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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (Translator)

Part 6 out of 11

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I never go in unto others' wives or women that are not of my order. This,
indeed, is my virtuous vow.' The maiden rejoined, 'I am not inauspicious
or ugly. I am every way worthy of being enjoyed. I am a celestial maiden
of rare beauty; I desire thee for my husband. Refuse me not, O king.' To
this Pratipa answered, 'I am, O damsel, abstaining from that course to
which thou wouldst incite me. If I break my vow, sin will overwhelm and
kill me. O thou of the fairest complexion, thou hast embraced me, sitting
on my right thigh. But, O timid one, know that this is the seat for
daughters and daughters-in-law. The left lap is for the wife, but thou
hast not accepted that. Therefore, O best of women, I cannot enjoy thee as
an object of desire. Be my daughter-in-law. I accept thee for my son!'

"The damsel then said, 'O virtuous one, let it be as thou sayest. Let me
be united with thy son. From my respect for thee, I shall be a wife of the
celebrated Bharata race. Ye (of the Bharata race) are the refuge of all
the monarchs on earth! I am incapable of numbering the virtues of this
race even within a hundred years. The greatness and goodness of many
celebrated monarchs of this race are limitless. O lord of all, let it be
understood now that when I become thy daughter-in-law, thy son shall not
be able to judge of the propriety of my acts. Living thus with thy son, I
shall do good to him and increase his happiness. And he shall finally
attain to heaven in consequence of the sons I shall bear him, and of his
virtues and good conduct.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, having said so, the celestial damsel
disappeared then and there. And the king, too, waited for the birth of his
son in order to fulfil his promise.'

"About this time Pratipa, that light of the Kuru race, that bull amongst
Kshatriyas, was engaged, along with his wife, in austerities from desire
of offspring. And when they had grown old, a son was born unto them. This
was no other than Mahabhisha. And the child was called Santanu because he
was born when his father had controlled his passions by ascetic penances.
And the best of Kurus, Santanu, knowing that region of indestructible
bliss can be acquired by one's deeds alone, became devoted to virtue. When
Santanu grew up into a youth, Pratipa addressed him and said, 'Some time
ago, O Santanu, a celestial damsel came to me for thy good. If thou
meetest that fair-complexioned one in secret and if she solicit thee for
children, accept her as thy wife. And, O sinless one, judge not of the
propriety or impropriety of her action and ask not who she is, or whose or
whence, but accept her as thy wife at my command!'" Vaisampayana continued,
"Pratipa, having thus commanded his son Santanu and installed him on his
throne, retired into the woods. And king Santanu endued with great
intelligence and equal unto Indra himself in splendour, became addicted to
hunting and passed much of his time in the woods. And the best of monarchs
always slew deer and buffaloes. And one day, as he was wandering along the
bank of the Ganges, he came upon a region frequented by Siddhas and
Charanas. And there he saw a lovely maiden of blazing beauty and like unto
another Sri herself; of faultless and pearly teeth and decked with
celestial ornaments, and attired in garments of fine texture that
resembled in splendour the filaments of the lotus. And the monarch, on
beholding that damsel, became surprised, and his raptures produced instant
horripilation. With steadfast gaze he seemed to be drinking her charms,
but repeated draughts failed to quench his thirst. The damsel also
beholding the monarch of blazing splendour moving about in great agitation,
was moved herself and experienced an affection for him. She gazed and
gazed and longed to gaze on him evermore. The monarch then in soft words
addressed her and said, 'O slender-waisted one, be thou a goddess or the
daughter of a Danava, be thou of the race of the Gandharvas, or Apsaras,
be thou of the Yakshas or the Nagas, or be thou of human origin, O thou of
celestial beauty, I solicit thee to be my wife!'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The maiden then, hearing those soft and sweet words
of the smiling monarch, and remembering her promise to the Vasus,
addressed the king in reply. Of faultless features, the damsel sending a
thrill of pleasure into the heart by every word she uttered, said, 'O king,
I shall become thy wife and obey thy commands. But, O monarch, thou must
not interfere with me in anything I do, be it agreeable or disagreeable.
Nor shall thou ever address me unkindly. As long as thou shalt behave
kindly I promise to live with thee. But I shall certainly leave thee the
moment thou interferest with me or speakest to me an unkind word.' The
king answered, 'Be it so.' And thereupon the damsel obtaining that
excellent monarch, that foremost one of the Bharata race for her husband,
became highly pleased. And king Santanu also, obtaining her for his wife,
enjoyed to the full the pleasure of her company. And adhering to his
promise, he refrained from asking her anything. And the lord of earth,
Santanu, became exceedingly gratified with her conduct, beauty,
magnanimity, and attention to his comforts. And the goddess Ganga also, of
three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean) assuming a human
form of superior complexion and endued with celestial beauty, lived
happily as the wife of Santanu, having as the fruit of her virtuous acts,
obtained for her husband, that tiger among kings equal unto Indra himself
in splendour. And she gratified the king by her attractiveness and
affection, by her wiles and love, by her music and dance, and became
herself gratified. And the monarch was so enraptured with his beautiful
wife that months, seasons, and years rolled on without his being conscious
of them. And the king, while thus enjoying himself with his wife, had
eight children born unto him who in beauty were like the very celestials
themselves. But, O Bharata, those children, one after another, as soon as
they were born, were thrown into the river by Ganga who said, 'This is for
thy good.' And the children sank to rise no more. The king, however, could
not be pleased with such conduct. But he spoke not a word about it lest
his wife should leave him. But when the eighth child was born, and when
his wife as before was about to throw it smilingly into the river, the
king with a sorrowful countenance and desirous of saving it from
destruction, addressed her and said, 'Kill it not! Who art thou and whose?
Why dost thou kill thy own children? Murderess of thy sons, the load of
thy sins is great!'" His wife, thus addressed, replied, 'O thou desirous
of offspring, thou hast already become the first of those that have
children. I shall not destroy this child of thine. But according to our
agreement, the period of my stay with thee is at an end. I am Ganga, the
daughter of Jahnu. I am ever worshipped by the great sages; I have lived
with thee so long for accomplishing the purposes of the celestials. The
eight illustrious Vasus endued with great energy had, from Vasishtha's
curse, to assume human forms. On earth, besides thee, there was none else
to deserve the honour of being their begetter. There is no woman also on
earth except one like me, a celestial of human form, to become their
mother. I assumed a human form to bring them forth. Thou also, having
become the father of the eight Vasus, hast acquired many regions of
perennial bliss. It was also agreed between myself and the Vasus that I
should free them from their human forms as soon as they would be born. I
have thus freed them from the curse of the Rishi Apava. Blest be thou; I
leave thee, O king! But rear thou this child of rigid vows. That I should
live with thee so long was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let this
child be called Gangadatta.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Santanu asked, 'What was the fault of the Vasus and who was Apava,
through whose curse the Vasus had to be born among men? What also hath
this child of thine, Gangadatta, done for which he shall have to live
among men? Why also were the Vasus, the lords of the three worlds,
condemned to be born amongst men? O daughter of Jahnu, tell me all.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the celestial daughter of Jahnu,
Ganga, then replied unto the monarch, her husband, that bull amongst men,
saying, 'O best of Bharata's race, he who was obtained as son by Varuna
was called Vasishtha, the Muni who afterwards came to be known as Apava.
He had his asylum on the breast of the king of mountains called Meru. The
spot was sacred and abounded with birds and beasts. And there bloomed at
all times of the year flowers of every season. And, O best of Bharata's
race, that foremost of virtuous men, the son of Varuna, practised his
ascetic penances in those woods abounding with sweet roots and water.

"Daksha had a daughter known by the name of Surabhi, who, O bull of
Bharata's race, for benefiting the world, brought forth, by her connection
with Kasyapa, a daughter (Nandini) in the form of a cow. That foremost of
all kine, Nandini, was the cow of plenty (capable of granting every
desire). The virtuous son of Varuna obtained Nandini for his Homa rites.
And Nandini, dwelling in that hermitage which was adored by Munis, roamed
about fearlessly in those sacred and delightful woods.

"One day, O bull of Bharata's race, there came into those woods adored by
the gods and celestial Rishis, the Vasus with Prithu at their head. And
wandering there with their wives, they enjoyed themselves in those
delightful woods and mountains. And as they wandered there, the slender-
waisted wife of one of the Vasus, O thou of the prowess of Indra, saw in
those woods Nandini, the cow of plenty. And seeing that cow possessing the
wealth of all accomplishments, large eyes, full udders, fine tail,
beautiful hoofs, and every other auspicious sign, and yielding much milk,
she showed the animal to her husband Dyu. O thou of the prowess of the
first of elephants, when Dyu was shown that cow, he began to admire her
several qualities and addressing his wife, said, 'O black-eyed girl of
fair thighs, this excellent cow belongeth to that Rishi whose is this
delightful asylum. O slender-waisted one, that mortal who drinketh the
sweet milk of this cow remaineth in unchanged youth for ten thousand
years.' O best of monarchs, hearing this, the slender-waisted goddess of
faultless features then addressed her lord of blazing splendour and said,
'There is on earth a friend of mine, Jitavati by name, possessed of great
beauty and youth. She is the daughter of that god among men, the royal
sage Usinara, endued with intelligence and devoted to truth. I desire to
have this cow, O illustrious one, with her calf for that friend of mine.
Therefore, O best of celestials, bring that cow so that my friend drinking
of her milk may alone become on earth free from disease and decrepitude. O
illustrious and blameless one, it behoveth thee to grant me this desire of
mine. There is nothing that would be more agreeable to me.' On hearing
these words of his wife, Dyu, moved by the desire of humouring her, stole
that cow, aided by his brothers Prithu and the others. Indeed, Dyu,
commanded by his lotus-eyed wife, did her bidding, forgetting at the
moment the high ascetic merits of the Rishi who owned her. He did not
think at the time that he was going to fall by committing the sin of
stealing the cow.

"When the son of Varuna returned to his asylum in the evening with fruits
he had collected, he beheld not the cow with her calf there. He began to
search for them in the woods, but when the great ascetic of superior
intelligence found not his cow on search, he saw by his ascetic vision
that she had been stolen by the Vasus. His wrath was instantly kindled and
he cursed the Vasus, saying, 'Because the Vasus have stolen my cow of
sweet milk and handsome tail, therefore, shall they certainly be born on

"O thou bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Rishi Apava thus cursed
the Vasus in wrath. And having cursed them, the illustrious one set his
heart once more on ascetic meditation. And after that Brahmarshi of great
power and ascetic wealth had thus in wrath cursed the Vasus, the latter, O
king, coming to know of it, speedily came into his asylum. And addressing
the Rishi, O bull among kings, they endeavoured to pacify him. But they
failed, O tiger among men, to obtain grace from Apava--that Rishi
conversant, with all rules of virtue. The virtuous Apava, however, said,
'Ye Vasus, with Dhava and others, ye have been cursed by me. But ye shall
be freed from my curse within a year of your birth among men. But he for
whose deed ye have been cursed by me he, viz., Dyu, shall for his sinful
act, have to dwell on earth for a length of time. I shall not make futile
the words I have uttered in wrath. Dyu, though dwelling on Earth, shall
not beget children. He shall, however, be virtuous and conversant with the
scriptures. He shall be an obedient son to his father, but he shall have
to abstain from the pleasure of female companionship.'

"Thus addressing the Vasus, the great Rishi went away. The Vasus then
together came to me. And, O king, they begged of me the boon that as soon
as they would be born, I should throw them into the water. And, O best of
kings, I did as they desired, in order to free them from their earthly
life. And O best of kings, from the Rishi's curse, this one only, viz.,
Dyu, himself, is to live on earth for some time.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the goddess disappeared then
and there. And taking with her the child, she went away to the region she
chose. And that child of Santanu was named both Gangeya and Devavrata and
excelled his father in all accomplishments.

"Santanu, after the disappearance of his wife, returned to his capital
with a sorrowful heart. I shall now recount to thee the many virtues and
the great good fortune of the illustrious king Santanu of the Bharata race.
Indeed, it is this splendid history that is called the Mahabharata.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued )

"Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Santanu, the most adored of the gods and
royal sages, was known in all the worlds for his wisdom, virtues, and
truthfulness (of speech). The qualities of self-control, liberality,
forgiveness, intelligence, modesty, patience and superior energy ever
dwelt in that bull among men, viz., Santanu, that great being endued with
these accomplishments and conversant with both religion and profit, the
monarch was at once the protector of the Bharata race and all human beings.
His neck was marked with (three) lines, like a conch-shell; his shoulders
were broad, and he resembled in prowess an infuriated elephant. It would
seem that all the auspicious signs of royalty dwelt in his person,
considering that to be their fittest abode. Men, seeing the behaviour of
that monarch of great achievements came to know that virtue was ever
superior to pleasure and profit. These were the attributes that dwelt in
that great being--that bull among men--Santanu. And truly there was never
a king like Santanu. All the kings of the earth, beholding him devoted to
virtue, bestowed upon that foremost of virtuous men the title of King of
kings. And all the kings of the earth during the time of that lord-
protector of the Bharata race, were without woe and fear and anxiety of
any kind. And they all slept in peace, rising from bed every morning after
happy dreams. And owing to that monarch of splendid achievements
resembling Indra himself in energy, all the kings of the earth became
virtuous and devoted to liberality, religious acts and sacrifices. And
when the earth was ruled by Santanu and other monarchs like him, the
religious merits of every order increased very greatly. The Kshatriyas
served the Brahmanas; the Vaisyas waited upon the Kshatriyas, and the
Sudras adoring the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, waited upon the Vaisyas.
And Santanu residing in Hastinapura, the delightful capital of the Kurus,
ruled the whole earth bounded by seas. He was truthful and guileless, and
like the king of the celestials himself conversant with the dictates of
virtue. And from the combination in him of liberality, religion and
asceticism, he acquired a great good fortune. He was free from anger and
malice, and was handsome in person like Soma himself. In splendour he was
like the Sun and in impetuosity of valour like Vayu. In wrath he was like
Yama, and in patience like the Earth. And, O king, while Santanu ruled the
earth, no deer, boars, birds, or other animals were needlessly slain. In
his dominions the great virtue of kindness to all creatures prevailed, and
the king himself, with the soul of mercy, and void of desire and wrath,
extended equal protection unto all creatures. Then sacrifices in honour of
the gods, the Rishis, and Pitris commenced, and no creature was deprived
of life sinfully. And Santanu was the king and father of all--of those
that were miserable and those that had no protectors, of birds and beasts,
in fact, of every created thing. And during the rule of the best of Kurus--
of that king of kings-- speech became united with truth, and the minds of
men were directed towards liberality and virtue. And Santanu, having
enjoyed domestic felicity for six and thirty years, retired into the woods.

