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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 by Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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the piercing of the thunder-bolt, he was named Visakha. And Indra, when
he beheld that another person looking like the fierce destroying
Fire-god had come into being was frightened out of his wits and besought
the protection of Skanda, with the palms of his hands joined together
(as a mark of respect). And that excellent being Skanda, bade him
renounce all fear, with his arm. The gods were then transported with
joy, and their hands too struck up.'"

[35] Another name of gods, so named from their having only three
stages of life--viz., infancy, childhood, and youth--and being
exempt from the fourth--old age.


"Markandeya continued, 'Now hear of those terrible and curious-looking
followers of Skanda. A number of male children came into being when
Skanda was struck with the thunder-bolt,--those terrific creatures that
steal (spirit away) little children, whether born, or in the womb and a
number of female children too of great strength were born to him. Those
children adopted Visakha as their father. That adorable and dexterous
Bhadrasakha, having a face like that of a goat was at the time (of the
battle) surrounded by all his sons and daughters whom he guarded
carefully in the presence of the great mothers. And for this reason the
inhabitants of this earth call Skanda the father of _Kumaras_ (little
children). Those persons who desire to have sons born to them, worship
in their places the powerful _Rudra_ in the form of the Fire-god, and
_Uma_ in the form of _Swaha_. And by that means they are blessed with
sons. The daughters begotten by the Fire-god, _Tapa_, went over to
Skanda, who said to them, "What can I do for you?" Those girls replied,
"Do us this favour; by thy blessing, may we become the good and
respected mothers of all the world!" He replied, "Be it so." And that
liberal-minded being repeated again and again, "Ye shall be divided into
Siva and Asiva."[36] And the mothers then departed, having first
established Skanda's sonship, Kaki, Halima, Malini, Vrinhila, Arya,
Palala and Vaimitra, these were the seven mothers of Sisu. They had a
powerful, red-eyed, terrific, and very turbulent son named Sisu born by
the blessing of Skanda. He was reputed as the eighth hero, born of the
mothers of Skanda. But he is also known as the ninth, when that being
with the face of a goat, is included. Know that the sixth face of Skanda
was like that of a goat. That face, O king, is situated in the middle of
the six, and is regarded constantly by the mother. That head by which
Bhadrasakha created the divine energy, is reputed to be the best of all
his heads. O ruler of men, these virtuous wonderful events happened on
the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month, and on the sixth, a
very fierce and terrific battle was fought at that place."

[36] i.e., good and evil spirits.


"Markandeya continued, 'Skanda was adorned with a golden amulet and
wreath, and wore a crest and a crown of gold; his eyes were
golden-coloured, and he had a set of sharp teeth; he was dressed in a
red garment and looked very handsome; he had a comely appearance, and
was endowed with all good characteristics and was the favourite of the
three worlds. He granted boons (to people who sought them) and was
brave, youthful, and adorned with bright ear-rings. Whilst he was
reposing himself, the goddess of fortune, looking like a lotus and
assuming a personal embodiment, rendered her allegiance to him. When he
became thus possessed of good fortune, that famous and delicate-looking
creature appeared to all like the moon at its full. And high-minded
Brahmanas worshipped that mighty being, and the _Maharshis_ (great
_rishis_) then said as follows to Skanda, "O thou born of the golden
egg, mayst thou be prosperous and mayst thou become an instrument of
good to the universe! O best of the gods, although thou wast born only
six nights (days) ago, the whole world has owned allegiance to thee
(within this short time), and thou hast also allayed their fears.
Therefore do thou become the Indra (lord) of the three worlds and remove
their cause of apprehension." Skanda replied, "You gentlemen of great
ascetic wealth (tell me) what Indra does with all three worlds and how
that sovereign of the celestials protects the hosts of gods
unremittingly." The _Rishis_ replied, "Indra is the giver of strength,
power, children and happiness to all creatures and when propitiated,
that Lord of the celestials bestows on all the objects of their desire.
He destroys the wicked and fulfils the desires of the righteous; and
that Destroyer of Vala assigns to all creatures their various duties. He
officiates for the sun and the moon in places where there is no sun or
moon; he even when occasion requires it, acts for (serves the purposes
of) fire, air, earth, and water. These are the duties of Indra; his
capacities are immense. Thou too art mighty; therefore great hero, do
thou become our Indra."

"'Sakra said, "O mighty being, do thou make us happy, by becoming our
lord. Excellent being, thou art worthy of the honour; therefore shall we
anoint thee this very day."

"'Skanda replied, "Do thou continue to rule the three worlds with
self-possession, and with thy heart bent on conquest. I shall remain thy
humble servant. I covet not thy sovereignty."

"'Sakra replied, "Thy prowess is unrivalled, O hero, do thou therefore
vanquish the enemies of the gods. People have been struck with wonder at
thy prowess. More specially as I have been bereft of my prowess, and
defeated by thee, now if I were to act as Indra, I should not command
the respect of all creatures, and they would be busy in bringing about
dissensions between us; and then, my lord, they would become the
partisans of one or other of us. And when they formed themselves into
two distinct factions, war as before would be the result of that
defection. And in that war, thou wouldst undoubtedly defeat me without
difficulty and thyself become the lord of all worlds."

"'Skanda replied, "Thou, O Sakra, art my sovereign, as also of the three
worlds; mayst thou be prosperous! Tell me if I can obey any commands of

"'Indra replied, "At thy bidding, O powerful being, I shall continue to
act as Indra. And if thou hast said this deliberately and in earnest,
then hear me how thou canst gratify thy desire of serving me. Do thou, O
mighty being, take the leadership of the celestial forces accordingly."

"'Skanda replied, "Do thou anoint me as leader, for the destruction of
the Danavas, for the good of the celestials, and for the well-being of
cows and Brahmanas."'

"Markandeya continued, "Thus anointed by Indra and all other gods, and
honoured by the _Maharshis_, he looked grand at the moment. The golden
umbrella[37] held (over his head) looked like a halo of blazing fire.
That famous god, the Conqueror of Tripura, himself fastened the
celestial wreath of gold, of Viswakarma's manufacture, round his neck.
And, O great man and conqueror of thine enemies, that worshipful god
with the emblem of the bull, had gone there previously with Parvati. He
honoured him with a joyous heart. The Fire-god is called Rudra by
Brahmanas, and from this fact Skanda is called the son of Rudra. The
White Mountain was formed from discharges of Rudra's _semen virile_ and
the sensual indulgences of the Fire-god with the Krittikas took place on
that same White Mountain. And as Rudra was seen by all the dwellers of
heaven to heap honours on the excellent Guha (Skanda), he was for that
reason reputed as the son of Rudra. This child had his being by the
action of Rudra entering into the constitution of the Fire-god, and for
this reason, Skanda came to be known as the son of Rudra. And, O
Bharata, as Rudra, the Fire-god, Swaha, and the six wives (of the seven
Rishis) were instrumental to the birth of the great god Skanda, he was
for that reason reputed as the son of Rudra.'

[37] One of the ensigns of royalty in Hindustan.

"'That son of Fire-god was clad in a pair of clean red cloths, and thus
he looked grand and resplendent like the Sun peeping forth from behind a
mass of red clouds. And the red cock given to him by the Fire-god,
formed his ensign; and when perched on the top of his chariot, it looked
like the image of the all-destroying fire. And the presiding deity of
the power which conduces to the victory of the god, and which is the
director of the exertions of all creatures, and constitutes their glory,
prop and refuge, advanced before him. And a mysterious charm entered
into his constitution, the charm which manifests its powers on the
battlefield. Beauty, strength, piety, power, might, truthfulness,
rectitude, devotion to Brahmanas, freedom from illusion or perplexity,
protection of followers, destruction of foes, and care of all
creatures,--these, O lord of men, are the inborn virtues of Skanda. Thus
anointed by all the gods, he looked pleased and complacent; and dressed
in his best style, he looked beautiful like the moon at its full. The
much-esteemed incantation of _Vedic_ hymns, the music of the celestial
band, and the songs of gods and _Gandharvas_ then rang on all sides. And
surrounded by all the well-dressed _Apsaras_, and many other gay and
happy-looking _Pisachas_ and hosts of gods, that anointed (by gods) son
of Pavaka disported himself in all his grandeur. To the dwellers of
heaven, the anointed Mahasena appeared like the Sun rising after
extinction of darkness. And then the celestial forces looking upon him
as their leader, surrounded him on all sides in thousands. That adorable
being followed by all creatures then assumed their commands, and praised
and honoured by them, he encouraged them in return.

"'The Performer of a thousand sacrifices then thought of Devasena, whom
he has rescued before. And considering that this being (Skanda) was
undoubtedly destined to be the husband of this lady by Brahma himself,
he had her brought there, dressed her with the best apparel. And the
vanquisher of Vala then said to Skanda, "O foremost of gods, this lady
was, even before thy birth, destined to be thy bride by that
Self-existent Being.[38] Therefore do thou duly accept her lotus-like
beautiful right hand with invocation of the (marital) hymns." Thus told,
he duly married her. And Vrihaspati learned in hymns performed the
necessary prayers and oblations. She who is called Shashthi, Lakshmi,
Asa, Sukhaprada, Sinivali, Kuhu, Saivritti, and Aparajita, is known
among men as Devasena, the wife of Skanda. When Skanda became united to
Devasena in indissoluble bonds of matrimony, then the gods of prosperity
in her own personal embodiment began to serve him with diligence. As
Skanda attained celebrity on the fifth lunar day, that day is called
_Sripanchami_ (or the auspicious fifth day) and as he attained his
object on the sixth, that lunar day is considered to be of great

[38] Brahma.


"Markandeya continued, 'Those six ladies, the wives of the seven
_Rishis_ when they learned that good fortune had smiled on Mahasena and
that he had been made leader of the celestial forces,[39] repaired to
his camp. Those virtuous ladies of high religious merit had been
disowned by the _Rishis_. They lost no time in visiting that leader of
the celestial forces and then addressed him thus, "We, O son, have been
cast out by our god-like husbands, without any cause. Some people spread
the rumour that we gave birth to thee. Believing in the truth of this
story, they became greatly indignant, and banished us from our sacred
places. It behooves thee now to save us from this infamy. We desire to
adopt thee as our son, so that, O mighty being, eternal bliss may be
secured to us by that favour. Do thou thus repay the obligation thou
owest to us."

[39] Devasenapati is the original. It may mean either the _pati_
(leader) of the _sena_ (forces) of _devas_ or the _pati_
(husband) of Devasena.

"'Skanda replied, "O ladies of faultless character, do you accordingly
become my mothers. I am your son and ye shall attain all the objects of
your desire."

"Markandeya continued, 'Then Sakra having expressed a wish to say
something to Skanda, the latter enquired, "What is it?" Being told by
Skanda to speak it out, Vasava said, "The lady Abhijit, the younger
sister of Rohini, being jealous of her seniority, has repaired to the
woods to perform austerities. And I am at a loss to find out a
substitute for the fallen star. May good luck attend on thee, do thou
consult with _Brahma_ (for the purpose of filling up the room) of this
great asterism." Dhanishtha and other asterisms were created by
_Brahma_, and Rohini used to serve the purpose of one such; and
consequently their number was full. And in accordance with Sakra's
advice, Krittika was assigned a place in the heavens, and that star
presided over by _Agni_ shines as if with seven heads. Vinata also said
to Skanda, "Thou art as a son to me, and entitled to offer me the
funeral cakes (at my funeral obsequies). I desire, my son, to live with
thee always."

"'Skanda replied, "Be it so, all honour to thee! Do thou guide me with a
mother's affection, and honoured by thy daughter-in-law, thou shalt
always live with me."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Then the great mothers spoke as follows to
Skanda, "We have been described by the learned as the mothers of all
creatures. But we desire to be thy mothers, do thou honour us."

"'Skanda replied, "Ye are all as mothers to me, and I am your son. Tell
me what I can do to please you."

"'The mothers replied, "The ladies (Brahmi, Maheswari, &c.) were
appointed as mothers of the world in bygone ages. We desire, O great
god, that they be dispossessed of that dignity, and ourselves installed
in their place, and that we, instead of them, be worshipped by the
world. Do thou now restore to us those of our progeny, of whom we have
been deprived, by them on thy account."

"'Skanda replied, "Ye shall not recover those that have been once given
away, but I can give you other offspring if ye like."

"'The mothers replied, "We desire that living with thee and assuming
different shapes we be able to eat up the progeny of those mothers and
their guardians. Do thou grant us this favour."

"'Skanda said, "I can grant you progeny, but this topic on which ye have
just now dilated is a very painful one. May ye be prosperous! All honour
to you, ladies, do ye vouchsafe to them your protecting care."

"'The mothers replied, "We shall protect them, O Skanda, as thou
desirest. Mayst thou be prosperous! But, O mighty being, we desire to
live with thee always."

