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

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duty of the good towards all creatures is never to injure them in
thought, word, and deed, but to bear them love and give them their due.
As regards this world, everything here is like this (husband of mine).
Men are destitute of both devotion and skill. The good, however, show
mercy to even their foes when these seek their protection." Yama said,
"As water to the thirsty soul, so are these words uttered by thee to me!
Therefore, do thou, O fair lady, if thou will, once again ask for any
boon except Salyavana's life!" At these words Savitri replied, "That
lord of earth, my father, is without sons. That he may have a hundred
sons begotten of his loins, so that his line may be perpetuated, is the
third boon I would ask of thee!" Yama said, "Thy sire, O auspicious
lady, shall obtain a hundred illustrious sons, who will perpetuate and
increase their father's race! Now, O daughter of a king, thou hast
obtained thy wish. Do thou desist! Thou hast come far enough." Savitri
said, "Staying by the side of my husband, I am not conscious of the
length of the way I have walked. Indeed, my mind rusheth to yet a longer
way off. Do thou again, as thou goest on, listen to the words that I
will presently utter! Thou art the powerful son of Vivaswat. It is for
this that thou art called _Vatvaswata_ by the wise. And, O lord, since
thou dealest out equal law unto all created things, thou hast been
designated the _lord of justice_! One reposeth not, even in one's own
self, the confidence that one doth in the righteous. Therefore, every
one wisheth particularly for intimacy with the righteous. It is goodness
of heart alone that inspireth the confidence of all creatures. And it is
for this that people rely particularly on the righteous." And hearing
these words, Yama said, "The words that thou utterest, O fair lady, I
have not heard from any one save thee; I am highly pleased with this
speech of thine. Except the life of Satyavan, solicit thou, therefore, a
fourth boon, and then go thy way!" Savitri then said, "Both of me and
Satyavan's loins, begotten by both of us, let there be a century of sons
possessed of strength and prowess and capable of perpetuating our race!
Even this is the fourth boon that I would beg of thee!" Hearing these
words of hers, Yama replied, "Thou shalt, O lady, obtain a century of
sons, possessed of strength and prowess, and causing thee great delight.
O daughter of a king, let no more weariness be thine! Do thou desist!
Thou hast already come too far!" Thus addressed, Savitri said, "They
that are righteous always practise eternal morality! And the communion
of the pious with the pious is never fruitless! Nor is there any danger
to the pious from those that are pious. And verily it is the righteous
who by their truth make the Sun move in the heaven. And it is the
righteous that support the earth by their austerities! And, O king, it
is the righteous upon whom both the past and the future depend!
Therefore, they that are righteous, are never cheerless in the company
of the righteous. Knowing this to be the eternal practice of the good
and righteous, they that are righteous continue to do good to others
without expecting any benefit in return. A good office is never thrown
away on the good and virtuous. Neither interest nor dignity suffereth
any injury by such an act. And since such conduct ever adheres to the
righteous, the righteous often become the protectors of all." Hearing
these words of hers, Yama replied, "The more thou utterest such speeches
that are pregnant with great import, full of honeyedd phrases, instinct
with morality, and agreeable to mind, the more is the respect that I
feel for thee! O thou that art so devoted to thy lord, ask for some
incomparable boon!" Thus addressed, Savitri said, "O bestower of
honours, the boon thou hast already given me is incapable of
accomplishment without union with my husband. Therefore, among other
boons, I ask for this, may this Satyavan be restored to life! Deprived
of my husband, I am as one dead! Without my husband, I do not wish for
happiness. Without my husband, I do not wish for heaven itself. Without
my husband, I do not wish for prosperity. Without my husband, I cannot
make up my mind to live! Thou thyself hast bestowed on me the boon,
namely, of a century of sons; yet thou takest away my husband! I ask for
this boon, 'May Satyavan be restored to life,' for by that thy words
will be made true."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Thereupon saying,--_So be it_,--Vivaswat's son,
Yama, the dispenser of justice, untied his noose, and with cheerful
heart said these words to Savitri, "Thus, O auspicious and chaste lady,
is thy husband freed by me! Thou wilt be able to take him back free from
disease. And he will attain to success! And along with thee, he will
attain a life of four hundred years. And celebrating sacrifices with due
rites, he will achieve great fame in this world. And upon thee Satyavan
will also beget a century of sons. And these Kshatriyas with their sons
and grandsons will all be kings, and will always be famous in connection
with thy name. And thy father also will beget a hundred sons on thy
mother Malavi. And under the name of the _Malavas_, thy Kshatriya
brothers, resembling the celestials, will be widely known along with
their sons and daughters!" And having bestowed these boons on Savitri
and having thus made her desist, Yama departed for his abode. Savitri,
after Yama had gone away, went back to the spot where her husband's
ash-coloured corpse lay, and seeing her lord on the ground, she
approached him, and taking hold of him, she placed his head on her lap
and herself sat down on the ground. Then Satyavan regained his
consciousness, and affectionately eyeing Savitri again and again, like
one come home after a sojourn in a strange land, he addressed her thus,
"Alas, I have slept long! Wherefore didst thou not awake me? And where
is that same sable person that was dragging me away?" At these words of
his, Savitri said, "Thou hast, O bull among men, slept long on my lap!
That restrainer of creatures, the worshipful Yama, had gone away. Thou
art refreshed, O blessed one, and sleep hath forsaken thee, O son of a
king! If thou art able, rise thou up! Behold, the night is deep!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Having regained consciousness, Satyavan rose up
like one who had enjoyed a sweet sleep, and seeing every side covered
with woods, said, "O girl of slender waist, I came with thee for
procuring fruits. Then while I was cutting wood I felt a pain in my
head. And on account of that intense pain about my head I was unable to
stand for any length of time, and, therefore, I lay on thy lap and
slept. All this, O auspicious lady, I remember. Then, as thou didst
embrace me, sleep stole away my senses. I then saw that it was dark all
around. In the midst of it I saw a person of exceeding effulgence. If
thou knowest everything, do thou then, O girl of slender waist, tell me
whether what I saw was only a dream or a reality!" Thereupon, Savitri
addressed him, saying, "The night deepens. I shall, O prince, relate
everything unto thee on the morrow. Arise, arise, may good betide thee!
And, O thou of excellent vows, come and behold thy parents! The sun hath
set a long while ago and the night deepens. Those rangers of the night,
having frightful voices, are walking about in glee. And sounds are
heard, proceeding from the denizens of the forest treading through the
woods. These terrible shrieks of jackals that are issuing from the south
and the east make my heart tremble (in fear)!" Satyavan then said,
"Covered with deep darkness, the wilderness hath worn a dreadful aspect.
Thou wilt, therefore, not be able to discern the tract, and consequently
wilt not be able to go!" Then Savitri replied, "In consequence of a
conflagration having taken place in the forest today a withered tree
standeth aflame, and the flames being stirred by the wind are discerned
now and then. I shall fetch some fire and light these faggots around. Do
thou dispel all anxiety. I will do all (this) if thou darest not go, for
I find thee unwell. Nor wilt thou be able to discover the way through
this forest enveloped in darkness. Tomorrow when the woods become
visible, we will go hence, if thou please! If, O sinless one, it is thy
wish, we shall pass this night even here!" At these words of hers,
Satyavan replied, "The pain in my head is off; and I feel well in my
limbs. With thy favour I wish to behold my father and mother. Never
before did I return to the hermitage after the proper time had passed
away. Even before it is twilight my mother confineth me within the
asylum. Even when I come out during the day, my parents become anxious
on my account, and my father searcheth for me, together with all the
inhabitants of the sylvan asylums. Before this, moved by deep grief, my
father and mother had rebuked me many times and often, saying,--_Thou
comest having tarried long_! I am thinking of the pass they have today
come to on my account, for, surely, great grief will be theirs when they
miss me. One night before this, the old couple, who love me dearly, wept
from deep sorrow and said into me, 'Deprived of thee, O son, we cannot
live for even a moment. As long as thou livest, so long, surely, we also
will live. Thou art the crutch of these blind ones; on thee doth
perpetuity of our race depend. On thee also depend our funeral cake, our
fame and our descendants!' My mother is old, and my father also is so. I
am surely their crutch. If they see me not in the night, what, oh, will
be their plight! I hate that slumber of mine for the sake of which my
unoffending mother and my father have both been in trouble, and I myself
also, am placed in such rending distress! Without my father and mother,
I cannot bear to live. It is certain that by this time my blind father,
his mind disconsolate with grief, is asking everyone of the inhabitants
of the hermitage about me! I do not, O fair girl, grieve so much for
myself as I do for my sire, and for my weak mother ever obedient to her
lord! Surely, they will be afflicted with extreme anguish on account of
me. I hold my life so long as they live. And I know that they should be
maintained by me and that I should do only what is agreeable to them!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Having said this, that virtuous youth who loved
and revered his parents, afflicted with grief held up his arms and began
to lament in accents of woe. And seeing her lord overwhelmed with sorrow
the virtuous Savitri wiped away the tears from his eyes and said, "If I
have observed austerities, and have given away in charity, and have
performed sacrifice, may this night be for the good of my father-in-law,
mother-in-law and husband! I do not remember having told a single
falsehood, even in jest. Let my father-in-law and mother-in-law hold
their lives by virtue of the truth!" Satyavan said, "I long for the
sight of my father and mother! Therefore, O Savitri, proceed without
delay. O beautiful damsel, I swear by my own self that if I find any
evil to have befallen my father and mother, I will not live. If thou
hast any regard for virtue, if thou wishest me to live, if it is thy
duty to do what is agreeable to me, proceed thou to the hermitage!" The
beautiful Savitri then rose and tying up her hair, raised her husband in
her arms. And Satyavan having risen, rubbed his limbs with his hands.
And as he surveyed all around, his eyes fell upon his wallet. Then
Savitri said unto him, "Tomorrow thou mayst gather fruits. And I shall
carry thy axe for thy ease." Then hanging up the wallet upon the bough
of a tree, and taking up the axe, she re-approached her husband. And
that lady of beautiful thighs, placing her husband's left arm upon her
left shoulder, and embracing him with her right arms, proceeded with
elephantic gait. Then Satyavan said, "O timid one, by virtue of habit,
the (forest) paths are known to me. And further, by the light of the
moon between the trees, I can see them. We have now reached the same
path that we took in the morning for gathering fruits. Do thou, O
auspicious one, proceed by the way that we had come: thou needst not any
longer feel dubious about our path. Near that tract overgrown with
_Palasa_ tree, the way diverges into two. Do thou proceed along the path
that lies to the north of it. I am now well and have got back my
strength. I long to see my father and mother!" Saying this Satyavan
hastily proceeded towards the hermitage.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Meanwhile the mighty Dyumatsena, having regained his
sight, could see everything. And when his vision grew clear he saw
everything around him. And, O bull of the Bharata race, proceeding with
his wife Saivya to all the (neighbouring) asylums in search of his son,
he became extremely distressed on his account. And that night the old
couple went about searching in asylums, and rivers, and woods, and
floods. And whenever they heard any sound, they stood rising their
heads, anxiously thinking that their son was coming, and said, "O yonder
cometh Satyavan with Savitri!" And they rushed hither and thither like
maniacs, their feet torn, cracked, wounded, and bleeding, pierced with
thorns and _Kusa_ blades. Then all the Brahmanas dwelling in that
hermitage came unto them, and surrounding them on all sides, comforted
them, and brought them back to their own asylum. And there Dyumatsena
with his wife surrounded by aged ascetics, was entertained with stories
of monarchs of former times. And although that old couple desirous of
seeing their son, was comforted, yet recollecting the youthful days of
their son, they became exceedingly sorry. And afflicted with grief, they
began to lament in piteous accents, saying, "Alas, O son, alas, O chaste
daughter-in-law, where are you?" Then a truthful Brahmana of the name of
Suvarchas spake unto them, saying, "Considering the austerities,
self-restraint, and behaviour of his wife Savitri, there can be no doubt
that Satyavan liveth!" And Gautama said, "I have studied all the _Vedas_
with their branches, and I have acquired great ascetic merit. And I have
led a celibate existence, practising also the _Brahmacharya_ mode of
life. I have gratified Agni and my superiors. With rapt soul I have also
observed all the vows: and I have according to the ordinance, frequently
lived upon air alone. By virtue of this ascetic merit, I am cognisant of
all the doings of others. Therefore, do thou take it for certain that
Satyavan liveth." Thereupon his disciple said, "The words that have
fallen from the lips of my preceptor can never be false. Therefore,
Satyavan surely liveth." And the _Rishi_ said, "Considering the
auspicious marks that his wife Savitri beareth and all of which indicate
immunity from widowhood, there can be no doubt that Satyavan liveth!"
And Varadwaja said, "Having regard to the ascetic merit, self-restraint,
and conduct of his wife Savitri, there can be no doubt that Satyavan
liveth." And Dalbhya said, "Since thou hast regained thy sight, and
since Savitri hath gone away after completion of the vow, without taking
any food, there can be no doubt that Satyavan liveth." And Apastamba
said, "From the manner in which the voices of birds and wild animals are
being heard through the stillness of the atmosphere on all sides, and
from the fact also of thy having regained the use of thy eyes,
indicating thy usefulness for earthly purposes once more, there can be
no doubt that Satyavan liveth." And Dhaumya said, "As thy son is graced
with every virtue, and as he is the beloved of all, and as he is
possessed of marks betokening a long life, there can be no doubt that
Satyavan liveth."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus cheered by those ascetics of truthful
speech, Dyumatsena pondering over those points, attained a little ease.
A little while after, Savitri with her husband Satyavan reached the
hermitage during the night and entered it with a glad heart. The
Brahmanas then said, "Beholding this meeting with thy son, and thy
restoration to eye-sight, we all wish thee well, O lord of earth. Thy
meeting with thy son, the sight of thy daughter-in-law, and thy
restoration to sight--constitute a threefold prosperity which thou hast
gained. What we all have said must come to pass: there can be no doubt
of this. Henceforth thou shalt rapidly grow in prosperity." Then, O
Pritha's son, the twice-born ones lighted a fire and sat themselves down
before king Dyumatsena. And Saivya, and Satyavan, and Savitri who stood
apart, their hearts free from grief, sat down with the permission of
them all. Then, O Partha, seated with the monarch those dwellers of the
woods, actuated by curiosity, asked the king's son, saying, "Why didst
thou not, O illustrious one, come back earlier with thy wife? Why hast
thou come so late in the night? What obstacle prevented thee! We do not
know, O son of a king, why thou hast caused such alarm to us, and to thy
father and mother. It behoveth thee to tell us all about this."
Thereupon, Satyavan said, "With the permission of my father, I went to
the woods with Savitri. There, as I was hewing wood in the forest, I
felt a pain in my head. And in consequence of the pain, I fell into a
deep sleep.--This is all that I remember. I had never slept so long
before I have come so late at night, in order that ye might not grieve
(on my account). There is no other reason for this." Gautama then said,
"Thou knowest not then the cause of thy father's sudden restoration to
sight. It, therefore, behoveth Savitri to relate it. I wish to hear it
(from thee), for surely thou art conversant with the mysteries of good
and evil. And, O Savitri, I know thee to be like the goddess _Savitri_
herself in splendour. Thou must know the cause of this. Therefore, do
thou relate it truly! If it should not be kept a secret, do thou unfold
it unto us!" At these words of Gautama Savitri said, "It is as ye
surmise. Your desire shall surely not be unfulfilled. I have no secret
to keep. Listen to the truth then! The high-souled Narada had predicted
the death of my husband. To-day was the appointed time. I could not,
therefore, bear to be separated from my husband's company. And after he
had fallen asleep, Yama, accompanied by his messengers, presented
himself before him, and tying him, began to take him away towards the
region inhabited by the _Pitris_. Thereupon I began to praise that
august god, with truthful words. And he granted me five boons, of which
do ye hear from me! For my father-in-law I have obtained these two
boons, viz., his restoration to sight as also to his kingdom. My father
also hath obtained a hundred sons. And I myself have obtained a hundred
sons. And my husband Satyavan hath obtained a life of four hundred
years. It was for the sake of my husband's life that I had observed that
vow. Thus have I narrated unto you in detail the cause by which this
mighty misfortune of mine was afterwards turned into happiness." The
_Rishis_ said, "O chaste lady of excellent disposition, observant of
vows and endued with virtue, and sprung from an illustrious line, by
thee hath the race of this foremost of kings, which was overwhelmed with
calamities, and was sinking in an ocean of darkness, been rescued."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Then having applauded and reverenced that best
of women, those _Rishis_ there assembled bade farewell to that foremost
of kings as well as to his son. And having saluted them thus, they
speedily went, in peace with cheerful hearts, to their respective


