The Project Gutenberg EBook of Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk.
3 Pt. 1, by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

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Title: Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1

Author: Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

Release Date: April 3, 2004 [EBook #11894]
Last Updated: March 10, 2013

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


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(Aranyaka Parva)

[Pg 1]

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 overwhelmed 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 northerly 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 [Pg 2] 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 [Pg 3] 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 Pandavas.

"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 Brahmanas 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 [Pg 4] 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 lives!'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Ye 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 [Pg 5] as regards disease, it may be allayed by the application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to forget them by 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, and knoweth [Pg 6] 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 is 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. [Pg 7] Even this is eternal morality. They that perform not the Agnihotra,2 do 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 Dakshinas4 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 this?'

"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 [Pg 8] 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 yoga6 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.'"

[Pg 9]


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, [Pg 10] 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, Visata, 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 [Pg 11] 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 gods8 with Upendra (Vishnu) and Mahendra, and the order of Vaimanikas9 have attained success by worshipping thee. By offering thee garlands of the celestial Mandaras10 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 Saranga12 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 [Pg 12] 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 supplicant.'"

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 [Pg 13] 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 exhausted.

"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 Kamyaka."


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 [Pg 14] as clear as that of Bhargava.15 Thou knowest also all the subtleties of 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. [Pg 15] 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 proper.'

"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.'"

[Pg 16]

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 Dhritarashira 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, dividing 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 entirely.'"

[Pg 17]


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! [Pg 18] 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!'

[Pg 19]

"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 [Pg 20] 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, alone 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 [Pg 21] 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 eyes!"

"'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 Duryodhana!'

"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. [Pg 22] 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 corn), 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 ascetics!'"

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 thy 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, [Pg 23] 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, cursed 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 superhuman achievements! I have often heard of it in course of my conversation with the Pandavas (while I was with them). [Pg 24] 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, [Pg 25] 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 [Pg 26] 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 splinters, 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 fired 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 [Pg 27] 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, left 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 woods.'

"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 consanguinous 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 [Pg 28] 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, Phalguna 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 [Pg 29] 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 appropriated 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 [Pg 30] 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 [Pg 31] 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 [Pg 32] 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 Vibhatsu 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 [Pg 33] 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 repressers 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 Rukmim, 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 himself!'

"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).'"

[Pg 34]

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 Dhritarashtra?'"

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 [Pg 35] 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 (ranging) 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 [Pg 36] 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 without 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 Hastinapura, I have come here desirous of seeing ye who have been plunged in distress.'"


"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 thy narration.'

"Vasudeva said, 'O mighty-armed king, hearing that the son of Srutaslavas (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 [Pg 37] 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)!'"

[Pg 38]


"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 kinds 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 princes 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, sallied 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 a 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 those of 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 [Pg 39] 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 sallied out, and, O great king, bidding the Anarttas be of good cheer, said, "Waver ye not, and staying behold me fight! Even I shall, by force, repel 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! Attacked 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 [Pg 40] 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!'"

[Pg 41]


"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 [Pg 42] 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 a 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 [Pg 43] 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 fear!"'

"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 motions, 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 not 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 [Pg 44] 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 [Pg 45] 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 [Pg 46] 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 [Pg 47] 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 [Pg 48] filled with wonder! That host of Danavas 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: what (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 [Pg 49] 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, [Pg 50] 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, Dhrishtadyumna, 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 kings, 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 [Pg 51] 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 ye 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 hearts."


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 [Pg 52] 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 kings 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 side."

[Pg 53]


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 in 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 thy 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, [Pg 54] 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 energy!'"

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 direction!"


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 Vasistha 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 fire 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 [Pg 55] 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, [Pg 56] 'The 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 thy 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, [Pg 57] to (Kaitavirya) 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 [Pg 58] 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 [Pg 59] 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 committeth 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 [Pg 60] 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 persecuted, 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 [Pg 61] 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 Kasyapa 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 performed 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; [Pg 62] 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 Kasyapa 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 [Pg 63] 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 religious 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 lose 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 wirepuller, 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 [Pg 64] 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!'"

[Pg 65]


"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 [Pg 66] 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 nor 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 [Pg 67] 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 Kasyapa. 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's 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 [Pg 68] 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 [Pg 69] 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 [Pg 70] 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, [Pg 71] 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 [Pg 72] 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 hereafter. 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 [Pg 73] 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 fallest 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 [Pg 74] 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 asceticism, 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 surrounded by the Marutas. And, O son of Kunti, as thou art powerful, grind thou with thy might thy [Pg 75] 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 [Pg 76] 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.'"