"'Skanda replied, "So long as children of the human kind do not attain
the youthful state in the sixteenth year of their age, ye shall afflict
them with your various forms, and I too shall confer on you a fierce
inexhaustible spirit. And with that ye shall live happily, worshipped by

"Markandeya continued, 'And then a fiery powerful being came out of the
body of Skanda for the purpose of devouring the progeny of mortal
beings. He fell down upon the ground, senseless and hungry. And bidden
by Skanda, that genius of evil assumed a terrific form. Skandapasmara is
the name by which it is known among good Brahmanas. Vinata is called the
terrific Sakuni _graha_ (spirit of evil). She who is known as _Putana
Rakshasi_ by the learned is the _graha_ called Putana; that fierce and
terrible looking _Rakshasa_ of a hideous appearance is also called the
_pisacha_, Sita Putana. That fierce-looking spirit is the cause of
abortion in women. Aditi is also known by the name of Revati; her evil
spirit is called Raivata, and that terrible _graha_ also afflicts
children. Diti, the mother of the Daityas (_Asuras_), is also called
Muhkamandika, and that terrible creature is very fond of the flesh of
little children. Those male and female children, O Kaurava, who are said
to have been begotten by Skanda, are spirit of evil and they destroy the
foetus in the womb. They (the _Kumaras_) are known as the husbands of
those very ladies, and children are seized unawares by these cruel
spirits. And, O king, _Surabhi_ who is called the mother of bovine kind
by the wise is best ridden by the evil spirit Sakuni, who in company
with her, devours children on this earth. And Sarama, the mother of
dogs, also habitually kills human beings while still in the womb. She
who is the mother of all trees has her abode in a _karanja_ tree. She
grants boons and has a placid countenance and is always favourably
disposed towards all creatures. Those persons who desire to have
children, bow down to her, who is seated in a _karanja_ tree. These
eighteen evil spirits fond of meat and wine, and others of the same
kind, invariably take up their abode in the lying-in-room for ten days.
Kadru introduces herself in a subtle form into the body of a pregnant
woman and there she causes the destruction of the foetus, and the mother
is made to give birth to a _Naga_ (serpent). And that mother of the
Gandharvas takes away the foetus, and for this reason, conception in
woman turns out to be abortive. The mother of the _Apsaras_ removes the
foetus from the womb, and for this reason such conceptions are said to
be stationary by the learned. The daughter of the Divinity of the Red
Sea is said to have nursed Skanda,--she is worshipped under the name of
Lohitayani on Kadamva trees. Arya acts the same part among female
beings, as Rudra does among male ones. She is the mother of all children
and is distinctly worshipped for their welfare. These that I have
described are the evil spirits presiding over the destinies of young
children, and until children attain their sixteenth year, these spirits
exercise their influence for evil, and after that, for good. The whole
body of male and female spirits that I have now described are always
denominated by men as the spirits of Skanda. They are propitiated with
burnt offerings, ablutions, unguents, sacrifices and other offerings,
and particularly by the worship of Skanda. And, O king, when they are
honoured and worshipped with due reverence, they bestow on men whatever
is good for them, as also valour and long life. And now having bowed
down to Maheswara, I shall describe the nature of those spirits who
influence the destinies of men after they have attained their sixteenth

"'The man who beholds gods while sleeping, or in a wakeful state soon
turns mad, and the spirit under whose influence these hallucinations
take place is called the celestial spirit. When a person beholds his
dead ancestors while he is seated at ease, or lying in his bed, he soon
loses his reason, and the spirit which causes this illusion of sensible
perception, is called the ancestral spirit. The man who shows disrespect
to the _Siddhas_ and who is cursed by them in return, soon runs mad and
the evil influence by which this is brought about, is called the
_Siddha_ spirit. And the spirit by whose influence a man smells sweet
odour, and becomes cognisant of various tastes (when there are no
odoriferous or tasteful substances about him) and soon becomes
tormented, is called the _Rakshasa_ spirit. And the spirit by whose
action celestial musicians (_Gandharvas_) blend their existence into the
constitution of a human being, and make him run mad in no time, is
called the _Gandharva_ spirit. And that evil spirit by whose influence
men are always tormented by _Pisachas_, is called the _Pisacha_ spirit.
When the spirit of _Yakshas_ enters into the system of a human being by
some accident, he loses his reason immediately, and such a spirit is
called the _Yaksha_ spirit. The man who loses his reason on account of
his mind being demoralised with vices, runs mad in no time, and his
illness must be remedied according to methods prescribed in the
_Sastras_. Men also run mad from perplexity, from fear, as also on
beholding hideous sights. The remedy lies in quieting their minds. There
are three classes of spirits, some are frolicsome, some are gluttonous,
and some sensual. Until men attain the age of three score and ten, these
evil influences continue to torment them, and then fever becomes the
only evil spirit that afflicts sentient beings. These evil spirits
always avoid those who have subdued their senses, who are
self-restrained, of cleanly habits, god-fearing and free from laziness
and contamination. I have thus described to thee, O king, the evil
spirits that mould the destinies of men. Thou who art devoted to
Maheswara art never troubled by them.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'When Skanda had bestowed these powers, Swaha
appeared to him and said, "Thou art my natural son,--I desire that thou
shalt grant exquisite happiness to me."

"'Skanda replied, "What sort of happiness dost thou wish to enjoy?"

"'Swaha replied, "O mighty being, I am the favourite daughter of Daksha,
by name Swaha; and from my youthful days I have been in love with
Hutasana (the Fire-god); but that god, my son, does not understand my
feelings. I desire to live for ever with him (as his wife)."

"'Skanda replied, "From this day, lady, all the oblations that men of
virtuous character, who swerve not from the path of virtue, will offer
to their gods or ancestors with incantation of purifying hymns by
Brahmanas, shall always be offered (through Agni) coupled with the name
of Swaha, and thus, excellent lady, wilt thou always live associated
with Agni, the god of fire."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus addressed and honoured by Skanda, Swaha was
greatly pleased; and associated with her husband Pavaka (the Fire-god),
she honoured him in return.

"'Then _Brahma_, the lord of all creatures, said to Mahasena, "Do thou
go and visit thy father Mahadeva, the conqueror of Tripura. Rudra
coalescing with Agni (the Fire-god) and Uma with Swaha have combined to
make thee invincible for the well-being of all creatures. And the semen
of the high-souled Rudra cast into the reproductive organ of Uma was
thrown back upon this hill, and hence the twin Mujika and Minjika came
into being. A portion of it fell into the Blood Sea, another portion,
into the rays of the sun, another upon the earth and thus was it
distributed in five portions. Learned men ought to remember that these
thy various and fierce-looking followers living on the flesh of animals
were produced from the _semen_." "Be it so," so saying, the high-souled
Mahasena with fatherly love, honoured his father Maheswara.'

"Markandeya continued, 'Men who are desirous of acquiring wealth, should
worship those five classes of spirits with the sun flower, and for
alleviation of diseases also worship must be rendered to them. The twin
Mujika and Minjika begotten by Rudra must always be respected by persons
desiring the welfare of little children; and persons who desire to have
children born to them must always worship those female spirits who live
on human flesh and are produced in trees. Thus all _Pisachas_ are said
to be divided into innumerable classes. And now, O king, listen to the
origin of the bells and standards of Skanda. Airavata (Indra's elephant)
is known to have had two bells of the name of Vaijayanti, and the
keen-witted Sakra had them brought to him, and personally gave them to
Guha. Visakha took one of those bells and Skanda the other. The
standards of both Kartikeya and Visakha were of a red colour. That
mighty god Mahasena was pleased with the toys that had been given to him
by the gods. Surrounded by hosts of gods and _Pisachas_ and seated on
the Golden Mountain, he looked splendid in all the grandeur of
prosperity. And that mountain covered with fine forests, also looked
grand in his companionship, just as the Mandara hill abounding with
excellent caves shines with the rays of the sun. The White Mountain was
adorned with whole tracts of wood-land covered with blossoming Santanaka
flowers and with forests of Karavira, Parijata, Jaba and Asoke
trees,--as also with wild tracts overgrown with Kadamva trees; and it
abounded with herds of celestial deer and flocks of celestial birds. And
the rumbling of clouds serving the purpose of musical instruments
sounded like the murmur of an agitated sea, and celestial Gandharvas and
Apsaras began to dance. And there arose a great sound of joy from the
merriment of all creatures. Thus the whole world with Indra himself
seemed to have been transferred to the White Mountain. And all the
people began to observe Skanda with satisfaction in their looks, and
they did not at all feel tired of doing so.'

"Markandeya continued, 'When that adorable son of the Fire-god was
anointed as leader of the celestial army, that grand and happy lord,
Hara (Mahadeva) riding with Parvati in a chariot shining with sunlike
refulgence repaired to a place called Bhadravata. His excellent chariot
was drawn by a thousand lions and managed by _Kala_. They passed through
blank space, and seemed as if they were about to devour the sky; and
striking terror into the heart of all creatures in the mobile divisions
of the worlds, those maned beasts flitted through the air, uttering
fearful growls. And that lord of all animals (Mahadeva) seated in that
chariot with Uma, looked like the sun with flames of lightning
illuminating masses of clouds begirt with Indra's bow (rainbow). He was
preceded by that adorable Lord of riches riding on the backs of human
beings with his attendant Guhyakas riding in his beautiful car Pushpaka.
And Sakra too riding on his elephant Airavata and accompanied by other
gods brought up the rear of Mahadeva, the granter of boons, marching in
this way at the head of the celestial army. And the great _Yaksha
Amogha_ with his attendants--the _Jambhaka Yakshas_ and other
_Rakshasas_ decorated with garlands of flowers--obtained a place in the
right wing of his army; and many gods of wonderful fighting powers in
company with the _Vasus_ and the _Rudras_, also marched with the right
division of his army. And the terrible-looking Yama too in company with
Death marched with him (followed by hundreds of terrible diseases); and
behind him was carried the terrible, sharp-pointed, well-decorated
trident of Siva, called Vijaya. And Varuna, the adorable lord of waters
with his terrible _Pasa_,[40] and surrounded by numerous aquatic
animals, marched slowly with the trident. And the trident Vijaya was
followed by the _Pattisa_[41] of Rudra guarded by maces, balls, clubs
and other excellent weapons. And the _Pattisa_, O king, was followed by
the bright umbrella of Rudra and the Kamandalu served by the
_Maharshis_; and on it progressed in the company of Bhrigu, Angiras and
others. And behind all these rode Rudra in his white chariot,
re-assuring the gods with the exhibition of his powers. And rivers and
lakes and seas, _Apsaras, Rishis_, Celestials, _Gandharvas_ and
serpents, stars, planets, and the children of gods, as also many women,
followed him in his train. These handsome-looking ladies proceeded
scattering flowers all around; and the clouds marched, having made their
obeisance to that god (Mahadeva) armed with the _Pinaka_ bow. And some
of them held a white umbrella over his head, and Agni (the Fire god) and
Vayu (the god of winds) busied themselves with two hairy fans (emblems
of royalty). And, O king, he was followed by the glorious Indra
accompanied by the _Rajarshis_, and singing the praise of that god with
the emblem of the bull. And Gauri, Vidya, Gandhari, Kesini, and the lady
called Mitra in company with Savitri, all proceeded in the train of
Parvati, as also all the Vidyas (presiding deities of all branches of
knowledge) that were created by the learned. The _Rakshasa_ spirit who
delivers to different battalions the commands which are implicitly
obeyed by Indra and other gods, advanced in front of the army as
standard-bearer. And that foremost of _Rakshasas_, by name Pingala, the
friend of Rudra, who is always busy in places where corpses are burnt,
and who is agreeable to all people, marched with them merrily, at one
time going ahead of the army, and falling behind again at another, his
movements being uncertain. Virtuous actions are the offerings with which
the god Rudra is worshipped by mortals. He who is also called Siva, the
omnipotent god, armed with the Pinaka bow, is Maheswara. He is
worshipped in various forms.

[40] A kind of missile.

[41] Another kind of weapon.

"'The son of Krittika, the leader of the celestial army, respectful to
Brahmanas, surrounded by the celestial forces, also followed that lord
of the gods. And then Mahadeva said these weighty words to Mahasena, "Do
thou carefully command the seventh army corps of the celestial forces."

"'Skanda replied, "Very well, my lord! I shall command the seventh army
corps. Now tell me quickly if there is anything else to be done."

"'Rudra said, "Thou shall always find me in the field of action. By
looking up to me and by devotion to me shalt thou attain great

"Markandeya continued, 'With these words Maheswara received him in his
embrace, and then dismissed him. And, O great king, after the dismissal
of Skanda, prodigies of various kinds occurred to disturb the equanimity
of the gods.

"'The firmament with the stars was in a blaze, and the whole universe in
a state of utter confusion. The earth quaked and gave forth a rumbling
sound, and darkness overspread the whole world. Then observing this
terrible catastrophy, Sankara with the estimable Uma, and the
celestials with the great _Maharshis_, were much exercised in mind. And
when they had fallen into this state of confusion, there appeared before
them a fierce and mighty host armed with various weapons, and looking
like a mass of clouds and rocks. Those terrible and countless beings,
speaking different languages directed their movements towards the point
where Sankara and the celestials stood. They hurled into the ranks of
the celestial army flights of arrows in all directions, masses of rock,
maces, _sataghnis, prasas_ and _parighas_. The celestial army was thrown
into a state of confusion by a shower of these terrible weapons and
their ranks were seen to waver. The _Danavas_ made a great havoc by
cutting up their soldiers, horses, elephants, chariots and arms. And the
celestial troops then seemed as if they were about to turn their backs
upon the enemy. And numbers of them fell, slain by the _Asuras_, like
large trees in a forest burnt in a conflagration. Those dwellers of
heaven fell with their heads separated from their bodies, and having
none to lead them in that fearful battle, they were slaughtered by the
enemy. And then the god Purandara (Indra), the slayer of Vala, observing
that they were unsteady and hard-pressed by the _Asuras_, tried to rally
them with this speech, "Do not be afraid, ye heroes, may success attend
your efforts! Do ye all take up your arms, and resolve upon manly
conduct, and ye will meet with no more misfortune, and defeat those
wicked and terrible-looking _Danavas_. May ye be successful! Do ye fall
upon the _Danavas_ with me."