"Markandeya continued, 'When the night had passed away, and the solar
orb had risen, those ascetics, having performed their morning rites,
assembled together. And although those mighty sages again and again
spake unto Dyumatsena of the high fortune of Savitri, yet they were
never satisfied. And it so happened, O king, that there came to that
hermitage a large body of people from Salwa. And they brought tidings of
the enemy of Dyumatsena having been slain by his own minister. And they
related unto him all that had happened, viz., how having heard that the
usurper had been slain with all his friends and allies by his minister,
his troops had all fled, and how all the subjects had become unanimous
(on behalf of their legitimate king), saying, "Whether possessed of
sight or not, even he shall be our king!" And they said, "We have been
sent to thee in consequence of that resolve. This car of thine, and this
army also consisting of four kinds of forces, have arrived for thee!
Good betide thee, O King! Do thou come! Thou hast been proclaimed in the
city. Do thou for ever occupy the station belonging to thy father and
grand-father!" And beholding the king possessed of sight and
able-bodied, they bowed down their heads, their eyes expanded with
wonder. Then having worshipped those old and Brahmanas dwelling in the
hermitage and honoured by them in return, the king set out for his city.
And surrounded by the soldiers, Saivya also accompanied by Savitri, went
in a vehicle furnished with shining sheets and borne on the shoulders of
men. Then the priests with joyful hearts installed Dyumatsena on the
throne with his high-souled son as prince-regent. And after the lapse of
a long time, Savitri gave birth to a century of sons, all warlike and
unretreating from battle, and enhancing the fame of Salwa's race. And
she also had a century of highly powerful uterine brothers born unto
Aswapati, the lord of the Madras, by Malavi. Thus, O son of Pritha, did
Savitri raise from pitiable plight to high fortune, herself, and her
father and mother, her father-in-law and mother-in-law, as also the race
of her husband. And like that gentle lady Savitri, the auspicious
daughter of Drupada, endued with excellent character, will rescue you

Vaisampayana said, "Thus exhorted by that high-souled sage, the son of
Pandu, O king, with his mind free from anxiety, continued to live in the
forest of Kamyaka. The man that listeneth with reverence to the
excellent story of Savitri, attaineth to happiness, and success in
everything, and never meeteth with misery!"


Janamejaya said,--"What, O Brahmana, was that great fear entertained by
Yudhishthira in respect of Karna, for which Lomasa had conveyed to the
son of Pandu a message of deep import from Indra in these words, _That
intense fear of thine which thou dost never express to any one, I will
remove after Dhananjaya goeth from hence?_ And, O best of ascetics, why
was it that the virtuous Yudhishthira never expressed it to any one?"

Vaisampayana said, "As thou askest me, O tiger among kings, I will
relate that history unto thee! Do thou listen to my words, O best of the
Bharatas! After twelve years (of their exile) had passed away and the
thirteenth year had set in, Sakra, ever friendly to the sons of Pandu,
resolved to beg of Karna (his ear-rings). And, O mighty monarch,
ascertaining this intention of the great chief of the celestials about
(Karna's) ear-rings, Surya, having effulgence for his wealth, went unto
Karna. And, O foremost of kings, while that hero devoted to the
Brahmanas and truthful in speech was lying down at night at his ease on
a rich bed overlaid with a costly sheet, the effulgent deity, filled
with kindness and affection for his son, showed himself, O Bharata, unto
him in his dreams. And assuming from ascetic power the form of a
handsome Brahmana versed in the _Vedas_, Surya sweetly said unto Karna
these words for his benefit, 'O son, do thou O Karna, listen to these
words of mine, O thou foremost of truthful persons! O mighty-armed one,
I tell thee to-day from affection, what is for thy great good! With the
object, O Karna, of obtaining thy ear-rings, Sakra, moved by the desire
of benefiting the sons of Pandu, will come unto thee, disguised as a
Brahmana! He, as well as all the world, knoweth thy character, viz.,
that when solicited by pious people, thou givest away but never takest
in gift! Thou, O son, givest unto Brahmanas wealth or any other thing
that is asked of thee and never refusest anything to anybody. Knowing
thee to be such, the subduer himself of Paka will come to beg of thee
thy ear-rings and coat of mail. When he beggeth the ear-rings of thee,
it behoveth thee not to give them away, but to gratify him with sweet
speeches to the best of thy power. Even this, is for thy supreme good!
While asking thee for the ear-rings, thou shalt, with various reasons,
repeatedly refuse Purandara who is desirous of obtaining them, offering
him, instead, various other kinds of wealth, such as gems and women and
kine, and citing various precedents. If thou, O Karna, givest away thy
beautiful ear-rings born with thee, thy life being shortened, thou wilt
meet with death! Arrayed in thy mail and ear-rings, thou wilt, O
bestower of honours, be incapable of being slain by foes in battle! Do
thou lay to heart these words of mine! Both these jewelled ornaments
have sprung from _Amrita_. Therefore, they should be preserved by thee,
if thy life is at all dear to thee.'

"Hearing these words, Karna said, 'Who art thou that tellest me so,
showing me such kindness? If it pleaseth thee, tell me, O illustrious
one, who thou art in the guise of a Brahmana!'--The Brahmana thereupon
said, 'O son, I am he of a thousand rays! Out of affection, I point out
to thee the path! Act thou according to my words, as it is for thy great
good to do so!' Karna replied, 'Surely, this itself is highly fortunate
for me that the god himself of splendour addresses me today, seeking my
welfare. Listen, however, to these words of mine! May it please thee, O
bestower of boons, it is only from affection that I tell thee this! If I
am dear to thee, I should not be dissuaded from the observance of my
vow! O thou that are possessed of the wealth of effulgence, the whole
world knoweth this to be my vow that, of a verity, I am prepared to give
away life itself unto superior Brahmanas! If, O best of all rangers of
the sky, Sakra cometh to me, disguised as a Brahmana, to beg for the
benefit of the sons of Pandu, I will, O chief of the celestials, give
him the ear-rings and the excellent mail, so that my fame which hath
spread over the three worlds may not suffer any diminution! For persons
like us, it is not fit to save life by a blame-worthy act. On the
contrary, it is even proper for us to meet death with the approbation of
the world and under circumstances bringing fame. Therefore, will I
bestow upon Indra the ear-rings with my coat of mail! If the slayer
himself of Vala and Vritra cometh to ask for the ear-rings for the
benefit of the sons of Pandu, that will conduce to my fame, leading at
the same time to _his_ infamy! O thou possessed of splendour, I wish for
fame in this world, even if it is to be purchased with life itself, for
they that have fame enjoy the celestial regions, while they that are
destitute of it are lost. Fame keepeth people alive in this world even
like a mother, while infamy killeth men even though they may move about
with bodies undestroyed. O lord of the worlds, O thou possessed of the
wealth of effulgence, that fame is the life of men is evidenced by an
ancient _sloka_ sung by the Creator himself,--_In the next world it is
fame that is the chief support of a person, while in this world pure
fame lengthens life_. Therefore, by giving away my ear-rings and mail
with both of which I was born I will win eternal fame! And by duly
giving away the same to Brahmanas according to the ordinance, by
offering up my body (as a gift to the gods) in the sacrifice of war, by
achieving feats difficult of performance, and by conquering my foes in
fight, I will acquire nothing but renown. And by dispelling on the field
of battle the fears of the affrighted that may beg for their lives, and
relieving old men and boys and Brahmanas from terror and anxiety, I will
win excellent fame and the highest heaven. My fame is to be protected
with the sacrifice of even my life. Even this, know thou, is my vow! By
giving away such a valuable gift to Maghavan disguised as a Brahmana, I
will, O god, acquire in this world the most exalted state.'"


"Surya said, 'Never do, O Karna, anything that is harmful to thy self
and thy friends; thy sons, thy wives, thy father, and thy mother; O thou
best of those that bear life, people desire renown (in this world) and
lasting fame in heaven, without wishing to sacrifice their bodies. But
as thou desirest undying fame at the expense of thy life, she will,
without doubt, snatch away thy life! O bull among men, in this world,
the father, the mother, the son, and other relatives are of use only to
him that is alive. O tiger among men, as regard kings, it is only when
they are alive that prowess can be of any use to them. Do thou
understand this? O thou of exceeding splendour, fame is for the good of
these only that are alive! Of what use is fame to the dead whose bodies
have been reduced to ashes? One that is dead cannot enjoy renown. It is
only when one is alive that one can enjoy it. The fame of one that is
dead is like a garland of flowers around the neck of a corpse. As thou
reverest me, I tell thee this for thy benefit, because thou art a
worshipper of mine! They that worship me are always protected by me.
That also is another reason for my addressing thee thus! Thinking again,
O mighty-armed one, that _this one revereth me with great reverence_, I
have been inspired with love for thee! Do thou, therefore, act according
to my words! There is, besides some profound mystery in all this,
ordained by fate. It is for this, that I tell thee so. Do thou act
without mistrust of any kind! O bull among men, it is not fit for thee
to know this which is a secret to the very gods. Therefore, I do not
reveal that secret unto thee. Thou wilt, however, understand it in time.
I repeat what I have already said. Do thou, O Radha's son, lay my words
to heart! When the wielder of the thunder-bolt asketh thee for them, do
thou never give him thy ear-rings! O thou of exceeding splendour, with
thy handsome ear-rings, thou lookest beautiful, even like the Moon
himself in the clear firmament, between the _Visakha_ constellation!
Dost thou know that fame availeth only the person that is living.
Therefore, when the lord of the celestials will ask the ear-rings, thou
shouldst, O son, refuse him! Repeating again and again answers fraught
with various reasons, thou wilt, O sinless one, be able to remove the
eagerness of the lord of the celestial for the possession of the
ear-rings. Do thou, O Karna, alter Purandara's purpose by urging answers
fraught with reason and grave import and adorned with sweetness and
suavity. Thou dost always, O tiger among men, challenge him that can
draw the bow with his left hand, and heroic Arjuna also will surely
encounter thee in fight. But when furnished with thy ear-rings, Arjuna
will never be able to vanquish thee in fight even if Indra himself comes
to his assistance. Therefore, O Karna, if thou wishest to vanquish
Arjuna in battle, these handsome ear-rings of thine should never be
parted with to Sakra.'"