[Pg 77]


"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 [Pg 78] 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 [Pg 79] 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 [Pg 80] 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 dispel, 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 weapons 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, acquainted 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 [Pg 81] 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 [Pg 82] 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 [Pg 83] 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 that 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 of 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, spake unto the son of Pandu, saying, 'When thou art able to behold the three-eyed [Pg 84] 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 wilt 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)

Janamejaya 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 hero."

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 [Pg 85] 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 [Pg 86] these words of Mahadeva, became delighted, and returned to their respective abodes."


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 handsome 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, [Pg 87] '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 him 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 [Pg 88] 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 his 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 [Pg 89] 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 [Pg 90] 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 [Pg 91] 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."

[Pg 92]


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 [Pg 93] 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 be 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 [Pg 94] 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 stature 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 celestial 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 [Pg 95] 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 [Pg 96] 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 thy 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."

[Pg 97]


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 load 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 steeds. 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 [Pg 98] 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, the god of a thousand eyes eying 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 Dandagami 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 spectators."

[Pg 99]


Vaisampayana said, "The gods and the Gandharvas then, understanding the wishes of Indra, 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 luxury.

"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 Parandana 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, [Pg 100] '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.'"

[Pg 101]


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 set 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 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 [Pg 102] 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 ever!'"

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 [Pg 103] 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 race.'

"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, [Pg 104] 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 Brahmana, 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 [Pg 105] 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 cannibals.'"

[Pg 106]

"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, [Pg 107] 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 thy 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 [Pg 108] 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 ate 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 [Pg 109] 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 [Pg 110] 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. [Pg 111] 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 [Pg 112] 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 followers 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 Kshatriya 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, [Pg 113] 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 [Pg 114] 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 thyself.'"

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 [Pg 115] 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 Dama, 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 [Pg 116] 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 prince 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 [Pg 117] 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 Mahaval, 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 [Pg 118] 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 [Pg 119] 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 is 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 encompassing 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? [Pg 120] 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 [Pg 121] 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 beautious 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 [Pg 122] 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 regions 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.'"

[Pg 123]


"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 in 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. [Pg 124] 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 [Pg 125] 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 charioteer.'"

[Pg 126]


"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 [Pg 127] 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, the 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 home."'"


"'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. [Pg 128] And arrived at this place, the king of the Nishadhas sat down on the bare earth with the princess 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 [Pg 129] 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 forest.'"


"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, ever 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." [Pg 130] 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 curse, 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 pushed 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 wretch 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.'"

[Pg 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 Vadaras, 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 [Pg 132] 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 possessed 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 after 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 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 [Pg 133] 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 Punyastoka, 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 [Pg 134] 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 faith 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, [Pg 135] 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 chastising 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 [Pg 136] 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 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 this 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 [Pg 137] 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 full 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. [Pg 138] 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 prey!"

"'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, [Pg 139] 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 alone 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. [Pg 140] 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, I am a snake, Karkotaka by name. I had [Pg 141] 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 be 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 thine 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!'"

[Pg 142]


"Vrihadaswa said, 'After the snake had vanished, 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 exist 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!'"

[Pg 143]


"Vrihadaswa 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 heaven' 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 [Pg 144] 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.'"

[Pg 145]


"'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." At 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 [Pg 146] 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, and 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 thy 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 [Pg 147] 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 Nishaidhas, 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 beautious 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 [Pg 148] 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 [Pg 149] 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 [Pg 150] 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 [Pg 151] 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 the 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. [Pg 152] 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 Nala 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 [Pg 153] 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 [Pg 154] 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 Vidharbha, 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 sweet 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 [Pg 155] (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.'"

[Pg 156]


"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 [Pg 157] 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 [Pg 158] 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 [Pg 159] three years. It is for thy good 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 [Pg 160] 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 [Pg 161] brother 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 [Pg 162] 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 [Pg 163] 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."

[Pg 164]


(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 repressers 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 [Pg 165] 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 [Pg 166] 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 it.'

"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.'"

[Pg 167]