"'The dwellers of heaven were re-assured on hearing this speech from
Sakra; and under his leadership, they again rushed against the
_Danavas_. And then the thirty-three crores of gods and all the powerful
_Marutas_ and the _Sadhyas_ with the _Vasus_ returned to the charge. And
the arrows which they angrily discharged against the enemy drew a large
quantity of blood from the bodies of the _Daityas_ and of their horses
and elephants. And those sharp arrows passing through their bodies fell
upon the ground, looking like so many snakes falling from the sides of a
hill. And, O king, the _Daityas_ pierced by those arrows fell fast on
all sides, looking like so many detached masses of clouds. Then the
_Danava_ host, struck with panic at that charge of the celestials on the
field of battle, wavered at that shower of various weapons. Then all the
gods loudly gave vent to their joy, with arms ready to strike; and the
celestial bands too struck up various airs. Thus took place that
encounter, so fearful to both sides: for all the battle-field was
covered with blood and strewn with the bodies of both gods and _Asuras_.
But the gods were soon worsted all on a sudden, and the terrible
_Danavas_ again made a great havoc of the celestial army. Then the
_Asuras_ drums struck up and their shrill bugles were sounded; and the
_Danava_ chiefs yelled their terrific war-cry.

"'Then a powerful _Danava_, taking a huge mass of rock in his hands,
came out of that terrible _Daitya_ army. He looked like the sun peering
forth from against a mass of dark clouds. And, O king, the celestials,
beholding that he was about to hurl that mass of rock at them, fled in
confusion. But they were pursued by Mahisha, who hurled that hillock at
them. And, O lord of the world, by the falling of that mass of rock, ten
thousand warriors of the celestial army were crushed to the ground and
breathed their last. And this act of Mahisha struck terror into the
hearts of the gods, and with his attendant _Danavas_ he fell upon them
like a lion attacking a herd of deer. And when Indra and the other
celestials observed that Mahisha was advancing to the charge, they fled,
leaving behind their arms and colours. And Mahisha was greatly enraged
at this, and he quickly advanced towards the chariot of Rudra; and
reaching near, he seized its pole with his hands. And when Mahisha in a
fit of rage had thus seized the chariot of Rudra, all the Earth began to
groan and the great _Rishis_ lost their senses. And _Daityas_ of huge
proportions, looking like dark clouds, were boisterous with joy,
thinking that victory was assured to them. And although that adorable
god (Rudra) was in that plight, yet he did not think it worth while to
kill Mahisha in battle; he remembered that Skanda would deal the
deathblow to that evil-minded _Asura_. And the fiery Mahisha,
contemplating with satisfaction the prize (the chariot of Rudra) which
he had secured, sounded his war-cry, to the great alarm of the gods and
the joy of the _Daityas_. And when the gods were in that fearful
predicament, the mighty Mahasena, burning with anger, and looking grand
like the Sun advanced to their rescue. And that lordly being was clad in
blazing red and decked with a wreath of red flowers. And cased in armour
of gold he rode in a gold-coloured chariot bright as the Sun and drawn
by chestnut horses. And at his sight the army of the daityas was
suddenly dispirited on the field of battle. And, O great king, the
mighty Mahasena discharged a bright _Sakti_ for the destruction of
Mahisha. That missile cut off the head of Mahisha, and he fell upon the
ground and died. And his head massive as a hillock, falling on the
ground, barred the entrance to the country of the Northern Kurus,
extending in length for sixteen _Yojanas_ though at present the people
of that country pass easily by that gate.

"'It was observed both by the gods and the _Danavas_ that Skanda hurled
his _sakti_ again and again on the field of battle, and that it returned
to his hands, after killing thousands of the enemy's forces. And the
terrible _Danavas_ fell in large numbers by the arrows of the wise
Mahasena. And then a panic seized them, and the followers of Skanda
began to slay and eat them up by thousands and drink their blood. And
they joyously exterminated the _Danavas_ in no time, just as the sun
destroys darkness, or as fire destroys a forest, or as the winds drive
away the clouds. And in this manner the famous Skanda defeated all his
enemies. And the gods came to congratulate him, and he, in turn, paid
his respects to Maheswara. And that son of Krittika looked grand like
the sun in all the glory of his effulgence. And when the enemy was
completely defeated by Skanda and when Maheswara left the battle-field,
Purandara embraced Mahasena and said to him, "This Mahisha, who was made
invincible by the favour of Brahma hath been killed by thee. O best of
warriors, the gods were like grass to him. O strong-limbed hero, thou
hast removed a thorn of the celestials. Thou hast killed in battle
hundreds of Danavas equal in valour to Mahisha who were all hostile to
us, and who used to harass us before. And thy followers too have
devoured them by hundreds. Thou art, O mighty being, invincible in
battle like Uma's lord; and this victory shall be celebrated as thy
first achievement, and thy fame shall be undying in the three worlds.
And, O strong-armed god, all the gods will yield their allegiance to
thee." Having spoken thus to Mahasena, the husband of Sachi left the
place accompanied by the gods and with the permission of the adorable
three-eyed god (Siva). And Rudra returned to Bhadravata, and the
celestials too returned to their respective abodes. And Rudra spoke,
addressing the gods, "Ye must render allegiance to Skanda just as ye do
unto me." And that son of the Fire-god, having killed the Danavas hath
conquered the three worlds, in one day, and he hath been worshipped by
the great _Rishis_. The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this
story of the birth of Skanda, attaineth to great prosperity in this
world and the companionship of Skanda hereafter.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O good and adorable Brahmana, I wish to know the
different names of that high-souled being, by which he is celebrated
throughout the three worlds.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by the Pandava in that assembly
of _Rishis_, the worshipful Markandeya of high ascetic merit replied,
'Agneya (Son of Agni), Skanda (Cast-off), Diptakirti (Of blazing fame),
Anamaya (Always hale), Mayuraketu (Peacock-bannered), Dharmatman (The
virtuous-souled), Bhutesa (The lord of all creatures), Mahishardana (The
slayer of Mahisha), Kamajit (The subjugator of desires), Kamada (The
fulfiller of desires), Kanta (The handsome), Satyavak (The truthful in
speech), Bhuvaneswara (The lord of the universe), Sisu (The child),
Sighra (The quick), Suchi (The pure), Chanda (The fiery), Diptavarna
(The bright-complexioned), Subhanana (Of beautiful face), Amogha
(Incapable of being baffled), Anagha (The sinless), Rudra (The
terrible), Priya (The favourite), Chandranana (Of face like the moon),
Dipta-sasti (The wielder of the blazing lance), Prasantatman (Of
tranquil soul), Bhadrakrit (The doer of good), Kutamahana (The chamber
of even the wicked), Shashthipriya (True favourite of Shashthi), Pavitra
(The holy), Matrivatsala (The reverencer of his mother), Kanya-bhartri
(The protector of virgins), Vibhakta (Diffused over the universe),
Swaheya (The son of Swaha), Revatisuta (The child of Revati), Prabhu
(The Lord), Neta (The leader), Visakha (Reared up by Visakha), Naigameya
(Sprang from the Veda), Suduschara (Difficult of propitiation), Suvrata
(Of excellent vows), Lalita (The beautiful), Valakridanaka-priya (Fond
of toys), Khacharin (The ranger of skies), Brahmacharin (The chaste),
Sura (The brave), Saravanodbhava (Born in a forest of heath), Viswamitra
priya (The favourite of Viswamitra), Devasena-priya (The lover of
Devasena), Vasudeva-priya (The beloved of Vasudeva), and Priya-krit (The
doer of agreeable things)--these are the divine names of Kartikeya.
Whoever repeateth them, undoubtedly secureth fame, wealth, and

"Markandeya continued, 'O valiant scion of Kuru's race, I shall now with
due devotion pray to that unrivalled, mighty, six-faced, and valiant
Guha who is worshipped by gods and _Rishis_, enumerating his other
titles of distinction: do thou listen to them: Thou art devoted to
_Brahma_, begotten of Brahma, and versed in the mysteries of _Brahma_.
Thou art called _Brahmasaya_, and thou art the foremost of those who are
possessed of _Brahma_. Thou art fond of _Brahma_, thou art austere like
the Brahmanas and art versed in the great mystery of _Brahma_ and the
leader of the Brahmanas. Thou art _Swaha_, thou art _Swadha_, and thou
art the holiest of the holy, and art invoked in hymns and celebrated as
the six-flamed fire. Thou art the year, thou art the six seasons, thou
art the months, the (lunar) half months, the (solar) declinations, and
the cardinal points of space. Thou art lotus-eyed. Thou art possessed of
a lily-like face. Thou hast a thousand faces and a thousand arms. Thou
art the ruler of the universe, thou art the great Oblation, and thou art
the animating spirit of all the gods and the _Asuras_. Thou art the
great leader of armies. Thou art _Prachanda_ (furious), thou art the
Lord, and thou art the great master and the conqueror of thine enemies.
Thou art _Sahasrabhu_ (multiform), _Sahasratusti_ (a thousand times
content), _Sahasrabhuk_ (devourer of everything), and _Sahasrapad_ (of a
thousand legs), and thou art the earth itself. Thou art possessed of
infinite forms and thousand heads and great strength. According to thine
own inclinations thou hast appeared as the son of Ganga, Swaha, Mahi, or
Krittika. O six-faced god, thou dost play with the cock and assume
different forms according to thy will. Thou art Daksha, Soma, the
Maruta, Dharma, Vayu, the prince of mountains, and Indra, for all time.
Thou art mighty, the most eternal of all eternal things, and the lord of
all lords. Thou art the progenitor of Truth, the destroyer of Diti's
progeny (_Asuras_), and the great conqueror of the enemies of the
celestials. Thou art the personation of virtue and being thyself vast
and minute, thou art acquainted with the highest and lowest points of
virtuous acts, and the mysteries of _Brahma_. O foremost of all gods and
high-souled lord of the Universe, this whole creation is over-spread
with thy energy! I have thus prayed to thee according to the best of my
power. I salute thee who art possessed of twelve eyes and many hands.
Thy remaining attributes transcend my powers of comprehension!'

"'The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this story of the birth of
Skanda, or relateth it unto Brahmanas, or hears it narrated by
regenerate men, attaineth to wealth, long life, fame, children, as also
victory, prosperity and contentment, and the companionship of Skanda.'"


(_Draupadi-Satyabhama Samvada_)

Vaisampayana said, "After those Brahmanas and the illustrious sons of
Pandu had taken their seats, Draupadi and Satyabhama entered the
hermitage. And with hearts full of joy the two ladies laughed merrily
and seated themselves at their ease. And, O king, those ladies, who
always spake sweetly to each other, having met after a long time, began
to talk upon various delightful topics arising out of the stories of the
Kurus and the Yadus. And the slender-waisted Satyabhama, the favourite
wife of Krishna and the daughter of Satrajit, then asked Draupadi in
private, saying, 'By what behaviour is it, O daughter of Drupada, that
thou art able to rule the sons of Pandu--those heroes endued with
strength and beauty and like unto the _Lokapalas_ themselves? Beautiful
lady, how is it that they are so obedient to thee and are never angry
with thee? Without doubt the sons of Pandu, O thou of lovely features,
are ever submissive to thee and watchful to do thy bidding! Tell me, O
lady, the reason of this. Is it practice of vows, or asceticism, or
incantation or drug at the time of the bath (in season) or the efficacy
of science, or the influence of youthful appearance, or the recitation
of particular formulae, or _Homa_, or collyrium and other medicaments?
Tell me now, O princess of Panchala, of that blessed and auspicious
thing by which, O Krishna, Krishna may ever be obedient to me.'

