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

Part 7 out of 11

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begotten upon their wives by others, for sons confer the highest religious
merit. Therefore, O Kunti, being destitute myself of the power of
procreation, I command thee to raise good offspring through some person
who is either equal or superior to me. O Kunti, listen to the history of
the daughter of Saradandayana who was appointed by her lord to raise
offspring. That warrior-dame, when her monthly season arrived, bathed duly
and in the night went out and waited on a spot where four roads met. She
did not wait long when a Brahmana crowned with ascetic success came there.
The daughter of Saradandayana solicited him for offspring. After pouring
libations of clarified butter on the fire (in the performance of the
sacrifice known by the name of Punsavana) she brought forth three sons
that were mighty car-warriors and of whom Durjaya was the eldest, begotten
upon her by that Brahmana. O thou of good fortune, do thou follow that
warrior-dame's example at my command, and speedily raise offspring out of
the seed of some Brahmana of high ascetic merit.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed, Kunti replied unto her heroic lord,
king Pandu, that bull amongst the Kurus, saying, 'O virtuous one, it
behoveth thee not to say so unto me. I am, O thou lotus-eyed one, thy
wedded wife, devoted to thee. O, Bharata of mighty arms, thyself shalt, in
righteousness, beget upon me children endued with great energy. Then I
shall ascend to heaven with thee; O prince of Kuru's race, receive me in
thy embrace for begetting children. I shall not certainly, even in
imagination, accept any other man except thee in my embraces. What other
man is there in this world superior to thee? O virtuous one, listen to
this Pauranic narrative that hath been, O thou of large eyes, heard by me,
and that I shall presently narrate.

"There was, in ancient times, a king in the race of Puru, known by the
name of Vyushitaswa. He was devoted to truth and virtue. Of virtuous soul
and mighty arms, on one occasion, while he was performing a sacrifice the
gods with Indra and the great Rishis came to him, and Indra was so
intoxicated with the Soma juice he drank and the Brahmanas with the large
presents they received, that both the gods and the great Rishis began
themselves to perform everything appertaining to that sacrifice of the
illustrious royal sage. And thereupon Vyushitaswa began to shine above all
men like the Sun appearing in double splendour after the season of frost
is over. And the powerful Vyushitaswa, who was endued with the strength of
ten elephants very soon performed the horse-sacrifice, overthrowing, O
best of monarchs, all the kings of the East, the North, the West and the
South, and exacted tributes from them all. There is an anecdote, O best of
the Kurus, that is sung by all reciters of the Puranas, in connection with
that first of all men, the illustrious Vyushitaswa.--Having conquered the
whole Earth up to the coast of the sea, Vyushitaswa protected every class
of his subjects as a father does his own begotten sons.--Performing many
great sacrifices he gave away much wealth to the Brahmanas. After
collecting unlimited jewels and precious stones he made arrangements for
performing still greater ones. And he performed also the Agnishtoma, and
other special Vedic sacrifices, extracting great quantities of Soma juice.
And, O king, Vyushitaswa had for his dear wife, Bhadra, the daughter of
Kakshivat, unrivalled for beauty on earth. And it hath been heard by us
that the couple loved each other deeply. King Vyushitaswa was seldom
separated from his wife. Sexual excess, however, brought on an attack of
phthisis and the king died within a few days, sinking like the Sun in his
glory. Then Bhadra, his beautiful queen, was plunged into woe, and as she
was sonless, O tiger among men, she wept in great affliction. Listen to me,
O king, as I narrate to you all that Bhadra said with bitter tears
trickling down her cheeks. 'O virtuous one', she said, 'Women serve no
purpose when their husbands are dead. She who liveth after her husband is
dead, draggeth on a miserable existence that can hardly be called life. O
bull of the Kshatriya order, death is a blessing to women without husbands.
I wish to follow the way thou hast gone. Be kind and take me with thee. In
thy absence, I am unable to bear life even for a moment. Be kind to me, O
king and take me hence pretty soon. O tiger among men, I shall follow thee
over the even and uneven ground. Thou hast gone away, O lord, never to
return. I shall follow thee, O king, as thy own shadow. O tiger among men,
I will obey thee (as thy slave) and will ever do what is agreeable to thee
and what is for thy good. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, without thee,
from this day, mental agonies will overwhelm me and eat into my heart. A
wretch that I am, some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me in
a former life, for which, in this life, I am made to suffer the pangs of
separation from thee. O king, that wretched woman who liveth even for a
moment separated from her lord, liveth in woe and suffereth the pangs of
hell even here. Some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me in a
former life, for which sinful act I am suffering this torture arising from
my separation from thee. O king, from this day I will lay myself down on a
bed of Kusa grass and abstain from every luxury, hoping to behold thee
once more. O tiger among men, show thyself to me. O king, O lord, command
once more thy wretched and bitterly weeping wife plunged in woe.'