"And Santanu's son, the Vasu born of Ganga, named Devavrata resembled
Santanu himself in personal beauty, in habits and behaviour, and in
learning. And in all branches of knowledge worldly or spiritual his skill
was very great. His strength and energy were extraordinary. He became a
mighty car-warrior. In fact he was a great king.

"One day, while pursuing along the banks of the Ganges a deer that he had
struck with his arrow, king Santanu observed that the river had become
shallow. On observing this, that bull among men, viz., Santanu, began to
reflect upon this strange phenomenon. He mentally asked why that first of
rivers ran out so quickly as before. And while seeking for a cause, the
illustrious monarch beheld that a youth of great comeliness, well-built
and amiable person, like Indra himself, had, by his keen celestial weapon,
checked the flow of the river. And the king, beholding this extraordinary
feat of the river Ganga having been checked in her course near where that
youth stood, became very much surprised. This youth was no other than
Santanu's son himself. But as Santanu had seen his son only once a few
moments after his birth, he had not sufficient recollection to identify
that infant with the youth before his eyes. The youth, however, seeing his
father, knew him at once, but instead of disclosing himself, he clouded
the king's perception by his celestial powers of illusion and disappeared
in his very sight.

"King Santanu, wondering much at what he saw and imagining the youth to be
his own son then addressed Ganga and said, 'Show me that child.' Ganga
thus addressed, assuming a beautiful form, and holding the boy decked with
ornaments in her right arm, showed him to Santanu. And Santanu did not
recognise that beautiful female bedecked with ornaments and attired in
fine robes of white, although he had known her before. And Ganga said, 'O
tiger among men, that eighth son whom thou hadst some time before begat
upon me is this. Know that this excellent child is conversant with all
weapons, O monarch, take him now. I have reared him with care. And go home,
O tiger among men, taking him with thee. Endued with superior intelligence,
he has studied with Vasishtha the entire Vedas with their branches.
Skilled in all weapons and a mighty bowman, he is like Indra in battle.
And, O Bharata, both the gods and the Asuras look upon him with favour.
Whatever branches of knowledge are known to Usanas, this one knoweth
completely. And so is he the master of all those Sastras that the son of
Angiras (Vrihaspati) adored by the gods and the Asuras, knoweth. And all
the weapons known to the powerful and invincible Rama, the son of
Jamadagni are known to this thy son of mighty arms. O king of superior
courage, take this thy own heroic child given unto thee by me. He is a
mighty bowman and conversant with the interpretation of all treatises on
the duties of a king.' Thus commanded by Ganga, Santanu took his child
resembling the Sun himself in glory and returned to his capital. And
having reached his city that was like unto the celestial capital, that
monarch of Puru's line regarded himself greatly fortunate. And having
summoned all the Pauravas together, for the protection of his kingdom he
installed his son as his heir-apparent. And O bull of Bharata's race, the
prince soon gratified by his behaviour his father and the other members of
the Paurava race: in fact, all the subjects of the kingdom. And the king
of incomparable prowess lived happily with that son of his.

"Four years had thus passed away, when the king one day went into the
woods on the bank of the Yamuna. And while the king was rambling there, he
perceived a sweet scent coming from an unknown direction. And the monarch,
impelled by the desire of ascertaining the cause, wandered hither and
thither. And in course of his ramble, he beheld a black-eyed maiden of
celestial beauty, the daughter of a fisherman. The king addressing her,
said, 'Who art thou, and whose daughter? What dost thou do here, O timid
one?' She answered, 'Blest be thou! I am the daughter of the chief of the
fishermen. At his command, I am engaged for religious merit, in rowing
passengers across this river in my boat.' And Santanu, beholding that
maiden of celestial form endued with beauty, amiableness, and such
fragrance, desired her for his wife. And repairing unto her father, the
king solicited his consent to the proposed match. But the chief of the
fishermen replied to the monarch, saying, 'O king, as soon as my daughter
of superior complexion was born, it was of course, understood that she
should be bestowed upon a husband. But listen to the desire I have
cherished all along in my heart. O sinless one, thou art truthful: if thou
desirest to obtain this maiden as a gift from me, give, me then this
pledge. If, indeed, thou givest the pledge, I will of course bestow my
daughter upon thee for truly I can never obtain a husband for her equal to

"Santanu, hearing this, replied, 'When I have heard of the pledge thou
askest, I shall then say whether I would be able to grant it. If it is
capable of being granted, I shall certainly grant it. Otherwise how shall
I grant it.' The fisherman said, 'O king, what I ask of thee is this: the
son born of this maiden shall be installed by thee on thy throne and none
else shall thou make thy successor.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O Bharata, when Santanu heard this, he felt no
inclination to grant such a boon, though the fire of desire sorely burnt
him within. The king with his heart afflicted by desire returned to
Hastinapura, thinking all the way of the fisherman's daughter. And having
returned home, the monarch passed his time in sorrowful meditation. One
day, Devavrata approaching his afflicted father said, 'All is prosperity
with thee; all chiefs obey thee; then how is it that thou grievest thus?
Absorbed in thy own thoughts, thou speakest not a word to me in reply.
Thou goest not out on horse-back now; thou lookest pale and emaciated,
having lost all animation. I wish to know the disease thou sufferest from,
so that I may endeavour to apply a remedy.' Thus addressed by his son,
Santanu answered, 'Thou sayest truly, O son, that I have become melancholy.
I will also tell thee why I am so. O thou of Bharata's line, thou art the
only scion of this our large race. Thou art always engaged in sports of
arms and achievements of prowess. But, O son, I am always thinking of the
instability of human life. If any danger overtake thee, O child of Ganga,
the result is that we become sonless. Truly thou alone art to me as a
century of sons. I do not, therefore, desire to wed again. I only desire
and pray that prosperity may ever attend thee so that our dynasty may be
perpetuated. The wise say that he that hath one son hath no son.
Sacrifices before fire and the knowledge of the three Vedas yield, it is
true, everlasting religious merit, but all these, in point of religious
merit, do not come up to a sixteenth part of the religious merit
attainable on the birth of a son. Indeed, in this respect, there is hardly
any difference between men and the lower animals. O wise one, I do not
entertain a shadow of doubt that one attains to heaven in consequence of
his having begotten a son. The Vedas which constitute the root of the
Puranas and are regarded as authoritative even by the gods, contain
numerous proof of this. O thou of Bharata's race, thou art a hero of
excitable temper, who is always engaged in the exercise of arms. It is
very probable that thou wilt be slain on the field of battle. If it so
happen, what then will be the state of the Bharata dynasty, It is this
thought that hath made me so melancholy. I have now told thee fully the
causes of my sorrow.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Devavrata who was endued with great intelligence,
having ascertained all this from the king, reflected within himself for a
while. He then went to the old minister devoted to his father's welfare
and asked him about the cause of the king's grief. O bull of Bharata's
race, when the prince questioned the minister, the latter told him about
the boon that was demanded by the chief of the fishermen in respect of his
daughter Gandhavati. Then Devavrata, accompanied by many Kshatriya chiefs
of venerable age, personally repaired to the chief of the fishermen and
begged of him his daughter on behalf of the king. The chief of the
fishermen received him with due adorations, and, O thou of Bharata's race,
when the prince took his seat in the court of the chief, the latter
addressed him and said, 'O bull among the Bharatas, thou art the first of
all wielders of weapons and the only son of Santanu. Thy power is great.
But I have something to tell thee. If the bride's father was Indra himself,
even then he would have to repent of rejecting such an exceedingly
honourable and desirable proposal of marriage. The great man of whose seed
this celebrated maiden named Satyavati was born, is, indeed, equal to you
in virtue. He hath spoken to me on many occasions of the virtues of thy
father and told me that, the king alone is worthy of (marrying) Satyavati.
Let me tell you that I have even rejected the solicitations of that best
of Brahmarshis--the celestial sage Asita--who, too, had often asked for
Satyavati's hand in marriage. I have only one word to say on the part of
this maiden. In the matter of the proposed marriage there is one great
objection founded on the fact of a rival in the person of a co-wife's son.
O oppressor of all foes, he hath no security, even if he be an Asura or a
Gandharva, who hath a rival in thee. There is this only objection to the
proposed marriage, and nothing else. Blest be thou! But this is all I have
to say in the matter of the bestowal or otherwise, of Satyavati.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O thou of Bharata's race, Devavrata, having
heard these words, and moved by the desire of benefiting his father thus
answered in the hearing of the assembled chiefs, 'O foremost of truthful
men, listen to the vow I utter! The man has not been or will not be born,
who will have the courage to take such a vow! I shall accomplish all that
thou demandest! The son that may be born of this maiden shall be our
king.' Thus addressed, the chief of the fishermen, impelled by desire of
sovereignty (for his daughter's son), to achieve the almost impossible,
then said, 'O thou of virtuous soul, thou art come hither as full agent on
behalf of thy father Santanu of immeasurable glory; be thou also the sole
manager on my behalf in the matter of the bestowal of this my daughter.
But, O amiable one, there is something else to be said, something else to
be reflected upon by thee. O suppressor of foes, those that have daughters,
from the very nature of their obligations, must say what I say. O thou
that art devoted to truth, the promise thou hast given in the presence of
these chiefs for the benefit of Satyavati, hath, indeed, been worthy of
thee. O thou of mighty arms, I have not the least doubt of its ever being
violated by thee. But I have my doubts in respect of the children thou
mayst beget.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, the son of Ganga, devoted to truth,
having ascertained the scruples of the chief of the fishermen, then said,
moved thereto by the desire of benefiting his father, 'Chief of fishermen,
thou best of men, listen to what I say in the presence of these assembled
kings. Ye kings, I have already relinquished my right to the throne, I
shall now settle the matter of my children. O fisherman, from this day I
adopt the vow of Brahmacharya (study and meditation in celibacy). If I die
sonless, I shall yet attain to regions of perennial bliss in heaven!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon these words of the son of Ganga, the hair
on the fisherman's body stood on end from glee, and he replied, 'I bestow
my daughter!' Immediately after, the Apsaras and the gods with diverse
tribes of Rishis began to rain down flowers from the firmament upon the
head of Devavrata and exclaimed, 'This one is Bhishma (the terrible).'
Bhishma then, to serve his father, addressed the illustrious damsel and
said, 'O mother, ascend this chariot, and let us go unto our house.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, Bhishma helped the beautiful
maiden into his chariot. On arriving with her at Hastinapura, he told
Santanu everything as it had happened. And the assembled kings, jointly
and individually, applauded his extraordinary act and said, 'He is really
Bhishma (the terrible)!' And Santanu also, hearing of the extraordinary
achievements of his son, became highly gratified and bestowed upon the
high-souled prince the boon of death at will, saying, 'Death shall never
come to thee as long as thou desirest to live. Truly death shall approach
thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O monarch, after the nuptials were over, king Santanu
established his beautiful bride in his household. Soon after was born of
Satyavati an intelligent and heroic son of Santanu named Chitrangada. He
was endued with great energy and became an eminent man. The lord Santanu
of great prowess also begat upon Satyavati another son named Vichitravirya,
who became a mighty bowman and who became king after his father. And
before that bull among men, viz., Vichitravirya, attained to majority, the
wise king Santanu realised the inevitable influence of Time. And after
Santanu had ascended to heaven, Bhishma, placing himself under the command
of Satyavati, installed that suppressor of foes, viz., Chitrangada, on the
throne, who, having soon vanquished by his prowess all monarchs,
considered not any man as his equal. And beholding that he could vanquish
men, Asuras, and the very gods, his namesake, the powerful king of the
Gandharvas, approached him for an encounter. Between that Gandharva and
that foremost one of the Kurus, who were both very powerful, there
occurred on the field of Kurukshetra a fierce combat which lasted full
three years on the banks of the Saraswati. In that terrible encounter
characterised by thick showers of weapons and in which the combatants
ground each other fiercely, the Gandharva, who had greater prowess or
strategic deception, slew the Kuru prince. Having slain Chitrangada--that
first of men and oppressor of foes--the Gandharva ascended to heaven. When
that tiger among men endued with great prowess was slain, Bhishma, the son
of Santanu, performed, O king, all his obsequies. He then installed the
boy Vichitravirya of mighty arms, still in his minority, on the throne of
the Kurus. And Vichitravirya, placing himself under the command of Bhishma,
ruled the ancestral kingdom. And he adored Santanu's son Bhishma who was
conversant with all the rules of religion and law; so, indeed, Bhishma
also protected him that was so obedient to the dictates of duty.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Kuru's race, after Chitrangada was slain,
his successor Vichitravirya being a minor, Bhishma ruled the kingdom,
placing himself under the command of Satyavati. When he saw that his
brother, who was the foremost of intelligent men, attained to majority,
Bhishma set his heart upon marrying Vichitravirya. At this time he heard
that the three daughters of the king of Kasi, all equal in beauty to the
Apsaras themselves, would be married on the same occasion, selecting their
husbands at a self-choice ceremony. Then that foremost of car-warriors,
that vanquisher of all foes, at the command of his mother, went to the
city of Varanasi in a single chariot. There Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
saw that innumerable monarchs had come from all directions; and there he
also saw those three maidens that would select their own husbands. And
when the (assembled) kings were each being mentioned by name, Bhishma
chose those maidens (on behalf of his brother). And taking them upon his
chariot, Bhishma, that first of smiters in battle, addressed the kings, O
monarch, and said in a voice deep as the roar of the clouds, 'The wise
have directed that when an accomplished person has been invited, a maiden
may be bestowed on him, decked with ornaments and along with many valuable
presents. Others again may bestow their daughters by accepting a couple of
kine. Some again bestow their daughters by taking a fixed sum, and some
take away maidens by force. Some wed with the consent of the maidens, some
by drugging them into consent, and some by going unto the maidens' parents
and obtaining their sanction. Some again obtain wives as presents for
assisting at sacrifices. Of these, the learned always applaud the eighth
form of marriage. Kings, however, speak highly of the Swyamvara (the fifth
form as above) and themselves wed according to it. But the sages have said
that, that wife is dearly to be prized who is taken away by force, after
the slaughter of opponents, from amidst the concourse of princes and kings
invited to a self-choice ceremony. Therefore, ye monarchs, I bear away
these maidens hence by force. Strive ye, to the best of your might, to
vanquish me or to be vanquished. Ye monarchs, I stand here resolved to
fight!' Kuru prince, endued with great energy, thus addressing the
assembled monarchs and the king of Kasi, took upon his car those maidens.
And having taken them up, he sped his chariot away, challenging the
invited kings to a fight.