"When the celebrated Satyabhama, having said this, ceased, the chaste
and blessed daughter of Drupada answered her, saying, 'Thou askedest me,
O Satyabhama, of the practices of women that are wicked. How can I
answer thee, O lady, about the cause that is pursued by wicked females?
It doth not become thee, lady, to pursue the questions, or doubt me,
after this, for thou art endued with intelligence and art the favourite
wife of Krishna. When the husband learns that his wife is addicted to
incantations and drugs, from that hour he beginneth to dread her like a
serpent ensconced in his sleeping chamber. And can a man that is
troubled with fear have peace, and how can one that hath no peace have
happiness? A husband can never be made obedient by his wife's
incantations. We hear of painful diseases being transmitted by enemies.
Indeed, they that desire to slay others, send poison in the shape of
customary gifts, so that the man that taketh the powders so sent, by
tongue or skin, is, without doubt, speedily deprived of life. Women have
sometimes caused dropsy and leprosy, decrepitude and impotence and
idiocy and blindness and deafness in men. These wicked women, ever
treading in the path of sin, do sometimes (by these means) injure their
husbands. But the wife should never do the least injury to her lord.
Hear now, O illustrious lady, of the behaviour I adopt towards the
high-souled sons of Pandu. Keeping aside vanity, and controlling desire
and wrath, I always serve with devotion the sons of Pandu with their
wives. Restraining jealousy, with deep devotion of heart, without a
sense of degradation at the services I perform, I wait upon my husbands.
Ever fearing to utter what is evil or false, or to look or sit or walk
with impropriety, or cast glances indicative of the feelings of the
heart, do I serve the sons of Pritha--those mighty warriors blazing like
the sun or fire, and handsome as the moon, those endued with fierce
energy and prowess, and capable of slaying their foes by a glance of the
eye. Celestial, or man, or Gandharva, young or decked with ornaments,
wealthy or comely of person, none else my heart liketh. I never bathe or
eat or sleep till he that is my husband hath bathed or eaten or
slept,--till, in fact, our attendants have bathed, eaten, or slept.
Whether returning from the field, the forest, or the town, hastily
rising up I always salute my husband with water and a seat. I always
keep the house and all household articles and the food that is to be
taken well-ordered and clean. Carefully do I keep the rice, and serve
the food at the proper time. I never indulge in angry and fretful
speech, and never imitate women that are wicked. Keeping idleness at
distance I always do what is agreeable. I never laugh except at a jest,
and never stay for any length of time at the house-gate. I never stay
long in places for answering calls of nature, nor in pleasure-gardens
attached to the house. I always refrain from laughing loudly and
indulging in high passion, and from everything that may give offence.
Indeed, O Satyabhama, I always am engaged in waiting upon my lords. A
separation from my lords is never agreeable to me. When my husband
leaveth home for the sake of any relative, then renouncing flowers and
fragrant paste of every kind, I begin to undergo penances. Whatever my
husband drinketh not, whatever my husband eateth not, whatever my
husband enjoyeth not, I ever renounce. O beautiful lady, decked in
ornaments and ever controlled by the instruction imparted to me, I
always devotedly seek the good of my lord. Those duties that my
mother-in-law had told me of in respect of relatives, as also the duties
of alms-giving, of offering worship to the gods, of oblations to the
diseased, of boiling food in pots on auspicious days for offer to
ancestors and guests of reverence and service to those that deserve our
regards, and all else that is known to me, I always discharge day and
night, without idleness of any kind. Having with my whole heart recourse
to humility and approved rules I serve my meek and truthful lords ever
observant of virtue, regarding them as poisonous snakes capable of being
excited at a trifle. I think that to be eternal virtue for women which
is based upon a regard for the husband. The husband is the wife's god,
and he is her refuge. Indeed, there is no other refuge for her. How can,
then, the wife do the least injury to her lord? I never, in sleeping or
eating or adorning any person, act against the wishes of my lord, and
always guided by my husbands, I never speak ill of my mother-in-law. O
blessed lady, my husbands have become obedient to me in consequence of
my diligence, my alacrity, and the humility with which I serve
superiors. Personally do I wait every day with food and drink and
clothes upon the revered and truthful Kunti--that mother of heroes.
Never do I show any preference for myself over her in matters of food
and attire, and never do I reprove in words that princess equal unto the
Earth herself in forgiveness. Formerly, eight thousand Brahmanas were
daily fed in the palace of Yudhishthira from off plates of gold. And
eighty thousand Brahmanas also of the _Snataka_ sect leading domestic
lives were entertained by Yudhishthira with thirty serving-maids
assigned to each. Besides these, ten thousand _yatis_ with the vital
seed drawn up, had their pure food carried unto them in plates of gold.
All these Brahmanas that were the utterers of the _Veda_, I used to
worship duly with food, drink, and raiment taken from stores only after
a portion thereof had been dedicated to the Viswadeva.[42] The
illustrious son of Kunti had a hundred thousand well-dressed
serving-maids with bracelets on arms and golden ornaments on necks, and
decked with costly garlands and wreaths and gold in profusion, and
sprinkled with sandal paste. And adorned with jewels and gold they were
all skilled in singing and dancing. O lady, I knew the names and
features of all those girls, as also what they are and what they were,
and what they did not. Kunti's son of great intelligence had also a
hundred thousand maid-servants who daily used to feed guests, with
plates of gold in their hands. And while Yudhishthira lived in
Indraprastha a hundred thousand horses and a hundred thousand elephants
used to follow in his train. These were the possessions of Yudhishthira
while he ruled the earth. It was I however, O lady, who regulated their
number and framed the rules to be observed in respect of them; and it
was I who had to listen to all complaints about them. Indeed, I knew
everything about what the maid-servants of the palace and other classes
of attendants, even the cow-herds and the shepherds of the royal
establishment, did or did not. O blessed and illustrious lady, it was I
alone amongst the Pandavas who knew the income and expenditure of the
king and what their whole wealth was. And those bulls among the
Bharatas, throwing upon me the burden of looking after all those that
were to be fed by them, would, O thou of handsome face, pay their court
to me. And this load, so heavy and incapable of being borne by persons
of evil heart, I used to bear day and night, sacrificing my ease, and
all the while affectionately devoted to them. And while my husbands were
engaged in the pursuit of virtue, I only supervised their treasury
inexhaustible like the ever-filled receptacle of Varuna. Day and night
bearing hunger and thirst, I used to serve the Kuru princes, so that my
nights and days were equal to me. I used to wake up first and go to bed
last. This, O Satyabhama, hath ever been my charm for making my husbands
obedient to me! This great art hath ever been known to me for making my
husbands obedient to me. Never have I practised the charms of wicked
women, nor do I ever wish to practise them.'"

[42] The word in the text is "Agrahara," which, as Nilakantha
explains, means here, "That which is first taken from a heap
after the dedication of a portion to the Viswadevas." What
Draupadi means to say is, that she always took care to feed
those Brahmanas with food "first" taken from the stores,
without, in fact, having taken anything there from the use of
anybody else.

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing those words of virtuous import uttered
by Krishna, Satyabhama, having first reverenced the virtuous princess of
Panchala, answered saying, 'O princess of Panchala, I have been guilty,
O daughter of Yajnasena, forgive me! Among friends, conversations in
jest arise naturally, and without premeditation.'"


"Draupadi said, 'I shall now indicate to thee, for attracting the heart
of thy husbands a way that is free from deceit. By adopting it duly,
dear friend, thou will be able to draw away thy lord from other females.
In all the worlds, including that of the celestials, there is no god
equal, O Satyabhama, unto the husband. When he is gratified with thee,
thou mayst have (from thy husband) every object of desire; when he is
angry, all these may be lost. It is from her husband that the wife
obtaineth offspring and various articles of enjoyment. It is from thy
husband that thou mayst have handsome beds and seats, and robes and
garlands, and perfumes, and great fame and heaven itself hereafter. One
cannot obtain happiness here by means that are easy. Indeed, the woman
that is chaste, obtains weal with woe. Always adore Krishna, therefore,
with friendship and love physical sufferings. And do thou also act in a
way, by offering handsome seats and excellent garlands and various
perfumes and prompt service, that he may be devoted to thee, thinking,
"_I am truly loved by her!_" Hearing the voice of thy lord at the gate,
rise thou up from thy seat and stay in readiness within the room. And as
soon as thou seest him enter thy chamber, worship him by promptly
offering him a seat and water to wash his feet. And even when he
commands a maidservant to do anything, get thou up and do it thyself.
Let Krishna understand this temper of thy mind and know that thou
adorest him with all thy heart. And, O Satyabhama, whatever thy lord
speaketh before thee, do not blab of it even if it may not deserve
concealment,--for if any of thy co-wives were to speak of it unto
Vasudeva, he might be irritated with thee. Feed thou by every means in
thy power those that are dear and devoted to thy lord and always seek
his good. Thou shouldst, however, always keep thyself aloof from those
that are hostile to and against thy lord and seek to do him injury, as
also from those that are addicted to deceit. Foregoing all excitement
and carelessness in the presence of men, conceal thy inclinations by
observing silence, and thou shouldst not stay or converse in private
even with thy sons, Pradyumna and Samva. Thou shouldst form attachments
with only such females as are high-born and sinless and devoted to their
lords, and thou shouldst always shun women that are wrathful, addicted
to drinks, gluttonous, thievish, wicked and fickle. Behaviour such as
this is reputable and productive of prosperity; and while it is capable
of neutralising hostility, it also leadeth to heaven. Therefore, worship
thou thy husband, decking thyself in costly garlands and ornaments and
smearing thyself with unguents and excellent perfumes.'"


Vaisampayana said, "Then Kesava, the slayer of Madhu, also called
Janardana, having conversed on various agreeable themes with the
illustrious sons of Pandu and with those Brahmanas that were headed by
Markandeya and having bid them farewell, mounted his car and called for
Satyabhama. And Satyabhama then, having embraced the daughter of
Drupada, addressed her in these cordial words expressive of her feelings
towards her: 'O Krishna, let there be no anxiety, no grief, for thee!
Thou hast no cause to pass thy nights in sleeplessness, for thou wilt
surely obtain back the earth subjugated by thy husbands, who are all
equal unto the gods. O thou of black eyes, women endued with such
disposition and possessed of such auspicious marks, can never suffer
misfortune long. It hath been heard by me that thou shall, with thy
husbands, certainly enjoy this earth peacefully and freed from all
thorns! And, O daughter of Drupada, thou shalt certainly behold the
earth ruled by Yudhishthira after the sons of Dhritarashtra have been
slain and the deeds of their hostility avenged! Thou wilt soon behold
those wives of the Kurus, who, deprived of sense by pride, laughed at
thee while on thy way to exile, themselves reduced to a state of
helplessness and despair! Know them all, O Krishna, that did thee any
injury while thou wert afflicted, to have already gone to the abode of
Yama. Thy brave sons, Prativindhya by Yudhishthira and Sutasoma by
Bhima, and Srutakarman by Arjuna, and Satanika by Nakula, and Srutasena
begot by Sahadeva, are well and have become skilled in weapons. Like
Abhimanyu they are all staying at Dwaravati, delighted with the place.
And Subhadra also, cheerfully and with her whole soul, looketh after
them like thee, and like thee joyeth in them and deriveth much happiness
from them. Indeed, she grieveth in their griefs and joyeth in their
joys. And the mother of Pradyumna also loveth them with her whole soul.
And Kesava with his sons Bhanu and others watcheth over them with
especial affection. And my mother-in-law is ever attentive in feeding
and clothing them. And the Andhakas and Vrishnis, including Rama and
others, regard them with affection. And, O beautiful lady, their
affection for thy sons is equal unto what they feel for Pradyumna.'

"Having said these agreeable and truthful and cordial words, Satyabhama
desired to go to Vasudeva's car. And the wife of Krishna then walked
round the queen of the Pandavas. And having done so the beautiful
Satyabhama mounted the car of Krishna. And the chief of the Yadavas,
comforting Draupadi with a smile and causing the Pandavas to return, set
out for his own city, with swift horses (yoked unto his car)."


(_Ghosha-yatra Parva_)

Janamejaya said, "While those foremost of men--the sons of Pritha--were
passing their days in the forest exposed to the inclemencies of the
winter, the summer, the wind and the sun, what did they do, O Brahmana,
after they had reached the lake and woods going by the name of Dwaita?"

Vaisampayana said, "After the sons of Pandu had arrived at that lake,
they chose a residence that was removed from the habitations of men. And
they began to roam through delightful woods and ever charming mountains
and picturesque river-valleys. And after they had taken up their
residence there, many venerable ascetics endued with Vedic lore often
came to see them. And those foremost of men always received those
_Veda_-knowing _Rishis_ with great respect. And one day there came unto
the Kaurava princes a certain Brahmana who was well known on earth for
his powers of speech. And having conversed with the Pandavas for a
while, he went away as pleased him to the court of the royal son of
Vichitravirya. Received with respect by that chief of the Kurus, the old
king, the Brahmana took his seat; and asked by the monarch he began to
talk of the sons of Dharma, Pavana, Indra and of the twins, all of whom
having fallen into severe misery, had become emaciated and reduced owing
to exposure to wind and sun. And that Brahmana also talked of Krishna
who was overwhelmed with suffering and who then had become perfectly
helpless, although she had heroes for her lords. And hearing the words
of that Brahmana, the royal son of Vichitravirya became afflicted with
grief, at the thought of those princes of royal lineage then swimming in
a river of sorrow. His inmost soul afflicted with sorrow and trembling
all over with sighs, he quieted himself with a great effort, remembering
that everything had arisen from his own fault. And the monarch said,
'Alas, how is it that Yudhishthira who is the eldest of my sons, who is
truthful and pious and virtuous in his behaviour, who hath not a foe,
who had formerly slept on beds made of soft _Ranku_ skins, sleepeth now
on the bare ground! Alas, wakened formerly by _Sutas_ and _Magadhas_ and
other singers with his praises, melodiously recited every morning, that
prince of the Kuru race, equal unto Indra himself, is now waked from the
bare ground towards the small hours of the night by a multitude of
birds! How doth Vrikodara, reduced by exposure to wind and sun and
filled with wrath, sleep, in the presence of the princess of Panchala,
on the bare ground, unfit as he is to suffer such lot! Perhaps also, the
intelligent Arjuna, who is incapable of bearing pain, and who, though
obedient to the will of Yudhishthira, yet feeleth himself to be pierced
over all by the remembrance of his wrongs, sleepeth not in the night!
Beholding the twins and Krishna and Yudhishthira and Bhima plunged in
misery, Arjuna without doubt, sigheth like a serpent of fierce energy
and sleepeth not from wrath in the night! The twins also, who are even
like a couple of blessed celestials in heaven sunk in woe though
deserving of bliss, without doubt pass their nights in restless
wakefulness restrained (from avenging their wrongs) by virtue and truth!
The mighty son of the Wind-god, who is equal to the Wind-god himself in
strength, without doubt, sigheth and restraineth his wrath, being tied
through his elder brother in the bonds of truth! Superior in battle to
all warriors, he now lieth quiet on the ground, restrained by virtue and
truth, and burning to slay my children, he bideth his time. The cruel
words that Dussasana spoke after Yudhishthira had been deceitfully
defeated at dice, have sunk deep into Vrikodara's heart, and are
consuming him, like a burning bundle of straw consuming a fagot of dry
wood! The son of Dharma never acteth sinfully; Dhananjaya also always
obeyeth him; but Bhima's wrath, in consequence of a life of exile, is
increasing like a conflagration assisted by the wind! That hero, burning
with rage such as that, squeezeth his hands and breatheth hot and fierce
sighs, as if consuming therewith my sons and grandsons! The wielder of
the _Gandiva_ and Vrikodara, when angry, are like Yama and Kala
themselves; scattering their shafts, which are like unto thunder-bolts,
they exterminate in battle the ranks of the enemy. Alas Duryodhana, and
Sakuni, and the _Suta's_ son, and Dussasana also of wicked soul, in
robbing the Pandavas of their kingdom by means of dice, seem to behold
the honey alone without marking the terrible ruin. A man having acted
rightly or wrongly, expecteth the fruit of those acts. The fruit,
however, confounding him, paralyses him fully. How can man, thereof,
have salvation? If the soil is properly tilled, and the seed sown
therein, and if the god (of rain) showereth in season, still the crop
may not grow. This is what we often hear. Indeed, how could this saying
be true unless, as I think, it be that everything here is dependent on
Destiny? The gambler Sakuni hath behaved deceitfully towards the son of
Pandu, who ever acteth honestly. From affection for my wicked sons I
also have acted similarly. Alas, it is owing to this that the hour of
destruction hath come for the Kurus! Oh, perhaps, what is inevitable
must happen! The wind, impelled or not, will move. The woman that
conceives will bring forth. Darkness will be dispelled at dawn, and day
disappear at evening! Whatever may be earned by us or others, whether
people spend it or not, when the time cometh, those possessions of ours
do bring on misery. Why then do people become so anxious about earning
wealth? If, indeed, what is acquired is the result of fate, then should
it be protected so that it may not be divided, nor lost little by
little, nor permitted to flow out at once, for if unprotected, it may
break into a hundred fragments. But whatever the character of our
possessions, our acts in the world are never lost. Behold what the
energy of Arjuna is, who went into the abode of Indra from the woods!
Having mastered the four kinds of celestial weapons he hath come back
into this world! What man is there who, having gone to heaven in his
human form, wisheth to come back? This would never have been but because
he seeth innumerable Kurus to be at the point of death, afflicted by
Time! The bowman is Arjuna, capable of wielding the bow with his left
hand as well! The bow he wieldeth is the _Gandiva_ of fierce impetus. He
hath, besides, those celestial weapons of his! Who is there that would
bear the energy of these three!'