"Kunti continued, 'It was thus, O Pandu, that the beautiful Bhadra wept
over the death of her lord. And the weeping Bhadra clasped in her arms the
corpse in anguish of heart. Then she was addressed by an incorporeal voice
in these words, "Rise up, O Bhadra, and leave this place. O thou of sweet
smiles, I grant thee this boon. I will beget offspring upon thee. Lie thou
down with me on thy own bed, after the catamenial bath, on the night of
the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon.' Thus addressed by the
incorporeal voice, the chaste Bhadra did, as she was directed, for
obtaining offspring. And, O bull of the Bharatas, the corpse of her
husband begat upon her seven children viz., three Salwas and four Madras.
O bull of the Bharatas, do thou also beget offspring upon me, like the
illustrious Vyushitaswa, by the exercise of that ascetic power which thou


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by his loving wife, king Pandu, well-
acquainted with all rules of morality, replied in these words of virtuous
import, 'O Kunti, what thou hast said is quite true. Vyushitaswa of old
did even as thou hast said. Indeed he was equal unto the celestials
themselves. But I shall now tell thee about the practices of old indicated
by illustrious Rishis, fully acquainted with every rule of morality. O
thou of handsome face and sweet smiles, women formerly were not immured
within houses and dependent on husbands and other relatives. They used to
go about freely, enjoying themselves as best as they liked. O thou of
excellent qualities, they did not then adhere to their husbands faithfully,
and yet, O handsome one, they were not regarded sinful, for that was the
sanctioned usage of the times. That very usage is followed to this day by
birds and beasts without any (exhibition of) jealousy. That practice,
sanctioned by precedent, is applauded by great Rishis. O thou of taper
thighs, the practice is yet regarded with respect amongst the Northern
Kurus. Indeed, that usage, so lenient to women, hath the sanction of
antiquity. The present practice, however (of women's being confined to one
husband for life) hath been established but lately. I shall tell thee in
detail who established it and why.

"It hath been heard by us that there was a great Rishi of the name of
Uddalaka, who had a son named Swetaketu who also was an ascetic of merit.
O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, the present virtuous practice hath been
established by that Swetaketu from anger. Hear thou the reason. One day,
in the presence of Swetaketu's father a Brahmana came and catching
Swetaketu's mother by the hand, told her, 'Let us go.' Beholding his
mother seized by the hand and taken away apparently by force, the son was
greatly moved by wrath. Seeing his son indignant, Uddalaka addressed him
and said, 'Be not angry. O son! This is the practice sanctioned by
antiquity. The women of all orders in this world are free, O son; men in
this matter, as regards their respective orders, act as kine.' The Rishi's
son, Swetaketu, however, disapproved of the usage and established in the
world the present practice as regards men and women. It hath been heard by
us, O thou of great virtue, that the existing practice dates from that
period among human beings but not among beings of other classes.
Accordingly, since the establishment of the present usage, it is sinful
for women not to adhere to their husbands. Women transgressing the limits
assigned by the Rishi became guilty of slaying the embryo. And, men, too,
violating a chaste and loving wife who hath from her maidenhood observed
the vow of purity, became guilty of the same sin. The woman also who,
being commanded by her husband to raise offspring, refuses to do his
bidding, becometh equally sinful.