"Karna said, 'As thou, O lord of splendour, knowest me for thy
worshipper, so also thou knowest that there is nothing which I cannot
give away in charity, O thou of fiery rays! Neither my wives, nor my
sons, nor my own self, nor my friends, are so dear to me as thou, on
account of the veneration I feel for thee, O lord of splendour! Thou
knowest, O maker of light, that high-souled persons bear a loving regard
for their dear worshippers. _Karna revereth me and is dear to me. He
knoweth no other deity in heaven_,--thinking this thou hast, O lord,
said unto me what is for my benefit. Yet, O thou of bright rays, again
do I beseech thee with bended head, again do I place myself in thy
hands. I will repeat the answer I have already given. It behoveth thee
to forgive me! Death itself is not fraught with such terrors for me as
untruth! As regards especially the Brahmanas, again, I do not hesitate
to yield up my life even for them! And, O divine one, respecting what
thou hast said unto me of Phalguna, the son of Pandu, let thy grief born
of thy anxiety of heart, O lord of splendour, be dispelled touching him
and myself; for I shall surely conquer Arjuna in battle! Thou knowest, O
deity, that I have great strength of weapons obtained from Jamadagnya
and the high-souled Drona. Permit me now, O foremost of celestials, to
observe my vow, so that unto him of the thunderbolt coming to beg of me,
I may give away even my life!'

"Surya said, 'If O son, thou givest away thy ear-rings to the wielder of
the thunder-bolt, O thou of mighty strength, thou shouldst also, for the
purpose of securing victory, speak unto him, saying,--_O thou of a
hundred sacrifices, I shall give thee ear-rings under a
condition_.--Furnished with the ear-rings, thou art certainly incapable
of being slain by any being. Therefore, it is, O son, that desirous of
beholding thee slain in battle by Arjuna, the destroyer of the Danavas
desireth to deprive thee of thy ear-rings. Repeatedly adoring with
truthful words that lord of the celestials, viz., Purandara armed with
weapons incapable of being frustrated, do thou also beseech him, saying,
"Give me an infallible dart capable of slaying all foes, and I will, O
thousand-eyed deity, give the ear-rings with the excellent coat of
mail!" On this condition shouldst thou give the ear-rings unto Sakra.
With that dart, O Karna, thou wilt slay foes in battle: for, O
mighty-armed one, that dart of the chief of the celestials doth not
return to the hand that hurleth it, without slaying enemies by hundreds
and by thousands!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, the thousand-rayed deity
suddenly vanished away. The next day, after having told his prayers,
Karna related his dream unto the Sun. And Vrisha related unto him the
vision he had seen, and all that had passed between them in the night.
Thereupon, having heard everything, that enemy of Swarbhanu, that lord,
the resplendent and divine Surya, said unto him with a smile, 'It is
even so!' Then Radha's son, that slayer of hostile heroes, knowing all
about the matter, and desirous of obtaining the dart, remained in
expectation of Vasava."


Janamejaya said, "What was that secret which was not revealed to Karna
by the deity of warm rays? Of what kind also were those ear-rings and of
what sort was that coat of mail? Whence, too, was that mail and those
ear-rings? All this, O best of men. I wish to hear! O thou possessed of
the wealth of asceticism, do tell me all this!"

Vaisampayana said, "I will, O monarch, tell thee that secret which was
not revealed by the deity possessed of the wealth of effulgence. I will
also describe unto thee those ear-rings and that coat of mail. Once on a
time, O king, there appeared before Kuntibhoja a Brahmana of fierce
energy and tall stature, bearing a beard and matted locks, and carrying
a staff in his hand. And, he was agreeable to the eye and of faultless
limbs, and seemed to blaze forth in splendour. And he was possessed of a
yellow-blue complexion like that of honey. And his speech was
mellifluous, and he was adorned with ascetic merit and a knowledge of
the _Vedas_. And that person of great ascetic merit, addressing king
Kuntibhoja, said, 'O thou that are free from pride, I wish to live as a
guest in thy house feeding on the food obtained as alms from thee!
Neither thy followers, nor thou thyself, shall ever act in such a way as
to produce my displeasure! If, O sinless one, it liketh thee, I would
then live in thy house thus! I shall leave thy abode when I wish, and
come back when I please. And, O king, no one shall offend me in respect
of my food or bed.'--Then Kuntibhoja spake unto him these words
cheerfully, 'Be it so, and more.' And he again said unto him, 'O thou of
great wisdom, I have an illustrious daughter named Pritha. And she
beareth an excellent character, is observant of vow, chaste, and of
subdued senses. And she shall attend on thee and minister unto thee with
reverence. And thou wilt be pleased with her disposition!' And having
said this to that Brahmana and duly paid him homage, the king went to
his daughter Pritha of large eyes, and spake thus unto her, 'O child,
this eminently pious Brahmana is desirous of dwelling in my house! I
have accepted his proposal, saying,--_So be it_, relying, O child, on
thy aptitude and skill in ministering unto Brahmanas. It, therefore,
behoveth thee to act in such a manner that my words may not be untrue.
Do thou give him with alacrity whatever this reverend Brahmana possessed
of ascetic merit and engaged in the study of the Vedas, may want. Let
everything that this Brahmana asketh for be given to him cheerfully. A
Brahmana is the embodiment of pre-eminent energy: he is also the
embodiment of the highest ascetic merit. It is in consequence of the
virtuous practices of Brahmanas that the sun shineth in the heavens. It
was for their disregard of Brahmanas that were deserving of honour that
the mighty _Asura_ Vatapi, as also Talajangha, was destroyed by the
curse of the Brahmanas. For the present, O child, it is a highly
virtuous one of that order that is entrusted to thy keep. Thou shouldst
always tend this Brahmana with concentrated mind. O daughter, I know
that, from childhood upwards, thou hast ever been attentive to
Brahmanas, and superiors, and relatives, and servants, and friends, to
thy mothers and myself. I know thou bearest thyself well, bestowing
proper regard upon everyone. And, O thou of faultless limbs, in the city
of the interior of my palace, on account of thy gentle behaviour, there
is not one, even among the servants, that is dissatisfied with thee. I
have, therefore, thought thee fit to wait upon all Brahmanas of wrathful
temper. Thou art, O Pritha, a girl and has been adopted as my daughter.
Thou art born in the race of the Vrishnis, and art the favourite
daughter of Sura. Thou wert, O girl, given to me gladly by thy father
himself. The sister of Vasudeva by birth, thou art (by adoption) the
foremost of my children. Having promised me in these words,--_I will
give my first born_,--thy father gladly gave thee to me while thou wert
yet in thy infancy. It is for this reason that thou art my daughter.
Born in such a race and reared in such a race, thou hast come from one
happy state to another like a lotus transferred from one lake to
another. O auspicious girl, women, specially they that are of mean
extraction, although they may with difficulty be kept under restraint,
become in consequence of their unripe age, generally deformed in
character. But thou, O Pritha, art born in a royal race, and thy beauty
also is extraordinary. And then, O girl, thou art endued with every
accomplishment. Do thou, therefore, O damsel, renouncing pride and
haughtiness and a sense of self-importance, wait upon and worship the
boon-giving Brahmana, and thereby attain, O Pritha, to an auspicious
state! By acting thus, O auspicious and sinless girl, thou wilt surely
attain to auspiciousness! But if on the contrary, thou stirrest up the
anger of this best of the twice-born ones, my entire race will be
consumed by him!'"


"Kunti said, 'According to thy promise, I will, O king, with
concentrated mind, serve that Brahmana. O foremost of kings, I do not
say this falsely. It is my nature to worship Brahmanas. And, as in the
present case, my doing so would be agreeable to thee, even this would be
highly conducive to my welfare. Whether that worshipful one cometh in
the evening, or in morning, or at night or even at midnight, he will
have no reason to be angry with me! O foremost of kings, to do good by
serving the twice-born ones, observing all thy commands, is what I
consider to be highly profitable to me, O best of men! Do thou,
therefore, O foremost of monarchs rely on me! That best of Brahmanas,
while residing in thy house, shall never have cause for dissatisfaction,
I tell thee truly. I shall, O king, be always attentive to that which is
agreeable to this Brahmana, and what is fraught also with good to thee.
O sinless one! I know full well that Brahmanas that are eminently
virtuous, when propitiated bestow salvation, and when displeased, are
capable of bringing about destruction upon the offender. Therefore, I
shall please this foremost of Brahmanas. Thou wilt not, O monarch, come
to any grief from that best of regenerate persons, owing to any act of
mine. In consequence of the transgressions of monarchs, Brahmanas, O
foremost of kings, became the cause of evil to them, as Chyavana had
become, in consequence of the act of Sukanya. I will, therefore, O king,
with great regularity, wait upon that best of Brahmanas according to thy
instructions in that respect!' And when she had thus spoken at length,
the king embraced and cheered her, and instructed her in detail as to
what should be done by her. And the king said, 'Thou shall, O gentle
maid, act even thus, without fear, for my good as also thy own, and for
the good of thy race also, O thou of faultless limbs!' And having said
this the illustrious Kuntibhoja, who was devoted to the Brahmanas, made
over the girl Pritha to that Brahmana, saying, 'This my daughter, O
Brahmana, is of tender age and brought up in luxury. If, therefore, she
transgresses at any time, do thou not take that to heart! Illustrious
Brahmanas are never angry with old men, children, and ascetics, even if
these transgress frequently. In respect of even a great wrong
forgiveness is due from the regenerate. The worship, therefore, O best
of Brahmanas, that is offered to the best of one's power and exertion,
should be acceptable!' Hearing these words of the monarch, the Brahmana
said, 'So be it!' Thereupon, the king became highly pleased and assigned
unto him apartments that were white as swans or the beams of the moon.
And in the room intended for the sacrificial fire, the king placed a
brilliant seat especially constructed for him. And the food and other
things that were offered unto the Brahmana were of the same excellent
kind. And casting aside idleness and all sense of self-importance, the
princess addressed herself with right good will to wait upon the
Brahmana. And the chaste Kunti, endued with purity of conduct, went
thither for serving the Brahmana. And duly waiting upon that Brahmana as
if he were a very god, she gratified him highly."


Vaisampayana said, "And that maiden of rigid vows, O mighty monarch, by
serving with a pure heart, that Brahmana of rigid vows, succeeded in
gratifying him. And, O foremost of kings, saying, 'I will come back in
the morning,' that best of Brahmanas sometimes came in the evening or in
night. Him, however, the maiden worshipped at all hours with sumptuous
food and drink and bed. And as day after day passed away, her attentions
to him, in respect of food and seat and bed, increased instead of
undergoing any diminution. And, O king, even when the Brahmana reproved
her, finding fault with any of her arrangements, or addressed her in
harsh words, Pritha did not do anything that was disagreeable to him.
And on many occasions the Brahmana came back after the appointed hour
had long passed away. And on many occasions (such as the depth of night)
when food was hard to procure, he said, 'Give me food!' But on all those
occasions saying, 'All is ready,'--Pritha held before him the fare. And
even like a disciple, daughter, or a sister, that blameless gem of a
girl with a devoted heart, O king, gratified that foremost of Brahmanas.
And that best of Brahmanas became well-pleased with her conduct and
ministrations. And he received those attentions of hers, valuing them
rightly. And, O Bharata, her father asked her every morning and evening
saying, 'O daughter, is the Brahmana satisfied with thy ministrations?'
And that illustrious maiden used to reply, 'Exceedingly well!' And
thereupon, the high-souled Kuntibhoja experienced the greatest delight.
And when after a full year that best of ascetics was unable to find any
fault whatever in Pritha, who was engaged in ministering unto him,
well-pleased he said unto her, 'O gentle maid, I have been well-pleased
with thy attentions, O beautiful girl! Do thou, O blessed girl, ask even
for such boons as are difficult of being obtained by men in this world,
and obtaining which, thou mayst surpass in fame all the women in this
world.' At these words of his, Kunti said, 'Everything hath already been
done in my behalf since thou, O chief of those that are versed in the
_Vedas_, and my father also, have been pleased with me! As regards the
boons, I consider them as already obtained by me, O Brahmana!' The
Brahmana thereupon said, 'If, O gentle maid, thou dost not, O thou of
sweet smiles, wish to obtain boons from me, do thou then take this
_mantra_ from me for invoking the celestials! Any one amongst the
celestials whom thou mayst invoke by uttering this _mantra_, will appear
before thee and be under thy power. Willing or not, by virtue of this
_mantra_, that deity in gentle guise, and assuming the obedient attitude
of slave, will become subject to thy power!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, that faultless maiden could
not, O king, from fear of a curse, refuse for the second time compliance
with the wishes of that best of the twice-born ones. Then, O king, that
Brahmana imparted unto that girl of faultless limbs those _mantras_
which are recited in the beginning of the _Atharvan Veda_. And, O king,
having imparted unto her those _mantras_, he said unto Kuntibhoja. 'I
have, O monarch, dwelt happily in thy house, always worshipped with due
regard and gratified by thy daughter. I shall now depart.' And saying
this, he vanished there and then. And beholding that Brahmana vanish
there and then, the king was struck with amazement. And the monarch then
treated his daughter Pritha with proper regard."


