and arrows, furnished with handsome fences and quiver and conch and banner and coat of mail, decked with diadem and scimitar and bow, the son of Pritha shineth like the blazing (Homa) fire surrounded with sacrificial ladles and fed with sacrificial butter.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Beholding the Kurus ready for battle, Arjuna addressing Matsya’s son in words suitable to the occasion, said, ’O charioteer, restrain thou the steeds at such a point whence my arrows may reach the enemy. Meanwhile, let me see, where, in the midst of this army, is that vile wretch of the Kuru race. Disregarding all these, and singling out that vainest of princes I will fall upon his head, for upon the defeat of that wretch the others will regard themselves as defeated. There standeth Drona, and thereafter him his son. And there are those great bowmen—Bhishma and Kripa and Kama. I do not see, however, the king there. I suspect that anxious to save his life, he retreateth by the southern road, taking away with him the kine. Leaving this array of car-warriors, proceed to the spot where Suyodhana is. There will I fight, O son of Virata, for there the battle will not be fruitless, Defeating him I will come back, taking away the kine.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, the son of Virata restrained the steeds with an effort and turned them by a pull at the bridle from the spot where those bulls of the Kuru race were, and urged them on towards the place where Duryodhana was. And as Arjuna went away leaving that thick array of cars, Kripa, guessing his intention, addressed his own comrades, saying, ’This Vibhatsu desireth not to take up his stand at a spot remote from the king. Let us quickly fall upon the flanks of the advancing hero. When inflamed with wrath, none else, unassisted, can encounter him in battle save the deity of a thousand eyes, or Krishna the son of Devaki. Of what use to us would the kine be or this vast wealth also, if Duryodhana were to sink, like a boat, in the ocean of Partha?’ Meanwhile, Vibhatsu, having proceeded towards that division of the army, announced himself speedily by name, and covered the troops with his arrows thick as locusts. And covered with those countless shafts shot by Partha, the hostile warriors could not see anything, the earth itself and the sky becoming overwhelmed therewith. And the soldiers who had been ready for the fight were so confounded that none could even the flee from the field. And beholding the light-handedness of Partha they all applauded it mentally. And Arjuna then blew his conch which always made the bristles of the foe stand erect. And twanging his best of bows, he urged the creatures on his flagstaff to roar more frightfully. And at the blare of his conch and the rattle of his car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, and the roar of the superhuman creatures stationed on his flagstaff, the earth itself began to tremble. And shaking their upraised tails and lowing together, the kine turned back, proceeding along the southern road.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having disorganised the hostile host by force and having recovered the kine, that foremost of bowmen, desirous of fighting again, proceeded towards Duryodhana. And beholding the kine running wild towards the city of the Matsyas, the foremost warriors of the Kurus regarded Kiritin to have already achieved success. And all of a sudden they fell upon Arjuna who was advancing towards Duryodhana. And beholding their countless divisions firmly arrayed in order of battle with countless banners waving over them, that slayer of foes, addressing the son of the king of the Matsyas, said, ’Urge on, to the best of their speed by this road, these white steeds decked with golden bridles. Strive thou well, for I would approach this crowd of Kuru lions. Like an elephant desiring an encounter with another, the Suta’s son of wicked soul eagerly desireth a battle with me. Take me, O prince, to him who hath grown so proud under the patronage of Duryodhana. Thus addressed, the son of Virata by means of those large steeds endued with the speed of the wind and furnished with golden armour, broke that array of cars and took the Pandava into the midst of the battle-field. And seeing this those mighty car-warriors, Chitrasena and Sangramajit and Satrusaha and Jaya, desirous of aiding Karna, rushed with arrows and long shafts, towards the advancing hero of Bharata’s race. Then that foremost of men, inflamed with wrath, began to consume by means of fiery arrows shot from his bow, that array of cars belonging to those bulls among the Kurus, like a tremendous conflagration consuming a forest. Then, when the battle began to rage furiously, the Kuru hero, Vikarna, mounted on his car, approached that foremost of car-warriors, Partha, the younger brother of Bhima,—showering upon him terrible shafts thick and long. Then cutting Vikarna’s bow furnished with a tough string and horns overlaid with gold, Arjuna cut off his flagstaff. And Vikarna, beholding his flagstaff cut off, speedily took to flight. And after Vikarna’s flight, Satruntapa, unable to repress his ire, began to afflict Partha, that obstructer of foes and achiever of super-human feats, by means of a perfect shower of arrows. And drowned, as it were, in the midst of the Kuru-array, Arjuna, pierced by that mighty car-warrior,—king Satruntapa—pierced the latter in return with five and then slew his car-driver with ten shafts, and pierced by that bull of the Bharata race with an arrow capable of cleaving the thickest coat of mail, Satruntapa fell dead on the field of battle, like a tree from a mountain-top torn up by the wind. And those brave bulls among men, mangled in battle by that braver bull among men, began to waver and tremble like mighty forests shaken by the violence of the wind that blows at the time of the universal dissolution. And struck in battle by Partha, the son of Vasava, those well-dressed heroes among men—those givers of wealth endued with the energy of Vasava—defeated and deprived
“Vaisampayana said, ’After the son of Radha had fled from the field, other warriors headed by Duryodhana, one after another, fell upon the son of Pandu with their respective divisions. And like the shore withstanding the fury of the surging sea, that warrior withstood the rage of that countless host rushing towards him, arrayed in order of battle and showering clouds of arrows. And that foremost of car-warriors, Kunti’s son Vibhatsu of white steeds, rushed towards the foe, discharging celestial weapons all the while. Partha soon covered all the points of the horizon with countless arrows shot from the Gandiva, like the sun covering the whole earth with his rays. And amongst those that fought on cars and horses and elephants, and amongst the mail-clad foot-soldiers, there was none that had on his body a space of even two finger’s breadth unwounded with sharp arrows. And for his dexterity in applying celestial weapons, and for the training of the steeds and the skill of Uttara, and for the coursing of his weapons, and his prowess and light-handedness, people began to regard Arjuna as the fire that blazeth forth during the time of the universal dissolution for consuming all created things. And none amongst the foe could cast his eyes on Arjuna who shone like a blazing fire of great effulgence. And mangled by the arrows of Arjuna, the hostile ranks looked
“Arjuna replied, ’O Uttara, yonder auspicious warrior whom thou seest cased in coat of tiger-skin and stationed on his car furnished with a blue-flag and drawn by red steeds, is Kripa. There is to be seen the van of Kripa’s division. Take me thither. I shall show that great bowman my swift-handedness in archery. And that warrior whose flag beareth the device of an elegant water-pot worked in gold, is the preceptor Drona—that foremost of all wielders of weapons. He is always an object of regard with me, as also with all bearers of arms. Do thou, therefore, circumambulate that
“Vaisampayana said, ’And the ranks of those fierce bowmen, the Kurus, looked like masses of clouds in the rainy season drifting before a gentle wind. And close (to those ranks of foot-soldiers) stood the enemy’s horses ridden by terrible warriors. And there were also elephants of terrible mien, looking resplendent in beautiful armour, ridden by skilled combatants and urged on with iron crows and hooks. And, O king, mounted on a beautiful car, Sakra came there accompanied by the celestials,—the Viswas and Maruts. And crowded with gods, Yakshas, Gandharvas and Nagas, the firmament looked as resplendent
“Vaisampayana said, ’Beholding the army of the Kurus arrayed in order of battle, that descendant of the Kuru race, Partha, addressing Virata’s son, said, ’Do thou proceed to the spot where Kripa, the son of Saradwat, is going by the southern side of that car whose flag is seen to bear the device of a golden altar.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of Dhananjaya, the son of Virata urged, without a moment’s delay, those steeds of silvery hue decked in golden armour. And making them adopt, one after another, every kind of the swifter paces, he urged those fiery steeds resembling the moon in colour. And versed in horse-lore, Uttara, having approached the Kuru host, turned back those steeds endued with the speed of the wind. And skilled in guiding vehicles, the prince of Matsya, sometimes wheeling about, and sometimes proceeding in circular mazes, and sometimes turning to the left, began to be wilder the Kurus. And wheeling round, the intrepid and mighty son of Virata at last approached the car of Kripa, and stood confronting him. Then announcing his own name, Arjuna powerfully blew that best of conchs called Devadatta, of loud blare. And blown on the field of battle by the mighty Jishnu, the blare of that conch was heard like the splitting of a mountain. And seeing that the conch did not break into a hundred fragments when blown by Arjuna, the Kurus with all their warriors began to applaud it highly. And having reached the very heavens, that sound coming back was heard even like the crash of the thunderbolt hurled by Maghavat on the mountain breast. Thereupon that heroic and intrepid and mighty car-warrior, Saradwat’s son Kripa, endued with strength and prowess, waxing wroth at Arjuna, and unable to bear that sound and eager for fight, took up his own sea-begotten conch and blew it vehemently. And filling the three worlds with that sound, that foremost of car-warriors took up a large bow and twanged the bow-string powerfully. And those mighty car-warriors, equal unto two suns, standing opposed to each other, shone like two masses of autumnal clouds. Then Saradwat’s son quickly pierced Partha, that slayer of hostile heroes, with ten swift and whetted arrows capable of entering into the very vitals. And Pritha’s son also, on his part, drawing that foremost of weapons, the Gandiva, celebrated over the world, shot innumerable iron-arrows, all capable of penetrating into the very core of the body. Thereupon Kripa, by means of whetted shafts, cut into hundreds and thousands of fragments, those blood-drinking arrows of Partha before they could come up. Then that mighty car-warrior, Partha also, in wrath displaying various manoeuvres, covered all sides with a shower of arrows. And covering the entire welkin with his shafts, that mighty warrior of immeasurable soul, the son of Pritha, enveloped Kripa with hundred of shafts. And sorely afflicted by those whetted arrows resembling flames of fire, Kripa waxed wroth and quickly afflicting the high-souled Partha of immeasurable prowess with ten thousand shafts, set up on the field of battle a loud roar. Then the heroic Arjuna quickly pierced the four steeds of his adversary with four fatal arrows shot from the Gandiva, sharp and straight, and furnished with golden wings. And pierced by means of those whetted arrows resembling
“Vaisampayana said, ’After Kripa had thus been taken away, the invincible Drona of red steeds, taking up his bow to which he had already stringed an arrow, rushed towards Arjuna of white steeds. And beholding at no great distance from him the preceptor advancing on his golden car, Arjuna that foremost of victorious warriors, addressing Uttara, said, ’Blessed be thou, O friend, carry me before that warrior on whose high banner-top is seen a golden altar resembling a long flame of fire and decked with numerous flags placed around, and whose car is drawn by steeds that are red and large, exceedingly handsome and highly-trained, of face pleasant and of quiet mien, and like unto corals in colour and with faces of coppery hue, for that warrior is Drona with whom I desire to fight. Of long arms and endued with mighty energy possessed of strength and beauty of person, celebrated over all the worlds for his prowess, resembling Usanas himself in intelligence and Vrihaspati in knowledge of morality, he is conversant with the four Vedas and devoted to the practice of Brahmacharya virtues. O friend, the use of the celestial weapons together with the mysteries of their withdrawal and the entire-science of weapons, always reside in him. Forgiveness, self-control, truth, abstention from injury, rectitude of conduct,—these and countless other virtues always dwell in that regenerate one. I desire to fight with that highly-blessed one on the field. Therefore, take me before the preceptor and carry me thither, O Uttara.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by Arjuna, Virata’s son urged his steeds decked with gold towards the car of Bharadwaja’s son. And Drona also rushed towards the impetuously advancing Partha, the son of Pandu,—that foremost of car-warriors,—like an infuriate elephant rushing towards an infuriate compeer. And the son of Bharadwaja then blew his conch whose blare resembled that of a hundred trumpets. And at that sound the whole army become agitated like the sea in a tempest. And beholding those excellent steeds red in hue mingling in battle with Arjuna’s steeds of swan-like whiteness endued with the speed of the mind, all the spectators were filled with wonder. And seeing on the field of battle those car-warriors—the preceptor Drona and his disciple Partha—both endued with prowess, both invincible, both well-trained, both possessed of great energy and great strength, engaged with each other, that mighty host of the Bharatas began to tremble frequently. And that mighty car-warrior Partha, possessed of great prowess and filled with joy upon reaching Drona’s car on his own, saluted the preceptor. And that slayer of hostile heroes, the mighty armed son of Kunti, then addressed Drona in an humble and sweet tone, saying, ’Having completed our exile in the woods, we are now desirous of avenging our wrongs. Even invincible in battle, it doth not behove thee to be
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then, O mighty king, Drona’s son rushed to an encounter with Arjuna in battle. And beholding his rush to the conflict like a hurricane, showering shafts like a rain charged cloud Pritha’s son received him with a cloud of arrows. And terrible was the encounter between them, like that between the gods and the Danavas. And they shot arrows at each other like Virata and Vasava. And the welkin being enveloped on all sides with arrows, the sun was completely hidden, and the air itself was hushed. And, O conqueror of hostile cities, as they assailed and struck each other, loud sounds arose as of bamboos on fire. And,
“Arjuna said, ’The time, O Karna, hath now come for making good thy loquacious boast in the midst of the assembly, viz., that there is none equal to thee in fight. Today, O Karna, contending with me in terrible conflict, thou shalt know thy own strength, and shalt no longer disregard others. Abandoning good breeding, thou hadst uttered many harsh words, but this that thou endeavourest to do, is,
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said these words unto Karna, the invincible Vibhatsu rushed at him and charged a volley, of shafts capable of penetrating through a coat of mail. But that mighty car-warrior, Karna, received with great alacrity that discharge with an arrowy shower of his own, heavy as the downpour of the clouds. And that fierce volley of arrows covered all sides and severally pierced the steeds and arms and leathern fences of the combatants. And incapable of putting up with that assault, Arjuna cut off the strings of Karna’s quiver by means of a straight and sharp arrow. Thereupon, taking out from his quiver another arrow, Karna pierced the Pandava in the hand at which the latter’s hold of the bow was loosened. And then the mighty-armed Partha cut off Karna’s bow into fragments. And Karna replied by hurling a dart at his adversary, but Arjuna cut it off by means of his arrows. And then the warriors that followed the son of Radha rushed in crowds at Arjuna, but Partha sent them all to the abode of Yama by means of arrows shot from the
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having defeated Vikartana’s son, Arjuna said unto the son of Virata, ’Take me towards that division where yonder device of a golden palmyra is seen. There our grandfather, Santanu’s son, like unto a celestial, waiteth, desirous of an encounter with me.’ Thereupon, beholding that mighty host thronged with cars and horses and elephants, Uttara, sorely pierced with arrows, said, ’O hero, I am no longer able to guide thy excellent steeds. My spirits droop and my mind is exceedingly bewildered. All the directions seem to be whirling before my eyes in consequence of the energy of the celestial weapons used by thee and the Kurus. I have been deprived of my senses by the stench of fat and blood and flesh. Beholding all this, from terror my mind is, as it were, cleft in twain. Never before had I beheld such a muster of horses in battle. And at the flapping of fences, and the blare of conchs, the leonine roars made by the warriors and the shrieks of elephants, and the twang of the Gandiva resembling the thunder, I have, O hero, been so stupefied that I have been deprived of both hearing and memory. And, O hero, beholding thee incessantly drawing to a circle, in course of the conflict, the Gandiva which resembleth a circle of fire, my sight faileth me and my heart is rent asunder. And seeing thy fierce form in battle, like that of the wielder of the Pinaka while inflamed with wrath, and looking also at the terrible arrows shot by thee, I am filled with fear. I fail to see when thou takest up thy excellent arrows, when thou fixest them on the bow-string, and when thou lettest them off. And though all this is done before my eyes, yet, deprived of my senses, I do not see it. My spirits are drooping and earth itself seems to be swimming before me. I have no strength to hold the whip and the reins.’ Hearing these words, Arjuna said, ’Do thou not fear. Assure thyself. Thou also hast, on the field of battle performed, O bull among men, wonderful feats. Blessed be thou, thou art a prince and born in the illustrious line of Matsyas. It behoveth thee not to feel dispirited in chastising thy foes. Therefore, O prince, stationed on my car, muster all thy fortitude and hold the reins of my steeds, O slayer of foes, when I once more become engaged in battle.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said this unto Virata’s son, that best of men and foremost of car-warriors, the mighty-armed Arjuna, again addressed the son of Virata, saying. ’Take me without delay to the van of Bhishma’s division. I will cut off his very bow-string in the battle. Thou shalt behold today the celestial weapons of blazing beauty, shot by me, look like flashes of lightning disporting amid the clouds in the sky. The Kauravas shall behold the gold decked back of my Gandiva today, and assembled together the foe shall dispute, saying,—By which hand of his, the right or the left, doth he should? And I shall cause a dreadful river (of death) to flow today towards the other world with blood for its waters and cars for its eddies, and elephants for its crocodiles. I shall today, with my straight arrows, extirpate the Kuru forest having hands and feet and heads and backs and arms for the branches of its trees. Alone, bow in hand, vanquishing the Kuru host, a hundred paths shall open before me like those of a forest in conflagration. Struck by me thou shalt today behold the Kuru army moving round and round like a wheel (unable to fly off the field). I shall show thee today my excellent training in arrows and weapons. Stay thou on my car firmly, whether the ground be smooth or uneven. I can pierce with my winged arrows even the mountain of Sumeru that stands touching the very heavens. I slew of old, at Indra’s command, hundreds and thousands of Paulomas and Kalakhanjas in battle. I have obtained my firmness of grasp from Indra, and my lightness of hand from Brahman, and I have learnt various modes of fierce attack and defence amid crowds of foes from Prajapati. I vanquished, on the other side of the great ocean, sixty thousands of car-warriors—all fierce archers—residing in Hiranyapura. Behold, now I defeat the multitudinous host of the Kurus like a tempest scattering a heap of cotton. With my fiery arrows I shall today set the Kuru-forest to fire, having banners for its trees, the foot-soldiers for its shrubs, and the car-warriors for its beasts of prey. Like unto the wielder of the thunderbolt overthrowing the Danavas, alone I shall, with my straight arrows, bring down from the chambers of their cars the mighty warrior of the Kuru army stationed therein and struggling in the conflict to the best of their power. I have obtained from Rudra the Raudra, from Varuna the Varuna from Agni the Agneya, from the god of Wind the Vayava, and from Sakra the thunderbolt and other weapons. I shall certainly exterminate the fierce Dhartarashtra-forest though protected by many leonine warriors. Therefore, O Virata’s son, let thy fears be dispelled.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus assured by Savyasachin, the son of Virata penetrated into that fierce array of cars protected by Bhishma. The son of Ganga, however, of fierce deeds, cheerfully withstood the mighty-armed hero advancing from desire of vanquishing the heroes in battle. Jishnu, then, confronting Bhishma, cut off his standard clean off at the roots by shooting a gold-decked arrow pierced by which it fell to the ground. And at this, four mighty warriors, Dussasana and Vikarna and Dussaha and Vivingsati, skilled in weapons and endued with great energy, and all decked with handsome garlands and ornaments, rushed towards that terrible bowman. And advancing towards Vibhatsu—that fierce archer, these all encompassed him around. Then the heroic Dussasana pierced the son of Virata with a crescent-shaped arrow and he pierced Arjuna with another arrow in the breast. And Jishnu, confronting Dussasana, cut off by means of a sharp-edged arrow furnished with vulturine wings his adversary’s bow plaited with gold, and then pierced his person in the breast by means of five arrows. And afflicted by the arrows of Partha. Dussasana fled, leaving the combat. Then Vikarna, the son of Dhritarashtra, pierced Arjuna—that slayer of hostile heroes, by means of sharp and straight arrows furnished with vulturine wings. But the son of Kunti within a moment hit him also in the forehead with straight shafts. And pierced by Arjuna, he fell down from his car. And at this, Dussaha, supported by Vivingsati, covered Arjuna with a cloud of sharp arrows, impelled by the desire of rescuing his brother. Dhananjaya, however, without the least anxiety, pierced both of them almost at the same instant by means of couple of keen-edged arrows and then slew the steeds of both. And there upon, both those sons of Dhritarashtra, deprived of their steeds and their bodies mangled were taken away by the warrior behind them who had rushed forward with other cars. Then the unvanquished Vibhatsu, the mighty son of Kunti, decked with diadem and sure of aim, simultaneously attacked all sides with his arrows.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then, O thou of the Bharata race, all the great car-warriors of the Kurus, united together, began to assail Arjuna to the best of their might from all sides. But that hero of immeasurable soul completely covered all those mighty car-warriors with clouds of arrows, even as the mist covereth the mountains. And the roars of huge elephants and conchs, mingling together, produced a loud up roar. And penetrating through the bodies of elephants and horses as also through steel coats of mail, the arrows shot by Partha fell by thousands. And shooting shafts with the utmost celerity, the son of Pandu seemed in that contest to resemble the blazing sun of an autumnal midday. And afflicted with fear, the car-warriors began to leap down from their cars and the horse-soldiers from horse-back,
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then while a great havoc was being made among the Kurus, Santanu’s son, Bhishma, and grandsire of the Bharatas rushed at Arjuna, taking up an excellent bow adorned with gold, and many arrows also of keen points and capable of piercing into the very vitals of the foe and afflicting him sorely. And in consequence of a white umbrella being held over his head, that tiger among men looked beautiful like unto a hill at sunrise. And the son of Ganga, blowing his conch cheered the sons of Dhritarashtra, and wheeling along his right came upon Vibhatsu and impeded his course. And that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Kunti, beholding him approach, received him with a glad heart, like a hill receiving a rain-charged cloud. And Bhishma, endued with great energy, pierced Partha’s flag-staff with eight arrows. The arrows reaching the flag-staff of Pandu’s son, struck the blazing ape and those creatures also stationed in the banner-top. And then the son of Pandu, with a mighty javelin of sharp-edge cut of Bhishma’s umbrella which instantly fell on the ground. And then the light-handed son of Kunti struck his adversary’s flag-staff also with many shafts, and then his steeds and then the couple of drivers that protected Bhishma’s flanks. And unable to bear this, Bhishma though cognisant of the Pandava’s might, covered Dhananjaya with a powerful celestial weapon. And the son of Pandu, of immeasurable soul, hurling in return a celestial weapon at Bhishma, received that from Bhishma like a hill receiving a deep mass of clouds. And the encounter that took place between Partha and Bhishma, was fierce and the Kaurava warriors with their troops stood as lookers on. And in the conflict between Bhishma and the son of Pandu, shafts striking against shafts shone in the air like fireflies in the season of rains. And, O king, in consequence of Partha’s shooting arrows with both his right and left hands, the bent Gandiva seemed like a continuous circle of fire. And the son of Kunti then covered Bhishma with hundreds of sharp and keen-edged arrows, like a cloud covering the mountain-breast with its heavy downpour. And Bhishma baffled with the own arrows that arrowy shower, like the bank resisting the swelling sea, and covered the son of Pandu in return. And those warriors, cut into a thousand pieces in battle, fell fast in the vicinity of Falguna’s car. And then there was a downpour, from the car of Pandu’s son, of arrows furnished with golden wing, and raining through the sky like a flight of locusts. And Bhishma again repelled that arrowy shower with hundreds of whetted shafts shot by him. And then the Kauravas exclaimed.—Excellent! Excellent!—Indeed, Bhishma hath performed an exceedingly difficult feat inasmuch as he hath fought with Arjuna. Dhananjaya is mighty and youthful, and dexterous and swift of hand. Who else, save Bhishma, the son of Santanu, or Krishna, the son of
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus raged that conflict with weapons between those warriors conversant with all weapons. And when that conflict of celestial weapons ceased, then commenced a conflict with arrows. And Jishnu approaching his opponent, cut of with an arrow sharp like a razor the gold-decked bow of Bhishma. Within the twinkling of the eye, however, Bhishma, that mighty-armed and great car-warrior, took up another bow and stringed it. And inflamed with wrath, he showered upon Dhananjaya a cloud of arrows. And Arjuna, too, endued with great energy, rained upon Bhishma innumerable sharp-pointed and keen-edged arrows. And Bhishma also shot clouds of arrows upon Pandu’s son. And conversant with celestial weapons and engaged in shooting and each other, arrows of keen points, no distinction, O king, could then be perceived between those illustrious warriors. And that mighty car-warrior, Kunti’s son, covered with a diadem, and the heroic son of Santanu, obscured the ten directions with their arrows. And the Pandava covered Bhishma, and Bhishma also covered the Pandava, with clouds of shafts. And, O king, wonderful was this combat that took place in this world of men. And the heroic warriors that protected Bhishma’s car, slain by the son of Pandu, fell prostrate, O monarch, beside the car of Kunti’s son. And the feathery arrows of Svetavahana, shot from the Gandiva, fell in all directions as if with the object of making a wholesale slaughter of the foe. And issuing forth from his car those blazing arrows furnished with golden wings looked like rows of swans in the sky. And all the celestials with Indra, stationed in the firmament, gazed with wonder upon another celestial weapon hurled with great force by that wonderful archer Arjuna. And beholding that wonderful weapon of great beauty, the mighty Gandiva, Chitrasena, highly pleased, addressed the lord of celestials, saying, ’Behold these arrows shot by Partha coursing through the sky in one continuous line. Wonderful is the dexterity of Jishnu in evolving this celestial weapon! Human beings are incapable of shooting such a weapon, for it does not exist among men. How wonderful again is this concourse of mighty weapons existing from days of
’Thus addressed by the Gandharva about that combat between Partha and Bhishma, the lord of the celestials, O Bharata, paid proper respect unto both by a shower of celestial flowers. Meanwhile, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, assailed Arjuna on the left side, while that drawer of the bow with either hands was on the point of piercing him. And at this, Vibhatsu, laughing aloud, cut off with an arrow of keen edge and furnished with vulturine wings, the bow of Bhishma, that hero of solar effulgence. And then Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, pierced Bhishma in the breast with ten shafts although the latter was contending with all his prowess. And sorely afflicted with pain Ganga’s son of mighty arms and irresistible in battle, stood for a long time leaning on the pole of his car. And beholding him deprived of consciousness the driver of his car-steeds, calling to mind the instructions about protecting the warriors when in a swoon, led him away for safety.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’After Bhishma had fled, leaving the van of battle, the illustrious son of Dhritarashtra hoisting high flag approached Arjuna, bow in hand and setting up a loud roar. And with a spear-headed shaft shot from his bow stretched to the ear, he pierced on the forehead of that terrible bowman of fierce prowess, Dhanajaya, ranging amidst the foes. And pierced with that keen shaft of golden point on the forehead, that hero of famous deeds looked resplendent, O king, like unto a beautiful hill with a single peak. And cut by that arrow, the warm life-blood gushed out profusely from the wound. And the blood trickling down his body shone beautifully like a wreath of golden flowers. And struck by Duryodhana with the shaft, the swift-handed Arjuna of unfailing strength, swelling with rage, pierced the king in return, taking up arrows that were endued with the energy of snakes of virulent poison. And Duryodhana of formidable energy attacked Partha, and Partha also, that foremost of heroes, attacked Duryodhana. And it was that those foremost of men, both born in the race of Ajamida, struck each other alike in the combat. And then (seated) on an infuriate elephant huge as a mountain and supported by four cars, Vikarna rushed against Jishnu, the son of Kunti. And beholding that huge elephant, advancing with speed, Dhananjaya struck him on the head between the temples with an iron arrow of great impetus shot from the bow-string stretched to the ear. And
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus summoned to battle by the illustrious hero, Dhritarashtra’s son turned back stung by those censures, like an infuriate and mighty elephant pricked by a hook. And stung by those reproaches and unable to bear them, that mighty and brave car-warrior endued with great swiftness, turned back on his car, like a snake that is trampled under foot. And beholding Duryodhana turn back with his wounds, Karna, that hero among men, decked with a golden necklace, stopped the king on the way and soothing him, himself proceeded along the north of Duryodhana’s car to meet Partha in battle. And the mighty-armed Bhishma also, the son of Santanu, turning back his steeds decked with gold, enormous in size, and of tawny hue, rushed bow in hand, for protecting Duryodhana from Partha’s hand.
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having listened to the words of the grandsire that tended to his own welfare, the wrathful king Duryodhana no longer eager for battle, drew a deep sigh and became silent. And reflecting that the advice of Bhishma was beneficial and seeing that the Pandavas gaining in strength, the other warriors also, desirous of protecting Duryodhana, resolved to return. And beholding those foremost of Kuru heroes departing for their city, Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, with a cheerful heart followed them for a while, desirous of addressing and worshipping them. And having worshipped the aged grandsire—the son of Santanu, as also the preceptor Drona, and having saluted with beautiful arrows Drona’s son and Kripa and other venerable ones among the Kurus, the son of Pritha broke into fragments Duryodhana’s crown decked with precious gems, with another arrow. And having saluted all the venerable and brave warriors thus, he filled the three worlds with the twang of the Gandiva. And suddenly blowing his conch called Devadatta, the hero pierced the hearts of all his foes. And having humbled the hostile, he looked resplendent on his car decked with a handsome flag. And beholding the Kurus depart, Kiritin cheerfully said unto Matsya’s son, ’Turn back thy steeds; thy kine have been recovered; the foe is going away and do thou also return to thy city with a cheerful heart.’ And the celestials also, having witnessed that most wonderful encounter between Falguna and the Kurus, were highly delighted, and went to their respective abodes, reflecting upon Partha’s feats.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having vanquished the Kurus in battle, that one with eyes like those of a bull brought back that profuse cattle wealth of Virata. And while the Dhritarashtra, after their rout, were going away, a large number of Kuru-soldiers issuing out of the deep forest appeared with slow steps before Partha, their hearts afflicted with fear. And they stood before him with joined palms and with hair dishevelled. And fatigued with hunger and thirst, arrived in a foreign land, insensible with terror, and confused in mind, they all bowed down unto the son of Pritha and said,—We are thy slaves.’
“Arjuna said, ’Welcome, blessed be ye. Go ye away. Ye have no cause of fear. I will not take the lives of them that are afflicted. Ye have my assurance of protection.
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of assurance, the assembled warriors greeted him with benedictions in praise of his achievements and fame and wishing him long life. And the Kauravas were unable to confront Arjuna while after routing the foe he proceeded towards the city of Virata, like an elephant with rent temples. And having routed the whole army of the Kuru like a violent wind scattering the clouds, that slayer of foes, Partha, regardfully addressing the prince of Matsya, said, ’It is known to thee alone, O child, that the sons of Pritha are all living with thy father. Do not eulogise them upon entering the city, for then the king of the Matsyas may hide himself in fear. On the other hand, entering the city, do thou proclaim in the presence of thy father that the deed is thy own, saying,—By me hath the army of the Kurus been vanquished and by me have the kine been recovered from the foe!’