"Thus, O timid one, was the existing usage established of old by Swetaketu,
the son of Uddalaka, in defiance of antiquity. O thou of taper thighs, it
hath also been heard by us that Madayanti, the wife of Saudasa, commanded
by her husband to raise offspring went unto Rishi Vasishtha. And on going
in unto him, the handsome Madayanti obtained a son named Asmaka. She did
this, moved by the desire of doing good to her husband. O thou of lotus-
eyes, thou knowest, O timid girl, how we ourselves, for the perpetuation
of the Kuru race, were begotten by Krishna-Dwaipayana. O faultless one,
beholding all these precedents it behoveth thee to do my bidding, which is
not inconsistent with virtue, O princess, who is devoted to her husband,
it hath also been said by those acquainted with the rules of morality that
a wife, when her monthly season cometh, must ever seek her husband, though
at other times she deserveth liberty. The wise have declared this to be
the ancient practice. But, be the act sinful or sinless, those acquainted
with the Vedas have declared that it is the duty of wives to do what their
husbands bid them do. Especially, O thou of faultless features, I, who am
deprived of the power of procreation, having yet become desirous of
beholding offspring, deserve the more to be obeyed by thee. O amiable one,
joining my palms furnished with rosy fingers, and making of them a cup as
of lotus leaves, I place them on my head to propitiate thee. O thou of
lair looks, it behoveth thee to raise offspring, at my command, through
some Brahmana possessed of high ascetic merit. For then, owing to thee, O
thou of fair hips, I may go the way that is reserved for those that are
blessed with children.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Pandu, that subjugator of
hostile cities, the handsome Kunti, ever attentive to what was agreeable
and beneficial to her lord, then replied unto him, saying, 'In my girlhood,
O lord, I was in my father's house engaged in attending upon all guests. I
used to wait respectfully upon Brahmanas of rigid vows and great ascetic
merit. One day I gratified with my attentions that Brahmana whom people
call Durvasa, of mind under full control and possessing knowledge of all
the mysteries of religion. Pleased with my services, that Brahmana gave me
a boon in the form of a mantra (formula of invocation) for calling into my
presence any one of the celestials I liked. And the Rishi, addressing me,
said, 'Anyone among the celestials whom thou callest by this shall, O girl,
approach thee and be obedient to thy will, whether he liketh it or not.
And, O princess, thou shall also have offspring through his grace.' O
Bharata, that Brahmana told me this when I lived in my father's house. The
words uttered by the Brahmana can never be false. The time also hath come
when they may yield fruit. Commanded by thee, O royal sage, I can by that
mantra summon any of the celestials, so that we may have good children. O
foremost of all truthful men, tell me which of the celestials I shall
summon. Know that, as regards this matter, I await your commands.'

