Hamro dharma

Mahabht 03 Vana P.



(Aranyaka Parva)

Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara the foremost of male beings,
and the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Janamejaya said, ‘O thou foremost of regenerate ones, deceitfully
defeated at dice by the sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors,
incensed by those wicked ones that thus brought about a fierce animosity,
and addressed in language that was so cruel, what did the Kuru princes,
my ancestors–the sons of Pritha–(then) do? How also did the sons of
Pritha, equal unto Sakra in prowess, deprived of affluence and suddenly
over whelmed with misery, pass their days in the forest? Who followed the
steps of those princes plunged in excess of affliction? And how did those
high souled ones bear themselves and derive their sustenance, and where
did they put up? And, O illustrious ascetic and foremost of Brahmanas,
how did those twelve years (of exile) of those warriors who were slayers
of foes, pass away in the forest? And undeserving of pain, how did that
princess, the best of her sex, devoted to her husbands, eminently
virtuous, and always speaking the truth, endure that painful exile in the
forest? O thou of ascetic wealth tell me all this in detail, for, O
Brahmana, I desire to hear thee narrate the history of those heroes
possessed of abundant prowess and lustre. Truly my curiosity is great.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus defeated at dice and incensed by the wicked
sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors, the sons of Pritha set out
from Hastinapura. And issuing through Vardhamana gate of the city, the
Pandavas bearing their weapons and accompanied by Draupadi set out in a
northernly direction. Indrasena and others, with servants numbering
altogether fourteen, with their wives, followed them on swift cars. And
the citizens learning of their departure became overwhelmed with sorrow,
and began to censure Bhishma and Vidura and Drona and Gautama. And having
met together they thus addressed one another fearlessly.

‘Alas, our families, we ourselves, and our homes are all gone, when the
wicked Duryodhana, backed by the son of Suvala, by Karna and Dussasana,
aspireth to this kingdom. And, Oh, our families, our (ancestral) usages,
our virtue and prosperity, are all doomed where this sinful wretch
supported by wretches as sinful aspireth to the kingdom! And, Oh, how can
happiness be there where these are not! Duryodhana beareth malice towards
all superiors, hath taken leave of good conduct, and quarreleth with
those that are near to him in blood. Covetous and vain and mean, he is
cruel by nature. The whole earth is doomed when Duryodhana becometh its
ruler. Thither, therefore, let us proceed whither the merciful and
high-minded sons of Pandu with passions under control and victorious over
foes, and possessed of modesty and renown, and devoted to pious
practices, repair!’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘And saying this, the citizens went after the
Pandavas, and having met them, they all, with joined hands, thus
addressed the sons of Kunti and Madri.

‘Blest be ye! Where will ye go, leaving us in grief? We will follow you
whithersoever ye will go! Surely have we been distressed upon learning
that ye have been deceitfully vanquished by relentless enemies! It
behoveth you not to forsake us that are your loving subjects and devoted
friends always seeking your welfare and employed in doing what is
agreeable to you! We desire not to be overwhelmed in certain destruction
living in the dominions of the Kuru king. Ye bulls among men, listen as
we indicate the merits and demerits springing respectively from
association with what is good and bad! As cloth, water, the ground, and
sesame seeds are perfumed by association with flowers, even so are
qualities ever the product of association. Verily association with fools
produceth an illusion that entangleth the mind, as daily communion with
the good and the wise leadeth to the practice of virtue. Therefore, they
that desire emancipation should associate with those that are wise and
old and honest and pure in conduct and possessed of ascetic merit. They
should be waited upon whose triple possessions, viz., knowledge (of the
Vedas), origin and acts, are all pure, and association with them is even
superior to (the study of the) scriptures. Devoid of the religious acts
as we are, we shall yet reap religious merit by association with the
righteous, as we should come by sin by waiting upon the sinful. The very
sight and touch of the dishonest, and converse and association with them;
cause diminution of virtue, and men (that are doomed to these), never
attain purity of mind. Association with the base impaireth the
understanding, as, indeed, with the indifferent maketh it indifferent,
while communion with the good ever exalteth it. All those attributes
which are spoken of in the world as the sources of religious merit, of
worldly prosperity and sensual pleasures, which are regarded by the
people, extolled in the Vedas, and approved by the well-behaved, exist in
you, separately and jointly! Therefore, desirous of our own welfare, we
wish to live amongst you who possess those attributes!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Blessed are we since the people with the Brahmanas
at their head, moved by affection and compassion credit us with merits we
have not. I, however, with my brothers, would ask all of you to do one
thing. Ye should not, through affection and pity for us, act otherwise!
Our grandfather Bhishma, the king (Dhritarashtra), Vidura, my mother and
most of my well-wishers, are all in the city of Hastinapura. Therefore,
if ye are minded to seek our welfare, cherish ye them with care, uniting
together as they are overwhelmed with sorrow and afflictions. Grieved at
our departure, ye have come far! Go ye back, and let your hearts be
directed with tenderness towards the relatives I entrust to you as
pledges! This, of all others, is the one act upon which my heart is set,
and by doing this ye would give me great satisfaction and pay me your
best regards!

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus exhorted by Yudhishthira the just, the
people in a body set up a loud wail exclaiming,–Alas, O king! And
afflicted and overwhelmed with sorrow on remembering the virtues of
Pritha’s son, they unwillingly retraced their steps asking leave of the

‘The citizens having ceased to follow, the Pandavas ascended their cars,
and setting out reached (the site of) the mighty banian tree called
Pramana on the banks of the Ganges. And reaching the site of the banian
tree about the close of the day, the heroic sons of Pandu purified
themselves by touching the sacred water, and passed the night there. And
afflicted with woe they spent that night taking water alone as their sole
sustenance. Certain Brahmanas belonging to both classes, viz., those that
maintained the sacrificial fire and those that maintained it not, who
had, with their disciples and relatives, out of affection followed the
Pandavas thither also passed the night with them. And surrounded by those
utterers of Brahma, the king shone resplendent in their midst. And that
evening, at once beautiful and terrible, those Brahmanas having lighted
their (sacred) fires, began to chant the Vedas and hold mutual converse.
And those foremost of Brahmanas, with swan-sweet voices spent the night,
comforting that best of Kurus–the king.”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘When that night passed away and day broke in, those
Brahmamas who supported themselves by mendicancy, stood before the
Pandavas of exalted deeds, who were about to enter the forest. Then king
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressed them, saying, “Robbed of our
prosperity and kingdom, robbed of everything, we are about to enter the
deep woods in sorrow, depending for our food on fruits and roots, and the
produce of the chase. The forest too is full of dangers, and abounds with
reptiles and beasts of prey. It appeareth to me that ye will certainly
have to suffer much privation and misery there. The sufferings of the
Brahmanas might overpower even the gods. That they would overwhelm me is
too certain. Therefore, O Brahmana, go ye back whithersoever ye list!’

“The Brahmanas replied, ‘O king, our path is even that on which ye are
for setting out! It behoveth thee not, therefore, to forsake us who are
thy devoted admirers practising the true religion! The very gods have
compassion upon their worshippers,–specially upon Brahmanas of regulated

“Yudhishthira said, ‘We regenerate ones, I too am devoted to the
Brahmanas! But this destitution that hath overtaken me overwhelmed me
with confusion! These my brothers that are to procure fruits and roots
and the deer (of the forest) are stupefied with grief arising from their
afflictions and on account of the distress of Draupadi and the loss of
our kingdom! Alas, as they are distressed, I cannot employ them in
painful tasks!’

“The Brahmanas said, ‘Let no anxiety, O king, in respect of our
maintenance, find a place in thy heart! Ourselves providing our own food,
we shall follow thee, and by meditation and saying our prayers we shall
compass thy welfare while by pleasant converse we shall entertain thee
and be cheered ourselves.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Without doubt, it must be as ye say, for I am ever
pleased with the company of the regenerate ones! But my fallen condition
maketh me behold in myself an object of reproach! How shall I behold you
all, that do not deserve to bear trouble, out of love for me painfully
subsisting upon food procured by your own toil? Oh, fie upon the wicked
sons of Dhritarashtra!’

“Vaisampayana continued. ‘Saying this, the weeping king sat himself down
upon the ground. Then a learned Brahmana, Saunaka by name versed in
self-knowledge and skilled in the Sankhya system of yoga, addressed the
king, saying, ‘Causes of grief by thousands, and causes of fear by
hundreds, day after day, overwhelm the ignorant but not the wise. Surely,
sensible men like thee never suffer themselves to be deluded by acts that
are opposed to true knowledge, fraught with every kind of evil, and
destructive of salvation. O king, in thee dwelleth that understanding
furnished with the eight attributes which is said to be capable of
providing against all evils and which resulteth from a study of the Sruti
(Vedas) and scriptures! And men like unto thee are never stupefied, on
the accession of poverty or an affliction overtaking their friends,
through bodily or mental uneasiness! Listen, I shall tell the slokas
which were chanted of old by the illustrious Janaka touching the subject
of controlling the self! This world is afflicted with both bodily and
mental suffering. Listen now to the means of allaying it as I indicate
them both briefly and in detail. Disease, contact with painful things,
toil and want of objects desired.–these are the four causes that induce
bodily suffering. And as regards disease, it may be allayed by the
application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to
forget them yoga-meditation. For this reason, sensible physicians first
seek to allay the mental sufferings of their patients by agreeable
converse and the offer of desirable objects And as a hot iron bar thrust
into a jar maketh the water therein hot, even so doth mental grief bring
on bodily agony. And as water quencheth fire, so doth true knowledge
allay mental disquietude. And the mind attaining ease, the body findeth
ease also. It seemeth that affection is the root of all mental sorrow. It
is affection that maketh every creature miserable and bringeth on every
kind of woe. Verily affection is the root of all misery and of all fear,
of joy and grief of every kind of pain. From affection spring all
purposes, and it is from affection that spring the love of worldly goods!
Both of these (latter) are sources of evil, though the first (our
purposes) is worse than the second. And as (a small portion of) fire
thrust into the hollow of a tree consumeth the tree itself to its roots,
even so affection, ever so little, destroyeth both virtue and profit. He
cannot be regarded to have renounced the world who hath merely withdrawn
from worldly possessions. He, however, who though in actual contact with
the world regardeth its faults, may be said to have truly renounced the
world. Freed from every evil passion, soul dependent on nothing with such
a one hath truly renounced the world. Therefore, should no one seek to
place his affections on either friends or the wealth he hath earned. And
so should affection for one’s own person be extinguished by knowledge.
Like the lotus-leaf that is never drenched by water, the souls of men
capable of distinguishing between the ephemeral and the everlasting, of
men devoted to the pursuit of the eternal, conversant with the scriptures
and purified by knowledge, can never be moved by affection. The man that
is influenced by affection is tortured by desire; and from the desire
that springeth up in his heart his thirst for worldly possessions
increaseth. Verily, this thirst is sinful and is regarded as the source
of all anxieties. It is this terrible thirst, fraught with sin that
leaneth unto unrighteous acts. Those find happiness that can renounce
this thirst, which can never be renounced by the wicked, which decayeth
not with the decay of the body, and which is truly a fatal disease! It
hath neither beginning nor end. Dwelling within the heart, it destroyeth
creatures, like a fire of incorporeal origin. And as a faggot of wood is
consumed by the fire that is fed by itself, even so doth a person of
impure soul find destruction from the covetousness born of his heart. And
as creatures endued with life have ever a dread of death, so men of
wealth are in constant apprehension of the king and the thief, of water
and fire and even of their relatives. And as a morsel of meat, if in air,
may be devoured by birds; if on ground by beasts of prey; and if in water
by the fishes; even so is the man of wealth exposed to dangers wherever
he may be. To many the wealth they own is their bane, and he that
beholding happiness in wealth becometh wedded to it, knoweth not true
happiness. And hence accession of wealth is viewed as that which
increaseth covetousness and folly. Wealth alone is the root of
niggardliness and boastfulness, pride and fear and anxiety! These are the
miseries of men that the wise see in riches! Men undergo infinite
miseries in the acquisition and retention of wealth. Its expenditure also
is fraught with grief. Nay, sometimes, life itself is lost for the sake
of wealth! The abandonment of wealth produces misery, and even they that
are cherished by one’s wealth become enemies for the sake of that wealth!
When, therefore, the possession of wealth is fraught with such misery,
one should not mind its loss. It is the ignorant alone who are
discontented. The wise, however, are always content. The thirst of wealth
can never be assuaged. Contentment is the highest happiness; therefore,
it is, that the wise regard contentment as the highest object of pursuit.
The wise knowing the instability of youth and beauty, of life and
treasure-hoards, of prosperity and the company of the loved ones, never
covet them. Therefore, one should refrain from the acquisition of wealth,
bearing the pain incident to it. None that is rich free from trouble, and
it is for this that the virtuous applaud them that are free from the
desire of wealth. And as regards those that pursue wealth for purposes of
virtue, it is better for them to refrain altogether from such pursuit,
for, surely, it is better not to touch mire at all than to wash it off
after having been besmeared with it. And, O Yudhishthira, it behoveth
thee not to covet anything! And if thou wouldst have virtue, emancipate
thyself from desire of worldly possessions!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Brahmana, this my desire of wealth is not for
enjoying it when obtained. It is only for the support of the Brahmanas
that I desire it and not because I am actuated by avarice! For what
purpose, O Brahmana, doth one like us lead a domestic life, if he cannot
cherish and support those that follow him? All creatures are seen to
divide the food (they procure) amongst those that depend on them.[1] So
should a person leading a domestic life give a share of his food to Yatis
and Brahmacharins that have renounced cooking for themselves. The houses
of the good men can never be in want of grass (for seat), space (for
rest), water (to wash and assuage thirst), and fourthly, sweet words. To
the weary a bed,–to one fatigued with standing, a seat,–to the thirsty,
water,–and to the hungry, food should ever be given. To a guest are due
pleasant looks and a cheerful heart and sweet words. The host, rising up,
should advance towards the guest, offer him a seat, and duly worship him.
Even this is eternal morality. They that perform not the Agnihotra[2] not
wait upon bulls, nor cherish their kinsmen and guests and friends and
sons and wives and servants, are consumed with sin for such neglect. None
should cook his food for himself alone and none should slay an animal
without dedicating it to the gods, the pitris, and guests. Nor should one
eat of that food which hath not been duly dedicated to the gods and
pitris. By scattering food on the earth, morning and evening, for (the
behoof of) dogs and Chandalas and birds, should a person perform the
Viswedeva sacrifice.[3] He that eateth the Vighasa, is regarded as eating
ambrosia. What remaineth in a sacrifice after dedication to the gods and
the pitris is regarded as ambrosia; and what remaineth after feeding the
guest is called Vighasa and is equivalent to ambrosia itself. Feeding a
guest is equivalent to a sacrifice, and the pleasant looks the host
casteth upon the guest, the attention he devoteth to him, the sweet words
in which he addresseth him, the respect he payeth by following him, and
the food and drink with which he treateth him, are the five Dakshinas[4]
in that sacrifice. He who giveth without stint food to a fatigued
wayfarer never seen before, obtaineth merit that is great, and he who
leading a domestic life, followeth such practices, acquireth religious
merit that is said to be very great. O Brahmana, what is thy opinion on

“Saunaka said, ‘Alas, this world is full of contradictions! That which
shameth the good, gratifieth the wicked! Alas, moved by ignorance and
passion and slaves of their own senses, even fools perform many acts of
(apparent merit) to gratify in after-life their appetites! With eyes open
are these men led astray by their seducing senses, even as a charioteer,
who hath lost his senses, by restive and wicked steeds! When any of the
six senses findeth its particular object, the desire springeth up in the
heart to enjoy that particular object. And thus when one’s heart
proceedeth to enjoy the objects of any particular sense a wish is
entertained which in its turn giveth birth to a resolve. And finally,
like unto an insect falling into a flame from love of light, the man
falleth into the fire of temptation, pierced by the shafts of the object
of enjoyment discharged by the desire constituting the seed of the
resolve! And thenceforth blinded by sensual pleasure which he seeketh
without stint, and steeped in dark ignorance and folly which he mistaketh
for a state of happiness, he knoweth not himself! And like unto a wheel
that is incessantly rolling, every creature, from ignorance and deed and
desire, falleth into various states in this world, wandering from one
birth to another, and rangeth the entire circle of existences from a
Brahma to the point of a blade of grass, now in water, now on land, and
now against in the air!

‘This then is the career of those that are without knowledge. Listen now
to the course of the wise they that are intent on profitable virtue, and
are desirous of emancipation! The Vedas enjoin act but renounce (interest
in) action. Therefore, shouldst thou act, renouncing Abhimana,[5]
performance of sacrifices, study (of the Vedas), gifts, penance, truth
(in both speech and act), forgiveness, subduing the senses, and
renunciation of desire,–these have been declared to be the eight
(cardinal) duties constituting the true path. Of these, the four first
pave the way to the world of the pitris. And these should be practised
without Abhimana. The four last are always observed by the pious, to
attain the heaven of the gods. And the pure in spirit should ever follow
these eight paths. Those who wish to subdue the world for purpose of
salvation, should ever act fully renouncing motives, effectually subduing
their senses, rigidly observing particular vows, devotedly serving their
preceptors, austerely regulating their fare, diligently studying the
Vedas, renouncing action as mean and restraining their hearts. By
renouncing desire and aversion the gods have attained prosperity. It is
by virtue of their wealth of yoga[6] that the Rudras, and the Sadhyas,
and the Adityas and the Vasus, and the twin Aswins, rule the creatures.
Therefore, O son of Kunti, like unto them, do thou, O Bharata, entirely
refraining from action with motive, strive to attain success in yoga and
by ascetic austerities. Thou hast already achieved such success so far as
thy debts to thy ancestors, both male and female concerned, and that
success also which is derived from action (sacrifices). Do thou, for
serving the regenerate ones endeavour to attain success in penances.
Those that are crowned with ascetic success, can, by virtue of that
success, do whatever they list; do thou, therefore, practising asceticism
realise all thy wishes.”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, thus addressed by
Saunaka, approached his priest and in the midst of his brothers said,
‘The Brahmanas versed in the Vedas are following me who am departing for
the forest. Afflicted with many calamities I am unable to support them. I
cannot abandon them, nor have I the power to offer them sustenance: Tell
me, O holy one, what should be done by me in such a pass.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After reflecting for a moment seeking to find out
the (proper) course by his yoga powers, Dhaumya, that foremost of all
virtuous men, addressed Yudhishthira, in these words, ‘In days of old,
all living beings that had been created were sorely afflicted with
hunger. And like a father (unto all of them), Savita (the sun) took
compassion upon them. And going first into the northern declension, the
sun drew up water by his rays, and coming back to the southern
declension, stayed over the earth, with his heat centered in himself. And
while the sun so stayed over the earth, the lord of the vegetable world
(the moon), converting the effects of the solar heat (vapours) into
clouds and pouring them down in the shape of water, caused plants to
spring up. Thus it is the sun himself, who, drenched by the lunar
influence, is transformed, upon the sprouting of seeds, into holy
vegetable furnished with the six tastes. And it is these which constitute
the food of all creatures upon the earth. Thus the food that supporteth
the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is,
therefore, the father of all creatures. Do thou, hence, O Yudhishthira,
take refuge even in him. All illustrious monarchs of pure descent and
deeds are known to have delivered their people by practising high
asceticism. The great Karttavirya, and Vainya and Nahusha, had all, by
virtue of ascetic meditation preceded by vows, delivered their people
from heavy afflictions. Therefore, O virtuous one, as thou art purified
by the acts do thou likewise, entering upon a file of austerities. O
Bharata, virtuously support the regenerate ones.’

“Janamejaya said, ‘How did that bull among the Kurus, king Yudhishthira,
for the sake of the Brahmanas adore the sun of wonderful appearance?”

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Listen attentively, O king, purifying thyself and
withdrawing thy mind from every other thing. And, O king of kings,
appoint thou a time. I will tell thee everything in detail, And, O
illustrious one, listen to the one hundred and eight names (of the sun)
as they were disclosed of old by Dhaumya to the high-souled son of
Pritha. Dhaumya said, ‘Surya, Aryaman, Bhaga, Twastri, Pusha, Arka,
Savitri. Ravi,

Gabhastimat, Aja, Kala, Mrityu, Dhatri, Prabhakara, Prithibi, Apa, Teja,
Kha, Vayu, the sole stay, Soma, Vrihaspati, Sukra, Budha, Angaraka,
Indra, Vivaswat, Diptanshu, Suchi, Sauri, Sanaichara, Brahma, Vishnu,
Rudra, Skanda, Vaisravana, Yama, Vaidyutagni, Jatharagni, Aindhna,
Tejasampati, Dharmadhwaja, Veda-karttri, Vedanga, Vedavahana, Krita,
Treta, Dwapara, Kali, full of every impurity, Kala, Kastha, Muhurtta,
Kshapa, Yama, and Kshana; Samvatsara-kara, Aswattha, Kalachakra,
Bibhavasu, Purusha, Saswata, Yogin, Vyaktavyakta, Sanatana, Kaladhyaksha,
Prajadhyaksha, Viswakarma, Tamounda, Varuna, Sagara, Ansu, Jimuta,
Jivana, Arihan, Bhutasraya, Bhutapati, Srastri, Samvartaka, Vanhi,
Sarvadi, Alolupa, Ananta, Kapila, Bhanu, Kamada, Sarvatomukha, Jaya,
Visala, Varada, Manas, Suparna, Bhutadi, Sighraga, Prandharana,
Dhanwantari, Dhumaketu, Adideva, Aditisuta, Dwadasatman, Aravindaksha,
Pitri, Matri, Pitamaha, Swarga-dwara, Prajadwara, Mokshadwara,
Tripistapa, Dehakarti, Prasantatman, Viswatman, Viswatomukha,
Characharatman, Sukhsmatman, the merciful Maitreya. These are the hundred
and eight names of Surya of immeasurable energy, as told by the
self-create (Brahma). For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to
thee, O Bhaskara, blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshipped of
the gods and the Pitris and the Yakshas, and who is adored by Asuras,
Nisacharas, and Siddhas. He that with fixed attention reciteth this hymn
at sunrise, obtaineth wife and offspring and riches and the memory of his
former existence, and by reciting this hymn a person attaineth patience
and memory. Let a man concentrating his mind, recite this hymn. By doing
so, he shall be proof against grief and forest-fire and ocean and every
object of desire shall be his.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having heard from Dhaumya these words suitable
to the occasion, Yudhishthira the just, with heart concentrated within
itself and purifying it duly, became engaged in austere meditation, moved
by the desire of supporting the Brahmanas. And worshipping the maker of
day with offerings of flowers and other articles, the king performed his
ablutions. And standing in the stream, he turned his face towards the god
of day. And touching the water of the Ganges the virtuous Yudhishthira
with senses under complete control and depending upon air alone for his
sustenance, stood there with rapt soul engaged in pranayama.[7] And
having purified himself and restrained his speech, he began to sing the
hymn of praise (to the sun).’

‘Yudhishthira said, “Thou art, O sun, the eye of the universe. Thou art
the soul of all corporeal existences. Thou art the origin of all things.
Thou art the embodiment of the acts of all religious men. Thou art the
refuge of those versed in the Sankhya philosophy (the mysteries of the
soul), and thou art the support of the Yogins. Thou art a door unfastened
with bolts. Thou art the refuge of those wishing for emancipation. Thou
sustainest and discoverest the world, and sanctifiest and supportest it
from pure compassion. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas appearing before
thee, adore thee in due time, reciting the hymns from the respective
branches (of the Vedas) they refer. Thou art the adored of the Rishis.
The Siddhas, and the Charanas and the Gandharvas and the Yakshas, and the
Guhyakas, and the Nagas, desirous of obtaining boons follow thy car
coursing through the skies. The thirty-three gods[8] with Upendra
(Vishnu) and Mahendra, and the order of Vaimanikas[9] have attained
success by worshipping thee. By offering thee garlands of the celestial
Mandaras[10] the best of the Vidyadharas have obtained all their desires.
The Guhyas and the seven orders of the Pitris–both divine and
human–have attained superiority by adoring thee alone. The Vasus, the
Manilas, and the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Marichipas, the Valikhilyas,
and the Siddhas, have attained pre-eminence by bowing down unto thee.
There is nothing that I know in the entire seven worlds, including that
of Brahma which is beyond thee. There are other beings both great and
endued with energy; but none of them hath thy lustre and energy. All
light is in thee, indeed, thou art the lord of all light. In thee are the
(five) elements and all intelligence, and knowledge and asceticism and
the ascetic properties.[11] The discus by which the wielder of the
Saranga[12] humbleth the pride of Asuras and which is furnished with a
beautiful nave, was forged by Viswakarman with thy energy. In summer thou
drawest, by thy rays, moisture from all corporeal existences and plants
and liquid substances, and pourest it down in the rainy season. Thy rays
warm and scorch, and becoming as clouds roar and flash with lightning and
pour down showers when the season cometh. Neither fire nor shelter, nor
woolen cloths give greater comfort to one suffering from chilling blasts
than thy rays. Thou illuminest by thy rays the whole Earth with her
thirteen islands. Thou alone are engaged in the welfare of the three
worlds. If thou dost not rise, the universe becometh blind and the
learned cannot employ themselves in the attainment of virtue, wealth and
profit. It is through thy grace that the (three) orders of Brahmanas,
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are able to perform their various duties and
sacrifices.[13] Those versed in chronology say that thou art the
beginning and thou the end of a day of Brahma, which consisteth of a full
thousand Yugas. Thou art the lord of Manus and of the sons of the Manus,
of the universe and of man, of the Manwantaras, and their lords. When the
time of universal dissolution cometh, the fire Samvartaka born of thy
wrath consumeth the three worlds and existeth alone And clouds of various
hues begotten of thy rays, accompanied by the elephant Airavata and the
thunderbolt, bring about the appointed deluges. And dividing thyself into
twelve parts and becoming as many suns, thou drinkest up the ocean once
more with thy rays. Thou art called Indra, thou art Vishnu, thou art
Brahma, thou art Prajapati. Thou art fire and thou art the subtle mind.
And thou art lord and the eternal Brahma. Thou art Hansa, thou art
Savitri, thou art Bhanu, Ansumalin, and Vrishakapi. Thou art Vivaswan,
Mihira, Pusha, Mitra, and Dharma. Thou art thousand-rayed, thou art
Aditya, and Tapana, and the lord of rays. Thou art Martanda, and Arka,
and Ravi, and Surya and Saranya and maker of day, and Divakara and
Suptasaspti, and Dhumakeshin and Virochana. Thou art spoken of as swift
of speed and the destroyer of darkness, and the possessor of yellow
steeds. He that reverentially adoreth thee on the sixth or the seventh
lunar day with humility and tranquillity of mind, obtaineth the grace of
Lakshmi. They that with undivided attention adore and worship thee, are
delivered from all dangers, agonies, and afflictions. And they that hold
that thou art everywhere (being the soul of all things) living long,
freed from sin and enjoying an immunity from all diseases. O lord of all
food, it behoveth thee to grant food in abundance unto me who am desirous
of food even for entertaining all my guests with reverence. I bow also to
all those followers of thine that have taken refuge at thy feet–Mathara
and Aruna and Danda and others, including Asani and Kshuva and the
others. And I bow also to the celestial mothers of all creatures, viz.,
Kshuva and Maitri and the others of the class. O, let them deliver me
their supplient.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus, O great king, was the sun that purifier of the
world, adored (by Yudhishthira). And pleased with the hymn, the maker of
day, self-luminous, and blazing like fire showed himself to the son of
Pandu. And Vivaswan said, ‘Thou shall obtain all that thou desirest. I
shall provide thee with food for five and seven years together. And, O
king, accept this copper-vessel which I give unto thee. And, O thou of
excellent vows, as long as Panchali will hold this vessel, without
partaking of its contents fruits and roots and meat and vegetables cooked
in thy kitchen, these four kinds of food shall from this day be
inexhaustible. And, on the fourteenth year from this, thou shall regain
thy kingdom.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said this, the god vanished away. He
that, with the desire of obtaining a boon, reciteth this hymn
concentrating his mind with ascetic abstraction, obtaineth it from the
sun, however difficult of acquisition it may be that he asketh for. And
the person, male or female, that reciteth or heareth this hymn day after
day, if he or she desireth for a son, obtaineth one, and if riches,
obtaineth them, and if learning acquireth that too. And the person male
or female, that reciteth this hymn every day in the two twilights, if
overtaken by danger, is delivered from it, and if bound, is freed from
the bonds. Brahma himself had communicated this hymn to the illustrious
Sakra, and from Sakra was it obtained by Narada and from Narada, by
Dhaumya. And Yudhishthira, obtaining it from Dhaumya, attained all his
wishes. And it is by virtue of this hymn that one may always obtain
victory in war, and acquire immense wealth also. And it leadeth the
reciter from all sins, to the solar region.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having obtained the boon, the virtuous son of
Kunti, rising from the water, took hold of Dhaumya’s feet and then
embraced his brother’s. And, O exalted one, wending then with Draupadi to
the kitchen, and adored by her duly, the son of Pandu set himself to cook
(their day’s) food. And the clean food, however little, that was dressed,
furnished with the four tastes, increased and became inexhaustible. And
with it Yudhishthira began to feed the regenerate ones. And after the
Brahmanas had been fed, and his younger brothers also, Yudhishthira
himself ate of the food that remained, and which is called Vighasa. And
after Yudhishthira had eaten, the daughter of Prishata took what
remained. And after she had taken her meal, the day’s food became

‘And having thus obtained the boon from the maker of day, the son of
Pandu, himself as resplendent as that celestial, began to entertain the
Brahmanas agreeably to their wishes. And obedient to their priest, the
sons of Pritha, on auspicious lunar days and constellations and
conjunctions, performed sacrifices according to the ordinance, the
scriptures, and the Mantras. After the sacrifices, the sons of Pandu,
blessed by the auspicious rites performed by Dhaumya and accompanied by
him, and surrounded also by the Brahmanas set out for the woods of


“Vaisampayana said,–“After the Pandavas had gone to the forest,
Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika, whose knowledge was his eye,[14] became
exceedingly sorrowful. And seated at his ease the king addressed these
words to the virtuous Vidura of profound intelligence, ‘Thy understanding
is as clear as that of Bhargava.[15] Thou knowest also all the subtleties
or morality, and thou lookest on all the Kauravas with an equal eye. O,
tell me what is proper for me and them. O Vidura, things having thus
taken their course, what should we do now? How may I secure the goodwill
of the citizens so that they may not destroy us to the roots? O, tell us
all, since thou art conversant with every excellent expedient.’

“Vidura said, ‘The three-fold purposes, O king (viz., profit, pleasure,
and salvation), have their foundations in virtue, and the sages say that
a kingdom also standeth on virtue as its basis. Therefore, O monarch,
according to the best of thy power, cherish thou virtuously thy own sons
and those of Pandu. That virtue had been beguiled by wicked souls with
Suvala’s son at their head, when thy sons invited the righteous
Yudhishthira and defeated him in the match at dice. O king, of this deed
of utter iniquity I behold this expiation whereby, O chief of the Kurus,
thy son, freed from sin, may win back his position among good men. Let
the sons of Pandu, obtain that which was given unto them by thee. For,
verily, even this is the highest morality that a king should remain
content with his own, and never covet another’s possessions. Thy good
name then would not suffer nor would family dissensions ensue, nor
unrighteousness be thine. This then is thy prime duty now,–to gratify
the Pandavas and disgrace Sakuni. If thou wishest to restore to thy sons
the good fortune they have lost, then, O king, do thou speedily adopt
this line of conduct. If thou dost not act so, the Kurus will surely meet
with destruction, for neither Bhimasena nor Arjuna, if angry, will leave
any of their foes unslain. What is there in the world which is
unattainable to those who cannot among their warriors Savyasachin skilled
in arms; who have the Gandiva, the most powerful of all weapons in the
world, for their bow; and who have amongst them the mighty Bhima also as
a warrior? Formerly, as soon as thy son was born, I told thee,–Forsake
thou this inauspicious child of thine. Herein lieth the good of thy
race.–But thou didst not then act accordingly. Nor also, O king, have I
pointed out to thee the way of thy welfare. If thou doest as I have
counselled, thou shalt not have to repent afterwards. If thy son consent
to reign in peace jointly with the sons of Pandu, passing thy days in joy
thou shalt not have to repent. Should it be otherwise, abandon thou thy
child for thy own happiness. Putting Duryodhana aside, do thou install
the son of Pandu in the sovereignty, and let, O king, Ajatasatru, free
from passion, rule the earth virtuously. All the kings of the earth,
then, like Vaisyas, will, without delay, pay homage unto us. And, O king,
let Duryodhana and Sakuni and Karna with alacrity wait upon the Pandavas.
And let Dussasana, in open court, ask forgiveness of Bhimasena and of the
daughter of Drupada also. And do thou pacify Yudhishthira by placing him
on the throne with every mark of respect. Asked by thee, what else can I
counsel thee to do? By doing this, O monarch, thou wouldst do what was

‘Dhritarashtra said, ‘These words, O Vidura, then thou hast spoken in
this assembly, with reference to the Pandavas and myself, are for their
good but not for ours. My mind doth not approve them. How hast thou
settled all this in thy mind now? When thou hast spoken all this on
behalf of the Pandavas, I perceive that thou art not friendly to me. How
can I abandon my son for the sake of the sons of Pandu? Doubtless they
are my sons, but Duryodhana is sprung from my body. Who then, speaking
with impartiality, will ever counsel me to renounce my own body for the
sake of others? O Vidura, all that thou sayest is crooked, although I
hold thee in high esteem. Stay or go as thou likest. However much may she
be humoured, an unchaste will forsaketh her husband.’

“Vaisampayana said, O king, saying this Dhritarashtra rose suddenly and
went into the inner apartments. And Vidura, saying ‘This race is doomed’
went away to where the sons of Pritha were.'”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Desirous of living in the forest, those bulls of the
Bharata race, the Pandavas, with their followers, setting out from the
banks of the Ganges went to the field of Kurukshetra. And performing
their ablutions in the Saraswati, the Drisadwati and the Yamuna, they
went from one forest to another, travelling in an westernly direction.
And at length they saw before them the woods, Kamyaka, the favourite
haunt of Munis, situated by a level and wild plain on the banks of the
Saraswati. And in those woods, O Bharata, abounding in birds and deer,
those heroes began to dwell, entertained and comforted by the Munis. And
Vidura always longing to see the Pandavas, went in a single car to the
Kamyaka woods abounding in every good thing. And arriving at Kamyaka on a
car drawn by swift steeds, he saw Yudhishthira the just, sitting with
Draupadi at a retired spot, surrounded by his brothers and the Brahmanas.
And seeing Vidura approach from a distance with swift steps, the virtuous
king addressed brother, Bhimasena, saying, ‘With what message doth
Kshatta come to us? Doth he come hither, despatched by Sakuni, to invite
us again to a game of dice? Doth the little-minded Sakuni intend to win
again our weapons at dice? O Bhimasena, challenged by any one addressing
me,–Come, I am unable to stay. And if our possession of the Gandiva
becomes doubtful, will not the acquisition of our kingdom also be so.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘O king, the Pandavas then rose up and welcomed
Vidura. And received by them, that descendant of the Ajamida line
(Vidura) sat in their midst and made the usual enquiries. And after
Vidura had rested awhile, those bulls among men asked him the reason of
his coming. And Vidura began to relate unto them in detail everything
connected with the bearing of Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika.’

“Vidura said, ‘O Ajatasatru, Dhritarashtra called me, his dependant,
before him and honouring me duly said, ‘Things have fared thus. Now, do
thou tell me what is good for the Pandavas as well as for me. I pointed
out what was beneficial to both the Kauravas and Dhritarashtra. But what
I said was not relished by him, nor could I hit upon any other course.
What I advised was, O Pandavas, highly beneficial, but the son of Amvika
heeded me not. Even as medicine recommendeth itself not to one that is
ill, so my words failed to please the king. And, O thou without a foe, as
all unchaste wile in the family of a man of pure descent cannot be
brought back to the path of virtue, so I failed to bring Dhritarashtra
back. Indeed, as a young damsel doth not like a husband of three score,
even so Dhritarashtra did not like my words. Surely, destruction will
overtake the Kuru race, surely Dhritarashtra will never acquire good
fortune. For, as water dropped on a lotus-leaf doth not remain there, my
counsels will fail to produce any effect to Dhritarashtra. The incensed
Dhritarashtra told me, O Bharata, go thou thither where thou likest Never
more shall I seek thy aid in ruling the earth or my capital,–O best of
monarchs, forsaken by king Dhritarashtra, I come to thee for tendering
good counsel. What I had said in the open court, I will now repeat unto
thee. Listen, and bear my words in mind,–that wise man who bearing all
the gross wrong heaped upon him by his enemies, patiently bideth his
time, and multiplieth his resources “even as men by degrees turn a small
fire: into a large one, ruleth alone this entire earth. He that (in
prosperity) enjoyeth his substance with his adherents findeth in them
sharers of his adversity,–this is the best means of securing adherents,
and it is said that he that hath adherents, winneth the sovereignty of
the world! And, O Pandava, divided thy prosperity with thy adherents,
behave truthfully towards them, and converse with them agreeably! Share
also your food with them! And never boast thyself in their presence! This
behaviour increaseth the prosperity of kings!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Having recourse to such high intelligence,
undisturbed by passion, I will do as thou counsellest! And whatever else
thou mayst counsel in respect of time and place, I will carefully follow


“Vaisampayana said, ‘O king, after Vidura had gone to the abode of the
Pandavas, Dhritarashtra, O Bharata, of profound wisdom, repented of his
action. And thinking of the great intelligence of Vidura in matters
connected with both war and peace, and also of the aggrandisement of the
Pandavas in the future, Dhritarashtra, pained at the recollection of
Vidura, having approached the door of the hall of state fell down
senseless in the presence of the monarchs (in waiting) And regaining
consciousness, the king rose from the ground and thus addressed Sanjaya
standing by, ‘My brother and friend is even like the god of justice
himself! Recollecting him today, my heart burneth in grief! Go, bring
unto me without delay my brother well-versed in morality!’ Saying this,
the monarch wept bitterly. And burning in repentance, and overwhelmed
with sorrow at the recollection of Vidura, the king, from brotherly
affection, again addressed Sanjaya saying, ‘O Sanjaya, go thou and
ascertain whether my brother, expelled by my wretched self through anger,
liveth still! That wise brother of mine of immeasurable intelligence hath
never been guilty of even the slightest transgression, but, on the other
hand, he it is who hath come by grievous wrong at my hands! Seek him, O
wise one, and bring him hither; else, O Sanjaya, I will lay down my life!”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of the king, Sanjaya
expressed his approbation, and saying ‘So be it,’ went in the direction
of the Kamyaka woods. And arriving without loss of time at the forest
where the sons of Pandu dwelt, he beheld Yudhishthira clad in deer-skin,
seated with Vidura, in the midst of Brahmanas by thousands and guarded by
his brothers, even like Purandara in the midst of the celestials! And
approaching Yudhishthira, Sanjaya worshipped him duly and was received
with due respect by Bhima and Arjuna and the twins. And Yudhishthira made
the usual enquiries about his welfare and when he had been seated at his
ease, he disclosed the reason of his visit, in these words, ‘King
Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, hath, O Kshatta! remembered thee!
Returning unto him without loss of time, do thou revive the king! And, O
thou best of men, with the permission of these Kuru princes–these
foremost of men–it behoveth thee, at the command of that lion among
kings, to return unto him!

Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by Sanjaya, the intelligent
Vidura, ever attached to his relatives, with the permission of
Yudhishthira returned to the city named after the elephant. And after he
had approached the king, Dhritarashtra of great energy, the son of
Amvika, addressed him, saying, ‘From my good luck alone, O Vidura, thou,
O sinless one, of conversant with morality, hast come here remembering
me! And, O thou bull of the Bharata race, in thy absence I was beholding
myself, sleepless through the day and the night, as one that hath been
lost on earth!’ And the king then took Vidura on his lap and smelt his
head, and said, ‘Forgive me, O sinless one, the words in which thou wert
addressed by me!’ And Vidura said, ‘O king, I have forgiven thee. Thou
art my superior, worthy of the highest reverence! Here am I, having come
back, eagerly wishing to behold thee! All virtuous men, O tiger among
men, are (instinctively) partial towards those that are distressed! This,
O king, is scarcely the result of deliberation! (My partiality to the
Pandavas proceedeth from this cause)! O Bharata, thy sons are as dear to
me as the sons of Pandu, but as the latter are now in distress, my heart
yearneth after them!

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘And addressing each other thus in apologetic
speeches, the two illustrious brothers, Vidura and Dhritarashtra, felt
themselves greatly happy!'”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing that Vidura had returned, and that the king
had consoled him, the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra began to burn in
grief. His understanding clouded by ignorance, he summoned the son of
Suvala, and Karna and Dussasana, and addressed them saying, ‘The learned
Vidura, the minister of the wise Dhritarashtra, hath returned! The friend
of the sons of Pandu, he is ever engaged in doing what is beneficial to
them. So long as this Vidura doth not succeed in inducing the king to
bring them back, do ye all think of what may benefit me! If ever I behold
the sons of Pritha return to the city, I shall again be emaciated by
renouncing food and drink, even though there be no obstacle in my path!
And I shall either take poison or hang myself, either enter the pyre or
kill myself with my own weapons. But I shall never be able to behold the
sons of Pandu in prosperity!

“Sakuni said, ‘O king, O lord of the earth, what folly hath taken
possession of thee! The Pandavas have gone to the forest, having given a
particular pledge, so that what thou apprehendest can never take place! O
bull of the Bharata race, the Pandavas ever abide by the truth. They will
never, therefore, accept the words of thy father! If however, accepting
the commands of the king, they come back to the capital, violating their
vow, even this would be our conduct, viz., assuming, an aspect of
neutrality, and in apparent obedience to the will of the monarch, we will
closely watch the Pandavas, keeping our counsels!’

“Dussasana said, ‘O uncle of great intelligence, it is even as thou
sayest! The words of wisdom thou utterest always recommend themselves to
me!'”Karna said, ‘O Duryodhana, all of us seek to accomplish thy will
and, O king, I see that unanimity at present prevaileth among us! The
sons of Pandu, with passions under complete control, will never return
without passing away the promised period. If, however, they do return
from failing sense, do thou defeat them again at dice.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana with
cheerless heart, averted his face from his counsellors. Marking all this,
Karna expanding his beautiful eyes, and vehemently gesticulating in
anger, haughtily addressed Duryodhana and Dussasana and Suvala’s son
saying, ‘Ye princes, know ye my opinion! We are all servants of the king
(Duryodhana) waiting upon him with joined palms! We should, therefore, do
what is agreeable to him! But we are not always able to seek his welfare
with promptness and activity (owing to our dependence on Dhritarashtra)!
But let us now, encased in mail and armed with our weapons, mount our
cars and go in a body to slay the Pandavas now living in the forest!
After the Pandavas have been quieted and after they have gone on the
unknown journey, both ourselves and the sons of Dhritarashtra will find
peace! As long as they are in distress, as long as they are in sorrow, as
long as they are destitute of help, so long are we a match for them! This
is my mind!’

‘Hearing those words of the charioteer’s son, they repeatedly applauded
him, and at last exclaimed, ‘Very well!’ And saying this each of them
mounted his car, and sanguine of success, they rushed in a body to slay
the sons of Pandu. And knowing by his spiritual vision that they had gone
out, the master Krishna-Dwaipayana of pure soul came upon them, and
commanded them to desist. And sending them away, the holy one, worshipped
by all the worlds, quickly appeared before the king whose intelligence
served the purposes of eye-sight, and who was then seated (at his ease).
And the holy one addressed the monarch thus.'”


“Vyasa said, ‘O wise Dhritarashtra, hear what I say! I will tell thee
that which is for the great good of all the Kauravas! O thou of mighty
arms, it hath not pleased me that the Pandavas have gone to the forest
dishonestly defeated (at dice) by Duryodhana and others! O Bharata, on
the expiration of the thirteenth year, recollecting all their woes, they
may shower death-dealing weapons, even like virulent poison, upon the
Kauravas! Why doth thy sinful son of wicked heart, ever inflamed with
ire, seek to slay the sons of Pandu for the sake of their kingdom? Let
the fool be restrained; let thy son remain quiet! In attempting to slay
the Pandavas in exile, he will only lose his own life. Thou art as honest
as the wise Vidura, or Bhishma, or ourselves, or Kripa, or Drona, O thou
of great wisdom, dissension with one’s own kin are forbidden, sinful and
reprehensible! Therefore, O king, it behoveth thee to desist from such
acts! And, O Bharata, Duryodhana looketh with such jealousy towards the
Pandavas that great harm would be the consequence, if thou didst not
interfere. Or let this wicked son of thine, O monarch, along and
unaccompanied, himself go to the forest and live with the sons of Pandu.
For then, if the Pandavas, from association, feel an attachment for
Duryodhana, then, O king of men, good fortune may be thine. (This,
however, may not be)! For it hath been heard that one’s congenital nature
leaveth him not till death. But what do Bhishma and Drona and Vidura
think? What also dost thou think? That which is beneficial should be done
while there is time, else thy purposes will be unrealised.'”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O holy one, I did not like this business of
gambling, but, O Muni, I think, I was made to consent to it drawn by
fate! Neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Vidura, nor Gandhari liked this
game at dice. No doubt, it was begot of folly. And, O thou who delightest
in the observance of vows, O illustrious one, knowing everything yet
influenced by paternal affection, I am unable to cast off my senseless
son, Duryodhana!’

“Vyasa said, ‘O king, O son of Vichitravirya, what thou sayest is true!
We know it well that a son is the best of all things and that there is
nothing that is so good as a son. Instructed by the tears of Suravi,
Indra came to know that the son surpasseth in worth other valuable
possessions. O monarch, I will, in this connection, relate to thee that
excellent and best of stories, the conversation between Indra and Suravi.
In days of yore, Suravi, the mother of cows was once weeping in the
celestial regions. O child, Indra took compassion upon her, and asked
her, saying, ‘O auspicious one! why dost thou weep? Is everything well
with the celestials? Hath any misfortune, ever so little, befallen the
world of men or serpents?’ Suravi replied, ‘No evil hath befallen thee
that I perceive. But I am aggrieved on account of my son, and it is
therefore, O Kausika, that I weep! See, O chief of the celestials, yonder
cruel husbandman is belabouring my weak son with the wooden stick, and
oppressing him with the (weight of the) plough, in consequence of which
my child agitated with agony is falling upon the ground and is at the
point of death. At sight of this, O lord of the celestials, I am filled
with compassion, and my mind is agitated! The one that is the stronger of
the pair is bearing his burthen of greater weight (with ease), but, O
Vasava, the other is lean, and weak and is a mass of veins and arteries!
He beareth his burthen with difficulty! And it is for him that I grieve.
See, O Vasava, sore inflicted with the whip, and harassed exceedingly, he
is unable to bear his burthen. And it is for him that, moved by grief, I
weep in heaviness of heart and these tears of compassion trickle down my

“Sakra said, ‘O fair one, when thousands of thy son are (daily)
oppressed, why dost thou grieve for one under infliction?’ Suravi
replied. ‘Although I have a thousand offspring, yet my affections flow
equally towards all! But, O Sakra, I feel greater compassion for one that
is weak and innocent!’

“Vyasa continued, ‘Then Indra having heard these words of Suravi, was
much surprised, and O thou of the Kuru race, he became convinced that a
son is dearer than one’s life! And the illustrious chastiser of Paka
thereupon suddenly poured there a thick shower and caused obstruction to
the husbandman’s work. And as Suravi said, thy affections, O king,
equally flow towards all thy sons. Let them be greater towards those that
are weak! And as my son Pandu is to me, so art thou, O son, and so also
Vidura of profound wisdom! It is out of affection that I tell you all
this! O Bharata, thou art possessed of a hundred and one sons, but Pandu
hath only five. And they are in a bad plight and passing their days in
sorrow. How may they save their lives, how may they thrive such thoughts
regarding the distressed sons of Pritha continually agitate my soul! O
king of the earth, if thou desirest all the Kauravas to live, let thy son
Duryodhana make peace with the Pandavas!'”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Muni of profound wisdom, it is even as thou
sayest! I know it well as do all these kings! Indeed, what thou
considerest to be beneficial for the Kurus was pointed out to me, O Muni,
by Vidura and Bhishma and Drona. And, if I deserve thy favour, and if
thou hast kindness for the Kurus, do thou exhort my wicked son

“Vyasa said, ‘O king, after having seen the Pandava brothers, here cometh
the holy Rishi Maitreya, with the desire of seeing us. That mighty Rishi,
O king, will admonish thy son for the welfare of this race. And, O
Kauravya, what he adviseth must be followed undoubtingly, for if what he
recommendeth is not done, the sage will curse thy son in anger.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying this, Vyasa departed, and Maitreya made
his appearance. And the king with his son respectfully received that
way-worn chief of Munis, with offerings of the Arghya and other rites.
And king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, in words of respect thus
addressed the sage, ‘O holy one, hath journey from the Kuru-jangala been
a pleasant one? Are those heroes, the five Pandavas living happily? Do
those bulls of the Kuru race intend to stay out their time? Will the
brotherly affection of the Kauravas ever be impaired?’

“Maitreya said, ‘Setting out on a pilgrimage to the different shrines, I
arrived at Kuru-jangala, and there I unexpectedly saw Yudhishthira the
just in the woods of Kamyaka. And, O exalted one, many Munis had come
there to behold the high-souled Yudhishthira, dwelling in an ascetic
asylum, clad in deer-skin and wearing matted locks. It was there, O king
of kings, that I heard of the grave error committed by thy sons and the
calamity and terrible danger arisen from dice that had overtaken them.
Therefore, it is that I have come to thee, for the good of the Kauravas,
since, O exalted one, my affection is great for thee and I am delighted
with thee! O king, it is not fit that thy sons should on any account
quarrel with one another, thyself and Bhishma living. Thou art, O king,
the stake at which bulls are tied (in treading cord), and thou art
competent to punish and reward! Why dost thou overlook then this great
evil that is about to overtake all? And, O descendant of the Kurus, for
those wrongs that have been perpetrated in thy court, which are even like
the acts of wretched outcasts, thou art not well-thought amongst the

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then turning to the wrathful prince Duryodhana,
the illustrious Rishi Maitreya addressed him in these soft words, ‘O
mighty-armed Duryodhana, O best of all eloquent men, O illustrious one,
give heed unto the words I utter for my good! O king, seek not to quarrel
with the Pandavas! And, O bull among men, compass thou thy own good as
also of the Pandavas, of the Kurus and of the world! All those tigers
among men are heroes of high prowess in war, gifted with the strength of
ten thousand elephants, with bodies hard as the thunderbolt, holding fast
by their promises, and proud of their manliness! they have slain the
enemies of the celestials–those Rakshasas capable of assuming any form
at will, such as were headed by Hidimva and Kirmira! When those
high-souled ones went from hence that Rakshasa of fierce soul obstructed
their nocturnal path even like an immoveable hill. And even as a tiger
slayeth a little deer, Bhima, that foremost of all endued with strength,
and ever delighted in fight, slew that monster. Consider also, O king,
how while out on his campaign of conquest, Bhima slew in battle that
mighty warrior, Jarasandha, possessing the strength of ten thousand
elephants. Related to Vasudeva and having the sons of king Drupada as
their brothers-in-law, who that is subject to decrepitude and death would
undertake to cope with them in battle? O bull of the Bharata race, let
there be peace between thee and Pandavas! Follow thou my counsels and
surrender not thyself to anger!

‘O king, thus admonished by Maitreya, Duryodhana began to slap his thigh
resembling the trunk of the elephant, and smilingly began to scratch the
ground with his foot. And the wicked wretch spake not a word, but hung
down his head. And, O monarch, beholding Duryodhana thus offer him a
slight by scratching the earth silently, Maitreya became angry. And, as
if commissioned by fate, Maitreya, the best of Munis, overwhelmed by
wrath, set his mind upon cursing Duryodhana! And then, with eyes red in
anger, Maitreya, touching water, caused the evil-minded son of
Dhritarashtra, saying, ‘Since, slighting me thou declinest to act
according to my words, thou shalt speedily reap the fruit of this thy
insolence! In the great war which shall spring out of the wrongs
perpetrated by thee, the mighty Bhima shall smash that thigh of thine
with a stroke of his mace!

‘When the Muni had spoken so, king Dhritarashtra began to pacify the
sage, in order that what he had said might not happen. But Maitreya said,
‘O king, if thy son concludeth peace with the Pandavas, this curse of
mine, O child, will not take effect, otherwise it must be as I have said!’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Desirous of ascertaining the might of Bhima, that
foremost of kings, the father of Duryodhana, then asked Maitreya, saying,
‘How was Kirmira slain by Bhima?’

“Maitreya said, ‘I shall not speak again unto thee, O king, for my words
are not regarded by thy son. After I have gone away, Vidura will relate
everything unto thee!’ And saying this, Maitreya went away to the place
whence he had come. And Duryodhana also went out perturbed at the tidings
of Kirmira’s death (at the hand of Bhima).'”


(Kirmirabadha Parva)

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Kshatta, I am desirous to hear of the destruction
of Kirmira! Do thou tell me how the encounter took place between the
Rakshasa and Bhimasena!’

“Vidura said, ‘Listen to the story of that feat of Bhimasena of super
human achievements! I have often heard of it in course of my conversation
with the Pandavas (while I was with them)

‘O foremost of kings, defeated at dice the Pandavas departed from hence
and travelling for three days and nights they at length reached those
woods that go by the name of Kamyaka. O king, just after the dreadful
hour of midnight when all nature is asleep, when man-eating Rakshasas of
terrible deeds begin to wander, the ascetics and the cowherds and other
rangers of the forest used to shun the woods of Kamyaka and fly to a
distance from fear of cannibals. And, O Bharata, as the Pandavas were at
this hour entering those woods a fearful Rakshasa of flaming eyes
appeared before them with a lighted brand, obstructing their path. And
with outstretched arms and terrible face, he stood obstructing the way on
which those perpetuators of the Kuru race were proceeding. With eight
teeth standing out, with eyes of coppery hue, and with the hair of his
head blazing and standing erect, the fiend looked like a mass of clouds
reflecting the rays of the sun or mingled with lightning flashes and
graced with flocks of cranes underneath on their wings. And uttering
frightful yells and roaring like a mass of clouds charged with rain, the
fiend began to spread the illusion proper to his species. Hearing that
terrible roar, birds along with other creatures that live on land or in
water, began to drop down in all directions, uttering cries of fear. And
in consequence of the deer and the leopards and the buffaloes and the
bears flying about in all directions, it seemed as if the forest itself
was in motion. And swayed by the wind raised by the sighs of the
Rakshasa, creepers growing at a great distance seemed to embrace the
trees with their arms of coppery leaves. And at that moment, a violent
wind began to blow, and the sky became darkened with the dust that
covered it. And as grief is the greatest enemy of the object of the five
senses, even so appeared before the Pandavas that unknown foe of theirs.
And beholding the Pandavas from a distance clad in black deer-skins, the
Rakshasa obstructed their passage through the forest even like the
Mainaka mountain. And at the sight of him never seen before the
lotus-eyed Krishna, agitated with fear, closed her eyes. And she whose
braids had been dishevelled by the hand of Dussasana, stationed in the
midst of the five Pandavas, looked like a stream chafing amid five hills.
And seeing her overwhelmed with fear the five Pandavas supported her as
the five senses influenced by desire adhere to the pleasures relating to
their objects. And Dhaumya of great (ascetic) energy, in the presence of
the sons of Pandu, destroyed the fearful illusion that had been spread by
the Rakshasa, by applying various mantras, calculated to destroy the
Rakshasa. And beholding his illusion dispelled, the mighty Rakshasa of
crooked ways, capable of assuming any form at will, expanded his eyes in
wrath and seemed like death himself. Then king Yudhishthira, endued with
great wisdom, addressed him saying, ‘Who art thou, and whose (son)? Tell
us what we should do for thee.’ The Rakshasa thus addressed, answered
Yudhishthira the just, saying, ‘I am the brother of Vaka, the celebrated
Kirmira. I live at ease in these deserted woods of Kamyaka, daily
procuring my food by vanquishing men in fight. Who are ye that have come
near me in the shape of my food? Defeating ye all in fight, I will eat ye
with pleasure.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘O Bharata, hearing these words of the wretch,
Yudhishthira announced his own name and lineage, saying, ‘I am king
Yudhishthira the just, the son of Pandu, of whom thou mayst have heard.
Deprived of my kingdom, I have with my brothers Bhimasena and Arjuna and
the others, in course of my wanderings, come into this terrible forest
which is thy dominion, desirous of passing my period of exile here!’

“Vidura continued, ‘Kirmira said unto Yudhishthira, ‘By good luck it is
that fate hath accomplished today my long-accomplished desire! With
weapons upraised have I been continually ranging the entire earth with
the object of slaying Bhima. But Bhima I had found not. By good luck it
is that slayer of my brother, whom I had been seeking so long, hath come
before me! It was he who in the disguise of a Brahmana slew my dear
brother Vaka in the Vetrakiya forest by virtue of his science. He hath
truly no strength of arms! It is also this one of wicked soul who
formerly slew my dear friend Hidimva, living in this forest and ravished
his sister! And that fool hath now come into this deep forest of mine,
when the night is half spent, even at the time when we wander about!
Today I will wreak my long-cherished vengeance upon him, and I will today
gratify (the manes of) Vaka with his blood in plenty! By slaying this
enemy of the Rakshasas, I shall today be freed from the debt I owe to my
friend and my brother, and thereby attain supreme happiness! If Bhimasena
was let free formerly by Vaka, today, I will devour him in thy sight, O
Yudhishthira! And even as Agastya ate up and digested the mighty Asura
(Vatapi) I will eat up and digest this Bhima!’

“Vidura continued, ‘Thus addressed by the Rakshasa, the virtuous
Yudhishthira, steadfast in his pledges, said, ‘It can never be so,–and
in anger rebuked the Rakshasa.’ The mighty-armed Bhima then tore up in
haste a tree of the length of ten Vyasas and stripped it of its leaves.
And in the space of a moment the ever-victorious Arjuna stringed his bow
Gandiva possessing the force of the thunderbolt. And, O Bharata, making
Jishnu desist, Bhima approached that Rakshasa still roaring like the
clouds and said unto him, ‘Stay! Stay!’ And thus addressing the cannibal,
and tightening the cloth around his waist, and rubbing his palms, and
biting his nether lip with his teeth, and armed with the tree, the
powerful Bhima rushed towards the foe. And like unto Maghavat hurling his
thunderbolt, Bhima made that tree, resembling the mace of Yama himself
descend with force on the head of the cannibal. The Rakshasa, however,
was seen to remain unmoved at that blow, and wavered not in the conflict.
On the other hand, he hurled his lighted brand, flaming like lightning,
at Bhima. But that foremost of warriors turned it off with his left foot
in such a way that it went back towards the Rakshasa. Then the fierce
Kirmira on his part, all on a sudden uprooting a tree darted to the
encounter like unto the mace bearing Yama himself. And that fight, so
destructive of the trees, looked like the encounter in days of yore
between the brothers Vali and Sugriva for the possession of the same
woman. And the trees struck at the heads of the combatants, were broken
into shivers, like lotus-stalks thrown on the temples of infuriate
elephants. And in that great forest, innumerable trees, crushed like unto
reeds, lay scattered as rags. That encounter with trees between that
foremost of Rakshasas and that best of men, O thou bull of the Bharata
race, lasted but for a moment. Then taking up a crag, the angry Rakshasa
hurled it at Bhima standing before him, but the latter wavered not. Then
like unto Rahu going to devour the sun dispersing his rays with extended
arms, the Rakshasa with out-stretched arms darted towards Bhima, who had
remained firm under the blow inflicted with the crag. And tugging at and
grappling with each other in diverse ways they appeared like two
infuriate bulls struggling with each other. Or like unto two mighty
tigers armed with teeth and claws, the encounter between them waxed
fierce and hard. And remembering their (late) disgrace at the hands of
Duryodhana, and proud of the strength of his arms, and conscious also of
Krishna looking at him, Vrikodara began to swell in vigour. And fried
with anger, Bhima seized the Rakshasa with his arms, as one elephant in
rut seizeth another. And the powerful Rakshasa also in his turn seized
his adversary, but Bhimasena that foremost of all men endued with
strength, threw the cannibal down with violence. The sounds that in
consequence of those mighty combatants pressing each other’s hands, were
frightful and resembled the sounds of splintering bamboos. And hurling
the Rakshasa down, seized him by the waist, and began to whirl him about,
even as fierce hurricane shaketh a tree. And thus seized by the mighty
Bhima, the fatigued Rakshasa, became faint, and trembling all over, he
still pressed the (Pandava) with all his strength. And finding him
fatigued, Vrikodara, twined his own arms round the foe, even as one
bindeth a beast with cord. And the monster thereupon began to roar
frightfully, as a trumpet out of order. And the mighty Vrikodara for a
long while whirled the Rakshasa till the latter appeared to be
insensible, and began to move convulsively. And finding the Rakshasa
exhausted, the son of Pandu without loss of time took him up in his arms,
and slew him like a beast. And placing his knee on the waist of that
wretch of Rakshasa, Vrikodara began to press the neck of the foe with his
hands. Then Bhima, dragging along the earth the bruised body of the
Rakshasa with the eye-lids about to close, said, ‘O sinful wretch, thou
wilt no more have to wipe away the tears of Hidimva or Vaka, for thou too
art about to go to the mansions of Yama!’ And saying this, that foremost
of men, his heart filled with wrath, beholding the Rakshasa destitute of
clothing and ornaments, and insensible, and undergoing convulsions, let
him dead. And after that Rakshasa of hue like the clouds had been slain,
the son of that best of kings (Pandu) praised Bhima for his many
qualities, and placing Krishna in their front, set out for the Dwaita

Vidura said, ‘It was thus, O lord of men, that Kirmira was slain in
combat by Bhima, in obedience, O Kaurava, to the commands of Yudhishthira
the just! And having rid the forest of its pest, the victorious
Yudhishthira the just, began to live in that dwelling of theirs, with
Draupadi. And those bulls of the Bharata race comforting Draupadi began
to cheerfully extol Bhima with glad hearts. And after the Rakshasa had
been slain, borne down by the might of Bhima’s arms, those heroes entered
into the peaceful forest freed from its annoyance. Passing through the
great forest I saw lying the body of the wicked and fearless Rakshasa
slain by Bhima’s might. And, O Bharata, there I heard of this achievement
of Bhima from those Brahmanas who have assembled round the Pandavas.’

Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing the account of the slaughter in combat
of Kirmira, that foremost of Rakshasas, the king sighed in sorrow and
became absorbed in thought.'”


(Arjunabhigamana Parva)

Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing that the Pandavas had been banished, the
Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas went to those heroes residing in
affliction in the great forest. And the consanguineous relatives of
Panchala, and Dhrishtaketu the king of Chedi, and those celebrated and
powerful brothers–the Kaikeyas, their hearts fired with wrath, went to
the forest to see the sons of Pritha. And reproaching the sons of
Dhritarashtra, they said, ‘What should we do?’ And those bulls of the
Kshatriya race, with Vasudeva at their head, sat themselves down round
Yudhishthira the just. And respectfully saluting that foremost of the
Kurus, Kesava mournfully said, ‘The earth shall drink the blood of
Duryodhana and Karna, of Dussasana and the wicked Sakuni! Slaying these
in battle and defeating their followers along with their royal allies,
will we all install Yudhishthira the just on the throne! The wicked
deserve to be slain! Verily, this is eternal morality.’

Vaisampayana continued, ‘And when on account of the wrongs of Pritha’s
sons, Janardana had thus got into a passion, and seemed bent upon
consuming all created things, Arjuna exerted himself to pacify him. And
beholding Kesava angry, Falguna began to recite the feats achieved in his
former lives by that soul of all things, himself immeasurable, the
eternal one, of infinite energy, the lord of Prajapati himself, the
supreme ruler of the worlds, Vishnu of profound wisdom!’

“Arjuna said, ‘In days of old, thou, O Krishna, hadst wandered on the
Gandhamadana mountains for ten thousand years as a Muni having his home
where evening fell! Living upon water alone, thou hadst, in days of old,
O Krishna, also dwelt for full eleven thousand years by the lake of
Pushkara! And, O slayer of Madhu, with arms upraised and standing on one
leg, thou hadst passed a hundred years on the high hills of Vadari,[16]
living all the while upon air! And leaving aside thy upper garment, with
body emaciated and looking like a bundle of veins, thou hadst lived on
the banks of the Saraswati, employed in thy sacrifice extending for
twelve years! And, O Krishna of mighty energy, in observance of thy vow
thou hadst stood on one leg for the length of a thousand years of the
celestials, on the plains of Prabhasa which it behoveth the virtuous to
visit! Vyasa hath told me that thou art the cause of the creation and its
course! And, O Kesava, the lord of Kshetra,[17] thou art the mover of all
minds, and the beginning and end of all things! All asceticism resteth in
thee, and thou too art the embodiment of all sacrifices, and the eternal
one! Slaying the Asura Naraka, offspring of the Earth-first begotten,
thou hadst obtained his ear-rings, and performed, O Krishna, the first
horse-sacrifice (offering up that Asura as the sacrificial horse)! And, O
bull of all the worlds, having performed that feat, thou hast become
victorious over all! Thou hadst slain all the Daityas and Danavas
mustered in battle, and giving the lord of Sachi (Indra) the sovereignty
of the universe, thou hast, O Kesava of mighty arms, taken thy birth
among men! O slayer of all foes, having floated on the primordial waters,
thou subsequently becamest Hari,[18] and Brahma and Surya and Dharma, and
Dhatri and Yama and Anala and Vasu, and Vaisravana, and Rudra, and Kala
and the firmament the earth, and the ten directions! Thyself increate,
thou art the lord of the mobile and the immobile universe, the Creator of
all, O thou foremost of all existences! And, O slayer of Madhu, O thou of
abundant energy, in the forest of Chitraratha thou didst, O Krishna,
gratify with thy sacrifice the chief of all the gods, the highest of the
high! O Janardana, at each sacrifice thou didst offer, according to
shares, gold by hundreds and thousands. And, O son of the Yadava race,
becoming the son of Aditi, O exalted one of the supreme attributes, thou
hast been known as the younger brother of Indra! And, O thou chastiser of
foes, even while a child thou didst, O Krishna, in consequence of thy
energy, fill by three steps only the heaven, the firmament, and the
earth! And, O thou soul of all covering the heaven and the firmament
(while thou wert thus transformed), thou didst dwell in the body of the
sun and afflict him with thy own splendour! And, O exalted one, in thy
incarnations on those thousand occasions, thou hadst slain, O Krishna,
sinful Asuras by hundreds! By destroying the Mauravas and the Pashas, and
slaying Nisunda and Naraka. Thou hast again rendered safe the road to
Pragjyotisha! Thou hast slain Ahvriti at Jaruthi, and Kratha and Sisupala
with his adherents, and Jarasandha and Saivya and Satadhanwan! And on thy
car roaring like unto clouds and effulgent like the sun, thou didst
obtain for thy queen the daughter of Bhoja, defeating Rukmi in battle!
Thou didst in fury slay Indradyumna and the Yavana called Kaseruman! And
slaying Salwa the lord of Saubha, thou didst destroy that city of Saubha
itself! These have all been slain in battle; listen to me as I speak of
others (also slain by thee)! At Iravati thou hast slain king Bhoja equal
unto Karttavirya in battle, and both Gopati and Talaketu also have been
slain by thee! And, O Janardana, thou hast also appropriate unto thyself
the sacred city of Dwarka, abounding in wealth and agreeable unto the
Rishi themselves, and thou wilt submerge it at the end within the ocean!
O slayer of Madhu, how can crookedness be in thee, devoid as thou art, O
thou of the Dasarha race, of anger and envy and untruth and cruelty? O
thou who knowest no deterioration, all the Rishis, coming unto thee
seated in thy glory on the sacrificial ground, seek protection of thee!
And, O slayer of Madhu, thou stayest at the end of the Yuga, contracting
all things and withdrawing this universe into thy own self, thou
repressor of all foes! O thou of the Vrishni race, at the beginning of
the Yuga, there sprang from thy lotus-like navel, Brahma himself, and
lord of all mobile and immobile things, and whose is this entire
universe! When the dreadful Danavas Madhu and Kaitava were bent on
slaying Brahma, beholding their impious endeavour thou wert angry, and
from thy forehead, O Hari, sprang Sambhu, the holder of the trident. Thus
these two foremost of the deities have sprung from thy body in order to
do thy work! Even Narada it was who hath told me this! O Narayana, thou
didst, in the forest of Chaitraratha, celebrate with plentiful gifts a
grand sacrifice consisting of a multitude of rites! O God, O thou of eyes
like lotus leaves, the deeds thou hast performed while still a boy,
having recourse to thy might and aided by Baladeva, have never been done
by others, nor are they capable of being achieved by others in the
future! Thou didst even dwell in Kailasa, accompanied by Brahmanas!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having addressed Krishna thus, the illustrious
Pandava, who was the soul of Krishna, became dumb, when Janardana (in
reply addressed that son of Pritha) saying, ‘Thou art mine and I am
thine, while all that is mine is thine also! He that hateth thee hateth
me as well, and he that followeth thee followeth me! O thou irrepressible
one, thou art Nara and I am Narayana or Hari! We are the Rishis Nara and
Narayana born in the world of men for a special purpose. O Partha, thou
art from me and I am from thee! O bull of the Bharata race, no one can
understand the difference that is between us!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When the illustrious Kesava had said so in the
midst of that assembly of brave kings, all excited with anger, Panchali
surrounded by Dhrishtadyumna and her other heroic brothers, approached
him of eyes like lotus leaves seated with his cousins, and, desirous of
protection, addressed in angry accents that refuge of all, saying, ‘Asita
and Devala have said that in the matter of the creation of all things,
thou hast been indicated (by the sages) as the only Prajapati and the
Creator of all the worlds! And, O irrepressible one, Jamadagnya sayeth
that thou art Vishnu, and, O slayer of Madhu, that thou art (embodiment
of) Sacrifice, Sacrificer and he for whom the sacrifice is performed!
And, O best of male beings, the Rishis indicate thee as Forgiveness and
Truth! Kasyapa hath said that thou art Sacrifice sprung from Truth! O
exalted one, Narada calleth thee the god of the Sadhyas, and of the
Sivas, as alone the Creator and the Lord of all things. And, O tiger
among men, thou repeatedly sportest with the gods including, Brahma and
Sankara and Sakra even as children sporting with their toys! And, O
exalted one, the firmament is covered by thy head, and the earth by thy
feet; these worlds are as thy womb and thou art the Eternal one! With
Rishis sanctified by Vedic lore and asceticism, and whose souls have been
purified by penance, and who are contented with soul-vision, thou art the
best of all objects! And, O chief of all male beings; thou art the refuge
of all royal sages devoted to virtuous acts, never turning their backs on
the field of the battle, and possessed of every accomplishment! Thou art
the Lord of all, thou art Omnipresent, thou art the Soul of all things,
and thou art the active power pervading everything! The rulers of the
several worlds, those worlds themselves, the stellar conjunctions, the
ten points of the horizon, the firmament, the moon, and the sun, are all
established in thee! And, O mighty-armed one, the morality of (earthly)
creatures, the immortality of the universe, are established in thee! Thou
art the Supreme lord of all creatures, celestial or human! Therefore it
is, O slayer of Madhu, that impelled by the affection thou bearest me
that I will relate to thee my griefs! O Krishna, how could one like me,
the wife of Pritha’s sons, the sister of Dhrishtadyumna, and the friend
of thee, be dragged to the assembly! Alas, during my season, stained with
blood, with but a single cloth on, trembling all over, and weeping, I was
dragged to the court of the Kurus! Beholding me, stained with blood in
the presence of those kings in the assembly, the wicked sons of
Dhritarashtra laughed at me! O slayer of Madhu, while the sons of Pandu
and the Panchalas and the Vrishnis lived, they dared express the desire
of using me as their slave! O Krishna, I am according to the ordinance,
the daughter in-law of both Dhritarashtra and Bhishma! Yet, O slayer of
Madhu, they wished to make of me a slave by force! I blame the Pandavas
who are mighty and foremost in battle, for they saw (without stirring)
their own wedded wife known over all the world, treated with such
cruelty! Oh, fie on the might of Bhimasena, fie on the Gandiva of Arjuna,
for they, O Janardana, both suffered me to be thus disgraced by little
men! This eternal course of morality is ever followed by the
virtuous–viz., that the husband, however weak, protecteth his wedded
wife! By protecting the wife one protecteth his offspring and by
protecting the offspring one protecteth his own self! One’s own self is
begotten on one’s wife, and therefore it is that the wife is called Jaya.
A wife also should protect her lord, remembering that he is to take his
birth in her womb! The Pandavas never forsake the person that soliciteth
their protection, and yet they abandoned me who solicited it! By my five
husbands five sons of exceeding energy have been born of me: Prativindhya
by Yudhishthira, Sutasoma by Vrikodara, Srutakirti by Arjuna, Satanika by
Nakula and Srutakarman by the youngest, all of them of energy that cannot
be baffled. For their sake, O Janardana, it was necessary to protect me!
Even as (thy son) Pradyumna, they are, O Krishna, mighty warriors all!
They are foremost of bowmen, and invincible in battle by any foe! Why do
they bear the wrongs inflicted (on me) by the sons of Dhritarashtra of
such contemptible strength? Deprived of their kingdom by deception, the
Pandavas were made bondsmen and I myself was dragged to the assembly
while in my season, and having only a single cloth on! Fie on that
Gandiva which none else can string save Arjuna and Bhima and thyself, O
slayer of Madhu! Fie on the strength of Bhima, and fie on the prowess of
Arjuna, since, O Krishna, Duryodhana (after what he had done) hath drawn
breath even for a moment! He it is, O slayer of Madhu, who formerly drove
the guileless Pandavas with their mother from the kingdom, while they
were children still engaged in study and the observance of their vows. It
is that sinful wretch, who, horrible to relate, mixed in Bhima’s food
fresh and virulent poison in full dose. But, O Janardana, Bhima digested
that poison with the food, without sustaining any injury, for, O best of
men and mighty-armed one, Bhima’s days had not been ended! O Krishna, it
is Duryodhana who at the house standing by the banyan called Pramana
bound Bhima sleeping unsuspectingly, and casting him into the Ganges
returned to the city. But the powerful Bhimasena the son of Kunti,
possessed of mighty arms, on waking from sleep, tore his bonds and rose
from the water. It is Duryodhana, who caused venomous black-cobras to
bite all over the body of Bhimasena, but that slayer of foes died not.
Awaking, the son of Kunti smashed all the serpents and with his left hand
killed (the agent, viz.) the favourite charioteer of Duryodhana. Again,
while the children were asleep at Varanavata with their mother, it is he
who set fire to the house intending to burn them to death. Who is there
capable of doing such an act? It was then that the illustrious Kunti,
overtaken by this calamity, and surrounded by the flames, began to cry
out in terror, speaking to the children, ‘Alas, I am undone! How shall we
escape from this fire today! Alas, I shall meet with destruction with my
little children!’ Then Bhima, possessed of mighty arms, and prowess like
unto the force of the wind, comforted his illustrious mother as also his
brothers, saying, ‘Like that king of birds, Garuda, the son of Vinata, I
will spring up into the air. We have no fear from this fire’. And then
taking his mother on his left flank, and the king in his right, and the
twins on each shoulder, and Vivatsu on his back, the mighty Vrikodara,
thus taking all of them, at one leap cleared the fire and delivered his
mother and brother from the conflagration. Setting out that night with
their renowned mother, they came near the forest of Hidimva. And while
fatigued and distressed, they were sleeping fast with her, a Rakshasa
woman called Hidimva approached them. Beholding the Pandavas with their
mother asleep on the ground, influenced by desire she sought to have
Bhimasena for her lord. The weak one then took up Bhima’s feet on her lap
to press them with her soft hands. The mighty Bhima of immeasurable
energy, of prowess that could not be baffled, then woke from sleep, and
asked her, saying, ‘O thou of faultless features, what dost thou wish
here?’ Thus asked by him, the Rakshasa lady of faultless features,
capable, besides, of assuming any form at will, replied unto the
high-souled Bhima, saying, ‘Do ye speedily fly from this place! My
brother gifted with strength will come to slay ye! Therefore speed and
tarry not!’ But Bhima haughtily said, ‘I do not fear him! If he cometh
here, I will slay him!’ Hearing their converse, that vilest of cannibals
came to the spot. Of frightful form and dreadful to behold, uttering loud
cries as he came, the Rakshasa said, ‘O Hidimva, with whom dost thou
converse? Bring him unto me, I will eat him up. It behoveth thee to tarry
not.’ But moved by compassion, the Rakshasa lady of faultless features
and pure heart said nothing out of pity. Then the man-eating monster,
uttering dreadful cries, rushed at Bhima with great force. And
approaching him furiously, the mighty cannibal, possessed with rage,
caught hold of Bhima’s hand with his own and clenching fast his other
hand and making it hard as the thunder-bolt of Indra, suddenly struck
Bhima a blow that descended with the force of lightning. His hand having
been seized by the Rakshasa, Vrikodara, without being able to brook it,
flew into a rage. Then a dreadful combat took place between Bhimasena and
Hidimva, both skilled in all weapons and which was like unto the
encounter of Vasava with Vritra. And, O sinless one, after sporting with
the Rakshasa for a long while the powerful Bhima of mighty energy slew
the cannibal when the latter had become weak with exertion. Then having
slain Hidimva, and taking (his sister) Hidimva at their head, of whom was
(subsequently) born Ghatotkacha, Bhima and his brothers went away. Then
all those repressors of their foes, accompanied by their mother and
surrounded by many Brahmanas proceeded towards Ekachakra. In the matter
of this their journey, Vyasa ever engaged in their welfare had become
their counsellor. Then arriving at Ekachakra, the Pandavas of rigid vows
there also slew a mighty cannibal, Vaka by name, terrible as Hidimva
himself. And having slain that fierce cannibal, Bhima that foremost of
smiters, went with all his brothers to the capital of Drupada. And, O
Krishna, as thou hadst acquired Rukmini, the daughter of Bhishmaka, even
so Savyasachin, while residing there, obtained me! O slayer of Madhu,
Arjuna won me in the Swayamvara, having performed a feat difficult of
achievement by others and having fought also with the assembled kings!

‘Thus, O Krishna, afflicted with numerous griefs, and in great distress,
am I living, with Dhaumya at our head, but deprived of the company of the
adorable Kunti! Why do these that are gifted with strength and possessed
of the prowess of the lion, sit indifferently, beholding me thus
afflicted by enemies so despicable? Suffering such wrongs at the hands of
wicked and evil-doing foes of small strength, am I to burn in grief so
long? Born I was in a great race, coming into the world in an
extraordinary way! I am also the beloved wife of the Pandavas, and the
daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu! The foremost of women and
devoted to my husbands, even I, O Krishna, was seized by hair, O slayer
of Madhu, in the sight of the Pandavas, each of whom is like an Indra

‘Saying this the mild-speeched Krishna hid her face with her soft hands
like the buds of lotus, and began to weep. And the tears of Panchali
begot of grief washed her deep, plump and graceful breasts crowned with
auspicious marks. And wiping her eyes and sighing frequently she said
these words angrily and in a choked voice, ‘Husbands, or sons, or
friends, or brothers, or father, have I none! Nor have I thee, O thou
slayer of Madhu, for ye all, beholding me treated so cruelly by inferior
foes, sit still unmoved! My grief at Karna’s ridicule is incapable of
being assuaged! On these grounds I deserve to be ever protected by thee,
O Kesava, viz., our relationship, thy respect (for me), our friendship,
and thy lordship (over me)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘In that assembly of heroes Vasudeva then spake
unto the weeping Draupadi as follows, ‘O fair lady, the wives of those
with whom thou art angry, shall weep even like thee, beholding their
husbands dead on the ground, weltering in blood and their bodies covered
with the arrows of Vivatsu! Weep not, lady, for I will exert to the
utmost of my powers for the sons of Pandu! I promise thou shalt (once
more) be the queen of kings! The heavens might fall, or the Himavat might
split, the earth might be rent, or the waters of the ocean might dry up,
but my words shall never be futile!’ Hearing those words of Achyuta in
reply, Draupadi looked obliquely at her third husband (Arjuna). And, O
mighty king, Arjuna said unto Draupadi, ‘O thou of beautiful coppery
eyes, grieve not! O illustrious one, it shall be even as the slayer of
Madhu hath said! It can never be otherwise, O beautiful one!’

“Dhrishtadyumna said, ‘I will slay Drona, Sikhandin will slay the
grandfather. And Bhimasena will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay
Karna. And, O sister, assisted by Rama and Krishna, we are invincible in
battle by even the slayer himself of Vritra–what are the sons of

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After these words had been spoken, all the
heroes there turned their faces towards Vasudeva, who then in their midst
began to speak as follows.'”


“Vasudeva said, O lord of earth, if I had been present at Dwaraka, then,
O king, this evil would not have befallen thee! And, O irrepressible one,
coming unto the gambling-match, even if uninvited by the son of Amvika
(Dhritarashtra), or Duryodhana, or by the other Kauravas, I would have
prevented the game from taking place, by showing its many evils,
summoning to my aid Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, and Vahlika! O exalted
one, for thy sake I would have told the son of Vichitravirya–O foremost
of monarchs, let thy sons have nothing to do with dice!–I would have
shown the many evils (of dice) through which thou hast fallen into such
distress and the son of Virasena was formerly deprived of his kingdom! O
king, unthought of evils, befall a man from dice! I would have described
how a man once engaged in the game continueth to play (from desire of
victory). Women, dice, hunting and drinking to which people become
addicted in consequence of temptation, have been regarded as the four
evils that deprive a man of prosperity. And those versed in the Sastras
are of opinion that evils attend upon all these. They also that are
addicted to dice know all its evils. O thou of mighty arms, appearing
before the son of Amvika, I would have pointed out that through dice men
in a day lose their possessions, and fall into distress, and are deprived
of their untasted wealth, and exchange harsh words! O perpetuator of the
Kuru race, I would have pointed out these and other attendant evils! If
he had accepted my words thus addressed, the welfare of the Kurus as also
virtue itself would both have been secured! And, O foremost of kings, if
he had rejected my gentle counsels offered as medicine, then, O best of
the Bharata race, I would have compelled him by force! And, if those who
wait at his court, professing to be his friends but in reality his foes,
had supported him, then I would have slain them all, along with those
gamblers, there present! O Kauravya, it is owing to my absence from the
Anartta country at that time that thou hast fallen into such distress
begot of dice! O thou best of Kurus, O son of Pandu, on arriving at
Dwarka I learnt from Yuyudhana all about thy calamity! And, O foremost of
kings, directly I heard it with a heart sore agitated by grief, have I
speedily come here wishing to see thee, O king! Alas! O bull of the
Bharata race, ye have all fallen into dire distress! I see thee with thy
brothers plunged in misfortune!”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Krishna, why wert thou absent (from the Anartta
country)? And, O descendant of the Vrishni race, while thou wert away,
where didst thou dwell? And what didst thou do while out of thy kingdom?’

“Krishna said, ‘O bull of the Bharata race, I had gone for the purpose of
destroying the (arranging) city Salwa. And, O foremost of the Kauravas,
listen to the reasons I had for so doing! The heroic son of Damaghosha,
the well-known king Sisupala of mighty arms and great energy, was slain
by me, O best of Bharatas, at thy Rajasuya sacrifice, because that wicked
one could not from anger bear to see the first worship offered to me!
Hearing that he had been slain, Salwa, burning with fierce anger, came to
Dwaraka, while, O Bharata, it was empty, myself being away, residing with
you here. And having arrived there on a car made of precious metals and
hence called the Souva, he had an encounter with the youthful princes of
the Vrishni race–those bulls of that line–and fought With them
mercilessly. And slaughtering many youthful Vrishnis of heroic valour,
the wicked one devastated all the gardens of the city. And, O thou of
mighty arms, he said, ‘Where is that wretch of the Vrishni race,
Vasudeva, the evil-souled son of Vasudeva? I will humble in battle the
pride of that person so eager for fight! Tell me truly, O Anarttas! I
will go there where he is. And after killing that slayer of Kansa and
Kesi, will I return! By my weapon I swear that I will not return with out
slaying him!’ And exclaiming repeatedly–Where is he? Where is he? the
lord of Saubha rusheth to this place and that, desirous of encountering
me in battle? And Salwa also said, ‘Impelled by wrath for the destruction
of Sisupala I shall today send to the mansion of Yama that treacherous
miscreant of mean mind?’ And, O king, he further said, ‘That Janardana
shall I slay, who, wretch that he is, hath killed my brother who was but
a boy of tender years, and who was slain not on the field of battle,
unprepared as he was!’ Having, O great king, wailed thus, and having, O
son of the Kuru race, abused me thus, he rose into the sky on his car of
precious metals capable of going anywhere at will! On returning (to my
kingdom) I heard what, O Kaurava, the evil-minded and wicked king of
Maticka had said regarding myself! And, O descendant of the Kuru race, I
was agitated with wrath, and, O king, having reflected upon everything, I
set my heart upon slaying him! And, learning, O Kauravya, of his
oppression of the Anarttas, of his abuse of myself, and of his excessive
arrogance, I resolved upon the destruction of that wretch! And, O lord of
earth, I accordingly set out (from my city), for slaying the (lord of)
the Saubha. And searching him here and there, I found him in an island in
the midst of the ocean! Then, O king, blowing my conch called the
Panchajanya obtained from the sea, and challenging Salwa to combat, I
stood for the fight! At that instant, I had an encounter with numerous
Danavas, all of whom, however, I subdued and prostrated on the ground. O
mighty-armed one, it was owing to this affair that I could not then come
(unto thee)! As soon as I heard of the unfair game of dice at Hastinapur,
I have come here desirous of seeing ye who have been plunged in


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O illustrious Vasudeva of mighty arms, tell thou in
detail of the death of the lord of Saubha. My curiosity hath not been
appeased by the narration.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘O mighty-armed king, hearing that the son of Srutasravas
(Sisupala) had been slain by me, Salwa, O best of the Bharata race, came
to the city of Dwaravati! And, O son of Pandu, the wicked king,
stationing his forces in array, besieged that city around and above. And
stationing himself in the upper regions, the king began his fight with
the city. And that encounter commenced with a thick shower of weapons
from all sides. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the city at that time
was well-fortified on all sides, according to the science (of
fortification), with pennons, and arches, and combatants, and walls and
turrets, and engines, and miners, and streets barricaded with spiked
wood-works and towers and edifices with gate-ways well-filled with
provisions, and engines for hurling burning brands and fires, and
vessels, of deer-skins (for carrying water), and trumpets, tabors, and
drums, lances and forks, and Sataghnis, and plough-shares, rockets, balls
of stone and battle-axes and other weapons and shield embossed with iron,
and engines for hurling balls and bullets and hot liquids! And the city
was also well-defended by numerous cars, and, O tiger among Kurus, by
Gada and Shamva and Uddhava and others, and by warriors of prowess tried
in battle, all well-born and capable of encountering any foe! And these
all placing themselves on commanding posts, aided by cavalry and
standard-bearers, began to defend the town. And Ugrasena and Uddhava and
others, to prevent carelessness, Proclaimed throughout the city that
nobody should drink. And all the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, well-knowing
that they would be slain by Salwa if they behaved carelessly, remained
sober and watchful. And the police soon drove out of the city all mimes
and dancers and singers of the Anartta country. And all the bridges over
rivers were destroyed, and boats forbidden to ply, and the trenches
(around the city) were spiked with poles at the bottom. And the land
around the city for full two miles was rendered uneven, and holes and
pits were dug thereon, and combustibles were secreted below the surface.
Our fort, O sinless one, is naturally strong and always well-defended and
filled with all kinds of weapons! And in consequence of the preparations
made, our city was more prepared than ever to meet the foe. And, O chief
of the Bharatas, in consequence of all this, the city looked like that of
Indra himself. And, O king, at the time of Salwa’s approach, nobody could
either enter or leave the town of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas without
presenting the sign that had been agreed upon. And all the streets of the
town and the open spaces were filled with numerous elephants and horses!
And, O thou of mighty arms, the combatants were all specially gratified
with allowances and wages, and rations, and weapons, and dresses! And
amongst the combatants there was none who was not paid in gold, and none
who was not paid at all, and none who was not somehow obliged, and none
who was not of tried valour! And, O thou of eyes like lotus-leaves, it
was thus Dwaraka, abounding in well-ordered arrangements, was defended by
Ahuka (Ugrasena)!'”


“Vasudeva continued, ‘O king of kings, Salwa, the lord of Saubha, came
towards our city with an immense force consisting of infantry, cavalry
and elephants! And the army headed by king Salwa, consisting of four
kings of forces, occupied a level ground commanding a copious
water-supply. And forsaking cemeteries and temples dedicated to the gods,
and sacred trees, and grounds covered by ant-hills, that host occupied
every other place. And the roads (leading to the city) were blocked up by
the divisions of the army, and the secret entrances also were all blocked
up by the enemy’s camp. And, O Kauravya, like unto the lord of birds
(Garuda), the ruler of Saubha rushed towards Dwaraka, bringing with him,
O bull among men, his host equipped with all kinds of arms, skilled in
all weapons, consisting of a dense display of cars and elephants and
cavalry abounding in banners, and well-paid and well-fed foot-soldiers
possessed of great strength and bearing every mark of heroism and
furnished with wonderful chariots and bows. And beholding the army of
Salwa, the youthful princess of the Vrishni race resolved to encounter it
sallying out of the city. And, O king, Charudeshna, Samva, and the mighty
warrior Pradyumna, O descendant of the Kuru race, sailed out, ascending
on their chariots, and clad in mail, and decked with ornaments, with
colours flying, resolved to encounter the mighty and countless host of
Salwa! And Samva taking up his bows eagerly attacked on the field of
battle Kshemavriddhi, the commander of Salwa’s forces and his chief
counsellor also! And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, the son of Jambavati
then began to shower arrows in a continuous stream even as Indra
showereth down rain! And, O mighty king, then Kshemavriddhi, the
commander of Salwa’s forces, bore that shower of arrows, immovable as the
Himavat! And, O foremost of kings, Kshemavriddhi on his part, discharged
at Samva mightier volley of shafts, aided by his powers of illusion! And
dispersing by counter illusion that discharge inspired by illusion, Samva
showered on his (adversary’s) car a thousand arrows! Then pierced by the
shafts on Samva and overwhelmed there with Kshemavriddhi, the commander
of the hostile host, left the field by the help of his fleet-steed! And
when the wicked general of Salwa had left the field, a mighty Daitya
called Vegavat rushed at my son! And, O best of monarchs, thus attacked,
the heroic Samva, the perpetuator of the Vrishni race, bore that onset of
Vegavat, keeping his ground. And, O son of Kunti, the heroic Samva, of
prowess incapable of being baffled, whirling a quickly-going mace, hurled
it speedily at Vegavat! And, O king, struck with that mace, Vegavat fell
down on the ground, like a weather-beaten and faded lord of the forest of
decayed roots! And on that heroic Asura of mighty energy, being slain
with the mace, my son entered within that mighty host and began to fight
with all. And, O great king, a well-known Danava named Vivindhya, a
mighty warrior wielding a large and powerful bow, encountered
Charudeshna! And, O monarch, the encounter between Charudeshna and
Vivindhya was as fierce as that in days of yore between Vritra and
Vasava! And enraged with each other the combatants pierced each other
with their arrows, uttering loud roars like unto two powerful lions! Then
the son of Rukmini fixed on his bow-string a mighty weapon possessing the
splendour of fire or the sun, and capable of destroying all foes, having
first vivified it with incantations! Then, O monarch, that mighty warrior
my son, fired with wrath, challenged Vivindhya and discharged the weapon
at him. And the Danava struck with that weapon, fell down on the ground a
lifeless corpse! And beholding Vivindhya slain, and the whole host waver,
Salwa advanced again on his beautiful car capable of going everywhere.
And, O king of mighty arms, beholding Salwa on that beautiful car of his,
the combatants of Dwaraka wavered with fear! But, O thou of the Kuru
race, Pradyumna sailed out, and, O great king, bidding the Anarttas be of
good cheer, said, ‘Waver ye not, and staying behold me fight I Even I
shall, by force, repell that car with Salwa on it! Ye Yadavas, this day,
I shall, with my weapons like unto serpents discharged from my bow with
my hand, destroy this host of the lord of Saubha! Be of good cheer, ye
all! Fear not! The lord of Saubha will be slain today! Attached by me,
the wretch will meet with destruction together with his car!’ O son of
Pandu, upon Pradyumna speaking thus with cheerful heart, the Yadava host,
O hero, remained on the field, and began to fight cheerfully!'”


“Vasudeva continued, ‘O bull of the Bharata race, having spoken thus unto
the Yadavas, the son of Rukmini (Pradyumna) ascended his golden car. And
the car he rode was drawn by excellent steeds in mail. And over it stood
a standard bearing the figure of a Makara with gaping mouth and fierce as
Yama. And with his steeds, more flying than running on the ground, he
rushed against the foe And the hero equipped with quiver and sword, with
fingers cased in leather, twanged his bow possessed of the splendour of
the lightning, with great strength, and transferring it from hand to
hand, as if in contempt of the enemy, spread confusion among the Danavas
and other warriors of the city of Saubha. And as hot in contempt of the,
foe, and continuously slew the Danavas in battle, no one could mark the
slightest interval between his successive shafts. And the colour of his
face changed not, and his limbs trembled not. And people only heard his
loud leonine roars indicative of wonderful valour. And the aquatic
monster with mouth wide open, that devourer of all fishes, placed on
golden flag-staff of that best of cars, struck terror into the hearts of
Salwa’s warriors. And, O king, Pradyumna, the mower of foes rushed with
speed against Salwa himself so desirous of an encounter! And, O
perpetuator of the Kuru race, braved by the heroic Pradyumna in that
mighty battle, the angry Salwa could ill bear the challenge! And that
conqueror of hostile cities, Salwa, maddened by anger, descended from his
beautiful car of unchecked speed, resolved to encounter Pradyumna. And
the people beheld the fight between Salwa and the foremost of Vrishni
heroes, which was even like unto the encounter between Vasava with Vali.
And, O hero, mounting on his beautiful car decked with gold and furnished
with flags and flag-staffs and quivers, the illustrious and mighty Salwa
began to discharge his arrows at Pradyumna! Pradyumna also by the energy
of his arms, overwhelmed Salwa in the combat by a thick shower of arrows.
The king of Saubha, however, thus attacked in battle by Pradyumna,
endured him not, but discharged at my son arrows that were like blazing
fire. But the mighty Pradyumna parried off that arrowy shower. Beholding
this, Salwa rained on my son other weapons of blazing splendour. Then, O
foremost of monarchs, pierced by the shafts of Salwa, the son of Rukmini
discharged without loss of time an arrow that was capable of entering the
vitals of a foe in fight. And that winged shaft shot by my son, piercing
Salwa’s mail, entered his heart–whereupon he fell down, in a swoon. And
beholding the heroic king Salwa fallen down deprived of sense, the
foremost of the Danavas fled away rending the ground beneath their feet.
And, O lord of the earth, the army of Salwa sent up exclamations of Oh!
and Alas! seeing their king, the lord of Saubha, drop down bereft of
sense! And O son of the Kuru race, regaining his senses, the mighty Salwa
rose and all of a sudden discharged his arrows on Pradyumna. Then the
heroic and mighty armed Pradyumna, sorely pierced by his adversary about
his throat, was enfeebled on his car. And, O mighty king, wounding the
son of Rukmini, Salwa sent up a shout like unto the roar of a lion, and
filling the entire earth with it! And, O Bharata, when my son became
senseless, Salwa, without losing a moment, again discharged at him other
shafts difficult to bear. And pierced with numberless arrows and deprived
of his senses, Pradyumna, O chief of the Kuru race, became motionless on
the field of battle!'”


“Vasudeva continued, ‘O king, afflicted with the arrows of Salwa, when
Pradyumna became senseless the Vrishnis who had come to the fight were
all disheartened and filled with grief! And the combatants of the Vrishni
and Andhaka races burst into exclamations of Oh! and Alas! while great
joy was felt by the enemy and beholding him thus deprived of sense, his
trained charioteer, the son of Daruka, soon carried him off the field by
the help of his steeds. The car had not gone far when that best of
warriors regained his senses, and taking up his bow addressed his
charioteer, saying, ‘O son of the Suta tribe, what hast thou done? Why
dost thou go leaving the field of battle? This is not the custom of the
Vrishni heroes in battle! O son of a Suta, hast thou been bewildered at
the sight of a Salwa in that fierce encounter? Or hast thou been
disheartened, beholding the fight? O! tell me truly thy mind!’ The
charioteer answered. ‘O son of Janardana, I have not been confounded, nor
hath fear taken possession of me. On the other hand, O son of Kesava, the
task, I ween, of vanquishing Salwa is difficult for thee! Therefore, O
hero, I am slowly retiring from the field. This wretch is stronger than
thou art! It behoveth a charioteer to protect the warrior on the car,
however, when he is deprived of his senses! O thou gifted with length of
days, thou shouldst always be protected by me, even as it behoveth thee
to protect me! Thinking that the warrior on the car should always be
protected (by his charioteer), I am carrying thee away! Further, O thou
of mighty arms, thou art alone, while the Danavas are many. Thinking, O
son of Rukmini, that thou art not equal to them in the encounter, I am
going away!’

“Vasudeva continued, ‘When the charioteer had spoken thus, he, O
Kauravya, who hath the makara for his mark replied unto him, saying,
‘Turn the car! O son of Daruka, never do so again; never, O Suta, turn
thou from the fight, while I am alive! He is no son of the Vrishni race
who forsaketh the field or slayeth the foe fallen at his feet and crying
I am thine! or killeth a woman, a boy, or an old man, or a warrior in
distress, deprived of his car or with his weapons broken! Thou art born
in the race of charioteers and trained to thy craft! And, O son of
Daruka, thou art acquainted with the customs of the Vrishnis in battle!
Versed as thou art with all the customs of the Vrishnis in battle, do
thou, O Suta, never again fly from the field as thou hast done! What will
the irrepressible Madhava, the elder brother of Gada, say to me when he
heareth that I have left the field of battle in bewilderment or that I
have been struck on the back–a run-away from the combat! What will the
elder brother of Kesava, the mighty-armed Baladeva, clad in blue and
inebriate with wine, say, when he returneth? What also, O Suta, will that
lion among men, the grand-son of Sini (Satyaki), that great warrior, say
on hearing that I have forsaken the fight? And, O charioteer, what will
the ever-victorious Shamva, the irrepressible Charudeshna. and Gada, and
Sarana, and Akrura also of mighty arms, say unto me! What also will the
wives of the Vrishni heroes when they meet together, say of me who had
hitherto been considered as brave and well-conducted, respectable and
possessed of manly pride? They will even say This Pradyumna is a coward
who cometh here, leaving the battle! Fie on him! They will never say,
Well done! Ridicule, with exclamation of Fie, is to me or a person like
me O Suta, more than death! Therefore, do thou never again leave the
field of battle! Reposing the charge on me, Hari the slayer of Madhu,
hath gone to the sacrifice of the Bharata lion (Yudhishthira)! Therefore,
I cannot bear to be quiet now! O Suta, when the brave Kritavarman was
sallying out to encounter Salwa, I prevented him, saying I will resist
Salwa. Do thou stay! For honouring me the son of Hridika desisted! Having
left the field of battle, what shall I say unto that mighty warrior when
I meet him? When that irrepressible one of mighty arms–the holder of the
conch, the discus, and the mace–returneth, what shall I say unto him of
eyes like lotus leaves? Satyaki, and Valadeva, and others of the Vrishni
and Andhaka races always boast of me! What shall I say unto them? O Suta,
having left the field of battle and with wounds of arrows on my back
while being carried away by thee, I shall, by no means, be able to live!
Therefore, O son of Daruka, turn that car speedily, and never do so again
even in times of greatest danger! I do not, O Suta, think life worth
much, having fled from the field like a coward, and my back pierced, with
the arrows (of the enemy)! Hast thou ever seen me. O son of Suta, fly in
fear from the field of battle like coward? O son of Daruka, it behoved
thee not to forsake the battle, while my desire of fight was not yet
gratified! Do thou, therefore, go back to the field.'”