"The challenged monarchs then all stood up, slapping their arms and biting
their nether lips in wrath. And loud was the din produced, as, in a great
hurry, they began to cast off their ornaments and put on their armour. And
the motion of their ornaments and armour, O Janamejaya, brilliant as these
were, resembled meteoric flashes in the sky. And with brows contracted and
eyes red with rage, the monarchs moved in impatience, their armour and
ornaments dazzling or waving with their agitated steps. The charioteers
soon brought handsome cars with fine horses harnessed thereto. Those
splendid warriors then, equipped with all kinds of weapons, rode on those
cars, and with uplifted weapons pursued the retreating chief of the Kurus.
Then, O Bharata, occurred the terrible encounter between those innumerable
monarchs on one side and the Kuru warrior alone on the other. And the
assembled monarchs threw at their foe ten thousand arrows at the same time.
Bhishma, however speedily checked those numberless arrows before they
could come at him by means of a shower of his own arrows as innumerable as
the down on the body. Then those kings surrounded him from all sides and
rained arrows on him like masses of clouds showering on the mountain-
breast. But Bhishma, arresting with his shafts the course of that arrowy
downpour, pierced each of the monarchs with three shafts. The latter, in
their turn pierced Bhishma, each with five shafts. But, O king, Bhishma
checked those by his prowess and pierced each of the contending kings with
two shafts. The combat became so fierce with that dense shower of arrows
and other missiles that it looked very much like the encounter between the
celestials and the Asuras of old, and men of courage who took no part in
it were struck with fear even to look at the scene. Bhishma cut off, with
his arrows, on the field of battle, bows, and flagstaffs, and coats of
mail, and human heads by hundreds and thousands. And such was his terrible
prowess and extraordinary lightness of hand, and such the skill with which
he protected himself, that the contending car-warriors, though his enemies,
began to applaud him loudly. Then that foremost of all wielders of weapons
having vanquished in battle all those monarchs, pursued his way towards
the capital of the Bharatas, taking those maidens with him.

"It was then, O king, that mighty car-warrior, king Salya of immeasurable
prowess, from behind summoned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, to an encounter.
And desirous of obtaining the maidens, he came upon Bhishma like a mighty
leader of a herd of elephants rushing upon another of his kind, and
tearing with his tusks the latter's hips at the sight of a female elephant
in heat. And Salya of mighty arms, moved by wrath addressed Bhishma and
said, 'Stay, Stay.' Then Bhishma, that tiger among men, that grinder of
hostile armies, provoked by these words, flamed up in wrath like a blazing
fire. Bow in hand, and brow furrowed into wrinkles, he stayed on his car,
in obedience to Kshatriya usage having checked its course in expectation
of the enemy. All the monarchs seeing him stop, stood there to become
spectators of the coming encounter between him and Salya. The two then
began to exhibit their prowess (upon each other) like roaring bulls of
great strength at the sight of a cow in rut. Then that foremost of men,
king Salya covered Bhishma, the son of Santanu with hundreds and thousands
of swift-winged shafts. And those monarchs seeing Salya thus covering
Bhishma at the outset with innumerable shafts, wondered much and uttered
shouts of applause. Beholding his lightness of hand in combat, the crowd
of regal spectators became very glad and applauded Salya greatly. That
subjugator of hostile towns, Bhishma, then, on hearing those shouts of the
Kshatriyas, became very angry and said, 'Stay, Stay'. In wrath, he
commanded his charioteer, saying, 'Lead thou my car to where Salya is, so
that I may slay him instantly as Garuda slays a serpent.' Then the Kuru
chief fixed the Varuna weapon on his bow-string, and with it afflicted the
four steeds of king Salya. And, O tiger among kings, the Kuru chief, then,
warding off with his weapons those of his foe, slew Salya's charioteer.
Then that first of men, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, fighting for the sake
of those damsels, slew with the Aindra weapon the noble steeds of his
adversary. He then vanquished that best of monarchs but left him with his
life. O bull of Bharata's race, Salya, after his defeat, returned to his
kingdom and continued to rule it virtuously. And O conqueror of hostile
towns, the other kings also, who had come to witness the self-choice
ceremony returned to their own kingdoms.

"That foremost of smiters, viz., Bhishma, after defeating those monarchs,
set out with those damsels, for Hastinapura whence the virtuous Kuru
prince Vichitravirya ruled the earth like that best of monarchs, viz., his
father Santanu. And, O king, passing through many forests, rivers, hills,
and woods abounding with trees, he arrived (at the capital) in no time. Of
immeasurable prowess in battle, the son of the ocean-going Ganga, having
slain numberless foes in battle without a scratch on his own person,
brought the daughters of the king of Kasi unto the Kurus as tenderly if
they were his daughters-in-law, or younger sisters, or daughters. And
Bhishma of mighty arms, impelled by the desire of benefiting his brother,
having by his prowess brought them thus, then offered those maidens
possessing every accomplishment unto Vichitravirya. Conversant with the
dictates of virtue, the son of Santanu, having achieved such an
extraordinary feat according to (kingly) custom, then began to make
preparations for his brother's wedding. And when everything about the
wedding had been settled by Bhishma in consultation with Satyavati, the
eldest daughter of the king of Kasi, with a soft smile, told him these
words, 'At heart I had chosen the king of Saubha for my husband. He had,
in his heart, accepted me for his wife. This was also approved by my
father. At the self-choice ceremony also I would have chosen him as my
lord. Thou art conversant with all the dictates of virtue, knowing all
this, do as thou likest.' Thus addressed by that maiden in the presence of
the Brahmanas, the heroic Bhishma began to reflect as to what should be
done. As he was conversant with the rules of virtue, he consulted with the
Brahmanas who had mastered the Vedas, and permitted Amba, the eldest
daughter of the ruler of Kasi to do as she liked. But he bestowed with due
rites the two other daughters, Ambika and Ambalika on his younger brother
Vichitravirya. And though Vichitravirya was virtuous and abstemious, yet,
proud of youth and beauty, he soon became lustful after his marriage. And
both Ambika and Ambalika were of tall stature, and of the complexion of
molten gold. And their heads were covered with black curly hair, and their
finger-nails were high and red; their hips were fat and round, and their
breasts full and deep. And endued with every auspicious mark, the amiable
young ladies considered themselves to be wedded to a husband who was every
way worthy of themselves, and extremely loved and respected Vichitravirya.
And Vichitravirya also, endued with the prowess of the celestials and the
beauty of the twin Aswins, could steal the heart of any beautiful woman.
And the prince passed seven years uninterruptedly in the company of his
wives. He was attacked while yet in the prime of youth, with phthisis.
Friends and relatives in consultation with one another tried to effect a
cure. But in spite of all efforts, the Kuru prince died, setting like the
evening sun. The virtuous Bhishma then became plunged into anxiety and
grief, and in consultation with Satyavati caused the obsequial rites of
the deceased to be performed by learned priests and the several of the
Kuru race.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The unfortunate Satyavati then became plunged in
grief on account of her son. And after performing with her daughters-in-
law the funeral rites of the deceased, consoled, as best she could, her
weeping daughters-in-law and Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of
weapons. And turning her eyes to religion, and to the paternal and
maternal lines (of the Kurus), she addressed Bhishma and said 'The funeral
cake, the achievements, and the perpetuation of the line of the virtuous
and celebrated Santanu of Kuru's race, all now depend on thee. As the
attainment of heaven is inseparable from good deeds, as long life is
inseparable from truth and faith, so is virtue inseparable from thee. O
virtuous one, thou art well-acquainted, in detail and in the abstract,
with the dictates of virtue, with various Srutis, and with all the
branches of the Vedas; know very well that thou art equal unto Sukra and
Angiras as regards firmness in virtue, knowledge of the particular customs
of families, and readiness of inventions under difficulties. Therefore, O
foremost of virtuous men, relying on thee greatly, I shall appoint thee in
a certain matter. Hearing me, it behoveth thee to do my bidding. O bull
among men, my son and thy brother, endued with energy and dear unto thee,
hath gone childless to heaven while still a boy. These wives of thy
brother, the amiable daughters of the ruler of Kasi, possessing beauty and
youth, have become desirous of children. Therefore, O thou of mighty arms,
at my command, raise offspring on them for the perpetuation of our line.
It behoveth thee to guard virtue against loss. Install thyself on the
throne and rule the kingdom of the Bharatas. Wed thou duly a wife. Plunge
not thy ancestors into hell.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother and friends and
relatives, that oppressor of foes, the virtuous Bhishma, gave this reply
conformable to the dictates of virtue, 'O mother, what thou sayest is
certainly sanctioned by virtue. But thou knowest what my vow is in the
matter of begetting children. Thou knowest also all that transpired in
connection with thy dower. O Satyavati, I repeat the pledge I once gave,
viz., I would renounce three worlds, the empire of heaven, anything that
may be greater than that, but truth I would never renounce. The earth may
renounce its scent, water may renounce its moisture, light may renounce
its attribute of exhibiting forms, air may renounce its attribute of touch,
the sun may renounce his glory, fire, its heat, the moon, his cooling rays,
space, its capacity of generating sound, the slayer of Vritra, his prowess,
the god of justice, his impartiality; but I cannot renounce truth.' Thus
addressed by her son endued wealth of energy, Satyavati said unto Bhishma,
'O thou whose prowess is truth, I know of thy firmness in truth. Thou
canst, if so minded, create, by the help of thy energy, three worlds other
than those that exist. I know what thy vow was on my account. But
considering this emergency, bear thou the burden of the duty that one
oweth to his ancestors. O punisher of foes, act in such a way that the
lineal link may not be broken and our friends and relatives may not
grieve.' Thus urged by the miserable and weeping Satyavati speaking such
words inconsistent with virtue from grief at the loss of her son, Bhishma
addressed her again and said, 'O Queen, turn not thy eyes away from virtue.
O, destroy us not. Breach of truth by a Kshatriya is never applauded in
our treatises on religion. I shall soon tell thee, O Queen, what the
established Kshatriya usage is to which recourse may be had to prevent
Santanu's line becoming extinct on earth. Hearing me, reflect on what
should be done in consultation with learned priests and those that are
acquainted with practices allowable in times of emergency and distress,
forgetting not at the same time what the ordinary course of social conduct


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma continued, 'In olden days, Rama, the son of Jamadagni, in anger
at the death of his father, slew with his battle axe the king of the
Haihayas. And Rama, by cutting off the thousand arms of Arjuna (the
Haihaya king), achieved a most difficult feat in the world. Not content
with this, he set out on his chariot for the conquest of the world, and
taking up his bow he cast around his mighty weapons to exterminate the
Kshatriyas. And the illustrious scion of Bhrigu's race, by means of his
swift arrows annihilated the Kshatriya tribe one and twenty times.

"And when the earth was thus deprived of Kshatriyas by the great Rishi,
the Kshatriya ladies all over the land had offspring raised by Brahmanas
skilled in the Vedas. It has been said in the Vedas that the sons so
raised belongeth to him that had married the mother. And the Kshatriya
ladies went in unto the Brahamanas not lustfully but from motives of
virtue. Indeed, it was thus that the Kshatriya race was revived.