“Uttara said, ’The feat thou hast achieved is beyond my power. I do not possess the ability to achieve it. I shall not, however, O Savyasachin, discover thee to my father, as long as thou wilt not tell me to do it.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having vanquished the hostile army and wrested the whole of the cattle wealth from the Kurus, Jishnu returned again to the cemetery and having approached the same Sami tree stood there with body mangled by the arrows of the enemy. Then that terrible monkey blazing like fire ascended into the sky with those other creatures in the flag-staff. And the illusion created (by Viswakarma) melted away and Uttara’s own banner bearing the device of a lion was set up on the car again. And having replaced the arrows and quivers of those foremost of the Kuru princes, and also that other weapon the (Gandiva) which enhances the fierceness of a battle, the illustrious prince of Matsya set out for the city with a glad heart, having Kiritin as his charioteer. And having achieved an exceedingly mighty feat and slain the foe, Partha also, that slayer of foes, binding his hair into a braid as before, took the reins from Uttara’s hands. And that illustrious hero entered the city of Virata, with a cheerful heart rehabilitating himself as Vrihannala, the car-driver of Uttara.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’When all the Kauravas utterly routed and vanquished, set out in a dejected mood for Hastinapura, Falguna, on his way back, addressed Uttara, saying, ’O prince, O hero of mighty arms, seeing the kine escorted in advance of us by the cowherds, we shall enter Virata’s metropolis in the afternoon, having tended the steeds with drink and a bath. Let the cowherds, despatched by thee, speedily repair to the city with the good news and proclaim thy victory.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Agreeable to Arjuna’s words, Uttara speedily ordered the messengers, saying, ’Go ye and proclaim the king’s victory. The foe hath been routed, and the kine have been recovered. And the Matsya and the Bharata princes having thus consulted together re-approached the same Sami tree. And gratified with the victory they had won, and arrived at the foot of the Sami tree, they wore on their persons and took up on their car the ornaments and robes they had left there. And having vanquished the whole hostile army and recovered the whole of the wealth from the Kurus, the heroic son of Virata returned to the city with Vrihannala as his car-driver.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having speedily recovered his wealth Virata owning a large army entered his city with a cheerful heart, accompanied by the four Pandavas. And having vanquished the Trigartas in battle and recovered all the kine, that mighty monarch, along with the sons of Pritha, looked resplendent and blazed forth in beauty. And as the brave king, that enhancer of the joys of friends, was seated on his throne, all his subjects headed by the Brahmanas stood before him. And worshipped by them, the king of the Matsyas, at the head of his army, saluted the Brahmanas and his subjects in return and dismissed them cheerfully. And Virata, the king of the Matsyas owning a large army, enquired after Uttara, saying, ‘Where hath Uttara gone?’ And the women and the maidens of the palace and the other females living in the inner apartments joyfully said unto him, ’Our kine having been seized by the Kurus, Bhuminjaya incensed at this and from excess of bravery hath issued forth alone with only Vrihannala as his second, for vanquishing the six mighty car-warriors, Bhishma the son of Santanu, and Kripa, and Karna, and Duryodhana, and Drona, and Drona’s son who have all come with the Kuru army.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then king Virata, hearing that his brave son had gone forth with only one car and with Vrihannala as his car-driver, became filled with grief, and addressing his chief counsellors, said, ’Without doubt, the Kauravas and other lords of earth, learning the defeat of the Trigartas, will never keep their ground. Therefore, let those of my warriors that have not been wounded by the Trigartas go out, accompanied by a mighty force, for the protection of Uttara.’ And saying this, the king speedily despatched, for the sake of his son, horses and elephants and cars and a large number of foot-soldiers, equipped and decked with various kinds of weapons and ornaments. And it was thus that Virata, the king of the Matsyas, owning a large army, quickly ordered out a large division consisting of four kinds of troops. And having done this, he said, ’Learn ye, without loss of time whether the prince liveth still or not! I myself think that he who hath got a person of the neuter sex for his car-driver is not alive.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then king Yudhishthira the just, smilingly said unto the afflicted king Virata, ’If, O monarch, Vrihannala hath been his charioteer, the foe will never be able to take away thy kine today. Protected by that charioteer, thy son will be able to vanquish in battle all the lords of earth allied with the Kurus, indeed, even the gods and the Asuras and the Siddhas and the Yakshas together.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Meanwhile, the swift-footed messengers despatched by Uttara, having reached Virata’s city, gave tidings of the victory. And the minister-in-chief then informed the king of everything, viz., the great victory that had been won, the defeat of the Kurus, and the expected arrival of Uttara. And he said, ’All the kine have been brought back, the Kurus have been defeated, and Uttara, that slayer of foes, is well with his car-driver.’ Then Yudhishthira said, ’By good luck it is that the kine have been recovered and the Kurus routed. I do not, however, regard it strange that thy son should have vanquished the Kurus, for his victory is assured that hath Vrihannala for his charioteer.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing of the victory of his son possessed of immeasurable might, king Virata became so glad that the bristles of his body stood erect. And having made presents of raiments unto the messengers, he ordered his ministers, saying, ’Let the highways be decorated with flags, and let all the gods and goddesses be worshipped with flowery offerings. And let princes and brave warriors, and musicians and harlots decked in ornaments, march out to receive my son. And let the bellman, speedily riding an intoxicated elephant, proclaim my victory at places where four roads meet. And let Uttara, too, in gorgeous attire and surrounded by virgins and chanters of eulogies, go forth to receive my son.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having listened to these words of the king, all the citizens with auspicious things in hand, and many amongst them with cymbals and trumpets and conchs, and beautiful women attired in gorgeous robes, and reciters of auspicious and sacred hymns, accompanied by encomiasts and minstrels, and drummers and other kinds of musicians issued forth from the city of the mighty Virata to welcome Uttara of immeasurable prowess. And having despatched troops and maidens and courtezens decked in ornaments, the wise king of the Matsyas cheerfully said these words, ’O Sairindhri, fetch the dice. And, O Kanka, let the play commence.’ The son of Pandu replied, saying, ’We have heard it said that one whose heart is filled with joy should not play with a cunning gambler. I do not therefore, dare gamble with thee that are so transported with joy. I am ever desirous of doing what is for thy good. Let the play, however, commence if it pleases thee.’
“Virata said, ’My female slaves and kine, my gold and whatsoever other wealth I have, nothing of all this shall thou be able to protect today even if I do not gamble.’ Kanka said in reply, ’O monarch, O bestower of honours, what business hast thou with gamble which is attended with numerous evils? Gambling is fraught with many evils; it should, therefore, be shunned. Thou mayst have seen or at least heard of Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu. He lost his extensive and prosperous kingdom and his god-like brothers at dice. For this, I am averse to gambling. But if thou likest, O king, I will play.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’While the play was going on, Matsya said unto the son of Pandu, ’Lo, the Kauravas that are so formidable have been vanquished in battle by my son.’ Upon this, the illustrious king Yudhishthira said, ’Why should not he conquer that hath Vrihannala for his charioteer?’
’Thus addressed, King Matsya became angry and said unto Pandu’s son, ’Thou wretch of a Brahmana, dost thou compare one of the neuter sex with my son! Hast thou no knowledge of what is proper and what improper for one to say? Without doubt, thou disregardest me. Why should not my son vanquish all those with Bhishma and Drona as their leaders? O Brahmana, for friendship only I pardon thee this thy offence. Thou must not, however, say so again if thou wishest to live.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’There where Bhishma and Drona and Drona’s son and the son of Vikartana and Kripa and king Duryodhana and other royal and mighty car-warriors are assembled or there where Indra himself is surrounded by the Maruts, what other person than Vrihannala can fight, encountering them all! None hath been, none will be, his equal in strength of arms! Indeed, it is Vrihannala only whose heart is filled with joy at sight of a terrible conflict. It is he who had vanquished the celestials and the Asuras and human beings fighting together. With such a one for his ally, why should not thy son conquer the foe? Virata said, ’Repeatedly forbidden by me, thou dost not yet restrain thy tongue. If there is none to punish, no one would practise virtue.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Saying this, the king inflamed with anger forcibly struck Yudhishthira in the face with a dice, and reproached him angrily, saying, ’Let it not occur again! And having been violently struck, blood began to flow from his nose. But the son of Pritha held it in his hands before it fell on the ground. And the virtuous Yudhishthira then glanced at Draupadi who was standing by his side. Ever obedient to the wishes of her lord, the faultless Draupadi, understanding his meaning, and bringing a golden vessel filled with water, received the blood that flowed from his nose. Meanwhile; Uttara, entertained with sweet perfumes of diverse kinds and decked with floral chaplets, slowly entered the city, received with respect by the citizens, the women, and the people of the provinces. And approaching
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then Bhuminjaya, the eldest son of the king, entered, and having worshipped the feet of his father approached Kanka. And he beheld Kanka covered with blood, and seated on the ground at one end of the court, and waited upon by the Sairindhri. And seeing this, Uttara asked his father in a hurry, saying, ’By whom, O king, hath this one been struck? By whom hath this sinful act been perpetrated?’
“Virata said, ’This crooked Brahmana hath been struck by me. He deserveth even more than this. When I was praising thee, he praised that person of the third sex.’
“Uttara said, ’Thou hast, O king, committed an improper act. Do thou speedily propitiate him so that the virulent poison of a Brahmana’s curse may not consume thee to thy roots!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having heard the words of his son, Virata, that enhancer of the limits of his kingdom, began to soothe Kunti’s son, who was like unto a fire hid in ashes, for obtaining his forgiveness. And unto the king desirous of obtaining his pardon the Pandava replied, ’O king, I have long ago forgiven it. Anger I have none. Had this blood from my nostrils fallen on the ground, then, without doubt, thou, O monarch, wouldst have been destroyed with thy kingdom. I do not, however, blame thee, O king, for having struck an innocent person. For, O king, they that are powerful generally act with unreasoning severity.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’When the bleeding had stopped, Vrihannala entered (the council-room) and having saluted both Virata and Kanka, stood silent. And the king, having appeased the chief of the Kurus, began to praise, in Savyasachin’s hearing, Uttara who had returned from the battle. And the king said, ’O enhancer of the joys of Kekaya’s princess, in thee have I truly a son! I never had nor shall have, a son that is equal to thee! How, indeed, couldst thou, O Child, encounter that Karna who leaveth not a single mark unhit amongst even a thousand that he may aim at all at once? How couldst thou, O child, encounter that Bhishma who hath no equal in the whole world of men? How also couldst thou, O child, encounter Drona, that foremost
“Uttara said, ’The kine have not been recovered by me, nor have the foe been vanquished by me. All that hath been accomplished by the son of a deity. Capable of striking like a thunderbolt, that youth of celestial origin, beholding me running away in fear, stopped me and himself mounted on my car. It was by him that the kine have been recovered and the Kauravas vanquished. The deed, O father, is that hero’s and not mine. It was he that repulsed with arrows Kripa and Drona and Drona’s son of powerful energy, and the Suta’s son and Bhishma. That mighty hero then spoke unto the affrighted prince Duryodhana who was running away like the leader of a head of elephants, these words, ’O prince of the Kuru race, I do not see that thou art safe by any means even at Hastinapura. Protect thy life by putting forth thy might. Thou shalt not escape me by flight. Therefore, make up thy mind for fight. If victorious, the sovereignty of the earth will be thine, or if slain, heaven itself will be thine.’
’Thus addressed, king Duryodhana—that tiger among men surrounded by his counsellors,—sighing on his car like a snake turned back, showered arrows endued with the speed and force of thunderbolts. Beholding all this, venerable sire, my thighs began to quake. Then that celestial youth pierced with arrows the Kuru army consisting of leonine warriors. And having pierced and afflicted that crowd of cars, that youth, stout as the lion, laughed at them and robbed them of their clothes and attires. Indeed, the six great car-warriors of the Kurus were vanquished by that hero alone, even like herds of animals ranging in the forest by a single tiger in rage.’
“Virata said, ’Where is that mighty-armed and famous youth of celestial origin, that hero who recovered in battle my wealth that had been seized by the Kurus? I am anxious to behold and worship that mighty warrior of celestial origin who hath saved thee and my kine also.’
“Uttara replied, ’The mighty son of a deity disappeared there and then. I think, however, that he will show himself either tomorrow or the day after.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Virata, that owner of a large army, remained ignorant of the son of Pandu who was thus described unto him by Uttara, and who was living in the palace in disguise. And permitted by the high-souled Virata, Partha presented with his own hands the garments he had brought, unto Virata’s daughter. And the beautiful Uttara, obtaining those new and costly clothes of diverse kinds, became highly glad, along with the son of the Matsya king.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then, on the third day, attired in white robes after a bath, and decked in ornaments of all kinds, those great car-warriors, the five Pandava brothers, having accomplished their row, and with Yudhishthira at their head, looked resplendent as they entered the palace-gate like five intoxicated elephants. And having entered the council-hall of Virata, they took their seats on the thrones reserved for kings, and shone brilliantly like fires on the sacrificial altar. And after Pandavas had taken their seats, Virata, that lord of earth, came there for holding his council and discharging other royal offices. And beholding the illustrious Pandavas blazing like fires, the king reflected for a moment. And them, filled with wrath, the Matsya king spoke unto Kanka seated there like a celestial and looking like the lord of celestials surrounded by the Maruts. And he said, ’A player at dice thou wert employed by me as a courtier! How couldst thou occupy the royal seat thus attired in handsome robes and ornaments?”
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of Virata, O king, and desirous of jesting with him, Arjuna smilingly said in reply, ’This person, O king, deserveth to occupy the same seat with Indra himself. Devoted to the Brahmanas, acquainted with the Vedas, indifferent to luxury and carnal enjoyments, habitually performing sacrifices, steady in vows, this one, indeed, is the very embodiment of virtue, The foremost of all Persons endued with energy and superior to every body on earth in intelligence, devoted to asceticism, he is conversant with various weapons. No other person among the mobile and immobile creatures of the three worlds possesseth or will ever possess such knowledge of weapons. And there is none even amongst the gods, or Asuras, or men, or Rakshasas, or Gandharvas, or Yaksha chiefs, or Kinnaras—or mighty Uragas, who is like him. Endued with great foresight and energy, beloved by the citizens and inhabitants of the provinces, he is the mightiest of car-warriors amongst the sons of Pandu. A performer of sacrifices, devoted to morality, and of subdued passions, like unto a great Rishi, this royal sage is celebrated over all the worlds. Possessed of great strength and great intelligence, able and truthful, he hath all his senses under complete control. Equal unto Indra in wealth and Kuvera in hoarding, he is the protector of the worlds like unto Manu himself of mighty prowess. Endued with great might, he is even such. Kind unto all creatures he is no other than the bull of the Kuru race, king Yudhishthira the just. The achievements of this king resemble the sun himself of blazing effulgence. And his fame hath travelled in all directions like the rays of that luminary. And like the rays following the risen sun of blazing effulgence, ten thousand swift elephants followed him, O king, when he dwelt among the Kurus. And, O king, thirty thousand
“Virata said, ’If this one, indeed, be the Kuru king Yudhisthira the son of Kunti, which amongst these is his brother Arjuna, and which, the mighty Bhima. Which of these is Nakula, and which Sahadeva and where is the celebrated Draupadi? After their defeat at dice, the sons of Pritha have not been heard of by any one.’
“Arjuna said, ’Even this one, O king, who is called Vallava and is thy cook, is that Bhima of mighty arms and terrible prowess and furious impetus. It was he who slew the furious Rakshasas on the mountains of Gandhamadana, and procured for Krishna celestial flowers of great fragrance. Even he is that Gandharva, who slew the Kichaka of wicked soul and it was he who killed tigers and bears and boars in the inner apartment of thy palace. He who had been the keeper of thy horse is that slayer of foes called Nakula, and this one is Sahadeva, the keeper of thy kine. Both these sons of Madri are great car-warriors, possessed of great fame and beauty of person. These two bulls of the Bharata race, attired in handsome robes and decked in excellent ornaments, are a match for a thousand great car-warriors. And even this lady of eyes like lotus-petals and slender-waist and sweet smiles is Drupada’s daughter, thy wife’s Sairindhri, for whose sake, O king, the Kichakas were slain. I am, O king, Arjuna who, it is evident, thou hast heard, is that son of Pritha, who is Bhima’s junior and the senior of the twins! We have, O king, happily passed in thy abode the period of non-discovery, like infants in the womb!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’After Arjuna had pointed out those heroes—the five Pandavas, the son of Virata then spoke of Arjuna’s prowess. And Uttara once again identified the sons of Pritha. And the prince said, ’That one whose complexion is bright like that of pure gold, who is stout like a full-grown lion, whose nose is so prominent, whose eyes are large and expansive, and whose face is broad and of coppery hue, is the king of the Kurus. And behold, that one whose tread is like that of an infuriate elephant, whose complexion is like that of heated gold, whose shoulders are broad and expanded, and whose arms are long and thick, is Vrikodara. And he who stands by his side, that youth of darkish hue, who is like unto a leader of a herd of elephants, whose shoulders are broad like those of a lion, whose tread is like that of a mighty elephant, and whose eyes are large and expansive like lotus-leaves, is Arjuna that foremost of bowmen. All lo, close to the king, are those foremost of men, the twins, like unto Vishnu and Indra, and who have no equals, in the world of men, in beauty, might, and behaviour. And close by them, behold, standeth Krishna, beautiful as gold, like unto the very embodiment of light, possessing the complexion of the blue lotus, like unto a celestial damsel, and resembling the living embodiment of Lakshmi herself.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then Virata’s son began to describe the prowess of Arjuna, saying, ’Even this one is he that slew the foe, like unto a lion devastating a flock of deer. Even he ranged through, crowds of hostile cars, slaying their best of car-warriors. By him was slain a huge, infuriate elephant by means of a single arrow. Pierced by him, that huge beast having its flanks adorned with an armour of gold, fell down piercing the earth with his tusks. By him have the kine been recovered and the Kauravas vanquished in battle. My ears have been deafened by the blare of his conch. It was by this hero of fierce deeds that Bhishma and Drona, along with Duryodhana, were vanquished. That achievement is his and not mine.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of his, the mighty king of the Matsyas, considering himself guilty of having offended Yudhishthira, said unto Uttara in reply, ’I think the time hath come for me to propitiate the sons of Pandu. And, if thou likest, I shall bestow my daughter Uttara upon Arjuna.’
“Uttara said, ’Worthy of our adorations and worship and respect, the time hath come for worshipping the illustrious sons of Pandu who deserve to be worshipped by us.’
“Virata said, ’When brought under the foe’s subjection in battle, it was Bhimasena that rescued me. My kine also have been recovered by Arjuna. It is through the might of their arms that we have obtained victory in battle. Such being the case, all of us, with our counsellors, shall propitiate Yudhishthira the son of Kunti. Blessed be thou, with all thy brothers, O bull among the sons of Pandu. If, O king, we have ever said or done anything in ignorance to offend thee, it behoveth thee to forgive us. The son of Pandu is virtuous.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then the high-souled Virata, delighted greatly, approached king Yudhishthira and made an alliance with him, and offered him his whole kingdom together with the sceptre and treasury and metropolis. And addressing all the Pandavas, and especially Dhananjaya, the mighty king of the Matsyas repeatedly said, ’By good luck it is that I see you.’ And having again and again embraced Yudhishthira and Bhima and the sons of Madri, and smelt their heads, Virata, that owner of a large army, was not satiated with gazing at them. And being highly pleased, he said unto king Yudhishthira, ’By good luck it is that I see you safe from woods. By good luck it is that ye have accomplished with difficulty the period of exile, undiscovered by those wicked wights. I make over my entire kingdom to the sons of Pritha, and what else I have. Let the sons of Pandu accept these without the slightest hesitation. And let Dhananjaya, called also Savyasachin, accept the hand of Uttara: for that best of men is fit to be her lord.’ Thus addressed, king Yudhishthira the just cast a look upon Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha. And looked at by his brother, Arjuna said unto the Matsya king, ’O monarch, I accept thy daughter as my daughter-in-law. And alliance of this kind between the Matsya and the Bharatas is, indeed, desirable.’”
“Virata said, ’Why, O best among the Pandavas, dost thou not wish to accept as wife this my daughter that I bestow upon thee?’
“Arjuna said, ’Residing in thy inner apartments, I had occasion always to behold thy daughter, and she too, alone or in company trusted me as her father. Well-versed in singing and dancing, I was liked and regarded by her, and, indeed, thy daughter always regardeth me as her protector. O king, I lived for one whole year with her though she had attained the age of puberty. Under these circumstances, thyself or other men may not without reason, entertain suspicions against her or me. Therefore, O king, myself who am pure, and have my senses under control, beg to thee, O monarch, thy daughter as my daughter-in-law. Thus do I attest her purity. There is no difference between a daughter-in-law and a daughter, as also between a son and son’s own-self. By adopting this course, therefore, her purity will be proved. I am afraid of slanderous and false accusations. I accept, therefore, O king, thy daughter Uttara as my daughter-in-law. Surpassing all in knowledge of weapons, resembling a celestial youth in beauty, my son, the mighty-armed Abhimanyu is the favourite nephew of Vasudeva, the wielder of the discus. He, O king, is fit to be thy son-in-law and the husband of thy daughter.’
“Virata said, ’It behoveth the best of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, who is so virtuous and wise, to say this. O son of Pritha, do thou carry out what thou thinkest should be done after this. He that hath Arjuna for the father of his son-in-law, hath all his desires gratified.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’The monarch having said this, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, gave his assent to what was thus agreed upon between the Matsya king and Arjuna. And, O Bharata, the son of Kunti sent invitations to Vasudeva and to all his friends and relatives, and Virata also did the same. And then, after the expiry of the thirteenth year, the five Pandavas took up their abode in one of Virata’s towns called Upaplavya, and Vibhatsu, the son of Pandu, brought over Abhimanyu and Janardana, and also many people of the Dasarha race from the Anarta country. And the king of Kasi, and also Saivya, being very friendly to Yudhishthira, arrived there, each accompanied by an Akshauhini of troops. And the mighty Drupada, also with the heroic sons of Draupadi and the unvanquished Sikhandin, and that foremost of wielder of weapons, the invincible Dhrishtadyumna came there with another Akshauhini of troops. And all the kings that came were not only lords of Akshauhini, but performers of sacrifices with gifts in profusion to Brahmanas, conversant with the Vedas endued with heroism, and ready to die in battle. And beholding them arrived, that foremost of virtuous men, the king of the Matsyas, adored them duly, and entertained their troops and servants and carriers of burdens. And he was highly pleased to bestow his daughter upon Abhimanyu. And after the kings had come there from different parts of the country, there came Vasudeva decked in floral garlands, and Halayudha, and Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, and Yuyudhana, the son of Satyaki, and Anadhristi and Akrura, and Samva and Nisatha. And these repressers of foes came there bringing with them Abhimanyu and his mother. And Indrasena and others, having lived at Dwaraka for one whole year, came there, bringing with them the well adorned cars of the Pandavas. And there came also ten thousand elephants and ten thousand cars, and hundred millions of horses and hundred billions of foot-soldiers, and innumerable Vrishni and Andhaka and Bhoja warriors of great energy, in the train of that tiger among the Vrishnis, Vasudeva of great effulgence. And Krishna gave unto each of the illustrious sons of Pandu numerous female slaves, and gems and robes. And then the nuptial festival set in between the families of the Matsya king and the Pandavas. And then conchs and cymbals and horns and drums and other musical instruments appointed by the Pandavas, began to play in the palace of Virata. And deer of various kinds and clean animals by hundreds were slain. And wines of various kinds and intoxicating juices of trees were profusely collected. And mimes and bards and encomiasts, versed in singing and legendary lore, waited upon the kings, and chanted their praises and genealogies. And the matrons of the Matsyas of symmetrical bodies and limbs, and wearing ear-rings of pearls and gems, headed by Sudeshna, came to the place where the marriage knot was to be tied. And amongst those beautiful females of
The end of Virata Parva
1. Brahma Vadini—Nilakantha explains this as Krishna-kirtanasila.
2. This speech of Vaisampayana is not included in some texts within the second section. To include it, however, in the third, is evidently a mistake.
3. The sloka commencing with Adushta and ending ratheshu cha does not occur in texts except those in Bengal.
4. A difference reading is observable here. The sense, however, is the same.
5. An independent female artisan working in another person’s house.—Wilson.
6. Some of the Bengal text and Sarvastramaya for Sarvamantramaya. The former is evidently incorrect.
7. This is a very difficult sloka. Nilakantha adopts the reading Sanjayet. The Bengal editions read Sanjapet. If the latter be the correct reading, the meaning then would be,—’Let none talk about what transpires in the presence of the king. For those even that are poor, regard it as a grave fault.’ The sense evidently is that the occurrences in respect of a king which one witnesses should not be divulged. Even they that are powerless regard such divulgence of what occurs in respect of them as an insult to them, and, therefore, inexcusable.
8. The Bengal editions, read Rajna in the instrumental case. Following a manuscript text of a Pandit of my acquaintance I read Rajnas in the genitive.
9. Mahishasura, the son of Rambhasura. Durga had to fight for many many years before she could slay this formidable Asura. The story occurs in the Markandeya Purana. To this day, Bengal during the great Durga Puja festival in autumn, worships the goddess with great veneration.
10. Literally, one that rescues from difficulty.
11. Kamachara is explained by Nilakantha thus, although in other places it bears a quite different meaning.
12. Krita—attack; Pratikrita—warding it off; Sankata—clenched Some texts read Sankatakais. The meaning then would be ‘cased in gauntlets.’
13. Bhuti, Hri, Sri, Kirti and Kanti are respectively the feminine embodiments of Prosperity, Modesty, Beauty, Fame and Loveliness.
14. What Draupadi means is that instead of passing her days in joy and happiness, instead of being able to wish time to be stationary with her, she is obliged in consequence of her misery, to wish time to pass off quickly.
15. Jayate asyas—i.e., she from whom one is born.
16. Some texts read, Vilwam nagaviodhara—i.e., ’As an elephant lifts up a vela fruit.’
17. Veri means both a kettle-drum and a trumpet. The latter however conveys a better meaning here.
18. Literature, force of his thighs.
19. What Bhima says is this.—Then Gandharvas, your husbands, are always obedient to thee! If they have been able to do thee a service, they have only repaid a debt.
20. Krita-krita—Nilakantha explains this to mean ’imagining themselves to have achieved success in their mission’ for having learnt of Kichaka’s death, they could readily guess the presence of the Pandavas there. This is too far-fetched and does not at all agree with the spirit of their report to Duryodhana below. And then the same word occurs in the very last line of the Section. I take it that in both places the word has been used in the same sense.
21. This is a very difficult sloka. I am not sure that I have understood it alright. Both Nilakantha and Arjuna Misra are silent. Instead of depending, however, on my own intelligence, I have consulted several friends who have read the Mahabharata thoroughly. The grammatical structure is easy. The only difficulty consists in the second half of the sloka. The meaning, however, I have given is consistent with the tenor of Bhishma’s advice.
22. Indicating the unobstructed completion of the sacrifice.
23. The word tirtha here means, as Nilakantha rightly explains spies and not holy spots.
24. Satram is explained by Nilakantha to mean here ‘false disguise.’ I think, however, such an interpretation to be far-fetched. It evidently means ’forest’,—the use of ‘pravisteshu’ in connection with it almost settles the point.
25. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have seen. The reading that I adopt is that the second word is the participle of the root budh and not the instrumental of budhi; the last word again of the second line is a compound of valavatsu and avaleshu instead of (as printed in many books) valavatswavaleshu. Any other reading would certainly be incorrect. I have not consulted the Bombay text.
26. Bhagasas lit., each in its proper place. It may also mean, ’according to their respective division.’
27. Kalyana-patalam is explained by Nilakantha to mean suvarna pattachchaditam.
28. One of the generals of Virata.
29. Some differences of reading are noticeable here, for Yasaswinau some texts read Manaswinau, and for Vahusamravdhau-Vahusanrambhat; and for Nakha-naki—Ratha-rathi.
30. Some texts read Ghanabiva for Ghanarva. The latter is unquestionably better in form.
31. The word in the original is Muhurta equal to 48 minutes. Nilakantha points out very ingeniously that the night being the seventh of the dark fortnight, the moon would not rise till after 14 Dandas from the hour of sunset, a Danda being equal to 24 minutes. A Muhurta, therefore implies not 48 minutes exactly, but some time.
32. Some Vikshyainam, Nilakantha explains Sama as a word spoken by Bhima for assuring the captive Virata, and Vikshya as ‘assuring’ or ’consoling by a glance.’ Perhaps this is right.
33. The adjective Bhima-sankasas as explained by Nilakantha is in this sense, quoting the celebrated simile of Valmiki.
34. To understand the comparison would require in the reader a knowledge of the mechanism of the Indian Vina. Briefly, the Vina consists of a bamboo of about cubits attached to two gourds towards its ends. Along the bamboo which serves the purpose of a finger-board, is the main chord and several thinner wires. All these pass over a number of frets, two and a half heptachords, representing the total compass of the instrument. The wires rest towards their ends on two pieces of ivory called Upadhanas in Sanskrit or Swaris in Urdu.
35. Some read kaniasi for vaviasi. Both words are the same, and mean the same thing.
36. Vedi-Vilagna madhya—Vedi in this connection means a wasp and not, as explained by Mallinatha in his commentary of the Kumarasambhava, a sacrificial platform. I would remark in passing that many of the most poetic and striking adjectives in both the Raghu and the Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa are borrowed unblushingly from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
37. Padma patrabha-nibha may also mean ’of the splendour of the gem called Marakata.’ Nilakantha, however, shows that this would militate against the adjective Kankojwalatwacham below.
38. The princess being of the complexion of burnished gold and Arjuna dark as a mass of clouds, the comparison is exceedingly appropriate. The Vaishnava poets of Bengal never tire of this simile in speaking of Radha and Krishna in the groves of Vrindavana.
39. The words in the original is pranayam, lit., love. Nilakantha, however, explains it as meaning modesty, humility. I think, Nilakantha is right. The relations between Arjuna and the princess were like those between father and daughter.
40. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have seen. The Burdwan Pandits read tat-samim. This I think, is correct, but then asasada in the singular when the other verbs are all dual seems to be correct. The poet must have used some other verb in the dual for asasada.
41. Some texts read Diptasya for Diptayam.
42. This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by Sanskrit writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in the present instance consists in Drona’s unwillingness to identify the solitary hero with Arjuna, in the midst of all his hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation referring to Bhishma, the son of the river Ganga. Lankesa-vanari-ketu is simply ‘ape-bannered,’ or as rendered in the text, having the devastator of the gardens of Lanka’s lord for the sign of his banner. Nagahvaya is ‘named after tree’ for Arjuna is the name of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu is ’Indra’s son’,—Indra being the foe of mountain, for formerly it was he who cut off the wings of all mountains and compelled them to be stationary. He failed only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.
43. Indian insects of a particular kind.
44. Most editions read chapas which is evidently wrong. The correct reading is avapas, meaning quiver. The Burdwan Pandits give this latter reading.
45. Some read chandrargha-darsanas. The correct reading is chandrardha-darsanas.
46. Most editions read hema-punkha and silasita in the instrumental plural; the correct reading is their nominative plural forms.
47. Sayaka means here, as explained by Nilakantha, a sword, and not a shaft.
48. From the colour of his steeds.
49. Nilakantha spends much learning and ingenuity in making out that sixty-five years in this connection means thirty-two years of ordinary human computation.
50. Some texts read,—’One large meteor fell.’
51. In some editions read,—Bharata dwijam, and Maha-hardam for maha-drumam. The meaning would then be,—’The banners (of the hostile army) began to tremble in the sky, and large lakes were agitated.”
52. Some texts read Maharatham (incorrectly) for hiranmayan. Indeed, Maharatham would give no meaning in this connection. The incomplete edition of the Roy Press under the auspices of the Principal of the Calcutta Sanskrit College abounds with such incorrect readings and misprints.