"Hearing this, Pandu replied, 'O handsome one, strive duly this very day
to gratify our wishes. Fortunate one, summon thou the god of justice. He
is the most virtuous of the celestials. The god of justice and virtue will
never be able to pollute us with sin. The world also, O beautiful princess,
will then think that what we do can never be unholy. The son also that we
shall obtain from him shall in virtue be certainly the foremost among the
Kurus. Begotten by the god of justice and morality, he would never set his
heart upon anything that is sinful or unholy. Therefore, O thou of sweet
smiles, steadily keeping virtue before thy eyes, and duly observing holy
vows, summon thou the god of justice and virtue by the help of thy
solicitations and incantations.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Kunti, that best of women, thus addressed
by her lord, said, 'So be it.' And bowing down to him and reverently
circumambulating his person, she resolved to do his bidding.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O Janamejaya, when Gandhari's conception had been a
full year old, it was then that Kunti summoned the eternal god of justice
to obtain offspring from him. And she offered without loss of time,
sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that Durvasa
had imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by her
incantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his car
resplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, 'O Kunti, what am I to give
thee?' And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, 'Thou must even give me
offspring.' Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) with the
god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a son devoted
to the good of all creatures. And she brought his excellent child, who
lived to acquire a great fame, at the eighth Muhurta called Abhijit, of
the hour of noon of that very auspicious day of the seventh month
(Kartika), viz., the fifth of the lighted fortnight, when the star
Jyeshtha in conjunction with the moon was ascendant. And as soon as the
child was born, an incorporeal voice (from the skies) said, 'This child
shall be the best of men, the foremost of those that are virtuous. Endued
with great prowess and truthful in speech, he shall certainly be the ruler
of the earth. And this first child of Pandu shall be known by the name of
Yudhishthira. Possessed of prowess and honesty of disposition, he shall be
a famous king, known throughout the three worlds.'

"Pandu, having obtained that virtuous son, again addressed his wife and
said, 'The wise have declared that a Kshatriya must be endued with
physical strength, otherwise he is no Kshatriya.' Therefore, ask thou for
an offspring of superior strength.' Thus commanded by her lord, Kunti then
invoked Vayu. And the mighty god of wind, thus invoked, came unto her,
riding upon a deer, and said, 'What, O Kunti, am I to give thee? Tell me
what is in thy heart.' Smiling in modesty, she said to him, 'Give me, O
best of celestials, a child endued with great strength and largeness of
limbs and capable of humbling the pride of every body.' The god of wind
thereupon begat upon her the child afterwards known as Bhima of mighty
arms and fierce prowess. And upon the birth of that child endued with
extraordinary strength, an incorporeal voice, O Bharata, as before, said,
'This child shall be the foremost of all endued with strength.' I must
tell you, O Bharata, of another wonderful event that occurred after the
birth of Vrikodara (Bhima). While he fell from the lap of his mother upon
the mountain breast, the violence of the fall broke into fragments the
stone upon which he fell without his infant body being injured in the
least. And he fell from his mother's lap because Kunti, frightened by a
tiger, had risen up suddenly, unconscious of the child that lay asleep on
her lap. And as she had risen, the infant, of body hard as the thunderbolt,
falling down upon the mountain breast, broke into a hundred fragments the
rocky mass upon which he fell. And beholding this, Pandu wondered much.
And it so happened that that very day on which Vrikodara was born, was
also, O best of Bharatas, the birthday of Duryodhana who afterwards became
the ruler of the whole earth.'

"After the birth of Vrikodara, Pandu again began to think, 'How am I to
obtain a very superior son who shall achieve world-wide fame? Every thing
in the world dependeth on destiny and exertion. But destiny can never be
successful except by timely exertion. We have heard it said that Indra is
the chief of the gods. Indeed, he is endued with immeasurable might and
energy and prowess and glory. Gratifying him with my asceticism, I shall
obtain from him a son of great strength. Indeed, the son he giveth me must
be superior to all and capable of vanquishing in battle all men and
creatures other than men. I shall, therefore, practise the severest
austerities, with heart, deed and speech.'

"After this, the Kuru king Pandu, taking counsel with the great Rishis
commanded Kunti to observe an auspicious vow for one full year, while he
himself commenced, O Bharata, to stand upon one leg from morning to
evening, and practise other severe austerities with mind rapt in
meditation, for gratifying the lord of the celestials.