"In this connection there is another old history that I will recite to you.
There was in olden days a wise Rishi of the name of Utathya. He had a wife
of the name Mamata whom he dearly loved. One day Utathya's younger brother
Vrihaspati, the priest of the celestials, endued with great energy,
approached Mamata. The latter, however, told her husband's younger brother--
that foremost of eloquent men--that she had conceived from her connection
with his elder brother and that, therefore, he should not then seek for
the consummation of his wishes. She continued, 'O illustrious Vrihaspati,
the child that I have conceived hath studied in his mother's womb the
Vedas with the six Angas, Semen tuum frustra perdi non potest. How can
then this womb of mine afford room for two children at a time? Therefore,
it behoveth thee not to seek for the consummation of thy desire at such a
time.' Thus addressed by her, Vrihaspati, though possessed of great
wisdom, succeeded not in suppressing his desire. Quum auten jam cum illa
coiturus esset, the child in the womb then addressed him and said, 'O
father, cease from thy attempt. There is no space here for two. O
illustrious one, the room is small. I have occupied it first. Semen tuum
perdi non potest. It behoveth thee not to afflict me.' But Vrihaspati
without listening to what that child in the womb said, sought the embraces
of Mamata possessing the most beautiful pair of eyes. Ille tamen Muni qui
in venture erat punctum temporis quo humor vitalis jam emissum iret
providens, viam per quam semen intrare posset pedibus obstruxit. Semen ita
exhisum, excidit et in terram projectumest. And the illustrious
Vrihaspati, beholding this, became indignant, and reproached Utathya's
child and cursed him, saying, 'Because thou hast spoken to me in the way
thou hast at a time of pleasure that is sought after by all creatures,
perpetual darkness shall overtake thee.' And from this curse of the
illustrious Vrishaspati Utathya's child who was equal unto Vrihaspati in
energy, was born blind and came to be called Dirghatamas (enveloped in
perpetual darkness). And the wise Dirghatamas, possessed of a knowledge
of the Vedas, though born blind, succeeded yet by virtue of his learning,
in obtaining for a wife a young and handsome Brahmana maiden of the name
of Pradweshi. And having married her, the illustrious Dirghatamas, for the
expansion of Utathya's race, begat upon her several children with Gautama
as their eldest. These children, however, were all given to covetousness
and folly. The virtuous and illustrious Dirghatamas possessing complete
mastery over the Vedas, soon after learnt from Surabhi's son the practices
of their order and fearlessly betook himself to those practices, regarding
them with reverence. (For shame is the creature of sin and can never be
where there is purity of intention). Then those best of Munis that dwelt
in the same asylum, beholding him transgress the limits of propriety
became indignant, seeing sin where sin was not. And they said, 'O, this
man, transgresseth the limit of propriety. No longer doth he deserve a
place amongst us. Therefore, shall we all cast this sinful wretch off.'
And they said many other things regarding the Muni Dirghatamas. And his
wife, too, having obtained children, became indignant with him.

"The husband then addressing his wife Pradweshi, said, 'Why is it that
thou also hast been dissatisfied with me?' His wife answered, 'The husband
is called the Bhartri because he supporteth the wife. He is called Pati
because he protecteth her. But thou art neither, to me! O thou of great
ascetic merit, on the other hand, thou hast been blind from birth, it is I
who have supported thee and thy children. I shall not do so in future.'

"Hearing these words of his wife, the Rishi became indignant and said unto
her and her children, 'Take me unto the Kshatriyas and thou shalt then be
rich.' His wife replied (by saying), 'I desire not wealth that may be
procured by thee, for that can never bring me happiness. O best of
Brahmanas, do as thou likest. I shall not be able to maintain thee as
before.' At these words of his wife, Dirghatamas said, 'I lay down from
this day as a rule that every woman shall have to adhere to one husband
for her life. Be the husband dead or alive, it shall not be lawful for a
woman to have connection with another. And she who may have such
connection shall certainly be regarded as fallen. A woman without husband
shall always be liable to be sinful. And even if she be wealthy she shall
not be able to enjoy that wealth truly. Calumny and evil report shall ever
dog her.' Hearing these words of her husband Pradweshi became very angry,
and commanded her sons, saying, 'Throw him into the waters of Ganga!' And
at the command of their mother, the wicked Gautama and his brothers, those
slaves of covetousness and folly, exclaiming, 'Indeed, why should we
support this old man?--'tied the Muni to a raft and committing him to the
mercy of the stream returned home without compunction. The blind old man
drifting along the stream on that raft, passed through the territories of
many kings. One day a king named Vali conversant with every duty went to
the Ganges to perform his ablutions. And as the monarch was thus engaged,
the raft to which the Rishi was tied, approached him. And as it came, the
king took the old man. The virtuous Vali, ever devoted to truth, then
learning who the man was that was thus saved by him, chose him for raising
up offspring. And Vali said, 'O illustrious one, it behoveth thee to raise
upon my wife a few sons that shall be virtuous and wise.' Thus addressed,
the Rishi endued with great energy, expressed his willingness. Thereupon
king Vali sent his wife Sudeshna unto him. But the queen knowing that the
latter was blind and old went not unto him, she sent unto him her nurse.
And upon that Sudra woman the virtuous Rishi of passions under full
control begat eleven children of whom Kakshivat was the eldest. And
beholding those eleven sons with Kakshivat as the eldest, who had studied
all the Vedas and who like Rishis were utterers of Brahma and were
possessed of great power, king Vali one day asked the Rishi saying, 'Are
these children mine?' The Rishi replied, 'No, they are mine. Kakshivat and
others have been begotten by me upon a Sudra woman. Thy unfortunate queen
Sudeshna, seeing me blind and old, insulted me by not coming herself but
sending unto me, instead, her nurse.' The king then pacified that best of
Rishis and sent unto him his queen Sudeshna. The Rishi by merely touching
her person said to her, 'Thou shalt have five children named Anga, Vanga,
Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma, who shall be like unto Surya (Sun) himself in
glory. And after their names as many countries shall be known on earth. It
is after their names that their dominions have come to be called Anga,
Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhma.'

"It was thus that the line of Vali was perpetuated, in days of old, by a
great Rishi. And it was thus also that many mighty bowmen and great car-
warriors wedded to virtue, sprung in the Kshatriya race from the seed of
Brahmanas. Hearing this, O mother, do as thou likest, as regards the
matter in hand.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma, continued, 'Listen, O mother, to me as I indicate the means by
which the Bharata line may be perpetuated. Let an accomplished Brahmana be
invited by an offer of wealth, and let him raise offspring upon the wives
of Vichitravirya.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Satyavati, then, smiling softly and in voice
broken in bashfulness, addressed Bhishma saying, 'O Bharata of mighty arms,
what thou sayest is true. From my confidence in thee I shall now indicate
the means of perpetuating our line. Thou shall not be able to reject it,
being conversant, as thou art, with the practices permitted in seasons of
distress. In our race, thou art Virtue, and thou art Truth, and thou art,
too, our sole refuge. Therefore hearing what I say truly, do what may be

"My father was a virtuous man. For virtue's sake he had kept a (ferry)
boat. One day, in the prime of my youth, I went to ply that boat. It so
happened that the great and wise Rishi Parasara, that foremost of all
virtuous men, came, and betook himself to my boat for crossing the Yamuna.
As I was rowing him across the river, the Rishi became excited with desire
and began to address me in soft words. The fear of my father was uppermost
in my mind. But the terror of the Rishi's curse at last prevailed. And
having obtained from him a precious boon, I could not refuse his
solicitations. The Rishi by his energy brought me under his complete
control, and gratified his desire then and there, having first enveloped
the region in a thick fog. Before this there was a revolting fishy odour
in my body; but the Rishi dispelled it and gave me my present fragrance.
The Rishi also told me that by bringing forth his child in an island of
the river, I would still continue (to be) a virgin. And the child of
Parasara so born of me in my maidenhood hath become a great Rishi endued
with large ascetic powers and known by the name of Dwaipayana (the island-
born). That illustrious Rishi having by his ascetic power divided the
Vedas into four parts hath come to be called on earth by the name of Vyasa
(the divider or arranger), and for his dark colour, Krishna (the dark).
Truthful in speech, free from passion, a mighty ascetic who hath burnt all
his sins, he went away with his father immediately after his birth.
Appointed by me and thee also, that Rishi of incomparable splendour will
certainly beget good children upon the wives of thy brother. He told me
when he went away, 'Mother, think of me when thou art in difficulty.' I
will now call him up, if thou, O Bhishma of mighty arms so desirest. If
thou art willing, O Bhishma, I am sure that great ascetic will beget
children upon Vichitravirya's field.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Mention being made of the great Rishi, Bhishma
with joined palms said, 'That man is truly intelligent who fixes his eyes
judiciously on virtue, profit, and pleasure, and who after reflecting with
patience, acteth in such a way that virtue may lead to future virtue,
profit to future profit and pleasure to future pleasure. Therefore, that
which hath been said by thee and which, besides being beneficial to us, is
consistent with virtue, is certainly the best advice and hath my full
approval.' And when Bhishma had said this, O thou of Kuru's race, Kali
(Satyavati) thought of the Muni Dwaipayana and Dwaipayana who was then
engaged in interpreting the Vedas, learning that he was being called up by
his mother, came instantly unto her without anybody's knowing it.
Satayavati then duly greeted her son and embraced him with arms, bathing
him in her tears, for the daughter of the fisherman wept bitterly at the
sight of her son after so long a time. And her first son, the great Vyasa,
beholding her weeping, washed her with cool water, and bowing unto her,
said, 'I have come, O mother, to fulfil thy wishes. Therefore, O virtuous
one, command me without delay. I shall accomplish thy desire.' The family
priest of the Bharatas then worshipped the great Rishi duly, and the
latter accepted the offerings of worship, uttering the usual mantras. And
gratified with the worship he received, he took his seat. Satyavati,
beholding him seated at his ease, after the usual inquiries, addressed him
and said, 'O learned one, sons derive their birth both from the father and
the mother. They are, therefore, the common property of both parents.
There cannot be the least doubt about it that the mother hath as much
power over them as the father. As thou art, indeed, my eldest son
according to the ordinance, O Brahmarshi, so is Vichitravirya my youngest
son. And as Bhishma is Vichitravirya's brother on the father's side, so
art thou his brother on the same mother's side. I do not know what you may
think, but this is what, O son, I think. This Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
devoted to truth, doth not, for the sake of truth, entertain the desire
of either begetting children or ruling the kingdom. Therefore, from
affection for thy brother Vichitravirya, for the perpetuation of our
dynasty, for the sake of this Bhishma's request and my command, for
kindness to all creatures, for the protection of the people and from the
liberality of thy heart, O sinless one, it behoveth thee to do what I say.
Thy younger brother hath left two widows like unto the daughters of the
celestials themselves, endued with youth and great beauty. For the sake of
virtue and religion, they have become desirous of offspring. Thou art the
fittest person to be appointed. Therefore beget upon them children worthy
of our race and for the continuance of our line.'

"Vyasa, hearing this, said, 'O Satyavati, thou knowest what virtue is both
in respect of this life and the other. O thou of great wisdom, thy
affections also are set on virtue. Therefore, at thy command, making
virtue my motive, I shall do what thou desirest. Indeed, this practice
that is conformable to the true and eternal religion is known to me. I
shall give unto my brother children that shall be like unto Mitra and
Varuna. Let the ladies then duly observe for one full year the vow I
indicate. They shall then be purified. No women shall ever approach me
without having observed a rigid vow.'

"Satyavati then said, 'O sinless one, it must be as thou sayest. Take such
steps that the ladies may conceive immediately. In a kingdom where there
is no king, the people perish from want of protection; sacrifices and
other holy acts are suspended; the clouds send no showers; and the gods
disappear. How can a kingdom be protected that hath no king? Therefore,
see thou that the ladies conceive. Bhishma will watch over the children as
long as they are in their mother's wombs.

"Vyasa replied, 'If I am to give unto my brother children so unseasonably,
then let the ladies bear my ugliness. That in itself shall, in their case,
be the austerest of penances. If the princess of Kosala can bear my strong
odour, my ugly and grim visage, my attire and body, she shall then
conceive an excellent child.'"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having spoken thus unto Satyavati, Vyasa of
great energy addressed her and said, 'Let the princess of Kosala clad in
clean attire and checked with ornaments wait for me in her bed-chamber.'
Saying this, the Rishi disappeared, Satyavati then went to her daughter-in-
law and seeing her in private spoke to her these words of beneficial and
virtuous import, 'O princess of Kosala, listen to what I say. It is
consistent with virtue. The dynasty of the Bharatas hath become extinct
from my misfortune. Beholding my affliction and the extinction of his
paternal line, the wise Bhishma, impelled also by the desire of
perpetuating our race, hath made me a suggestion, which suggestion,
however, for its accomplishment is dependent on thee. Accomplish it, O
daughter, and restore the lost line of the Bharatas. O thou of fair hips,
bring thou forth a child equal in splendour unto the chief of the
celestials. He shall bear the onerous burden of this our hereditary

"Satyavati having succeeded with great difficulty in procuring the assent
of her virtuous daughter-in-law to her proposal which was not inconsistent
with virtue, then fed Brahmanas and Rishis and numberless guests who
arrived on the occasion.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Soon after the monthly season of the princess of
Kosala had been over, Satyavati, purifying her daughter-in-law with a bath,
led her into the sleeping apartment. There seating her upon a luxurious
bed, she addressed her, saying, 'O Princess of Kosala, thy husband hath an
elder brother who shall this day enter thy womb as thy child. Wait for him
tonight without dropping off to sleep.' Hearing these words of her mother-
in-law, the amiable princess, as she lay on her bed, began to think of
Bhishma and the other elders of the Kuru race. Then the Rishi of truthful
speech, who had given his promise in respect of Amvika (the eldest of the
princesses) in the first instance, entered her chamber while the lamp was
burning. The princess, seeing his dark visage, his matted locks of copper
hue, blazing eyes, his grim beard, closed her eyes in fear. The Rishi,
from desire of accomplishing his mother's wishes, however knew her. But
the latter, struck with fear, opened not her eyes even once to look at him.
And when Vyasa came out, he was met by his mother, who asked him, 'Shall
the princess have an accomplished son?' Hearing her, he replied, 'The son
of the princess she will bring forth shall be equal in might unto ten
thousand elephants. He will be an illustrious royal sage, possessed of
great learning and intelligence and energy. The high-souled one shall have
in his time a century of sons. But from the fault of his mother he shall
be blind.' At these words of her son, Satyavati said, 'O thou of ascetic
wealth, how can one that is blind become a monarch worthy of the Kurus?
How can one that is blind become the protector of his relatives and family,
and the glory of his father's race? It behoveth thee to give another king
unto the Kurus.' Saying, 'So be it,' Vyasa went away. And the first
princess of Kosala in due time brought forth a blind son.