Vaisampayana said, "When that foremost of Brahmanas had gone away on
some other errand, the maiden began to ponder over the virtue of those
_mantras_. And she said to herself, 'Of what nature are those _mantras_
that have been bestowed on me by that high-souled one? I shall without
delay test their power.' And as she was thinking in this way, she
suddenly perceived indications of the approach of her season. And her
season having arrived, while she was yet unmarried, she blushed in
shame. And it came to pass that as she was seated in her chamber on a
rich bed, she beheld the solar orb rising in the east. And both the mind
and the eyes of that maiden of excellent waist became rivetted fast upon
the solar orb. And she gazed and gazed on that orb without being
satiated with the beauty of the morning Sun. And she suddenly became
gifted with celestial sight. And then she beheld that god of divine form
accoutred in mail and adorned with ear-rings. And at sight of the god, O
lord of men, she became curious as to the (potency of the) _mantras_.
And thereupon that maiden resolved to invoke him. And having recourse to
_Pranayama_, she invoked the Maker of day. And thus invoked by her, O
king, the Maker of day speedily presented himself. And he was of a
yellowish hue like honey, and was possessed of mighty arms, and his neck
was marked with lines like those of a conchshell. And furnished with
armlets, and decked with a diadem, he came smiling, and illumining all
the directions. And it was by _Yoga_ power that he divided himself in
twain, one of which continued to give heat, and the other appeared
before Kunti. And he addressed Kunti in words that were exceedingly
sweet, saying, 'O gentle maiden, over-powered by the _mantras_, I come
hither obedient to thee. Subject as I am to thy power, what shall I do,
O queen? Tell me, for I shall do whatever thou mayst command.' Hearing
these words of the deity, Kunti said, 'O worshipful one, go thou back to
the place thou hast come from! I invoked thee from curiosity alone.
Pardon me, O worshipful one!' Surya then said, 'O damsel of slender
waist, I will, even as thou hast said, return to the place I have come
from! Having called a celestial, it is not, however, proper to send him
away in vain. Thy intention, O blessed one, it is to have from Surya a
son furnished with a coat of mail and ear-rings, and who in point of
prowess would be beyond compare in this world! Do thou, therefore, O
damsel of elephantine gait, surrender thy person to me! Thou shall then
have, O lady, a son after thy wish! O gentle girl, O thou of sweet
smiles, I will go back after having known thee! If thou do not gratify
me to-day by obeying my word, I shall in anger curse thee, thy father
and that Brahmana also. For thy fault, I will surely consume them all,
and I shall inflict condign punishment on that foolish father of thine
that knoweth not this transgression of thine and on that Brahmana who
hath bestowed the _mantras_ on thee without knowing thy disposition and
character! Yonder are all the celestials in heaven, with Purandara at
their head, who are looking at me with derisive smiles at my being
deceived by thee, O lady! Look at those celestials, for thou art now
possessed of celestial sight! Before this I have endued thee with
celestial vision, in consequence of which thou couldst see me!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thereupon the princess beheld the celestials
standing in the firmament, each in his proper sphere, even as she saw
before her that highly resplendent deity furnished with rays, viz.,
Surya himself. And beholding them all, the girl became frightened and
her face was suffused with blushes of shame. And then she addressed
Surya, saying, 'O lord of rays, go thou back to thy own region. On
account of my maidenhood, this outrage of thine is fraught with woe to
me! It is only one's father, mother, and other superiors, that are
capable of giving away their daughter's body. Virtue I shall never
sacrifice, seeing that in this world the keeping of their persons
inviolate is deemed as the highest duty of Women, and is held in high
regard! O thou possessed of wealth of splendour, it is only to test the
power of my _mantras_ that I have, from mere childishness, summoned
thee. Considering that this hath been done by a girl offender years, it
behoveth thee, O lord, to forgive her!' Then Surya said, 'It is because
I consider thee a girl that, O Kunti, I am speaking to thee so mildly.
To one that is not so I would not concede this. Do thou, O Kunti,
surrender thyself! Thou shalt surely attain happiness thereby. Since, O
timid maiden, thou hast invoked me with _mantras_, it is not proper for
me to go away without any purpose being attained, for, if I do so I
shall then, O thou of faultless limbs, be the object of laughter in the
world, and, O beauteous damsel, a bye-word with all the celestials. Do
thou, therefore, yield to me! By that thou shalt obtain a son even like
myself, and thou shalt also be much praised in all the world.'"


Vaisampayana said, "Although that noble girl addressed him in various
sweet words, yet she was unable to dissuade that deity of a thousand
rays. And when she failed to dissuade the dispeller of darkness, at last
from fear of a curse, she reflected, O king, for a long time!--'How may
my innocent father, and that Brahmana also, escape the angry Surya's
curse for my sake? Although energy and asceticism are capable of
destroying sins, yet even honest persons, if they be of unripe age,
should not foolishly court them. By foolishly acting in that way I have
today been placed in a frightful situation. Indeed, I have been placed
entirely within the grasp of this deity. Ye how can I do what is sinful
by taking it on myself to surrender my person to him?'"

Vaisampayana continued, "afflicted with fear of a curse, and thinking
much within herself, an utter stupefaction of the senses came upon her.
And she was so confounded that she could not settle what to do. Afraid,
on the one hand, O king, of the reproach of friends if she obeyed the
deity, and, on the other, of his curse if she disobeyed him, the damsel
at last, O foremost of kings, said these words unto that god, in accents
tremulous with bashfulness, 'O god, as my father and mother and friends
are still living, this violation of duty on my part should not take
place. If, O god, I commit this unlawful act with thee, the reputation
of this race shall be sacrificed in this world on my account. If thou,
however, O thou foremost of those that impart heat, deem this to be a
meritorious act, I shall then fulfil thy desire even though my relatives
may not have bestowed me on thee! May I remain chaste after having
surrendered my person to thee! Surely, the virtue, the reputation, the
fame, and the life of every creature are established in thee!' Hearing
these words of hers, Surya replied, 'O thou of sweet smiles, neither thy
father, nor thy mother, nor any other superior of thine, is competent to
give thee away! May good betide thee, O beauteous damsel! Do thou listen
to my words! It is because a virgin desireth the company of every one,
that she hath received the appellation of _Kanya_, from the root _kama_
meaning to desire. Therefore, O thou of excellent hips and the fairest
complexion, a virgin is, by nature, free in this world. Thou shalt not,
O lady, by any means, be guilty of any sin by complying with my request.
And how can I, who am desirous of the welfare of all creatures, commit
an unrighteous act? That all men and women should be bound by no
restraints, is the law of nature. The opposite condition is the
perversion of the natural state. Thou shalt remain a virgin after having
gratified me. And thy son shall also be mighty-armed and illustrious.'
Thereupon Kunti said, 'If, O dispeller of darkness, I obtain a son from
thee, may he be furnished with a coat of mail and ear-rings, and may he
be mighty-armed and endued with great strength!' Hearing these words of
hers, Surya answered, 'O gentle maiden, thy son shall be mighty-armed
and decked with ear-rings and a celestial coat of mail. And both his
ear-rings and coat of mail will be made of _Amrita_, and his coat will
also be invulnerable.' Kunti then said, 'If the excellent mail and
ear-rings of the son thou wilt beget on me, be, indeed, made of
_Amrita_, then, O god, O worshipful deity, let thy purpose be fulfilled!
May he be powerful, strong, energetic, and handsome, even like thee, and
may he also be endued with virtue!' Surya then said, 'O princess, O
excellent damsel, these ear-rings had been given to me by Aditi. O timid
lady, I will bestow them, as also this excellent mail, on thy son!'
Kunti then said, 'Very well, O worshipful one! If my son, O lord of
light, become so, I will, as thou sayest, gratify thee!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of hers Surya said, 'So be
it!' And that ranger of the skies, that enemy of Swarbhanu, with soul
absorbed in _Yoga_, entered into Kunti, and touched her on the navel. At
this, that damsel, on account of Surya's energy, became stupefied. And
that reverend lady then fell down on her bed, deprived of her senses.
Surya then addressed her, saying, 'I will now depart, O thou of graceful
hips! Thou shalt bring forth a son who will become the foremost of all
wielders of weapons. At the same time thou shalt remain a virgin.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then, O foremost of kings, as the highly
effulgent Surya was about to depart, that girl bashfully said unto him,
'So be it!' And it was thus that the daughter of king Kuntibhoja,
importuned by Surya, had after soliciting a son from him, fallen down
stupefied on that excellent bed, like a broken creeper. And it was thus
that deity of fierce rays, stupefying her, entered into her by virtue of
_Yoga_ power, and placed his own self within her womb. The deity,
however, did not sully her by deflowering her in the flesh. And after
Surya had gone away, that girl regained her consciousness."


Vaisampayana said, "It was, O lord of earth, on the first day of the
lighted fortnight during the tenth month of the year that Pritha
conceived a son like the lord himself of the stars in the firmament. And
that damsel of excellent hips from fear of her friends, concealed her
conception, so that no one knew her condition. And as the damsel lived
entirely in the apartments assigned to the maidens and carefully
concealed her condition, no one except her nurse knew the truth. And in
due time that beauteous maiden, by the grace of deity, brought forth a
son resembling a very god. And even like his father, the child was
equipped in a coat of mail, and decked with brilliant ear-rings. And he
was possessed of leonine eyes and shoulders like those of a bull. And no
sooner was the beauteous girl delivered of a child, then she consulted
with her nurse and placed the infant in a commodious and smooth box made
of wicker work and spread over with soft sheets and furnished with a
costly pillow. And its surface was laid over with wax, and it was
encased in a rich cover. And with tears in her eyes, she carried the
infant to the river Aswa, and consigned the basket to its waters. And
although she knew it to be improper for an unmarried girl to bear
offspring, yet from parental affection, O foremost of kings, she wept
piteously. Do thou listen to the words Kunti weepingly uttered, while
consigning the box to the waters of the river Aswa, 'O child, may good
betide thee at the hands of all that inhabit the land, the water, the
sky, and the celestial regions. May all thy paths be auspicious! May no
one obstruct thy way! And, O son, may all that come across thee have
their hearts divested of hostility towards thee: And may that lord of
waters, Varuna, protect thee in water! And may the deity that rangeth
the skies completely protect thee in the sky. And may, O son, that best
of those that impart heat, viz., Surya, thy father, and from whom I have
obtained thee as ordained by Destiny, protect thee everywhere! And may
the _Adityas_ and the _Vasus_, the _Rudras_ and the _Sadhyas_, the
_Viswadevas_ and the _Maruts_, and the cardinal points with the great
Indra and the regents presiding over them, and, indeed, all the
celestials, protect thee in every place! Even in foreign lands I shall
be able to recognise thee by this mail of thine! Surely, thy sire, O
son, the divine Surya possessed of the wealth of splendour, is blessed,
for he will with his celestial sight behold thee going down the current!
Blessed also is that lady who will, O thou that are begotten by a god,
take thee for her son, and who will give thee suck when thou art
thirsty! And what a lucky dream hath been dreamt by her that will adopt
thee for her son, thee that is endued with solar splendour, and
furnished with celestial mail, and adorned with celestial ear-rings,
thee that hast expansive eyes resembling lotuses, a complexion bright as
burnished copper or lotus leaves, a fair forehead, and hair ending in
beautiful curls! O son, she that will behold thee crawl on the ground,
begrimed with dust, and sweetly uttering inarticulate words, is surely
blessed! And she also, O son, that will behold thee arrive at thy
youthful prime like maned lion born in Himalayan forests, is surely

"O king, having thus bewailed long and piteously, Pritha laid the basket
on the waters of the river Aswa. And the lotus-eyed damsel, afflicted
with grief on account of her son and weeping bitterly, with her nurse
cast the basket at dead of night, and though desirous of beholding her
son often and again, returned, O monarch, to the palace, fearing lest
her father should come to know of what had happened. Meanwhile, the
basket floated from the river Aswa to the river Charmanwati, and from
the Charmanwati it passed to the Yamuna, and so on to the Ganga. And
carried by the waves of the Ganga, the child contained in the basket
came to the city of Champa ruled by a person of the _Suta_ tribe.
Indeed, the excellent coat of mail and those ear-rings made of _Amrita_
that were born with his body, as also the ordinance of Destiny, kept the
child alive."