Vasudeva continued, Thus addressed, the son of Suta race replied in haste
unto Pradyumna, that foremost of all endued with strength, in these sweet
words, ‘O son of Rukmini, I fear not to guide the horses on the field of
battle, and I am acquainted also with the customs of the Vrishnis in war!
It is not otherwise in the least! But, O thou blest with length of days,
those that guide the car are taught that the warrior on the car is, by
all means, to be protected by his charioteer! Thou wert also much
afflicted! Thou wert much wounded by the arrows shot by Salwa. Thou wert
also deprived of thy senses, O hero! Therefore is it that I retired from
the field.’ But, O chief of the Satwatas, now that thou hast regained thy
senses without much ado, do thou, O son of Kesava, witness my skill in
guiding the horses! I have been begotten by Daruka, and I have been duly
trained! I will now penetrate into the celebrated array of Salwa without

“Vasudeva continued, ‘Saying this, O hero, the charioteer, pulling the
reins, began to lead the horses with speed towards the field of battle.
And, O king, struck with the whip and pulled by the reins those excellent
steeds seemed to be flying in the air, performing various beautiful
motion, now circular, now similar, now dissimilar, now to the right, now
to the left. And, O king, those steeds understanding as it were the
intention of Daruka’s son endued with such lightness of hand, burned with
energy, and seemed to go without touching the ground with their feet!
That bull among men wheeled round Salwa’s host so easily that they who
witnessed it wondered exceedingly. And the lord of Saubha, unable to bear
that manoeuvre of Pradyumna, instantly sent three shafts at the
charioteer of his antagonist! The charioteer, however, without taking any
note of the force of those arrows, continued to go along the right. Then
the lord of Saubha, O hero, again discharged at my son by Rukmini, a
shower of various kinds of weapons! But that slayer of hostile heroes,
the son of Rukmini, showing with a smile his lightness of hand, cut all
those weapons off as they reached him. Finding his arrows cut by
Pradyumna, the lord of Saubha, having recourse to the dreadful illusion
natural to Asuras began to pour a thick shower of arrows. But cutting
into pieces those powerful Daitya weapons shot at him in mid-career by
means of his Brahma weapon, Pradyumna discharged winged shafts of other
kings. And these delighting in blood, warding off the shafts of Daitya,
pierced his head, bosom and face. And at those wounds Salwa fell down
senseless. And on the mean-minded Salwa falling down, afflicted with
Pradyumna’s arrows, the son of Rukmini aimed another arrow at him,
capable of destroying every foe. And beholding that arrow worshipped by
all the Dasarhas, and flaming like fire and fatal as a venomous snake,
fixed on the bow-string, the firmament was filled with exclamations of
Oh! and Alas! Then all the celestials with Indra and the lord of
treasures (Kubera) at their head sent Narada and the god of wind endued
with the speed of the mind. And these two approaching the son of Rukmini
delivered unto him the message of the celestial, saying, O hero, king
Salwa is nor to be slain by thee! Do thou draw back the arrow. He is
unslayable by thee in fight! There breatheth not a person who cannot be
killed by that arrow! O thou of mighty arms, the Creator hath ordained
his death at the hands of Krishna, the son of Devaki! Let this be not
falsified!–Thereupon with a glad heart, Pradyumna withdrew that best of
arrows from his excellent bow and deposited it back in his quiver. And
then, O foremost of kings, the mighty Salwa, afflicted with the arrows of
Pradyumna, rose disheartened, and speedily went away. Then O king, the
wicked Salwa, thus afflicted by the Vrishnis, mounted on his car of
precious metals, and leaving Dwaraka scudded through the skies!'”


“Vasudeva said, ‘When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I returned
to it, O king, on the completion of thy great Rajasuya sacrifice! On my
arrival I found Dwaraka shorn of its splendour, and, O great monarch,
there were not sounds of Vedic recitation or sacrificial offering, And
the excellent damsels were all destitute of ornaments, and the gardens
were devoid of beauty. And alarmed by the aspect, I asked the son of
Hridika saying, ‘Why is it that the men and women of the city of the
Vrishnis are so woe-begone, O tiger among men?’ O thou best of kings thus
asked the son of Hridika (Kritavarman) relate to me in detail the
invasion of the city by Salwa, and his subsequent departure from it. And,
O thou foremost of Bharatas, hearing all, even then I made up my mind to
slay Salwa. And encouraging the citizens, O best of Bharatas, I
cheerfully addressed king Ahuka, and Anakdundhuvi, and the chief heroes
of the Vrishni race, saying, ‘Do ye, O bulls among the Yadavas, stay in
the city, taking every care, and know that I go to slay Salwa! I return
not to the city of Dwaravati without slaying him. I will again come to ye
having compassed the destruction of Salwa together with his car of
precious metals. Do ye strike up the sharp and middle and flat notes of
the Dundhuvi so dreadful to foes!’ And O thou bull of the Bharata race,
thus adequately encouraged by me, those heroes cheerfully said unto me,
‘Go and slay the enemies!’ And thus receiving the benedictions of those
warriors with glad hearts, and causing the Brahmanas to utter auspicious
words and bowing down to the best of the regenerate ones, and to Siva
also, I set out on my car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya, and
Sugriva, filling all sides with the clatter (of my wheels) and blowing
that best of conchs, the Panchajanya! And, O king, O tiger among men,
accompanied by my redoubted and victorious army consisting of the four
kinds of the forces so persevering in battle, I set out. And leaving many
countries, and mountains, crowned with trees, and pieces of water, and
streams, I at last arrived at the country of Matrikavarta. It is there, O
thou tiger among men, that I heard that Salwa was coursing on his car of
precious metals near the ocean, and I followed in his pursuit. And, O
thou slayer of thy foes, having reached the main, Salwa on his car of
costly metals was in the midst of the deep heaving with billows! And on
seeing me from a distance, O Yudhishthira, that one of wicked soul
himself challenged me repeatedly to the fight. And many arrows capable of
piercing to the quick, discharged from my bow reached not his car. And at
this I was wroth! And, O king, that essentially sinful wretch of a
Daitya’s son of irrepressible energy, on his part began to shoot thousand
upon thousands of arrows in torrents! And, O Bharata, he rained shafts
upon my soldiers and upon my charioteer and upon my steeds! But without
thinking of the shafts, we continued the conflict. Then the warriors
following Salwa poured on me straight arrows by thousands. And the Asuras
covered my horses and my car and Daruka with arrows capable of piercing
the very vitals. And, O hero, I could not at that time see either my
horses, or my car, or my charioteer Daruka! And I with my army was
covered with weapons. And, O son of Kunti, superhumanly skilled in
weapons, I also let fly from my bow arrows by tens of thousands,
inspiring them with mantras! But as that car of costly metals was in the
sky, full two miles off, it could not, O Bharata, be seen by my troops.
They could therefore only remaining on the field of battle look on like
spectators in a place of amusement, cheering me on by shouts loud as the
roar of the lion, and also by the sound of their clapping. And the tinted
arrows shot by the fore-part of hand penetrated into the bodies of the
Danavas like biting insects. And then arose cries in the car of precious
metals from those that were dying of wounds by those sharp arrows and
falling into the waters of the mighty ocean. And the Danavas deprived of
their arms, necks, and wearing the form of Kavandhas,–fell, sending up
tremendous roars. And as they fell they were devoured by animals living
in the waters of the ocean. And then I powerfully blew the Panchajanya
obtained from the waters and graceful as the lotus-stalk and white as
milk or the Kunda flower or the moon or silver. And seeing his soldiers
fall, Salwa the possessor of the car of precious metals, began to fight
with the help of illusion. And then he began to ceaselessly hurl at me
maces, and ploughshares, and winged darts and lances, and javelins, and
battle-axes, and swords and arrows blazing like javelins and
thunderbolts, and nooses, and broad swords, and bullets from barrels, and
shafts, and axes, and rockets. And permitting them to come towards me, I
soon destroyed them all by counter-illusion. And on this illusion being
rendered ineffectual, he began the contest with mountain peaks. And, O
Bharata, then there was darkness and light alternately, and the day was
now fair, and now gloomy, and now hot, and now cold. And there was a
perfect shower of coals, and ashes, and weapons. And creating such
illusion the enemy fought with me. And ascertaining it I destroyed his
illusion by counter-illusion. And in the due time I showered arrows all
round. And then, O mighty king, the dome of heaven blazed as with a
hundred suns, and, O son of Kunti with one hundred moons, and thousands
and ten thousands of stars! And then none could ascertain whether it was
day or night, or distinguish the points of the horizon. And, becoming
bewildered, I fixed on my bowstring the weapon called Pragnastra. And, O
son of Kunti, the weapon went like unto flakes of pure cotton blown away
by the winds! And a great fight took place, calculated to make the down
on one’s body stand on end. And O best of monarchs, having regained,
light, I again fought with the enemy!'”


“Vasudeva said, ‘O thou tiger among men, my great enemy king Salwa, thus
encountered by me in battle, again ascended the sky. And O mighty
monarch, inspired with the desire of victory, that wicked one hurled at
me Sataghnis, and mighty maces, and flaming lances, and stout clubs, and
as the weapons came along the sky, I speedily resisted them with my swift
arrows, and cut them in two or three pieces before they came at me. And
there was a great noise in the welkins. And Salwa covered Daruka, and my
steeds, and my car also with hundreds of straight shafts. Then, O hero,
Daruka, evidently about to faint, said unto me, ‘Afflicted with the
shafts of Salwa I stay in the field, because it is my duty to do so. But
I am incapable of doing so (any longer). My body hath become weak!’
Hearing these piteous words of my charioteer, I looked at him, and found
the driver wounded with arrows. Nor was there a spot on his breasts or
the crown of his head, or body or his arms which was not, O thou foremost
of sons of Pandu, covered with shafts! And blood flowed profusely from
his wounds inflicted by arrows, and he looked like unto a mountain of red
chalk after a heavy shower. And, O thou of mighty arms, seeing the
charioteer with the reins in his hands thus pierced and enfeebled by the
shafts of Salwa in the field of battle, I cheered him up!

“‘And, O Bharata, about this time, a certain person, having his home in
Dwaraka quickly coming to my car, addressed me like a friend, delivering
to me, O hero, a message from Ahuka! He seemed to be one of Ahuka’s
followers. And sadly and in a voice choked in sorrow, know, O
Yudhishthira, he said words’–O warrior, Ahuka, the lord of Dwaraka, hath
said these words unto thee! O Kesava, hear what thy father’s friend
sayeth: O son of the Vrishni race, O thou irrepressible one, in thy
absence today Salwa, coming to Dwaraka, hath by main force killed
Vasudeva! Therefore, no need of battle any more. Cease, O Janardana! Do
thou defend Dwaraka! This is thy principal duty!–Hearing these words of
his, my heart became heavy, and I could not ascertain what I should do
and what I should not. And, O hero, hearing of that great misfortune, I
mentally censured Satyaki, and Baladeva, and also that mighty pradyumna.
Having reposed on them the duty of protecting Dwaraka and Vasudeva, I had
gone, O son of the Kuru race, to effect the destruction of Salwa’s city.
And in a sorrowful heart, I asked myself,–Doth that destroyer of foes,
the mighty-armed Baladeva, live, and Satyaki, and the son of Rukmini and
Charudeshna possessed of prowess, and Shamva and others? For, O thou
tiger among men, these living, even the bearer himself of the thunderbolt
could by no means destroy Suta’s son (Vasudeva)! And thought, I, It is
plain that Vasudeva is dead and equally plain that the others with
Baladeva at their head have been deprived of life–This was my certain
conclusion. And, O mighty king, thinking of the destruction of those all,
I was overwhelmed with grief! And it was in this state of mind that I
encountered Salwa afresh. And now I saw, O great monarch, Vasudeva
himself falling from the car of precious metals! And, O warrior I swooned
away, and, O king of men, my sire seemed like unto Yayati after the loss
of his merit, falling towards the earth from heaven! And like unto a
luminary whose merit hath been lost saw my father falling, his head-gear
foul and flowing loosely, and his hair and dress disordered. And then the
bow Sharanga dropped from my hand, and, O son of Kunti I swooned away! I
sat down on the side of the car. And, O thou descendant of the Bharata
race, seeing me deprived of consciousness on the car, and as if dead, my
entire host exclaimed Oh! and Alas! And my prone father with
out-stretched arms and lower limbs, appeared like a dropping bird. And
him thus falling, O thou of mighty arms, O hero, the hostile warriors
bearing in their hands lances and axes struck grievously! And (beholding
this) my heart trembled! and soon regaining my consciousness, O warrior,
I could not see in that mighty contest either the car of costly metals,
or the enemy Salwa, or my old father! Then I concluded in my mind that it
was certainly illusion. And recovering my senses, I again began to
discharge arrows by hundreds.”


“Vasudeva continued, ‘Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking up
my beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of the
enemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals! And I
began to discharge from the Sharanga many well-looking arrows of the
forms of snakes, capable of going at a great height and possessing
intense energy. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I could not then see
the car of costly metals, for it had vanished, through illusion! I was
then filled with wonder! That host of Danvas then, O Bharata, of
frightful visages and hair, set up a loud howl while I was waiting for
it. In that fierce battle. I then, with the object of destroying them,
fixed on my bow-string the weapon capable of piercing the foes if but his
sound was inaudible. Upon this, their shouts ceased. But those Danavas
that had sent up that shout were all slain by those shafts of mine
blazing as the Sun himself, and capable of striking at the perception of
sound alone. And after the shout had ceased at one place, O mighty king,
another yell proceeded from another quarter. Thitherto also I sent my
shafts. In this way, O Bharata, the Asuras began to send up yells in all
the ten quarters above and across. These were all slain by me, viz.,
those that were in the skies and that were invisible, with arrows of
diverse forms, and celestial weapons inspired with mantras. Then, O hero,
that car of precious metals capable of going anywhere at will,
bewildering my eyes, reappeared at Pragjyotisha! And then the destroying
Danavas of fierce forms suddenly drowned me with a mighty shower of
rocks. And, O thou foremost of monarchs, torrents of rocks falling upon
me covered me up, and I began to grow like an ant-hill (with its summits
and peaks)! And covered along with my horses and charioteer and
flagstaffs, with crags on all sides, I disappeared from sight altogether.
Then those foremost of heroes of the Vrishni race who were of my army
were, struck with panic, and all on a sudden began to fly in all
directions. And beholding me in that plight, O king, the heaven, the
firmament, and the earth were filled with exclamation of Oh! and Alas!
And then, O monarch, my friends filled with sorrow and grief began to
weep and wail with heavy hearts! And delight filled the hearts of the
enemies. And O thou who never waverest, I heard of this after I had
defeated the foe! And then wielding the thunderbolt, that favourite
(weapon) of Indra, capable of riving stones, I destroyed that entire mass
of crags! But my steeds, afflicted with the weight of the stones and
almost on the point of death began to tremble. And beholding me, all my
friends rejoiced again even as men rejoice on seeing the sun rise in the
sky, dispersing the clouds. And seeing my horses almost in their last
gasp for breath, afflicted with that load of stones, my charioteer said
unto me in words suitable to the occasion, ‘O thou of the Vrishni race,
behold Salwa the owner of the car of precious metals sitting (yonder). Do
not disregard him! Do thou exert thyself! Do thou abandon thy mildness
and consideration for Salwa. Slay Salwa, O thou of mighty arms! O Kesava,
do not let him live! O hero, O thou destroyer of those that are not thy
friends (enemies), an enemy should be slain with every exertion! Even a
weak enemy who is under the feet of a man endued with strength, should
not be disregarded by the latter: that (shall I say) of one that dareth
us to the fight? Therefore, O thou tiger among men, putting forth every
exertion, slay him, O lord, O thou foremost of the Vrishni race! Do thou
not delay again! This one is not capable of being vanquished by milder
measures. And he cannot in my opinion be thy friend who is fighting thee
and who devastated Dwaraka!’ O Kaunteya, hearing such words of my
charioteer, and knowing that what he said was true, I directed my
attention to the fight (afresh), with the view of slaying Salwa and
destroying the car of costly metals! And, O hero, saying unto Daruka,
‘Stay a moment’ I fixed on my bow-string my favourite weapon of fire,
blazing and of celestial origin, of irresistible force, and incapable of
being baffled, bursting with energy, capable of penetrating into
everything, and of great splendour! And saying, ‘Destroy the car of
precious metals together with all those enemies that are in it.’ I
launched with the might of my arms and in wrath with mantras, the great
powerful discus Sudarsana which reduceth to ashes in battle Yakshas and
Rakshasas and Danavas and kings born in impure tribes, sharp-edged like
the razor, and without stain, like unto Yama the destroyer, and
incomparable, and which killeth enemies. And rising into the sky, it
seemed like a second sun of exceeding effulgence at the end of the Yuga.
And approaching the town of Saubha whose splendour had disappeared, the
discus went right through it, even as a saw divideth a tall tree. And cut
in twain by the energy of the Sudarsana it fell like the city of Tripura
shaken by the shafts of Maheswara. And after the town of Saubha had
fallen, the discus came back into my hands, And taking it up I once more
hurled it with force saying, ‘Go thou unto Salwa.’ The discus then cleft
Salwa in twain who in that fierce conflict was at the point of hurling a
heavy mace. And with its energy it set the foe ablaze. And after that
brave warrior was slain, the disheartened Danava women fled in all
directions, exclaiming Oh! and Alas! And taking my chariot in front of
the town of Saubha I cheerfully blew my conch and gladdened the hearts of
my friends. And beholding their town, high as the peak of the Meru, with
its palaces and gate-ways utterly destroyed, and all ablaze, the Danavas
fled in fear. And having thus destroyed the town of Saubha and slain
Salwa, I returned to the Anarttas and delighted my friends. And, O king,
it is for this reason that I could not come to the city named after the
elephant (Hastinapura), O destroyer of hostile heroes! O warrior, if I
had come, Suyodhana would not have been alive or the match at dice would
not have taken place. What can I do now? It is difficult to confine the
waters after the dam is broken!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having addressed the Kaurava thus, that foremost
of male persons, of mighty arms, the slayer of Madhu, possessed of every
grace, saluting the Pandavas, prepared for departure. And the
mighty-armed hero reverentially saluted Yudhishthira the just, and the
king in return and Bhima also smelt the crown of his head. And he was
embraced by Arjuna, and the twins saluted him with reverence. And he was
duly honoured by Dhaumya, and worshipped with tears by Draupadi. And
causing Subhadra and Abhimanyu to ascend his golden car, Krishna, mounted
it himself, worshipped by the Pandavas. And consoling Yudhishthira,
Krishna set out for Dwaraka on his car resplendent as the sun and unto
which were yoked the horses Saivya and Sugriva. And after he of the
Dasharha race had departed, Dhristadyumna, the son of Prishata, also set
out for his own city, taking with him the sons of Draupadi. And the king
of Chedi, Dhrishtaketu also, taking his sister with him set out for his
beautiful city of Suktimati, after bidding farewell to the Pandavas. And,
O Bharata, the Kaikeyas also, with the permission of Kunti’s son
possessed of immeasurable energy, having reverentially saluted all the
Pandavas, went away. But Brahmanas and the Vaisyas and the dwellers of
Yudhishthira’s kingdom though repeatedly requested to go, did not leave
the Pandavas. O foremost of king, O bull of the Bharata race, the
multitude that surrounded those high-souled ones in the forest of Kamyaka
looked extraordinary. And Yudhishthira, honouring those high-minded
Brahmanas, in due time ordered his men, saying ‘Make ready the car.'”


Vaisampayana continued, “After the chief of the Dasharhas had departed,
the heroic Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, each
looking like unto Shiva, and Krishna, and their priest, ascending costly
cars unto which were yoked excellent steeds, together went into the
forest. And at time of going they distributed Nishkas of gold and clothes
and kine unto Brahmanas versed in Siksha and Akshara and mantras. And
twenty attendants followed them equipped with bows, and bowstrings, and
blazing weapons, and shafts and arrows and engines of destruction. And
taking the princess’s clothes and the ornaments, and the nurses and the
maid-servants, Indrasena speedily followed the princes on a car. And then
approaching the best of Kurus, the high-minded citizens walked round him.
And the principal Brahmanas of Kurujangala cheerfully saluted him. And
together with his brothers, Yudhishthira the just, on his part saluted
them cheerfully. And the illustrious king stopped there a little,
beholding the concourse of the inhabitants of Kurujangala. And the
illustrious bull among the Kurus felt for them as a father feeleth for
his sons, and they too felt for the Kuru chief even as sons feel for
their father! And that mighty concourse, approaching the Kuru hero, stood
around him. And, O king, affected, with bashfulness, and with tears in
their eyes, they all exclaimed, ‘Alas, O lord! O Dharma!’ And they said,
‘Thou art the chief of the Kurus, and the king of us, thy subjects! Where
dost thou go, O just monarch, leaving all these citizens and the
inhabitants of the country, like a father leaving his sons? Fie on the
cruel-hearted son of Dhritarashtra! Fie on the evil-minded son of Suvala!
Fie on Karna! For, O foremost of monarchs, those wretches ever wish unto
thee who art firm in virtue! Having thyself established the unrivalled
city of Indraprastha of the splendour of Kailasa itself, where dost thou
go, leaving it, O illustrious and just king, O achiever of extraordinary
deeds! O illustrious one, leaving that peerless palace built by Maya,
which possesseth the splendour of the palace of the celestials
themselves, and is like unto a celestial illusion, ever guarded by the
gods, where dost thou go, O son of Dharma?’ And Vibhatsu knowing the ways
of virtue, pleasure, and profit said unto them in a loud voice, ‘Living
in the forest, the king intendeth to take away the good name of his
enemies! O we with the regenerate ones at your head, versed in virtue and
profit, do you approaching the ascetics separately and inclining them to
grace, represent unto them what may be for our supreme good!’ Upon
hearing these words of Arjuna, the Brahmanas and the other orders, O
king, saluting him cheerfully walked round the foremost of virtuous men!
And bidding farewell unto the son of Pritha, and Vrikodara, and
Dhananjaya and Yajnaseni, and the twins, and commanded by Yudhishthira,
they returned to their respective abodes in the kingdom with heavy


Vaisampayana said, “After they had departed, Yudhishthira the virtuous
son of Kunti, unwavering in his promises, addressed all his brothers,
saying, ‘We shall have to dwell in the solitary forest for these twelve
years. Search ye, therefore, in this mighty forest for some spot
abounding in birds and deer and flowers and fruits, beautiful to behold,
and auspicious, and inhabited by virtuous persons and where we may dwell
pleasantly for all these years!’ Thus addressed by Yudhishthira,
Dhananjaya replied unto the son of Dharma, after reverencing the
illustrious king as if he were his spiritual preceptor. And Arjuna said,
‘Thou hast respectfully waited upon all the great and old Rishis. There
is nothing unknown to thee in the world of men. And O bull of the Bharata
race, thou hast always waited with reverence upon Brahmanas including
Dwaipayana and others, and Narada of great ascetic merit, who with senses
under control, ever goeth to the gates of all the world from the world of
the gods unto that of Brahma, including that of the Gandharvas and
Apsaras! And thou knowest, without doubt, the opinions of the Brahmanas,
and, O king, their prowess also! And O monarch, thou knowest what is
calculated to do us good! And O great king, we will live wherever thou
likest! Here is this lake, full of sacred water, called Dwaitavana,
abounding with flowers, and delightful to look at, and inhabited by many
species of birds. If, O king, it pleaseth thee, here should we like to
dwell these twelve years! Thinkest thou otherwise?’ Yudhishthira replied,
‘O Partha, what thou hast said recommendeth itself to me! Let us go that
sacred and celebrated and large lake called Dwaitavana!”

“Vaisampayana continued, “Then the virtuous son of Pandu, accompanied by
numerous Brahmanas, all went to the sacred lake called Dwaitavana. And
Yudhishthira was surrounded by numerous Brahmanas some of whom sacrificed
with fire and some without it and some of whom, devoted to the study of
the Vedas, lived upon alms or were of the class called Vanaprasthas. And
the king was also surrounded by hundreds of Mahatmas crowned with ascetic
success and of rigid vows. And those bulls of the Bharata race, the sons
of Pandu setting out with those numerous Brahmanas, entered the sacred
and delightful woods of Dwaita. And the king saw that mighty forest
covered on the close of summer with Salas, and palms, and mangoes, and
Madhukas, and Nipas and Kadamvas and Sarjjas and Arjunas, and Karnikars,
many of them covered with flowers. And flocks of peacocks and Datyuhas
and Chakoras and Varhins and Kokilas, seated on the tops of the tallest
trees of that forest were pouring forth their mellifluous notes. And the
king also saw in that forest mighty herds of gigantic elephants huge as
the hills, with temporal juice trickling down in the season of rut,
accompanied by herds of she-elephants. And approaching the beautiful
Bhogavati (Saraswati), the king saw many ascetics crowned with success in
the habitations in that forest, and virtuous men of sanctified souls clad
in barks of trees and bearing matted locks on their heads. And descending
from their cars, the king that foremost of virtuous men with his brothers
and followers entered that forest like Indra of immeasurable energy
entering heaven. And crowds of Charanas and Siddhas, desirous of
beholding the monarch devoted to truth, came towards him. And the
dwellers of that forest stood surrounding that lion among king possessed
of great intelligence. And saluting all the Siddhas, and saluted by them
in return as a king or a god should be, that foremost of virtuous men
entered the forest with joined hands accompanied by all those foremost of
regenerate ones. And the illustrious and virtuous king, saluted in return
by those virtuous ascetics that had approached him, sat down in their
midst at the foot of a mighty tree decked with flowers, like his father
(Pandu) in days before. And those chiefs of the Bharata race viz., Bhima
and Dhananjaya and the twins and Krishna and their followers, all
fatigued, leaving their vehicles, sat themselves down around that best of
kings. And that mighty tree bent down with the weight of creepers, with
those five illustrious bowmen who had come there for rest sitting under
it, looked like a mountain with (five) huge elephants resting on its


Vaisampayana said, “Having fallen into distress, those princes thus
obtained at last a pleasant habitation in that forest. And there in those
woods abounding with Sala trees and washed by the Saraswati, they who
were like so many Indras, began to sport themselves. And the illustrious
king, that bull of the Kuru race, set himself to please all the Yatis and
Munis and the principal Brahmanas in that forest, by offerings of
excellent fruits and roots. And their priest, Dhaumya endued with great
energy, like unto a father to those princes, began to perform the
sacrificial rites of Ishti and Paitreya for the Pandavas residing in that
great forest. And there came, as a guest, unto the abode of the
accomplished Pandavas living in the wood after loss of their kingdom, the
old Rishi Markandeya, possessed of intense and abundant energy. And that
bull of the Kuru race, the high-souled Yudhishthira, possessed of
unrivalled strength and prowess, paid his homage unto that great Muni,
reverenced by celestials and Rishis of men, and possessed of the
splendour of blazing fire. And that illustrious and all-knowing Muni, of
unrivalled energy, beholding Draupadi and Yudhishthira and Bhima and
Arjuna, in the midst of the ascetics, smiled, recollecting Rama in his
mind. And Yudhishthira the just, apparently grieved at this, asked him,
saying, ‘All these ascetics are sorry for seeing me here. Why is it that
thou alone smilest, as if an glee, in the presence of these?’ Markandeya
replied, ‘O child’, I too am sorry and do not smile in glee! Nor doth
pride born of joy possess my heart! Beholding to-day the calamity, I
recollect Rama, the son of Dasaratha, devoted to truth! Even that Rama,
accompanied by Lakshman, dwelt in the woods at the command of his father.
O son of Pritha, I beheld him in days of old ranging with his bow on the
top of the Rishyamuka hills! The illustrious Rama was like unto Indra,
the lord of Yama himself, and the slayer of Namuchi! Yet that sinless one
had to dwell in the forest at the command of his father, accepting it as
his duty. The illustrious Rama was equal unto Sakra in prowess, and
invincible in battle. And yet he had to range the forest renouncing all
pleasures! Therefore should no one act unrighteously, saying,–I am
mighty! Kings Nabhaga and Bhagiratha and others, having subjugated by
truth this world bounded by the seas, (finally) obtained, O child, all
the region hereafter. Therefore, should no one act unrighteously,
saying,–I am mighty! And, O exalted of men, the virtuous and truthful
king of Kasi and Karusha was called a mad dog for having renounced his
territories and riches! Therefore, should no one act unrighteously,
saying,–I am mighty! O best of men, O son of Pritha, the seven righteous
Rishis, for having observed the ordinance prescribed by the Creator
himself in the Vedas, blaze in the firmament. Therefore, should no one
act unrighteously, saying,–I am mighty! Behold, O king, the mighty
elephants, huge as mountain cliffs and furnished with tusks, transgress
not, O exalted of men, the laws of the Creator! Therefore, should none
act unrighteously saying, Might is mine! And, O foremost of monarchs,
behold all the creatures acting according to their species, as ordained
by the Creator. Therefore, should none act unrighteously, saying, Might
is mine. O son of Pritha, in truth, and virtue, and proper behaviour, and
modesty, thou hast surpassed all creatures, and thy fame and energy are
as bright as fire or the Sun! Firm in thy promises, O illustrious one,
having passed in the woods thy painful exile, thou wilt again, O king,
snatch from the Kauravas thy blazing prosperity with the help of thy own

Vaisampayana continued, “Having spoken these words unto Yudhishthira
(seated) in the midst of the ascetics with friends, the great Rishi
having also saluted Dhaumya and all the Pandavas set out in a northerly


Vaisampayana said, “While the illustrious son of Pandu continued to dwell
in the Dwaita woods, that great forest became filled with Brahmanas. And
the lake within that forest, ever resounding with Vedic recitations,
became sacred like a second region of Brahma. And the sounds of the
Yajus, the Riks, the Samas, and other words uttered by the Brahmanas,
were exceedingly delightful to hear. And the Vedic recitations of the
Brahmanas mingling with the twang of bows of the sons of Pritha, produced
a union of the Brahmana and Kshatriya customs that was highly beautiful.
And one evening the Rishi Vaka of the Dalvya family addressed
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti seated in the midst of the Rishis, saying,
‘Behold, O chief of the Kurus, O son of Pritha, the homa time is come of
these Brahmanas devoted to ascetic austerities, the time when the
(sacred) fires have all been lit up! These all, of rigid vows, protected
by thee, are performing the rites of religion in this sacred region! The
descendants of Bhrigu and Angiras, along with those of Vasishta and
Kasyapa, the illustrious sons of Agastya, the offspring of Atri all of
excellent vows, in fact, all the foremost Brahmanas of the whole, are now
united with thee! Listen, O son of the Kuru race born of Kunti, thyself
with thy brothers, to the words I speak to thee! As are aided by the wind
consumeth the forest, so Brahma energy mingling with Kshatriya energy,
and Kshatriya might mingling with Brahma power, might, when they gathered
force, consume all enemies! O child, he should never desire to be without
Brahmanas who wisheth to subdue this and the other world for length of
days! Indeed, a king slayeth his enemies having obtained a Brahmana
conversant, with religion and worldly affairs and freed from passion and
folly. King Vali cherishing his subjects practised those duties that lead
to salvation, and knew not of any other means in this world than
Brahmanas. It was for this that all the desires of Virochana’s son, the
Asura (Vali), were ever gratified, and his wealth was ever inexhaustible.
Having obtained the whole earth through the aid of the Brahmanas, he met
with destruction when he began to practise wrong on them! This earth with
her wealth never adoreth long as her lord a Kshatriya living without a
Brahmana! The earth, however, girt by the sea, boweth unto him who is
ruled by a Brahmana and taught his duties by him! Like an elephant in
battle without his driver, a Kshatriya destitute of Brahmanas decreaseth
in strength! The Brahmana’s sight is without compare, and the Kshatriya’s
might also is unparalleled. When these combine, the whole earth itself
cheerfully yieldeth to such a combination. As fire becoming mightier with
the wind consumeth straw and wood, so kings with Brahmanas consume all
foes! An intelligent Kshatriya, in order to gain what he hath not, and
increase what he hath, should take counsel of Brahmanas! Therefore, O son
of Kunti, for obtaining what thou hast not and increasing what thou hast,
and spending what thou hast on proper objects and persons, keep thou with
thee a Brahmana of reputation, of a knowledge of the Vedas, of wisdom and
experience! O Yudhishthira. Thou hast ever highly regarded the Brahmanas.
It is for this that thy fame is great and blazeth in the three worlds!”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then all those Brahmanas who were with
Yudhishthira worshipped Vaka of the Dalvya race, and having heard him
praise Yudhishthira became highly pleased. And Dwaipayana and Narada and
Jamadagnya and Prithusravas; and Indradyumna and Bhalaki and Kritachetas
and Sahasrapat; and Karnasravas and Munja and Lavanaswa and Kasyapa; and
Harita and Sthulakarana and Agnivesya and Saunaka; and Kritavak and
Suvakana Vrihadaswa and Vibhavasu; and Urdharetas and Vrishamitra and
Suhotra and Hotravahana; these and many other Brahmanas of rigid vows
then adored Yudhishthira like Rishis adoring Purandara in heaven!”


Vaisampayana said, “Exiled to the woods the sons of Pritha with Krishna
seated in the evening, conversed with one another afflicted with sorrow
and grief. And the handsome and well informed Krishna dear unto her lords
and devoted to them, thus spake unto Yudhishthira, Then sinful, cruel,
and wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra certainly feeleth no sorrow for
us, when, O king, that evil-hearted wretch having sent thee with myself
into the woods dressed in deer-skin feeleth no regret! The heart of that
wretch of evil deeds must surely be made of steel when he could at that
time address thee, his virtuous eldest brother, in words so harsh! Having
brought thee who deservest to enjoy every happiness and never such woe,
into such distress, alas, that wicked-minded and sinful wretch joyeth
with his friends! O Bharata, when dressed in deer-skin thou hast set out
for the woods, only four persons, O monarch, viz., Duryodhana, Karna, the
evil-minded Sakuni, and Dussasana that bad and fierce brother of
Duryodhana, did not shed tears! With the exception of these, O thou best
of the Kurus, all other Kurus filled with sorrow shed tears from their
eyes! Beholding this thy bed and recollecting what thou hadst before, I
grieve, O king, for thee who deservest not woe and hast been brought up
in every luxury! Remembering that seat of ivory in thy court, decked with
jewels and beholding this seat of kusa grass, grief consumeth me, O king!
I saw thee, O king, surrounded in thy court by kings! What peace can my
heart know in not beholding thee such now? I beheld thy body, effulgent
as the sun, decked with sandal paste! Alas, grief depriveth me of my
senses in beholding thee now besmeared with mud and dirt! I saw thee
before, O king, dressed in silken clothes of pure white! But I now behold
thee dressed in rags? Formerly, O king, pure food of every kind was
carried from thy house on plates of gold for Brahmanas by thousands! And,
O king, food also of the best kind was formerly given by thee unto
ascetics both houseless and living in domesticity! Formerly, living in
dry mansion thou hadst ever filled with food of every kind plates by
thousands, and worshipped the Brahmanas gratifying every wish of theirs!
What peace, O king, can my heart know in not beholding all this now? And,
O great king, these thy brothers, endued with youth and decked with
ear-rings, were formerly fed by cook with food of the sweet flavour and
dressed with skill! Alas, O king, I now behold them all, so undeserving
of woe, living in the woods and upon what the wood may yield! My heart, O
King knoweth no peace! Thinking of this Bhimasena living in sorrow in the
woods, doth not thy anger blaze up, even though it is time? Why doth not
thy anger, O king, blaze up upon beholding the illustrious Bhimasena who
ever performeth everything unaided, so fallen into distress, though
deserving of every happiness? Why, O king, doth not thy anger blaze up on
beholding that Bhima living in the woods who was formerly surrounded with
numerous vehicles and dressed in costly apparel? This exalted personage
is ready to slay all the Kurus in battle. He beareth, however, all this
sorrow, only because he waiteth for the fufilment of thy promise! This
Arjuna, O king, though possessed of two hands, is equal, for the
lightness of his hand in discharging shafts, to (Kartavirya) Arjuna of a
thousand arms! He Is even (to foes), like unto Yama himself at the end of
the Yuga! It was by the prowess of his weapons that all the kings of the
earth were made to wait upon the Brahmanas at thy sacrifice? Beholding
that Arjuna that tiger among men worshipped by both the celestials and
the Danavas so anxious, why, O king, dost thou not feel indignant? I
grieve, O Bharata, that thy wrath doth not blaze up at sight of that son
of Pritha in exile, that prince who deserveth not such distress and who
hath been brought up in every luxury! Why doth not thy wrath blaze up at
sight of that Arjuna in exile, who, on a single car, hath vanquished
celestials and men and serpents? Why, O king, doth not thy wrath blaze up
at sight of that Arjuna in exile who, honoured with offerings of cars and
vehicles of various forms and horses and elephants, forcibly took from
the kings of the earth their treasures, who is the chastiser of all foes,
and who at one impetus can throw full five hundred arrows? Why, O king,
doth not thy wrath blaze up at sight of Nakula, in exile, who so fair and
able-bodied and young, is the foremost of all swordsmen? Why, O king,
dost thou pardon the foe. O Yudhishthira, at sight of Madri’s son, the
handsome and brave Sahadeva in exile? Why doth not thy anger blaze up, O
king, it sight of both Nakula and Sahadeva overwhelmed with grief, though
so undeserving of distress? Why also, O king, dost thou pardon the foe at
sight of myself in exile who, born in the race of Drupada and, therefore,
the sister of Dhrishtadyumna, am the daughter-in-law of the illustrious
Pandu and the devoted wife of heroes? Truly, O thou best of the Bharatas,
thou hast no anger, else why is it that thy mind is not moved at sight of
thy brothers and myself (in such distress)? It is said that there is no
Kshatriya in the world who is bereft of anger. I now behold in thee,
however, a refutation of the proverb! That Kshatriya, O son of Pritha,
who discovereth not his energy when the opportunity cometh, is ever
disregarded by all creatures! Therefore, O king, thou shouldst not extend
thy forgiveness to the foe. Indeed, with thy energy, without doubt, thou,
mayst slay them all! So also, O king, that Kshatriya who is not appeased
when the time for forgiveness cometh, becometh unpopular with every
creature and meeteth with destruction both in this and the other world!'”


“Draupadi continued, ‘On this subject, the ancient story of the
conversation between Prahlada and Vali, the son of Virochana, is quoted
as an example. One day Vali asked his grand-father Prahlada, the chief of
the Asuras and the Danavas, possessed of great wisdom and well-versed in
the mysteries of the science of duty, saying, ‘O sire, is forgiveness
meritorious or might and energy such? I am puzzled as regards this; O
sire, enlighten me who ask thee this! O thou conversant with all duties,
tell me truly which of these is meritorious? I will strictly obey
whatever thy command may be! Thus asked (by Vali), his wise grandfather,
conversant with every conclusion, replied upon the whole subject unto his
grand-son who had sought at his hands the resolution of his doubts. And
Prahlada said, ‘Know, O child, these two truths with certainty, viz.,
that might is not always meritorious and forgiveness also is not always
meritorious! He that forgiveth always suffereth many evils. Servants and
strangers and enemies always disregard him. No creature ever bendeth down
unto him. Therefore it is, O child, that the learned applaud not a
constant habit of forgiveness! The servants of an ever-forgiving person
always disregard him, and contract numerous faults. These mean-minded men
also seek to deprive him of his wealth. Vile souled servants also
appropriate to themselves his vehicles and clothes and ornaments and
apparel and beds and seats and food and drink and other articles of use.
They do not also at the command of their master, give unto others the
things they are directed to give Nor do they even worship their master
with that respect which is their master’s due. Disregard in this world is
worse than death. O child, sons and servants and attendants and even
strangers speak harsh words unto the man who always forgiveth. Persons,
disregarding the man of an ever-forgiving temper, even desire his wife,
and his wife also, becometh ready to act as she willeth. And servants
also that are ever fond of pleasure, if they do not receive even slight
punishments from their master, contract all sorts of vices, and the
wicked ever injure such a master. These and many other demerits attach to
those that are ever-forgiving!

“Listen now, O son of Virochana, to the demerits of those that are never
forgiving! The man of wrath who, surrounded by darkness, always
inflicteth, by help of his own energy, various kinds of punishment on
persons whether they deserve them or not, is necessarily separated from
his friends in consequence of that energy of his. Such a man is hated by
both relatives and strangers. Such a man, because he insulteth others,
suffereth loss of wealth and reapeth disregard and sorrow and hatred and
confusion and enemies. The man of wrath, in consequence of his ire,
inflicteth punishments on men and obtaineth (in return) harsh words. He
is divested of his prosperity soon and even of life, not to say, of
friends and relatives. He that putteth forth his might both upon his
benefactor and his foe, is an object of alarm to the world, like a snake
that hath taken shelter in a house, to the inmates thereof. What
prosperity can he have who is an object of alarm to the world? People
always do him an injury when they find a hole. Therefore, should men
never exhibit might in excess nor forgiveness on all occasions. One
should put forth his might and show his forgiveness on proper occasions.
He that becometh forgiving at the proper time and harsh and mighty also
at the proper time, obtaineth happiness both in this world and the other.

“‘I shall now indicate the occasions in detail of forgiveness, as laid
down by the learned, and which should ever be observed by all. Hearken
unto me as I speak! He that hath done thee a service, even if he is
guilty of a grave wrong unto thee, recollecting his former service,
shouldst thou forgive that offender. Those also that have become
offenders from ignorance and folly should be forgiven for learning and
wisdom are not always easily attainable by man. They that having offended
thee knowingly, plead ignorance should be punished, even if their
offences be trivial. Such crooked men should never be pardoned. The first
offence of every creature should be forgiven. The second offence,
however, should be punished, even if it be trivial. If, however, a person
commiteth an offence unwillingly, it hath been said that examining his
plea well by a judicious enquiry, he should be pardoned. Humility may
vanquish might, humility may vanquish weakness. There is nothing that
humility may not accomplish. Therefore, humility is truly fiercer (than
it seemeth)! One should act with reference to place and time, taking note
of his own might or weakness. Nothing can succeed that hath been
undertaken without reference to place and time. Therefore, do thou ever
wait for place and time! Sometimes offenders should be forgiven from fear
of the people. These have been declared to be times of forgiveness. And
it hath been said that on occasions besides these, might should be put
forth against transgressors.’

“Draupadi continued, ‘I, therefore, regard, O king, that the time hath
come for thee to put forth thy might! Unto those Kurus the covetous sons
of Dhritarashtra who injure us always, the present is not the time for
forgiveness! It behoveth thee to put forth thy might. The humble and
forgiving person is disregarded; while those that are fierce persecute
others. He, indeed, is a king who hath recourse to both, each according
to its time!'”


Yudhishthira said, ‘Anger is the slayer of men and is again their
prosperor. Know this, O thou possessed of great wisdom, that anger is the
root of all prosperity and all adversity. O thou beautiful one, he that
suppresseth his anger earneth prosperity. That man, again, who always
giveth way to anger, reapeth adversity from his fierce anger. It is seen
in this world that anger is the cause of destruction of every creature.
How then can one like me indulge his anger which is so destructive of the
world? The angry man commiteth sin. The angry man killeth even his
preceptors. The angry man insulteth even his superiors in harsh words.
The man that is angry faileth to distinguish between what should be said
and what should not. There is no act that an angry man may not do, no
word that an angry man may not utter. From anger a man may slay one that
deserveth not to be slain, and may worship one that deserveth to be
slain. The angry man may even send his own soul to the regions of Yama.
Beholding all these faults, the wise control their anger, desirous of
obtaining high prosperity both in this and the other world. It is for
this that they of tranquil souls have banished wrath. How can one like us
indulge in it then? O daughter of Drupada, reflecting upon all this, my
anger is not excited One that acteth not against a man whose wrath hath
been up, rescueth himself as also others from great fear. In fact, he may
be regarded to be the physician of the two (viz., himself and angry man).
If a weak man, persecuted by others, foolishly becometh angry towards men
that are mightier than he, he then becometh himself the cause of his own
destruction. And in respect of one who thus deliberately throweth away
his life, there are no regions hereafter to gain. Therefore, O daughter
of Drupada, it hath been said that a weak man should always suppress his
wrath. And the wise man also who though presecuted, suffereth not his
wrath to be roused, joyeth in the other world–having passed his
persecutor over in indifference. It is for this reason hath it been said
that a wise man, whether strong or weak, should ever forgive his
persecutor even when the latter is in the straits. It is for this, O
Krishna, that the virtuous applaud them that have conquered their wrath.
Indeed, it is the opinion of the virtuous that the honest and forgiving
man is ever victorious. Truth is more beneficial than untruth; and
gentleness than cruel behaviour. How can one like me, therefore, even for
the purpose of slaying Duryodhana, exhibit anger which hath so many
faults and which the virtuous banish from their souls? They that are
regarded by the learned of foresight, as possessed of (true) force of
character, are certainly those who are wrathful in outward show only. Men
of learning and of true insight call him to be possessed of force of
character who by his wisdom can suppress his risen wrath. O thou of fair
hips, the angry man seeth not things in their true light. The man that is
angry seeth not his way, nor respecteth persons. The angry man killeth
even those that deserve not to be killed. The man of wrath slayeth even
his preceptors. Therefore, the man possessing force of character should
ever banish wrath to a distance. The man that is overwhelmed with wrath
acquireth not with ease generosity, dignity, courage, skill, and other
attributes belonging to real force of character. A man by forsaking anger
can exhibit proper energy, whereas, O wise one, it is highly difficult
for the angry man to exhibit his energy at the proper time! The ignorant
always regard anger as equivalent to energy. Wrath, however hath been
given to man for the destruction of the world. The man, therefore, who
wisheth to behave properly, must ever forsake anger. Even one who hath
abandoned the excellent virtues of his own order, it is certain,
indulgeth in wrath (if behaveth properly). If fools, of mind without
light, transgress in every respect, how, O faultless one, can one like me
transgress (like them)? If amongst men there were not persons equal unto
the earth in forgiveness, there would be no peace among men but continued
strife caused by wrath. If the injured return their injuries, if one
chastised by his superior were to chastise his superior in return, the
consequence would be the destruction of every creature, and sin also
would prevail in the world. If the man who hath ill speeches from
another, returneth those speeches afterwards; if the injured man
returneth his injuries: if the chastised person chastiseth in return; if
fathers slay sons, and sons fathers and if husbands slay wives, and wives
husbands; then, O Krishna, how can birth take place in a world where
anger prevaileth so! For, O thou of handsome face, know that the birth of
creatures is due to peace! If the kings also, O Draupadi, giveth way to
wrath, his subjects soon meet with destruction. Wrath, therefore, hath
for its consequence the destruction and the distress of the people. And
because it is seen that there are in the world men who are forgiving like
the Earth, it is therefore that creatures derive their life and
prosperity. O beautiful one, one should forgive under every injury. It
hath been said that the continuation of species is due to man being
forgiving. He, indeed, is a wise and excellent person who hath conquered
his wrath and who showeth forgiveness even when insulted, oppressed, and
angered by a strong person. The man of power who controleth his wrath,
hath (for his enjoyment) numerous everlasting regions; while he that is
angry, is called foolish, and meeteth with destruction both in this and
the other world. O Krishna, the illustrious and forgiving Kashyapa hath,
in this respect, sung the following verses in honour of men that are ever
forgiving, ‘Forgiveness is virtue; forgiveness is sacrifice, forgiveness
is the Vedas, forgiveness is the Shruti. He that knoweth this is capable
of forgiving everything. Forgiveness is Brahma; forgiveness is truth;
forgiveness is stored ascetic merit; forgiveness protecteth the ascetic
merit of the future; forgiveness is asceticism; forgiveness is holiness;
and by forgiveness is it that the universe is held together. Persons that
are forgiving attain to the regions obtainable by those that have
preformed meritorious sacrifices, or those that are well-conversant with
the Vedas, or those that have high ascetic merit. Those that perform
Vedic sacrifices as also those that perform the meritorious rites of
religion obtain other regions. Men of forgiveness, however, obtain those
much-adored regions that are in the world of Brahma. Forgiveness is the
might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of
mind. How, O Krishna, can one like us abandon forgiveness, which is such,
and in which are established Brahma, and truth, and wisdom and the
worlds? The man of wisdom should ever forgive, for when he is capable of
forgiving everything, he attaineth to Brahma. The world belongeth to
those that are forgiving; the other world is also theirs. The forgiving
acquire honours here, and a state of blessedness hereafter. Those men
that ever conquer their wrath by forgiveness, obtain the higher regions.
Therefore hath it been said that forgiveness is the highest virtue.’
Those are the verses sung by Kashyapa in respect of those that are
everforgiving. Having listened, O Draupadi, to these verses in respect of
forgiveness, content thyself! Give not way to thy wrath! Our grandsire,
the son of Santanu, will worship peace; Krishna, the son of Devaki, will
worship peace; the preceptor (Drona) and Vidura called Kshatri will both
speak of peace; Kripa and Sanjaya also will preach peace. And Somadatta
and Yuyutshu and Drona’s son and our grandsire Vyasa, every one of them
speaketh always of peace. Ever urged by these towards peace, the king
(Dhritarashtra) will, I think, return us our kingdom. If however, he
yieldeth to temptation, he will meet with destruction. O lady, a crisis
hath come in the history of Bharatas for plunging them into calamity!
This hath been my certain conclusion from some time before! Suyodhana
deserveth not the kingdom. Therefore hath he been unable to acquire
forgiveness. I, however, deserve the sovereignty and therefore is it that
forgiveness hath taken possession of me. Forgiveness and gentleness are
the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue. I
shall, therefore, truly adopt those qualities.”


“Draupadi said, ‘I bow down unto Dhatri and Vidhatri who have thus
clouded thy sense! Regarding the burden (thou art to bear) thou thinkest
differently from the ways of thy fathers and grand-fathers! Influenced by
acts men are placed in different situations of life. Acts, therefore,
produce consequences that are inevitable; emancipation is desired from
mere folly. It seemeth that man can never attain prosperity in this world
by virtue, gentleness, forgiveness, straight-forwardness and fear of
censure! If this were not so, O Bharata, this insufferable calamity would
never have overtaken thee who art so undeserving of it, and these thy
brothers of great energy! Neither in those days of prosperity nor in
these days of thy adversity, thou, O Bharata, hath ever known anything so
dear to thee as virtue, which thou hast even regarded as dearer to thee
than life? That thy kingdom is for virtue alone, that thy life also is
for virtue alone, is known to Brahmanas and thy superiors and even the
celestials! I think thou canst abandon Bhimasena and Arjuna and these
twin sons of Madri along with myself but thou canst not abandon virtue! I
have heard that the king protecteth virtue; and virtue, protected by him,
protecteth him (in return)! I see, however, that virtue protecteth thee
not! Like the shadow pursuing a man, thy heart, O tiger among men, with
singleness of purpose, ever seeketh virtue. Thou hast never disregarded
thy equals, and inferiors and superiors. Obtaining even the entire world,
thy pride never increased! O son of Pritha, thou ever worshippest
Brahmanas, and gods, and the Pitris, with Swadhas, and other forms of
worship! O son of Pritha, thou hast ever gratified the Brahmanas by
fulfilling every wish of theirs! Yatis and Sannyasins and mendicants of
domestic lives have always been fed in thy house from off plates of gold
where I have distributed (food) amongst them. Unto the Vanaprasthas thou
always givest gold and food. There is nothing in thy house thou mayest
not give unto the Brahmanas! In the Viswadeva sacrifice, that is, for thy
peace, performed in thy house, the things consecrated are first offered
unto guests and all creatures while thou livest thyself with what
remaineth (after distribution)! Ishtis Pashubandhas, sacrifices for
obtaining fruition of desire, the religions rites of (ordinary)
domesticity, Paka sacrifices, and sacrifices of other kinds, are ever
performed in thy house. Even in this great forest, so solitary and
haunted by robbers, living in exile, divested of thy kingdom, thy virtue
hath sustained no diminution! The Aswamedha, the Rajasuya, the Pundarika,
and Gosava, these grand sacrifices requiring large gifts have all been
performed by thee! O monarch, impelled by a perverse sense during that
dire hour of a losing match at dice, thou didst yet stake and loss thy
kingdom, thy wealth, thy weapons, thy brothers, and myself! Simple,
gentle, liberal, modest, truthful, how, O king could thy mind be
attracted to the vice of gambling? I am almost deprived of my sense, O
king, and my heart is overwhelmed with grief, beholding this thy
distress, and this thy calamity! An old history is cited as an
illustration for the truth that men are subjects to the will of God and
never to their own wishes! The Supreme Lord and Ordainer of all ordaineth
everything in respect of the weal and woe, the happiness and misery, of
all creatures, even prior to their births guided by the acts of each,
which are even like a seed (destined to sprout forth into the tree of
life). O hero amongst men, as a wooden doll is made to move its limbs by
the wire-puller, so are creatures made to work by the Lord of all. O
Bharata, like space that covereth every object, God, pervading every
creature, ordaineth its weal or woe. Like a bird tied with a string,
every creature is dependent on God. Every one is subject to God and none
else. No one can be his own ordainer. Like a pearl on its string, or a
bull held fast by the cord passing through its nose, or a tree fallen
from the bank into the middle of the stream, every creature followeth the
command of the Creator, because imbued with His Spirit and because
established in Him. And man himself, dependent on the Universal Soul,
cannot pass a moment independently. Enveloped in darkness, creatures are
not masters of their own weal or woe. They go to heaven or hell urged by
God Himself. Like light straws dependent on strong winds, all creatures,
O Bharatas, are dependent on God! And God himself, pervading all
creatures and engaged in acts right and wrong, moveth in the universe,
though none can say This is God! This body with its physical attributes
is only the means by which God–the Supreme Lord of all maketh (every
creature) to reap fruits that are good or bad. Behold the power of
illusion that hath been spread by God, who confounding with his illusion,
maketh creatures slay their fellows! Truth-knowing Munis behold those
differently. They appear to them in a different light, even like the rays
of the Sun (which to ordinary eyes are only a pencil of light, while to
eyes more penetrating seem fraught with the germs of food and drink).
Ordinary men behold the things of the earth otherwise. It is God who
maketh them all, adopting different processes in their creation and
destruction. And, O Yudhishthira, the Self-create Grandsire, Almighty
God, spreading illusion, slayeth his creatures by the instrumentality of
his creatures, as one may break a piece of inert and senseless wood with
wood, or stone with stone, or iron with iron. And the Supreme Lord,
according to his pleasure, sporteth with His creatures, creating and
destroying them, like a child with his toy (of soft earth). O king, it
doth seem to me that God behaveth towards his creatures like a father or
mother unto them. Like a vicious person, He seemeth to bear himself
towards them in anger! Beholding superior and well-behaved and modest
persons persecuted, while the sinful are happy, I am sorely troubled.
Beholding this thy distress and the prosperity of Suyodhana, I do not
speak highly of the Great Ordainer who suffereth such inequality! O sir,
what fruits doth the Great Ordainer reap by granting prosperity to
Dhritarashtra’s son who transgresseth the ordinances, who is crooked and
covetous, and who injureth virtue and religion! If the act done pursueth
the doer and none else, then certainly it is God himself who is stained
with the sin of every act. If however, the sin of an act done doth not
attach to the doer, then (individual) might (and not God) is the true
cause of acts, and I grieve for those that have no might!'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thy speech, O Yajnaseni, is delightful, smooth and
full of excellent phrases. We have listened to it (carefully). Thou
speakest, however, the language of atheism. O princess, I never act,
solicitous of the fruits of my actions. I give away, because it is my
duty to give; I sacrifice because it is my duty to sacrifice! O Krishna,
I accomplish to the best of my power whatever a person living in
domesticity should do, regardless of the fact whether those acts have
fruits or not. O thou of fair hips, I act virtuously, not from the desire
of reaping the fruits of virtue, but of not transgressing the ordinances
of the Veda, and beholding also the conduct of the good and wise! My
heart, O Krishna, is naturally attracted towards virtue. The man who
wisheth to reap the fruits of virtue is a trader in virtue. His nature is
mean and he should never be counted amongst the virtuous. Nor doth he
ever obtain the fruits of his virtues! Nor doth he of sinful heart, who
having accomplished a virtuous act doubteth in his mind, obtain the
fruits of his act, in consequence of that scepticism of his! I speak unto
thee, under the authority of the Vedas, which constitute the highest
proof in such matters, that never shouldst thou doubt virtue! The man
that doubteth virtue is destined to take his birth in the brute species.
The man of weak understanding who doubteth religion, virtue or the words
of the Rishis, is precluded from regions of immortality and bliss, like
Sudras from the Vedas! O intelligent one, if a child born of a good race
studieth the Vedas and beareth himself virtuously, royal sages of
virtuous behaviour regard him as an aged sage (not withstanding his
years)! The sinful wretch, however, who doubteth religion and
transgresseth the scriptures, is regarded as lower even than Sudras and
robbers! Thou hast seen with thy own eyes the great ascetic Markandeya of
immeasurable soul come to us! It is by virtue alone that he hath acquired
immortality in the flesh. Vyasa, and Vasistha and Maitreya, and Narada
and Lomasa, and Suka, and other Rishis have all, by virtue alone, become
of pure soul! Thou beholdest them with thy own eyes as furnished with
prowess of celestial asceticism, competent to curse or bless (with
effect), and superior to the very gods! O sinless one, these all, equal
to the celestials themselves, behold with their eyes what Is written in
the Vedas, and describe virtue as the foremost duty! It behoveth thee
not, therefore, O amiable Queen, to either doubt or censure God or act,
with a foolish heart. The fool that doubteth religion and disregardeth
virtue, proud of the proof derived from his own reasoning, regardeth not
other proofs and holdeth the Rishis, who are capable of knowing the
future as present as mad men. The fool regardeth only the external world
capable of gratifying his senses, and is blind to everything else. He
that doubteth religion hath no expiation for his offence. That miserable
wretch is full of anxiety and acquireth not regions of bliss hereafter. A
rejector of proofs, a slanderer of the interpretation of the Vedic
scriptures, a transgressor urged by lust and covetousness, that fool
goeth to hell. O amiable one, he on the other hand, who ever cherisheth
religion with faith, obtaineth eternal bliss in the other world. The fool
who cherisheth not religion, transgressing the proofs offered by the
Rishis, never obtaineth prosperity in any life, for such transgression of
the scriptures. It is certain, O handsome one, that with respect to him
who regardeth not the words of the Rishis or the conduct of the virtuous
as proof, neither this nor the other world existeth. Doubt not, O
Krishna, the ancient religion that is practised by the good and framed by
Rishis of universal knowledge and capable of seeing all things! O
daughter of Drupada, religion is the only raft for those desirous of
going to heaven, like a ship to merchants desirous of crossing the ocean.
O thou faultless one, if the virtues that are practised by the virtuous
had no fruits, this universe then would be enveloped in infamous
darkness. No one then would pursue salvation, no one would seek to
acquire knowledge not even wealth, but men would live like beasts. If
asceticism, the austerities of celibate life, sacrifices, study of the
Vedas, charity, honesty,–these all were fruitless, men would not have
practised virtue generation after generation. If acts were all fruitless,
a dire confusion would ensue. For what then do Rishis and gods and
Gandharvas and Rakshasas who are all independent of human conditions,
cherish virtue with such affection? Knowing it for certain that God is
the giver of fruits in respect of virtue, they practise virtue in this
world. This, O Krishna, is the eternal (source of) prosperity. When the
fruits of both knowledge and asceticism are seen, virtue and vice cannot
be fruitless. Call to thy mind, O Krishna, the circumstances of thy own
birth as thou that heard of them, and recall also the manner in which
Dhrishtadyumna of great prowess was born! These, O thou of sweet smiles,
are the best proofs (of the fruits of virtue)! They that have their minds
under control, reap the fruits of their acts and are content with little.
Ignorant fools are not content with even that much they get (here),
because they have no happiness born of virtue to acquire to in the world
hereafter. The fruitlessness of virtuous acts ordained in the Vedas, as
also of all transgressions, the origin and destruction of acts are, O
beautiful one, mysterious even to the gods. These are not known to any
body and everybody. Ordinary men are ignorant in respect of these. The
gods keep up the mystery, for the illusion covering the conduct of the
gods is unintelligible. Those regenerate ones that have destroyed all
aspirations, that have built all their hopes on vows and asceticism, that
have burnt all their sins and have acquired minds where quest and peace
and holiness dwell, understand all these. Therefore, though you mayst not
see the fruits of virtue, thou shouldst not yet doubt religion or gods.
Thou must perform sacrifices with a will, and practise charity without
insolence. Acts in this world have their fruits, and virtue also is
eternal. Brahma himself told this unto his (spiritual) sons, as testified
to by Kashyapa. Let thy doubt, therefore, O Krishna, be dispelled like
mist. Reflecting upon all this, let thy scepticism give way to faith.
Slander not God, who is the lord of all creatures. Learn how to know him.
Bow down unto him. Let not thy mind be such. And, O Krishna, never
disregard that Supreme Being through whose grace mortal man, by piety,
acquireth immortality!'”


“Draupadi said, ‘I do not ever disregard or slander religion, O son of
Pritha! Why should I disregard God, the lord of all creatures? Afflicted
with woe, know me, O Bharata, to be only raving I will once more indulge
in lamentations; listen to me with attention O persecutor of all enemies,
every conscious creature should certainly act in this world. It is only
the immobile, and not other creatures, that may live without acting. The
calf, immediately after its birth, sucketh the mothers’ teat. Persons
feel pain in consequence of incantations performed with their statues. It
seemeth, therefore, O Yudhishthira, that creatures derive the character
of their lives from their acts of former lives. Amongst mobile creatures
man differeth in this respect that he aspireth, O bull of the Bharata
race, to affect his course of life in this and the other world by means
of his acts. Impelled by the inspiration of a former life, all creatures
visibly (reap) in this world the fruits of their acts. Indeed, all
creatures live according to the inspiration of a former life, even the
Creator and the Ordainer of the universe, like a crane that liveth on the
water (untaught by any one.) If a creature acteth not, its course of life
is impossible. In the case of a creature, therefore, there must be action
and not inaction. Thou also shouldest act, and not incur censure by
abandoning action. Cover thyself up, as with an armour, with action.
There may or may not be even one in a thousand who truly knoweth the
utility of acts or work. One must act for protecting as also increasing
his wealth; for if without seeking to earn, one continueth to only spend,
his wealth, even if it were a hoard huge as Himavat, would soon be
exhausted. All the creatures in the world would have been exterminated,
if there were no action. If also acts bore no fruits, creatures would
never have multiplied. It is even seen that creatures sometimes perform
acts that have no fruits, for without acts the course of life itself
would be impossible. Those persons in the world who believe in destiny,
and those again who believe in chance, are both the worst among men.
Those only that believe in the efficacy of acts are laudable. He that
lieth at ease, without activity, believing in destiny alone, is soon
destroyed like an unburnt earthen pot in water. So also he that believeth
in chance, i.e., sitteth inactive though capable of activity liveth not
long, for his life is one of weakness and helplessness. If any person
accidentally acquireth any wealth, it is said he deriveth it from chance,
for no one’s effort hath brought about the result. And, O son of Pritha,
whatever of good fortune a person obtaineth in consequence of religious
rites, that is called providential. The fruit, however that a person
obtaineth by acting himself, and which is the direct result of those acts
of his, is regarded as proof of personal ability. And, O best of men,
know that the wealth one obtaineth spontaneously and without cause is
said to be a spontaneous acquisition. Whatever is thus obtained by
chance, by providential dispensation, spontaneously, of as the result of
one’s acts is, however, the consequence of the acts of a former life. And
God, the Ordainer of the universe, judging according to the acts of
former lives, distributeth among men their portions in this world.
Whatever acts, good or bad, a person performeth, know that they are the
result of God’s, arrangements agreeably to the acts of a former life.
This body is only the instruments in the hands of God, for doing the acts
that are done. Itself, inert, it doth as God urgeth it to do. O son of
Kunti, it is the Supreme Lord of all who maketh all creatures do what
they do. The creatures themselves are inert. O hero, man, having first
settled some purpose in his mind, accomplisheth it, himself working with
the aid of his intelligence. We, therefore, say that man is himself the
cause (of what he doeth). O bull among men, it is impossible to number
the acts of men, for mansions and towns are the result of man’s acts.
Intelligent men know, by help of their intellect, that oil may be had
from sesame, curds from milk, and that food may be cooked by means of
igniting fuel. They know also the means for accomplishing all these. And
knowing them, they afterwards set themselves, with proper appliances, to
accomplish them. And creatures support their lives by the results
achieved in these directions by their own acts. If a work is executed by
a skilled workman, it is executed well. From differences (in
characteristics), another work may be said to be that of an unskilful
hand. If a person were not, in the matter of his acts, himself the cause
thereof, then sacrifices would not bear any fruits in his case nor would
any body be a disciple or a master. It is because a person is himself the
cause of his work that he is applauded when he achieved success. So the
doer is censured if he faileth. If a man were not himself the cause of
his acts, how would all this be justified? Some say that everything is
the result of Providential dispensation; others again, that this is not
so, but that everything which is supposed to be the result of destiny or
chance is the result of the good or the bad acts of former lives. It is
seen, possessions are obtained from chance, as also from destiny
Something being from destiny and something from chance, something is
obtained by exertion. In the acquisition of his objects, there is no
fourth cause in the case of man. Thus say those that are acquainted with
truth and skilled in knowledge. If, however, God himself were not the
giver of good and bad fruits, then amongst creatures there would not be
any that was miserable. If the effect of former acts be a myth, then all
purposes for which man would work should be successful. They, therefore,
that regard the three alone (mentioned above) as the doors of all success
and failure in the world, (without regarding the acts of former life),
are dull and inert like the body itself. For all this, however, a person
should act. This is the conclusion of Manu himself. The person that doth
not act, certainly succumbeth, O Yudhishthira. The man of action in this
world generally meeteth with success. The idle, however, never achieveth
success. If success, becometh impossible, then should one seek to remove
the difficulties that bar his way to success. And, O king, if a person
worketh (hard), his debt (to the gods) is cancelled (whether he achieveth
success or not). The person that is idle and lieth at his length, is
overcome by adversity; while he that is active and skillful is sure to
reap success and enjoy prosperity. Intelligent persons engaged in acts
with confidence in themselves regard all who are diffident as doubting
and unsuccessful. The confident and faithful, however, are regarded by
them as successful. And this moment misery hath overtaken us. If,
however, thou betakest to action, that misery will certainly be removed.
If thou meetest failure, then that will furnish a proof unto thee and
Vrikodara and Vivatsu and the twins (that ye are unable to snatch the
kingdom from the foe). The acts of others, it is seen, are crowned with
success. It is probable that ours also will be successful. How can one
know beforehand what the consequence will be? Having exerted thyself thou
wilt know what the fruit of thy exertion will be. The tiller tilleth with
the plough the soil and soweth the seeds thereon. He then sitteth silent,
for the clouds (after that) are the cause that would help the seeds to
grow into plants. If however, the clouds favour him not, the tiller is
absolved from all blame. He sayeth unto himself, ‘What others do, I have
done. If, notwithstanding this, I meet with failure, no blame can attach
to me.’ Thinking so, he containeth himself and never indulgeth in
self-reproach. O Bharata, no one should despair saying, ‘Oh, I am acting,
yet success is not mine! For there are two other causes, besides
exertion, towards success. Whether there be success or failure, there
should be no despair, for success in acts dependeth upon the union; of
many circumstances. If one important element is wanting, success doth not
become commensurate, or doth not come at all. If however, no exertion is
made, there can be no success. Nor is there anything to applaud in the
absence of all exertion. The intelligent, aided by their intelligence,
and according to their full might bring place, time, means, auspicious
rites, for the acquisition of prosperity. With carefulness and vigilance
should one set himself to work, his chief guide being his prowess. In the
union of qualities necessary for success in work, prowess seemeth to be
the chief. When the man of intelligence seeth his enemy superior to him
in many qualities, he should seek the accomplishment of his purposes by
means, of the arts of conciliation and proper appliances. He should also
wish evil unto his foe and his banishment. Without speaking of mortal
man, if his foe were even the ocean or the hills, he should be guided by
such motives. A person by his activity in searching for the holes of his
enemies, dischargeth his debt to himself as also to his friends. No man
should ever disparage himself for the man that disparageth himself never
earneth high prosperity. O Bharata, success in this world is attainable
on such conditions! In fact, success in the World is said to depend on
acting according to time and circumstances. My father formerly kept a
learned Brahmana with him. O bull of the Bharata race, he said all this
unto my father. Indeed, these instructions as to duty, uttered by
Vrihaspati himself, were first taught to my brothers. It was from them
that I heard these afterwards while in my father’s house. And, O
Yudhishthira, while at intervals of business, I went out (of the inner
apartments) and sat on the lap of my father, that learned Brahmana used
to recite unto me these truths, sweetly consoling me therewith!”


‘Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words of Yajnaseni, Bhimasena, sighing
in wrath, approached the king and addressed him, saying, ‘Walk, O
monarch, in the customary path trodden by good men, (before thee) in
respect of kingdoms. What do we gain by living in the asylum of ascetics,
thus deprived of virtue, pleasure, and profit? It is not by virtue, nor
by honesty, nor by might, but by unfair dice, that our kingdom hath been
snatched by Duryodhana. Like a weak offal-eating jackal snatching the
prey from mighty lions, he hath snatched away our kingdom. Why, O
monarch, in obedience to the trite merit of sticking to a promise, dost
thou suffer such distress, abandoning that wealth which is the source of
both virtue and enjoyments? It was for thy carelessness, O king, that our
kingdom protected by the wielder of the Gandiva and therefore, incapable
of being wrested by Indra himself, was snatched from us in our very
sight. It was for thee, O monarch, that, ourselves living, our prosperity
was snatched away from us like a fruit from one unable to use his arms,
or like kine from one incapable of using his legs. Thou art faithful in
the acquisition of virtue. It was to please thee, O Bharata, that we have
suffered ourselves to be overwhelmed with such dire calamity. O bull of
the Bharata race, it was because we were subject to thy control that we
are thus tearing the hearts of our friends and gratifying our foes. That
we did not, in obedience to thee, even then slay the sons of
Dhritarashtra, is an act of folly on our part that grieveth me sorely.
This thy abode, O king, in the woods, like that of any wild animal, is
what a man of weakness alone would submit to. Surely, no man of might
would ever lead such a life. This thy course of life is approved neither
by Krishna, nor Vibhatsu, nor by Abhimanyu, nor by the Srinjayas, nor by
myself, nor by the sons of Madri. Afflicted with the vows, thy cry is
Religion! Religion! Hast thou from despair been deprived of thy
manliness? Cowards alone, unable to win back their prosperity, cherish
despair, which is fruitless and destructive of one’s purposes. Thou hast
ability and eyes. Thou seest that manliness dwelleth in us. It is because
thou hast adopted a life of peace that thou feelest not this distress.
These Dhritarashtras regard us who are forgiving, as really incompetent.
This, O king, grieveth me more than death in battle. If we all die in
fair fight without turning our backs on the foe, even that would be
better than this exile, for then we should obtain regions of bliss in the
other world. Or, if, O bull of the Bharata race, having slain them all,
we acquire the entire earth, that would be prosperity worth the trial. We
who ever adhere to the customs of our order, who ever desire grand
achievements, who wish to avenge our wrongs, have this for our bounden
duty. Our kingdom wrested from us, if we engage in battle, our deeds when
known to the world will procure for us fame and not slander. And that
virtue, O king, which tortureth one’s own self and friends, is really no
virtue. It is rather vice, producing calamities. Virtue is sometimes also
the weakness of men. And though such a man might ever be engaged in the
practice of virtue, yet both virtue and profit forsake him, like pleasure
and pain forsaking a person that is dead. He that practiseth virtue for
virtue’s sake always suffereth. He can scarcely be called a wise man, for
he knoweth not the purposes of virtue like a blind man incapable of
perceiving the solar light. He that regardeth his wealth to exist for
himself alone, scarcely understandeth the purposes of wealth. He is
really like a servant that tendeth kine in a forest. He again that
pursueth wealth too much without pursuing virtue and enjoyments,
deserveth to be censured and slain by all men. He also that ever pursueth
enjoyments without pursuing virtue and wealth, loseth his friends and
virtue and wealth also. Destitute of virtue and wealth such a man,
indulging in pleasure at will, at the expiration of his period of
indulgence, meeteth with certain death, like a fish when the water in
which it liveth hath been dried up. It is for these reasons that they
that are wise are ever careful of both virtue and wealth, for a union of
virtue and wealth is the essential requisite of pleasure, as fuel is the
essential requisite of fire. Pleasure hath always virtue for its root,
and virtue also is united with pleasure. Know, O monarch, that both are
dependent on each other like the ocean and the clouds, the ocean causing
the clouds and the clouds filling the ocean. The joy that one feeleth in
consequence of contact with objects of touch or of possession of wealth,
is what is called pleasure. It existeth in the mind, having no corporeal
existence that one can see. He that wisheth (to obtain) wealth, seeketh
for a large share of virtue to crown his wish with success. He that
wisheth for pleasure, seeketh wealth, (so that his wish may be realised).
Pleasure however, yieldeth nothing in its turn. One pleasure cannot lead
to another, being its own fruit, as ashes may be had from wood, but
nothing from those ashes in their turn. And, O king, as a fowler killeth
the birds we see, so doth sin slay the creatures of the world. He,
therefore, who misled by pleasure or covetousness, beholdeth not the
nature of virtue, deserveth to be slain by all, and becometh wretched
both here and here-after. It is evident, O king, that thou knowest that
pleasure may be derived from the possession of various objects of
enjoyment. Thou also well knowest their ordinary states, as well as the
great changes they undergo. At their loss or disappearance occasioned by
decrepitude or death, ariseth what is called distress. That distress, O
king, hath now overtaken us. The joy that ariseth from the five senses,
the intellect and the heart, being directed to the objects proper to
each, is called pleasure. That pleasure, O king, is, as I think, one of
the best fruits of our actions.

“Thus, O monarch, one should regard virtue, wealth and pleasure one after
another. One should not devote one self to virtue alone, nor regard
wealth as the highest object of one’s wishes, nor pleasure, but should
ever pursue all three. The scriptures ordain that one should seek virtue
in the morning, wealth at noon, and pleasure in the evening. The
scriptures also ordain that one should seek pleasure in the first portion
of life, wealth in the second, and virtue in the last. And, O thou
foremost of speakers, they that are wise and fully conversant with proper
division of time, pursue all three, virtue, wealth, and pleasure,
dividing their time duly. O son of the Kuru race, whether independence of
these (three), or their possession is the better for those that desire
happiness, should be settled by thee after careful thought. And thou
shouldst then, O king, unhesitatingly act either for acquiring them, or
abandoning them all. For he who liveth wavering between the two
doubtingly, leadeth a wretched life. It is well known that thy behaviour
is ever regulated by virtue. Knowing this thy friends counsel thee to
act. Gift, sacrifice, respect for the wise, study of the Vedas, and
honesty, these, O king, constitute the highest virtue and are efficacious
both here and hereafter. These virtues, however, cannot be attained by
one that hath no wealth, even if, O tiger among men, he may have infinite
other accomplishments. The whole universe, O king, dependeth upon virtue.
There is nothing higher than virtue. And virtue, O king, is attainable by
one that hath plenty of wealth. Wealth cannot be earned by leading a
mendicant life, nor by a life of feebleness. Wealth, however, can be
earned by intelligence directed by virtue. In thy case, O king, begging,
which is successful with Brahmanas, hath been forbidden. Therefore, O
bull amongst men, strive for the acquisition of wealth by exerting thy
might and energy. Neither mendicancy, nor the life of a Sudra is what is
proper for thee. Might and energy constitute the virtue of the Kshatriya
in especial. Adopt thou, therefore, the virtue of thy order and slay the
enemies. Destroy the might of Dhritarashtra’s sons, O son of Pritha, with
my and Arjuna’s aid. They that are learned and wise say that sovereignty
is virtue. Acquire sovereignty, therefore, for it behoveth thee not to
live in a state of inferiority. Awake, O king, and understand the eternal
virtues (of the order). By birth thou belongest to an order whose deeds
are cruel and are a source of pain to man. Cherish thy subjects and reap
the fruit thereof. That can never be a reproach. Even this, O king, is
the virtue ordained by God himself for the order to which thou belongest!
If thou tallest away therefrom, thou wilt make thyself ridiculous.
Deviation from the virtues of one’s own order is never applauded.
Therefore, O thou of the Kuru race, making thy heart what it ought to be,
agreeably to the order to which thou belongest, and casting away this
course of feebleness, summon thy energy and bear thy weight like one that
beareth it manfully. No king, O monarch, could ever acquire the
sovereignty of the earth or prosperity or affluence by means of virtue
alone. Like a fowler earning his food in the shape of swarms of little
easily-tempted game, by offering them some attractive food, doth one that
is intelligent acquire a kingdom, by offering bribes unto low and
covetous enemies. Behold, O bull among kings, the Asuras, though elder
brothers in possession of power and affluence, were all vanquished by the
gods through stratagem. Thus, O king, everything belongeth to those that
are mighty. And, O mighty-armed one, slay thy foes, having recourse to
stratagem. There is none equal unto Arjuna in wielding the bow in battle.
Nor is there anybody that may be equal unto me in wielding the mace.
Strong men, O monarch, engage in battle depending on their might, and not
on the force of numbers nor on information of the enemy’s plans procured
through spies. Therefore, O son of Pandu exert thy might. Might is the
root of wealth. Whatever else is said to be its root is really not such.
As the shade of the tree in winter goeth for nothing, so without might
everything else becometh fruitless. Wealth should be spent by one who
wisheth to increase his wealth, after the manner, O son of Kunti, of
scattering seeds on the ground. Let there be no doubt then in thy mind.
Where, however, wealth that is more or even equal is not to be gained,
there should be no expenditure of wealth. For investment of wealth are
like the ass, scratching, pleasurable at first but painful afterwards.
Thus, O king of men, the person who throweth away like seeds a little of
his virtue in order to gain a larger measure of virtue, is regarded as
wise. Beyond doubt, it is as I say. They that are wise alienate the
friends of the foe that owneth such, and having weakened him by causing
those friends to abandon him thus, they then reduce him to subjection.
Even they that are strong, engage in battle depending on their courage.
One cannot by even continued efforts (uninspired by courage) or by the
arts of conciliation, always conquer a kingdom. Sometimes, O king, men
that are weak, uniting in large numbers, slay even a powerful foe, like
bees killing the despoiler of the honey by force of numbers alone. (As
regards thyself), O king, like the sun that sustaineth as well as slayeth
creatures by his rays, adopt thou the ways of the sun. To protect one’s
kingdom and cherish the people duly, as done by our ancestors, O king,
is, it hath been heard by us, a kind of asceticism mentioned even in the
Vedas. By ascetism, O king, a Kshatriya cannot acquire such regions of
blessedness as he can by fair fight whether ending in victory or defeat.
Beholding, O king, this thy distress, the world hath come to the
conclusion that light may forsake the Sun and grace the Moon. And, O
king, good men separately as well as assembling together, converse with
one another, applauding thee and blaming the other. There is this,
moreover, O monarch, viz., that both the Kurus and the Brahmanas,
assembling together, gladly speak of thy firm adherence to truth, in that
thou hast never, from ignorance, from meanness, from covetousness, or
from fear, uttered an untruth. Whatever sin, O monarch, a king committeth
in acquiring dominion, he consumeth it all afterwards by means of
sacrifices distinguished by large gifts. Like the Moon emerging from the
clouds, the king is purified from all sins by bestowing villages on
Brahmanas and kine by thousands. Almost all the citizens as well as the
inhabitants of the country, young or old, O son of the Kuru race, praise
thee, O Yudhishthira! This also, O Bharata, the people are saying amongst
themselves, viz., that as milk in a bag of dog’s hide, as the Vedas in a
Sudra, as truth in a robber, as strength in a woman, so is sovereignty in
Duryodhana. Even women and children are repeating this, as if it were a
lesson they seek to commit to memory. O represser of foes, thou hast
fallen into this state along with ourselves. Alas, we also are lost with
thee for this calamity of thine. Therefore, ascending in thy car
furnished with every implement, and making the superior Brahmanas utter
benedictions on thee, march thou with speed, even this very day, upon
Hastinapura, in order that thou mayst be able to give unto Brahmanas the
spoils of victory. Surrounded by thy brothers, who are firm wielders of
the bow, and by heroes skilled in weapons and like unto snakes of
virulent poison, set thou out even like the slayer Vritra surounded by
the Marutas. And, O son of Kunti, as thou art powerful, grind thou with
thy might thy weak enemies, like Indra grinding the Asuras; and snatch
thou from Dhritarashtra’s son the prosperity he enjoyeth. There is no
mortal that can bear the touch of the shafts furnished with the feathers
of the vulture and resembling snakes of virulent poison, that would be
shot from the Gandiva. And, O Bharata, there is not a warrior, nor an
elephant, nor a horse, that is able to bear the impetus of my mace when I
am angry in battle. Why, O son of Kunti, should we not wrest our kingdom
from the foe, fighting with the aid of the Srinjayas and Kaikeyas, and
the bull of the Vrishni race? Why, O king, should we not succeed in
wresting the (sovereignty of the) earth that is now in the hands of the
foe, if, aided by a large force, we do but strive?”


Vaisampayana said, “Thus addressed by Bhimasena, the high-souled king
Ajatasatru firmly devoted to truth, mustering his patience, after a few
moments said these words, ‘No doubt, O Bharata, all this is true. I
cannot reproach thee for thy torturing me thus by piercing me with thy
arrowy words. From my folly alone hath this calamity come against you. I
sought to cast the dice desiring to snatch from Dhritarashtra’s son his
kingdom with the sovereignty. It was therefore that, that cunning
gambler–Suvala’s son–played against me on behalf of Suyodhana. Sakuni,
a native of the hilly country, is exceedingly artful. Casting the dice in
the presence of the assembly, unacquainted as I am with artifices of any
kind, he vanquished me artfully. It is, therefore, O Bhimasena, that we
have been overwhelmed with this calamity. Beholding the dice favourable
to the wishes of Sakuni in odds and evens, I could have controlled my
mind. Anger, however, driveth off a person’s patience. O child, the mind
cannot be kept under control when it is influenced by hauteur, vanity, or
pride. I do not reproach thee, O Bhimasena, for the words thou usest. I
only regard that what hath befallen us was pre-ordained. When king
Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, coveting our kingdom, plunged us
into misery and even slavery, then, O Bhima, it was Draupadi that rescued
us. When summoned again to the assembly for playing once more, thou
knowest as well as Arjuna what Dhritarashtra’s son told me, in the
presence of all the Bharatas, regarding the stake for which we were to
play. His words were, O prince Ajatsatru, (if vanquished), thou shalt
have with all thy brothers, to dwell, to the knowledge of all men, for
twelve years in the forest of thy choice, passing the thirteenth year in
secrecy. If during the latter period, the spies of the Bharatas, hearing
of thee, succeed in discovering thee, thou shalt have again to live in
the forest for the same period, passing once more the last year in
secrecy. Reflecting upon this, pledge thyself to it. As regards myself, I
promise truly in this assembly of the Kurus, that if thou canst pass this
time confounding my spies and undiscovered by them, then, O Bharata, this
kingdom of the five rivers is once more thine. We also, O Bharata, if
vanquished by thee, shall, all of us, abandoning all our wealth, pass the
same period, according to the same rules. Thus addressed by the prince, I
replied unto him in the midst of all the Kurus, ‘So be it!’ The wretched
game then commenced. We were vanquished and have been exiled. It is for
this that we are wandering miserably over different woody regions
abounding with discomfort. Suyodhana, however, still dissatisfied, gave
himself up to anger, and urged the Kurus as also all those under his sway
to express their joy at our calamity. Having entered into such an
agreement in the presence of all good men, who dareth break it for the
sake of a kingdom on earth? For a respectable person, I think, even death
itself is lighter than the acquisition of sovereignty by an act of
transgression. At the time of the play, thou hadst desired to burn my
hands. Thou wert prevented by Arjuna, and accordingly didst only squeeze
thy own hands. If thou couldst do what thou hadst desired, could this
calamity befall us? Conscious of thy prowess, why didst thou not, O
Bhima, say so before we entered into such an agreement? Overwhelmed with
the consequence of our pledge, and the time itself having passed, what is
the use of thy addressing me these harsh words? O Bhima, this is my great
grief that we could not do anything even beholding Draupadi persecuted in
that way. My heart burneth as if I have drunk some poisonous liquid.
Having, however, given that pledge in the midst of the Kuru heroes, I am
unable to violate it now. Wait, O Bhima, for the return of our better
days, like the scatterer of seeds waiting for the harvest. When one that
hath been first injured, succeedeth in revenging himself upon his foe at
a time when the latter’s enmity hath borne fruit and flowers, he is
regarded to have accomplished a great thing by his prowess. Such a brave
person earneth undying fame. Such a man obtaineth great prosperity. His
enemies bow down unto him, and his friends gather round him, like the
celestials clustering round Indra for protection. But know, O Bhima, my
promise can never be untrue. I regard virtue as superior to life itself
and a blessed state of celestial existence. Kingdom, sons, fame,
wealth,–all these do not come up to even a sixteenth part of truth.’


Bhima said, ‘O king, unsubstantial as thou art like froth, unstable like
a fruit (falling when ripe), dependent on time, and mortal, having
entered into an agreement in respect of time, which is infinite and
immeasurable, quick like a shaft or flowing like a stream, and carrying
everything before it like death itself, how canst regard it as available
by thee? How can he, O son of Kunti, wait whose life is shortened every
moment, even like a quantity of collyrium that is lessened each time a
grain is taken up by the needle? He only whose life is unlimited or who
knoweth with certitude what the period of his life is, and who knoweth
the future as if it were before his eyes, can indeed wait for the arrival
of (an expected) time. If we wait, O king, for thirteen years, that
period, shortening our lives, will bring us nearer to death. Death is
sure to overtake every creature having a corporeal existence. Therefore,
we should strive for the possession of our kingdom before we die. He that
faileth to achieve fame, by failing to chastise his foes, is like an
unclean thing. He is a useless burden on the earth like an incapacitated
bull and perisheth ingloriously. The man who, destitute of strength, and
courage, chastiseth not his foes, liveth in vain, I regard such a one as
low-born. Thy hand can rain gold; thy fame spreadeth over the whole
earth; slaying thy foes, therefore, in battle, enjoy thou the wealth
acquired by the might of thy arms. O repressor of all foes, O king, if a
man slaying his injurer, goeth the very day into hell, that hell becometh
heaven to him. O king, the pain one feeleth in having to suppress one’s
wrath is more burning than fire itself. Even now I burn with it and
cannot sleep in the day or the night. This son of Pritha, called
Vibhatsu, is foremost in drawing the bow-string. He certainly burneth
with grief, though he liveth here like a lion in his den. This one that
desireth to slay without aid all wielders of the bow on earth, represseth
the wrath that riseth in his breast, like a mighty elephant. Nakula,
Sahadeva, and old Kunti–that mother of heroes, are all dumb, desiring to
please thee. And all our friends along with the Srinjayas equally desire
to please thee. I alone, and Prativindhya’s mother speak unto thee
burning with grief. Whatever I speak unto thee is agreeable to all of
them, for all of them plunged in distress, eagerly wish for battle. Then,
O monarch, what more wretched a calamity can overtake us that our kingdom
should be wrested from us by weak and contemptible foes and enjoyed by
them? O king, from the weakness of thy disposition thou feelest shame in
violating thy pledge. But, O slayer of foes, no one applaudeth thee for
thus suffering such pain in consequence of the kindliness of thy
disposition. Thy intellect, O king, seeth not the truth, like that of a
foolish and ignorant person of high birth who hath committed the words of
the Vedas to memory without understanding their sense. Thou art kind like
a Brahmana. How hast thou been born in the Kshatriya order? They that are
born in the Kshatriya order are generally of crooked hearts. Thou hast
heard (recited) the duties of kings, as promulgated by Manu, fraught with
crookedness and unfairness and precepts opposed to tranquillity and
virtue. Why dost thou then, O king, forgive the wicked sons of
Dhritarashtra? Thou hast intelligence, prowess, learning and high birth.
Why dost thou then, O tiger among men, act in respect of thy duties, like
a huge snake that is destitute of motion? O son of Kunti, he that
desireth to conceal us, only wisheth to conceal the mountains of Himavat
by means of a handful of grass. O son of Pritha, known as thou art over
whole earth, thou wilt not be able to live unknown, like the sun that can
never course through the sky unknown to men. Like a large tree in a
well-watered region with spreading branches and flowers and leaves, or
like Indra’s elephant, how will Jishnu live unknown? How also will these
children, the brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, equal unto a couple of young
lions, both live in secret? How, O son of Pritha, will Krishna–the
daughter of Drupada–a princess and mother of heroes, of virtuous deeds
and known over all the world, live unknown? Me also, everybody knoweth
from my boyhood. I do not see how I can live unknown. As well mighty
mountains of Meru be sought to be concealed. Then, again, many kings had
been expelled by us from their kingdom. These kings and princes will all
follow the bad son of Dhritarashtra, for robbed and exiled by us, they
have not still become friendly. Desiring to do good unto Dhritarashtra,
they will certainly seek to injure us. They will certainly set against us
numerous spies in disguise. If these discover us and report their
discovery, a great danger will overtake us. We have already lived in the
woods full thirteen months. Regard them, O king, for their length as
thirteen years. The wise have said that a month is a substitute for a
year, like the pot-herb that is regarded as a substitute for the Soma.
Or, (if thou breakest thy pledge), O king, thou mayst free thyself from
this sin by offering good savoury food to a quiet bull carrying sacred
burdens. Therefore, O king resolve thou to slay thy enemies. There is no
virtue higher than fighting, for every Kshatriya!”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing those words of Bhima, Yudhishthira. the son
of Kunti–tiger among men and slayer of all foes–began to sigh heavily,
and reflect in silence. And he thought within himself, ‘I have heard
recited the duties of kings, also all truths about the duties of the
different orders. He is said to observe those duties truly who keepeth
them before his eyes, so as to regulate his conduct both in the present
and the future. Knowing as I do the true course of virtue, which, however
is so very difficult of being known, how can I forcibly grind virtue down
like grinding the mountains of Meru? Having reflected so for a moment,
and settled what he should do, he replied unto Bhima as follows without
allowing him another word:

“O thou of mighty arms, it is even so as thou hast said. But, O thou
foremost of speakers, listen now to another word I say. Whatever sinful
deeds, O Bhima, one seeketh to achieve, depending on his courage alone,
become always a source of pain. But, O thou of mighty arms, whatever is
begun with deliberation, with well-directed prowess, with all appliances,
and much previous thought, is seen to succeed. The gods themselves favour
such designs. Hear from me something about what, proud of thy might, O
Bhima, and led away by thy restlessness, thou thinkest should be
immediately begun. Bhurisravas, Sala, the mighty Jarasandha, Bhishma,
Drona, Karna, the mighty son of Drona, Dhritarashtra’s sons–Duryodhana
and others–so difficult of being vanquished, are all accomplished in
arms and ever ready for battle with us. Those kings and chiefs of the
earth also who have been injured by us, have all adopted the side of the
Kauravas, and are bound by ties of affection to them. O Bharata, they are
engaged in seeking the good of Duryodhana and not of us. With full
treasures and aided by large forces, they will certainly strive their
best in battle. All the officers also of the Kuru army together with
their sons and relatives, have been honoured by Duryodhana with wealth
and luxuries. Those heroes are also much regarded by Duryodhana. This is
my certain conclusion that they will sacrifice their lives for Duryodhana
in battle. Although the behaviour of Bhishma, Drona, and the illustrious
Kripa, is the same towards us as towards them, yet, O thou of mighty
arms, this is my certain conclusion that in order to pay off the royal
favours they enjoy, they will throw their very lives, than which there is
nothing dearer, in battle. All of them are masters of celestial weapons,
and devoted to the practice of virtue. I think they are incapable of
being vanquished even by gods led by Vasava himself. There is again
amongst them that mighty warrior–Karna–impetuous, and ever wrathful,
master of all weapons, and invincible, and encased in impenetrable mail.
Without first vanquishing in battle all those foremost of men, unaided as
thou art, how canst thou slay Duryodhana? O Vrikodara, I cannot sleep
thinking of the lightness of hand of that Suta’s son, who, I regard, is
the foremost of all wielders of the bow!”

“Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, the
impetuous Bhima became alarmed, and forbore from speaking anything. And
while the sons of Pandu were thus conversing with each other, there came
to that spot the great ascetic Vyasa, the son of Satyavati. And as he
came, the sons of Pandu worshipped him duly. Then that foremost of all
speakers, addressing Yudhishthira, said, O, Yudhishthira, O thou of
mighty arms, knowing by spiritual insight what is passing in thy heart, I
have come to thee, O thou bull among men! The fear that is in thy heart,
arising from Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and Drona’s son,
and prince Duryodhana, and Dussasana, I will dispell, O slayer of all
foes, by means of an act enjoined by the ordinance. Hearing it from me,
accomplish it thou with patience, and having accomplished it, O king,
quell this fever of thine soon.'”

That foremost of speakers then, the son of Parasara, taking Yudhishthira
to a corner, began to address him in words of deep import, saying, ‘O
best of the Bharatas, the time is come for thy prosperity, when, indeed
Dhananjaya–that son of Pritha–will slay all thy foes in battle. Uttered
by me and like unto success personified, accept from me this knowledge
called Pratismriti that I impart to thee, knowing thou art capable of
receiving it. Receiving it (from thee), Arjuna will be able to accomplish
his desire. And let Arjuna, O son of Pandu, go unto Mahendra and Rudra,
and Varuna, and Kuvera, and Yama, for receiving weapon from them. He is
competent to behold the gods for his asceticism and prowess. He is even a
Rishi of great energy, the friend of Narayana; ancient, eternal a god
himself, invincible, ever successful, and knowing no deterioration. Of
mighty arms, he will achieve mighty deeds, having obtained weapons from
Indra, and Rudra, and the Lokapalas, O son of Kunti, think also of going
from this to some other forest that may, O king, be fit for thy abode. To
reside in one place for any length of time is scarcely pleasant. In thy
case, it might also be productive of anxiety to the ascetics. And as thou
maintainest numerous Brahmanas versed in the Vedas and the several
branches thereof, continued residence here might exhaust the deer of this
forest, and be destructive of the creepers and plants.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having addressed him thus, that illustrious and
exalted ascetic Vyasa, of great wisdom, acquired with the mysteries of
the world, then imparted unto the willing Yudhishthira the just, who had
meanwhile purified himself, that foremost of sciences. And bidding
farewell unto the son of Kunti, Vyasa disappeared then and there. The
virtuous and intelligent Yudhishthira, however, having obtained that
knowledge carefully retained it in his mind and always recited it on
proper occasions. Glad of the advice given him by Vyasa, the son of Kunti
then, leaving the wood Dwaitavana went to the forest of Kamyaka on the
banks of the Saraswati. And, O king, numerous Brahmanas of ascetic merit
and versed in the science of orthoepy and orthography, followed him like
the Rishis following the chief of the celestials. Arrived at Kamyaka,
those illustrious bulls amongst the Bharata took up their residence there
along with their friends and attendants. And possessed of energy, those
heroes, O king, lived there for some time, devoted to the exercise of the
bow and hearing all the while the chanting of the Vedas. And they went
about those woods every day in search of deer, armed with pure arrows.
And they duly performed all the rites in honour of the Pitris, the
celestials and the Brahmanas.”


Vaisampayana said, “After some time, Yudhishthira the just, remembering
the command of the Muni (Vyasa) and calling unto himself that bull among
men–Arjuna–possessed of great wisdom, addressed him in private. Taking
hold of Arjuna’s hands, with a smiling face and in gentle accents, that
chastiser of foes–the virtuous Yudhishthira–apparently after reflecting
for a moment, spake these words in private unto Dhananjaya, ‘O Bharata,
the whole science of arms dwelleth in Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and
Karna, and Drona’s son. They fully know all sorts of Brahma and celestial
and human and Vayavya weapons, together with the modes of using and
warding them off. All of them are conciliated and honoured and gratified
by Dhritarashtra’s son who behaveth unto them as one should behave unto
his preceptor. Towards all his warriors Dhritarashtra’s son behaveth with
great affection; and all the chiefs honoured and gratified by him, seek
his good in return. Thus honoured by him, they will not fail to put forth
their might. The whole earth, besides, is now under Duryodhana’s sway,
with all the villages and towns, O son of Pritha, and all the seas and
woods and mines! Thou alone art our sole refuge. On thee resteth a great
burden. I shall, therefore, O chastiser of all foes, tell thee what thou
art to do now. I have obtained a science from Krishna Dwaipayana. Used by
thee, that science will expose the whole universe to thee. O child,
attentively receive thou that science from me, and in due time (by its
aid) attain thou the grace of the celestials. And, O bull of the Bharata
race, devote thyself to fierce asceticism. Armed with the bow and sword,
and cased in mail, betake thyself to austerities and good vows, and go
thou northwards, O child, without giving way to anybody. O Dhananjaya,
all celestial weapons are with Indra. The celestials, from fear of
Vritra, imparted at the time all their might to Sakra. Gathered together
in one place, thou wilt obtain all weapons. Go thou unto Sakra, he will
give thee all his weapons. Taking the bow set thou out this very day in
order to behold Purandara.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, the exalted Yudhishthira the
just, imparted that science unto Arjuna. And the elder brother having
communicated with due rites the knowledge unto his heroic brother, with
speech and body and mind under perfect control, commanded him to depart.
And at the command of Yudhishthira, the strong-armed Arjuna, taking up
the Gandiva as also his inexhaustible quivers, and accoutred in mail and
gauntlets and finger-protectors made of the skin of the guana, and having
poured oblations into the fire and made the Brahmanas to utter
benedictions after gifts, set out (from Kamyaka) with the objects of
beholding Indra. And armed with the bow, the hero, at the time of setting
out heaved a sigh and cast a look upwards for achieving the death of
Dhritarashtra’s sons. And beholding Kunti’s son thus armed and about to
set out, the Brahmanas and Siddhas and invisible spirits addressed him,
saying, ‘O son of Kunti, obtain thou soon what thou wishest.’ And the
Brahmanas, also uttering benedictions said, ‘Achieve thou the object thou
hast in view. Let victory be truly thine.’ And beholding the heroic
Arjuna, of thighs stout as the trunks of the Sala, about to set out
taking away with him the hearts of all, Krishna addressed him saying, ‘O
thou strong-armed one, let all that Kunti had desired at thy birth, and
let all that thou desirest, be accomplished, O Dhananjaya! Let no one
amongst us be ever again born in the order of Kshatriyas. I always bow
down unto the Brahmanas whose mode of living is mendicancy. This is my
great grief that the wretch Duryodhana beholding me in the assembly of
princes mockingly called me a cow! Besides this he told me in the midst
of that assembly many other hard things. But the grief I experience at
parting with thee is far greater than any I felt at those insults.
Certainly, in thy absence, thy brothers will while away their waking
hours in repeatedly talking of thy heroic deeds! If, however, O son of
Pritha, thou stayest away for any length of time, we shall derive no
pleasure from our enjoyments or from wealth. Nay, life itself will be
distasteful to us. O son of Pritha, our weal, and woe, life and death,
our kingdom and prosperity, are all dependent on thee. O Bharata, I bless
thee, let success be thine. O sinless one, thy (present) task thou wilt
be able to achieve even against powerful enemies. O thou of great
strength, go thou to win success with speed. Let dangers be not thine. I
bow to Dhatri and Vidhatri! I bless thee. Let prosperity be thine. And, O
Dhananjaya, let Hri, Sree, Kirti, Dhriti, Pushti, Uma, Lakshmi,
Saraswati, all protect thee on thy way, for thou ever worshippest thy
elder brother and ever obeyest his commands. And, O bull of the Bharata
race, I bow to the Vasus, the Rudras and Adityas, the Manilas, the
Viswadevas, and the Sadhyas, for procuring thy welfare. And, O Bharata,
be thou safe from all spirits of mischief belonging to the sky, the
earth, and the heaven, and from such other spirits generally.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Krishna, the daughter of Yajnasena, having
uttered these benedictions, ceased. The strong-armed son of Pandu then,
having walked round his brothers and round Dhaumya also, and taking up
his handsome bow, set out. And all creatures began to leave the way that
Arjuna of great energy and prowess, urged by the desire of beholding
Indra, took. And that slayer of foes passed over many mountains inhabited
by ascetics, and then reached the sacred Himavat, the resort of the
celestials. And the high-souled one reached the sacred mountain in one
day, for like the winds he was gifted with the speed of the mind, in
consequence of his ascetic austerities. And having crossed the Himavat,
as also the Gandhamadana, he passed over many uneven and dangerous spots,
walking night and day without fatigue. And having reached Indrakila,
Dhananjaya stopped for a moment. And then he heard a voice in the skies,
saying, ‘Stop!’ And hearing that voice, the son of Pandu cast his glances
all around. And Arjuna, capable of using his left hand with skill equal
to that of his right hand, then beheld before him an ascetic under the
shade of a tree, blazing with Brahma brilliancy, of a tawny colour, with
matted locks, and thin. And the mighty ascetic, beholding Arjuna stop at
t at place, addressed him, saying, ‘Who art thou, O child, arrived hither
with bow and arrows, and cased in mail and accoutred in scabbard and
gauntlet, and (evidently) wedded to the customs of the Kshatriya? There
is no need of weapons here. This is the abode of peaceful Brahmanas
devoted to ascetic austerities without anger or joy. There is no use for
the bow here, for there is no dispute in this place of any kind.
Therefore throw away, O child, this bow of thine. Thou hast obtained a
pure state of life by coming here. O hero, there is no man who is like
thee in energy and prowess.’ That Brahmana thus addressed Arjuna, with a
smiling face, repeatedly. But he succeeded not in moving Arjuna, firmly
devoted to his purpose. The regenerate one, glad at heart, smilingly
addressed Arjuna once more, saying, ‘O slayer of foes, blest be thou! I
am Sakra: ask thou the boon thou desirest.’ Thus addressed, that
perpetuator of the Kuru race, the heroic Dhananjaya bending his head and
joining his hands, replied unto him of a thousand eyes, saying, ‘Even
this is the object of my wishes; grant me this boon, O illustrious one. I
desire to learn from thee all the weapons.’ The chief of the celestials
then, smiling, replied unto him cheerfully, saying, ‘O Dhananjaya, when
thou hast reached this region, what need is there of weapons? Thou hast
already obtained a pure state of life. Ask thou for the regions of bliss
that thou desirest.’ Thus addressed, Dhananjaya replied unto him o a
thousand eyes, saying, ‘I desire not regions of bliss, nor objects of
enjoyment, nor the state of a celestial; what is this talk about
happiness? O chief of the celestials, I do not desire the prosperity of
all the gods. Having left my brothers behind me in the forest, and
without avenging myself on the foe, shall I incur the opprobrium for all
ages of all the world.” Thus addressed, the slayer of Vritra, worshipped
of the worlds, consoling him with gentle words, spare unto the son of
Pandu, saying, ‘When thou art able to behold the three-eyed
trident-bearing Siva, the lord of all creatures, it is then, O child,
that I will give thee all the celestial weapons. Therefore, strive thou
to obtain the sight of the highest of the gods; for it is only after thou
hast seen him. O son of Kunti, that thou will obtain all thy wishes.’
Having spoken thus unto Phalguna, Sakra disappeared then and there, and
Arjuna, devoting himself to asceticism, remained at that spot.”