"'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 constituteth 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 [Pg 168] 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 Agnihotra 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 [Pg 169] 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 Ramideva, the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. One must then go, O virtuous chief of warriors, to Arauda, 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 [Pg 170] 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 Atimtra 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, [Pg 171] 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 [Pg 172] 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 Manirnat, 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 Kavttika, and bathe, O blessed chief of the Bharata race, in the Sarasawati. 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 [Pg 173] 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), he 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 [Pg 174] 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 [Pg 175] 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 [Pg 176] 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 resorted 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 [Pg 177] 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 [Pg 178] 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 Salisurya, 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 [Pg 179] 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 head 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 [Pg 180] 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. [Pg 181] 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 [Pg 182] three worlds. Bathing there, O king, one obtaineth heaven. One should then proceed to Vadanpachana, the asylum of Vasishtha. Having fasted 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 region 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 car. 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 Ganga-hrada. [Pg 183] 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 Pancha-yaksha, a man becometh adored in heaven. Repairing to another tirtha [Pg 184] 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 [Pg 185] 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 [Pg 186] 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 Gangod-bheda 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 [Pg 187] 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, [Pg 188] 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 Gacayana 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 [Pg 189] 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 region 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 [Pg 190] 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 [Pg 191] 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 [Pg 192] 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 [Pg 193] 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) [Pg 194] 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, Dasaratha'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 Mayuravala, 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, [Pg 194] 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 [Pg 196] 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 [Pg 197] 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 tirthas!"


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 [Pg 198] 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.'"

[Pg 199]


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 is 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, [Pg 200] 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 quarters!'"


"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 [Pg 201] 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 water.

"'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 [Pg 202] 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 [Pg 203] 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 heaven!'"


"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 thereof, O sinless one, in 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 [Pg 204] 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!'"

[Pg 205]


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 Pandayas, '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 Amrila, 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 Gandhama 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 [Pg 206] 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 [Pg 207] 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 them.'

"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 easily!'

"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 [Pg 208] 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 [Pg 209] 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 [Pg 210] 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 [Pg 211] 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 subjects 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 [Pg 212] 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 [Pg 213] 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 [Pg 214] 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."'"

[Pg 215]


"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 Vardhnaswa 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 [Pg 216] 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. [Pg 217] 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 ones."'

"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 Prahlada'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 passes 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 Yudhishthira, the tirtha of Bhrigu that is celebrated over the three worlds and [Pg 218] 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 invincible 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 might, 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!"'"

[Pg 219]

"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 shaft, 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)!'"

[Pg 220]


"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 Vritra. 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 [Pg 221] 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. [Pg 222] 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 sallies.'"


"Lomasa said, 'The Kalakeyas then having recourse to that receptacle of waters, which is the abode of Varuna, began their operations for the [Pg 223] 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 [Pg 224] 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 fear."'"


"'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 [Pg 225] 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." [Pg 226] 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, [Pg 227] 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.'"

[Pg 228]


"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 thyself.'"

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 [Pg 229] valorous and characterised by exceeding pride, will be born in one of 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 therefrom."'"


"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 [Pg 230] 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 [Pg 231] 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 subjects."'

"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 [Pg 232] 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 likewise 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 [Pg 233] 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 [Pg 234] (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.'"

[Pg 235]


"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 as 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 [Pg 236] 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 things.

"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, [Pg 237] 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 [Pg 238] 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 men. 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 [Pg 239] 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.

[Pg 240]

"'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 broke 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 [Pg 241] 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 [Pg 242] 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 pleasure; 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. [Pg 243] 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 [Pg 244] 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 Rohind 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.'"

[Pg 245]


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 rites, 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 manes 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 [Pg 246] 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.'

[Pg 247]

"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 (Vishnu) 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 [Pg 248] 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 ear. 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 ear; 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 do 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 [Pg 249] 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 the 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. [Pg 250] 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 low.'"


"'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, [Pg 251] 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 Kshatriya 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 Brahmanas 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 regions."


Vaisampayana said, "The magnanimous monarch pursued his journey, and at different spots on the shore of the sea visited the various bathing places, [Pg 252] 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 Yatna, 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, [Pg 253] 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 [Pg 254] 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 Kunti'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 three pursuits of life—and the son of the wind-god and also the son of the lord of [Pg 255] 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 Vrishnis 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 killed 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 Karna 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 [Pg 256] 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 mace, 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 (Karna). 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 Yudhishthira be annihilated.'

[Pg 257]

"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 Indra, 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 Indra, 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, Indra, 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 [Pg 258] 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 [Pg 259] 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 [Pg 260] 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 fire.'"


"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 Saryati'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, unadorned and 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 [Pg 261] 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 ascended to heaven; and Chyavana and Sukanya too passed their days happily even like celestials.'"


"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 [Pg 262] 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 [Pg 263] 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 Sarvati 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 [Pg 264] 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 [Pg 265] 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 athirst 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 wilt 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 [Pg 266] 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 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 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 [Pg 267] 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 [Pg 268] 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 as 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 reverend 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.'"

[Pg 269]


"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 [Pg 270] 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 praiseworthy 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 [Pg 271] 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 Vijanaka, 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 Diety 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. [Pg 272] 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 whatever."