Vaisampayana said, "And it came to pass that at this time a _Suta_ named
Adhiratha, who was a friend of Dhritarashtra, came to the river Ganga,
accompanied by his wife. And, O king, his wife named Radha was
unparalleled on earth for beauty. And although that highly blessed dame
had made great endeavours to obtain a son, yet she had failed, O
represser of foes, to obtain one. And on coming to the river Ganga, she
beheld a box drifting along the current. And containing articles capable
of protecting from dangers and decked with unguents, that box was
brought before her by the waves of the Janhavi. And attracted by
curiosity, the lady caused it to be seized. And she then related all
unto Adhiratha of the charioteer caste. And hearing this Adhiratha took
away the box from the water-side, and opened it by means of instruments.
And then he beheld a boy resembling the morning Sun. And the infant was
furnished with golden mail, and looked exceedingly beautiful with a face
decked in ear-rings. And thereupon the charioteer, together with his
wife, was struck with such astonishment that their eyes expanded in
wonder. And taking the infant on his lap, Adhiratha said unto his wife,
'Ever since I was born, O timid lady, I had never seen such a wonder.
This child that hath come to us must be of celestial birth. Surely,
sonless as I am, it is the gods that have sent him unto me!' Saying
this, O lord of earth, he gave the infant to Radha. And thereat, Radha
adopted, according to the ordinance, that child of celestial form and
divine origin, and possessed of the splendour of the filaments of the
lotus and furnished with excellent grace. And duly reared by her, that
child endued with great prowess began to grow up. And after Karna's
adoption, Adhiratha had other sons begotten by himself. And seeing the
child furnished with bright mail and golden ear-rings, the twice-born
ones named him Vasusena. And thus did that child endued with great
splendour and immeasurable prowess became the son of the charioteer, and
came to be known as Vasusena and Vrisha. And Pritha learnt through spies
that her own son clad in celestial mail was growing up amongst the Angas
as the eldest son of a charioteer (Adhiratha). And seeing that in
process of time his son had grown up, Adhiratha sent him to the city
named after the elephant. And there Karna put up with Drona, for the
purpose of learning arms. And that powerful youth contracted a
friendship with Duryodhana. And having acquired all the four kinds of
weapons from Drona, Kripa, and Rama, he became famous in the world as a
mighty bowman. And after having contracted a friendship with
Dhritarashtra's son, he became intent on injuring the sons of Pritha.
And he was always desirous of fighting with the high-souled Phalguna.
And, O king, ever since they first saw each other, Karna always used to
challenge Arjuna, and Arjuna, on his part, used to challenge him. This,
O foremost of kings, was without doubt, the secret known to the Sun,
viz., begot by himself on Kunti, Karna was being reared in the race of
the _Sutas_. And beholding him decked with his ear-rings and mail,
Yudhishthira thought him to be unslayable in fight, and was exceedingly
pained at it. And when, O foremost of monarchs, Karna after rising from
the water, used at mid-day to worship the effulgent Surya with joined
hands, the Brahmanas used to solicit him for wealth. And at that time
there was nothing that he would not give away to the twice-born ones.
And Indra, assuming the guise of a Brahmana, appeared before him (at
such a time) and said, 'Give me!' And thereupon Radha's son replied unto
him, 'Thou art welcome!'"


Vaisampayana said, "And when the king of the celestials presented
himself in the guise of a Brahmana, beholding him, Karna said,
'Welcome!' And not knowing his intention, Adhiratha's son addressed the
Brahmana, saying, 'Of a necklace of gold, and beauteous damsels, and
villages with plenty of kine, which shall I give thee?' Thereupon the
Brahmana replied, 'I ask thee not to give me either a necklace of gold,
or fair damsels, or any other agreeable object. To those do thou give
them that ask for them. If, O sinless one, thou art sincere in thy vow,
then wilt thou, cutting off (from thy person) this coat of mail born
with thy body, and these ear-rings also, bestow them on me! I desire, O
chastiser of foes, that thou mayst speedily give me these; for, this one
gain of mine will be considered as superior to every other gain!'
Hearing these words, Karna said, 'O Brahmana, I will give thee homestead
land, and fair damsels, and kine, and fields; but my mail and ear-rings
I am unable to give thee!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Although thus urged with various words by
Karna, still, O chief of the Bharata race, that Brahmana did not ask for
any other boon. And although Karna sought to pacify him to the best of
his power, and worshipped him duly, yet that best of Brahmanas did not
ask for any other boon. And when that foremost of Brahmanas did not ask
for any other boon, Radha's son again spake unto him with a smile, 'My
mail, O regenerate one, hath been born with my body, and this pair of
ear-rings hath arisen from _Amrita_. It is for these that I am
unslayable in the worlds. Therefore, I cannot part with them. Do thou, O
bull among Brahmanas, accept from me the entire kingdom of the earth,
rid of enemies and full of prosperity! O foremost of regenerate ones, if
I am deprived of my ear-rings, and the mail born with my body, I shall
be liable to be vanquished by the foes!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "When the illustrious slayer of Paka refused to
ask for any other boon, Karna with a smile again addressed him, saying,
'O god of gods, even before this, I had recognised thee, O Lord! O
Sakra, it is not proper for me to confer on thee any unprofitable boon,
for thou art the very lord of the celestials! On the contrary, being as
thou art the Creator and lord of all beings, it is thou that shouldst
confer boons on me! If, O god, I give thee this coat of mail and
ear-rings, then I am sure to meet with destruction, and thou shalt also
undergo ridicule! Therefore, O Sakra, take my earrings and excellent
mail in exchange for something conferred by thee on me! Otherwise, I
will not bestow them on thee!' Thereupon Sakra replied, 'Even before I
had come to thee, Surya had known of my purpose and without doubt, it is
he that hath unfolded everything unto thee! O Karna, be it as thou
wishest! O son, except the thunder-bolt alone, tell me what it is that
thou desirest to have!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Indra, Karna was filled
with delight and seeing that his purpose was about to be accomplished he
approached Vasava, and intent upon obtaining a dart incapable of being
baffled, he addressed Indra, saying, 'Do thou, O Vasava, in exchange for
my coat of mail and ear-rings, give me a dart incapable of being
baffled, and competent to destroy hosts of enemies when arrayed in order
of battle!' Thereupon, O ruler of earth, fixing his mind for a moment on
the dart (for bringing it there), Vasava thus spake unto Karna, 'Do thou
give me thy ear-rings, and the coat of mail born with thy body, and in
return take this dart on these terms! When I encounter the _Daitya_ in
battle, this dart that is incapable of being baffled, hurled by my hand,
destroyeth enemies by hundreds, and cometh back to my hand after
achieving its purpose. In thy hand, however, this dart, O son of _Suta_,
will slay only one powerful enemy of thine. And having achieved that
feat, it will, roaring and blazing, return to me!' Thereat Karna said,
'I desire to slay in fierce fight even one enemy of mine, who roareth
fiercely and is hot as fire, and of whom I am in fear!' At this, Indra
said, 'Thou shall slay such a roaring and powerful foe in battle. But
that one whom thou seekest to slay, is protected by an illustrious
personage. Even He whom persons versed in the Vedas call '_the
invincible Boar_,' and '_the incomprehensible Narayana_,' even that
Krishna himself, is protecting him!' Thereupon Karna replied, 'Even if
this be so, do thou, O illustrious one give me the weapon that will
destroy only one powerful foe! I shall, on my part, bestow on thee my
mail and ear-rings, cutting them off my person. Do thou, however, grant
that my body, thus wounded, may not be unsightly!' Hearing this, Indra
said, 'As thou, O Karna, art bent upon observing the truth, thy person
shall not be unsightly, or shall any scar remain on it. And, O thou best
of those that are graced with speech, O Karna, thou shall be possessed
of complexion and energy of thy father himself. And if, maddened by
wrath, thou hurlest this dart, while there are still other weapons with
thee, and when thy life also is not in imminent peril, it will fall even
on thyself.' Karna answered, 'As thou directest me, O Sakra, I shall
hurl this _Vasavi_ dart only when I am in imminent peril! Truly I tell
thee this!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thereupon, O king, taking the blazing dart,
Karna began to peel off his natural mail. And beholding Karna cutting
his own body, the entire host of celestials and men and _Danavas_ set up
a leonine roar. And Karna betrayed no contortions of face while peeling
his mail. And beholding that hero among men thus cutting his body with
an weapon, smiling ever and anon, celestial kettle-drums began to be
played upon and celestial flowers began to be showered on him. And Karna
cutting off the excellent mail from his person, gave it to Vasava, still
dripping. And cutting off his ear-rings also from off his ears, he made
them over to Indra. And it is for this fact that he came to be called
Karna. And Sakra, having thus beguiled Karna that made him famous in the
world, thought with a smile that the business of the sons of Pandu had
already been completed. And having done all this, he ascended to heaven.
And hearing that Karna had been beguiled, all the sons of Dhritarashtra
became distressed and shorn of pride. And the sons of Pritha, on the
other hand, learning that such plight had befallen the son of the
charioteer, were filled with joy."

Janamejaya said, "When were those heroes, the sons of Pandu, at that
time? And from whom did they hear this welcome news? And what also did
they do, when the twelfth year of their exile passed away? Do thou, O
illustrious one, tell me all this!"

Vaisampayana said, "Having defeated the chief of the Saindhavas, and
rescued Krishna, and having outlived the entire term of their painful
exile in the woods, and having listened to the ancient stories about
gods and _Rishis_ recited by Markandeya, those heroes among men returned
from their asylum in Kamyaka to the sacred Dwaitavana, with all their
cars, and followers, and accompanied by their charioteers, their kine,
and the citizens who had followed them."


(_Aranya Parva_)

Janamejaya said, "Having felt great affliction on account of the
abduction of their wife and having rescued Krishna thereafter, what did
the Pandavas next do?"

Vaisampayana said, "Having felt great affliction on account of the
abduction of Krishna, king Yudhishthira of unfading glory, with his
brothers, left the woods of Kamyaka and returned to the delightful and
picturesque Dwaitavana abounding in trees and containing delicious
fruits and roots. And the sons of Pandu with their wife Krishna began to
reside there, living frugally on fruits and practising rigid vows. And
while those repressers of foes, the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the son
of Kunti, and Bhimasena, and Arjuna, and those other sons of Pandu born
of Madri, were dwelling in Dwaitavana, practising rigid vows, they
underwent, for the sake of a Brahmana, great trouble, which, however,
was destined to bring about their future happiness. I will tell thee all
about the trouble which those foremost of Kurus underwent while living
in those woods, and which in the end brought about their happiness. Do
thou listen to it! Once on a time, as a deer was butting about, it
chanced that the two sticks for making fire and a churning staff
belonging to a Brahmana devoted to ascetic austerities, struck fast into
its antlers. And, thereupon, O king, that powerful deer of exceeding
fleetness with long bounds, speedily went out of the hermitage, taking
those articles away. And, O foremost of Kurus, seeing those articles of
his thus carried away, the Brahmana, anxious on account of his
_Agnihotra_, quickly came before the Pandavas. And approaching without
loss of time Ajatasatru seated in that forest with his brothers, the
Brahmana, in great distress, spake these words, 'As a deer was butting
about, it happened, O king, that my fire-sticks and churning staff which
had been placed against a large tree stuck fast to its antlers. O king,
that powerful deer of exceeding fleetness hath speedily gone out of the
hermitage with long bounds, taking those articles away. Tracking that
powerful deer, O king, by its foot-prints, do ye, ye sons of Pandu,
bring back those articles of mine, so that my _Agnihotra_ may not be
stopped!' Hearing these words of the Brahmana, Yudhishthira became
exceedingly concerned. And the son of Kunti taking up his bow sallied
out with his brothers. And putting on their corselets and equipped with
their bows, those bulls among men, intent upon serving the Brahmana,
swiftly sallied out in the wake of the deer. And descrying the deer at
no great distance, those mighty warriors discharged at it barbed arrows
and javelins and darts, but the sons of Pandu could not pierce it by any
means. And as they struggled to pursue and slay it, that powerful deer
became suddenly invisible. And losing sight of the deer, the
noble-minded sons of Pandu, fatigued and disappointed and afflicted with
hunger and thirst, approached a banian tree in that deep forest, and sat
down in its cool shade. And when they had sat down, Nakula stricken with
sorrow and urged by impatience, addressed his eldest brother of the Kuru
race, saying, 'In our race, O king, virtue hath never been sacrificed,
nor hath there been loss of wealth from insolence. And being asked, we
have never said to any creature, Nay! Why then in the present case have
we met with this disaster?'"