(Kairata Parva)

Janemejaya said, “O illustrious one, I desire to hear in detail the
history of the acquisition of weapons by Arjuna of spotless deeds. O tell
me how that tiger among men, Dhananjaya, of mighty arms and possessed of
great energy, entered that solitary forest without fear. And, O thou
foremost of those acquainted with the Veda, what also did Arjuna do while
dwelling there? How also were the illustrious Sthanu and the chief of the
celestials gratified by him? O thou best of regenerate ones, I desire to
hear all this under thy favour. Thou art omniscient; thou knowest all
about the gods and all about men. O Brahmana, the battle that took place
of old between Arjuna–that foremost of smiters never defeated in
battle–and Bhava was highly extraordinary and without parallel. It
maketh one’s hair stand on end to hear of it. Even the hearts of those
lions among men–the brave sons of Pritha–trembled in consequence of
wonder and joy and a sense of their own inferiority. O tell me in full
what else Arjuna, did I do not see even the most trivial thing to Jishnu
that is censurable. Therefore, recite to me in full the history of that

Vaisampayana said, “O tiger among Kurus, I shall recite to thee that
narration, excellent and extensive and unrivalled, in connection with the
illustrious hero. O sinless one, hear in detail the particulars about
Arjuna’s meeting with the three-eyed god of gods, and his contact with
the illustrious god’s person!

“At Yudhishthira’s command, Dhananjaya of immeasurable prowess set out
(from Kamyaka) to obtain a sight of Sakra, the chief of the celestials
and of Sankara, the god of gods. And the strong-armed Arjuna of great
might set out armed with his celestial bow and a sword with golden hilt,
for the success of the object he had in view, northwards, towards the
summit of the Himavat. And, O king, that first of all warriors in the
three worlds, the son of Indra, with a calm mind, and firmly adhering to
his purpose, then devoted himself, without the loss of any time, to
ascetic austerities. And he entered, all alone, that terrible forest
abounding with thorny plants and trees and flowers and fruits of various
kinds, and inhabited by winged creatures of various species, and swarming
with animals of diverse kinds, and resorted to by Siddhas and Charanas.
And when the son of Kunti entered that forest destitute of human beings,
sounds of conchs and drums began to be heard in the heavens. And a thick
shower of flowers fell upon the earth, and the clouds spreading over the
firmament caused a thick shade. Passing over those difficult and woody
regions at the foot of the great mountains, Arjuna soon reached the
breast of the Himavat; and staying there for sometime began to shine in
his brilliancy. And he beheld there numerous trees with expanding
verdure, resounding with the melodious notes of winged warblers. And he
saw there rivers with currents of the lapis lazuli, broken by the fierce
eddies here and there, and echoing with the notes of swans and ducks and
cranes. And the banks of those rivers resounded with the mellifluous
strains of the male Kokilas and the notes of peacocks and cranes. And the
mighty warrior, beholding those rivers of sacred and pure and delicious
water and their charming banks, became highly delighted. And the
delighted Arjuna of fierce energy and high soul then devoted himself to
rigid austerities in that delightful and woody region. Clad in rags made
of grass and furnished with a black deerskin and a stick, he commenced to
eat withered leaves fallen upon the ground. And he passed the first
month, by eating fruits at the interval of three nights; and the second
by eating at the interval of the six nights; and the third by eating at
the interval of a fortnight. When the fourth month came, that best of the
Bharatas–the strong-armed son of Pandu–began to subsist on air alone.
With arms upraised and leaning upon nothing and standing on the tips of
his toes, he continued his austerities. And the illustrious hero’s locks,
in consequence of frequent bathing took the hue of lightning or the
lotus. Then all the great Rishis went together unto the god of the Pinaka
for representing unto him about the fierce asceticism of Pritha’s son.
And bowing unto that god of gods, they informed him of Arjuna’s
austerities saying, ‘This son of pritha possessed of great energy is
engaged in the most difficult of ascetic austerities on the breast of the
Himavat. Heated with his asceticism, the earth is smoking all round, O
god of gods. We do not know what his object is for which he is engaged in
these austerities. He, however, is causing us pain. It behoveth thee to
prevent him!’ Hearing these words of those munis with souls under perfect
control, the lord of all creatures–the husband of Uma said, ‘It behoveth
you not to indulge in any grief on account of Phalguna! Return ye all
cheerfully and with alacrity to the places whence ye have come. I know
the desire that is in Arjuna’s heart. His wish is not for heaven, nor for
prosperity, nor for long life. And I will accomplish, even, this day, all
that is desired by him.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “The truth-speaking Rishis, having heard these
words of Mahadeva, became delighted, and returned to their respective


Vaisampayana said, “After all those illustrious ascetics had gone away,
that wielder of the Pinaka and cleanser of all sins–the illustrious
Hara–assuming the form of a Kirata resplendent as a golden tree, and
with a huge and stalwart form like a second Meru, and taking up a hand
some bow and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, and
looking like an embodiment of fire, came quickly down on the breast of
Himavat. And the handsome god of gods was accompanied by Uma in the guise
of a Kirata woman, and also by a swarm of merry spirits of various forms
and attire, and by thousands of women in the form and attire of Kiratas.
And, O king, that region suddenly blazed up in beauty, in consequence of
the arrival of the god of gods in such company. And soon enough a solemn
stillness pervaded the place. The sounds of springs, and water-courses,
and of birds suddenly ceased. And as the god of gods approached Pritha’s
son of blameless deeds, he beheld a wonderful sight, even that of a
Danava named Muka, seeking, in the form of a boar, to slay Arjuna.
Phalguna, at the sight of the enemy seeking to slay him, took up the
Gandiva and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison. And
stringing his bow and filling the air with its twang, he addressed the
boar and said, ‘I have come here but done thee no injury. As thou seekest
to slay me, I shall certainly send thee to the abode of Yama.’ And
beholding that firm wielder of the bow–Phalguna–about to slay the boar,
Sankara in the guise of a Kirata suddenly bade him stop saying, ‘The boar
like the mountain of Indrakila in hue hath been aimed at by me first’;
Phalguna, however, disregarding these words, struck the boar. The Kirata
also blazing splendour, let fly an arrow like flaming fire and resembling
the thunderbolt at the same object. And the arrows thus shot by both fell
at the same instant of time upon the wide body of Muka, hard as adamant.
And the two shafts fell upon the boar with a loud sound, even like that
of Indra’s thunderbolt and the thunder of the clouds falling together
upon the breast of a mountain. And Muka, thus struck by two shafts which
produced numerous arrows resembling snakes of blazing mouths, yielded up
his life, assuming once more his terrible Rakshasa form. Jishnu–that
slayer of foes–then beheld before him that person, of form blazing as
god, and attired in the dress of a Kirata and accompanied by many women.
And beholding him, the son of Kunti with a joyous heart addressed him
smilingly and said, ‘Who art thou that thus wanderest in these solitary
woods, surrounded by women? thou of the splendour of gold, art thou not
afraid of this terrible forest? Why, again, didst thou shoot the boar
that was first aimed at by me? This Rakshasa that came hither, listlessly
or with the object, of slaying me, had been first aimed at by me. Thou
shalt not, therefore, escape from me with life. Thy behaviour towards me
is not consistent with the customs of the chase. Therefore, O
mountaineer, I will take thy life.’ Thus addressed by the son of Pandu,
the Kirata, smiling replied unto his capable of wielding the bow with his
left hand, in soft words, saying, ‘O hero, thou needst not be anxious on
my account. This forest land is proper abode for us who always dwell in
the woods. Respecting thyself, however, I may inquire, why thou hast
selected thy abode here amid such difficulties. We, O ascetic, have our
habitation in these woods abounding in animals of all kinds. Why dost
thou, so delicate and brought up in luxury and possessed of the splendour
of fire, dwell alone in such a solitary region?’ Arjuna said, ‘Depending
on the Gandiva and arrows blazing like fire, I live in this great forest,
like a second Pavaki. Thou hast seen how this monster–this terrible
Rakshasa–that came hither in the form of an animal, hath been slain by
me.’ The Kirata replied, ‘This Rakshasa, first struck with the shot from
my bow, was killed and sent to the regions of Yama by me. He was first
aimed at by me. And it is with my shot that he has been deprived of life.
Proud of thy strength, it behoveth thee not to impute thy own fault to
others. Thou art thyself in fault, O wretch, and, therefore, shalt not
escape from me with life. Stay thou: I will shoot at thee shafts like
thunderbolts. Strive thou also and shoot, to the best of thy power, thy
arrows at me.’ Hearing these words of the Kirata, Arjuna became angry,
and attacked him with arrows. The Kirata, however, with a glad heart
received all those shafts upon himself, repeatedly saying, ‘Wretch,
wretch, shoot thou best arrows capable of piercing into the very vitals.’
Thus addressed, Arjuna, began to shower his arrows on him. Both of them
then became angry and, engaging in fierce conflict, began to shoot at
each other showers of arrows, each resembling a snake of virulent poison.
And Arjuna rained a perfect shower of arrows on the Kirata, Sankara,
however, bore that downpour on him with a cheerful heart. But the wielder
of the Pinaka, having borne that shower of arrows for a moment, stood
unwounded, immovable like a hill. Dhananjaya, beholding his arrowy shower
become futile, wondered exceedingly, repeatedly saying, ‘Excellent!
Excellent! Alas, this mountaineer of delicate limbs, dwelling on the
heights of the Himavat, beareth, without wavering, the shafts shot from
the Gandiva! Who is he? Is he Rudra himself, or some other god, or a
Yaksha, or an Asura? The gods sometimes do descend on the heights of the
Himavat. Except the god who wieldeth the Pinaka, there is none rise that
can bear the impetuosity of the thousands of arrows shot by me from the
Gandiva. Whether he is a god or a Yaksha, in fact, anybody except Rudra,
I shall soon send him, with my shafts, to the regions of Yama.’ Thus
thinking, Arjuna, with a cheerful heart, began, O king, to shoot arrows
by hundreds, resembling in splendour the rays of the sun. That downpour
of shafts, however, the illustrious Creator of the worlds–the wielder of
the trident–bore with a glad heart, like a mountain bearing a shower of
rocks. Soon, however, the arrows of Phalguna were exhausted. And noticing
this fact, Arjuna became greatly alarmed. And the son of Pandu then began
to think of the illustrious god Agni who had before, during the burning
of the Khandava, given him a couple of inexhaustible quivers. And he
began to think, ‘Alas, my arrows are all exhausted. What shall I shoot
now from my bow? Who is this person that swalloweth my arrows? Slaying
him with the end of my bow, as elephants are killed with lances, I shall
send him to the domains of the mace-bearing Yama.’ The illustrious Arjuna
then, taking up his bow and dragging the Kirata with his bow-string,
struck him some fierce blows that descended like thunderbolts. When,
however, that slayer of hostile heroes–the son of Kunti–commenced the
conflict with the end of the bow, the mountaineer snatched from his hands
that celestial bow. And beholding his bow snatched from him, Arjuna took
up his sword, and wishing to end the conflict, rushed at his foe. And
then the Kuru prince, with the whole might of his arms, struck that sharp
weapon upon the head of the Kirata, a weapon that was incapable of being
resisted even by solid rocks. But that first of swords, at touch of the
Kirata’s crown, broke into pieces. Phalguna then commenced the conflict
with trees and stones. The illustrious god in the form of the huge-bodied
Kirata, however, bore that shower of trees and rocks with patience. The
mighty son of Pritha then, his mouth smoking with wrath, struck the
invincible god in the form of a Kirata, with hi clenched fists, blows
that descended like thunderbolts. The god in the Kirata form returned
Phalguna’s blows with fierce blows resembling the thunderbolts of Indra.
And in consequence of that conflict of blows between the son of Pandu and
the Kirata, there arose in that place loud and frightful sounds. That
terrible conflict of blows, resembling the conflict of yore between
Vritra and Vasava, lasted but for a moment. The mighty Jishnu clasping
the Kirata began to press him with his breast, but the Kirata, possessed
of great strength pressed the insensible son of Pandu with force. And in
consequence of the pressure of their arms and of their breasts, their
bodies began to emit smoke like charcoal in fire. The great god then,
smiting the already smitten son of Pandu, and attacking him in anger with
his full might, deprived him of his senses. Then, O Bharata, Phalguna,
thus pressed by the god of the gods, with limbs, besides, bruised and
mangled, became incapable of motion and was almost reduced to a ball of
flesh. And struck by the illustrious god, he became breathless and,
falling down on earth without power of moving, looked like one that was
dead. Soon, however, he regained consciousness, and, rising from his
prostrate position, with body covered with blood, became filled with
grief. Mentally prostrating himself before the gracious god of gods, and
making a clay image of that deity, he worshipped it, with offerings of
floral garlands. Beholding, however, the garland that he had offered to
the clay image of Bhava, decking the crown of the Kirata, that best of
Pandu’s sons became filled with joy and regained his ease. And he
prostrated himself thereupon at the feet of Bhava, and the god also was
pleased with him. And Hara, beholding the wonder of Arjuna and seeing
that his body had been emaciated with ascetic austerities, spake unto him
in a voice deep as the roaring of the clouds, saying, ‘O Phalguna, I have
been pleased with thee for thy act is without a parallel. There is no
Kshatriya who is equal to thee in courage, and patience. And, O sinless
one, thy strength and prowess are almost equal to mine. O mighty-armed
one, I have been pleased with thee. Behold me, O bull of the Bharata
race! O large-eyed one! I will grant thee eyes (to see me in my true
form). Thou wert a Rishi before. Thou wilt vanquish all thy foes, even
the dwellers of heaven; I will as I have been pleased with thee, grant
thee an irresistible weapon. Soon shall thou be able to wield that weapon
of mine.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Phalguna then beheld him–Mahadeva–that god of
blazing splendour-that wielder of the Pinaka-that one who had his abode
on the mountains (of Kailasa)–accompanied by Uma. Bending down on his
knee and bowing with his head, that conqueror of hostile cities-the son
of Pritha-worshipped Hara and inclined him to grace. And Arjuna said, ‘O
Kapardin, O chief of all gods, O destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, O god of
gods, O Mahadeva, O thou of blue throat, O thou of matted locks, I know
thee as the Cause of all causes. O thou of three eyes, O lord of all!
Thou art the refuge of all the gods! This universe hath sprung from thee.
Thou art incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds of the
celestials, the Asuras, and men. Thou art Siva in the form of Vishnu, and
Vishnu in the form of Siva. Thou destroyedest of old the great sacrifice
of Daksha. O Hari, O Rudra, I bow to thee. Thou hast an eye on thy
forehead. O Sarva, O thou that rainest objects of desire, O bearer of the
trident, O wielder of the Pinaka, O Surya, O thou of pure body, O Creator
of all, I bow to thee. O lord of all created things, I worship thee to
obtain thy grace. Thou art the lord of the Ganas, the source of universal
blessing, the Cause of the causes of the universe. Thou art beyond the
foremost of male beings, thou art the highest, thou art the subtlest, O
Hara! O illustrious Sankara, it behoveth thee to pardon my fault. It was
even to obtain a sight of thyself that I came to this great mountain,
which is dear to thee and which is the excellent abode of ascetics. Thou
art worshipped of all worlds. O lord, I worship thee to obtain thy grace.
Let not this rashness of mine be regarded as a fault–this combat in
which I was engaged with thee from ignorance. O Sankara, I seek thy
protection. Pardon me all I have done.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Endued with great might, the god whose sign was
the bull, taking into his the handsome hands of Arjuna, smilingly replied
unto him, saying, ‘I have pardoned thee. And the illustrious Hara,
cheerfully clasping Arjuna with his arms, once more consoling Arjuna said
as follows.”


“Mahadeva said, ‘Thou wert in thy former life Nara, the friend of
Narayana. In Vadari wert thou engaged in fierce ascetic austerities for
several thousands of years. In thee as well as in Vishnu–that first of
male beings–dwelleth great might. Ye both, by your might, hold the
universe; O lord, taking up that fierce bow whose twang resembled the
deep roar of the clouds, thou, as well as Krishna, chastisedest the
Danavas during the coronation of Indra. Even this Gandiva is that bow, O
son of Pritha, fit for thy hands. O foremost of male beings, I snatched
it from thee, helped by my powers of illusion. This couple of quivers,
fit for thee, will again be inexhaustible, O son of Pritha! And, O son of
the Kuru race, thy body will be free from pain and disease. Thy prowess
is incapable of being baffled. I have been pleased with thee. And, O
first of male beings, ask thou of me the boon that thou desirest. O
chastiser of all foes, O giver of proper respect, (to those deserving it)
not even in heaven is there any male being who is equal to thee, nor any
Kshatriya who is thy superior.’

“Arjuna said, ‘O illustrious god having the bull for thy sign, if thou
wilt grant me my desire, I ask of thee, O lord that fierce celestial
weapon wielded by thee and called Brahmasira–that weapon of terrific
prowess which destroyeth, at the end of the Yuga the entire
universe–that weapon by the help of which, O god of gods, I may under
thy grace, obtain victory in the terrible conflict which shall take place
between myself (on one side), and Karna and Bhishma and Kripa and Drona
(on the other)–that weapon by which I may consume in battle Danavas and
Rakshasas and evil spirits and Pisachas and Gandharvas and Nagas–that
weapon which when hurled with Mantras produceth darts by thousands and
fierce-looking maces and arrows like snakes of virulent poison, and by
means of which I may fight with Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna of
ever abusive tongue, O illustrious destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, even
this is my foremost desire, viz., that I may be able to fight with them
and obtain success.’

Bhava replied, ‘O powerful one. I will give to thee that favourite weapon
of mine called the Pasuputa. O son of Pandu, thou art capable of holding,
hurling, and withdrawing it. Neither the chief himself of the gods, nor
Yama, nor the king of the Yakshas, nor Varuna, nor Vayu, knoweth it. How
could men know anything of it? But, O son of Pritha, this weapon should
not be hurled without adequate cause; for if hurled at any foe of little
might it may destroy the whole universe. In the three worlds with all
their mobile and immobile creatures, there is none who is incapable of
being slain by this weapon. And it may be hurled by the mind, by the eye,
by words, and by the bow.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words, the son of Pritha purified
himself. And approaching the lord of the universe with rapt attention, he
said, ‘Instruct me!’ Mahadeva then imparted unto that best of Pandu’s son
the knowledge of that weapon looking like the embodiment of Yama,
together with all the mysteries about hurling and withdrawing it. And
that weapon thence began to wait upon Arjuna as it did upon Sankara, the
lord of Uma. And Arjuna also gladly accepted it. And at the moment the
whole earth, with its mountains and woods and trees and seas and forests
and villages and towns and mines, trembled. And the sounds of conchs and
drums and trumpets by thousands began to be heard. And at that moment
hurricanes and whirlwinds began to blow. And the gods and the Danavas
beheld that terrible weapon in its embodied form stay by the side of
Arjuna of immeasurable energy. And whatever of evil there had been in the
body of Phalguna of immeasurable energy was all dispelled by the touch of
the three-eyed deity. And the three eyed god then commanded Arjuna,
saying, ‘Go thou into heaven.’ Arjuna then, O king, worshipping the god
with bent head, gazed at him, with joined hands. Then the lord of all the
dwellers of heaven, the deity of blazing splendour having his abode on
mountain-breasts, the husband of Uma, the god of passions under complete
control, the source of all blessings, Bhava gave unto Arjuna, that
foremost of men, the great bow called Gandiva, destructive of Danavas and
Pisachas. And the god of gods, then leaving that blessed mountain with
snowy plateaus and vales and caves, favourite resort of sky-ranging great
Rishis, went up, accompanied by Uma into the skies, in the sight of that
foremost of men.”


Vaisampayana said, “The wielder of the Pinaka, having the bull for his
sign, thus disappeared in the very sight of the gazing son of Pandu, like
the sun setting in the sight of the world. Arjuna, that slayer of hostile
heroes, wondered much at this, saying, ‘O, I have seen the great god of
gods. ‘Fortunate, indeed I am, and much favoured, for I have both beheld
and touched with my hand the three-eyed Hara the wielder of the Pinaka,
in his boon-giving form. I shall win success. I am already great. My
enemies have already been vanquished by me. My purposes have been already
achieved.’ And while the son of Pritha, endued with immeasurable energy,
was thinking thus, there came to that place Varuna the god of waters,
handsome and of the splendour of the lapis lazuli accompanied by all
kinds of aquatic creatures, and filling all the points of the horizon
with a blazing effulgence. And accompanied by Rivers both male and
female, and Nagas, and Daityas and Sadhyas and inferior deities, Varuna,
the controller and lord of all aquatic creatures, arrived at that spot.
There came also the lord Kuvera of body resembling pure gold, seated on
his car of great splendour, and accompanied by numerous Yakshas. And the
lord of treasures, possessed of great beauty, came there to see Arjuna,
illuminating the firmament with his effulgence. And there came also Yama
himself, of great beauty, the powerful destroyer of all the worlds,
accompanied by those lords of the creation–the Pitris–both embodied and
disembodied. And the god of justice, of inconceivable soul, the son of
Surya, the destroyer of all creatures, with the mace in hand, came there
on his car, illuminating the three worlds with regions of the Guhyakas,
the Gandharvas and the Nagas, like a second Surya as he riseth at the end
of the Yuga. Having arrived there, they beheld, from the effulgent and
variegated summits of the great mountain, Arjuna engaged in ascetic
austerities. And there came in a moment the illustrious Sakra also,
accompanied by his queen, seated on the back of (the celestial elephant)
Airavata, and surrounded also by all the deities. And in consequence of
the white umbrella being held over his head, he looked like the moon amid
fleecy clouds. And eulogised by Gandharvas, and Rishis endued with wealth
of asceticism, the chief of the celestials alighted on a particular
summit of the mountain, like a second sun. Then Yama possessed of great
intelligence, and fully conversant with virtue, who had occupied a summit
on the south, in a voice deep as that of the clouds, said these
auspicious words, ‘Arjuna, behold us, the protectors of the worlds,
arrive here! We will grant thee (spiritual) vision, for thou deservest to
behold us. Thou wert in thy former life a Rishi of immeasurable soul,
known as Nara of great might At the command, O child, of Brahma, thou
hast been born among men! O sinless one, by thee shall be vanquished in
battle the highly virtuous grandsire of the Kurus–Bhishma of great
energy–who is born of the Vasus. Thou shalt also defeat all the
Kshatriyas of fiery energy commanded by the son of Bharadwaja in battle.
Thou shalt also defeat those Danavas of fierce prowess that have been
born amongst men, and those Danavas also that are called Nivatakavachas.
And, O son of the Kuru race, O Dhananjaya, thou shalt also slay Karna of
fierce prowess, who is even a portion of my father Surya, of energy
celebrated throughout the worlds. And, O son of Kunti, smiter of all
foes, thou shalt also slay all the portions of celestials and Danavas and
the Rakshasas that have been incarnate on earth. And slain by thee, these
shall attain to the regions earned by them according to their acts. And,
O Phalguna, the fame of thy achievements will last for ever in the world:
thou hast gratified Mahadeva himself in conflict. Thou shalt, with Vishnu
himself, lighten the burden of the earth. O accept this weapon of
mine–the mace I wield incapable of being baffled by any body. With this
weapon thou wilt achieve great deeds.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “O Janamejaya, the son of Pritha then received
from Yama that weapon duly, along with the Mantras and rite, and the
mysteries of hurling and withdrawing it. Then Varuna, the lord of all
aquatic creatures, blue as the clouds, from a summit he had occupied on
the west, uttered these words, ‘O son of Pritha, thou art the foremost of
Kshatriyas, and engaged in Kshatriya practices. O thou of large coppery
eyes, behold me! I am Varuna, the lord of waters. Hurled by me, my nooses
are incapable of being resisted. O son of Kunti, accept of me these
Varuna weapons along with the mysteries of hurling and withdrawing them.
With these, O hero, in the battle that ensued of your on account of
Taraka (the wife of Vrihaspati), thousands of mighty Daityas were seized
and tied. Accept them of me. Even if Yama himself by thy foe, with these
in thy hands, he will not be able to escape from thee. When thou wilt
armed with these, range over the field of battle, the land, beyond doubt,
will be destitute of Kshatriyas.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “After both Varuna and Yama had given away their
celestial weapons, the lord of treasures having his home on the heights
of Kailasa, then spake, ‘O son of Pandu, O thou of great might and
wisdom, I too have been pleased with thee. And this meeting with thee
giveth me as much pleasure as a meeting with Krishna. O wielder of the
bow with the left hand, O thou of mighty arms, thou wert a god before,
eternal (as other gods). In ancient Kalpas, thou hadst every day gone
through ascetic austerities along with us. O best of men, I grant thee
celestial vision. O thou of mighty arms, thou wilt defeat even invincible
Daityas and Danavas. Accept of me also without loss of time, an excellent
weapon. With this thou wilt be able to consume the ranks of
Dhritarashtra. Take then this favourite weapon of mine called
Antarddhana. Endued with energy and prowess and splendour, it is capable
of sending the foe to sleep. When the illustrious Sankara slew Tripura,
even this was the weapon which he shot and by which many mighty Asuras
were consumed. O thou of invincible prowess I take it up for giving it to
thee. Endued with the dignity of the Meru, thou art competent to hold
this weapon.'”

“After these words had been spoken, the Kuru prince Arjuna endued with
great strength, duly received from Kuvera that celestial weapon. Then the
chief of the celestials addressing Pritha’s son of ceaseless deeds in
sweet words, said, in a voice deep as that the clouds or the kettle-drum,
‘O thou mighty-armed son of Kunti, thou art an ancient god. Thou hast
already achieved the highest success, and acquired the statue of a god.
But, O represser of foes, thou hast yet to accomplish the purposes of the
gods. Thou must ascend to heaven. Therefore prepare thou O hero of great
splendour! My own car with Matali as charioteer, will soon descend on the
earth. Taking thee, O Kaurava, to heaven, I will grant thee there all my
celestial weapons.'”

“Beholding those protectors of the worlds assembled together on the
heights of Himavat, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, wondered much, Endued
with great energy, he then duly worshipped the assembled Lokapalas, with
words, water, and fruits. The celestials then returning that worship,
went away. And the gods capable of going everywhere at will, and endued
with the speed of the mind, returned to the places whence they had come.”

“That bull among men–Arjuna–having obtained weapons thus, was filled
with pleasure. And he regarded himself as one whose desires had been
fulfilled and who was crowned with success.”


(Indralokagamana Parva)

Vaisampayana said, “After the Lokapalas had gone away, Arjuna–that
slayer of all foes–began to think, O monarch, of the car of Indra! And
as Gudakesa gifted with great intelligence was thinking of it, the car
endued with great effulgence and guided by Matali, came dividing the
clouds and illuminating the firmament and filling the entire welkin with
its rattle deep as the roar of mighty masses of clouds. Swords, and
missiles of terrible forms and maces of frightful description, and winged
darts of celestials splendour and lightnings of the brightest effulgence,
and thunderbolts, and propellors furnished with wheels and worked with
atmosphere expansion and producing sounds loud as the roar of great
masses of clouds, were on that car. And there were also on that car
fierce and huge-bodied Nagas with fiery mouths, and heaps of stones white
as the fleecy clouds. And the car was drawn by ten thousands of horses of
golden hue, endued with the speed of the wind. And furnished with prowess
of illusion, the car was drawn with such speed that the eye could hardly
mark its progress. And Arjuna saw on that car the flag-staff called
Vaijayanta, of blazing effulgence, resembling in hue the emerald or the
dark-blue lotus, and decked with golden ornaments and straight as the
bamboo. And beholding a charioteer decked in gold seated on that car, the
mighty-armed son of Pritha regarded it as belonging to the celestials.
And while Arjuna was occupied with his thoughts regarding the car, the
charioteer Matali, bending himself after descending from the car,
addressed him, saying, ‘O lucky son of Sakra! Sakra himself wisheth to
see thee. Ascend thou without loss of time this car that hath been sent
by Indra. The chief of the immortals, thy father–that god of a hundred
sacrifices–hath commanded me, saying, ‘Bring the son of Kunti hither.
Let the gods behold him.’ And Sankara himself, surrounded by the
celestials and Rishis and Gandharvas and Apsaras, waiteth to behold thee.
At the command of the chastiser of Paka, therefore, ascend thou with me
from this to the region of the celestials. Thou wilt return after
obtaining weapons.'”

“Arjuna replied, ‘O Matali, mount thou without loss of time this
excellent car, a car that cannot be attained even by hundreds of Rajasuya
and horse sacrifices. Even kings of great prosperity who have performed
great sacrifices distinguished by large gifts (to Brahmanas), even gods
and Danavas are not competent to ride this car. He that hath not ascetic
merit is not competent to even see or touch this car, far less to ride on
it. O blessed one, after thou hast ascended, it, and after the horses
have become still, I will ascend it, like a virtuous man stepping into
the high-road of honesty.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Matali, the charioteer of Sakra, hearing these
words of Arjuna, soon mounted the car and controlled the horses. Arjuna
then, with a cheerful heart, purified himself by a bath in the Ganges.
And the son of Kunti then duly repeated (inaudibly) his customary
prayers. He then, duly and according to the ordinance, gratified the
Pitris with oblations of water. And, lastly, he commenced to invoke the
Mandara–that king of mountains–saying, ‘O mountain, thou art ever the
refuge of holy, heaven-seeking Munis of virtuous conduct and behaviour.
It is through thy grace, O mountain, that Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and
Vaisyas attain heaven, and their anxieties gone, sport with the
celestials. O king of mountains, O mountain, thou art the asylum of
Munis, and thou holdest on thy breast numerous sacred shrines. Happily
have I dwelt on thy heights. I leave thee now, bidding thee farewell. Oft
have I seen thy tablelands and bowers, thy springs and brooks, and the
sacred shrines on thy breast. I have also eaten the savoury fruits
growing on thee, and have slated my thirst with draughts of perfumed
water oozing from the body. I have also drunk the water of thy springs,
sweet as amrita itself. O mountain, as a child sleepeth happily on the
lap of his father, so have I, O king of mountains, O excellent one,
sported on thy breast, echoing with the notes of Apsaras and the chanting
of the Vedas. O mountain, every day have I lived happily on thy
tablelands.’ Thus having bidden farewell to the mountain, that slayer of
hostile heroes–Arjuna–blazing like the Sun himself, ascended the
celestial car. And the Kuru prince gifted with great intelligence, with a
glad heart, coursed through the firmament on that celestial car effulgent
as the sun and of extra-ordinary achievements. And after he had become
invisible to the mortals of the earth, he beheld thousands of cars of
extra-ordinary beauty. And in that region there was no sun or moon or
fire to give light, but it blazed in light of its own, generated by
virtue of ascetic merit. And those brilliant regions that are seen from
the earth in the form of stars, like lamps (in the sky)–so small in
consequence of their distance, though very large–were beheld by the son
of Pandu, stationed in their respective places, full of beauty and
effulgence and blazing with splendour all their own. And there he beheld
royal sages crowned with ascetic success, and heroes who had yielded up
their lives in battle, and those that had acquired heaven by their
ascetic austerities, by hundreds upon hundreds. And there were also
Gandharvas, of bodies blazing like the sun, by thousands upon thousands,
as also Guhyakas and Rishis and numerous tribes of Apsaras. And beholding
those self-effulgent regions, Phalguna became filled with wonder, and
made enquiries of Matali. And Matali also gladly replied unto him,
saying, ‘These, O son of Pritha, are virtuous persons stationed in their
respective places. It is these whom thou hast seen, O exalted one, as
stars, from the earth.’ Then Arjuna saw standing at the gates (Indra’s
region) the handsome and ever victorious elephant–Airavata–furnished
with four tusks, and resembling the mountain of Kailasa with its summits.
And coursing along that path of the Siddhas, that foremost of the Kurus
and the son of Pandu, sat in beauty like Mandhata–that best of kings.
Endued with eyes like lotus leaves, he passed through the region set
apart for virtuous kings. And the celebrated Arjuna having thus passed
through successive regions of heaven at last beheld Amaravati, the city
of Indra.”


Vaisampayana said, “And the city of Indra which Arjuna saw was delightful
and was the resort of Siddhas and Charanas. And it was adorned with the
flowers of every season, and with sacred trees of all kinds. And he
beheld also celestial gardens called Nandana–the favourite resort of
Apsaras. And fanned by the fragrant breezes charged with the farina of
sweet-scented flowers, the trees with their lord of celestial blossoms
seemed to welcome him amongst them. And the region was such that none
could behold it who had not gone through ascetic austerities, or who had
not poured libations on fire. It was a region for the virtuous alone, and
not for those who had turned their back on the field of battle. And none
were competent to see it who had not performed sacrifices or observed
rigid vows, or who were without a knowledge of the Vedas, or who had not
bathed in sacred waters, or who were not distinguished for sacrifices and
gifts. And none were competent to see it who were disturbers of
sacrifices, or who were low, or who drank intoxicating liquors, or who
were violators of their preceptors’ bed, or who were eaters of
(unsanctified) meat, or who were wicked. And having beheld those
celestial gardens resounding with celestial music, the strong-armed son
of Pandu entered the favourite city of Indra. And he beheld there
celestial cars by thousands, capable of going everywhere at will,
stationed in proper places. And he saw tens of thousands of such cars
moving in every direction. And fanned by pleasant breezes charged with
the perfumes of flowers, the son of Pandu was praised by Apsaras and
Gandharvas. And the celestials then, accompanied by the Gandharvas and
Siddhas and great Rishis, cheerfully reverenced Pritha’s son of white
deeds. Benedictions were poured upon him, accompanied by the sounds of
celestial music. The strong-armed son of Pritha then heard around him the
music of conchs and drums. And praised all around, the son of Pritha then
went, at the command of Indra, to that large and extensive starry way
called by the name of Suravithi. There he met with the Sadhyas, the
Viswas, the Marutas, the twin Aswins, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras,
the Brahmarshis of the great splendour, and numerous royal sages with
Dilipa at their head, and Tumvura and Narada, and that couple of
Gandharvas known by the names of Haha and Huhu. And the Kuru prince–that
chastiser of foes–having met and duly saluted them, last of all beheld
the chief of the celestials–the god of a hundred sacrifices. Then the
strong-armed son of Pritha, alighting from the car approached the lord
himself of the gods–his father–that chastiser of Paka. And a beautiful
white umbrella furnished with a golden staff was held over the chief of
the celestials. And he was fanned with a Chamara perfumed with celestial
scents. And he was eulogised by many Gandharvas headed by Viswavasu and
others, by bards and singers, and by foremost Brahmanas chanting Rik and
Yajus hymns. And the mighty son of Kunti, approaching Indra, saluted him
by bending his head to the ground. And Indra thereupon embraced him with
his round and plump arms. And taking his hand, Sakra made him sit by him
on a portion of his own seat, that sacred seat which was worshipped by
gods and Rishis. And the lord of the celestials-that slayer of hostile
heroes–smelt the head of Arjuna bending in humility, and even took him
upon his lap. Seated on Sakra’s seat at the command of that god of a
thousand eyes, Pritha’s son of immeasurable energy began to blaze in
splendour like a second Indra. And moved by affection, the slayer of
Vritra, consoling Arjuna, touched his beautiful face with his own
perfumed hands. And the wielder of the thunderbolt, patting and rubbing
gently again and again with his own hands which bore the marks of the
thunderbolt the handsome and huge arms of Arjuna which resembled a couple
of golden columns and which were hard in consequence of drawing the
bowstring and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly, like the sun and
moon god of a thousand eyes–eyeing his son of curly locks smilingly and
with eyes expanded with delight, seemed scarcely to be gratified. The
more he gazed, the more he liked to gaze on. And seated on one seat, the
father and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly, like the sun and moon
beautifying the firmament together on the fourteenth day of the dark
fortnight. And a band of Gandharvas headed by Tumvuru skilled in music
sacred and profane, sang many verses in melodious notes. And Ghritachi
and Menaka and Rambha and Purvachitti and Swayamprabha and Urvasi and
Misrakesi and Dandagauri and Varuthini and Gopali and Sahajanya and
Kumbhayoni and Prajagara and Chitrasena and Chitralekha and Saha and
Madhuraswana, these and others by thousands, possessed of eyes like lotus
leaves, who were employed in enticing the hearts of persons practising
rigid austerities, danced there. And possessing slim waists and fair
large hips, they began to perform various evolutions, shaking their deep
bosoms, and casting their glances around, and exhibiting other attractive
attitude capable of stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the


Vaisampayana said, “The gods and the Gandharvas then, understanding the
wishes of India, procured an excellent Arghya and reverenced the son of
Pritha in a hurry. And giving water to wash both his feet and face, they
caused the prince to enter the palace of Indra. And thus worshipped,
Jishnu continued to live in the abode of his father. And the son of Pandu
continued all the while to acquire celestial weapons, together with the
means of withdrawing them. And he received from the hands of Sakra his
favourite weapon of irresistible force, viz., the thunder-bolt and those
other weapons also, of tremendous roar, viz., the lightnings of heaven,
whose flashes are inferable from the appearance of clouds and (the
dancing of) peacocks. And the son of Pandu, after he had obtained those
weapons, recollected his brothers. And at the command of Indra, however,
he lived for full five years in heaven, surrounded by every comfort and

“After some time, when Arjuna had obtained all the weapons. Indra
addressed him in due time, saying, ‘O son of Kunti, learn thou music and
dancing from Chitrasena. Learn the instrumental music that is current
among the celestials and which existeth not in the world of men, for, O
son of Kunti, it will be to thy benefit. And Purandara gave Chitrasena as
a friend unto Arjuna. And the son of Pritha lived happily in peace with
Chitrasena. And Chitrasena instructed Arjuna all the while in music;
vocal and instrumental and in dancing. But the active Arjuna obtained no
peace of mind, remembering the unfair play at dice of Sakuni, the son of
Suvala, and thinking with rage of Dussasana and his death. When however,
his friendship with Chitrasena had ripened fully, he at times learned the
unrivalled dance and music practised among the Gandharvas. And at last
having learnt various kinds of dance and diverse species of music, both
vocal and instrumental, that slayer of hostile heroes obtained no peace
of mind remembering his brothers and mother Kunti.”


Vaisampayana said, “One day, knowing that Arjuna’s glances were cast upon
Urvasi, Vasava, calling Chitrasena to himself, addressed him in private
saying, ‘O king of Gandharvas, I am pleased; go thou as my messenger to
that foremost of Apsaras, Urvasi, and let her wait upon that tiger among
men, Phalguna. Tell her, saying these words of mine, ‘As through my
instrumentality Arjuna hath learnt all the weapons and other arts,
worshipped by all, so shouldst thou make him conversant with the arts of
acquitting one’s self in female company.’ Thus addressed by Indra, the
chief of the Gandharvas in obedience to that command of Vasava, soon went
to Urvasi that foremost of Apsaras. And as he saw her, she recognised him
and delighted him by the welcome she offered and the salutation she gave.
And seated at ease he then smilingly addressed Urvasi, who also was
seated at ease, saying, ‘Let it be known, O thou of fair hips, that I
come hither despatched by the one sole lord of heaven who asketh of thee
a favour. He who is known amongst gods and men for his many inborn
virtues, for his grace, behaviour, beauty of person, vows and
self-control; who is noted for might and prowess, and respected by the
virtuous, and ready-witted; who is endued with genius and splendid
energy, is of a forgiving temper and without malice of any kind; who hath
studied the four Vedas with their branches, and the Upanishads, and the
Puranas also; who is endued with devotion to his preceptors and with
intellect possessed of the eight attributes, who by his abstinence,
ability, origin and age, is alone capable of protecting the celestial
regions like Mahavat himself; who is never boastful; who showeth proper
respect to all; who beholdeth the minutest things as clearly as if those
were gross and large; who is sweet-speeched; who showereth diverse kinds
of food and drink on his friends and dependents; who is truthful,
worshipped of all, eloquent, handsome, and without pride; who is kind to
those devoted to him, and universally pleasing and dear to all; who is
firm in promise; who is equal to even Mahendra and Varuna in respect of
every desirable attribute, viz., Arjuna, is known to thee. O Urvasi, know
thou that hero is to be made to taste the joys of heaven. Commanded by
Indra, let him today obtain thy feet. Do this, O amiable one, for
Dhananjaya is inclined to thee.’

“Thus addressed, Urvasi of faultless features assumed a smiling face, and
receiving the words of the Gandharva with high respect, answered with a
glad heart, saying, ‘Hearing of the virtues that should adorn men, as
unfolded by thee, I would bestow my favours upon any one who happened to
possess them. Why should I not then, choose Arjuna for a lover? At the
command of Indra, and for my friendship for thee, and moved also by the
numerous virtues of Phalguna, I am already under the influence of the god
of love. Go thou, therefore, to the place thou desirest. I shall gladly
go to Arjuna.'”


Vaisampayana said, ‘Having thus sent away the Gandharva successful in his
mission, Urvasi of luminous smiles, moved by the desire of possessing
Phalguna, took a bath. And having performed her ablutions, she decked
herself in charming ornaments and splendid garlands of celestial odour.
And inflamed by the god of love, and her heart pierced through and
through by the shafts shot by Manmatha keeping in view the beauty of
Arjuna, and her imagination wholly taken up by the thoughts of Arjuna,
she mentally sported with him on a wide and excellent bed laid over with
celestial sheets. And when the twilight had deepened and the moon was up,
that Apsara of high hips sent out for the mansions of Arjuna. And in that
mood and with her crisp, soft and long braids decked with bunches of
flowers, she looked extremely beautiful. With her beauty and grace, and
the charm of the motions of her eye-brows and of her soft accents, and
her own moon like face, she seemed to tread, challenging the moon
himself. And as she proceeded, her deep, finely tapering bosoms, decked
with a chain of gold and adorned with celestial unguents and smeared with
fragrant sandal paste, began to tremble. And in consequence of the weight
of her bosoms, she was forced to slightly stoop forward at every step,
bending her waist exceedingly beautiful with three folds. And her loins
of faultless shape, the elegant abode of the god of love, furnished with
fair and high and round hips and wide at their lower part as a hill, and
decked with chains of gold, and capable of shaking the saintship of
anchorites, being decked with thin attire, appeared highly graceful. And
her feet with fair suppressed ankles, and possessing flat soles and
straight toes of the colour of burnished copper and dorsum high and
curved like tortoise back and marked by the wearing of ornaments
furnished with rows of little bells, looked exceedingly handsome. And
exhilarated with a little liquor which she had taken, and excited by
desire, and moving in diverse attitudes and expressing a sensation of
delight, she looked more handsome than usual. And though heaven abounded
with many wonderful objects, yet when Urvasi proceeded in this manner,
the Siddhas and Charanas and Gandharvas regarded her to be the handsomest
object they had cast their eyes upon. And the upper half of her body clad
in an attire of fine texture and cloudy hues, she looked resplendent like
a digit of the moon in the firmament shrouded by fleecy clouds. And
endued with the speed of the winds or the mind, she of luminous smiles
soon reached the mansion of Phalguna, the son of Pandu. And, O best of
men, Urvasi of beautiful eyes, having arrived at the gate of Arjuna’s
abode, sent word through the keeper in attendance. And (on receiving
permission), she soon entered that brilliant and charming palace. But, O
monarch, upon beholding her at night in his mansion, Arjuna, with a
fearstricken heart, stepped up to receive her with respect and as soon as
he saw her, the son of Pritha, from modesty, closed his eyes. And
saluting her, he offered the Apsara such worship as is offered unto a
superior. And Arjuna said, ‘O thou foremost of the Apsaras, I reverence
thee by bending my head down. O lady, let me know thy commands. I wait
upon thee as thy servant.'”

Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Phalguna, Urvasi became
deprived of her senses. And she soon represented unto Arjuna all that had
passed between her and the Gandharva, Chitrasena. And she said, ‘O best
of men, I shall tell thee all that hath passed between me and Chitrasena,
and why I have come hither. On account of thy coming here, O Arjuna,
Mahendra had convened a large and charming assembly, in which celestial
festivities were held. Unto that assembly came, O best of men, the Rudras
and the Adityas and the Aswins and the Vasus. And there came also numbers
of great Rishis and royal sages and Siddhas and Charanas and Yakshas and
great Nagas. And, O thou of expansive eyes, the members of the assembly
resplendent as fire or the sun or the moon, having taken their seats
according to rank, honour, and prowess, O son of Sakra, the Gandharvas
began to strike the Vinas and sing charming songs of celestial melody.
And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, the principal Apsaras also commenced
to dance. Then, O son of Pritha, thou hadst looked on me only with a
steadfast gaze. When that assembly of the celestials broke, commanded by
thy father, the gods went away to their respective places. And the
principal Apsaras also went away to their abodes, and others also, O
slayer of foes, commanded by thy father and obtaining his leave. It was
then that Chitrasena sent to me by Sakra, and arriving at my abode. O
thou of eyes like lotus leaves, he addressed me, saying, ‘O thou of the
fairest complexion, I have been sent unto thee by the chief of the
celestials. Do thou something that would be agreeable to Mahendra and
myself and to thyself also. O thou of fair hips, seek thou to please
Arjuna, who is brave in battle even like Sakra himself, and who is always
possessed of magnanimity.’ Even these, O son of Pritha, were his words.
Thus, O sinless one, commanded by him and thy father also, I come to thee
in order to wait upon thee, O slayer of foes. My heart hath been
attracted by thy virtues, and am already under the influence of the god
of love. And, O hero, even this is my wish, and I have cherished it for

Vaisampayana continued, “While in heaven, hearing her speak in this
strain, Arjuna was overcome with bashfulness. And shutting his ears with
his hands, he said, ‘O blessed lady, fie on my sense of hearing, when
thou speakest thus to me. For, O thou of beautiful face, thou art
certainly equal in my estimation unto the wife of a superior. Even as
Kunti here even this is my wish, and I have cherished it for ever!”

[Some text is obviously missing here–JBH] of high fortune or Sachi the
queen of Indra, art thou to me, O auspicious one, of this there is no
doubt! That I had gazed particularly at thee, O blessed one, is true.
There was a reason for it. I shall truly tell it to thee, O thou of
luminous smiles! In the assembly I gazed at thee with eyes expanded in
delight, thinking, ‘Even this blooming lady is the mother of the Kaurava
race.’ O blessed Apsara, it behoveth thee not to entertain other feelings
towards me, for thou art superior to my superiors, being the parent of my

“Hearing these words of Arjuna, Urvasi answered, saying, ‘O son of The
chief of the celestials, we Apsaras are free and unconfined in our
choice. It behoveth thee not, therefore, to esteem me as thy superior.
The sons and grandsons of Puru’s race, that have come hither in
consequence of ascetic merit do all sport with us, without incurring any
sin. Relent, therefore, O hero, it behoveth thee not to send me away. I
am burning with desire. I am devoted to thee. Accept me, O thou giver of
proper respect.'”

“Arjuna replied, ‘O beautiful lady of features perfectly faultless,
listen. I truly tell thee. Let the four directions and the transverse
directions, let also the gods listen. O sinless one, as Kunti, or Madri,
or Sachi, is to me, so art thou, the parent of my race, an object of
reverence to me. Return, O thou of the fairest complexion: I bend my head
unto thee, and prostrate myself at thy feet. Thou deservest my worship as
my own mother; and it behoveth thee to protect me as a son.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Partha, Urvasi was deprived of
her senses by wrath. Trembling with rage, and contracting her brows, she
cursed Arjuna, saying, ‘Since thou disregardest a woman come to thy
mansion at the command of thy father and of her own motion–a woman,
besides, who is pierced by the shafts of Kama, therefore, O Partha, thou
shalt have to pass thy time among females unregarded, and as a dancer,
and destitute of manhood and scorned as a eunuch.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having cursed Arjuna thus, Urvasi’s lips still
quivered in anger, herself breathing heavily all the while. And she soon
returned to her own abode. And that slayer of foes, Arjuna also sought
Chitrasena without loss of time. And having found him, he told him all
that had passed between him and Urvasi in the night. And he told
Chitrasena everything as it had happened, repeatedly referring to the
curse pronounced upon him. And Chitrasena also represented everything
unto Sakra. And Harivahana, calling his son unto himself in private, and
consoling him in sweet words, smilingly said, ‘O thou best of beings,
having obtained thee, O child, Pritha hath to-day become a truly blessed
mother. O mighty-armed one, thou hast now vanquished even Rishis by the
patience and self-control. But, O giver of proper respect, the curse that
Urvasi hath denounced on thee will be to thy benefit,

O child, and stand thee in good stead. O sinless one, ye will have on
earth to pass the thirteenth year (of your exile), unknown to all. It is
then that thou shalt suffer the curse of Urvasi. And having passed one
year as a dancer without manhood, thou shalt regain thy power on the
expiration of the term.'”

“Thus addressed by Sakra, that slayer of hostile heroes, Phalguna,
experienced great delight and ceased to think of the curse. And
Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, sported in regions of heaven with the
Gandharva Chitrasena of great celebrity.”

“The desires of the man that listeneth to this history of the son of
Pandu never run after lustful ends. The foremost of men, by listening to
this account of the awfully pure conduct of Phalguna, the son of the lord
of the celestials, become void of pride and arrogance and wrath and other
faults, and ascending to heaven, sport there in bliss.”


Vaisampayana said, “One day, the great Rishi Lomasa in course of his
wanderings, went to the abode of Indra, desirous of beholding the lord of
the celestials. And the great Muni, having approached the chief of the
gods, bowed to him respectfully. And he beheld the son of Pandu occupying
half of the seat of Vasava. And worshipped by the great Rishis, that
foremost of Brahmanas sat on an excellent seat at the desire of Sakra.
And beholding Arjuna seated on Indra’s seat, the Rishi began to think as
to how Arjuna who was a Kshatriya had attained to the seat of Sakra
himself. What acts of merit had been performed by him and what regions,
had been conquered by him (by ascetic merit), that he had obtained a seat
that was worshipped by the gods themselves? And as the Rishi was employed
with these thoughts, Sakra, the slayer of Vritra, came to know of them.
And having known them, the lord of Sachi addressed Lomasa with a smile
and said, ‘Listen, O Brahmarshi, about what is now passing in thy mind.
This one is no mortal though he hath taken his birth among men. O great
Rishi, the mighty-armed hero is even my son born of Kunti. He hath come
hither, in order to acquire weapons for some purpose. Alas! dost thou not
recognise him as an ancient Rishi of the highest merit? Listen to me, O
Brahamana, as I tell thee who is and why he hath come to me. Those
ancient and excellent Rishis who were known by the names of Nara and
Narayana are, know, O Brahmana, none else than Hrishikesa and Dhananjaya.
And those Rishis, celebrated throughout the three worlds, and known by
the names of Nara and Narayana have, for the accomplishment of a certain
purpose, been born on earth–for the acquisition of virtue. That sacred
asylum which even gods and illustrious Rishis are not competent to
behold, and which is known throughout the world by the name of Vadari,
and situate by the source of the Ganga, which is worshipped by the
Siddhas and the Charanas, was the abode, O Brahmana, of Vishnu and
Jishnu. Those Rishis of blazing splendour have, O Brahmarshi, at my
desire, been born on earth, and endued with mighty energy, will lighten
the burden thereof. Besides this, there are certain Asuras known as
Nivatakavachas, who, proud of the boon they have acquired, are employed
in doing us injuries. Boastful of their strength, they are even now
planning the destruction of the gods, for, having received a boon, they
no longer regard the gods. Those fierce and mighty Danavas live in the
nether regions. Even all the celestials together are incapable of
fighting with them. The blessed Vishnu–the slayer of Madhu–he, indeed
who is known on earth as Kapila, and whose glance alone, O exalted one,
destroyed the illustrious sons of Sagara, when they approached him with
loud sounds in the bowels of the earth,–that illustrious and invincible
Hari is capable, O Brahmana of doing us a great service. Either he or
Partha or both may do us that great service, without doubt. Verily as the
illustrious Hari had slain the Nagas in the great lake, he, by sight
alone, is capable of slaying those Asuras called the Nivatakavachas,
along with their followers. But the slayer of Madhu should not be urged
when the task is insignificant. A mighty mass of energy that he is. It
swelleth to increasing proportions, it may consume the whole universe.
This Arjuna also is competent to encounter them all, and the hero having
slain them in battle, will go back to the world of men. Go thou at my
request to earth. Thou wilt behold the brave Yudhishthira living in the
woods of Kamyaka. And for me tell thou the virtuous Yudhishthira of
unbaffled prowess in battle, that he should not be anxious on account of
Phalguna, for that hero will return to earth a thorough master of
weapons, for without sanctified prowess of arms, and without skill in
weapons, he would not be able to encounter Bhishma and Drona and others
in battle. Thou wilt also represent unto Yudhishthira that the
illustrious and mighty-armed Gudakesa, having obtained weapons, hath also
mastered the science of celestial dancing and music both instrumental and
vocal. And thou wilt also tell him, O king of men, O slayer of foes,
thyself also, accompanied by all thy brothers, should see the various
sacred shrines. For having bathed in different sacred waters, thou wilt
be cleansed from thy sins, and the fever of thy heart will abate. And
then thou wilt be able to enjoy thy kingdom, happy in the thought that
thy sins have been washed off. And, O foremost of Brahmanas, endued with
ascetic power, it behoveth thee also to protect Yudhishthira during his
wandering over the earth. Fierce Rakshasas ever live in mountain
fastnesses and rugged steppes. Protect thou the king from those

“After Mahendra had spoken thus unto Lomasa, Vibhatsu also reverently
addressed that Rishi, saying, ‘Protect thou ever the son of Pandu. O best
of men, let the king, O great Rishi, protected by thee, visit the various
places of pilgrimage and give away unto Brahmanas in charity.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “The mighty ascetic Lomasa, having answered both
saying, ‘So be it,’ set out for the earth, desirous of arriving at
Kamvaka. And having arrived at those woods, he beheld the slayer of foes
and son of Kunti, king Yudhishthira the just, surrounded by ascetics and
his younger brothers.”


Janamejaya said, “These feats of Pritha’s son endued with immeasurable
energy, were certainly marvellous. O Brahmana, what did Dhritarashtra of
great wisdom say, when he heard of them?”

Vaisampayana said, “Amvika’s son, king Dhritarashtra, having heard of
Arjuna’s arrival and stay at Indra’s abode, from Dwaipayana, that
foremost of Rishis, spake unto Sanjaya, saying, ‘O charioteer, dost thou
know in detail the acts of the intelligent Arjuna, of which I have heard
from beginning to end? O charioteer, my wretched and sinful son is even
now engaged in a policy of the most vulgar kind. Of wicked soul, he will
certainly depopulate the earth. The illustrious person whose words even
in jest are true, and who hath Dhananjaya to fight for him, is sure to
win the three worlds. Who that is even beyond the influence of Death and
Decay will be able to stay before Arjuna, when he will scatter his barbed
and sharp-pointed arrows whetted on stone? My wretched sons, who have to
fight with the invincible Pandavas are indeed, all doomed. Reflecting day
and night, I see not the warrior amongst us that is able to stay in
battle before the wielder of the Gandiva. If Drona, or Karna, or even
Bhishma advance against him in battle, a great calamity is likely to
befall the earth. But even in that case, I see not the way to our success
Karna is kind and forgetful. The preceptor Drona is old, and the teacher
(of Arjuna) Arjuna, however, is wrathful, and strong, and proud, and of
firm and steady prowess. As all these warriors are invincible, a terrible
fight will take place between them. All of them are heroes skilled in
weapons and of great reputation. They would not wish for the sovereignty
of the world, if it was to be purchased by defeat. Indeed, peace will be
restored only on the death of these or of Phalguna. The slayer of Arjuna,
however, existeth not, nor doth one that can vanquish him. Oh, how shall
that wrath of his which hath myself for its object be pacified. Equal
unto the chief of the celestials, that hero gratified Agni at Khandava
and vanquished all the monarchs of the earth on the occasion of the great
Rajasuya. O Sanjaya, the thunder-bolt falling on the mountain top,
leaveth a portion unconsumed; but the shafts, O child, that are shot by
Kiriti leave not a rack behind. As the rays of the sun heat this mobile
and immobile universe, so will the shafts shot by Arjuna’s hands scorch
my sons. It seemeth to me that the Chamus of the Bharatas, terrified at
the clatter of Arjuna’s chariot-wheels, are already broken through in all
directions. Vidhatri hath created Arjuna as an all-consuming Destroyer.
He stayeth in battle as a foe, vomitting and scattering swarms of arrows.
Who is there that will defeat him?”


“Sanjaya said, ‘That which hath been uttered by thee, O king, with
respect to Duryodhana is all true. Nothing that thou hast said, O lord of
the earth, is untrue. The Pandavas of immeasurable energy have been
filled with rage at the sight of Krishna their wedded wife of pure
fame–brought in the midst of the assembly. Hearing also those cruel
words of Dussasana and Karna, they have been so incensed, O king, that
they will not, I ween, forgive (the Kurus) on my account. I have heard, O
king, how Arjuna hath gratified in battle by means of his bow the god of
gods–Sthanu of eleven forms. The illustrious lord of all the
gods–Kapardin himself–desirous of testing Phalguna, fought with him,
having assumed the guise of a Kirata. And there it was that the Lokapala,
in order to give away their weapons unto that bull of the Kuru race,
showed themselves unto him of undeteriorating prowess. What other man on
earth, except Phalguna, would strive to have a sight of these gods in
their own forms? And, O king, who is there that will weaken in battle
Arjuna, who could not be weakened by Maheswara himself possessed of eight
forms? Thy sons, having dragged Draupadi, and thereby incensed the sons
of Pandu, have brought this frightful and horrifying calamity upon
themselves. Beholding Duryodhana showing both his thighs unto Draupadi,
Bhima said with quivering lips, ‘wretch! those thighs of thine will I
smash with my fierce descending mace, on the expiration of thirteen
years.’ All the sons of Pandu are the foremost of smiters; all of them
are of immeasurable energy; all of them are well-versed in every kind of
weapons. For these, they are incapable of being vanquished even by the
gods. Incensed at the insult offered to their wedded wife, Pritha’s sons,
urged by wrath, will, I ween, slay all thy sons in battle.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O charioteer, what mischief hath been done by Karna
uttering those cruel words, to the sons of Pandu! Was not the enmity
sufficient that was provoked by bringing Krishna into the assembly? How
can my wicked sons live, whose eldest brother and preceptor walketh not
in the path of righteousness? Seeing me void of eye-sight, and incapable
of exerting myself actively, my wretched son, O charioteer, believeth me
to be a fool, and listeneth not to my words. Those wretches also that are
his counsellors, viz., Karna and Suvala, and others, always pander to his
vices, as he is incapable of understanding things rightly. The shafts
that Arjuna of immeasurable prowess may lightly shoot, are capable of
consuming all my sons, leave alone those shafts that he will shoot,
impelled by anger. The arrows urged by the might of Arjuna’s arms and
shot from his large bow, and inspired with mantras capable of converting
them into celestial weapons can chastise the celestials themselves. He
who hath for his counsellor and protector and friend that smiter of
sinful men–the lord of the three worlds–Hari himself–encountereth
nothing that he cannot conquer. This, O Sanjaya, is most marvellous in
Arjuna that, as we have heard, he hath been clasped by Mahadeva in his
arms. That also which Phalguna, assisted by Damodara did of old towards
helping Agni in the conflagration of Khandava, hath been witnessed by all
the world. When, therefore, Bhima and Partha and Vasudeva of the Satwata
race become enraged, surely my sons along with their friends and the
Suvalas are all unequal to fight with them.'”


Janamejaya said, “Having sent the heroic sons of Pandu into exile, these
lamentations, O Muni, of Dhritarashtra were perfectly futile. Why did the
king permit his foolish son Duryodhana to thus incense those mighty
warriors, the sons of Pandu? Tell us now, O Brahmana, what was the food
of the sons of Pandu, while they lived in the woods? Was it of the
wilderness, or was it the produce of cultivation?”

Vaisampayana said, “Those bulls among men, collecting the produce of the
wilderness and killing the deer with pure arrows, first dedicated a
portion of the food to the Brahmanas, and themselves are the rest. For, O
king, while those heroes wielding large bows lived in the woods, they
were followed by Brahmanas of both classes, viz., those worshipping with
fire and those worshipping without it. And there were ten thousand
illustrious Snataka Brahmanas, all conversant with the means of
salvation, whom Yudhishthira supported in the woods. And killing with
arrows Rurus and the black deer and other kinds of clean animals of the
wilderness, he gave them unto those Brahmanas. And no one that lived with
Yudhishthira looked pale or ill, or was lean or weak, or was melancholy
or terrified. And the chief of the Kurus–the virtuous king
Yudhishthira–maintained his brothers as if they were his sons, and his
relatives as if they were his uterine brothers. And Draupadi of pure fame
fed her husbands and the Brahmanas, as if she was their mother; and last
of all took her food herself. And the king himself wending towards the
east, and Bhima, towards the south, and the twins, towards the west and
the north, daily killed with bow in hand the deer of the forest, for the
sake of meat. And it was that the Pandavas lived for five years in the
woods of Kamyaka, in anxiety at the absence of Arjuna, and engaged all
the while in study and prayers and sacrifices.”


Vaisampayana said, “That bull among men–Dhritarashtra–the son of
Amvika, having heard of this wonderful way of life–so above that of
men–of the sons of Pandu, was filled with anxiety and grief. And
overwhelmed with melancholy and sighing heavily and hot, that monarch,
addressing his charioteer Sanjaya, said, ‘O charioteer, a moment’s peace
I have not, either during the day or the night, thinking of the terrible
misbehaviour of my sons arising out of their past gambling, and thinking
also of the heroism, the patience, the high intelligence, the unbearable
prowess, and the extraordinary love unto one another of the sons of
Pandu. Amongst the Pandavas, the illustrious Nakula and Sahadeva, of
celestial origin and equal unto the chief himself of the celestials in
splendour, are invincible in battle. They are firm in the wielding of
weapons, capable of shooting at a long distance, resolute in battle, of
remarkable lightness of hand, of wrath that is not easily quelled,
possessed of great steadiness, and endued with activity. Possessed of the
prowess of lions and unbearable as the Aswins themselves, when they will
come to the field of battle with Bhima and Arjuna in front, I see, O
Sanjaya, that my soldiers will all be slain without a remnant. Those
mighty warriors of celestial origin, unrivalled in battle by anybody,
filled with rage at the remembrance of that insult to Draupadi, will show
no forgiveness. The mighty warriors of the Vrishnis also, and the
Panchalas of great energy, and the sons of Pritha themselves, led by
Vasudeva of unbaffled prowess, will blast my legions. O charioteer, all
the warriors on my side assembled together, are not competent to bear the
impetus of the Vrishnis alone when commanded by Rama and Krishna. And
amongst them will move that great warrior Bhima of terrible prowess,
armed with his iron mace held on high and capable of slaying every hero.
And high above the din will be heard the twang of the Gandiva loud as the
thunder of heaven. The impetus of Bhima’s mace and the loud twang of the
Gandiva are incapable of being stood against by any of the kings on my
side. It is then, O Sanjaya, that obedient as I have been to the voice of
Duryodhana, I shall have to call back the rejected counsels of my
friends–counsels that I should have attended to in time.'”

Sanjaya said, “This hath been thy great fault, O king, viz., that though
capable, thou didst not, from affection prevent thy son from doing what
he hath done. The slayer of Madhu, that hero of unfading glory, hearing
that the Pandavas had been defeated at dice, soon went to the woods of
Kamyaka and consoled them there. And Draupadi’s sons also headed by
Dhrishtadyumna, and Virata, and Dhrishtaketu, and those mighty warriors,
the Kekayas, all went there. All that was said by these warriors at the
sight of Pandu’s son defeated at dice, was learnt by me through our
spies. I have also told thee all, O king. When the slayer of Madhu met
the Pandavas, they requested him to become the charioteer of Phalguna in
battle. Hari himself, thus requested, answered them, saying, ‘so be it.’
And even Krishna himself beholding the sons of Pritha dressed in deer
skins, became filled with rage, and addressing Yudhishthira, said, ‘That
prosperity which the sons of Pritha had acquired at Indraprastha, and
which, unobtainable by other kings, was beheld by me at the Rajasuya
sacrifice, at which, besides, I saw all kings, even those of the Vangas
and Angas and Paundras and Odras and Cholas and Dravidas and Andhakas,
and the chiefs of many islands and countries on the sea-board as also of
frontier states, including the rulers of the Sinhalas, the barbarous
mlecchas, the natives of Lanka, and all the kings of the West by
hundreds, and all the chiefs of the sea-coast, and the kings of the
Pahlavas and the Daradas and the various tribes of the Kiratas and
Yavanas and Sakras and the Harahunas and Chinas and Tukharas and the
Sindhavas and the Jagudas and the Ramathas and the Mundas and the
inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the Tanganas and the Kekayas and
the Malavas and the inhabitants of Kasmira, afraid of the prowess of your
weapons, present in obedience to your invitation, performing various
offices,–that prosperity, O king, so unstable and waiting at present on
the foe, I shall restore to thee, depriving thy foe of his very life. I
shall, O chief of the Kurus, assisted by Rama and Bhima and Arjuna and
the twins and Akrura and Gada and Shamva and Pradyumna and Ahuka and the
heroic Dhrishtadyumna and the son of Sisupala, slay in battle in course
of a day Duryodhana and Karna and Dussasana and Suvala’s son and all
others who may fight against us. And thou shalt, O Bharata, living at
Hastinapura along with thy brothers, and snatching from Dhritarashtra’s
party the prosperity they are enjoying, rule this earth.’ Even these, O
king, were Krishna’s words unto Yudhishthira, who, on the conclusion of
Krishna’s speech, addressed him in that meeting of heroes and in the
hearing of all those brave warriors headed by Dhrishtadyumna, saying, ‘O
Janardana, I accept these words of thine as truth. O thou of mighty arms,
do thou, however, slay my enemies along with all their followers on the
expiry of thirteen years. O Kesava, promise this truly unto me. I
promised in the presence of the king to live in the forest as I am now
living.’ Consenting to these words of king Yudhishthira the just, his
counsellors headed by Dhrishtadyumna soon pacified the incensed Kesava
with sweet words and expressions suitable to the occasion. And they also
said unto Draupadi of pure deeds in the hearing of Vasudeva himself,
these words, ‘O lady, in consequence of thy anger, Duryodhana shall lay
down his life. We promise it, O thou of the fairest complexion.
Therefore, grieve no more. O Krishna, those that mocked thee, beholding
thee won at dice, shall reap the fruit of their act. Beasts of prey and
birds shall eat their flesh, and mock them thus. Jackals and vultures
will drink their blood. And, O Krishna, thou shalt behold the bodies of
those wretches that dragged thee by the hair prostrate on the earth,
dragged and eaten by carnivorous animals. They also that gave thee pain
and disregarded thee shall lie on the earth destitute of their heads, and
the earth herself shall drink their blood.’ These and other speeches of
various kinds were uttered there, O king, by those bulls of the Bharata
race. All of them are endued with energy and bravery, and marked with the
marks of battle. On the expiration of the thirteenth year, those mighty
warriors, chosen by Yudhishthira and headed by Vasudeva, will come (to
the field of battle). Rama and Krishna and Dhananjaya and Pradyumna and
Shamva and Yuyudhana and Bhima and the sons of Madri and the Kekaya
princes and the Panchala princes, accompanied by the king of Matsya,
these all, illustrious and celebrated and invincible heroes, with their
followers and troops, will come. Who is there that, desiring to live,
will encounter these in battle, resembling angry lions of erect manes?’

“Dhritarashtra said, “What Vidura told me at the time of the game at
dice, ‘If thou seekest, O king, to vanquish the Pandavas (at dice), then
certainly a terrible blood-shed ending in the destruction of all the
Kurus will be the result,’ I think it is about to be realised. As Vidura
told me of old, without doubt a terrible battle will take place, as soon
as the pledged period of the Pandavas expireth.'”


(Nalopakhyana Parva)

Janamejaya said, “When the high-souled Partha went to Indra’s region for
obtaining weapons, what did Yudhishthira and the other sons of Pandu do?”

Vaisampayana said, “When the high-souled Partha went to Indra’s region
for obtaining weapons, those bulls of the Bharata race continued to dwell
with Krishna in (the woods of) Kamyaka. One day, those foremost of the
Bharatas, afflicted with grief, were seated with Krishna on a clean and
solitary sward. Grieving for Dhananjaya, overwhelmed with sorrow, their
voices were choked with weeping. Tortured by Dhananjaya’s absence, grief
afflicted them equally. And filled with sorrow at their separation from
Arjuna and at the loss of their kingdom, the mighty-armed Bhima among
them addressed Yudhishthira, saying, “That Bull of the Bharata race,
Arjuna, O great king, on whom depend the lives of Pandu’s sons, and on
whose death the Panchalas as also ourselves with our sons and Satyaki and
Vasudeva are sure to die, hath gone away at thy behest. What can be
sadder than this that the virtuous Vibhatsu hath gone away at thy
command, thinking of his many griefs? Depending upon the might of that
illustrious hero’s arms, regard our foes as already vanquished in battle,
and the whole earth itself as already acquired by us. It was for the sake
of that mighty warrior that I refrained from sending to the other world
all the Dhartarashtras along with the Suvalas, in the midst of the
assembly. Gifted with might of arms, and supported by Vasudeva, we have
to suppress the wrath that hath been roused in us, because thou art the
root of that wrath. Indeed, with Krishna’s help, slaying our foes headed
by Karna, we are able to rule the entire earth (thus) conquered by our
own arms. Endued with manliness, we are yet overwhelmed with calamities,
in consequence of thy gambling vice, while the foolish null of
Dhritarashtra are growing stronger with the tributes (gathered from
dependent kings). O mighty monarch, it behoveth thee to keep in view the
duties of the Kshatriya. O great king, it is not the duty of a Khsatriya
to live in the woods. The wise are of the opinion that to rule is the
foremost duty of a Kshatriya. O king, thou art conversant with Kshatriya
morality. Do not, therefore, deviate from the path of duty. Turning away
from the woods, let us, summoning Partha and Janardana, slay, O king, the
sons of Dhritarashtra, even before the twelve years are complete. O
illustrious monarch O king of kings, even if these Dhartarashtras be
surrounded by soldiers in array of battle, I shall send them to the other
world by dint of might alone. I shall slay all the sons of Dhritarashtra
along with the Sauvalas, indeed, Duryodhana, Karna, and any one else that
will fight with me. And after I shall have slain all our foes, thou mayst
come back unto the woods. By acting thus, O king, no fault will be thine.
(Or if any sin be thine), O represser of foes, O mighty monarch, washing
it off, O sire, by various sacrifices, we may ascend to a superior
heaven. Such a consummation may come to pass, if our king proveth not
unwise or procrastinating. Thou art, however, virtuous. Verily the
deceitful should be destroyed by deceit. To slay the deceitful by deceit,
is not regarded as sinful. O Bharata, it is, also said by those versed in
morality that one day and night is, O great prince, equal unto a full
year. The Veda text also, exalted one, is often heard, signifying that a
year is equivalent to a day when passed in the observance of certain
difficult vows. O thou of unfading glory, if the Vedas are an authority
with thee, regard thou the period of a day and something more as the
equivalent of thirteen years. O represser of foes, this is the time to
slay Duryodhana with his adherents. Else, O king, he will beforehand
bring the whole earth obedient to his will. O foremost of monarchs, all
this is the result of thy addiction to gambling. We are on the verge of
destruction already, in consequence of thy promise of living one year
undiscovered. I do not find the country where, if we live, the
wicked-minded Suyodhana may not be able to trace us by his spies. And
finding us out, that wretch will again deceitfully send us into such
exile in the woods. Or if that sinful one beholdeth us emerge, after the
expiry of the pledged period of non-discovery, he will again invite thee,
O great king, to dice, and the play will once more begin. Summoned once
more, thou wilt again efface thyself at dice. Thou art not skilled at
dice, and when summoned at play, thou wilt be deprived of thy senses.
Therefore, O mighty monarch thou wilt have to lead a life in the woods
again. If, O mighty king, it behoveth thee not to make us wretched for
life, observe thou fully the ordinance of the Vedas, (which inculcateth
that) verily the deceitful ought to be slain by deceit. If I but have thy
command I would go (to Hastinapura) and, even as fire falling upon a heap
of grass consumeth it, would slay Duryodhana, putting forth my utmost
might. It behoveth thee, therefore, to grant me the permission.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Bhima, king Yudhishthira the
just, smelt the crown of that son of Pandu, and pacifying him said, ‘O
mighty-armed one, without doubt, thou wilt, assisted by the wielder of
the Gandiva, slay Suyodhana at the expiry of the thirteenth year. But, O
son of Pritha, as for thy assertion, ‘O Lord, the time is complete’, I
cannot dare tell an untruth, for untruth is not in me. O son of Kunti,
without the help of fraud, wilt thou kill the wicked and irrepressible
Duryodhana, with his allies.’

“While Yudhishthira the just, was speaking unto Bhima thus, there came
the great and illustrious Rishi Vrihadaswa before them. And beholding
that virtuous ascetic before him, the righteous king worshipped him
according to the ordinance, with the offering of Madhuparka. And when the
ascetic was seated and refreshed, the mighty-armed Yudhishthira sat by
him, and looking up at the former, addressed him thus in exceedingly
piteous accents:

‘O holy one, summoned by cunning gamblers skilled at dice, I have been
deprived of wealth and kingdom through gambling. I am not an adept at
dice, and am unacquainted with deceit. Sinful men, by unfair means,
vanquished me at play. They even brought into the public assembly my wife
dearer unto me than life itself. And defeating me a second time, they
have sent me to distressful exile in this great forest, clad in deer
skins. At present I am leading a distressful life in the woods in grief
of heart. Those harsh and cruel speeches they addressed me on the
occasion of that gambling match, and the words of my afflicted friends
relating to the match at dice and other subjects, are all stored up in my
remembrance. Recollecting them I pass the whole night in (sleepless)
anxiety. Deprived also (of the company) of the illustrious wielder of the
Gandiva, on whom depend the lives of us all, I am almost deprived of
life. Oh, when shall I see the sweet-speeched and large-hearted Vibhatsu
so full of kindness and activity, return to us, having obtained all
weapons? Is there a king on this earth who is more unfortunate than
myself? Hast thou ever seen or heard of any such before? To my thinking,
there is no man more wretched than I am.’

“Vrihadaswa said, ‘O great king, O son of Pandu, thou sayest, ‘There is
no person more miserable than I am’ O sinless monarch, if thou wilt
listen, I will relate unto thee the history of a king more wretched than

Vaisampayana continued, “And thereupon the king said unto the ascetic, ‘O
illustrious one, tell me, I desire to hear the history of the king who
had fallen into such a condition.’

“Vrihadaswa said, ‘O king, O thou that never fallest off, listen
attentively with thy brothers, I will narrate the history of a prince
more miserable than thyself. There was a celebrated king among the
Nishadhas, named Virasena. He had a son named Nala, versed in (the
knowledge of) virtue and wealth. It hath been heard by us that, that king
was deceitfully defeated by Pushkara, and afflicted with calamity, he
dwelt in the woods with his spouse. And, O king, while he was living in
the forest, he had neither slaves nor cars, neither brother nor friends
with him. But thou art surrounded by thy heroic brothers like unto the
celestials, and also by foremost regenerate ones like unto Brahma
himself. Therefore, it behoveth thee not to grieve.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I am anxious to hear in detail, O thou foremost of
eloquent men, the history of the illustrious Nala. It behoveth thee
therefore to relate it unto me.’


Vrihadaswa said, “There was a king named Nala, the son of Virasena. And
he was strong, and handsome, and well-versed in (the knowledge of)
horses, and possessed of every desirable accomplishment. And he was at
the head of all the kings, even like the lord of the celestials. And
exalted over all, he resembled the sun in glory. And he was the king of
the Nishadhas, intent on the welfare of the Brahmanas, versed in the
Vedas, and possessed of heroism. And he was truth-telling, fond of dice,
and the master of a mighty army. And he was the beloved of men and women,
and of great soul and subdued passions. And he was the protector (of
all), and the foremost of bowmen, and like unto Manu himself. And like
him, there was among the Vidarbhas (a king named) Bhima, of terrible
prowess, heroic and well-disposed towards his subjects and possessed of
every virtue. (But withal) he was childless. And with a fixed mind, he
tried his utmost for obtaining issue. And. O Bharata there came unto him
(once) a Brahmarshi named Damana. And, O king of kings, desirous of
having offspring, Bhima, versed in morality, with his queen gratified
that illustrious Rishi by a respectful reception. And Damana,
well-pleased, granted unto the king and his consort a boon in the form of
a jewel of a daughter, and three sons possessed of lofty souls and great
fame. (And they were called respectively) Damayanti, and Dama and Danta,
and illustrious Damana. And the three sons were possessed of every
accomplishment and terrible mien and fierce prowess. And the
slender-waisted Damayanti, in beauty and brightness, in good name and
grace and luck, became celebrated all over the world. And on her
attaining to age, hundreds of hand-maids, and female slaves, decked in
ornaments, waited upon her like Sachi herself. And Bhima’s daughter of
faultless features, decked in every ornament, shone in the midst of her
hand-maids, like the luminous lightning of the clouds. And the large-eyed
damsel was possessed of great beauty like that of Sree herself. And
neither among celestials, nor among Yakshas, nor among men was anybody
possessed of such beauty, seen or heard of before. And the beautiful
maiden filled with gladness the hearts of even the gods. And that tiger
among men, Nala also had not his peer in the (three) worlds: for in
beauty he was like Kandarpa himself in his embodied form. And moved by
admiration, the heralds again and again celebrated the praises of Nala
before Damayanti and those of Damayanti before the ruler of the
Nishadhas. And repeatedly hearing of each other’s virtues they conceived
an attachment towards each other not begot of sight, and that attachment,
O son of Kunti began to grow in strength. And then Nala was unable to
control the love that was in his bosom. And he began to pass much of his
time in solitude in the gardens adjoining the inner apartment (of his
palace). And there he saw a number of swans furnished with golden wings,
wandering in those woods. And from among them he caught one with his
hands. And thereupon the sky-ranging one said unto Nala. ‘Deserve I not
to be slain by thee. O king. I will do something that is agreeable to
thee. O king of the Nishadhas. I will speak of thee before Damayanti in
such a way that she will not ever desire to have any other person (for
her lord).’ Thus addressed, the king liberated that swan. And those swans
then rose on their wings and went to the country of the Vidarbhas. And on
arriving at the city of the Vidarbhas the birds alighted before
Damayanti, who beheld them all. And Damayanti in the midst of her maids,
beholding those birds of extraordinary appearance was filled with
delight, and strove without loss of time to catch those coursers of the
skies. And the swans at this, before that bevy of beauties, fled in all
directions. And those maidens there pursued the birds, each (running)
after one. And the swan after which Damayanti ran, having led her to a
secluded spot, addressed her in human speech, saying, O Damayanti, there
is a king amongst the Nishadhas named Nala. He is equal unto the Aswins
in beauty, not having his peer among men. Indeed, in comeliness, he is
like Kandarpa himself in his embodied form. O fair-complexioned one, O
thou of slender waist, if thou becomest his wife, thy existence and this
thy beauty may be of purpose. We have, indeed, beheld celestials and
Gandharvas, and Nagas, and Rakshasas, and men, but never saw we before
any one like Nala. Thou also art a jewel among thy sex, as Nala is the
prime among men. The union of the best with the best is happy.’ Thus
addressed by the swan. Damayanti, O monarch, replied unto him there,
saying, ‘Do thou speak thus unto Nala also, ‘Saying So be it, to the
daughter of Vidarbha, the oviparous one, O king, returned to the country
of the Nishadhas, and related everything unto Nala.”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘O Bharata, hearing those words of the swan, Damayanti
thenceforth lost all peace of mind on account of Nala. And heaving
frequent sighs she was filled with anxiety, and became melancholy and
pale-faced and lean. And with her heart possessed by the god of love, she
soon lost colour, and with her upturned gaze and modes of abstraction,
looked like one demented. And she lost all inclination for beds and seats
and object of enjoyment. And she ceased to lie down by day or night,
always weeping with exclamation of Oh! and Alas! And beholding her uneasy
and fallen into that condition, her hand-maids represented, O king, the
matter of her illness unto the ruler of Vidarbha by indirect hints. And
king Bhima, hearing of this from the handmaids of Damayanti, regarded the
affair of his daughter to be serious. And he asked himself, ‘Why is it
that my daughter seemeth to be so ill now?’ And the king, reflecting by
himself that his daughter had attained to puberty, concluded that
Damayanti’s Swayamvara should take place. And the monarch, O exalted one,
(invited) all the rulers of the earth, saying, Ye heroes, know that
Damayanti’s Swayamvara is at hand, And all the kings, hearing of
Damayanti’s Swayamvara, came unto Bhima, agreeable to his message,
filling the earth with the clatter of their cars, the roar of their
elephants, and the neighing of their horses, and accompanied with their
fine-looking battalions decked in ornaments and graceful garlands. And
the mighty-armed Bhima paid due reverence unto those illustrious
monarchs. And duly honoured by him they took up their quarters there.’

“And at the juncture, those foremost of celestial Rishis possessed of
great splendour, of great wisdom and great vows–namely, Narada and
Parvata–having arrived in course of their wandering at the regions of
Indra entered the mansion of the lord of the immortals, receiving proper
worship. And Maghavat having worshipped them reverentially, inquired
after their undisturbed peace and welfare as regards all respects. And
Narada said, ‘O lord, O divine one, peace attendeth us in every respect.
And, O Maghavat, peace attendeth also O exalted one, the kings of the
whole world.’

“Vrihadaswa continued. ‘Hearing the words of Narada the slaver of Vala
and Vritra said, ‘Those righteous rulers of the earth who fight
renouncing all desire of life, and who meet death when their time is come
by means of weapons, without flying from the field,–theirs is this
region, everlasting unto them and granting all desires, even as it is to
me. Where be those Kshatriya heroes? I do not see those kings approach
(now) Where are my favourite guests?’ Thus addressed by Sakra, Narada
replied, ‘Listen, O Mahavat, why seest not thou the kings (now)? The
ruler of the Vidarbhas hath a daughter–the celebrated Damayanti. In
beauty she transcendeth all the women of the earth. Her Swayamvara, O
Sakra, will take place shortly. Thither are going all the kings and
Princes from all directions. And all the lords of the earth desire to
have that pearl of the earth,–desire to have her eagerly, O slaver of
Vala and Vritra.’ And while they were talking thus, those foremost of the
immortals, the Lokapalas with Agni among them, appeared before the lord
of the celestials. And all of them heard the words of Narada fraught with
grave import. And as soon as they heard them, they exclaimed in rapture,
We also will go there. And, O mighty monarch, accompanied by their
attendants and mounted on their (respective) vehicles, they set out for
the country of Vidarbhas, whither (had gone) all the kings. And, O son of
Kunti, the high-souled king Nala also hearing of that concourse of kings,
set out with a cheerful heart, full of Damayanti’s love. And (it came to
pass) that the gods saw Nala on the way treading on the earth. And his
form owing to its beauty was like that of the god of love himself. And
beholding him resplendent as the sun, the Lokapalas were filled with
astonishment at his wealth of beauty, and abandoned their intention. And,
O king, leaving their cars in the sky the dwellers of heaven alighted
from the welkin and spake unto the ruler of the Nishadhas, saying, ‘O
foremost of monarchs ruling the Nishadhas, O Nala, thou art devoted to
truth. Do thou help us. O best of men, be thou our messenger.'”


“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘O Bharata, Nala pledged his word to the
celestials saying, ‘I will do it.’ And then approaching these, he asked
with folded hands. ‘Who are ye? And who also is he that desireth me to be
his messenger? And what, further, shall I have to do for you? O tell me
truly!’–When the king of the Nishadhas spoke thus, Maghavat replied,
saying, ‘Know us as the immortals come hither for Damayanti’s sake. I am
Indra, this one is Agni, this the lord of waters, and this, O king, is
even Yama the destroyer of the bodies of men. Do thou inform Damayanti of
our arrival, saying, ‘The guardians of the world, (consisting of) the
great Indra and the others, are coming to the assembly, desirous of
beholding (the Swayamvara). The gods, Sakra and Agni and Varuna and Yama,
desire to obtain thee. Do thou, therefore, choose one of them for thy
lord.’ Thus addressed by Sakra, Nala said with joined hands, ‘I have come
here with the self same object. It behoveth thee not to send me (on this
errand). How can a person who is himself under the influence of love
bring himself to speak thus unto a lady on behalf of others? Therefore,
spare me, ye gods’ The gods, however, said, ‘O ruler of the Nishadhas,
having promised first, saying, ‘I will! why wilt thou not act accordingly
now? O ruler of the Nishadhas, tell us this without delay.’

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Thus addressed by those celestials, the ruler of
Nishadhas spake again, saying, ‘Those mansions are well-guarded. How can
I hope to enter them?’ Indra replied, ‘Thou shalt be able to enter.’ And,
saying, So be it.’ Nala thereupon went to the palace of Damayanti. And
having arrived there, he beheld the daughter of the king of Vidarbha
surrounded by her hand-maids, blazing in beauty and excelling in symmetry
of form, of limbs exceedingly delicate, of slender waist and fair eyes.
And she seemed to rebuke the light of the moon by her own splendour. And
as he gazed on that lady of sweet smiles. Nala’s love increased, but
desirous of keeping his truth, he suppressed his passion. And at the
sight of Naishadha, overpowered by his effulgence, those first of women
sprang up from their seats in amazement. And filled with wonder (at his
sight), they praised Nala in gladness of heart. And without saying
anything, they mentally paid him homage, ‘Oh, what comeliness! Oh, what
gentleness belongeth to this high-souled one! Who is he? Is he some god
or Yaksha or Gandharva?’ And those foremost of women, confounded by
Nala’s splendour and bashfulness would not accost him at all in speech.
And Damayanti although herself struck with amazement, smilingly addressed
the warlike Nala who also gently smiled at her, saying, ‘What art thou, O
thou of faultless features, that hast come here awakening my love? O
sinless one, O hero of celestial form, I am anxious to know who thou art
that hast come hither. And why hast thou come hither? And how is it that
thou hast not been discovered by any one, considering that my apartments
are well-guarded and the king’s mandates are stern.’ Thus addressed by
the daughter of the king of the Vidarbhas, Nala replied, ‘O beauteous
lady, know that my name is Nala. I come here as the messenger of the
gods. The celestials, Sakra, Agni, Varuna and Yama, desire to have thee.
O beautiful lady, do thou choose one of them for thy lord. It is through
their power that I have entered here unperceived, and it is for this
reason that none saw me on my way or obstructed my entrance. O gentle
one, I have been sent by the foremost of the celestials even for this
object. Hearing this, O fortunate one, do what thou pleasest.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Damayanti, having bowed down unto the gods, thus
addressed Nala with a smile, ‘O king, love me with proper regard, and
command me what I shall do for thee. Myself and what else of wealth is
mine are thine. Grant me, O exalted one, thy love in full trust. O king,
the language of the swans in burning me. It is for thy sake, O hero, that
I have caused the kings to meet. O giver of proper honour, if thou
forsake me who adore thee, for thy sake will I resort to poison, or fire,
or water or the rope.’ Thus addressed by the daughter of the king of the
Vidarbhas, Nala answered her saying, ‘With the Lokapalas present,
choosest thou a man? Do thou turn thy heart to those high-souled lords,
the creators of the worlds, unto the dust of whose feet I am not equal.
Displeasing the gods, a mortal cometh by death. Save me, O thou of
faultless limbs! Choose thou the all-excelling celestials. By accepting
the gods, do thou enjoy spotless robes, and celestial garlands of
variegated hues, and excellent ornaments. What woman would not choose as
her lord Hutasana–the chief of the celestials, who compassing the earth
swalloweth it? What woman would not choose him as her lord the dread of
whose mace induceth all creatures to tread the path of virtue? And what
woman would not choose as her lord the virtuous and high-souled Mahendra,
the lord of the celestials, the chastiser of Daityas and Danavas? Or, if
thou couldst choose in thy heart Varuna amongst the Lokapalas, do so
unhesitatingly. O accept this friendly advice.’ Thus addressed by
Naishadha, Damayanti, with eyes bathed in tears of grief spake thus unto
Nala, ‘O lord of the earth, bowing to all the gods, I choose thee for my
lord. Truly do I tell thee this.’ The king, who had come as the messenger
of the gods, replied unto the trembling Damayanti standing with folded
hands, ‘O amiable one, do as thou pleasest. Having given my pledge, O
blessed one, unto the gods in especial, how can I, having come on other’s
mission, dare seek my own interest? If seeking my own interest consists
with virtue, I will seek it, and do thou also, O beauteous one, act
accordingly.’ Then Damayanti of luminous smiles slowly spake unto king
Nala, in words choked with tears, ‘O lord of men I see a blameless way,
by which no sin whatever will attach unto thee. O king, do thou, O
foremost of men, come to the Swayamvara in company with all the gods
headed by Indra. There, O Monarch, in the presence of the Lokapalas I
will, O tiger among men, choose thee–at which no blame will be thine.’
Thus addressed, O monarch, by the daughter of Vidarbha, king Nala
returned to where the gods were staying together. And beholding him
approach those great gods, the Lokapalas, eagerly asked him about all
that had happened saying, ‘Hast thou, O king, seen Damayanti of sweet
smiles? What hath she said unto us all? O sinless monarch, tell us
everything.’ Nala answered, ‘Commanded by you I entered Damayanti’s
palace furnished with lofty portals guarded by veteran warders bearing
wands. And as I entered, no one perceived me, by virtue of your power,
except the princess. And I saw her hand-maids, and they also saw me. And,
O exalted celestials, seeing me, they were filled with wonder. And as I
spake unto her of you, the fair-faced maiden, her will fixed on me, O ye
best of the gods, chose me (for her spouse).’ And the maiden said, ‘Let
the gods, O tiger among men, come with thee to the Swayamvara, I will in
their presence, choose thee. At this, O thou of mighty arms, no blame
will attach to thee.’ ‘This is all, ye gods, that took place, as I have
said. Finally, everything rests with you, ye foremost of celestials.'”


“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Then at the sacred hour of the holy lunar day of
the auspicious season, king Bhima summoned the kings to the Swayamvara.
And hearing of it, all the lords of earth smit with love speedily came
thither, desirous of (possessing) Damayanti. And the monarchs entered the
amphitheatre decorated with golden pillars and a lofty portal arch, like
mighty lions entering the mountain wilds. And those lords of earth decked
with fragrant garlands and polished ear-rings hung with jewels seated
themselves on their several seats. And that sacred assembly of Kings,
graced by those tigers among men, resembled the Bhogavati swarming with
the Nagas, or a mountain cavern with tigers. And their arms were robust,
and resembling iron maces, and well-shaped, and graceful, and looking
like five-headed snakes. And graced with beautiful locks and fine noses
and eyes and brows, the countenance of the kings shone like stars in the
firmament. And (when the time came), Damayanti of beauteous face,
stealing the eyes and hearts of the princes by her dazzling light,
entered the hall. And the glances of those illustrious kings were
rivetted to those parts of her person where they had chanced to fall
first, without moving at all. And when, O Bharata, the names of the
monarchs were proclaimed, the daughter of Bhima saw five persons all
alike in appearance. And beholding them seated there, without difference
of any kind in form, doubt filled her mind, and she could not ascertain
which of them was king Nala. And at whomsoever (among them) she looked,
she regarded him to be the king of the Nishadhas. And filled with
anxiety, the beauteous one thought within herself, ‘Oh, how shall I
distinguish the celestials, and how discern the royal Nala?’ And thinking
thus, the daughter of Vidarbha became filled with grief. And, O Bharata,
recollecting the marks belonging to the celestials, of which she had
heard, she thought, ‘Those attributes of the celestials, of which I have
heard from the aged, do not pertain to any of these deities present here
upon the earth.’ And revolving the matter long in her mind, and
reflecting upon it repeatedly, she decided upon seeking the protection of
the gods themselves. And bowing down unto them with mind and speech, with
folded hands, she addressed them trembling, ‘Since I heard the speech of
the swans, I chose the king of the Nishadhas as my lord. For the sake of
truth, O, let the gods reveal him to me. And as in thought or word I have
never swerved from him, O, let the gods, for the sake of that truth,
reveal him to me. And as the gods themselves have destined the ruler of
the Nishadhas to be my lord, O, let them, for the sake of that truth,
reveal him to me. And as it is for paying homage unto Nala that I have
adopted this vow, for the sake of that truth, O, let the gods reveal him
unto me, O, let the exalted guardians of the worlds assume their own
proper forms, so that I may know the righteous king.’ Hearing these
piteous words of Damayanti, and ascertaining her fixed resolve, and
fervent love for the king of Nishadhas, the purity of her heart and her
inclination and regard and affection for Nala, the gods did as they had
been adjured, and assumed their respective attributes as best they could.
And thereupon she beheld the celestials unmoistened with perspiration,
with winkless eyes, and unfading garlands, unstained with dust, and
staying without touching the ground. And Naishadha stood revealed to his
shadow, his fading garlands, himself stained with dust and sweat, resting
on the ground with winking eyes. And, O Bharata, discerning the gods and
the virtuous Nala the daughter of Bhima chose Naishadha according to her
truth. And the large-eyed damsel then bashfully caught the hem of his
garment and placed round his neck a floral wreath of exceeding grace. And
when that fair-complexioned maiden had thus chosen Nala for her husband,
the kings suddenly broke out into exclamations of Oh! and Alas! And, O
Bharata, the gods and the great Rishis in wonder cried Excellent!
Excellent!, applauding the king the while. And, O Kauravya, the royal son
of Virasena, with heart filled with gladness, comforted the beauteous
Damayanti, saying, ‘Since thou, O blessed one, hast chosen a mortal in
the presence of the celestials, know me for a husband even obedient to
thy command. And, O thou of sweet smiles, truly do I tell thee this that
as long as life continueth in this body of mine, I will remain thine and
thine alone. Damayanti also, with folded hands paid homage unto Nala in
words of like import. And the happy pair beholding Agni and the other
gods mentally sought their protection. And after the daughter of Bhima
had chosen Naishadha as her husband, the Lokapalas of exceeding
effulgence with pleased hearts, bestowed on Nala eight boons. And Sakra,
the lord of Sachi, bestowed on Nala the boon that he should be able to
behold his godship in sacrifices and that he should attain to blessed
legions thereafter, and Hutasana bestowed on him the boon of his own
presence whenever Naishadha wished, and regions also bright as himself.
And Yama granted him subtle taste in food as well as pre-eminence in
virtue. And the lord of waters granted Nala his own presence whenever he
desired, and also garlands of celestial fragrance. And thus each of them
bestowed upon him a couple of boons. And having bestowed these the gods
went to heaven. And the kings also, having witnessed with wonder
Damayanti’s selection of Nala, returned delighted whence they had come.
And on the departure of those mighty monarchs, the high-souled Bhima,
well pleased, celebrated the wedding of Nala and Damayanti. And having
stayed there for a time according to his desire, Naishadha, the best of
men, returned to his own city with the permission of Bhima. And having
attained that pearl of a woman, the virtuous king, O monarch, began to
pass his days in joy, like the slayer of Vala and Vritra in the company
of Sachi. And resembling the sun in glory, the king, full of gladness,
began to rule his subjects righteously, and give them great satisfaction.
And like unto Yayati, the son of Nahusha, that intelligent monarch
celebrated the horse sacrifice and many other sacrifices with abundant
gifts to Brahmanas. And like unto a very god, Nala sported with Damayanti
in romantic woods and groves. And the high-minded king begat upon
Damayanti a son named Indrasena, and a daughter named Indrasena. And
celebrating sacrifice, and sporting (with Damayanti) thus, the king ruled
the earth abounding in wealth.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘When the blazing guardians of the worlds were
returning after the daughter of Bhima had chosen Naishadha, on their way
they met Dwapara with Kali approaching towards them. And seeing Kali,
Sakra the slayer of Vala and Vritra, said, ‘O Kali, say whither thou art
going with Dwapara.’ And thereupon Kali replied unto Sakra, ‘Going to
Damayanti’s Swayamvara, will I obtain her (for my wife), as my heart is
fixed upon that damsel.’ Hearing this, Indra said with a smile, ‘That
Swayamvara is already ended. In our sight she hath chosen Nala for her
husband.’ Thus answered by Sakra, Kali, that vilest of the celestials,
filled with wrath, addressing all those gods spake, ‘Since in the
presence of the celestials she hath chosen a mortal for her lord, it is
meet that she should undergo a heavy doom.’ Upon hearing these words of
Kali, the celestials answered, ‘It is with our sanction that Damayanti
hath chosen Nala. What damsel is there that would not choose king Nala
endued with every virtue? Well-versed in all duties, always conducting
himself with rectitude, he hath studied the four Vedas together with the
Puranas that are regarded as the fifth. Leading a life of harmlessness
unto all creatures, he is truth-telling and firm in his vows, and in his
house the gods are ever gratified by sacrifices held according to the
ordinance. In that tiger among men–that king resembling a Lokapala, is
truth, and forbearance, and knowledge, and asceticism, and purity and
self-control, and perfect tranquillity of soul. O Kali, the fool that
wisheth to curse Nala bearing such a character, curseth himself, and
destroyeth himself by his own act. And, O Kali, he that seeketh to curse
Nala crowned with such virtues, sinketh into the wide bottomless pit of
hell rife with torments.’ Having said this to Kali and Dwapara, the gods
went to heaven. And when the gods had gone away, Kali said unto Dwapara,
‘I am ill able, O Dwapara, to suppress my anger. I shall possess Nala,
deprive him of his kingdom, and he shall no more sport with Bhima’s
daughter. Entering the dice, it behoveth thee to help me.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Having made this compact with Dwapara, Kali came to
the place where the king of the Nishadhas was. And always watching for a
hole, he continued to dwell in the country of the Nishadhas for a long
time. And it was in the twelfth year that Kali saw a hole. For one day
after answering the call of nature, Naishadha touching water said his
twilight prayers, without having previously washed his feet. And it was
through this (omission) that Kali entered his person. And having
possessed Nala, he appeared before Pushkara, and addressed him, saying,
‘Come and play at dice with Nala. Through my assistance thou wilt surely
win at the play. And defeating king Nala and acquiring his kingdom, do
thou rule the Nishadhas.’ Thus exhorted by Kali, Pushkara went to Nala.
And Dwapara also approached Pushkara, becoming the principal die called
Vrisha. And appearing before the warlike Nala, that slayer of hostile
heroes, Pushkara, repeatedly said, ‘Let us play together with dice.’ Thus
challenged in the presence of Damayanti, the lofty-minded king could not
long decline it. And he accordingly fixed the time for the play. And
possessed by Kali, Nala began to lose, in the game, his stakes in gold,
and silver, and cars with the teams thereof, and robes. And maddened at
dice, no one amongst his friends could succeed in dissuading that
represser of foes from the play that went on. And thereupon, O Bharata,
the citizens in a body, with the chief councillors, came thither to
behold the distressed monarch and make him desist. And the charioteer
coming to Damayanti spake to her of this, saying, ‘O lady, the citizens
and officers of the state wait at the gate. Do thou inform the king of
the Nishadhas that the citizens have come here, unable to bear the
calamity that hath befallen their king conversant with virtue and
wealth.’ Thereupon Bhima’s daughter, overwhelmed with grief and almost
deprived of reason by it, spake unto Nala in choked accents, ‘O king, the
citizens with the councillors of state, urged by loyalty, stay at the
gate desirous of beholding thee. It behoveth thee to grant them an
interview.’ But the king, possessed by Kali, uttered not a word in reply
unto his queen of graceful glances, uttering thus her lamentations. And
at this, those councillors of state as also the citizens, afflicted with
grief and shame, returned to their homes, saying, ‘He liveth not.’ And, O
Yudhishthira, it was thus that Nala and Pushkara gambled together for
many months, the virtuous Nala being always worsted.'”


