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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

SECTION CLXVI

“Vaisampayana said, ’Upon the completion of this discourse, Nakula who was an accomplished swordsman thus questioned the Kuru grandsire lying on his bed of arrows.’

“Nakula said, ’The bow, O grandsire, is regarded as the foremost of weapons in this world.  My mind, however, inclines towards the sword, since when the bow, O king, is cut off or broken, when steeds are dead or weakened, a good warrior, well trained in the sword, can protect himself by means of his sword.[479] A hero armed with the sword can, single handed, withstand many bowmen, and many antagonists armed with maces and darts.  I have this doubt, and I feel curious to know the truth.  Which, O king, is really the foremost of weapons in all battles?  How was the sword first created and for what purpose?  Who also was the first preceptor in the weapon?  Tell me all this, O grandsire.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Hearing these words of the intelligent son of Madri, the virtuous Bhishma, the complete master of the science of the bow, stretched upon his bed of arrows, made this answer fraught with many refined words of delightful import, melodious with vowels properly placed, and displaying considerable skill, unto the high-souled Nakula, that disciple of Drona, endued with skilful training.’

“Bhishma said, ’Hear the truth, O son of Madri, about what thou hast asked me.  I am excited by this question of thine, like a hill of red-chalk.[480] In ancient times the universe was one vast expanse of water, motionless and skyless, and without this earth occupying any space in it.  Enveloped in darkness, and intangible, its aspect was exceedingly awful.  Utter silence reigning all over, it was immeasurable in extent.  In his own proper time the Grandsire (of the universe) took his birth.  He then created the wind and fire, and the sun also of great energy.  He also created the sky, the heavens, the nether regions, earth, the directions, the firmament with the moon and the stars, the constellations, the planets, the year, the seasons, the months, the two fortnights (lighted and dark) and the smaller divisions of time.  The divine Grandsire then, assuming a visible form, begot (by power of his will) some sons possessed of great energy.  They are the sages Marichi, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Angiras, and the mighty and puissant lord Rudra, and Prachetas.  The last begat Daksha, who in his turn, begat sixty daughters.  All those daughters were taken by regenerate sages for the object of begetting children upon them.  From them sprang all the creatures of the universe, including the gods, Pitris, Gandharvas, Apsaras, diverse kinds of Rakshasas, birds and animals and fishes, monkeys, great snakes, and diverse species of fowl that range the air or sport on the water, and vegetables, and all beings that are oviparous or viviparous or born of filth.  In this way the whole universe consisting of mobile

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