53. The Roy Press edition adds here a line which looks very much like an interpolation.
54. The true reading is Acharya in the dual number, meaning Drona and Kripa. Some texts read the word in the singular form. Nilakantha notices both these reading, but prefers the dual to the singular.
55. The meaning is rather doubtful. Duryodhana seems to say that ’the hostile appearance of Arjuna has been an act of imprudence on his part. The Pandavas, after the expiry of the thirteenth year, would claim their kingdom. I, Duryodhana, may or may not accede to their demand. When, therefore, it was not certain that Arjuna would be refused by me, his hostile appearance is unwise. He has come sure of victory, but he may yet be defeated.’
56. The sense seems to be that when moralists even are puzzled in judging of the propriety or otherwise of their acts, it can easily be imagined that the Pandavas, however virtuous, have, in the matter of this their appearance, acted wrongly, for, after all, the thirteenth year may not have really been over as believed by them. Or, it may mean, that as regards our presence here, we have not acted imprudently when even moralists cannot always arrive at right conclusion. It seems that for this Duryodhana proceeds to justify that presence in the following sentences.
Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text
Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2004. Proofed by John Bruno Hare, October 2004.
Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara the most exalted of male beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then those valiant descendants of Kuru, who belonged to the same party (with Virata), having joyfully celebrated the nuptials of Abhimanyu and rested themselves that night, presented themselves at dawn, well pleased, in the court of Virata, And the chamber of the king of the Matsya was full of riches, and variegated with choice gems and precious stones, with seats methodically arranged, adorned with garlands, and filled with fragrance. And those mighty monarchs of men all came to that place, And on the seats in front sat the two kings Virata and Drupada. And the revered and aged rulers of the earth, and Valarama and Krishna along with their father, all sat there. And close to the king of Panchala was seated the great hero of the race of Sini, together with the son of Rohini. And side by side with the king of the Matsya sat Krishna and Yudhishthira, and all the sons of king Drupada, and Bhima and Arjuna, and the two sons of Madri, and Pradyumna and Samva, both valiant in battle, and Abhimanyu with Virata’s sons. And those princes, the sons of Draupadi, rivalling their fathers in valour, strength, grace, and prowess, sat upon excellent seats
“Baladeva said, ’You have all listened to the speech of him who is the elder brother of Gada, characterised as it is by a sense of virtue and prudence, and salutary alike to Yudhishthira and king Duryodhana. These valiant sons of Kunti are ready to give up half their kingdom, and they make this sacrifice for the sake of Duryodhana. The sons of Dhritarashtra, therefore, should give up half of the kingdom, and should rejoice and be exceedingly happy with us that the quarrel can be so satisfactorily settled. These mighty persons having obtained the kingdom would, no doubt, be pacified and happy, provided the opposite party behave well. For them to be pacified will redound to the welfare of men. And I should be well-pleased if somebody from here, with the view of pacifying both the Kurus and the Pandavas, should undertake a journey and ascertain what is the mind of Duryodhana and explain the views of Yudhishthira. Let him respectfully salute Bhishma the heroic scion of Kuru’s race, and the magnanimous son of Vichitravirya, and Drona along with his son, and Vidura and Kripa, and the king of Gandhara, along with the Suta’s son. Let him also pay his respects to all the other sons of Dhritarashtra, to all who are renowned for strength and learning, devoted to their proper duties, heroic, and conversant with signs of the times. When all these persons are gathered together and when also the elderly citizens are assembled, let him speak words full of humility and likely to serve the interests of Yudhishthira, At all events, let them not be provoked, for they have taken possession of the kingdom with a strong hand. When Yudhishthira had his throne, he forgot himself by being engaged in gambling and was dispossessed by them of his kingdom. This valiant Kuru, this descendant of Ajamida, Yudhishthira, though not skilled in dice and though dissuaded by all his friends, challenged the son of the king of Gandhara, an adept at dice, to the match. There
“Vaisampayana continued, ’While that valiant scion of Madhu’s race was even continuing his speech, the gallant son of the race of Sini suddenly rose up and indignantly condemned the words of the former by these words of his.’
“Satyaki said, ’Even as a man’s heart is, so doth he speak! Thou art speaking in strict conformity with the nature of thy heart. There are brave men, and likewise those that are cowards. Men may be divided into these two well defined classes. As upon a single large tree there may be two boughs one of which beareth fruits while the other doth not, so from the self-same line of progenitors may spring persons that are imbecile as well as those that are endowed with great strength O thou bearing the sign of a plough on thy banner, I do not, in sooth, condemn the words thou hast spoken, but I simply condemn those, O son of Madhu, who are listening to thy words! How, indeed, can he, who unblushingly dares attach even the slightest blame in the virtuous king Yudhishthira be permitted to speak at all in the midst of the assembly? Persons clever in the game of dice challenged the magnanimous Yudhishthira unskilled as he is in play, and confiding in them he was defeated! Can such persons be said to have virtuously won the game? If they had come to Yudhishthira while playing in this house with his brothers and defeated him there, then what they would have won would have been righteously won. But they challenged Yudhishthira who was bound in conscience to follow the rules observed by the military caste, and they won by a trick. What is there in this conduct of theirs that is righteous? And how can this Yudhishthira here, having performed to the utmost the stipulations entered into by way of stakes in the play, freed from the promise of a sojourn in the forest, and therefore entitled to his ancestral throne, humble himself? Even if Yudhishthira coveted other people’s possessions, still it would not behove him to beg! How can they be said to be righteous and not intent on usurping the throne when, although the Pandavas have lived out their
“Drupada said, ’O mighty-armed one, it will, without doubt, be even as thou hast said! Never will Duryodhana give up the kingdom by peaceful means, and Dhritarashtra, who dotes on his son, will follow him in his wish. And so will Bhishma and Drona from imbecility, and Karna and Sakuni from folly. The words of Valadeva command themselves to my judgment; the course pointed out by him should, indeed, be followed by a man who desires peaceful settlement. But Duryodhana should never be addressed in mild words. Vicious by nature, he, I believe cannot be brought to reason by mildness. In respect of an ass, mildness is in place; but in respect of animals of the bovine species, severity should be resorted to. If any one were to speak mild words to Duryodhana, vicious by nature that wicked wight would consider the speaker to be an imbecile person. If a mild course is adopted towards him, the fool will think that he has won. Let us do even this, let us make preparations; let us send word to our friends
“Krishna said, ’These worlds are worthy of the chief of the Somaka tribe, and are calculated to promote the interests of Pandu’s son of immeasurable strength. As we are desirous of adopting a politic course, this is, no doubt, our first duty; a man acting otherwise would be a great fool. But our relationship to both the Kurus and the Pandus is equal, howsoever these two parties may behave with each other. Both you and we have been invited here on the occasion of a marriage. The marriage having now been celebrated, let us go home well-pleased. You are the foremost of kings, both in years and learning; and here we all, no doubt are as if your pupils. Dhritarashtra
“Vaisampayana said, ’King Virata, then having honoured Krishna, sent him home with his followers and relatives. And after Krishna had set out for Dwaraka, Yudhishthira and his followers, with king Virata, began to make preparations for war. And Virata and his relatives sent word to all the monarchs, and king Drupada also did the same. And at the request of those lions of the Kuru race, as also of the two kings of the Matsyas and the Panchalas, many lords of the earth possessed of great strength, came to the place with cheerful hearts. And when the sons of Dhritarashtra heard that the Pandavas had collected a large army, they also assembled many rulers of the earth. And, O king, at that time the whole land became thronged with the rulers of the earth who were marching to espouse the cause of either the Kurus or the Pandavas. And the land was full of military bands composed of four kinds of forces. And from all sides the forces began to pour in. And the goddess Earth with her mountains and forests seemed to tremble beneath their tread. And the king of the Panchalas, having consulted the wishes of Yudhishthira, despatched to the Kurus his own priest, who was old both in years and understanding.’
“Drupada said, ’Of beings those that are endowed with life are superior. Of living beings those that are endowed with intelligence are superior. Of intelligent creatures men are superior. Of men the twice-born are superior. Of the twice-born, students of the Veda are superior. Of students of the Veda those of cultured understanding are superior. Of cultured men practical persons are superior. And finally, of practical men those knowing the Supreme Being are superior. You, it seems to me, are at the very top of those that are of cultured understanding. You are distinguished both for age and learning. You are equal in intellect to either Sukra or Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras. You know what kind of man the chief of the Kuru race is, and what kind of man also is Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. It was with Dhritarashtra’s knowledge that the Pandavas were-deceived by their opponents. Though instructed by Vidura he yet follows his son! Sakuni advisedly
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus instructed by the magnanimous Drupada, the virtuous priest set out for Hastinapura (the city called after the elephant). And that learned man, well-versed in the principles of the science of politics, started with a following of disciples towards the Kurus for the sake of promoting the welfare of Pandu’s sons.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having despatched the priest to the city called after the elephant they sent messengers to the kings of various countries. And having sent messengers to other places, the Kuru hero Dhananjaya, that bull among men and son of Kunti, himself set out for Dwaraka. And after Krishna and Valadeva, the descendants of Madhu, had both departed for Dwaraka with all the Vrishnis, the Andhakas and the Bhojas, by hundreds, the royal son of Dhritarashtra had, by sending secret emissaries, furnished himself with information of all the doings of the Pandavas. And learning that Krishna was on his way, the prince
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by Krishna, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti selected Kesava who was not to fight on the battle-field, even Narayana himself, the slayer of foes, increate, born among men at his own will,—the foremost of all Kshatriyas and above all the gods and the Danavas. And Duryodhana selected for himself that entire army (composed of the Narayanas). And, O descendant of Bharata, having obtained those troops numbering thousands upon thousands, he was exceedingly delighted, although he knew that Krishna was not on his side. And
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, Duryodhana embraced that hero wielding a plough for his weapon of battle, and although knowing that Krishna had been taken away from his side, he yet regarded Arjuna as already vanquished. And the royal son of Dhritarashtra then went to Kritavarman. And Kritavarman gave him a body of troops numbering an Akshauhini. And surrounded by that military host, terrible to behold, the Kaurava marched forth delighting his friends. And after Duryodhana had departed, Krishna, the Creator of the world, clad in yellow attire, addressed Kiritin, saying, ’For what reason is it that you have selected me who will not fight at all?’
“Thereupon Arjuna answered, ’I question not that you are able to slay them all. I also am alone capable of slaying them, O best of men. But you are an illustrious person in the world; and this renown will accompany you. I also am a suitor for fame; therefore, you have been selected by me. It hath been always my desire to have you for driving my car. I, therefore, ask you to fulfil my desire cherished for a long time.’
“Vasudeva’s son thereupon said, It beseems thee well, O Kunti’s son, that thou measurest thyself with me. I will act as thy charioteer; let thy wish be fulfilled.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then with a glad heart, Kunti’s son, accompanied by Krishna as well as by the flower of the Dasarha race, came back to Yudhishthira.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’O king, having learnt the news from the messengers, Salya, accompanied by a large body of troops and by his sons, all of whom were mighty in battle, was coming to the Pandavas. His encampment covered an area of one and a half yojana, so large was the force owned by that best of men. He was the master, O king, of an Akshauhini and had great prowess and valour. And there were in his army heroes bearing armour of various colours, with diverse kinds of banners and bows and ornaments and
“Duryodhana thereupon said, ’O thou auspicious one, let thy word be true, grant me a boon. I ask thee to be the leader of all my army.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’And hearing this, Salya said, ’Be it so! What else is to be done?’ And the son of Gandhari repeated again and again, ‘It is done.’ And Salya said, ’O Duryodhana, O best of men, go to thy own city. I shall proceed to pay a visit to Yudhishthira, the subduer of foes. O king, I shall speedily come back, O ruler of men. That best of men, Pandu’s son Yudhishthira, must, by all means, be visited by me.’ And bearing this Duryodhana said, ’O king, O ruler of the earth, having seen the Pandava, come speedily back. I depend entirely upon thee, O king of kings. Remember the boon that thou hast granted me.’ And Salya answered, ’Good betide thee! I shall come speedily back. Repair to thy own
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then, O descendant of Bharata, the king spoke of his meeting with Duryodhana and gave a detailed account regarding that promise of his and that boon granted by himself. And Yudhishthira said, O valiant king, it has been well-done by thee that being pleased at heart thou hast plighted thy truth to Duryodhana. But good betide thee, O ruler of the earth, I ask thee to do one thing only.
“Yudhishthira said, ’O foremost of monarchs, I wish to know how it was that great and unparalleled misery had to be endured by the illustrious Indra together with his queen.’
“Salya said, ’Listen, O king, to me as I relate this ancient story of the events of former days,—how, O descendant of Bharata, misery befell Indra and his wife. Once Twashtri, the lord of creatures and the foremost of celestials, was engaged in practising rigid austerities. And it is said that from antipathy to Indra he created a son having three heads. And that being of universal form possessed of great lustre hankered after Indra’s seat. And possessed of those three awful faces resembling the sun, the moon, and the fire, he read the Vedas with one mouth, drank wine with another, and looked with the third as if he would absorb all the cardinal points. And given to the practice of austerities, and mild being and self-controlled,
“Then the nymphs said, ’O Indra, O slayer of Vala, we shall so endeavour to allure him that thou wilt have nothing to fear at his hands. That very receptacle of austerities, sitting now as if scorching everything with his eyes, O god, we are going together to tempt. We shall try to bring him under our control, and to put an end to your fears.’
“Salya continued, ’Commanded by Indra, they then went to the three-headed being. And arriving there, those lovely damsels tempted him with various gestures of love, displaying their fine figures. But engaged in the practice of exceedingly severe austerities, although he looked at them, yet he was not influenced by desire. Of subdued senses he was like the ocean, full to the brim, in gravity. And the nymphs after having tried their best, came back to Indra. And they all with joined hands spoke to the lord of the celestials, saying, ’O, that unapproachable being is incapable of being disturbed by us. O highly gifted being, thou mayst do what now may seem proper to thee.’ The high-minded Indra honoured the nymphs and then dismissed them reflecting, O Yudhishthira, solely upon other means of destroying his foe. And endued with intelligence, he fixed upon a contrivance for destroying the three-headed being. And he said, ’Let me today hurt my thunderbolt at him. By this means he will speedily be killed. Even a strong person should not overlook a rising foe, contemptible though he may be.’ And thus reflecting upon the lessons inculcated in treatises of learning, he was firmly resolved upon slaying that being. Then Indra, enraged, hurled at the three-headed being his thunderbolt which looked like fire and was terrible to behold, and which inspired
“Salya said, ’Hearing this, the carpenter, at the request of the great Indra, immediately severed the heads of the three-headed one with his axe. And when the heads were cut off, out flew therefrom a number of birds, viz., partridges, quails and sparrows. And from the mouth wherewith he used to recite the Vedas and to drink the Soma-juice, came out partridges in quick succession. And, O king, O son of Pandu, from the mouth with which he used to look at the cardinal points as if absorbing them all, a number of quails came forth. And from that mouth of the three-headed being which used to drink wine, out flew a number of sparrows and hawks. And the heads having been cut off Indra was freed from his trepidation, and went to heaven, glad at heart. And the carpenter also went back to his house.
“Indra said, This whole indestructible universe, O gods, hath been pervaded by Vritra. There is nothing that can be equal to the task of opposing him. I was capable of yore, but now I am incapable. What good betide you, can I do? I believe him to be unapproachable. Powerful and magnanimous, possessing immeasurable strength in fight, he would be able to swallow up all the three worlds with the gods, the Asuras, and the men. Therefore, hear ye dwellers of heaven, this is my resolution. Proceeding to the abode of Vishnu, in company with that high-souled Being must we consult, and ascertain the means of slaying this ruthless wretch.’
“Salya continued, ’Indra having thus spoken, the gods with that host of Rishis repaired to the mighty god Vishnu to place themselves under the-protection of that protector of all. And afflicted with the dread of Vritra, they said unto the Supreme Lord of the deities. Thou hadst in former times covered the three worlds with three steps. Thou hadst procured the ambrosial food, O Vishnu, and destroyed the Asuras in battle. Thou didst bind the great Asura Vali and hadst raised Indra to the throne of heaven. Thou art the lord of the gods, and this entire universe is pervaded by thee. Thou art the God, the mighty Deity, saluted by all persons. Be thou the refuge of all the celestials together with Indra, O best of gods. The whole universe, O slayer of Asuras, hath been pervaded by Vritra. And Vishnu said, ’I am no doubt bound to do what is for your good. I shall, therefore, tell you of a contrivance whereby he may be annihilated. Do ye with the Rishis and the Gandharvas repair to the place where Vritra that bearer of a universal form is and adopt towards him a conciliatory policy. You will thus succeed in overthrowing him. By virtue of my power, victory, ye gods, will be won by Indra, for, remaining invisible, I shall enter into his thunderbolt, that best of weapons. O foremost of gods, depart ye with the Rishis and the Gandharvas. Let there be no delay in effecting a peace between Indra and Vritra.’
“Salya continued, ’When he had thus spoken, the Rishis and the celestials placed Indra at their head, and uniting together, went away. Approaching Indra they behold Vritra glowing and resplendent as if scorching the ten points, and swallowing all the three worlds, and resembling the sun or the moon. And then the Rishis, came up to Vritra and spoke to him in conciliatory terms, saying, ’O thou unconquerable being, the whole of this universe hath been pervaded by thy energy. Thou art not able however to overpower Indra, O best of mighty beings. A long period hath now elapsed since you began to fight. All beings, with the gods and the Asuras and men, are suffering from the effects of the fight. Let there be eternal friendship between thee and Indra. Thou shalt be happy and shall dwell eternally in Indra’s regions.’ And the mighty Vritra having heard the words of the saints, bowed his head unto them. And the Asura (thus) spoke, ’What you, O highly-gifted beings, and also all these Gandharvas are saying, I have heard. Ye stainless beings, hear also what I have got to say. How can there be peace between us two, Indra and myself? How can there be friendship, ye gods, between two hostile powers?’ The Rishis said, ’Friendship among righteous persons happens at a single meeting. It is a desirable object. Thereafter will happen what is fated to be. The opportunity of forming friendship with a righteous person should not be sacrificed. Therefore, the friendship of the righteous should be sought. The friendship of the righteous is (like) excellent
“Salya said, ’Hearing these words of the great Rishis, the illustrious Asura spoke to them, ’No doubt, the Rishis, endued with supernatural powers, are to be respected by me. Let what I am going to say, ye gods, be performed in its entirety; then I shall do everything that (these) best of Brahmanas have said to me. Ye lords of the Brahmana race, ordain so that Indra himself or the gods do not kill me by what is dry, or wet; by stone, or by wood; by a weapon fit for close fight, or by a missile; in the day time, or at night. On those terms eternal peace with Indra would be acceptable to me,—Very good! was what the Rishis told him, O best of Bharata race.’ Thus peace having been concluded, Vritra was very much pleased. And Indra also became pleased though constantly occupied with the thought of killing Vritra. And the chief of the deities passed his time in search of a loophole, uneasy (in mind). And on a certain day when it was evening and the hour awful, Indra caught sight of the mighty Asura on the coast of the sea. And he bethought himself of the boon that was granted to the illustrious Asura, saying, ’This is the awful evening time; it is neither day, nor night; and this Vritra, my enemy, who hath stripped me of my all, must undoubtedly be killed by me. It I do not kill Vritra, this great and mighty Asura of gigantic frame, even by deceit, it will not go well with me.’ And as Indra thought of all this, bearing Vishnu in mind he beheld at that instant in the sea a mass of froth as large as a hill. And he said, ’This is neither dry, nor wet, nor is it a weapon; let me hurl it at Vritra. Without doubt, he will die immediately.’ And he threw at Vritra that mass of froth blended with the thunderbolt. And Vishnu, having entered within that froth, put an end to the life of Vritra. And when Vritra was killed, the cardinal points were free from gloom; and there also blew a pleasant breeze; and all beings were much pleased. And the deities with the Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas, with the great snakes and saints, glorified the mighty Indra with various laudatory hymns. And saluted by all beings, Indra spoke words of encouragement to all. And his heart was glad as also that of everyone of the gods for having killed the foe. And knowing the nature of virtue, he worshipped Vishnu, the most praiseworthy of all objects in the world. Now when the mighty Vritra, terrible to the gods, was killed, Indra became overpowered by falsehood, and he became
“Salya said, ’Then all the Rishis and the superior gods said, “Let the handsome Nahusha be crowned as king of the gods. He is powerful and renowned, and devoted to virtue ever more.’ And they all went and said to him, ‘O lord of the earth, be thou our king.’ And Nahusha intent on his welfare, spoke to those gods and saints accompanied by the progenitors (of mankind), ’I am feeble; I am not capable of protecting you; it is a powerful person who should be your king; it is Indra who hath always been possessed of strength.’ And all the gods, led by the saints, spoke again to him, ’Aided by the virtue of our austerities, rule thou the kingdom of heaven. There is no doubt that we have all our respective fears. Be crowned, O lord of monarchs, as the king of heaven. Whatever being may stand within thy sight, whether he be a god, an Asura, a Yaksha, a saint, a Pitri, or a Gandharva, thou shalt absorb his power and (thereby) wax strong. Always placing virtue before (all other things), be thou the ruler of the worlds. Protect also the Brahmarsis (Brahmana saints) and the gods in heaven.’ Then, O lord of monarchs, Nahusha was crowned king in heaven. And placing virtue before (everything else), he became the ruler of all the worlds. And though always of a virtuous disposition, yet when he obtained that precious boon and the kingdom of heaven, Nahusha assumed a sensual turn of mind. And when Nahusha became the king of the gods, he surrounded himself with celestial nymphs, and with damsels of celestial birth, and took to enjoyments of various kinds, in the Nandana groves, on mount Kailasa, on the crest of Himavat, on Mandara. the White hill Sahya, Mahendra and Malaya, as, also upon seas and rivers. And he listened to various divine narratives that captivated both the ear and the heart, and to the play of musical instruments of different sorts, and to sweet vocal strains.
“Salya said, ’Seeing Nahusha enraged, the gods led by the saints spoke unto him, ’Who was now their king of awful mien? O king of gods, quit thy wrath. When thou art in wrath, O lord, the Universe, with its Asuras and Gandharvas, its Kinnaras, and great snakes, quaketh. Quit this wrath, thou righteous being. Persons like thee do not put themselves out. That goddess is another person’s wife. Be pacified, O lord of gods! Turn back thy inclination from the sin of outraging another’s wife. Thou art the king of gods, prosperity to thee! Protect thy subjects in all righteousness?’ So addressed, he heeded not the saying rendered senseless by lust. And the king spoke to the gods, in allusion to Indra, ’Ahalya of spotless fame, the wife of a saint, was outraged by Indra while her husband was alive. Why did ye not prevent him? Many were the deeds of inhumanity, of unrighteousness, of deceit, committed by Indra in former times. Why did ye not prevent him? Let the goddess do my pleasure; that would be her permanent good. And so the same will ever more rebound to your safety, ye gods!’
“The gods said, ’We shall bring to thee the queen of Indra even as thou hast laid the command, ’O lord of heaven! Quit this wrath, thou valiant soul! Be pacified, O lord of gods!’
“Salya continued, ’Thus having spoken to him, the gods with the saint went to inform Vrihaspati and the queen of Indra of the said news. And they said, ’We know, O foremost of Brahmanas, that the queen of Indra hath betaken herself to thy house, for protection, and that thou hast promised her protection, O best of divine saints! But we, the gods and Gandharvas and saints, beseech thee, O thou of great lustre, to give up the queen of Indra to Nahusha. Nahusha, the king of gods, of great effulgence, is superior to Indra. Let her, that lady of choice figure and complexion, choose him as her lord!’ Thus addressed, the goddess gave vent to tears; and sobbing audibly, she mourned in piteous accents. And she spoke to Vrihaspati, ’O best of divine saints, I do not desire Nahusha to be my lord. I have betaken myself to thy protection, O Brahmana! Deliver me from this great peril!’
“Vrihaspati said, ’My resolution is this, I shall not abandon one that hath sought my protection. O thou of unblamable life, I shall not abandon thee, virtuous as thou art and of a truthful disposition! I do not desire to do an improper act, specially as I am a Brahmana knowing what righteousness is, having a regard for truth, and aware also of the precepts of virtue. I shall never do it. Go your ways, ye best of gods. Hear what hath formerly been sung by Brahma with regard to the matter at hand. He that delivereth up to a foe of a person terrified and asking for protection obtaineth no protection when he himself is in need of it. His seed doth not grow at seed-time and rain doth not come to him in the season of rains. He that delivereth up to a foe a person terrified and asking for protection never succeedeth in anything that he undertaketh; senseless as he is, he droppeth paralysed from heaven; the god refuse offerings made by him. His progeny die an untimely death and his forefathers always quarrel (among themselves). The gods with Indra and their head dart the thunderbolt at him. Know it to be so, I shall not deliver up this Sachi here, the queen of Indra, famous in the world as his favourite consort. O ye best of gods, what may be for both her good and mine I ask you to do. Sachi I shall never deliver up!’
“Salya continued, ’Then the gods and the Gandharvas said these words to the preceptor of the gods, ’O Vrihaspati, deliberate upon something that may be conformable to sound policy!’ Vrihaspati said, ’Let this goddess of auspicious looks ask for time from Nahusha in order to make up her mind to his proposal. This will be for the good of Indra’s queen, and of us as well. Time, ye gods, may give rise to many impediments. Time will send time onward. Nahusha is proud and powerful by virtue of the boon granted to him!’
“Salya continued, ’Vrihaspati having spoken so, the gods, delighted then said, ’Well hast thou said, O Brahmana. This is for the good of all the gods. It is no doubt so. Only, let this goddess be propitiated.’ Then the assembled gods led by Agni, with a view to the welfare of all the worlds, spoke to Indra’s queen in a quiet way. And the gods said, ’Thou art supporting the whole universe of things mobile and immobile. Thou art chaste and true: go thou to Nahusha. That vicious being, lustful after thee, will shortly fall: and Indra, O goddess, will get the sovereignty of the gods!’ Ascertaining this to be the result of that deliberation, Indra’s queen, for attaining her end, went bashfully to Nahusha of awful mien. The vicious Nahusha also, rendered senseless by lust, saw how youthful and lovely she was, and became highly pleased.’
“Salya said, ’Now then Nahusha, the king of the gods, looked at her and said, ’O thou of sweet smiles, I am the Indra of all the three worlds. O thou of beautiful thighs and fair complexion, accept me as thy lord!’ That chaste goddess, thus addressed by Nahusha, was terrified and quaked like a plantain-stalk at a breezy spot. She bowed her head to Brahma, and joining her hands spoke to Nahusha, the king of the gods, of awful mien, said, ’O lord of the deities, I desire to obtain time. It is not known what hath become of Indra, or where he is. Having enquired into the truth regarding him, if, O lord, I obtain no news of him, then I shall visit thee; this tell I thee for truth.’ Thus addressed by Indra’s queen, Nahusha was pleased. And Nahusha said, ’Let it be so, O lady of lovely hips, even as thou art telling me. Thou wilt come, after having ascertained the news. I hope thou wilt remember thy plighted truth.’ Dismissed by Nahusha, she of auspicious looks stepped out; and that famous lady went to the abode of Vrihaspati. And, O best of kings, the gods with Agni at their head, when they heard her words, deliberated, intent upon what would promote the interests of Indra. And they then joined the powerful Vishnu, the God of gods. And skilled in making speeches, the uneasy gods spoke the following words to him, ’Indra, the lord of all the gods, hath been overpowered by the sin of Brahmanicide. Thou, O lord of the gods, art the first-born, the ruler of the universe, and our refuge. Thou hadst assumed the form of Vishnu for the protection of all beings. When Vritra was killed through thy energy, Indra was overwhelmed by the sin of Brahmanicide. O best of all the gods, prescribe the means of setting him free.’ Having heard these words of the gods, Vishnu said, ’Let Indra. offer sacrifice to me. Even I shall purify the holder of the thunderbolt. The chastiser of Paka, having performed the holy horse-sacrifice, will fearlessly regain his dignity as lord of the gods. And the wicked-minded Nahusha will be led to destruction by his evil deeds. For a certain
“Salya said, ’Then the goddess of Divination stood near that chaste and beautiful lady. And having beheld that goddess, youthful and lovely, standing before her, Indra’s queen, glad at heart, paid respects to them and said, ‘I desire to know who thou art, O thou of lovely face.’ And Divination said, ’I am Divination, O goddess, come near thee. Since thou art truthful, therefore, O high-minded lady, do I appear in thy sight. Since thou art devoted to thy lord, employed in controlling thyself, and engaged in the practice of religious rites, I shall show thee the god Indra, the slayer of Vritra. Quickly come after me, so may good betide thee! Thou shalt see that best of gods.’ Then Divination proceeded and the divine queen of Indra went after her. And she crossed the heavenly groves, and many mountains; and then having crossed the Himavat mountains, she came to its northern side. And having reached the sea, extending over many yojanas, she came upon a large island covered with various trees and plants. And there she saw a beautiful lake, of heavenly appearance, covered with birds,
“Salya said, ’Thus addressed by Sachi, the illustrious god said to her again, ’This is not the time for putting forth valour. Nahusha is stronger than I am. O beautiful lady, he hath been strengthened by the Rishis with the merits of offerings to the gods and the Pitris. I shall have recourse to policy now. Thou wilt have to carry it out, O goddess. O lady, thou must do it secretly and must not disclose it to any person. O lady of a beautiful waist, going to Nahusha in private, tell him, O lord of the Universe, thou must visit me mounted on a nice vehicle borne by Rishis. In that case I shall be pleased and shall place myself at thy disposal. This shouldst thou tell him.’ And thus addressed by the king of the gods, his lotus-eyed consort expressed her consent and went to Nahusha. And Nahusha, having seen her, smilingly addressed her, saying, ’I welcome thee, O lady of lovely thighs. What is thy pleasure, O thou of sweet smiles. Accept me, O lady of propitious looks, who am devoted to thee. What is thy will, O spirited dame. I shall do thy wish, O lady of propitious looks and slender waist. Nor needst thou be bashful, O thou of lovely hips. Have trust in me. In the name of truth I swear, O goddess, that I shall do thy bidding.’
“Sachi said, ’O lord of Universe, I wanted the time that thou hast assigned to me. Thereafter, O lord of the gods, thou shalt be my husband. I have a wish. Attend and hear, O king of the gods. What it is I shall say, O king, so that thou mayst do what I like. This is an indulgence that I ask from thy love for me. If thou grantest it, I shall be at thy disposal. Indra had horses for carrying him, and elephants, and cars. I want thee to have, O king of the gods, a novel vehicle, such as never belonged to Vishnu, or Rudra, or the Asuras, or the Rakshasas, O lord. Let a number of highly dignified Rishis, united together, bear thee in a palanquin. This is what commends itself to me. Thou shouldst not liken thyself to the Asuras or the gods. Thou absorbest the strength of all by thy own strength as soon as they look at thee. There is none so strong as to be able to stand before thee.’