Vrihadaswa said. “Bhima’s daughter, the cool-headed Damayanti, seeing the
righteous king maddened and deprived of his senses at dice, was filled, O
king, with alarm and grief. And she thought the affair to be a serious
one with the king. And apprehensive of the calamity that threatened Nala,
yet seeking his welfare and at last understanding that her lord had lost
everything, she said unto her nurse and maid-servant Vrihatsena of high
fame, intent upon her good, dexterous in all duties, faithful and
sweet-speeched, these words, ‘O Vrihatsena, go thou and summon the
councillors in the name of Nala, and tell them also what of wealth and
other things hath been lost and what remaineth.’ The councillors then,
hearing of Nala’s summons, said, ‘This is fortunate for us’ and
approached the king. And when the subjects in a body had (thus) come a
second time, the daughter of Bhima informed Nala of it. But the king
regarded her not. Finding her husband disregarding her words, Damayanti,
filled with shame, returned to her apartments. And hearing that the dice
were uniformly unfavourable to the virtuous Nala, and that he had lost
everything, she again spake unto her nurse, saying, ‘O Vrihatsena, go
thou again in Nala’s name to bring hither, O blessed one, the charioteer,
Varshneya. The matter at hand is very serious.’ And Vrihatsena, hearing
those words of Damayanti caused Varshneya to be summoned by trusty
servants. And the blameless daughter of Bhima, acquainted with conduct
suitable to time and place, addressing soft words said according to the
occasion, ‘Thou knowest how the king hath always behaved towards thee. He
is now in difficulty, and it behoveth thee to assist him. The more the
king loseth to Pushkara, the greater becometh his ardour for the play.
And as the dice fall obedient to Pushkara, it is seen that they are
adverse to Nala in the matter of the play. And absorbed in the play, he
heedeth not the words of his friends and relatives, nor even those of
mine. I do not think, however, that in this the high-souled Naishadha is
to blame, in as much as the king regarded not my words, being absorbed in
play. O Charioteer, I seek thy protection. Do my behest. My mind
misgiveth me. The king may come to grief. Yoking Nala’s favourite horses
endued with the fleetness of the mind, do thou take these twins (my son
and daughter) on the car and hie thou to Kundina. Leaving the children
there with my kindred as also the car and the horses, either stay thou
there, or go to any other place as it listeth thee.’ Varshneya, the
charioteer of Nala, then reported in detail these words of Damayanti unto
the chief officers of the king. And having settled (the matter) in
consultation with them, and obtaining their assent, O mighty monarch, the
charioteer started for Vidarbha, taking the children on that car. And
leaving there the boy Indrasena and the girl Indrasena, as also that best
of cars and those steeds, the charioteer, with a sad heart grieving for
Nala, bade farewell unto Bhima. And wandering for some time, he arrived
at the city of Ayodhya. And there he appeared with a sorrowful heart
before king Rituparna, and entered the service of that monarch as


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘After Varshneya had gone away, Pushkara won from the
righteous Nala that latter’s kingdom and what else of wealth he had. And
unto Nala, O king, who had lost his kingdom, Pushkara laughingly said,
‘Let the play go on. But what stake hast thou now? Damayanti only
remaineth; all else of thine hath been won by me. Well, if thou likest,
that Damayanti be our stake now.’ Hearing these words of Pushkara the
virtuous king felt as if his heart would burst in rage, but he spake not
a word. And gazing at Pushkara in anguish, king Nala of great fame took
all the ornaments off every part of his body. And attired in a single
piece of cloth, his body uncovered, renouncing all his wealth, and
enhancing the grief of friends, the king set out. And Damayanti, clad in
one piece of cloth, followed him behind as he was leaving the city. And
coming to the outskirts of the city, Nala stayed there for three nights
with his wife. But Pushkara, O king, proclaimed through the city that he
that should show any attention to Nala, would be doomed to death. And on
account of these words of Pushkara and knowing his malice towards Nala,
the citizens, O Yudhishthira, no longer showed him hospitable regards.
And unregarded though deserving of hospitable regards, Nala passed three
nights in the outskirts of the city, living on water alone. And afflicted
with hunger, the king went away in search of fruit and roots, Damayanti
following him behind. And in agony of famine, after many days, Nala saw
some birds with plumage of golden hue. And thereupon the mighty lord of
the Nishadhas thought within himself, ‘These will be my banquet today and
also my wealth.’ And then he covered them with the cloth he had on–when
bearing up that garment of his, the birds rose up to the sky. And
beholding Nala nude and melancholy, and standing with face turned towards
the ground, those rangers of the sky addressed him, saying, ‘O thou of
small sense, we are even those dice. We had come hither wishing to take
away thy cloth, for it pleased us not that thou shouldst depart even with
thy cloth on.’ And finding himself deprived of his attire, and knowing
also that the dice were departing (with it), the virtuous Nala, O king,
thus spake unto Damayanti, ‘O faultless one, they through whose anger I
have been despoiled of my kingdom, they through whose influence
distressed and afflicted with hunger, I am unable to procure sustenance,
they for whom the Nishadhas offered me not any hospitality, they, O timid
one, are carrying off my cloth, assuming the form of birds. Fallen into
this dire disaster, I am afflicted with grief and deprived of my senses,
I am thy lord, do thou, therefore, listen to the words I speak for thy
good. These many roads lead to the southern country, passing by (the city
of) Avanti and the Rikshavat mountains. This is that mighty mountain
called Vindhya; yon, the river Payasvini running sea-wards, and yonder
are the asylums of the ascetics, furnished with various fruit and roots.
This road leadeth to the country of the Vidarbhas–and that, to the
country of the Kosalas. Beyond these roads to the south is the southern
country.’ Addressing Bhima’s daughter, O Bharata, he distressed king Nala
spake those words unto Damayanti over and over again. Thereupon afflicted
with grief, in a voice choked with tears, Damayanti spake unto Naishadha
these piteous words, ‘O king, thinking of thy purpose, my heart
trembleth, and all my limbs become faint. How can I go, leaving thee in
the lone woods despoiled of thy kingdom and deprived of thy wealth,
thyself without a garment on, and worn with hunger and toil? When in the
deep woods, fatigued and afflicted with hunger, thou thinkest of thy
former bliss, I will, O great monarch, soothe thy weariness. In every
sorrow there is no physic equal unto the wife, say the physicians. It is
the truth, O Nala, that I speak unto thee.’ Hearing those words of his
queen, Nala replied, ‘O slender-waisted Damayanti, it is even as thou
hast said. To a man in distress, there is no friend or medicine that is
equal unto a wife. But I do not seek to renounce thee, wherefore, O timid
one, dost thou dread this? O faultless one, I can forsake myself but thee
I cannot forsake.’ Damayanti then said, ‘If thou dost not, O mighty king,
intend to forsake me, why then dost thou point out to me the way to the
country of the Vidarbhas? I know, O king, that thou wouldst not desert
me. But, O lord of the earth, considering that thy mind is distracted,
thou mayst desert me. O best of men, thou repeatedly pointest out to me
the way and it is by this, O god-like one, that thou enhancest my grief.
If it is thy intention that I should go to my relatives, then if it
pleaseth thee, both of us will wend to the country of the Vidarbhas. O
giver of honours, there the king of the Vidarbhas will receive thee with
respect. And honoured by him, O king, thou shall live happily in our


“Nala said, ‘Surely, thy father’s kingdom is as my own. But thither I
will not, by any means, repair in this extremity. Once I appeared there
in glory, increasing thy joy. How can I go there now in misery,
augmenting thy grief?’

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Saying this again and again unto Damayanti, king
Nala, wrapped in half a garment, comforted his blessed wife. And both
attired in one cloth and wearied with hunger and thirst, in course of
their wanderings, at last they came to a sheltered shed for travellers.
And arrived at this place, the king of the Nishadhas sat down on the bare
earth with the princes of Vidarbha. And wearing the same piece of cloth
(with Damayanti), and dirty, and haggard, and stained with dust, he fell
asleep with Damayanti on the ground in weariness. And suddenly plunged in
distress, the innocent and delicate Damayanti with every mark of good
fortune, fell into a profound slumber. And, O monarch, while she slept,
Nala, with heart and mind distraught, could not slumber calmly as before.
And reflecting on the loss of his kingdom, the desertion of his friends,
and his distress in the woods, he thought with himself, ‘What availeth my
acting thus? And what if I act not thus? Is death the better for me now?
Or should I desert my wife? She is truly devoted to me and suffereth this
distress for my sake. Separated from me, she may perchance wander to her
relatives. Devoted as she is to me, if she stayeth with me, distress will
surely be hers; while it is doubtful, if I desert her. On the other hand,
it is not unlikely that she may even have happiness some time.’
Reflecting upon this repeatedly, and thinking of it again and again, he
concluded, O monarch, that the desertion of Damayanti was the best course
for him. And he also thought, ‘Of high fame and auspicious fortune, and
devoted to me, her husband, she is incapable of being injured by any one
on the way on account of her energy.’ Thus his mind that was influenced
by the wicked Kali, dwelling upon Damayanti, was made up for deserting
her. And then thinking of his own want of clothing, and of her being clad
in a single garment, he intended to cut off for himself one half of
Damayanti’s attire. And he thought, ‘How shall I divide this garment, so
that my beloved one may not perceive?’ And thinking of this, the royal
Nala began to walk up and down that shed. And, O Bharata, pacing thus to
and fro, he found a handsome sword lying near the shed, unsheathed. And
that repressor of foes, having, with that sword cut off one half of the
cloth, and throwing the instrument away, left the daughter of Vidharbha
insensible in her sleep and went away. But his heart failing him, the
king of the Nishadhas returned to the shed, and seeing Damayanti (again),
burst into tears. And he said, ‘Alas! that beloved one of mine whom
neither the god of wind nor the sun had seen before, even she sleepeth
to-day on the bare earth, like one forlorn. Clad in this severed piece of
cloth, and lying like one distracted, how will the beauteous one of
luminous smiles behave when she awaketh? How will the beautiful daughter
of Bhima, devoted to her lord, all alone and separated from me, wander
through these deep woods inhabited by beasts and serpents? O blessed one,
may the Adityas and the Vasus, and the twin Aswins together with the
Marutas protect thee, thy virtue being thy best guard.’ And addressing
thus his dear wife peerless on earth in beauty, Nala strove to go, reft
of reason by Kali. Departing and still departing, king Nala returned
again and again to that shed, dragged away by Kali but drawn back by
love. And it seemed as though the heart of the wretched king was rent in
twain, and like a swing, he kept going out from cabin and coming back
into it. At length after lamenting long and piteously, Nala stupefied and
bereft of sense by Kali went away, forsaking that sleeping wife of his.
Reft of reason through Kali’s touch, and thinking of his conduct, the
king departed in sorrow, leaving his, wife alone in that solitary


Vrihadaswa said, “O king, after Nala had gone away, the beauteous
Damayanti, now refreshed, timorously awoke in that lonely forest. And O
mighty monarch, not finding her lord Naishadha, afflicted with grief and
pain, she shrieked aloud in fright, saying, ‘O lord? O mighty monarch! O
husband, dost thou desert me? Oh, I am lost and undone, frightened in
this desolate place. O illustrious prince, thou art truthful in speech,
and conversant with morality. How hast thou then, having pledged thy
word, deserted me asleep in the woods? Oh, why hast thou deserted thy
accomplished wife, even devoted to thee, particularly one that hath not
wronged thee, though wronged thou hast been by others? O king of men, it
behoveth thee to act faithfull, according to those words thou hadst
spoken unto me before in the presence of the guardians of the worlds. O
bull among men, that thy wife liveth even a moment after thy desertion of
her, is only because mortals are decreed to die at the appointed time. O
bull among men, enough of this joke! O irrepressible one, I am terribly
frightened. O lord, show thyself. I see thee! I see thee, o king! Thou
art seen, O Naishadha, Hiding thyself behind those shrubs, why dost thou
not reply unto me? It is cruel of thee, O great king, that seeing me in
this plight and so lamenting, thou dost not, O king, approach and comfort
me. I grieve not for myself, nor for anything else. I only grieve to
think how thou wilt pass thy days alone, O king. In the evening oppressed
with hunger and thirst and fatigue, underneath the trees, how wilt it
take with thee when thou seest me not?’ And then Damayanti, afflicted
with anguish and burning with grief, began to rush hither and thither,
weeping in woe. And now the helpless princess sprang up, and now she sank
down in stupor; and now she shrank in terror, and now she wept and wailed
aloud. And Bhima’s daughter devoted to her husband, burning in anguish
and sighing ever more, and faint and weeping exclaimed, ‘That being
through whose imprecation the afflicted Naishadha suffereth this woe,
shall bear grief that is greater than ours. May that wicked being who
hath brought Nala of sinless heart this, lead a more miserable life
bearing greater ills.’

“Thus lamenting, the crowned consort of the illustrious (king) began to
seek her lord in those woods, inhabited by beasts of prey. And the
daughter of Bhima, wailing bitterly, wandered hither and thither like a
maniac, exclaiming, ‘Alas! Alas! Oh king!’ And as she was wailing loudly
like a female osprey, and grieving and indulging in piteous lamentations
unceasingly, she came near a gigantic serpent. And that huge and hungry
serpent thereupon suddenly seized Bhima’s daughter, who had come near and
was moving about within its range. And folded within serpent’s coils and
filled with grief, she still wept, not for herself but for Naishadha. And
she said ‘O lord, why dost thou not rush towards me, now that I am
seized, without anybody to protect me, by this serpent in these desert
wilds? And, O Naishadha, how will it fare with thee when thou rememberest
me? O lord, why hast thou gone away, deserting me today in the forest?
Free from thy course, when thou wilt have regained thy mind and senses
and wealth, how will it be with thee when thou thinkest of me? O
Naishadha, O sinless one, who will soothe thee when thou art weary, and
hungry, and fainting, O tiger among kings?’ And while she was wailing
thus, a certain huntsman ranging the deep woods, hearing her
lamentations, swiftly came to the spot. And beholding the large-eyed one
in the coils of the serpent, he rushed towards it and cut off its head
with his sharp weapon. And having struck the reptile dead, the huntsman
set Damayanti free. And having sprinkled her body with water and fed and
comforted her. O Bharata, he addressed her saying, ‘O thou with eyes like
those of a young gazelle, who art thou? And why also hast thou come into
the woods? And, O beauteous one, how hast thou fallen into this extreme
misery’ And thus accosted, O monarch, by that man, Damayanti, O Bharata,
related unto him all that had happened. And beholding that beautiful
woman clad in half a garment, with deep bosom and round hips, and limbs
delicate and faultless, and face resembling the full moon, and eyes
graced with curved eye-lashes, and speech sweet as honey, the hunter
became inflamed with desire. And afflicted by the god of love, the
huntsman began to soothe her in winning voice and soft words. And as soon
as the chaste and beauteous Damayanti, beholding him understood his
intentions, she was filled with fierce wrath and seemed to blaze up in
anger. But the wicked-minded wretch, burning with desire became wroth,
attempted to employ force upon her, who was unconquerable as a flame of
blazing fire. And Damayanti already distressed upon being deprived of
husband and kingdom, in that hour of grief beyond utterance, cursed him
in anger, saying, ‘I have never even thought of any other person than
Naishadha, therefore let this mean-minded wrath subsisting on chase, fall
down lifeless.’ And as soon as she said this, the hunter fell down
lifeless upon the ground, like a tree consumed by fire.” 131


“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Having destroyed that hunter Damayanti of eyes
like lotus leaves, went onwards through that fearful and solitary forest
ringing with the chirp of crickets. And it abounded with lions, and
leopards, and Rurus and tigers, and buffaloes, and bears and deer. And it
swarmed with birds of various species, and was infested by thieves and
mlechchha tribes. And it contained Salas, and bamboos and Dhavas, and
Aswatthas, and Tindukas and Ingudas, and Kinsukas, and Arjunas, and
Nimvas, and Tinisas and Salmalas, and Jamvus, and mango trees, and
Lodhras, and the catechu, and the cane, and Padmakas, and Amalahas, and
Plakshas, and Kadamvas, and Udumvaras and Vadaris, and Vilwas, and
banians, and Piyalas, and palms, and date-trees, and Haritakas and
Vibhitakas. And the princess of Vidarbha saw many mountains containing
ores of various kinds, and groves resounding with the notes of winged
choirs, and many glens of wondrous sight, and many rivers and lakes and
tanks and various kinds of birds and beasts. And she saw numberless
snakes and goblins and Rakshasas of grim visage, and pools and tanks and
hillocks, and brooks and fountains of wonderful appearance. And the
princess of Vidarbha saw there herds of buffaloes. And boars, and bears
as well as serpents of the wilderness. And safe in virtue and glory and
good fortune and patience, Damayanti wandered through those woods alone,
in search of Nala. And the royal daughter of Bhima, distressed only at
her separation from her lord, was not terrified at aught in that fearful
forest. And, O king, seating herself down upon a stone and filled with
grief, and every limb of hers trembling with sorrow on account of her
husband, she began to lament thus: ‘O king of the Nishadhas, O thou of
broad chest and mighty arms, whither hast thou gone, O king, leaving me
in this lone forest? O hero, having performed the Aswamedha and other
sacrifices, with gifts in profusion (unto the Brahmanas), why hast thou,
O tiger among men, played false with me alone? O best of men, O thou of
great splendour, it behoveth thee. O auspicious one, to remember what
thou didst declare before me, O bull among kings! And, O monarch, it
behoveth thee also to call to mind what the sky-ranging swans spake in
thy presence and in mine. O tiger among men, the four Vedas in all their
extent, with the Angas and the Upangas, well-studied, on one side, and
one single truth on the other, (are equal). Therefore, O slayer of foes,
it behoveth thee, O lord of men, to make good what thou didst formerly
declare before me. Alas, O hero! warrior! O Nala! O sinless one being
thine, I am about to perish in this dreadful forest. Oh! wherefore dost
thou not answer me? This terrible lord of the forest, of grim visage and
gaping jaws, and famishing with hunger, filleth me with fright. Doth it
not behove thee to deliver me? Thou wert wont to say always, ‘Save thee
there existeth not one dear unto me.’ O blessed one, O king, do thou now
make good thy words so spoken before. And, O king, why dost thou not
return an answer to thy beloved wife bewailing and bereft of sense,
although thou lovest her, being loved in return? O king of the earth, O
respected one, O represser of foes, O thou of large eyes, why dost thou
not regard me, emaciated, and distressed and pale, and discoloured, and
clad in a half piece of cloth, and alone, and weeping, and lamenting like
one forlorn, and like unto a solitary doe separated from the herd? O
illustrious sovereign, it is, I, Damayanti, devoted to thee, who, alone
in this great forest, address thee. Wherefore, then, dost thou not reply
unto me? Oh, I do not behold thee today on this mountain, O chief of men,
O thou of noble birth and character with every limb possesed of grace! In
this terrible forest, haunted by lions and tigers, O king of the
Nishadhas, O foremost of men, O enhancer of my sorrows, (Wishing to know)
whether thou art lying down, or sitting, or standing, or gone, whom shall
I ask, distressed and woe-stricken on thy account, saying, ‘Hast thou
seen in this woods the royal Nala?’ Of whom shall I in this forest
enquire alter the departed Nala, handsome and of high soul, and the
destroyer of hostile arrays? From whom shall I today hear the sweet
words, viz., ‘That royal Nala, of eyes like lotus-leaves, whom thou
seekest, is even here?’ Yonder cometh the forest-king, that tiger of
graceful mien, furnished with four teeth and prominent cheeks. Even him
will I accost fearlessly: Thou art the lord of all animals, and of this
forest the king. Know me for Damayanti, the daughter of the king of the
Vidarbhas, and the wife of Nala, destroyer of foes, and the king of the
Nishadhas. Distressed and woe-stricken, I am seeking my husband alone in
these woods. Do thou, O king of beasts, comfort me (with news of Nala) if
thou hast seen him. Or, O lord of the forest, if thou cannot speak of
Nala, do thou, then, O best of beasts, devour me, and free me from this
misery. Alas! hearing my plaintive appeal in the wilderness, this king of
mountains, this high and sacred hill, crested with innumerable […?-JBH]
rolleth towards the sea. Let me, then, for tidings of the king, ask this
king of mountains, this high and sacred hill, crested with innumerable
heaven-kissing and many-hued and beauteous peaks, and abounding in
various ores, and decked with gems of diverse kings, and rising like a
banner over this broad forest, and ranged by lions and tigers and
elephants and boars and bears and stags, and echoing all around with (the
notes of) winged creatures of various species, and adorned with kinsukas
and Asokas and Vakulas and Punnagas, with blossoming Karnikaras, and
Dhavas and Plakshas, and with streams haunted by waterfowls of every
kind, and abounding in crested summits, O sacred one! O best of
mountains! O thou of wondrous sight! O celebrated hill! O refuge (of the
distressed)! O highly auspicious one! I bow to thee, O pillar of the
earth! Approaching, I bow to thee. Know me for a king’s daughter, and a
king’s daughter-in-law, and king’s consort, Damayanti by name that lord
of earth who ruleth the Vidarbhas, that mighty warrior-king Bhima by
name, who protecteth the four orders, is my sire. That best of kings
celebrated the Rajasuya and Aswamedha sacrifices, with profuse gifts to
the Brahmanas. Possessed of beautiful and large eyes, distinguished for
devotion to the Vedas, of unblemished character, truth-telling, devoid of
guile, gentle, endued with prowess, lord of immense wealth, versed in
morality, and pure, he having vanquished all his foes, effectually
protecteth the inhabitants of Vidarbha. Know me, O holy one, for his
daughter, thus come to thee. That best of men–the celebrated ruler of
the Nishadha–known by the name of Virasena of high fame, was my
father-in-law. The son of that king, heroic and handsome and possessed of
energy incapable of being baffled, who ruleth well the kingdom which hath
descended to him from his father, is named Nala. Know, O mountain, that
of that slayer of foes, called also Punyasloka, possessed of the
complexion of gold, and devoted to the Brahmanas, and versed in the
Vedas, and gifted with eloquence,–of that righteous and Soma-quaffing
and fire-adoring king, who celebrateth sacrifices and is liberal and
warlike and who adequately chastiseth (criminals), I am the innocent
spouse–the chief of his queens–standing before thee. Despoiled of
prosperity and deprived of (the company of my) husband without a
protector, and afflicted with calamity, hither have I come, O best of
mountains, seeking my husband. Hast thou, O foremost of mountains, with
thy hundreds of peaks towering (into the sky) seen king Nala in this
frightful forest? Hast thou seen my husband, that ruler of the Nishadhas,
the illustrious Nala, with the tread of a mighty elephant, endued with
intelligence, long-armed, and of fiery energy, possessed of prowess and
patience and courage and high fame? Seeing me bewailing alone,
overwhelmed with sorrow, wherefore, O best of mountains, dost thou not
today soothe me with thy voice, as thy own daughter in distress? O hero,
O warrior of prowess, O thou versed in every duty, O thou adhering to
truth–O lord of the earth, if thou art in this forest, then, O king,
reveal thyself unto me. Oh, when shall I again hear the voice of Nala,
gentle and deep as that of the clouds, that voice, sweet as Amrita, of
the illustrious king, calling me Vidharva’s daughter, with accents
distinct, and holy, and musical as the chanting of the Vedas and rich,
and soothing all my sorrows. O king, I am frightened. Do thou, O virtuous
one, comfort me.’

“Having addressed that foremost of mountain thus, Damayanti then went in
a northerly direction. And having proceeded three days and nights, that
best of women came to an incomparable penance grove of ascetics,
resembling in beauty a celestial grove. And the charming asylum she
beheld was inhabited and adorned by ascetics like Vasishtha and Bhrigu
and Atri, self-denying and strict in diet, with minds under control,
endued with holiness, some living on water, some on air, and some on
(fallen) leaves, with passions in check, eminently blessed, seeking the
way to heaven, clad in barks of trees and deer-skins, and with senses
subdued. And beholding that hermitage inhabited by ascetics, and
abounding in herds of deer and monkeys, Damayanti was cheered. And that
best of women, the innocent and blessed Damayanti, with graceful
eye-brows, and long tresses, with lovely hips and deep bosom, and face
graced with fine teeth and with fine black and large eyes, in her
brightness and glory entered that asylum. And saluting those ascetics
grown old in practising austerities, she stood in an attitude of
humility. And the ascetics living in that forest, said, ‘Welcome!’ And
those men of ascetic wealth, paying her due homage, said, ‘Sit ye down,
and tell us what we may do for thee.’ That best of women replied unto
them, saying, ‘Ye sinless and eminently blessed ascetics, is it well with
your austerities, and sacrificial fire, and religious observances, and
the duties of your own order? And is it well with the beasts and birds of
this asylum? And they answered, ‘O beauteous and illustrious lady,
prosperity attendeth us in every respect. But, O thou of faultless limbs,
tell us who thou art, and what thou seekest. Beholding thy beauteous form
and thy bright splendour, we have been amazed. Cheer up and mourn not.
Tell us, O blameless and blessed one, art thou the presiding deity of
this forest, or of this mountain, or of this river?’ Damayanti replied
unto those ascetics, saying, ‘O Brahmanas, I am not the goddess of this
forest, or of this mountain, or of this stream. O Rishis of ascetic
wealth, know that I am a human being. I will relate my history in detail.
Do ye listen to me. There is a king–the mighty ruler of the
Vidarbhas–Bhima by name. O foremost of regenerate ones, know me to be
his daughter. The wise ruler of the Nishadhas, Nala by name, of great
celebrity, heroic, and ever victorious in battle, and learned, is my
husband. Engaged in the worship of the gods, devoted to the twice-born
ones, the guardian of the line of the Nishadhas, of mighty energy,
possessed of great strength, truthful, conversant with all duties, wise,
unwavering in promise, the crusher of foes, devout, serving the gods,
graceful, the conqueror of hostile towns, that foremost of kings, Nala by
name, equal in splendour unto the lord of celestials, the slayer of foes,
possessed of large eyes, and a hue resembling the full moon, is my
husband. The celebrator of great sacrifices, versed in the Vedas and
their branches, the destroyer of enemies in battle, and like unto the sun
and the moon in splendour, is he. That king devoted to truth and religion
was summoned to dice by certain deceitful persons of mean mind and
uncultured soul and of crooked ways, and skilful in gambling, and was
deprived of wealth and kingdom. Know that I am the wife of that bull
among kings, known to all by the name of Damayanti, anxious to find out
my (missing) lord. In sadness of heart am I wandering among woods, and
mountains, and lakes, and rivers, and tanks and forests, in search of
that husband of mine–Nala, skilled in battle, high-souled, and
well-versed in the use of weapons, O hath king Nala, the lord of the
Nishadhas, come to this delightful asylum of your holy selves? It is for
him, O Brahmanas, that I have come to this dreary forest full of terrors
and haunted by tigers and other beasts. If I do not see king Nala within
a few days and nights, I shall seek my good by renouncing this body. Of
what use is my life without that bull among men? How shall I live
afflicted with grief on account of my husband?’

Unto Bhima’s daughter, Damayanti, lamenting forlorn in that forest, the
truth-telling ascetics replied, saying, ‘O blessed and beauteous one, we
see by ascetic power that the future will bring happiness to thee, and
that thou wilt soon behold Naishadha. O daughter of Bhima, thou wilt
behold Nala, the lord of the Nishadhas, the slayer of foes, and the
foremost of the virtuous freed from distress. And O blessed lady, thou
wilt behold the king–thy lord–freed from all sins and decked with all
kinds of gems, and ruling the selfsame city, and chasting his enemies,
and striking terror into the hearts of foes, and gladdening the hearts of
friends, and crowned with every blessing.’

“‘Having spoken unto that princess–the beloved queen of Nala–the
ascetics with their sacred fires and asylum vanished from sight. And
beholding that mighty wonder, the daughter-in-law of king Virasena,
Damayanti of faultless limbs, was struck with amazement. And she asked
herself, ‘Was it a dream that I saw? What an occurrence hath taken place!
Where are all those ascetics? And where is that asylum? Where, further,
is that delightful river of sacred waters–the resort of diverse kinds of
fowls? And where, again, are those charming trees decked with fruits and
flowers?’ And after thinking so for some time, Bhima’s daughter,
Damayanti of sweet smiles melancholy and afflicted with grief on account
of her lord, lost the colour of her face (again). And going to another
part of the wood, she saw an Asoka tree. And approaching that first of
trees in the forest, so charming with blossoms and its load of foliage,
and resounding with the notes of birds, Damayanti, with tears in her eyes
and accents choked in grief, began to lament, saying, ‘Oh, this graceful
tree in the heart of the forest, decked in flowers, looketh beautiful,
like a charming king of hills. O beauteous Asoka, do thou speedily free
me from grief. Hast thou seen king Nala, the slayer of foes and the
beloved husband of Damayanti,–freed from fear and grief and obstacles?
Hast thou seen my beloved husband, the ruler of the Nishadhas, clad in
half a piece of cloth, with delicate skin, that hero afflicted with woe
and who hath come into this wilderness? O Asoka tree, do thou free me
from grief! O Asoka, vindicate thy name, for Asoka meaneth destroyer of
grief. And going round that tree thrice, with an afflicted heart, that
best of women, Bhima’s daughter, entered a more terrible part of the
forest. And wandering in quest of her lord, Bhima’s daughter beheld many
trees and streams and delightful mountains, and many beasts and birds,
and caves, and precipices, and many rivers of wonderful appearance. And
as she proceeded she came upon a broad way where she saw with wonder a
body of merchants, with their horses and elephants, landing on the banks
of a river, full of clear and cool water, and lovely and charming to
behold, and broad, and covered with bushes of canes, and echoing with the
cries of cranes and ospreys and Chakravakas, and abounding in tortoises
and alligators and fishes, and studded with innumerable islets. And as
soon as as she saw that caravan, the beauteous and celebrated wife of
Nala, wild like a maniac, oppressed with grief, clad in half a garment,
lean and pale and smutted, and with hair covered with dust, drew near and
entered into its midst. And beholding her, some fled in fear, and some
became extremely anxious, and some cried aloud, and some laughed at her,
and some hated her. And some, O Bharata, felt pity for, and even
addressed, her, saying, ‘O blessed one, who art thou, and whose? What
seekest thou in woods? Seeing thee here we have been terrified. Art thou
human? Tell us truly, O blessed one if thou art the goddess of this wood
or of this mountain or of the points of the heaven. We seek thy
protection. Art thou a female Yaksha, or a female Rakshasa, or a
celestial damsel? O thou of faultless features, do thou bless us wholly
and protect us. And, O blessed one, do thou so act that his caravan may
soon go hence in prosperity and that the welfare of all of us may be
secured.’ Thus addressed by that caravan, the princess Damayanti, devoted
to her husband and oppressed by the calamity that had befallen her,
answered, saying, ‘O leader of the caravan, ye merchants, ye youths, old
men, and children, and ye that compose this caravan, know me for a human
being. I am the daughter of a king, and the daughter in-law of a king,
and the consort also of a king, eager for the sight of my lord. The ruler
of the Vidarbhas is my father, and my husband is the lord of the
Nishadhas, named Nala. Even now I am seeking that unvanquished and
blessed one. If ye have chanced to see my beloved one, king Nala, that
tiger among men, that destroyer of hostile hosts, O tell me quick.’
Thereupon the leader of that great caravan, named Suchi, replied unto
Damayanti of faultless limbs, saying, ‘O blessed one, listen to my words.
O thou of sweet smiles, I am a merchant and the leader of this caravan. O
illustrious lady, I have not seen any man of the name of Nala. In this
extensive forest uninhabited by men, there are only elephants and
leopards and buffaloes, and tigers and bears and other animals. Except
thee, I have not met with any man or woman here, so help us now
Manibhadra, the king of Yakshas!’ Thus addressed by them she asked those
merchants as well as the leader of the host saying, ‘It behoveth you to
tell me whither this caravan is bound.’ The leader of the band said, ‘O
daughter of a great king, for the purpose of profit this caravan is bound
direct for the city of Suvahu, the truth-telling ruler of the Chedis.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Having heard the words of the leader of that caravan,
Damayanti of faultless limbs proceeded with that caravan itself anxious
to behold her lord. And after having proceeded for many days the
merchants saw a large lake fragrant with lotuses in the midst of that
dense and terrible forest. And it was beautiful all over, and exceedingly
delightful, (with banks) abounding in grass and fuel and fruits and
flowers. And it was inhabited by various kinds of fowls and birds, and
fall of water that was pure and sweet. And it was cool and capable of
captivating the heart. And the caravan, worn out with toil, resolved to
halt there. And with the permission of their leader, they spread
themselves around those beautiful woods. And that mighty caravan finding
it was evening halted at that place. And (it came to pass that) at the
hour of midnight when everything was hushed and still and the tired
caravan had fallen asleep, a herd of elephants in going towards a
mountain stream to drink of its water befouled by their temporal juice,
saw that caravan as also the numerous elephants belonging to it. And
seeing their domesticated fellows the wild elephants infuriated and with
the temporal juice trickling down rushed impetuously on the former, with
the intention of killing them. And the force of the rush of those
elephants was hard to bear, like the impetuosity of peaks lessened from
mountain summits rolling towards the plain. The rushing elephants found
the forest paths to be all blocked up, for the goodly caravan was
sleeping obstructing the paths around that lake of lotuses. And the
elephants all of a sudden, began to crush the men lying insensible on the
ground. And uttering cries of ‘Oh!’ and ‘Alas!’ the merchants, blinded by
sleep, fled, in order to escape that danger, to copses and woods for
refuge. And some were slain by the tusks, and some by the trunks, and
some by the legs of those elephants. And innumerable camels and horses
were killed, and crowds of men on foot, running in fright, killed one
another. And uttering loud cries some fell down on the ground, and some
in fear climbed on trees, and some dropped down on uneven ground. And, O
king, thus accidentally attacked by that large herd of elephants, that
goodly caravan suffered a great loss. And there arose a tremendous uproar
calculated to frighten the three worlds, ‘Lo! a great fire hath broken
out. Rescue us.

Do ye speedily fly away. Why do ye fly? Take the heaps of jewels
scattered around. All this wealth is a trifle. I do not speak falsely, ‘I
tell you again, (exclaimed some one) think on my words, O ye distracted
one!’ With such exclamation they ran about in fright. And Damayanti awoke
in fear and anxiety, while that terrible slaughter was raging there. And
beholding slaughter capable of awaking the fear of all the worlds, and
which was so unforeseen, the damsel of eyes like lotus leaves rose up,
wild with fright, and almost out of breath. And those of the caravan that
had escaped unhurt, met together, and asked one another, ‘Of what deed of
ours is this the consequence? Surely, we have failed to worship the
illustrious Manibhadras, and likewise the exalted and graceful
Vaisravana, the king of the Yaksha. Perhaps, we have not worshipped the
deities that cause calamities, or perhaps, we have not paid them the
first homage. Or, perhaps, this evil is the certain consequence of the
birds (we saw). Our stars are not unpropitious. From what other cause,
then hath this disaster come?’ Others, distressed and bereft of wealth
and relatives, said, ‘That maniac-like woman who came amongst this mighty
caravan in guise that was strange and scarcely human, alas, it is by her
that this dreadful illusion had been pre-arranged. Of a certainty, she is
a terrible Rakshasa or a Yaksha or a Pisacha woman. All this evil is her
work, what need of doubts? If we again see that wicked destroyer of
merchants, that giver of innumerable woes, we shall certainly slay that
injurer of ours, with stones, and dust, and grass, and wood, and cuffs.’
And hearing these dreadful words of the merchants, Damayanti, in terror
and shame and anxiety, fled into the woods apprehensive of evil. And
reproaching herself she said, ‘Alas! fierce and great is the wrath of God
on me. Peace followeth not in my track. Of what misdeed is this the
consequence? I do not remember that I did ever so little a wrong to any
one in thought, word, or deed. Of what deed, then, is this the
consequence? Certainly, it is on account of the great sins I had
committed in a former life that such calamity hath befallen me, viz., the
loss of my husband’s kingdom, his defeat at the hands of his own kinsmen,
this separation from my lord and my son and daughter, this my unprotected
state, and my presence in this forest abounding in innumerable beasts of

“The next day, O king, the remnant of that caravan left the place
bewailing the destruction that had overtaken them and lamenting for their
dead brothers and fathers and sons and friends. And the princess of
Vidarbha began to lament, saying, ‘Alas! What misdeed have I perpetrated!
The crowd of men that I obtained in this lone forest, hath been destroyed
by a herd of elephants, surely as a consequence of my ill luck. Without
doubt, I shall have to suffer misery for a long time. I have heard from
old men that no person dieth ere his time; it is for this that my
miserable self hath not been trodden to death by that herd of elephants.
Nothing that befalleth men is due to anything else than Destiny, for even
in my childhood I did not commit any such sin in thought, word, or deed,
whence might come this calamity. Methinks, I suffer this severance from
my husband through the potency of those celestial Lokapalas, who had come
to the Swayamvara but whom I disregarded for the sake of Nala.’ Bewailing
thus, O tiger among kings, that excellent lady, Damayanti, devoted to her
husband, went, oppressed with grief and (pale) as the autumnal moon, with
those Brahmanas versed in the Vedas that had survived the slaughter of
the caravan. And departing speedily, towards evening, the damsel came to
the mighty city of the truth-telling Suvahu, the king of the Chedis. And
she entered that excellent city clad in half a garment. And the citizens
saw her as she went, overcome with fear, and lean, melancholy, her hair
dishevelled and soiled with dust, and maniac-like. And beholding her
enter the city of the king of the Chedis, the boys of the city, from
curiosity, began to follow her. And surrounded by them, she came before
the palace of the king. And from the terrace the queen-mother saw her
surrounded by the crowd. And she said to her nurse, ‘Go and bring that
woman before me. She is forlorn and is being vexed by the crowd. She hath
fallen into distress and standeth in need of succour. I find her beauty
to be such that it illumineth my house. The fair one, though looking like
a maniac, seemeth a very Sree with her large eyes.’ Thus commanded, the
nurse went out and dispersing the crowd brought Damayanti to that
graceful terrace. And struck with wonder, O king, she asked Damayanti,
saying, ‘Afflicted though thou art with such distress, thou ownest a
beautiful form. Thou shinest like lightning in the midst of the clouds.
Tell me who thou art, and whose. O thou possessed of celestial splendour,
surely, thy beauty is not human, bereft though thou art of ornaments. And
although thou art helpless, yet thou art unmoved under the outrage of
these men.’ Hearing these words of the nurse, the daughter of Bhima said,
Know that I am a female belonging to the human species and devoted to my
husband. I am a serving woman of good lineage. I live wherever I like,
subsisting on fruit and roots, and whom a companion, and stay where
evening overtaketh me. My husband is the owner of countless virtues and
was ever devoted to me. And I also, on my part, was deeply attached to
him, following him like his shadow. It chanced that once he became
desperately engaged at dice. Defeated at dice, he came along into the
forest. I accompanied my husband into the woods, comforting the hero clad
in a single piece of cloth and maniac-like and overwhelmed with calamity.
Once on a time for some cause, that hero, afflicted with hunger and
thirst and grief, was forced to abandon that sole piece of covering in
the forest. Destitute of garment and maniac-like and deprived of his
senses as he was, I followed him, myself in a single garment. Following
him, I did not sleep for nights together. Thus passed many days, until at
last while I was sleeping, he cut off half of my cloth, and forsook me
who had done him no wrong. I am seeking my husband but unable to find him
who is of hue like the filaments of the lotus, without being able to cast
my eyes on that delight of my heart, that dear lord who owneth my heart
and resembleth the celestials in mien, day and night do I burn in grief.”

“Unto Bhima’s daughter thus lamenting with tearful eyes, and afflicted
and speaking in accents choked in grief, the queen-mother herself said,
‘O blessed damsel, do thou stay with me. I am well pleased with thee. O
fair lady, my men shall search for thy husband. Or, perhaps he may come
here of his own accord in course of his wanderings. And, O beautiful
lady, residing here thou wilt regain thy (lost) lord.’ Hearing these
words of the queen mother, Damayanti replied, ‘O mother of heroes, I may
stay with thee on certain conditions. I shall not eat the leavings on any
dish, nor shall I wash anybody’s feet, nor shall I have to speak with
other men. And if anybody shall seek me (as a wife or mistress) he should
be liable to punishment at thy hands. And, further, should he solicit me
over and over again, that wicked one should be punished with death. This
is the vow I have made. I intend to have an interview with those
Brahmanas that will set out to search for my husband. If thou canst do
all this, I shall certainly live with thee. If it is otherwise, I cannot
find it in my heart to reside with thee.’ The queen-mother answered her
with a glad heart, saying, ‘I will do all this. Thou hast done well in
adopting such a vow!'”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘O king, having spoken so unto the daughter of
Bhima, the queen-mother, O Bharata, said to her daughter named Sunanda,
‘O Sunanda, accept this lady like a goddess as thy Sairindhri! Let her be
thy companion, as she is of the same age with thee. Do thou, with heart
free from care, always sport with her in joy.’ And Sunanda cheerfully
accepted Damayanti and led her to her own apartment accompanied by her
associates. And treated with respect, Damayanti was satisfied, and she
continued to reside there without anxiety of any kind, for all her wishes
were duly gratified.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘O monarch, having deserted Damayanti, king Nala saw a
mighty conflagration that was raging in that dense forest. And in the
midst of that conflagration, he heard the voice of some creature,
repeatedly crying aloud, ‘O righteous Nala, come hither.’ And answering,
‘Fear not,’ he entered into the midst of the fire and beheld a mighty
Naga lying in coils. And the Naga with joined hands, and trembling, spake
unto Nala, saying, ‘O king, that I am a snake, Karkotaka by name. I had
deceived the great Rishi Narada of high ascetic merit, and by him have I
been cursed in wrath, O king of men, even in words such as these: ‘Stay
thou here like an immobile thing, until one Nala taketh thee hence. And,
indeed, on the spot to which he will carry thee, there shalt thou he
freed from my curse. It is for that curse of his that I am unable to stir
one step. I will instruct thee in respect of thy welfare. It behoveth
thee to deliver me. I will be thy friend. There is no snake equal to me.
I will be light in thy hands. Taking me up, do thou speedily go hence.’
Having said this, that prince of snakes became as small as the thumb. And
taking him up, Nala went to a spot free from fire. Having reached an open
spot where there was no fire, Nala intended to drop the serpent, upon
which Karkotaka again addressed him, saying, ‘O king of the Nishadhas,
proceed thou yet, counting a few steps of thine; meanwhile, O
mighty-armed one, I will do thee great good.’ And as Nala began to count
his steps, the snake bit him at the tenth step. And, lo! As he was bit,
his form speedily underwent a change. And beholding his change of form,
Nala was amazed. And the king saw the snake also assume his own form. And
the snake Karkotaka, comforting Nala, spake unto him, ‘I have deprived
thee of thy beauty, so that people may not recognise thee. And, O Nala,
he by whom thou hast been deceived and cast into distress, shall dwell in
thee tortured by my venom. And, O monarch, as long as he doth not leave
thee, he will have to dwell in pain in thy body with thee every limb
filled with my venom. And, O ruler of men I have saved from the hands of
him who from anger and hate deceived thee, perfectly innocent though thou
art and undeserving of wrong. And, O tiger among men, through my grace,
thou shalt have (no longer) any fear from animals with fangs from
enemies, and from Brahmanas also versed in the Vedas, O king! Nor shalt
thou, O monarch, feel pain on account of my poison. And, O foremost of
kings, thou shalt be ever victorious in battle. This very day, O prince,
O lord of Nishadhas, go to the delightful city of Ayodhya, and present
thyself before Rituparna skilled in gambling, saying, ‘I am a charioteer,
Vahuka by name.’ And that king will give thee his skill in dice for thy
knowledge of horses. Sprung from the line of Ikswaku, and possessed of
prosperity, he will be thy friend. When thou wilt be an adept at dice,
thou shalt then have prosperity. Thou wilt also meet with thy wife and
thy children, and regain thy kingdom. I tell thee this truly. Therefore,
let not thy mind be occupied by sorrow. And, O lord of men, when thou
shouldst desire to behold thy proper form, thou shouldst remember me, and
wear this garment. Upon wearing this, thou shalt get back thy own form.’
And saying this, that Naga then gave unto Nala two pieces of celestial
cloth. And, O son of the Kuru race, having thus instructed Nala, and
presented him with the attire, the king of snakes, O monarch, made
himself invisible there and then!'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘After the snake had vanquished, Nala, the ruler of the
Nishadhas, proceeded, and on the tenth day entered the city of Rituparna.
And he approached the king, saying, ‘My name is Vahuka. There is no one
in this world equal to me in managing steeds. My counsel also should be
sought in matters of difficulty and in all affairs of skill. I also
surpass others in the art of cooking. In all those arts that exists in
this world, and also in every thing difficult of accomplishment, I will
strive to attain success, O Rituparna, do thou maintain me.’ And
Rituparna replied, ‘O Vahuka, stay with me! May good happen to thee. Thou
wilt even perform all this. I have always particularly desired to be
driven fast. Do thou concert such measures that my steeds may become
fleet. I appoint thee the superintendent of my stables. Thy pay shall be
ten thousand (coins). Both Varshneya and Jivala shall always be under thy
direction. Thou wilt live pleasantly in their company. Therefore, O
Vahuka, stay thou with me.'”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Thus addressed by the king, Nala began to dwell
in the city of Rituparna, treated with respect and with Varshneya and
Jivala as his companions. And residing there, the king (Nala),
remembering the princess of Vidarbha, recited every evening the following
sloka: ‘Where lieth that helpless one afflicted with hunger and thirst
and worn with toil, thinking of that wretch? And upon whom also doth she
now wait?’ And once as the king was reciting this in the night, Jivala
asked him saying, ‘O Vahuka, whom dost thou lament thus daily? I am
curious to hear it. O thou blest with length of days, whose spouse is she
whom thus lamentest?’ Thus questioned, king Nala answered him, saying, ‘A
certain person devoid of sense had a wife well-known to many. That wretch
was false in his promises. For some reason that wicked person was
separated from her. Separated from her, that wretch wandered about
oppressed with woe, and burning with grief he resteth not by day or
night. And at night, remembering her, he singeth this sloka. Having
wandered over the entire world, he hath at last found a refuge, and
undeserving of the distress that hath befallen him, passeth his days,
thus remembering his wife. When calamity had overtaken this man, his wife
followed him into the woods. Deserted by that man of little virtue, her
life itself is in danger. Alone, without knowledge of ways, ill able to
bear distress, and fainting with hunger and thirst, the girl can hardly
protect her life. And, O friend, she hath been deserted by that man of
small fortune and having little sense, with the wide and terrible forest,
ever abounding in beasts of prey’–

“Thus remembering Damayanti, the king of the Nishadhas continued to live
unknown in the abode of that monarch!”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Nala, despoiled of his kingdom, had, with his
wife, become a bondsman, Bhima with the desire of seeing Nala sent out
Brahmanas to search for him. And giving them profuse wealth, Bhima
enjoined on them, saying, ‘Do ye search for Nala, and also for my
daughter Damayanti. He who achieveth this task, viz., ascertaining where
the ruler of the Nishadhas is, bringeth him and my daughter hither, will
obtain from me a thousand kine, and fields, and a village resembling a
town. Even if failing to bring Damayanti and Nala here, he that succeeds
learning their whereabouts, will get from me the wealth represented by a
thousand kine.’ Thus addressed, the Brahmanas cheerfully went out in all
directions seeking Nala and his wife in cities and provinces. But Nala or
his spouse they found not anywhere. Until at length searching in the
beautiful city of the Chedis, a Brahmana named Sudeva, during the time of
the king’s prayers, saw the princess of Vidarbha in the palace of the
king, seated with Sunanda. And her incomparable beauty was slightly
perceptible, like the brightness of a fire enveloped in curls of smoke.
And beholding that lady of large eyes, soiled and emaciated he decided
her to be Damayanti, coming to that conclusion from various reasons. And
Sudeva said, ‘As I saw her before, this damsel is even so at present. O,
I am blest, by casting my eyes on this fair one, like Sree herself
delighting the worlds! Resembling the full moon, of unchanging youth, of
well-rounded breasts, illumining all sides by her splendour, possessed of
large eyes like beautiful lotuses, like unto Kama’s Rati herself the
delight of all the worlds like the rays of the full moon, O, she looketh
like a lotus-stalk transplanted by adverse fortune from the Vidarbha lake
and covered with mire in the process. And oppressed with grief on account
of her husband, and melancholy, she looketh like the night of the full
moon when Rahu hath swallowed that luminary, or like a stream whose
current hath dried up. Her plight is very much like that of a ravaged
lake with the leaves of its lotuses crushed by the trunks of elephants,
and with its birds and fowls affrighted by the invasion. Indeed, this
girl, of a delicate frame and of lovely limbs, and deserving to dwell in
a mansion decked with gems, is (now) like an uprooted lotus-stalk
scorched by the sun. Endued with beauty and generosity of nature, and
destitute of ornaments, though deserving of them, she looketh like the
moon ‘new bent in haven’ but covered with black clouds. Destitute of
comforts and luxuries, separated from loved ones and friends, she liveth
in distress, supported by the hope of beholding her lord. Verily, the
husband is the best ornament of a woman, however destitute of ornaments.
Without her husband beside her, this lady, though beautiful, shineth not.
It is a hard feat achieved by Nala in that he liveth without succumbing
to grief, though separated from such a wife. Beholding this damsel
possessed of black hair and of eyes like lotus-leaves, in woe though
deserving of bliss, even my heart is pained. Alas! when shall this girl
graced with auspicious marks and devoted to her husband, crossing this
ocean of woe, regain the company of her lord, like Rohini regaining the
Moon’s? Surely, the king of the Nishadhas will experience in regaining
her the delight that a king deprived of his kingdom experienceth in
regaining his kingdom. Equal to her in nature and age and extraction,
Nala deserveth the daughter of Vidarbha, and this damsel of black eyes
also deserveth him. It behoveth me to comfort the queen of that hero of
immeasurable prowess and endued with energy and might, (since) she is so
eager to meet her husband. I will console this afflicted girl of face
like the full moon, and suffering distress that she had never before
endured, and ever meditating on her lord.’

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Having thus reflected on these various
circumstances and signs, the Brahmana, Sudeva, approached Damayanti, and
addressed her, saying, ‘O princess of Vidarbha, I am Sudeva, the dear
friend of thy brother. I have come here, seeking thee, at the desire of
king Bhima. Thy father is well, and also thy mother, and thy brothers.
And thy son and daughter, blessed with length of days, are living in
peace. Thy relatives, though alive, are almost dead on thy account, and
hundreds of Brahmanas are ranging the world in search of thee.”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘O Yudhishthira, Damayanti recognising Sudeva,
asked him respecting all her relatives and kinsmen one after another.
And, O monarch, oppressed with grief, the princess of Vidarbha began to
weep bitterly, at the unexpected sight of Sudeva, that foremost of
Brahmanas and the friend of her brother. And, O Bharata, beholding
Damayanti weeping, and conversing in private with Sudeva, Sunanda was
distressed, and going to her mother informed her, saying, ‘Sairindhri is
weeping bitterly in the presence of a Brahmana. If thou likest, satisfy
thyself.’ And thereupon the mother of the king of the Chedis, issuing
from the inner apartments of the palace, came to the place where the girl
(Damayanti) was with that Brahmana. Then calling Sudeva, O king, the
queen-mother asked him, ‘Whose wife is this fair one, and whose daughter?
How hath this lady of beautiful eyes been deprived of the company of her
relatives and of her husband as well? And how also hast thou come to know
this lady fallen into such a plight? I wish to hear all this in detail
from thee. Do truly relate unto me who am asking thee about this damsel
of celestial beauty.’ Then, O king, thus addressed by the queen-mother,
Sudeva, that best of Brahmanas, sat at his ease, and began to relate the
true history of Damayanti.'”


“Sudeva said, ‘There is a virtuous and illustrious ruler of the
Vidarbhas, Bhima by name. This blessed lady is his daughter, and widely
known by the name of Damayanti. And there is a king ruling the Nishadhas,
named Nala, the son of Virasena. This blessed lady is the wife of that
wise and righteous monarch. Defeated at dice by his brother, and
despoiled of his kingdom, that king, accompanied by Damayanti, went away
without the knowledge of any one. We have been wandering over the whole
earth in search of Damayanti. And that girl is at last found in the house
of thy son. No woman existeth that is her rival in beauty. Between the
eye-brows of this ever-youthful damsel, there is an excellent mole from
birth, resembling a lotus. Noticed by us (before) it seems to have
disappeared, covered, (as her forehead is) with (a coat of) dust even
like the moon hid in clouds. Placed there by the Creator himself as an
indication of prosperity and wealth, that mole is visible faintly, like
the cloud-covered lunar crescent of the first day of the lighted
fortnight. And covered as her body is with dust, her beauty hath not
disappeared. Though careless of her person, it is still manifest, and
shineth like gold. And this girl–goddess-like–capable of being
identified by this form of hers and that mole, hath been discovered by me
as one discovereth a fire that is covered, by its heat!’

“O king, hearing these words of Sudeva, Sunanda washed the dust that
covered the mole between Damayanti’s eye-brows. And thereupon it became
visible like the moon in the sky, just emerged from the clouds. And
seeing that mole, O Bharata, Sunanda and the queen-mother began to weep,
and embracing Damayanti stood silent for a while. And the queen-mother,
shedding tears as she spoke, said in gentle accents, ‘By this thy mole, I
find that thou art the daughter of my sister. O beauteous girl, thy
mother and I are both daughters of the high-souled Sudaman, the ruler of
the Dasarnas. She was bestowed upon king Bhima, and I on Viravahu. I
witnessed thy birth at our father’s palace in the country of the
Dasarnas. O beautiful one, my house is to thee even as thy father’s. And
this wealth, O Damayanti, is thine as much as mine.’ As this, O king,
Damayanti bowing down to her mother’s sister with a glad heart, spake
unto her these words, ‘Unrecognised, I have still lived happily with
thee, every want of mine satisfied and myself cared for by thee. And
happy as my stay hath been, it would, without doubt, be happier still.
But, mother, I have long been an exile. It behoveth thee, therefore, to
grant me permission (to depart). My son and daughter, sent to my father’s
palace, are living there. Deprived of their father, and of their mother
also, how are they passing their days stricken with sorrow. If thou
wishest to do what is agreeable to me, do thou without loss of time,
order a vehicle, for I wish to go to the Vidarbhas.’ At this, O king, the
sister to (Damayanti’s) mother, with a glad heart, said, ‘So be it’. And
the queen-mother with her son’s permission, O chief of the Bharatas, sent
Damayanti in handsome litter carried by men, protected by a large escort
and provided with food and drink and garments of the first quality. And
soon enough she reached the country of the Vidarbhas. And all her
relatives, rejoicing (in her arrival) received her with respect. And
seeing her relatives, her children, both her parents, and all her maids,
to be well, the illustrious Damayanti, O king, worshipped the gods and
Brahmanas according to the superior method. And the king rejoiced at
beholding his daughter gave unto Sudeva a thousand kine and much wealth
and a village. And, O king, having spent that night at her father’s
mansion and recovered from fatigue, Damayanti addressed her mother,
saying, ‘O mother, if thou wishest me to live, I tell thee truly, do thou
endeavour to bring Nala, that hero among men.’ Thus addressed by
Damayanti, the venerable queen became filled with sorrow. And bathed in
tears, she was unable to give any answer. And beholding her in that
plight, all the inmates of the inner apartments broke out into
exclamation of ‘Oh!’ And ‘Alas’! and began to cry bitterly. And then the
queen addressed the mighty monarch Bhima, saying, ‘Thy daughter Damayanti
mourneth on account of her husband. Nay, banishing away all bashfulness,
she hath herself, O king, declared her mind to me. Let thy men strive to
find out (Nala) the righteous.’ Thus informed by her the king sent the
Brahmanas under him in all directions, saying, ‘Exert ye to discover
Nala.’ And those Brahmanas, commanded by the ruler of the Vidarbhas (to
seek Nala) appeared before Damayanti and told her of the journey they
were about to undertake. And Bhima’s daughter spake unto them saying, ‘Do
ye cry in every realm and in every assembly, ‘O beloved gambler, where
hast thou gone cutting off half of my garment, and deserting the dear and
devoted wife asleep in the forest? And that girl, as commanded by thee
stayeth expecting thee, clad in half a piece of cloth and burning with
grief! O king, O hero, relent towards, and answer, her who incessantly
weepeth for that grief. This and more ye will say, so that he may be
inclined to pity me. Assisted by the wind, fire consumeth the forest.
(Further, ye will say that) the wife is always to be protected and
maintained by the husband. Why then, good as thou art and acquainted with
every duty, hast thou neglected both the duties? Possessed of fame and
wisdom, and lineage, and kindness, why hast thou be unkind? I fear, this
is owing to the loss of my good luck! Therefore, O tiger among men, have
pity on me. O bull among men! I have heard it from thee that kindness is
the highest virtue. Speaking so, if anybody answereth you, that person
should by all means, be known, and ye should learn who he is, and where
he dwelleth. And ye foremost of regenerate ones, do ye bring me the words
of him who hearing this your speech will chance to answer. Ye should also
act with such care that no one may know the words ye utter to be at my
command, nor that ye will come back to me. And ye should also learn
whether that answers is wealthy, or poor, or destitute of power, in fact
all about him.’

“Thus instructed by Damayanti, O king, the Brahmanas set out in all
directions in search of Nala overtaken with such disaster. And the
Brahmanas, O king, searched for him in cities and kingdoms and villages,
and retreats of ascetics, and places inhabited by cow-herds. And, O
monarch, wherever they went they recited the speeches that Damayanti had
directed them to do.”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘After a long time had passed away, a Brahmana named
Parnada returned to the city (of the Vidarbhas), and said unto the
daughter of Bhima, ‘O Damayanti, seeking Nala, the king of Nishadhas, I
came to the city of Ayodhya, and appeared before the son of Bhangasura.
And, O best of women, I repeated those words of thine in the presence of
the blessed Rituparna. But hearing them neither that ruler of men, nor
his courtiers, answered anything, although I uttered them repeatedly.
Then, after I had been dismissed by the monarch, I was accosted by a
person in the service of Rituparna, named Vahuka. And Vahuka is the
charioteer of that king, of unsightly appearance and possessed of short
arms. And he is skillful in driving with speed, and well acquainted with
the culinary art. And sighing frequently, and weeping again and again, he
inquired about my welfare and afterwards said these words, ‘Chaste women,
although fallen into distress, yet protect themselves and thus certainly
secure heaven. Although they may be deserted by their lords, they do not
yet become angry on that account, for women that are chaste lead their
lives, encased in the armour of virtuous behaviour. It behoveth her not
to be angry, since he that deserted her was overwhelmed with calamity,
and deprived of every bliss. A beauteous and virtuous woman should not be
angry with one that was deprived by birds of his garment while striving
to procure sustenance and who is being consumed with grief. Whether
treated well or ill, such a wife should never indulge in ire, beholding
her husband in that plight, despoiled of kingdom and destitute of
prosperity, oppressed with hunger and overwhelmed with calamity.’ Hearing
these words of his, I have speedily come here. Thou hast now heard all.
Do what thou thinkest proper, and inform the king of it.’

“O king, having heard these words of Parnada, Damayanti with tearful eyes
came to her mother, and spake unto her in private, ‘O mother, king Bhima
should not, by any means, be made acquainted with my purpose. In thy
presence will I employ that best of Brahmanas, Sudeva! If thou desirest
my welfare, act in such a way that king Bhima may not know my purpose.
Let Sudeva without delay go hence to the city of Ayodhya, for the purpose
of bringing Nala, O mother, having performed the same auspicious rites by
virtue of which he had speedily brought me into the midst of friends.’
With these words, after Parnada had recovered from fatigue, the princess
of Vidarbha worshipped him with profuse wealth and also said, ‘When Nala
will come here, O Brahmana, I will bestow on thee wealth in abundance
again. Thou hast done me the immense service which none else, indeed, can
do me, for, (owing to that service of thine), O thou best of the
regenerate ones, I shall speedily regain my (lost) lord.’ And thus
addressed by Damayanti, that high-minded Brahmana comforted her, uttering
benedictory words of auspicious import, and then went home, regarding his
mission to have been successful. And after he had gone away, Damayanti
oppressed with grief and distress, calling Sudeva, addressed him, O
Yudhishthira, in the presence of her mother, saying, ‘O Sudeva, go thou
to the city of Ayodhya, straight as a bird, and tell king Rituparna
living there, these words: ‘Bhima’s daughter, Damayanti will hold another
Swayamvara. All the kings and princes are going thither. Calculating the
time, I find that the ceremony will take place tomorrow. O represser of
foes, if it is possible for thee, go thither without delay. Tomorrow,
after the sun hath risen, she will choose a second husband, as she doth
not know whether the heroic Nala liveth or not. And addressed by her, O
monarch thus, Sudeva set out. And he said unto Rituparna, all that he had
been directed to say.'”


“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Having heard the words of Sudeva king Rituparna,
soothing Vahuka with gentle words, said, ‘O Vahuka, thou art well-skilled
in training and guiding horses. If it pleases thee, I intend to go to
Damayanti’s Swayamvara in course of a single day.’ Thus addressed, O son
of Kunti, by that king, Nala felt his heart to be bursting in grief. And
the high-souled king seemed to burn in sorrow. And he thought within
himself, ‘Perhaps Damayanti in doing this is blinded by sorrow. Or,
perhaps, she hath conceived this magnificent scheme for my sake. Alas,
cruel is the deed that the innocent princess of Vidarbha intends to do,
having been deceived by my sinful and low self of little sense. It is
seen in the world that the nature of woman is inconstant. My offence also
hath been great; perhaps she is acting so, because she hath no longer any
love for me owing to my separation from her. Indeed, that girl of slender
waist, afflicted with grief on my account and with despair, will not
certainly do anything of the kind, when especially, she is the mother of
offspring (by me). However whether this is true or false, I shall
ascertain with certitude by going thither. I will, therefore, accomplish
Rituparna’s and my own purpose also.’ Having resolved thus in his mind,
Vahuka, with his heart in sorrow, spake unto king Rituparna, with joined
hands, saying, ‘O monarch, I bow to thy behest, and, O tiger among men, I
will go to the city of the Vidarbhas in a single day. O king!’ Then, O
monarch, at the command of the royal son of Bhangasura, Vahuka went to
the stables and began to examine the horses. And repeatedly urged by
Rituparna to make haste, Vahuka after much scrutiny and careful
deliberation, selected some steeds that were lean-fleshed, yet strong and
capable of a long journey and endued with energy and strength of high
breed and docility, free from inauspicious marks, with wide nostrils and
swelling cheeks, free from faults as regards the ten hairy curls, born in
(the country of) Sindhu, and fleet as the winds. And seeing those horses,
the king said somewhat angrily, ‘What is this, that thou wishest to do?
Thou shouldst not jest with us. How can these horses of mine, weak in
strength and breath, carry us? And how shall we be able to go this long
way by help of these?’ Vahuka replied, ‘Each of these horses bears one
curl on his forehead, two on his temples, four on his sides, four on his
chest, and one on his back. Without doubt, these steeds will be able to
go to the country of the Vidarbhas. If, O king, thou thinkest of choosing
others, point them out and I shall yoke them for thee.’ Rituparna
rejoined, ‘O Vahuka, thou art versed in the science of horses and art
also skillful (in guiding them). Do thou speedily yoke those that thou
thinkest to be able.’ Thereupon the skillful Nala yoked upon the car four
excellent steeds of good breed that were, besides, docile and fleet. And
after the steeds had been yoked, the king without loss of time mounted
upon the car, when those best of horses fell down upon the ground on
their knees. Then, O king, that foremost of men, the blessed king Nala
began to soothe horses endued with energy and strength. And raising them
up with the reins and making the charioteer Varshneya sit on the car, he
prepared to set out with great speed. And those best of steeds, duly
urged by Vahuka, rose to the sky, confounding the occupant of the
vehicle. And beholding those steeds gifted with the speed of the wind
thus drawing the car, the blessed king of Ayodhaya was exceedingly
amazed. And noticing the rattle of the car and also the management of the
steeds, Varshneya reflected upon Vahuka’s skill in guiding horses. And he
thought, ‘Is he Matali, the charioteer of the king of the celestials? I
find the same magnificent indications in the heroic Vahuka. Or, hath
Salihotra versed in the science of horses taken this human shape so
beautiful? Or, is it king Nala the reducer of hostile towns that hath
come here? Or, it may be that this Vahuka knoweth the science that Nala
knoweth, for I perceive that the knowledge of Vahuka is equal to that of
Nala. Further, Vahuka and Nala are of the same age. This one, again, may
not be Nala of high prowess, but somebody of equal knowledge. Illustrious
persons, however, walk this earth in disguise in consequence of
misfortune, or agreeably to the ordinance of the scriptures. That this
person is of unsightly appearance need not change my opinion; for Nala, I
think, may even be despoiled of his personal features. In respect of age
this one equals Nala. There is difference, however, in personal
appearance. Vahuka, again is endued with every accomplishment. I think,
therefore, he is Nala.’ Having thus reasoned long in his mind, O mighty
monarch, Varshneya, the (former) charioteer of the righteous Nala, became
absorbed in thought. And that foremost of kings Rituparna, also,
beholding the skill of Vahuka in equestrian science experienced great
delight, along with his charioteer Varshneya. And thinking of Vahuka’s
application and ardour and the manner of his holding the reins, the king
felt exceedingly glad.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Like a bird coursing through the sky, Nala soon
crossed rivers and mountains, and woods and lakes. And while the car was
coursing thus, that conqueror of hostile cities, the royal son of
Bhangasura, saw his upper garment drop down on the ground. And at soon as
his garment had dropped down the high-minded monarch, without loss of
time, told Nala, ‘I intend to recover it. O thou of profound
intelligence, retain these steeds endued with exceeding swiftness until
Varshneya bringeth back my garment.’ Thereupon Nala replied unto him,
‘The sheet is dropped down far away. We have travelled one yojana thence.
Therefore, it is incapable of being recovered.’ After Nala had addressed
him thus, O king, the royal son of Bhangasura came upon a Vibhitaka tree
with fruits in a forest. And seeing that tree, the king hastily said to
Vahuka, ‘O charioteer, do thou also behold my high proficiency in
calculation. All men do not know everything. There is no one that is
versed in every science of art. Knowledge in its entirety is not found in
any one person, O Vahuka, the leaves and fruits of this tree that are
lying on the ground respectively exceed those that are on it by one
hundred and one. The two branches of the tree have fifty millions of
leaves, and two thousand and ninety five fruits. Do thou examine these
two branches and all their boughs.’ Thereupon staying the car Vahuka
addressed the king, saying, ‘O crusher of foes, thou takest credit to
thyself in a matter which is beyond my perception. But, O monarch, I will
ascertain it by the direct evidence of my senses, by cutting down the
Vibhitaka. O king, when I actually count, it will no longer be matter of
speculation. Therefore, in thy presence, O monarch, I will hew down this
Vibhitaka. I do not know whether it be not (as thou hast said). In thy
presence, O ruler of men, I will count the fruits and leaves. Let
Varshneya hold the reins of the horses for a while.’ Unto the charioteer
the king replied, ‘There is no time to lose.’ But Vahuka answered with
humility, ‘Stay thou a short space, or, if thou art in a hurry, go then,
making Varshneya thy charioteer. The road lies direct and even.’ And at
this, O son of the Kuru race, soothing Vahuka, Rituparna said, ‘O Vahuka,
thou art the only charioteer, there is none other in this world. And, O
thou versed in horse lore, it is through thy help that I expect to go to
the Vidarbhas. I place myself in thy hands. It behoveth thee not to cause
any obstacle. And, O Vahuka, whatever thy wish. I will grant it if taking
me to the country of the Vidarbhas to-day, thou makest me see the sun
rise.’ At this, Vahuka answered him, saying, ‘After having counted (the
leaves and fruits of the) Vibhitaka, I shall proceed to Vidarbha, do thou
agree to my words. Then the king reluctantly told him, ‘Count. And on
counting the leaves and fruits of a portion of this branch, thou wilt be
satisfied of the truth of my assertion.’ And thereupon Vahuka speedily
alighted from the car, and felled that tree. And struck with amazement
upon finding the fruits, after calculation, to be what the king had said,
he addressed the king, saying, ‘O monarch, this thy power is wonderful. I
desire, O prince, to know the art by which thou hast ascertained all
this.’ And at this king, intent upon proceeding speedily, said unto
Vahuka. ‘Know that I am proficient at dice besides being versed in
numbers. And Vahuka said unto him, ‘Impart unto me this knowledge and, O
bull among men, take from me my knowledge of horses.’ And king Rituparna,
having regard to the importance of the act that depended upon Vahuka’s
good-will, and tempted also by the horse-lore (that his charioteer
possessed), said, ‘So be it.’ As solicited by thee, receive this science
of dice from me, and, O Vahuka, let my equine science remain with thee in
trust.’ And saying this, Rituparna imparted unto Nala the science (he
desired). And Nala upon becoming acquainted with the science of dice,
Kali came out of his body, incessantly vomiting from his mouth the
virulent poison of Karkotaka.

And when Kali, afflicted (by Damayanti’s curse) came out (of Nala’s
body), the fire of that curse also left Kali. Indeed, long had been the
time for which the king had been afflicted by Kali, as if he were of
unregenerate soul. And Kala the ruler of the Nishadhas, in wrath, was
bent upon cursing Kali, when the latter, frightened, and trembling, said
with joined hands, ‘Control thy wrath, O king! I will render thee
illustrious. Indrasena’s mother had formerly cursed me in anger when she
had been deserted by thee. Ever since that time undergoing sore
affliction I resided in thee, O mighty monarch, O unconquered one,
miserably and burning night and day with the venom of the prince of
snakes. I seek thy protection. If thou dost not curse me who am
affrighted and seek thy protection, then those men that will attentively
recite thy history, shall be even free from fear on my account.’ And thus
addressed by Kali, king Nala controlled his wrath. And thereupon the
frightened Kali speedily entered into the Vibhitaka tree. And while the
Kali was conversing with Naishadha, he was invisible to others. And
delivered from his afflictions, and having counted the fruits of that
tree, the king, filled with great joy and of high energy, mounted on the
car and proceeded with energy, urging those fleet horses. And from the
touch of Kali the Vibhitaka tree from that hour fell into disrepute. And
Nala, with a glad heart, began to urge those foremost of steeds which
sprang into the air once and again like creatures endued with wings. And
the illustrious monarch drove (the car) in the direction of the
Vidarbhas. And after Nala had gone far away, Kali also returned to his
abode. And abandoned by Kali, O king, that lord of earth, the royal Nala,
became freed from calamity though he did not assume his native form.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘After Rituparna of prowess incapable of being baffled
had, in the evening, arrived at the city of the Vidarbhas, the people
brought unto king Bhima the tidings (of his arrival). And at the
invitation of Bhima, the king (of Ayodhya) entered the city of Kundina,
filling with the rattle of his car all the ten points, direct and
transverse, of the horizon. And the steeds of Nala that were in that city
heard that sound, and hearing it they became delighted as they used to be
in the presence of Nala himself. And Damayanti also heard the sound of
that car driven by Nala, like the deep roar of the clouds in the rainy
season. And Bhima and the steeds (of Nala) regarded the clatter of that
car to be like that which they used to hear in days of yore when king
Nala himself urged his own steeds. And the peacocks on the terraces, and
the elephants in the stables, and the horses also, all heard the rattle
of Rituparna’s car. And hearing the sound, so like the roar of the
clouds, the elephants and the peacocks, O king, began to utter their
cries, facing that direction, and filled with delight such as they
experience when they hear the actual roar of the clouds. And Damayanti
said, ‘Because the rattle of his car filling the whole earth, gladdens my
heart, it must be King Nala (that has come). If I do not see Nala, of
face bright as the moon, that hero with countless virtues, I shall
certainly die. If I am not clasped today in that hero’s thrilling
embrace, I shall certainly cease to be. If Naishadha with voice deep as
that of the clouds doth not come to me today, I shall enter into a pyre
of golden brilliance. If that foremost of kings, powerful as a lion and
gifted with the strength of an infuriated elephant, doth not present
himself before me, I shall certainly cease to live. I do not remember a
single untruth in him, or a single wrong done by him to others. Never
hath he spoken an untruth even in jest. Oh, my Nala is exalted and
forgiving and heroic and magnificent and superior to all other kings, and
faithful to his marriage vow and like unto a eunuch in respect of other
females. Night and day dwelling upon his perceptions, my heart, in
absence of that dear one, is about to burst in grief.’

“Thus bewailing as if devoid of sense, Damayanti, O Bharata, ascended the
terrace (of her mansion) with the desire of seeing the righteous Nala.
And in the yard of the central mansion she beheld king Rituparna on the
car with Varshneya and Vahuka. And Varshneya and Vahuka, descending for
that excellent vehicle, unyoked the steeds, and kept the vehicle itself
in a proper place. And king Rituparna also, descending from the car,
presented himself before king Bhima possessed of terrible prowess. And
Bhima received him with great respect, for in the absence of a proper
occasion, a great person cannot be had (as a guest). And honoured by
Bhima, king Rituparna looked about him again and again, but saw no traces
of the Swayamvara. And the ruler of the Vidarbhas, O Bharata, approaching
Rituparna, said, ‘Welcome! What is the occasion of this thy visit?’ And
king Bhima asked this without knowing that Rituparna had come to obtain
the hand of his daughter. And king Rituparna, of unbaffled prowess and
gifted with intelligence, saw that there were no other kings or princes.
Nor did he hear any talk relating to the Swayamvara, nor saw any
concourse of Brahmanas. And at this, the king of Kosala reflected a while
and at length said, ‘I have come here to pay my respects to thee.’ And
the king Bhima was struck with astonishment, and reflected upon the
(probable) cause of Rituparna’s coming, having passed over a hundred
yojanas. And he reflected, ‘That passing by other sovereigns, and leaving
behind him innumerable countries, he should come simply to pay his
respect to me is scarcely the reason of his arrival. What he assigneth to
be the cause of his coming appeareth to be a trifle. However, I shall
learn the true reason in the future.’ And although king Bhima thought so,
he did not dismiss Rituparna summarily, but said unto him again and
again, ‘Rest, thou art weary.’ And honoured thus by the pleased Bhima,
king Rituparna was satisfied, and with a delighted heart, he went to his
appointed quarters followed by the servants of the royal household.”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘And, O king, after Rituparna had gone away with
Varshneya, Vahuka took the car to the stables. And there freeing the
steeds, and tending them according to rule, and soothing them himself,
sat down on a side of the car. Meanwhile, the princess of Vidharva,
Damayanti, afflicted with grief, having beheld the royal son of
Bhangasura, and Varshneya of the Suta race, and also Vahuka in that
guise, asked herself, ‘Whose is this car-rattle? It was loud as that of
Nala, but I do not see the ruler of the Nishadhas. Certainly, Varshneya
hath learnt the art from Nala, and it is for this the rattle of the car
driven by him hath been even like that of Nala. Or, is Rituparna equally
skilled with Nala so that the rattle of his car seemeth to be like that
of Nala?’ And reflecting thus, O monarch, the blessed and beauteous girl
sent a female messenger in search of Nishada.”


“Damayanti said, ‘O Kesini, go thou and learn who that charioteer is that
sitteth by the car, unsightly and possessed of short arms. O blessed one,
O faultless one, approaching him, cautiously and with suit words, make
thou the usual inquiries of courtesy and learn all particulars truly.
Having regard to the feeling of satisfaction my mind experienceth, and
the delight my heart feeleth, I am greatly afraid this one is king Nala
himself. And, O faultless one, having inquired after his welfare, thou
shalt speak unto him the words of Parnada. And, O beauteous one,
understand the reply he may make thereto.’ Thus instructed, that female
messenger, going cautiously, while the blessed Damayanti watched from the
terrace, addressed Vahuka in these words, ‘O foremost of men, thou art
welcome. I wish thee happiness. O bull among men, hear now the words of
Damayanti. When did ye all set out, and with what object have ye come
hither. Tell us truly, for the princess of Vidarbha wisheth to hear it.’
Thus addressed, Vahuka answered, the illustrious king of Kosala had heard
from a Brahmana that a second Swayamvara of Damayanti would take place.
And hearing it, he hath come here, by the help of excellent steeds fleet
as the wind and capable of going a hundred yojanas. I am his charioteer.
Kesini then asked, ‘Whence doth the third among you come, and whose (son)
is he? And whose son art thou, and how hast thou come to do this work?’
Thus questioned, Vahuka replied, ‘He (of whom thou inquirest) was the
charioteer of the virtuous Nala, and known to all by the name of
Varshneya. After Nala had, O beauteous one, left his kingdom, he came to
the son of Bhangasura. I am skilled in horse-lore, and have, therefore,
been appointed as charioteer. Indeed, king Rituparna hath himself chosen
me as his charioteer and cook.’ At this Kesini rejoined, ‘Perhaps
Varshneya knoweth where king Nala hath gone, and O Vahuka, he may also
have spoken to thee (about his master).’ Vahuka then said, ‘Having
brought hither the children of Nala of excellent deeds, Varshneya went
away whither he listed: He doth not know where Naishadha is. Nor, O
illustrious one, doth anybody else know of Nala’s whereabouts; for the
king (in calamity) wandereth over the world in disguise and despoiled of
(his native) beauty. Nala’s self only knoweth Nala. Nala never
discovereth his marks of identity anywhere.’ Thus addressed, Kesini
returned, ‘The Brahmana that had before this gone to Ayodhya, had
repeatedly said these words suitable to female lips, ‘O beloved gambler,
where hast thou gone cutting off half my piece of cloth, and deserting
me, his dear and devoted wife asleep in the woods? And she herself, as
commanded by him, waiteth expecting him clad in half a garment and
burning day and night in grief. O king, O hero, do thou relent towards
her that weepeth ceaselessly for that calamity and do thou give her an
answer. O illustrious one, do thou speak the words agreeable to her for
the blameless one panteth to hear them. Hearing these words of the
Brahmana thou didst formerly give a reply! The princess of Vidarbha again
wisheth to hear the words thou didst then say.'”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘O son of the Kuru race, hearing these words of
Kesini, Nala’s heart was pained, and his eyes filled with tears. And
repressing his sorrow, the king who was burning in grief, said again
these words, in accents choked with tears: ‘Chaste women, though
overtaken by calamity, yet protect themselves, and thereby secure heaven.
Women that are chaste, deserted by their lords, never become angry, but
continue to live, cased in virtue’s mail. Deserted by one fallen into
calamity, bereft of sense, and despoiled of bliss, it behoveth her not to
be angry. A virtuous lady should not be angry with one that was deprived
by birds of his garment while striving to procure sustenance and who is
burning in misery. Whether treated well or ill she would never be angry,
seeing her husband in that plight, despoiled of his kingdom, bereft of
prosperity, oppressed with hunger, and overwhelmed with calamity.’ And, O
Bharata, while speaking thus, Nala oppressed with grief, could not
restrain his tears, but began to weep. And thereupon Kesini went back to
Damayanti, and acquainted her with everything about that conversation as
well as that outburst of grief.”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Hearing everything, Damayanti became oppressed with
grief, and suspecting the person to be Nala, said unto Kesini, ‘O Kesini,
go thou again, and examine Vahuka, and staying in silence at his side
mark thou his conduct. And, O beauteous one, whenever he happens to do
anything skilful, do thou observe well his act while accomplishing it.
And, O Kesini, whenever he may ask water or fire, with the view of
offering him obstruction, thou shalt be in no hurry to give it. And
marking everything about his behaviour, come thou and tell me. And
whatever human or super-human thou seest in Vahuka, together with
anything else, should all be reported unto me.’ And thus addressed by
Damayanti, Kesini went away, and having marked the conduct of that person
versed in horse-lore, she came back. And she related unto Damayanti all
that had happened, indeed, everything of human and superhuman that she
had witnessed in Vahuka. And Kesini said, ‘O Damayanti, a person of such
control over the elements I have never before seen or heard of. Whenever
he cometh to low passage, he never stoopeth down, but seeing him, the
passage itself groweth in height so that he may pass through it easily.
And at his approach, impassable narrow holes open wide. King Bhima had
sent various kinds of meat–of diverse animals, for Rituparna’s food. And
many vessels had been placed there for washing the meat. And as he looked
upon them, those vessels became filled (with water). And having washed
the meat, as he set himself to cook, he took up a handful of grass and
held it in the sun, when fire blazed up all on a sudden. Beholding this
marvel, I have come hither amazed. Further, I have witnessed in him
another great wonder. O beauteous one, he touched fire and was not burnt.
And at his will, water falling floweth in a stream. And, I have witnessed
another greater wonder still. He took up some flowers, began to press
them slowly with his hands. And pressed by his hand, the flowers did not
lose their original forms, but, on the contrary, became gayer and more
odorous than before. Having beheld wonderful things I have come hither
with speed.'”

“Vrihadaswa continued, ‘Hearing of these acts of the virtuous Nala, and
discovering him from his behaviour, Damayanti considered him as already
recovered. And from these indications suspecting that Vahuka was her
husband, Damayanti once more weepingly addressed Kesini in soft words,
saying, ‘O beauteous one, go thou once more, and bring from the kitchen
without Vahuka’s knowledge some meat that hath been boiled and dressed
(by him).’ Thus commanded, Kesini, ever bent on doing what was agreeable
to Damayanti, went to Vahuka, and taking some hot meat came back without
loss of time. And Kesini gave that meat, O son of the Kuru race, unto
Damayanti. And Damayanti who had formerly often partaken of meat dressed
by Nala, tasted the meat that was brought by her hand-maid. And she
thereupon decided Vahuka to be Nala and wept aloud in grief of heart.
And, O Bharata, overwhelmed with grief, and washing her face, she sent
her two children with Kesini. And Vahuka, who was the king in disguise,
recognising Indrasena with her brother, advanced hastily, and embracing
them, took them up on his lap. And taking up his children like unto the
children of the celestials, he began to weep aloud in sonorous accents,
his heart oppressed with great sorrow. And after having repeatedly
betrayed his agitation, Naishadha suddenly left children, and addressed
Kesini, saying, ‘O fair damsel, these twins are very like my own
children. Beholding them unexpectedly, I shed tears. If thou comest to me
frequently people may think evil, for we are guests from another land.
Therefore. O blessed one, go at thy ease.'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Beholding the agitation of the virtuous and wise Nala,
Kesini returned unto Damayanti and related everything unto her. And
thereupon Damayanti with a sorrowful heart and eager to behold Nala,
again despatched Kesini to her mother, asking her to say on her behalf:
Suspecting Vahuka to be Nala, I have tried him in various ways. My doubt
now only relates to his appearance. I intend to examine him myself. O
mother, either let him enter the palace, or give me permission to go to
him. And arrange this with the knowledge of my father or without it. And
thus addressed to Damayanti, that lady communicated unto Bhima the
intention of his daughter, and upon learning it the king gave his
consent. And, O bull of the Bharata race, having obtained the consent
both of her father and mother, Damayanti caused Nala to be brought to her
apartments. And as soon as he saw Damayanti unexpectedly, king Nala was
overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, and bathed in tears. And that best of
women, Damayanti, also, upon beholding king Nala in that condition, was
sorely afflicted with grief. And, O monarch, herself clad in a piece of
red cloth, and wearing matted locks, and covered with dirt and dust,
Damayanti then addressed Vahuka, saying, ‘O Vahuka, hast thou ever seen
any person acquainted with duty, who hath gone away, deserting his
sleeping wife in the forest? Who, except the virtuous Nala, could go
away, deserting in the woods, his dear and unoffending wife overcome with
fatigue? Of what offence was I guilty in the eyes of that monarch since
my early youth that he should go away deserting me in the woods while
asleep overcome with fatigue? Why should he whom I formerly chose in
preference to the gods themselves abandon his ever-devoted and loving
wife who had become the mother also of his children? Before the fire, and
in presence also of the celestials, he had taken my hand, vowing, ‘Verily
I will be thine.’ Oh, where was that vow when he deserted me. O represser
of foes.’ While Damayanti was saying all this, tears of sorrow began to
flow plentifully from her eyes. And beholding her thus afflicted with
grief, Nala also, shedding tears, black of those of the gazelle with
extremities of reddish hue, said, ‘O timid one, neither the loss of my
kingdom nor my desertion of thee was my act. Both were due to Kali. And,
O foremost of virtuous women, lamenting for me day and night, and
overcome with sorrow, thou hadst in the woods cursed Kali, and so he
began to dwell in my body, burning in consequence of thy curse. Indeed
burning with thy curse, he lived within me like fire within fire. O
blessed girl, that our sorrows might terminate, that wretch have I
overcome by my observances and austerities. The sinful wretch hath
already left me, and it is for this that I have come hither. My presence
here, O fair lady, is for thy sake. I have no other object. But, O timid
one, can any other woman, forsaking her loving and devoted husband, ever
choose a second lord like thee? At the command of the king, messengers
are ranging this entire earth, saying, ‘Bhima’s daughter will, of her own
accord, choose a second husband worthy of her.’ Immediately on hearing
this, the son of Bhangasura hath arrived here.’ Hearing these
lamentations of Nala, Damayanti, frightened and trembling, said with
joined hand, ‘It behoveth thee not, O blessed one, to suspect any fault
in me. O ruler of the Nishadhas, passing over the celestials themselves,
I choose thee as my lord. It was to bring thee hither that the Brahmanas
had gone out in all directions, even to all the sides of the horizon,
singing my words, in the form of ballads. At last, O king, a learned
Brahmana named Parnada had found thee in Kosala in the palace of
Rituparna. When thou hadst returned a fit answer to those words of his,
it was then, O Naishadha, that I devised this scheme to recover thee.
Except thee, O lord of earth, there is no one in this world, who in one
day can clear, O King, a hundred yojanas with horses. O monarch, touching
thy feet I can swear truly that I have not, even in thought, committed
any sin. May the all-witnessing Air that courseth through this world,
take my life, if I have committed any sin. May the Sun that ever courseth
through the sky take my life, if I have committed any sin. May the Moon,
that dwelleth within every creature as a witness, take my life, if I have
committed any sin. Let the three gods that sustain the triple worlds in
their entirety, declare truly, or let them forsake me today.’ And thus
addressed by her, the Wind-god said from the sky, ‘O Nala, I tell thee
truly that she hath done no wrong. O king, Damayanti, well guarding the
honour of thy family, hath enhanced it. Of this we are the witnesses, as
we have been her protectors for these three years. It is for thy sky that
she hath devised this unrivalled scheme, for, except thee, none on earth
is capable of travelling in a single day a hundred yojanas. O monarch,
thou hast obtained Bhima’s daughter, and she hath also obtained thee.
Thou needst not entertain any suspicion but be united with thy partner.’
And after the Wind-god had said this, a floral shower fell there and the
celestial kettle-drum began to play, and auspicious breezes began to
blow. And beholding those wonders, O Bharata, king Nala, the represser of
foes, cast away all his doubts in respect of Damayanti. And then that
lord of earth, remembering the king of serpents, wore that pure garment
and regained his native form. And beholding her righteous lord in his own
form, Bhima’s daughter of faultless limbs embraced him, and began to weep
aloud. And king Nala also embraced Bhima’s daughter devoted to him, as
before, and also his children, and experienced great delight. And burying
her face in his bosom, the beauteous Damayanti of large eyes began to
sigh heavily, remembering her griefs. And overwhelmed with sorrow, that
tiger among men stood for some time, clasping the dust-covered Damayanti
of sweet smiles. And, O king, the queen-mother then, with a glad heart,
told Bhima all that had passed between Nala and Damayanti. And the mighty
monarch answered, ‘Let Nala pass this day in peace, to-morrow I shall see
him after his bath and prayers, with Damayanti by his side.’ And, O king,
they passed that night pleasantly, in relating to each other the past
incidents of their life in the forest. And with hearts filled with joy,
the princess of Vidarbha and Nala began to pass their days in the palace
of king Bhima, intent upon making each other happy. And it was in the
fourth year (after the loss of his kingdom) that Nala was re-united with
his wife, and all his desires gratified, once more experienced the
highest bliss. And Damayanti rejoiced exceedingly in having recovered her
lord even as fields of tender plants on receiving a shower. And Bhima’s
daughter, thus recovering her lord, obtained her wish, and blazed forth
in beauty, her weariness gone, her anxieties dispelled and herself
swelling with joy, ever like a night that is lit by the bright disc of
the moon!”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘Having passed that night, king Nala decked in
ornaments and with Damayanti by his side, presented himself in due time
before the king. And Nala saluted his father-in-law with becoming
humility and after him the fair Damayanti paid her respects to her
father. And the exalted Bhima, with great joy, received him as a son, and
honouring him duly along with his devoted wife, comforted them in proper
words. And duly accepting the homage rendered unto him, king Nala offered
his father-in-law his services as became him. And seeing Nala arrived,
the citizens were in great joy. And there arose in the city a loud uproar
of delight. And the citizens decorated the city with flags and standards
and garlands of flowers. And the streets were watered and decked in
floral wreaths and other ornaments. And at their gates citizens piled
flowers, and their temples and shrines were all adorned with flowers. And
Rituparna heard that Vahuka had already been united with Damayanti. And
the king was glad to hear of all this. And calling unto him king Nala, he
asked his forgiveness. And the intelligent Nala also asked Rituparna’s
forgiveness, showing diverse reasons. And that foremost of speakers
versed in the truth, king Rituparna, after being thus honoured by Nala,
said, with a countenance expressive of wonder, these words unto the ruler
of the Nishadhas. ‘By good fortune it is that regaining the company of
thy own wife, thou hast obtained happiness. O Naishadha, while dwelling
in disguise at my house, I hope I did not wrong thee in any way, O lord
of the earth! If knowingly I have done thee any wrong, it behoveth thee
to forgive me.’ Hearing this, Nala replied, ‘Thou hast not, O monarch,
done me ever so little an injury. And if thou hast, it hath not awakened
my ire, for surely thou shouldst be forgiven by me. Thou wert formerly my
friend, and, O ruler of men, thou art also related to me. Henceforth I
shall find greater delight in thee. O king, with all my desires
gratified, I lived happily in thy abode, in fact more happily there than
in my own house. This thy horse-lore is in my keeping. If thou wishest, O
king, I will make it over to thee.’ Saying this, Naishadha gave unto
Rituparna that science and the latter took it with the ordained rites.
And, O monarch, the royal son of Bhangasura, having obtained the
mysteries of equestrian science and having given unto the ruler of the
Naishadhas the mysteries of dice, went to his own city, employing another
person for his charioteer. And, O king, after Rituparna had gone, king
Nala did not stay long in the city of Kundina!'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘O son of Kunti, the ruler of the Nishadhas having
dwelt there for a month, set out from that city with Bhima’s permission
and accompanied by only a few (followers) for the country of the
Nishadhas. With a single car white in hue, sixteen elephants, fifty
horses, and six hundred infantry, that illustrious king, causing the
earth itself to tremble, entered (the country of the Nishadhas) without
loss of a moment and swelling with rage. And the mighty son of Virasena,
approaching his brothers Pushkara said unto him, ‘We will play again, for
I have earned vast wealth. Let Damayanti and all else that I have be my
stake, let, O Pushkara, thy kingdom be thy stake. Let the play begin
again. This is my certain determination. Blessed be thou, let us stake
all we have along with our lives. Having won over and acquired another’s
wealth or kingdom, it is a high duty, says the ordinance, to stake it
when the owner demands. Or, if thou dost not relish play with dice, let
the play with weapons begin. O king, let me or thyself have peace by a
single combat. That this ancestral kingdom should, under all
circumstances and by any means, be recovered, there is the authority of
sages for holding. And, O Pushkara, choose thou one of these two
things–gambling with dice or bending the bow in battle!’ Thus addressed
by Nishadha, Pushkara, sure of his own success, laughingly answered that
monarch, saying, ‘O Naishadha, it is by good fortune that thou hast
earned wealth again to stake. It is by good fortune also that Damayanti’s
ill-luck hath at last come to an end. And O king, it is by good fortune
that thou art still alive with thy wife, O thou of mighty arms! It is
evident that Damayanti, adorned with this wealth of thine that I will
win, will wait upon me like an Apsara in heaven upon Indra. O Naishadha,
I daily recollect thee and am even waiting for thee, since I derive no
pleasure from gambling with those that are not connected with me by
blood. Winning over to-day the beauteous Damayanti of faultless features,
I shall regard myself fortunate, indeed, since she it is that hath ever
dwelt in my heart.’ Hearing these words of that incoherent braggart, Nala
in anger desired to cut off his head with a scimitar. With a smile,
however, though his eyes were red in anger, king Nala said, ‘Let us play.
Why do you speak so now? Having vanquished me, you can say anything you
like.’ Then the play commenced between Pushkara and Nala. And blessed be
Nala who at a single throw won his wealth and treasures back along with
the life of his brother that also had been staked. And the king, having
won, smilingly said unto Pushkara, ‘This whole kingdom without a thorn in
its side is now undisturbedly mine. And, O worst of kings, thou canst not
now even look at the princess of Vidarbha. With all thy family, thou art
now, O fool, reduced to the position of her slave. But my former defeat
at thy hands was not due to any act of thine. Thou knowest it not, O
fool, that it was Kali who did it all. I shall not, therefore, impute to
thee the faults of others. Live happily as thou choosest, I grant thee
thy life. I also grant thee thy portion (in the paternal kingdom) along
with all necessaries. And, O hero, without doubt, my affection towards
thee is now the same as before. My fraternal love also for thee will
never know any diminution. O Pushkara, thou art my brother, live thou for
a hundred years!'”

“And Nala of unbaffled prowess, having comforted his brother thus gave
him permission to go to his own town, having embraced him repeatedly. And
Pushkara himself, thus comforted by the ruler of the Nishadhas saluted
that righteous king, and addressed him, O monarch, saying these words
with joined hands, ‘Let thy fame be immortal and live thou happily for
ten thousand years, thou who grantest me, O king, both life and refuge.
And entertained by the king, Pushkara dwelt there for a month and then
went to his own town accompanied by large force and many obedient
servants and his own kindred, his heart filled with joy. And that bull
among men all the while blazed forth in beauty of person like a second
Sun. And the blessed ruler of the Nishadhas, having established Pushkara
and made him wealthy and freed him from troubles, entered his richly
decorated palace. And the ruler of the Nishadhas, having entered his
palace, comforted the citizens. And all the citizens and the subjects
from the country horripilated in joy. And the people headed by the
officers of state said with joined hands, ‘O king, we are truly glad
to-day throughout the city and the country. We have obtained to-day our
ruler, like the gods their chief of a hundred sacrifice!'”


“Vrihadaswa said, ‘After the festivities had commenced in the city that
was full of joy and without anxiety of any kind, the king with a large
force brought Damayanti (from her father’s home). And her father, too,
that slayer of hostile heroes, Bhima of terrible prowess and immeasurable
soul, sent his daughter, having honoured her duly. And upon the arrival
of the princess of Vidarbha accompanied by her son and daughter, king
Nala began to pass his days in joy like the chief of the celestials in
the gardens of Nandana. And the king of undying fame, having regained his
kingdom and becoming illustrious among monarchs of the island of Jamvu,
began once more to rule it. And he duly performed numerous sacrifices
with abundant gifts to Brahmanas. O great king, thou also wilt with thy
kindred and relatives, so blaze forth in effulgence soon. For, O foremost
of men, it was thus that subjugator of hostile cities, king Nala, had
fallen into distress along with his wife, in consequence, O bull of
Bharata race of dice. And, O lord of the earth, Nala suffered such dire
woe all alone and recovered his prosperity, whereas thou, O son of Pandu,
with heart fixed on virtue, art sporting in joy in this great forest,
accompanied by thy brothers and Krishna. When thou art also, O monarch,
mixing daily with blessed Brahmanas versed in the Vedas and their
branches, thou hast little cause for sorrow. This history, besides, of
the Naga Karkotaka, of Damayanti, of Nala and of that royal sage
Rituparna, is destructive of evil. And, O thou of unfading glory, this
history, destructive of the influence of Kali, is capable, O king, of
comforting persons like thee when they listen to it. And reflecting upon
the uncertainty (of success) of human exertion, it behoveth thee not to
joy or grieve at prosperity or adversity. Having listened to this
history, be comforted, O king, and yield not to grief. It behoveth thee
not, O great king, to pine under calamity. Indeed, men of
self-possession, reflecting upon the caprice of destiny and the
fruitlessness of exertion, never suffer themselves to be depressed. They
that will repeatedly recite this noble history of Nala, and that will
hear it recited, will never be touched by adversity. He that listeneth to
this old and excellent history hath all his purposes crowned with success
and, without doubt, obtaineth fame, besides sons and grandsons and
animals, a high position among men, and health, and joy. And, O king, the
fear also that thou entertainest, viz., (Some one skilled in dice will
summon me), I will for once dispel. O thou of invincible prowess, I know
the science of dice in its entirety. I am gratified with thee; take this
lore, O son of Kunti, I will tell unto thee.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “King Yudhishthira then, with a glad heart, said
unto Vrihadaswa, ‘O illustrious one, I desire to learn the science of
dice from thee.’ The Rishi then gave his dice-lore unto the high-souled
son of Pandu, and having given it unto him, that great ascetic went to
the sacred waters of Hayasirsha for a bath.

“And after Vrihadaswa had gone away, Yudhishthira of firm vows heard from
Brahmanas and ascetics that came to him from various directions and from
places of pilgrimage and mountains and forests that Arjuna of high
intelligence and capable of drawing the bow with his left hand, was still
engaged in the austerest of ascetic penances, living upon air alone. And
he heard that the mighty-armed Partha was engaged in such fierce
asceticism that none else before him had ever been engaged in such
penances. And Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, engaged in ascetic
austerities with regulated vows and fixed mind and observing the vow of
perfect silence, was, he heard, like the blazing god of justice himself
in his embodied form. And, O king, (Yudhishthira) the son of Pandu
hearing that his dear brother Jaya, the son of Kunti, was engaged in such
asceticism in the great forest, began to grieve for him. And with a heart
burning in grief, the eldest son of Pandu, seeking consolation in that
mighty forest held converse with the Brahmanas possessed of various
knowledge who were living with him there.”


(Tirtha-yatra Parva)

Janamejaya said, “O holy one, after my great-grandfather Partha had gone
away from the woods of Kamyaka, what did the sons of Pandu do in the
absence of that hero capable of drawing the bow with his left hand? It
seemeth to me that mighty bowman and vanquisher of armies was their
refuge, as Vishnu of the celestials. How did my heroic grandsires pass
their time in the forest, deprived of the company of that hero, who
resembled Indra himself in prowess and never turned his back in battle?”

Vaisampayana said, “After Arjuna of unbaffled prowess had gone away from
Kamyaka, the sons of Pandu, O son, were filled with sorrow and grief. And
the Pandavas with cheerless hearts very much resembled pearls unstrung
from a wreath, or birds shorn of their wings. And without that hero of
white steeds that forest looked like the Chaitraratha woods when deprived
of the presence of Kuvera. And, O Janamejaya, those tigers among men–the
sons of Pandu–deprived of the company of Arjuna, continued to live in
Kamyaka in perfect cheerlessness. And, O chief of the Bharata race, those
mighty warriors endowed with great prowess slew with pure arrows various
kinds of sacrificial animals for the Brahmanas. And those tigers among
men and repressors of foes, daily slaying those wild animals and
sanctifying them properly, offered them unto the Brahmanas. And it was
thus, O king, that those bulls among men afflicted with sorrow lived
there with cheerless hearts after Dhananjaya’s departure. The princess of
Panchala in particular, remembering her third lord, addressed the anxious
Yudhishthira and said, ‘That Arjuna who with two hands rivals the
thousand-armed Arjuna (of old), alas, without that foremost of the sons
of Pandu, this forest doth not seem at all beautiful in my eyes. Without
him, whenever I cast my eyes, this earth seems to be forlorn. Even this
forest with its blossoming trees and so full of wonders, without Arjuna
seems not so delightful as before. Without him who is like a mass of blue
clouds (in hue), who hath the prowess of an infuriated elephant, and
whose eyes are like the leaves of the lotus, this Kamyaka forest doth not
seem beautiful to me. Remembering that hero capable of drawing the bow
with his left hand, and the twang of whose bow sounds like the roar of
thunder, I cannot feel any happiness, O king!’ And, O monarch, hearing
her lament in this strain, that slayer of hostile heroes, Bhimasena,
addressed Draupadi in these words, ‘O blessed lady of slender waist, the
agreeable words thou utterest delight my heart like the quaffing of
nectar. Without him whose arms are long and symmetrical, and stout and
like unto a couple of iron maces and round and marked by the scars of the
bow-strings and graced with the bow and sword and other weapons and
encircled with golden bracelets and like unto a couple of five-headed
snakes, without that tiger among men the sky itself seemeth to be without
the sun. Without that mighty-armed one relying upon whom the Panchalas
and the Kauravas fear not the sternly-exerting ranks of the celestials
themselves, without that illustrious hero relying upon whose arms we all
regard our foes as already vanquished and the earth itself as already
conquered, without that Phalguna I cannot obtain any peace in the woods
of Kamyaka. The different directions also, wherever I cast my eyes,
appear to be empty!’

“After Bhima had concluded, Nakula the son of Pandu, with voice choked
with tears, said, ‘Without him whose extraordinary deeds on the field of
battle constitute the talk of even the gods, without that foremost of
warriors, what pleasure can we have in the woods? Without him who having
gone towards the north had vanquished mighty Gandharva chiefs by
hundreds, and who having obtained numberless handsome horses of the
Tittiri and Kalmasha species all endowed with the speed of the wind,
presented them from affection unto his brother the king, on the occasion
of the great Rajasuya sacrifice, without that dear and illustrious one,
without that terrible warrior born after Bhima, without that hero equal
unto a god I do not desire to live in the Kamyaka woods any longer.’

“After Nakula’s lamentations, Sahadeva said, ‘He who having vanquished
mighty warriors in battle won wealth and virgins and brought them unto
the king on the occasion of the great Rajasuya sacrifice, that hero of
immeasurable splendour who having vanquished single-handed the assembled
Yadavas in battle, ravished Subhadra with the consent of Vasudeva, he,
who having invaded the dominion of the illustrious Drupada gave, O
Bharata, unto the preceptor Drona his tuition fee–beholding, O king,
that Jishnu’s bed of grass empty in our asylum, my heart refuses
consolation. A migration from this forest is what, O represser of foes, I
would prefer for without that hero this forest cannot be delightful.”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words of his brothers as also of
Krishna, all of whom were anxious on account of Dhananjaya, king
Yudhishthira, the just, became melancholy. And at that time he saw
(before him) the celestial Rishi Narada blazing with Brahmi beauty and
like unto a fire flaming up in consequence of sacrificial libation. And
beholding him come, king Yudhishthira with his brothers stood up and duly
worshipped the illustrious one. And endued with blazing energy, the
handsome chief of the Kuru race, surrounded by his brothers, shone like
the god of a hundred sacrifices encircled by the celestials. And
Yajnaseni in obedience to the dictates of morality adhered to her lords,
the sons of Pritha, like Savitri to the Vedas or the rays of the Sun to
the peak of Meru. And the illustrious Rishi Narada, accepting that
worship, comforted the son of Dharma in proper terms. And, O sinless one,
addressing the high-souled king Yudhishthira, the just, the Rishi said,
‘Tell me, O foremost of virtuous men, what it is that thou seekest and
what I can do for thee. At this, the royal son of Dharma bowing with his
brothers unto Narada, who was the revered of the celestials, told him
with joined hands, ‘O thou that art highly blessed and worshipped by all
the worlds when thou art gratified with me, I regard all my wishes in
consequence of thy grace, as already fulfilled, O thou of excellent vows!
If, O sinless one, I with my brothers deserve thy favour, it behoveth
thee, O best of Munis, to dispel the doubt that is in my mind. It
behoveth thee to tell me in detail what merit is his that goeth round the
worlds, desirous of beholding the sacred waters and shrines that are on

“Narada said, ‘Listen, O king, with attention, to what the intelligent
Bhishma had heard before from Pulastya! Once, O blessed one, that
foremost of virtuous men, Bhishma, while in the observance of the Pitrya
vow, lived, O king, in the company of Munis in a delightful and sacred
region, near the source of the Ganga, that is resorted to by the
celestial Rishis and Gandharvas and the celestials themselves. And while
living there, the resplendent one gratified with his oblations the
Pitris, the gods and the Rishis, according to the rites inculcated in the
scriptures. And once on a time while the illustrious one was engaged in
his silent recitations, he beheld Pulastya–that best of Rishis, of
wonderful appearance. And beholding that austere ascetic blazing with
beauty, he was filled with great delight and exceeding wonder. And, O
Bharata, that foremost of virtuous men, Bhishma, then worshipped that
blessed Rishi according to the rites of the ordinance. And purifying
himself and with rapt attention, he approached that best of Brahmarshis,
with the Arghya on his head. And uttering aloud his name, he said, ‘O
thou of excellent vow, blessed be thou, I am Bhishma, thy slave. At sight
of thee, I am freed from all my sins.’ And saying this, that foremost of
virtuous men, Bhishma, restraining speeches stood, O Yudhishthira, in
silence and with joined hands. And beholding Bhishma that foremost of the
Kurus, reduced and emaciated by the observance of vows and the study of
the Vedas, the Muni became filled with joy.”