"Hearing these words of the monarch, the son of Suvala, going unto
Duryodhana, who was then sitting with Karna, told them everything in
private. And Duryodhana, though possessed of little sense, was filled
with grief at what he heard."


Vaisampayana said, "Hearing those words of Dhritarashtra, Sakuni, when
the opportunity presented itself, aided by Karna, spoke unto Duryodhana
these words, 'Having exiled the heroic Pandavas by thy own prowess, O
Bharata, rule thou this earth without a rival like the slayer of Samvara
ruling the heaven! O monarch, the kings of the east, the south, the
west, and the north, have all been made tributary to thee! O lord of
earth, that blazing Prosperity which had before paid her court to the
sons of Pandu, hath now been acquired by thee along with thy brothers!
That blazing Prosperity, O king, which we not many days ago saw with
heavy hearts in Yudhishthira at Indraprastha, is today seen by us to be
owned by thee, she having, O mighty-armed monarch, been snatched by thee
from the royal Yudhishthira by force of intellect alone. O slayer of
hostile heroes, all the kings of the earth now living in subjection to
thee, await thy commands, as they did before under Yudhishthira,
awaiting his. O monarch, the goddess Earth with her boundless extent
with girth of seas, with her mountains and forests, and towns and cities
and mines, and decked with woodlands and hills is now thine! Adored by
the Brahmanas and worshipped by the kings, thou blazest forth, O king,
in consequence of thy prowess, like the Sun among the gods in heaven!
Surrounded by the Kurus, O king, like Yama by the Rudra, or Vasava by
the Maruts, thou shinest, O monarch, like the Moon among the stars! Let
us, therefore, O king, go and look at the sons of Pandu--them who are
now divested of prosperity, them who never obeyed commands, them who
never owed subjection! It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that the
Pandavas are now living on the banks of the lake called _Dwaitavana_,
with a multitude of Brahmanas, having the wilderness for their home. Go
thither, O king, in all thy prosperity, scorching the son of Pandu with
a sight of thy glory, like the Sun scorching everything with his hot
rays! Thyself a sovereign and they divested of sovereignty, thyself in
prosperity and they divested of it, thyself possessing affluence and
they in poverty, behold now, O king, the sons of Pandu. Let the sons of
Pandu behold thee like Yayati, the son of Nahusha, accompanied by a
large train of followers and enjoying bliss that is great. O king, that
blazing Prosperity which is seen by both one's friends and foes, is
regarded as well-bestowed! What happiness can be more complete than that
which he enjoyeth who while himself in prosperity, looketh upon his foes
in adversity, like a person on the hill top looking down upon another
crawling on the earth? O tiger among kings, the happiness that one
derives from beholding his foes in grief, is greater than what one may
derive from the acquisition of offering or wealth or kingdom! What
happiness will not be his who, himself in affluence, will cast his eyes
on Dhananjaya attired in barks and deer-skins? Let thy wife dressed in
costly robes look at the woeful Krishna clad in barks and deer-skins,
and enhance the latter's grief! Let the daughter of Drupada reproach
herself and her life, divested as she is of wealth, for the sorrow that
she will feel upon beholding thy wife decked in ornaments will be far
greater than what she had felt in the midst of the assembly (when
Dussasana had dragged her there)!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having thus spoken unto the king, Karna and
Sakuni both remained silent, O Janamejaya, after their discourse was


Vaisampayana said, "Having heard these words of Karna, king Duryodhana
became highly pleased. Soon after, however, the prince became melancholy
and addressing the speaker said, 'What thou tellest me, O Karna, is
always before my mind. I shall not, however, obtain permission to repair
to the place where the Pandavas are residing. King Dhritarashtra is
always grieving for those heroes. Indeed, the king regarded the sons of
Pandu to have become more powerful than before in consequence of their
ascetic austerities. Or, if the king understands our motives, he will
never, having regard to the future, grant us permission, for, O thou of
great effulgence, we can have no other business in the woods of
_Dwaitavana_ than the destruction of the Pandavas in exile! Thou knowest
the words that Kshatri spoke to me, to thyself, and to the son of
Suvala, at the time of the match at dice! Reflecting upon all those
words as also upon all those lamentations (that he and others indulged
in), I cannot make up my mind as to whether I should or should not go! I
shall certainly be highly pleased if I cast my eyes on Bhima and
Phalguna passing their days in pain with Krishna in the woods. The joy
that I may feel in obtaining the sovereignty of the entire earth is
nothing to that which will be mine upon beholding the sons of Pandu
attired in barks of trees and deer-skins. What joy can be greater, O
Karna, that will be mine upon beholding the daughter of Drupada dressed
in red rags in the woods? If king Yudhishthira and Bhima, the sons of
Pandu, behold me graced with great affluence, then only shall I have
attained the great end of my life! I do not, however, see the means by
which I may repair to those woods, by which, in fact, I may obtain the
king's permission to go thither! Contrive thou, therefore, some skilful
plan, with Suvala's son and Dussasana, by which we may go to those
woods! I also, making up my mind today as to whether I should go or not,
approach the presence of the king tomorrow. And when I shall be sitting
with Bhishma--that best of the Kurus--thou wilt, with Sakuni propose the
pretext which thou mayst have contrived. Hearing then the words of
Bhishma and of the king on the subject of our journey, I will settle
everything beseeching our grandfather.'

"Saying 'So be it,' they then all went away to their respective
quarters. And as soon as the night had passed away, Karna came to the
king. And coming to him, Karna smilingly spoke unto Duryodhana, saying,
'A plan hath been contrived by me. Listen to it, O lord of men! Our
herds are now waiting in the woods of _Dwaitavana_ in expectation of
thee! Without doubt, we may all go there under the pretext of
supervising our cattle stations, for, O monarch, it is proper that kings
should frequently repair to their cattle stations. If this be the motive
put forth, thy father, O prince, will certainly grant thee permission!'
And while Duryodhana and Karna were thus conversing laughingly, Sakuni
addressed them and said, 'This plan, free from difficulties, was what I
also saw for going thither! The king will certainly grant us permission,
or even send us thither of his own accord. Our herds are now all waiting
in the woods of _Dwaitavana_ expecting thee. Without doubt, we may all
go there under the pretext of supervising our cattle stations!'

"They then all three laughed together, and gave their hands unto one
another. And having arrived at that conclusion, they went to see the
chief of Kurus."


Vaisampayana said, "They then all saw king Dhritarashtra, O Janamejaya,
and having seen him, enquired after his welfare, and were, in return,
asked about their welfare. Then a cow-herd named Samanga, who had been
instructed beforehand by them, approaching the king, spoke unto him of
the cattle. Then the son of Radha and Sakuni, O king, addressing
Dhritarashtra, that foremost of monarchs, said, 'O Kaurava, our
cattle-stations are now in a delightful place. The time for their tale
as also for marking the calves hath come. And, O monarch, this also is
an excellent season for thy son to go ahunting! It behoveth thee,
therefore, to grant permission to Duryodhana to go thither.'

"Dhritarashtra replied, 'The chase of the deer, as also the examination
of cattle is very proper, O child! I think, indeed, that the herdsmen
are not to be trusted. But we have heard that those tigers among men,
the Pandavas, are now staying in the vicinity of those cattle stations.
I think, therefore, ye should not go thither yourselves! Defeated by
deceitful means they are now living in the deep forest in great
suffering. O Radheya, they are mighty warriors and naturally able, they
are now devoted to ascetic austerities. King Yudhishthira will not
suffer his wrath to be awakened, but Bhimasena is naturally passionate.
The daughter of Yajnasena is energy's self. Full of pride and folly, ye
are certain to give offence. Endued with ascetic merit she will
certainly consume you, or perhaps, those heroes, armed with swords and
weapons! Nor, if from force of numbers, ye seek to injure them in any
respect, that will be a highly improper act, although, as I think, ye
will never be able to succeed. The mighty-armed Dhananjaya hath returned
thence to the forest. While unaccomplished in arms, Vivatsu had
subjugated the whole earth before. A mighty warrior as he is and
accomplished in arms now, will he not be able to slay you all? Or, if in
obedience to my words, ye behave carefully having repaired thither, ye
will not be able to live happily there in consequence of the anxiety ye
will feel owing to a state of continued trustlessness. Or, some soldier
of yours may do some injury to Yudhishthira, and that unpremeditated act
will be ascribed to your fault. Therefore, let some faithful men proceed
there for the work of tale. I do not think it is proper for thee,
Bharata, to go thither thyself.'

"Sakuni said, 'The eldest of the sons of Pandu is cognisant of morality.
He pledged in the midst of the assembly, O Bharata, that he would live
for twelve years in the forest. The other sons of Pandu are all virtuous
and obedient to Yudhishthira. And Yudhishthira himself, the son of
Kunti, will never be angry with us. Indeed, we desire very much to go on
a hunting expedition, and will avail of that opportunity for supervising
the tale of our cattle. We have no mind to see the sons of Pandu. We
will not go to that spot where the Pandavas have taken up their
residence, and consequently no exhibition of misconduct can possibly
arise on our part.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Sakuni, that lord of men,
Dhritarashtra, granted permission, but not very willingly, to Duryodhana
and his counsellors to go to the place. And permitted by the monarch the
Bharata prince born of Gandhari started, accompanied by Karna and
surrounded by a large host. And he was also accompanied by Dussasana and
Suvala's son of great intelligence and by many other brothers of his and
by ladies in thousands. And as the mighty-armed prince started for
beholding the lake that was known by the name of _Dwaitavana_, the
citizens (of Hastina), also accompanied by their wives began to follow
him to that forest. Eight thousand cars, thirty thousand elephants, nine
thousand horses, and many thousands of foot-soldiers, and shops and
pavilions and traders, bards and men trained in the chase by hundreds
and thousands followed the prince. And as the king started, followed by
this large concourse of people, the uproar that was caused there
resembled, O king, the deep tumult of the ranging winds in the rainy
season. And reaching the lake _Dwaitavana_ with all his followers and
vehicles, king Duryodhana took up his quarters at the distance of four
miles from it."


Vaisampayana said, "King Duryodhana then moving from forest to forest,
at last approached the cattle-stations, and encamped his troops. And his
attendants, selecting a well-known and delightful spot that abounded in
water and trees and that possessed every convenience constructed an
abode for him. And near enough to the royal residence they also erected
separate abodes for Karna and Sakuni and the brothers of the king. And
the king beheld his cattle by hundreds and thousands and examining their
limbs and marks supervised their tale. And he caused the calves to be
marked and took note of those that required to be tamed. And he also
counted those kine whose calves had not yet been weaned. And completing
the task of tale by marking and counting every calf that was three years
old, the Kuru prince, surrounded by the cowherds, began to sport and
wander cheerfully. And the citizens also and the soldiers by thousands
began to sport, as best pleased them, in those woods, like the
celestials. And the herdsmen, well skilled in singing and dancing and
instrumental music, and virgins decked in ornaments, began to minister
to the pleasures of Dhritarashtra's son. And the king surrounded by the
ladies of the royal household began cheerfully to distribute wealth and
food and drinks of various kinds amongst those that sought to please
him, according to their desires.