"'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, [Pg 273] o 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 [Pg 274] 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 [Pg 275] 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 his 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 [Pg 276] 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 twenty-four joints, and three hundred and sixty spokes." Ashtavakra said, "May that ever-moving wheel that hath twenty-four 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 two20 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 fish22 that doth not close its eye-lids, while sleeping; and it is an a egg23 that doth not move when produced; it is stone24 that hath no heart; and it is a river25 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 [Pg 277] 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 presence."'

"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, [Pg 278] it is asserted by some, are 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 [Pg 279] 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." [Pg 280] 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, Kahoda."'

"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, ascend 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, [Pg 281] 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, Yavakri, profound in Vedic lore.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'How did the mighty sage, Yavakri, son of the ascetic Bharadwaja, acquire profoundity 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 Brahmana, 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, [Pg 282] 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 men."'

"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 [Pg 283] 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. Oh 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 [Pg 284] 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 female.'"


"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 he 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, [Pg 285] (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, Paravasa, 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 [Pg 286] a Brahmana"—Arvavasu more than once cried, "It is not I that have killed a Brahmana." Nor 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 [Pg 287] 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 cleanliness.'"

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 [Pg 288] 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, [Pg 289] 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 not 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 Suyodhana 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 [Pg 290] 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 Marats 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 [Pg 291] 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 Diety 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 [Pg 292] 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 [Pg 293] 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 Sahadeva 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 [Pg 294] 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 Gandhamadana."


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 contact 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 well protected 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 [Pg 295] 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, Hidimva'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 [Pg 296] 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 turus, 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 [Pg 297] 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 Vedic 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 Draupadi."

[Pg 298]


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 [Pg 299] 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.

(Paragraph continued in next e-book.)

Footnote 1:(return)

This seems to be the obvious. There is a different reading however. For Drie-cyate—seen, some texts have Sasyate—applauded. Nilakantha imagines that the meaning is "As distribution (of food) amongst the various classes of beings like the gods, the Pitris, &c., is applauded &c., &c."

Footnote 2:(return)

A form of sacrifice which consists in pouring oblations of clarified butter with prayers into a blazing fire. It is obligatory on Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, except those that accept certain vows of great austerity.

Footnote 3:(return)

The Viswedeva sacrifice is the offer of food to all creatures of the earth (by scattering a portion).

Footnote 4:(return)

A gift. It may be of various kinds. The fees paid to Brahmanas assisting at sacrifices and religious rites, such as offering oblations to the dead, are Dakshinas, as also gifts to Brahmanas on other occasions particularly when they are fed, it being to this day the custom never to feed a Brahmana without paying him a pecuniary fee. There can be no sacrifice, no religious rite, without Dakshina.

Footnote 5:(return)

Reference to self, i.e. without the motive of bettering one's own self, or without any motive at all. (This contains the germ of the doctrine preached more elaborately in the Bhagavad gita.)

Footnote 6:(return)

This Yoga consists, in their case, of a combination of attributes by negation of the contrary ones, i.e. by renunciation of motives in all they do.

Footnote 7:(return)

A form of Yoga that is said to consist in the mingling of some of the air supposed to exist in every animal body. These airs are five: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.

Footnote 8:(return)

The 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara.

Footnote 9:(return)

An order of celestials.

Footnote 10:(return)

Celestial flowers of much fragrance.

Footnote 11:(return)

The ascetic properties are Anima, Laghima, etc.

Footnote 12:(return)

The bow of Vishnu, as that of Siva is called Pinaka.

Footnote 13:(return)

The words of the text are Adhana, Pashubandha, Ishti Mantra, Yajana and Tapa-kriya.

Footnote 14:(return)

Dhritarashtra being blind is described as Pragnachakshu, i.e. having knowledge for his eye. It may also mean. "Of the prophetic eye."

Footnote 15:(return)

The great preceptor of the Asuras, viz., Sukra, possessing the highest intelligence as evidenced by his various works on all manner of subjects particularly, the Sukra-niti.

Footnote 16:(return)

Also called Vadarika, a hermitage on the Himalaya near the sources of the Ganges.

Footnote 17:(return)

Nilakantha explains kshetra as including Mahabhuta, consciousness, intellect, the unmanifest (primordial elements), the ten senses, the five objects of the senses, viz., earth, water, &c., desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the combinations of elements, and chaitanya.

Footnote 18:(return)

Hari here means the developed seed that is to expand into the vast whole of the universe.

Footnote 19:(return)

This wheel is the wheel of Time—i.e., measured according to the solar, lunar and astral revolutions. The importance of Ashtavakra's reply is this: May the meritorious deeds performed at proper times, during the revolution of this wheel of Time protect thee.