“Pulastya said, ‘O thou of excellent vows, I have been much gratified
with thy humility, thy self-control, and thy truth, thou blessed one
versed in morality! O sinless one, it is for this virtue of thine which
thou hast acquired from regard to thy ancestors, that I have been
gratified with thee and thou hast, O son, obtained a sight of my person.
O Bhishma. my eyes can penetrate into everything. Tell me what I may do
for thee. O sinless one, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, I will grant
thee whatever thou mayst ask me.’

“Bhishma said, ‘O highly blessed one, when thou who art worshipped by the
three worlds hast been gratified with me and when I have obtained a sight
of thy exalted self, I regard myself as already crowned with success.
But, O thou foremost of virtuous persons, if I have deserved thy favour,
I will tell thee my doubts and it behoveth thee to dispel them, O holy
one, I have some religious doubts in respect of tirthas. Speak of those
to me in detail, I desire to hear thee. O thou that resemblest a
celestial himself, what is his merit, O regenerate Rishi, who goeth round
the whole earth (visiting shrines). O tell me this with certainty.”

“Pulastya said, ‘O son, listen with attention. I will tell thee of the
merit which attacheth to tirthas and which constituth the refuge of the
Rishis. He whose hands and feet and mind and knowledge and asceticism and
acts are under wholesome control, enjoyeth the fruits of tirthas. He who
has ceased to accept gifts, he that is contented, he that is free from
pride enjoys the fruits of tirthas. He that is without sin, he that acts
without purpose, he that eats light, he that has his senses under
control, he that is free from every sin, enjoys the fruits of tirthas. O
king, he that is free from anger, he that adhereth to truth, he that is
firm in vows, he that regardeth all creatures as his own self, enjoyeth
the fruits of tirthas. In the Vedas the Rishis have declared in due order
the sacrifices and also their fruits here and hereafter truly. O lord of
earth, those sacrifices cannot be accomplished by him that is poor, for
those sacrifices require various materials and diverse things in large
measures. These, therefore can be performed by kings or sometimes by
other men of prosperity and wealth. O lord of men, that rite, however,
which men without wealth, without allies, singly, without wife and
children, and destitute of means, are capable of accomplishing and the
merit of which is equal unto the sacred fruits of sacrifices, I will now
declare unto thee, thou best of warriors! O thou best of the Bharata
race, sojourns in tirthas which are meritorious and which constitute one
of the high mysteries of the Rishis, are even superior to sacrifices. He
is a poor man who having gone to a tirtha hath not fasted for three
nights, who hath not given away gold, and who hath not distributed kine.
Indeed, one acquireth not, by the performance of the Agnishtoma and other
sacrifices distinguished by large gifts, that merit which one requireth
by a sojourn to a tirtha. In the world of men, there is that tirtha of
the God of gods, celebrated over the three worlds by the name of
Pushkara. One that sojourneth there becometh equal unto that deity. O
high-souled son of the Kuru race, during the two twilights and mid-day
there is the presence of hundred thousand millions of tirthas in
Pushkara. The Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Maruts,
the Gandharvas, and the Apsaras are ever present, O exalted one, in
Pushkara. It was there, O king, that the gods, the Daityas and
Brahmarshis, having performed ascetic devotions there, obtained great
merit and finally attained to god-hood.'”

“Men of self-control, by even thinking mentally of Pushkara, are cleansed
from their sins, and regarded in heaven. O king, the illustrious
grand-sire having the lotus for his seat, had dwelt with great pleasure
in this tirtha. O blessed one, it was in Pushkara that the gods with the
Rishis having acquired of old great merit, finally obtained the highest
success. The person who, devoted to the worship of the gods and the
Pitris, batheth in this tirtha, obtaineth, it hath been said by the wise,
merit that is equal to ten times that of the horse-sacrifice. Having gone
to the Pushkara woods, he that feedeth even one Brahmana, becometh happy
here and hereafter, O Bhishma, for that act. He that supporteth himself
on vegetables and roots and fruits, may with pious regard and without
disrespect, give even such fare to a Brahmana. And, O best of kings, the
man of wisdom, even by such a gift, will acquire the merit of a
horse-sacrifice. Those illustrious persons among Brahmanas or Kshatriyas
or Vaisyas or Sudras that bathe in Pushkara are freed from the obligation
of rebirth. That man in special who visits Pushkara on the full moon of
the month of Karttika, acquireth ever-lasting regions in the abode of
Brahma. He that thinketh with joined hands morning and evening, of the
Pushkara, practically batheth, O Bharata, in every tirtha. Whether a male
or a female, whatever sins one may commit since birth, are all destroyed
as soon as one batheth in Pushkara. As the slayer of Madhu is the
foremost of all the celestials, so is Pushkara, O king, the foremost of
all tirthas. A man by residing with purity and regulated vows for twelve
years in Pushkara, acquireth the merit of all the sacrifices, and goeth
to the abode of Brahma. The merit of one who performeth the Agni-hotra
for full one hundred years, is equal to that of him who resideth for the
single month of Karttika in Pushkara. There are three white hillocks and
three springs known from the remotest times, we do not know why, by the
name of the Pushkara. It is difficult to go to Pushkara; it is difficult
to undergo ascetic austerities at Pushkara; it is difficult to give away
at Pushkara; and it is difficult to live at Pushkara.”

“Having dwelt for twelve nights at Pushkara with regulated diet and vows,
and having walked round (the place), one must go to Jamvu-marga. One that
goeth to Jamvu-marga which is resorted to by the celestials, the Rishis,
and the Pitris, acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and the
fruition of all his wishes. The man that resideth there for five nights,
hath his soul cleansed from all sins. He never sinketh into hell, but
acquireth high success. Leaving Jamvu-marga one must go to
Tandulikasrama. He that goeth there never sinketh into hell but ascendeth
to the abode of Brahma. He that goeth to the lake of Agastya and
occupieth himself with the worship of the Pitris and celestials, fasting
for three nights, acquireth, O king, the fruit of the Agnishtoma. Going
thither, he that liveth on vegetables or fruits acquireth the status
called Kaumara. One should next proceed to the beautiful asylum of Kanwa,
which is worshipped by the whole world. That sacred wood characterised by
holiness, existeth, O bull of the Bharata race, from very remote times.
As soon as one entereth it, he is freed from all his sins. He who with
regulated diet and vows worshippeth the Pitris and the gods there,
obtaineth the fruit of a sacrifice that is capable of bestowing the
fruition of all one’s desires. Having walked round this asylum one must
then go to the spot where Yayati fell (from heaven). He that goeth
thither, acquireth the merit of a horse-sacrifice. One must then go to
Mahakala with regulated diet and senses subdued. And having bathed in the
tirtha called Koti, one obtaineth the merit of a horse-sacrifice. A
virtuous man should next proceed to the tirtha of Sthanu, the husband of
Uma, known over the three worlds by the name of Bhadravata. That best of
men who goeth to Bhadravata, beholdeth Isana and obtaineth the fruit of a
gift of a thousand kine. And through the grace of Mahadeva, he acquireth
the status of Ganapatya blessed with prosperity and peace and high grace.
Having arrived then at the Narmada, that river celebrated over the three
worlds, and given oblations of water to the Pitris and the gods, one
acquireth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. He that goeth into the
Southern ocean, practising the Brahmacharya mode of life, and with senses
subdued, acquireth the fruit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and ascendeth to
heaven. Having arrived at Charmanwati, with regulated diet and senses
subdued, one acquireth, at the command of Rantideva, the merit of the
Agnishtoma sacrifice. One must then go, O virtuous chief of warriors, to
Arvuda, the son of Himavat, where there was a hole through the earth in
days of yore. There is the asylum of Vasistha, celebrated over the three
worlds. Having resided for one night, one obtaineth the merit of the gift
of a thousand kine. He that, leading a Brahmacharya mode of life batheth
in the tirtha called Pinga, obtaineth, O tiger among kings, the merit of
the gift of a hundred Kapila kine. One must next go, O king, to that
excellent tirtha called Prabhasa. There Hutasana is always present in his
own person. He, the friend of Pavana, O hero, is the mouth of all the
gods. The man that with subdued and sanctified soul batheth in that
tirtha, obtaineth merit greater than that of the Agnishtoma or Atiratra
sacrifices. Proceeding next to the spot where the Saraswati mingleth with
the sea, one obtaineth the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine and
heaven also besides, O bull of the Bharata race, blazing forth for all
time like Agni himself. He that with subdued soul batheth in the tirtha
of the king of waters, and giveth oblations of water unto the Pitris and
the gods, living there for three nights, blazeth forth like the Moon, and
obtaineth also the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. One should next proceed,
O best of the Bharata, unto the tirtha known by the name of Varadana,
where (the Rishi) Durvasa had given a boon unto Vishnu. A man by bathing
in Varadana obtaineth the fruit of the gift of a thousand kine. One
should next proceed with subdued senses and regulated diet to Dwaravati,
where by bathing in Pindaraka, one obtaineth the fruit of the gift of
gold in abundance. O blessed one, it is wonderful to relate that in that
tirtha, to this day, coins with the mark of the lotus and lotuses also
with the mark of the trident, are seen. O represser of heroes! And O bull
among men, the presence of Mahadeva is there. Arriving then, O Bharata,
at the spot where the Sindhu mingleth with the sea, one should with
subdued soul bathe in that tirtha of Varuna. And bathing there and giving
oblations of water to the Pitris, the Rishis, and the gods one acquireth,
O bull of the Bharata race, the region of Varuna, and blazeth forth in
effulgence of his own. Men of wisdom say that, by worshipping the god
known by the name of Shankukarneswara, one acquireth ten times the merit
of the horse-sacrifice. O bull of the Bharata race, having walked round
that tirtha, one should, O thou foremost of the Kurus, go to that tirtha
celebrated over the three worlds and known by the name of Drimi. That
tirtha cleanseth from every sin, and it is there that the gods including
Brahma worship Maheswara. Having bathed there and worshipped Rudra
surrounded by the other gods, one is freed from all sins since birth. It
was there, O best of men, that Drimi was adored by all the gods. Bathing
there, O best of men, one obtaineth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. O
thou of great intelligence, Vishnu the creator of the universe, after
slaying the Daityas and Danavas, went thither to purify himself. O
virtuous one, one should next proceed to Vasudhara adored by all. The
moment one arrives at that tirtha, one acquireth the fruit of the
horse-sacrifice. And, O thou best of the Kurus, by bathing there with
subdued soul and rapt attention, and giving oblations of water unto the
gods and the Pitris one ascendeth unto the region of Vishnu and is adored
there. In that tirtha, O bull of the Bharata race, there is a sacred lake
of the Vasus. By bathing there and drinking of its water, one becometh
regarded of the Vasus. There is a celebrated tirtha of the name of
Sindhuttama, which destroyeth every sin. O best of men, by bathing there,
one acquireth the fruit of the gift of gold in abundance. By arriving at
Bhadratunga with sanctified soul and purity of conduct, one acquireth the
region of Brahma and a high state of blessedness. There is then the
tirtha of the Kumarikas of Indra, that is much resorted to by the
Siddhas. O best of men, by bathing there, one obtaineth the region of
Indra. In Kumarika there is another tirtha called Renuka, which is also
resorted to by the Siddhas. A Brahmana by bathing there would become as
bright as the Moon. Proceeding next to the tirtha called the Panchananda,
with subdued sense and regulated diet, one obtaineth the fruit of the
five sacrifices that have been mentioned one after another in the
scriptures. Then, O king, one should go to the excellent region of Bhima.
O best of the Bharatas by bathing in the tirtha there, that is called
Yoni, a man (in his next birth) becometh, O king, the son of a goddess,
bearing ear-rings decked with pearls, and obtaineth also the merit of the
gift of a hundred thousand kine. Proceeding next to Srikunda, celebrated
over the three worlds and worshipping the grandsire, one obtaineth the
fruit of the gift of a thousand kine. O virtuous one, one should then go
to the excellent tirtha called Vimala, where to this day may be seen
fishes of golden and silver hues. By bathing there, one soon acquireth
the region of Vasava, and his soul being cleansed from every sin, he
attaineth to a high state of blessedness. Proceeding next to Vitasta and
giving oblations of water unto the Pitris and the gods, a man, O Bharata,
obtaineth the fruit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. That sin-destroying tirtha
known by the name of Vitasta, is situate in the country of the Kasmiras
and is the abode of the Naga Takshaka. Bathing there, a man certainly
obtaineth the fruit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and his soul cleansed from
every sin, he attaineth to a high state of blessedness. One should next
proceed to Vadava celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing there with
due rites in the evening, one should offer rice boiled in butter and
milk, according to the best of his might, unto the deity of seven flames.
Men of wisdom say that a gift made here in honour of the Pitris, becometh
inexhaustible. The Rishis, the Pitris, the gods, the Gandharvas, several
tribes of Apsaras, the Guhyakas, the Kinnaras, the Yakshas, the Siddhas,
the Vidhyadharas, the Rakshasas, Daityas, Rudras, and Brahma himself, O
king, having with subdued senses, accepted a course of austerities for a
thousand years in order to move Vishnu to grace, cooked rice in milk and
butter and gratified Kesava with oblations, each offered with seven Riks.
And, O king, the gratified Kesava thereupon conferred on them the
eight-fold attributes called Aiswarya and other objects that they
desired. And having bestowed upon them these, that god disappeared in
their sight like lightning in the clouds. And it is for this, O Bharata,
that that tirtha became known by the name of Saptacharu, and if one
offereth Charu there to the seven flamed deity, he obtaineth merit
superior to that of the gift of a hundred thousand kine, to that of a
hundred Rajasuya sacrifices, as also of a hundred horse-sacrifices.
Leaving Vadava, O king, one should then proceed to Raudrapada, and
beholding Mahadeva there one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice.
Proceeding then, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacharya mode of
life, to Manimat, and residing there for one night, one acquireth, O
king, the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. One should then go, O king,
to Devika celebrated over the whole world. It was there, O bull of
Bharata race, that, as heard by us, the Brahmanas first sprang into
existence. There also is the region of the holder of the trident–a
region that is celebrated over the world. Having bathed in Devika and
worshipped Maheswara by offering him, to the best of one’s might, rice
boiled in milk and butter, a man obtaineth, O bull of the Bharata race,
the merit of a sacrifice that is capable of filling every desire. There
also is another tirtha of Rudra called Kamakhya, which is much resorted
to by the gods. Bathing there, a man speedily obtaineth success. By
touching also the water of Yajana. Brahmavaluka, and Pushpamva, one
becometh free from sorrow in after life. The learned have said that the
sacred tirtha of Devika, the resort of the gods and the Rishis, is five
Yojanas in length and half a Yojana in breadth. One should then, in due
order, proceed, O king, to Dirghasatra. There the gods with Brahma at
their head, the Siddhas, and the greatest Rishis, with regulated vows and
the recitation and acceptance of the preliminary pledge, perform the
long-extending sacrifice. O king, by going only to Dirghasatra, O
represser of foes, one obtaineth merit that is superior, O Bharata, to
that of the Rajasuya or the horse-sacrifice. One should next proceed with
subdued senses and regulated diet to Vinasana, where Saraswati
disappearing on the breast of Meru, re-appeareth at Chamasa, Shivodbheda
and Nagadbheda. Bathing in Chamasadbheda, one obtaineth the merit of the
Agnishtoma sacrifice. Bathing in Shivodbheda, one acquireth the merit of
the gift of a thousand kine. And bathing in Nagodbheda, one obtaineth the
region of the Nagas. One should proceed, next, to the inaccessible tirtha
of Shasayana, where the cranes, O Bharata, disappearing in the form of
sasas, re-appear every year in the month of Karttika, and bathe, O
blessed chief of the Bharata race, in the Sarsawati. Bathing there, O
tiger among men, one blazeth forth like the Moon, and obtaineth, O bull
of the Bharata race, the merit of the gift of a thousand kine. One should
next proceed, O thou of the Kuru race, to Kumarakoti, with subdued
senses, and bathing there, worship the gods and the Puris. By doing this,
one obtaineth the merit of the gift of ten thousand kine, and raiseth all
his ancestors to higher regions. One should next, O virtuous one, proceed
with subdued soul to Rudrakoti, where in olden days, O king, ten millions
of Munis had assembled. And, O king, filled with great joy at the
prospect of beholding Mahadeva, the Rishis assembled there, each saying,
‘I will first behold the god! I will first behold the god!’ And, O king,
in order to prevent disputes amongst those Rishis of subdued souls, the
Lord of Yoga, by the help of his Yoga power, multiplied himself into ten
million forms, and stood before every one of them. And every one of these
Rishis said, ‘I have seen him first!’ And gratified, O king, with the
deep devotion of those Munis of subdued souls, Mahadeva granted them a
boon, saying, ‘From this day your righteousness shall grow!’ And, O tiger
among men, one that bathes, with a pure mind, in Rudrakoti obtaineth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice and delivereth his ancestors. One should
next proceed, O king, to that highly sacred and celebrated region where
the Saraswati mingles with the sea. Thither, O king, the gods with Brahma
at their head and Rishis with wealth of asceticism repair for adoring
Kesava on the fourteenth day of the lighted fortnight of the month of
Chaitra. Bathing there, O tiger among men, one obtaineth the merit of
giving away gold in abundance, and his soul being cleansed from every
sin, he ascendeth to the region of Brahma. It is there, O king, that the
Rishis have completed many a sacrifice. By a trip to that spot one
obtaineth the merit of the gifts of a thousand kine.'”


“Pulastya said, ‘One should next proceed, O king, to the adored
Kurukshetra at sight of which all creatures are freed from their sins. He
is freed from all sins who constantly sayeth, ‘I will live in
Kurukshetra.’ The very dust of Kurukshetra, conveyed by the wind, leadeth
a sinful man to a blessed course (in after-life). They that dwell in
Kurukshetra which lieth to the south of the Saraswati and the north of
the Drishadwati, are said to dwell in heaven. O hero, one should reside
there, O thou foremost of warriors, for a month. There, O lord of earth,
the gods with Brahma at their head, the Rishis, the Siddhas, the
Charanas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, the Yakshas and the Nagas, often
repair, O Bharata, to the highly sacred Brahmakshetra. O foremost of
warriors, the sins of one that desireth to repair to Kurukshetra even
mentally are all destroyed, and he finally goeth into the region of
Brahma. O son of the Kuru race, by repairing to Kurukshetra in a pious
frame of mind, one obtaineth the fruit of the Rajasuya and horse
sacrifices. By saluting next the Yaksha called Mankanaka, that mighty
gate-keeper (of Kuvera), cue obtaineth the fruit of giving away a
thousand kine. O virtuous king, one should next repair to the excellent
region of Vishnu, where Hari is always present. Bathing there and bowing
down unto Hari, the Creator of the three worlds, one obtaineth the fruit
of the horse-sacrifice and repaireth to the abode of Vishnu. One should
next repair to Pariplava, that tirtha celebrated over the three worlds,
and (bathing there), O Bharata, one obtaineth merit that is greater than
that of the Agnishtoma and the Atiratra sacrifices. Repairing next to the
tirtha called Prithivi, one obtaineth the fruit of the gift of a thousand
kine. The pilgrim should next, O king, proceed to Shalukini and bathing
there in the Dasaswamedha one obtaineth the merit of ten
horse-sacrifices. Proceeding next to Sarpadevi, that excellent tirtha of
the Nagas, one obtaineth the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and
attaineth to the region of the Nagas. O virtuous one, one should next
proceed to Tarantuka, the gatekeeper, and residing there for one night
one obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Proceeding next
with subdued senses and regulated diet to Panchananda and bathing in the
tirtha there, called Koti, one obtaineth the fruit of the
horse-sacrifice. Proceeding then to the tirtha of the twin Aswins one
obtaineth personal beauty. O virtuous one, one should next proceed to the
excellent tirtha called Varaha, where Vishnu formerly stood in the form
of a boar. Bathing there one obtaineth, O foremost of men, the merit of
the horse-sacrifice. One should next, O king, repair to the tirtha called
Sama in Jayanti. Bathing there one obtaineth the merit of Rajasuya
sacrifice. By bathing in Ekahansa, a man obtaineth the merit of giving
away a thousand kine. O king, a pilgrim repairing to Kritasaucha
obtaineth the lotus-eyed deity (Vishnu) and perfect purity of soul. One
should next proceed to Munjavata, that spot sacred to the illustrious
Sthanu. Residing there without food for one night, one obtaineth the
status called Ganapatya. There, O king, is the celebrated tirtha called
Yakshini. O king, repairing to that tirtha and bathing there, one
obtaineth fruition of all his desires. O bull of the Bharata race, that
tirtha is regarded as the gate of Kurukshetra. The pilgrim should with
concentrated soul, walk round it. Equal unto the Pushkaras, it was
created by the high-souled Rama, the son of Jamadagni. Bathing there and
worshipping the Pitris and the gods, one obtaineth, O king, the merit of
the horse-sacrifice and becometh successful in everything. The pilgrim
should next repair with concentrated soul to the Rama-hrada. There, O
king, the heroic Rama of resplendent energy, exterminating the Kshatriyas
by his might, dug five lakes and filled them, O tiger among men, with the
blood of his victims, as heard by us. And having filled those lakes with
Kshatriya blood, Rama offered oblations of blood to his sires and
grandsires. Gratified (with the oblations) those Rishis then addressed
Rama and said, ‘O Rama, O Rama, O thou of great good fortune, we have
been gratified with thee, O thou of the Bhrigu race, for this thy regard
for the Pitris, and thy prowess, O exalted one! Blessed be thou and ask
thou the boon thou choosest. What is that thou desirest, O thou of great
splendour!’ Thus addressed (by them), Rama, that foremost of smiters,
said with joined hands these words unto the Pitris, stationed in the
firmament, ‘If ye have been gratified with me, if I have deserved your
favour, I desire this favour of the Pitris, viz., that I may have
pleasure again in ascetic austerities. Let me also, through your power,
be freed from the sin I have committed by exterminating, from wrath, the
Kshatriya race. Let also my lakes become tirthas celebrated over the
world. The Pitris, hearing these blessed words of Rama, were highly
gratified, and filled with joy they answered him saying, ‘Let thy
asceticism increase in consequence of thy regard for the Pitris. Thou
hast exterminated the Kshatriyas from wrath. Freed art thou already from
that sin, for they have perished as a consequence of their own misdeeds.
Without doubt, these lakes of thine will become tirthas. And if one,
bathing in these lakes, offereth oblations of the water thereof to the
Pitris, the latter gratified with him will grant him desire, difficult of
fulfilment in the world as also eternal heaven.’ O king, having granted
him these boons, the Pitris joyfully saluted Rama of the Bhrigu race and
disappeared there and then. It was thus that the lakes of the illustrious
Rama of the Bhrigu race became sacred. Leading a Brahmacharya mode of
life and observing sacred vows, one should bathe in the lakes of Rama.
Bathing therein and worshipping Rama, one obtaineth, O king, the merit of
gift of gold in abundance. Proceeding next, O son of the Kuru race, to
Vansamulaka, a pilgrim by bathing there, raiseth, O king, his own race. O
best of the Bharatas, arriving next at the tirtha called Kayasodhana, and
bathing there, one purifieth, without doubt, his body, and proceeded with
purified body to the blessed region of unrivalled excellence. One should
next repair, O virtuous one, to that tirtha, celebrated over the three
worlds, called Lokoddara, where formerly Vishnu of great prowess had
created the worlds. Arriving at that tirtha which is adored by the three
worlds one earneth, O king, by bathing there, numerous worlds for
himself. Repairing next with subdued soul to the tirtha called Sree, one
acquires, by bathing there and worshipping the Pitris and the gods, high
prosperity. Leading a Brahmacharya mode of life and with concentrated
soul, one should proceed next to the tirtha called Kapila. Bathing there
and worshipping one’s own Pitris and the gods, a man earneth the fruit of
the gift of a thousand Kapila kine. Repairing next to the tirtha called
Surya and bathing there with subdued soul and worshipping the Pitris and
the gods, fasting all the while, one obtaineth the fruit of the
Agnishtoma sacrifice and goeth (finally) to the region of the Sun. The
pilgrim by proceeding next to Gobhavana and bathing there obtaineth the
merit of the gift of a thousand kine. O son of the Kuru race, a pilgrim
by repairing then to the tirtha called Shankhini and bathing in the
Devi-tirtha that is there, obtaineth high prowess. O king, one should
then proceed to the tirtha called Tarandaka situated in the Saraswati and
belonging to the illustrious chief of the Yakshas who is one of the
gate-keepers (of Kuvera). O king, bathing there one obtaineth the fruit
of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. O virtuous king, one should next repair to
the tirtha called Brahmavarta. Bathing in Brahmavarta, one ascendeth to
the abode of Brahma. O king, one should then repair to the excellent
tirtha called Sutirtha. There the Pitris are ever present along with the
gods. One should bathe there and worship the Pitris and the gods. By so
doing, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goeth (finally)
into the region of the Pitris. It is for this, O virtuous one, that
Sutirtha situate in Amvumati is regarded as so excellent. And, O thou
best of the Bharata race, having bathed in the tirtha of Kasiswara, one
becometh freed from all diseases and is adored in the abode of Brahma.
There, in that tirtha, is another called Matri. One that bathes in Matri
tirtha hath a large progeny and obtaineth, O king, great prosperity. One
should next proceed with subdued sense and regulated diet to the tirtha
called Shitavana. And, O great king, it hath been seen that one merit of
that tirtha which rarely belongs to any other, is that one only going
thither obtaineth holiness. By casting off his hair in that tirtha one
acquireth, O Bharata, great sanctity. There, in that tirtha, is another
called Shwavillomapaha, where, O tiger among men, and chief of the
Bharata race, learned Brahmanas that go to tirthas obtain great
satisfaction by a dip into its waters. Good Brahmanas, O king, by casting
off their hair in that tirtha acquire holiness by Pranayama and finally
attain to a high state. There, O king, in that tirtha is also another
called Dasaswamedhika. Bathing there, O tiger among men, one attains to a
high state. One should next proceed, O king, to the celebrated tirtha
called Manusha where, O king, a number of black antelopes afflicted by
the hunter’s arrows, plunging into its waters, were transformed into
human beings. Bathing in that tirtha, leading a Brahmacharya mode of life
and with concentrated soul, a man becomes freed from all his sins and is
adored in heaven. Distant by a krosa, O king, to the east of Manusha
there is a river celebrated by the name of Apaga that is restored to by
the Siddhas. The man that offereth there the syamaka grain in honour of
the gods and the Pitris acquireth great religious merit. And if one
Brahmana is fed there, it becomes equivalent to feeding ten millions of
Brahmanas. Having bathed in that tirtha and worshipped the gods and the
Pitris and resided there for one night, a man obtaineth the merit of the
Agnishtoma sacrifice. One should then repair, O king, to that excellent
region of Brahma which, O Bharata, is known on earth by the name of
Brahmodumvara. Bathing in the tank of the seven Rishis that is there, O
bull among men, with pure mind and subdued soul, as also in the tirtha
called Kedara of the high-souled Kapila, and beholding Brahma who is
there, one’s soul being purified from all sins, one goeth to the abode of
Brahma. Proceeding next to the inaccessible tirtha called Kedara of
Kapila, and burning one’s sins there by ascetic penances, one acquireth
the power of disappearance at will. One should next proceed, O king, to
the celebrated tirtha called Saraka, and beholding Mahadeva there on the
fourteenth day of the dark fortnight, one obtaineth all his wishes and
goeth also into heaven. O son of the Kuru race, in Saraka and Rudrakoti
as also in the well and the lakes that are there, thirty millions of
tirthas are present. There in that tirtha, O chief of the Bharatas, is
another called Ilaspada. Bathing there and worshipping the gods and the
Pitris, one never sinketh into hell but obtaineth the fruit of the
Vajapeya sacrifice. Repairing next to Kindana and Kinjapya, one
acquireth, O Bharata, the merit of giving away in measureless abundance
and the infinite recitation of prayers. Repairing next to the tirtha
called Kalasi and bathing there devoutly and with the senses under
control, a man obtaineth the fruit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. To the
east of Saraka, O chief of the Kurus, there is an auspicious tirtha known
by the name of Anajanma, of the high-souled Narada. He that bathes there,
O Bharata, obtaineth, after death, at the command of Narada various
unrivalled regions. One should next proceed, on the tenth day of the
lighted fortnight, to the tirtha called Pundarika. Bathing there, O king,
one obtaineth the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice. One should next
proceed to the tirtha called Tripishtapa that is known over the three
worlds. There in that tirtha is the sacred and sin-destroying river
called Vaitarani. Bathing there and adoring the god known by the mark of
the bull and holding the trident in his hand, one’s soul being purified
from every sin one attaineth to the highest state. One should next
proceed, O king, to the excellent tirtha called Phalakivana. There in
that tirtha the gods, O monarch, having been present, performed their
ascetic austerities extending for many thousand years. One should then
proceed to the Dhrishadwati. Bathing there and worshipping the gods, one
obtaineth, O Bharata, merit that is superior to that of both the
Agnishtoma and the Atiratra sacrifices. O chief of the Bharatas, bathing
in that tirtha called Sarvadeva, a man obtaineth, O king, the merit of
giving away a thousand kine. Bathing next in the tirtha called Panikhata
and worshipping all the gods, a man obtaineth merit that is superior to
that of both the Agnishtoma and the Atiratra sacrifices, besides
acquiring that of the Rajasuya sacrifice and finally going into the
region of the Rishis. One should next proceed, O virtuous one, to that
excellent tirtha called Misraka. There, O tiger among kings, it hath been
heard by us that the high-souled Vyasa, for the sake of the Brahmanas,
hath mixed all the tirthas. He, therefore, that bathes in Misraka really
bathes in all the tirtha. One should next proceed with subdued senses and
regulated diet, to the tirtha called Vyasavana. Bathing in the tirtha
called Manojava that is there, one obtaineth the merit of the gift of a
thousand kine. Proceeding next to the Devi tirtha that is in Madhuvati,
one that bathes there and worships the gods and the Pitris obtains at the
command of the Goddess the merit of the gift of a thousand kine.
Proceeding with regulated diet, he that bathes in the confluence of the
Kausiki and the Drishadwati, becometh free from all his sins. One should
next proceed to Vyasasthali where Vyasa of great intelligence, burning
with grief for his son had resolved to cast off his body but was cheered
again by the gods. Proceeding to that spot of Vyasa, one obtaineth the
merit of a thousand kine. O son of the Kuru race, proceeding next to the
well called Kindatta, he that throweth into it a measure of sesame, is
freed from all his debts and obtaineth his success. Bathing in the tirtha
called Vedi, one obtaineth the merit of the gift of a thousand kine.
There are two other celebrated tirthas called Ahas and Sudina. Bathing
there, O tiger among men, one goeth to the region of the Sun. One should
next proceed to the tirtha called Mrigadhuma that is celebrated
throughout the three worlds. One should bathe there, O king, in Ganga.
Bathing there and worshipping Mahadeva, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice. Bathing next in the Devi tirtha one obtaineth the merit
of the gift of a thousand kine. One should then proceed to Vamanaka
celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing there in Vishnupada and
worshipping Vamana one’s soul being purified from every sin, one goeth to
the abode of Vishnu. Bathing next in Kulampuna, one sanctifieth his own
race. Proceeding then to the Pavana-hrada, that excellent tirtha of the
Marutas, and bathing there, O king and tiger among men, one becometh
adored in the region of the Wind-god. Bathing in the Amara-hrada and
worshipping with devotion the chief of the celestials, one becometh
adored in heaven and courseth, seated on an excellent car, in the company
of the immortals. O best of great men, bathing next with due rites in the
tirtha called Sali surya, of Salihotra, one obtaineth the merit of the
gift of a thousand kine. O best of the Bharatas, there is a tirtha called
Sreekunja in the Saraswati. Bathing there, O best of men, one obtaineth
the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. O son of the Kuru race, one should
next repair to Naimishakunja. O king, the Rishis engaged in ascetic
austerities in the woods of Naimisha had, in days of old, taking the vow
of pilgrimage, gone to Kurukshetra. There, on the banks of the Saraswati,
O chief of the Bharatas, a grove was made, which might serve for a
resting spot for themselves, and which was highly gratifying to them.
Bathing in the Saraswati there, one obtaineth the merit of the Agnishtoma
sacrifice. One should next proceed, O virtuous one, to the excellent
tirtha called Kanya. Bathing there one obtaineth the merit of the gift of
a thousand kine. One should next proceed to the excellent tirtha of
Brahma. Bathing there, a person, of the (three) inferior orders,
obtaineth the status of a Brahmana, and if one be a Brahmana, his soul
being purified from every sin, he attaineth to the highest state. One
should then, O best of men, proceed to the excellent tirtha called Soma.
Bathing there, O king, one obtaineth the region of Soma. One should next
proceed, O king, to the tirtha called Saptasaraswata, where the
celebrated Rishi, Mankanaka, had obtained ascetic success. O king, it
hath been heard by us that in days of old Mankanaka having cut his hand
with the pointed blade of the Kusa grass, there flowed from his wound
vegetable juice (instead of blood). And beholding vegetable juice flow
from his wound, the Rishi began to dance with wonder-expanded eyes. And
as the Rishi danced, all the mobile and immobile creatures also,
overwhelmed with his prowess, began to dance with him. Then, O king, the
gods with Brahma at their head and Rishis endued with the wealth of
asceticism moved by the act of Mankanaka, represented the matter to
Mahadeva, saying, ‘It behoveth thee, O god, to act in such a way that
this Rishi may not dance.’ Thus addressed, Mahadeva, with heart filled
with joy, approached the dancing Rishi, and moved by the desire of doing
good to the gods, said, ‘O great Rishi, O virtuous one, why dost thou
dance? O bull among Munis, what can be the reason of this thy present
joy?’ The Rishi answered, ‘O best of Brahmanas, I am an ascetic that
tread the path of virtue. Dost thou not behold, O Brahmana, that
vegetable juice floweth from the wound in my hand? Filled with great joy
at sight of this, I am dancing.’ Addressing the Rishi blinded by emotion,
the god laughingly said, ‘O Brahmana, I do not wonder at this. Behold
me.’ Having said this, O best of men, Mahadeva, O sinless king, pressed
his thumb by the tip of his own finger. And, lo, from the wound thus
inflicted, there came out ashes white as snow. And beholding this, O
king, that Muni became ashamed and fell at the feet of the god. And
believing that there was nothing better and greater than the god Rudra,
he began to adore him in these words:

“O holder of the trident, thou art the refuge of the celestials and the
Asuras, of, indeed, the universe. By thee have been created the three
worlds with their mobile and immobile beings. It is thou again that
swallowest everything at the end of the Yuga. Thou art incapable of being
known by the gods themselves, far less by me. O sinless one, the gods
with Brahma at their heads are all displayed in thee. Thou art all, the
Creator himself and the Ordainer of the worlds. It is by thy grace that
all the gods sport without anxiety or fear. And adoring Mahadeva thus the
Rishi also said, ‘O god of gods, grant me thy grace, so that my
asceticism may not diminish.’ Then that god of cheerful soul answered the
regenerate Rishi,–saying, ‘Let thy asceticism, O Brahmana, increase a
thousandfold through my grace. And, O great Muni, I shall dwell with thee
in this thy asylum. Bathing in Saptasaraswata, they that will worship me,
shall be able to attain everything here and hereafter. And, without
doubt, they shall all attain to the Saraswata region in the end.’ Having
said this, Mahadeva disappeared then and there.

“After visiting Saraswata, one should proceed to Ausanasa celebrated over
the three worlds. There, O Bharata, the gods with Brahma at their head,
and Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, and the illustrious
Kartikeya, were ever present during two twilights and the mid-day,
impelled by the desire of doing good to Bhargava. There in that tirtha is
another called Kapalamochana, which cleanseth from every sin. O tiger
among men, bathing there one is cleansed from every sin. One should then
proceed to the tirtha called Agni. Bathing there, O bull among men, one
obtaineth the regions of agni and raiseth his own race (from lower
regions). There in that tirtha is another, O chief of the Bharatas, that
belongeth to Viswamitra. Bathing there, O best of men, one obtaineth the
status of a Brahmana. Proceeding next to Brahmayoni in purity of body and
with subdued soul, one obtaineth, O tiger among men, by bathing there,
the abode of Brahma, and sanctifieth, without doubt, his own race to the
seventh generation up and down. One should next proceed, O king, to the
tirtha celebrated over the three worlds, which is called Prithudaka,
belonging to Kartikeya. One should bathe there and occupy oneself in the
worship of the Pitris and the gods. Whatever evil hath been committed,
knowingly or unknowingly, by man or woman, impelled by human motives, is
all destroyed, O Bharata, by a bath in that tirtha. Bathing there one
obtaineth, too, the merit of the horse-sacrifice and heaven also. The
learned have said that Kurukshetra is holy; that holier than Kurukshetra
is the Saraswati; that holier than the Saraswati are all the tirthas
together, and that holier than all the tirthas together is Prithudaka. He
that engaged in the recitation of prayers casteth off his body at
Prithudaka, which is the best of all tirthas, becometh an immortal. It
hath been sung by Sanatkumara and by the high-souled Vyasa, and it is in
the Vedas also, that one should, O king, go to Prithudaka, with subdued
soul. O son of Kuru race, there is no tirtha which is superior to
Prithudaka. Without doubt, that tirtha is purifying, holy and
sin-destroying. O best of men, it hath been said by learned persons that
men, however sinful, by bathing in Prithudaka, go to heaven. O best of
the Bharatas, there in that tirtha is another called Madhusrava. Bathing
there, O king, one obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine.
One should then proceed, O king, to that celebrated and sacred tirtha
where the Saraswati uniteth with the Aruna. One that batheth there,
having fasted for three nights, is cleansed of even the sin of slaying a
Brahmana, and obtaineth also merit that is superior to that of either the
Agnishtoma or Atiratra sacrifice, and rescueth his race to the seventh
generation up and down. There in that tirtha is another, O perpetuator of
the Kuru race, that is called Ardhakila. From compassion for the
Brahmanas, that tirtha was made by Darbhi in days of old. Without doubt,
by vows, by investiture of the sacred, by fasts, by rites and by Mantras,
one becometh a Brahmana. O bull among men, it hath been seen, however, by
learned persons of old that even one destitute of rites and Mantras, by
only bathing in that tirtha becometh learned and endued with the merit of
vows. Darbhi had also brought hither the four oceans. O best of men, one
that batheth here, never meeteth with distress hereafter and obtaineth
also the merit of giving away four thousand kine. One should next repair,
O virtuous one, to the tirtha called Satasahasraka. Near to this is
another called Sahasraka. Both are celebrated, and one that batheth in
them, obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Fasts and gifts
there multiply a thousandfold. One should next proceed, O king, to the
excellent tirtha called Renuka. One should bathe there and worship the
Pitris and the gods. By this, cleansed from every sin, he obtaineth the
merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Bathing next in the tirtha called
Vimochana with passions and senses under control, one is cleansed from
all the sins generated by the acceptance of gifts. With senses under
control and practising the Brahmacharya mode of life, one should next
repair to the woods of Panchavati. By a sojourn thither, one earneth much
virtue and becometh adored in the regions of the virtuous. One should
next go to the tirtha of Varuna called Taijasa, blazing in effulgence of
its own. There in that tirtha is the lord of Yoga, Sthanu himself, having
for his vehicle the bull. He that sojourneth there, obtaineth success by
worshipping the god of gods. It was there that the gods with Brahma at
their head and Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, installed Guha as
the generalissimo of the celestials. To the east of that tirtha is
another, O perpetuator of Kuru race, that is called Kuru tirtha. With
senses under control and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life, he that
bathes in Kuru-tirtha, becometh cleansed of all his sins and obtaineth
the region of Brahma. With subdued senses and regulated diet one should
next proceed to Svargadwara. Sojourning thither, one obtaineth the merit
of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and goeth to the abode of Brahma. The pilgrim
should then, O king, proceed to the tirtha called Anaraka. Bathing there,
O king, one never meeteth with distress hereafter. There, O king, Brahma
himself with the other gods having Narayana at their head, is ever
present, O tiger among men! And, O royal son of the Kuru race, the wife
also of Rudra is present there. Beholding the goddess, one never meeteth
with distress hereafter. There in that tirtha O king, is also (an image
of) Visweswara, the lord of Uma. Beholding the god of gods there, one is
cleansed of all his sins. Beholding also (the image of) Narayana from
whose navel had sprung the lotus, one blazeth forth, O royal represser of
all foes, and goeth to the abode of Vishnu. O bull among men, he that
batheth in the tirthas of all the gods, is exempted from every sorrow and
blazeth forth like the Moon. The pilgrim should next proceed, O king, to
Swastipura. By walking around that place, one obtaineth the merit of
giving away a thousand kine. Arriving next at the tirtha called Pavana,
one should offer oblations to the Pitris and the gods. By this, he
obtaineth, O Bharata, the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Near to that
is Ganga-hrada, and another, O Bharata, called Kupa. Thirty millions of
tirthas, O king, are present in that Kupa. Bathing there, O king, a
person obtaineth heaven. Bathing also in the Ganga-hrada and adoring
Maheswara, one obtaineth the status of Ganapatya and rescueth his own
race. One should next proceed to Sthanuvata, celebrated over the three
worlds. Bathing there, O king, one obtaineth heaven. One should then
proceed to Vadaripachana, the asylum of Vasishtha. Having tasted there
for three nights, one should eat jujubes. He that liveth on jujubes for
twelve years, and he that fasteth at the tirtha for three nights,
acquireth merit that is eternal. Arriving then at Indramarga, O king, and
fasting there for a day and night the pilgrim becometh adored in the
abode of Indra. Arriving next at the tirtha called Ekaratra, a person
that stayeth there for one night, with regulated vows and refraining from
untruth, becometh adored in the abode of Brahma. One should next go, O
king, to the asylum of Aditya–that illustrious god who is a mass of
effulgence. Bathing in that tirtha celebrated over three worlds, and
worshipping the god of light, one goeth to the region of Aditya and
rescueth his own race. The pilgrim then, O king, bathing in the tirtha of
Soma, obtaineth, without doubt, the region of Soma. One should next
proceed, O virtuous one, to the most sacred tirtha of the illustrious
Dadhicha, that sanctifying tirtha which is celebrated over the whole
world. It was here that Angiras, that ocean of ascetic austerities
belonging to the Saraswata race, was born, Bathing in that tirtha, one
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and without doubt, gaineth
also residence in the legion of Saraswati. With subdued senses and
leading a Brahmacharya mode of life, one should next proceed to
Kanyasrama. Residing there for three nights, O king, with subdued senses
and regulated diet, one obtaineth a hundred celestial damsels and goeth
also to the abode of Brahma. One should next, O virtuous one, proceed to
the tirtha called Sannihati. Sojourning thither the gods with Brahma at
their head and Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism earn much virtue.
Bathing in the Saraswati during a solar eclipse, one obtaineth the merit
of a hundred horse-sacrifices, and any sacrifice that one may perform
there produceth merit that is eternal. Whatever tirthas exist on earth or
in the firmament, all the rivers, lakes, smaller lakes, springs, tanks,
large and small, and spots sacred to particular gods, without doubt, all
come, O tiger among men, month after month, and mingle with Sannihati, O
king of men! And it is because that all other tirthas are united together
here, that this tirtha is so called. Bathing there and drinking of its
water, one becometh adored in heaven. Listen now, O king, to the merit
acquired by that mortal who performeth a Sraddha on the day of the new
moon during a solar eclipse. The person that performeth a Sraddha there,
after having bathed in that tirtha, obtaineth the merit that one earneth
by properly celebrating a thousand horse-sacrifices. Whatever sins a man
or woman committeth, are, without doubt, all destroyed as soon as one
batheth in that tirtha. Bathing there one also ascendeth to the abode of
Brahma on the lotus-coloured tar. Bathing next in Koti-tirtha, after
having worshipped the Yaksha doorkeeper, Machakruka, one obtaineth the
merit of giving away gold in abundance. Near to this, O best of the
Bharatas, is a tirtha called Gangahrada. One should bathe there, O
virtuous one, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life.
By this, one obtaineth merit that is greater than that of a Rajasuya and
horse-sacrifices. The tirtha called Naimisha is productive of good on
earth. Pushkara is productive of good in the regions of the firmament;
Kurukshetra, however, is productive of good in respect of all the three
worlds. Even the dust of Kurukshetra, carried by the wind, leadeth sinful
men to a highly blessed state. They that reside in Kurukshetra, which
lieth to the north of the Drishadwati and the south of the Saraswati,
really reside in heaven. ‘I will go to Kurukshetra,’ ‘I will dwell in
Kurukshetra,’ he that uttereth those words even once, becometh cleansed
of all sins. The sacred Kurukshetra which is worshipped by Brahmarshis,
is regarded as the sacrificial altar of the celestials. Those mortals
that dwell there, have nothing to grieve for at any time. That which
lieth between Tarantuka and Arantuka and the lakes of Rama and Machakruka
is Kurukshetra. It is also called Samantapanchaka and is said to be the
northern sacrificial altar of the Grandsire.’


“Pulastya said, ‘Then, O great king, one should proceed to the excellent
tirtha of Dharma, where the illustrious god of justice had practised
highly meritorious austerities. And it is for this that he made the spot
a sacred tirtha and rendered it celebrated by his own name. Bathing
there, O king, a virtuous man with concentrated soul certainly
sanctifieth his family to the seventh generation. One should then repair,
O king, to the excellent Jnanapavana. Sojourning thither, one obtaineth
the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice, and goeth to the region of the
Munis. Then, O monarch, a man should repair to the Saugandhika-vana.
There dwell the celestials with Brahma at their head, Rishis endued with
wealth of asceticism, the Siddhas, the Charanas, the Gandharvas, the
Kinnaras and the serpents. As soon as one entereth these woods, he is
cleansed of all his sins. Then, O king, should one repair to the sacred
goddess Saraswati, known there as the goddess Plaksha, that best of
streams and foremost of rivers. There should one bathe in the water
issuing from an ant-hill. (Bathing there and) worshipping the Pitris and
the gods, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There existeth
a rare tirtha called Isanadhyushita, lying from the ant-hill at the
distance of six throws of a heavy stick. As seen in the Puranas, O tiger
among men, bathing there a man obtaineth the merit of giving away a
thousand Kapila kine and of the horse-sacrifice. Journeying next, O
foremost of men, to Sugandha, and Satakumbha and Panchayaksha, a man
becometh adored in heaven. Repairing to another tirtha there called
Trisulakhata, one should bathe and set himself to worship the Pitris and
the gods. Doing so, without doubt, one obtaineth, after death, the status
of Ganapatya. One should next proceed, O king, to the excellent spot of
the Goddess celebrated over the three worlds by the name of Sakamvari.
There, for the space of a thousand celestial years, she of excellent
vows, month after month, had subsisted upon herbs, O king of men! And
attracted by their reverence for the Goddess, many Rishis with wealth of
asceticism, came thither, O Bharata. and were entertained by her with
herbs. And it is for this that they bestowed on her the name of
Sakamvari. O Bharata, the man who arriveth at Sakamvari, with rapt
attention and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life and passeth three
nights there in purity and subsisting on herbs alone, obtaineth, at the
will of the goddess, the merit of him that liveth upon herbs for twelve
years. Then should one proceed to the tirtha called Suvarna, famed
through the three worlds. There in days of old, Vishnu had paid his
adorations to Rudra, for his grace, and obtaineth also many boons
difficult of acquisition even by the gods. And, O Bharata, the gratified
destroyer of Tripura said, ‘O Krishna, thou shalt, without doubt, be much
beloved in the world, and the foremost of everything in the universe.’
Repairing thither, O king, and worshipping the deity having the bull for
his mark, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice as also the
status of Ganapatya. One should next proceed to the tirtha of Dhumavati.
Fasting there for three nights, one obtaineth, without doubt, all the
wishes cherished by him. To the southern half of this spot of the
Goddess, there is, O king, a tirtha called Rathavarta. One should, O
virtuous one, go up to that place, with devout heart, and having his
senses under control. By this, through the grace of Mahadeva, one
attaineth to an exalted state. After walking round the place, one should,
O bull of the Bharata race, proceed to the tirtha named Dhara, which, O
thou of great wisdom, washeth off all sins. Bathing there, O tiger among
men, a man is freed from every sorrow. One should then repair, O virtuous
one, after bowing to the great mountain (Himavat), to the source of the
Ganges, which is, without doubt, like the gate of heaven. There should
one, with concentrated soul, bathe in the tirtha called Koti. By this,
one obtaineth the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice, and delivereth his
race. Residing one night there, one acquireth the merit of giving away a
thousand kine. By offering oblations of water duly to the gods and the
Pitris, at Saptaganga, Triganga and Sakravarta, (which are all there),
becometh adored in the regions of the virtuous. Bathing next at
Kanakhala, and fasting there for three nights, a person reapeth the merit
of the horse-sacrifice and goeth to heaven. Then O lord of men, the
pilgrim should repair to Kapilavata. Fasting for one night there, he
obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. O king, there is a
tirtha of the illustrious Kapila, king of the Nagas, that is celebrated,
O thou best of Kurus, over all the worlds. Bathing there at the
Nagatirtha one obtaineth, O king, the merit of giving away a thousand
Kapila kine. One should next repair to the excellent tirtha of Santanu,
called Lalitika. Bathing there, O king, one never sinketh into distress
(hereafter). The man that bathes at the confluence of the Ganga and the
Yamuna, obtains the merit of ten horse-sacrifices, and also rescues his
race. One should next, O king, go to Sugandha, celebrated over the world.
By this, cleansed of every sin, he becometh adored in the abode of
Brahma. Then, O lord of men, the pilgrim should repair to Rudravarta.
Bathing there, one ascendeth to heaven. Bathing at the confluence of the
Ganga and the Saraswati, a person obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and also ascendeth to heaven. Proceeding next to
Bhadrakarneswara and worshipping the gods duly, one, without sinking into
distress, becometh adored in heaven. Then, O lord of men, the pilgrim
should proceed to the tirtha called Kuvjamraka. By this he obtaineth the
merit of giving away a thousand kine, and heaven also. Then, O king, the
pilgrim should go to the Arundhativata. Proceeding thither with
concentrated soul and practising the Brahmacharya vows, one that batheth
in Samudraka and fasteth for three nights, obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and of giving away a thousand kine, and also rescueth his
race. One should next proceed to Brahmavarta, with concentrated soul and
practising the Brahmacharya vows. By this, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice, and goeth to the region of Soma. The man that proceedeth
to the Yamuna-prabhava, (the source of the Yamuna) and batheth there,
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and is worshipped in heaven.
Arriving at Darvisankramana, that tirtha which is worshipped of the three
worlds, a person obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goeth to
heaven. Repairing next to Sindhu-prabhava (the source of the Indus) which
is worshipped by Siddhas and Gandharvas, and staying there for five
nights, one obtaineth the merit of giving away gold in abundance.
Proceeding next to the inaccessible tirtha called Vedi, one obtaineth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice and ascendeth to heaven. Then, O Bharata,
should one proceed to Rishikulya and Vasishtha. By visiting the latter,
all orders attain to Brahmanhood. Repairing to Rishikulya and bathing
there, and living a month upon herbs, and worshipping the gods and
Pitris, one is cleansed of all his sins, and obtaineth the region of the
Rishis. Proceeding next to Bhrigutunga a person acquireth the merit of
the horse-sacrifice. Repairing then to Vipramoksha, one is freed from
every sin. Proceeding then to the tirtha of Krittika and Magha, one, O
Bharata, obtaineth the merit superior to that of the Agnishtoma and
Atiratha sacrifices. The man who, repairing to the excellent tirtha
called Vidya, batheth there in the evening, obtaineth proficiency in
every kind of knowledge. One should next reside for one night at
Mahasrama capable of destroying every sin, taking a single meal. By this,
one obtains many auspicious regions, and delivers ten preceding and ten
succeeding generations of his race. Dwelling next for a month of
Mahalaya, and fasting there for three nights, one’s soul is cleansed of
all sins and one acquires the merit of giving away gold in abundance.
Proceeding next to Vetasika worshipped by the Grandsire, one obtaineth
the merit of the horse-sacrifice and the state of Usanas. Going next to
the tirtha called Sundarika, worshipped by the Siddhas, one obtaineth
personal beauty as witnessed by the ancients. Proceeding next to Brahmani
with subdued senses and observing the Brahmacharya vow, a person
ascendeth to the region of Brahma on a lotus-hued car. One should repair
next to the sacred Naimisha, worshipped by the Siddhas. There dwelleth
for aye Brahma with the gods. By only purposing to go to Naimisha, half
one’s sins are destroyed; by entering it, one is cleansed of all his
sins. The pilgrim of subdued senses should stay at Naimisha for a month;
for, O Bharata, all the tirthas of the earth are at Naimisha. Bathing
there, with restrained senses and regulated fare, one obtains, O Bharata,
the merit of the cow-sacrifice, and also sanctifies, O best of the
Bharatas, his race for seven generations both upwards and downwards. He
who renounceth his life at Naimisha by fasting, enjoyeth happiness in the
heavenly regions. Even this is the opinion of the wise. O foremost of
kings, Naimisha is ever sacred and holy. Proceeding next to Gangodbheda
and fasting there for three nights, a man obtaineth the merit of the
Vajapeya sacrifice, and becometh like unto Brahma himself. Journeying to
the Saraswati, one should offer oblations unto the gods and the Pitris.
By this, one certainly enjoyeth bliss in the regions called Saraswata.
Then should one wend to Vahuda, with subdued soul and observing the
Brahmacharya vow. Residing there for one night, one becometh adored in
heaven, and obtaineth also, O Kaurava, the merit of the Devasatra
sacrifice. Then should one repair to the holy Kshiravati, frequented by
holier men. By worshipping the gods and the Pitris there, one obtains the
merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. Proceeding next to Vimalasoka, with
subdued soul and observing the Brahmacharya vow, and residing there for
one night, one is adored in heaven. One should next proceed to the
excellent Gopratra in the Sarayu, whence Rama, O king, with all his
attendants and animals, renouncing his body, ascended to heaven in
consequence of the efficacy of the tirtha alone. Bathing in that tirtha,
O Bharata, one’s soul, through Rama’s grace, and by virtue of his own
deeds, being cleansed of all sins, one becometh adored in heaven. O
Bharata! Proceeding next, O son of the Kuru race, to the Rama-tirtha on
the Gomati, and bathing there, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice, and sanctifieth also his own race. There, O bull of the
Bharata race, is another tirtha called Satasahasrika. Bathing there, with
restrained senses and regulated diet, a person reapeth, O bull of Bharata
race, the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Then should one, O king,
go to the unrivalled tirtha called Bhartristhana. By this, a person
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Bathing next in the tirtha
called Koti, and worshipping Kartikeya, a man reapeth, O king, the merit
of giving away a thousand kine, and acquireth great energy. Proceeding
next to Varanasi, and worshipping the god having the bull for his mark,
after a bath in the Kapilahrada, one obtaineth the merit of the Rajasuya
sacrifice. Repairing then, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, to the tirtha
called Avimukta, and beholding there the god of gods, the pilgrim, from
such sight alone, is immediately cleansed of even the sin of slaying a
Brahmana. By renouncing one’s life there, one obtaineth deliverance.
Arriving next, O king, at the rare tirtha called Markandeya celebrated
over the world and situated at the confluence of the Ganges, a person
obtaineth the merit of Agnishtoma sacrifice, and delivereth his race.
Sojourning next to Gaya, with subdued senses and observing the
Brahmacharya vow, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also
rescueth his race. There in that tirtha is the Akshaya-vata, celebrated
over the three worlds. Whatever is offered there to the Pitris is said to
become inexhaustible. Bathing there at the Mahanadi, and offering
oblations to the gods and the Pitris, a man acquireth eternal regions,
and also rescueth his race. Proceeding then to Brahma-sara that is
adorned by the woods of Dharma, and passing one night there, a man
attaineth to the region of Brahma. In that lake, Brahma had raised a
sacrificial pillar. By walking round this pillar, a person acquireth the
merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. One should next, O mighty monarch, go to
Denuka celebrated over the world. Staying there for one night and giving
away sesame and kine, one’s soul being cleansed from every sin, one
ascendeth, without doubt to the region of Soma. There, O king, on the
mountains, the cow called Kapila used to range with her calf. There is
little doubt, of this, O Bharata, the hoof-marks, of that cow and her
calf are seen there to this day. By bathing in those hoof-prints, O
foremost of monarchs, whatever sin a man may have incurred is, O Bharata,
washed away. Then should one go to Gridhravata, the spot consecrated to
the trident-bearing god. Approaching the deity having the bull for his
mark one should rub himself with ashes. If a Brahmana, he obtains the
merit of observing the twelve year’s vow and if belonging to any of the
other orders, he is freed from all his sins. One should next proceed to
the Udyanta mountains, resounding with melodious notes. There, O bull of
the Bharata race, is still seen the foot-print of Savitri. The Brahmana
of rigid vows, who sayeth his morning, noon and evening prayers there,
obtaineth the merit of performing that service for twelve years. There, O
bull of the Bharata race, is the famous Yonidwara. Repairing thither, a
person becometh exempted from the pain of rebirth. The person that
stayeth at Gaya during both the dark and lighted fortnights, certainly
sanctifieth, O king, his own race up and down to the seventh generation.
One should wish for many sons so that even one may go to Gaya, or
celebrate the horse-sacrifice, or offer a nila bull. Then, O king, the
pilgrim should proceed to Phalgu. By this, he obtains the merit of
horse-sacrifice, and acquires great success. O king, one should repair
then, with subdued soul, to Dharmaprishta. There, O foremost of warriors,
dwelleth Dharma for aye. Drinking of the water of a well which is there,
and purifying one’s self by a bath, he that offereth oblations to the
gods and the Pitris is cleansed of all his sins and ascendeth to heaven.
There in that tirtha is the hermitage of the great Rishi Matanga of soul
under complete control. By entering that beautiful asylum capable of
soothing fatigue and sorrow, one earneth the merit of the Gavayana
sacrifice, and by touching (the image of) Dharma which is there, one
obtaineth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. One should next go, O king,
to the excellent tirtha called Brahmasthana. Approaching Brahma, that
bull among male beings, who is there, one acquireth, O mighty monarch,
the merit of the Rajasuya and horse-sacrifices. The pilgrim should then
repair to Rajasuya, O king of men! Bathing there, one liveth (in heaven)
as happily as (the Rishi) Kakshiyan. After purifying himself, one should
partake there of the offerings daily made unto the Yakshini. By this, one
is freed from the sin of even slaying a Brahmana, through the Yakshini’s
grace. Proceeding next to Maninaga, one obtains the merit of giving away
a thousand kine. O Bharata, he that eateth anything relating to the
tirtha of Maninaga, if bitten by a venomous snake, doth not succumb to
its poison. Residing there for one night, one is cleansed of one’s sins.
Then should one proceed to the favourite wood of the Brahmarshi Gautama.
There bathing in the lake of Ahalya, one attaineth to an exalted state.
Beholding next the image of Sree, one acquireth great prosperity. There
in that tirtha is a well celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing in it,
one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There also existeth a
well sacred to the royal Rishi Janaka, which is worshipped by the gods.
Bathing in the well, one ascendeth to the region of Vishnu. Then should
one repair to Vinasana that destroys every sin. By a sojourn thither, one
obtaineth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and goeth also to the
region of Soma. Proceeding next to Gandaki which is produced by the
waters of every tirtha, a person acquireth the merit of the Vajapeya
sacrifice, and ascendeth also to the solar region. Proceeding next to the
Visala, that river celebrated over the three worlds, one obtaineth the
merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice and ascendeth also to heaven. Repairing
then, O virtuous one, to the woody seat of ascetics that is called
Adhivanga, one obtains, without doubt, great happiness amongst the
Guhyakas. Proceeding next to the river Kampana, visited by the Siddhas,
one obtaineth the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice, and ascendeth also to
heaven. Arriving then, O lord of earth, at the stream called Maheswari,
one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also rescueth his own
race. Repairing next to the tank of the celestials, one earneth immunity
from misfortune, and also the merit of the horse-sacrifice. One should
next go to Somapada, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacharya mode of
life. Bathing in Maheswarapada that is there, one reapeth the merit of
the horse-sacrifice. There in that tirtha, O bull of the Bharata race, it
is well known that ten millions of tirthas exist together. A wicked Asura
in the shape of a tortoise had, O foremost of monarchs, been carrying it
away when the powerful Vishnu recovered it from him. There in that tirtha
should one perform his ablutions, for by this he acquireth the merit of
the Pundarika sacrifice and ascendeth also to the region of Vishnu. Then,
O best of kings, should one proceed to the place of Narayana, where, O
Bharata, Narayana is ever present and dwelleth for aye. There the gods
with Brahma at their head, Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, the
Adityas, the Vasus, and the Rudras, all adore Janardana, in that tirtha,
and Vishnu of wonderful deeds hath become known as Salagrama. Approaching
the eternal Vishnu, that lord of the three worlds, that giver of boons,
one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and goeth to the region
of Vishnu. There in that place, O virtuous one, is a well, capable of
destroying every sin. The four seas are ever present in that well. He
that bathes in it, O king, will have immunity from misfortune. Beholding
(the image of) the boon-giving, eternal, and fierce Mahadeva who is
there, one shineth, O king, like the moon emerged from the cloud. Bathing
then in Jatismara, with pure mind and subdued senses, one acquireth,
without doubt, the recollections of his former life. Proceeding then to
Maheswarapura, and worshipping the god having the bull for his mark,
fasting the while, one obtaineth, without doubt, the fruition of all his
desires. Repairing then to Vamana that destroys every sin, and beholding
the god Hari, one acquireth exemption from every misfortune. One should
next go to the asylum of Kusika that is capable of removing every sin.
Repairing then to the river Kausika that cleanseth from even great sins,
one should bathe in it. By this one obtaineth the merit of Rajasuya
sacrifice. One should next, O foremost of kings, proceed to the excellent
woods of Champaka. By spending there one night, one acquireth the merit
of giving away a thousand kine. Arriving next at Jyeshthila, that tirtha
of rare worth, and passing one night there, one reapeth the fruit of the
gift of a thousand kine. Beholding there (the image of) Visweswara of
great splendour, with his consort the goddess, a person obtaineth, O bull
among men, the region of Mitra-Varuna. By fasting there for three nights,
a man acquireth the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. By visiting
Kanya-samvedya, with senses restrained and regulated fare, one acquireth,
O bull among men, the region of Manu, the lord of creation. Rishis of
rigid vows have said that he that giveth away rice or maketh any gift at
the tirtha called Kanya, rendereth such gift eternal. Arriving next at
Nischira celebrated over the three worlds, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and goeth to the legion of Vishnu. O king, those that
give away at the confluence of the Nischira, ascend to the blessed region
of Brahma. There in that tirtha is the asylum of Vasishtha that is known
over the three worlds. Bathing there, one obtaineth the merit of the
Vajapeya sacrifice. Proceeding next to Devakuta that is resorted to by
celestial Rishis, one acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and
also delivereth his race. Then should one, O king, go to the lake of the
Muni Kausika, where Kusika’s son, Viswamitra, obtained high success.
Bathing there, a person acquireth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice.
There, O hero, at Kausika, should one reside for a month, O bull of the
Bharata race! By a month’s residence there, one reapeth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice. He that resideth at the best of tirthas called
Maha-hrada, enjoys immunity from misfortune, and also obtains the merit
of giving away gold in abundance. Beholding next Kartikeya who dwelleth
at Virasrama, a man certainly reapeth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice.
Proceeding then to Agnidhara celebrated over the three worlds, and
beholding there after a bath the eternal and boon-giving Vishnu, that god
of gods, one obtaineth the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Proceeding
next to the Grandsire’s tank near the snowcapped of mountains, and
bathing in it, a man obtains the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice.
Falling from the Grandsire’s tank, is that world-sanctifying (stream),
celebrated over the three worlds, called Kumara-Dhara. Bathing there, one
regardeth himself as having all his purposes fulfilled. Fasting in that
tirtha for three days, one is even cleansed from the sin of slaying a
Brahmana. The pilgrim should next, O virtuous one, proceed to the peak of
the great goddess Gauri, famed over the three worlds. Ascending it, O
best of men, one should approach Stana-Kunda. By touching the waters of
Stana-Kunda, a person obtaineth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice.
Bathing in that tirtha and worshipping the gods and Pitris, one acquireth
the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also ascendeth to the region of
Indra. Arriving next at the well of Tamraruna, that is frequented by the
gods, one acquireth, O lord of men, the merit that attaches to human
sacrifice. Bathing next at the confluence of the Kirtika with the Kausiki
and the Aruna, and fasting there for three nights a man of learning is
cleansed of all his sins. Proceeding next to the tirtha called Urvasi,
and then to Somasrama, a wise man by bathing next at Kumbhakarnasrama
becometh adored in the world. The ancients knew that by touching the
waters of Kokamukha, with steady vows and leading Brahmacharya mode of
life, the memory of one’s former life is revived. Arriving next with
speed to the river called Nanda a regenerate one becometh freed from all
his sins and ascendeth with soul under control to Indra’s region.
Proceeding next to the island called Rishabha, that is destructive of
cranes, and bathing in the Saraswati, an individual blazeth forth in
heaven. Proceeding next to the tirtha called Auddalaka frequented by
Munis, and bathing there one is cleansed of all his sins. Repairing next
to the sacred tirtha called Dharma that is visited by Brahmarshis, one
acquireth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice and becometh respected in
heaven. Proceeding next to Champa and bathing in the Bhagirathi he that
sojourneth to Dandaparna, acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand
kine. Then should one proceed to the sacred Lalitika that is graced by
the presence of the virtuous. By this one acquireth the merit of the
Rajasuya sacrifice and is regarded in heaven.”


“Pulastya said, ‘Arriving next at the excellent tirtha called Samvedya in
the evening, and touching its waters, one surely obtaineth knowledge.
Created a tirtha in days of yore by Rama’s energy, he that proceedeth to
Lauhitya obtaineth the merit of giving away gold in abundance. Proceeding
next to the river Karatoya, and fasting there for three nights, a man
acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Even this is the injunction
of the Creator himself. It hath been said by the wise, O king, that if a
person goeth to the spot where the Ganga mingleth with the sea, he
reapeth merit which is ten times that of the horse-sacrifice. Crossing
over to the opposite bank of the Ganga, he that batheth there having
resided for three nights is, O king, cleansed from all his sins. One
should next proceed to the Vaitarani capable of destroying every sin.
Arriving next at the tirtha named Viraja one shineth like the moon, and
sanctifying his race rescueth it and is himself cleansed of all his sins.
He that bathes in Viraja further reapeth the merit of giving away a
thousand kine besides sanctifying his line. Residing with purity at the
confluence of the Sona and the Jyotirathi, and offering oblations of
water to the gods and the Pitris, a man reapeth the merit of the
Agnishtoma sacrifice. Touching next the waters of the Vansagulma
constituting the sources of both the Sona and the Narmada, one obtaineth
the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Sojourning next to the tirtha called
Rishabha in Kosala, O lord of men, and fasting there for three nights one
earneth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and of the gift of a
thousand kine, and also delivereth his race. Arriving at Kosala, a man
should bathe in the tirtha named Kala. By this one surely obtaineth the
merit of giving away one and ten bulls. By bathing in Pushpavati and
fasting there, O king, for three nights one sanctifieth his own race,
besides earning the merit of the gift of a thousand kine. Then, O
foremost of the Bharata race, by bathing in the tirtha called Vadarika,
one obtaineth long life, and also goeth to heaven. Arriving next at
Champa, and bathing in the Bhagirathi, and seeing Danda one earneth the
merit of giving away a thousand kine. Then should one go to the sacred
Lapetika, graced by the presence of the pious. By so doing one reapeth
the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice and also becometh regarded by the
gods. Proceeding next to the mountain called Mahendra, inhabited (of
yore) by Jamadagnya, and bathing in Rama’s tirtha, a person acquireth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice. Here is Matanga’s tirtha called Kedara, O
son of the Kuru race! Bathing in it, O foremost of the Kurus, a man
obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Going to the mountain
Sree, one who toucheth the waters of the stream that is there by
worshipping there the god having the bull for his mark obtaineth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice. On the mountain Sree dwelleth happily, the
effulgent Mahadeva with the goddess, as also Brahma with the other gods.
By bathing in the lake of Deva, with purity and restrained mind, one
obtaineth the merit of the-horse-sacrifice, and also attaineth to the
highest success.”‘

Proceeding next to the mountain Rishabha in Pandya, worshipped by the
gods, one obtains the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice and rejoices in
heaven. One should next proceed to the river Kaveri, frequented by
Apsaras. Bathing there, O monarch, one obtaineth, the merit of giving
away a thousand kine. Touching next the waters of the tirtha called Kanya
on the shores of the sea one is cleansed from every sin. Proceeding next
to Gokarna celebrated over the three worlds, and which is situate, O best
of kings, in the midst of the deep, and is reverenced by all the worlds,
and where the gods headed by Brahma, and Rishis endued with wealth of
asceticism, and spirits and Yakshas and Pisachas, and Kinnaras and the
great Nagas, and Siddhas and Charanas and Gandharvas, and men and
Pannagas, and rivers, Seas and Mountains, worship the lord of Uma, one
should worship Isana, fasting there for three nights. By this, one
acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and the status of Ganapatya.
By staying there for twelve nights, one’s soul is cleansed of all sins.
One should next proceed to the tirtha known as Gayatri celebrated over
the three worlds. Staying there for three nights, one acquireth the merit
of giving away a thousand kine. A strange phenomenon is seen to occur
there in respect to Brahmanas, O Lord of men! If a Brahmana, whether born
of a Brahmani or any other woman, reciteth the Gayatri there, the
recitation becomes rhythmic and musical, while, O king, a person who is
not a Brahmana cannot adequately hymn it at all. Proceeding next to the
inaccessible tank of the Brahmana Rishi Samvarta, one acquireth personal
beauty and prosperity. Repairing next to Vena, he that offers oblations
of water to the gods and the Pitris, obtains a car drawn by peacocks and
cranes. Going next to the Godavari, ever frequented by the Siddhas, one
earneth the merit of the cow-sacrifice, and goeth to the excellent region
of Vasuki. Bathing next at the confluence of the Venna, one obtains the
merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. By a dip next at the confluence of
Varada, one acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Arriving
next at Brahmasthuna, one that stayeth there for three nights acquireth
the merit of giving away a thousand kine, and also ascendeth to heaven.
Coming next to Kusaplavana, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacharya
mode of life, and staying there for three nights he that bathes in it
obtains the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Bathing next at the romantic
Deva-hrada that is supplied by the waters of the Krishna-Venna, and also
in the Jatismara-hrada, one acquireth the memory of one’s former life. It
was there that the chief of the celestials celebrated a hundred
sacrifices and ascended to heaven. By a visit only to that spot, one
acquireth the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Bathing next in the
Sarvadeva-hrada, a person obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand
kine. Proceeding next to the highly sacred tank called Payoshni, that
best of waters, he that offers oblations of water to the gods and the
Pitris acquires the merit of the gift of a thousand kine. Arriving next
at the sacred forest of Dandaka, a person should bathe (in the waters)
there. By this, O king, one at once obtains, O Bharata, the merit of
giving away a thousand kine. Proceeding next to the asylum of Sarabhanga
and that of the illustrious Suka, one acquireth immunity from misfortune,
besides sanctifying his race. Then should one proceed to Surparaka, where
Jamadagni’s son had formerly dwelt. Bathing in that tirtha of Rama, one
acquireth the merit of giving away gold in abundance. Bathing next in the
Saptagadavara, with the subdued sense and regulated diet, one earneth
great merit, and goeth also to the region of the celestials. Proceeding
next to Deva-hrada, with subdued sense and regulated diet, a man
obtaineth the merit of the Devasatra sacrifice. One should proceed next
to the forest of Tungaka, with subdued senses and leading a Brahmacharya
mode of life It was here that in olden days Muni Saraswata taught the
Vedas to the ascetics. When the Vedas had been lost (in consequence of
the Munis having forgotten them), Angirasa’s son, seated at ease on the
upper garments of the Munis (duly spread out), pronounced distinctly and
with emphasis the syllable Om. And at this, the ascetics again
recollected all that they had learnt before. It was there that the Rishis
and the gods Varuna, Agni, Prajapati, Narayana also called Hari, Mahadeva
and the illustrious Grandsire of great splendour, appointed the
resplendent Bhrigu to officiate at a sacrifice. Gratifying Agni by
libations of clarified butter poured according to the ordinance, the
illustrious Bhrigu once performed the Agnyadhana sacrifice for all those
Rishis, after which both they and the gods went away to their respective
homes one after another. One who enters the forest of Tungaka, is, O best
of kings, male or female, cleansed of every sin. There in that tirtha, O
hero, one should reside for a month, with subdued senses and regulated
diet. By this, O king, one ascendeth to the region of Brahma, and
delivereth also his race. Arriving next at Medhavika, one should offer
oblations of water to the gods and the Pitris. By this, one acquires the
merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice, and also memory and intellect. There
in that tirtha is the mountain known over the whole world and called
Kalanjara. Bathing in the celestial lake that is there, one acquires the
merit of giving away a thousand kine. He that, O king, after a bath,
offereth oblations (to the gods and the Pitris) on the Kalanjara
mountain, is, without doubt, regarded in heaven. Proceeding next, O
monarch, to the river Mandakini capable of destroying all sins and which
is on that best of mountains called Chitrakuta, he that bathes there and
worships the gods and the Pitris, obtains the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and attains to an exalted state. One should next, O
virtuous one, proceed to the excellent tirtha called Bhartristhana,
where, O king, ever dwells the celestial generalissimo Kartikeya. By a
journey only to that spot, a person, O foremost of kings, attaineth to
success. Bathing next at the tirtha called Koti, one earneth the merit of
giving away a thousand kine. Having walked round Koti, one should proceed
next to Jyeshthasthana. Beholding Mahadeva who is there, one shineth like
the moon. There, O mighty monarch, is a celebrated well. O bull of the
Bharata race! There in that well, O foremost of warriors, are the four
seas. He that bathes there, O foremost of kings, and with subdued soul
worships the gods and the Pitris, is cleansed of all his sins and
attaineth to an exalted state. Then, O mighty king, should one proceed to
the great Sringaverapura, where, O foremost of kings, formerly Rama,
Dasharatha’s son, had crossed (the Ganga). Bathing in that tirtha, one, O
mighty-armed one, is cleansed of all his sins. Bathing with subdued
senses and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life, in the Ganga, one is
cleansed of every sin, and obtains also the merit of the Vajapeya
sacrifice. One should next proceed to the place called Mayuravata,
consecrated to Mahadeva of high intelligence. Beholding there the god,
bowing down to him and walking round the spot, one acquireth, O Bharata,
the Ganapatya status. Bathing in Ganga at that tirtha, one is cleansed of
all his sins. Then, O king, should one proceed to Prayaga, whose praises
have been sung by Rishis and where dwell the gods with Brahma at their
head, the Directions with their presiding deities, the Lokapalas, the
Siddhas, the Pitris adored by the worlds, the great Rishis-Sanatkumara
and others, stainless Brahmarshis–Angiras and others,–the Nagas, the
Suparnas, the Siddhas, the Snakes, the Rivers, the Seas, the Gandharvas,
the Apsaras, and the Lord Hari with Prajapati. There in that tirtha are
three fiery caverns between which the Ganga, that foremost of tirthas,
rolleth rapidly. There in that region also the world-purifying daughter
of the sun, Yamuna, celebrated over the three worlds, uniteth with the
Ganga. The country between the Ganga and the Yamuna is regarded as the
mons veneris of the world, and Prayaga as the foremost point of that
region. The tirthas Prayaga, Pratisthana, Kamvala, Aswatara and Bhogavati
are the sacrificial platforms of the Creator. There in those places, O
foremost of warriors, the Vedas and the Sacrifices, in embodied forms,
and the Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, adore Brahma, and there
the gods and rulers of territories also celebrate their sacrifices. The
learned, however, say that of all these tirthas, O exalted one, Prayaga
is the most sacred, in fact, the foremost of all tirthas in the three
worlds. By going to that tirtha, by singing its praises, or by taking a
little earth from it, one is cleansed from every sin. He that bathes in
that confluence celebrated over the world, acquires all the merits of the
Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifices. This sacrificial place is worshipped
by the gods themselves. If a man giveth there ever so little, it
increaseth, O Bharata, a thousandfold. O child, let not the texts of the
Veda, nor the opinions of men dissuade thy mind from the desire of dying
at Prayaga. O son of the Kuru race, the wise say that six hundred million
and ten thousand tirthas exist at Prayaga. Bathing in the confluence of
Ganga and Yamuna, one obtains the merit that attaches to the four kinds
of knowledge and the merits also of those that are truthful. There at
Prayaga is the excellent tirtha of Vasuki called Bhogavati. He that
batheth in it, obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There also in
the Ganga is the tirtha famed over the three worlds, called
Ramaprapatana, which conferreth the merit of ten horse-sacrifices. O son
of the Kuru race! Wherever may a person bathe in the Ganga, he earneth
merit equal to that of a trip to Kurukshetra. An exception, however, is
made in favour of Kanakhala, while the merit attaching to Prayaga is the
greatest. Having committed a hundred sins, he that bathes in the Ganga,
hath all his sins washed off by the waters thereof, even as fuel is
consumed by fire. It hath been said that in the Satyayuga all the tirthas
were sacred; in the Treta, Pushkara alone was such; in Dwapara,
Kurukshetra; and in the Kali-yuga, the Ganga alone is sacred. In
Pushkara, one should practise austerities; in Mahalaya, one should give
away; in the Malaya mountains, one should ascend the funeral pyre; and in
Bhrigutunga, one should renounce one’s body by forgoing food. Bathing in
Pushkara, in Kurukshetra, in the Ganga and in the confluence (of the
Ganga and the Yamuna), one sanctifieth seven generations of one’s race up
and down. He that reciteth the name of the Ganga is purified; while he
that beholdeth her, receiveth prosperity; while he that bathes in her and
drinks of her waters sanctifieth seven generations of his race up and
down. As long, O king, as one’s bones lie in contact with the waters of
the Ganga, so long doth he live regarded in heaven, even as one liveth in
heaven in consequence of the merit he earneth by pious pilgrimages to
sacred tirthas and holy spots. There is no tirtha that is like unto the
Ganga, there is no god like unto Kesava, and there is none superior to
Brahmanas,–this hath been said even by the Grandsire. O great king, the
region through which the Ganga flows should be regarded as a sacred
asylum, and a spot of land that is on the Ganga’s banks, should be
regarded as one favourable to the attainment of ascetic success.

This truthful description (of the tirthas) one should recite only unto
the regenerate ones, unto those that are pious, unto one’s son and
friends and disciples and dependents. This narrative, without a rival, is
blessed and holy and leadeth to heaven. Holy and entertaining and
sanctifying, it is productive of merit and high worth. Destructive of
every sin, it is a mystery that the great Rishis cherish with care. By
reciting it in the midst of Brahmanas, one is cleansed of every sin, and
ascends to heaven. This description of tirthas is auspicious and
heaven-giving and sacred; ever blessed as it is, it destroys one’s
enemies; foremost of all accounts, it sharpens the intellect. By reading
this narrative the sonless obtains sons, the destitute obtains riches, a
person of the royal order conquereth the whole earth, the Vaisya cometh
by wealth, the Sudra obtaineth all his desires, and the Brahmana crosseth
the ocean (of the world). Purifying himself, he that listens daily to the
merits of the different tirthas, recollects the incidents of many
previous births and rejoices in heaven. Of the tirthas that have been
recited here, some are easily accessible, while others are difficult of
access. But he that is inspired with the desire of beholding all tirthas,
should visit them even in imagination. Desirous of obtaining merit, the
Vasus, and the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Maruts, the Aswins, and the
Rishis equal unto celestials, all bathed in these tirthas. Do thou also,
O thou of the Kuru race, observing the ordinance as explained by me,
visit, with subdued senses, these tirthas, increasing thy merit, O thou
of excellent vows. Men of piety and learning are able to visit these
tirthas, by reason of their purified senses, their belief in Godhead, and
their acquaintance with the Vedas. He that doth not observe vows, he that
hath not his soul under control, he that is impure, he that is a thief,
and he that is of crooked mind, doth not, O Kauravya, bathe in tirthas.
Thou art ever observant of virtue, and art of pure character. By thy
virtue, O virtuous one, thou hast always gratified thy father and thy
grand-father, and great-grand-fathers, and the gods with Brahma at their
head, and the Rishis also, O thou versed in virtue! Thou who resemblest
Vasava, thou wilt, O Bhishma, attain to the region of the Vasus, and also
eternal fame on earth!’

“Narada continued, ‘Having cheerfully spoken thus, the illustrious Rishi
Pulastya, well-pleased, bidding Bhishma farewell, disappeared there and
then. And Bhishma also, O tiger among men, well understanding the true
import of the Shastras, wandered over the world at the command of
Pulastya. Thus, O thou blessed one, did Bhishma end at Prayaga his highly
meritorious journey to the tirthas capable of destroying all sins. The
man that ranges the earth in accordance with these injunctions, obtains
the highest fruit of a hundred horse-sacrifices and earns salvation
hereafter. Thou wilt, O son of Pritha, obtain merit consisting of the
eight attributes, even like that which Bhishma, the foremost of the
Kurus, had obtained of yore. And as thou wilt lead these ascetics to
those tirthas, thy merit will be much greater. Those tirthas are infested
by Rakshasas, and no one, save thyself, O son of Kuru race, can go there.
Rising early he that reciteth this narrative by the celestial Rishis on
the subject of the tirthas, becometh free from all sins. Those foremost
of Rishis, Valmiki, and Kasyapa, and Atreya, and Kundajathara, and
Viswamitra, and Gautama, and Asita, and Devala, and Markandeya, and
Galava, and Bharadwaja, and Vasishtha, and the Muni Uddalaka, and Saunaka
with his son, and Vyasa, that best of ascetics, and Durvasas, that
foremost of Munis, and Javali of great austerities–all these illustrious
Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, are staying in expectation of
thee. With these, O mighty king, do thou meet by visiting these tirthas.
And, O illustrious monarch, a great Rishi of immeasurable energy, Lomasa
by name, will come to thee. Do thou follow him, and me, and by turns
visit these tirthas, O thou virtuous one! By this, thou wilt acquire
great fame, like king Mahabhisha! O tiger among kings, even as the
virtuous Yayati and king Pururavas, dost thou blaze forth with thy own
virtue. Like king Bhagiratha and the illustrious Rama, dost thou shine
among kings even as the Sun himself. And thou art, O great king,
celebrated (in the world) even as Muni or Ikshwaku, or the highly famous
Puru or Vainya! And as in days of yore the slayer of Vritra, after
burning all his foes, ruled the three worlds, his mind freed from
anxiety, so wilt thou rule thy subjects, after slaying all thy enemies.
And, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves, having conquered the earth
according to the customs of thy order, thou wilt obtain renown by thy
virtue, even like Kartaviryaryuna.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “O great king, having comforted the monarch thus,
the illustrious Rishi Narada, bidding farewell to the king, disappeared
there and then. And the virtuous Yudhishthira, reflecting upon the
subject, began to recite unto the ascetics the merit attaching to


“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having ascertained the opinion of his brothers,
and of the intelligent Narada, king Yudhishthira, addressing Dhaumya, who
was like unto the Grandsire himself, said, ‘I have for the acquisition of
arms, sent away that tiger among men, Jishnu, whose prowess is incapable
of being baffled, and who is possessed of long arms and immeasurable
intelligence. O thou of ascetic wealth, that hero is devoted to me,
endued with ability, and well-skilled in weapons, and like unto the
exalted Vasudeva himself. I know them both, Krishna and Arjuna, those
destroyers of enemies, O Brahmana, endued with prowess, even as the
puissant Vyasa knoweth them. I know Vasudeva and Dhananjaya to be none
else than Vishnu himself, possessed of the six attributes. And this is
also what Narada knoweth, for he hath always spoken so unto me. I also
know them to be Rishis, Nara and Narayana. Knowing him to possess the
ability, I have sent him (on the mission). Not inferior unto Indra and
fully competent (for the task), I have sent that son of a god to see the
lord of the celestials and obtain weapons from him. Bhishma and Drona are
Atirathas. Kripa and the son of Drona are invincible; these mighty
warriors have been installed by Dhritarashtra’s son in the command of his
army. All these are versed in the Vedas, are heroic, and possessed of the
knowledge of every weapon. Endued with great strength, these always
desire to encounter Arjuna in fight. And Karna also of the Suta caste is
a mighty warrior versed in celestial weapons. In respect of the impetus
of his weapons, he is endued with the strength of the Wind-god. Himself
like a flame of fire, the arrows (proceeding from him) constitute its
tongues. The slaps of his left hand cased in leathern fence constitute
the crackling of that flame. The dust of the battle-field is its smoke.
Urged by the sons of Dhritarashtra even as the wind urgeth the fire,
Karna like unto the all-consuming fire at the end of the Yuga that is
sent by Death himself, will, without doubt, consume my troops like unto a
heap of straw. Only that mighty mass of clouds called Arjuna, aided by
Krishna like unto a powerful wind, with celestial weapon representing its
fierce lightning, the white steeds, the rows of white cranes coursing
underneath and the unbearable Gandiva, the rainbow ahead, is capable of
extinguishing the blazing flame represented by Karna by means of its
arrowy showers let off with unflagging steadiness. That conqueror of
hostile cities, Vibhatsu, will, without doubt, succeed in obtaining from
Indra himself all the celestial weapons with their fullness and life.
Alone he is equal, I think, unto them all. Otherwise it is impossible
(for us) to vanquish in fight all those foes, who have attained to
eminent success in all their purposes. We shall behold Arjuna, that
repressor of foes, fully equipped with celestial weapons, for Vibhatsu
having once undertaken a task, never, droopeth under its weight. Without
that hero, however, that best of men, ourselves, with Krishna, cannot be
at rest in Kamyaka. Therefore, do thou mention some other wood that is
sacred and delightful, and abounds in food and fruits, and that is
inhabited by men of pious practices:–where we may pass some time,
expecting the warlike Arjuna of unbaffled prowess, like the Chataka in
expectation of gathering clouds. Do thou tell us of some asylums open to
the regenerate ones, and lakes and streams and beautiful mountains. O
Brahmana, deprived of Arjuna, I do not like to stay in this wood of
Kamyaka. We wish to go somewhere else.'”


Vaisampayana said, “Beholding the Pandavas afflicted with anxiety and
depressed in spirits, Dhaumya, who resembled Vrihaspati, spake thus,
comforting them, ‘O bull of the Bharata race, O sinless one, listen to me
as I mention certain sacred asylums and regions and tirthas and mountains
that are approved of by Brahmanas. O king, listen to me as I speak,
thyself with the daughter of Drupada and thy brothers, wilt, O lord of
men, be relieved from grief. And, O son of Pandu, by hearing only of
these places, thou wilt acquire merit. And by visiting them thou wilt
obtain merit a hundred times greater, O best of men! First, O king, I
will, so far as I recollect, speak of the beautiful eastern country, much
regarded, O Yudhishthira, by royal Rishis. In that direction, O Bharata
is a place called Naimisha which is regarded by the celestials. There in
that region are several sacred tirthas belonging to the gods. There also
is the sacred and beautiful Gomati which is adored by celestial Rishis
and there also in [possibly ‘is’?–JBH] the sacrificial region of the
gods and the sacrificial stake of Surya. In that quarter also is that
best of hills called Gaya, which is sacred and much regarded by royal
ascetics. There on that hill, is the auspicious lake called Brahmasara
which is adored by celestial Rishis. It is for this that the ancients say
that one should wish for many sons, so that even one among them may visit
Gaya, celebrate the horse-sacrifice or give away a nila bull, and thereby
deliver ten generations of his race up and down. There, O monarch, is a
great river, and spot called Gayasira. In Gayasira is a banian, which is
called by the Brahmanas the Eternal banian, for the food that is offered
there to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted one! The great river that
floweth by the place is known by the name of Phalgu, and its waters are
all sacred. And, O bull among the Bharatas, there also, in that place, is
the Kausiki, whose basin abounds in various fruit and roots, and where
Viswamitra endued with wealth of asceticism acquired Brahmanahood.
Towards that direction also is the sacred Ganga, on whose banks
Bhagiratha celebrated many sacrifices with profuse gifts (to Brahmanas).
They say that in the country of Panchala, there is a wood called Utpala,
where Viswamitra of Kusika’s race had performed sacrifices with his son,
and where beholding the relics of Viswamitra’s superhuman power, Rama,
the son of Jamadagni, recited the praises of his ancestry. At Kamyaka,
Kusika’s son had quaffed the Soma juice with Indra. Then abandoning the
Kshatriya order, he began to say, I am a Brahmana.’ In that quarter, O
hero is the sacred confluence of Ganga and Yamuna which is celebrated
over the world. Holy and sin-destroying, that tirtha is much regarded by
the Rishis. It is there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had,
in olden days, performed his sacrifice, and it is for this, O chief of
the Bharata race, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga. In this
direction, O foremost of kings, lieth the excellent asylum of Agastya, O
monarch, and the forest called Tapasa, decked by many ascetics. And there
also is the great tirtha called Hiranyavinda on the Kalanjara hills, and
that best of mountains called Agastya, which is beautiful, sacred and
auspicious. In that quarter, O descendant of the Kuru race, is the
mountain called Mahendra, sacred to the illustrious Rama of the Bhrigu
race. There, O son of Kunti, the Grandsire performed sacrifices of yore.
There, O Yudhishthira, the sacred Bhagiratha entereth a lake and there
also, O king, is that sacred river known by the name of the
merit-bestowing Brahmasara, whose banks are inhabited by persons whose
sins have been washed away, and whose sight alone produceth merit. In
that direction also lieth the high-souled Matanga’s excellent asylum,
called Kedara which is sacred and auspicious and celebrated over the
world. And there also is the mountain called Kundoda, which is so
delightful and abounding in fruits and roots and waters, and where the
king of the Nishadhas (Nala) had slaked his thirst and rested for a
while. In that quarter also is the delightful Deva-vana which is graced
by ascetics. There also are the rivers Vahuda and Nanda on the mountain’s
crest. O mighty king, I have described unto thee all the tirthas and
sacred spots in the Eastern quarter. Do thou now hear of the sacred
tirthas, and rivers and mountains and holy spots in the other three


“Dhaumya continued, ‘Listen, O Bharata, I shall now narrate to thee in
detail according to my knowledge, the sacred tirthas of the south. In
that quarter lieth the sacred and auspicious river Godavari, full of
water abounding in groves and frequented by ascetics. In that direction
also are the rivers Venna and Bhimarathi, both capable of destroying sin
and fear, and abounding in birds and deer, and graced with abodes of
ascetics. In that region also, O bull of the Bharata race, is the tirtha
of the royal ascetic, Nriga viz., the river Payoshni, which is delightful
and full of waters and visited by Brahmanas. There the illustrious
Markandeya, of high ascetic merit sang the praises in verse of king
Nriga’s line! We have heard respecting the sacrificing king Nriga that
which really took place while he was performing a sacrifice in the
excellent tirtha called Varaha on the Payoshni. In that sacrifice Indra
became intoxicated with quaffing the Soma, and the Brahmanas, with the
gifts they received. The water of the Payoshni, taken up (in vessel), or
flowing along the ground, or conveyed by the wind, can cleanse a person
from whatever sins he may commit till the day of his death. Higher than
heaven itself, and pure, and created and bestowed by the trident-bearing
god, there in that tirtha is an image of Mahadeva beholding which a
mortal goeth to the region of Siva. Placing on one scale Ganga and the
other rivers with their waters, and on the other, the Payoshni, the
latter, in my opinion would be superior to all the tirthas, together, in
point of merit! Then, O foremost of the Bharata race, on the mountain
called Varunasrotasa is the sacred and auspicious wood of Mathara
abounding in fruits and roots, and containing a sacrificial stake. Then,
O king, it is said that in the region on the north of the Praveni, and
about the sacred asylum of Kanwa, are many woody retreats of ascetics.
And, O child, in the tirtha called Surparaka are two sacrificial
platforms of the illustrious Jamadagni, called Pashana and Punaschandra,
O Bharata! And, O son of Kunti, in that spot is the tirtha called Asoka
abounding in woody retreats of ascetics. And, O Yudhishthira, in the
country of the Pandyas are the tirthas named Agastya and Varuna! And, O
bull among men, there, amongst the Pandavas, is the tirtha called the
Kumaris. Listen, O son of Kunti, I shall now describe Tamraparni. In that
asylum the gods had undergone penances impelled by the desire of
obtaining salvation. In that region also is the lake of Gokarna which is
celebrated over the three worlds, hath an abundance of cool waters, and
is sacred, auspicious, and capable, O child, of producing great merit.
That lake is extremely difficult of access to men of unpurified souls.
Near to that tirtha is the sacred asylum of Agastya’s disciple, the
mountain Devasabha, which abounds in trees and grass, and fruits and
roots. And there also is the Vaiduryya mountain, which is delightful
abounding in gems and capable of bestowing great merit. There on that
mountain is the asylum of Agastya abounding in fruits and roots and

“I shall now, O lord of men, describe the sacred spots, and asylums, and
rivers and lakes belonging to the Surashtra country! O Yudhishthira, the
Brahmanas say that on the sea-coast is the Chamasodbheda, and also
Prabhasa, that tirtha which is much regarded by the gods. There also is
the tirtha called Pindaraka, frequented by ascetics and capable of
producing great merit. In that region is a mighty hill named Ujjayanta
which conduceth to speedy success. Regarding it the celestial Rishi
Narada of great intelligence hath recited an ancient sloka. Do thou
listen to it, O Yudhishthira! By performing austerities on the sacred
hill of Ujjayanta in Surashtra, that abounds in birds and animals, a
person becometh regarded in heaven. There also is Dwaravati, producing
great merit, where dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, who is the Ancient one
in embodied form, and eternal virtue. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas, and
persons acquainted with the philosophy of the soul say that the
illustrious Krishna is eternal Virtue. Govinda is said to be the purest
of all pure things, the righteous of the righteous and the auspicious of
the auspicious. In all the three worlds, He of eyes like lotus-leaves is
the God of gods, and is eternal. He is the pure soul and the active
principle of life, is the Supreme Brahma and is the lord of all. That
slayer of Madhu, Hari of inconceivable soul, dwelleth there!”


“Dhaumya continued, ‘I shall describe to thee those sacred spots capable
of producing merit that lie on the west, in the country of the Anarttas,
O Bharata, there, flows in a westward course the sacred river Narmada,
graced by Priyangu and mango trees, and engarlanded with thickest of
canes. All the tirthas and sacred spots, and rivers and woods and
foremost of mountains that are in the three worlds, all the gods with the
Grandsire, along with the Siddhas, the Rishis and the Charanas, O best of
the Kurus, always come, O Bharata, to bathe in the sacred waters of the
Narmada. And it hath been heard by us that the sacred asylum of the Muni
Visravas, had stood there, and that there was born the lord of treasures,
Kuvera, having men for his vehicles. There also is that foremost of
hills, the sacred and auspicious Vaidurya peak abounding with trees that
are green and which are always graced with fruit and flowers. O lord of
the earth, on the top of that mountain is a sacred tank decked with
full-blown lotus and resorted to by the gods and the Gandharvas. Many are
the wonders, O mighty monarch, that may be seen on that sacred mountain
which is like unto heaven itself and which is visited by celestial
Rishis. There, O subjugator of hostile cities, is the sacred river called
Viswamitra belonging to the royal sage of that name and which abounds, O
king, in many sacred tirthas. It was on the banks of this river, that
Yayati, the son of Nahusha, (fell from heaven) among the virtuous, and
obtained once more the eternal regions of the righteous. Here also are
the well-known lake called Punya, the mountain called Mainaka, and that
other mountain called Asita abounding in fruits and roots. And here also
is the sacred asylum of Kakshasena, and O Yudhishthira, the asylum of
Chyavana also, which is famed over every country, O son of Pandu! In that
spot, O exalted one, men attain to (ascetic) success without severe
austerities. Here also, O mighty king, is the region called Jamvumarga,
inhabited by birds and deer, and which constitutes the retreat of
ascetics with souls under control, O thou foremost of those that have
subdued their senses! Next lie the exceedingly sacred Ketumala, and
Medhya ever graced with ascetics, and, O lord of earth, Gangadwara, and
the well-known woods of Saindhava which are sacred and inhabited by the
regenerate ones. There also is the celebrated tank of the Grandsire,
called Pushkara, the favourite abode of the Vaikanasas, and Siddhas and
Rishis. Moved by the desire of obtaining its protection, the Creator sang
this verse at Pushkara, O chief of the Kurus and foremost of virtuous
men! If a person of pure soul purposes a pilgrimage to the Pushkaras in
imagination even, he becometh purged from all his sins and rejoiceth in


“Dhaumya continued, ‘O tiger among kings, I shall now describe those
tirthas and sacred spots that lie to the north. Do thou, O exalted one,
listen to me attentively. By hearing this narration, O hero, one
acquireth a reverential frame of mind, which conduceth to much good. In
that region is the highly sacred Saraswati abounding in tirthas and with
banks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the ocean-going and
impetuous Yamuna, and the tirtha called Plakshavatarana, productive of
high merit and prosperity. It was there that the regenerate ones having
performed the Saraswata sacrifice, bathed on the completion there of. O
sinless one, is the well-known celestial tirtha called Agnisiras, which
is productive of great merit. There king Sahadeva had celebrated a
sacrifice measuring out the ground by a throw of the Samya. It is for
this reason, O Yudhishthira, that Indra sang the praises of Sahadeva in
verse. Those verses are still current in this world, being recited by the
regenerate ones, e. g., on the Yamuna Sahadeva worshipped the sacrificial
fire, with gifts in a hundred thousands to Brahmanas. There the
illustrious king, the imperial Bharata, performed five and thirty
horse-sacrifices. O child, we have heard that Sarabhanga of yore used to
fully gratify the desires of the regenerate ones. There in this region is
his celebrated asylum productive of great merit. In that region also, O
son of Pritha, is the river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by the
god, where, in days of yore, the Valikhilyas, O great king, performed
sacrifices. In that region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known river
Drisadwati, which is productive of great merit. Then, O chief of men, are
Nyagrodhakhya, and Panchalya, and Punyaka and Dalbhyaghosha, and Dalbhya,
which are, O son of Kunti, the sacred asylum in the world of illustrious
Anandayasas of excellent vows and great energy, and which are celebrated
over the three worlds. Here also, O lord of men, the illustrious Etavarna
and Avavarana versed in the Vedas, learned in Vedic lore, and proficient
in the knowledge of Vedic rites, performed meritorious sacrifices, O
chief of the Bharata race! There also is Visakhayupa to which, in days of
yore, came the gods with Varuna and Indra, and practised ascetic
austerities. And therefore is that spot so eminently sacred. Here also is
Palasaka, where the great and illustrious and highly blessed Rishi
Jamadagni performed sacrifices. There all the principal rivers in their
embodied forms taking their respective waters stood surrounding that best
of sages. And there also, O monarch, Vibhavasu (fire) himself, beholding
that high-souled one’s initiation, sang the following sloka: ‘The river
coming to the illustrious Jamadagni while sacrificing unto the gods
gratified the Brahmanas with offerings of honey.’ O Yudhishthira, the
spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which
is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and
inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara. O king,
Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the
tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred. There also is the
mountain named Puru which is resorted to by great Rishis and where
Pururavas was born, and Bhrigu practised ascetic austerities. For this it
is, O king, that asylum hath become known as the great peak of
Bhrigutunga. Near that peak is the sacred and extensive Vadari, that
highly meritorious asylum, famed over the three worlds, of him, O bull of
the Bharata race, who is the Present, the Past and the Future, who is
called Narayana and the lord Vishnu, who is eternal and the best of male
beings, and who is pre-eminently illustrious. Near Vadari, the cool
current of Ganga was formerly warm, and the banks there were overspread
with golden sands. There the gods and Rishis of high fortune and
exceeding effulgence, approaching the divine lord Narayana, always
worship him. The entire universe with all its tirthas and holy spots is
there where dwelleth the divine and eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul,
for he is Merit, he is the Supreme Brahma, he is tirtha, he is the
ascetic retreat, he is the First, he is the foremost of gods, and he is
the great Lord of all creatures. He is eternal, he is the great Creator,
and he is the highest state of blessedness. Learned persons versed in the
scriptures attain to great happiness by knowing him. In that spot are the
celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and, indeed, all the Rishis,–where
dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, that primeval Deity and mighty Yogin! Let
no doubt enter thy heart that that spot is the foremost of all holy
spots. These, O lord of earth, are the tirthas and sacred spots on earth,
that I have recited, O best of men! These all are visited by the Vasus,
the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Marutas, the Aswins and the illustrious
Rishis resembling the celestials themselves. By journeying, O son of
Kunti, to those places, with the Brahmanas and ascetics that are with
thee and with thy blessed brothers, thou wilt be freed from anxiety!”