"It was after a long time that Indra (gratified with such devotion)
approached Pandu and, addressing him, said, 'I shall give thee, O king, a
son who will be celebrated all over the three worlds and who will promote
the welfare of Brahmanas, kine and all honest men. The son I shall give
thee will be the smiter of the wicked and the delight of friends and
relatives. Foremost of all men, he will be an irresistible slayer of all
foes.' Thus addressed by Vasava (the king of the celestials), the virtuous
king of the Kuru race, well-recollecting those words, said unto Kunti, 'O
fortunate one, thy vow hath become successful. The lord of the celestials
hath been gratified, and is willing to give thee a son such as thou
desirest, of superhuman achievements and great fame. He will be the
oppressor of all enemies and possessed of great wisdom. Endued with a
great soul, in splendour equal unto the Sun, invincible in battles, and of
great achievements, he will also be extremely handsome. O thou of fair
hips and sweet smiles, the lord of the celestials hath become gracious to
thee. Invoking him, bring thou forth a child who will be the very home of
all Kshatriya virtues.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The celebrated Kunti, thus addressed by her lord,
invoked Sakra (the king of the gods) who thereupon came unto her and begat
him that was afterwards called Arjuna. And as soon as this child was born,
an incorporeal voice, loud and deep as that of the clouds and filling the
whole welkin, distinctly said, addressing Kunti in the hearing of every
creature dwelling in that asylum, 'This child of thine, O Kunti, will be
equal unto Kartavirya in energy and Siva in prowess. Invincible like Sakra
himself he will spread thy fame far and wide. As Vishnu (the youngest of
Aditi's sons) had enhanced Aditi's joy, so shall this child enhance thy
joy. Subjugating the Madras, the Kurus along with the Somakas, and the
people of Chedi, Kasi and Karusha, he will maintain the prosperity of the
Kurus. (Surfeited with libations at the sacrifice of king Swetaketu), Agni
will derive great gratification from the fat of all creatures dwelling in
the Khandava woods (to be burnt down) by the might of this one's arms.
This mighty hero, vanquishing all the monarchs of the earth, will with
his brothers perform three great sacrifices. In prowess, O Kunti, he will
be even as Jamadagnya or Vishnu. The foremost of all men endued with
prowess, he will achieve great fame. He will gratify in battle (by his
heroism) Sankara, the god of gods (Mahadeva), and will receive from him
the great weapon named Pasupata. This thy son of mighty arms will also
slay, at the command of Indra, those Daityas called the Nivatakavachas who
are the enemies of the gods. He will also acquire all kinds of celestial
weapons, and this bull among men will also retrieve the fortunes of his