“Salya continued, ’Thus addressed, Nahusha was very much pleased. And the lord of the deities said to that lady of faultless features, ’O lady of the fairest complexion, thou hast spoken of a vehicle never heard of before. I like it exceedingly, O goddess. I am in thy power, O thou of lovely face. He cannot be a feeble person who employeth Rishis for bearing him. I have practised austerities, and am mighty. I am the lord of the past, the present, and the future. The Universe would be no more if I were in rage. The whole Universe is established in me. O thou of sweet smiles, the gods, the Asuras and Gandharvas, and snakes, and Rakshasas are together unable to cope with me when I am in rage. Whomsoever I gaze upon I divest him of his energy. Therefore, thy request I shall no doubt fulfil, O goddess. The seven Rishis, and also the regenerate Rishis, shall carry me. See our greatness and splendour, O lady of lovely complexion.’
“Salya continued, ’Having thus addressed that goddess of lovely face, and having dismissed her thus, he harnessed to his heavenly car a number of saints devoted to the practice of austerities. A disregarder of Brahmanas, endued with power and intoxicated with pride, capricious, and of vicious soul, he employed those saints to carry him. Meanwhile, dismissed by Nahusha, Sachi went to Vrihaspati and said, ’But little remaineth of the term assigned by Nahusha to me. But compassionate unto me who respect thee so, and quickly find out Indra.’
“The illustrious Vrihaspati then said to her, ’Very good, thou needst not, O goddess, fear, Nahusha of vicious soul. Surely, he shall not long retain his power. The wretch, in fact, is already gone, being regardless of virtue and because, O lovely dame, of his employing the great saints to carry him. And I shall perform a sacrifice for the destruction of this vicious wretch, and I shall find out Indra. Thou needst not fear. Fare thee well.’ And Vrihaspati of great power then kindled a fire in the prescribed form, and put the very best offerings upon it in order to ascertain
“Agni said, ’I cannot enter the water. Therein it is extinction that awaits me. I place myself in thy hand, O thou of great effulgence. Mayst thou fare well! Fire rose from water, the military caste rose from the priestly caste; and iron had its origin in stone. The power of these which can penetrate all other things, hath no operation upon the sources from which they spring.’”
“Vrihaspati said, ’Thou art the mouth, O Agni, of all the gods. Thou art the carrier of sacred offerings. Thou, like a witness, hast access to the inner souls of all creatures. The poets call thee single, and again three-fold. O eater of burnt offerings, abandoned by thee the Universe would forthwith cease to be. The Brahmanas by bowing to thee, win with their wives and sons an eternal region, the reward of their own meritorious deeds. O Agni, it is thou who art the bearer of sacred offerings. Thou, O Agni, art thyself the best offering. In a sacrificial ceremony of the supreme order, it is thee that they worship with incessant gifts and offerings. O bearer of offerings, having created the three worlds, thou when the hour cometh, consumeth them in thy unkindled form. Thou art the mother of the whole Universe; and thou again, O Agni, art its termination. The wise call thee identical with the clouds and with the lightning; flames issuing from thee, support all creatures. All the waters are deposited in thee; so is this entire world. To thee, O purifier, nothing is unknown in the three worlds. Every body taketh kindly to his progenitor; do thou enter the waters without fear. I shall render thee strong with the eternal hymns of the Veda. Thus glorified, the bearer of burnt offerings, that best of poets, well-pleased, spoke laudable words to Vrihaspati. And he said, ’I shall show Indra to thee. This I tell thee for truth.’
“Salya continued, ’Then Agni entered the waters including seas and tiny ponds, and came to that reservoir, where, O best of Bharata’s race, while searching the lotus flowers, he saw the king of the gods lying within the fibres of a lotus-stalk. And soon coming back, he informed Vrihaspati how Indra had taken refuge in the fibres of a lotus-stalk, assuming a minute form. Then Vrihaspati, accompanied by the gods, the saints and the Gandharvas, went and glorified the slayer of Vala by referring to his former deeds. And he said, ’O Indra, the great Asura Namuchi was killed by thee; and those two Asuras also of terrible strength, viz., Samvara and Vala. Wax strong, O performer of a hundred sacrifices, and slay all thy foes. Rise, O Indra! Behold, here are assembled the gods and the saints. O Indra, O great lord, by slaying Asuras, thou hast delivered the worlds. Having got the froth of waters, strengthened with Vishnu’s energy, thou formerly slew Vritra. Thou art the refuge of all creatures and art adorable. There is no being equal to thee. All the creatures, O Indra, are supported by thee, Thou didst build the greatness of the gods. Deliver all, together with the worlds by assuming thy strength, O great Indra.’ And thus glorified, Indra increased little by little; and having assumed his own form, he waxed strong and spoke to the preceptor Vrihaspati standing before. And he said, ’What business of yours yet remaineth; the great Asuras, son of Twashtri, hath been killed; and Vritra also, whose form was exceedingly big and who destroyed the worlds.’
“Vrihaspati said, ’The human Nahusha, a king, having, obtained the throne of heaven by virtue of the power of the divine saints, is giving us exceeding trouble.’
“Indra said, ’How hath Nahusha obtained the throne of heaven, difficult to get? What austerities did he practise? How great is his power, O Vrihaspati!’
“Vrihaspati said, ’The gods having been frightened, wished for a king of heaven, for thou hadst given up the high dignity of heaven’s ruler. Then the gods, the Pitris of the universe, the saints, and the principal Gandharvas, all met together, O Indra, and went to Nahusha and said, ’Be thou our king, and the defender of the Universe!’ To them said Nahusha, ’I am not able; fill me with your power and with the virtue of your austerities!’ So told, the deities strengthened him, O king of the gods! And thereupon Nahusha became a person of terrible strength, and becoming thus the ruler of the three worlds, he hath put the great saints in harness, and the wretch is thus journeying from world to world. Mayst thou never see Nahusha who is terrible. He emitteth poison from his eyes, and absorbeth the energy of all. All the gods are exceedingly frightened; they go about concealed and do not cast a glance at him!’
“Salya continued, While that best of Angira’s race was thus speaking, there came that guardian of the world, Kuvera, and also Yama the son of Surya, and the old god Soma, and Varuna. And arrived there they said to the great Indra, ’How lucky that the son of Twashtri hath been killed, and Vritra also! How lucky, O Indra, that we are beholding thee safe and sound, while all thy enemies have been killed!’ Indra received all those guardians of the worlds, and with a glad heart greeted them in proper form with a view to requesting them in connection with Nahusha. And he said, ’Nahusha of terrible mien is the king of the gods; therein lend me your assistance.’ They replied, ’Nahusha is of awful mien; his sight is poison; we are afraid of him, O God. If thou overthrowest Nahusha, then we shall be entitled to our shares of sacrificial offerings, O Indra.’ Indra said, ’Let it be so. You and the ruler of the waters, and Yama, and Kuvera shall this day be crowned along with me. Aided by all the gods, let us overthrow the foe Nahusha of terrible gaze.’ Then Agni also said to Indra, ’Give me a share in sacrificial offerings. I also shall lend you my assistance.’ Indra said to him, ’O Agni, thou also shalt get a share in great sacrifices,—there will be a single share (in such) for both Indra and Agni.’
“Salya continued, ’Thus did the illustrious lord Indra, the chastiser of Paka, the giver of boons, bestow, after deliberation upon Kuvera the sovereignty over the Yakshas, and all the wealth of the world; upon Yama, the sovereignty over the Pitris; and upon Varuna, that over the waters.’
“Salya said, ’Now when the great Indra, the intelligent chief of the gods, was deliberating with the guardians of the world and other deities upon the means of slaying Nahusha, there appeared at that spot the venerable ascetic Agastya. And Agastya honoured the lord of the gods and said, ’How fortunate that thou art flourishing after the destruction of that being of universal form, as also that of Vritra. And how fortunate. O Purandara, Nahusha hath been hurled from the throne of heaven. How fortunate, O slayer of Vala, that I behold thee with all thy enemies killed.’
“Indra said, ’Hath thy journey hither been pleasant, O great saint, I am delighted to see thee. Accept from me water for washing thy feet and face, as also the Arghya and the cow.’
“Salya continued, ’Indra, well-pleased, began to question that best of saints and greatest of Brahmanas when he was seated on a seat after receiving due honours, thus, O revered saint, O best of Brahmanas, I wish to have it recited by thee how Nahusha of vicious soul was hurled from heaven.’
“Agastya said, ’Listen, O Indra, to the pleasant narrative how the wicked and vicious Nahusha, intoxicated with pride of strength, had been hurled from heaven. The pure-spirited Brahmanas and celestial saints, while carrying him, weary with toil, questioned that vicious one, O best of victors, saying, ’O Indra, there are certain hymns in the Vedas, directed to be recited while sprinkling the cows. Are they authentic or not? Nahusha, who had lost his senses by the operation of the Tamas, told them that they were not authentic.’ The saints then said, ’Thou art tending towards unrighteousness; thou takest not to the righteous path. The greatest saints have formerly said they are authentic, O Indra.’ And incited by Untruth, he touched me on my head with his foot. At this, O lord of Sachi, he became divested of power and of good looks. Then, as he was agitated and overpowered with fear, I spoke to him, ’Since thou hast pronounced as spurious the unexceptionable hymns of the Veda which have been recited by Brahmarsis (Brahmana saints), and since thou hast touched my head with thy foot, and since thou, O ignorant wretch, hast turned these unapproachable saints, equal to Brahma, into animals for carrying thee, therefore, O wretch, be divested of thy lustre, and being hurled headlong, fall thou from heaven, the effect of all thy good deeds being exhausted. For ten thousand years, thou shalt, in the form of an enormous snake, roam over the earth. When that period is full, thou mayst come back to heaven. Thus hath that wretch been hurled from the throne of heaven, O repressor of foes.’ How fortunate, O Indra, that we are flourishing now. That thorn of the Brahmanas hath been killed. O lord of Sachi, repair thou to heaven, protect the worlds, subdue thy senses, subdue thy foes, and be glorified by the great saints.’
“Salya continued, ’Then, O ruler of men, the gods, and the bands of great saints were exceedingly pleased. And so also were the Pitris, the Yakshas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, the Gandharvas, and all the bands of celestial nymphs. And the tanks, the rivers, the mountains, and the seas also were highly pleased. And all came up and said, ’How fortunate, O slayer of foes, that thou art flourishing! How fortunate, that the intelligent Agastya hath killed the vicious Nahusha! How fortunate that the vile individual hath been turned into a snake to roam over the earth!’”
“Salya said, “Then Indra, glorified by the bands of Gandharvas and celestial nymphs, mounted on Airavata, the king of elephants, characterised by auspicious marks. And the illustrious Agni, and the great saint Vrihaspati, and Yama, and Varuna, and Kuvera, the lord of riches, accompanied him. And the lord Sakra, the slayer of Vritra, then went to the three worlds surrounded by the gods together with the Gandharvas and the celestial nymphs. And the performer of a hundred sacrifices, the king
“Vaisampayana continued, ’O best of Bharata’s race, the king, that best of righteous men, thus encouraged by Salya, honoured him in proper form. And Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, of powerful arms, having beard the words of Salya, spoke to the king of the Madras the following words, ’There is no doubt that thou wilt act as the charioteer of Karna. Thou must damp the spirits of Karna then by recounting the praises of Arjuna.’
“Salya said, ’Let it be so. I shall do just as thou tellest me. And I shall do for thee anything else that I may be able to do.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then Salya, the king of the Madras, bade farewell to the sons of Kunti. And that handsome man then went with his army to Duryodhana, O repressor of foes.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then Yuyudhana, the great hero of the Satwata race, came to Yudhishthira with a large army of foot, and horses and cars and elephants. And his soldiers of great valour come from various lands, bore various weapons of war, and heroic in look they beautified the Pandava army. And that army looked splendid by reason of battleaxes, and missiles and spears, and lances, and mallets, and clubs, and staves, and cords, and stainless swords, and daggers, and arrows of various kinds, all of the best temper. And the army, beautified by those weapons, and resembling in colour the cloudy sky, assumed an appearance like to amass of clouds with lightning-flashes in its midst. And the army counted an Akshauhini of troops. And when absorbed in the troops of Yudhishthira it entirely disappeared, as doth a small river when it enters the sea. And similarly, the powerful chief of the Chedis, Dhrishtaketu, accompanied by an Akshauhini, came to the sons of Pandu of immeasurable strength. And the king of Magadha, Jayatsena of great strength, brought with him for Yudhishthira an Akshauhini of troops. And similarly, Pandya, who dwelt on the coast-land near the sea, came accompanied by troops of various kinds to Yudhishthira, the king of kings. And, O king, when all these troops had assembled, his army, finely dressed and exceedingly strong, assumed an appearance pleasant to the eye. And the army of Drupada, also was beautified by valiant soldiers who had come from various lands, and also by his mighty sons. And similarly, Virata, the king of the Matsyas, a leader of troops, accompanied by the king of the hilly regions, came to Pandu’s sons. And for the high-souled sons of Pandu there were thus assembled from various directions, seven Akshauhini of troops, bristling with banners of various forms. And eager to fight with the Kurus, they gladdened the hearts of the Pandavas. And in the same way king Bhagadatta, gladdening the heart of Dhritarashtra’s son, gave an Akshauhini of troops to him. And the unassailable mass of his troops, crowded with Chins and Kiratas, all looking like figures of gold, assumed a beauty like to that of a forest of Karnikara trees. And so the valiant Bhurisravas, and Salya, O son of Kuru, came to Duryodhana, with an Akshauhini of troops each. And Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, accompanied by the Bhojas, the Andhas, and the Kukuras, came to Duryodhana with an Akshauhini of troops. And the body of his troops composed of those mighty soldiers, who wore on their persons garlands of many-coloured flowers, looked as graceful as a number of sportive elephants that have passed through a wood. And others led by Jayadratha, the dwellers of the land of Sindhusauvira, came in such force that the hills
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then Drupada’s priest, having approached the Kaurava chief, was honoured by Dhritarashtra as also by Bhishma and Vidura. And having first told the news of the welfare of the Pandavas, he enquired about the welfare of the Kauravas. And he spoke the following words in the midst of all the leaders of Duryodhana’s army, ’The eternal duties of kings are known to you all. But though known, I shall yet recite them as an introduction to what I am going to say. Both Dhritarashtra and Pandu are known to be sons of the same father. There is no doubt that the share of each to the paternal wealth should be equal. The sons of Dhritarashtra obtained the paternal wealth. Why did not the sons of Pandu at all receive their paternal portion? Ye are aware how formerly the sons of Pandu did not receive their paternal property which was all usurped by Dhritarashtra’s sons. The latter endeavoured in various ways to remove the sons of Pandu from their path by employment even of murderous contrivances; but as their destined terms of life had not wholly run out, the sons of Pandu could not be sent to the abode of Yama. Then again, when those high-souled
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having heard his words, Bhishma, senior in wisdom, and endued with great effulgence, paid honours to him, and then spoke words suitable to the occasion. And he said, ’How fortunate that they are all well, with Krishna! How fortunate that they have procured aid, and that they are inclined to a virtuous course! How fortunate that those scions of Kuru’s race desire peace with their cousins! There is no doubt that what thou hast said is true. Thy words, however, are exceedingly sharp,—the reason, I suppose, being that thou art a Brahmana. No doubt, the sons of Pandu were much harassed both here and in woods. No doubt, by law they are entitled to get all the property of their father. Arjuna, the son of Pritha, is strong trained in weapons, and is a great car-warrior. Who, in sooth, can withstand in battle
“Bhishma said, ’What is the use of thy talking, O Radha’s son? Thou shouldst remember that occasion when Pritha’s son, single-handed, over-powered in battle six car-warriors. If we do not act as this Brahmana hath said, to be sure, we shall be all slain by him in battle!”
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then Dhritarashtra pacified Bhishma with words of entreaty, rebuked the son of Radha, and spoke the following words, What Bhishma, Santanu’s son, hath said is salutary for us, as also for the Pandavas, and likewise for the whole universe. I shall, however, after deliberation, send Sanjaya to the sons of Pandu. So thou needst not wait. Go thou to the son of Pandu this very day.’ The Kaurava chief then honoured Drupada’s priest and sent him back to the Pandavas. And summoning Sanjaya to the council-hall, he addressed him in the following words.”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’They say, O Sanjaya, that the Pandavas have arrived at Upaplavya. Go thou and enquire after them. Thou must greet Ajatasatru in the following words, ’By good luck it is that (emerged from the woods) thou hast reached such a city. And to all of them thou must say, O Sanjaya, these words. Are ye well, having spent that harassing period of sojourn, ye who were unworthy of such harassment?’ In no time will they be appeased towards us, for though treated treacherously (by foes), yet they are righteous and good. In no case, O Sanjaya, have I ever met with any untruthfulness on the part of the Pandavas. It was by their own
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having beard these words of king Dhritarashtra Sanjaya went to Upaplavya to see the Pandavas of immeasurable strength. And having approached king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, he made obeisance to him first and then spoke. And the son of Gavalgana, by name Sanjaya and by caste a Suta, cheerfully spoke unto Ajatasatru, ’How lucky, O king, that I see you hale, attended by friends and little inferior to the great Indra. The aged and wise king Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, hath enquired about your welfare. I hope Bhimasena is well, and that Dhananjaya, that foremost of the Pandavas, and these two sons of Madri, are well. I hope princess Krishna also, the daughter of Drupada, is well,—she who never swerves from the path of truth, that lady of great energy, that wife of heroes. I hope she is well with her sons,—she in whom are centred all your dearest joys and whose welfare you constantly pray for.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’O Sanjaya, the son of Gavalgana, hath thy journey here been safe? We are pleased with thy sight. I ask thee in return how thou art. I am, O learned man, in excellent health with my younger brothers. O Suta, after a long while do I now receive news of the aged king of the Kurus, that descendant of Bharata. Having seen thee, O Sanjaya, I feel as if I have seen the king himself, so pleased I am! Is our aged grandsire Bhishma, the descendant of Kuru, endued with great energy and the highest wisdom and always devoted to the practices of his own order, O sire, in health? I hope he still retains all his former habits. I hope the high-souled king Dhritarashtra, the so-n of Vichitravirya, is in health with his sons. I hope the great king Vahlika, the son of Pratipa, endued with great learning, is also in health. I hope, O sire, that Somadatta is in health, and Bhurisravas, and Satyasandha, and Sala, and Drona with his son, and the Brahmana Kripa are also well. I hope all those mighty bowmen are free from disease. O Sanjaya, all those greatest and best of bowmen, endued with the highest intelligence and versed in letters, and occupying the very top of those who wield weapons, have attached themselves to the Kurus. I hope those bowmen receive their honours due. I hope they are free from disease. How happy are they in whose kingdom dwells the mighty and handsome bowman, the well-behaved son of Drona! I hope Yuyutsu, the highly intelligent son of Dhritarashtra by his Vaisya wife is in health. I hope, O sire, the adviser Karna, whose counsels are followed by the dull-headed Suyodhana, is in health. I hope, the aged ladies, the mothers of the Bharata race, and the kitchen-maidens, the bond-maids, the daughters-in-law, the boys, the sister’s sons, and ‘the sisters, and the daughters’ sons of Dhritarashtra’s house are all free from trouble. O sire, I hope the king still allows their former subsistence to the Brahmanas. I hope, O Sanjaya, Dhritarashtra’s son hath not seized those gifts to the Brahmanas that I made. I hope Dhritarashtra with his sons meets in a spirit of forbearance any over-bearing conduct on the part of the Brahmanas. I hope he never neglects to make provision for them, that being the sole highway to heaven. For this is the excellent and clear light that hath been provided by the Creator in this world of living beings. If like dull-headed persons, the sons of Kuru do not treat the Brahmanas in a forbearing spirit, wholesale destruction will overtake them. I hope king Dhritarashtra and his son try to provide for the functionaries of state. I hope there are no enemies for theirs, who, disguised as friends, are conspiring for their ruin. O sire, I hope none of these Kurus talk of our having committed any crimes. I hope Drona and his son and the heroic Kripa do not talk of our having been guilty in any way. I hope all the Kurus look up to king Dhritarashtra and his sons as the protectors of their tribe. I hope when they see a horde
“Sanjaya said, ’It is even so as thou hast said, O son of Pandu! Dost thou enquire about the welfare of the Kurus and of the foremost ones among them? Free from illness of every kind and in the possession of excellent spirit are those foremost ones among the Kurus about whom, O son of Pritha, thou enquirest. Know, O son of Pandu, that there are certainly righteous and aged men, as also men that are sinful and wicked about Dhritarashtra’s son. Dhritarashtra’s son would make gifts even to his enemies; it is not likely, therefore, that he should withdraw the donations made to the Brahmanas. It is customary with you, Kshatriyas, to follow a rule fit for butchers, that leads you to do harm to those that bear no ill-will to you; but the practice is not good. Dhritarashtra with his sons would be guilty of the sin of intestine dissension, where he, like a bad man, to bear ill-will towards you who are righteous. He does not approve of this injury (done to you); he is exceedingly sorry for it; he grieves at his heart-the old man—O Yudhishthira,—for, having communicated with the Brahmanas, he hath learnt that provoking intestine dissensions is the greatest of all sins. O king of men, they remember thy prowess on the field, and
“Yudhishthira said, ’Here are met the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, and Krishna, and Yuyudhana and Virata, O son of the Suta Gavalgana, tell us all that Dhritarashtra hath directed thee to say.’
“Sanjaya said, ’I greet Yudhishthira, and Vrikodara and Dhananjaya, and the two sons of Madri, and Vasudeva the descendant of Sura, and Satyaki, and the aged ruler of the Panchalas, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata. Let all listen to the words I say from a desire for the welfare of the Kurus. King Dhritarashtra, eagerly welcoming the chance of peace, hastened the preparation of my car for this journey here. Let it be acceptable to king Yudhishthira with his brothers and sons and relations. Let the son of Pandu prefer peace. The sons of Pritha are endowed with every virtue with steadiness and mildness and candour. Born in a high family, they are humane, liberal, and loath to do any act which would bring on shame. They know what is proper to be done. A base deed is not befitting you, for you are so high-minded, and have such a terrible following of troops. If you committed a sinful act, it would be a blot on your fair name, as a drop of collyrium on a white cloth. Who could knowingly be ever guilty of an act, which would result in universal slaughter, which would be sinful and lead to hell,—an act consisting in the destruction (of men), an act the result of which, whether it be victory or defeat, is or the self-same value? Blessed are they that have served their relative’s cause. They are the true sons and friends and relatives (of Kuru’s race) who would lay down life, life which is liable to be abused by misdeeds, in order to ensure the welfare of the Kurus. If you, ye sons of Pritha, chastise the Kurus, by defeating and slaying all your foes,—that
“Yudhishthira said, ’What words from me, O Sanjaya, hast thou heard, indicative of war, that thou apprehendest war? O sire, peace is preferable to war. Who, O charioteer, having got the other alternative would wish to fight? It is known to me, O Sanjaya, that if a man can have every wish of his heart without having to do anything, he would hardly like to do anything even though it might be of the least troublesome kind, far less would he engage in war. Why should a man ever go to war? Who is so cursed by the gods that he would select war? The sons of Pritha, no doubt, desire their own happiness but their conduct is ever marked by righteousness and conducive to the good of the world. They desire only that happiness which results from righteousness. He that fondly followeth the lead of his senses, and is desirous of obtaining happiness and avoiding misery, betaketh himself to action which in its essence is nothing but misery. He that hankers after pleasure causeth his body to suffer; one free from such hankering knoweth not what misery is. As an enkindled fire, if more fuel be put upon it, blazeth forth again with augmented force, so desire is never satiated with the acquisition of its object but gaineth force like unkindled fire when clarified butter is poured upon it. Compare all this abundant fund of enjoyment which king Dhritarashtra hath with what we possess. He that is unfortunate never winneth victories. He that is unfortunate enjoyeth not the voice of music. He that is unfortunate doth not enjoy garlands and scents! nor can one that is unfortunate enjoy cool and fragrant unguents! and finally he that is unfortunate
“Sanjaya said, ’O Pandava, the world hath heard thy conduct being righteous. I see it also to be so, O son of Pritha. Life is transient, that may end in great infamy; considering this, thou shouldst not perish. O Ajatasatru, if without war, the Kurus will not yield thy share, I think, it is far better for thee to live upon alms in the kingdom of the Andhakas and the Vrishnis than obtain sovereignty by war. Since this mortal existence is for only a short period, and greatly liable to blame, subject to constant suffering, and unstable, and since it is never comparable to a good name, therefore, O Pandava, never perpetrate a sin. It is the desires, O ruler of men, which adhere to mortal men and are an obstruction to a virtuous life. Therefore, a wise man should beforehand kill them all and thereby gain a stainless fame in the world, O son of Pritha. The thirst after wealth is but like fetter in this world; the virtue of those that seek it is sure to suffer. He is wise who seeketh virtue alone; desires being increased, a man must suffer in his temporal concerns, O sire. Placing virtue before all other concerns of life, a man shineth like the sun when its splendour is great. A man devoid of virtue, and of vicious soul, is overtaken by ruin, although he may obtain the whole of this earth. Thou hast studied the Vedas, lived the life of a saintly Brahman,
“Yudhishthira said, ’Without doubt, O Sanjaya, it is true that righteous deeds are the foremost of all our acts, as thou sayest. Thou shouldst, however, ensure me having first ascertained whether it is virtue or vice that I practise. When vice assumes the aspects of virtue and virtue itself wholly seems as vice, and virtue, again, appears in its native form, they that are learned should discriminate it by means of their reason. So, again, virtue and vice, which are both eternal and absolute, exchange their aspects during seasons of distress. One should follow without deviation the duties prescribed for the order to which he belongs by birth. Know, O Sanjaya, that duties in seasons of distress are otherwise. When his means of living are totally gone, the man, that is destitute should certainly desire those other means by which he may be able to discharge the sanctioned duties of his order. One that is not destitute of his means of living, as also one that is in distress, are, O Sanjaya, both to be blamed, if they act as if the state of each were otherwise. When the Creator hath ordained expiation for those Brahmanas, who, without wishing for self-destruction, betake themselves to acts not sanctioned for them, this proves that people may, in season of distress, betake to acts not ordained for the orders to which
“Krishna said, ’I desire, O Sanjaya, that the sons of Pandu may not be ruined; that they may prosper, and attain their wishes. Similarly, I pray for the prosperity of king Dhritarashtra whose sons are many. For evermore, O Sanjaya, my desire hath been that I should tell them nothing else than that peace would be acceptable to king Dhritarashtra. I also deem it proper for the sons of Pandu.
“Sanjaya said, ’I did thee farewell, O divine ruler of men. I will now depart, O son of Pandu. Let prosperity be thine. I hope, I have not carried away by the feelings of my heart, given utterance to anything offensive. I would also bid farewell to Janardana, to Bhima and Arjuna, to the son of Madri, to Satyaki, and to Chekitana, and take my departure. Let peace and happiness be yours. Let all the kings look at me with eyes of affection.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Permitted by us, O Sanjaya, take your leave. Peace to thee! O learned man, thou never thinkest ill of us. Both they and we know thee to be a person of pure heart in the midst of all in the court (of the Kurus). Besides, being an ambassador now, O Sanjaya, thou art faithful, beloved by us, of agreeable speech and excellent conduct, and well-affected towards us. Thy mind is never clouded, and even if addressed harshly thou art never moved to wrath. O Suta, thou never utterest harsh and cutting words, or those that are false or bitter. We know that thy words, free from malice, are always fraught with morality and grave import. Amongst envoys thou art the most dear to us. Beside thee, there is another, who may come here, and that is Vidura. Formerly, we always used to see thee. Thou art, indeed, a friend to us as dear as Dhananjaya. Proceeding hence, O Sanjaya, with all speed, thou shouldst wait upon those Brahmanas of pure energy and devoted to study according to the Brahmacharya mode,—those, namely, that are devoted to the study of the Vedas while leading lives of mendicancy, those ascetics that habitually dwell in the woods, as also the aged ones of other classes, should all be addressed by thee in my name, O Sanjaya, and then their welfare should be enquired into by thee. O Suta, repairing unto the priest of king Dhritarashtra as also unto his preceptors and Ritwijas, thou shouldst address them and enquire after their welfare. Even amongst them that are, though not well-born at least aged, endued with energy, and possessed of good behaviour and strength, who remembering speak of us and practise according to their might even the least virtue, should first be informed of my peace, O Sanjaya, and then shouldst thou enquire after their welfare. Thou shouldst also enquire after the welfare of those that live in the kingdom carrying on trade, and those that live there filling important offices of state. Our beloved preceptor Drona, who is fully versed in
“Yudhishthira said, ’O Sanjaya, the righteous and the unrighteous, the young and the old, the weak and the strong, are all under the control of the Creator, It is that Supreme Lord who imparteth knowledge to the child and childishness to the learned, according to his own will. If Dhritarashtra ask thee about our strength, tell him everything truly, having cheerfully consulted with everyone here and ascertained the truth. O son of Gavalgana, repairing unto the Kurus, thou wilt salute the mighty Dhritarashtra, and touching his feet enquire after his welfare speaking in our name. And when seated in the midst of the Kurus, tell him from us.—The sons of Pandu, O king, are living happily in consequence of thy prowess. It was through thy grace, O repressor of foes, that those children of tender years had obtained a kingdom. Having first bestowed a kingdom on them, thou shouldst not now be indifferent to them, for destruction then would overtake them! The whole of this kingdom, O Sanjaya, is not fit to be owned by one person. Tell him again, from us.—O sire, we wish to live united. Do not suffer thyself to be vanquished by foes.—Thou shouldst again, O Sanjaya, bending thy head, in my name salute the grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma, the son of Santanu. Having saluted our grandsire, he should then be told.—By thee, when Santanu’s race was about to be extinct, it was revived. Therefore, O sire, do that according to thy own judgment by which thy grandsons may all live in amity with one another. Thou shouldst then address Vidura also, that adviser of the Kurus, saying.—Counseleth peace, O amiable one, from desire of doing good unto Yudhishthira.—Thou shouldst address the unforbearing prince Duryodhana also, when seated in the midst of the Kurus, beseeching him again and again, saying,—The insults thou hadst offered to innocent and helpless Draupadi in the midst of the assembly, we will quietly bear, simply because we have no mind to see the Kurus slain. The other injuries also, both before and after that, the sons of Pandu are quietly bearing, although they are possessed of might to avenge them. All this, indeed, the Kauravas know. O amiable one, thou hadst even exiled us dressed in deer-skins. We are bearing that also because we do not want to see the Kurus slain. Dussasana, in obedience to thee, had dragged Krishna, disregarding Kunti. That act also will be forgiven by us. But, O chastiser of foes, we must have our proper share of the kingdom. O bull among men, turn thy coveting heart from what belongeth to others. Peace then, O king, will be amongst our gladdened selves. We are desirous of peace; give us even a single province of the empire. Give us even Kusasthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, and for the fifth any other that thou likest. Even this will end the quarrel. O Suyodhana, give unto thy five brothers at least five villages,—O Sanjaya, O thou of great wisdom, let there be peace between us and our cousins. Tell him also,—Let brothers follow brothers, let sires unite with sons. Let the Panchalas mingle with the Kurus in merry laughter. That I may see the Kurus and the Panchalas whole and sound, is what I desire. O bull of the Bharata race, with, cheerful hearts let us make peace. O Sanjaya, I am equally capable of war and peace. I am prepared to acquire wealth as well as to earn virtue. I am fit enough for severity as for softness.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Dismissed with salutation by the Pandavas, Sanjaya set out for (Hastinapura) having executed all the commands of the illustrious Dhritarashtra. Reaching Hastinapura he quickly entered it, and presented himself at the gate of the inner apartments of the palace. Addressing the porter, he said, ’O gate-keeper, say unto Dhritarashtra that I, Sanjaya, have just arrived, coming from the sons of Pandu. Do not delay. If the king be awake, then only shouldst thou say so, O keeper, for I like to enter having first apprised him of my arrival. In the present instance I have something of very great importance to communicate.’ Hearing this, the gate-keeper went to the king and addressed him, saying, ’O lord of earth, I bow to thee. Sanjaya is at thy gates, desirous of seeing thee. He cometh, bearing a message from the Pandavas. Issue your commands, O king, as to what he should do.’