Vaisampayana continued, “O son of the Kuru race, while Dhaumya was
speaking thus, there arrived at the spot the Rishi Lomasa of great
energy. And the king, who was the eldest of Pandu’s sons, with his
followers and those Brahmanas sat round the highly righteous one, like
celestials in heaven sitting round Sakra. And having received him duly,
Yudhishthira the just enquired after the reason of his arrival, and the
object also of his wanderings. Thus asked by Pandu’s son, the illustrious
ascetic, well-pleased, replied in sweet words delighting the Pandavas,
‘Travelling at will, O Kaunteya, over all the regions, I came to Sakra’s
abode, and saw there the lord of the celestials. There, I saw thy heroic
brother capable of wielding the bow with his left hand, seated on the
same seat with Sakra. And beholding Partha on that seat I was greatly
astonished, O tiger among men! And the lord of the celestials then said
unto me, ‘Go thou unto the sons of Pandu.’ At the request, therefore, of
Indra as also of the high-souled son of Pritha have I come hither with
speed, desiring to see thee with thy younger brothers. O child, I will
relate what will please thee highly, O son of Pandu! Do thou listen to
it, O king, with Krishna and the Rishis that are with thee. O bull of the
Bharata race, Partha hath obtained from Rudra that incomparable weapon
for the acquisition of which thou hadst sent him to heaven. That fierce
weapon, known by the name of Brahma-sira which arose after Amrita, and
which Rudra had obtained by means of ascetic austerities, hath been
acquired by Arjuna together with the Mantras for hurling and withdrawing
it, and the rites of expiation and revival. And, O Yudhishthira, Arjuna
of immeasurable prowess hath also acquired Vajras and Dandas and other
celestial weapons from Yama and Kuvera and Varuna and Indra, O son of the
Kuru race! And he hath also thoroughly learnt music, both vocal and
instrumental, and dancing and proper recitation of the Saman (Veda) from
Vishwavasu’s son. And having thus acquired weapons and mastered the
Gandharva Veda, thy third brother Vibhatsu liveth happily (in heaven).
Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, for I shall now deliver to thee the message
of that foremost of celestials. He hath commanded me saying, “Thou wilt,
no doubt, go to the world of men. O best of Brahmanas, tell thou
Yudhishthira these words of mine. Soon will thy brother Arjuna come to
thee, having acquired arms and accomplished a great deed for the
celestials that is incapable of being accomplished by themselves. Do thou
meanwhile devote thyself to ascetic austerities, with thy brothers. There
is nothing superior to asceticism, and it is by asceticism that a person
achieveth great results. And, O bull of the Bharata race, well do I know
that Karna is endued with great ardour and energy and strength and
prowess that is incapable of being baffled. Well do I know that, skilled
in fierce conflict, he hath not his rival in battle; that he is a mighty
bowman, a hero deft in the use of fierce weapons and cased in the best of
mail. Well do I know that that exalted son of Aditya resembleth the son
of Maheswara himself. Well do I also know the high natural prowess of the
broad-shouldered Arjuna. In battle Karna is not equal unto even a
sixteenth part of Pritha’s son. And as for the fear of Karna which is in
thy heart, O repressor of foes, I shall dispel when Savyasachin will have
left heaven. And as regards thy purpose, O hero, to set out on a
pilgrimage to tirthas, the great Rishi Lomasa will, without doubt, speak
unto thee. And whatever that regenerate Rishi will relate unto thee
touching the merits of asceticism and tirthas, thou shouldst receive with
respect and not otherwise!'”


“Lomasa continued, ‘Listen now, O Yudhishthira, to what Dhananjaya hath
said: ‘Cause my brother Yudhishthira to attend to the practice of virtue
which leadeth to prosperity. Endued with wealth of asceticism, thou art
conversant with the highest morality, with ascetic austerities of every
kind, with the eternal duties of kings blessed with prosperity, and the
high and sanctifying merit that men obtain from tirthas. Persuade thou
the sons of Pandu to acquire the merit attaching to tirthas. Do thou with
thy whole soul persuade the king to visit the tirthas and give away
kine.’ This is what Arjuna said unto me. Indeed he also said, ‘Let him
visit all the tirthas protected by thee. Thou wilt also protect him from
Rakshasas, and watch over him in inaccessible regions and rugged mountain
breasts. And as Dadhichi had protected Indra, and Angiras had protected
the Sun, so do thou, O best of regenerate ones, protect the sons of Kunti
from Rakshasas. Along the way are many Rakshasas, huge as
mountain-cliffs. But protected by thee these will not be able to approach
the sons of Kunti. Obedient to the words of Indra and at the request of
Arjuna also protecting thee from dangers, I shall wander with thee.
Before this, O son of the Kuru race, I have twice visited the tirthas.
With thee I shall repair to them for the third time. O Yudhishthira, Manu
and other royal Rishis of meritorious deeds had undertaken journeys to
tirthas. Indeed, a trip to them is capable of dispelling all fear, O
king! They that are crooked-minded, they that have not their souls under
control, they that are illiterate and perverse, do not, O Kauravya, bathe
in tirthas. But thou art ever of a virtuous disposition and conversant
with morality and firm in thy promises. Thou wilt surely be able to free
thyself from the world. For, O son of Pandu, thou art even as king
Bhagiratha, or Gaya, or Yayati, or any one, O son of Kunti, that is like

“Yudhishthira answered, ‘I am so overwhelmed with delight, O Brahmana,
that I cannot find words to answer thee. Who can be more fortunate than
he who is remembered even by the lord of the celestials? Who can be more
fortunate than he who hath been favoured with thy company, who hath
Dhananjaya for a brother, and who is thought of by Vasava himself? As to
thy words, O illustrious one, in respect of a trip to the tirthas, my
mind had already been made up at the words of Dhaumya. O Brahmana, I
shall start, at whatever hour thou mayst be pleased to appoint, on the
proposed journey to tirthas. Even this is my firm resolve!’

Vaisampayana continued, “Lomasa then said unto Yudhishthira, who had made
up his mind to start on the proposed journey, ‘O mighty king, be thou
light as regards thy retinue, for by this thou wilt be able to go more

“Yudhishthira then said, ‘Let those mendicants and Brahmanas and Yogis
that are incapable of bearing hunger and thirst, the fatigues of travel
and toil, and the severity of winter, desist. Let those Brahmanas also
desist that live on sweetmeats, and they also that desire cooked viands
and food that is sucked or drunk as well as meat. And let those also
remain behind that are dependent on cooks. Let those citizens that have
followed me from motives of loyalty, and whom I have hitherto kept on
proper stipends, repair to king Dhritarashtra. He will give them their
allowances in due time. If, however, that king refuses to grant them
proper allowances, the king of the Panchalas will, for our satisfaction
and welfare, give them these.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “And thereupon oppressed with grief, the citizens
and the principal Brahmanas and Yatis set out for Hastinapura. And out of
affection for Yudhishthira the just, the royal son of Amvika received
them properly, and gratified them with proper allowances. And the royal
son of Kunti, with only a small number of Brahmanas, abode for three
nights at Kamyaka, cheered by Lomasa.”


Vaisampayana said, “Those Brahmanas then, that had been dwelling (with
him) in the woods, beholding the son of Kunti about to set out (on the
pious pilgrimage), approached him, O king, and said, ‘Thou art about to
set out, O king, on thy journey to the sacred tirthas, along with thy
brothers and accompanied by the illustrious Rishi Lomasa. O king, it
behoveth thee, O son of Pandu, to take us with thee. Without thee, we
shall not be able, O son of the Kuru race, to visit them at any time.
Surrounded by dangers and difficult of access, they are infested by
beasts of prey. Those tirthas, O lord of men, are inaccessible to persons
in small parties. Foremost of all wielders of the bow, thy brothers are
ever brave. Protected by your heroic selves, we also would proceed to
them. Permit us to acquire, O lord of earth, through thy grace the
blessed fruit of tirthas. Protected by thy energy, let us, O king, be
cleansed of all our sins by visiting those tirthas and purified by baths
therein. Bathing in those tirthas, thou also, O Bharata, wilt acquire
without doubt the regions difficult of acquisition that Kartavirya and
Ashtaka, the royal sage Lomapada and the imperial and heroic Bharata only
had earned. In thy company, O king, we desire to behold Prabhasa and
other tirthas, Mahendra and other hills, Ganga and other rivers, and
Plaksha and other gigantic trees. If, O lord of men, thou hast any regard
for the Brahmanas, do thou our bidding. Thou wilt surely have prosperity
from this. O thou of mighty arms, the tirthas are infested by Rakshasas
that ever obstruct ascetic penances. It behoveth thee to protect us from
them. Protected by Lomasa and taking us with thee, go thou to all the
tirthas spoken of by Dhaumya and the intelligent Narada, as also all
those that have been spoken of by the celestial Rishi Lomasa, endued with
great ascetic wealth, and be thou, by this, cleansed of all thy sins.”

“Thus addressed respectfully by them, the king–that bull amongst the
sons of Pandu–surrounded by his heroic brothers headed by Bhima, with
tears of joy in his eyes, said unto all those ascetics, ‘Let it be so.’
With the permission then of Lomasa, as also of his priest Dhaumya, that
foremost of Pandu’s sons with soul under complete control, resolved,
along with his brothers and Drupada’s daughter of faultless features, to
set out. Just at this time, the blessed Vyasa, as also Parvata and
Narada, all endued with high intelligence, came to Kamyaka for seeing the
son of Pandu. Beholding them, king Yudhishthira worshipped them with due
rites. And worshipped by the monarch thus, those blessed ones, addressing
Yudhishthira, said, ‘O Yudhishthira, O Bhima, and ye twins, banish all
evil thoughts from your minds. Purify your hearts and then set out for
the tirthas. The Brahmanas have said that the observance of regulations
in respect of the body are called earthly vows, while efforts to purify
the heart, so that it may be free from evil thoughts, are called
spiritual vows. O king, the mind that is free from all evil thoughts is
highly pure. Purifying yourselves, therefore, harbouring only friendly
feelings for all, behold ye the tirthas. Observing earthly vows in
respect of your bodies and purifying your minds by spiritual vows, obtain
ye the fruits as recited, of pilgrimages.”

“Saying, ‘So be it,’ the Pandavas with Krishna, caused those celestial
and human Rishis to perform the usual propitiatory ceremonies. And those
heroes, having worshipped the feet of Lomasa and Dwaipayana and Narada
and the celestial Rishi Parvata, O king, and accompanied by Dhaumya as
also the ascetics that had been residing with them in the woods, set out
on the day following the full moon of Agrahayana in which the
constellation Pushya was ascendant. Dressed in barks and hides, and with
matted lock on head, they were all cased in impenetrable mail and armed
with swords. And O Janamejaya, the heroic sons of Pandu with quivers and
arrows and scimitars and other weapons, and accompanied by Indrasena and
other attendants with fourteen and one cars, a number of cooks and
servants of other classes, set out with faces turned towards the east!”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of celestial Rishis, I do not think that I am
without merits. Yet am I afflicted with so much sorrow that there never
was a king like me. I think, however, that my enemies are destitute of
good qualities and even destitute of morality. Yet why, O Lomasa, do they
prosper in this world?”

“Lomasa said, ‘Grieve not ever, O king, O son of Pritha, that sinful men
should often prosper in consequence of the sins they commit. A man may be
seen to prosper by his sins, obtain good therefrom and vanquish his foes.
Destruction, however, overtakes him to the roots. O king, I have seen
many Daityas and Danavas prosper by sin but I have also seen destruction
overtake them. O exalted one, I have seen all this in the righteous age
of yore. The gods practised virtue, while the Asuras abandoned it. The
gods visited the tirthas, while the Asuras did not visit them. And at
first the sinful Asuras were possessed with pride. And pride begat vanity
and vanity begat wrath. And from wrath arose every kind of evil
propensities, and from these latter sprang shamelessness. And in
consequence of shamelessness, good behaviour disappeared from among them.
And because they had become shameless and destitute of virtuous
propensities and good conduct and virtuous vows, forgiveness and
prosperity and morality forsook them in no time. And prosperity then, O
king, sought the gods, while adversity sought the Asuras. And when the
Daityas and the Danavas, deprived of sense by pride, were possessed by
adversity. Kali also sought to possess them. And, O son of Kunti,
overwhelmed with pride, and destitute of rites and sacrifices, and devoid
of reason and feeling, and their hearts full of vanity, destruction
overtook them soon. And covered with infamy, the Daityas were soon
exterminated. The gods, however, who were virtuous in their practices,
going to the seas, the rivers, the lakes and the holy spots, cleansed
themselves of all sins, O son of Pandu, by means of ascetic penances and
sacrifices and gifts and blessings, and obtained prosperity and the
consequence. And because the gods always performed sacrifices and holy
deeds abandoning every practice that was evil, and visited the tirthas,
as the consequence thereof they acquired great good fortune. Guided by
this, O king, do thou also, with thy brothers, bathe in tirthas, for then
thou wilt obtain prosperity once more. Even this is the eternal road.
And, O monarch, as king Nriga and Shivi and Ausinara and Bhagiratha and
Vasumanas and Gaya and Puru and Pururavas, by practising ascetic penances
and visiting tirthas and touching sacred waters and beholding illustrious
ascetics, obtained fame and sanctity and merit and wealth, so wilt thou
also obtain prosperity that is great. And as Ikshwaku with his sons,
friends and followers, as Muchukunda and Mandhatri and king Marutta, as
the gods through power of asceticism and the celestial Rishis also, had
all obtained fame, so wilt thou also obtain great celebrity. The sons of
Dhritarashtra, on the other hand, enslaved by sinfulness and ignorance,
will, without doubt, be soon exterminated like the Daityas.'”


Vaisampayana said, “The heroic sons of Pandu, accompanied by their
followers, proceeding from place to place, at last arrived at Naimisha. O
king, reaching the Gomati, the Pandavas bathed in the sacred tirtha of
that stream, and having performed their ablutions there, they gave away,
O Bharata, both kine and wealth! And repeatedly offering oblations of
water, O Bharata, to the gods, the pitris, and the Brahmanas, in the
tirthas called Kanya, Aswa, and Go and staying (as directed) in Kalakoti
and the Vishaprastha hills, the Kauravas then, O king, reached Vahuda and
performed their ablution in that stream. Proceeding next, O lord of
earth, to the sacrificial region of the gods known by the name Prayaga,
they bathed in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and residing there
practised ascetic penances of great merit. And the Pandavas, of truthful
promises, bathing in the tirtha, cleansed themselves of every sin. The
sons of Pandu then, O king of the Bharata race, accompanied by those
Brahmanas, proceeded to the tirtha called Vedi, sacred to the Creator and
adored by the ascetics. Residing there for some time and gratifying the
Brahmanas with the fruit and roots of the wilderness and clarified
butter, those heroes began to practise ascetic penances of great merit.
They then proceeded to Mahidhara consecrated by that virtuous royal sage
Gaya of unrivalled splendour. In that region is the hill called Gayasira,
as well as the delightful river called Mahanadi, with fine banks graced
by bushes of canes. On that celestial hill of holy peaks is a sacred
tirtha called Brahmasara  which is much adored by ascetics. There on the
banks of that lake had dwelt of yore the eternal god himself of justice,
and it was thither that the illustrious Rishi Agastya had repaired to
behold that deity. It is from that lake that all the rivers take their
rise and there in that tirtha, Mahadeva the wielder of the Pinaka, is
present for aye. Arriving at that spot, the heroic sons of Pandu
practised the vow that is known by the name of the Chaturmasya according
to all the rites and ordinances of the great sacrifice called Rishiyajna.
It is there that that mighty tree called the Eternal banian stands. Any
sacrifice performed there produces merit that is eternal. In that
sacrificial platform of the gods producing eternal merit, the Pandavas
began to fast with concentrated souls. And there came unto them Brahmanas
by hundreds endued with wealth of asceticism. And those Brahmanas also
all performed the Chaturmasya sacrifice according to the rites inculcated
by the Rishis. And there in that tirtha, those Brahmanas old in knowledge
and ascetic merit and fully versed in the Vedas, that constituted the
court of the illustrious sons of Pandu, talked in their presence upon
various subject of sacred import. And it was in that place that the
learned vow-observing, and sacred Shamatha, leading, besides, a life of
celibacy, spake unto them, O king, of Gaya, the son of Amurttaraya. And
Shamatha said, ‘Gaya, the son of Amurttaraya, was one of the foremost of
royal sages. Listen to me, O Bharata, as I recite his meritorious deeds.
It was here, O king, that Gaya had performed many sacrifices
distinguished by the enormous quantities of food (that were distributed)
and the profuse gifts that were given away (unto Brahmanas). Those
sacrifices, O king, were distinguished by mountains in hundreds and
thousands of cooked rice, lakes of clarified butter and rivers of curds
in many hundreds, and streams of richly-dressed curries in thousands. Day
after day were these got ready and distributed amongst all comers, while,
over and above this, Brahmanas and others, O king, received food that was
clean and pure. During the conclusion also (of every sacrifice) when
gifts were dedicated to the Brahmanas, the chanting of the Vedas reached
the heavens. And so loud, indeed, was the sound of the Vedic Mantras that
nothing else, O Bharata, could be heard there. Thus sacred sounds, O
king, filled the earth, the points of the horizon, the sky and heaven
itself. Even these were the wonders that persons noticed on those
occasions. And gratified with the excellent viands and drinks that the
illustrious Gaya provided, men, O bull of the Bharata race, went about
singing these verses. In Gaya’s great sacrifice, who is there today,
amongst creatures, that still desireth to eat? There are yet twenty-five
mountains of food there after all have been fed! What the royal sage Gaya
of immense splendour hath achieved in his sacrifice was never achieved by
men before, nor will be by any in future. The gods have been so surfeited
by Gaya with clarified butter that they are not able to take anything
that anybody else may offer. As sand grains on earth, as stars in the
firmament, as drops showered by rain-charged clouds, cannot ever be
counted by anybody, so can none count the gifts in Gaya’s sacrifice!”

“O son of the Kuru race, many times did king Gaya perform sacrifices of
this description, here, by the side of this Brahmasara!”


Vaisampayana said, “After this the royal son of Kunti who was ever
distinguished for his profuse gifts unto Brahmanas, proceeded to the
asylum of Agastya and took up his abode in Durjaya. It was here that that
foremost of speakers, king Yudhishthira asked Lomasa as to why Agastya
had slain Vatapi there. And the king also enquired after the extent of
that man-destroying Daitya’s prowess, and the reason also of the
illustrious Agastya’s wrath being excited against that Asura.

“Thus questioned, Lomasa said, ‘O son of Kuru race, there was in the city
called Manimati, in days of yore, a Daitya named Ilwala, whose younger
brother was Vatapi. One day that son of Diti addressed the Brahmana
endued with ascetic merit, saying, ‘O holy one, grant me a son equal unto
Indra.’ The Brahmana, however, did not grant the Asura a son like Indra.
And at this, the Asura was inflamed with wrath against the Brahmana. And
from that day, O king, the Asura Ilwala became a destroyer of Brahmanas.
And endued with power of illusion the angry Asura transformed his brother
into a ram. And Vatapi also capable of assuming any form at will, would
immediately assume the shape of a ram. And the flesh of that ram, after
being properly dressed, was offered to Brahmanas as food. And after they
had eaten of it, they were slain. For whomsoever Ilwala summoned with his
voice, he would come back to Ilwala even if he had gone to the abode of
Yama, in re-embodied form endued with life, and show himself to Ilwala.
And so having transformed the Asura Vatapi into a ram and properly cooked
his flesh and feeding Brahmanas therewith, he would summon Vatapi. And
the mighty Asura Vatapi, that foe of Brahmanas, endued with great
strength and power of illusion, hearing, O king, those sounds uttered
with a loud voice by Ilwala, and ripping open the flanks of the Brahmana
would come laughingly out, O lord of earth! And it was thus, O monarch,
that the wicked-hearted Daitya Ilwala, having fed Brahmanas, frequently
took away their lives.

“Meanwhile, the illustrious Agastya beheld his deceased ancestors hanging
in a pit with heads downwards. And he asked those personages thus
suspended in that hole, saying, ‘What is the matter with you? Thus
questioned those utterers of Brahma replied, ‘It is even for offspring.’
And they also told him, ‘We are your ancestors. It is even for offspring
that we stay suspended in this pit. If O Agastya, thou canst beget us a
good son, we may then be saved from this hell and thou also wilt obtain
thy blessed state of those having offspring.’ Endued with great energy
and observant of truth and morality Agastya replied, saying, ‘Ye Pitris,
I will accomplish your desire. Let this anxiety of yours be dispelled.’
And the illustrious Rishi then began to think of perpetuating his race.
But he saw not a wife worthy of him on whom he himself could take his
birth in the form of a son. The Rishi accordingly, taking those parts
that were regarded as highly beautiful, from creatures possessing them,
created therewith an excellent woman. And the Muni, endued with great
ascetic merit, thereupon gave that girl created for himself to the king
of the Vidharbhas who was then undergoing ascetic penances for obtaining
offspring. And that blessed girl of sweet face (thus disposed of) then
took her birth (in Vidarbha’s royal line) and, beautiful as the effulgent
lightning, her limbs began to grow day by day. And as soon as that lord
of earth–the ruler of the Vidarbhas–saw her ushered into life, he
joyfully communicated the intelligence, O Bharata, unto the Brahmanas.
And the Brahmanas thereupon, O lord of earth, blessed the girl and they
bestowed upon her the name Lopamudra. And possessed of great beauty, she
began, O monarch, to grow quickly like unto a lotus in the midst of water
or the effulgent flame of a fire. And when the girl grew and attained to
puberty, a hundred virgins decked in ornaments and a hundred maids waited
in obedience upon her blessed self. And surrounded by those hundred maids
and virgins, she shone in their midst, endued as she was with bright
effulgence, like Rohini in the firmament amid an inferior multitude of
stars. And possessed as she was of good behaviour and excellent manners,
none dared ask for her hand even when she attained to puberty, through
fear of her father, the king of the Vidharbhas. And Lopamudra, devoted to
truth, surpassing the Apsaras even in beauty, gratified her father and
relatives by means of her conduct. And her father, beholding his
daughter-the princess of Vidharbha-attain to puberty, began to reflect in
his mind, saying, ‘To whom should I give this daughter of mine?'”


“Lomasa continued, ‘When Agastya thought that girl to be competent for
the duties of domesticity, he approached that lord of earth-the ruler of
Vidharbhas-and addressing him, said, ‘I solicit thee, O king, to bestow
thy daughter Lopamudra on me.’ Thus addressed by the Muni, the king of
the Vidharbhas swooned away. And though unwilling to give the Muni his
daughter, he dared not refuse. And that lord of earth then, approaching
his queen, said, ‘This Rishi is endued with great energy. If angry, he
may consume me with the fire of his curse. O thou of sweet face, tell me
what is thy wish.” Hearing these words of the king, she uttered not a
word. And beholding the king along with the queen afflicted with sorrow,
Lopamudra approached them in due time and said, O monarch, it behoveth
thee not to grieve on my account. Bestow me on Agastya, and, O father,
save thyself, by giving me away.’ And at these words of his daughter, O
monarch, the king gave away Lopamudra unto the illustrious Agastya with
due rites. And obtaining her as wife, Agastya addressed Lopamudra,
saying, ‘Cast thou away these costly robes and ornaments.’ And at these
words of her lord, that large-eyed damsel of thighs tapering as the stem
of the plantain tree cast away her handsome and costly robes of fine
texture. And casting them away she dressed herself in rags and barks and
deerskins, and became her husband’s equal in vows and acts. And
proceeding then to Gangadwara that illustrious and best of Rishis began
to practise the severest penances along with his helpful wife. And
Lopamudra herself, well pleased, began to serve her lord from the deep
respect that she bore him. And the exalted Agastya also began to manifest
great love for his wife.

“After a considerable time, O king, the illustrious Rishi one day beheld
Lopamudra, blazing in ascetic splendour come up after the bath in her
season. And pleased with the girl, for her services, her purity, and self
control, as also with her grace and beauty, he summoned her for marital
intercourse. The girl, however, joining her hands, bashfully but lovingly
addressed the Rishi, saying, ‘The husband, without doubt, weddeth the
wife for offspring. But it behoveth thee, O Rishi, to show that love to
me which I have for thee. And it behoveth thee, O regenerate one, to
approach me on a bed like to that which I had in the palace of my father.
I also desire that thou shouldst be decked in garlands of flowers and
other ornaments, and that I should approach thee adorned in those
celestial ornaments that I like. Otherwise, I cannot approach thee,
dressed in these rags dyed in red. Nor, O regenerate Rishi, it is sinful
to wear ornaments (on such an occasion).’ Hearing these words of his
wife, Agastya replied, ‘O blessed girl, O thou of slender waist, I have
not wealth like what thy father hath, O Lopamudra!’ She answered saying,
‘Thou who art endued with wealth of asceticism, art certainly able to
bring hither within a moment, by ascetic power, everything that exists in
the world of men.’ Agastya said, ‘It is even so as thou hast said. That,
however, would waste my ascetic merit. O bid me do that which may not
loosen my ascetic merit.’ Lopamudra then said, ‘O thou endued with wealth
of asceticism, my season will not last long, I do not desire, however, to
approach thee otherwise. Nor do I desire to diminish thy (ascetic) merit
in any way. It behoveth thee, however, to do as I desire, without
injuring thy virtue.’

“‘Agastya then said, ‘O blessed girl, if this be the resolve that thou
hast settled in thy heart, I will go out in quest of wealth. Meanwhile,
stay thou here as it pleaseth thee.'”


“Lomasa continued, ‘Agastya then, O son of the Kuru race, went to king
Srutarvan who was regarded as richer than other kings, to beg for wealth.
And that monarch, learning of the arrival of the pot-born Rishi on the
frontiers of his kingdoms, went out with his ministers and received the
holy man with respect. And the king duly offering the Arghya in the first
instance, submissively and with joined hands enquired then after the
reason of the Rishi’s arrival. And Agastya answered saying, O lord of the
earth, know that I have come to thee, desirous of wealth. Give me a
portion according to thy ability and without doing injury to others.’

“Lomasa continued, ‘The king, then, representing unto the Rishi the
equality of his expenditure and income, said, ‘O learned one, take thou
from my possessions the wealth thou pleasest.’ Beholding, however, the
equality of that monarch’s expenditure with income, the Rishi who always
saw both sides with equal eyes, thought that if he took anything under
the circumstances, his act would result in injury to creatures. Taking,
therefore, Srutarvan with him, the Rishi went to Vradhnaswa. The latter,
hearing of their arrival on his frontiers, received them duly. And
Vradhnaswa also offered them the Arghyas and water to wash their feet.
And the monarch, with their permission, then enquired after the reason of
their coming. And Agastya said, ‘O lord of earth, know that we have come
to thee desirous of wealth. Give us what thou canst, without doing injury
to others.'”

“Lomasa continued, ‘That monarch then represented unto them the equality
of his expenditure and income, and said, ‘Knowing this, take ye what ye
desire.’ The Rishi, however, who saw both sides with equal eyes,
beholding the equality of that monarch’s income with expenditure, thought
that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would result in
injury to all creatures. Agastya and Srutarvan, with king Vradhnaswa then
went to Purokutsa’s son, Trasadasyu, of enormous wealth. The high-souled
Trasadasyu, learning of their arrival on the confines of his kingdom went
out, O king, and received them well. And that best of monarchs in
Ikshvaku’s line, having worshipped all of them duly, enquired after the
reason of their arrival. And Agastya answered, ‘O lord of earth, know
that we have all come to thee, desirous of wealth. Give us what you can,
without injuring others.'”

“Lomasa continued, ‘That monarch then, represented unto them the equality
of his income with expenditure, and said, ‘Knowing this, take ye what ye
desire.’ Beholding, however, the equality of that monarch’s expenditure
with income, the Rishi who saw both sides with equal eyes, thought that
if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would result in
injury to all creatures. Then, O monarch, all those kings looking at one
another, together spoke unto the Rishis saying, ‘O Brahmana, there is a
Danava of the name Ilwala who of all persons on earth, is possessed of
enormous wealth. Let us all approach him to-day and beg wealth of him.'”

“Lomasa continued, ‘This suggestion, O king, of begging wealth of Ilwala
appeared to them to be proper. And, O monarch, all of them went together
to Ilwala after this!'”


“Lomasa said, ‘When Ilwala learnt that those kings along with the great
Rishi had arrived on the confines of his domain, he went out with his
ministers and worshipped them duly. And that prince of Asuras received
them hospitably, entertaining them, O son of the Kuru race, with well
dressed meat supplied by his brother Vatapi (transformed into a ram).
Then all those royal sages, beholding the mighty Asura Vatapi, who had
been transformed into a ram thus cooked for them, became sad and
cheerless and were nearly deprived of themselves. But that best of
Rishis–Agastya–addressing those royal sages, said, ‘Yield ye not to
grief, I will eat up the great Asura.’ And the mighty Rishi then sat
himself down on an excellent seat, and the prince of Asuras, Ilwala,
began to distribute the food smilingly. And Agastya ate up the whole of
the meat supplied by Vatapi (transformed into a ram). And after the
dinner was over, Ilwala began to summon his brother. But thereupon a
quantity of air alone came out of the illustrious Rishi’s stomach, with a
sound that was as loud, O child, as the roar of the clouds. And Ilwala
repeatedly said, ‘Come out, O Vatapi!’ Then that best of
Munis–Agastya–bursting out in laughter, said, ‘How can he come out? I
have already digested that great Asura.’ And beholding his brother
already digested, Ilwala became sad and cheerless and joining his hands,
along with his ministers, addressing the Rishi (and his companions),
said, ‘What for have ye come hither, and what can I do for you?’ And
Agastya smilingly answered Ilwala, saying, ‘We know thee, O Asura, to be
possessed of great power and also enormous wealth. These kings are not
very wealthy while my need also of wealth is great. Give us what thou
canst, without injuring others.’ Thus addressed Ilwala saluted the Rishi
and said, ‘If thou say what it is that I mean to give, then will I give
you wealth.’ Hearing this Agastya said, ‘O great Asura, thou hast even
purposed to give unto each of these kings ten thousand kine and as many
gold coins. And unto me thou hast purposed to give twice as much, as also
a car of gold and a couple of horses fleet as thought. If thou enquirest
now, thou wilt soon learn that your car is made of gold.’ Thereupon, O
son of Kunti, Ilwala made enquiries and learnt that the car he had
intended to give away was really a golden one. And the Daitya then with a
sad heart, gave away much wealth and that car, unto which were yoked two
steeds called Virava and Surava. And those steeds, O Bharata, took those
kings and Agastya and all that wealth to the asylum of Agastya within the
twinkling of an eye. And those royal sages then obtaining Agastya’s
permission, went away to their respective cities. And Agastya also (with
that wealth) did all that his wife Lopamudra had desired. And Lopamudra
then said, ‘O illustrious one, thou hast now accomplished all my wishes.
Beget thou a child on me that shall be possessed of great energy.’ And
Agastya replied unto her, saying, ‘O blessed and beauteous one, I have
been much gratified with thy conduct. Listen thou unto me as regards the
proposal I make in respect of thy offspring. Wouldst thou have a thousand
sons, or a century of sons each equal to ten, or ten sons equal each to
an hundred, or only one son who may vanquish a thousand?’ Lopamudra
answered, ‘Let me have one son equal unto a thousand, O thou endued with
wealth of asceticism! One good and learned son is preferable to many evil

“Lomasa continued, ‘Saying, ‘So be it,’ that pious Muni thereupon knew
his devout wife of equal behaviour. And after she had conceived, he
retired into the forest. And after the Muni had gone away, the foetus
began to grow for seven years. And after the seventh year had expired,
there came out of the womb, the highly learned Dridhasyu, blazing, O
Bharata, in his own splendour. And the great Brahmana and illustrious
ascetic, endued with mighty energy, took his birth as the Rishi’s son,
coming out of the womb, as if repeating the Vedas with the Upanishads and
the Angas. Endued with great energy while yet a child, he used to carry
loads of sacrificial fuel into the asylum of his father, and was thence
called Idhmavaha (carrier of sacrificial wood). And the Muni, beholding
his son possessed of such virtues, became highly glad.

“And it was thus, O Bharata, that Agastya begat an excellent son in
consequence of which his ancestors, O king, obtained the regions they
desired. And it is from that time that this spot hath become known on the
earth as the asylum of Agastya. Indeed, O king, this is the asylum graced
with numerous beauties, of that Agastya who had slain Vatapi of
Prahrada’s race. The sacred Bhagirathi, adored by gods and Gandharvas
gently runneth by, like a breeze-shaken pennon in the welkin. Yonder also
she floweth over craggy crests descending lower and lower, and looketh
like an affrighted she-snake lying along the hilly slopes. Issuing out of
the matted locks of Mahadeva, she passeth along, flooding the southern
country and benefiting it like a mother, and ultimately mingleth with the
ocean as if she were his favourite bride. Bathe ye as ye like in this
sacred river, ye son of Pandu! And behold there, O Yudhisthira, the
tirtha of Bhrigu that is celebrated over the three worlds and adored, O
king, by great Rishis. Bathing here, Rama (of Bhrigu’s race) regained his
might, which had been taken away from him (by Dasaratha’s son). Bathing
here, O son of Pandu, with thy brothers and Krishna, thou wilt certainly
regain that energy of thine that hath been taken away by Duryodhana, even
as Rama regained his that had been taken away by Dasaratha’s son in
hostile encounter.”

Vaisampayana continued, “At these words of Lomasa, Yudhishthira bathed
there with his brothers and Krishna, and offered oblations of water, O
Bharata, to the gods and the Pitris. And, O bull among men, after
Yudhishthira had bathed in that tirtha, his body blazed forth in brighter
effulgence, and he became invisible in respect of all foes. The son of
Pandu then, O king, asked Lomasa, saying, ‘O illustrious one, why had
Rama’s energy and might been taken away? And how also did he regain it? O
exalted one, I ask thee, tell me everything.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘Listen, O king, to the history of Rama (the son of
Dasaratha) and Rama of Bhrigu’s line gifted with intelligence. For the
destruction of Ravana, O king, Vishnu, in his own body, took his birth as
the son of illustrious Dasaratha. We saw in Ayodhya that son of Dasaratha
after he had been born. It was then that Rama of Bhrigu’s line, the son
of Richika by Renuka, hearing of Rama the son of Dasaratha–of spotless
deeds–went to Ayodhya, impelled by curiosity, and taking with him that
celestial bow so fatal to the Kshatriyas, for ascertaining the prowess of
Dasaratha’s son. And Dasaratha, hearing that Rama of Bhrigu’s race had
arrived on the confines of his domains, set his own son Rama to receive
the hero with respect. And beholding Dasaratha’s son approach and stand
before him with ready weapons, Rama of Bhrigu’s line smilingly addressed
him, O son of Kunti, saying, ‘O king, O exalted one, string, if thou
canst, with all thy mighty, this bow which in my hands was made the
instrument of destroying the Kshatriya race.’ Thus addressed, Dasaratha’s
son answered, ‘O illustrious one, it behoveth thee not to insult me thus.
Nor am I, amongst the regenerate classes, deficient in the virtues of the
Kshatriya order. The descendants of Ikshwaku in special never boast of
the prowess of their arms.’ Then unto Dasaratha’s son who said so, Rama
of Bhrigu’s line replied, ‘A truce to all crafty speech, O king! Take
this bow.’ At this, Rama the son of Dasaratha, took in anger from the
hands of Rama of Bhrigu’s line that celestial bow that had dealt death to
the foremost of Kshatriyas. And, O Bharata, the mighty hero smilingly
strung that bow without the least exertion, and with its twang loud as
the thunder-rattle, affrighted all creatures. And Rama, the son of
Dasaratha, then, addressing Rama of Bhrigu’s said, ‘Here, I have strung
this bow. What else, O Brahmana, shall I do for thee?’ Then Rama, the son
of Jamadagni, gave unto the illustrious son of Dasaratha a celestial
arrow and said, ‘Placing this on the bow-string, draw to thy ear, O
hero!’ “Lomasa continued, ‘Hearing this, Dasaratha’s son blazed up in
wrath and said, ‘I have heard what thou hast said, and even pardoned
thee. O son of Bhrigu’s race, thou art full of vanity. Through the
Grandsire’s grace thou hast obtained energy that is superior to that of
the Kshatriyas. And it is for this that thou insultest me. Behold me now
in my native form: I give thee sight.’ Then Rama of Bhrigu’s race beheld
in the body of Dasaratha’s son the Adityas with the Vasus, the Rudras,
the Sadhyas with the Marutas, the Pitris, Hutasana, the stellar
constellations and the planets, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the
Yakshas, the Rivers, the tirthas, those eternal Rishis identified with
Brahma and called the Valkhilyas, the celestial Rishis, the Seas and
Mountains, the Vedas with the Upanishads and Vashats and the sacrifices,
the Samans in their living form, the Science of weapons, O Bharata, and
the Clouds with rain and lightning, O Yudhishthira! And the illustrious
Vishnu then shot that shaft. And at this the earth was filled with sounds
of thunder, and burning meteors. O Bharata, began to flash through the
welkin. And showers of dust and rain fell upon the surface of the earth.
And whirlwinds and frightful sounds convulsed everything, and the earth
herself began to quake. And shot by the hand of Rama, that shalt,
confounding by its energy the other Rama, came back blazing into Rama’s
hands. And Bhargava, who had thus been deprived of his senses, regaining
consciousness and life, bowed unto Rama–that manifestation of Vishnu’s
power. And commanded by Vishnu, he proceeded to the mountains of
Mahendra. And thenceforth that great ascetic began to dwell there, in
terror and shame. And after the expiration of a year, the Pitris,
beholding Rama dwelling there deprived of energy, his pride quelled, and
himself sunk in affliction, said unto him, ‘O son, having approached
Vishnu, thy behaviour towards him was not proper. He deserveth for aye
worship and respect in the three worlds. Go, O son, to that sacred river
which goeth by name of Vadhusara! Bathing in all the tirthas of that
stream, thou wilt regain thy energy! There in that river is the tirthas
called Diptoda where thy grandsire Bhrigu, O Rama, in the celestial age
had practised ascetic penances of great merit.’ Thus addressed by them,
Rama, O son of Kunti, did what the Pitris bade him, and obtained back at
this tirtha, O son of Pandu, the energy he had lost. Even this O child,
was what befell Rama of spotless deeds in days in of yore, after he had,
O king, met Vishnu (in the form of Dasaratha’s son)!'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of regenerate ones, I desire again to hear of
the achievements in detail of Agastya–that illustrious Rishi endued with
great intelligence.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘Listen now, O king, to the excellent and wonderful and
extraordinary history of Agastya, as also, O monarch, about the prowess
of that Rishi of immeasurable energy. There were in the Krita age certain
tribes of fierce Danavas that were invincible in battle. And they were
known by the name of Kalakeyas and were endued with terrible prowess.
Placing themselves under Vritra and arming themselves with diverse
weapons they pursued the celestials with Indra at their head in all
directions. The gods then all resolved upon the destruction of Vritra,
and went with Indra at their head to Brahma. And beholding them standing
before him with joined hands, Parameshthi addressed them all and said,
“Everything is known to me, ye gods, about what ye seek. I shall indicate
now the means by which ye may slay Vritra. There is a high-souled and
great Rishi known by the name of Dadhicha. Go ye all together unto him
and solicit of him a boon. With well-pleased heart, that Rishi of
virtuous soul will even grant you the boon. Desirous as ye are of
victory, go ye all together unto him and tell him, ‘For the good of the
three worlds, give us thy bones.’ Renouncing his body, he will give you
his bones. With these bones of his, make ye a fierce and powerful weapon
to be called Vajra, endued with six sides and terrible roar and capable
of destroying even the most powerful enemies. With that weapon will he of
a hundred sacrifices slay Vritia. I have now told you all. See that all
this is done speedily.’ Thus addressed by him, the gods with the
Grandsire’s leave (came away), and with Narayana at their head proceeded
to the asylum of Dadhicha. That asylum was on the other bank of the river
Saraswati and covered with diverse trees and creepers. And it resounded
with the hum of bees as if they were reciting Samans. And it also echoed
with the melodious notes of the male Kokila and the Chakora. And
buffaloes and boars and deer and Chamaras wandered there at pleasure
freed from the fear of tigers. And elephants with the juice trickling
down from rent temples, plunging in the stream, sported with the
she-elephants and made the entire region resound with their roars. And
the place also echoed with the loud roars of lions and tigers, while at
intervals might be seen those grisly monarchs of the forest lying
stretched in caves and glens and beautifying them with their presence And
such was the asylum, like unto heaven itself, of Dadhicha, that the gods
entered. And there they beheld Dadhicha looking like the sun himself in
splendour and blazing in grace of person like the Grandsire himself. And
the celestials saluted the feet of the Rishi and bowed unto him and
begged of him the boon that the Grandsire had bade them do. Then
Dadhicha, well pleased, addressing those foremost of celestials, said,
‘Ye celestials, I will do what is for your benefit. I will even renounce
this body of mine myself.’ And that foremost of men with soul under
control, having said this, suddenly renounced his life. The gods then
took the bones of the deceased Rishi as directed. And the celestials,
glad at heart, went to Twashtri (the celestial Artificer) and spake to
him of the means of victory. And Twashtri, hearing those words of theirs,
became filled with joy, and constructed (out of those bones) with great
attention and care the fierce weapons called Vajra. And having
manufactured it, he joyfully addressed Indra, saying, ‘With this foremost
of weapons, O exalted one, reduce that fierce foe of the gods to ashes.
And having slain the foe, rule thou happily the entire domain of heaven,
O chief of the celestials, with those that follow thee.’ And thus
addressed by Twashtri, Purandara took the Vajra from his hand, joyfully
and with proper respect.”


“Lomasa said, ‘Armed with the Vajra then, and supported by celestials
endued with great might, Indra then approached Vritra, who was then
occupying the entire earth and the heaven. And he was guarded on all
sides by huge-bodied Kalakeyas with upraised weapons resembling gigantic
mountains with towering peaks. And the encounter that took place between
the gods and the Danavas lasted for a short while and was, O chief of the
Bharatas, terrific in the extreme, appalling as it did the three worlds.
And loud was the clash of swords and scimitars upraised and warded off by
heroic hands in course of those fierce encounters. And heads (severed
from trunks) began to roll from the firmament to the earth like fruits of
the palmyra palm falling upon the ground, loosened from their stalks. And
the Kalakeyas armed with iron-mounted bludgeons and cased in golden mail
ran against the gods, like moving mountains on conflagration. And the
gods, unable to stand the shock of that impetuous and proudly advancing
host, broke and fled from fear. Purandara of a thousand eyes, beholding
the gods flying in fear and Vritra growing in boldness, became deeply
dejected. And the foremost of gods Purandara, himself, agitated with the
fear of the Kalakeyas, without losing a moment, sought the exalted
Narayana’s refuge. And the eternal Vishnu beholding Indra so depressed
enhanced his might by imparting unto him a portion of his own energy. And
when the celestials beheld that Sakra was thus protected by Vishnu, each
of them imparted unto him his own energy. And the spotless Brahmarshis
also imparted their energies unto the chief of the celestials. And
favoured thus by Vishnu and all the gods and by the high-blessed Rishis
also, Sakra became mightier than before. And when Vritra learnt that the
chief of the celestials had been filled with might of others, he sent
forth some terrific roars. And at these roars of his, the earth, the
directions, the firmament, heaven, and the mountains all began to
tremble. And the chief of the celestials, deeply agitated on hearing that
fierce and loud roar, was filled with fear, and desiring to slay the
Asura soon, hurled, O king, the mighty Vajra. And struck with Indra’s
Vajra the great Asura decked in gold and garlands fell head-long, like
the great mountain Mandara hurled of yore from Vishnu’s hands; and
although the prince of Daityas was slain, yet Sakra in panic ran from the
field, desiring to take shelter in a lake, thinking that the Vajra itself
had not been hurled from his hands and regarding that Vritra himself was
still alive. The celestials, however, and the great Rishis became filled
with joy, and all of them began to cheerfully chant the praise of Indra.
And mustering together, the celestials began to slay the Danavas, who
were dejected at the death of their leader. And struck with panic at
sight of the assembled celestial host, the afflicted Danavas fled to the
depths of the sea. And having entered the fathomless deep, teeming with
fishes and crocodiles, the Danavas assembled together and began to
proudly conspire for the destruction of the three worlds. And some
amongst them that were wise in inferences suggested courses of action,
each according to his judgment. In course of time, however, the dreadful
resolution arrived at those conspiring sons of Diti, was that they
should, first of all, compass the destruction of all persons possessed of
knowledge and ascetic virtue. The worlds are all supported by asceticism.
Therefore, they said, ‘Lose no time for the destruction of asceticism.
Compass ye without delay the destruction of those on earth that are
possessed of ascetic virtues, that are conversant with duties and the
ways of morality, and that have a knowledge of Brahma; for when these are
destroyed, the universe itself will be destroyed.’ And all the Danavas,
having arrived at this resolution for the destruction of the universe,
became highly glad. And thenceforth they made the ocean–that abode of
Varuna–with billows high as hills, their fort, from which to make their


“Lomasa said, ‘The Kalakeyas then having recourse to that receptacle of
waters, which is the abode of Varuna, began their operations for the
destruction of the universe. And during the darkness of the night those
angry Daityas began to devour the Munis they found in woody retreats and
sacred spots. And those wicked wretches devoured in the asylum of
Vasishtha, Brahmanas to the number of a hundred and eighty, besides nine
other ascetics. And, proceeding to the asylum of Chyavana that was
inhabited by many Brahmacharis, they devoured a century of Brahmanas that
lived upon fruit and roots alone. And they began to do all this during
the darkness of the night, while they entered the depths of the sea by
day. And they slew a full score of Brahmanas of subdued souls and leading
a Brahmacharya mode of life and living upon air and water alone, in the
retreat of Bharadwaja. And it was thus that those Danavas the Kalakeyas,
intoxicated with prowess of arms and their lives nearly run out,
gradually invaded all the asylums of the Rishis during the darkness of
the night, slaughtering numerous Brahmanas. And, O best of men, although
the Danavas behaved in this way towards the ascetics in woody retreats,
yet men failed to discover anything of them. And every morning people saw
the dead bodies of Munis emaciated with frugal diet, lying on the ground.
And many of those bodies were without flesh and without blood, without
marrow, without entrails, and with limbs separated from one another. And
here and there lay on the ground heaps of bones like masses of conch
shells. And the earth was scattered over with the (sacrificial) contents
of broken jars and shattered ladles for pouring libations of clarified
butter and with the sacred fires kept with care by the ascetics. And the
universe afflicted with the terror of the Kalakeyas, being destitute of
Vedic studies and vashats and sacrificial festivals and religious rites,
became entirely cheerless. And, O king, when men began to perish in this
way, the survivors, afflicted with fear, fled for their lives in all
directions. And some fled to caverns and some behind mountain-streams and
springs and some through fear of death, died without much ado. And some
who were brave and mighty bowmen cheerfully went out and took great
trouble in tracking the Danavas. Unable, however, to find them out, for
the Asuras had sought refuge in the depths of the sea, these brave men
came back to their homes gratified with the search. And, O lord of men,
when the universe was being thus destroyed, and when sacrificial
festivals and religious rites had been suspended, the gods became deeply
afflicted. And gathering together with Indra in their midst they began,
from fear, to take counsel of one another. And repairing unto the exalted
and uncreate Narayana–that unvanquished god of Vaikuntha–the celestials
sought his protection. And bowing unto the slayer of Madhu, the gods
addressed him, saying, ‘O lord, thou art the creator, the protector, and
the slayer of ourselves as well as of the universe. It is thou who has
created this universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. O thou of
eyes like lotus leaves, it was thou who in days of yore hadst for the
benefit of all creatures raised from the sea the sunken earth, assuming
also the form of a boar. And, O best of male beings, assuming also the
form of half-man and half-lion, thou hadst slain in days of yore that
ancient Daitya of mighty prowess known by the name of Hiranyakasipu. And
that other great Asura also, Vali by name, was incapable of being slain
by any one. Assuming the form of a dwarf, thou exiledest him from the
three worlds. O lord, it was by thee that that wicked Asura, Jambha by
name, who was a mighty bowman and who always obstructed sacrifices, was
slain. Achievements like these, which cannot be counted, are thine. O
slayer of Madhu, we who have been afflicted with fear, have thee for our
refuge. It is for this, O god of gods, that we inform thee of our present
troubles. Protect the worlds, the gods, and Sakra also, from a terrible


“The celestials said, ‘Through thy favour it is that all born beings of
the four kinds increase. And they being created, propitiate the dwellers
of heaven by offerings made to the gods and the names of departed
forefathers. Thus it is that people, protected by thee and free from
trouble live depending on one another, and (so) increase. Now this peril
hath befallen the people. We do not know by whom are Brahmanas being
killed during the night. If the Brahmanas are destroyed, the earth itself
will meet with destruction, and if the earth cometh to an end, heaven
also will cease to exist. O mighty-armed one, O lord of the universe! we
beseech thee (to act so) that all the worlds, protected by thee, may not
come to an end, so it may please thee.’

“Vishnu said, ‘Ye gods! To me is known the reason of the destruction of
the born beings, I shall speak of it to you; listen with minds free from
tribulation. There exists an exceedingly fierce host, known by the name
of Kalakeyas. They, under the lead of Vritra, were devastating the whole
universe. And when they saw that Vritra was slain by the sagacious Indra
endued with a thousand eyes, they, to preserve their lives, entered into
the ocean, that abode of Varuna. And having entered the ocean, abounding
with sharks and crocodiles, they at night killed the saints at this spot
with the view of exterminating the people. But they cannot be slain, as
they have taken shelter within the sea. Ye should, therefore, think of
some expedient to dry up the ocean. Who save Agastya is capable of drying
up the sea. And without drying up the ocean, these (demons) cannot be
assailed by any other means.’ Hearing these words of Vishnu, the gods
took the permission of Brahma, who lives at the best of all regions, and
went to the hermitage of Agastya. Then they beheld the high-souled
Agastya, the son of Varuna, of resplendent mien, and waited upon by
saints, even as Brahma is waited upon by celestials. And approaching him,
they addressed the son of Mitra and Varuna at the hermitage, magnanimous
and unswerving, and looking like an embodiment of pious works piled
together, and glorified him by reciting his deeds. The deities said,
‘Thou wert formerly the refuge of the gods when they were oppressed by
Nahusha. Thorn of the world that he was, he was thrown down from his
throne of heaven–from the celestial regions. Vindhya, the foremost of
all mountains, suddenly began to increase his height, from a wrathful
competition with the sun (i. e., to rival him in altitude). But he hath
ceased to increase, as he was unable to disobey thy command. And when
darkness hath covered the world, the born beings were harassed by death,
but having obtained thee for a protector, they attained the utmost
security. Whenever we are beset by perils, thy reverence is always our
refuge; for this reason it is that we solicit a boon from thee; as thou
ever grantest the boon solicited (of thee).'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O great saint! I am desirous of hearing in detail
why it was that Vindhya, made senseless with wrath, suddenly began to
increase his bulk.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘The sun between his rising and setting used to revolve
round that monarch of mountains–the great Meru of golden lustre. And
seeing this the mountain Vindhya spake to Surya saying, ‘As thou every
day goest round Meru and honourest him by thy circumambulations, do thou
even the same by me, O maker of light!’ Thus addressed, the sun replied
to the great mountain, saying, ‘I do not of my own will honour this
mountain by my circumambulations. By those who have built this universe
hath that path been assigned to me.’ Thus addressed the mountain suddenly
began to increase from wrath, desirous, O chastiser of foes, of
obstructing the path of the Sun and the Moon. And all the assembled gods
came to Vindhya, the mighty king of mountains, and tried to dissuade him
from his course. But he heeded not what they said. And then all the
assembled gods went to the saint, living in the hermitage, engaged in the
practice of austerities, and the very best of persons devoted to virtue;
and stated all that happened to Agastya, possessed of exceeding
marvellous power.

“The gods said, ‘This king of hills, Vindhya, giving way to wrath, is
stopping the path of the Sun and the Moon, and also the course of the
stars. O foremost of Brahmanas! O thou great in gifts! excepting thyself,
there is none who can prevent him; therefore do thou make him desist.’
Hearing these words of the gods the Brahmana came to the mountain. And he
with his wife, having arrived there, came near Vindhya and spake to him,
saying, ‘O thou best of mountains! I wish to have a path given to me by
thee, as, for some purpose, I shall have to go to the southern region.
Until my return, do thou wait for me. And when I have returned, O king of
mountains, thou mayst increase in bulk as much as thou pleasest.’ And, O
slayer of foes! having made this compact with Vindhya up to the present
day Varuna’s son doth not return from the southern region. Thus have I,
asked by thee, narrated to thee why Vindhya doth not increase in bulk, by
reason of the power of Agastya. Now, O king! hear how the Kalakeyas were
killed by the gods, after they had obtained their prayer from Agastya.

“Having heard the words of the gods, Agastya, the son of Mitra, and
Varuna, said, ‘Wherefore are ye come? What boon do ye solicit from me?’
Thus addressed by him, the deities then spake to the saint, saying, ‘This
deed we ask thee to achieve, viz., to drink up the great ocean. O
magnanimous (saint)! Then we shall be able to slay those enemies of the
gods, known by the name of Kalakeyas, together with all their adherents.’
Having heard the words of the gods, the saint said, ‘Let it be so–I
shall do even what ye desire, and that which will conduce to the great
happiness of men.’ Having said this, he then proceeded to the ocean–the
lord of rivers,–accompanied by sages, ripe in the practice of penances,
and also by the deities, O thou who leadest an excellent life! And men
and snakes, celestial choristers, Yakshas and Kinnaras followed the
magnanimous saints,–desirous of witnessing that wonderful event. Then
they came up all together near to the sea, of awful roar, dancing, as it
were, with its billows, bounding with the breeze, and laughing with
masses of froth, and stumbling at the caves, and thronged with diverse
kinds of sharks, and frequented by flocks of various birds. And the
deities accompanied by Agastya and celestial choristers and huge snakes
and highly-gifted saints, approached the immense watery waste.”


“Lomasa said, ‘That blessed saint, the son of Varuna, having reached the
sea spake unto the assembled gods, and the saints gathered together,
saying ‘I surely am going to drink up the ocean–that abode of the god of
waters. Be ye quickly ready with those preparations which it devolves
upon you to make.’ Having spoken these few words, the unswerving
offspring of Mitra and Varuna, full of wrath, began to drink up the sea,
while all the worlds stood observing (the deed). Then the gods, together
with Indra, seeing how the sea was being drunk up, were struck with
mighty amazement, and glorified him with laudatory words, saying, ‘Thou
art our protector, and the Providence itself for men,–and also the
creator of the worlds. By thy favour the universe with its gods may
possibly be saved from havoc.’ And the magnanimous one, glorified by the
gods–while the musical instruments of celestial choristers were playing
all round, and while celestial blossoms were showered upon him–rendered
waterless the wide ocean. And seeing the wide ocean rendered devoid of
water, the host of gods was exceedingly glad; and taking up choice
weapons of celestial forge, fell to slaying the demons with courageous
hearts,–And they, assailed by the magnanimous gods, of great strength,
and swift of speed, and roaring loudly, were unable to withstand the
onset of their fleet and valorous (foes)–those residents of the heavenly
regions, O descendant of Bharata! And those demons, attacked by the gods,
bellowing loudly, for a moment carried on terrible conflict. They had
been in the first instance burnt by the force of penances performed by
the saints, who had matured their selves; therefore, the demons, though
they tried to the utmost, were at last slaughtered by the gods. And
decked with brooches of gold, and bearing on their persons ear-rings and
armlets, the demons, when slain, looked beautiful indeed, like palasa
trees when full of blossoms. Then, O best of men! a few–the remnant of
those that were killed of the Kalakeya race, having rent asunder the
goddess Earth, took refuge at the bottom of the nether regions. And the
gods, when they saw that the demons were slain, with diverse speeches,
glorified the mighty saint, and spake the following words. ‘O thou of
mighty arms, by thy favour men have attained a mighty blessing, and the
Kalakeyas, of ruthless strength have been killed by thy power, O creator
of beings! Fill the sea (now), O mighty-armed one; give up again the
water drunk up by thee.’ Thus addressed, the blessed and mighty saint
replied, ‘That water in sooth hath been digested by me. Some other
expedient, therefore, must be thought of by you, if ye desire to make
endeavour to fill the ocean.’ Hearing this speech of that saint of
matured soul, the assembled gods were struck with both wonder and
sadness, O great king! And thereupon, having bidden adieu to each other,
and bowed to the mighty saint all the born beings went their way. And the
gods with Vishnu, came to Brahma. And having held consultation again,
with the view of filling up the sea, they, with joined hands, spake about
replenishing it.”


“Lomasa said, ‘Then gathered together, Brahma, the grandfather of men
(thus) addressed, ‘Go ye, O gods! whither your pleasure may lead you, or
your desire conduct you. It will take a long course of time for the ocean
to resume its wonted state; the occasion will be furnished by the agnates
of the great king Bhagiratha.’ Hearing the words of the (universal)
grandfather (Brahma), all the foremost gods went their way biding the day
(when the ocean was to be filled again).’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What was that occasion, O Saint? And how did the
agnates of (Bhagiratha furnish the same)? And how was the ocean refilled
by the interference of Bhagiratha? O Saint, who deemest thy religious
practices as thy only treasure. O thou of the priestly class! I wish to
hear the account of the achievements of the king, narrated in detail by

“Vaisampayana said, “Thus addressed by the magnanimous and virtuous king,
he, the chief of men of the priestly class, narrated the achievements of
the high-souled (king) Sagara.”

“Lomasa said, ‘There was born in the family of the Ikshaku tribe, a ruler
of the earth named Sagara, endued with beauty, and strength. And that
same (king) of a dreaded name was sonless, O descendant of Bharata! And
he carried havoc through the tribes of the Haihayas and the Talajanghas;
brought under subjection the whole of the military caste; (and so) ruled
over his own kingdom. And, O most praiseworthy of the descendants of
Bharata! O chief of the Bharata race! he had two wives proud of their
beauty and of their youth,–one a princess of the Vidarbha race, and the
other of the royal line of Sivi. And, O chief of kings, that same ruler
of men, betook himself to the mountain Kailasa, accompanied by both his
wives, and with the desire of having a son became engaged in the practice
of exceeding austere penances. And being engaged in the practice of rigid
austerities, and (also) employed in the contemplation known by the name
of Yoga, he obtained the sight of the magnanimous god with three
eyes–the slayer of the demon called Tripura; the worker of blessings
(for all beings); the (eternally) existent one; the ruling Being, the
holder of the Pinaka bow; carrying in his hand his (well-known
weapon)–the trident; the god of three eyes; the repository of (eternal)
peace; the ruler of all those that are fierce; capable of assuming very
many forms; and the lord of the goddess Uma. And that same ruler of men,
of mighty arms, as soon as he beheld the god–that giver of boons–fell
down at his feet, with both his queens, and proffered a prayer to have a
son. And the god Siva, well pleased with him, spake (thus) to that most
righteous of the rulers of men, attended by his two wives, saying, ‘O
lord of men! considering the (astrological) moment at which thou hast
proffered thy prayer to me, sixty thousand sons, O foremost of choice men
valorous and characterised by exceeding pride, will be born in one off
thy two wives (here). But they all, O ruler of the earth, shall perish
together. In the other wife, (however), will be born a single valiant
son, who will perpetuate thy race.’ Having said this to him, the god
Rudra (Siva) vanished from sight at that very spot, and that same king
Sagara now came (back) to his own abode accompanied by his two wives,
exceedingly delighted at heart (for what had happened) then. And, O most
praiseworthy of the sons of Manu! (i.e., men), there the two lotus-eyed
wives of him–the princess of Vidarbha and the princess of Sivi–came
(erelong) to be with child. And afterwards, on the due day, the princess
of Vidarbha brought forth (something) of the shape of a gourd and the
princess of Sivi gave birth to a boy as beautiful as a god. Then the
ruler of the earth made up his mind to throw away the gourd,–when he
heard (proceeding) from the sky a speech (uttered) in a grave and solemn
voice, ‘O king! do thou not be guilty of this hasty act; thou shouldst
not abandon thy sons. Take out the seeds from the gourd and let them be
preserved with care in steaming vessels partly filled with clarified
butter. Then thou wilt get, O scion of Bharata’s race! sixty thousand
sons. O ruler of men! the great god (Siva) hath spoken that thy sons are
to be born in this manner. Let not therefore thy mind be turned away


“Lomasa said, ‘O most righteous of kings! When he heard these words
(proceeding) from the sky, he had faith therein, and did all that he was
directed to do, O chief of the men of Bharata’s race! Then the ruler of
men took separately each of the seeds and then placed these divisions (of
the gourd) in vessels filled with clarified butter. And intent on the
preservation of his sons, he provided a nurse for every (receptacle).
Then after a long time there arose sixty thousand exceedingly powerful
sons of that same king–gifted with unmeasured strength, they were born,
O ruler of earth! to that saint-like king, by Rudra’s favour. And they
were terrible; and their acts were ruthless. And they were able to ascend
and roam about in the sky; and being numerous themselves, despised
everybody, including the gods. And they would chase even the gods, the
Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas and all the born beings, being themselves
valiant and addicted to fighting. Then all people, harassed by the
dull-headed sons of Sagara, united with all the gods, went to Brahma as
their refuge. And then addressed the blessed grandfather of all beings
(Brahma), ‘Go ye your way, ye gods, together with all these men. In a not
very long space of time, there will come about, O gods! a great and
exceedingly terrible destruction of Sagara’s sons, caused by the deed
perpetrated by them.’ Thus addressed, those same gods, and men, O lord of
the sons of Manu! bade adieu to the grandfather, and went back to whence
they had come. Then, O chief of Bharata’s race! after the expiry of very
many days, the mighty king Sagara accepted the consecration for
performing the rites of a horse-sacrifice. And his horse began to roam
over the world, protected by his sons. And when the horse reached the
sea, waterless and frightful to behold–although the horse was guarded
with very great care–it (suddenly) vanished at the very spot (it stood
upon). Then, O respected sir! those same sons of Sagara imagined the same
fine horse to have been stolen; and returning to their father, narrated
how it had been stolen out of sight. And thereupon he addressed them,
saying, ‘Go ye and search for the horse in all the cardinal points.’
Then, O great king! by this command of their father, they began to search
for the horse in the cardinal points and throughout the whole surface of
the earth. But all those sons of Sagara, all mutually united, could not
find the horse, nor the person who had stolen it. And coming back then,
they with joined palms (thus addressed) their father, (standing) before
them, ‘O Protector of men! O ruler of the earth! O king! by thy command,
the whole of this world with its hills and its forest tracts, with its
seas, and its woods, and its islands, with its rivulets and rivers and
caves, hath been searched through by us. But we cannot find either the
horse, or the thief who had stolen the same.’ And hearing the words, the
same king became senseless with wrath, and then told them all, carried
away by Destiny, ‘Go ye all, may ye never return! Search ye again for the
horse. Without that sacrificial horse, ye must never return, my boys!'”

“And those same sons of Sagara, accepted this command of their father,
and once more began to search through the entire world. Now these heroes
saw a rift on the surface of the earth. And having reached this pit, the
sons of Sagara began to excavate it. And with spades and pickaxes they
went on digging the sea, making the utmost efforts. And that same abode
of Varuna (namely the ocean), being thus, excavated by the united sons of
Sagara and rent and cut on all sides round, was placed in a condition of
the utmost distress. And the demons and snakes and Rakshasas and various
(other) animated beings began to utter distressful cries, while being
killed by Sagara’s sons. And hundreds and thousands of animated beings
were beheld with severed heads and separated trunks and with their skins
and bones and joints rent asunder and broken. Thus they went on digging
the ocean, which was the abode of Varuna and an exceedingly long space of
time expired in this work, but still the horse was not found. Then, O
lord of earth! towards the north-eastern region of the sea, the incensed
sons of Sagara dug down as far as the lower world, and there they beheld
the horse, roaming about on the surface of the ground. And they saw the
magnanimous Kapila, who looked like a perfect mass of splendour. And
having beheld him shining with his brightness, just as the fire shineth
with its flames, they, O king! seeing the horse, were flushed with
delight. And they being incensed, sent forward by their fate, paid no
heed to the presence of the magnanimous Kapila, and ran forward with a
view to seizing the horse. Then, O great king! Kapila, the most righteous
of saints,–he whom the great sages name as Kapila Vasudeva–assumed a
fiery look, and the mighty saint shot flames towards them, and thereby
burnt down the dull-headed sons of Sagara. And Narada, whose practice of
austerities was very great, when he beheld them reduced to ashes, came to
Sagara’s side, and gave the information to him. And when the king learnt
this terrible news which proceeded from the mouth of the saint, for
nearly an hour he remained sad, and then he bethought himself of what
Siva had said. Then sending for Ansuman, the son of Asamanjas, and his
own grandson, he, O chief of Bharata’s race! spake the following words,
‘Those same sixty thousand sons of unmeasured strength having encountered
Kapila’s wrath, have met their death on my account. And, O my boy of
stainless character! thy father also hath been forsaken by me, in order
to discharge my duty (as a king), and being desirous of doing good to my

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O saint, whose sole wealth consists in religious
practices! Tell me for what reason, Sagara, the foremost of kings,
abandoned his own begotten son, endued with valour–an act so difficult
(for all other men).”

“Lomasa said, ‘A son was born to Sagara, known by the name of Asamanjas,
he who was given birth to by the princess of Sivi. And he used to seize
by throat the feeble children of the townsmen, and threw them while
screaming into the river. And thereupon the townsmen, overwhelmed with
terror and grief, met together, and all standing with joined palms,
besought Sagara in the following way, ‘O great king! Thou art our
protector from the dreaded peril of attack from a hostile force.
Therefore it is proper for thee to deliver us from the frightful danger,
proceeding from Asamanjas.’ And the most righteous of the rulers of men,
having heard this frightful news from his subjects, for nearly an hour
remained sad and then spake to his ministers, saying, ‘This day from the
city let my son Asamanjas be driven forth. If ye wish to do what will be
acceptable to me, let this be quickly done. ‘And, O protector of men!
those same ministers, thus addressed by the king, performed in a hurry
exactly what the king had commanded them to do. Thus have I narrated to
thee how the magnanimous Sagara banished his son, with a view to the
welfare of the residents of the town. I shall now fully narrate to thee
what Ansuman of the powerful bow was told by Sagara. Listen to me!

“Sagara said, ‘O my boy! sore am I at heart for having abandoned thy
father, on account of the death of my sons, and also on being
unsuccessful in getting back the horse. Therefore, O grandson! harassed
with grief and confounded with the obstruction to my religious rites as I
am, thou must bring back the horse and deliver me from hell.’ Thus
addressed by the magnanimous Sagara, Ansuman went with sorrow to that
spot where the earth had been excavated. And by that very passage he
entered into the sea, and beheld that illustrious Kapila and that same
horse. And having beheld that ancient saint, most righteous of his order,
looking like a mass of light, he bowed with his head to the ground, and
informed him of the reason of his visit. Then, O great king, Kapila was
pleased with Ansuman, and that saint of a virtuous soul told him to ask
for a favour from him. And he in the first place prayed for the horse,
for the purpose of using it in the sacrifice; in the second place he
prayed for the purification of his fathers. Then the mighty chief of
saints, Kapila spake to him, saying, ‘I shall grant thee everything that
thou desirest, O stainless (prince). May good luck be thine! In thee are
fixed (the virtues of) forbearance, and truth, and righteousness. By thee
hath Sagara had all his desires fulfilled. Thou are (really) a son to thy
father. And by thy ability the sons of Sagara will go to heaven (i.e.,
will be delivered from the consequences of their unhallowed death). And
the son of thy son, with a view to purifying the sons of Sagara, will
obtain the favour of the great god Siva, (by means of practising great
austerities), and will (thus) bring (to this world) the river that
floweth in three (separate) streams, Ganga, O chief of men! May good luck
be thine! Take thou with thee the sacrificial horse. Finish, my lad! the
sacrificial rites of the magnanimous Sagara.’ Thus addressed by the
illustrious Kapila, Ansuman took the horse with him, and came back to the
sacrificial yard of the mighty-minded Sagara. Then he fell prostrate at
the feet of the high-souled Sagara, who smelt him on the head and
narrated all the events to him, all that had been seen and heard by him,
and likewise the destruction of Sagara’s sons. He also announced that the
horse had been brought back to the sacrificial yard. And when king Sagara
heard of this, he no more grieved on account of his sons. And he praised
and honoured Ansuman, and finished those same sacrificial rites. His
sacrifice finished, Sagara was greeted honourably by all the gods; and he
converted the sea, Varuna’s dwelling place, into a son of himself. And
the lotus-eyed (King Sagara) having ruled his kingdom for a period of
exceeding length, placed his grandson on the throne, (full of)
responsibilities and then ascended to heaven. And Ansuman likewise, O
great king! virtuous in soul, ruled over the world as far as the edge of
the sea, following the foot-prints of his father’s father. His son was
named Dilipa, versed in virtue. Upon him placing the duties of his
sovereign post, Ansuman like-wise departed this life. And then when
Dilipa heard what an awful fate had overtaken his forefathers, he was
sorely grieved and thought of the means of raising them. And the ruler of
men made every great effort towards the descent of Ganga (to the mortal
world). But although trying to the utmost of his power, he could not
bring about what he so much wished. And a son was born to him, known by
the name of Bhagiratha beauteous, and devoted to a virtuous life, and
truthful, and free from feelings of malice. And Dilipa appointed him as
king, and betook himself to the forest life. And, O best of all the
scions of Bharata’s race! that same king (Dilipa), devoted himself to a
successful course of austerities, and at the end of (sufficient) period,
from the forest departed to heaven.”


“Lomasa said, ‘That same king, of a powerful bow, standing at the head of
the surrounding, (i.e., the occupant of an imperial throne) of a powerful
car, (i.e., possessing every great fighting power) became the delight of
the eyes and the soul of all the world. And he of the powerful arm came
to learn how his forefathers had met an awful end from Kapila of mighty
soul, and how they had been unable to attain the region of gods. And he
with a sorrowful heart made over his kingly duties to his minister, and,
O lord of men! for practising austerities, went to the side of the snowy
Mountain (the Himalayas). And, O most praiseworthy of men, desirous of
extinguishing his sins by leading an austere life, and (thereby)
obtaining the favour of the (goddess) Ganga, he visited that foremost of
mountains–Himalaya. And he beheld it adorned with peaks of diverse forms
full of mineral earth; besprinkled on all sides with drops from clouds
which were resting themselves upon the breeze; beautiful with rivers and
groves and rocky spurs, looking like (so many) palaces (in a city);
attended upon by lions and tigers that had concealed themselves in its
caves and pits; and also inhabited by birds of checkered forms, which
were uttering diverse sounds, such as the Bhringarajas, and ganders, and
Datyuhas, and water-cocks, and peacocks and birds with a hundred
feathers, and Jivanjivakas, and black birds, and Chakoras of eyes
furnished with black corners, and the birds that love their young. And he
saw the mountain abounding in lotus plants growing in delightful
reservoirs of water. And the cranes rendered it charming with their
sounds; and the Kinnaras and the celestial nymphs were seated on its
stony slabs. And the elephants occupying the cardinal points had
everywhere robbed its trees with the end of their tusks; and the
demi-gods of the Vidyadhara class frequented the hill. And it was full of
various gems, and was also infested by snakes bearing terrible poison and
of glowing tongues. And the mountain at places looked like (massive)
gold, and elsewhere it resembled a silvery (pile), and at some places it
was like a (sable) heap of collyrium. Such was the snowy hill where the
king now found himself. And that most praiseworthy of men at that spot
betook himself to an awful austere course of life. And for one thousand
years his subsistence was nothing but water, fruit and roots. When,
however, a thousand years according to the calculation of gods had
elapsed, then the great river Ganga having assumed a material form,
manifested to him her (divine) self.’

“Ganga said. ‘O great king! what dost thou desire of me? And what must I
bestow on thee? Tell me the same, O most praiseworthy of men! I shall do
as thou mayst ask me.’ Thus addressed, the king then made his reply to
Ganga, the daughter of the snowy Hill, saying, ‘O grantress of boons! O
great river! my father’s fathers, while searching for the horse, were
sent by Kapila to the abode of the god of death. And those same sixty
thousand sons of Sagara of mighty soul, having met with the majestic
Kapila, perished, (to a soul) in an instant of time. Having thus
perished, there hath been no place for them in the region of heaven. O
great river! So long as thou dost not besprinkle those same bodies with
thy water, there is no salvation for these same Sagara’s sons. O blessed
goddess! carry thou my forefathers, Sagara’s sons, to the region of
heaven. O great river! on their account am I beseeching thee forsooth.”

“Lomasa said, ‘Ganga, the goddess saluted by the world, having heard
these words of the king, was well pleased, and spake to Bhagiratha the
following words: ‘O great king! I am prepared to do what thou dost ask
me; there is no doubt therein. But when I shall descend from the sky to
the earth, the force of my fall will be difficult to sustain. O protector
of men! In the three worlds there exists none who is able to sustain the
same, excepting Siva, the most praiseworthy of gods, the great Lord with
the throat of sable blue. O (prince) of a powerful arm! Obtain the
favour, by practising austerities, of that same Siva-giver of boons. That
same god will sustain my descent upon his head. Thy desire he will
fulfill, the desire, namely, to be of service to thy fathers, O king!’
Then the great king Bhagiratha having heard the same, went to the Kailasa
hill, and betaking himself to a severe course of penances, at the
expiration of a certain length of time obtained the favour of that worker
of blessings (Siva). And, O protector of men! that same best of men, in
order that his forefathers might have a place in heaven secured to them,
received from that very Siva the fulfilment of his wish, namely the wish
that the descending Ganga might be sustained.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘The blessed God having heard what Bhagiratha had said, and
with a view to doing what was agreeable to the residents of heaven,
replied to the king, saying, ‘So let it be. O most righteous of the
protectors of men, O (prince) of a powerful arm! For thy sake I shall
sustain the river of the gods, when she will take her descent from the
sky, she who is pure and blessed and divine, O (king) of a mighty arm!’
Saying this, he came to the snowy mountain, surrounded by his attendants,
of awful mien, and with uplifted weapons of diverse forms. And standing
there, he said to Bhagiratha, the most praiseworthy of men, ‘O (prince)
of a powerful arm! do thou pray to the river, the daughter of the king of
mountains. I shall sustain that most praiseworthy of rivers when she
falls down from the third region of the world (heaven).’ Having heard
these words uttered by Siva, the king became devout (in heart), made
obesiance and directed his thoughts towards Ganga. Then the delightful
(river), of pure water in being so thought of by the king, and seeing
that the great lord (Siva) was standing (to receive her fall), came down
all of a sudden from the sky. And seeing that she had taken her leap from
the sky, the gods, together with the mighty saints, the Gandharvas, the
snakes, and the Yakshas, assembled there as spectators. Then came down
from the sky Ganga, the daughter of the snowy mountain. And her
whirlpools were raging, and she was teeming with fishes and sharks. O
king! she directing her course towards the sea, separated herself, into
three streams; and her water was bestrewn with piles of froth, which
looked like so many rows of (white) ganders. And crooked and tortuous in
the movement of her body, at places; and at others stumbling at it were;
and covered with foam as with a robe: she went forward like a woman
drunk. And elsewhere, by virtue of the roar of her waters, she uttered
loud sounds. Thus assuming very many different aspects, when she fell
from the sky, and reached the surface of the earth, she said to
Bhagiratha, ‘O great king! show me the path that I shall have to take. O
lord of the earth! for thy sake have I descended to the earth.’ Having
heard these words, king Bhagiratha directed his course towards the spot
where lay those bodies of mighty Sagara’s sons, in order that, O most
praiseworthy of men, the holy water might flood (the same). Having
achieved the task of sustaining Ganga, Siva, saluted by men, went to
Kailasa the most praiseworthy of mountains, accompanied by the
celestials. And the protector of men (Bhagiratha) accompanied by Ganga
reached the sea; and the sea, the abode of Varuna, was quickly filled.
And the king adopted Ganga as a daughter of himself, and at that spot
offered libations of water to the names of his forefathers; thus was his
heart’s wish fulfilled. Thus asked by thee, I have narrated the whole
story how Ganga running in three streams, was brought down to the earth
for filling the sea; how the mighty saint had drunk up the sea for a
particular reason, and how, O lord! Vatapi, the slayer of Brahmanas, was
destroyed by Agastya.'”


Vaisampayana said, “O chief of the Bharata race! then the son of Kunti
went at a slow pace to the two rivers Nanda and Aparananda, which had the
virtue of destroying the dread of sin. And the protector of men having
reached the healthy hill Hemakuta, beheld there very many strange and
inconceivable sights. There the very utterance of words caused the
gathering of clouds, and a thousand volleys of stones. And people at its
sight, were struck sad, and were unable to ascend the hill. There the
winds blew for aye, and the heavens always poured down rains; and
likewise the sounds of the recitation of the sacred writ were heard, yet
nobody was seen. In the evening and in the morning would be seen the
blessed fire that carries offerings to the gods and there flies would
bite and interrupt the practice of austerities. And there a sadness would
overtake the soul, and people would become sick. The son of Pandu, having
observed very many strange circumstances of this character again
addressed his questions to Lomasa with reference to these wonderful

“Lomasa said, ‘O slayer of foes! O king! I am going to tell thee as we
heard it before; do thou attend to the same with intent mind. In this
peak of Rishava, there was once a saint known by that name. And his life
had lasted for many hundred years. And he was devoted to penances and was
greatly wrathful. And he, forsooth, for having been spoken to by others,
from wrath addressed the hill thus, ‘Whoever should utter any words here,
thou must throw stones at him, and thou must call up the winds to prevent
him from making any noise.’ This was what the saint said. And so at this
place, as soon as a man utters any words, he is forbidden by a roaring
cloud. O king! thus these deeds were performed by that great saint, and
from wrath he also forbade other acts. O king! tradition says that when
the gods of yore had come to the Nanda, suddenly came over (there) a
number of men to look at the celestials. Those same gods at whose head
stood Indra did not, however, like to be seen; and so they rendered this
spot inaccessible, by raising obstructions in the form of hills. And from
that day forward, O Kunti’s son! men could not cast their eyes at any
time on what looked like a hill, far less could they ascend the same.
This big mountain is incapable of being seen by one who hath not led an
austere life, nor can such a one ascend it. Therefore, O son of Kunti!
keep thou thy tongue under control. Here at that time all those gods
performed the best sacrificial rites. O Bharata’s son! Even up to this
day these marks thereof may be seen. This grass here hath the form of the
sacred kusa grass: the ground here seemeth to be overspread with the
sacred grass; and. O lord of men! many of these trees here look like the
spots for tying the sacrificial beasts. O Bharata’s son! still the Gods
and saints have residence here; and their sacred fire is observed in the
morning and in the evening. Here if one bathes, his sin is forthwith
destroyed, O Kunti’s son! O most praiseworthy of the race of Kuru! do
thou, therefore, perform thy ablutions, together with thy younger
brothers. Then after having washed thyself in the Nanda, thou wilt repair
to the river Kausiki, the spot where the most excellent and severest form
of penances was practised by Viswamitra. Then the king with his
attendants, having washed his body there, proceeded to the river Kausiki,
which was pure and delightful and pleasant with cool water.’

“Lomasa said, ‘This is the pure divine river by name Kausiki. O chief of
Bharata’s race! and this is the delightful hermitage of Viswamitra,
conspicuous here. And this is a hermitage, with a holy name, belonging to
Kasyapa of mighty soul; whose son was Rishyasringa, devoted to penances,
and of passions under control. He by force of his penances caused Indra
to rain; and that god, the slayer of the demons Vala and Vritra, dreading
him, poured down rain during a drought. That powerful and mighty son of
Kasyapa was born of a hind. He worked a great marvel in the territory of
Lomapada. And when the crops had been restored, king Lomapada gave his
daughter Santa in marriage to him, as the sun gave in marriage his
daughter Savitri.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How was the son of Kasyapa, Rishyasringa, born of a
hind? And how was he endowed with holiness, being the issue of a
reprehensible sexual connexion? And for what reason was Indra, the slayer
of the demons Vala and Vritra, afraid of that same sagacious boy, and
poured down rain during a period of drought? And how beautiful was that
princess Santa, pure in life, she who allured the heart of him when he
had turned himself into a stag? And since the royal saint Lomapada is
said to have been of a virtuous disposition, why was it that in his
territory, Indra, the chastiser of the demon Paka, had withheld rain? O
holy saint! all this in detail, exactly as it happened, thou wilt be
pleased to narrate to me, for I am desirous of hearing the deeds of
Rishyasringa’s life.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Hear how Rishyasringa, of dreaded name, was born as a son
to Vibhandaka, who was a saint of the Brahmana caste, who had cultured
his soul by means of religious austerities, whose seed never failed in
causing generation, and who was learned and bright like the Lord of
beings. And the father was highly honoured, and the son was possessed of
a mighty spirit, and, though a boy, was respected by aged man. And that
son of Kasyapa, Vibhandaka, having proceeded to a big lake, devoted
himself to the practice of penances. And that same saint, comparable to a
god, laboured for a long period. And once while he was washing his mouth
in the waters, he beheld the celestial nymph Urvasi–whereupon came out
his seminal fluid. And, O king! a hind at that time lapped it up along
with the water that she was drinking, being athirst; and from this cause
she became with child. That same hind had really been a daughter of the
gods, and had been told of yore by the holy Brahma, the creator of the
worlds, ‘Thou shall be a hind; and when in that form, thou shall give
birth to a saint; thou shalt then be freed.’ As Destiny would have it,
and as the word of the creator would not be untrue, in that same hind was
born his (Vibhandaka’s) son a mighty saint. And Rishyasringa, devoted to
penances, always passed his days in the forest. O king! there was a horn
on the head of that magnanimous saint and for this reason did he come to
be known at the time by the name of Rishyasringa. And barring his father,
not a man had ever before been seen by him; therefore his mind, O
protector of men! was entirely devoted to the duties of a continent life.
At this very period there was a ruler of the land of Anga known by the
name of Lomapada who was a friend of Dasaratha. We have heard that he
from love of pleasure had been guilty of a falsehood towards a Brahmana.
And that same ruler of the world had at that time been shunned by all
persons of the priestly class. And he was without a ministering priest
(to assist him in his religious rites). And the god of a thousand eyes
(Indra) suddenly abstained from giving rain in his territory; so that his
people began to suffer and O lord of the earth! he questioned a number of
Brahmanas, devoted to penances, of cultivated minds, and possessed of
capabilities with reference to the matter of rain being granted by the
lord of gods, saying, ‘How may the heavens grant us the rain? Think of an
expedient (for this purpose).’ And those same cultured men, being thus
questioned, gave expression to their respective views. And one among
them–the best of saints–spake to that same king, saying, ‘O lord of
kings! the Brahmanas are angry with thee. Do some act (therefore) for
appeasing them. O ruler of the earth! send for Rishyasringa, the son of a
saint, resident of the forest knowing nothing of the female sex, and
always taking delight in simplicity. O king! if he, great in the practice
of penances, should show himself in thy territory, forthwith rain would
be granted by the heavens, herein I have no doubt at all.’ And, O king!
having heard these words Lomapada made atonement for his sins. And he
went away; and when the Brahmanas had been appeased, he returned again,
and seeing the king returned, the people were again glad at heart. Then
the king of Anga convened a meeting of his ministers, proficient in
giving counsel. And he took great pains in order to settle some plan for
securing a visit from Rishyasringa. And, O unswerving (prince)! with
those ministers, who were versed in all branches of knowledge, and
exceedingly proficient in worldly matters, and had a thorough training in
practical affairs, he at last settled a plan (for gaining his object).
And then he sent for a number of courtesans, women of the town, clever in
everything. And when they came, that same ruler of the earth spake to
them, saying, ‘Ye lovely women! Ye must find some means to allure, and
obtain the confidence of the son of the saint–Rishyasringa, whom ye must
bring over to my territory.’ And those same women, on the one hand afraid
of the anger of the king and on the other, dreading a curse from the
saint, became sad and confounded, and declared the business to be beyond
their power. One, however, among them–a hoary woman, thus spake to the
king, ‘O great king! him whose wealth solely consists in penances, I
shall try to bring over here. Thou wilt, however, have to procure for me
certain things, in connection with the plan. In that case, I may be able
to bring over the son of the saint–Rishyasringa.’ Thereupon the king
gave an order that all that she might ask for should be procured. And he
also gave a good deal of wealth and jewels of various kinds. And then, O
Lord of the earth, she took with herself a number of women endowed with
beauty and youth, and went to the forest without delay.”


“Lomasa said, ‘O descendant of Bharata! she in order to compass the
object of the king, prepared a floating hermitage, both because the king
had ordered so, and also because it exactly accorded with her plan. And
the floating hermitage, containing artificial trees adorned with various
flowers and fruits, and surrounded by diverse shrubs and creeping plants
and capable of furnishing choice and delicious fruits, was exceedingly
delightful, and nice, and pleasing, and looked as if it had been created
by magic. Then she moored the vessel at no great distance from the
hermitage of Kasyapa’s son, and sent emissaries to survey the place where
that same saint habitually went about. And then she saw an opportunity;
and having conceived a plan in her mind, sent forward her daughter a
courtesan by trade and of smart sense. And that clever woman went to the
vicinity of the religious man and arriving at the hermitage beheld the
son of the saint.'”

“The courtesan said, ‘I hope, O saint! that is all well with the
religious devotees. And I hope that thou hast a plentiful store of fruits
and roots and that thou takest delight in this hermitage. Verily I come
here now to pay thee a visit. I hope the practice of austerities among
the saints is on the increase. I hope that thy father’s spirit hath not
slackened and that he is well pleased with thee. O Rishyasringa of the
priestly caste! I hope thou prosecutest the studies proper for thee.'”

Rishyasringa said, ‘Thou art shining with lustre, as if thou wert a
(mass) of light. And I deem thee worthy of obeisance. Verily I shall give
thee water for washing thy feet and such fruits and roots also as may be
liked by thee, for this is what my religion hath prescribed to me. Be
thou pleased to take at thy pleasure thy seat on a mat made of the sacred
grass, covered over with a black deer-skin and made pleasant and
comfortable to sit upon. And where is thy hermitage? O Brahmana! thou
resemblest a god in thy mien. What is the name of this particular
religious vow, which thou seemest to be observing now?’

“The courtesan said, O son of Kasyapa! on the other side of yonder hill,
which covers the space of three Yojanas, is my hermitage–a delightful
place. There, not to receive obeisance is the rule of my faith nor do I
touch water for washing my feet. I am not worthy of obeisance from
persons like thee; but I must make obeisance to thee. O Brahmana! This is
the religious observance to be practised by me, namely, that thou must be
clasped in my arms.'”

“Rishyasringa said, ‘Let me give thee ripe fruits, such as gallnuts,
myrobalans, Karushas, Ingudas from sandy tracts and Indian fig. May it
please thee to take a delight in them!'”

Lomasa said, “She, however, threw aside all those edible things and then
gave him unsuitable things for food. And these were exceedingly nice and
beautiful to see and were very much acceptable to Rishyasringa. And she
gave him garlands of an exceedingly fragrant scent and beautiful and
shining garments to wear and first-rate drinks; and then played and
laughed and enjoyed herself. And she at his sight played with a ball and
while thus employed, looked like a creeping plant broken in two. And she
touched his body with her own and repeatedly clasped Rishyasringa in her
arms. Then she bent and break the flowery twigs from trees, such as the
Sala, the Asoka and the Tilaka. And overpowered with intoxication,
assuming a bashful look, she went on tempting the great saint’s son. And
when she saw that the heart of Rishyasringa had been touched, she
repeatedly pressed his body with her own and casting glances, slowly went
away under the pretext that she was going to make offerings on the fire.
On her departure, Rishyasringa became over-powered with love and lost his
sense. His mind turned constantly to her and felt itself vacant. And he
began to sigh and seemed to be in great distress. At that moment appeared
Vibhandaka, Kasyapa’s son, he whose eyes were tawny like those of a lion,
whose body was covered with hair down to the tip of the nails, who was
devoted to studies proper for his caste, and whose life was pure and was
passed in religious meditation. He came up and saw that his son was
seated alone, pensive and sad, his mind upset and sighing again and again
with upturned eyes. And Vibhandaka spake to his distressed son, saying,
‘My boy! why is it that thou art not hewing the logs for fuel. I hope
thou hast performed the ceremony of burnt offering today. I hope thou
hast polished the sacrificial ladles and spoons and brought the calf to
the milch cow whose milk furnisheth materials for making offerings on the
fire. Verily thou art not in thy wonted state, O son! Thou seemest to be
pensive, and to have lost thy sense. Why art thou so sad today? Let me
ask thee, who hath been to this place today?'”


‘Rishyasringa said, ‘Here came to-day a religious student with a mass of
hair on his head. And he was neither short nor tall. And he was of a
spirited look and a golden complexion, and endued with eye large as
lotuses; and he was shining and graceful as a god. And rich was his
beauty blazing like the Sun; and he was exceedingly fair with eyes
graceful and black. And his twisted hair was blue-black and neat and long
and of a fragrant scent and tied up with strings of gold. A beautiful
ornament was shining on his neck which looked like lightning in the sky.
And under the throat he had two balls of flesh without a single hair upon
them and of an exceedingly beautiful form. And his waist was slender to a
degree and his navel neat; and smooth also was the region about his ribs.
Then again there shone a golden string from under his cloth, just like
this waist-string of mine. And there was something on his feet of a
wonderful shape which give forth a jingling sound. Upon his wrists
likewise was tied a pair of ornaments that made a similar sound and
looked just like this rosary here. And when he walked, his ornaments
uttered a jingling sound like those uttered by delighted ganders upon a
sheet of water. And he had on his person garments of a wonderful make;
these clothes of mine are by no means beautiful like those. And his face
was wonderful to behold; and his voice was calculated to gladden the
heart; and his speech was pleasant like the song of the male blackbird.
And while listening to the same I felt touched to my inmost soul. And as
a forest in the midst of the vernal season, assumes a grace only when it
is swept over by the breeze, so, O father! he of an excellent and pure
smell looks beautiful when fanned by the air. And his mass of hair is
neatly tied up and remains adhering to the head and forehead evenly
sundered in two. And his two eyes seemed to be covered with wonderful
Chakravaka birds of an exceedingly beautiful form. And he carried upon
his right palm a wonderful globur fruit, which reaches the ground and
again and again leaps up to the sky in a strange way. And he beats it and
turns himself round and whirls like a tree moved by the breeze. And when
I looked at him, O father! he seemed to be a son of the celestials, and
my joy was extreme, and my pleasure unbounded. And he clasped my body,
took hold of my matted hair, and bent down my mouth, and, mingling his
mouth with my own, uttered a sound that was exceedingly pleasant. And he
doth not care for water for washing his feet, nor for those fruits
offered by me; and he told me that such was the religious observance
practised by him. And he gave unto me a number of fruits. Those fruits
were tasteful unto me: these here are not equal to them in taste. They
have not got any rind nor any stone within them, like these. And he of a
noble form gave me to drink water of an exceedingly fine flavour; and
having drunk it, I experienced great pleasu e; and the ground seemed to
be moving under my feet. And these are the garlands beautiful and
fragrant and twined with silken threads that belong to him. And he,
bright with fervent piety, having scattered these garlands here, went
back to his own hermitage. His departure hath saddened my heart; and my
frame seems to be in a burning sensation! And my desire is to go to him
as soon as I can, and to have him every day walk about here. O father,
let me this very moment go to him. Pray, what is that religious
observance which is being practised by him. As he of a noble piety is
practising penances, so I am desirous to live the same life with him. My
heart is yearning after similar observances My soul will be in torment if
I see him not,'”


“Vibhandaka said, ‘Those are, O son! Rakshasas. They walk about in that
wonderfully beautiful form. Their strength is unrivalled and their beauty
great And they always meditate obstruction to the practice of penances.
And, O my boy, they assume lovely forms and try to allure by diverse
means. And those fierce beings hurled the saints, the dwellers of the
woods, from blessed regions (won by their pious deeds) And the saint who
hath control over his soul, and who is desirous of obtaining the regions
where go the righteous, ought to have nothing to do with them. And their
acts are vile and their delight is in causing obstruction to those who
practise penance; (therefore) a pious man should never look at them. And,
O son! those were drinks unworthy to be drunk, being as they were
spirituous liquors consumed by unrighteous men. And these garlands, also,
bright and fragrant and of various hues, are not intended for saints.’
Having thus forbidden his son by saying that those were wicked demons,
Vibhandaka went in quest of her. And when by three day’s search he was
unable to trace where she was he then came back to his own hermitage. In
the meanwhile, when the son of Kasyapa had gone out to gather fruits,
then that very courtesan came again to tempt Rishyasringa in the manner
described above. And as soon as Rishyasringa had her in sight, he was
glad and hurriedly rushing towards him said, ‘Let us go to thy hermitage
before the return of my father.’ Then, O king! those same courtesans by
contrivances made the only son of Kasyapa enter their bark, and unmoored
the vessel. And by various means they went on delighting him and at
length came to the side of Anga’s king. And leaving then that floating
vessel of an exceedingly white tint upon the water, and having placed it
within sight of the hermitage, he similarly prepared a beautiful forest
known by the name of the Floating Hermitage. The king, however, kept that
only son of Vibhandaka within that part of the palace destined for the
females when of a sudden he beheld that rain was poured by the heavens
and that the world began to be flooded with water. And Lomapada, the
desire of his heart fulfilled, bestowed his daughter Santa on
Rishyasringa in marriage. And with a view to appease the wrath of his
father, he ordered kine to be placed, and fields to be ploughed, by the
road that Vibhandaka was to take, in order to come to his son. And the
king also placed plentiful cattle and stout cowherds, and gave the latter
the following order:

“When the great saint Vibhandaka should enquire of you about his son, ye
must join your palms and say to him that these cattle, and these ploughed
fields belong to his son and that ye are his slaves, and that ye are
ready to obey him in all that he might bid.’ Now the saint, whose wrath
was fierce, came to his hermitage, having gathered fruits and roots and
searched for his son. But not finding him he became exceedingly wroth.
And he was tortured with anger and suspected it to be the doing of the
king. And therefore, he directed his course towards the city of Champa
having made up his mind to burn the king, his city, and his whole
territory. And on the way he was fatigued and hungry, when he reached
those same settlements of cowherds, rich with cattle. And he was honoured
in a suitable way by those cowherds and then spent the night in a manner
befitting a king. And having received very great hospitality from them,
he asked them, saying, ‘To whom, O cowherds, do ye belong?’ Then they all
came up to him and said, ‘All this wealth hath been provided for thy
son.’ At different places he was thus honoured by that best of men, and
saw his son who looked like the god Indra in heaven. And he also beheld
there his daughter-in-law, Santa, looking like lightning issuing from a
(cloud). And having seen the hamlets and the cowpens provided for his son
and having also beheld Santa, his great resentment was appeased. And O
king of men! Vibhandaka expressed great satisfaction with the very ruler
of the earth. And the great saint, whose power rivalled that of the sun
and the god of fire, placed there his son, and thus spake, ‘As soon as a
son is born to thee, and having performed all that is agreeable to the
king, to the forest must thou come without fail.’ And Rishyasringa did
exactly as his father said, and went back to the place where his father
was. And, O king of men! Santa obediently waited upon him as in the
firmament the star Rohini waits upon the Moon, or as the fortunate
Arundhati waits upon Vasishtha, or as Lopamudra waits upon Agastya. And
as Damayanti was an obedient wife to Nala, or as Sachi is to the god who
holdeth the thunderbolt in his hand or as Indrasena, Narayana’s daughter,
was always obedient to Mudgala, so did Santa wait affectionately upon
Rishyasringa, when he lived in the wood. This is the holy hermitage which
belonged to him. Beautifying the great lake here, it bears holy fame.
Here perform thy ablutions and have thy desire fulfilled. And having
purified thyself, direct thy course towards other holy spots,'”


(Tirtha-yatra Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then, O Janamejaya, the son of Pandu started from
the river Kausiki and repaired in succession to all the sacred shrines.
And, O protector of men, he came to the sea where the river Ganga falls
into it; and there in the centre of five hundred rivers, he performed the
holy ceremony of a plunge. Then, O ruler of the earth, accompanied by his
brothers, the valiant prince proceeded by the shore of the sea towards
the land where the Kalinga tribes dwell.”

“Lomasa said, ‘There is the land, O Kunti’s son, where the Kalinga tribes
dwell. Through it passeth the river Vaitarani, on the banks whereof even
the god of virtue performed religious river, having first placed himself
under the protection of the celestials. Verily, this is the northern
bank, inhabited by saints, suitable for the performance of religious
rites beautified by a hill, and frequented by persons of the regenerate
caste. This spot (in holiness) rivals the path whereby a virtuous man,
fit for going to heaven, repairs to the region inhabited by gods. And
verily at this spot in former times, other saints likewise worshipped the
immortals by the performance of religious rites. And at the very spot it
was that the god Rudra, O king of kings, seized the sacrificial beast and
exclaimed, ‘This is my share!’ O chief of the descendants of Bharata,
then when the beast was carried away by Siva, the gods spake to him
saying, ‘Cast not a covetous glance at the property of others,
disregarding all the righteous rules.’ Then they addressed words of
glorification of a pleasing kind to the god Rudra. And they satisfied him
by offering a sacrifice, and paid him suitable honours. Thereupon he gave
up the beast, and went by the path trodden by the gods. Thereupon what
happened to Rudra, learn from me, O Yudhishthira! Influenced by the dread
of Rudra, the gods set apart for evermore, the best allotment out of all
shares, such as was fresh and not stale (to be appropriated by the god).
Whosoever performs his ablutions at this spot, while reciting this
ancient story, beholds with his mortal eyes the path that leads to the
region of the gods.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then all the sons of Pandu and likewise the daughter
of Drupada–all of whom were the favoured of Fate–descended to the river
Vaitarani, and made libations to the names of their fathers.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Lomasa, how great must be the force of a pious
deed! Having taken my bath at this spot in a proper form, I seem to touch
no more the region inhabited by mortal men! O saint of a virtuous life, I
am beholding all the regions. And this is the noise of the magnanimous
dwellers of the wood, who are reciting their audible prayers.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O Yudhishthira, the place whence this noise comes and
reaches thy ears is at the distance of three hundred thousand yojanas, to
be sure. O lord of men, rest thou quiet and utter no word. O king, this
is the divine forest of the Self-existent One, which hath now come to our
view. There, O king, Viswakarma of a dreaded name performed religious
rites. On the mighty occasion of that sacrifice, the Self-existent One
made a gift of this entire earth with all its hilly and forest tracts, to
Kasyapa, by way of gratuity, for ministering as a priest. And then, O
Kuru’s son, as soon as that goddess Earth was giving away, she became sad
at heart, and wrathfully spake the following words to that great lord,
the ruler of the worlds, ‘O mighty god, it is unworthy of thee to give me
away to an ordinary mortal. And this act of gift on thy part will come to
nothing; (for) here am I going to descend into the bottom of the nether
world.’ Then when the blessed saint Kasyapa beheld the goddess Earth,
despondent and sad, he, O protector of men, performed a propitiatory act
calculated to appease her wrath. And then, O Pandu’s son, the Earth was
pleased with his pious deed. And she uprose again from within the waters,
and showed herself in the form of a sacred altar. This, O king, is the
spot which distinctly manifests the form of an altar. O great monarch,
ascend over it, and thou wilt gain valour and strength. And, O king, this
is the very altar which reaches as far as the sea, and rests itself upon
its bosom. May good luck be thine, do thou mount hereupon, and of thyself
cross the sea. And while thou this day mountest upon it, I shall
administer the ceremony for averting all evil from thee; for this altar
here, as soon as it gets a mortal’s touch, at once enters into the sea.
Salutation to the god who protects the universe! Salutation to thee that
art beyond the universe! O Lord of gods, vouchsafe thy presence in this
sea. O Pandu’s son, thou must recite the following words of truth, and
while so reciting, thou must quickly ascend this altar, ‘The god of fire,
and the sun, and the organ of generation, and water, and goddess and the
seed of Vishnu, and the navel of nectar. The god of fire is the organ
that generated the (ocean); the earth is thy body; Vishnu deposited the
seed that caused thy being and thou art the navel of nectar.’ Thus, O
Pandu’s son, the words of truth must be audibly recited, and while so
reciting, one must plunge into the lord of rivers. O most praiseworthy of
Kunti’s son, otherwise this lord of waters of divine birth, this best
storehouse of the waters (of the earth), should not be touched, O son of
Kunti, even with the end of a sacred grass.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then when the ceremony for averting evil had been
completed in his behalf, the magnanimous Yudhishthira went into the sea,
and having performed all that the saint had bid, repaired to the skirts
of the Mahendra hill, and spent the night at that spot.'”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘The protector of the earth spent there a single
night, and with his brothers, paid the highest honours to the religious
men. And Lomasa made him acquainted with the names of all of them, such
as the Bhrigus, the Angiras, the Vasishthas, and the Kasyapas. And the
royal saint paid visit to them all and made obeisance to them with joined
palms. And then he asked the valiant Akritavrana, who was a follower of
Parasurama, when will the revered Parasurama show himself to the
religious men here? It is desired on that occasion to obtain a sight of
the descendant of Bhrigu.’

“Akritavrana said, ‘Thy journey to this spot is already known to Rama,
whose soul spontaneously knows everything. And he is in every way
well-pleased with thee, and he will show himself readily to thee. And the
saints who practise penances here, are permitted to see him on the
fourteenth and the eighth day of the lunar course. On the morrow at the
end of this very night there will set in the fourteenth day of the lunar
course. On that occasion thou wilt have a sight of him, clad in a sable
deerskin, and wearing his hair in the form of a matted mass.”