"Kunti heard these extraordinary words, while lying in the room. And
hearing those words uttered so loudly, the ascetics dwelling on the
mountain of a hundred peaks, and the celestials with Indra sitting in
their cars, became exceedingly glad. The sounds of the (invisible) drum
filled the entire welkin. There were shouts of joy, and the whole region
was covered with flowers showered down by invisible agents. The various
tribes of celestials assembled together, began to offer their respectful
adorations to the son of Pritha. The sons of Kadru (Nagas), the son of
Vinata, the Gandharvas, the lords of the creation, and the seven great
Rishis, viz., Bharadwaja, Kasyapa, Gautama, Viswamitra, Jamadagni,
Vasishtha, and the illustrious Atri who illumined the world of old when
the Sun was lost, all came there. And Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha,
Kratu, Daksha the lord of creation, the Gandharvas, and Apsaras, came
there also. The various tribes of Apsaras, decked with celestial garlands
and every ornament, and attired in fine robes, came there and danced in
joy, chanting the praises of Vibhatsu (Arjuna). All around, the great
Rishis began to utter propitiatory formulas. And Tumvuru accompanied by
the Gandharvas began to sing in charming notes. And Bhimasena and Ugrasena,
Urnayus and Anagha, Gopati and Dhritarashtra and Suryavarchas the eighth,
Yugapa and Trinapa, Karshni, Nandi, and Chitraratha, Salisirah the
thirteenth, Parjanya the fourteenth, Kali the fifteenth, and Narada the
sixteenth in this list, Vrihatta, Vrihaka, Karala of great soul,
Brahmacharin, Vahuguna, Suvarna of great fame, Viswavasu, Bhumanyu,
Suchandra, Sam and the celebrated tribes of Haha and Huhu gifted with
wonderful melody of voice,--these celestial Gandharvas, O king, all went
there. Many illustrious Apsaras also of large eyes, decked with every
ornament came there to dance and sing. And Anuchana and Anavadya,
Gunamukhya and Gunavara, Adrika and Soma, Misrakesi and Alambusha, Marichi
and Suchika, Vidyutparna and Tilottama and Ambika, Lakshmana, Kshema Devi,
Rambha, Manorama, Asita, Suvahu, Supriya, Suvapuh, Pundarika, Sugandha,
Surasa, Pramathini, Kamya and Saradwati, all danced there together. And
Menaka, Sahajanya, Karnika, Punjikasthala, Ritusthala, Ghritachi, Viswachi,
Purvachiti, the celebrated Umlocha, Pramlocha the tenth and Urvasi the
eleventh,--these large-eyed dancing girls of heaven,--came there and sang
in chorus. And Dharti and Aryaman and Mitra and Varuna, Bhaga and Indra,
Vivaswat, Pushan, Tvastri and Parjanya or Vishnu, these twelve Adityas
came there to glorify Pandu's son. And, O king, Mrigavyadha, Sarpa, the
celebrated Niriti, Ajaikapada, Ahivradhna, Pinakin, Dahana, Iswara,
Kapalin, Sthanu and the illustrious Bhaga--these eleven Rudras,--also came
there. And the twin Aswins, the eight Vasus, the mighty Maruts, the
Viswedevas, and the Sadhyas, also came there. And Karkotaka, Vasuki,
Kachchhapa, Kunda and the great Naga Takshaka,--these mighty and wrathful
snakes possessed of high ascetic merit also came there. And Tarkshya,
Arishtanemi, Garuda, Asitadvaja,--these and many other Nagas, came there,
so also Aruna and Aruni of Vinata's race also came there. And only great
Rishis crowned with ascetic success and not others saw those celestials
and other beings seated in their cars or waiting on the mountain peaks.
Those best of Munis beholding that wonderful sight, became amazed, and
their love and affection for the children of Pandu was in consequence

"The celebrated Pandu, tempted by the desire of having more children
wished to speak again unto his wedded wife (for invoking some other god).
But Kunti addressed him, saying, 'The wise do not sanction a fourth
delivery even in a season of distress. The woman having intercourse with
four different men is called a Swairini (wanton), while she having
intercourse with five becometh a harlot. Therefore, O learned one, as thou
art well-acquainted with the scripture on this subject, why dost thou,
beguiled by desire of offspring, tell me so in seeming forgetfulness of
the ordinance?'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After the birth of Kunti's sons and also of the
hundred sons of Dhritarashtra the daughter of the king of the Madras
privately addressed Pandu, saying, 'O slayer of foes, I have no complaint
even if thou beest unpropitious to me. I have, O sinless one, also no
complaint that though by birth I am superior to Kunti yet I am inferior to
her in station. I do not grieve, O thou of Kuru's race, that Gandhari hath
obtained a hundred sons. This, however, is my great grief that while Kunti
and I are equal, I should be childless, while it should so chance that
thou shouldst have offspring by Kunti alone. If the daughter of Kuntibhoja
should so provide that I should have offspring, she would then be really
doing me a great favour and benefiting thee likewise. She being my rival,
I feel a delicacy in soliciting any favour of her. If thou beest, O king,
propitiously disposed to me, then ask her to grant my desire.'