"And the king, attended by all his followers, began also to slay hyenas
and buffaloes and deer and gayals and bears and boars all around. And
the king, piercing by his shafts those animals by thousands in deep
forest, caused the deer to be caught in the more delightful parts of the
woods. Drinking milk and enjoying, O Bharata, various other delicious
articles and beholding, as he proceeded, many delightful forests and
woods swarming with bees inebriate with floral honey and resounding with
the notes of the peacock, the king at last reached the sacred lake of
_Dwaitavana_. And the spot which the king reached swarmed with bees
inebriate with floral honey, and echoed with the mellifluous notes of
the blue-throated jay and was shaded by _Saptacchadas_ and _punnagas_
and _Vakulas_. And the king graced with high prosperity proceeded
thither like the thunder-wielding chief of the celestials himself. And,
O thou best of the Kuru race, King Yudhishthira the just, endued with
high intelligence, was then, O monarch, residing in the vicinity of that
lake at will and celebrating with his wedded wife, the daughter of
Drupada, the diurnal sacrifice called _Rajarshi_, according to the
ordinance sanctioned for the celestials and persons living in the
wilderness. And, O monarch, having reached that spot, Duryodhana
commanded his men by thousands, saying, 'Let pleasure-houses be
constructed soon.' Thus commanded, those doers of the king's behests
replying to the Kuru chief with the words, 'So be it,' went towards the
banks of the lake for constructing pleasure-houses. And as the picked
soldiers of Dhritarashtra's son, having reached the region of the lake,
were about to enter the gates of the wood, a number of _Gandharvas_
appeared and forbade them to enter. For, O monarch, the king of the
_Gandharvas_ accompanied by his followers, had come thither beforehand,
from the abode of _Kuvera_. And the king of the _Gandharvas_ had also
been accompanied by the several tribes of _Apsaras_, as also by the sons
of the celestials. And intent upon sport, he had come to that place for
merriment, and occupying it, had closed it against all comers. And the
attendants of the (Kuru) king, finding the lake closed by the king of
the _Gandharvas_, went back, O monarch, to where the royal Duryodhana
was. And Duryodhana having heard these words, despatched a number of his
warriors difficult of being subjugated in battle, commanding them to
drive away the _Gandharvas_. And those warriors who formed the vanguard
of the Kuru army, hearing these words of the king, went back to the lake
of _Dwaitavana_ and addressing the _Gandharvas_, said, 'The mighty king
Duryodhana--the son of Dhritarashtra--is coming, hither for sport. Stand
ye aside, therefore!' Thus addressed by them, O king, the _Gandharvas_
laughed and replied unto those men in these harsh words: 'Your wicked
king Duryodhana must be destitute of sense. How else could he have thus
commanded us that are dwellers of heaven, as if indeed, we were his
servants? Without forethought, ye also are doubtless on the point of
death; for senseless idiots as ye are, ye have dared to bring us his
message! Return ye soon to where that king of the Kurus is, or else go
this very day to the abode of Yama.' Thus addressed by the _Gandharvas_,
the advanced guard of the king's army ran back to the place where the
royal son of Dhritarashtra was."


Vaisampayana said, "Those soldiers then, O king, all went back to
Duryodhana and repeated to him every word that the _Gandharvas_ had
said. And, O Bharata, finding that his soldiers had been opposed by the
_Gandharvas_, Dhritarashtra's son, endued with energy, was filled with
rage. And the king addressed his soldiers, saying, 'Punish these
wretches who desire to oppose my will, even if they have come hither to
sport, accompanied by all the celestials with him of a hundred
sacrifices.' And hearing these words of Duryodhana, the sons and
officers of Dhritarashtra all endued with great strength, as also
warriors by thousands, began to arm themselves for battle. And filling
the ten sides with loud leonine roars and rushing at those _Gandharvas_
that had been guarding the gates, they entered the forest. And as the
Kuru soldiers entered the forest, other _Gandharvas_ came up and forbade
them to advance. And though gently forbidden by the _Gandharvas_ to
advance, the Kuru soldiers, without regarding them in the least, began
to enter that mighty forest. And when those rangers of the sky found
that the warriors of Dhritarashtra along with their king could not be
stopped by words they all went to their king Chitrasena and represented
everything unto him. And when Chitrasena, the king of the Gandharvas,
came to know all this he became filled with rage, alluding to the Kuru,
and commanded his followers saying, 'Punish these wretches of wicked
behaviour.' And, O Bharata, when the _Gandharvas_ were so commanded by
Chitrasena, they rushed weapons in hand, towards the Dhritarashtra
ranks. And beholding the _Gandharvas_ impetuously rushing towards them
with upraised weapons, the Kuru warriors precipitously fled in all
directions at the very sight of Duryodhana. And beholding the Kuru
soldiers all flying from the field with their backs to the foe, the
heroic Radheya alone fled not. And seeing the mighty host of the
Gandharvas rushing towards him, Radheya checked them by a perfect shower
of arrows. And the _Suta's_ son, owing to his extreme lightness of hand,
struck hundreds of _Gandharvas_ with _Kshurapras_ and arrows and
_Bhallas_ and various weapons made of bones and steel. And that mighty
warrior, causing the heads of numerous _Gandharvas_ to roll down within
a short time, made the ranks of Chitrasena to yell in anguish. And
although they were slaughtered in great numbers by Karna endued with
great intelligence, yet the _Gandharvas_ returned to the charge by
hundreds and thousands. And in consequence of the swarms of Chitrasena's
warriors rushing impetuously to the field the earth itself became soon
covered by the _Gandharva_ host. Then king Duryodhana, and Sakuni, the
son of Suvala, and Dussasana, and Vikarna, and other sons of
Dhritarashtra, seated on cars the clatter of whose wheels resembled the
roars of Garuda, returned to the charge, following the lead of Karna,
and began to slaughter that host. And desirous of supporting Karna,
these princes invested the Gandharva army, with a large number of cars
and a strong body of horses. Then the whole of the _Gandharva_ host
began to fight with the Kauravas. And the encounter that took place
between the contending hosts was fierce in the extreme and might make
one's hair stand on end. The _Gandharvas_, at last, afflicted with the
shafts of the Kuru army, seemed to be exhausted. And the Kauravas
beholding the _Gandharvas_ so afflicted sent up a loud sound.

"And seeing the _Gandharva_ host yielding to fear, the angry Chitrasena
sprang from his seat, resolved to exterminate the Kuru army. And
conversant with various modes of warfare, he waged on the fight, aided
by his weapons of illusion. And the Kaurava warriors were then all
deprived of their senses by the illusion of Chitrasena. And then, O
Bharata, it seemed that every warrior of the Kuru army was fallen upon
and surrounded by ten _Gandharvas_. And attacked with great vigour, the
Kuru host was greatly afflicted and struck with panic. O king, all of
them that liked to live, fled from the field. But while the entire
Dhritarashtra host broke and fled, Karna, that offspring of the Sun,
stood there, O king, immovable as a hill. Indeed, Duryodhana and Karna
and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, all fought with the _Gandharvas_,
although every one of them was much wounded and mangled in the
encounter. All the _Gandharvas_ then, desirous of slaying Karna, rushed
together by hundreds and thousands towards Karna. And those mighty
warriors, desirous of slaying the _Suta's_ son, surrounded him on all
sides, with swords and battle-axes and spears. And some cut down the
yoke of his car, and some his flagstaff, and some the shaft of his car,
and some his horses, and some his charioteer. And some cut down his
umbrella and some the wooden fender round his car and some the joints of
his car. It was thus that many thousands of Gandharvas, together
attacking his car, broke it into minute fragments. And while his car was
thus attacked, Karna leaped therefrom with sword and shield in hand, and
mounting on Vikarna's car, urged the steeds for saving himself."


Vaisampayana said, "After that great warrior Karna had been routed by
the _Gandharvas_, the whole of the Kuru army, O monarch, fled from the
field in the very sight of Dhritarashtra's son. And beholding all his
troops flying from the field of battle with their back to the foe, king
Duryodhana refused to fly. Seeing the mighty host of the _Gandharvas_
rushing towards him, that represser of foes poured down upon them a
thick shower of arrows. The _Gandharvas_, however, without regarding
that arrowy shower, and desirous also of slaying him, surrounded that
car of his. And by means of their arrows, they cut off into fragments
the yoke, the shaft, the fenders, the flagstaff, the three-fold bamboo
poles, and the principal turret of his car. And they also slew his
charioteer and horses, hacking them to pieces. And when Duryodhana,
deprived of his car, fell on the ground, the strong-armed Chitrasena
rushed towards him and seized him in such a way that it seemed his life
itself was taken. And after the Kuru king had been seized, the
_Gandharvas_, surrounding Dussasana, who was seated on his car, also
took him prisoner. And some _Gandharvas_ seized Vivinsati and
Chitrasena, and some Vinda and Anuvinda, while others seized all the
ladies of royal household. And the warriors of Duryodhana, who were
routed by the _Gandharvas_, joining those who had fled first, approached
the Pandavas (who were living in the vicinity). And after Duryodhana had
been made captive, the vehicles, the shops, the pavilions, the
carriages, and the draught animals, all were made over to the Pandavas
for protection. And those soldiers said, 'The mighty-armed son of
Dhritarashtra, possessed of great strength and handsome mien, is being
taken away captive by the _Gandharvas_! Ye sons of Pritha, follow them!
Dussasana, Durvishasa, Durmukha, and Durjaya, are all being led away as
captives in chains by the Gandharvas, as also all the ladies of the
royal household!'

"Crying thus, the followers of Duryodhana, afflicted with grief and
melancholy, approached Yudhishthira, desirous of effecting the release
of the king. Bhima then answered those old attendants of Duryodhana,
who, afflicted with grief and melancholy, were thus soliciting (the aid
of Yudhishthira), saying, 'What we should have done with great efforts,
arraying ourselves in line of battle, supported by horses and elephants
hath, indeed, been done by the _Gandharvas_! They that come hither for
other purposes, have been overtaken by consequences they had not
foreseen! Indeed, this is the result of the evil counsels of a king who
is fond of deceitful play! It hath been heard by us that the foe of a
person who is powerless, is overthrown by others. The Gandharvas have,
in an extraordinary way illustrated before our eyes the truth of this
saying! It seems that there is still fortunately some person in the
world who is desirous of doing us good who hath, indeed, taken upon his
own shoulders our pleasant load, although we are sitting idly! The
wretch had come hither to cast his eyes on us,--himself in prosperity
while ourselves are sunk in adversity and emaciated by ascetic
austerities and are exposed to wind, cold and heat. They that imitate
the behaviour of that sinful and wretched Kaurava, are now beholding his
disgrace! He that had instructed Duryodhana to do this, had certainly
acted sinfully. That the sons of Kunti are not wicked and sinful, I tell
it before you all!'

"And while Bhima, the son of Kunti, was speaking thus in a voice of
sarcasm, king Yudhishthira told him, 'This is not time for cruel


"Yudhishthira said, 'O child, why dost thou use language such as this,
towards the frightened Kurus, who are now in adversity and who have come
to us, solicitous of protection! O Vrikodara, disunions and disputes do
take place amongst those that are connected in blood. Hostilities such
as these do go on. But the honour of the family is never suffered to be
interfered with. If any stranger seeketh to insult the honour of a
family, they that are good never tolerate such insult coming from the
stranger. The wicked-souled king of the Gandharvas knoweth that we are
living here from some time. Yet disregarding us, he hath done this deed
which is so disagreeable to us! O exalted one, from this forcible
seizure of Duryodhana and from this insult to the ladies of our house by
a stranger, our family honour is being destroyed. Therefore, ye tigers
among men, arise and arm yourselves without delay for rescuing those
that have sought our protection and for guarding the honour of our
family. Ye tigers among men, let Arjuna and the twins and thyself also
that art brave and unvanquished, liberate Duryodhana, who is even now
being taken away a captive! Ye foremost of warriors, these blazing cars,
furnished with golden flagstaffs and every kind of weapons belonging to
Dhritarashtra's sons, are ready here. With Indrasena and other
charioteers skilled in arms, for guiding them, ride ye on these
everfurnished cars of deep rattle! And riding on these, exert ye with
activity for fighting with the Gandharvas to liberate Duryodhana. Even
an ordinary Kshatriya (amongst those that are here), would to the
height of his power, protect one that hath come hither for refuge! What
then, O Vrikodara, shall I say of thee! Entreated for assistance in such
words as "_O hasten to my aid_!" Who is there (amongst those standing
around me) that is high-souled enough to assist even his foe, beholding
him seeking shelter with joined hands? The bestowal of a boon,
sovereignty, and the birth of a son are sources of great joy. But, ye
sons of Pandu, the liberation of a foe from distress is equal to all the
three put together! What can be a source of greater joy to you than that
Duryodhana sunk in distress seeketh his very life as depending on the
might of your arms? O Vrikodara, if the vow in which I am engaged had
been over, there is little doubt that I would myself have run to his
aid. Strive thou by all means, O Bharata, to liberate Duryodhana by the
arts of conciliation. If, however, the king of the Gandharvas cannot be
managed by the arts of conciliation, then must thou try to rescue
Suyodhana by lightly skirmishing with the foe. But if the chief of the
Gandharvas do not let the Kurus off even then, they must be rescued by
crushing the foe by all means. O Vrikodara, this is all I can tell thee
now, for my vow hath been begun and is not ended yet!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Ajatasatru, Dhananjaya
pledged himself, from respect for these commands of his superior, to
liberate the Kauravas. And Arjuna said, 'If the Gandharvas do not set
the Dhartarashtras free peacefully, the Earth shall this day drink the
blood of the king of the Gandharvas!' And hearing that pledge of the
truth-speaking Arjuna, the Kauravas then, O king, regained (the lost)
tenor of their minds."