"Yudhishthira said, 'There is no limit to calamities. Nor is it possible
to ascertain either their final or efficient cause. It is the Lord of
justice alone who distributeth the fruits of both virtue and vice.'
Thereupon Bhima said, 'Surely, this calamity hath befallen us, because I
did not slay the _Pratikamin_ on the very spot, when he dragged Krishna
as a slave into the assembly.' And Arjuna said, 'Surely, this calamity
hath befallen us because I resented not those biting words piercing the
very bones, uttered by the _Suta's_ son!' And Sahadeva said, 'Surely, O
Bharata, this calamity hath befallen us because I did not slay Sakuni
when he defeated thee at dice!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then king Yudhishthira addressed Nakula saying,
'Do thou, O son of Madri, climb this tree and look around the ten points
of the horizon. Do thou see whether there is water near us or such trees
as grow on watery grounds! O child, these thy brothers are all fatigued
and thirsty.' Thereupon saying, 'So be it,' Nakula speedily climbed up a
tree, and having looked around, said unto his eldest brother, 'O king, I
see many a tree that groweth by the water-side, and I hear also the
cries of cranes. Therefore, without doubt, water must be somewhere
here.' Hearing these words, Kunti's son Yudhishthira, firm in truth,
said, 'O amiable one, go thou and fetch water in these quivers!' Saying,
'So be it,' at the command of his eldest brother Nakula quickly
proceeded towards the place where there was water and soon came upon it.
And beholding a crystal lake inhabited by cranes he desired to drink of
it, when he heard these words from the sky, 'O child, do not commit this
rash act! This lake hath already been in my possession. Do thou, O son
of Madri, first answer my questions and then drink of this water and
take away (as much as thou requirest).' Nakula, however, who was
exceedingly thirsty, disregarding these words, drank of the cool water,
and having drunk of it, dropped down dead. And, O represser of foes,
seeing Nakula's delay, Yudhishthira the son of Kunti said unto Sahadeva,
the heroic brother of Nakula, 'O Sahadeva, it is long since our brother,
he who was born immediately before thee, hath gone from hence! Do thou,
therefore, go and bring back thy uterine brother, together with water.'
At this, Sahadeva, saying, 'So be it,' set out in that direction; and
coming to the spot, beheld his brother lying dead on the ground. And
afflicted at the death of his brother, and suffering severely from
thirst, he advanced towards the water, when these words were heard by
him, 'O child, do not commit this rash act! This lake hath already been
in my possession. First answer my question, and then drink of the water
and take away as much as thou mayst require.' Sahadeva, however, who was
extremely thirsty, disregarding these words, drank of the water, and
having drunk of it, dropped down dead. Then Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti, said unto Vijaya, 'It is long since, O Vibhatsu, that thy two
brothers have gone, O represser of foes! Blessed be thou! Do thou bring
them back, together with water. Thou art, O child, the refuge of us all
when plunged in distress!' Thus addressed, the intelligent Gudakesa,
taking his bow and arrows and also his naked sword, set out for that
lake of waters. And reaching that spot, he whose car was drawn by white
steeds beheld those tigers among men, his two younger brothers who had
come to fetch water, lying dead there. And seeing them as if asleep,
that lion among men, exceedingly aggrieved, raised his bow and began to
look around that wood. But he found none in that mighty forest. And,
being fatigued, he who was capable of drawing the bow by his left hand
as well, rushed in the direction of the water. And as he was rushing
(towards the water), he heard these words from the sky, 'Why dost thou
approach this water? Thou shalt not be able to drink of it by force. If
thou, O Kaunteya, can answer the question I will put to thee, then only
shalt thou drink of the water and take away as much as thou requirest, O
Bharata!' Thus forbidden, the son of Pritha said, 'Do thou forbid me by
appearing before me! And when thou shalt be sorely pierced with my
arrows, thou wilt not then again speak in this way!' Having said this,
Partha covered all sides with arrows inspired by _mantras_. And he also
displayed his skill in shooting at an invisible mark by sound alone.
And, O bull of the Bharata race, sorely afflicted with thirst, he
discharged barbed darts and javelins and iron arrows, and showered on
the sky innumerable shafts incapable of being baffled. Thereupon, the
invisible Yaksha said, 'What need of all this trouble, O son of Pritha?
Do thou drink only after answering my questions! If thou drink, however,
without answering my questions, thou shalt die immediately after.' Thus
addressed, Pritha's son Dhananjaya capable of drawing the bow with his
left hand as well, disregarding those words, drank of the water, and
immediately after dropped down dead. And (seeing Dhananjaya's delay)
Kunti's son Yudhishthira addressed Bhimasena, saying, 'O represser of
foes, it is a long while that Nakula and Sahadeva and Vibhatsu have gone
to fetch water, and they have not come yet, O Bharata! Good betide thee!
Do thou bring them back, together with water!' Thereupon saying, 'So be
it,' Bhimasena set out for that place where those tigers among men, his
brothers, lay dead. And beholding them, Bhima afflicted though he was
with thirst, was exceedingly distressed. And that mighty armed hero
thought all that to have been the act of some Yaksha or Rakshasa. And
Pritha's son Vrikodara thought, 'I shall surely have to fight today. Let
me, therefore, first appease my thirst.' Then that bull of the Bharata
race rushed forward with the intention of drinking. Thereupon the Yaksha
said, 'O child, do not commit this rash act! This lake hath already been
in my possession. Do thou first answer my questions, and then drink and
take away as much water as thou requirest!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by that Yaksha of immeasurable
energy, Bhima, without answering his questions, drank of the water. And
as soon as he drank, he fell down dead on the spot. Then thinking that
his brothers had left him long since, Yudhishthira waited for some time.
And the king said unto himself again and again, 'Why is it that the two
sons of Madri are delaying? And why doth the wielder also of the
_Gandiva_ delay? And why doth Bhima too, endued with great strength,
delay? I shall go to search for them!' And resolved to do this, the
mighty-armed Yudhishthira then rose up, his heart burning in grief. And
that bull among men, the royal son of Kunti thought within himself. 'Is
this forest under some malign influence? Or, is it infested by some
wicked beasts? Or, have they all fallen, in consequence of having
disregarded some mighty being? Or, not finding water in the spot whither
those heroes had first repaired, they have spent all this time in search
through the forest? What is that reason for which those bulls among men
do not come back?' And speaking in this strain, that foremost of
monarchs, the illustrious Yudhishthira, entered into that mighty forest
where no human sound was heard and which was inhabited by deer and bears
and birds, and which was adorned with trees that were bright and green,
and which echoed with the hum of the black-bee and the notes of winged
warblers. As he was proceeding along, he beheld that beautiful lake
which looked as if it had been made by the celestial artificer himself.
And it was adorned with flowers of a golden hue and with lotuses and
_Sindhuvars_. And it abounded with canes and _Ketakas_ and _Karaviras_
and _Pippalas_, and fatigued with toil, Yudhishthira saw that tank and
was struck with wonder."


Vaisampayana said, "Yudhishthira saw his brothers, each possessed of the
glory of Indra himself, lying dead like the Regents of the world dropped
from their spheres at the end of the _Yuga_. And beholding Arjuna lying
dead, with his bow and arrows dropped on the ground, and also Bhimasena
and the twins motionless and deprived of life, the king breathed a hot
and long sigh, and was bathed in tears of grief. And beholding his
brothers lying dead, the mighty armed son of Dharma with heart racked in
anxiety, began to lament profusely, saying, 'Thou hadst, O mighty-armed
Vrikodara, vowed, saying,--_I shall with mace smash the thighs of
Duryodhana in battle!_ O enhancer of the glory of the Kurus, in thy
death, O mighty-armed and high-souled one, all that hath become
fruitless now! The promises of men may be ineffectual; but why have the
words of the gods uttered in respect of thee been thus fruitless? O
Dhananjaya, while thou wert in thy mother's lying-in-room, the gods had
said,--_O Kunti, this thy son shall not be inferior to him of a thousand
eyes!_ And in the northern Paripatra mountains, all beings had sung,
saying,--_The prosperity (of this race), robbed by foes will be
recovered by this one without delay. No one will be able to vanquish him
in battle, while there will be none whom he will not be able to
vanquish._ Why then hath that Jishnu endued with great strength been
subject to death? Oh, why doth that Dhananjaya, relying on whom we had
hitherto endured all this misery, lie on the ground blighting[66] all my
hopes! Why have those heroes, those mighty sons of Kunti, Bhimasena and
Dhananjaya, came under the power of the enemy,--those who themselves
always slew their foes, and whom no weapons could resist! Surely, this
vile heart of mine must be made of adamant, since, beholding these twins
lying today on the ground it doth not split! Ye bulls among men, versed
in holy writ and acquainted with the properties of time and place, and
endued with ascetic merit, ye who duly performed all sacred rites, why
lie ye down, without performing acts deserving of you? Alas, why lie ye
insensible on the earth, with your bodies unwounded, ye unvanquished
ones, and with your vows untouched?' And beholding his brothers sweetly
sleeping there as (they usually did) on mountain slopes, the high souled
king, overwhelmed with grief and bathed in sweat, came to a distressful
condition. And saying,--It is even so--that virtuous lord of men,
immersed in an ocean of grief anxiously proceeded to ascertain the cause
(of that catastrophe). And that mighty-armed and high-souled one,
acquainted with the divisions of time and place, could not settle his
course of action. Having thus bewailed much in this strain, the virtuous
Yudhishthira, the son of _Dharma_ or _Tapu_, restrained his soul and
began to reflect in his mind as to who had slain those heroes. 'There
are no strokes of weapons upon these, nor is any one's foot-print here.
The being must be mighty I ween, by whom my brothers have been slain.
Earnestly shall I ponder over this, or, let me first drink of the water,
and then know all. It may be that the habitually crooked-minded
Duryodhana hath caused this water to be secretly placed here by the king
of the _Gandharvas_. What man of sense can trust wicked wight of evil
passions with whom good and evil are alike? Or, perhaps, this may be an
act of that wicked-souled one through secret messengers of his.' And it
was thus that that highly intelligent one gave way to diverse
reflections. He did not believe that water to have been tainted with
poison, for though dead no corpse-like pallor was on them. 'The colour
on the faces of these my brothers hath not faded!' And it was thus that
Yudhishthira thought. And the king continued, 'Each of these foremost of
men was like unto a mighty cataract. Who, therefore, save Yama himself
who in due time bringeth about the end of all things, could have baffled
them thus.' And having concluded this for certain, he began to perform
his ablutions in that lake. And while he descended into it, he heard
these words from the sky, uttered by the Yaksha,--'I am a crane, living
on tiny fish. It is by me that thy younger brothers have been brought
under the sway of the lord of departed spirits. If thou, O prince,
answer not the questions put by me, even thou shalt number the fifth
corpse. Do not, O child, act rashly! This lake hath already been in my
possession. Having answered my questions first, do thou, O Kunti's son,
drink and carry away (as much as thou requirest)!' Hearing these words,
Yudhishthira said, 'Art thou the foremost of the Rudras, or of the
Vasus, or of the Marutas? I ask, what god art thou? This could not have
been done by a bird! Who is it that hath overthrown the four mighty
mountains, viz., the Himavat, the Paripatra, the Vindhya, and the
Malaya? Great is the feat done by thee, thou foremost of strong persons!
Those whom neither gods, nor _Gandharvas_ nor _Asuras_, nor _Rakshasas_
could endure in mighty conflict, have been slain by thee! Therefore,
exceedingly wonderful is the deed done by thee! I do not know what thy
business may be, nor do I know thy purpose. Therefore, great is the
curiosity and fear also that have taken possession of me. My mind is
greatly agitated, and as my head also is aching, I ask thee, therefore,
O worshipful one, who art thou that stayest here?' Hearing these words
the Yaksha said, 'I am, good betide thee, a Yaksha, and not an
amphibious bird. It is by me that all these brothers of thine, endued
with mighty prowess, have been slain!'"

[66] Samhritya--killing.