“Yudhishthira said, Thou hast been a follower of the mighty Rama,
Jamadagni’s son; thou must, therefore, have been the eye-witness of all
the deeds achieved by him in former days. I, therefore, request thee to
narrate to me how the members of the military caste were vanquished by
Rama on the field of battle, and what the original cause of those
conflicts was.’

“Akritavrana said, ‘With pleasure shall I recite to thee that excellent
story, O Bharata’s son, O chief of kings, the story of the godlike deeds
of Rama, the son of Jamadagni, who traced his origin to Bhrigu’s race. I
shall also relate the achievements of the great ruler of the Haihaya
tribe. That king, Arjuna by name, the mighty lord of the Haihaya tribe
was killed by Rama. He, O Pandu’s son, was endued with a thousand arms;
and by the favour of Dattatreya he likewise had a celestial car made of
gold. And, O protector of the earth, his rule extended over the entire
animated world, wheresoever located on this earth. And the car of that
mighty monarch could proceed everywhere in an unobstructed course. And
grown resistless by the virtue of a granted boon, he ever mounted on that
car, trampled upon gods and Yakshas and saints on all sides round. And
all the born beings wheresoever placed, were harassed by him. Then the
celestials and the saints of a rigidly virtuous life, met together, and
thus spake to Vishnu, the god of gods, the slayer of demons, and
possessed of prowess that never failed, saying. ‘O blessed and revered
lord, for the purpose of preserving all the born beings, it is necessary
that Arjuna should be killed by thee.’ And the mighty ruler of the
Haihaya tribe placing himself on his celestial car, affronted Indra,
while that deity was enjoying himself with Sachi, his queen. Then, O
Bharata’s son, the blessed and the revered god (Vishhnu) held a
consultation with Indra, with a view to destroying Kartavirya’s son. And
on that occasion, all that was for the good of the world of beings, was
communicated by the lord of gods; and the blessed god worshipped by the
world, to do all that was necessary, went to the delightful Vadari wood
which was his own chosen retreat for practising penances. And at this
very time there lived on the earth a mighty monarch in the land of
Kanyakuvja, a sovereign whose military force was exceedingly great. And
his name of Gadhi was famous in the world. He, however, betook himself to
a forest-life. And while he was dwelling in the midst of the wood, there
was born to him a daughter beautiful as a nymph of heaven. And Richika,
the son of Bhrigu, asked for her to be united with himself in marriage.
And then Gadhi spake to that Brahmana, who led a rigidly austere life,
saying. There is a certain family custom in our race; it hath been
founded by my ancestors of a bygone age. And, O most excellent of the
sacerdotal caste, be it known to thee that the intending bridegroom must
offer a dowry consisting of a thousand fleet steeds, whose colour must be
brown and every one of whom must possess a single sable car. But, O
Bhrigu’s son, a reverend saint like thee cannot be asked to offer the
same. Nor can my daughter be refused to a magnanimous saint of thy
(exalted) rank.’ Thereupon Richika said, ‘I will give thee a thousand
fleet steeds, brown in hue and possessing a single sable car; let thy
daughter be given in marriage to me.’

“Akritavrana said. Thus having given his word, O king, he went and said
to Varuna, ‘Give me a thousand fleet steeds brown in colour, and each
with one black ear. I want the same as dowry for my marriage.’ To him
Varuna forthwith gave a thousand steeds. Those steeds had issued out of
the river Ganga; hence the spot hath been named: The horse’s landing
place. And in the city of Kanyakuvja, the daughter of Gadhi, Satyavati by
name, was given in marriage; and the gods themselves were of the party of
the bride. Richika, the most excellent of the sacerdotal caste, thus
procured a thousand steeds, and had a sight of the dwellers of heaven and
won a wife in the proper form. And he enjoyed himself with the girl of
slender waist, and thus gratified all the wishes and desire that he ever
had. And when the marriage had been celebrated, O king, his father Bhrigu
came on a visit to see him and his wife; and he was glad to see his
praiseworthy son. And the husband and wife together paid their best
respects to him, who was worshipped by all the gods. And when he had
seated himself, they both with joined palms, stood near him, in order
that they might to his bidding. And then the revered saint, Bhrigu, glad
at heart, thus spoke to his daughter-in-law, saying, ‘O lovely daughter,
as for a boon I am ready to grant thee any object of thy wish.’ And there
upon she asked for his favour in this, that a son might be born to both
herself and her mother. And he vouchsafed the favour thus asked for.’

“Bhrigu said, ‘During the days that your season lasts, thou and thy
mother must take a bath, with the ceremony for bringing forth a male
child. And ye two must then separately embrace two different trees–she a
peepal tree, and thou a fig tree. And, O dutiful girl, here are two pots
of rice and milk, prepared by me with the utmost care. I having ransacked
the whole universe to find the drugs, the essence whereof hath been
blended with this milk and rice. It must be taken as food with the
greatest care.’ And saying this, he vanished from sight. The two ladies,
however, made an interchange both in the matter of the pots of rice, and
likewise as regards the trees (to be embraced by each). Then after the
lapse of very many days, the revered saint, once more came. And he came
knowing (what had happened) by his attribute of divine knowledge. Then
Bhrigu possessed of mighty strength, spake to Satyavati, his
daughter-in-law, saying, ‘O dutiful girl! O my daughter of a lovely brow,
the wrong pot of rice thou tookest as food. And it was the wrong tree
which was embraced by thee. It was thy mother who deluded thee. A son
will be born of thee, who, though of the priestly caste, will be of a
character fit for the military order; while a mighty son will be born of
thy mother, who, though by birth a Kshatriya will assume a life suitable
to the sacerdotal order. And his power will be great, and he will walk on
the path trodden by righteous men.’ Then she entreated her father-in-law
again and again, saying, ‘Let not my son be of this character; but let my
grandson be such.’ And, O Pandu’s son, he replied, ‘So let it be!’ And
thus he was pleased to grant her prayer. Then she brought forth on the
expected day a son by name Jamadagni. And this son of Bhrigu was endowed
with both splendour and grace. And he grew in years and in strength, and
excelled he other saints in the proficiency of his Vaidik lore. O
chieftain of Bharata’s race, to him, rivalling in lustre the author of
light (the sun), came spontaneously and without instruction the knowledge
of the entire military art and of the fourfold missile arms.'”


“Akritavrana said, ‘Jamadagni devoted himself to the study of the Veda
and the practice of sacred penances, and became famous for his great
austerities. Then he pursued a methodical course of study and obtained a
mastery over the entire Veda. And, O king, he paid a visit to Prasenajit
and solicited the hand of Renuka in marriage. And this prayer was granted
by the king. And the delight of Bhrigu’s race having thus obtained Renuka
for his wife, took his residence with her in a hermitage, and began to
practice penances, being assisted by her. And four boys were born of her,
with Rama for the fifth. And although the youngest, Rama was superior to
all in merit. Now once upon a time, when her sons had gone out for the
purpose of gathering fruits, Renuka who had a pure and austere life, went
out to bathe. And, O king, while returning home, she happened to cast her
glance towards the king of Martikavata, known by the name of Chitraratha.
The king was in the water with his wives, and wearing on his breast a
lotus wreath, was engaged in sport. And beholding his magnificent form,
Renuka was inspired with desire. And this unlawful desire she could not
control, but became polluted within the water, and came back to the
hermitage frightened at heart. Her husband readily perceived what state
she was in. And mighty and powerful and of a wrathful turn of mind, when
he beheld that she had been giddy and that the lustre of chastity had
abandoned her, he reproached her by crying out ‘Fie!’ At that very moment
came in the eldest of Jamadagni’s sons, Rumanvan; and then, Sushena, and
then, Vasu, and likewise, Viswavasu. And the mighty saint directed them
all one by one to put an end to the life of their mother. They, however,
were quite confounded and lost heart. And they could not utter a single
word. Then he in ire cursed them. And on being cursed they lost their
sense and suddenly became like inanimate objects, and comparable in
conduct to beasts and birds. And then Rama, the slayer of hostile heroes,
came to the hermitage, last of all. Him the mighty-armed Jamadagni, of
great austerities, addressed, saying, ‘Kill this wicked mother of thine,
without compunction, O my son.’ Thereupon Rama immediately took up an axe
and therewith severed his mother’s head. Then, O great king, the wrath of
Jamadagni of mighty soul, was at once appeased; and well-pleased, he
spake the following words, ‘Thou hast, my boy, performed at my bidding
this difficult task, being versed in virtue. Therefore, whatsoever wishes
there may be in thy heart, I am ready to grant them all. Do thou ask me.’
Thereupon Rama solicited that his mother might be restored to life, and
that he might not be haunted by the remembrance of this cruel deed and
that he might not be affected by any sin, and that his brothers might
recover their former state, and that he might be unrivalled on the field
of battle, and that he might obtain long life. And, O Bharata’s son,
Jamadagni, whose penances were the most rigid, granted all those desires
of his son. Once, however, O lord, when his sons had gone out as before,
the valourous son of Kartavirya, the lord of the country near the shore
of the sea, came up to the hermitage. And when he arrived at that
hermitage, the wife of the saint received him hospitably. He, however,
intoxicated with a warrior’s pride, was not at all pleased with the
reception accorded to him, and by force and in defiance of all
resistance, seized and carried off from that hermitage the chief of the
cows whose milk supplied the sacred butter, not heeding the loud lowing
of the cow. And he wantonly pulled down the large trees of the wood. When
Rama came home, his father himself told him all that had happened. Then
when Rama saw how the cow was lowing for its calf, resentment arose in
his heart. And he rushed towards Kartavirya’s son, whose last moments had
drawn nigh. Then the descendant of Bhrigu, the exterminator of hostile
heroes, put forth his valour on the field of battle, and with sharpened
arrows with flattened tips, which were shot from a beautiful bow, cut
down Arjuna’s arms, which numbered a thousand, and were massive like
(wooden) bolts for barring the door. He, already touched by the hand of
death, was overpowered by Rama, his foe. Then the kinsmen of Arjuna,
their wrath excited against Rama, rushed at Jamadagni in his hermitage,
while Rama was away. And they slew him there; for although his strength
was great, yet being at the time engaged in penances, he would not fight.
And while thus attacked by his foes, he repeatedly shouted the name of
Rama in a helpless and piteous way. And, O Yudhishthira, the sons of
Kartavirya shot Jamadagni, with their arrows, and having thus chastised
their foe, went their way. And when they had gone away, and when
Jamadagni had breathed his last, Rama, the delight of Bhrigu’s race,
returned to the hermitage, bearing in his arms, fuel for religious rites.
And the hero beheld his father who had been put to death. And grieved
exceedingly he began to bewail the unworthy fate that had laid his father


“Rama said, ‘The blame is mine, O father, that like a stag in the wood,
thou hast been shot dead with arrows, by those mean and stupid
wretches–the sons of Kartavirya. And O father, virtuous and unswerving
from the path of righteousness and inoffensive to all animated beings as
thou wert, how came it to be permitted by Fate that thou shouldst die in
this way? What an awful sin must have been committed by them, who have
killed thee with hundreds of sharpened shafts, although thou wert an aged
man, and engaged in penances at the time and absolutely averse to
fighting with them. With what face will those shameless persons speak of
this deed of theirs to their friends and servants, viz., that they have
slain an unassisted and unresisting virtuous man?–O protector of men,
thus he, great in penance, bewailed much in a piteous manner, and then
performed the obsequies of his departed sire. And Rama, the conqueror of
hostile cities, cremated his father on the funeral pyre, and vowed, O
scion of Bharata’s race, the slaughter of the entire military caste, and
of exceeding strength in the field of battle, and possessed of valour
suited to a heroic soul, and comparable to the god of death himself, he
took up his weapon in wrathful mood, and singlehanded put Kartavirya’s
sons to death. And, O chieftain of the military caste, Rama, the leader
of all capable of beating their foes, thrice smote down all the
Kashatriya followers of Kartavirya’s sons. And seven times did that
powerful lord exterminate the military tribes of the earth. In the tract
of land, called Samantapanchaka five lakes of blood were made by him.
There the mightiest scion of Bhrigu’s race offered libations to his
forefathers–the Bhrigus, and Richika appeared to him in a visible form,
and spake to him words of counsel. Then the son of Jamadagni of dreaded
name, performed a mighty sacrifice and gratified the lord of the
celestials, and bestowed the earth to the ministering priests. And, O
protector of human beings, he raised an altar made of gold, ten Vyamas in
breadth and nine in height, and made a gift of the same to the
magnanimous Kasyapa. Then at Kasyapa’s bidding the Brahamanas divided the
altar into a number of shares, and thus they became reputed as the
Khandavayamas (share takers). And the exterminator of the military race
possessed of immense strength, bestowed the earth upon the high-souled
Kasyapa, and then became engaged in penance of an exceedingly severe
form. He now dwells in this Mahendra, monarch of hills. Thus did
hostilities arise between him and the members of the military caste,–all
of them who dwell on this earth; and Rama, endowed with immense strength,
in this way subdued the entire world.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then on the fourteenth day of the moon, the
mighty-souled Rama at the proper hour showed himself to those members of
the priestly caste and also to the virtuous king (Yudhishthira) and his
younger brothers. And, O king of kings, the lord together with his
brothers, worshipped Rama, and, O most righteous of the rulers of men,
the very highest honours were paid by him to all those members of the
twice-born class. And after worshipping Jamadagni’s son and having
received words of praise from him, at his direction he spent the night on
the Mahendra hill, and then started on his journey towards the southern


Vaisampayana said, “The magnanimous monarch pursued his journey, and at
different spots on the shore of the sea visited the various bathing
places, all sacred and pleasant and frequented by men of the sacerdotal
caste. And O son of Parikshit! He in proper form took his bath in them
together with his younger brothers and then went to an excellent river,
the holiest of all. There also the magnanimous king, took his plunge, and
offered libations to his forefathers and the gods, and distributed riches
to the leaders of the twice-born class. Then he went to the Godavari, a
river that falls directly into the sea. There he was freed from his sins.
And he reached the sea in the Dravida land, and visited the holy spot
passing under Agastya’s name, which was exceedingly sacred and
exceptionally pure. And the valiant king visited the feminine sacred
spots. Here he listened to the story of that well-known feat which was
achieved by Arjuna, chief of all wielders of the bow, and which was
beyond the power of human beings to perform. And here he was praised by
the highest members of the saintly class, and the son of Pandu
experienced the greatest delight. And, O protector of the earth! the
ruler of the world, accompanied by Krishna bathed in those holy spots,
and speaking of Arjuna’s valour in laudatory terms delightfully spent his
time in the place. Then he gave away thousands of cows at those holy
spots on the coast of the sea; and with his brothers narrated well
pleased how Arjuna had made a gift of kine. And he, O king! visited one
by one those holy places on the coast of the sea and many other sacred
spots, and thus fulfilled his heart’s desire, till he came to the holiest
of all known by the name of Suparaka. Then having crossed a certain tract
on the coast of the sea, he reached a forest celebrated on earth. There
the deities had practised asceticism in former days, and likewise
virtuous rulers of men had performed sacrificial rites. There he,
possessed of long and lusty arms, beheld the celebrated altar of
Richika’s son, who was the foremost of all wielders of the bow. And the
altar was girt round by hosts of ascetics, and was fit to be worshipped
by persons of a virtuous life. Then the king beheld the holy and
delightful shrines of all the gods and of the Vasus, and of the hosts of
wind and of the two celestial physicians and of Yama, son of the sun and
of the lord of riches, and of Indra, and of Vishnu, and of the lord
Creator and of Siva, and of the moon, and of the author of day, and of
the lord of waters, and of the host of Sadhyas, and of Brahma, and of the
forefathers, and of Rudra together with all his followers, and of the
goddess of learning, and of the host of Siddhas, and of many immortal
holy gods besides. And in those shrines the king observed various fasts,
and gave away large quantities of gems. He plunged his body in all the
holy spots, and then came again to Surparaka. And he by the same
landing-place of the sea again proceeded with his uterine brothers and
came over to the holy spot Prabhasa, whereof fame hath been spread by
mighty Brahmanas throughout the world. There he, possessed of a pair of
large red eyes, washed himself with all his younger brothers, and offered
libations to the forefathers and the celestial hosts; and so did Krishna
and all those Brahmanas together with Lomasa. For twelve days he
subsisted upon air and water. And he performed ablutions for days and
nights and surrounded himself with fires kindled on all sides. Thus that
greatest of all virtuous men engaged himself in asceticism. While he was
acting thus, information reached both Valarama and Krishna that the king
was practising penances of a most austere form and these two leaders of
the entire Vrishni tribe accompanied with troops came to Yudhishthira of
Ajamidha’s race. And when the Vrishnis beheld that the sons of Pandu lay
down on the ground, their bodies besmeared all over with dirt and when
they beheld the daughter of Drupada in a sad state, their grief was great
and they could not refrain from breaking out in loud lamentations. Then
the king, whose courage was such that misfortune never could cast him
down, cordially met Rama and Krishna and Samva, Krishna’s son, and the
grand-son of Sini and other Vrishnis, and paid honour to them in a
suitable form. And they also in return paid honour to all the sons of
Pritha, and were similarly honoured by Pandu’s sons. And they seated
themselves round about Yudhishthira, as round Indra, O king! are seated
the celestial hosts. And highly pleased, he recounted to them all the
machinations of his adversaries, and how also he had resided in the
forest, and how Arjuna had gone to Indra’s abode in order to learn the
science of arms–all this he related with a gladdened heart. And they
were happy to learn all this news from him; but when they saw the
Pandavas so exceedingly lean, the majestic and magnanimous Vrishnis could
not forbear shedding tears, which spontaneously gushed from their eyes on
account of the agony they felt.”


Janamejaya said, “O thou of ascetic wealth! when the sons of Pandu and
the Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, what did they do and what
conversation was held there by them, for all of them were of mighty
souls, proficient in all the branches of science and both the Vrishnis
and the sons of Pandu held one another in friendly estimation.”

Vaisampayana said, “When the Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, the
sacred landing-place on the coast of the sea, they surrounded the sons of
Pandu and waited upon them. Then Valarama, resembling in hue the milk of
the cow and the Kunda flower and the moon and the silver and the lotus
root and who wore a wreath made of wild flowers and who had the
ploughshare for his arms, spake to the lotuseyed one, saying, ‘O Krishna,
I do not see that the practice of virtue leads to any good or that
unrighteous practices can cause evil, since the magnanimous Yudhishthira
is in this miserable state, with matted hair, a resident of the wood, and
for his garment wearing the bark of trees. And Duryodhana is now ruling
the earth, and the ground doth not yet swallow him up. From this, a
person of limited sense would believe a vicious course of life is
preferable to a virtuous one. When Duryodhana is in a flourishing state
and Yudhishthira, robbed of his throne, is suffering thus, what should
people do in such a matter?–This is the doubt that is now perplexing all
men. Here is the lord of men sprung from the god of virtue, holding fast
to a righteous path, strictly truthful and of a liberal heart. This son
of Pritha would give up his kingdom and his pleasure but would not swerve
from the righteous path, in order to thrive. How is it that Bhishma and
Kripa and the Brahmana Drona and the aged king, the senior member of the
house, are living happily, after having banished the sons of Pritha? Fie
upon the vicious-minded leaders of Bharata’s race! What will that sinner,
the chieftain of the earth, say to the departed forefathers of his race,
when the wretch will meet them in the world to come? Having hurled from
the throne his in-offensive sons, will he be able to declare that he had
treated them in a blameless way? He doth not now see with his mind’s eye
how he hath become so sightless, and on account of what act he hath grown
blind among the kings of this entire earth. Is it not because he hath
banished Kunit’s son from his kingdom? I have no doubt that
Vichitravirya’s son, when he with his sons perpetrated this inhuman act,
beheld on the spot where dead bodies are burnt, flowering trees of a
golden hue. Verily he must have asked them, when those stood before him
with their shoulders projected forward towards him, and with their large
red eyes staring at him, and he must have listened to their evil advice,
since he fearlessly sent away Yudhishthira to the forest, who had all his
weapons of war with him and was borne company by his younger brothers.
This Bhima here, whose voracious appetite is like that of a wolf, is able
to destroy with the sole strength of his powerful arms, and without the
help of any weapons of war, a formidable array of hostile troops. The
forces in the field of battle were utterly unmanned on hearing his
war-cry. And now the strong one is suffering from hunger and thirst, and
is emaciated with toilsome journeys. But when he will take up in his hand
arrows and diverse other weapons of war, and meet his foes in the field
of battle, he will then remember the sufferings of his exceedingly
miserable forest-life, and kill his enemies to a man: of a certainty do I
anticipate this. There is not throughout the whole world a single soul
who can boast of strength and prowess equal to his. And his body, alas!
is emaciated with cold, and heat and winds. But when he will stand up for
fight, he will not leave a single man out of his foes. This powerful
hero, who is a very great warrior when mounted on a car–this Bhima, of
appetite rivalling a wolf’s conquered single-handed all the rulers of men
in the east, together with, those who followed them in battle; and he
returned from those wars safe and uninjured. And that same Bhima,
miserably dressed in the bark of trees, is now leading a wretched life in
the woods. This powerful Sahadeva vanquished all the kings in the south;
those lords of men who had gathered on the coast of the sea,–look at him
now in an anchorite’s dress. Valiant in battle Nakula vanquished
single-handed the kings who ruled the regions towards the west,–and he
now walks about the wood, subsisting on fruit and roots, with a matted
mass of hair on the head, and his body besmeared all over with dirt. This
daughter of a king, who is a great soldier when mounted on a car, took
her rise from beneath the altar, during the pomp of sacrificial rites.
She hath been always accustomed to a life of happiness; how is she now
enduring this exceedingly miserable life in this wood! And the son of the
god of virtue,–virtue which stands at the head of all the there pursuits
of life–and the son of the wind-god and also the son of the lord of
celestials, and those two sons of the celestial physicians,–being the
sons of all those gods and always accustomed to a life of happiness, how
are they living in this wood, deprived of all comforts? When the son of
Virtue met with defeat, and when his wife, his brothers, his followers,
and himself were all driven forth, and Duryodhana began to flourish, why
did not the earth subside with all its hills?”


Satyaki said, “O Rama! this is not the time of lamentation; let us do
that which is proper and suited to the present occasion, although
Yudhishthira doth not speak a single word. Those who have persons to look
after their welfare do not undertake anything of themselves; they have
others to do their work, as Saivya and others did for Yayati. Likewise, O
Rama! those who have appointed functionaries to undertake their work on
their own responsibility, as the leaders of men, they may be said to have
real patrons, and they meet with no difficulty, like helpless beings. How
is it that when the sons of Pritha have for their patrons these two men,
Rama and Krishna, and the two others, Pradyumna and Samva, together with
myself,–these patrons being able to protect all the three worlds,–how
is it that the son of Pritha is living in the wood with his brothers? It
is fit that this very day the army of the Dasarhas should march out,
variously armed and with checkered mails. Let Dhritarashtra’s sons be
overwhelmed with the forces of the Vrishinis and let them go with their
friends to the abode of the god of death. Let him alone who wields the
bow made of the horn (Krishna), thou alone, if roused, wouldst be able to
surround even the whole of this earth. I ask thee to kill Dhritarashtra’s
son with all his men, as the great Indra, the lord of the gods kill
Vritra. Arjuna, the son of Pritha, is my brother, and also my friend, and
also my preceptor, and is like the second self of Krishna. It is for this
that men desire for a worthy son, and that preceptor seeks a pupil who
would contradict him not. It is for this that the time is come for that
excellent work, which is the best of all tasks and difficult to perform.
I shall baffle Duryodhana’s volleys of arms by my own excellent weapons.
I shall overpower all in the field of battle. I shall in my wrath cut off
his head with my excellent shafts, little inferior to snakes and poison
and fire. And with the keen edge of my sword, I shall forcibly sever his
head from the trunk, in the field of battle; then I shall kill his
followers, and Duryodhana, and all of Kuru’s race. O son of Rohini! let
the followers of Bhima look at me with joy at their heart, when I shall
keep up the weapons of war in the field of battle, and when I shall go on
slaying all the best fighting men on the side of the Kurus, as at the end
of time fire will burn vast heaps of straw. Kripa and Drona and Vikarna
and Kama are not able to bear the keen arrows shot by Pradyumna. I know
the power of Arjuna’s son–he conducts himself like the son of Krishna in
the field of battle. Let Samva chastise by the force of his arms
Dussasana; let him destroy by force Dussasana and his charioteer and his
car. In the field of battle when the son of Jamvavati becomes
irresistible in fight, there is nothing which can withstand his force.
The army of the demon Samvara was speedily routed by him when only a boy.
By him was killed in fight Asvachakra, whose thighs were round, and whose
muscular arms were of exceeding length. Who is there that would be able
to go forward to the car of Samva, who is great in fight, when mounted on
a car? As a mortal coming under the clutches of death can never escape;
so who is there that once coming under his clutches in the field of
battle, is able to return with his life? The son of Vasudeva will burn
down by the volleys of his fiery shafts all the hostile troops, and those
two warriors, Bhishma and Drona,–who are great on a car, and Somadatta
surrounded by all his sons. What is there in all the world including the
gods, which Krishna cannot encounter on an equal footing, when he takes
up the weapons of war, wields in his hands excellent arrows, arms himself
with his dice, and thus becomes unrivalled in fight? Then let Aniruddha
also take up in his hand his buckler and sword, and let him cover the
surface of the earth with Dhritarashtra’s sons, their heads separated
from their trunks, their bodies devoid of all consciousness as in a
sacrificial rite the altar is overspread with sacred grass placed upon
the same. And Gada and Uluka, and Vahuka and Bhanu and Nitha and the
young Nishatha valiant in battle and Sarana, and Charudeshna,
irresistible in war, let them perform feats befitting their race. Let the
united army of the Satwatas and Suras, together with the best soldiers of
the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, and the Andhakas, kill those sons of
Dhritarashtra in the field of battle and let them swell their expanded
fame throughout the world. Then let Abhimanyu rule the world so long as
this most excellent of virtuous men, the magnanimous Yudhishthira, may be
engaged in fulfilling his vow,–the vow that was accepted and declared by
him, the most righteous of Kuru’s race, on the occasion of the famous
play at dice. Afterwards the virtuous king will protect the earth, all
his foes defeated in battle by shafts which will be discharged by us.
Then there will remain no sons of Dhritarashtra on earth,–nor the son of
the charioteer (Kama). This is the most important work for us to do, and
this will surely lead to fame.”

“Krishna said, ‘O scion of the race of Madhu! no doubt what thou sayest
is true; we accept thy words, O thou of courage that is never weak! But
this bull of the Kuru race (Yudhishthira) would never accept the
sovereignty of the earth, unless it were won by the prowess of his own
arms. Neither for the sake of pleasure, nor from fear, nor from
covetousness, would Yudhishthira ever renounce the rules of the caste;
nor would these two heroes, who are mighty, when mounted on a car–Bhima
and Arjuna; nor the twin brothers, nor Krishna, the daughter of Drupada.
He possessing the appetite of a wolf (Bhima), and the winner of riches
(Arjuna), are both unrivalled in fight throughout the world. And why
should not this king rule over the entire world when he hath the two sons
of Madri to espouse his cause? The high-souled ruler of Panchala together
with the Kekaya king, and we also should put forth our united strength,
and then would the enemies of Yudhisthira be annihilated.'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It is not strange that thou shouldst speak thus, O
scion of Madhu’s race! but to me truth seems to be the first
consideration, above that of my sovereign power itself. But it is Krishna
alone who precisely knoweth what I am; and it is I alone who precisely
know what Krishna (really) is. O thou endued with valour! O scion of
Madhu’s race! as soon as he will perceive that the time is come for feats
of bravery, then, O most valiant of Sini’s race, he also of beautiful
hair (Krishna) will defeat Suyodhana. Let the brave men of the Dasarha
race go back today. They are my patrons; and the foremost of human
beings, they have visited me here. O ye of immeasurable strength! never
fall off from the path of virtue. I shall see you again, when ye will be
happily gathered together.’

“Then after mutual greeting and obeisance to seniors, and having embraced
the youthful, those valiant men of the Yadu race and the sons of Pandu
separated. And the Yadus reunited to their home; and the Pandavas
continued their journey to the sacred spots. Then having parted with
Krishna, the virtuous king, accompanied by his brothers and servants, and
also by Lomasa, went to the sacred river Payosini. Its fine landing place
was constructed by the king of Vidarbha. And he began to dwell on the
banks of the Payosini, whose waters were mingled with the distilled Soma
juice. There the high-souled Yudhishthira was greeted with excellent
laudatory, terms by numerous leaders of the twice-born class, who were
delighted to see him there.”


Lomasa said, “O king! when the Nriga performed a sacrifice here, he
gratified Indra, the demolisher of hostile cities, by offering the Soma
juice. And Indra was refreshed and was very much pleased. Here the gods
together with Indira, and the protectors of all born beings, celebrated
sacrifices of various kinds on a large scale, and paid abundant
gratuities to the ministering priests. Here king Amurtarayasa, the lord
of the world, satisfied Indra, the holder of the thunderbolt, by the
offer of the Soma juice, when seven horse-sacrifices were performed by
that king. The articles which in other sacrificial rites are uniformly
made of the timber, wood and of earth, were all made of gold in the seven
sacrifices performed by him. And it is said that in all those rites,
seven sets of stakes, rings for the sacrificial stakes, spots, ladles,
utensils, spoons were prepared by him. On each sacrificial stake, seven
rings were fastened at the top. And, O Yudhishthira! the celestials
together with Indira, themselves erected the sacrificial stakes of
shining gold which had been prepared for his sacred rites. In all those
magnificent sacrifices instituted by Gaya, the protector of the earth,
Indira, was delighted by drinking the Soma juice, and the ministering
priests were gratified with the gratuities paid to them. And the priests
obtained untold wealth counted out to them. And as the sand-grains of the
earth, or as the stars in the sky, or as the rain-drops when it raineth,
cannot be counted by anyone, so the wealth Gaya gave away was incapable
of being counted by figures. So untold was the wealth, O great king! that
was given to the ministering priests in all those seven sacrifices that
even the above-mentioned objects might be counted by figures, but the
gratuities bestowed by him whose largeness exceeded all that was known
before were not capable of being counted by figures. And images of the
goddess of speech were made of gold by the sculptor of the gods;–and the
king gratified the members of the sacerdotal caste, who had arrived from
all the cardinal points, by making presents to them of those images, of
gold. O protector of men! when the high-souled Gaya performed his
sacrificial rites, he erected sacrificial piles at so many different
spots that but little space was left on the surface of the earth. And, O
scion of Bharata’s race! he by that sacred act attained the regions of
Indra. Whoever should bathe in the river, Payosini, would go to the
regions attained by Gaya. Therefore, O lord of kings! O unswerving
prince! thou and thy brothers should bathe in this river; then, O
protector of the earth, thou wilt be freed from all these sins.”

Vaisampayana said, “O most praiseworthy of men! Yudhishthira with his
brothers performed ablutions in the Payosini river. Then, O sinless
prince! the powerful monarch together with his brothers, journeyed to the
hill of sapphires and the great river Narmada. The blessed saint Lomasa
there named to him all the delightful holy spots and all the sacred
shrines of the celestials. Then he with his brothers visited those
places, according to his desire and convenience. And at various places
Brahmanas by thousands received gifts from him.”

“Lomasa said, ‘O son of Kunti! one who visits the sapphire Hill and
plunges his body in the river Narmada attains the regions inhabited by
the celestials and kings. O most praiseworthy of men! this period is the
junction between the Treta and the Kali age, O Kunti’s son! This is the
period when a person gets rid of all his sins. O respected sir! this is
the spot where Saryati performed sacrificial rites, wherein Indra
appeared in a visible form and drank the Soma juice, with the two
celestial physicians. And Bhrigu’s son of severe austerities conceived
anger towards the great Indra; and the mighty Chyavana paralysed Indra,
and for his wife obtained the princess, Sukanya.'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How was the chastiser of the demon Paka, the god
possessed of the six attributes, paralysed by Chyavana? And for what
reason did the mighty saint conceive wrath towards Indra? And how, O
Brahmana! did he raise the celestial physicians to the rank of the
drinkers of Soma? All this, precisely as it happened, thy venerable self
will be pleased to recount to me.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘A son was born to the great saint Bhrigu, Chyavana by
name. And he, of an exceedingly resplendent form, began to practise
austerities by the side of yonder lake. And, O Pandu’s son! O protector
of men! he of mighty energy assumed the posture called Vira, quiet and
still like an inanimate post, and for a long period, remained at the same
spot of ground. And he was turned into an anthill covered over with
creepers. And after the lapse of a long period, swarms of ants enveloped
him. And covered all over with ants, the sagacious saint looked exactly
like a heap of earth. And he went on practising austerities, enveloped on
all sides with that ant-hill. Now after the lapse of a long space of
time, that ruler of earth, Saryati by name, for amusement visited this
pleasant and excellent lake. With him were four thousand females,
espoused by him, O son of Bharata’s race! there was also his only
daughter endued with beautiful brows, named Sukanya. She surrounded by
her maids, and decked out with jewels fit for the celestials, while
walking about, approached the anthill where Bhrigu’s son was seated. And
surrounded by her maids, she began to amuse herself there, viewing the
beautiful scenery, and looking at the lofty trees of the wood. And she
was handsome and in the prime of her youth; and she was amorous and bent
on frolicking. And she began to break the twigs of the forest trees
bearing blossoms. And Bhrigu’s son endued with intelligence beheld her
wandering like lightning, without her maids, and wearing a single piece
of cloth and decked with ornaments. And seeing her in the lone forest,
that ascetic of exceeding effulgence was inspired with desire. And that
regenerate Rishi possessing ascetic energy, who had a low voice, called
the auspicious one,–but she heard him not. Then seeing the eyes of
Bhrigu’s son from the ant-hill, Sukanya from curiosity and losing her
sense, said, ‘What is this?’–and with thorns pierced the eyes (of the
Rishi). And as his eyes being pierced by her, he felt exceeding pain and
became wroth. And (from anger) he obstructed the calls of nature of
Saryati’s forces. And on their calls of nature being obstructed, the men
were greatly afflicted. And seeing this state of things, the king asked.
‘Who is it that hath done wrong to the illustrious son of Bhrigu, old and
ever engaged in austerities and of wrathful temper? Tell me quick if ye
know it’. The soldiers (thereupon) answered him saying, ‘We do not know
whether any one hath done wrong to the Rishi. Do thou, as thou list, make
a searching enquiry into the matter. Thereupon that ruler of earth, using
(as he saw occasion) both menace and conciliation, asked his friends
(about the circumstance). But they too did not know anything. Seeing that
the army was distressed owing to the obstruction of the calls of nature,
and also finding her father aggrieved, Sukanya said, ‘Roving in the
forest, I lighted in the ant-hill here upon some brilliant substance.
Thereupon taking it for a glow-worm I neared it, and pierced it (with
thorns); Hearing this Saryati immediately came to the ant-hill, and there
saw Bhrigu’s son, old both in years and austerities. Then the lord of
earth with joined hands, besought (the ascetic) saying, ‘It behoveth thee
to forgive what my daughter through ignorance and greenness, hath done
unto thee.” Chyavana the son of Bhrigu, addressed the monarch saying,
‘Disregarding me, this one, filled with pride hath pierced my eyes. Even
her, O king, endued with beauty and who was bereft of her senses by
ignorance and temptation–even thy daughter would I have for my bride, I
tell thee truly, on this condition alone will I forgive thee.’

Lomasa said, “Hearing the words of the sage, Saryati, without pausing,
bestowed his daughter on the high-souled Chyavana. Having received the
hand of that girl, the holy one was pleased with the king. And having won
the Rishi’s grace, the king went to his city, accompanied by his troops.
And the faultless Sukanya also having obtained that ascetic for her
husband, began to tend him, practising penances, and observing the
ordinance. And that one of a graceful countenance, and void of guile
worshipped Chyavana, and also ministered unto guests, and the sacred


“Lomasa said, ‘Once on a time, O king, those celestials, namely the twin
Aswins, happened to behold Sukanya, when she had (just) bathed, and when
her person was bare. And seeing that one of excellent limbs, and like
unto the daughter of the lord of celestials, the nose-born Aswins neared
her, and addressed her, saying, ‘O thou of shapely thighs, whose daughter
art thou? And what doest thou in this wood? O auspicious one, O thou of
excellent grace, we desire to know this, do thou therefore tell us.’
Thereupon she replied bashfully unto those foremost of celestials. ‘Know
me as Sarayati’s daughter, and Chyavana’s wife.’ Thereat the Aswins again
spake unto her, smiling. ‘What for, O fortunate one, hath thy father
bestowed thee on a person who is verging on death? Surely, O timid girl,
thou shinest in this wood like lightning. Not in the regions of the
celestials themselves, O girl, have our eyes lighted on thy like. O
damsel, unadornedand without gay robes as thou art, thou beautifiest this
wood exceedingly. Still, O thou of faultless limbs, thou canst not look
so beautiful, when (as at present) thou art soiled with mud and dirt, as
thou couldst, if decked with every ornament and wearing gorgeous apparel.
Why, O excellent girl in such plight servest thou a decrepit old husband,
and one that hath become incapable of realising pleasure and also of
maintaining thee, O thou of luminous smiles? O divinely beautiful damsel,
do thou, forsaking Chyavana accept one of us for husband. It behoveth
thee not to spend thy youth fruitlessly.'”

“Thus addressed Sukanya answered the celestials saying. ‘I am devoted to
my husband, Chyavana: do ye not entertain any doubts (regarding my
fidelity). Thereupon they again spake unto her, ‘We two are the celestial
physicians of note. We will make thy lord young and graceful. Do thou
then select one of us, viz., ourselves and thy husband,–for thy partner.
Promising this do thou, O auspicious one, bring hither thy husband.’ .. O
king, agreeably to their words she went to Bhrigu’s son and communicated
to him what the two celestials had said. Hearing her message, Chyavana
said unto his wife, ‘Do thou so.’ Having received the permission of her
lord, (she returned to the celestials) and said, ‘Do ye so.’ Then hearing
her words, viz., ‘Do ye so,’ they spoke unto the king’s daughter. ‘Let
thy husband enter into water.’ Thereat Chyavana desirous of obtaining
beauty, quickly entered into water. The twin Aswins also, O king, sank
into the sheet of water. And the next moment they all came out of the
tank in surpassingly beautiful forms, and young and wearing burnished
earrings. And all, possessed of the same appearance pleasing to behold,
addressed her saying, ‘O fortunate one, do thou choose one of us for
spouse. And O beauteous one, do thou select him for lord who may please
thy fancy.’ Finding, however, all of them of the same appearance she
deliberated; and at last ascertaining the identity of her husband, even
selected him.

“Having obtained coveted beauty and also his wife, Chyavana, of exceeding
energy, well pleased, spake these words unto the nose-born celestials:
‘Since at your hands, an old man, I have obtained youth, and beauty, and
also this wife of mine, I will, well pleased, make you quaffers of the
Soma juice in the presence of the lord of celestials himself. This I tell
you truly.’ Hearing this, highly delighted, the twins ascendedto heaven;
and Chyavana and Sukanya too passed their days happily even like


“Lomasa said, ‘Now the news came to Saryati that Chyavana had been turned
into a youth. And well pleased he came, accompanied by his troops, to the
hermitage of the son of Bhrigu. And he saw Chyavana and Sukanya, like two
children sprung from celestials, and his joy and that of his wife were as
great as if the king had conquered the entire world. And the ruler of
earth together with his wife was received honourably by that saint. And
the king seated himself near the ascetic, and entered into a delightful
conversation of an auspicious kind. Then, O king, the son of Bhrigu spake
to the king these words of a soothing nature: ‘I shall, O king, officiate
at a religious ceremony to be performed by thee: let the requisite
articles, therefore, be procured.’ Thereat, that protector of earth
Saryati, experienced the very height of joy, and O great king, he
expressed his approbation of the proposal made by Chyavana. And on an
auspicious day, suitable for the commencement of a sacrificial ceremony,
Saryati ordered the erection of a sacrificial shrine of an excellent
description and splendidly furnished with all desirable things. There
Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, officiated for the king as his priest. Now
listen to me relating the wonderful events which happened at that spot.
Chyavana took up a quantity of the Soma juice, in order that he might
offer the same to the Aswins, who were physicians to the celestials. And
while the saint was taking up the intended offering for those celestial
twins, Indra pronounced his interdiction, saying, These Aswins both of
them in my opinion have no right to receive an offering of the Soma
juice.’ They are the physicians of the celestials in heaven,–this
vocation of theirs hath disentitled them (in the matter of Soma).
Thereupon Chyavana said, ‘These two are of mighty enterprise, possessed
of mighty souls, and uncommonly endued with beauty and grace. And they, O
Indra, have converted me into an eternally youthful person, even like
unto a celestial. Why shouldst thou and the other celestials have a right
to the distilled Soma juice, and not they? O lord of the celestials, O
demolisher of hostile towns! be it known to thee that the Aswins also
rank as gods.’ At this, Indra spake saying, These two practise the
healing art,–so they are but servants. And assuming forms at their
pleasure they roam about in the world of mortal beings. How can they then
rightfully claim the juice of the Soma?

“Lomasa said, ‘When these very identical words were spoken again and
again by the lord of celestials, the son of Bhrigu, setting Indra at
naught, took up the offering he had intended to make. And as he was about
to take up an excellent portion of the Soma juice with the object of
offering it to the two Aswins, the destroyer of the demon Vala (Indra)
observed his act, and thus spoke unto him, ‘If thou take up the Soma with
a view to offering it to those celestials, I shall hurl at thee my
thunderbolt of awful form, which is superior to all the weapons that
exist.’ Thus addressed by Indra, the son of Bhrigu, cast at Indra a
smiling glance, and took up in due form a goodly quantity of the Soma
juice, to make an offering to the Aswins. Then Sachi’s lord hurled at him
the thunderbolt of awful form. And as he was about to launch it, his arm
was paralysed by Bhrigu’s son. And having paralysed his arm, Chyavana
recited sacred hymns, and made offering on the fire. His object gained,
he now attempted to destroy that celestial. Then by the virtue of that
saint’s ascetic energy, an evil spirit came into being,–a huge demon,
Mada by name, of great strength and gigantic proportions. And his body
was incapable of being measured either by demons or by gods. And his
mouth was terrible and of huge size, and with teeth of sharpened edge.
And one of his jaws rested on the earth, and the other stretched to
heaven. And he had four fangs, each extending as far as one hundred
yojanas, and his other fangs were extended to the distance of ten
yojanas, and were of a form resembling towers on a palace, and which
might be likened to the ends of spears. And his two arms were like unto
hills, and extended ten thousand yojanas, and both were of equal bulk.
And his two eyes resembled the sun and the moon; and his face rivalled
the conflagration at the universal dissolution. And he was licking his
mouth with his tongue, which, like lightning, knew no rest. And his mouth
was open, and his glance was frightful, and seemed as if he would
forcibly swallow up the world. The demon rushed at the celestial by whom
a hundred sacrifices had been performed. And his intent was to devour
that deity. And the world resounded with the loud and frightful sounds
uttered by the Asura.”


“Lomasa said, ‘When the god who had performed a hundred sacrifices
(Indra) beheld the demon Mada of a frightful mien, coming towards him
with open mouth, his intention being to devour him, and looking like the
god of death himself, while his own arms remained paralysed, he through
fear repeatedly licked the corners of his mouth. Then the lord of the
celestials, tortured with fright, spake to Chyavana saying, ‘O Bhrigu’s
son! O Brahmana! verily I tell thee as truth itself, that from this day
forward the two Aswins will be entitled to the Soma juice. Be merciful to
me! My undertaking can never come to naught. Let this be the rule. And I
know, O saint of the sacerdotal caste! that thy work can never come to
nothing. These two Aswins will have a right to drink the Soma juice,
since thou hast made them entitled to the same. And, O Bhrigu’s son, I
have done this but to spread the fame of thy powers, and my object was to
give thee an occasion for displaying thy powers. My other object was that
the fame of the father of this Sukanya here might spread everywhere.
Therefore be merciful to me: let it be as thou wishest.’ Being thus
addressed by Indra, the wrath of Chyavana of mighty soul was quickly
appeased, and he set free the demolisher of hostile cities (Indra). And
the powerful saint, O king! distributed Mada (literally intoxication),
and put it piece-meal in drinks, in women, in gambling, and in field
sports, even this same Mada who had been created repeatedly before.
Having thus cast down the demon Mada and gratified Indra with a Soma
draught and assisted king Saryati in worshipping all the gods together
with the two Aswins and also spread his fame for power over all the
worlds, the best of those endued with speech passed his days happily in
the wood, in the company of Sukanya, his loving wife. This is his lake,
shining, O king! and resounding with the voice of birds. Here must thou,
together with thy uterine brothers, offer libations of water to thy
forefathers and the gods. And, O ruler of earth! O scion of Bharata’s
race! having visited it and Sikataksha also, thou shalt repair to the
Saindhava wood, and behold a number of small artificial rivers. And O
great king, O scion of Bharata’s race! thou shalt touch the waters of all
the holy lakes and reciting the hymns of the god Sthanu (Siva), meet with
success in every undertaking. For this is the junction, O most
praiseworthy of men, of the two ages of the world, viz., Dwapara and
Treta. It is a time, O Kunti’s son! capable of destroying all the sins of
a person. Here do thou perform ablutions, for the spot is able to remove
all the sins of an individual. Yonder is the Archika hill, a dwelling
place for men of cultured minds. Fruits of all the seasons grow here at
all times and the streams run for ever. It is an excellent place fit for
the celestials. And there are the holy cairns of diverse forms, set up by
the celestials. O Yudhishthira! this is the bathing spot belonging to the
Moon. And the saints are in attendance here on all sides round–they are
the dwellers of the wood and the Valakhilyas, and the Pavakas, who
subsist on air only. These are three peaks and three springs. Thou mayst
walk round them all, one by one: then thou mayst wash thyself at
pleasure. Santanu, O king! and Sunaka the sovereign of men, and both Nara
and Narayana have attained everlasting regions from this place. Here did
the gods constantly lie down, as also the forefathers, together with the
mighty saints. In this Archika hill, they all carried on austerities.
Sacrifice to them, O Yudhishthira! Here did they, also the saints, eat
rice cooked in milk, O protector of men! And here is the Yamuna of an
exhaustless spring. Krishna here engaged himself in a life of penances, O
Pandu’s son. O thou that draggest the dead bodies of thy foes! the twin
brothers, and Bhimasena and Krishna and all of us will accompany thee to
this spot. O lord of men, this is the holy spring that belongeth to
Indra. Here the creative and the dispensing deity, and Varuna also rose
upwards, and here too they dwelt, O king! observing forbearance, and
possessed of the highest faith. This excellent and propitious hill is fit
for persons of a kindly and candid disposition. This is that celebrated
Yamuna, O king! frequented by hosts of mighty saints, the scene of
diverse religious rites, holy, and destructive of the dread of sin. Here
did Mandhata himself, of a mighty bow, perform sacrificial rites for the
gods; and so did Somaka, O Kunti’s son! who was the son of Sahadeva, and
a most excellent maker of gifts.


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O great Brahmana, how was that tiger among kings,
Mandhata, Yuvanaswa’s son, born,–even he who was the best of monarchs,
and celebrated over the three worlds? And how did he of unmeasured lustre
attain the very height of real power, since all the three worlds were as
much under his subjection, as they are under that of Vishnu of mighty
soul? I am desirous of hearing all this in connection with the life and
achievements of that sagacious monarch. I should also like to hear how
his name of Mandhata originated, belonging as it did to him who rivalled
in lustre Indra himself: and also how he of unrivalled strength was born,
for thou art skilled in the art of narrating events.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Hear with attention, O king! how the name of Mandhata
belonging to that monarch of mighty soul hath come to be celebrated
throughout all the worlds. Yuvanaswa, the ruler of the earth, was sprung
from Ikshvaku’s race. That protector of the earth performed many
sacrificial rites noted for magnificent gifts. And the most excellent of
all virtuous men performed a thousand times the ceremony of sacrificing a
horse. And he also performed other sacrifices of the highest order,
wherein he made abundant gifts. But that saintly king had no son. And he
of mighty soul and rigid vows made over to his ministers the duties of
the state, and became a constant resident of the woods. And he of
cultured soul devoted himself to the pursuits enjoined in the sacred
writ. And once upon a time, that protector of men, O king! had observed a
fast. And he was suffering from the pangs of hunger and his inner soul
seemed parched with thirst. And (in this state) he entered the hermitage
of Bhrigu. On that very night, O king of kings! the great saint who was
the delight of Bhrigu’s race, had officiated in a religious ceremony,
with the object that a son might be born to Saudyumni. O king of kings!
at the spot stood a large jar filled with water, consecrated with the
recitation of sacred hymns, and which had been previously deposited
there. And the water was endued with the virtue that the wife of
Saudyumni would by drinking the same, bring forth a god-like son. Those
mighty saints had deposited the jar on the altar and had gone to sleep,
having been fatigued by keeping up the night. And as Saudyumni passed
them by, his palate was dry, and he was suffering greatly from thirst.
And the king was very much in need of water to drink. And he entered that
hermitage and asked for drink. And becoming fatigued, he cried in feeble
voice, proceeding from a parched throat, which resembled the weak
inarticulate utterance of a bird. And his voice reached nobody’s ears.
Then the king beheld the jar filled with water. And he quickly ran
towards it, and having drunk the water, put the jar down. And as the
water was cool, and as the king had been suffering greatly from thirst,
the draught of water relieved the sagacious monarch and appeased his
thirst. Then those saints together with him of ascetic wealth, awoke from
sleep; and all of them observed that the water of the jar had gone.
Thereupon they met together and began to enquire as to who might have
done it. Then Yuvanaswa truthfully admitted that it was his act. Then the
revered son of Bhrigu spoke unto him, saying. ‘It was not proper. This
water had an occult virtue infused into it, and had been placed there
with the object that a son might be born to thee. Having performed severe
austerities, I infused the virtue of my religious acts in this water,
that a son might be born to thee. O saintly king of mighty valour and
physical strength! a son would have been born to thee of exceeding
strength and valour, and strengthened by austerities, and who would have
sent by his bravery even Indra to the abode of the god of death. It was
in this manner, O king! that this water had been prepared by me. By
drinking this water, O king, thou hast done what was not at all right.
But it is impossible now for us to turn back the accident which hath
happened. Surely what thou hast done must have been the fiat of Fate.
Since thou, O great king, being a thirst hast drunk water prepared with
sacred hymns, and filled with the virtue of my religious labours, thou
must bring forth out of thy own body a son of the character described
above. To that end we shall perform a sacrifice for thee, of wonderful
effect so that, valorous as thou art, thou wilt bring forth a son equal
to Indra. Nor with thou experience any trouble on account of the labour
pains.’ Then when one hundred years had passed away, a son shining as the
sun pierced the left side of the king endowed with a mighty soul, and
came forth. And the son was possessed of mighty strength. Nor did
Yuvanaswa die–which itself was strange. Then Indra of mighty strength
came to pay him a visit. And the deities enquired of the great Indra,
‘What is to be sucked by this boy?’ Then Indra introduced his own
forefinger into his mouth. And when the wielder of the thunderbolt said,
‘He will suck me,’ the dwellers of heaven together with Indra christened
the boy Mandhata, (literally, Me he shall suck). Then the boy having
tasted the forefinger extended by Indra, became possessed of mighty
strength, and he grew thirteen cubits, O king. And O great king! the
whole of sacred learning together with the holy science of arms, was
acquired by that masterful boy, who gained all that knowledge by the
simple and unassisted power of his thought. And all at once, the bow
celebrated under the name of Ajagava and a number of shafts made of horn,
together with an impenetrable coat of mail, came to his possession on the
very same day, O scion of Bharata’s race! And he was placed on the throne
by Indra himself and he conquered the three worlds in a righteous way, as
Vishnu did by his three strides. And the wheel of the car of that mighty
king as irresistible in its course (throughout the world). And the gems,
of their own accord, came into the possession of that saintly king. This
is the tract of land, O lord of earth, which belonged to him. It abounds
in wealth. He performed a number of sacrificial rites of various kinds,
in which abundant gratuities were paid to the priests. O king! he of
mighty force and unmeasured lustre, erected sacred piles, and performed
splendid pious deeds, and attained the position of sitting at Indra’s
side. That sagacious king of unswerving piety sent forth his fiat, and
simply by its virtue conquered the earth, together with the sea–that
source of gems–and all the cities (or [of?–JBH] the earth), O great
king! The sacrificial grounds prepared by him were to be found all over
the earth on all sides round–not a single spot, but was marked with the
same. O great king! the mighty monarch is said to have given to the
Brahmanas ten thousand padmas of kine. When there was a drought, which
continued for twelve consecutive years, the mighty king caused rain to
come down for the growth of crops, paying no heed to Indra, the wielder
of the thunder-bolt, who remained staring (at him). The mighty ruler of
the Gandhara land, born in the lunar dynasty of kings, who was terrible
like a a roaring cloud, was slain by him, who wounded him sorely with his
shafts. O king! he of cultured soul protected the four orders of people,
and by him of mighty force the worlds were kept from harm, by virtue of
his austere and righteous life. This is the spot where he, lustrous like
the sun, sacrificed to the god. Look at it! here it is, in the midst of
the field of the Kurus, situated in a tract, the holiest of all. O
preceptor of earth! requested by thee, I have thus narrated to thee the
great life of Mandhata, and also the way in which he was born, which was
a birth of an extraordinary kind.'”

Vaisampayana said, “O scion of Bharata’s race! Kunti’s son, thus
addressed by the mighty saint, Lomasa, immediately put fresh questions to
him, with regard to Somaka.”


Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of speakers! what was the extent of power and
strength possessed by king Somaka? I am desirous of hearing an exact
account of his deeds and of his power.”

“Lomasa said, ‘O Yudhishthira! there was a virtuous king Somaka by name.
He had one hundred wives, O king, all suitably matched to their husband.
He took great care, but could not succeed in getting a single son from
any one of them, and a long time elapsed during which he continued a
sonless man. Once upon a time, when he had become old, and was trying
every means to have a son, a son was born to him, Jantu by name, out of
that century of women. And, O ruler of men! All the mothers used to sit
surrounding their son and every one giving him such objects as might
conduce to his enjoyment and pleasure. And it came to pass that one day
an ant stung the boy at his hip. And the boy screamed loudly on account
of the pain caused by the sting. And forthwith the mothers were
exceedingly distressed to see how the child had been stung by the ant.
And they stood around him and set up cries. Thus there arose a tumultuous
noise. And that scream of pain suddenly reached (the ears of) the
sovereign of the earth, when he was seated in the midst of his ministers,
with the family priest at his side. Then the king sent for information as
to what it was about. And the royal usher explained to him precisely what
the matter was with reference to his son. And Somaka got up together with
his ministers and hastened towards the female apartments. And on coming
there, O subjugator of foes! he soothed his son. And having done so and
coming out from the female apartments, the king sat with his family
priest and ministers.’

“Somaka then spoke thus, ‘Fie on having only a single son! I had rather
be a sonless man. Considering how constantly liable to disease are all
organized beings, to have an only son is but a trouble. O Brahmana! O my
lord! With the view that I might have many sons born to me, this century
of wives hath been wedded by me, after inspection, and after I had
satisfied myself that they would prove suitable to me. But issue they
have none. Having tried every means, and put forth great efforts, they
have borne this single son, Jantu. What grief can be greater than this? O
most excellent of the twice-born caste! I am grown old in years and so
are my wives too. And yet this only son is like the breath of their
nostrils, and so he is to me also. But is there any ceremony, by
celebrating which one may get a hundred sons? (And if there is one such),
tell me whether it is great or small, and easy or difficult to perform.’

“The family priest said, ‘There is a ceremony by virtue of which a man
may get a century of sons. If thou art able to perform it, O Somaka, then
I shall explain it to thee.’

“Somaka said, ‘Whether it be a good or an evil deed, the ceremony by
which a hundred sons may be born, may be taken by thee as already
performed. Let thy blessed self explain it to me.’

“The family priest thereupon said, ‘O king! Let me set on foot a
sacrifice and thou must sacrifice thy son, Jantu in it. Then on no
distant date, a century of handsome sons will be born to thee. When
Jantu’s fat will be put into the fire as an offering to the gods, the
mothers will take a smell of that smoke, and bring forth a number of
sons, valourous and strong. And Jantu also will once more be born as a
self-begotten son of thine in that very (mother); and on his back there
will appear a mark of gold.'”


“Somaka said, ‘O Brahmana! whatever is to be performed–do precisely as
it may be necessary. As I am desirous of having a number of sons, I shall
do all that may be prescribed by thee.”

“Lomasa said, “Then the priest officiated in the sacrifice in which Jantu
was offered as the victim. But the mothers is in pity forcibly snatched
the son and took him away. And they cried, ‘We are undone!’ And they were
smitten with torturing grief and they caught hold of Jantu by his right
hand, and wept in a piteous way. But the officiating priest held the boy
by the right hand and pulled him. And like female ospreys they screamed
in agony! but the priest dragged the son killed him and made a burnt
offering of his fat in the proper form. And, O delight of the race of
Kuru! While the fat was being made an offering of the agonised mothers
smelt its smell, and of a sudden fell to the ground (and swooned away.)
And then all those lovely women became with child, and O lord of men! O
scion of Bharata’s race! When ten months had passed a full century of
sons was born to Somaka begotten on all those women. And, O monarch of
the earth! Jantu became the eldest and was born of his former mother and
he became the most beloved to the women,–not so were their own sons. And
on his back there was that mark of gold and of that century of sons, he
was also superior in merit. Then that family priest of Somaka departed
this life as also Somaka after a certain time. Now he beheld that the
priest was being grilled in a terrible hell. And thereupon he questioned
him, ‘Why art thou, O Brahmana! being grilled in this hell?” Then the
family priest exceedingly scorched with fire, spake to him saying, ‘This
is the outcome of my having officiated in that sacrifice of thine.’ O
king, hearing this, the saintly king thus spake to the god who meteth out
punishments to departed souls, ‘I shall enter here. Set free my
officiating priest; this reversed man is being grilled by hell-fire on my
account only.’

“Dharmaraja thereat answered thus, ‘One cannot enjoy or suffer for
another person’s acts. O best of speakers! these are the fruits of thy
acts; see it here.’

“Somaka said, ‘Without this Brahmana here, I desire not go to the blessed
regions. My desire is to dwell in company with this very man, either in
the abode of the gods, or in hell, for, O Dharmaraja! my deed is
identical with what hath been done by him and the fruit of our virtuous
or evil deed must be the same for both of us.’

“Dharmaraja said, ‘O king! If this is thy wish, then taste with him the
fruit of that act, for the same period that he must do. After that thou
shall go to the blessed regions.’

“Lomasa said, The lotus-eyed king did all that exactly in the way
prescribed to him. And when his sins were worked off, he was set free
together with the priest. O king! Fond of the priest as he was, he won
all those blessings to which he had entitled himself by his meritorious
acts and shared everything with the family priest. This is his hermitage
which looketh lovely before our eyes. Any one would attain the blessed
regions, if he should spend six nights here controlling his passions. O
king of kings! O leader of the tribe of Kurus! Here, free from excitement
and self-controlled, we must spend six nights. Be thou ready therefor.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘Here, O king! The lord of born beings himself performed a
sacrifice in former times,–the ceremony called Ishtikrita, which
occupied one thousand years. And Amvarisha, son of Nabhaga, sacrificed
near the Yamuna river. And having sacrificed there, he gave away ten
Padmas (of gold coins) to the attendant priests, and he obtained the
highest success by his sacrifices and austerities. And, O Kunti’s son!
This is the spot where that sovereign of the entire earth, Nahusha’s son,
Yayati, of unmeasured force, and who led a holy life, performed his
sacrificial rites. He competed with Indra and performed his sacrifice
here. Behold how the ground is studded with places for the sacrificial
fires of various forms, and how the earth seems to be subsiding here
under the pressure of Yayati’s pious works. This is the Sami tree, which
hath got but a single leaf, and this is a most excellent lake. Behold
these lakes of Parasurama, and the hermitage of Narayana. O protector of
earth! This is the path which was followed by Richika’s son, of
unmeasured energy, who roamed over the earth, practising the Yoga rites
in the river Raupya. And, O delight of the tribe of Kurus! Hear what a
Pisacha woman (she-goblin), who was decked with pestles for her
ornaments, said (to a Brahmana woman), as I was reciting here the table
of genealogy. (She said), “Having eaten curd in Yugandhara, and lived in
Achutasthala, and also bathed in Bhutilaya, thou shouldst live with thy
sons. Having passed a single night here, if thou wilt spend the second,
the events of the night will be different from those that have happened
to thee in the day-time, O most righteous of Bharata’s race! Today we
shall spend the night at this very spot. O scion of Bharata’s race! this
is the threshold of the field of the Kurus. O king! At this very spot,
the monarch Yayati, son of Nahusha, performed sacrificial rites, and made
gifts of an abundance of gems. And Indra was pleased with those sacred
rites. This is an excellent holy bathing-place on the river Yamuna, known
as Plakshavatarana (descent of the banian tree). Men of cultured minds
call it the entrance to the region of heaven. O respected sir! here,
after having performed sacrificial rites of the Saraswata king, and
making use of the sacrificial stake for their pestle, the highest order
of saints performed the holy plunge prescribed at the end of a sacred
ceremony. O monarch! King Bharata here performed sacrificial rites. To
celebrate the horse-sacrifice, he here set free the horse who was the
intended victim. That monarch had won the sovereignty of the earth by
righteousness. The horse? he let go more than once were of a colour
checkered with black. O tiger among men! it was here that Marutta
sheltered by Samvartta, leader of saints, succeeded in performing
excellent sacrifices. O sovereign of kings! Having taken his bath at this
spot, one can behold all the worlds, and is purified from his evil deeds.
Do thou, therefore, bathe at this spot.'”

Vaisampayana said, “Then that most praiseworthy of Pandu’s sons, there
bathed with his brothers, while the mighty saints were uttering laudatory
words to him. And he addressed the following words to Lomasa, ‘O thou
whose strength lieth in truthfulness! By virtue of this pious act, I
behold all the worlds. And from this place, I behold that most
praiseworthy of Pandu’s sons Arjuna, the rider of white steed.”

‘Lomasa said, ‘It is even so, O thou of powerful arms! The saints of the
highest order thus behold all the regions. Behold this holy Saraswati
here, thronged by persons who look upon her as their sole refuge. O most
praise worthy of men! having bathed here, thou wilt be free from all thy
sins. O Kunti’s son! here the celestial saints performed sacrificial
rites of Saraswata king: and so did the saints and the royal saints. This
is the altar of the lord of beings, five yojanas in extent on all sides
round. And this is the field of the magnanimous Kurus, whose habit it was
to perform sacrifices.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘O son of Bharata’s race! If mortals breathe their last at
this spot, they go to heaven. O king! Thousands upon thousands of men
come to this place to die. A blessing was pronounced on this spot by
Daksha, when he was engaged in sacrifice here, (in these words), ‘Those
men that shall die at this spot shall win a place in heaven.’ Here is the
beautiful and sacred river, Saraswati, full of water: and here, O lord of
men, is the spot known as Vinasana, or the place where the Saraswati
disappeared. Here is the gate of the kingdom of the Nishadas and it is
from hatred for them that the Saraswati entered into the earth in order
that the Nishadas might not see her. Here too is the sacred region of
Chamashodbheda where the Saraswati once more became visible to them. And
here she is joined by other sacred rivers running seawards. O conqueror
of foes, here is that sacred spot known by the name of Sindhu–where
Lopamudra accepted the great sage Agastya as her lord and, O thou whose
effulgence is like unto that of the sun, here is the sacred tirtha called
Prabhasa, the favoured spot of Indra and which removeth all sins. Yonder
is visible the region of Vishnupada. And here is the delightful and
sacred river, Vipasa. From grief for the death of his sons the great sage
Vasistha had thrown himself into this stream, after binding his limbs.
And when he rose from the water, lo! he was unfettered. Look, O king with
thy brothers at the sacred region of Kasmeera, frequented by holy sages.
Here, O scion of Bharata’s race, is the spot, where a conference took
place between Agni and the sage Kasyapa, and also between Nahusha’s son
and the sages of the north. And, O great prince, Yonder is the gate of
the Manasasarovara. In the midst of this mountain, a gap hath been opened
by Rama. And here. O prince of prowess incapable of being baffled, is the
well-known region of Vatikhanda, which, although adjacent to the gate of
Videha, lieth on the north of it. And O bull among men, there is another
very remarkable thing connected with this place,–namely, that on the
waning of every yuga, the god Siva, having the power to assume any shape
at will, may be seen with Uma and his followers. In Yonder lake also
people desirous of securing welfare to the family, propitiate with
sacrifices the holder of the great bow Pinaka, in the month of Chaitra.
And persons of devotion having passions under control, performing their
ablutions in this lake, become free from sins and, without doubt, attain
to the holy regions. Here is the sacred tirtha called Ujjanaka, where the
holy sage Vasistha with his wife Arundhati and also the sage Yavakri
obtained tranquillity. Yonder is the lake Kausava, where grown the
lotuses called Kausesaya, and here also is the sacred hermitage of
Rukmini, where she attained peace, after conquering that evil passion,
anger. I think, O prince, that thou hast heard something about that man
of meditations, Bhrigutunga. There, O king, before thee is that lofty
peak. And, O foremost of kings, yonder is Vitasta, the sacred stream that
absolveth men from all sins. The water of this stream is extremely cool
and limpid, and it is largely used by the great sages. O prince, behold
the holy rivers Jala and Upajala, on either side of the Yamuna. By
performing a sacrifice here, king Usinara surpassed in greatness Indra
himself. And, O descendant of Bharata, desirous of testing Usinara’s
merit and also of bestowing boons on him, Indra and Agni presented
themselves at his sacrificial ground. And Indra assuming the shape of a
hawk, and Agni that of a pigeon, came up to that king. And the pigeon in
fear of the hawk, fell upon the king’s thigh, seeking his protection.'”


“The hawk said, ‘All the kings of the earth represent thee as a pious
ruler. Wherefore, O prince, has thou then stopped to perpetrate a deed
not sanctioned by the ordinance? I have been sore afflicted with hunger.
Do thou not withhold from me that which hath been appointed by the Deity
for my food,–under the impression that thereby thou servest the
interests of virtue, whereas in reality, thou wilt forsake it, (by
committing thyself to this act). Thereupon, the king said, ‘O best of the
feathered race, afflicted with fear of thee, and desirous of escaping
from thy hands, this bird, all in a hurry, hath come up to me asking for
life. When this pigeon hath in such a manner sought my protection, why
dost thou not see that the highest merit is even in my not surrendering
it unto thee? And it is trembling with fear, and is agitated, and is
seeking its life from me. It is therefore certainly blameworthy to
forsake it. He that slayeth a Brahmana, he that slaughtered a cow–the
common mother of all the worlds–and he that forsaketh one seeking for
protection are equally sinful.’ Thereat the hawk replied, ‘O lord of
earth, it is from food that all beings derive their life, and it is food
also that nourisheth and sustaineth them. A man can live long even after
forsaking what is dearest to him, but he cannot do so, after abstaining
from food. Being deprived of food, my life, O ruler of men, will surely
leave this body, and will attain to regions unknown to such troubles. But
at my death, O pious king, my wife and children will surely perish, and
by protecting this single pigeon. O prince, thou dost not protect many
lives. The virtue that standeth in the way of another virtue, is
certainly no virtue at all, but in reality is unrighteousness. But O
king, whose prowess consisteth in truth, that virtue is worthy of the
name, which is not conflicting. After instituting a comparison between
opposing virtues, and weighing their comparative merits, one, O great
prince, ought to espouse that which is not opposing. Do thou, therefore,
O king, striking a balance between virtues, adopt that which
preponderates.’ At this the king said, ‘O best of birds, as thou speakest
words fraught with much good, I suspect thee to be Suparna, the monarch
of birds. I have not the least hesitation to declare that thou art fully
conversant with the ways of virtue. As thou speakest wonders about
virtue, I think that there is nothing connected with it, that is unknown
to thee. How canst thou then consider the forsaking of one, seeking for
help, as virtuous? Thy efforts in this matter, O ranger of the skies,
have been in quest of food. Thou canst, however, appease thy hunger with
some other sort of food, even more copious. I am perfectly willing to
procure for thee any sort of food that to thee may seem most tasteful,
even if it be an ox, or a boar, or a deer, or a buffalo.’ Thereupon the
hawk said, ‘O great king, I am not desirous of eating (the flesh of) a
boar or an ox or the various species of beasts. What have I to do with
any other sort of food? Therefore, O bull among the Kshatriyas, leave to
me this pigeon, whom Heaven hath today ordained for my food, O ruler of
earth, that hawks eat pigeons is the eternal provision. O prince, do not
for support embrace a plantain tree, not knowing its want of strength.’
The king said, ‘Ranger of the skies, I am willing to bestow on thee this
rich province of my race, or any other thing that to thee may seem
desirable. With the sole exception of this pigeon, which hath approached
me craving my protection, I shall be glad to give unto thee anything that
thou mayst like. Let me know what I shall have to do for the deliverance
of this bird. But this I shall not return to thee on any condition

“The hawk said, ‘O great ruler of men, if thou hast conceived an
affection for this pigeon, then cut off a portion of thine own flesh, and
weigh it in a balance, against this pigeon. And when thou hast found it
equal (in weight) to the pigeon, then do thou give it unto me, and that
will be to my satisfaction.’ Then the king replied, This request of
thine, O hawk, I consider as a favour unto me, and, therefore, I will
give unto thee even my own flesh, after weighing it in a balance.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Saying this, O mighty son of Kunti, the highly virtuous
king cut off a portion of his own flesh, and placed it in a balance,
against the pigeon. But when he found that pigeon exceeded his flesh in
weight, he once more cut off another portion of his flesh, and added it
to the former. When portion after portion had been repeatedly added to
weigh against the pigeon, and no more flesh was left on his body, he
mounted the scale himself, utterly devoid of flesh.

“The hawk then said, ‘I am Indra, O virtuous king, and this pigeon is
Agni, the carrier of the sacrificial clarified butter. We had come unto
thy sacrificial ground, desirous of testing thy merit. Since thou hast
cut off thy own flesh from thy body, thy glory shall be resplendent, and
shall surpass that of all others in the world. As long as men, O king,
shall speak of thee, so long shall thy glory endure, and thou shalt
inhabit the holy regions.’ Saying this to the king, Indra ascended to
heaven. And the virtuous king Usinara, after having filled heaven and
earth with the merit of his pious deeds, ascended to heaven in a radiant
shape. Behold, O king, the residence of that noble-hearted monarch. Here,
O king, are seen holy sages and gods, together with virtuous and
highsouled Brahmanas.”


“Lomasa said, ‘See here, O lord of men, the sacred hermitage of
Swetaketu, son of Uddalaka, whose fame as an expert in the sacred mantras
is so widely spread on earth. This hermitage is graced with cocoanut
trees. Here Swetaketu beheld the goddess Saraswati in her human shape,
and spake unto her, saying, ‘May I be endowed with the gift of speech!”
In that yuga, Swetaketu, the son of Uddalaka, and Ashtavakra, the son of
Kahoda, who stood to each other in the relation of uncle and nephew, were
the best of those conversant with the sacred lore. Those two Brahmanas,
of matchless energy, who bore unto each other the relationship of uncle
and nephew, went into the sacrificial ground of king Janaka and there
defeated Vandin in a controversy. Worship, O son of Kunti, with thy
brothers, the sacred hermitage of him who had for his grandson
Ashtavakra, who, even when a mere child, had caused Vandin to be drowned
in a river, after having defeated him in a (literary) contest.’

“Yudhishthira said, Tell me, O Lomasa, all about the power of this man,
who had in that way defeated Vandin. Why was he born as Ashtavakra
(crooked in eight parts in his body)?”

“Lomasa said, The sage Uddalaka had a disciple named Kahoda of subdued
passions, and entirely devoted to the service of his preceptor and who
had continued his studies long. The Brahmana had served his tutor long,
and his preceptor, recognising his service, gave him his own daughter,
Sujata, in marriage, as well as a mastery over the Shastras. And she
became with child, radiant as fire. And the embryo addressed his father
while employed in reading, ‘O father, thou hast been reading the whole
night, but (of all that) thy reading doth not seem to me correct. Even in
my fetal state I have, by thy favour, become versed in the Shastras and
the Vedas with their several branches. I say, O father, that what
proceeds from thy mouth, is not correct.’ Thus insulted in the presence
of his disciples, the great sage in anger cursed his child in the womb,
saying, ‘Because thou speakest thus even while in the womb, therefore
thou shalt be crooked in eight parts of the body.’ The child was
accordingly born crooked, and the great sage was ever after known by the
name of Ashtavakra. Now, he had an uncle named Swetaketu who was the same
age with himself. Afflicted by the growth of the child in the womb,
Sujata, desirous of riches, conciliating her husband who had no wealth
told him in private: ‘How shall I manage, O great sage, the tenth month
of my pregnancy having come? Thou hast no substance whereby I may
extricate myself from the exigencies, after I have been delivered.” Thus
addressed by his wife, Kahoda went unto king Janaka for riches. He was
there defeated in a controversy by Vandin, well versed in the science of
arguments, and (in consequence) was immersed into water. And hearing that
his son-in-law had been defeated in a controversy by Vandin and caused to
be drowned by him, Uddalaka spake unto his daughter Sujata, saying, ‘Thou
shall keep it a secret from Ashtavakra.’ She accordingly kept her
counsel–so that Ashtavakra, when born, had heard nothing about the
matter. And he regarded Uddalaka as his father and Swetaketu as his
brother. And when Ashtavakra was in his twelfth year, Swetaketu one day
saw the former seated on his father’s lap. And thereat he pulled him by
the hand, and on Ashtavakra’s beginning to cry, he told him, ‘It is not
the lap of thy father.’ This cruel communication went direct into
Ashtavakra’s heart and it pained him sorely. And he went home and asked
his mother saying, ‘Where is my father?’ Thereupon Sujata who was greatly
afflicted (by his question), and apprehending a curse told him all that
had happened. And having heard all, the Brahmana at night said unto his
uncle Swetaketu, ‘Let us go unto the sacrifice of king Janaka, wherein
many wonderful things are to be seen. There we shall listen to the
controversy between the Brahmanas and shall partake of excellent food.
Our knowledge also will increase. The recitation of the sacred Vedas is
sweet to hear and is fraught with blessings.’ Then they both–uncle and
nephew–went unto the splendid sacrifice of king Janaka. And on being
driven from the entrance, Ashtavakra met the king and addressed him in
the following words.”


“Ashtavakra said, ‘When no Brahmana is met with on the way, the way
belongeth to the blind, the deaf, the women, carriers of burden, and the
king respectively. But when a Brahmana is met with on the way, it
belongeth to him alone.’ Thereupon the king said, ‘I give the privilege
to enter. Do thou, therefore, go in by whatever way thou likest. No fire
ever so small is to be slighted. Even Indra himself boweth unto the
Brahmanas.’ At this Ashtavakra said, ‘We have come, O ruler of men, to
witness thy sacrificial ceremony and our curiosity, O king, is very
great. And we have come here as guests. We want the permission of thy
order (to enter). And, O son of Indradyumna, we have come, desirous of
seeing the sacrifice, and to meet king Janaka and speak to him. But thy
warder obstructs us and for this our anger burneth us like fever.’ The
warder said, ‘We carry out the orders of Vandin. Listen to what I have to
say. Lads are not permitted to enter here and it is only the learned old
Brahmanas that are allowed to enter.’ Ashtavakra said. ‘If this be the
condition, O warder, that the door is open to those only that are old,
then we have a right to enter. We are old and we have observed sacred
vows and are in possession of energy proceeding from the Vedic lore. And
we have served our superiors and subdued our passions–and have also won
proficiency in knowledge. It is said that even boys are not to be
slighted,–for a fire, small though it be, burneth on being touched.’ The
warder replied, ‘O young Brahmana, I consider you a boy, and therefore
recite, if you know, the verse demonstrating the existence of the Supreme
Being, and adored by the divine sages, and which, although composed of
one letter, is yet multifarious. Make no vain boast. Learned men are
really very rare.’ Ashtavakra said, ‘True growth cannot be inferred from
the mere development of the body, as the growth of the knots of the
Salmali tree cannot signify its age. That tree is called full-grown which
although slender and short, beareth fruits. But that which doth not bear
fruits, is not considered as grown.’ The warder said, ‘Boys receive
instruction from the old and they also in time grow old. Knowledge
certainly is not attainable in a short time. “Wherefore then being a
child, dost thou talk like an old man?’ Then Ashtavakra said, ‘One is not
old because his head is gray. But the gods regard him as old who,
although a child in years, is yet possessed of knowledge. The sages have
not laid down that a man’s merit consists in years, or gray hair, or
wealth, or friends. To us he is great who is versed in the Vedas. I have
come here, O porter, desirous of seeing Vandin in the court. Go and
inform king Janaka, who hath a garland of lotuses on his neck, that I am
here. Thou shalt to-day see me enter into a dispute with the learned men,
and defeat Vandin in a controversy. And when others have been silenced,
the Brahmanas of matured learning and the king also with his principal
priests, bear witness to the superior or the inferior quality of my
attainments.’ The warder said, ‘How canst thou, who art but in thy tenth
year, hope to enter into this sacrifice, into which learned and educated
men only are admitted? I shall, however, try some means for thy
admittance. Do thou also try thyself’. Ashtavakra then addressing the
king said, ‘O king, O foremost of Janaka’s race, thou art the paramount
sovereign and all power reposeth in thee. In times of old, king Yayati
was the celebrator of sacrifices. And in the present age, thou it is that
art performer thereof. We have heard that the learned Vandin, after
defeating (in controversy) men expert in discussion, causeth them to be
drowned by faithful servants employed by thee. Hearing this, I have come
before these Brahmanas, to expound the doctrine of the unity of the
Supreme Being. Where is now Vandin? Tell me so that I may approach him,
and destroy him, even as the sun destroyeth the stars. Thereupon the king
said, ‘Thou hopest, O Brahmana, to defeat Vandin, not knowing his power
of speech. Can those who are familiar with his power, speak as thou dost?
He hath been sounded by Brahmanas versed in the Vedas. Thou hopest to
defeat Vandin, only because thou knowest not his powers (of speech). Many
a Brahmana hath waned before him, even as the stars before the sun.
Desirous of defeating him, people proud of their learning, have lost
their glory on appearing before him, and have retired from his presence,
without even venturing to speak with the members of the assembly.’
Ashtavakra said, ‘Vandin hath never entered into disputation with a man
like myself, and it is for this only that he looketh upon himself as a
lion, and goeth about roaring like one. But to-day meeting me he will lie
down dead, even like a cart on the highway, of which the wheels have been
deranged.’ The king said, ‘He alone is a truly learned man who
understandeth the significance of the thing that hath thirty divisions,
twelve parts twentyfour joints, and three hundred and sixty spokes.’
Ashtavakra said, ‘May that ever-moving wheel that hath twentyfour joints,
six naves, twelve peripheries, and sixty spokes protect thee![19]’ The
king said, ‘Who amongst the gods beareth those two which go together like
two mares (yoked to a car), and sweep like a hawk, and to what also do
they give birth?’ Ashtavakra said, ‘May God, O king, forfend the presence
of these two[20] in thy house; aye, even in the house of thine enemies.
He who appeareth, having for his charioteer the wind,[21] begetteth them,
and they also produce him.’ Thereupon the king said, ‘What is that doth
not close its eyes even while sleeping; what is it that doth not move,
even when born; what is it that hath no heart; and what doth increase
even in its own speed?’ Ashtavakra said, ‘It is a fish[22] that doth not
close its eye-lids, while sleeping; and it is an a egg[23] that doth not
move when produced; it is stone[24] that hath no heart; and it is a
river[25] that increase in its own speed.’

“The king said, ‘It seemeth, O possessor of divine energy, that thou art
no human being. I consider thee not a boy, but a matured man; there is no
other man who can compare with thee in the art of speech. I therefore
give thee admittance. There is Vandin.'”


“Ashtavakra said, ‘O king, O leader of fierce legions, in this assembly
of monarchs of unrivalled power who have met together, I am unable to
find out Vandin, chief of the controversialists. But I am searching for
him, even as one doth for a swan on a vast expanse of water. O Vandin,
thou regardest thyself as the foremost of controversialists. When though
wilt engage with me in staking, thou wilt not be able to flow like the
current of a river. I am like a full-flaming fire. Be silent before me, O
Vandin! Do not awaken a sleeping tiger. Know that thou shalt not escape
unstung, after trampling on the head of a venomous snake, licking the
corners of its mouth with its tongue, and who hath been hurt by thy foot.
That weak man who, in pride of strength, attempts to strike a blow at a
mountain, only gets his hands and nails hurt, but no wound is left on the
mountain itself. As the other mountains are inferior to the Mainaka, and
as calves are inferior to the ox, so are all other kings of the earth
inferior to the lord of Mithila. And as Indra is the foremost of
celestials, and as the Ganga is the best of rivers, so thou alone art, O
king, the greatest of monarchs. O king, cause Vandin to be brought to my

“Lomasa said, ‘Saying this, O Yudhishthira, wroth with Vandin, Ashtavakra
thus thundered in the assembly, and addressed him in these words, ‘Do
thou answer my questions, and I shall answer thine.’ Thereat Vandin said,
‘One only fire blazeth forth in various shapes; one only sun illumineth
this whole world; one only hero, Indra, the lord of celestials,
destroyeth enemies; and one only Yama is the sole lord of the Pitris.[26]
Ashtavakra said, ‘The two friends, Indra and Agni, ever move together;
the two celestial sages are Narada and Parvata; twins are the
Aswinikumaras; two is the number of the wheels of a car; and it is as a
couple that husband and wife live together, as ordained by the
deity.'[27] Vandin said, ‘Three kinds of born beings are produced by
acts; the three Vedas together perform the sacrifice, Vajapeya; at three
different times, the Adhwaryus commence sacrificial rites; three is the
number of words: and three also are the divine lights.'[28] Ashtavakra
said, ‘Four are the Asramas of the Brahmanas; the four orders perform
sacrifices; four are the cardinal points; four is the number of letters;
and four also, as is ever known, are the legs of a cow.'[29] Vandin said,
‘Five is the number of fires; five are the feet of the metre called
Punki; five are the sacrifices; five locks, it is said in the Vedas, are
on the heads of the Apsaras; and five sacred rivers are known in the
world.'[30] Ashtavakra said. ‘Six cows, it is asserted by some, and paid
as a gratuity on the occasion of establishing the sacred fire; six are
the seasons belonging to the wheel of time; six is the number of the
senses; six stars constitute the constellation Kirtika; and six, it is
found in all the Vedas, is the number of the Sadyaska sacrifice.'[31]
Vandin said, ‘Seven is the number of the domesticated animals; seven are
the wild animals; seven metres are used in completing a sacrifice; seven
are the Rishis, seven forms of paying homage are extant (in the world);
and seven, it is known, are the strings of the Vina.'[32] Ashtavakra
said, ‘Eight are the bags containing a hundred fold; eight is the number
of the legs of the Sarabha, which preyeth upon lions; eight Vasus, as we
hear, are amongst the celestials; and eight are the angles of yupa
(stake), in all sacrificial rites.'[33] Vandin said, ‘Nine is the number
of the mantras used in kindling the fire in sacrifices to the Pitris;
nine are the appointed functions in the processes of creation; nine
letters compose the foot of the metre, Vrihati; and nine also is ever the
number of the figures (in calculation).'[34] Ashtavakra said, ‘Ten is
said to be the number of cardinal points, entering into the cognition of
men in this world; ten times hundred make up a thousand; ten is the
number of months, during which women bear; and ten are the teachers of
true knowledge, and ten, the haters thereof, and ten again are those
capable of learning it.'[35] Vandin said, ‘Eleven are the objects
enjoyable by beings; eleven is the number of the yupas; eleven are the
changes of the natural state pertaining to those having life; and eleven
are the Rudras among the gods in heaven.'[36] Ashtavakra said, Twelve
months compose the year; twelve letters go to the composition of a foot
of the metre called Jagati; twelve are the minor sacrifices; and twelve,
according to the learned, is the number of the Adityas.'[37] Vandin said,
‘The thirteenth lunar day is considered the most auspicious; thirteen
islands exist on earth.[38]

Lomasa said, ‘Having proceeded thus far, Vandin stopped. Thereupon
Ashtavakra supplied the latter half of the sloka. Ashtavakra said,
‘Thirteen sacrifices are presided over by Kesi; and thirteen are devoured
by Atichhandas, (the longer metres) of the Veda.[39] And seeing
Ashtavakra speaking and the Suta’s son silent, and pensive, and with head
downcast, the assembly broke into a long uproar. And when the tumult thus
arose in the splendid sacrifice performed by king Janaka, the Brahmanas
well pleased, and with joined hands, approached Ashtavakra, and began to
pay him homage.’

“Thereupon Ashtavakra said, ‘Before this, this man, defeating the
Brahmanas in controversy, used to cast them into water. Let Vandin today
meet with the same fate. Seize him and drown him in water.’ Vandin said.
‘O Janaka, I am the son of king Varuna. Simultaneously with thy
sacrifice, there also hath commenced a sacrifice extending over twelve
years. It is for this that I have despatched the principal Brahmanas
thither. They have gone to witness Varuna’s sacrifice. Lo! there they are
returning. I pay homage to the worshipful Ashtavakra, by whose grace
to-day I shall join him who hath begot me.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘Defeating the Brahmanas either by words or subtlety.
Vandin had cast them into the waters of the sea. (That Vedic truth which
he had suppressed by false arguments), have I to-day rescued by dint of
my intellect. Now let candid men judge. As Agni, who knoweth the
character of both the good and the bad, leaveth unscorched by his heat
the bodies of those whose designs are honest, and is thus partial to
them, so good men judge the assertions of boys, although lacking the
power of speech, and are favourably disposed towards them. O Janaka, thou
hearest my words as if thou hast been stupefied in consequence of having
eaten the fruit of the Sleshmataki tree. Or flattery hath robbed thee of
thy sense, and for this it is that although pierced by my words as an
elephant (by the hook), thou hearest them not.’

“Janaka said, ‘Listening to thy words, I take them to be excellent and
superhuman. Thy form also standeth manifest as superhuman. As thou hast
to-day defeated Vandin in discussion, I place even him at thy disposal.’
Ashtavakra said, ‘O king, Vandin remaining alive, will not serve any
purpose of mine. If his father be really Varuna, let him be drowned in
the sea.’

Vandin said, ‘I am King Varuna’s son. I have no fear (therefore) in being
drowned. Even at this moment. Ashtavakra shall see his long-lost sire,

“Lomasa said, ‘Then rose before Janaka all the Brahmanas, after having
been duly worshipped by the magnanimous Varuna. Kahoda said, ‘It is for
this, O Janaka, that men pray for sons, by performing meritorious acts.
That in which I had failed hath been achieved by my son. Weak persons may
have sons endued with strength; dunces may have intelligent sons; and the
illiterate may have sons possessed of learning.’ Vandin said, ‘It is with
thy sharpened axe, O monarch, that even Yama severeth the heads of foes.
May prosperity attend thee! In this sacrifice of king Janaka, the
principal hymns relating to the Uktha rites are being chanted, and the
Soma juice also is being adequately quaffed. And the gods themselves, in
person, and with cheerful hearts, are accepting their sacred shares.’

“Lomasa said, ‘When in enhanced splendour, the Brahmanas had risen up,
Vandin, taking king Janaka’s permission, entered into the waters of the
sea. And then Ashtavakra worshipped his father, and he himself also was
worshipped by the Brahmanas. And having thus defeated the Suta’s son.[40]
Ashtavakra returned to his own excellent hermitage, in company with his
uncle. Then in the presence of his mother, his father addressed him,
saying, ‘(O son), thou speedily enter into this river, Samanga.’ And
accordingly, he entered (into the water). (And as he plunged beneath the
water), all his (crooked) limbs were immediately made straight. And from
that day that river came to be called Samanga and she became invested
with the virtues of purifying (sins). He that shall bathe in her, will be
freed from his sins. Therefore, O Yudhishthira, do thou with thy brothers
and wife descend to the river, and perform thy ablutions. O Kunti’s son,
O scion of the Ajamidha race, living happily and cheerfully at this place
together with thy brothers and the Brahmanas, thou wilt perform with me
other acts of merit, being intent upon good deeds.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘Here, O king, is visible the river Samanga, whose former
name was Madhuvila, and yonder is the spot named Kardamila, the bathing
place of Bharata. The lord of Sachi, when fallen into misery in
consequence of having slain Vritra, became freed from his sin, by
performing his ablutions in this Samanga. Here, O bull among men, is the
spot where the Mainaka mountain hath sunk into the interior of the earth;
and it is hence called Vinasana. For obtaining sons, here Aditi in days
of yore had cooked that celebrated food, (presided over by the Supreme
Being). O ye bulls among men, ascended this lofty mountain and put an end
to your inglorious misery unworthy to be uttered. Here, O king, before
thee is the Kanakhala range, the favourite resort of sages. ‘And yonder
is the mighty river Ganga. Here, in ancient times, the holy sage
Sanatkumara attained ascetic success. O scion of the Ajamidha race, by
performing thy ablutions here in this river, thou wilt be freed from all
thy sins. O son of Kunti, do thou together with thy ministers, touch (the
waters) of this lake called Punya, and this mountain Bhrigutunga and also
(the water of) these two rivers, called Tushniganga. Here, O Kunti’s son,
appeareth the hermitage of the sage Sthulasiras. Resign here thy anger
and sense of self-importance. There, O son of Pandu, is seen the
beautiful hermitage of Raivya, where perished Bharadwaja’s son, Yavakari,
profound in Vedic lore.'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How did the mighty sage, Yavakri, son of the ascetic
Bharadwaja, acquire profundity in the Vedas? And how also did he perish?
I am anxious to hear all this, just as it happened. I take delight in
listening to the narration of the deeds of god-like men.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘Bharadwaja and Raivya were two friends. And they dwelt
here, ever taking the greatest pleasure in each other’s company. Now,
Raivya had two sons, named Arvavasu and Paravasu. And, Bharadwaja, O
Bharata’s son, had an only son, named Yavakri. Raivya and his two sons
were versed in the Vedas, while Bharadwaja practised asceticism. But, O
son of Bharata, from their boyhood, the friendship subsisting between
those two was unequalled. O sinless one, the highspirited Yavakri finding
that his father, who practised asceticism, was slighted by the Brahmanas,
while Raivya with his sons was greatly respected by them, was overwhelmed
with sorrow, and became sore aggrieved. Thereupon, O son of Pandu, he
entered upon severe austerities, for (obtaining) a knowledge of the
Vedas. And he exposed his body to a flaming fire. By thus practising the
most rigid austerities, he caused anxiety in the mind of Indra. Then
Indra, O Yudhishthira, went to him and addressed him saying, ‘Wherefore,
O sage, hast thou become engaged in practising such rigid austerities?’
Yavakri said, ‘O thou adored of celestial hosts, I am practising severe
penances, because I wish that such a knowledge of the Vedas as hath never
been acquired by any Brahmana whatever, may be manifest unto me. O
conqueror of Paka, these endeavours of mine have been for Vedic lore. O
Kausika, by the force of my asceticism. I purpose to obtain all sorts of
knowledge. O lord, a knowledge of the Vedas as learnt through teachers,
is acquired in a long time. Therefore, (with the view of attaining in
short time a proficiency in the Vedas), I have put forth these high
endeavours.’ Indra said, ‘O Brahmana sage, the way that thou hast adopted
is not the proper way. What for, O Brahamana, wilt thou destroy thyself?
Go and learn from the lips of a preceptor.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O son of Bharata, having said this, Sakra went away, and
Yavakri of immeasurable energy, once more directed his attention to
asceticism. O king, we have heard that carrying on severe austerities he
again greatly agitated Indra. And the god Indra, slayer of Vala, again
came unto that great sage, who was engaged in austere penances; and
forbade him, saying, Thou art striving with the object that Vedic lore
may be manifest unto thee as well as unto thy father; but thy exertions
can never be successful, nor is this act of thine well-advised.’ Yavakri
said, ‘O lord of the celestials, if thou wilt not do for me what I want,
I shall, observing stricter vows, practise still severer penances. O lord
of celestials! know that if thou do not fulfil all my desires, I shall
then cut off my limbs and offer them as a sacrifice into a blazing fire.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Knowing the determination of that high-souled sage, the
sagacious Indra reflected and hit upon some expedient to dissuade him.
Then Indra assumed the guise of an ascetic Brahmana, hundreds of years
old, and infirm, and suffering from consumption. And he fell to throwing
up a dam with sands, at that spot of the Bhagirathi to which Yavakri used
to descend for performing ablutions. Because Yavakri, chief of the
Brahmanas, paid no heed to Indra’s words, the latter began to fill the
Ganga with sands. And without cessation, he threw handfuls of sand into
the Bhagirathi, and began to construct the dam attracting the notice of
the sage. And when that bull among the sages, Yavakri, saw Indra thus
earnestly engaged in constructing the dam, he broke into laughter, and
said the following words, ‘What art thou engaged in, O Brahmana, and what
is thy object? Why dost thou, for nothing, make this mighty endeavour?’
Indra said, ‘I am trying, O my son, to dam the Ganga so that there may be
a commodious passage. People experience considerable difficulty in
crossing and recrossing (the river) by boat.’ Yavakri said, ‘O thou of
ascetic wealth, thou canst not dam up this mighty current. O Brahmana,
desist from, what is impracticable, and take up something that is
practicable.’ Indra said, ‘O sage, I have imposed on myself this heavy
task, even as, for obtaining a knowledge of the Vedas, thou hast begun
these penances, which can never be fruitful.’ Yavakri said, ‘If, O chief
of the celestials, those efforts of mine be fruitless, even as those of
thy own, then, O lord of heavenly hosts, be thou pleased to do for me
what is practicable. Vouchsafe unto me boons whereby I may excel other

“Lomasa said ‘Then Indra granted boons, as was prayed for by the mighty
ascetic, Indra said, ‘As thou desirest, the Vedas will be manifest unto
thee, yea–even unto thy father. And all thy other desires will also be
fulfilled. Return home, O Yavakri.’

“Having thus obtained the object of his desire, Yavakri came unto his
father and said, The Vedas, O father, will be manifest unto thee as well
as unto myself and I have obtained boons whereby we shall excel all men.’
Thereat Bharadwaja said, ‘O my son, as thou hast obtained the objects of
thy desire, thou wilt be proud. And when thou art puffed up with pride
and hast also become uncharitable, destruction will soon overtake thee. O
my son, there is a current anecdote narrated by the gods. In ancient
times, O son, there lived a sage named Valadhi, possessed of great
energy. And in grief for the death of a child, he practised the severest
penances to have a child that should be immortal. And he obtained a son
even as he desired. But the gods, though very favourably disposed
(towards him), did not yet make his son immortal like unto the gods. They
said, ‘On condition can a mortal being be made immortal. Thy son’s life,
however, shall depend on some instrumental cause.’ Thereupon, Valadhi
said, ‘O chiefs of the celestials, these mountains have been existing
eternally, and indestructible, let them be the instrumental cause of my
son’s life. Afterwards a son was born to the sage, named Medhavi. And he
was of a very irritable temper. And hearing of (the incident of his
birth), he grew haughty, and began to insult the sages. And he ranged
over the earth, doing mischief to the munis. And one day, meeting with
the learned sage Dhannushaksha endued with energy. Medhavi maltreated
him. Thereupon, the former cursed him, saying, ‘Be thou reduced to
ashes.’ Medhavi, however, was not reduced to ashes. Then Dhannushaksha
caused the mountain which was the instrumental cause of Medhavi’s life,
to be shattered by buffaloes. And the boy perished, with the destruction
of the instrumental cause of his life. And embracing his dead son,
Medhavi’s father began to bewail his fate. Now hear from me, O my son,
what was chanted by the sages conversant with the Vedas, when they found
the sage mourning. A mortal on no condition whatever can overcome what
hath been ordained by Fate, Lo! Dhannushaksha succeeded in shattering
even the mountain by buffaloes. Thus young ascetics, puffed up with pride
for having obtained boons, perish in a short time. Be thou not one of
them. This Raivya, O my son, is possessed of great energy, and his two
sons are like him. Therefore, be thou vigilant–so as never to approach
him. O my son, Raivya is a great ascetic of an irritable temper. When
angry, he can do thee harm. Yavakri said, ‘I shall do as thou biddest me.
Of father, do thou not by any means entertain anxiety for that. Raivya
deserveth my regard even as thou, my father.’ Having replied unto his
father in these sweet words, Yavakri, fearing nothing and nobody, began
to delight in wantonly offending other munis.”


“Lomasa said, ‘One day in the month of Chaitra, while fearlessly
wandering at large, Yavakri approached the hermitage of Raivya. And O son
of Bharata, in that beautiful hermitage, adorned with trees bearing
blossoms, he happened to behold the daughter-in-law of Raivya, sauntering
about like a Kinnara woman. And having lost his senses through passion,
Yavakri shamelessly spake unto the bashful maiden, saying, ‘Be thou
attached unto me.’ Thereupon, knowing his nature, and afraid of a curse,
as well as thinking of Raivya’s power, she went unto him saying, ‘I
agree.’ Then, O son of Bharata, taking him in private, she kept him
chained. O conqueror of foes, returning to his hermitage, Raivya found
his daughter-in-law, Paravasu’s wife, in tears. O Yudhishthira, thereat
consoling her with soft words, he enquired of her as to the cause of her
grief. Thereupon, the beautiful damsel told him all that Yavakri had said
unto her, and what she also had cleverly said unto him. Hearing of this
gross misbehaviour of Yavakri, the mind of the sage flamed up, and he
waxed exceedingly wroth. And being thus seized with passion, the great
sage of a highly irascible temper, tore off a matted lock of his hair,
and with holy mantras, offered it as a sacrifice on the sacred fire. At
this, there sprang out of it a female exactly resembling his
daughter-in-law. And then he plucked another matted lock of his hair, and
again offered it as a sacrifice into the fire. Thereupon sprang out of it
a demon, terrible to behold, and having fierce eyes. Then those, two
spake unto Raivya, saying, ‘What shall we do?’ Thereat, the angry sage
said unto them, ‘Go and kill Yavakri.’ Then saying, ‘We shall do (as thou
biddest)’–they two went away with the intention of slaying Yavakri. And
with her charms, the female whom the large-hearted sage had created,
robbed Yavakri of his sacred water-pot. Then with his uplifted spear the
demon flew at Yavakri, when he had been deprived of his water-pot and
rendered unclean. And seeing the demon approach with uplifted spear for
the purpose of slaying him, Yavakri rose up all on a sudden and fled
towards a tank. But finding it devoid of water, he hurried towards all
the rivers. But they too were all dried up. And being obstructed again
and again by the fierce demon, holding the spear, Yavakri in fright
attempted to enter into the Agnihotra room of his father. But there, O
king, he was repulsed by a blind Sudra warder, and he remained at the
door, grasped by the man. And, finding Yavakri thus grasped by the Sudra,
the demon hurled his spear at him, and thereupon he fell down dead,
pierced in the heart. After slaying Yavakri, the demon went back to
Raivya, and with the permission of that sage, began to live with the


“Lomasa said, ‘O son of Kunti, Bharadwaja returned to his hermitage after
performing the ritual duties of the day, and having collected the
sacrificial fuel. And because his son had been slain, the sacrificial
fires which used to welcome him everyday, did not on that day come
forward to welcome him. And marking this change in the Agnihotra, the
great sage asked the blind Sudra warder seated there, saying, ‘Why is it.
O Sudra, that the fires rejoice not at sight of me? Thou too dost not
rejoice as is thy wont. Is it all well with my hermitage? I hope that my
son of little sense had not gone to the sage Raivya. Answer speedily, O
Sudra, all these questions of mine. My mind misgiveth me.’ The Sudra
said, ‘Thy son of little sense had gone to the sage Raivya, and therefore
it is that lie lieth prostrate (on the ground), having been slain by a
powerful demon. Being attacked by the Rakshasa, holding a spear, he
attempted to force his way into this room, and I therefore barred his way
with my arms. Then desirous of having water in an unclean state, as he
stood hopeless, he was slain by the vehement Rakshasa, carrying a spear
in his hand.’ On hearing from the Sudra of this great calamity,
Bharadwaja, sorely afflicted with grief, began to lament, embracing his
dead son. And he said, ‘O my son, it is for the good of the Brahmanas
that thou didst practise penances, with the intention that the Vedas
unstudied by any Brahmana whatever might be manifest unto thee. Thy
behaviour towards the Brahmanas had always been for their good, and thou
hadst also been innocent in regard to all creatures. But, alas! (at last)
thou didst lapse into rudeness. I had prohibited thee, O my son, from
visiting the residence of Raivya; but alas! to that very hermitage,
(destructive to thee) as the god of death himself, Yama, didst thou
repair. Evil-minded is that man, who, (knowing that I am an old man), and
also that (Yavakri) was my only son, had given way to wrath. It is
through the agency of Raivya that I have sustained the loss of my child.
Without thee, O my son, I shall give up my life, the most precious thing
in the world. In grief for the death of my son, I renounce my life; but
this I say that Raivya’s eldest son shall in a short time kill him
although he be innocent. Blessed are those to whom children have never
been born, for they lead a happy life, without having to experience the
grief (incident to the death of a child). Who in this world can be more
wicked than those who from affliction, and deprived of their sense by
sorrow consequent upon the death of a child, curse even their dearest
friend! I found my son dead, and, therefore, have cursed my dearest
friend. Ah! what second man can there be in this world, destined to
suffer so grievous a misfortune!’ Having lamented long Bharadwaja
cremated his son and then himself entered into a full-blazing fire.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘At that very time, the mighty king, Vrihadyumna, of high
fortune, who was the Yajamana of Raivya, commenced a sacrifice. And the
two sons of Raivya, Arvavasu and Paravasu, were engaged by that
intelligent monarch, to assist him in the performance of the ceremony.
And, O son of Kunti, taking the permission of their father, they two went
to the sacrifice, while Raivya with Paravasu’s wife remained in the
hermitage. And it came to pass that one day, desirous of seeing his wife.
Paravasu returned home alone. And he met his father in the wood, wrapped
in the skin of a black antelope. And the night was far advanced and dark;
and Paravasu, blinded by drowsiness in that deep wood, mistook his father
for a straggling deer. And mistaking him for a deer, Paravasu, for the
sake of personal safety, unintentionally killed his father. Then, O son
of Bharata, after performing the funeral rites (of his father), he
returned to the sacrifice and there addressed his brother saying, ‘Thou
wilt never be able to perform this task unassisted. I again, have killed
our father, mistaking him for a deer. O brother, for me do thou observe a
vow, prescribed in the case of killing a Brahmana. O Muni, I shall be
able to perform this work (sacrifice), without any assistant.’ Arvavasu
said, ‘Do thou then thyself officiate at this sacrifice of the gifted
Vrihadyumna; and for thee will I, bringing my senses under perfect
control, observe the vow prescribed in the case of slaying a Brahmana.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Having observed the vow relative to the killing of a
Brahmana, the sage Arvavasu came back to the sacrifice. Seeing his
brother arrive, Paravasu, in accents choked with malice, addressed
Vrihadyumna, saying, ‘O king, see that this slayer of a Brahmana enter
not into thy sacrifice, nor look at it. Even by a glance, the killer of a
Brahmana can, without doubt, do thee harm.’ O lord of men, immediately on
hearing this, the king ordered his attendants (to turn out Arvavasu). O
king, on being driven out by the king’s attendants, and repeatedly
addressed by them–‘O slayer of  a Brahmana–Arvavasu more than once
cried, ‘It is not I that have killed a Brahmana. Not did he own that he
had observed the vow for his own sake. He said that his brother had
committed the sin, and that he had freed him therefrom.’ Having said this
in anger, and being reprimanded by the attendants, the Brahmana sage of
austere penances, retired in silence into the woods. There betaking
himself to the severest penances, the great Brahmana sought the
protection of the Sun. Thereupon, the revelation teaching the mantra
relative to the worship of the Sun, became manifest unto him and that
eternal deity who obtaineth his share (of the sacrificial butter) first,
appeared before him in an embodied form.’