Footnote 20:(return)

Thunder and lightning or misery and death.

Footnote 21:(return)

Cloud or the mind.

Footnote 22:(return)

The male being that is ever conscious.

Footnote 23:(return)

The mundane egg.

Footnote 24:(return)

The soul that has renounced connection with the body.

Footnote 25:(return)

The heart of a Yogi.

Footnote 26:(return)

Ashtavakra comes to Janaka's sacrifice with the object of proving the unity of the Supreme Being. Vandin avails himself of various system of Philosophy to combat his opponent. He begins with the Buddhistic system. The form of the dialogue is unique in literature being that of enigmas and the latent meaning is in a queer way hid under the appearance of puerile and heterogeneous combinations of things.

Vandin opens the controversy by saying that as the number of each of these is one, so one only intellect is the lord, leader and guide of the senses.

Footnote 27:(return)

There is a Vedic revelation that two birds live together on a tree as friends—one of these eats the fruits and the other looks at the former. From this it is manifest that two are the lords, leaders, and guides of the senses. That there is a second faculty besides the intellect is also proved by the fact that in sleep when the intellect is inactive that faculty continues in action, for if it were not so we could not remember having slept, nor connect the state after awaking with that preceding sleep. Accordingly by citing the number two Ashtavakra asserts that besides intellect there is another faculty—consciousness that these two are jointly the lords, leaders and guides of the senses and that they act together as Indra and Agni, etc.

Footnote 28:(return)

By citing the number three Vandin means to say that as it is Acts that produce the three kinds of born beings, etc., so Acts are supreme and that everything else be it intellect alone, or intellect and consciousness together is subservient to Acts.

Footnote 29:(return)

Ashtavakra here advances the thesis that even if Acts be supreme still when the (fourth) or Supreme Being becomes manifest to the soul, it stands in no further needs to Acts.

Footnote 30:(return)

By bringing in the quinquennial series, Vandin wishes to assert that the five senses are competent to cognise there respective objects and that besides these senses and their objects there is neither any other sense to perceive nor any other object of perception. He also cites the authority of the Veda according to which the Apsaras (or consciousness) have five "locks" on their hands—i.e., five objects of perception.

Footnote 31:(return)

Besides the five senses Ashtavakra contends for an additional sense namely the Mind and accordingly cites the number six.

Footnote 32:(return)

Vandin admits the existence of the six senses but says that the soul experiences happiness and misery through those as well as through the intellect.

Footnote 33:(return)

Ashtavakra advances an eighth element, namely, the knowledge of the ego.

Footnote 34:(return)

Each of the three qualities (existence, foulness and ignorance) of prakriti (the passive or material cause of the world) mixing with each of the three corresponding qualities of pradhana (the active or spiritual cause of the world) in various proportions produces the mundane order of things. Thus is proved the eternity of prakriti or nature and is also established the doctrine of duality.

Footnote 35:(return)

Prakriti does not really create. It is the Supreme Being who through the medium of illusion in contract with the ten organs (viz., the five locomotive organs and the five organs of sense) makes manifest the system of things. Prakriti therefore has no real existence—her existence is only apparent in the real existence of the soul.

Footnote 36:(return)

Yupas (stakes) mean here, feelings, etc, which keep men bound to the world. Rudras are those who makes others cry.

Vandin means to say that the soul is not essentially free from the fetters of happiness and misery arising from the eleven objects of perception. In this world all men are subject to happiness and misery. We also hear that there are Rudras in heaven.

Footnote 37:(return)

The supreme soul unaffected by happiness and misery really exists—but His existence is not susceptible of being proved—nor can the ignorant ever perceive Him. Men attain that condition through these twelve, viz., virtue, truth, self-restraint, penances, good-will, modesty, forgiveness, exemption from envy, sacrifice, charity, concentration and control over the senses.

Footnote 38:(return)

According to some, endeavours to attain emancipation can be successful not in this world but in the world of Brahma. Others say that to that end a special yoga is necessary. By bringing forward the objects numbering thirteen, Vandin advances the opinion that, virtue, etc., are not sufficient for purposes of emancipation but that suitable time and place are also essential.

Footnote 39:(return)

Ashtavakra concludes by citing the same number thirteen. The soul which is essentially unaffected, becomes subject to happiness and misery through the thirteen, viz., the ten organs of locomotion and sense, and intellect mind and egoism. But Atichhanadas, i.e., those that have surmounted ignorance, namely, the twelve, virtue, etc. destroy those thirteen and that is emancipation.

Footnote 40:(return)

Su means excellent, and uta, sacrifice. The compound accordingly means,—performer of excellent sacrifice.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana
Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1, by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa


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