“The king said, ’Tell Sanjaya that I am happy and hale. Let him enter. Welcome to Sanjaya. I am always ready to receive him. Why should he stay outside whose admission is never forbidden?”
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then, with the king’s permission, having entered that spacious apartment, the Suta’s son, with joined hands, approached the royal son of Vichitravirya who was protected by many wise, valiant, and righteous persons, and who was then seated on his throne. And Sanjaya addressed him, saying, ’I am Sanjaya, O king. I bow unto thee. O chief of men, proceeding hence I found the sons of Pandu. After having paid his salutations to thee, Pandu’s son, the intelligent Yudhishthira, enquired of thy welfare. And well-pleased, he also enquireth after thy sons, and asketh thee whether thou art happy with thy sons and grandsons and friends and counsellors, and, O king, all those that depend upon thee.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O child, giving my blessings to Ajatasatru, I ask thee, O Sanjaya, whether that king of the Kauravas, Pritha’s son, is well with his sons and brothers and counsellors.’
“Sanjaya said, ’Pandu’s son is well with his counsellors. He desires possessions of that which he formerly had as his own. He seeketh virtue and wealth without doing anything that is censurable, possesseth intelligence and vast learning, and is, besides, far-sighted and of excellent disposition. With that son of Pandu, abstention from injury is even superior to virtue, and virtue superior to the accumulation of wealth. His mind, O Bharata, is always inclined to happiness and joy, and to such course of action as are virtuous and conducive to the higher ends of life. Even like doll pulled this way and that by threads, man (in this world) moveth, swayed by a force not his own. Beholding the sufferings of Yudhishthira, I regard the force of destiny to be Superior to the effect of human exertion. Beholding again thy unworthy deeds, which, besides,
“Vaisampayana said, ’King Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom (then) said to the orderly-in-waiting, ’I desire to see Vidura. Bring him here without delay.’ Despatched by Dhritarashtra, the messenger went to Kshatri and said, ’O thou of great wisdom, our lord the mighty king desireth to see thee.’ Thus addressed, Vidura (set out and) coming to the palace, spoke unto the orderly, ‘Apprise Dhritarashtra of my arrival.’ Thereupon the orderly went to Dhritarashtra, and said, O, foremost of kings, Vidura is here at thy command. He wisheth to behold thy feet. Command me as to what he is to do.’ Thereupon Dhritarashtra said, ’Let Vidura of great wisdom and foresight enter. I am never unwilling or unprepared to see Vidura.’ The orderly then went out and spoke unto Vidura, ’O Kshatri, enter the inner apartments of the wise king. The king says that he is never unwilling to see thee.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having entered Dhritarashtra’s chamber, Vidura said with joined hands unto that ruler of men who was then plunged in thought, ’O thou of great wisdom, I am Vidura, arrived here at thy command. If there is anything to be done, here I am, command me!’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O Vidura, Sanjaya hath come back. He hath gone away after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court, Ajatasatru’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the message is of the Kuru hero. Therefore, my body is burning, and that hath produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is sleepless and burning. Thou art, O child, versed in both religion and profit. Ever since, Sanjaya hath returned from the Pandavas, my heart knoweth no peace. Filled with anxiety about what he may deliver, all my senses have been disordered’.
“Vidura said, ’Sleeplessness overtaketh thief, a lustful person, him that hath lost all his wealth, him that hath failed to achieve success, and him also that is weak and hath been attacked by a strong person. I hope, O king, that none of these grave calamities have overtaken thee. I hope, thou dost not grieve, coveting the wealth of others.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’I desire to hear from thee words that are beneficial and fraught with high morality. In this race of royal Rishis thou alone art reverenced by the wise.’ Vidura replied, ’King (Yudhishthira), graced with every virtue, is worthy of being the sovereign of the three worlds; yet, O Dhritarashtra, however worthy of being kept by thy side, he was exiled by thee. Thou art, however, possessed of qualities which are thy very reverse of those possessed by him. Although virtuous and versed in morality, thou hast yet no right to a share in the kingdom owing to thy loss of sight. In consequence of his inoffensiveness and kindness, his righteousness, love of truth and energy, and his remembering the reverence that is due to thee, Yudhishthira patiently bears innumerable wrongs. Having bestowed on Duryodhana and Suvala’s son and Karna, and Dussasana the management of the empire, how canst thou hope for prosperity? He that is not served from the high ends of life by the aid of self-knowledge, exertion, forbearance and steadiness in virtue, is called wise. These again are the marks of a wise man, viz., adherence to acts, worthy of praise and rejection of what is blamable, faith, and reverence. He whom neither anger nor joy, nor pride, nor false modesty, nor stupefaction, nor vanity, can draw away from the high ends of life, is considered as wise. He whose intended acts, and proposed counsels remain concealed from foes, and whose acts become known only after they have been done, is considered wise. He whose proposed actions are never obstructed by heat or cold, fear of attachment, prosperity or adversity, is considered wise. He whose judgment dissociated from desire, followeth both virtue and profit, and who disregarding pleasure chooseth such ends as are serviceable in both worlds, is considered wise. They that exert to the best of their might, and act also to the best of their might, and disregard nothing as insignificant, are called wise. He that understandeth quickly, listeneth patiently, pursueth his objects with judgment and not from desire and spendeth not his breath on the affairs of others without being asked, is said to possess the foremost mark of wisdom. They that do not strive for objects that are unattainable, that do not grieve for what is lost and gone, that do not suffer their minds to be clouded amid calamities, are regarded to possess intellects endued with wisdom. He who striveth, having commenced anything, till it is completed, who never wasteth his time, and who hath his soul under control, is regarded wise. They that are wise, O bull of the Bharata race, always
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me what may be done by a person that is sleepless and burning with anxieties, for thou alone amongst us, O child, art versed in both religion and profit. Advise me wisely, O Vidura. O thou of magnanimous heart, tell me what is thou deemest to be beneficial for Ajatasatru and what is productive of good to the Kurus. Apprehending future evils. I look back only on my previous guilt: I ask thee with anxious heart, O learned one, tell me what is exactly in Ajatasatru’s mind,’
“Vidura said, ’Even if unasked, one should speak truly, whether his words be good or bad, hateful or pleasing, unto him whose defeat one doth not wish. I shall, therefore, say, O king, what is for the good of the Kurus. I shall say what is both beneficial and consistent with morality. Listen to me. Do not, O Bharata, set the heart upon means of success that are unjust and improper. A man of intelligence must not grieve if any purpose of his doth not succeed, notwithstanding the application of fair and proper means. Before one engageth in an act, one should consider the competence of the agent, the nature of the act itself, and its purpose, for all acts are dependent on these. Considering these one should begin an act, and not take it up on a sudden impulse. He that is wise should either do an act or desist from it fully considering his own ability, the nature of the act, and the consequence also of success. The king who knoweth not proportion or measure as regards territory, gain, loss, treasury, population, and punishment, cannot retain his kingdom long. He, on the other hand, who is acquainted with the measures of these as prescribed in treatises, being necessarily possessed of the knowledge of religion and profit, can retain his kingdom. As the stars are affected by the planets, so is this world affected by the senses, when they are directed, uncontrolled, to their respective objects. Like the moon during the lighted fortnight, calamities increase in respect of him who is vanquished by the five senses in their natural state, which ever lead him towards various acts. He who wisheth to control his counsellors before controlling his own self, or to subdue his adversaries before controlling his counsellors, at last succumbs deprived of strength. He, therefore, who first subdueth his own self regarding it as a foe, never faileth to subdue his counsellors and adversaries at last. Great prosperity waiteth upon him who hath subdued his senses, or controlled his soul, or who is capable of punishing all offenders, or who acteth with judgment or who is blessed with patience. One’s body, O king, is one’s car; the soul within is the driver; and the senses are its steeds. Drawn by those excellent steeds, when well-trained, he that is wise, pleasantly performeth the journey of life, and awake in peace. The horses that are unbroken and incapable of being controlled, always lead an unskilful driver to destruction in the course of the journey; so one’s senses, unsubdued, lead only to destruction. The inexperienced wight, who, led by this unsubdued senses, hopeth to extract evil from good and good from evil, necessarily confoundeth misery with happiness. He, who, forsaking religion and profit, followeth the lead of his senses, loseth without delay prosperity, life, wealth and wife. He, who is the master of riches but not of his senses, certainly loseth his riches in consequence of his want of mastery over his senses. One should seek to know one’s self by means of one’s own
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O thou of great intelligence, tell me again words such as these, consistent with religion and profit. My thirst for hearing them is not quenched. What thou sayst is charming!”
“Vidura said, ’Ablution in all the holy places and kindness to all creatures,—these two are equal. Perhaps, kindness to all creatures surpasseth the former. O master, show kindness unto all thy sons, for by that winning great fame in this world, thou wilt have heaven hereafter. As long as a man’s good deeds are spoken of in this world, so long, O tiger among men, is he glorified in heaven. In this connection is cited an old story about the conversation between Virochana and Sudhanwan, both suitors for Kesini’s hand. Once on a time, O king, there was a maiden of the name of Kesini, unrivalled for beauty; moved by the desire of obtaining a good husband, she resolved to choose her lord in Swayamvara. Then one of the sons of Diti, Virochana by name, went to that spot, desirous of obtaining the maiden. Beholding that chief of the Daityas, Kesini addressed him, saying, ’Are Brahmanas superior, O Virochana, or are the sons of Diti superior? And why also should not Sudhanwan sit on the sofa?’ Virochana said, ’Sprung from Prajapati himself, we, O Kesini, are the best and at the top of all creatures, and this world is ours without doubt. Who are the gods, and who are the Brahmanas?’ Kesini said, ’We will, O Virochana, stay here in this very pavilion. Sudhanwan will come here on the morrow, and let me see both of you sitting together.’ Virochana said, ’O amiable and timid girl, I will do what thou sayst. Thou wilt behold Sudhanwan and myself met together in the morning.’
“Vidura continued, ’When the night had passed away and the solar disc had risen, Sudhanwan, O best of kings, came to that place where, O master, Virochana was waiting with Kesini. And Sudhanwan saw there both Prahlada’s son and Kesini. And beholding the Brahmana arrived, Kesini, O bull of the Bharata race, rising up from hers, offered him a seat, water to wash his feet, and Arghya. And asked by Virochana (to share his seat) Sudhanwan said, ’O son of Prahlada, I touch thy excellent golden seat. I cannot, however, suffer myself to be regarded as thy equal, and sit on it with thee.’ Virochana said, ’A piece of wooden plank, an animal skin, or a mat of grass or straw,—these only, O Sudhanwan, are fit for thee. Thou deservest
“Vidura continued, ’Having thus laid a wager, Virochana and Sudhanwan, both moved by rage, proceeded to that place where Prahlada was. And beholding them together, Prahlada said, ’These two who had never before been companions, are now seen together coming hither by the same road, like two angry snakes. Have ye now become companions,—ye who were never companions before? I ask thee, O Virochana, has there been friendship between thee and Sudhanwan?’ Virochana said, ’There is no friendship between me and Sudhanwan. On the other hand, we have both wagered our lives. O chief of the Asuras, I shall ask thee a question, do not answer it untruly!’ Prahlada said, ’Let water, and honey and curds, be brought for Sudhanwan. Thou deservest our worship, O Brahmana. A white and fat cow is ready for thee.’ Sudhanwan said, ’Water and honey and curds, have been presented to me on my way hither. I shall ask thee a question. Prahlada, answer it truly! are Brahmanas superior, or is Virochana superior?’ Prahlada said, O Brahmana, this one is my only son. Thou also art present here in person. How can one like us answer a question about which ye two have quarrelled? Sudhanwan said, ’Give unto thy son thy kine and other precious wealth that thou mayst have, but, O wise one, thou shouldst declare the truth when we two are disputing about it.’ Prahlada said, ’How doth that misuser of his tongue suffer, O Sudhanwan, who answereth not truly but falsely, a question that is put to him? I ask thee this.’ Sudhanwan said, ’The person that misuseth his tongue suffers like the deserted wife, who pineth, at night, beholding her husband sleeping in the arms of a co-wife; like a person who hath lost at dice, or who is weighed down with an unbearable load of anxieties. Such a man hath also to stay, starving outside the citygates, into which his admission is barred. Indeed, he that giveth false evidence is destined to always find his foes. He that speaketh a lie on
“Vidura continued, ’For these reasons, O king of kings, it behoveth thee not to say an untruth for the sake of land. Saying an untruth from affection for thy son, O king, hasten not to destruction, with all thy children and counsellors. The gods do not protect men, taking up clubs in their hands after the manner of herdsmen; unto those, however, they wish to protect, they grant intelligence. There is no doubt that one’s objects meet with success in proportion to the attention he directs to righteousness and morality. The Vedas never rescue from sin a deceitful person living by falsehood. On the other hand, they forsake him while he is on his death-bed, like newly fledged birds forsaking their nests. Drinking, quarrels, enmity with large numbers of men, all connections with connubial disputes, and severance of relationship between husband and wife, internal dissensions, disloyalty to the king,—these and all paths that are sinful, should, it is said, be avoided. A palmist, a thief turned into a merchant, a fowler, a physician, an enemy, a friend, and a minstrel, these seven are incompetent as witness. An Agnihotra performed from motives of pride, abstention from speech, practised from similar motives, study and sacrifice from the same motives,—these four, of themselves innocent, become harmful when practised unduly. One that setteth fire to a dwelling house, an administerer of poison, a pander, a vendor of the Soma-juice, a maker of arrows, an astrologer, one that injureth friends, an adulterer, one that causeth abortion, a violater of his preceptor’s bed, a Brahmana addicted to drink, one that is sharp-speeched, a raker of old sores, an atheist, a reviler of the Vedas, and taker of bribes, one whose investiture with the sacred thread has been delayed beyond the
’Sacrifice, study, charity, asceticism, truth, forgiveness, mercy, and contentment constitute the eight different paths of righteousness. The first four of these may be practised from motives of pride, but the last four can exist only in those that are truly noble. That is no assembly where there are no old men, and they are not old who do not declare what morality is. That is not morality which is separated from truth, and that is not truth which is fraught with deceit. Truth, beauty, acquaintance with the scriptures, knowledge, high birth, good behaviour, strength, wealth, bravery, and capacity for varied talk,—these ten are of heavenly origin. A sinful person, by committing sin, is overtaken by evil consequences. A virtuous man, by practising virtue, reapeth great happiness. Therefore, a man, rigidly resolved, should abstain from sin. Sin, repeatedly perpetrated, destroyeth intelligence; and the man who hath lost intelligence, repeatedly committeth sin. Virtue, repeatedly practised, enhanceth intelligence; and the man whose intelligence hath increased, repeatedly practiseth virtue. The virtuous man, by practising virtue, goeth to regions of blessedness. Therefore, a man should, firmly resolved, practise virtue. He that is envious, he that injureth others deeply, he that is cruel,
“Vidura said, ’In this connection is cited the old story of the discourse between the son of Atri and the deities called Sadhyas is as heard by us. In days of old, the deities known by the name of Sadhyas questioned the highly wise and great Rishi of rigid vows (the son of Atri), while the latter was wandering in the guise of one depending on eleemosynary charity for livelihood. The Sadhyas said, ’We are, O great Rishi, deities known as Sadhyas. Beholding thee, we are unable to guess who thou art. It seemeth to us, however, that thou art possessed of intelligence and self-control in consequence of acquaintance with the scriptures. It, therefore, behoveth thee to discourse to us in magnanimous words
“Dhritarashtra said, ’The gods, they that regard both virtue and profit without swerving from either, and they that are possessed of great learning, express a liking for high families. I ask thee, O Vidura, this question,—what are those families that are called high?’
“Vidura said, ’Asceticism, self-restraint, knowledge of the Vedas, sacrifices, pure marriages, and gifts of food,—those families in which these seven exist or are practised duly, are regarded as high. There are high families who deviate not from the right course whose deceased ancestors are never pained (by witnessing the wrong-doings of their descendants), who cheerfully practise all the virtues, who desire to enhance the pure fame of the line in which they are born, and who avoid every kind of falsehood. Families that are high, fall down and become low owing to the absence of sacrifices, impure marriages, abandonment of the Vedas, and insults offered to Brahmanas. High families fall off and become low owing to their members disregarding or speaking ill of Brahmanas, or to the misappropriation, O Bharata, of what had been deposited with them by others. Those families that are possessed of members, wealth and kine, are not regarded as families if they be wanting in good manners and conduct, while families wanting in wealth but distinguished by manners and good conduct are regarded as such and win great reputation. Therefore, should good manners and good conduct be maintained with care, for, as regards wealth, it cometh or goeth. He that is wanting in wealth is not really wanting, but he that is wanting in manners and conduct is really in want. Those families that abound in kine and other cattle and in the produce of the field are not really worthy of regard and fame if they be wanting in manners and conduct. Let none in our race be a fomenter of quarrels, none serve a king as minister, none steal the wealth of others, none provoke intestine dissensions, none be deceitful or false in behaviour, and none eat before serving the Rishis, the gods, and guests. He, in our race, who slayeth Brahmanas, or entertaineth feelings
“Dhritarashtra said, ’King Yudhishthira who is like a flame of fire, has been deceived by me. He will surely exterminate in battle all my wicked sons. Everything, therefore, seems to me to be fraught with danger, and my mind is full of anxiety, O thou of great intelligence, tell me such words as may dispel my anxiety.’
“Vidura said, ’O sinless one, in nothing else than knowledge and asceticism, in nothing else than restraining the senses, in nothing else than complete abandonment of avarice, do I see thy good. Fear is dispelled by self-knowledge; by asceticism one winneth what is great and valuable; by waiting upon superiors learning is acquired; and peace is gained by self-restraint. They that desire salvation without having acquired the merit attainable by gifts, or that which is attainable by practising the ritual of the Vedas, do not sojourn through life, freed from anger and aversion. The happiness that may be derived from a judicious course of study, from a battle fought virtuously, from ascetic austerities performed rigidly, always increaseth at the end. They that are no longer in peace with their relatives, obtain no steep even if they have recourse to well-made beds; nor do they, O king, derive any plea. sure from women, or the laudatory hymns of bards and eulogists. Such persons can never practise virtue. Happiness can never be theirs, in this world. Honours can never be theirs, and peace hath no charm for them. Counsels that are for their benefit please them not. They never acquire what they have not, nor succeed in retaining what they have, O king, there is no other end for such men save destruction. As milk is possible in kine, asceticism in Brahmanas, and inconstancy in women, so fear is possible from relatives. Numerous thin threads of equal length, collected together, are competent to bear, from the strength of numbers, the constant rolling of the shuttle-cock over them. The case is even so with relatives that are good, O bull of the Bharata race, separated from one another, burning brands produce only smoke; but brought together they blaze forth into a powerful flame. The case is even so, O Dhritarashtra, with relatives. They, O Dhritarashtra, who tyrannise over Brahmanas, women, relatives, and kine, soon fall off their stalks, like fruits that are ripe. And the tree that stands singly, though gigantic and strong and deep-rooted, hath its trunk soon smashed and twisted by a mighty wind. Those trees, however, that grow in close compact are competent owing to mutual dependence to resist winds more violent still. Thus he that is single, however, endowed with all the virtues, is regarded by foes as capable of being vanquished like an isolated tree by the wind. Relatives, again, in consequence of mutual dependence and mutual aid, grow together, like lotus-stalks in a lake. These must never be slain, viz., Brahmanas, kine, relatives, children, women, those whose food is eaten, and those also that yield by asking for protection. O king, without wealth no good quality can show itself in a person. If, however, thou art in health, thou canst achieve thy good, for he is dead who is unhealthy and ill. O king, anger is a kind of bitter, pungent, acrid, and hot drink, painful in its consequences: it is a kind of headache not
“Vidura said, ’O son of Vichitravirya, Manu, the son of the Self-created, hath, O king, spoken of the following seven and ten kinds of men, as those that strike empty space with their fists, or seek to bend the vapoury bow of Indra in the sky, or desire to catch the intangible rays of the sun. These seven and ten kinds of foolish men are as follow: he who seeketh to control a person that is incapable of being controlled; he who is content with small gains; he who humbly pays court to enemies; he who seeks to restrain women’s frailty; he who asketh him for gifts who should never be asked; he who boasteth, having done anything; he who, born in a high family, perpetrateth an improper deed; he who being weak always wageth hostilities with one that is powerful; he who talketh to a person listening scoffingly; he who desireth to have that which is unattainable; he who being a father-in-law, jesteth with his daughter-in-law; he who boasteth at having his alarms dispelled by his daughter-in-law; he who scattereth his own seeds in another’s field; he who speaketh ill of his own wife; he who having received anything from another sayeth that he doth not remember it, he who, having given away anything in words in holy places, boasteth at home when asked to make good his words, and he who striveth to prove the truth of what is false. The envoys of Yama, with nooses in hand, drag those
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Man hath been spoken of in all the Vedas as having hundred years for the period of his life. For what reason then, do not all men attain the allotted period?’
“Vidura said, ’Excess of pride, excess in speech, excess in eating, anger, the desire of enjoyment, and intestine dissensions,—these, O king, are six sharp swords that cut off the period of life allotted to creatures. It is these which kill men, and not death. Knowing this, blessed be thou!’
’He who appropriates to himself the wife of one who hath confided in him; he who violates the bed of his preceptor; that Brahmana, O Bharata, who becomes the husband of a Sudra woman, or drinks wines; he who commendeth Brahmanas or becometh their master, or taketh away the lands that support them; and he who taketh the lives of those who yield asking for protection, are all guilty of the sin of slaying Brahmanas. The Vedas declare that contact with these requires expiation. He that accepts the teaching of the wise; he that is acquainted with the rules of morality; he that is liberal; he that eateth having first dedicated the food to the gods and Pitris; he that envieth none; he that is incapable of doing anything that injureth others; he that is grateful, truthful, humble and learned, succeedeth in attaining to heaven.
’They are abundant, O king, that can always speak agreeable words. The speaker, however, is rare, as also the hearer, of words that are disagreeable but medicinal. That man who, without regarding what is agreeable or disagreeable to his master but keeping virtue alone in view, sayeth what is unpalatable, but medicinal, truly addeth to the strength of the king. For the sake of the family a member may be sacrificed; for the sake of the village, a family may be sacrificed; for the sake of a kingdom a village may be sacrificed; and for the sake of one’s soul, the whole earth may be sacrificed. One should protect his wealth in view of the calamities that may overtake him; by his wealth one should protect his wives, and by both his wealth and wives one should protect his own self. From very olden times it hath been seen that gambling provoketh quarrels. Therefore, he that is wise, should not resort to it even in jest. O son of Pratipa, at the time of that gambling match I told thee, O king—this is not proper. But, O son of Vichitravirya, like medicine to a sick man, those words of mine were not agreeable to thee. O king, thou desirest to vanquish the sons of Pandu, who are just as peacocks of variegated
’Behold the evils of a rupture with the Pandavas which would sadden the very gods with Sakra. These are, first, enmity between them that are all thy sons; secondly, a life of continued anxiety; thirdly, the loss of the fair fame of the Kurus; and lastly, the joy of those that are thy enemies. The wrath of Bhishma, O thou of the splendour of Indra, of Drona, and the king Yudhishthira, will consume the whole world, like a comet of large proportions falling transversely on the earth. Thy hundred sons and Karna and the sons of Pandu can together rule the vast earth with the belt of the seas. O king, the Dhartarashtras constitute a forest of which the Pandavas are, I think, tigers. O, do not cut down that forest with its tigers! O, let not the tigers be driven from that forest! There can be no forest without tigers, and no tigers without a forest. The forest shelters the tigers and tigers guard the forest!’
They that are sinful never seek so much to ascertain the good qualities of others as to ascertain their faults. He that desires the highest success in all matters connected with worldly profit, should from the very beginning practise virtue, for true profit is never separated from heaven. He whose soul hath been dissociated from sin and firmly fixed on virtue, hath understood all things in their natural and adventitious states; he that followeth virtue, profit, and desire, in proper seasons, obtaineth, both here and hereafter, a combination of all three. He that restraineth the force of both anger and joy, and never, O king, loseth his senses under calamities, winneth prosperity. Listen to me, O king. Men are said to have five different kinds of strength, Of these, the strength of arms is regarded to be of the most inferior kind. Blessed be thou, the acquisition of good counsellors is regarded as the second kind of strength. The wise have said that the acquisition of wealth is the third kind of strength. The strength of birth, O king, which one naturally acquireth from one’s sires and grandsires, is regarded as the fourth kind of strength. That, however, O Bharata, by which all these are won, and which is the foremost of all kinds of strength, is called the strength of the intellect. Having provoked the hostility of a person who is capable of inflicting great injury on a fellow creature, one should not gather assurance from the thought that one liveth at a distance from the other. Who that is wise that can place his trust on women, kings, serpents, his own master, enemies, enjoyments, and period of life? There are no physicians nor medicines for one that hath been struck by the arrow of wisdom. In the case of such a person neither the mantras of homa, nor auspicious ceremonies, nor the mantras of the Atharva Veda, nor any of the antidotes of poison, are of any efficacy. Serpents, fire, lions, and consanguineous relatives,—none of these, O Bharata, should be disregarded by a man; all of these are possessed of great power. Fire is a thing of great energy in this world. It lurketh in wood and never consumeth it till it is ignited by others. That very fire, when brought out by friction, consumeth by its energy not only the wood in which it lurketh, but also an entire forest and many other things. Men of high lineage are just like fire in energy. Endued with forgiveness, they betray no outward symptoms of wrath and are quiet like fire in wood. Thou, O king, with thy sons art possessed of the virtue of creepers, and the sons of Pandu are regarded as Sala trees. A creeper never groweth unless there is a large tree to twine round. O king, O son of Ambika, thy son is as a forest. O sire, know that the Pandavas are the lions of that forest. Without its lions the forest is doomed to destruction, and lions also are doomed to destruction without the forest (to shelter them).’”
“Vidura said, ’The heart of a young man, when an aged and venerable person cometh to his house (as a guest), soareth aloft. By advancing forward and saluting him, he getteth it back. He that is self-controlled, first offering a seat, and bringing water and causing his guest’s feet to be washed and making the usual enquiries of welcome, should then speak of his own affairs, and taking everything into consideration, offer him food. The wise have said that man liveth in vain in whose dwelling a Brahmana conversant with mantras doth not accept water, honey and curds, and kine from fear of being unable to appropriate them, or from miserliness and unwillingness with which the gifts are made. A physician, a maker of arrows, even one that hath given up the vow of Brahmacharya before it is complete, a thief, a crooked-minded man, a Brahmana that drinks, one that causeth miscarriage, one that liveth by serving in the army, and one that selleth the Vedas, when arrived as a guest, however undeserving he may be the offer of water should be regarded (by a householder) as exceedingly dear. A Brahmana should never be a seller of salt, of cooked food, curds, milk, honey, oil, clarified butter, sesame, meat, fruits, roots, potherbs, dyed clothes, all kinds of perfumery, and treacle. He that never giveth way to anger, he that is above grief, he that is no longer in need of friendship and quarrels, he that disregardeth both praise and blame, and he that standeth aloof from both what is agreeable and disagreeable, like one perfectly withdrawn from the world, is a real Yogin of the Bhikshu order. That virtuous ascetic who liveth on rice growing wild, or roots, or potherbs, who hath his soul under control, who carefully keepeth his fire for worship, and dwelling in the woods is always regardful of guests, is indeed, the foremost of his brotherhood. Having wronged an intelligent person, one should never gather assurance from the fact that one liveth at a distance from the person wronged. Long are the arms which intelligent persons have, by which they can return wrongs for wrongs done to them, One should never put trust on him who should not be trusted, nor put too much trust on him who should be trusted, for the danger that ariseth from one’s having reposed trust on another cutteth off one’s very roots. One should renounce envy, protect one’s wives, give to others what is their due, and be agreeable in speech. One should be sweet-tongued and pleasant in his address as regards one’s wives, but should never be their slave. It hath been said that wives that are highly blessed and virtuous, worthy of worship and the ornaments of their homes, are really embodiments of domestic prosperity. They should, therefore, be protected particularly. One should devolve the looking over of his inner apartments on his father; of the kitchen, on his mother; of the kine, on somebody he looks upon as his own self, but as regards agriculture, one should look over it himself. One should look
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Man is not the disposer of either his prosperity or adversity. He is like a wooden doll moved by strings. Indeed, the Creator hath made man subject to Destiny. Go on telling me, I am attentive to what thou sayest.’
“Vidura said, ’O Bharata, by speaking words out of season even Vrihaspati himself incurreth reproach and the charge of ignorance, one becometh agreeable by gift, another by sweet words, a third by the force of incantation and drugs. He, however, that is naturally agreeable, always remaineth so. He that is hated by another is never regarded by that other as honest or intelligent or wise. One attributeth everything good to him one loveth; and everything evil to him one hateth. O king, as soon as Duryodhana was born I told thee,—thou shouldst abandon this one son, for by abandoning him thou wouldst secure the prosperity of thy hundred sons,—and by keeping him, destruction would overtake thy hundred sons, that gain should never be regarded highly which leadeth to loss. On the other hand, that loss even should be regarded highly which would bring on gain. That is no loss, O king, which bringeth on gain. That, however, should be reckoned as loss which is certain to bring about greater losses still. Some become eminent in consequence of good qualities; others become so in consequence of wealth. Avoid them, O Dhritarashtra, that are eminent in wealth but destitute of good qualities!’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’All that you sayest is approved by the wise and is for my future good. I dare not, however, abandon my son. It is well-known that where there is righteousness there is victory.’
“Vidura said, ’He that is graced with every virtue and is endued with humility, is never indifferent to even the minutest sufferings of living creatures. They, however, that are ever employed in speaking ill of others, always strive with activity quarrelling with one another and in all matters, calculated to give pain to others. There is sin in accepting gifts from, and danger in making gifts to them, whose very sight is inauspicious and whose companionship is fraught with danger. They that are quarrelsome, covetous, shameless, deceitful, are known unrighteous, and their companionship should always be avoided. One should also avoid those men that are endued with similar faults of a grave nature, When the occasion that caused the friendship is over the friendship of those that are low, the beneficial result of that connection, and the happiness also derivable from it, all come to an end. They then strive to speak ill of their (late) friend and endeavour to inflict loss on him, and if the loss they sustain be even very small, for all that they, from want of self-control, fail to enjoy peace. He that is learned, examining everything carefully and reflecting well, should, from a distance, avoid the friendship of vile and wicked-minded persons such as these. He that helpeth his poor and wretched and helpless relatives, obtain children and animals and enjoyeth prosperity that knoweth no end. They that desire their own benefit should always succour their relatives. By every means, therefore, O king, do thou seek the growth of thy race.