"Soon after Satyavati, O chastiser of foes, summoned Vyasa, after having
secured the assent of her daughter-in-law. Vyasa came according to his
promise, and approached, as before, the second wife of his brother. And
Ambalika beholding the Rishi, became pale with fear. And, O Bharata,
beholding her so afflicted and pale with fear, Vyasa addressed her and
said, 'Because thou hast been pale with fear at the sight of my grim
visage, therefore, thy child shall be pale in complexion. O thou of
handsome face, the name also thy child shall bear will be Pandu (the
pale).' Saying this, the illustrious and best of Rishis came out of her
chamber. And as he came out, he was met by his mother who asked him about
the would-be-child. The Rishi told her that the child would be of pale
complexion and known by the name of Pandu. Satyavati again begged of the
Rishi another child, and the Rishi told her in reply, 'So be it.'
Ambalika, then, when her time came, brought forth a son of pale
complexion. Blazing with beauty the child was endued with all auspicious
marks. Indeed, it was this child who afterwards became the father of
those mighty archers, the Pandavas.

"Some time after, when the oldest of Vichitravirya's widows again had her
monthly season, she was solicited by Satyavati to approach Vyasa once
again. Possessed of beauty like a daughter of a celestial, the princess
refused to do her mother-in-law's bidding, remembering the grim visage and
strong odour of the Rishi. She, however, sent unto him a maid of hers,
endued with the beauty of an Apsara and decked with her own ornaments. And
when the Vyasa arrived, the maid rose up and saluted him. And she waited
upon him respectfully and took her seat near him when asked. And, O king,
the great Rishi of rigid vows, was well-pleased with her, and when he rose
to go away, he addressed her and said, 'Amiable one, thou shalt no longer
be a slave. Thy child also shall be greatly fortunate and virtuous, and
the foremost of all intelligent men on earth!' And, O king, the son thus
begotten upon her by Krishna-Dwaipayana was afterwards known by the name
of Vidura. He was thus the brother of Dhritarashtra and the illustrious
Pandu. And Vidura was free from desire and passion and was conversant with
the rules of government, and was the god of justice born on earth under
the curse of the illustrious Rishi Mandavya. And Krishna-Dwaipayana, when
he met his mother as before, informed her as to how he had been deceived
by the seniormost of the princesses and how he had begotten a son upon a
Sudra woman. And having spoken thus unto his mother the Rishi disappeared
from her sight.

"Thus were born, in the field of Vichitravirya, even of Dwaipayana those
sons of the splendour of celestial children, those propagators of the Kuru


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'What did the god of justice do for which he was cursed?
And who was the Brahmana ascetic from whose curse the god had to be born
in the Sudra caste?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a Brahmana known by the name of Mandavya.
He was conversant with all duties and was devoted to religion, truth and
asceticism. The great ascetic used to sit at the entrance of his hermitage
at the foot of a tree, with his arms upraised in the observance of the vow
of silence. And as he sat there for years together, one day there came
into his asylum a number of robbers laden with spoil. And, O bull in
Bharata's race, those robbers were then being pursued by a superior body
as guardians of the peace. The thieves, on entering that asylum, hid their
booty there, and in fear concealed themselves thereabout before the guards
came. But scarcely had they thus concealed themselves when the constables
in pursuit came to the spot. The latter, observing the Rishi sitting under
the tree, questioned him, O king, saying, 'O best of Brahmanas, which way
have the thieves taken? Point it out to us so that we may follow it
without loss of time.' Thus questioned by the guardians of peace the
ascetic, O king, said not a word, good or otherwise, in reply. The
officers of the king, however, on searching that asylum soon discovered
the thieves concealed thereabout together with the plunder. Upon this,
their suspicion fell upon the Muni, and accordingly they seized him with
the thieves and brought him before the king. The king sentenced him to be
executed along with his supposed associates. And the officers, acting in
ignorance, carried out the sentence by impaling the celebrated Rishi. And
having impaled him, they went to the king with the booty they had
recovered. But the virtuous Rishi, though impaled and kept without food,
remained in that state for a long time without dying. And the Rishi by his
ascetic power not only preserved his life but summoned other Rishi to the
scene. And they came there in the night in the forms of birds, and
beholding him engaged in ascetic meditation though fixed on that stake,
became plunged into grief. And telling that best of Brahmanas who they
were, they asked him saying, 'O Brahmana, we desire to know what hath been
thy sin for which thou hast thus been made to suffer the tortures of


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus asked, the tiger among Munis then answered those
Rishis of ascetic wealth, 'Whom shall I blame for this? In fact, none else
(than my own self) hath offended against me!' After this, O monarch, the
officers of justice, seeing him alive, informed the king of it. The latter
hearing what they said, consulted with his advisers, and came to the place
and began to pacify the Rishi, fixed on the stake. And the king said, 'O
thou best of Rishis, I have offended against thee in ignorance. I beseech
thee to pardon me for the same. It behoveth thee not to be angry with me.'
Thus addressed by the king, the Muni was pacified. And beholding him free
from wrath, the king took him up with the stake and endeavoured to extract
it from his body. But not succeeding therein, he cut it off at the point
just outside the body. The Muni, with a portion of the stake within his
body, walked about, and in that state practised the austerest of penances
and conquered numberless regions unattainable by others. And for the
circumstances of a part of the stake being within his body, he came to be
known in the three worlds by the name of Ani-Mandavya (Mandavya with the
stake within). And one day that Brahamana acquainted with the highest
truth of religion went unto the abode of the god of justice. And beholding
the god there seated on his throne, the Rishi reproached him and said,
'What, pray, is that sinful act committed by me unconsciously, for which I
am bearing this punishment? O, tell me soon, and behold the power of my

"The god of justice, thus questioned, replied, 'O thou of ascetic wealth,
a little insect was once pierced by thee on a blade of grass. Thou bearest
now the consequence of the act. O Rishi, as a gift, however small,
multiplieth in respect of its religious merits, so a sinful act
multiplieth in respect of the woe it bringeth in its train.' On hearing
this, Ani-Mandavya asked, 'O tell me truly when this act was committed by
me.' Told in reply by the god of justice that he had committed it when a
child, the Rishi said, 'That shall not be a sin which may be done by a
child up to the twelfth year of his age from birth. The scriptures shall
not recognise it as sinful. The punishment thou hast inflicted on me for
such a venial offence hath been disproportionate in severity. The killing
of a Brahmana involves a sin that is heavier than the killing of any other
living being. Thou shall, therefore, O god of justice, have to be born
among men even in the Sudra order. And from this day I establish this
limit in respect of the consequence of acts that an act shall not be
sinful when committed by one below the age of fourteen. But when committed
by one above that age, it shall be regarded as sin.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Cursed for this fault by that illustrious Rishi,
the god of justice had his birth as Vidura in the Sudra order. And Vidura
was well-versed in the doctrines of morality and also politics and worldly
profit. And he was entirely free from covetousness and wrath. Possessed of
great foresight and undisturbed tranquillity of mind, Vidura was ever
devoted to the welfare of the Kurus.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Upon the birth of those three children, Kurujangala,
Kurukshetra, and the Kurus grew in prosperity. The earth began to yield
abundant harvest, and the crops also were of good flavour. And the clouds
began to pour rain in season and trees became full of fruits and flowers.
And the draught cattle were all happy and the birds and other animals
rejoiced exceedingly. And the flowers became fragrant and the fruits
became sweet; the cities and towns became filled with merchants, artisans,
traders and artists of every description. And the people became brave,
learned, honest and happy. And there were no robbers then, nor anybody who
was sinful. And it seemed that the golden age had come upon every part of
the kingdom. And the people devoted to virtuous acts, sacrifices and truth,
and regarding one another with love and affection grew in prosperity. And
free from pride, wrath and covetousness, they rejoiced in perfectly
innocent sports. And the capital of the Kurus, full as the ocean, was a
second Amaravati, teeming with hundreds of palaces and mansions, and
possessing gates and arches dark as the clouds. And men in great
cheerfulness sported constantly on rivers, lakes and tanks, and in fine
groves and charming woods. And the southern Kurus, in their virtuous
rivalry with their northern kinsmen, walked about in the company of
Siddhas and Charanas and Rishis. And all over that delightful country
whose prosperity was thus increased by the Kurus, there were no misers and
no widowed women. And the wells and lakes were ever full; the groves
abounded with trees, and the houses and abodes of Brahmanas were full of
wealth and the whole kingdom was full of festivities. And, O king,
virtuously ruled by Bhishma, the kingdom was adorned with hundreds of
sacrificial stakes. And the wheel of virtue having been set in motion by
Bhishma, and the country became so contented that the subjects of other
kingdoms, quitting their homes, came to dwell there and increase its
population. And the citizens and the people were filled with hope, upon
seeing the youthful acts of their illustrious princes. And, O king, in the
house of the Kuru chiefs as also of the principal citizens, 'give', 'eat'
were the only words constantly heard. And Dhritarashtra and Pandu and
Vidura of great intelligence were from their birth brought up by Bhishma,
as if they were his own sons. And the children, having passed through the
usual rites of their order, devoted themselves to vows and study. And they
grew up into fine young men skilled in the Vedas and all athletic sports.
And they became well-skilled in the practice of bow, in horsemanship, in
encounters with mace, sword and shield, in the management of elephants in
battle, and in the science of morality. Well-read in history and the
Puranas and various branches of learning, and acquainted with the truths
of the Vedas and their branches they acquired knowledge, which was
versatile and deep. And Pandu, possessed of great prowess, excelled all
men in archery while Dhritarashtra excelled all in personal strength,
while in the three worlds there was no one equal to Vidura in devotion to
virtue and in the knowledge of the dictates of morality. And beholding the
restoration of the extinct line of Santanu, the saying became current in
all countries that among mothers of heroes, the daughters of the king of
Kasi were the first; that among countries Kurujangala was the first; that
among virtuous men, Vidura was the first; that among cities Hastinapura
was the first. Pandu became king, for Dhritarashtra, owing to the
blindness, and Vidura, for his birth by a Sudra woman, did not obtain the
kingdom. One day Bhishma, the foremost of those acquainted with the duties
of a statesman and dictates of morality, properly addressing Vidura
conversant with the truth of religion and virtue, said as follows."


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Bhishma said, 'This our celebrated race, resplendent with every virtue
and accomplishment, hath all along sovereignty over all other monarchs on
earth. Its glory maintained and itself perpetuated by many virtuous and
illustrious monarchs of old, the illustrious Krishna (Dwaipayana) and
Satyavati and myself have raised you (three) up, in order that it may not
be extinct. It behoveth myself and thee also to take such steps that this
our dynasty may expand again as the sea. It hath been heard by me that
there are three maidens worthy of being allied to our race. One is the
daughter of (Surasena of) the Yadava race; the other is the daughter of
Suvala; and the third is the princess of Madra. O son, all these maidens
are of course of blue blood. Possessed of beauty and pure blood, they are
eminently fit for an alliance with our family. O thou foremost of
intelligent men, I think we should choose them for the growth of our race.
Tell me what thou thinkest.' Thus addressed, Vidura replied, 'Thou art our
father and thou art our mother, too. Thou art our respected spiritual
instructor. Therefore, do thou what may be best for us in thy eyes.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Soon after Bhishma heard from the Brahmanas that
Gandhari, the amiable daughter of Suvala, having worshipped Hara (Siva)
had obtained from the deity the boon that she should have a century of
sons. Bhishma, the grandfather of the Kurus, having heard this, sent
messengers unto the king of Gandhara. King Suvala at first hesitated on
account of the blindness of the bridegroom, but taking into consideration
the blood of the Kurus, their fame and behaviour, he gave his virtuous
daughter unto Dhritarashtra and the chaste Gandhari hearing that
Dhritarashtra was blind and that her parents had consented to marry her to
him, from love and respect for her future husband, blindfolded her own
eyes. Sakuni, the son of Suvala, bringing unto the Kurus his sister endued
with youth and beauty, formally gave her away unto Dhritarashtra. And
Gandhari was received with great respect and the nuptials were celebrated
with great pomp under Bhishma's directions. And the heroic Sakuni, after
having bestowed his sister along with many valuable robes, and having
received Bhishma's adorations, returned to his own city. And, O thou of
Bharata's race, the beautiful Gandhari gratified all the Kurus by her
behaviour and respectful attentions. And Gandhari, ever devoted to her
husband, gratified her superiors by her good conduct; and as she was
chaste, she never referred even by words to men other than her husband or
such superiors.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'There was amongst the Yadavas a chief named Sura.
He was the father of Vasudeva. And he had a daughter called Pritha, who
was unrivalled for beauty on earth. And, O thou of Bharata's race, Sura,
always truthful in speech, gave from friendship this his firstborn
daughter unto his childless cousin and friend, the illustrious Kuntibhoja--
the son of his paternal aunt--pursuant to a former promise. And Pritha in
the house of her adoptive father was engaged in looking after the duties
of hospitality to Brahmanas and other guests. Once she gratified by her
attentions the terrible Brahmana of rigid vows, who was known by the name
of Durvasa and was well-acquainted with the hidden truths of morality.
Gratified with her respectful attentions, the sage, anticipating by his
spiritual power the future (season of) distress (consequent upon the curse
to be pronounced upon Pandu for his unrighteous act of slaying a deer
while serving its mate) imparted to her a formula of invocation for
summoning any of the celestials she liked to give her children. And the
Rishi said, 'Those celestials that thou shall summon by this Mantra shall
certainly approach thee and give thee children.' Thus addressed by the
Brahmana, the amiable Kunti (Pritha) became curious, and in her maidenhood
summoned the god Arka (Sun). And as soon as he pronounced the Mantra, she
beheld that effulgent deity--that beholder of everything in the world--
approaching her. And beholding that extraordinary sight, the maiden of
faultless features was overcome with surprise. But the god Vivaswat (Sun)
approaching her, said, 'Here I am, O black-eyed girl! Tell me what I am to
do for thee.'