Vaisampayana said, "Hearing the words of Yudhishthira, those bulls among
men, headed by Bhimasena, rose up with faces beaming in joy. And those
mighty warriors, O Bharata, then began to case themselves in
impenetrable mail that were besides variegated with pure gold, and armed
themselves with celestial weapons of various kinds. And the Pandavas
thus cased in mail, and mounted on those chariots furnished with
flagstaffs and armed with bows and arrows, looked like blazing fires.
And those tigers among warriors, riding upon those well furnished cars
drawn by fleet horses, proceeded to that spot without losing a moment.
And beholding those mighty warriors--the sons of Pandu--thus proceeding
together (for the liberation of Duryodhana), the Kuru army sent forth a
loud shout. And soon did those rangers of the sky flushed with victory,
and those impetuous warriors, the sons of Pandu, fearlessly encounter
each other in that forest. The Gandharvas were flushed with success, and
beholding the four brave sons of Pandu coming to battle seated on their
cars, they all turned back towards the advancing combatants. And, the
dwellers of the Gandhamadana, beholding the Pandavas looking like
blazing guardians of the world provoked to ire, stood arrayed in order
of battle. And, O Bharata, in accordance with words of king Yudhishthira
of great wisdom, the encounter that took place was a skirmish. But when
Arjuna--that persecutor of foes--saw that the foolish soldiers of the
king of Gandharvas could not be made to understand what was good for
them by means of a light skirmish, he addressed those invincible rangers
of the skies in a conciliatory tone and said, 'Leave ye my brother king
Suyodhana.' Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, the
Gandharvas, laughing aloud, replied unto him saying, 'O child, there is
but one in the world whose behests we obey and living under whose rule
we pass our days in happiness: O Bharata, we always act as that one only
person commandeth us! Besides that celestial chief there is none that
can command us!' Thus addressed by the Gandharvas, Dhananjaya, the son
of Kunti, replied unto them, saying, 'This contact with other people's
wives and this hostile encounter with human beings are acts that are
both censurable in the king of the Gandharvas and not proper for him.
Therefore, leave ye these sons of Dhritarashtra all endued with mighty
energy. And liberate ye also these ladies, at the command of king
Yudhishthira the just. If, ye Gandharvas, ye do not set the sons of
Dhritarashtra free peacefully, I shall certainly rescue Suyodhana (and
his party) by exerting my prowess.' And speaking unto them thus,
Pritha's son, Dhananjaya, capable of wielding the bow with his left hand
also, then rained a shower of sharp pointed sky-ranging shafts upon
those rangers of the firmament. Thus attacked, the mighty Gandharvas
then encountered the sons of Pandu with a shower of arrows equally
thick, and the Pandavas also replied by attacking those dwellers of
heaven. And the battle then, O Bharata, that ranged between the active
and agile Gandharvas and the impetuous son of Pandu was fierce in the


Vaisampayana said, "Then those Gandharvas decked in golden garlands and
accomplished in celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts,
encountered the Pandavas from every side. And as the sons of Pandu were
only four in number and the Gandharvas counted by thousands, the battle
that ensued appeared to be extraordinary. And as the cars of Karna and
Duryodhana had formerly been broken into a hundred fragments by the
Gandharvas, so were the cars of the four heroes attempted to be broken.
But those tigers among men began to encounter with their showers of
arrows thousands upon thousands of Gandharvas rushing towards them.
Those rangers of skies endued with great energy, thus checked on all
sides by that arrowy down-pour, succeeded not in even coming near to the
sons of Pandu. Then Arjuna whose ire had been provoked, aiming at the
angry Gandharvas, prepared to hurl against them his celestial weapons.
And in that encounter, the mighty Arjuna, by means of his _Agneya_
weapon, sent ten hundreds of thousands of Gandharvas to the abode of
Yama. And that mighty bowman, Bhima, also, that foremost of all warriors
in battle, slew, by means of his sharp arrows, Gandharvas by hundreds.
And the mighty sons of Madri also, battling with vigour, encountered
hundreds of Gandharvas, O king, and slaughtered them all. And as
Gandharvas were being thus slaughtered by the mighty warriors with their
celestial weapons, they rose up to the skies, taking with them the sons
of Dhritarashtra. But Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, beholding them rise
up to the skies, surrounded them on every side by a wide net of arrows.
And confined within that arrowy net like birds within a cage, they
showered in wrath upon Arjuna maces and darts and broad-swords. But
Arjuna who was conversant with the most efficacious weapons, soon
checked that shower of maces and darts and broad-swords, and in return
began to mangle the limbs of the Gandharvas with his crescent-shaped
arrows. And heads and legs and arms began to drop down from above
resembling a shower of stones. And at that sight, the foe was struck
with panic. And as the Gandharvas were being slaughtered by the
illustrious son of Pandu, they began to shower from the skies a heavy
downpour of shafts upon Arjuna, who was on the surface of the earth. But
that chastiser of foes, Arjuna, endued with mighty energy checked that
shower of arrows by means of his own weapons and began, in return, to
wound them. Then Arjuna of the Kuru race shot his well-known weapons
called _Sthunakarna, Indrajala, Saura, Agneya_ and _Saumya_. And the
Gandharvas consumed by the fiery weapons of Kunti's son, began to suffer
heavily, like the sons of Diti, while being scorched by Sakra's
thunder-bolt. And when they attacked Arjuna from above, they were
checked by his net of arrows. And while they attacked him from all sides
on the surface of the earth, they were checked by his crescent-shaped
arrows. And beholding the Gandharvas put in fear by Kunti's son,
Chitrasena rushed, O Bharata, at Dhananjaya, armed with a mace. And as
the king of the Gandharvas was rushing at Arjuna from above with that
mace in hand, the latter cut with his arrows that mace wholly made of
iron into seven pieces. And beholding that mace of his cut into many
pieces by Arjuna of great activity, with his arrows, Chitrasena, by
means of his science, concealed himself from the view of the Pandava and
began to fight with him. The heroic Arjuna, however, by means of his own
celestial weapons checked all the celestial weapons that were aimed at
him by the Gandharvas. And when the chief of the Gandharvas saw that he
was checked by the illustrious Arjuna with those weapons of his he
entirely disappeared from sight by help of his powers of illusion. And
Arjuna, observing that the chief of the Gandharvas was striking at him
concealed from sight, attacked his assailant with celestial weapon
inspired with proper _Mantras_. And the multiform Dhananjaya filled with
wrath, prevented the disappearance of his foe by means of his weapon
known by the name of _Sabda-veda_. And assailed with those weapons by
the illustrious Arjuna, his dear friend, the king of the Gandharvas,
showed himself unto him. And Chitrasena said, 'Behold in me thy friend
battling with thee!' And beholding his friend Chitrasena exhausted in
the battle, that bull among the sons of Pandu withdrew the weapons he
had shot. And the other sons of Pandu beholding Arjuna withdraw his
weapons, checked their flying steeds and the impetus of their weapons
and withdrew their bows. And Chitrasena and Bhima and Arjuna and the
twins enquiring about one another's welfare, sat awhile on their
respective cars."


Vaisampayana said, "Then that mighty bowman of blazing splendour,
Arjuna, smilingly said unto Chitrasena in the midst of the Gandharva
host, 'What purpose dost thou serve, O hero, in punishing the Kauravas?
O, why also hath Suyodhana with his wives been thus punished?'

"Chitrasena replied, 'O Dhananjaya, without stirring from my own abode I
became acquainted with the purpose of the wicked Duryodhana and the
wretched Karna in coming hither. The purpose was even this,--knowing
that ye are exiles in the forest and suffering great afflictions as if
ye had none to take care of you, himself in prosperity, this wretch
entertained the desire of beholding you plunged in adversity and
misfortune. They came hither for mocking you and the illustrious
daughter of Drupada. The lord of the celestials also, having ascertained
this purpose of theirs, told me, "Go thou and bring Duryodhana hither in
chains along with his counsellors. Dhananjaya also with his brother
should always be protected by thee in battle, for he is thy dear friend
and disciple." At these words of the lord of the celestials I came
hither speedily. This wicked prince hath also been put in chains. I will
now proceed to the region of the celestials, whither I will lead this
wicked wight at the command of the slayer of Paka!'

"Arjuna answered, saying, 'O Chitrasena, if thou wishest to do what is
agreeable to me, set Suyodhana free, at the command of king Yudhishthira
the just, for he is our brother!'

"Chitrasena said, 'This sinful wretch is always full of vanity. He
deserveth not to be set free. O Dhananjaya, he hath deceived and wronged
both king Yudhishthira the just and Krishna. Yudhishthira the son of
Kunti as yet knoweth not the purpose on which the wretch came hither.
Let the king, therefore, do what he desires after knowing everything!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "After this, all of them went to king
Yudhishthira the just. And going unto the king, they represented unto
him everything about Duryodhana's conduct. And Ajatasatru, hearing
everything that the Gandharvas had said, liberated all the Kauravas and
applauded the Gandharvas. And the king said, 'Fortunate it is for us
that though gifted with great strength, ye did not yet slay the wicked
son of Dhritarashtra along with all counsellors and relatives. This, O
sir, hath been an act of great kindness done to me by the Gandharvas.
The honour also of my family is saved by liberating this wicked wight. I
am glad at seeing you all. Command me what I am to do for you. And
having obtained all you wish, return ye soon whence ye came!'

"Thus addressed by the intelligent son of Pandu, the Gandharvas became
well-pleased and went away with the Apsaras. And the lord of the
celestials then, coming to that spot, revived those Gandharvas that had
been slain in the encounter with the Kurus, by sprinkling the celestial
_Amrita_ over them. And the Pandavas also, having liberated their
relatives along with the ladies of the royal household, and having
achieved that difficult feat (the defeat of the Gandharvas host) became
well-pleased. And those illustrious and mighty warriors worshipped by
the Kurus along with their sons and wives, blazed forth in splendour
like flaming fires in the sacrificial compound. And Yudhishthira then
addressing the liberated Duryodhana in the midst of his brothers, from
affection, told him these words: 'O child, never again do such a rash
act. O Bharata, a rash wight never cometh by happiness. O son of the
Kuru race, pleased be thou with all thy brothers. Go back to thy capital
as pleaseth thee, without yielding thyself to despondency or

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus dismissed by the son of Pandu, king
Duryodhana then saluted king Yudhishthira the just and overwhelmed with
shame, and his heart rent in twain, mechanically set out for his
capital, like one destitute of life. And after the Kaurava prince had
departed, the brave Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, along with his
brothers, was worshipped by the Brahmanas, and surrounded by those
Brahmanas endued with the wealth of asceticism, like Sakra himself by
the celestials, he began to pass his days happily in the woods of


Janamejaya said, "After his defeat and capture by the foe and his
subsequent liberation by the illustrious sons of Pandu by force of arms,
it seemeth to me that the entry into Hastinapura of the proud, wicked,
boastful, vicious, insolent, and wretched Duryodhana, engaged in
insulting the sons of Pandu and bragging of his own superiority, must
have been exceedingly difficult. Describe to me in detail, O
Vaisampayana, the entry into the capital, of that prince overwhelmed
with shame and unmanned by grief!"

Vaisampayana said, "Dismissed by the king Yudhishthira the just,
Dhritarashtra's son Suyodhana, bending his head down in shame and
afflicted with grief and melancholy, set out slowly. And the king,
accompanied by his four kinds of forces, proceeded towards his city, his
heart rent in grief and filled with thoughts of his defeat along the way
in a region that abounded in grass and water. The king encamped on a
delightful piece of ground as pleased him best, with his elephants and
cars and cavalry and infantry stationed all around. And as the king
Duryodhana was seated on an elevated bedstead endued with the effulgence
of fire, himself looking like the moon under an eclipse, towards the
small hours of the morning Karna, approaching him, said, 'Fortunate it
is, O son of Gandhari, that thou art alive! Fortunate it is, that we
have once more met! By good luck it is that thou hast vanquished the
Gandharvas capable of assuming any form at will. And, O son of the Kuru
race, it is by good luck alone, that I am enabled to see thy
brothers--mighty warriors all--come off victorious from that encounter,
having subjugated their foes! As regards myself, assailed by all the
Gandharvas, I fled before thy eyes, unable to rally our flying host.
Assailed by the foe with all his might, my body mangled with their
arrows, I sought safety in flight. This however, O Bharata, seemed to me
to be a great marvel that I behold you all come safe and sound in body,
with your wives, troops, and vehicles, out of that super-human
encounter. O Bharata, there is another man in this world who can achieve
what thou, O king, hast achieved in battle to-day with thy brothers.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana
replied unto the ruler of the Angas in a voice choked with tears."


"Duryodhana said, 'O Radheya, thou knowest not what hath happened.
Therefore, I do not resent thy words. Thou thinkest the hostile
Gandharvas to have been vanquished by me with my own energy. O thou of
mighty arms, my brothers, indeed had for a long time, aided by me fought
with the Gandharvas. The slaughtered, indeed, on both sides were great.
But when those brave Gandharvas, resorting to their many powers of
illusion, ascended the skies and began to fight with us thence, our
encounter with them ceased to be an equal one. Defeat then was ours and
even captivity. And afflicted with sorrow, we along with our attendants
and counsellors and children and wives and troops and vehicles were
being taken by them through the skies. It was then that some soldiers of
ours and some brave officers repaired in grief unto the sons of
Pandu--those heroes that never refuse succour to those that ask for it.
And having gone to them they said, "Here is king Duryodhana, the son of
Dhritarashtra, who with his younger brothers and friends and wives is
being led away a captive by the Gandharvas along the sky. Blest be ye.
Liberate the king along with the women of the royal household! Suffer no
insult to be offered unto all the ladies of the Kuru race." And when
they had spoken thus, the eldest of Pandu's sons, who is endued with a
virtuous soul then conciliated his brothers and commanded them to
liberate us. Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, overtaking the
Gandharvas, solicited our release in soft words, although fully able to
effect it by force of arms. And when the Gandharvas, addressed in such
conciliatory words, refused to set us at liberty, then Arjuna and Bhima
and the twins endued with mighty energy, shot showers of arrows at the
Gandharvas. Then the Gandharvas, abandoning the fight, fled through the
sky, dragging our melancholy selves after them, filled with joy. Then we
beheld a network of arrows spread all around by Dhananjaya, who was also
shooting celestial weapons upon the foe. And seeing the points of the
horizon covered by Arjuna with a thick network of sharp arrows, his
friend, the chief of the Gandharvas, showed himself. And Chitrasena and
Arjuna, embracing each other, enquired after each other's welfare. And
the other sons of Pandu also embraced the chief of the Gandharvas and
were embraced by him. And enquiries of courtesy passed between them
also. And the brave Gandharvas then abandoning their weapons and mail
mingled in a friendly spirit with the Pandavas. And Chitrasena and
Dhananjaya worshipped each other with regard.'"