“Vidura said, ’Worshipped by the good and abandoning pride, that good man who pursueth his objects without outstepping the limits of his power, soon succeedeth in winning fame, for they that are good, when gratified with a person, are certainly competent to bestow happiness on him. He that forsaketh, of his own accord, even a great object owing to its being fraught with unrighteousness, liveth happily, casting off all foes, like a snake that hath cast off its slough. A victory gained by an untruth, deceitful conduct towards the king, and insincerity of intentions expressed before the preceptor,—these three are each equal to the sin of slaying a Brahmana. Excessive envy, death, and boastfulness, are the causes of the destruction of prosperity. Carelessness in waiting upon preceptor, haste, and boastlessness, are the three enemies of knowledge. Idleness, inattention, confusion of the intellect, restlessness, gathering for killing time, haughtiness, pride, and covetous ness,—these seven constitute, it is said, the faults of students in the pursuit of learning. How can they that desire pleasure have knowledge? Students, again, engaged in the pursuit of learning, cannot have pleasure. Votaries of pleasure must give up knowledge, and votaries of knowledge must give up pleasure. Fire is never gratified with fuel (but can consume any measure thereof). The great ocean is never gratified with the rivers it receives (but can receive any number of them). Death is never gratified even with entire living creatures. A beautiful woman is never gratified with any number of men (she may have). O king, hope killeth patience; Yama killeth growth; anger killeth prosperity; miserliness killeth fame; absence of tending killeth cattle; one angry Brahmana destroyeth a whole kingdom. Let goats, brass, silver, honey, antidotes of poison, birds, Brahmanas versed in the Vedas, old relatives, and men of high birth sunk in poverty, be always present in thy house. O Bharata, Manu hath said that goats, bulls, sandal, lyres, mirrors, honey, clarified butter, iron, copper, conch-shells, salagram (the stony-image of Vishnu with gold within) and gorochana should always be kept in one’s house for the worship of the gods. Brahmanas, and guests, for all those objects are auspicious. O sire, I would impart to thee another sacred lesson productive of great fruits, and which is the highest of all teachings, viz., virtue should never be forsaken from desire, fear, or temptation, nay, nor for the sake of life itself. Virtue is everlasting; pleasure and pain are transitory; life is, indeed, everlasting but its particular phases are transitory. Forsaking those which are transitory, betake thyself to that which is everlasting, and let contentment be thine, for contentment is the highest of all acquisitions. Behold, illustrious and mighty kings, having ruled lands abounding with wealth and corn, have become the victims of the Universal Destroyer, leaving behind their kingdoms and vast
“Dhritarashtra said, It is even so as thou always teachest me. O amiable one, my heart also inclineth that very way of which thou tellest me. Although, however, I incline in my mind towards the Pandavas even as thou teachest me to do, yet as soon as I come in contact with Duryodhana it turneth off in a different way. No creature is able to avert fate. Indeed, Destiny, I think, is certain to take its course; individual exertion is futile.’”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’If there is anything still left unsaid by thee, O Vidura, say it then, as I am ready to listen to thee. The discourse is, indeed, charming.’
“Vidura. said, ’O Dhritarashtra, O thou of the Bharata race, that ancient and immortal Rishi Sanat-sujata who, leading a life perpetual celibacy, hath said that there is no Death,—that foremost of all intelligent persons,—will expound to thee all the doubts, in thy mind, both expressed and unexpressed.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Dost thou not know what that immortal Rishi will say unto me? O Vidura, do thou say it, if indeed, thou hast that degree of wisdom.’
“Vidura said, ’I am born in the Sudra order and, therefore, do not venture to say more than what I have already said. The understanding, however, of that Rishi leading a life of celibacy, is regarded by me to be infinite. He that is a Brahmana by birth, by discoursing on even the profoundest mysteries, never incureth the censure of the gods. It is for this alone that I do not discourse to thee, upon the subject.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me, O Vidura, how with this body of mine I can meet with that ancient and immortal one?’
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then Vidura began to think of that Rishi of rigid vows. And knowing that he was thought of, the Rishi, O Bharata, showed himself there. Vidura then received him with the rites prescribed by ordinance. And when, having rested a while, the Rishi was seated at his ease, Vidura addressed him, saying, ’O illustrious one, there is a doubt in Dhritarashtra’s mind which is incapable of being explained away by me. It behoveth thee, therefore, to expound it, so that listening to thy discourse, this chief of men may tide over all this sorrows, and to that gain and loss, what is agreeable and what disagreeable, decrepitude and death, fright and jealously, hunger and thirst, pride and prosperity, dislike, sleep, lust and wrath, and decrease and increase may all be borne by him!’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Then the illustrious and wise king Dhritarashtra, having applauded the words spoken by Vidura, questioned Sanat-sujata in secret, desirous of obtaining the highest of all knowledge. And the king questioned the Rishi saying, ’O Sanat-sujata, I hear that thou art of the opinion that there is no Death. Again it is said that the gods and the Asuras, practise ascetic austerities in order to avoid death. Of these two opinions, then, which is true?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Some say, death is avertable by particular acts; others’ opinion there is no death; thou hast asked me which of these is true. Listen to me, O king, as I discourse to thee on this, so that thy doubts may be removed. Know, O Kshatriya, that both of these are true. The learned are of opinion that death results from ignorance. I say that ignorance is Death, and so the absence of ignorance (Knowledge) is immortality. It is from ignorance that the Asuras became subject to defeat and death, and it is from the absence of ignorance that the gods have attained the nature of Brahman. Death doth not devour creatures like a tiger; its form itself is unascertainable. Besides this, some imagine Yama to be Death. This, however, is due to the weakness of the mind. The pursuit of Brahman or self-knowledge is immortality. That (imaginary) god (Yama) holdeth his sway in the region of the Pitris, being the source of bliss to the virtuous and of woe to the sinful. It is at his command that death in the form of wrath, ignorance, and covetousness, occurreth among men. Swayed by pride, men always walk in unrighteous path. None amongst them succeeds in attaining to his real nature. With their understanding clouded, and themselves swayed by there passions, they cast off their bodies and repeatedly fall into hell. They are always followed by their senses. It is for this that ignorance receives the name of death. Those men that desire the fruits of action when the time cometh for enjoying those fruits, proceed to heaven, casting off their bodies. Hence they cannot avoid death. Embodied creatures, from inability to attain the knowledge of Brahman and from their connection with earthly enjoyments, are obliged to sojourn in a cycle of re-births, up and down and around, The natural inclination of man towards pursuits that are unreal is alone the cause of the senses being led to error. The soul that is constantly affected by the pursuit of objects that are unreal, remembering only that with which it is always engaged, adoreth only earthly enjoyments that surround it. The desire of enjoyments first killeth men. Lust and wrath soon follow behind it. These three, viz., the desire of enjoyments, lust, and wrath, lead foolish men to death. They, however, that have conquered their souls, succeed by self-restraint, to escape death. He that hath conquered his soul without suffering himself to be excited by his ambitious desire, conquereth these, regarding them as of no value, by the aid of self-knowledge. Ignorance, assuming the form of Yama, cannot devour that learned man who controlled his desires in this manner. That man who followeth his desires is destroyed along with his desires. He, however, that can renounce desire, can certainly drive away all kinds of woe. Desire is, indeed, ignorance and darkness and hell in respect of all creatures, for swayed by it they lose their senses. As intoxicated persons in walking along a street reel
“Dhritarashtra said, ’The Vedas declare the emancipating capacity of those highly sacred and eternal regions, that are said to be obtainable by the regenerate classes by prayers and sacrifices. Knowing this, why should not a learned person have recourse to (religious) acts?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Indeed, he that is without knowledge proceedeth thither by the path indicated by thee, and the Vedas also declare that thither are both bliss and emancipation. But he that regardeth the material body to be self, if he succeeds in renouncing desire, at once attaineth emancipation (or Brahman). If, however, one seeketh emancipation without renouncing desire, one must have to proceed along the (prescribed) route of action, taking care to destroy the chances of his retracing the routes that he hath once passed over.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Who is it that urgeth that Unborn and Ancient One? If, again, it is He that is all this Universe in consequence of His having entered everything (without desire as He is) what can be His action, or his happiness? O learned sage, tell me all this truly.’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’There is great objection in completely identifying (as here) the two that are different Creatures always spring from the union of Conditions (with what in its essence is without Conditions). This view doth not detract from the supremacy of the Unborn and the Ancient One. As for men, they also originate in the union of Conditions. All this that appears is nothing but that everlasting Supreme Soul. Indeed, the universe is created by the Supreme Soul itself undergoing transformations. The Vedas to attribute this power (of self-transformation) to the Supreme Soul. For the identity, again, of the power and its possessor, both the Vedas and others are the authority.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’In this world, some practise virtue, and some renounce action or Karma (adopting what is called Sannyasa Yoga). (Respecting those that practise virtue) I ask, is virtue competent to destroy vice, or is it itself destroyed by vice?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’The fruits of virtue and of (perfect) inaction are both serviceable in that respect (i.e., for procuring emancipation). Indeed, both are sure means for the attainment of emancipation. The man, however, that is wise, achieveth success by knowledge (inaction). On the other hand, the materialist acquireth merit (by action) and (as the consequence thereof) emancipation. He hath also (in course of his pursuit) to incur sin. Having obtained again fruits of both virtue and vice which are transitory, (heaven having its end as also hell in respect of the virtuous and the sinful), the man of action becometh once more addicted to action as the consequence of his own previous virtues and vices. The man of action, however, who possesseth intelligence, destroyeth his sins by his virtuous acts. Virtue, therefore, is strong, and hence the success of the man of action.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me, according to their gradation, of those eternal regions that are said to be attainable, as the fruits of their own virtuous acts, by regenerate persons, engaged in the practice of virtue. Speak unto me of others’ regions also of a similar kind. O learned sire, I do not wish to hear of actions (towards which man’s heart naturally inclineth, however interdicted or sinful they may be).’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Those regenerate persons that take pride in their Yoga practices, like strong men in their own strength, departing hence, shine in the region of Brahman. Those regenerate persons that proudly exert in performing sacrifices and other Vedic rites, as the fruit of that knowledge which is theirs, in consequence of those acts, freed from this world, proceed to that region which is the abode of the deities. There are others, again, conversant with the Vedas, who are of opinion that the performance of the sacrifices and rites (ordained by the Vedas) is obligatory (their non-performance being sinful). Wedded to external forms, though seeking the development of the inner self (for they practise these rites for only virtue’s sake and not for the accomplishment of particular aims), these persons should not be regarded very highly (although some respect should be theirs). Wherever, again, food and drink worthy of a Brahmana are abundant, like grass and reeds in a spot during the rainy season, there should the Yogin seek for his livelihood (without afflicting the householder of scanty means); by no means should he afflict his own self by hunger and thirst. In a place, where there may be both inconvenience and danger to one, for one’s aversion, to disclose one’s superiority, he that doth not proclaim his superiority is better than he that doth. The food offered by that person who is not pained at the sight of another disclosing his superiority, and who never eateth without offering the prescribed share to Brahmanas and guests, is approved by the righteous. As a dog oftentimes devoureth its own evacuations to its injury, so those Yogins devour
“Dhritarashtra said, ’What is the object of asceticism (mauna)? Of the two kinds of mauna (viz., the restraining of speech and meditation), which is approved by thee? O learned one, tell me the true aspect of mauna. Can a person of learning attain to a state of quietude and emancipation (moksha) by that mauna? O Muni, how also is asceticism (mauna) to be practised here?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Since the Supreme Soul cannot be penetrated by both the Vedas and the mind, it is for this that Soul itself is called mauna. That from which both the Vedic syllable Om and this one (ordinary sounds) have arisen, that One, O king, is displayed as the Word.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Is he that knoweth both the Rig and the Yajus Vedas, is he that knoweth the Sama Veda, sullied by sins or not when he commiteth sins?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’I tell thee truly that the man that hath not restrained his senses is not rescued from his sinful acts by either the Sama or the Rig, or the Yajus Veda. The Vedas never rescue from sin the deceitful person living by deceit. On the other hand, like newfledged birds forsaking their nest, the Vedas forsake such a person at the end.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O thou that hast restrained thy senses, if, indeed, the Vedas are not competent to rescue a person without the aid of virtue, whence then is this delusion of the Brahmanas that the Vedas are always destructive of sins?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’O magnanimous one, this universe hath sprung from that Supreme Soul by the union of Conditions respecting name, form, and other attributes. The Vedas also, pointing it out duly, declare the same, and inculcate that the Supreme Soul and the universe are different and not identical. It is for attaining to that Supreme Soul that asceticism and sacrifices are ordained, and it is by these two that the man of learning earneth virtue. Destroying sin by virtue, his soul is enlightened by knowledge. The man of knowledge, by the aid of knowledge, attaineth to the Supreme Soul. Otherwise, he that coveteth the four objects of human pursuit, taking with him all that he doth here, enjoyeth their fruits hereafter, and (as those fruits) are not everlasting cometh back to the region of action (when the enjoyment is over). Indeed, the fruits of ascetic austerities performed in this world have to be enjoyed in the other world (as regards those persons who have not obtained the mastery of their souls). As regards those Brahmanas employed in ascetic practices (who have the mastery of their souls), even these regions are capable of yielding fruits.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O Sanat-sujata, how can ascetic austerities which are all of the same kind, be sometimes successful and sometimes unsuccessful? Tell us this in order that we may know it!’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’That asceticism which is not stained by (desire and other) faults is said to be capable of procuring emancipation, and is, therefore, successful, while the asceticism that is stained by vanity and want of true devotion is regarded unsuccessful. All thy enquiries, O Kshatriya, touch the very root of asceticism. It is by asceticism that they that are learned, know Brahman and win immortality!’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’I have listened to what thou hast said about asceticism unstained by faults, and by which I have succeeded in knowing an eternal mystery. Tell me now, O Sanat-sujata, about asceticism that is stained by faults!’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’O king, the twelve, including anger, as also the thirteen kinds of wickedness, are the faults of asceticism that is stained. Anger, lust, avarice, ignorance of right and wrong, discontent, cruelty, malice, vanity, grief, love of pleasure, envy, and speaking ill of others, are generally the faults of human beings. These twelve should always be avoided by men. Any one amongst these can singly effect the destruction of men, O bull among men. Indeed, every one of these wait for opportunity in respect of men, like a hunter expectant of opportunities in respect of deer. Assertion of one’s own superiority, desire of enjoying others’ wives, humiliating others from excess of pride, wrathfulness, fickleness, and refusing to maintain those worthy of being maintained, these six acts of wickedness are always practised by sinful men defying all dangers here and hereafter. He that regards the gratification of lust to be one of life’s aims, he that is exceedingly proud, he that grieves having given away, he that never spends money, he that persecutes his subjects by exacting hateful taxes, he that delights in the humiliation of others, and he that hates his own wives,—these seven are others that are also called wicked. Righteousness, truth (abstention from injury and truthfulness of speech), self-restraint, asceticism, delight in the happiness of others, modesty, forbearance, love of others, sacrifices, gifts, perseverance, knowledge of the scriptures,—these twelve constitute the practices of Brahmanas. He that succeeds in acquiring these twelve, becomes competent to sway the entire earth. He that is endued with three, two, or even one, of these, should be regarded of heavenly prosperity. Self-restraint, renunciation, and knowledge of Self,—in these are emancipation. Those Brahmanas that are endued with wisdom, say, that these are attributes in which truth predominates. Self-restraint is constituted by eighteen virtues. Breaches and non-observance of ordained acts and omissions, falsehood, malice, lust, wealth, love of (sensual) pleasure, anger, grief, thirst, avarice, deceit, joy in the misery of others, envy, injuring others, regret, aversion from pious acts, forgetfulness of duty, calumniating others, and vanity-he that is freed from these (eighteen) vices; is said by the righteous to be self-restrained. The eighteen faults (that have been enumerated) constitute what is called mada or pride. Renunciation is of six kinds. The reverse of those six again are faults called mada. (The faults, therefore, that go by the name of mada are eighteen and six). The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. The third only is difficult of practice, but by that all sorrow is overcome. Indeed, if that kind of renunciation be accomplished in practice, he that accomplishes it overcomes all the pairs of contraries in the world.
’The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. They are these: The first is never experiencing joy on occasions of prosperity. The second is the abandonment of sacrifices, prayers, and pious acts. That which is called the third, O king, is the abandonment of desire or withdrawing from the world. Indeed, it is in consequence of this third kind of renunciation of desire, which is evidenced by the abandonment of all objects of enjoyment (without enjoying them) and not their abandonment after having enjoyed them to the fill, nor by abandonment after acquisition, nor by abandonment only after one has become incompetent to enjoy from loss of appetite. The fourth kind of renunciation consists in this: One should not grieve nor suffer his self to be afflicted by grief when one’s actions fail, notwithstanding one’s possession of all the virtues and all kinds of wealth. Or, when anything disagreeable happens, one feeleth no pain. The fifth kind of renunciation consists in not soliciting even one’s sons, wives, and others that may all be very dear. The sixth kind consists in giving away to a deserving person who solicits, which act of gifts is always productive of merit. By these again, one acquires the knowledge of Self. As regards this last attribute, it involves eight qualities. These are truth, meditation, distinction of subject and object, capacity for drawing inferences, withdrawal from the world, never taking what belongeth to others, the practices of Brahmacharya vows (abstinence), and non-acceptance (of gifts).
’So also the attribute of mada (the opposite of dama or self-restraint) hath faults which have all been indicated (in the scriptures). These faults should be avoided. I have spoken (to thee) of renunciation and self-knowledge. And as, self-Knowledge hath eight virtues, so the want of it hath eight faults. Those faults should be avoided. O Bharata, he that is liberated from this five senses, mind, the past and the future, becomes happy. O king, let thy soul be devoted to truth; all the worlds are established on truth; indeed, self-control, renunciation, and self-knowledge are said to have truth for their foremost attribute. Avoiding (these) faults, one should practise asceticism here. The Ordainer hath ordained that truth alone should be the vow of the righteous. Asceticism, that is dissociated from these faults and endued with these virtues, becomes the source of great prosperity, I have now briefly told these about that sin-destroying and sacred subject which thou hadst asked me and which is capable of liberating a person from birth, death, and decrepitude.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’With Akhyana (Puranas) as their fifth, the Vedas declare the Supreme Soul to be this universe consisting of mobile and immobile things. Others regard four God-heads; and others three; others again regard two; and others only one; and others regard Brahman alone as the sole existent object (there being nothing else possessing a separate existence). Amongst these, which should I know to be really possessed of the knowledge of Brahman.’
“Sanat-sujata, ’There is but one Brahman which is Truth’s self. It is from ignorance of that One, that god-heads have been conceived to be diverse. But who is there, O king, that hath attained to Truth’s self or Brahman? Man regardeth himself wise without knowing that One Object of knowledge, and from desire of happiness is engaged in study and the practices of charity and sacrifices. They have deviated from Truth (Brahman) and entertain purposes corresponding (with their state) and hence relying on the truth of Vedic texts thereof perform sacrifices. Some perform (or attain the object of) sacrifices by the mind (meditation), some by words (recitation of particular prayers, or Yapa); and some by acts (actual consummation of the Yatishtoma and other costly rites). The person, however, who seeketh Brahman through Truth, obtaineth his desired objects at home. When however, one’s purposes become abortive (through absence of knowledge of Self), one should adopt vows of silence and such like, called Dikshavrata. Indeed, Diksha cometh from the root Diksha, meaning the observance of vows. As regards those that have knowledge of Self, with them Truth is the highest object of pursuit.’
’The fruits of knowledge are visible; asceticism yieldeth fruits hereafter. A Brahmana who (without knowledge and asceticism) hath only read much should only be known as a great reader. Therefore, O Kshatriya, never think that one can be a Brahman (Brahman-knowing) by only reading the scriptures. He, on the other hand, should be known by thee to be possessed of the knowledge of the Brahman who doth not deviate from Truth. O Kshatriya, the verses that were recited by Atharvan to a conclave of great sages, in days of old, are known by the name of Chhandas. They are not be regarded as acquainted with the Chhandas who have only read through the Vedas, without having attained to the knowledge of Him who is known through the Vedas. The Chhandas, O best of men, become the means of obtaining Brahman independently and without the necessity of anything foreign. They cannot be regarded as acquainted with the Chhandas who are acquainted only with the modes of sacrifice enjoined in the Vedas. On the other hand, having waited upon those that are acquainted with the Vedas, have not the righteous attained to the Object that is knowable by the Vedas? There is none who hath truly caught the sense of the Vedas or there may be some who have, O king, caught the sense. He that hath only read the Vedas, doth not know the Object knowable by them. He, however, that is established in Truth, know the Object knowable by the Vedas. Amongst those faculties which lead to perception of the body as the acting agent, there is none by which true knowledge may be acquired. By the mind alone one cannot acquire the knowledge of Self and Not-Self. Indeed, he that knoweth Self also knoweth what is Not-self. He, on the other hand, that knoweth only what is Not-self, doth not know Truth. He, again, that knoweth the
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Excellent, O Sanat-sujata, as this thy discourse is, treating of the attainment of Brahman and the origin of the universe. I pray thee, O celebrated Rishi, to go on telling me words such as these, that are unconnected with objects of worldly desire and are, therefore, rare among men.’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’That Brahman about which thou askest me with such joy is not to be attained soon. After (the senses have been restrained and) the will hath been merged in the pure intellect, the state that succeeds in one of utter absence of worldly thought. Even that is knowledge (leading to the attainment of Brahman). It is attainable only by practising Brahmacharya.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Thou sayest that the knowledge of Brahman dwelleth of itself in the mind, being only discovered by Brahmacharya; that is dwelling in the mind, it requires for its manifestation no efforts (such as are necessary for work) being manifested (of itself) during the seeking (by means of Brahmacharya). How then is the immortality associated with the attainment of Brahman?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Though residing in and inherent to the mind, the knowledge of Brahman is still unmanifest. It is by the aid of the pure intellect and Brahmacharya that, that knowledge is made manifest. Indeed, having attained to that knowledge, Yogins forsake this world. It is always to be found among eminent preceptors. I shall now discourse to thee on that knowledge.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’What should be the nature of that Brahmacharya by which the knowledge of Brahman might be attained without much difficulty? O regenerate one, tell me this.’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’They, who, residing in the abodes of their preceptors and winning their good will and friendship, practise Brahmacharya austerities, become even in this world the embodiments of Brahman and casting off their bodies are united with the Supreme Soul. They that in this world desirous of obtaining the state of Brahman, subdue all desires, and endued as they are with righteousness, they succeed in dissociating the Soul from the body like a blade projected from a clump of heath. The body, O Bharata, is created by these, viz., the father and the mother; the (new) birth, however, that is due to the preceptor’s instructions is sacred, free from decrepitude, and immortal. Discoursing upon Brahman and granting immortality, he who wraps all persons with (the mantle of) truth, should be regarded as father and mother; and bearing in mind the good he does, one should never do him any injury. A disciple must habitually salute his preceptor with respect, and with purity (of body and mind) and well-directed attention, he must betake to study. He must not consider any service as mean, and must not harbour anger. Even this is the first step of Brahmacharya. The practices of that disciple who acquires knowledge by observing the duties ordained for one of his class are regarded also as the first step of Brahmacharya. A disciple should, with his very life and all his possessions, in thought, word and deed, do all that is agreeable to the preceptor. This is regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. He should behave towards his preceptor’s wife and son also in the same way as towards his preceptor himself. This also is regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. Bearing well in mind what has been done to him by the preceptor, and understanding also its object, the disciple should, with a delighted heart think,—I have been taught and made great by him. This is the third step of Brahmacharya. Without requiring the preceptor by payment of the final gift, a wise disciple must not betake to another mode of life; nor should he say or even think of in his mind,—I make this gift. This is the fourth step of Brahmacharya. He attaineth the first step of (knowledge of Brahman which is) the object of Brahmacharya by aid of time; the second step, through the preceptor’s prelections; the third, by the power of his own understanding; and finally, the fourth, by discussion. The learned
“Dhritarashtra said, ’The existence of Brahman, thou sayest, a wise man perceiveth in his own soul. Now, is Brahman white, or red, or black or blue, or purple? Tell me what is the true form and colour of the Omnipresent and Eternal Brahman?’
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Indeed, Brahman as (perceived) may appear as white, red, black, brown, or bright. But neither on the earth, nor in the sky, nor in the water of the ocean, is there anything like it, Neither in the stars, nor in lightning, nor in the clouds, is its form to be seen, nor is it visible in the atmosphere, nor in the deities, nor in the moon, nor in the sun. Neither in the Riks, nor among the Yajus, nor among the Atharvans, nor in the pure Samans, it is to be found. Verily, O king, it is not to be found in Rathantara or Varhadratha, nor in great sacrifices. Incapable of being compassed and lying beyond the reach of the limited intellect, even the universal Destroyer, after the Dissolution, is himself lost in it. Incapable of being gazed at, it is subtle as the edge of the razor, and grosser
“Sanat-sujata said, ’Sorrow, anger, covetousness, lust, ignorance, laziness, malice, self-importance, continuous desire of gain, affection, jealousy and evil speech,—these twelve, O monarch, are grave faults that are destructive of men’s lives. Each of these, O monarch, wait for opportunities to seize mankind. Afflicted by them, men lose their senses and commit sinful acts. He that is covetous, he that is fierce, he that is harsh of speech, he that is garrulous, he that is given to nursing anger, he that is boastful,—these six of wicked disposition, on obtaining wealth, cannot treat others with courtesy. He that regardeth sensual gratification as the end of life, he that is self-conceited, he that boasteth having made a gift, he that never spendeth, he that is weak in mind, he that is given to self-admiration, and he that hateth his own wife,—these seven are counted as wicked men of sinful habits. Righteousness, truth, asceticism, self-restraint, contentment, modesty, renunciation, love of others, gift, acquaintance with the scriptures, patience, and forgiveness,—these twelve are the practices of a Brahmana. He that doth not fall off from these twelve, may sway the entire earth. He that is endued with three, or two, or even one, of these, doth never regard anything as his own to the exclusion of others. Self-restraint, renunciation, and knowledge,—in these reside emancipation. These are the attributes of Brahmanas endued with wisdom and regarding Brahman as the highest of all objects of attainment. True or false, it is not laudable for a Brahmana to speak ill of others; they that do this have hell for their abode. Mada hath eighteen faults which have not yet been enumerated by me. They are ill-will towards others, throwing obstacles in the way of virtuous acts, detraction, falsehood in speech, lust, anger, dependence, speaking ill of others, finding out the faults of others for report, waste of wealth, quarrel, insolence, cruelty to living creatures, malice, ignorance, disregard of those that are worthy of regard, loss of the senses of right and wrong, and always seeking to injure others. A wise man, therefore, should not give way to mada, for the accompaniments of mada are censurable. Friendship is said to possess six indications; firstly, friends delight in the prosperity of friends, and secondly, are distressed at their adversity. If any one asketh for anything which is dear to his heart, but
“Sanat-sujata said, ’The primary Seed (of the universe), called Mahayasas, is destitute of accidents, is pure Knowledge, and blazeth with effulgence. It leadeth the senses, and it is in consequence of that Seed that Surya shineth. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). It is in consequence of that Seed (which is Joy’s self) that Brahman becomes capable of Creation and it is through it that Brahman increaseth in expansion. It is that Seed which entering into luminous bodies giveth light and
“Vaisampayana said, ’Thus conversing with Sanat-sujata and the learned Vidura, the king passed that night. And after the night had passed away, all the princes and chiefs, entered the court-hall with joyous hearts and desirous of seeing that Suta (who had returned). And anxious to hear the message of Partha’s, fraught with virtue and profit, all the kings with Dhritarashtra at their head, went to that beautiful hall. Spotlessly white and spacious, it was adorned with a golden floor. And effulgent as the moon and exceedingly beautiful, it was sprinkled over with sandal-water. And it was spread over with excellent seats made of gold and wood, and marble and ivory. And all the seats were wrapped with excellent covers. And Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Salya, and Kritavarman and Jayadratha, and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Somadatta and Vahlika and Vidura of great wisdom and Yuyutsu, the great car-warrior,—all these heroic kings in a body, O bull among the Bharatas, having Dhritarashtra at their head, entered that hall of great beauty. And Dussasana and Chitrasena, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and Durmukha and Dussaha, Karna and Uluka and Vivingsati,—these also, with Duryodhana, the wrathful king of the Kurus, at their head, entered that hall, O monarch, like the celestials forming the train of Sakra himself. And filled with these heroes possessed of arms like maces of iron, that hall looked, O king, like a mountain-cave filled with lions. And all these mighty bowmen, endued with great energy and blazing, with solar effulgence, entering the hall, seated themselves on those beautiful seats. And after all those kings, O Bharata, had taken their seats, the orderly-in-waiting announced the arrival of the Suta’s son, saying, ’Yonder cometh the car that was despatched to the Pandavas.
“Dhritarashtra said, “I ask thee, O Sanjaya, in the presence of my boy and of these kings, what words were said by the illustrious Dhananjaya of might that knoweth no diminution,—that leader of warriors,—that destroyer of the lives of the wicked?’
“Sanjaya said, ’Let Duryodhana listen to the words which the high-souled Arjuna, eager for fight, uttered, with Yudhishthira’s sanction and in the hearing of Kesava. Fearless (in battle) and conscious of the might of his arms, the heroic Kiritin, eager for fight, spoke thus unto me in the presence of Vasudeva, ’Do thou, O suta, say unto Dhritarashtra’s son, in the presence of all the Kurus, and also in the hearing of that Suta’s son, of foul tongue and wicked soul, of little sense, stupid reason, and of numbered days, who always desires to fight against me, and also in the hearing of those kings assembled for fighting against the Pandavas, and do thou see that all the words now uttered by me are heard well by that king with his counsellors.’ O monarch, even as the celestials eagerly listen to the words of their chief armed with the thunderbolt, so did the Pandavas and the Srinjayas listened to those words of grave import uttered by Kiritin. Just these are the words spoken by Arjuna, the wielder of Gandiva, eager for the fight and with eyes red as the lotus, ’If Dhritarashtra’s son doth not surrender to king Yudhishthira of the Ajamida race, his kingdom, then (it is evident) there must be some sinful act committed by the sons of Dhritarashtra, whose consequences are yet unreaped by them, for it can be nothing else when they desire battle with Bhimasena and Arjuna, and the Aswins and Vasudeva and Sini’s son, and Dhrishtadyumna infallible in arms, and Sikhandin, and Yudhishthira, who is like Indra himself and who can consume heaven and earth by merely wishing them ill. If Dhritarashtra’s son desireth war with these, then will all objects of the Pandavas be accomplished. Do not, therefore, propose peace for the sons of Pandu, but have war if thou likest. That bed of woe in the woods which was Yudhishthira’s when that virtuous son of Pandu lived in exile; Oh,
“Vaisampayana said, ’In the midst, O Bharata, of all those assembled kings, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, then said these words unto Duryodhana, ’Once on a time, Vrihaspati and Sakra went to Brahma. The Maruts also with Indra, the Vasus with Agni, the Adityas, the Sadhyas, the seven celestial Rishis, the Gandharvas, Viswavasu, and the beautiful tribes of the Apsaras, all approached the ancient Grandsire. And having bowed down unto the Lord of the universe, all those dwellers of heaven sat around him. Just then, the two ancient deities, the Rishis Nara and Narayana, as if drawing unto themselves by their own energy the minds and energies of all who were present there, left the place.’ Thereupon, Vrihaspati asked Brahma, saying,—Who are these two that leave the place without worshipping thee? Tell us, O Grandsire, who are they? Thus asked, Brahma said, ’These two, endued with ascetic merit, blazing with effulgence and beauty, illuminating both the earth and the heaven, possessed of great might, and pervading and surpassing all, are Nara and Narayana, dwelling now in the region of Brahman having arrived from the other world. Endued with great might and prowess, they shine in consequence of their own asceticism. By their acts they always contribute to the joy of the world. Worshipped by the gods and the Gandharvas, they exist only for the destruction of Asuras.’