"Hearing this, Kunti said, 'O slayer of foes, a certain Brahamana gave me
this formula of invocation as a boon, and, O lord, I have summoned thee
only to test its efficacy. For this offence I bow to thee. A woman,
whatever be her offence, always deserveth pardon.' Surya (Sun) replied, 'I
know that Durvasa hath granted this boon. But cast off thy fears, timid
maiden, and grant me thy embraces. Amiable one, my approach cannot be
futile; it must bear fruit. Thou hast summoned me, and if it be for
nothing, it shall certainly be regarded as thy transgression.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Vivaswat thus spoke unto her many things with a
view to allay her fears, but, O Bharata, the amiable maiden, from modesty
and fear of her relatives, consented not to grant his request. And, O bull
of Bharata's race, Arka addressed her again and said, 'O princess, for my
sake, it shall not be sinful for thee to grant my wish.' Thus speaking
unto the daughter of Kuntibhoja, the illustrious Tapana--the illuminator
of the universe--gratified his wish. And of this connection there was
immediately born a son known all over the world as Karna accountred with
natural armour and with face brightened by ear-rings. And the heroic Karna
was the first of all wielders of weapons, blessed with good fortune, and
endued with the beauty of a celestial child. And after the birth of this
child, the illustrious Tapana granted unto Pritha her maidenhood and
ascended to heaven. And the princess of the Vrishni race beholding with
sorrow that son born of her, reflected intently upon what was then the
best for her to do. And from fear of her relatives she resolved to conceal
that evidence of her folly. And she cast her offspring endued with great
physical strength into the water. Then the well-known husband of Radha, of
the Suta caste, took up the child thus cast into the water, and he and his
wife brought him up as their own son. And Radha and her husband bestowed
on him the name of Vasusena (born with wealth) because he was born with a
natural armour and ear-rings. And endued as he was born with great
strength, as he grew up, he became skilled in all weapons. Possessed of
great energy, he used to adore the sun until his back was heated by his
rays (i.e., from dawn to midday), and during the hours of worship, there
was nothing on earth that the heroic and intelligent Vasusena would not
give unto the Brahmanas. And Indra desirous of benefiting his own son
Phalguni (Arjuna), assuming the form of a Brahmana, approached Vasusena on
one occasion and begged of him his natural armour. Thus asked Karna took
off his natural armour, and joining his hands in reverence gave it unto
Indra in the guise of a Brahmana. And the chief of the celestials accepted
the gift and was exceedingly gratified with Karna's liberality. He
therefore, gave unto him a fine dart, saying, 'That one (and one only)
among the celestials, the Asuras, men, the Gandharvas, the Nagas, and the
Rakshasas, whom thou desirest to conquer, shall be certainly slain with
this dart.'

"The son of Surya was before this known by the name of Vasusena. But since
he cut off his natural armour, he came to be called Karna (the cutter or
peeler of his own cover).'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said. 'The large-eyed daughter of Kuntibhoja, Pritha by name,
was endued with beauty and every accomplishment. Of rigid vows, she was
devoted to virtue and possessed of every good quality. But though endued
with beauty and youth and every womanly attribute, yet it so happened that
no king asked for her hand. Her father Kuntibhoja seeing this, invited, O
best of monarchs, the princes and kings of other countries and desired his
daughter to select her husband from among her guests. The intelligent
Kunti, entering the amphitheatre, beheld Pandu--the foremost of the
Bharatas--that tiger among kings--in that concourse of crowned heads.
Proud as the lion, broad-chested, bull-eyed, endued with great strength,
and outshining all other monarchs in splendour, he looked like another
Indra in that royal assemblage. The amiable daughter of Kuntibhoja, of
faultless features, beholding Pandu--that best of men--in that assembly,
became very much agitated. And advancing with modesty, all the while
quivering with emotion, she placed the nuptial garland about Pandu's neck.
The other monarchs, seeing Kunti choose Pandu for her lord, returned to
their respective kingdoms on elephants, horses and cars, as they had come.
Then, O king, the bride's father caused the nuptial rites to be performed
duly. The Kuru prince blessed with great good fortune and the daughter of
Kuntibhoja formed a couple like Maghavat and Paulomi (the king and queen
of the celestials). And, O best of Kuru monarchs, king Kuntibhoja, after
the nuptials were over, presented his son-in-law with much wealth and sent
him back to his capital. Then the Kuru prince Pandu, accompanied by a
large force bearing various kinds of banners and pennons, and eulogised by
Brahmanas and great Rishis pronouncing benedictions, reached his capital.
And after arriving at his own palace, he established his queen therein.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Some time after, Bhishma the intelligent son of
Santanu set his heart upon getting Pandu married to a second wife.
Accompanied by an army composed of four kinds of force, and also by aged
councillors and Brahmanas and great Rishis, he went to the capital of the
king of Madra. And that bull of the Valhikas--the king of Madra--hearing
that Bhishma had arrived, went out to receive him. And having received him
with respect, he got him to enter his palace. Arriving there, the king of
Madra offered unto Bhishma a white carpet for a seat; water to wash his
feet with, and usual oblation of various ingredients indicative of respect.
And when he was seated at ease, the king asked him about the reason of his
visit. Then Bhishma--the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus--addressed
the king of Madra and said, 'O oppressor of all foes, know that I have
come for the hand of a maiden. It hath been heard by us that thou hast a
sister named Madri celebrated for her beauty and endued with every virtue;
I would chose her for Pandu. Thou art, O king, in every respect worthy of
an alliance with us, and we also are worthy of thee. Reflecting upon all
this, O king of Madra, accept us duly.' The ruler of Madra, thus addressed
by Bhishma, replied, 'To my mind, there is none else than one of thy
family with whom I can enter into an alliance. But there is a custom in
our family observed by our ancestors, which, be it good or bad, I am
incapable of transgressing. It is well-known, and therefore is known to
thee as well, I doubt not. Therefore, it is not proper for thee to say to
me,--Bestow thy sister. The custom to which I allude is our family custom.
With us that is a virtue and worthy of observance. It is for this only, O
slayer of foes, I cannot give thee any assurance in the matter of thy
request.' On hearing this, Bhishma answered the king of Madra, saying, 'O
king, this, no doubt, is a virtue. The self-create himself hath said it.
Thy ancestors were observant of custom. There is no fault to find with it.
It is also well-known, O Salya, that this custom in respect of family
dignity hath the approval of the wise and the good.' Saying this Bhishma
of great energy gave unto Salya much gold both coined and uncoined, and
precious stones of various colours by thousands, and elephants and horses
and cars, and much cloth and many ornaments, and gems and pearls and
corals. And Salya accepting with a cheerful heart those precious gifts
then gave away his sister decked in ornaments unto that bull of the Kuru
race. Then the wise Bhishma, the son of the oceangoing Ganga, rejoiced at
the issue of his mission, took Madri with him, and returned to the Kuru
capital named after the elephant.

"Then selecting an auspicious day and moment as indicated by the wise for
the ceremony, King Pandu was duly united with Madri. And after the
nuptials were over, the Kuru king established his beautiful bride in
handsome apartments. And, O king of kings, that best of monarchs then gave
himself up to enjoyment in the company of his two wives as best he liked
and to the limit of his desires. And after thirty days had elapsed, the
Kuru king, O monarch, started from his capital for the conquest of the
world. And after reverentially saluting and bowing to Bhishma and the
other elders of the Kuru race, and with adieus to Dhritarashtra and others
of the family, and obtaining their leave, he set out on his grand campaign,
accompanied by a large force of elephants, horses, and cars, and well-
pleased with the blessings uttered by all around and the auspicious rites
performed by the citizens for his success. And Pandu, accompanied by such
a strong force marched against various foes. And that tiger among men--
that spreader of the fame of the Kurus--first subjugated the robber tribes
of asarna. He next turned his army composed of innumerable elephants,
cavalry, infantry, and charioteers, with standards of various colours
against Dhirga--the ruler of the kingdom of Maghadha who was proud of his
strength, and offended against numerous monarchs. And attacking him in his
capital, Pandu slew him there, and took everything in his treasury and
also vehicles and draught animals without number. He then marched into
Mithila and subjugated the Videhas. And then, O bull among men, Pandu led
his army against Kasi, Sumbha, and Pundra, and by the strength and prowess
of his arms spread the fame of the Kurus. And Pandu, that oppressor of
foes, like unto a mighty fire whose far-reaching flames were represented
by his arrows and splendour by his weapons, began to consume all kings
that came in contact with him. These with their forces, vanquished by
Pandu at the head of his army, were made the vassals of the Kurus. And all
kings of the world, thus vanquished by him, regarded him as the one single
hero on earth even as the celestials regard Indra in heaven. And the kings
of earth with joined palms bowed to him and waited on him with presents of
various kinds of gems and wealth, precious stones and pearls and corals,
and much gold and silver, and first-class kine and handsome horses and
fine cars and elephants, and asses and camels and buffaloes, and goats and
sheep, and blankets and beautiful hides, and cloths woven out of furs. And
the king of Hastinapura accepting those offerings retraced his steps
towards his capital, to the great delight of his subjects. And the
citizens and others filled with joy, and kings and ministers, all began to
say, 'O, the fame of the achievements of Santanu, that tiger among kings,
and of the wise Bharata, which were about to die, hath been revived by
Pandu. They who robbed before the Kurus of both territory and wealth have
been subjugated by Pandu--the tiger of Hastinapura--and made to pay
tribute.' And all the citizens with Bhishma at their head went out to
receive the victorious king. They had not proceeded far when they saw the
attendants of the king laden with much wealth, and the train of various
conveyances laden with all kinds of wealth, and of elephants, horses, cars,
kine, camels and other animals, was so long that they saw not its end.
Then Pandu, beholding Bhishma, who was a father to him, worshipped his
feet and saluted the citizens and others as each deserved. And Bhishma,
too, embracing Pandu as his son who had returned victorious after grinding
many hostile kingdoms, wept tears of joy. And Pandu, instilling joy into
the hearts of his people with a flourish of trumpets and conchs and kettle-
drums, entered his capital.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Pandu, then, at the command of Dhritarashtra, offered
the wealth he had acquired by the prowess of his arms to Bhishma, their
grand-mother Satyavati and their mothers. And he sent portion of his
wealth to Vidura also. And the virtuous Pandu gratified his other
relatives also with similar presents. Then Satyavati and Bhishma and the
Kosala princes were all gratified with the presents Pandu made out of the
acquisitions of his prowess. And Ambalika in particular, upon embracing
her son of incomparable prowess, became as glad as the queen of heaven
upon embracing Jayanta. And with the wealth acquired by that hero
Dhritarashtra performed five great sacrifices that were equal unto a
hundred great horse-sacrifices, at all of which the offerings to Brahmanas
were by hundreds and thousands.

"A little while after, O bull of Bharata's race, Pandu who had achieved a
victory over sloth and lethargy, accompanied by his two wives, Kunti and
Madri, retired into the woods. Leaving his excellent palace with its
luxurious beds, he became a permanent inhabitant of the woods, devoting
the whole of his time to the chase of the deer. And fixing his abode in a
delightful and hilly region overgrown with huge sala trees, on the
southern slope of the Himavat mountains, he roamed about in perfect
freedom. The handsome Pandu with his two wives wandered in those woods
like Airavata accompanied by two she-elephants. And the dwellers in those
woods, beholding the heroic Bharata prince in the company of his wives,
armed with sword, arrows, and bow, clad with his beautiful armour, and
skilled in all excellent weapons, regarded him as the very god wandering
amongst them.

"And at the command of Dhritarashtra, people were busy in supplying Pandu
in his retirement with every object of pleasure and enjoyment.