"Duryodhana said, 'That slayer of hostile heroes, Arjuna, then
approaching Chitrasena, smilingly addressed him in these manly words: "O
hero, O foremost of the Gandharvas, it behoveth thee to set my brothers
at liberty. They are incapable of being insulted as long as the sons of
Pandu are alive." Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, the
chief of the Gandharvas, O Karna, disclosed unto the Pandavas the object
we had in view in proceeding to that place, viz., that we came there for
casting our eyes on the sons of Pandu with their wife, all plunged in
misery. And while the Gandharva was disclosing those counsels of ours,
overwhelmed with shame I desired the earth to yield me a crevice, so
that I might disappear there and then. The Gandharvas then, accompanied
by the Pandavas, went to Yudhishthira, and, disclosing unto him also
counsels, made us over, bound as we were, to him. Alas, what greater
sorrow could be mine than that I should thus be offered as a tribute
unto Yudhishthira, in the very sight of the women of our household,
myself in chains and plunged in misery, and under the absolute control
of my enemies. Alas, they, who have ever been persecuted by me, they
unto whom I have ever been a foe released me from captivity, and wretch
that I am, I am indebted to them for my life. If, O hero, I had met with
my death in that great battle, that would have been far better than that
I should have obtained my life in this way. If I had been slain by the
Gandharvas, my fame would have spread over the whole earth, and I should
have obtained auspicious regions of eternal bliss in the heaven of
Indra. Listen to me therefore, ye bulls among men, as to what I intend
to do now. I will stay here forgoing all food, while ye all return home.
Let all my brothers also go to Hastinapura. Let all our friends,
including Karna, and all our relatives headed by Dussasana, return now
to the capital. Insulted by the foe, I myself will not repair thither. I
who had before wrested from the foe his respect, I who had always
enhanced the respect of my friends, have now become a source of sorrow
unto friends and of joy unto enemies. What shall I now say unto the
king, going to the city named after the elephant? What will Bhishma and
Drona, Kripa, and Drona's son, Vidura and Sanjaya, Vahuka and Somadatta
and other revered seniors,--what will the principal men of the other
orders and men of independent professions, say to me and what shall I
say unto them in reply? Having hitherto stayed over the heads of my
enemies, having hitherto trod upon their breasts, I have fallen away
from my position. How shall I ever speak with them? Insolent men having
obtained prosperity and knowledge and affluence, are seldom blest for
any length of time like myself puffed up with vanity. Alas, led by folly
I have done a highly improper and wicked act, for which, fool that I am,
I have fallen into such distress. Therefore, will I perish by starving,
life having become insupportable to me. Relieved from distress by the
foe, what man of spirit is there who can drag on his existence? Proud as
I am, shorn of manliness, the foe hath laughed at me, for the Pandavas
possessed of prowess have looked at me plunged in misery!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "While giving way to such reflections Duryodhana
spoke unto Dussasana thus: 'O Dussasana, listen to these words of mine,
O thou of the Bharata race! Accepting this installation that I offer
thee, be thou king in my place. Rule thou the wide earth protected by
Karna and Suvala's sons. Like Indra himself looking after the Maruts,
cherish thou thy brothers in such a way that they may all confide in
thee. Let thy friends and relatives depend on thee like the gods
depending on him of a hundred sacrifices. Always shouldst thou bestow
pensions on Brahmanas, without idleness, and be thou ever the refuge of
thy friends and relatives. Like Vishnu looking after the celestials,
thou shouldst always look after all consanguineous relatives. Thou
shouldst also ever cherish thy superiors. Go, rule thou the earth
gladdening thy friends and reproving thy foes.' And clasping his neck,
Duryodhana said, 'Go!' Hearing these words of his, Dussasana in perfect
cheerlessness and overwhelmed with great sorrow, his voice choked in
tears, said, with joined hands and bending his head unto his eldest
brother, 'Relent!' And saying this he fell down on earth with heavy
heart. And afflicted with grief that tiger among men, shedding his tears
on the feet of his brother again said, 'This will never be! The earth
may split, the vault of heaven may break in pieces, the sun may cast off
his splendour, the moon may abandon his coolness, the wind may forsake
its speed, the Himavat may be moved from its site, the waters of the
ocean may dry up, and fire may abandon its heat, yet I, O king, may
never rule the earth without thee.' And Dussasana repeatedly said,
'Relent, O king! Thou alone shall be king in our race for a hundred
years.' And having spoken thus unto the king, Dussasana began to weep
melodiously catching, O Bharata, the feet of his eldest brother
deserving of worship from him.

"And beholding Dussasana and Duryodhana thus weeping, Karna in great
grief approached them both and said, 'Ye Kuru princes, why do you thus
yield to sorrow like ordinary men, from senselessness? Mere weeping can
never ease a sorrowing man's grief. When weeping can never remove one's
griefs, what do you gain by thus giving way to sorrow? Summon patience
to your aid to not gladden the foe by such conduct. O king, the Pandavas
only did their duty in liberating thee. They that reside in the
dominions of the king, should always do what is agreeable to the king.
Protected by thee, the Pandavas are residing happily in thy dominion. It
behoveth thee not to indulge in such sorrow like an ordinary person.
Behold, thy uterine brothers are all sad and cheerless at seeing thee
resolved to put an end to thy life by forgoing food. Blest be thou! Rise
up and come to thy city and console these thy uterine brothers.'"


"Karna continued, 'O king, this conduct of thine to-day appeareth to be
childish. O hero, O slayer of foes, what is to be wondered at in this
that the Pandavas liberated thee when thou wert vanquished by the foe? O
son of the Kuru race, those that reside in the territories of the king,
especially those (amongst them) that lead the profession of arms, should
always do what is agreeable to the king whether they happen to be known
to their monarch or unknown to him. It happened often that foremost men
who crush the ranks of the hostile host, are vanquished by them, and are
rescued by their own troops. They that leading the profession of arms,
reside in the king's realm should always combine and exert themselves to
the best of their power, for the king. If, therefore, O king, the
Pandavas, who live in the territories, have liberated thee, what is
there to be regretted at in this? That the Pandavas, O best of kings,
did not follow thee when thou didst march forth to battle at the head of
thy troops, has been an improper act on their part. They had before this
come under thy power, becoming thy slaves. They are, therefore, bound to
aid thee now, being endued with courage and might and incapable of
turning away from the field of battle. Thou art enjoying all the rich
possessions of the Pandavas. Behold them yet alive, O king! They have
not resolved to die, forgoing all food. Blest be thou! Rise up, O king!
It behoveth thee not to indulge in great sorrow long. O king, it is the
certain duty of those that reside in the king's realm to do what is
agreeable to the king. Where should the regret be in all this? If thou,
O king, dost not act according to my words I shall stay here employed in
reverentially serving thy feet. O bull among men, I do not desire to
live deprived of thy company. O king, if thou resolvest to slay thyself
by forgoing food, thou wilt simply be an object of laughter with other

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana,
firmly resolved to leave the world, desired not to rise from where he


Vaisampayana said, "Beholding king Duryodhana, incapable of putting up
with an insult, seated with the resolution of giving up life by forgoing
food, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, said these words to comfort him. Sakuni
said, 'O son of the Kuru race, you have just heard what Karna hath said.
His words are, indeed fraught with wisdom. Why wouldst thou abandoning
from foolishness the high prosperity that I won for thee, cast off thy
life today, O king, yielding to silliness? It seemeth to me to-day that
thou hast never waited upon the old. He that cannot control sudden
accession of joy or grief, is lost even though he may have obtained
prosperity, like an unburnt earthen vessel in water. That king who is
entirely destitute of courage, who hath no spark of manliness, who is
the slave of procrastination, who always acts with indiscretion, who is
addicted to sensual pleasures, is seldom respected by his subjects.
Benefited as thou has been, whence is this unreasonable grief of thine?
Do not undo this graceful act done by the sons of Pritha, by indulging
in such grief. When thou shouldst joy and reward the Pandavas, thou art
grieving, O king? Indeed, this behaviour of thine is inconsistent. Be
cheerful, do not cast away thy life; but remember with a pleased heart
the good they have done thee. Give back unto the sons of Pritha their
kingdom, and win thou both virtue and renown by such conduct. By acting
in this way, thou mayst be grateful. Establish brotherly relations with
the Pandavas by being friends, and give them their paternal kingdom, for
then thou wilt be happy!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Sakuni, and seeing the
brave Dussasana lying prostrate before him unmanned by fraternal love,
the king raised Dussasana and, clasping him in his well round arms,
smelt his head from affection. And hearing these words of Karna and
Sauvala, king Duryodhana lost heart more than ever, and he was
overwhelmed with shame and utter despair overtook his soul. And hearing
all that his friends said, he answered with sorrow, 'I have nothing more
to do with virtue, wealth, friendship, affluence, sovereignty, and
enjoyments. Do not obstruct my purpose, but leave me all of you. I am
firmly resolved to cast away my life by forgoing food. Return to the
city, and treat my superiors there respectfully.'

"Thus addressed by him, they replied unto that royal grinder of foes,
saying, 'O monarch, the course that is thine, is also ours, O Bharata.
How can we enter the city without thee?'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Though addressed in all manner of ways by his
friends and counsellors and brothers and relatives, the king wavered not
from his purpose. And the son of Dhritarashtra in accordance with his
purpose spread _Kusa_ grass on the earth, and purifying himself by
touching water, sat down upon that spot. And clad in rags and _Kusa_
grass he set himself to observe the highest vow. And stopping all
speech, that tiger among kings, moved by the desire of going to heaven,
began to pray and worship internally suspending all external

"Meanwhile the fierce _Daityas_ and the _Danavas_ who had been defeated
of old by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions
having ascertained Duryodhana's purpose and knowing that if the king
died their party would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for
summoning Duryodhana to their presence. And _mantra_ knowing persons
then commenced with the help of formulae declared by Brihaspati and
Usanas, those rites that are indicated in the _Atharva Veda_ and the
_Upanishads_ and which are capable of being achieved by _mantras_ and
prayers. And Brahmins of rigid vows, well-versed in the _Vedas_ and the
branches, began, with rapt soul, to pour libations of clarified butter
and milk into the fire, uttering _mantras_. And after those rites were
ended, a strange goddess, O king, with mouth wide open, arose (from the
sacrificial fire), saying, 'What am I to do?' And the Daityas with
well-pleased hearts, commanded her, saying, 'Bring thou hither the royal
son of Dhritarashtra, who is even now observing the vow of starvation
for getting rid of his life.' Thus commanded, she went away saying, 'So
be it.' And she went in the twinkling of an eye to that spot where
Suyodhana was. And taking up the king back to the nether regions, and
having brought him thus in a moment, she apprised the _Danavas_ of it.
And the _Danavas_ beholding the king brought into their midst in the
night, united together, and all of them with well-pleased hearts and
eyes expanded in delight addressed these flattering words to


"The Danavas said, 'O Suyodhana, O great king! O perpetuator of the race
of Bharata, thou art ever surrounded by heroes and illustrious men. Why
hast thou, then, undertaken to do such a rash act as the vow of
starvation? The suicide ever sinketh into hell and becometh the subject
of calumnious speech. Nor do intelligent persons like thee ever set
their hands to acts that are sinful and opposed to their best interests
and striking at the very root of their purposes. Restrain this resolve
of thine, therefore, O king, which is destructive of morality, profit,
and happiness, of fame, prowess, and energy, and which enhanceth the joy
of foes. O exalted king, know the truth, the celestial origin of thy
soul, and the maker of thy body, and then summon thou patience to thy
aid. In days of old, O king, we have obtained thee, by ascetic
austerities from Maheswara. The upper part of thy body is wholly made of
an assemblage of _Vajras_, and is, therefore, invulnerable to weapons of
every description, O sinless one. The lower part of thy body, capable of
captivating the female heart by its comeliness was made of flowers by
the goddess herself--the wife of Mahadeva. Thy body is thus, O best of
kings, the creation of Maheswara himself and his goddess. Therefore, O
tiger among kings, thou art of celestial origin, not human. Other brave
Kshatriyas of mighty energy headed by Bhagadatta, and all acquainted
with celestial weapons, will slay thy foes. Therefore, let this grief of
thine cease. Thou hast no cause for fear. For aiding thee, many heroic
_Danavas_ have been born on the earth. Other Asuras will also possess
Bhishma and Drona and Karna and others. Possessed by those Asuras, these
heroes will cast away their kindness and fight with thy foes. Indeed,
when the _Danavas_ will enter their heart and possess them completely,
flinging all affections to a distance, becoming hard-hearted, these
warriors will strike every body opposed to them in battle without
sparing sons, brothers, fathers, friends, disciples, relatives, even
children and old men. Blinded by ignorance and wrath, and impelled by

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