“Bhishma continued, ’Having heard these words, Sakra went to the spot where those two were practising ascetic austerities, accompanied by all the celestials and having Vrihaspati at their head. At that time, the dwellers of heaven had been very much alarmed in consequence of a war raging between themselves and the Asuras. And Indra asked that illustrious couple to grant him a boon. Thus solicited, O best of the Bharata race, those two said,—Name thou the boon.—Upon this Sakra said unto them,—Give us your aid.—They then said unto Sakra,—We will do what thou wishest. And then it was with their aid that Sakra subsequently vanquished the Daityas and the Danavas. The chastiser of foes, Nara, slew in battle hundreds and thousands of Indra’s foes among the Paulomas and the Kalakhanjas. It was this Arjuna, who, riding on a whirling car, severed in battle, with a broad-headed arrow, the head of the Asura Jambha
’Karna said. ’It behoveth thee not, O blessed grandsire, to use such words towards me, for I have adopted the duties of the Kshatriya order without falling off from those of my own. Besides, what wickedness is there in me? I have no sin known to any one of Dhritarashtra’s people. I have never done any injury to Dhritarashtra’s son; on the other hand, I will slay all the Pandavas in battle. How can they that are wise make peace again with those that have before been injured? It is always my duty to do all that is agreeable to king Dhritarashtra, and especially to Duryodhana, for he is in possession of the kingdom.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having listened to these words of Karna, Bhishma the son of Santanu, addressing king Dhritarashtra, again said, ’Although this one often boasteth saying,—I shall slay the Pandavas,—yet he is not equal to even a sixteenth part of high-souled Pandavas. Know that the great calamity that is about to overtake thy sons of wicked souls, is the act of this wretched
’Having heard these words of Bhishma, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, having paid due homage unto Dhritarashtra and the assembled kings, spoke unto him these words, ’Do that, O king, which the best of the Bharatas, Bhishma, hath said. It behoveth thee not to act according to the words of those that are covetous of wealth. Peace with the Pandavas, before the war breaks out, seems to be the best. Everything said by Arjuna and repeated here by Sanjaya, will, I know, be accomplished by that son of Pandu, for there is no bowman equal unto him in the three world!’ Without regarding, however, these words spoken by both Drona and Bhishma, the king again asked Sanjaya about the Pandavas. From that moment, when the king returned not a proper answer to Bhishma and Drona, the Kauravas gave up all hopes of life.’”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’What did that Pandava king, the son of Dharma, say, O Sanjaya, after hearing that a large force hath been assembled here for gladdening us? How also is Yudhishthira acting, in view of the coming strife, O Suta, who amongst his brothers and sons are looking up to his face, desirous of receiving his orders? Provoked as he is by the deceptions of my wicked sons, who, again, are dissuading that king of virtuous behaviour and conversant with virtue, saying,—Have peace?’
“Sanjaya said, ’All the Panchalas, along with the other sons of Pandu, are looking up to Yudhishthira’s face, blessed be thou, and he too is restraining them all. Multitudes of cars belonging to the Pandavas and the Panchalas are coming in separate bodies for gladdening Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, ready to march to the field of battle. As the sky brightens up at the advent of the rising sun, so the Panchalas are rejoicing at their union with Kunti’s son of blazing splendour, risen like a flood of light. The Panchalas, the Kekayas, and the Matsyas, along with the very herdsmen that attend on their kine and sheep, are rejoicing and gladdening Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu. Brahmana and Kshatriya girls and the very daughters of the Vaisyas, in large number, are coming in playful mood for beholding Partha accounted in coat of mail.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell us, O Sanjaya, of the forces of Dhrishtadyumna, as also of the Somakas, and of all others, with which the Pandavas intend to fight with us.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus interrogated, in the midst of the Kurus and in their very hall, the son of Gavalgana’ became thoughtful for a moment and seemed to draw repeatedly deep and long sights; and suddenly he fell down in a swoon without any apparent reason. Then in that assembly of kings, Vidura said loudly, ’Sanjaya, O great king, hath fallen down on the ground senseless, and cannot utter a word, bereft of sense and his intellect clouded.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Without doubt, Sanjaya, having seen those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, hath his mind filled with great anxiety in consequence of those tigers among men.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having recovered consciousness, and being comforted, Sanjaya addressed king Dhritarashtra in the midst of that concourse of Kurus in that hall, saying, ’Indeed, O king of kings, I saw those great warriors, the sons of Kunti, thinned in body, in consequence of the restraint in which they had lived in the place of the king of the Matsyas. Hear, O King, with whom the Pandavas will contend against you. With that hero Dhrishtadyumna as their ally, they will fight against you. With that personage of virtuous soul, who never forsaketh truth through anger or fear, temptation, or for the sake of wealth, of disputation; and who is, O King, a very authority in matters of religion, himself being the best of those that practise virtue;—with him, who hath never made an enemy, the sons of Pandu will fight against you.’ He unto whom no one on earth is equal in might of arms, and who, wielding his bow had brought all kings under subjection, and who, vanquishing of old all the people of Kasi and Anga and Magadha, as also the Kalingas;—with that Bhimasena will the sons of Pandu fight against, you. Indeed, he through whose might the four sons of Pandu quickly could alight on the earth, having issued forth from the (burning) house of lac that son of Kunti, Vrikodara, who became the means of their rescue from the cannibal Hidimva; that son of Kunti, Vrikodara, who became their refuge when the daughter of Yajnasena was being carried away by Jayadratha; indeed, with that Bhima. who rescued the assembled Pandavas from the conflagration at Varanavata; even with him (as their ally) will they fight against you. He, who for the gratification of Krishna slew the Krodhavasas, having penetrated the rugged and terrible mountains of Gandhamadana, he to whose arms hath been imparted the might of ten thousand elephants; with that Bhimasena (as their ally) the Pandavas will fight against you. That hero, who, for the gratification of Agni, with Krishna only for his second, bravely vanquished of yore Purandara in fight; he who gratified by combat that God of gods, the trident-bearing lord of Uma—Mahadeva himself having the mountains
“Dhritarashtra said, ’All these named by thee are, indeed, endued with great courage, but all of them together are equal to Bhima singly. My fear, O child, from the wrathful Bhima is, indeed, very great, like that of fat deer from an enraged tiger. I pass all my nights in sleeplessness, breathing deep and hot sighs afraid of Vrikodara, O child, like an animal of any other species afraid of the lion. Of mighty arms, and in energy equal unto Sakra himself, I see not in this whole army even one that can withstand him in battle. Exceedingly wrathful and determined in animosity, that son of Kunti and Pandu smileth not even in jest, is mad with rage, casteth his glances obliquely, and speaketh in a voice of thunder. Of great impetuosity and great courage, of long arms and great might, he will not, in battle, leave even one of my foolish sons alive. Indeed, Vrikodara, that bull among the Kurus, whirling his mace in battle, will, like a second Yama mace in hand slay all my sons who are afflicted by a heavy calamity. Even now I see that terrible mace of his, with eight sides made of steel, and adorned with gold, uplifted like a Brahmana’s curse. As a lion of mighty strength among a flock of deer, Bhima will range among my troops. He only (amongst his brothers) always displayed his strength cruelly towards my sons. Eating voraciously, and endued with great impetuosity, from his very childhood he hath been behaving inimically towards my children. My heart trembleth (to remember) that even in their childhood, Duryodhana and other sons of mine, while fighting with him (sportively) were always ground down by the elephant-like Bhima. Alas, my sons have always been oppressed by his might, and it is that Bhima of terrible prowess that hath been the cause of this rupture. Even now I behold Bhima, mad with rage, fighting in the very van, and devouring the whole of my host consisting of men, elephants, and steeds. Equal unto Drona and Arjuna in weapons, his speed equal unto the velocity of the wind, and in wrath like unto Maheswara himself, who is there, O Sanjaya, that would slay that wrathful and terrible hero in battle? I think it to be a great gain that my sons were not even then slain by that slayer of enemies who is endued with such energy. How can a human being withstand the impetuosity of that warrior in battle who slew Yakshas and Rakshasas of terrible might before? O Sanjaya, even in his childhood he was never completely under my control.
“Dhritarashtra said, ’He whom we have never heard to speak a falsehood, he who hath Dhananjaya to fight for him, may have the sovereignty of even the three worlds. Reflecting from day to day I do not find the warrior who may, on his car, advance in battle against the wielder of Gandiva. When that wielder of Gandiva will shoot winged arrows and Nalikas and shafts capable of piercing the breast of warriors, there is no rival of his in battle. If those bulls among men, those heroes,—Drona and Karna,—those foremost of mighty men, versed in weapons and invincible in battle, withstand him, the result may be very doubtful, but I am sure that the victory will not be mine. Karna is both compassionate and heedless, and preceptor is aged and hath affection for this pupil. Partha, however, is able and mighty, of firm grasp (of the bow). Terrible will be the encounter between them, without resulting in any one’s defeat. Conversant with weapons and endued with heroism, all of them have earned great fame. They may relinquish the very sovereignty of the gods, but not the chance of winning victory. There would be peace, without doubt, upon the fall of either of these two (Drona and Karna) or of Falguna, There is none, however, who can either slay or vanquish Arjuna. Alas, how may his wrath that hath been excited against my foolish sons be pacified. Others there are acquainted with the use of weapons, that conqueror are conquered; but it is heard that Falguna always conquereth. Three and thirty years have passed away since the time, when Arjuna, having invited Agni, gratified him at Khandava, vanquishing all the celestials. We have never heard of his defeat anywhere, O child. Like the case of Indra, victory is always Arjuna’s, who hath for his charioteer in battle Hrishikesa, endued with the same character and position. We hear that the two Krishnas on the same car and the stringed
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Endued with great prowess and eager for victory, even as the sons themselves of Pandu are, so are their followers, who are all resolved to sacrifice their lives and determined to win victory. Even thou, O son, hast told me of my mighty enemies, viz., the kings of the Panchalas, the Kekayas, the Matsyas, and the Magadhas. He, again, who at his will can bring under his subjection all the three worlds with Indra at their head, even that Creator of the universe, the mighty Krishna is bent on giving victory upon the Pandavas. As regards Satyaki, he acquired in no time the whole science of arms from Arjuna. That scion of Sini’s race will stand on the battle-field, shooting his shafts like husbandmen sowing seeds. The prince of Panchala, Dhristadyumna, that mighty car-warrior of merciless deeds, acquainted with all superior weapons, will fight with my host. Great is my fear, O child from the wrath of Yudhishthira, from the prowess of Arjuna, and from the Twins and Bhimasena. When those lords of men will, in the midst of my army, spread their superhuman net of arrows, I fear my troops will not come out of it. It is for this, O Sanjaya, that I weep. That son of Pandu, Yudhishthira, is handsome, endued with great energy, highly blessed, possessed of Brahma force, intelligent, of great wisdom, and virtuous soul. Having allies and counsellors, united with persons ready for battle, and possessing brothers and father-in-law who are all heroes and mighty car-warriors, that tiger among men, the son of Pandu,
“Sanjaya said, It is even so, O great king, as thou, O Bharata, sayest. On the event of battle, the destruction of the Kshatriyas by means of Gandiva is certain. This, however, I do not understand, how when thou art always wise and especially acquainted with the prowess of Savyasachin, thou followest yet the counsels of thy sons. Having O bull of the Bharata race, injured the sons of Pritha from the very beginning, having in fact, committed sins repeatedly, this is not, O great king, the time (to grieve). He that occupies the position of a father and a friend, if he is always watchful and of good heart, should seek the welfare (of his children); but he that injures, cannot be called a father. Hearing of the defeat of the Pandavas at dice, thou hadst, O king, laughed like a child, saying, ‘This is won, this is acquired!’ When the harshest speeches were addressed to the sons of Pritha, thou didst not then interfere, pleased at the prospect of thy sons winning the whole kingdom. Thou couldst not however, then see before thee inevitable fall. The country of the Kurus, including the region called Jangala is, O king, thy paternal kingdom. Thou hast, however, obtained the whole earth by those heroes. Won by the strength of their arms, the sons of Pritha made over thee this extensive empire. Thou thinkest, however, O best of kings, that all this was acquired by thee. When thy sons, seized by the king of the Gandharvas, were about to sink in a shoreless sea without a raft to save them, it was Partha, O king, that brought them back. Thou hadst, like a child, repeatedly laughed, O monarch, at the Pandavas when they were defeated at dice and were going into exile. When Arjuna poureth a shower of keen arrows, the very oceans dry up, let alone beings of flesh and blood. Falguna is the foremost of all shooters; Gandiva is
“Duryodhana said, ’Fear not, O king. Nor shouldest thou grieve for us. O monarch, O lord, we are quite able to vanquish the foe in battle. When the Parthas had been exiled to the woods, there came unto them the slayer of Madhu with a vast army in battle array and capable of crushing hostile kingdoms; and there also came unto them the Kekayas, and Dhrishtaketu, and Dhrishtadyumna of Pritha’s race and numerous other kings in their train; and all those great car-warriors were assembled in a place not far from Indraprastha; and having assembled together they censured thee and all the Kurus. And O Bharata, all those warriors with Krishna at their head paid their homage unto Yudhishthira clad in deerskin and seated in their midst. And all those kings then suggested to Yudhishthira that he should take back the kingdom. And all of them desired to slay thee with all the followers. And hearing of all this, O bull of the Bharata race, I addressed Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, struck with fear, O king, at the prospect of the ruin that threatened our kindred. And I said unto them, ’I think the Pandavas will not abide by the agreement made by them; Vasudeva desireth our utter extinction. I think also that with the exception of Vidura all of you will be slain, although the chief of the Kurus, Dhritarashtra, conversant with morality, will not be
“Duryodhana continued, ’Even this was the resolve then formed by these heroes of immeasurable energy. The whole earth was formerly under the foe’s command. Now, however, they are incapable of vanquishing us in battle, for our enemies, the sons of Pandu, are now without allies and destitute of energy. O bull of the Bharata race, the sovereignty of the earth now resteth in me, and the kings also, assembled by me, are of the same mind with me in weal or woe. Know thou, O best of the Kuru race, that all these kings, O slayer of foes, can, for my sake, enter into the fire or the sea. They are all laughing at thee, beholding thee filled with grief and including in these lamentations like one out of his wits, and affrighted at the praises of the foe. Every one amongst these kings is able to withstand the Pandavas. Indeed, sire, every one regardeth himself; let thy fears, therefore, be dispelled. Even Vasava himself is not capable of vanquishing
’Having said this, O Bharata, that conqueror of hostile chiefs, Duryodhana, asked Sanjaya again, anxious to known more about the doings of the Pandavas.’”
“Duryodhana said, ’Having obtained, O Sanjaya, an army numbering seven Akshauhinis, what is Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, with the other kings in his company, doing in view of the war?’
“Sanjaya said, ’Yudhishthira, O king, is very cheerful in view of the battle. And so also are Bhimasena and Arjuna. The twins also are perfectly fearless. Desirous of making an experiment of the mantras (obtained by him). Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, yoked his celestial car illuminating all the directions. Accoutred in mail, he looked like a mass of clouds charged with lightning. After reflecting for a while, he cheerfully addressed me, saying,—Behold, O Sanjaya, these preliminary signs. We will certainly conquer.’ Indeed, what Vibhatsu said unto me appeared to me to be true.’
“Duryodhana said, ’Thou rejoicest to applaud those sons of Pritha defeated at dice. Tell us now what sort of steeds are yoked unto Arjuna’s car and what sort of banners are set up on it?’
“Sanjaya said, ’O great king, the celestial artificer called Tashtri or Bhaumana, aided by Sakra and Dhatri, created forms of diverse kinds and great beauty for Arjuna’s car. And displaying divine illusion they placed on his flagstaff those celestial forms, large and small, of great value. And at Bhimasena’s request, Hanumat, the son of the Wind-god, will also place his own image on it. And Bhaumana has, in its creation, had recourse to such illusion that that banner covers, both perpendicularly and laterally, an area of one yojana, and even if trees stand in its way, its course cannot be impeded. Indeed, even as Sakra’s bow of diverse colours is exhibited in the firmament, and nobody knows of what it is made, so hath that banner been contrived by Bhaumana, for its form is varied and ever varying. And as column of smoke mixed with fire riseth up, covering the sky and displaying many bright hues and elegant shapes, so doth that banner contrived by Bhaumana rear its head. Indeed, it hath no weight, nor is it capable of being obstructed. And unto that car are a century of excellent celestial steeds of white hue and endued with the speed of the mind, all presented by Chitrasena (the king of the Gandharvas). And neither on earth, O king, nor in the sky, nor in heaven, their course can be impeded. And formerly a boon hath been granted to the effect that their number would always remain full how often so ever they might be slain. And unto Yudhishthira’s car are yoked large steeds of equal energy and white in colour like ivory. And unto Bhimasena’s car are yoked courses endued with the speed of the wind and the splendour of the seven Rishis. And steeds of sable bodies and backs variegated like the wings of the Tittri bird, all presented by his gratified brother Falguna, and superior to those of the heroic Falguna himself, cheerfully carry Sahadeva. And Nakula of Ajamida’s race, the son of Madri, is borne, like Indra the slayer of Vritra, by excellent steeds, presented by the great Indra himself, all mighty as the wind and endued with great speed. And excellent steed of large size, equal unto those of the Pandavas themselves in years and strength, endued with great swiftness and of handsome make, and all presented by the celestials, carry those youthful princes, the sons of Subhadra and Draupadi.’”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Whom hast thou, O Sanjaya, seen to have, from affection, arrived there, and who will, on behalf of the Pandavas, fight my son’s forces?’
“Sanjaya said, ’I have seen Krishna, the foremost of the Andhakas and the Vrishnis, arrived there, and Chekitana, as also Satyaki, otherwise called Yuyudhana. And those two mighty car-warriors, proud of their strength and famed over all the world, have joined the Pandavas, each with a separate Akshauhini of troops. And Drupada, the king of the Panchalas, surrounded by his ten heroic sons—Satyajit and others—headed by Dhrishtadyumna, and well-protected by Sikhandin, and having furnished his soldiers with every necessary thing, hath come there with a full Akshauhini, desirous of honouring Yudhishthira. And that lord of earth, Virata, with his two sons Sankha and Uttara, as also with those heroes Suryadatta and others—headed by Madiraksha and surrounded by one Akshauhini of troops, hath thus accompanied by brothers and sons, joined the son of Pritha. And the son of Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, and Dhrishtaketu, the king of the Chedis, have separately come there, each accompanied by an Akshauhini of troops. And the five brothers of Kekaya, all having purple flags, have joined the Pandavas, surrounded by an Akshauhini of troops. Then numbering to this extent, have I seen assembled there, and these, on behalf of the Pandavas, will encounter the Dhartarashtra host. That great car-warrior, Dhrishtadyumna, who is acquainted with human, celestial, Gandharva and Asura arrays of battle, leadeth that host. O king, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, has been assigned to Sikhandin as his share; and Virata with all his Matsya warriors will support Sikhandin. The mighty king of the Madras hath been assigned to the eldest son of Pandu as his share, though some are of opinion that those two are not well-matched. Duryodhana with his sons and his ninety-nine brothers, as also the rulers of the east and the south, have been assigned to Bhimasena as his share. Karna, the son of Vikartana, and Jayadratha the king of the Sindhus, have been assigned to Arjuna as his share. And those heroes also on the earth who are incapable of being withstood and who are proud of their might, have been accepted by Arjuna as his share. And those mighty bowmen, the five royal brothers of Kekaya, will put forth their strength in battle, accepting the Kekaya warriors (on Dhritarashtra’s side) as antagonists. And in their share are included the Malavas also, and the Salwakas, as also, the two famous warriors of the Trigarta host who have sworn to conquer or die. And all the sons of Duryodhana and Dussasana, as also king Vrihadvala, have been assigned to Subhadra’s son as his share. And those great bowmen, the sons of Draupadi, having cars furnished with gold-embroidered banners, all headed by Dhrishtadyumna, will, O Bharata, advance
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Alas, all my foolish sons, addicted to deceitful dice, are already dead when it is the mighty Bhima with whom they desire to encounter in the field of battle. All the kings of the earth too, consecrated by Death himself for sacrifice, will rush to the Gandiva, like so many moths into fire. Methinks my host is already put to flight by those illustrious warriors formerly injured by me. Who, indeed, shall follow to battle my warriors, whose ranks will be broken by the sons of Pandu in the encounter? All of them are mighty car-warriors, possessed of great bravery, of famous achievements, endued with great prowess, equal unto the fiery sun in energy, and all victorious in battle. Those that have Yudhishthira for their leader, the slayer of Madhu for their protector, the heroic Savyasachin and Vrikodara for their warriors, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, and Satyaki, and Drupada, and Dhrishtaketu with his son, and Uttamaujas, and the unconquerable Yudhamanyu of the Panchalas, and Sikhandin, and Kshatradeva, and Uttara, the son of Virata, and Kasayas, the Chedis, the Matsyas, the Srinjayas, Vabhru the son of Virata, the Panchalas, and the Prabhadrakas, for fighting for them, those, indeed, from whom Indra himself cannot, if they are unwilling, snatch this earth,—those heroes, cool and steady, in fight, who can split the very mountains—alas, it is with them that are endued with every virtue and possessed of superhuman prowess that this wicked son of mine, O Sanjaya, desireth to fight, disregarding me even though I am crying myself hoarse!’
“Duryodhana said, ’Both the Pandavas and ourselves are of the same race; both they and we tread upon the same earth, why dost thou think that victory will declare itself for only the Pandavas? Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, the unconquerable Karna, Jayadratha, Somadatta, and Aswatthaman-all mighty bowmen and endued with great energy,—are incapable of being vanquished by Indra himself united with the celestials. What sayst thou then, O father of the Pandavas? Ali these noble and heroic kings of the earth, bearing weapons, O father, are quite capable, for my sake, of withstanding the Pandavas, while the latter are not capable of even gazing at my troops. I am powerful enough to encounter in battle the Pandavas with their sons. O Bharata, all those rulers of the earth, who are anxious for my welfare, will certainly seize all the Pandavas like a herd of young deer by means of net. I tell thee, in consequence of our crowds of cars and snares of arrows, the Panchalas and the Pandavas will all be routed.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O Sanjaya, this my son speaketh like a mad man, for he is incapable of vanquishing in battle Yudhishthira the just. This Bhishma truly knoweth the might of the famous, powerful, virtuous, and high-souled Pandavas and their sons, for he doth not wish a battle with those illustrious ones. But tell me again O Sanjaya, of their movements. Tell me, who are inciting those illustrious and mighty bowmen endued with great activity, like priests enkindling (Homa) fires with libations of clarified butter?’
“Sanjaya said, ’O Bharata, Dhrishtadyumna is always urging the Pandavas to war, saying, ’Fight ye, best among the Bharatas. Do not entertain the least fear. All those rulers of the earth, who, courted by Dhritarashtra’s son, will become in that fierce encounter target of showers of weapons,—indeed, I alone will encounter all those angry kings assembled together with their relatives, like a whale seizing little fishes from the water. Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna and Drona’s son and Salya and Suyodhana,—them all I withstand, like the bank resisting the swelling sea.’ Unto him saying thus, the virtuous king Yudhishthira said, ’The Panchalas and the Pandavas wholly depend upon thy prowess and steadiness. Rescue us safely from the war. I know, O mighty-armed one, that thou art firm in the duties of the Kshatriya order. Thou art, indeed, quite competent to smite alone the Kauravas. When the latter, eager for fight, will stand before us, what thou, O repressor of foes, wilt arrange, will certainly be for our good. Even this is the opinion of those acquainted with the scriptures, that the hero, who, displaying his prowess, relieth those that after the rout run away from the battle-field, seeking for protection, is to be bought with a thousand. Thou, O bull among men, art brave, mighty, and powerful. Without doubt, thou art that deliverer of those that are over-powered with fear on the field of battle.’ And when the righteous Yudhishthira the son of Kunti said this, Dhrishtadyumna fearlessly addressed me in these words, ’Go thou, O Suta, without delay, and say unto all those that have come to fight for Duryodhana, say unto the Kurus of the Pratipa dynasty with the Vahlikas, the son of Saradwata and Karna and Drona, and Drona’s son, and Jayadratha, and Dussasana, and Vikarna and king Duryodhana, and Bhishma,—Do not suffer yourselves to be slain by Arjuna, who is protected by the celestials. Before that happens, let some good man approach Yudhishthira and entreat that son of Pandu, that best of men, to accept the kingdom (surrendered by them) without delay. There is no warrior on the earth like unto Savyasachin, son of Pandu, of prowess incapable of being baffled. The celestial car of the holder of Gandiva is protected by the very gods. He is incapable of being vanquished by human beings. Do not, therefore, bend your mind to war!’”
“Dhritarashtra said, Yudhishthira the son of Pandu is endued with Kshatriya energy and leadeth the Brahmacharya mode of life from his very youth. Alas, with him these foolish sons of mine desire to fight, disregarding me that am thus bewailing. I ask thee, O Duryodhana, O foremost of the Bharata race, desist from hostility. O chastiser of foes, under any circumstances, war is never applauded. Half the earth is quite enough for the maintenance of thyself and all thy followers. Give back unto the sons of Pandu, O chastiser of foes, their proper share. All the Kauravas deem just this to be consistent with justice, that thou shouldst make peace with the high-souled sons of Pandu. Reflect thus, O son, and thou wilt find that this thy army is for thy own death. Thou understandest not this from thy own folly. I myself do not desire war, nor Vahlika, nor Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Aswatthaman, nor Sanjaya, nor Somadatta, nor Salya, nor Kripa, nor Satyavrata, nor Purumitra, nor Bhurisravas,—in fact, none of these desireth war. Indeed, those warriors upon whom the Kauravas, when afflicted by the foe, will have to rely, do not approve of the war. O child, let that be acceptable to thee. Alas, thou dost not seek it of thy own will, but it is Karna and the evil-minded Dussasana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, that are leading thee to it.’
“Duryodhana said, ’I challenge the Pandavas to battle, without depending upon thyself, Drona, or Aswatthaman, or Sanjaya, or Vikarna, or Kamvoja, or Kripa, or Vahlika, or Satyavrata, or Purumitra, or Bhurisravas, or others of thy party. But, O bull among men, only myself and Karna, O sire, are prepared to celebrate the sacrifice of battle with all the necessary rites, making Yudhishthira the victim. In that sacrifice, my car will be the altar; my sword will be the smaller ladle, my mace, the large one, for pouring libations; my coat of mail will be assembly of spectators; my four steeds will be the officiating priests; my arrows will be the blades of Kusa grass; and fame will be the clarified butter. O king, performing, in honour of Yama, such a sacrifice in battle, the ingredients of which will all be furnished by ourselves, we will return victoriously covered with glory, after having slain our foes. Three of us, O sire, viz., myself and Karna and my brother Dussasana,—will slay the Pandavas in battle. Either I, slaying the Pandavas, will sway this Earth, or the sons of Pandu, having slain me, will enjoy this Earth. O king, O thou of unfading glory, I would sacrifice my life, kingdom, wealth, everything, but would not be able to live side by side with the Pandavas. O venerable one, I will not surrender to the Pandavas even that much of land which may be covered by the sharp point of a needle.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’I now abandon Duryodhana for ever. ’A nevertheless grieve for you all, ye kings, that will follow this fool who is about to proceed to Yama’s abode. Like tigers among a herd of deer, those foremost of smiters-the sons of Pandu,—will smite down your principal leaders assembled for battle. Methinks, the Bharata host, like a helpless woman, will be afflicted and crushed and hurled to a distance by Yuyudhana of long arms. Adding to the strength of Yudhishthira’s army, which without him was already sufficient, Sini’s son will take up his stand on the field of battle and scatter his arrows like seeds on a cultivated field. And Bhimasena will take up his position in the very van of the combatants, and all his soldiers will fearlessly stand in his rear, as behind a rampart. Indeed, when thou, O Duryodhana, wilt behold elephants, huge as hills, prostrated on the ground with their tusks disabled, their temples crushed and bodies dyed with gore,—in fact, when thou wilt see them lying on the field of battle like riven hills, then, afraid of a clash with him, thou wilt remember these my words. Beholding thy host consisting of cars, steeds, and elephants, consumed by Bhimasena, and presenting the spectacle of a wide-spread conflagration’s track, thou wilt remember these my words. If ye do not make peace with the Pandavas, overwhelming calamity will be yours. Slain by Bhimasena with his mace, ye will rest in peace. Indeed, when thou wilt see the Kuru host levelled to the ground by Bhima, like a large forest torn up by the roots, then wilt thou remember these my words.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said this unto all those rulers of the earth, the king addressing Sanjaya again, asked him as follows.’”
Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, what high-souled Vasudeva and Dhananjaya said. I am anxious to hear from thee all about this.’
“Sanjaya said, ’Listen, O king, as I tell thee the state in which I found Krishna and Dhananjaya. I will also, O Bharata, tell thee what those heroes said; O king, with looks bent down and hands joined together, and with senses well restrained, I entered the inner apartments for conferring with those gods among men. Neither Abhimanyu nor the Twins can repair to that place where are the two Krishnas and Draupadi and lady Satyabhama. There I beheld those chastisers of foes, exhilarated with Bassia wine, their bodies adorned with garlands of flowers. Attired in excellent robes and adorned with celestial ornaments, they sat on a golden dais, decked with numerous gems, and covered over with carpets of diverse texture and hue. And I beheld Kesava’s feet resting upon Arjuna’s lap while those of the high-souled Arjuna rested upon the laps of Krishna and Satyabhama. Partha then pointed out to me (for a seat) a foot-stool made of gold. Touching it with my hand, I seated myself down on the ground.