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these accursed words couched in harsh
syllabus,[67] Yudhishthira, O king, approaching the Yaksha who had
spoken then, stood there. And that bull among the Bharatas then beheld
that Yaksha of unusual eyes and huge body tall like a palmyra-palm and
looking like fire or the Sun, and irresistible and gigantic like a
mountain, staying on a tree, and uttering a loud roar deep as that of
the clouds. And the Yaksha said, 'These thy brothers, O king, repeatedly
forbidden by me, would forcibly take away water. It is for this that
they have been slain by me! He that wisheth to live, should not, O king,
drink this water! O son of Pritha, act not rashly! This lake hath
already been in my possession. Do thou, O son of Kunti, first answer my
questions, and then take away as much as thou likest!' Yudhishthira
said, 'I do not, O Yaksha, covet, what is already in thy possession! O
bull among male beings, virtuous persons never approve that one should
applaud his own self (without boasting, I shall, therefore, answer thy
questions, according to my intelligence). Do thou ask me!' The Yaksha
then said, 'What is it that maketh the Sun rise? Who keeps him company?
Who causeth him to set? And in whom is he established?' Yudhishthira
answered, '_Brahma_ maketh the Sun rise; the gods keep him company;
_Dharma_ causeth him to set; and he is established in truth.'[68] The
Yaksha asked, 'By what doth one become learned? By what doth he attain
what is very great? How can one have a second? And, O king, how can one
acquire intelligence?' Yudhishthira answered, 'It is by the (study of
the) _Srutis_ that a person becometh learned; it is by ascetic
austerities that one acquireth what is very great; it is by intelligence
that a person acquireth a second and it is by serving the old that one
becometh wise.'[69] The Yaksha asked, 'What constituteth the divinity of
the Brahmanas? What even is their practice that is like that of the
pious? What also is the human attribute of the Brahmanas? And what
practice of theirs is like that of the impious?' Yudhishthira answered,
'The study of the _Vedas_ constitutes their divinity; their asceticism
constitutes behaviour that is like that of the pious; their liability to
death is their human attribute and slander is their impiety.' The Yaksha
asked, 'What institutes the divinity of the Kshatriyas? What even is
their practice that is like that of the pious? What is their human
attribute? And what practice of theirs is like that of the impious?'
Yudhishthira answered, 'Arrows and weapons are their divinity;
celebration of sacrifices is that act which is like that of the pious;
liability to fear is their human attribute; and refusal of protection is
that act of theirs which is like that of the impious.' The Yaksha asked,
'What is that which constitutes the _Sama_ of the sacrifice? What the
_Yajus_ of the sacrifice? What is that which is the refuge of a
sacrifice? And what is that which sacrifice cannot do without?'
Yudhishthira answered, 'Life is the _Sama_ of the sacrifice; the mind is
the _Yajus_ of the sacrifice; the _Rik_ is that which is the refuge of
the sacrifice; and it is _Rik_ alone which sacrifice cannot do
without.'[70] The Yaksha asked, 'What is of the foremost value to those
that cultivate? What is of the foremost value to those that sow? What is
of the foremost value to those that wish for prosperity in this world?
And what is of the foremost value to those that bring forth?'
Yudhishthira answered, 'That which is of the foremost value to those
that cultivate is rain; that of the foremost value to those that sow is
seed; that of the foremost value to those that bring forth is
offspring.'[71] The Yaksha asked, 'What person, enjoying all the objects
of the senses, endued with intelligence, regarded by the world and liked
by all beings, though breathing, doth not offer anything to these five,
viz., gods, guests, servants, _Pitris_, and himself, though endued with
breath, is not yet alive.' The Yaksha asked, 'What is weightier than the
earth itself? What is higher than the heavens? What is fleeter than the
wind? And what is more numerous than grass?' Yudhishthira answered, 'The
mother is weightier than the earth; the father is higher than the
heaven; the mind is fleeter than the wind; and our thoughts are more
numerous than grass.' The Yaksha asked, 'What is that which doth not
close its eyes while asleep; What is that which doth not move after
birth? What is that which is without heart? And what is that which
swells with its own impetus?' Yudhishthira answered, 'A fish doth not
close its eyes while asleep; an egg doth not move after birth; a stone
is without heart; and a river swelleth with its own impetus.' The Yaksha
asked, 'Who is the friend of the exile? Who is the friend of the
householder? Who is the friend of him that ails? And who is the friend
of one about to die?' Yudhishthira answered, 'The friend of the exile in
a distant land is his companion; the friend of the householder is the
wife; the friend of him that ails is the physician; and the friend of
him about to die is charity.' The Yaksha asked,--'Who is the guest of
all creatures? What is the eternal duty? What, O foremost of kings, is
_Amrita_? And what is this entire Universe?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'_Agni_ is the guest of all creatures; the milk of kine is
_amrita; Homa_ (therewith) is the eternal duty; and this Universe
consists of air alone.'[72] The Yaksha asked,--'What is that which
sojourneth alone? What is that which is re-born after its birth? What is
the remedy against cold? And what is the largest field?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'The sun sojourneth alone; the moon takes birth anew; fire is
the remedy against cold; and the Earth is the largest field.' The Yaksha
asked,--'What is the highest refuge of virtue? What of fame? What of
heaven? And what, of happiness?' Yudhishthira answered,--'Liberality is
the highest refuge of virtue; gift, of fame; truth, of heaven; and good
behaviour, of happiness.' The Yaksha asked,--'What is the soul of man?
Who is that friend bestowed on man by the gods? What is man's chief
support? And what also is his chief refuge?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'The son is a man's soul; the wife is the friend bestowed on
man by the gods; the clouds are his chief support; and gift is his chief
refuge.' The Yaksha asked,--'What is the best of all laudable things?
What is the most valuable of all his possessions? What is the best of
all gains? And what is the best of all kinds of happiness?' Yudhishthira
answered,--"The best of all laudable things is skill; the best of all
possessions is knowledge; the best of all gains is health; and
contentment is the best of all kinds of happiness.' The Yaksha
asked,--'What is the highest duty in the world? What is that virtue
which always beareth fruit? What is that which if controlled, leadeth
not to regret? And who are they with whom an alliance cannot break?'
Yudhishthira answered,--'The highest of duties is to refrain from
injury; the rites ordained in the _Three (Vedas)_ always bear fruit; the
mind, if controlled, leadeth to no regret; and an alliance with the good
never breaketh.' The Yaksha asked,--'What is that which, if renounced,
maketh one agreeable? What is that which, if renounced, leadeth to no
regret? What is that which, if renounced, maketh one wealthy? And what
is that which if renounced, maketh one happy?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'Pride, if renounced, maketh one agreeable; wrath, if
renounced leadeth to no regret; desire, if renounced, maketh one
wealthy; and avarice, if renounced, maketh one happy.' The Yaksha
asked,--'For what doth one give away to Brahmanas? For what to mimes and
dancers? For what to servants? And for what to the king?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'It is for religious merit that one giveth away to Brahmanas;
it is for fame that one giveth away to mimes and dancers; it is for
supporting them that one giveth away to servants; and it is for
obtaining relief from fear that one giveth to kings.' The Yaksha
asked,--'With what is the world enveloped? What is that owing to which a
thing cannot discover itself? For what are friends forsaken? And for
what doth one fail to go to heaven?' Yudhishthira answered,--'The world
is enveloped with darkness. Darkness doth not permit a thing to show
itself. It is from avarice that friends are forsaken. And it is
connection with the world for which one faileth to go to heaven.' The
Yaksha asked,--'For what may one be considered as dead? For what may a
kingdom be considered as dead? For what may a _Sraddha_ be considered as
dead? And for what, a sacrifice?' Yudhishthira answered,--'For want of
wealth may a man be regarded as dead. A kingdom for want of a king may
be regarded as dead. A _Sraddha_ that is performed with the aid of a
priest that hath no learning may be regarded as dead. And a sacrifice in
which there are no gifts to Brahmanas is dead.' The Yaksha asked,--'What
constitutes the way? What hath been spoken of as water? What, as food?
And what, as poison? Tell us also what is the proper time of a
_Sraddha_, and then drink and take away as much as thou likest!'
Yudhishthira answered,--'They that are good constitute the way.[73]
Space hath been spoken of as water.[74] The cow is food.[75] A request
is poison. And a Brahmana is regarded as the proper time of a
_Sraddha_.[76] I do not know what thou mayst think of all this, O
Yaksha?' The Yaksha asked,--'What hath been said to be the sign of
asceticism? And what is true restraint? What constitutes forgiveness.
And what is shame?' Yudhishthira answered,--'Staying in one's own
religion is asceticism; the restraint of the mind is of all restraints
the true one; forgiveness consists in enduring enmity; and shame, in
withdrawing from all unworthy acts.' The Yaksha asked,--'What, O king is
said to be knowledge? What, tranquillity? What constitutes mercy? And
what hath been called simplicity?' Yudhishthira answered,--'True
knowledge is that of Divinity. True tranquillity is that of the heart.
Mercy consists in wishing happiness to all. And simplicity is equanimity
of heart.' The Yaksha asked,--'What enemy is invincible? What
constitutes an incurable disease for man? What sort of a man is called
honest and what dishonest?' Yudhishthira answered,--'Anger is an
invincible enemy. Covetousness constitutes an incurable disease. He is
honest that desires the weal of all creatures, and he is dishonest who
is unmerciful.' The Yaksha asked,--'What, O king, is ignorance? And what
is pride? What also is to be understood by idleness? And what hath been
spoken of as grief?' Yudhishthira answered,--'True ignorance consists in
not knowing one's duties. Pride is a consciousness of one's being
himself an actor or sufferer in life. Idleness consists in not
discharging one's duties, and ignorance in grief.' The Yaksha
asked,--'What hath steadiness been said by the _Rishis_ to be? And what,
patience? What also is a real ablution? And what is charity?'
Yudhishthira answered,--'Steadiness consists in one's staying in one's
own religion, and true patience consists in the subjugation of the
senses. A true bath consists in washing the mind clean of all
impurities, and charity consists in protecting all creatures.' The
Yaksha asked,--'What man should be regarded as learned, and who should
be called an atheist? Who also is to be called ignorant? What is called
desire and what are the sources of desire? And what is envy?'
Yudhishthira answered,--'He is to be called learned who knoweth his
duties. An atheist is he who is ignorant and so also he is ignorant who
is an atheist. Desire is due to objects of possession, and envy is
nothing else than grief of heart.' The Yaksha asked,--'What is pride,
and what is hypocrisy? What is the grace of the gods, and what is
wickedness?' Yudhishthira answered,--'Stolid ignorance is pride. The
setting up of a religious standard is hypocrisy. The grace of the gods
is the fruit of our gifts, and wickedness consists in speaking ill of
others.' The Yaksha asked,--'Virtue, profit, and desire are opposed to
one another. How could things thus antagonistic to one another exist
together?' Yudhishthira answered,--'When a wife and virtue agree with
each other, then all the three thou hast mentioned may exist together.'
The Yaksha asked,--'O bull of the Bharata race, who is he that is
condemned to everlasting hell? It behoveth thee to soon answer the
question that I ask!' Yudhishthira answered,--'He that summoneth a poor
Brahmana promising to make him a gift and then tells him that he hath
nothing to give, goeth to everlasting hell. He also must go to
everlasting hell, who imputes falsehood to the _Vedas_, the scriptures,
the Brahmanas, the gods, and the ceremonies in honour of the _Pitris_.
He also goeth to everlasting hell who though in possession of wealth,
never giveth away nor enjoyeth himself from avarice, saying, he hath
none.' The Yaksha asked,--'By what, O king, birth, behaviour, study, or
learning doth a person become a Brahmana? Tell us with certitude!'
Yudhishthira answered,--'Listen, O Yaksha! It is neither birth, nor
study, nor learning, that is the cause of _Brahmanahood_, without doubt,
it is behaviour that constitutes it. One's behaviour should always be
well-guarded, especially by a Brahmana. He who maintaineth his conduct
unimpaired, is never impaired himself. Professors and pupils, in fact,
all who study the scriptures, if addicted to wicked habits, are to be
regarded as illiterate wretches. He only is learned who performeth his
religious duties. He even that hath studied the four Vedas is to be
regarded as a wicked wretch scarcely distinguishable from a Sudra (if
his conduct be not correct). He only who performeth the _Agnihotra_ and
hath his senses under control, is called a Brahmana!' The Yaksha
asked,--'What doth one gain that speaketh agreeable words? What doth he
gain that always acteth with judgment? What doth he gain that hath many
friends? And what he, that is devoted to virtue?' Yudhishthira
answered,--'He that speaketh agreeable words becometh agreeable to all.
He that acteth with judgment obtaineth whatever he seeketh. He that hath
many friends liveth happily. And he that is devoted to virtue obtaineth
a happy state (in the next world).' The Yaksha asked,--'Who is truly
happy? What is most wonderful? What is _the_ path? And what is _the_
news? Answer these four questions of mine and let thy dead brothers
revive.' Yudhishthira answered,--'O amphibious creature, a man who
cooketh in his own house, on the fifth or the sixth part of the day,
with scanty vegetables, but who is not in debt and who stirreth not from
home, is truly happy. Day after day countless creatures are going to the
abode of Yama, yet those that remain behind believe themselves to be
immortal. What can be more wonderful than this? Argument leads to no
certain conclusion, the _Srutis_ are different from one another; there
is not even one _Rishi_ whose opinion can be accepted by all; the truth
about religion and duty is hid in caves: therefore, that alone is the
path along which the great have trod. This world full of ignorance is
like a pan. The sun is fire, the days and nights are fuel. The months
and the seasons constitute the wooden ladle. Time is the cook that is
cooking all creatures in that pan (with such aids); this is _the news_.'
The Yaksha asked,--'Thou hast, O represser of foes, truly answered all
my questions! Tell us now who is truly a man, and what man truly
possesseth every kind of wealth.' Yudhishthira answered,--'The report of
one's good action reacheth heaven and spreadeth over the earth. As long
as that report lasteth, so long is a person to whom the agreeable and
the disagreeable, weal and woe, the past and the future, are the same,
is said to possess every kind of wealth.' The Yaksha said,--'Thou hast,
O king truly answered who is a man, and what man possesseth every kind
of wealth. Therefore, let one only amongst thy brothers, whom thou mayst
wish, get up with life!' Yudhishthira answered,--'Let this one that is
of darkish hue, whose eyes are red, who is tall like a large _Sala_
tree, whose chest is broad and arms long, let this Nakula, O Yaksha, get
up with life!' The Yaksha rejoined,--'This Bhimasena is dear unto thee,
and this Arjuna also is one upon whom all of you depend! Why, then, O
king, dost thou wish a step-brother to get up with his life! How canst
thou, forsaking Bhima whose strength is equal to that of ten thousand
elephants, wish Nakula to live? People said that this Bhima was dear to
thee. From what motive then dost thou wish a step-brother to revive?
Forsaking Arjuna the might of whose arm is worshipped by all the sons of
Pandu, why dost thou wish Nakula to revive?' Yudhishthira said,--'If
virtue is sacrificed, he that sacrificeth it, is himself lost. So virtue
also cherisheth the cherisher. Therefore taking care that virtue by
being sacrificed may not sacrifice us, I never forsake virtue.
Abstention from injury is the highest virtue, and is, I ween, even
higher than the highest object of attainment. I endeavour to practise
that virtue. Therefore, let Nakula, O Yaksha, revive! Let men know that
the king is always virtuous! I will never depart from my duty. Let
Nakula, therefore, revive! My father had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Let
both of them have children. This is what I wish. As Kunti is to me, so
also is Madri. There is no difference between them in my eye. I desire
to act equally towards my mothers. Therefore, let Nakula live.' The
Yaksha said,--'Since abstention from injury is regarded by thee as
higher than both profit and pleasure, therefore, let all thy brothers
live, O bull of Bharata race!'"