“Lomasa said, ‘The celestials, O king, were well pleased with Arvavasu
for his acts. And they made him engaged as the chief priest in the
sacrifice (of Vrihadyumna), and Paravasu to be dismissed from it. Then
Agni and the other celestials (of their own accord) bestowed boons on
Arvavasu. And they also prayed that his father might be restored to life.
He further prayed that his brother might be absolved from his sin; that
his father might have no recollection of his having been slain; that
Bharadwaja and Yavakri might both be restored to life; and that the solar
revelation might attain celebrity (on earth). Then the god said, ‘So be
it,’ and conferred on him other boons also. Thereat, O Yudhishthira, all
of these persons regained their life. Yavakri now addressed Agni and the
other deities, saying, ‘I had obtained a knowledge of all the Vedas, and
also practised penances. How came it then, O chiefs of the immortals,
that Raivya succeeded in killing me in that way?’ Thereupon the gods
said, ‘O Yavakri, never act again as those have done. What thou askest
about is quite possible, for thou hast learnt the Vedas without exertion,
and without the help of a preceptor. But this man (Raivya) bearing
various troubles, had satisfied his preceptor by his conduct, and
obtained (from the latter) the excellent Vedas through great exertions
and in a long time.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Having said this to Yavakri, and restored all those to
life, the celestials with Indra at their head, ascended to heaven. Here,
O Yudhishthira, is the sacred hermitage of that sage embellished with
trees bearing blossoms and fruits at all seasons. O tiger among kings,
dwelling at this spot, thou wilt be delivered from all thy sins.'”


“Lomasa said, ‘O descendant of Bharata, O king, now hast thou left behind
the mountains Usiravija, Mainaka and Sweta, as well as the Kala hills, O
son of Kunti, O bull among the descendants of Bharata, here flow before
thee the seven Gangas. This spot is pure and holy. Here Agni blazeth
forth without intermission. No son of Manu is able to obtain a sight of
this wonder. Therefore, O son of Pandu, concentrate your mind in order
that he may intently behold these tirthas. Now wilt thou see the
play-ground of the gods, marked with their footprints, as we have passed
the mountain Kala. We shall now ascend that white rock–the mountain
Mandara, inhabited by the Yakshas, Manibhadra and Kuvera, king of the
Yakshas. O king, at this place eighty thousand fleet Gandharvas, and four
times as many Kimpurushas and Yakshas of various shapes and forms,
holding various weapons, attend upon Manibhadra, king of the Yakshas. In
these regions their power is very great. And in speed they are even as
the wind. They can, without doubt, displace even the lord of the
celestials from his seat. Protected by them, and also watched over by the
Rakshasas, these mountains have been rendered inaccessible. Therefore, O
son of Pritha, do thou concentrate thy thoughts. Besides these, O son of
Kunti, here are fierce ministers of Kuvera and his Rakshasa kindred. We
shall have to meet them, and, therefore, O Kunti’s son, gather up thy
energies. O king the mountain Kailasa is six yojanas in height. It
contains a gigantic jujube tree. And, O son of Kunti, numberless gods and
Yakshas and Rakshasas and Kinnaras and Nagas and Suparnas and Gandharvas
pass this way, in going towards Kuvera’s palace. O king, protected by me,
as well as by the might of Bhimasena, and also in virtue of thy own
asceticism and self-command, do thou to-day mix with them. May king
Varuna and Yama, conqueror of battles, and Ganga, and Yamuna, and this
mountain, and the Maruts and the twin Aswins, and all rivers and lakes,
vouchsafe thy safety. And, O effulgent one, mayst thou have safety from
all the celestials and the Asuras, and the Vasus. O Goddess Ganga, I hear
thy roar from this golden mountain, sacred to Indra. O Goddess of high
fortune, in these mountainous regions, protect the king, worshipped by
all of the Ajamidha race. O daughter of the mountain (Himalaya), this
king is about to enter into these mountainous regions. Do thou,
therefore, confer protection upon him.’

“Having thus addressed the river, Lomasa bade Yudhishthira, saying, ‘Be
thou careful.'”

“Yudhishthira said, This confusion of Lomasa is unprecedented. Therefore,
protect ye Krishna, and be not careless. Lomasa knows this place to be
certainly difficult of access. Therefore, do ye practise here the utmost

“Vaisampayana said, “He next addressed his brother Bhima of vast prowess,
saying, ‘O Bhimasena, do thou protect Krishna carefully. Whether Arjuna
be near or away, Krishna in times of danger ever seeketh protection from
thee alone.'”

“Then the high-souled monarch approached the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva,
and after smelling their heads, and rubbing their persons, with tears
said unto them, ‘Do not fear. Proceed, however, with caution.”‘


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Vrikodara, there are mighty and powerful invisible
spirits at this place. We shall, however, pass it, through the merit of
our asceticism and Agnihotra sacrifices. O son of Kunti, do thou
therefore, restrain thy hunger and thirst by collecting thy energies, and
also, O Vrikodara have recourse to thy strength and cleverness. O Kunti’s
son, thou hast heard what the sage (Lomasa) had said regarding mount
Kailasa. Ascertain, therefore, after deliberation, how Krishna will pass
the spot. Or, O mighty Bhima of large eyes, do return from hence, taking
with thee Sahadeva, and all our charioteers, cooks, servants, cars,
horses, and Brahmanas worn out with travel, while I together with Nakula
and the sage Lomasa of severe austerities proceed, subsisting on the
lightest fare and observing vows. Do thou in expectation of my return,
cautiously wait at the source of the Ganga, protecting Draupadi till I
come back.’

“Bhima replied, ‘O descendant of Bharata, although this blessed princess
hath been sore afflicted by toil and distress, yet she easily proceedeth,
in the hope of beholding him of the white steeds (Arjuna). Thy dejection
also is already very great at not seeing the high-souled Arjuna, who
never retreateth from fight. O Bharata, it is superfluous then to say
that if thou seest neither myself nor Sahadeva nor Krishna, thy dejection
will certainly increase. The Brahmanas had better return with our
servants, charioteers cooks and whomsoever else thou mayst command. I
never shall leave thee in these rugged and inaccessible mountainous
regions, infested by Rakshasas. And, O tiger among men, also this
princess of high fortune, ever devoted to her lords, desireth not to
return without thee. Sahadeva is always devoted to thee; he too will
never retrace his steps. His disposition is known to me. O king, O mighty
monarch, we are all eager to behold Savyasachin, and therefore, will we
all go together. If we are unable to go over this mountain in our cars,
abounding as it doth in defiles, well, we would go on foot. Trouble
thyself not, O king, I shall carry Panchala’s daughter wherever she will
be incapable of walking. O king, I have decided upon this. Therefore let
not thy mind be distracted. I shall also carry over inaccessible tracts
those tender-bodied heroes, the twins, the delight of their mother,
wherever they will be incapable of proceeding.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘May thy strength increase, O Bhima, as thou speakest
thus, and as thou boldly undertakest to carry the illustrious Panchali
and these twins. Blessed be thou! Such courage dwelleth not in any other
individual. May thy strength, fame, merit, and reputation increase! O
long-armed one, as thou offerest to carry Krishna and our brothers the
twins, exhaustion and defeat never be thine!”

Vaisampayana said, “Then the charming Krishna said with a smile, ‘O
descendant of Bharata, I shall be able to go, and, therefore, be thou not
anxious on my account.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Access to the mountain, Gandhamadana, is only to be
obtained by dint of asceticism. Therefore, O son of Kunti, shall we all
practise austerities, O king, Nakula, Sahadeva, Bhimasena, thou and
myself shall then see him of the white steeds, O Kunti’s son.'”

Vaisampayana said, “O king, thus conversing together, they saw with
delight the extensive domains of Suvahu, situated on the Himalayas
abounding in horses and elephants, densely inhabited by the Kiratas and
the Tanganas, crowded by hundreds of Pulindas, frequented by the
celestials, and rife with wonders. King Suvahu, the lord of the Pulindas,
cheerfully received them at the frontiers of his dominions, paying them
proper respect. Having been thus received with honour, and having dwelt
comfortably at this place, they started for the mountain Himalaya, when
the sun shone brightly in the firmament. And, O king, having entrusted to
the care of the lord of the Pulindas, all their servants–Indrasena and
the others,–and the cooks and the stewards, and Draupadi’s
accoutrements, and every thing else, those mighty charioteers, the son of
the Kurus, endued with great prowess, set out from that country, and
began to proceed cautiously with Krishna,–all of them cheerful in the
expectation of beholding Arjuna.”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Bhimasena, O Panchali, and ye twins, hearken unto
my words. The acts done (by a person) in a former birth do not perish,
(without producing their effects). Behold! Even we have become rangers of
the wilderness. Even to see Dhananjaya, exhausted and distressed as we
are, we have to bear each other, and pass through impassable places. This
burneth me even as fire doth a heap of cotton. O hero, I do not see
Dhananjaya at my side. I reside in the wood with my younger brothers,
anxious for beholding him. This thought, as also the memory of that grave
insult offered to Yajanaseni, consumes me. O Vrikodara, I do not see the
invincible Partha of strong bow and incomparable energy, and who is the
immediate elder to Nakula. For this, O Vrikodara, I am miserable. In
order to see that hero, Dhananjaya, firm in promise, for these five years
have I been wandering in various tirthas, and beautiful forests and lakes
and yet I do meet with him. For this, O Vrikodara, I am miserable. I do
not see the long-armed Gudakesa, of dark blue hue, and leonine gait. For
this, O Vrikodara, I am miserable. I do not see that foremost of Kurus,
accomplished in arms, skilful in fight, and matchless among bowmen. For
this, O Vrikodara, I am miserable. Distressed for I am I do not see that
son of Pritha, Dhananjaya, born under the influence of the star Phalguni;
ranging amidst foes even like Yama at the time of the universal
dissolution; possessed of the prowess of an elephant with the temporal
juice trickling down; endued with leonine shoulders; not inferior to
Sakra himself in prowess and energy; elder in years to the twins; of
white steeds; unrivalled in heroism; invincible; and wielding a strong
bow. For this, O Vrikodara, I am miserable. And he is always of a
forgiving temper,–even when insulted by the meanest individual. And he
conferreth benefit and protection to the righteous; but to that tortuous
person who by craft attempts to do him mischief, Dhananjaya is like unto
virulent poison, albeit that one were Sakra himself. And the mighty
Vibhatsu of immeasurable soul and possessing great strength, showeth
mercy and extendeth protection even to a foe when fallen. And he is the
refuge of us all and he crusheth his foes in fight. And he hath the power
to collect any treasure whatever, and he ministereth unto our happiness.
It was through his prowess that I had owned formerly measureless precious
jewels of various kinds which at present Syodhana hath usurped. It was by
his might, O hero, that I had possessed before that palatial amphitheatre
embellished with all manner of jewels, and celebrated throughout the
three worlds. O Pandu’s son, in prowess, Phalguni is like unto Vasudeva,
and in fight he is invincible and unrivalled, even like unto Kartavirya.
Alas! I see him not, O Bhima. In might, that conqueror of foes goeth in
the wake of the invincible and most powerful Sankarshana (Valarama) and
Vasudeva. In strength of arms, and spirit, he is like unto Purandara
himself. And in swiftness, he is even as the wind, and in grace, as the
moon, and in ire, he is the eternal Death himself. O mighty-armed one,
with the object of beholding that war-like tiger among men, shall we
repair to the Gandhamadana mountain, where lies the hermitage of Nara and
Narayana at the site of the celebrated jujube tree, and which is
inhabited by the Yakshas. We shall see that best of mountains. And,
practising severe austerities only on foot we shall go to Kuvera’s
beautiful lake guarded by Rakshasas. That place cannot be reached by
vehicles, O Vrikodara. Neither can cruel or avaricious, or irascible
people attain to that spot, O Bharata’s son. O Bhima, in order to see
Arjuna, thither shall we repair, in company, with Brahmanas of strict
vows, girding on our swords, and wielding our bows. Those only that are
impure, meet with flies gad-flies, mosquitoes, tigers, lions, and
reptiles, but the pure never come across them. Therefore, regulating our
fare, and restraining our senses, we shall go to the Gandhamadana,
desirous of seeing Dhananjaya.'”


“Lomasa said, O sons of Pandu, ye have seen many a mountain, and river
and town and forest and beautiful tirtha; and have touched with your
hands the sacred waters. Now this way leads to the celestial mountain
Mandara; therefore be ye attentive and composed. Ye will now repair to
the residence of the celestials and the divine sages of meritorious
deeds. Here, O king, flows the mighty and beautiful river (Alakananda) of
holy water adored by hosts of celestials and sages, and tracing its
source to (the site of) the jujube tree. It is frequented and worshipped
by high-souled Vaihayasas, Valakhilyas and Gandharvas of mighty souls.
Accustomed to sing the Sama hymns, the sages, Marichi, Pulaha, Bhrigu and
Angiras, chanted them at this spot. Here the lord of celestials
performeth with the Maruts his daily prayers. And the Sadhyas and the
Aswins attend on him. The sun, the moon and all the luminaries with the
planets resort to this river, alternately by day and by night. O highly
fortunate monarch, that protector of the world; Mahadeva, having a bull
for his mark, received on his head the fall of the waters of this river,
at the source of the Ganga. O children, approach this goddess of the six
attributes and bow down before her with concentrated minds.’

“Hearing the words of the high-souled Lomasa, the son of Pandu
reverentially worshipped the river (Ganga), flowing through the
firmament. And after having adored her the pious sons of Pandu resumed
their journey accompanied by the sages. And it came to pass that those
best of men beheld at a distance some white object of vast proportions,
even like Meru and stretching on all sides. And knowing that Pandu’s sons
were intent upon asking (him), Lomasa versed in speech said, ‘Hear, O
sons of Pandu! O best of men, what ye see before you, of vast proportions
like unto a mountain and beautiful as the Kailasa cliff, is a collection
of the bones of the mighty Daitya Naraka, Being placed on a mountain, it
looketh like one. The Daitya was slain by that Supreme Soul, the eternal
God Vishnu, for the good of the lord of celestials. Aiming at the
possession of Indra’s place, by the force of austere and Vedic lore, that
mighty-minded (demon) had practised austere penances for ten thousand
years. And on account of his asceticism, as also of the force and might
of his arms he had grown invincible and always harassed (Indra). And O
sinless one, knowing his strength and austerities and observance of
religious vows, Indra became agitated and was overwhelmed with fear. And
mentally he thought of the eternal deity, Vishnu. And thereat the
graceful lord of the universe, who is present everywhere, appeared and
stood before him manifest. And the sages and celestials began to
propitiate Vishnu with prayers. And in his presence even Agni of the six
attributes and of blazing beauty being overpowered by his effulgence,
became shorn of radiance and seeing before him the God Vishnu, the chief
of the celestials who wields the thunder-bolt, bowing with head down
readily apprised Vishnu of the source of his fear. Thereupon Vishnu said,
‘I know, O Sakra, that thy fear proceedeth from Naraka, that lord of the
Daityas. By the merit of his successful ascetic acts he aimeth at Indra’s
position. Therefore, for pleasing thee, I shall certainly sever his soul
from his body, although he hath achieved success in asceticism. Do thou,
lord of celestials, wait for a moment.’ Then the exceedingly powerful
Vishnu deprived (Naraka) of his senses (by striking him) with his hand.
And he fell down on the earth even like the monarch of mountains struck
by (thunder). He was thus slain by a miracle and his bones lie gathered
at this spot. Here also is manifest another deed of Vishnu’s. Once the
whole earth having been lost and sunk into the nether regions she was
lifted up by him in the shape of a boar having a single tusk.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O worshipful one, relate in particular how Vishnu,
the lord of the celestials, raised up the earth sunk a hundred yojanas?
In what manner also was that support of all created things–the goddess
Earth of high fortune–who dispenseth blessings and bringeth forth all
sorts of corn rendered stable? Through whose power had she sunk an
hundred yojanas below, and under what circumstances was exhibited this
greatest exploit of the Supreme Being? O chief of the twice-born race, I
wish to hear all about it in detail as it happened. Certainly, it is
known to thee.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O Yudhishthira, listen to all at length as I relate the
story, which thou hast asked me (to narrate). O child, in days of yore,
there was (once) a terrible time in the Krita Yuga when the eternal and
primeval Deity assumed the duties of Yama. And, O thou that never fallest
off, when the God of gods began to perform the functions of Yama, there
died not a creature while the births were as usual. Then there began to
multiply birds and beasts and kine, and sheep, and deer and all kinds of
carnivorous animals. O tiger among men and vanquisher of foes, then the
human race also increased by thousands even like unto a current of water.
And, O my son, when the increase of population had been so frightful, the
Earth oppressed with the excessive burden, sank down for a hundred
yojanas. And suffering pain in all her limbs, and being deprived of her
senses by excessive pressure, the earth in distress sought the protection
of Narayana, the foremost of the gods. The earth spake saying, ‘It is by
thy favour, O possessor of the six attributes, that I had been able to
remain so long in my position. But I have been overcome with burden and
now I cannot hold myself any longer. It behoveth thee, O adorable one, to
relieve this load of mine. I have sought thy protection. O lord; and do
thou, therefore, extend unto me thy favour.’ Hearing these words of hers,
the eternal lord, possessor of the six attributes, complaisantly said, in
words uttered in distinct letters. Vishnu said, ‘Thou need not fear, O
afflicted Earth, the bearer of all treasures. I shall act so that thou
mayst be made light.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Having thus dismissed the Earth, who hath the mountains
for her ear-rings, he suddenly became turned into a boar with one tusk,
and of exceeding effulgence. Causing terror with his glowing red eyes and
emitting fumes from his blazing lustre, he began to swell in magnitude in
that region. O hero, then holding the earth with his single radiant tusk
that being who pervadeth the Vedas, raised her up a hundred yojanas. And
while she was being thus raised, there ensued a mighty agitation and all
the celestials, together with the sages of ascetic wealth became
agitated. And heaven, and the firmament, and also the Earth were filled
with exclamations of Oh! and Alas! and neither the celestials nor men
could rest in peace. Then countless celestials together with the sages
went to Brahma, who was seated burning as it were in his (own) lustre.
Then approaching Brahma, the lord of celestials, and the witness of the
acts of all beings, they with folded hands spake the following words, ‘O
lord of the celestials, all created beings have become agitated and the
mobile and immobile creatures are restless. O lord of the celestials,
even the oceans are found to be agitated and this whole earth hath gone
down a hundred yojanas. What is the matter? And by whose influence is it
that the whole universe is in ferment? May it please thee to explain it
unto us without delay, for we are all bewildered.’ Thereupon Brahma
replied, ‘Ye immortals! do ye not entertain fear for the Asuras, in any
matter or place. Hearken, ye celestials, to the reason to which all this
commotion is owing! This agitation in the heavens hath been produced by
the influence of the illustrious Being who is omnipresent, eternal and
the never-perishing Soul. That Supreme soul, Vishnu hath lifted up the
Earth, who had entirely sunk down hundred yojanas. This commotion hath
taken place in consequence of the earth being raised up. Know ye this and
dispel your doubts.’ The celestials said, ‘Where is that Being who with
pleasure raiseth up the Earth? O possessor of the six attributes, mention
unto us the place. Thither shall we repair.’ Brahma said ‘Go ye. May good
happen to you! Ye will find him resting in the Nandana (gardens). Yonder
is visible the glorious worshipful Suparna (Garuda). After having raised
the Earth, the Supreme Being from whom the world become manifest, flameth
even in the shape of a boar, like unto the all-consuming fire at the
universal dissolution. And on his beast is really to be seen the gem
Srivatsa. (Go) and behold that Being knowing no deterioration.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Then the celestials, placing the grandsire at their head,
came to that infinite Soul, and having listened to his praise, bade him
adieu and went back to whence they had come.'”

Vaisampayana said, “O Janamejaya, having heard this story, all the
Pandavas without delay and with alacrity, began to proceed by the way
pointed out by Lomasa.”


Vaisampayana said, “O king, then those foremost of bowmen, of
immeasurable prowess, holding bows stringed at full stretch and equipped
with quivers and arrows and wearing finger-caps made of the guana-skin,
and with their swords on, proceeded with Panchali towards the
Gandhamadana, taking with them the best of Brahmanas. And on their way
they saw various lakes, and rivers and mountains and forests, and trees
of wide-spreading shade on mountain summits and places abounding in trees
bearing flowers and fruit in all seasons and frequented by celestials and
sages. And restraining their senses within their inner self and
subsisting on fruits and roots, the heroes passed through rugged regions,
craggy and difficult of passage, beholding many and various kinds of
beasts. Thus those high-souled ones entered the mountain inhabited by the
sages, the Siddhas and the celestials, and frequented by the Kinnaras and
the Apsaras. And, O lord of men, as those mighty heroes were entering the
mountain Gandhamandana, there arose a violent wind, attended with a heavy
shower. And owing to this, mighty clouds of dust bearing lots of dry
leaves, rose, and all on a sudden covered earth, air and firmament. And
when the heavens had been covered with dust nothing could be perceived,
neither could they (the Pandavas) speak to one another. And with eyes
enveloped with darkness and pushed by the wind carrying particles of
rocks they could not see one another. And there began to arrive mighty
sounds proceeding from the tree, and also from those breaking down
incessantly under the force of the wind, and falling to the ground. And
distracted by gusts of the wind, they thought, ‘Are the heavens falling
down; or the earth and the mountains being rent?’ And afraid of the wind,
they felt about with their hands and took shelter under the way-side tree
and ant-hills and in caverns. Then holding his bow and supporting Krishna
the mighty Bhimasena stood under a tree. And Yudhishthira the just with
Dhaumya crept into the deep wood. And Sahedeva carrying the sacred fire
with him took shelter in a rock. And Nakula together with Lomasa and
other Brahmanas of great asceticism stood in fright, each under a tree.
Then when the wind had abated and the dust subsided, there came down a
shower in torrents. There also arose a loud rattling noise, like unto the
thunder hurled; and quick-flashing lightning began to play gracefully
upon the clouds. And being helped on by the swift wind, showers of rain
poured down without intermissions, filling all sides round. And, O lord
of men, all around there began to flow many rivers covered with foam and
turbid with mud; and these bearing volumes of water spread over the
frothy rafts rushed down with tremendous roar uprooting trees. And
afterwards when that sound had ceased and the air had arisen they (each
of them) cautiously came out of their coverts and met together, O
descendant of Bharata. And then the heroes started for the mountain


Vaisampayana said, “When the high-souled sons of Pandu had proceeded only
two miles, Draupadi unaccustomed to travel on foot, sank down. Weary and
afflicted as she was, the poor daughter of Panchala became faint, on
account of the hailstorm and also of her extreme delicacy. And trembling
with faintness, the black-eyed one supported herself on her thighs with
her plump arms, becoming (her graceful form). And thus resting for
support on her thighs resembling the trunk of an elephant, and which were
in contract with each other, she suddenly dropped upon the ground,
trembling like a plantain tree. And finding that the beautiful one was
falling down like a twisted creeper, Nakula ran forward and supported,
her. And he said, ‘O king, this black-eyed daughter of Panchala, being
weary, hath fallen down upon the ground. Do thou, therefore, tend her, O
son of Bharata. Undeserving as she is of misery, this lady of slow pace
hath been subject to great hardships, and she is also worn out with the
fatigues of the journey. O mighty king, do thou therefore, comfort her.'”

Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of Nakula, the king as also
Bhima and Sahadeva, became sorely afflicted, and hastily ran towards her.
And finding her weak, and her countenance pale, the pious son of Kunti
began to lament in grief, taking her on his lap. Yudhishthira said.
‘Accustomed to ease, and deserving to sleep in wellprotected rooms, on
beds spread over with fine sheets, how doth this beautiful one sleep
prostrate on the ground! Alas! On my account (alone), the delicate feet
and the lotus-like face of this one deserving of all excellent things,
have contracted a dark-blue hue. O what have I done! Fool that I am,
having been addicted to dice, I have been wandering in the forest full of
wild beasts, taking Krishna in my company. This large-eyed one had been
bestowed by her father, the king of the Drupadas, in the hope that the
blessed girl would be happy, by obtaining the sons of Pandu for her
lords. It is on account of my wretched self, that without obtaining
anything hoped for, she sleepeth prostrate on the ground, tired with
hardships, sorrow and travel!”

Vaisampayana said, “While king Yudhishthira the just was lamenting thus,
Dhaumya with all the other principal Brahmanas came to the spot. And they
began to console him and to honour him with blessings. And they recited
mantras capable of dispelling Rakshasas and (to that end) also performed
rites. And on the mantras being recited by the great ascetics, in order
to the restoration of (Panchali’s) health, Panchali frequently touched by
the Pandavas with their soothing palms and fanned by cool breezes
surcharged with particles of water, felt ease, and gradually regained her
senses. And finding that exhausted poor lady restored to her senses, the
sons of Pritha, placing her on deer-skin, caused her to take rest. And
taking her feet of red soles, bearing auspicious marks, the twins began
to press them gently with their hands, scarred by the bow-string. And
Yudhishthira the just, the foremost of the Kurus, also comforted her and
addressed Bhima in the following words: ‘O Bhima, there yet remain many
mountains (before us), rugged, and inaccessible because of snow. How,
long-armed one, will Krishna pass over them?’ Thereupon Bhima said, ‘O
king, I myself shall carry thee, together with this princess and these
bulls among men, the twins; therefore, O king of kings, resign not thy
mind unto despair. Or, at thy bidding, O sinless one, Hidimava’s son, the
mighty Ghatotkacha, who is capable of ranging the skies and who is like
unto me in strength, will carry us all.'”

Vaisampayana said, “Then with Yudhishthira’s permission, Bhima thought of
his Rakshasa son. And no sooner was he thought of by his father, than the
pious Ghatotkacha made his appearance and, saluting the Pandavas and the
Brahmanas, stood with joined hands. And they also caressed him of mighty
arms. He then addressed his father, Bhimasena of dreadful prowess,
saying, ‘Having been thought of by thee I have come here with speed, in
order to serve thee. Do thou, O longarmed one, command me. I shall
certainly be able to perform whatever thou bidst.’ Hearing this,
Bhimasena hugged the Rakshasa to his breast.”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Bhima, let this mighty and heroic Rakshasa chief,
thy legitimate son, devoted to us, and truthful, and conversant with
virtue carry (his) mother (Draupadi) without delay. And, O possessor of
dreadful prowess, depending on the strength of thy arms, I shall reach
the Gandhamadana, unhurt, together with Panchala’s daughter.'”

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing the words of his brother, that tiger among
men, Bhimasena, commanded his son, Ghatotkacha, represser of foes,
saying, ‘O invincible son of Hidimva, this thy mother hath been sorely
tired. Thou art, again, strong and capable of going wherever thou likest.
Do thou therefore, O ranger of the skies, carry her. May prosperity
attend thee! Taking her on thy shoulders, thou shalt go in our company,
adopting a course not far overhead,–so that thou mayst not render her
uneasy.’ Thereat, Ghatotkacha said, ‘Even single-handed, I am able to
carry Yudhishthira the just, and Dhaumya, and Krishna, and the twins–and
what wonder then that I shall to-day carry them, when I have others to
assist me? And, O sinless one, hundreds of other heroic (Rakshasas),
capable of moving through the sky, and of assuming any shape at will,
will together carry you all with the Brahmanas.”

Vaisampayana said, “Saying this, Ghatotkacha carried Krishna in the midst
of the Pandavas, and the other (Rakshasas) also began to carry the
Pandavas. And by virtue of his native energy, Lomasa of incomparable
effulgence moved along the path of the Siddhas, like unto a second sun.
And at the command of the lord of the Rakshasas, those Rakshasas of
terrific prowess began to proceed, bearing all the other Brahmanas, and
beholding many a romantic wood. And they proceeded towards the gigantic
jujube tree. And carried by the Rakshasas of great speed, proceeding at a
rapid pace, the heroes passed over longextending ways quickly, as if over
short ones. And on their way they saw various tracts crowded with
Mlechchha people, and containing mines of diverse gems. And they also saw
hillocks teeming with various minerals, thronged with Vidyadharas,
inhabited on all sides by monkeys and Kinnaras and Kimpurushas, and
Gandharvas, and filled with peacocks, and chamaras, and apes, and rurus,
and bears, and gavayas, and buffaloes, intersected with a network of
rivulets, and inhabited by various birds and beasts, and beautified by
elephants, and abounding in trees and enraptured birds. After having thus
passed many countries, and also the Uttarakurus, they saw that foremost
of mountains, the Kailasa, containing many wonders. And by the side of
it, they beheld the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, with celestial trees
bearing flowers and fruits in all seasons. And they also beheld that
beautiful jujube of round trunk. And it was fresh; and of deep shade; and
of excellent beauty; and of thick, soft and sleek foliage; and healthful;
and having gigantic boughs; and wide-spreading; and of incomparable
lustre; and bearing full-grown, tasteful, and holy fruits dropping honey.
And this celestial tree was frequented by hosts of mighty sages, and was
always inhabited by various birds maddened with animal spirits. And it
grew at a spot devoid of mosquitoes and gad-flies, and abounding in
fruits and roots and water, and covered with green grass, and inhabited
by the celestials and the Gandharvas, and of smooth surface, and
naturally healthful, and beauteous and cool and of delicate feel. Having
reached that (tree) together with those bulls among Brahmanas, the
high-souled ones gently alighted from the shoulders of the Rakshasas.
Then in company with those bulls among the twice-born ones, the Pandavas
beheld that romantic asylum presided over by Nara and Narayana; devoid of
gloom; and sacred; and untouched by the solar rays; and free from those
rubs, viz. hunger, and thirst, heat and cold, and removing (all) sorrow;
and crowded with hosts of mighty sages; and adorned with the grace
proceeding from the Vedas, Saman, Rich, and Yajus; and, O king,
inaccessible to men who have renounced religion; and beautified with
offerings, and homas; and sacred; and well-swept and daubed; and shining
all around with offerings of celestial blossoms; and spread over with
altars of sacrificial fire, and sacred ladles and pots; and graced with
large water-jars, and baskets and the refuge of all beings; and echoing
with the chanting of the Vedas; and heavenly: and worthy of being
inhabited; and removing fatigue; and attended with splendour and of
incomprehensible merit; and majestic with divine qualities. And the
hermitage was inhabited by hosts of great sages, subsisting on fruits and
roots; and having their senses under perfect control; and clad in black
deer-skins; and effulgent like unto the Sun and Agni; and of souls
magnified by asceticism and intent on emancipation; and leading the
Vanaprastha mode of life; and of subdued senses; and identified with the
Supreme Soul; and of high fortune; and reciting Vaidic hymns. Then having
purified himself and restrained his senses, that son of Dharma, the
intelligent Yudhishthira of exceeding energy, accompanied by his
brothers, approached those sages. And all the great sages endued with
supernatural knowledge, knowing Yudhishthira arrived, received him
joyfully. And those sages engaged in the recitation of the Vedas, and
like unto fire itself, after having conferred blessings on Yudhishthira,
cheerfully accorded him fitting reception. And they gave him clean water
and flowers and roots. And Yudhishthira the just received with regard the
things gladly offered for his reception by the great sages. And then, O
sinless one, Pandu’s son together with Krishna and his brothers, and
thousands of Brahmanas versed in the Vedas and the Vendangas, entered
into that holy hermitage, like unto the abode of Sukra and pleasing the
mind with heavenly odours and resembling heaven itself and attended with
beauty. There the pious (Yudhishthira) beheld the hermitage of Nara and
Narayana, beautified by the Bhagirathi and worshipped by the gods and the
celestial sages. And seeing that hermitage inhabited by the Brahmarshis
and containing fruits dropping honey, the Pandavas were filled with
delight. And having reached that place, the high-souled ones began to
dwell with the Brahmanas. There beholding the holy lake Vinda, and the
mountain Mainaka, of golden summits and inhabited by various species of
birds, the magnanimous ones lived happily with joy. The son of Pandu
together with Krishna took pleasure in ranging excellent and captivating
woods, shining with flowers of every season; beauteous on all sides with
trees bearing blown blossoms; and bending down with the weight of fruits
and attended by the numerous male kokilas and of glossy foliage; and
thick and having cool shade and lovely to behold. They took delight in
beholding diverse beautiful lakes of limpid water and shining all round
with lotuses and lilies. And there, O lord, the balmy breeze bearing pure
fragrance, blew gladdening all the Pandavas, together with Krishna. And
hard by the gigantic jujube, the mighty son of Kunti saw the Bhagirathi
of easy descent and cool and furnished with fresh lotuses and having
stairs made of rubies and corals and graced with trees and scattered over
with celestial flowers, and gladsome to the mind. And at that spot,
frequented by celestials and sages, and extremely inaccessible, they,
after having purified themselves offered oblations unto the pitris and
the gods and the rishis in the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi. Thus
those bulls among men the heroic perpetuators of the Kuru race, began to
reside there with the Brahmanas offering oblations and practising
meditation. And those tigers among men, the Pandavas of the god-like
appearance, felt delight in witnessing the various amusements of


Vaisampayana said, “There observing cleanliness, those tigers among men
dwelt for six nights, in expectation of beholding Dhananjaya. And it came
to pass that all of a sudden there blew a wind from the north-east and
brought a celestial lotus of a thousand petals and effulgent as the sun.
And Panchali saw that pure and charming lotus of unearthly fragrance,
brought by the wind and left on the ground. And having obtained that
excellent and beautiful lotus, that blessed one became exceedingly
delighted, O king, and addressed Bhimasena in the following words,
‘Behold, O Bhima, this most beautiful unearthly flower having within it
the very source of fragrance. It gladdenth my heart, O represser of foes.
This one shall be presented to Yudhishthira the just. Do thou, therefore,
procure others for my satisfaction–in order that I may carry them to our
hermitage in the Kamyaka. If, O Pritha’s son, I have found grace with
thee, do thou then procure others of this species in large numbers. I
wish to carry them to our hermitage.’ Having said this, the blameless
lady of beautiful glances approached Yudhishthira the just, taking the
flower. And knowing the desire of his beloved queen that bull among men,
Bhima of great strength, also set out, in order to gratify her. And
intent upon fetching the flowers, he began to proceed at rapid space,
facing the wind, in the direction from which the flower had come. And
taking the bow inlaid with gold on the back as also arrows like unto
venomous snakes, he proceeded as a lion in anger or an elephant in rut.
And all beings gazed at him, holding a mighty bow and arrows. And neither
exhaustion, nor langour, neither fear nor confusion, ever possessed the
son of Pritha and the offspring of Vayu (wind). And desirous of pleasing
Draupadi the mighty one, free from fear or confusion, ascended the peak
depending on the strength of his arms. And that slayer of foes began to
range that beautiful peak covered with trees, creepers and of black rocky
base; and frequented by Kinnaras; and variegated with minerals, plants,
beasts, and birds of various hues; and appearing like an upraised arm of
the Earth adorned with an entire set of ornaments. And that one of
matchless prowess proceeded, fixing his look at the slopes of the
Gandhamadana,–beautiful with flowers of every season–and revolving
various thoughts in his mind and with his ears, eyes and mind rivetted to
the spots resounding with the notes of male kokilas and ringing with the
hum of black bees. And like an elephant in rut ranging mad in a forest
that one of mighty prowess smelt the rare odour proceeding from the
flowers of every season. And he was fanned by the fresh breeze of the
Gandhamadana bearing the perfumes of various blossoms and cooling like
unto a father’s touch. On his fatigue being removed the down on his body
stood on end. And in this state that represser of foes for the flowers
began to survey all the mountain, inhabited by Yakshas and Gandharvas and
celestials and Brahmarshis. And brushed by the leaves of Saptachchada
tree, besmeared with fresh red, black and white minerals, he looked as if
decorated with lines of holy unguents drawn by fingers. And with clouds
stretching at its sides, the mountain seemed dancing with outspread
wings. And on account of the trickling waters of springs, it appeared to
be decked with necklaces of pearls. And it contained romantic caverns and
groves and cascades and caves. And there were excellent peacocks dancing
to the jingling of the bangles of the Apsaras. And its rocky surface was
worn away by the end of tusks of the elephants presiding over the
cardinal points. And with the waters of rivers falling down, the mountain
looked as if its clothes were getting loosened. And that graceful son of
the wind-god playfully and cheerfully went on, pushing away by his force
countless intertwisted creepers. And stags in curiosity gazed at him,
with grass in their mouths. And not having experienced fear (ever
before), they were unalarmed, and did not flee away. And being engaged in
fulfilling the desire of his love, the youthful son of Pandu, stalwart
and of splendour like unto the hue of gold; and having a body strong as a
lion; and treading like a mad elephant; and possessing the force of a mad
elephant; and having coppery eyes like unto those of a mad elephant; and
capable of checking a mad elephant began to range the romantic sides of
the Gandhamadana with his beautiful eyes uplifted; and displaying as it
were a novel type of beauty. And the wives of Yakshas and Gandharvas
sitting invisible by the side of their husbands, stared at him, turning
their faces with various motions. Intent upon gratifying Draupadi exiled
unto the woods, as he was ranging the beautiful Gandhamadana, he
remembered the many and various woes caused by Duryodhana. And he
thought, ‘Now that Arjuna sojourn in heaven and that I too have come away
to procure the flowers, what will our brother Yudhishthira do at present?
Surely, from affection and doubting their prowess, that foremost of men,
Yudhishthira, will not let Nakula and Sahadeva come in search of us. How,
again, can I obtain the flowers soon?’ Thinking thus, that tiger among
men proceeded in amain like unto the king of birds, his mind and sight
fixed on the delightful side of the mountain. And having for his
provisions on the journey the words of Draupadi, the mighty son of Pandu,
Vrikodara Bhima, endued with strength and the swiftness of the wind, with
his mind and sight fixed on the blooming slopes of the mountain,
proceeded speedily, making the earth tremble with his tread, even as doth
a hurricane at the equinox; and frightening herds of elephants and
grinding lions and tigers and deer and uprooting and smashing large trees
and tearing away by force plants and creepers, like unto an elephant
ascending higher and higher the summit of a mountain; and roaring
fiercely even as a cloud attended with thunder. And awakened by that
mighty roaring of Bhima, tigers came out of their dens, while other
rangers of the forest hid themselves. And the coursers of the skies
sprang up (on their wing) in fright. And herds of deer hurriedly ran
away. And birds left the trees (and fled). And lions forsook their dens.
And the mighty lions were roused from their slumber. And the buffaloes
stared. And the elephants in fright, leaving that wood, ran to more
extensive forests company with their mates. And the boars and the deer
and the lions and the buffaloes and the tigers and the jackals and the
gavayas of the wood began to cry in herds. And the ruddy geese, and the
gallinules and the ducks and the karandavas and the plavas and the
parrots and the male kokilas and the herons in confusion flew in all
directions, while some proud elephants urged by their mates, as also some
lions and elephants in rage, flew at Bhimasena. And as they were
distracted at heart through fear, these fierce animals discharging urine
and dung, set up loud yells with gapping mouths. Thereupon the
illustrious and graceful son of the wind-god, the mighty Pandava,
depending upon the strength of his arms, began to slay one elephant with
another elephant and one lion with another lion while he despatched the
others with slaps. And on being struck by Bhima the lions and the tigers
and the leopards, in fright gave loud cries and discharged urine and
dung. And after having destroyed these the handsome son of Pandu,
possessed of mighty strength, entered into the forest, making all sides
resound with his shouts. And then the long-armed one saw on the slopes of
the Gandhamadana a beautiful plantain tree spreading over many a yojana.
And like unto a mad lion, that one of great strength proceeded amain
towards that tree breaking down various plants. And that foremost of
strong persons–Bhima–uprooting innumerable plantain trunks equal in
height to many palm-trees (placed one above another), cast them on all
sides with force. And that highly powerful one, haughty like a male lion,
sent up shouts. And then he encountered countless beasts of gigantic
size, and stags, and monkeys, and lions, and buffaloes, and aquatic
animals. And what with the cries of these, and what with the shouts of
Bhima, even the beasts and birds that were at distant parts of the wood,
became all frightened. And hearing those cries of beasts and birds,
myriads of aquatic fowls suddenly rose up on wetted wings. And seeing
these fowls of water, that bull among the Bharatas proceeded in that
direction; and saw a vast and romantic lake. And that fathomless lake
was, as it were, being fanned by the golden plantain trees on the coast,
shaken by the soft breezes. And immediately descending into the lake
abounding in lilies and lotuses, he began to sport lustily like unto a
mighty maddened elephant. Having thus sported there for a long while, he
of immeasurable effulgence ascended, in order to penetrate with speed
into that forest filled with trees. Then the Pandava winded with all his
might his loud-blowing shell. And striking his arms with his hands, the
mighty Bhima made all the points of heaven resound. And filled with the
sounds of the shell, and with the shouts of Bhimasena, and also with the
reports produced by the striking of his arms, the caves of the mountain
seemed as if they were roaring. And hearing those loud arm-strokes, like
unto the crashing of thunder, the lions that were slumbering in the
caves, uttered mighty howls. And being terrified by the yelling of the
lions, the elephants, O Bharata, sent forth tremendous roars, which
filled the mountain. And hearing those sounds emitted, and knowing also
Bhimasena to be his brother, the ape Hanuman, the chief of monkeys, with
the view of doing good to Bhima, obstructed the path leading to heaven.
And thinking that he (Bhima) should not pass that way,(Hanuman) lay
across the narrow path, beautified by plantain trees, obstructing it for
the sake of the safety of Bhima. With the object that Bhima might not
come by curse or defeat, by entering into the plantain wood, the ape
Hanuman of huge body lay down amidst the plantain trees, being overcome
with drowsiness. And he began to yawn, lashing his long tail, raised like
unto the pole consecrated to Indra, and sounding like thunder. And on all
sides round, the mountains by the mouths of caves emitted those sounds in
echo, like a cow lowing. And as it was being shaken by the reports
produced by the lashing of the tail, the mountain with its summits
tottering, began to crumble all around. And overcoming that roaring of
mad elephants, the sounds of his tail spread over the varied slopes of
the mountain.

“On those sounds being heard the down of Bhima’s body stood on end; and
he began to range that plantain wood, in search of those sounds. And that
one of mighty arms saw the monkey-chief in the plantain wood, on an
elevated rocky base. And he was hard to be looked at even as the
lightning-flash; and of coppery hue like that of the lightning-flash: and
endued with the voice of the lightning-flash; and quick moving as the
lightning-flash; and having his short flesh neck supported on his
shoulders; and with his waist slender in consequence of the fullness of
his shoulders. And his tail covered with long hair, and a little bent at
the end, was raised like unto a banner. And (Bhima) saw Hanuman’s head
furnished with small lips, and coppery face and tongue, and red ears, and
brisk eyes, and bare white incisors sharpened at the edge.’ And his head
was like unto the shining moon; adorned with white teeth within the
mouth; and with mane scattered over, resembling a heap of asoka flowers.
And amidst the golden plantain trees, that one of exceeding effulgence
was lying like unto a blazing fire, with his radiant body. And that
slayer of foes as casting glances with his eyes reddened with
intoxication. And the intelligent Bhima saw that mighty chief of monkeys,
of huge body, lying like unto the Himalaya, obstructing the path of
heaven. And seeing him alone in that mighty forest, the undaunted
athletic Bhima, of long arms, approached him with rapid strides, and
uttered a loud shout like unto the thunder. And at that shout of Bhima,
beasts and birds became all alarmed. The powerful Hanuman, however,
opening his eyes partially looked at him (Bhima) with disregard, with
eyes reddened with intoxication. And then smilingly addressing him,
Hanuman said the following words, ‘Ill as I am, I was sleeping sweetly.
Why hast thou awakened me? Thou shouldst show kindness to all creatures,
as thou hast reason. Belonging to the animal species, we are ignorant of
virtue. But being endued with reason, men show kindness towards
creatures. Why do then reasonable persons like thee commit themselves to
acts contaminating alike body, speech, and heart, and destructive of
virtue? Thou knowest not what virtue is, neither hast thou taken council
of the wise. And therefore it is that from ignorance, and childishness
thou destroyest the lower animals. Say, who art thou, and what for hast
thou come to the forest devoid of humanity and human beings? And, O
foremost of men, tell thou also, whither thou wilt go to-day. Further it
is impossible to proceed. Yonder hills are inaccessible. O hero, save the
passage obtained by the practice of asceticism, there is no passage to
that place. This is the path of the celestials; it is ever impassable by
mortals. Out of kindness, O hero, do I dissuade thee. Do thou hearken
unto my words. Thou canst not proceed further from this place. Therefore,
O lord, do thou desist. O chief of men, to-day in very way thou art
welcome to this place. If thou think it proper to accept my words, do
thou then, O best of men, rest here, partaking of fruits and roots, sweet
as ambrosia, and do not have thyself destroyed for naught.”


Vaisampayana said, “O represser of foes, hearing these words of the
intelligent monkey-chief, the heroic Bhima answered, ‘Who art thou? And
why also hast thou assumed the shape of a monkey? It is a Kshatriya–one
of a race next to the Brahmanas–that asketh thee. And he belongeth to
the Kuru race and the lunar stock, and was borne by Kunti in her womb,
and is one of the sons of Pandu, and is the off spring of the wind-god,
and is known by the name of Bhimasena.’ Hearing these words of the Kuru
hero, Hanuman smiled, and that son of the wind-god (Hanuman) spake unto
that offspring of the wind-god (Bhimasena), saying, ‘I am a monkey, I
will not allow thee the passage thou desirest. Better desist and go back.
Do thou not meet with destruction.’ At this Bhimasena replied.
‘Destruction at anything else do I not ask thee about, O monkey. Do thou
give me passage. Arise! Do not come by grief at my hands.’ Hanuman said,
‘I have no strength to rise; I am suffering from illness. If go thou
must, do thou go by overleaping me.’ Bhima said, ‘The Supreme Soul void
of the properties pervadeth a body all over. Him knowable alone by
knowledge, I cannot disregard. And therefore, will I not overleap thee.
If I had not known Him from Whom become manifest all creatures, I would
have leapt over thee and also the mountain, even as Hanuman had bounded
over the ocean.’ Thereupon Hanuman said, ‘Who is that Hanuman, who had
bounded over the ocean? I ask thee, O best of men. Relate if thou canst.’
Bhima replied, “He is even my brother, excellent with every perfection,
and endued with intelligence and strength both of mind and body. And he
is the illustrious chief of monkeys, renowned in the Ramayana. And for
Rama’s queen, that king of the monkeys even with one leap crossed the
ocean extending over a hundred yojanas. That mighty one is my brother. I
am equal unto him in energy, strength and prowess and also in fight. And
able am I to punish thee. So arise. Either give me passage or witness my
prowess to-day. If thou do not listen to my bidding, I shall send thee to
the abode of Yama.”

Vaisampayana continued. “Then knowing him (Bhima) to be intoxicated with
strength, and proud of the might of his arms, Hanuman, slighting him at
heart, said the following words, ‘Relent thou, O sinless one. In
consequence of age, I have no strength to get up. From pity for me, do
thou go, moving aside my tail.’ Being thus addressed by Hanuman, Bhima
proud of the strength of his arms, took him for one wanting in energy and
prowess, and thought within himself, ‘Taking fast hold of the tail, will
I send this monkey destitute of energy and prowess, to the region of
Yama.’ Thereat, with a smile he slightingly took hold of the tail with
his left hand; but could not move that tail of the mighty monkey. Then
with both arms he pulled it, resembling the pole reared in honour of
Indra. Still the mighty Bhima could not raise the tail with both his
arms. And his eye-brows were contracted up, and his eyes rolled, and his
face was contracted into wrinkles and his body was covered with sweat;
and yet he could not raise it. And when after having striven, the
illustrious Bhima failed in raising the tail, he approached the side of
the monkey, and stood with a bashful countenance. And bowing down,
Kunti’s son, with joined hands, spake these words, ‘Relent thou, O
foremost of monkeys; and forgive me for my harsh words. Art thou a
Siddha, or a god, or a Gandharva, or a Guhyaka? I ask thee out of
curiosity. Tell me who thou art that hast assumed the shape of monkey, if
it be not a secret, O long-armed one, and if I can well hear it. I ask
thee as a disciple, and I, O sinless one, seek thy refuge.’ Thereupon
Hanuman said, ‘O represser of foes, even to the extent of thy curiosity
to know me, shall I relate all at length. Listen, O son of Pandu! O
lotus-eyed one, I was begotten by the wind-god that life of the
world–upon the wife of Kesari. I am a monkey, by name Hanuman. All the
mighty monkey-kings, and monkey-chiefs used to wait upon that son of the
sun, Sugriva, and that son of Sakra, Vali. And, O represser of foes, a
friendship subsisted between me and Sugriva, even as between the wind and
fire. And for some cause, Sugriva, driven out by his brother, for a long
time dwelt with me at the Hrisyamukh. And it came to pass that the mighty
son of Dasaratha the heroic Rama, who is Vishnu’s self in the shape of a
human being, took his birth in this world. And in company with his queen
and brother, taking his bow, that foremost of bowmen with the view of
compassing his father’s welfare, began to reside in the Dandaka forest.
And from Janasthana, that mighty Rakshasa monarch, the wicked Ravana,
carried away his (Rama’s) queen by stratagem and force, deceiving, O
sinless one, that foremost of men, through the agency of a Rakshasa,
Maricha, who assumed the form of a deer marked with gem-like and golden


Hanuman said, ‘And after his wife was carried away, that descendant of
Raghu, while searching with his brother for his queen, met, on the summit
of that mountain, with Sugriva, chief of the monkeys. Then a friendship
was contracted between him and the high-souled Raghava. And the latter,
having slain Vali installed Sugriva in the kingdom. And having obtained
the kingdom, Sugriva sent forth monkeys by hundreds and by thousands in
search of Sita. And, O best of men, I too with innumerable monkeys set
out towards the south in quest of Sita, O mighty-armed one. Then a mighty
vulture Sampati by name, communicated the tidings that Sita was in the
abode of Ravana. Thereupon with the object of securing success unto Rama,
I all of a sudden bounded over the main, extending for a hundred yojanas.
And, O chief of the Bharatas, having by my own prowess crossed the ocean,
that abode of sharks and crocodiles, I saw in Ravana’s residence, the
daughter of king Janaka, Sita, like unto the daughter of a celestial. And
having interviewed that lady, Vaidehi, Rama’s beloved, and burnt the
whole of Lanka with its towers and ramparts and gates, and proclaimed my
name there, I returned. Hearing everything from me the lotus-eyed Rama at
once ascertained his course of action, and having for the passage of his
army constructed a bridge across the deep, crossed it followed by myriads
of monkeys. Then by prowess Rama slew those Rakshasas in battle, and also
Ravana, the oppressor of the worlds together with his Rakshasa followers.
And having slain the king of the Rakshasas, with his brother, and sons
and kindred, he installed in the kingdom in Lanka the Rakshasa chief,
Vibhishana, pious, and reverent, and kind to devoted dependants. Then
Rama recovered his wife even like the lost Vaidic revelation. Then
Raghu’s son, Rama, with his devoted wife, returned to his own city,
Ayodhya, inaccessible to enemies; and that lord of men began to dwell
there. Then that foremost of kings, Rama was established in the kingdom.
Thereafter, I asked a boon of the lotus-eyed Rama, saying, ‘O slayer of
foes, Rama, may I live as long as the history of thy deeds remaineth
extant on earth!” Thereupon he said, ‘So be it. O represser of foes, O
Bhima, through the grace of Sita also, here all excellent objects of
entertainment are supplied to me, whoever abide at this place. Rama
reigned for the thousand and ten hundred years. Then he ascended to his
own abode. Ever since, here Apsaras and Gandharvas delight me, singing
for aye the deeds of that hero, O sinless one. O son of the Kurus, this
path is impassable to mortals. For this, O Bharata, as also with the view
that none might defeat or curse thee, have I obstructed thy passage to
this path trod by the immortals. This is one of the paths to heaven, for
the celestials; mortals cannot pass this way. But the lake in search of
which thou hast come, lieth even in that direction.”


Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the powerful Bhimasena of mighty
arms, affectionately, and with a cheerful heart, bowed unto his brother,
Hanuman, the monkey-chief, and said in mild words, ‘None is more
fortunate than I am; now have I seen my elder brother. It is a great
favour shown unto me; and I have been well pleased with thee. Now I wish
that thou mayst fulfil this desire of mine. I desire to behold. O hero,
that incomparable form of thine, which thou at that time hadst had, in
bounding over the main, that abode of sharks and crocodiles. Thereby I
shall be satisfied, and also believe in thy words.’ Thus addressed, that
mighty monkey said with a smile, ‘That form of mine neither thou, not any
one else can behold. At that age, the state of things was different, and
doth not exist at present. In the Krita age, the state of things was one;
and in the Treta, another; and in the Dwapara, still another. Diminution
is going on this age; and I have not that form now. The ground, rivers,
plants, and rocks, and siddhas, gods, and celestial sages conform to
Time, in harmony with the state of things in the different yugas.
Therefore, do not desire to see my former shape, O perpetuator of the
Kuru race. I am conforming to the tendency of the age. Verily, Time is
irresistible’ Bhimasena said, ‘Tell me of the duration of the different
yugas, and of the different manners and customs and of virtue, pleasure
and profit, and of acts, and energy, and of life and death in the
different yugas.’ Thereupon Hanuman said, ‘O child, that yuga is called
Krita when the one eternal religion was extant. And in that best of
yugas, every one had religious perfection, and, therefore, there was no
need of religious acts. And then virtue knew no deterioration; nor did
people decrease. It is for this that this age is called Krita (perfect).
But in time the yuga had come to be considered as an inferior one. And, O
child, in the Krita age, there were neither gods, nor demons, nor
Gandharvas, nor Yakshas, nor Rakshasas, nor Nagas. And there was no
buying and selling. And the Sama, the Rich, and the Yajus did not exist.
And there was no manual labour. And then the necessaries of life were
obtained only by being thought of. And the only merit was in renouncing
the world. And during that yuga, there was neither disease, nor decay of
the senses. And there was neither malice, nor pride, nor hypocrisy, nor
discord, nor ill-will, nor cunning, nor fear, nor misery, nor envy, nor
covetousness. And for this, that prime refuge of Yogis, even the Supreme
Brahma, was attainable to all. And Narayana wearing a white hue was the
soul of all creatures. And in the Krita Yuga, the distinctive
characteristics of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras were
natural and these ever stuck to their respective duties. And then Brahma
was the sole refuge, and their manners and customs were naturally adapted
to the attainment of Brahma and the objects of their knowledge was the
sole Brahma, and all their acts also had reference to Brahma. In this way
all the orders attained merit. And one uniform Soul was the object of
their meditation; and there was only one mantra (the Om), and there was
one ordinance. And although of different characteristics, all of them
followed a single Veda; and they had one religion. And according to the
divisions of time, they led the four modes of life, without aiming at any
object, and so they attained emancipation. The religion consisting in the
identification of self with Brahma indicates the Krita Yuga. And in the
Krita Yuga, the virtue of the four orders is throughout entire in
four-fold measure. Such is the Krita Yuga devoid of the three qualities.
Do thou also hear from me of the character of the Treta Yuga. In this
age, sacrifices are introduced, and virtue decreaseth by a quarter. And
Narayana (who is the Soul of all creatures) assumeth a red colour. And
men practise truth, and devote themselves to religion and religious
rites. And thence sacrifices and various religious observances come into
existence. And in the Treta Yuga people begin to devise means for the
attainment of an object; and they attain it through acts and gifts. And
they never deviate from virtue. And they are devoted to asceticism and to
the bestowal of gifts. And the four orders adhere to their respective
duties; and perform rites. Such are the men of the Treta Yuga. In the
Dwapara Yuga, religion decreaseth by one half. And Narayana weareth a
yellow hue. And the Veda becometh divided into four parts. And then some
men retain (the knowledge of) the four Vedas, and some of three Vedas,
and some of one Veda, while others do not know even the Richs. And on the
Shastras becoming thus divided, acts become multiplied. And largely
influenced by passion, people engage in asceticism and gifts. And from
their incapacity to study the entire Veda, it becomes divided into
several parts. And in consequence of intellect having decreased, few are
established in truth. And when people fall off from truth, they become
subject to various diseases; and then lust, and natural calamities ensue.
And afflicted with these, people betake themselves to penances. And some
celebrate sacrifices, desiring to enjoy the good things of life, or
attain heaven. On the coming of the Dwapara Yuga, men become degenerate,
in consequence of impiety. O son of Kunti, in the Kali Yuga a quarter
only of virtue abideth. And in the beginning of this iron age, Narayana
weareth a black hue. And the Vedas and the institutes, and virtue, and
sacrifices, and religious observances, fall into disuse. And (then) reign
iti[41], and disease, and lassitude, and anger and other deformities, and
natural calamities, and anguish, and fear of scarcity. And as the yugas
wane, virtue dwindles. And as virtue dwindles away, creatures degenerate.
And as creatures degenerate, their natures undergo deterioration. And the
religious acts performed at the waning of the yugas, produce contrary
effects. And even those that live for several yugas, conform to these
changes. O represser of foes, as regards thy curiosity to know me, I say
this,–Why should a wise person be eager to know a superfluous matter?
(Thus), O long-armed one, have I narrated in full what thou hadst asked
me regarding the characteristics of the different yugas. Good happen to
thee! Do thou return.'”


“Bhimasena said, ‘Without beholding thy former shape, I will never go
away. If I have found favour with thee, do thou then show me thine own

Vaisampayana continued, “Being thus addressed by Bhima, the monkey with a
smile showed him that form of his in which he had bounded over the main.
And wishing to gratify his brother, Hanuman assumed a gigantic body which
(both) in length and breadth increased exceedingly. And that monkey of
immeasurable effulgence stood there, covering the plantain grove
furnished with trees, and elevating himself to the height reached by the
Vindhya. And the monkey, having attained his lofty and gigantic body like
unto a mountain, furnished with coppery eyes, and sharp teeth, and a face
marked by frown, lay covering all sides and lashing his long tail. And
that son of the Kurus, Bhima, beholding that gigantic form of his
brother, wondered, and the hairs of his body repeatedly stood on end. And
beholding him like unto the sun in splendour, and unto a golden mountain,
and also unto the blazing firmament, Bhima closed his eyes. Thereupon
Hanuman addressed Bhima with a smile, saying, ‘O sinless one, thou art
capable of beholding my size up to this extent. I can, however, go on
swelling my size as long as I wish. And, O Bhima, amidst foes, my size
increaseth exceedingly by its own energy.’

Vaisampayana said, “Witnessing that dreadful and wonderful body of
Hanuman, like unto the Vindhya mountain, the son of the wind-god became
bewildered. Then with his down standing erect, the noble-minded Bhima,
joining his hands, replied unto Hanuman saying (there), ‘O lord, by me
have been beheld the vast dimensions of thy body. Do thou (now), O highly
powerful one, decrease thyself by thy own power. Surely I cannot look at
thee, like unto the sun risen, and of immeasurable (power), and
irrepressible, and resembling the mountain Mainaka. O hero, to-day this
wonder of my heart is very great, that thou remaining by his side, Rama
should have encountered Ravana personally. Depending on the strength of
thy arms, thou wert capable of instantly destroying Lanka, with its
warriors, and horses, elephants and chariots. Surely, O son of the
wind-god, there is nothing that is incapable of being achieved by thee;
and in fight, Ravana together with his followers was no match for thee

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Bhima, Hanuman, the chief of
monkeys, answered in affectionate words uttered in solemn accents. “O
mighty-armed one, O Bharata, it is even as thou sayest. O Bhimasena, that
worst of Rakshasas was no match for me. But if I had slain Ravana–that
thorn of the worlds–the glory of Raghu’s son would have been
obscured;–and for this it is that I left him alone. By slaying that lord
of the Rakshasas together with his followers, and bringing back Sita unto
his own city, that hero hath established his fame among men. Now, O
highly wise one, being intent on the welfare of thy brothers, and
protected by the wind-god, do thou go along a fortunate and auspicious
way. O foremost of the Kurus, this way will lead thee to the Saugandhika
wood. (Proceeding in this direction), thou wilt behold the gardens of
Kuvera, guarded by Yakshas and Rakshasas. Do thou not pluck the flowers
(there) personally by thy own force; for the gods deserve regard
specially from mortals. O best of the Bharata race, the gods confer their
favour (upon men), (being propitiated) by offerings, and homas, and
reverential salutations, and recitation of mantras, and veneration, O
Bharata. Do thou not, therefore, act with rashness, O child; and do thou
not deviate from the duties of thy order. Sticking to the duties of thy
order, do thou understand and follow the highest morality. Without
knowing duties and serving the old, even persons like unto Vrihaspati
cannot understand profit and religion. One should ascertain with
discrimination those cases in which vice goeth under the name of virtue,
and virtue goeth under the name of vice,–(cases) in which people
destitute of intelligence become perplexed. From religious observances
proceedeth merit; and in merit are established the Vedas; and from the
Vedas sacrifices come into existence; and by sacrifices are established
the gods. The gods are maintained by the (celebration of) sacrifices
prescribed by the Vedas and the religious ordinances; while men maintain
themselves by (following) the ordinances of Vrihaspati and Usanas and
also by these avocations, by which the world is maintained,–serving for
wages, (receiving) taxes, merchandise, agriculture and tending kine and
sheep. The world subsisteth by profession. The (study of the) three Vedas
and agriculture and trade and government constitutes, it is ordained by
the wise, the professions of the twice born ones; and each order
maintaineth itself by following the profession prescribed for it. And
when these callings are properly pursued, the world is maintained with
ease. If, however, people do not righteously lead their lives, the world
becometh lawless, in consequence of the want of Vedic merit and
government. And if people do not resort to (their) prescribed vocations,
they perish, but by regularly following the three professions, they bring
about religion. The religion of the Brahmanas consisteth in the knowledge
of the soul and the hue of that order alone is universally the same. The
celebration of sacrifices, and study and bestowal of gifts are well-known
to be the three duties common (to all these orders). Officiating at
sacrifices, teaching and the acceptance of gifts are the duties of a
Brahmana. To rule (the subjects) is the duty of the Kshatriya; and to
tend (cattle), that of the Vaisya, while to serve the twice-born orders
is said to be the duty of the Sudra. The Sudras cannot beg alms, or
perform homas, or observe vows; and they must dwell in the habitation of
their masters. Thy vocation, O son of Kunti, is that of the Kshatriya,
which is to protect (the subjects). Do thou carry out thy own duties, in
an humble spirit, restraining thy senses. That king alone can govern, who
taketh counsel of experienced men, and is helped by honest, intelligent
and learned ministers; but a king who is addicted to vices, meeteth with
defeat. Then only is the order of the world secured, when the king duly
punisheth and conferreth favours. Therefore, it is necessary to ascertain
through spies the nature of the hostile country, its fortified places and
the allied force of the enemy and their prosperity and decay and the way
in which they retain the adhesion of the powers they have drawn to their
side. Spies are among the important auxiliaries of the king; and tact,
diplomacy, prowess, chastisement, favour and cleverness lead to success.
And success is to be attained through these, either in separation, or
combined–namely, conciliation, gift, sowing dissensions, chastisement,
and sight. And, O chief of the Bharatas, polity hath for its root
diplomacy; and diplomacy also is the main qualification of spies. And
polity, if well judged conferreth success. Therefore, in matters of
polity the counsels of Brahmanas should be resorted to. And in secret
affairs, these should not be consulted,–namely, a woman, a sot, a boy, a
covetous person a mean-minded individual, and he that betrayeth signs of
insanity. Wise men only should be consulted, and affairs are to be
despatched through officers that are able. And polity must be executed
through persons that are friendly; but dunces should in all affairs be
excluded. In matters religious, pious men; and in matters of gain, wise
men; and in guarding families, eunuchs; and in all crooked affairs,
crooked men, must be employed. And the propriety or impropriety of the
resolution of the enemy, as also their strength or weakness, must be
ascertained through one’s own as well as hostile spies. Favour should be
shown to honest persons that have prudently sought protection; but
lawless and disobedient individuals should be punished. And when the king
justly punisheth and showeth favour, the dignity of the law is well
maintained, O son of Pritha, thus have I expounded, unto thee the hard
duties of kings difficult to comprehend. Do thou with equanimity observe
these as prescribed for thy order. The Brahmanas attain heaven through
merit, mortification of the senses, and sacrifice. The Vaisyas attain
excellent state through gifts, hospitality, and religious acts. The
Kshatriyas attain the celestial regions by protecting and chastising the
subjects, uninfluenced by lust, malice, avarice and anger. If kings
justly punish (their subjects), they go to the place whither repair
meritorious persons.’


Vaisampayana said, “Then contracting that huge body of his, which he had
assumed at will, the monkey with his arms again embraced Bhimasena. And O
Bharata, on Bhima being embraced by his brother, his fatigue went off,
and all (the powers of body) as also his strength were restored. And
having gained great accession of strength, he thought that there was none
equal to him in physical power. And with tears in his eyes, the monkey
from affection again addressed Bhima in choked utterance, saying, ‘O
hero, repair to thy own abode. May I be incidentally remembered by thee
in thy talk! O best of Kurus, do not tell any one that I abide here. O
thou of great strength, the most excellent of the wives of the gods and
Gandharvas resort to this place, and the time of their arrival is nigh.
My eyes have been blessed (by seeing thee). And, O Bhima, having felt a
human being by coming in contact with thee, I have been put in mind of
that son of Raghu, who was Vishnu himself under the name of Rama, and who
delighted the heart of the world; and who was as the sun in regard to the
lotus face of Sita, and also to that darkness–Ravana. Therefore, O
heroic son of Kunti, let not thy meeting with me be fruitless. Do thou
with fraternal feeling ask of me a boon, O Bharata. If this be thy wish,
that going to Varanavata, I may destroy the insignificant sons of
Dhritarashtra–even this will I immediately do. Or if this be thy wish
that, that city may be ground by me with rocks, or that I may bind
Duryodhana and bring him before thee, even this will I do to-day, O thou
of mighty strength.’

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing those words of that high-souled one,
Bhimasena with a cheerful heart answered Hanuman, saying, ‘O foremost of
monkeys, I take all this as already performed by thee. Good happen to
thee. O mighty-armed one! I ask of thee this,–be thou well pleased with
me. O powerful one, on thy having become our protector, the Pandavas have
found help. Even by thy prowess shall we conquer all foes.” Thus
addressed, Hanuman said unto Bhimasena, ‘From fraternal feeling and
affection, I will do good unto thee, by diving into the army of thy foes
copiously furnished with arrows and javelins. And, O highly powerful one,
O hero, when thou shall give leonine roars, then shall I with my own, add
force to shouts. Remaining on the flagstaff of Arjuna’s car will I emit
fierce shouts that will damp the energy of thy foes. Thereby ye will slay
them easily.’ Having said this unto Pandu’s son, and also pointed him out
the way. Hanuman vanished at that spot.”


Vaisampayana said, “When that foremost of monkeys had gone away, Bhima,
the best of strong men, began to range the huge Gandhamadana along that
path. And he went on, thinking of Hanuman’s body and splendour unrivalled
on earth, and also of the greatness and dignity of Dasaratha’s son. And
proceeding in search of the place filled with lotuses of that kind, Bhima
beheld romantic woods, and groves, and rivers, and lakes graced with
trees bearing blossoms, and flowery woodlands variegated with various
flowers. And, O Bharata, he beheld herds of mad elephants besmeared with
mud, resembling masses of pouring clouds. And that graceful one went on
with speed, beholding by the wayside woods wherein there stood with their
mates deer of quick glances, holding the grass in their mouths. And
fearless from prowess, Bhimasena, as if invited by the breeze-shaken
trees of the forest ever fragrant with flowers, bearing delicate coppery
twigs, plunged into the mountainous regions inhabited by buffaloes, bears
and leopards. And on the way, he passed by lotus-lakes haunted by
maddened black-bees, having romantic descents and woods, and on account
of the presence of lotus-buds, appearing as if they had joined their
hands (before Bhima). And having for his provisions on the journey the
words of Draupadi, Bhima went on with speed, his mind and sight fixed on
the blooming slopes of the mountain. And when the sun passed the
meridian, he saw in the forest scattered over with deer, a mighty river
filled with fresh golden lotuses. And being crowded with swans and
Karandavas, and graced with Chakravakas, the river looked like a garland
of fresh lotuses put on by the mountain. And in that river that one of
great strength found the extensive assemblage of Saugandhika lotuses,
effulgent as the rising sun, and delightful to behold. And beholding it,
Pandu’s son thought within himself that his object had been gained, and
also mentally presented himself before his beloved worn out by exile.”


Vaisampayana said, “Having reached that spot, Bhimasena saw in the
vicinity of the Kailasa cliff, that beautiful lotus lake surrounded by
lovely woods, and guarded by the Rakshasas. And it sprang from the
cascades contiguous to the abode of Kuvera. And it was beautiful to
behold, and was furnished with a wide-spreading shade and abounded in
various trees and creepers and was covered with green lilies. And this
unearthly lake was filled with golden lotuses, and swarmed with diverse
species of birds. And its banks were beautiful and devoid of mud. And
situated on the rocky elevation this expanse of excellent water was
exceedingly fair. And it was the wonder of the world and healthful and of
romantic sight. In that lake the son of Kunti saw, the water of ambrosial
taste and cool and light and clear and fresh; and the Pandava drank of it
profusely. And that unearthly receptacle of waters was covered with
celestial Saugandhika lotuses, and was also spread over with beautiful
variegated golden lotuses of excellent fragrance having graceful stalks
of lapis lazulis. And swayed by swans and Karandavas, these lotuses were
scattering fresh farina. And this lake was the sporting region of the
high-souled Kuvera, the king of the Yakshas. And it was held in high
regard by the Gandharvas the Apsaras and the celestials. And it was
frequented by the celestial sages and the Yakshas and the Kimpurushas and
the Rakshasas and the Kinnaras; and it was well-protected by Kuvera. And
as soon as he beheld that river and that unearthly lake, Kunti’s son,
Bhimasena of mighty strength became exceedingly delighted. And agreeably
to the mandate of their king, hundreds and thousands of Rakshasas, named
Krodhavasas, were guarding that lake, wearing uniforms and armed with
various weapons. And as that repressor of foes, Kunti’s son, the heroic
Bhima of dreadful prowess, clad in deer-skins and wearing golden armlets
and equipped with weapons and girding his sword on, was fearlessly
proceeding, with the view of gathering the lotus, those (Rakshasas) saw
him and immediately began to address each other, shouting forth, ‘It
behoveth you to enquire for the errand on which this foremost of men,
clad in deer skins, and equipped with arms, hath come.’ Then they all
approached the effulgent Vrikodara of mighty arms and asked, ‘Who art
thou? Thou shouldst answer our questions. We see thee in the guise of an
ascetic and yet armed with weapons. O thou of mighty intelligence, do
thou unfold unto us the object with which thou hast come (hither).”


“Bhima said, ‘I am the son of Pandu, and next by birth to Yudhishthira
the just, and my name is Bhimasena. O Rakshasas, I have come with my
brothers to the jujube named Visala. At that place, Panchali saw an
excellent Saugandhika lotus, which, of a certainty, was carried thither
by the wind from this region. She wisheth to have those flowers in
abundance. Know ye, ye Rakshasas, that I am engaged in fulfilling the
desire of my wedded wife of faultless features, and have come hither to
procure the flowers. Thereat the Rakshasas said, ‘O foremost of men, this
spot is dear unto Kuvera, and it is his sporting region. Men subject to
death cannot sport here. O Vrikodara. the celestial sages, and the gods
taking the permission of the chief of the Yakshas, drink of this lake,
and sport herein. And, O Pandava, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras also
divert themselves in this lake. That wicked person who, disregarding the
lord of treasures, unlawfully attempteth to sport here, without doubt,
meeteth with destruction. Disregarding him, thou seekest to take away the
lotuses from this place by main force. Why then dost thou say that thou
art the brother of Yudhishthira the just? First, taking the permission of
the lord of Yakshas, do thou drink of this lake and take away the
flowers. If thou dost not do this, thou shall not be able even to glance
at a single lotus Bhimasena said, ‘Ye Rakshasas, I do not see the lord of
wealth here And even if I did see that mighty king, I would not beseech
him Kshatriyas never beseech (any body). This is the eternal morality;
and I by no means wish to forsake the Kshatriya morality. And, further
this lotus-lake hath sprung from the cascades of the mountain; it hath
not been excavated in the mansion of Kuvera. Therefore it belongeth
equally to all creatures with Vaisravana. In regard to a thing of such a
nature, who goeth to beseech another?”

Vaisampayana said, “Having said this unto the Rakshasas, the mighty-armed
and exceedingly unforbearing Bhimasena of great strength plunged into the
lotus-lake. Thereat that powerful one was forbidden by the Rakshasas,
saying, ‘Do not do this;’ and they from all sides began to abuse him in
anger. But slighting these Rakshasas, that mighty one of dreadful prowess
plunged (farther and farther). Now they all prepared for opposing him.
And with eyes rolling, they upraised their arms, and rushed in wrath at
Bhimasena, exclaiming, ‘Seize him!’ ‘Bind him! Hew him! We shall cook
Bhimasena, and eat him up!’ Thereupon that one of great force, taking his
ponderous and mighty mace inlaid with golden plates, like unto the mace
of Yama himself, turned towards those, and then said, ‘Stay!’ At this,
they darted at him with vehemence, brandishing lances, and axes, and
other weapons. And wishing to destroy Bhima, the dreadful and fierce
Krodhavasas surrounded Bhima on all sides. But that one, being endued
with strength, had been begotten by Vayu in the womb of Kunti; and he was
heroic and energetic, and the slayer of foes, and ever devoted to virtue
and truth, and incapable of being vanquished by enemies through prowess.
Accordingly this high-souled Bhima defeating all the manoeuveres of the
foes, and breaking their arms, killed on the banks of the lake more than
a hundred, commencing with the foremost. And then witnessing his prowess
and strength, and the force of his skill, and also the might of his arms;
and unable to bear (the onset), those prime heroes all of a sudden fled
on all sides in bands.

“Beaten and pierced by Bhimasena, those Krodhavasas quitted the field of
battle, and in confusion quickly fled towards the Kailasa cliff,
supporting themselves in the sky. Having thus by the exercise of his
prowess defeated those hosts, even as Sakra had defeated the armies of
Daityas and Danavas, he (Bhima), now that he had conquered the enemy,
plunged into the lake and began to gather the lotuses, with the object of
gaining his purpose. And as he drank of the waters, like unto nectar, his
energy and strength were again fully restored; and he fell to plucking
and gathering Saugandhika lotuses of excellent fragrance. On the other
hand, the Krodhavasas, being driven by the might of Bhima and exceedingly
terrified, presented themselves before the lord of wealth, and gave an
exact account of Bhima’s prowess and strength in fight. Hearing their
words, the god (Kuvera) smiled and then said, ‘Let Bhima take for Krishna
as many lotuses as he likes. This is already known to me.’ Thereupon
taking the permission of the lord of wealth, those (Rakshasas) renouncing
anger, went to that foremost of the Kurus, and in that lotus-lake beheld
Bhima alone, disporting in delight.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then, O best of the Bharatas, Bhima began to collect
those rare unearthly, variegated and fresh flowers in abundance.

“And it came to pass that a high and violent wind, piercing to the touch,
and blowing about gravels, arose, portending battle. And frightful
meteors began to shoot, with thundering sounds. And being enveloped by
darkness, the sun became pale, his rays being obscured. And on Bhima
displaying his prowess, dreadful sounds of explosion rang through the
sky. And the earth began to tremble, and dust fell in showers. And the
points of the heavens became reddened. And beasts and birds began to cry
in shrill tones. And every thing became enveloped in darkness; and
nothing could be distinguished. And other evil omens besides these
appeared there. Witnessing these strange phenomena, Dharma’s son
Yudhishthira, the foremost of speakers, said, ‘Who is it that will
overcome us? Ye Pandavas who take delight in battle, good betide you! Do
ye equip yourselves. From what I see, I infer that the time for the
display of our prowess hath drawn nigh’. Having said this, the king
looked around. Then not finding Bhima, that represser of foes, Dharma’s
son, Yudhishthira, enquired of Krishna and the twins standing near
regarding his brother, Bhima, the doer of dreadful deeds in battle,
saying, ‘O Panchali, is Bhima intent upon performing some great feat, or
hath that one delighting in daring deeds already achieved some brave
deed? Portending some great danger, these omens have appeared all around,
indicating a fearful battle.’ When Yudhishthira said this, his beloved
queen, the high-minded Krishna of sweet smiles, answered him, in order to
remove his anxiety. ‘O king, that Saugandhika lotus which to-day had been
brought by the wind. I had out of love duly shown unto Bhimasena; and I
had also said unto that hero, If thou canst find many of this species,
procuring even all of them, do thou return speedily,–O Pandava, that
mighty armed one, with the view of gratifying my desire, may have gone
towards the north-east to bring them.’ Having heard these words of hers,
the king said unto twins, ‘Let us together follow the path taken by
Vrikodara. Let the Rakshasas carry those Brahmanas that are fatigued and
weak. O Ghatotkacha, O thou like unto a celestial, do thou carry Krishna.
I am convinced and it is plain that Bhima hath dived into the forest; for
it is long since he hath gone, and in speed he resembleth the wind, and
in clearing over the ground, he is swift like unto Vinata’s son, and he
will ever leap into the sky, and alight at his will. O Rakshasas, we
shall follow him through your prowess. He will not at first do any wrong
to the Siddhas versed in the Vedas. O best of the Bharatas, saying, ‘So
be it,’ Hidimava’s son and the other Rakshasas who knew the quarter where
the lotus lake of Kuvera was situated, started cheerfully with Lomasa,
bearing the Pandavas, and many of the Brahmanas. Having shortly reached
that spot, they saw that romantic lake covered with Saugandhika and other
lotuses and surrounded by beautiful woods. And on its shores they beheld
the high-souled and vehement Bhima, as also the slaughtered Yakshas of
large eyes, with their bodies, eyes, arms and thighs smashed, and their
heads crushed. And on seeing the high-souled Bhima, standing on the shore
of that lake in an angry mood, and with steadfast eyes, and biting his
lip, and stationed on the shore of the lake with his mace upraised by his
two hands, like unto Yama with his mace in his hand at the time of the
universal dissolution. Yudhishthira the just, embraced him again and
again, and said in sweet words, ‘O Kaunteya, what hast thou done? Good
betide thee! If thou wishest to do good unto me, thou shouldst never
again commit such a rash act, nor offend the gods.’ Having thus
instructed the son of Kunti, and taken the flowers those god-like ones
began to sport in that very lake. At this instant, the huge-bodied
warders of the gardens, equipped with rocks for weapons, presented
themselves at the spot. And seeing Yudhishthira the just and the great
sage Lomasa and Nakula and Sahadeva and also the other foremost of
Brahmanas, they all bowed themselves down in humility. And being pacified
by Yudhishthira the just, the Rakshasas became satisfied. And with the
knowledge of Kuvera, those foremost of Kurus for a short time dwelt
pleasantly at that spot on the slopes of the Gandhamadana, expecting


Vaisampayana said, “Once upon a time Yudhishthira, while living at that
place, addressed Krishna, his brother, and the Brahmanas, saying, ‘By us
have been attentively seen one after another sacred and auspicious
tirthas, and woods, delightful to beheld, which had ere this been visited
by the celestials and the high-souled sages, and which had been
worshipped by the Brahmanas. And in various sacred asylums we have
performed ablutions with Brahmanas, and have heard from them the lives
and acts of many sages, and also of many royal sages of yore, and other
pleasant stories. And with flowers and water have the gods been
worshipped by us. And with offerings of fruits and roots as available at
each place we have gratified the pitris. And with the high-souled ones
have we performed ablutions in all sacred and beautiful mountains and
lakes, and also in the highly sacred ocean. And with the Brahmanas we
have bathed in the Ila, and in the Saraswati, and in the Sindhu, and in
the Yamuna, and in the Narmada, and in various other romantic tirthas.
And having passed the source of the Ganga, we have seen many a lovely
hill and the Himalaya mountains, inhabited by various species of birds,
and also the jujube named Visala, where there is the hermitage of Nara
and Narayana. And (finally) we have beheld this unearthly lake, held in
veneration by the Siddhas, the gods and the sages. In fact, O foremost of
Brahmanas, we have one by one carefully seen all celebrated and sacred
spots in company with the high-souled Lomasa. Now, O Bhima, how shall we
repair to the sacred abode of Vaisravana, inhabited by the Siddhas? Do
thou think of the means of entering (the same).”

Vaisampayana said, “When that king had said this, an aerial voice spake,
saying. ‘Thou will not be able to go to that inaccessible spot. By this
very way, do thou repair from this region of Kuvera to the place whence
thou hadst come even to the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, known by the
name of Vadari. Thence, O Kaunteya. thou wilt repair to the hermitage of
Vrishaparva, abounding in flowers and fruit, and inhabited by the Siddhas
and the Charanas. Having passed that, O Partha, thou wilt proceed to the
hermitage of Arshtisena, and from thence thou wilt behold the abode of
Kuvera.’ Just at that moment the breeze became fresh, and gladsome and
cool and redolent of unearthly fragrance; and it showered blossoms, And
on hearing the celestial voice from the sky, they all were amazed,–more
specially those earthly rishis and the Brahmanas. On hearing this mighty
marvel, the Brahmana Dhaumya, said, ‘This should not be gainsaid. O
Bharata, let this be so.’ Thereupon, king Yudhishthira obeyed him. And
having returned to the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, he began to dwell
pleasantly, surrounded by Bhimasena and his other brothers, Panchali the


Vaisampayana continued, “Thus dwelling with the Brahmanas in that best of
mountains, in expectation of Arjuna’s return, when the Pandavas had grown
confident and when all those Rakshasas together with Bhima’s son had
departed, one day while Bhimasena was away, a Rakshasa all of a sudden
carried off Yudhishthira the just and the twins and Krishna. That
Rakshasa (in the guise of a Brahmana) had constantly remained in the
company of the Pandavas, alleging that he was a high-class Brahmana,
skilled in counsel, and versed in all the Sastras. His object was to
possess himself of the bows, the quivers and the other material
implements belonging to the Pandavas; and he had been watching for an
opportunity of ravishing Draupadi. And that wicked and sinful one was
named Jatasura. And, O king of kings, Pandu’s son (Yudhishthira) had been
supporting him, but knew not that wretch like unto a fire covered with

“And once on a day while that represser of foes, Bhimasena, was out a
hunting, he (the Rakshasa), seeing Ghatotkacha and his followers scatter
in different directions and seeing those vow-observing great rishis, of
ascetic wealth, viz.; Lomasa and the rest, away for bathing and
collecting flowers, assumed a different form, gigantic and monstrous and
frightful; and having secured all the arms (of the Pandavas) as also
Draupadi, that wicked one fled away taking the three Pandavas. Thereupon
that son of Pandu, Sahadeva, extricated himself with exertion, and by
force snatched the sword named Kausika from the grasp of the enemy and
began to call Bhimasena, taking the direction in which that mighty one
had gone. And on being carried off Yudhishthira the just, addressed him
(that Rakshasa), saying, ‘O stupid one, thy merit decreaseth (even by
this act of thine). Dost thou not pay heed unto the established order of
nature? Whether belonging to the human race, or to the lower orders, all
pay regard to virtue,–more specially the Rakshasas. In the first
instance, they knew virtue better than others. Having considered all
these, thou ought to adhere to virtue. O Rakshasa, the gods, the pitris,
the Siddhas, the rishis, the Gandharvas, the brutes and even the worms
and ants depend for their lives on men; and thou too liveth through that
agency. If prosperity attendeth the human race, thy race also prospereth;
and if calamities befall the former, even the celestials suffer grief.
Being gratified by offerings, do the gods thrive. O Rakshasa, we are the
guardians, governors and preceptors of kingdoms. If kingdoms become
unprotected, whence can proceed prosperity and happiness? Unless there be
offence, a Rakshasa should not violate a king. O man-eating one, we have
committed no wrong, ever so little. Living on vighasa, we serve the gods
and others to the best of our power. And we are never intent upon bowing
down to our superiors and Brahmanas. A friend, and one confiding, and he
whose food hath been partaken of, and he that hath afforded shelter,
should never be injured. Thou hast lived in our place happily, being duly
honoured. And, O evil-minded one, having partaken of our food, how canst
thou carry us off? And as thy acts are so improper and as thou hast grown
in age without deriving any benefit and as thy propensities are evil, so
thou deservest to die for nothing, and for nothing wilt thou die to-day.
And if thou beest really evil-disposed and devoid of all virtue, do thou
render us back our weapons and ravish Draupadi after fight. But if
through stupidity thou must do this deed, then in the world thou wilt
only reap demerit and infamy O Rakshasa, by doing violence to this female
of the human race, thou hast drunk poison, after having shaken the
vessel.’ Thereupon, Yudhishthira made himself ponderous to the Rakshasa.
And being oppressed with the weight, he could not proceed rapidly as
before. Then addressing Draupadi, Nakula and Sahadeva, Yudhishthira said,
‘Do ye not entertain any fear of this wretched Rakshasa, I have checked
his speed. The mighty-armed son of the Wind-god may not be far away; and
on Bhima coming up at the next moment, the Rakshasa will not live.’ O
king, staring at the Rakshasa bereft of sense, Sahadeva addressed
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, saying, ‘What can be more meritorious for
a Kshatriya than to fall in fight, or defeat a foe? O repressor of foes,
we will fight and either this one will slay us, or we shall slay him, O
mighty-armed one. Verily this is the place and time. O king. And, O thou
of unfailing prowess, the time hath come for the display of our Kshatriya
virtue. It behoveth us to attain heaven either by gaining victory or
being slain. If the sun sets to-day, the Rakshasa living yet, O Bharata,
I will not any more say that I am a Kshatriya. Ho! Ho! Rakshasa. say! I
am Pandu’s son, Sahadeva. Either, after having killed me, carry off this
lady, or being slain, lie senseless here.’

“Madri’s son, Sahadeva, was speaking thus, when Bhimasena made his
appearance, with a mace in his hand, like unto Vasava himself wielding
the thunder-bolt. And here he saw his two brothers and the noble-minded
Draupadi (on the shoulders of the demon), and Sahadeva on the ground
rebuking the Rakshasa and also that stupid Rakshasa himself deprived of
sense by Fate, going round in different directions through bewilderment
caused by Destiny. And finding his brothers and Draupadi being carried
off, Bhima of mighty strength was fired with wrath, and addressed the
Rakshasa, saying, ‘I had ere this found thee out for a wicked wight from
thy scrutiny of our weapons; but as I had no apprehension of thee, so I
had not slain thee at that time. Thou wert in the disguise of a
Brahmana–nor didst thou say anything harsh unto us. And thou didst take
delight in pleasing us. And thou also didst not do us wrong. And,
furthermore, thou wert our guest. How could I, therefore, slay thee, who
wert thus innocent of offence, and who wert in the disguise of a
Brahmana? He that knowing such a one to be even a Rakshasa, slayeth him,
goes to hell. Further, thou canst not be killed before the time cometh.
Surely to-day thou hast reached the fullness of thy time in as much as
thy mind hath been thus turned by the wonder-performing Fate towards
carrying off Krishna. By committing thyself to this deed, thou hast
swallowed up the hook fastened to the line of Fate. So like unto a fish
in water, whose mouth hath been hooked, how canst thou live to-day? Thou
shall not have to go whither thou intendest to, or whither thou hadst
already gone mentally; but thou shall go whither have repaired Vaka and

“Thus addressed by Bhima, the Rakshasa in alarm put them down; and being
forced by Fate, approached for fight. And with his lips trembling in
anger he spake unto Bhima, saying, ‘Wretch! I have not been bewildered; I
had been delaying for thee. To day will I offer oblations of thy blood to
those Rakshasas who, I had heard, have been slain by thee in fight’ Thus
addressed, Bhima, as if bursting with wrath, like unto Yama himself at
the time of the universal dissolution, rushed towards the Rakshasa,
licking the corners of his mouth and staring at him as he struck his own
arms with the hands. And seeing Bhima waiting in expectation of fight,
the Rakshasa also darted towards him in anger, like unto Vali towards the
wielder of the thunderbolt, repeatedly gaping and licking the corners of
his mouth. And when a dreadful wrestling ensued between those two, both
the sons of Madri, waxing exceeding wroth rushed forward; but Kunti’s
son, Vrikodara, forbade them with a smile and said, ‘Witness ye! I am
more than a match for this Rakshasa. By my own self and by my brothers,
and by my merit, and by my good deeds, and by my sacrifices, do I swear
that I shall slay this Rakshasa.’ And after this was said, those two
heroes, the Rakshasa and Vrikodara challenging each other, caught each
other by the arms. And they not forgiving each other, then there ensued a
conflict between the infuriated Bhima and the Rakshasa, like unto that
between a god and a demon. And repeatedly uprooting trees, those two of
mighty strength struck each other, shouting and roaring like two masses
of clouds. And those foremost of athletes, each wishing to kill the
other, and rushing at the other with vehemence, broke down many a
gigantic tree by their thighs. Thus that encounter with trees,
destructive of plants, went on like unto that between the two brothers
Vali and Sugriva–desirous of the possession of a single woman.
Brandishing trees for a moment, they struck each other with them,
shouting incessantly. And when all the trees of the spot had been pulled
down and crushed into fibres by them endeavouring to kill each other,
then, O Bharata, those two of mighty strength, taking up rocks, began to
fight for a while, like unto a mountain and a mighty mass of clouds. And
not suffering each other, they fell to striking each other with hard and
large crags, resembling vehement thunder-bolts. Then from strength
defying each other, they again darted at each other, and grasping each
other by their arms, began to wrestle like unto two elephants. And next
they dealt each other fierce blows. And then those two mighty ones began
to make chattering sounds by gnashing their teeth. And at length, having
clenched his fist like a five-headed snake, Bhima with force dealt a blow
on the neck of the Rakshasa. And when struck by that fist of Bhima, the
Rakshasa became faint, Bhimasena stood, catching hold of that exhausted
one. And then the god-like mighty-armed Bhima lifted him with his two
arms, and dashing him with force on the ground, the son of Pandu smashed
all his limbs. And striking him with his elbow, he severed from his body
the head with bitten lips and rolling eyes, like unto a fruit from its
stem. And Jatasura’s head being severed by Bhimasena’s might, he fell
besmeared with gore, and having bitten lips. Having slain Jatasura, Bhima
presented himself before Yudhishthira, and the foremost Brahmanas began
to eulogise him (Bhima) even as the Marutas (eulogise) Vasava.”


Vaisampayana continued, “On that Rakshasa having been slain, that lord,
the royal son of Kunti, returned to the hermitage of Narayana and began
to dwell there. And once on a time, remembering his brother Jaya
(Arjuna), Yudhishthira summoned all his brothers, together with Draupadi
and said these words, ‘We have passed these four years peacefully ranging
the woods. It hath been appointed by Vibhatsu that about the fifth year
he will come to that monarch of mountains, the excellent cliff Sweta,
ever graced with festivities held by blooming plants and maddened Kokilas
and black bees, and peacocks, and chatakas and inhabited by tigers, and
boars and buffaloes, and gavayas, and deer, and ferocious beasts; and
sacred; and lovely with blown lotuses of a hundred and a thousand petals,
and blooming lilies and blue lilies and frequented by the celestials and
the Asuras. And we also, eagerly anxious of meeting him on his arrival
have made up our minds to repair thither. Partha of unrivalled prowess
hath appointed with me, saying, ‘I shall remain abroad for five years,
with the object of learning military science.’ In the place like unto the
region of the gods, shall we behold the wielder of Gandiva, arrive after
having obtained the weapons.’ Having said this, the Pandava summoned the
Brahmanas, and the sons of Pritha having gone round the ascetics of rigid
austerities and thereby pleased them, informed them of the matter
mentioned above. Thereupon the Brahmanas gave their assent, saying, ‘This
shall be attended by prosperity and welfare. O foremost of the Bharatas,
these troubles shall result in happiness. O pious one, gaining the earth
by the Kshatriya virtue, thou shall govern it.’ Then in obedience to
these words of the ascetics, that represser of foes, Yudhishthira, set
out with his brothers and those Brahmanas, followed by the Rakshasa and
protected by Lomasa. And that one of mighty energy, and of staunch vows,
with his brothers, at places went on foot and at others were carried by
the Rakshasas. Then king Yudhishthira, apprehending many troubles,
proceeded towards the north abounding in lions and tigers and elephants.
And beholding on the way the mountain Mainaka and the base of the
Gandhamadana and that rocky mass Sweta and many a crystal rivulet higher
and higher up the mountain, he reached on the seventeenth day the sacred
slopes of the Himalayas. And, O king, not far from the Gandhamadana,
Pandu’s son beheld on the sacred slopes of the Himavan covered with
various trees and creepers the holy hermitage of Vrishaparva surrounded
by blossoming trees growing near the cascades. And when those repressers
of foes, the sons of Pandu, had recovered from fatigue, they went to the
royal sage, the pious Vrishaparva and greeted him. And that royal sage
received with affection those foremost of Bharatas, even as his own sons.
And those repressers of foes passed there seven nights, duly regarded.
And when the eighth day came, taking the permission of that sage
celebrated over the worlds, they prepared to start on their journey. And
having one by one introduced unto Vrishaparva those Brahmanas, who, duly
honoured, remained in his charge as friends; and having also entrusted
the highsouled Vrishaparva with their remaining robes, the sons of Pandu,
O king, left in the hermitage of Vrishaparva their sacrificial vessels
together with their ornaments and jewels. And wise and pious and versed
in every duty and having a knowledge of the past as well as the future,
that one gave instructions unto those best of the Bharatas, as unto his
own sons. Then taking his permission those high-souled ones set out
towards the north. And as they set out the magnanimous Vrishaparva
followed them to a certain distance. Then having entrusted the Pandavas
unto the care of the Brahmanas and instructed and blessed them and given
directions concerning their course, Vrishaparva of mighty energy retraced
his steps.

“Then Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira of unfailing prowess, together with his
brothers, began to proceed on foot along the mountain path, inhabited by
various kinds of beasts. And having dwelt at the mountain slopes, densely
overgrown with trees, Pandu’s son on the fourth day reached the Sweta
mountain, like unto a mighty mass of clouds, abounding in streams and
consisting of a mass of gold and gems. And taking the way directed by
Vrishaparva, they reached one by one the intended places, beholding
various mountains. And over and over they passed with ease many
inaccessible rocks and exceedingly impassable caves of the mountain. And
Dhaumya and Krishna and the Parthas and the mighty sage Lomasa went on in
a body and none grew tired. And those highly fortunate ones arrived at
the sacred and mighty mountain resounding with the cries of birds and
beasts and covered with various trees and creepers and inhabited by
monkeys, and romantic and furnished with many lotus-lakes and having
marshes and extensive forests. And then with their down standing erect,
they saw the mountain Gandhamadana, the abode of Kimpurushas, frequented
by Siddhas and Charanas and ranged by Vidyadharis and Kinnaris and
inhabited by herds of elephants and thronged with lions and tigers and
resounding with the roars of Sarabhas and attended by various beasts. And
the war-like sons of Pandu gradually entered into the forest of the
Gandhamadana, like unto the Nandana gardens, delightful to the mind and
heart and worthy of being inhabited and having beautiful groves. And as
those heroes entered with Draupadi and the high-souled Brahmanas, they
heard notes uttered by the mouths of birds, exceedingly sweet and
graceful to the ear and causing delight and dulcet and broken by reason
of excess of animal spirits. And they saw various trees bending under the
weight of fruits in all seasons, and ever bright with flowers–such as
mangoes and hog-plums and bhavyas and pomegranates, citrons and jacks and
lakuchas and plantains and aquatic reeds and parvatas and champakas and
lovely kadamvas and vilwas, wood-apples and rose-apples and kasmaris and
jujbes and figs and glomerous figs and banians and aswatthas and khirikas
and bhall atakas and amalkas and bibhitakas and ingudas and karamardas
and tindukas of large fruits–these and many others on the slopes of the
Gandhamadana, clustered with sweet and nectarine fruits. And besides
these, they beheld champakas and asokas and ketakas and vakulas and
punnagas and saptaparnas and karnikaras, and patals, and beautiful
kutajas and mandaras, and lotuses, and parijatas, and kovidaras and
devadarus, and salas, and palmyra palms, and tamalas, and pippalas, and
salmalis and kinsukas, and singsapas, and saralas and these were
inhabited by Chakoras, and wood-peckers and chatakas, and various other
birds, singing in sweet tones pleasing to the ear. And they saw lakes
beautiful on all sides with aquatic birds, and covered all around with
kumudas, and pundarikas, and kokanadas, and utpalas, and kalharas, and
kamalas and thronged on all sides with drakes and ruddy geese, and
ospreys, and gulls and karandavas, and plavas, and swans, and cranes, and
shags, and other aquatic birds. And those foremost of men saw those
lotus-lakes beautified with assemblages of lotuses, and ringing with the
sweet hum of bees, glad, and drowsy on account of having drunk the
intoxicating honey of lotuses, and reddened with the farina falling from
the lotuscups. And in the groves they beheld with their hens peacocks
maddened with desire caused by the notes of cloud-trumpets; and those
woods-loving glad peacocks drowsy with desire, were dancing, spreading in
dalliance their gorgeous tails, and were crying in melodious notes. And
some of the peacocks were sporting with their mates on kutaja trees
covered with creepers. And some sat on the boughs of the kutajas,
spreading their gorgeous tails, and looking like crowns worn by the
trees. And in the glades they beheld the graceful sindhuvaras like unto
the darts of Cupid. And on the summits of the mountain, they saw blooming
karnikaras bearing blossoms of a golden hue, appearing like ear-rings of
excellent make. And in the forest they saw blossoming kuruvakas, like
unto the shafts of Cupid, which smiteth one with desire and maketh him
uneasy. And they saw tilakas appearing like unto beauty-spots painted on
the forehead of the forest. And they saw mango trees graced with blossoms
hummed over by black bees, and serving the purpose of Cupid’s shafts. And
on the slopes of the mountain there were diverse blossoming trees,
looking lovely, some bearing flowers of a golden hue, and some, of the
hue of the forest-conflagration, and some, red and some sable, and some
green like unto lapises. And besides these, there were ranges of salas
and tamalas and patalas and vakula trees, like unto garlands put on by
the summits of mountain. Thus gradually beholding on the slopes of the
mountain many lakes, looking transparent like crystal, and having swans
of white plumage and resounding with cries of cranes, and filled with
lotuses and lilies, and furnished with waters of delicious feel; and also
beholding fragrant flowers, and luscious fruits, and romantic lakes, and
captivating trees, the Pandavas penetrated into the forest with eyes
expanded with wonder. And (as they proceeded) they were fanned by the
breeze of balmy feel, and perfumed by kamalas and utpalas and kalharas
and pundarikas. Then Yudhishthira pleasantly spake unto Bhima saying,
‘Ah! O Bhima, beautiful is this forest of the Gandhamadana. In this
romantic forest there are various heavenly blossoming wild trees and
creepers, bedecked with foliage and fruit, nor are there any trees that
do not flower. On these slopes of the Gandhamadana, all the trees are of
sleek foliage and fruit. And behold how these lotus-lakes with fullblown
lotuses, and ringing with the hum of black bees, are being agitated by
elephants with their mates. Behold another lotus-lake girt with lines of
lotuses, like unto a second Sree in an embodied form wearing garlands.
And in this excellent forest there are beautiful ranges of woods, rich
with the aroma of various blossoms, and hummed over by the black bees.
And, O Bhima, behold on all sides the excellent sporting ground of the
celestials. By coming here, we have attained extra-human state, and been
blessed. O Partha, on these slopes of the Gandhamadana, yon beautiful
blossoming trees, being embraced by creepers with blossoms at their tops,
look lovely. And, O Bhima, hark unto the notes of the peacocks crying
with their hens on the mountain slopes. And birds such as chakoras, and
satapatras, and maddened kokilas, and parrots, are alighting o