"Meanwhile the son of the ocean-going Ganga heard that king Devaka had a
daughter endued with youth and beauty and begotten upon a Sudra wife.
Bringing her from her father's abode, Bhishma married her to Vidura of
great wisdom. And Vidura begot upon her many children like unto himself in


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile, O Janamejaya, Dhritarashtra begat upon
Gandhari a hundred sons, and upon a Vaisya wife another besides those
hundred. And Pandu had, by his two wives Kunti and Madri, five sons who
were great charioteers and who were all begotten by the celestials for the
perpetuation of the Kuru line.'

"Janamejaya said, 'O best of Brahmanas, how did Gandhari bring forth those
hundred sons and in how many years? What were also the periods of life
allotted to each? How did Dhritarashtra also beget another son in a Vaisya
wife? How did Dhritarashtra behave towards his loving obedient, and
virtuous wife Gandhari? How were also begotten the five sons of Pandu,
those mighty charioteers, even though Pandu himself laboured under the
curse of the great Rishi (he slew)? Tell me all this in detail, for my
thirst for hearing everything relating to my own ancestor hath not been

"Vaisampayana said, 'One day Gandhari entertained with respectful
attention the great Dwaipayana who came to her abode, exhausted with
hunger and fatigue. Gratified with Gandhari's hospitality, the Rishi gave
her the boon she asked for, viz., that she should have a century of sons
each equal unto her lord in strength and accomplishments. Some time after
Gandhari conceived and she bore the burden in her womb for two long years
without being delivered. And she was greatly afflicted at this. It was
then that she heard that Kunti had brought forth a son whose splendour was
like unto the morning sun. Impatient of the period of gestation which had
prolonged so long, and deprived of reason by grief, she struck her womb
with great violence without the knowledge of her husband. And thereupon
came out of her womb, after two years' growth, a hard mass of flesh like
unto an iron ball. When she was about to throw it away, Dwaipayana,
learning everything by his spiritual powers, promptly came there, and that
first of ascetics beholding that ball of flesh, addressed the daughter of
Suvala thus, 'What hast thou done?' Gandhari, without endeavouring to
disguise her feelings, addressed the Rishi and said, 'Having heard that
Kunti had brought forth a son like unto Surya in splendour, I struck in
grief at my womb. Thou hadst, O Rishi, granted me the boon that I should
have a hundred sons, but here is only a ball of flesh for those hundred
sons!' Vyasa then said, 'Daughter of Suvala, it is even so. But my words
can never be futile. I have not spoken an untruth even in jest. I need not
speak of other occasions. Let a hundred pots full of clarified butter be
brought instantly, and let them be placed at a concealed spot. In the
meantime, let cool water be sprinkled over this ball of flesh.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'That ball of flesh then, sprinkled over with
water, became, in time, divided into a hundred and one parts, each about
the size of the thumb. These were then put into those pots full of
clarified butter that had been placed at a concealed spot and were watched
with care. The illustrious Vyasa then said unto the daughter of Suvala
that she should open the covers of the pots after full two years. And
having said this and made these arrangements, the wise Dwaipayana went to
the Himavat mountains for devoting himself to asceticism.

"Then in time, king Duryodhana was born from among those pieces of the
ball of flesh that had been deposited in those pots. According to the
order of birth, king Yudhishthira was the oldest. The news of Duryodhana's
birth was carried to Bhishma and the wise Vidura. The day that the haughty
Duryodhana was born was also the birth-day of Bhima of mighty arms and
great prowess.

"As soon as Duryodhana was born, he began to cry and bray like an ass. And
hearing that sound, the asses, vultures, jackals and crows uttered their
respective cries responsively. Violent winds began to blow, and there were
fires in various directions. Then king Dhritarashtra in great fear,
summoning Bhishma and Vidura and other well-wishers and all the Kurus, and
numberless Brahmanas, addressed them and said, 'The oldest of those
princes, Yudhishthira, is the perpetuator of our line. By virtue of his
birth he hath acquired the kingdom. We have nothing to say to this. But
shall this my son born after him become king? Tell me truly what is lawful
and right under these circumstances.' As soon as these words were spoken,
O Bharata, jackals and other carnivorous animals began to howl ominously.
And marking those frightful omens all around, the assembled Brahmanas and
the wise Vidura replied, 'O king, O bull among men, when these frightful
omens are noticeable at the birth of thy eldest son, it is evident that he
shall be the exterminator of thy race. The prosperity of all dependeth on
his abandonment. Calamity there must be in keeping him. O king, if thou
abandonest him, there remain yet thy nine and ninety sons. If thou
desirest the good of thy race, abandon him, O Bharata! O king, do good to
the world and thy own race by casting off this one child of thine. It hath
been said that an individual should be cast off for the sake of the family;
that a family should be cast off for the sake of a village; that a village
may be abandoned for the sake of the whole country; and that the earth
itself may be abandoned for the sake of the soul.' When Vidura and those
Brahmanas had stated so, king Dhritarashtra out of affection for his son
had not the heart to follow that advice. Then, O king, within a month,
were born a full hundred sons unto Dhritarashtra and a daughter also in
excess of this hundred. And during the time when Gandhari was in a state
of advanced pregnancy, there was a maid servant of the Vaisya class who
used to attend on Dhritarashtra. During that year, O king, was begotten
upon her by the illustrious Dhritarashtra a son endued with great
intelligence who was afterwards named Yuyutsu. And because he was begotten
by a Kshatriya upon a Vaisya woman, he came to be called Karna.

"Thus were born unto the wise Dhritarashtra a hundred sons who were all
heroes and mighty chariot-fighters, and a daughter over and above the
hundred, and another son Yuyutsu of great energy and prowess begotten upon
a Vaisya woman.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O sinless one, thou hast narrated to me from the
beginning all about the birth of Dhritarashtra's hundred sons owing to the
boon granted by the Rishi. But thou hast not told me as yet any
particulars about the birth of the daughter. Thou hast merely said that
over and above the hundred sons, there was another son named Yuyutsu
begotten upon a Vaisya woman, and a daughter. The great Rishi Vyasa of
immeasurable energy said unto the daughter of the king of Gandhara that
she would become the mother of a hundred sons. Illustrious one, how is
that thou sayest Gandhari had a daughter over and above her hundred sons?
If the ball of flesh was distributed by the great Rishi only into a
hundred parts, and if Gandhari did not conceive on any other occasion, how
was then Duhsala born. Tell me this, O Rishi! my curiosity hath been

"Vaisampayana said, 'O descendant of the Pandavas, thy question is just,
and I will tell thee how it happened. The illustrious and great Rishi
himself, by sprinkling water over that ball of flesh, began to divide it
into parts. And as it was being divided into parts, the nurse began to
take them up and put them one by one into those pots filled with clarified
butter. While this process was going on, the beautiful and chaste Gandhari
of rigid vows, realising the affection that one feeleth for a daughter,
began to think within herself, 'There is no doubt that I shall have a
hundred sons, the Muni having said so. It can never be otherwise. But I
should be very happy if a daughter were born of me over and above these
hundred sons and junior to them all. My husband then may attain to those
worlds that the possession of a daughter's sons conferreth. Then again,
the affection the women feel for their sons-in-law is great. If, therefore,
I obtain a daughter over and above my hundred sons, then, surrounded by
sons and daughter's sons, I may feel supremely blest. If I have ever
practised ascetic austerities, if I have ever given anything in charity,
if I have ever performed the homa (through Brahamanas), if I have ever
gratified my superiors by respectful attentions, then (as the fruit of
those acts) let a daughter be born unto me.' All this while that
illustrious and best of Rishis, Krishna-Dwaipayana himself was dividing
the ball of flesh; and counting a full hundred of the parts, he said unto
the daughter of Suvala, 'Here are thy hundred sons. I did not speak aught
unto thee that was false. Here, however, is one part in excess of the
hundred, intended for giving thee a daughter's son. This part shall
develop into an amiable and fortunate daughter, as thou hast desired.'
Then that great ascetic brought another pot full of clarified butter, and
put the part intended for a daughter into it.

"Thus have I, O Bharata, narrated unto thee all about the birth of Duhsala.
Tell me, O sinless one, what more I am now to narrate.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'Please recite the names of Dhritarashtra's sons
according to the order of their birth.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Their names, O king, according to the order of birth,
are Duryodhana, Yuyutsu, Duhsasana, Duhsaha, Duhsala, Jalasandha, Sama,
Saha, Vinda and Anuvinda, Durdharsha, Suvahu, Dushpradharshana,
Durmarshana and Durmukha, Dushkarna, and Karna; Vivinsati and Vikarna,
Sala, Satwa, Sulochana, Chitra and Upachitra, Chitraksha, Charuchitra,
Sarasana, Durmada and Durvigaha, Vivitsu, Vikatanana; Urnanabha and
Sunabha, then Nandaka and Upanandaka; Chitravana, Chitravarman, Suvarman,
Durvimochana; Ayovahu, Mahavahu, Chitranga, Chitrakundala, Bhimavega,
Bhimavala, Balaki, Balavardhana, Ugrayudha; Bhima, Karna, Kanakaya,
Dridhayudha, Dridhavarman, Dridhakshatra, Somakitri, Anudara; Dridhasandha,
Jarasandha, Satyasandha, Sada, Suvak, Ugrasravas, Ugrasena, Senani,
Dushparajaya, Aparajita, Kundasayin, Visalaksha, Duradhara; Dridhahasta,
Suhasta, Vatavega, and Suvarchas; Adityaketu, Vahvashin, Nagadatta,
Agrayayin; Kavachin, Krathana, Kunda, Kundadhara, Dhanurdhara; the heroes,
Ugra and Bhimaratha, Viravahu, Alolupa; Abhaya, and Raudrakarman, and
Dridharatha; Anadhrishya, Kundabhedin, Viravi, Dhirghalochana Pramatha,
and Pramathi and the powerful Dhirgharoma; Dirghavahu, Mahavahu, Vyudhoru,
Kanakadhvaja; Kundasi and Virajas. Besides these hundred sons, there was a
daughter named Duhsala. All were heroes and Atirathas, and were well-
skilled in warfare. All were learned in the Vedas, and all kinds of
weapons. And, O, king, worthy wives were in time selected for all of them
by Dhritarashtra after proper examination. And king Dhritarashtra, O
monarch, also bestowed Duhsala, in proper time and with proper rites, upon
Jayadratha (the king of Sindhu).'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O utterer of Brahma, thou hast recited (everything
about) the extraordinary birth among men, of the sons of Dhritarashtra in
consequence of the Rishi's grace. Thou hast also said what their names are,
according to the order of their birth. O Brahmana, I have heard all these
from thee. But tell me now all about the Pandavas. While reciting the
incarnations on earth of the celestial, the Asuras, and the beings of
other classes, thou saidst that the Pandavas were all illustrious and
endued with the prowess of gods, and that they were incarnate portion of
the celestials themselves. I desire, therefore, to hear all about those
beings of extraordinary achievements beginning from the moment of their
birth. O Vaisampayana, recite thou their achievements.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, one day Pandu, while roaming about in the
woods (on the southern slopes of the Himavat) that teemed with deer and
wild animals of fierce disposition, saw a large deer, that seemed to be
the leader of a herd, serving his mate. Beholding the animals, the monarch
pierced them both with five of his sharp and swift arrows winged with
golden feathers. O monarch, that was no deer that Pandu struck at, but a
Rishi's son of great ascetic merit who was enjoying his mate in the form
of a deer. Pierced by Pandu, while engaged in the act of intercourse, he
fell down to the ground, uttering cries that were of a man and began to
weep bitterly.

"The deer then addressed Pandu and said, 'O king, even men that are slaves
to lust and wrath, and void of reason, and ever sinful, never commit such
a cruel act as this. Individual judgment prevaileth not against the
ordinance, the ordinance prevaileth against individual judgment. The wise
never sanction anything discountenanced by the ordinance. Thou art born, O
Bharata, in a race that hath ever been virtuous. How is it, therefore,
that even thou, suffering thyself to be overpowered by passion and wrath
losest thy reason?' Hearing this, Pandu replied, 'O deer, kings behave in
the matter of slaying animals of thy species exactly as they do in the
matter of slaying foes. It behoveth thee not, therefore, to reprove me
thus from ignorance. Animals of thy species are slain by open or covert
means. This, indeed, is the practice of kings. Then why dost thou reprove
me? Formerly, the Rishi Agastya, while engaged in the performance of a
grand sacrifice, chased the deer, and devoted every deer in the forest
unto the gods in general. Thou hast been slain, pursuant to the usage
sanctioned by such precedent. Wherefore reprovest us then? For his
especial sacrifices Agastya performed the homa with fat of the deer.'

"The deer then said, 'O king, men do not let fly their arrows at their
enemies when the latter are unprepared. But there is a time for doing it
(viz., after declaration of hostilities). Slaughter at such a time is not

"Pandu replied, 'It is well-known that men slay deer by various effective
means without regarding whether the animals are careful or careless.
Therefore, O deer, why dost thou reprove me?'