[67] Lit. Letters.

[68] Behind the plain and obvious meanings of the words employed
both in the question and the answer, there is a deeper
signification of a spiritual kind. I think Nilakantha has
rightly understood the passage. By Aditya, which of course
commonly means the Sun, is indicated the unpurified soul (from
adatte sabdadin indriadivis &c.). The first question then,
becomes, 'Who is it that exalteth the unpurified soul?' The act
of exaltation implies a raising of the soul from its earthly
connections. The answer to this is, 'Brahma, i.e., Veda or
self-knowledge.' The second question--'What are those that keep
company with the soul during its progress of purification?' The
answer is, 'Self-restraint and other qualities, which are all of
a god-like or divine nature.' The third question is.--Who lead
the soul to its place (state) of rest? The answer is, 'Dharma,
_i.e._, rectitude, morality, and religious observances.' It is
often asserted that one must pass through the observances
(Karma) before attaining to a state of Rest or Truth or Pure
Knowledge. The last question is,--'On what is the soul
established!' The answer, according to all that has been
previously said, is 'Truth or Pure Knowledge.' For the soul that
is emancipated from and raised above all carnal connections, is
no longer in need of observances and acts (Karma) but stays
unmoved in True Knowledge (Janana).

[69] Nilakantha explains both Dhriti and Dwitiya in a spiritual
sense. There is no need, however, of a spiritual explanation
here. By Dhriti is meant steadiness of intelligence; by Dwitiya
lit, a second. What Yudhishthira says is that a steady
intelligence serves the purposes of a helpful companion.

[70] Nilakantha explains this correctly, as I imagine, by
supposing that by 'sacrifice' is meant the spiritual sacrifice
for the acquisition of pure knowledge. In the objective
sacrifice which one celebrates, the Sama, the Yajus, and the Rik
mantras are all necessary. In the subjective sacrifice the
acquisition of true knowledge, life and mind are as necessary as
the mantras from the Sama and the Yajur Vedas in an objective
one. And as no objective sacrifice can do without the Riks,
being principally dependent on them, so the subjective
sacrifices for acquiring true knowledge can never do without
prayerfulness, which, I imagine, is represented as the Riks. To
understand this passage thoroughly would require an intimate
acquaintance with the ritual of a sacrifice like the Agnishtoma
or any other of that kind.

[71] Some texts read apatatam for uvapatam. If the former be the
correct reading, the meaning would be--'What is the best of
things that fall?' Nilakantha explains both avapatam nivapatam
in a spiritual sense. By the first he understands--'They that
offer oblation to the gods,' and by the second, 'They that offer
oblations to the Pitris.' The necessity of a spiritual
interpretation, however, is not very apparent.

[72] Yudhishthira has the authority of the Srutis for saying
that the one pervading element of the universe is air.

[73] The word used in the question is _dik_, literally,
direction. Obviously, of course, it means in this connection
way. Yudhishthira answers that the way which one is to tread
along is that of the good.

[74] The _Srutis_ actually speak of space as water. These are
questions to test Yudhishthira's knowledge of the Vedic

[75] The _Srutis_ speak of the cow as the only food, in the
following sense. The cow gives milk. The milk gives butter. The
butter is used in Homa. The Homa is the cause of the clouds. The
clouds give rain. The rain makes the seed to sprout forth and
produce food. Nilakantha endeavours to explain this in a
spiritual sense. There is however, no need of such explanation

[76] What Yudhishthira means to say is that there is no special
time for a Sraddha. It is to be performed whenever a good and
able priest may be secured.


Vaisampayana continued,--"Then agreeable to the words of the Yaksha the
Pandavas rose up; and in a moment their hunger and thirst left them.
Thereupon Yudhishthira said, 'I ask thee that art incapable of being
vanquished and that standest on one leg in the tank, what god art thou,
for I cannot take thee for a Yaksha! Art thou the foremost of the Vasus,
or of the Rudras, or of the chief of the Maruts? Or art thou the lord
himself of the celestials, wielder of the thunder-bolt! Each of these my
brothers is capable of fighting as hundred thousand warriors, and I see
not the warrior that can slay them all! I see also that their senses
have refreshed, as if they have sweetly awaked from slumber. Art thou a
friend of ours, or even our father himself?' At this the Yaksha
replied,--'O child, I am even thy father, the Lord of justice, possessed
of great prowess! Know, bull of the Bharata race, that I came hither
desirous of beholding thee! Fame, truth, self-restraint, purity,
candour, modesty, steadiness, charity, austerities and _Brahmacharya_,
these are my body! And abstention from injury, impartiality, peace,
penances, sanctity, and freedom from malice are the doors (through which
I am accessible). Thou art always dear to me! By good luck thou art
devoted to the five;[77] and by good luck also thou hast conquered the
six.[78] Of the six, two appear in the first part of life; two in the
middle part thereof; and the remaining two at the end, in order to make
men repair to the next world. I am, good betide thee, the lord of
justice! I came hither to test thy merit. I am well-pleased to witness
thy harmlessness; and, O sinless one, I will confer boons on thee. Do
thou, O foremost of kings, ask of me boons. I shall surely confer them,
O sinless one! Those that revere me, never come by distress!'
Yudhishthira said,--'A deer was carrying away the Brahmana's
fire-sticks. Therefore, the first boon that I shall ask, is, may that
Brahmana's adorations to _Agni_ be not interrupted!' The Yaksha
said,--'O Kunti's son endued with splendour, it was I who for examining
thee, was carrying away, in the guise of a deer, that Brahmana's

[77] That is, tranquillity of mind, self-restraint, abstention
from sensual pleasures, resignation, and Yoga meditation.

[78] That is, hunger, thirst, sorrow, bluntness of mortal
feeling, decrepitude, and death.

Vaisampayana continued,--"Thereupon that worshipful one said,--'I give
thee this boon! Good betide thee! O thou that are like unto an immortal,
ask thou a fresh boon!' Yudhishthira said,--'We have spent these twelve
years in the forest; and the thirteenth year is come. May no one
recognise us, as we spend this year somewhere.'"

Vaisampayana continued,--'Thereat that worshipful one replied,--'I give
this boon unto thee!' And then reassuring Kunti's son having truth for
prowess, he also said, 'Even if, O Bharata, ye range this (entire) earth
in your proper forms none in the three worlds shall recognise you. Ye
perpetuators of the Kuru race, through my grace, ye will spend this
thirteenth year, secretly and unrecognised, in Virata's kingdom! And
every one of you will be able at will to assume any form he likes! Do ye
now present the Brahmana with his fire-sticks. It was only to test you
that I carried them away in the form of a deer! O amiable Yudhishthira,
do thou ask for another boon that thou mayst like! I will confer it on
thee. O foremost of men, I have not yet been satisfied by granting boons
to thee! Do thou my son, accept a third boon that is great and
incomparable! Thou, O king, art born of me, and Vidura of portion or
mine!" Thereat Yudhishthira said,--'It is enough that I have beheld thee
with my senses, eternal God of gods as thou art! O father, whatever boon
thou wilt confer on me I shall surely accept gladly! May I, O lord,
always conquer covetousness and folly and anger, and may my mind be ever
devoted to charity, truth, and ascetic austerities!' The Lord of justice
said,--'Even by nature, O Pandava, hast thou been endued with these
qualities, for thou art the Lord of justice himself! Do thou again
attain what thou asked for!'"

Vaisampayana continued,--"Having said these words, the worshipful Lord
of justice, who is the object of contemplation of all the worlds,
vanished therefrom; and the high-souled Pandavas after they had slept
sweetly were united with one another. And their fatigue dispelled, those
heroes returned to the hermitage, and gave back that Brahmana his
firesticks. That man who pursueth this illustrious and fame-enhancing
story of the revival (of the Pandavas) and the meeting of father and son
(Dharma and Yudhishthira), obtaineth perfect tranquillity of mind, and
sons and grandsons, and also a life extending over a hundred years! And
the mind of that man that layeth this story to heart, never delighteth
in unrighteousness, or in disunion among friends, or misappropriation of
other person's property, or staining other people's wives, or in foul


Vaisampayana continued,--"Commanded by the Lord of justice to thus spend
in disguise the thirteenth year of non-discovery, the high-souled
Pandavas, observant of vows and having truth for prowess, sat before
those learned and vow-observing ascetics that from regard were dwelling
with them in their exile in the forest. And with joined hands they said
these words, with the intention of obtaining permission to spend the
thirteenth year in the manner indicated. And they said, 'Ye know well
that the sons of Dhritarashtra have by deceit deprived us of our
kingdom, and have also done us many other wrongs! We have passed twelve
years in the forest in great affliction. The thirteenth year only, which
we are to spend unrecognised, yet remaineth. It behoveth you to permit
us now to spend this year in concealment! Those rancorous enemies of
ours, Suyodhana, the wicked-minded Karna, and Suvala's son should they
discover us, would do mighty wrong to the citizens and our friends!
Shall we all with the Brahmanas, be again established in our own
kingdom?' Having said this, that pure-spirited son of Dharma king
Yudhishthira, overwhelmed with grief and with accents choked in tears,
swooned away. Thereupon the Brahmanas, together with his brothers began
to cheer him up. Then Dhaumya spake unto the king these words fraught
with mighty meaning,--'O king, thou art learned and capable of bearing
privations, art firm in promise, and of subdued sense! Men of such stamp
are not overwhelmed by any calamity whatever. Even the high-souled gods
themselves have wandered over various places in disguise, for the
purpose of overcoming foes. Indra for the purpose of overcoming his
foes, dwelt in disguise in the asylum of Giriprastha, in Nishadha and
thus attained his end. Before taking his birth in the womb of Aditi,
Vishnu for the purpose of destroying the _Daityas_ passed a long time
unrecognised, assuming the form of the _Haya-griba_ (Horse-necked). Then
how disguising himself in the form of a dwarf, he by his prowess
deprived Vali of his kingdom, hath been heard by thee! And thou hast
also heard how Hutasana entering into water and remaining in
concealment, achieved the purpose of the gods. And O thou versed in
duty, thou hast heard how Hari with the view of overcoming his foes,
entered into Sakra's thunder-bolt, and lay concealed there. And, O
sinless one, thou hast heard of the office the regenerate _Rishi_ Aurva
at one time performed for the gods, remaining concealed in his mother's
womb. And O child, living in concealment in every part of the earth,
Vivaswat, endued with excellent energy, at last entirely burnt up all
his foes. And living disguised in the abode of Dasaratha, Vishnu of
dreadful deeds slew the Ten-necked one in battle. Thus remaining in
disguise in various places, high-souled persons have before this
conquered their enemies in battle.' Thus cheered by these words of
Dhaumya, the virtuous Yudhishthira, relying on his own wisdom and also
that acquired from the scriptures regained his composure. Then that
foremost of strong persons, the mighty-armed Bhimasena endued with great
strength encouraging the king greatly, spake these words, 'Looking up to
thy face (for permission), the wielder of the _Gandiva_, acting
according to his sense of duty hath not yet, O king, shown any rashness!
And although fully able to destroy the foe, Nakula and Sahadeva of
dreadful prowess have been ever prevented by me! Never shall we swerve
from that in which thou wilt engage us! Do thou tell us what is to be
done! We shall speedily conquer our enemies!' When Bhimasena had said
this, the Brahmanas uttered benedictions on the Bharatas, and then
obtaining their permission, went to their respective quarters. And all
those foremost of _Yatis_ and _Munis_ versed in the Vedas, exceedingly
desirous of again beholding the Pandavas, went back to their homes. And
accompanied by Dhaumya, these heroes, the five learned Pandavas equipped
in vows set out with Krishna. And each versed in a separate science, and
all proficient in _mantras_ and cognisant of when peace was to be
concluded and when war was to be waged those tigers among men, about to
enter upon a life of non-recognition, the next day proceeded for a Krose
and then sat themselves down with the view of taking counsel of each

_The End of Vana Parva_

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