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having heard these words of Sanjaya, the monarch endued with the eye of wisdom, took that speech into his consideration as regards its merits and demerits. And having counted in detail the merits and demerits as far as he could, and having exactly ascertained the strength and weakness of both parties, the learned and intelligent king, ever desirous of victory to his sons, then began to compare the powers of both sides. And having at last ascertained that the Pandavas were endued with strength and energy both human and divine, and that the Kurus were much weaker Dhritarashtra said unto Duryodhana, ’This anxiety, O Duryodhana, always filleth me. Indeed, it doth not leave me. Truly, it seemeth that I behold it with my eye. This conviction is not a matter of inference. All created beings show great affection for their offsprings, and do, to the best of their power, what is agreeable and beneficial to them. This is generally to be seen also in the case of benefactors. They that are good always desire to return the good done to them and to do what is highly agreeable to their benefactors. Remembering what was done to him to Khandava, Agni will, no doubt, reader aid to Arjuna in this terrible encounter between the Kurus and the Pandavas. And from parental affection, Dharma. and other celestials duly invoked, will come together to the aid of the Pandavas. I think that to save them from Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, the celestials will be filled with wrath, resembling the thunderbolt in its effects. Endued with energy and well-versed in the use of weapons, those tigers among men, the sons of Pritha, when united with the celestials, will be incapable of being even gazed upon by human warriors, He who hath the irresistible, excellent and celestial Gandiva for his bow, he who hath a couple of celestial quivers obtained from Varuna,—large, full of shafts, and inexhaustible, he on whose banner, that is unobstructed like smoke in its action, is stationed the monkey-image of celestial origin, whose car is unequalled on the earth girt by the four seas, and the rattle of which as heard by men is like the roar of the clouds, and which like the rolling of the thunder frightens the foe; he whom the whole world regards as superhuman in energy; he whom all the kings of the earth know to be the vanquisher of the very gods in battle; he that taketh up five hundred arrows at a time and in the twinkling of the eye, shooteth them, unseen by other, to a great distance; that son of Pritha and tiger among car-warriors and chastiser of foes, whom Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son and Salya, the king of the Madras, and in fact, all impartial persons, regard as incapable of being vanquished by even earthly kings of superhuman prowess, when ready for fight who shooteth at one stretch full five hundred arrows, and who is equal unto Kartavirya in strength of arms; that great bowman, Arjuna, equal
“Vaisampayana said, ’Hearing these words of his father, the passionate son of Dhritarashtra inflamed with great wrath, again said these words, of envy, of ’Thou thinkest the Parthas having the celestials for their allies, are incapable of being vanquished. Let this thy fear, O best of kings, be dispelled. The gods attained to their divinity for absence of desire, covetousness, and of enmity, as also for their indifference to all worldly affairs. Formerly, Dwaipayana-Vyasa and Narada of great ascetic austerities, and Rama, the son of Jamadagni, told us this. The gods never like human beings engage in work, O bull of the Bharata race, from desire, or wrath, or covetousness, or envy. Indeed, if Agni, or Vayu, or Dharma, or Indra, or the Aswins had ever engaged themselves in works from worldly desire, then the sons of Pritha could never have fallen into distress. Do not, therefore, by any means, indulge in such anxiety, because the gods, O Bharata, always set their eyes on affairs worthy of themselves. If, however, envy or lust become noticeable in the gods in consequence of their yielding to desire, then, according to what has been ordained by the gods themselves, such envy or Just can never prevail. Charmed by me, Agni will be instantly extinguished, even if he blazes up all around for consuming all creatures. The energy with which the gods are endued is, indeed, great, but know, O Bharata, that mine is greater than that of the gods. If the Earth herself cleaves in twain, or mountain crests split, I can re-unite them, O king, by my incantations before the eyes of all. If for the destruction of this universe of animate and inanimate, mobile and immobile creatures, there happeneth a terrific tempest or stony shower of loud roar, I can always, from compassion for created beings, stop it before the eyes of all. When the waters are solidified by me, even cars and infantry can move over them. It is I who set agoing all the affairs of both gods and Asuras. Unto whatever countries I go with my Akshauhinis on any mission, my steeds move whithersoever I desire. Within my dominions there are no fearful snakes, and protected by my incantations, creatures within my territories are never injured by others that are frightful. The very clouds, O king, pour, as regards those dwelling in my dominions, showers as much as they desire and when they desire. All my subjects, again, are devoted to religion and are never subject to calamities of season. The
’Having said these words, O Bharata, Duryodhana, that repressor of foes, again asked Sanjaya, in order to ascertain the proceedings of Yudhishthira bent upon war.’”
“Vaisampayana said, ’Without much minding Dhritarashtra, the son of Vichitravirya who was about to ask of Partha, Karna said unto Dhritarashtra’s son these words, cheering up the spirit of the assembled Kurus, ’Coming to know of the false pretence under which I obtained the Brahma weapon of old from Rama, the latter told me,—When thy hour will come thy memory will fail thee in respect of this weapon. Even for so great an offence I was cursed so lightly by that great Rishi, my preceptor. That great Rishi of fierce energy is capable of consuming even the entire Earth with her seas. By attention and personal bravery, I appeased his heart. I have that weapon with me still, and my period is not yet run. I am, therefore, fully competent (to win victory) Let the responsibility be mine. Having obtained the favour of that Rishi, I will slay within the twinkling of an eye the Panchalas, the Karushas, the Matsyas, and the sons of Pritha with their sons and grandsons, and bestow on thee numerous regions won by my weapons. Let the Grandsire and Drona and all the kings stay with thee. I will slay the sons of Pritha, marching forth with the chief warriors of my army. Let that task be mine.’ Unto him speaking thus, Bhishma said, ’What sayest thou, O Karna? Thy intellect is clouded at the
“Karna said, ’Without doubt, the chief of the Vrishnis is even so. Further, I admit, that that high-souled one is even more than that. Let, however, the Grandsire listen to the effect of the bit of harsh speech that he hath uttered. I lay down my weapons. The Grandsire will henceforth behold me in court only and not in battle. After thou hast become quiet, the rulers of the earth will behold my prowess in this world.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said this, that great bowman (Karna), leaving the court went to his own abode. Bhishma, however, O king, addressing Duryodhana in the midst of the Kurus, and laughing aloud, said, ’How truly doth the Suta’s son keep his promise. Why having repeatedly given his pledge, saying,—The kings of Avanti and Kalinga, Jayadratha, and Chediddhaja and Valhika standing as spectators, I will slay hostile warriors by thousands and tens of thousands,—how will he discharge that obligation? Having distributed his divisions in counter-array and scattering heads by thousands, behold the havoc committed by Bhimasena. Indeed, that moment, when, representing himself as a Brahmana unto the holy and blameless Rama, Vikartana’s son obtained that weapon, that vile wretch lost both his virtue and asceticism.’ O king of kings, when Bhishma said this after Karna had gone away giving up his weapons, Duryodhana, that foolish son of Vichitravirya’s son, addressed Santanu’s son in these words.’”
“Duryodhana said, ’The son of Pritha are all as other men, and are, in fact, of earthly birth as other men. Why then dost thou think that they are sure to win victory? Both ourselves and they are equal in energy, in prowess, in age, in intelligence, in knowledge of the scriptures, in weapons, in the art of war, in lightness of hand, and in skill. All of us are of the of same species, all being men by birth. How then, O grandsire, dost thou know that victory will be theirs? I do not seek the accomplishment of my aims by relying upon thee, or
“Vidura said, ’We have heard, O sire, from old men, that once on a time a fowler spread his net on the ground for catching feathery denizens of the air. And in that net were ensnared at the same time two birds that lived together. And taking the net up, the two winged creatures soared together into the air. And seeing them soar into the sky, the fowler, without giving way to despair, began to follow them in the direction they flew, Just then, an ascetic living in a hermitage (close by), who had finished his morning prayers, saw the fowler running in that manner hoping still to secure the feathery creatures. And seeing that tenant of the earth quickly pursuing those tenants of the air, the ascetic, O Kaurava, addressed him in this Sloka,—O fowler, it appears very strange and wonderful to me that thou, that art a treader of the earth, pursuest yet a couple of creatures that are tenants of the air. The fowler said, ’These two, united together, are taking away my snare. There, however, where they will quarrel they will come under my control.’
“Vidura continued, ’The two birds, doomed to death, soon after quarrelled. And when the foolish pair quarrelled, they both fell on the earth. And when, ensnared in the meshes of death, they began to contend angrily against each other, the fowler approached unperceived and sized them both. Even thus those kinsmen who fall out with one another for the sake of wealth fall into the hands of the enemy like the birds I have cited, in consequence of their quarrel. Eating together, talking together,—these are the duties of kinsmen, and not contention under any circumstances. Those kinsmen, that with loving hearts wait on the old, become unconquerable like a forest guarded by lions. While those, O bull of the Bharata race, that having won enormous riches nevertheless, behave like mean-minded men, always contribute to the prosperity of their foes. Kinsmen, O Dhritarashtra, O bull of the Bharata race, are like charred brands, which blaze up when united but only smoke when disunited. I will now tell thee something else that I saw on a mountain-breast. Having listened to that also, do, O Kaurava, what is for thy best. Once on a time we repaired to the northern mountain, accompanied by some hunters and a number of Brahmanas, fond of discoursing on charms and medicinal plants. That northern mountain, Gandhamadana, looked like a grove. As its breast was overgrown
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Consider, O Duryodhana, O dear son, what I tell thee. Like an ignorant traveller thou thinkest, the wrong path to be the right one, since thou art desirous of robbing the energy of the five sons of Pandu, who are even as the five elements of the universe in their subtle form upholding all mobile and immobile things. Without the certain sacrifice of thy life thou art unable to vanquish Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, who is the foremost of all virtuous persons in this world. Alas, like a tree defying the mighty tempest, thou chafest at Bhimasena who hath not his peer (among men) in might and who is equal unto Yama himself in battle. What man of sense would encounter in battle the wielder of Gandiva, who is the foremost of all wielders of weapons, as the Meru among mountains? What man is there whom Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of Panchala, cannot overthrow, shooting his arrows among the foes, like the chief of the celestials hurling his thunderbolt? That honoured warrior among the Andhakas and the Vrishnis, the irresistible Satyaki, ever engaged in the good of the Pandavas, will also slaughter thy host. What man of sense, again, would encounter the lotus-eyed Krishna, who, as regards the measure of his energy and power, surpasseth the three worlds? As regards
“Vaisampayana said, ’Having addressed Suyodhana thus, the highly blessed and wise Dhritarashtra again asked Sanjaya, saying, ’Tell me, O Sanjaya, what thou hast not yet said, viz., what Arjuna told thee after the conclusion of Vasudeva’s speech, for great is my curiosity to hear it.’
“Sanjaya said, ’Having heard the words spoken by Vasudeva, the irresistible Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, when the opportunity came, said these words in the hearing of Vasudeva. ’O Sanjaya, our grandsire, the son of Santanu, and Dhritarashtra, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and king Vahlika, and Drona’s son, and Somadatta, and Sakuni the son of Suvala; and Dussasana, and Sala, and Purumitra, and Vivingsati; Vikarna, and Chitrasena, and king Jayatsena, and Vinda and Anuvinda, the two chiefs of Avanti, and Bhurisravas, and king Bhagadatta, and king Jarasandha and other rulers of the earth, assembled there to fight for the good of the Kauravas, are all on the eve of death. They have been assembled by Dhritarashtra’s son for being offered up as libations on the blazing Pandava-fire. In my name, Sanjaya, enquire after the welfare of those assembled kings according to their respective ranks, paying them proper regard at the same time. Thou shouldest also, O Sanjaya, say this, in the presence of all kings, unto Suyodhana-that foremost of all sinful men. Wrathful and wicked, of sinful soul and exceedingly covetous, do thou, O Sanjaya, see that that fool with his counsellors hears all that I say.’ And with this preface, Pritha’s son Dhananjaya, endued with great wisdom, and possessed of large eyes with red corners, glancing at Vasudeva, then spoke unto me these words pregnant with both virtue and
“Vaisampayana said, ’When Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, showed little regard for the words spoken by Sanjaya, and when the rest remained silent, the assembled kings rose up and retired. And after all the kings of the earth had retired, king Dhritarashtra, who always followed the counsels of his son from affection, wishing success to the assembled kings, began to enquire in secret of Sanjaya about the resolve of his own party, and of the Pandavas who were hostile to him. And Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me truly, O son of Gavalgana, in what consists the strength and weakness of our own host, Minutely acquainted as thou art with the affairs of the Pandavas, tell me in what lies their superiority and in what, their inferiority. Thou are fully conversant with the strength of both parties, Thou knowest all things, and art well-versed in all matters of virtue and profit. Asked by me, O Sanjaya, say which of the parties, when engaged in battle, will perish?’
“Sanjaya said, ’I will not say anything to thee in secret, O king, for then thou mayst entertain ill-feelings towards me. Bring thou hither, O Ajamida, thy father Vyasa of high vows and thy queen Gandhari. Conversant with morality, of keen perception, and capable of arriving at the truth, they will remove any ill-feelings thou mayst cherish against me. In their presence, O king, I will tell thee everything about the intensions of Kesava and Partha.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, Dhritarashtra caused both Gandhari and Vyasa to be brought there. And introduced by Vidura they entered the court without delay. And understanding the intentions of both Sanjaya and his son, Krishna-Dwaipayana endued with great wisdom said, ’Say, O Sanjaya, unto the enquiring Dhritarashtra everything that he desireth to know. Tell him truly all that thou knowest about Vasudeva and Arjuna.’”
“Sanjaya said, ’Those adorable bowmen, Arjuna and Vasudeva, who are perfectly equal unto each other in respect of their godlike nature, have taken their births of their own will. O lord, the discus owned by Vasudeva, of abundant energy, occupieth a space full five cubits in diameter, is capable also of being hurled at the foe (in forms large or small) according to the will of the wielder himself, and it dependeth on illusion. Always conspicuous by its effulgence, it is invisible to the Kurus; and in ascertaining the strength or weakness of the Pandavas, that discus offers the best ground. Indeed, that scion of Madhu’s race, endued with great might, vanquished with an effort and in seeming playfulness the formidable Naraka and Samvara and Kansa and (Sisupala) the chief of Chedis. Possessed of divinity and of soul superior to everything, that most exalted of male beings can, by his will alone, bring the earth, firmament, and heaven under his control. Thou askest me repeatedly, O king, about the Pandavas for knowing their strength and weakness. Listen now to all that in brief. If the whole universe be placed on one scale and Janardana on the other, even then Janardana will outweigh the entire universe. Janardana, at his pleasure, can reduce the universe to ashes, but the entire universe is incapable of reducing Janardana to ashes. Wherever there is truthfulness, wherever virtue, wherever modesty, wherever simplicity, even there is Govinda. And thither where Krishna is, success must be. That soul of all creatures, most exalted of male beings, Janardana, guideth, as if in sport, the entire earth, the firmament, and the heaven. Making the Pandavas the indirect means, and beguiling the whole world. Janardana wisheth to blast thy wicked sons that are all addicted to sin. Endued with divine attributes, Kesava, by the power of his soul causeth the wheel of Time, the wheel of the Universe, and the wheel of the Yuga, to revolve incessantly. And I tell thee truly that glorious Being is alone the Lord of Time, of Death, and of this Universe of mobile and immobile objects. That great ascetic Hari, though the Lord of the whole Universe, still betaketh himself to work, like a humble labourer that tilleth the fields. Indeed, Kesava beguileth all by the aid of His illusion. Those men, however, that have attained to Him are not deceived.’”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’How hast thou, O Sanjaya, been able to know Madhava as the Supreme Lord of the universe? And how is it that I am unable to know Him as such? Tell me this, O Sanjaya.’
“Sanjaya said, ’Listen, O king! Thou hast no Knowledge, whereas my Knowledge hath suffered no diminution. He that is without Knowledge and is shrouded with the darkness of ignorance, knoweth not Kesava. Aided by my knowledge, O sire, I know the slayer of Madhu to be the union of the Gross, the subtle and the Cause; and that He is the Creator of all, but is Himself increate; and also that, endued with Divinity, it is He from whom everything springs and it is He unto whom all things return.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O son of Gavalgana, what is the nature of that Faith which thou hast in Janardana and in consequence of which thou knowest the slayer of Madhu to be the union of the Gross, the Subtle, and the Cause?’
“Sanjaya said, ’Blessed be thou, O king, I have no regard for the illusion (that is identified with worldly pleasures) and I never practise the useless virtues (of vows and work without reliance on Him and purity of Soul). Having obtained purity of Soul through Faith, I have known Janardana from the scriptures.
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O Duryodhana, seek thou the protection of Janardana, otherwise called Hrishikesa. O child, Sanjaya is one of our trustiest friends. Seek refuge with Kesava.’
“Duryodhana said, ’If the divine son of Devaki united in friendship with Arjuna, were to slay all mankind, I cannot, even then, resign myself to Kesava.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’This evil-minded son of thine, O Gandhari, is resolved to sink in misery. Envious, wicked-souled, and vain, he setteth aside the words of all his superiors.’
“Gandhari said, ’Thou covetous wretch that disregardest the commands of the aged, abandoning thy father and myself and giving up prosperity and life, enhancing the joy of thy foes, and afflicting me with deep distress, thou wilt, O fool, remember thy father’s words, when struck by Bhimasena, thou wilt bite the dust.’
“Vyasa said, ’Listen to me, O king! Thou, O Dhritarashtra, art the beloved of Krishna. When Sanjaya hath been thy envoy, he will verily lead thee to thy good. He knoweth Hrishikesa,—that ancient and exalted One. If thou listenest to him with attention, he will certainly save thee from the great danger that hangs upon thee. O son of Vichitravirya, subject to wrath and joy, men are entangled in various snares. They that are not contented with their own possessions, deprived of sense as they are by avarice and desire, they repeatedly become subject to Death in consequence of their own acts, like blind men (falling into pits) when led by the blind. The path that is trod by the wise is the only one (that leadeth to Brahma). They that are superior, keeping that path of view, overcome death and reach the goal by it.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’Tell me, O Sanjaya, of that path without terrors by which, obtaining Hrishikesa, salvation may be mine.’
“Sanjaya said, ’A man of uncontrolled mind can by no means know Janardana whose soul is under perfect command. The performance of sacrifices without controlling one’s senses is even no means to that end. Renunciation of the objects of our excited senses is due to spiritual light; both spiritual light and abstention from injury arise doubtless from true wisdom. Therefore, O king, resolve to subdue thy senses with all possible vigour; let not thy intellect deviate from true knowledge; and restrain thy heart from worldly temptations that surround it. Learned Brahmanas describe this subjugation of the senses to be true wisdom; and this wisdom is the path by which learned men proceed to their goal. O king, Kesava is not obtainable by men who have not subdued their senses. He that hath subdued his senses, desireth spiritual knowledge, awakened by the knowledge of scriptures and the pleasure of Yaga-absorption.’
“Dhritarashtra said, ’I request thee, O Sanjaya, to tell me again of the lotus-eyed Krishna; for, by being acquainted with the import of his names, I may, O son, obtain that most exalted of male beings.’
“Sanjaya said, ’The auspicious names (of Kesava) have been previously heard by me. Of those I will tell thee as many as I know. Kesava, however, is immeasurable, being above the power of speech to describe. He is called Vasudeva in consequence of his enveloping all creatures with the screen of illusion, or of his glorious splendour, or of his being the support and resting-place of the gods. He is called Vishnu because of his all-pervading nature. He is called Madava, O Bharata, because of his practising as a Muni, concentration of mind on truth and Yoga-absorption. He is called Madhusudana because of his having slain the Asura Madhu, and also because of his being the substance of the twenty-four objects of knowledge. Born of the Sattwata race, he is called Krishna because he uniteth in himself what are implied by the two words Krishi which signifieth ‘what existeth’ and na which signifieth ‘eternal peace’. He is called Pundarikaksha from Pundarika implying his high and eternal abode, and Aksha implying ‘indestructible’; and he is called Janardana because he striketh fear into the hearts of all wicked beings. He is called Sattwata, because the attribute of Sattwa is never dissociated from him and also because he is never dissociated from it; and he is called Vrishabhakshana from Vrishabha implying the ‘Vedas’ and ikshana implying ‘eye’, the union of the two signifying that the Vedas are his eyes, or the Vedas are the eyes through which he may be seen, That conqueror of hosts is called Aja, or unborn’, because he hath not taken his birth from any being in the ordinary way. That Supreme Soul is called Damodara because unlike the gods his effulgence is increate and his own, and also because he hath self-control and great splendour. He is called Hrishikesa, from Hrishika meaning ‘eternal happiness’ and Isa meaning ‘the six divine attributes’, the union signifying one having joy, happiness, and divinity. He is called Mahavahu, because he upholdeth the earth and the sky with his two arms. He is called Adhakshaja, because he never falleth down or suffereth any deterioration, and is called Narayana from his being the refuge of all human beings. He is called Purusottama from Puru implying ‘he that createth and preserveth’ and so meaning ’he that destroyeth, the union signifying one that createth, preserveth, and destroyeth the universe’. He possesseth a knowledge of all things, and, therefore, is called Sarva, Krishna is always in Truth and Truth is always in him, and Govinda is Truth’s Truth. Therefore, he is called Satya. He is called Vishnu because of his prowess, and Jishnu because of his success. He is called Ananta from his eternity, and Govinda from his knowledge of speech of every kind. He maketh the unreal appear as real and thereby beguileth all creatures. Possessed of such attributes, ever devoted to righteousness, and endued with divinity, the slayer of Madhu, that mighty-armed one incapable of decay, will come hither for preventing the slaughter of the Kurus.’”
“Dhritarashtra said, ’O Sanjaya, I envy those gifted with sight, who will behold before them that Vasudeva whose body endued with great beauty shineth with effulgence, illuminating the cardinal and subsidiary points of the compass; who will give utterance to words that will be listened to with respect by the Bharatas,—words that are auspicious to the Srinjayas, acceptable, by those desirous of prosperity, faultless in every respect, and unacceptable by those that are doomed to death; who is full of high resolves, eternal, possessed of unrivalled heroism, who is the bull of the Yadavas and their leader, and who is the slayer and awe-inspirer of all foes, and who is the destroyer of the fame of every enemy? The assembled Kauravas will behold that high-souled and adorable One, that slayer of foes, that chief of the Vrishnis, uttering words full of kindness, and fascinating all of my party. I put myself in the hand of that Eternal one, that Rishi endued with knowledge of Self, that ocean of eloquence, that Being who is easily attainable by ascetics, that bird called Arishta furnished with beautiful wings, that destroyer of creatures, that refuge of the universe; that one of a thousand heads, that Creator and Destroyer of all things, that Ancient one, that one without beginning, middle, or end, that one of infinite achievements, that cause of the Prime seed, that unborn one, that Eternity’s self, that highest of the high, that Creator of the three worlds, that Author of gods, Asuras, Nagas, and Rakshasas, that foremost of all learned persons and rulers of men, that younger brother of Indra.’”
(Bhagwat Yana Parva)
“Janamejaya said, ’When good Sanjaya (leaving the Pandava camp) went back to the Kurus, what did my grandsires, the sons of Pandu, then do? O foremost of Brahmanas, I desire to hear all this. Tell me this, therefore.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’After Sanjaya had gone, Yudhishthira the just, addressed Krishna of the Dasarha race—that chief of all the Sattwatas, saying, ’O thou that art devoted to friends, the time hath come for friends to show their friendship. I do not see any other persons besides thee that can save us in this season of distress. Relying on thee, O Madhava, we have fearlessly asked back our share from Duryodhana who is filled with immeasurable pride and from his counsellors. O chastiser of foes, thou protectest the Vrishnis in all their calamities, do thou now protect the Pandavas also from a great danger, for they deserve thy protection.’
“Divine Krishna said, ’Here am I O mighty-armed one. Tell me what thou desirest to say, for I will, O Bharata, accomplish whatever thou wilt tell me.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Thou hast heard what the intention is of Dhritarashtra and his own. All that Sanjaya, O Krishna, said unto me hath certainly the assent of Dhritarashtra. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra’s soul, and spoke out his mind. An envoy speaketh according to his instructions, for if he speaketh otherwise he deserveth to be slain. Without looking equally on all that are his, moved by avarice and a sinful heart, Dhritarashtra seeketh to make peace with us without giving us back our kingdom. Indeed, at Dhritarashtra’s command we spent twelve years in the woods and one additional year in concealment, well-believing, O lord, that Dhritarashtra would abide firmly by that pledge of ours. That we did not deviate from our promise is well-known to the Brahmanas who were with us. The covetous king Dhritarashtra, is now unwilling to observe Kshatriya virtues. Owing to affection for his son, he is listening to the counsels of wicked men. Abiding by counsels of Suyodhana, the king, O Janardana, actuated by avarice and seeking his own good, behaveth untruthfully towards us. What can be more sorrowful, O Janardana, than this, that I am unable to maintain my mother and my friends? Having the Kasis, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Matsyas, for my allies and with thee, O slayer of Madhu, for my protector, I prayed for only five villages, etc., Avishthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, with any other, O Govinda, as the fifth;—Grant us, we said, five villages or towns, O sire, where we five may dwell in union, for we do not desire the destruction of the Bharatas.—The wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra, however, regarding the lordship of the world to be; in him, doth not agree to even that. What can be more sorrowful than this? When a man born and brought up in a respectable family, covereth the possessions of others, that avarice of his destroyeth his intelligence; and intelligence being destroyed, shame is lost; and loss of shame leadeth to diminution of virtue; and loss of virtue bringeth on loss of prosperity, Destruction of prosperity, in its turn, ruineth a person, for poverty is a person’s death. Kinsmen and friends and Brahmanas shun a poor man as birds avoid, O Krishna, a tree that beareth neither Rower nor fruits. Even this, O sire, is death to me that kinsmen shun me, as if I were a fallen one like the breath of life quitting ’a dead body. Samvara said that no condition of life could be more distressful than that in which one is always racked by the anxiety caused by the thought—I have no meat for today, what will become of me tomorrow?—It is said that wealth is the highest virtue, and everything depends on wealth. They that have wealth are said to live, whereas those that are without wealth are more dead than alive. They that by violence rob a man of his wealth not only kill the robbed but destroy also his virtue, profit and pleasure. Some men when overtaken by poverty choose death; others remove from cities to hamlets others retire into the wood;
’Thou hast, O slayer of Madhu, seen all this in me with thy own eyes. It is not unknown to thee, how, deprived of kingdom, we have lived these years. We cannot lawfully abandon that prosperity (which had been ours). Our first-efforts will be such that, O Madhava, both ourselves and the Kauravas, united in peace, will quietly enjoy our prosperity. Otherwise, we shall, after slaying the worst of the Kauravas, regain those provinces, although success through bloodshed by destruction of even despicable foes that are related to us so dearly is the worst of all fierce deeds, O Krishna. We have numerous kinsmen, and numerous also are the revered seniors that have taken this or that other side. The
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, Janardana replied unto Yudhishthira the just, saying, ’I will go to the court of the Kurus for the sake of both of You. If without sacrificing your interests I can obtain peace, O king, an act of great religious merit will be mine, productive of great fruits. I shall then also save from the meshes of death the Kurus and the Srinjayas inflamed with wrath, the Pandavas and the Dhritarashtras, and, in fact, this entire earth.’
“Yudhishthira said, It is not my wish, O Krishna, that thou wilt go to the Kurus, for Suyodhana will never act according to thy words, even if thou advisest him well. All the Kshatriyas of the world, obedient to Duryodhana’s command, are assembled there. I do not like that thou, O Krishna, shouldst proceed into their midst, If any mischief be done to thee, O Madhava, Jett alone happiness; nothing, not even divinity, nor even the sovereignty over all the gods will delight us.’
“The holy one said, ’I know, O monarch, the sinfulness of Dhritarashtra’s son, but by going there we will escape the blame of all the kings of the earth. Like other animals before the lion, all the kings of the earth united together are not competent to stand still before me in battle when I am enraged. If, after all, they do me any injury, then I will consume all the Kurus. Even this is my intention. My going thither, O Partha, will not be fruitless, for if our object be not fulfilled, we shall at least escape all blame.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Do, O Krishna, as it pleaseth thee. Blessed be thou, go then to the Kurus. I hope to behold thee return successful and prosperous. Going unto the Kurus, make thou, O Lord, such a peace that all the sons of Bharata may live together with cheerful hearts and contentedly. Thou art our brother and friend, dear to me as much as to Vibhatsu. Such hath been our intimacy with thee that we apprehend no neglect of our interest from thee. Go thou, there for our good. Thou knowest us, thou knowest our antagonists, thou knowest what our purposes are, and thou knowest also what to say. Thou wilt, O Krishna, say unto Suyodhana such words as are for our benefit. Whether peace is to be established by (apparent) sin or by any other means, O Kesava, speak such words as may prove beneficial to us.’
“The holy one said, ’I have heard Sanjaya’s words and now I have heard thine. I know all about his purposes as also of thyself. Thy heart inclineth to righteousness, whereas their inclination is towards enmity. That which is obtained without war is of great value to thee. A long-life Brahmacharya is not, O lord of earth, the duty of a Kshatriya. Indeed, men of all the four orders have said that a Kshatriya should never subsist on alms; victory or death in battle, hath been eternally ordained by the Creator; even that is the duty of a Kshatriya. Cowardice is not applauded (in a Kshatriya). Subsistence, O Yudhishthira, is not possible by Cowardice, O thou of mighty arms. Display thy prowess, and vanquish, O chastiser of foes, thy enemies. The covetous son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, living for a long time (with many kings) has by affection and friendship become very powerful. Therefore, O king, there is no hope of making his peace with thee. They regard themselves strong, having Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and others with them. As long, O king, as thou, O grinder of foes, wilt behave with them mildly, they will withhold thy kingdom. Neither from compassion, nor from mildness, nor from a sense of righteousness, will the sons of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, fulfil thy wishes. This, O son of Pandu, is another proof that they will not make peace with thee. Having pained thee so deeply by making thee put on a Kaupina, they were not stung with remorse. In the very sight of the Grandsire (Bhishma) and Drona and the wise Vidura, of many holy
“Bhima said, ’Speak thou, O slayer of Madhu, in such a strain that there may be peace with the Kurus. Do not threaten them with war. Resenting everything, his wrath always excited, hostile to his own good and arrogant, Duryodhana should not be roughly addressed. Do thou behave towards him with mildness. Duryodhana is by nature sinful of heart like that of a robber, intoxicated with the pride of prosperity, hostile to the Pandavas, without foresight, cruel in speech, always disposed to censure others, of wicked prowess, of wrath not easily to be appeased, not susceptible of being taught, of wicked soul, deceitful in behaviour, capable of giving up his very life rather than break or give up his own opinion. Peace with such a one, O Krishna, is, I suppose, most difficult. Regardless of the words of even his well-wishers, destitute of virtue, loving falsehood, he always acts against the words of his counsellors and wounds their hearts. Like a serpent hid within reeds, he naturally commits sinful acts, depending on his own wicked disposition, and obedient to the impulse of wrath. What army Duryodhana hath, what his conduct is, what his nature, what his might, and what his prowess, are all well-known to thee. Before this, the Kauravas with their son passed their days in cheerfulness, and we also with our friends rejoiced like the younger brother of Indra, with Indra himself. Alas, by Duryodhana’s wrath, O slayer of Madhu, the Bharatas will all be consumed, even like forests by fire at the end of the dewy seasons, and, O slayer of Madhu, well-known are those eighteen kings that annihilated their kinsmen,
“Vaisampayana said, ’Hearing these words from Bhima, that were fraught with such mildness and that were, as unexpected as if the hills had lost their weight and fire had become cold, Rama’s younger brother Kesava of Sura’s race and mighty arms, wielding the bow called Saranga, laughed aloud, and as if to stimulate Bhima by his words, like the breeze fanning a fire, addressed him who was then so overwhelmed by the impulse of kindness, saying, ’At other times, O Bhimasena, thou applaudest war only, desirous of crushing the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra that take delight in the destruction of others. O chastiser of foes, thou dost not steep but wakest the whole night, sitting up face downwards. Thou often utterest frightful exclamation of wrath, indicative of the storm within thy heart. Inflamed with the fire of thy own fury, thou sighest, O Bhima with an unquiet heart, like a flame of fire mixed with smoke. Withdrawing from company thou liest down breathing hot sighs, like a weak man pressed down by a heavy load. They, who do not know the cause regard thee as insane. As an elephant breaking into fragments uprooted trees lying on the ground