"The deer then said, 'O, king, I did not blame thee for thy having killed
a deer, or for the injury thou hast done to me. But, instead of acting so
cruelly, thou shouldst have waited till the completion of my act of
intercourse. What man of wisdom and virtue is there that can kill a deer
while engaged in such an act? The time of sexual intercourse is agreeable
to every creature and productive of good to all. O king, with this my mate
I was engaged in the gratification of my sexual desire. But that effort of
mine hath been rendered futile by thee. O king of the Kurus, as thou art
born in the race of the Pauravas ever noted for white (virtuous) deeds,
such an act hath scarcely been worthy of thee. O Bharata, this act must be
regarded as extremely cruel, deserving of universal execration, infamous,
and sinful, and certainly leading to hell. Thou art acquainted with the
pleasures of sexual intercourse. Thou art acquainted also with the
teaching of morality and dictates of duty. Like unto a celestial as thou
art, it behoveth thee not to do such an act as leadeth to hell. O best of
kings, thy duty is to chastise all who act cruelly, who are engaged in
sinful practices and who have thrown to the winds religion, profit, and
pleasure as explained in the scriptures. What hast thou done, O best of
men, in killing me who have given thee no offence? I am, O king, a Muni
who liveth on fruits and roots, though disguised as a deer. I was living
in the woods in peace with all. Yet thou hast killed me, O king, for which
I will curse thee certainly. As thou hast been cruel unto a couple of
opposite sexes, death shall certainly overtake thee as soon as thou
feelest the influence of sexual desire. I am a Muni of the name of Kindama,
possessed of ascetic merit. I was engaged in sexual intercourse with this
deer, because my feelings of modesty did not permit me to indulge in such
an act in human society. In the form of a deer I rove in the deep woods in
the company of other deer. Thou hast slain me without knowing that I am a
Brahmana, the sin of having slain a Brahmana shall not, therefore, be
thine. But senseless man, as you have killed me, disguised as a deer, at
such a time, thy fate shall certainly be even like mine. When, approaching
thy wife lustfully, thou wilt unite with her even as I had done with mine,
in that very state shalt thou have to go to the world of the spirits. And
that wife of thine with whom thou mayst be united in intercourse at the
time of thy death shall also follow thee with affection and reverence to
the domains of the king of the dead. Thou hast brought me grief when I was
happy. So shall grief come to thee when thou art in happiness.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that deer, afflicted with grief
gave up the ghost; and Pandu also was plunged in woe at the sight.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After the death of that deer, king Pandu with his
wives was deeply afflicted and wept bitterly. And he exclaimed, 'The
wicked, even if born in virtuous families, deluded by their own passions,
become overwhelmed with misery as the fruit of their own deeds. I have
heard that my father, though begotten by Santanu of virtuous soul, was cut
off while still a youth, only because he had become a slave to his lust.
In the soil of that lustful king, the illustrious Rishi Krishna-Dwaipayana
himself, of truthful speech, begot me. A son though I am of such a being,
with my wicked heart wedded to vice, I am yet leading a wandering life in
the woods in the chase of the deer. Oh, the very gods have forsaken me! I
shall seek salvation now. The great impediments to salvation are the
desire to beget children, and other concerns of the world. I shall now
adopt the Brahmacharya mode of life and follow in the imperishable wake of
my father. I shall certainly bring my passions under complete control by
severe ascetic penances. Forsaking my wives and other relatives and
shaving my head, alone shall I wander over the earth, begging for my
subsistence from each of these trees standing here. Forsaking every object
of affection and aversion, and covering my body with dust, I shall make
the shelter of trees or deserted houses my home. I shall never yield to
influence of sorrow or joy, and I shall regard slander and eulogy in the
same light. I shall not seek benedictions or bows. I shall be at peace
with all, and shall not accept gifts. I shall not mock anybody, nor shall
I knit my brows at any one, but shall be ever cheerful and devoted to the
good of all creatures. I shall not harm any of the four orders of life
gifted with power of locomotion or otherwise, viz., oviparous and
viviparous creatures and worms and vegetables. But on the contrary,
preserve an equality of behaviour towards all, as if they were, my own
children. Once a day shall I beg of five or ten families at the most, and
if I do not succeed in obtaining alms, I shall then go without food. I
shall rather stint myself than beg more than once of the same person. If I
do not obtain anything after completing my round of seven or ten houses,
moved by covetousness, I shall not enlarge my round. Whether I obtain or
fail to obtain alms. I shall be equally unmoved like a great ascetic. One
lopping off an arm of mine with a hatchet, and one smearing another arm
with sandal-paste, shall be regarded by me equally. I shall not wish
prosperity to the one or misery to the other. I shall not be pleased with
life or displeased with death. I shall neither desire to live nor to die.
Washing my heart of all sins, I shall certainly transcend those sacred
rites productive of happiness, that men perform in auspicious moments,
days, and periods. I shall also abstain from all acts of religion and
profit and also those that lead to the gratification of the senses. Freed
from all sins and snares of the world, I shall be like the wind subject to
none. Following the path of fearlessness and bearing myself in this way I
shall at last lay down my life. Destitute of the power of begetting
children, firmly adhering to the line of duty I shall not certainly
deviate therefrom in order to tread in the vile path of the world that is
so full of misery. Whether respected or disrespected in the world that man
who from covetousness casteth on others a begging look, certainly behaveth
like a dog. (Destitute as I am of the power of procreation, I should not
certainly, from desire of offspring, solicit others to give me

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The king, having thus wept in sorrow, with a
sigh looked at his two wives Kunti and Madri, and addressing them said,
'Let the princess of Kosala (my mother), Vidura, the king with our friends,
the venerable Satyavati, Bhishma, the priests of our family, illustrious
Soma-drinking Brahmanas of rigid vows and all elderly citizens depending
on us be informed, after being prepared for it, that Pandu hath retired
into the woods to lead a life of asceticism.' Hearing these words of their
lord who had set his heart on a life of asceticism in the woods, both
Kunti and Madri addressed him in these proper words, 'O bull of Bharata's
race, there are many other modes of life which thou canst adopt and in
which thou canst undergo the severest penances along with us, thy wedded
wives--in which for the salvation of thy body (freedom from re-birth),
thou mayest obtain heaven. We also, in the company of our lord, and for
his benefit, controlling our passions and bidding adieu to all luxuries,
shall subject ourselves to the severest austerities. O king, O thou of
great wisdom, if thou abandonest us, we shall then this very day truly
depart from this world.'

Pandu replied, 'If, indeed, this your resolve springeth from virtue, then
with you both I shall follow the imperishable path of my fathers.
Abandoning the luxuries of cities and towns, clad in barks of trees, and
living on fruits and roots, I shall wander in deep woods, practising the
severest penances. Bathing morning and evening, I shall perform the homa.
I shall reduce my body by eating very sparingly and shall wear rags and
skins and knotted locks on my head. Exposing myself to heat and cold and
disregarding hunger and thirst, I shall reduce my body by severe ascetic
penances, I shall live in solitude and I shall give myself up to
contemplation; I shall eat fruit, ripe or green, that I may find. I shall
offer oblations to the Pitris (manes) and the gods with speech, water and
the fruits of the wilderness. I shall not see, far less harm, any of the
denizens of the woods, or any of my relatives, or any of the residents of
cities and towns. Until I lay down this body, I shall thus practise the
severe ordinances of the Vanaprastha scriptures, always searching for
severer ones that they may contain.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Kuru king, having said this unto his wives,
gave away to Brahmanas the big jewel in his diadem, his necklace of
precious gold, his bracelets, his large ear-rings, his valuable robes and
all the ornaments of his wives. Then summoning his attendants, he
commended them, saying, 'Return ye to Hastinapura and proclaim unto all
that Pandu with his wives hath gone into the woods, foregoing wealth,
desire, happiness, and even sexual appetite.' Then those followers and
attendants, hearing these and other soft words of the king, set up a loud
wail, uttering, 'Oh, we are undone!' Then with hot tears trickling down
their cheeks they left the monarch and returned to Hastinapura with speed
carrying that wealth with them (that was to be distributed in charity).
Then Dhritarashtra, that first of men, hearing from them everything that
had happened in the woods, wept for his brother. He brooded over his
affliction continually, little relishing the comfort of beds and seats and

"Meanwhile, the Kuru prince Pandu (after sending away his attendants)
accompanied by his two wives and eating fruits and roots went to the
mountains of Nagasata. He next went to Chaitraratha, and then crossed the
Kalakuta, and finally, crossing the Himavat, he arrived at Gandhamadana.
Protected by Mahabhutas, Siddhas, and great Rishis, Pandu lived, O king,
sometimes on level ground and sometimes on mountain slopes. He then
journeyed on to the lake of Indradyumna, whence crossing the mountains of
Hansakuta, he went to the mountain of hundred peaks (Sata-sringa) and
there continued to practise ascetic austerities.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Pandu, possessed of great energy, then devoted
himself to asceticism. Within a short time he became the favourite of the
whole body of the Siddhas and Charanas residing there. And, O Bharata,
devoted to the service of his spiritual masters, free from vanity, with
mind under complete control and the passions fully subdued, the prince,
becoming competent to enter heaven by his own energy, attained to great
(ascetic) prowess. Some of the Rishis would call him brother, some friend,
while others cherished him as their son. And, O bull of Bharata's race,
having acquired after a long time great ascetic merit coupled with
complete singleness, Pandu became even like a Brahmarshi (though he was a
Kshatriya by birth).

"On a certain day of the new moon, the great Rishis of rigid vows
assembled together, and desirous of beholding Brahman were on the point of
starting on their expedition. Seeing them about to start, Pandu asked
those ascetics, saying, 'Ye first of eloquent men, where shall we go?' The
Rishis answered, 'There will be a great gathering today, in the abode of
Brahman, of celestials, Rishis and Pitris. Desirous of beholding the Self-
create we shall go there today.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing this, Pandu rose up suddenly, desirous
of visiting heaven along with the great Rishis. Accompanied by his two
wives, when he was on the point of following the Rishis in the northerly
direction from the mountain of hundred peaks, those ascetics addressed him
saying, 'In our northward march, while gradually ascending the king of
mountains, we have seen on its delightful breast many regions inaccessible
to ordinary mortals; retreats also of the gods, and Gandharvas and Apsaras,
with palatial mansions by hundreds clustering thick around and resounding
with the sweet notes of celestial music, the gardens of Kuvera laid out on
even and uneven grounds, banks of mighty rivers, and deep caverns. There
are many regions also on those heights that are covered with perpetual
snow and are utterly destitute of vegetable and animal existence. In some
places the downpour of rain is so heavy that they are perfectly
inaccessible and incapable of being utilised for habitation. Not to speak
of other animals, even winged creatures cannot cross them. The only thing
that can go there is air, and the only beings, Siddhas and great Rishis.
How shall these princesses ascend those heights of the king of mountains?
Unaccustomed to pain, shall they not droop in affliction? Therefore, come
not with us, O bull of Bharata's race!'

"Pandu replied, 'Ye fortunate ones, it is said that for the sonless there
is no admittance into heaven. I am sonless! In affliction I speak unto
you! I am afflicted because I have not been able to discharge the debt I
owe to my ancestors. It is certain that with the dissolution of this my
body my ancestors perish! Men are born on this earth with four debts, viz.
those due unto the (deceased) ancestors, the gods, the Rishis, and other
men. In justice these must be discharged. The wise have declared that no
regions of bliss exist for them that neglect to pay these debts in due
time. The gods are paid (gratified) by sacrifices, the Rishis, by study,
meditation, and asceticism, the (deceased) ancestors, by begetting
children and offering the funeral cake, and, lastly other men, by leading
a humane and inoffensive life. I have justly discharged my obligations to
the Rishis, the gods, and other men. But those others than these three are
sure to perish with the dissolution of my body! Ye ascetics, I am not yet
freed from the debt I owe to my (deceased) ancestors. The best of men are
born in this world to beget children for discharging that debt. I would
ask you, should children be begotten in my soil (upon my wives) as I
myself was begotten in the soil of my father by the eminent Rishi?'

"The Rishis said, 'O king of virtuous soul, there is progeny in store for
thee, that is sinless and blest with good fortune and like unto the gods.
We behold it all with our prophetic eyes. Therefore, O tiger among men,
accomplish by your own acts that which destiny pointeth at. Men of
intelligence, acting with deliberation, always obtain good fruits; it
behoveth thee, therefore, O king, to exert thyself. The fruits thou
wouldst obtain are distinctly visible. Thou wouldst really obtain
accomplished and agreeable progeny.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the ascetics, Pandu,
remembering the loss of his procreative powers owing to the curse of the
deer, began to reflect deeply. And calling his wedded wife the excellent
Kunti, unto him, he told her in private, 'Strive thou to raise offspring
at this time of distress. The wise expounders of the eternal religion
declare that a son, O Kunti, is the cause of virtuous fame in the three
worlds. It is said that sacrifices, charitable gifts, ascetic penances,
and vows observed most carefully, do not confer religious merit on a
sonless man. O thou of sweet smiles, knowing all this, I am certain that
as I am sonless, I shall not obtain regions of true felicity. O timid one,
wretch that I was and addicted to cruel deeds, as a consequence of the
polluted life I led, my power of procreation hath been destroyed by the
curse of the deer. The religious institutes mention six kinds of sons that
are heirs and kinsmen, and six other kinds that are not heirs but kinsmen.
I shall speak of them presently. O Pritha, listen to me. They are: 1st,
the son begotten by one's own self upon his wedded wife; 2nd, the son
begotten upon one's wife by an accomplished person from motives of
kindness; 3rd, the son begotten upon one's wife by a person for pecuniary
consideration; 4th, the son begotten upon the wife after the husband's
death; 5th, the maiden-born son; 6th, the son born of an unchaste wife;
7th, the son given; 8th, the son bought for a consideration; 9th, the son
self-given; 10th, the son received with a pregnant bride; 11th, the
brother's son; and 12th, the son begotten upon a wife of lower caste. On
failure of offspring of a prior class, the mother should desire to have
offspring of the next class. In times of distress, men solicit offspring
from accomplished younger brothers. The self-born Manu hath said that men
failing to have legitimate offspring of their own may have offspring

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