"Hearing her, Pandu replied, 'O Madri, I do revolve this matter often in
my own mind, but I have hitherto hesitated to tell thee anything, not
knowing how thou wouldst receive it. Now that I know what your wishes are,
I shall certainly strive after that end. I think that, asked by me, Kunti
will not refuse.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Pandu addressed Kunti in private,
saying, 'O Kunti, grant me some more offspring for the expansion of my
race and for the benefit of the world. O blessed one, provide thou that I
myself, my ancestors, and thine also, may always have the funeral cake
offered to us. O, do what is beneficial to me, and grant me and the world
what, indeed, is the best of benefits. O, do what, indeed, may be
difficult for thee, moved by the desire of achieving undying fame. Behold,
Indra, even though he hath obtained the sovereignty of the celestials,
doth yet, for fame alone, perform sacrifices. O handsome one, Brahmanas,
well-acquainted with the Vedas, and having achieved high ascetic merit, do
yet, for fame alone, approach their spiritual masters with reverence. So
also all royal sages and Brahmanas possessed of ascetic wealth have
achieved, for fame only, the most difficult of ascetic feat. Therefore, O
blameless one, rescue this Madri as by a raft (by granting her the means
of obtaining offspring), and achieve thou imperishable fame by making her
a mother of children.'

"Thus addressed by her lord, Kunti readily yielded, and said unto Madri,
'Think thou, without loss of time, of some celestial, and thou shall
certainly obtain from him a child like unto him.' Reflecting for a few
moments. Madri thought of the twin Aswins, who coming unto her with speed
begat upon her two sons that were twins named Nakula and Sahadeva,
unrivalled on earth for personal beauty. And as soon as they were born, an
incorporeal voice said, 'In energy and beauty these twins shall transcend
even the twin Aswins themselves.' Indeed possessed of great energy and
beauty, they illumined the whole region.

"O king, after all the children were born the Rishis dwelling on the
mountain of a hundred peaks uttering blessings on them and affectionately
performing the first rites of birth, bestowed appellations on them. The
eldest of Kunti's children was called Yudhishthira, the second Bhimasena,
and the third Arjuna, and of Madri's sons, the first-born of the twins was
called Nakula and the next Sahadeva. And those foremost sons born at an
interval of one year after one another, looked like an embodied period of
five years. And king Pandu, beholding his children of celestial beauty and
of super-abundant energy, great strength and prowess, and of largeness of
soul, rejoiced exceedingly. And the children became great favourites of
the Rishis, as also of their wives, dwelling on the mountain of a hundred

"Some time after, Pandu again requested Kunti on behalf of Madri.
Addressed, O king, by her lord in private, Kunti replied, 'Having given
her the formula of invocation only once, she hath, O king, managed to
obtain two sons. Have I not been thus deceived by her, I fear, O king,
that she will soon surpass me in the number of her children. This, indeed,
is the way of all wicked women. Fool that I was, I did not know that by
invoking the twin gods I could obtain at one birth twin children. I
beseech thee, O king, do not command me any further. Let this be the boon
granted (by thee) to me.'

"Thus, O king, were born unto Pandu five sons who were begotten by
celestials and were endued with great strength, and who all lived to
achieve great fame and expand the Kuru race. Each bearing every auspicious
mark on his person, handsome like Soma, proud as the lion, well-skilled in
the use of the bow, and of leonine tread, breast, heart, eyes, neck and
prowess, those foremost of men, resembling the celestials themselves in
might, began to grow up. And beholding them and their virtues growing with
years, the great Rishis dwelling on that snowcapped sacred mountain were
filled with wonder. And the five Pandavas and the hundred sons of
Dhritarashtra--that propagator of the Kuru race--grew up rapidly like a
cluster of lotuses in a lake.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, "Beholding his five handsome sons growing up before
him in that great forest on the charming mountain slope, Pandu felt the
last might of his arms revive once more. One day in the season of spring
which maddens every creature the king accompanied by his wife (Madri),
began to rove in the woods where every tree had put forth new blossoms. He
beheld all around Palasas and Tilakas and Mangoes and Champakas and
Parihadrakas and Karnikaras, Asokas and Kesaras and Atimuktas and
Kuruvakas with swarms of maddened bees sweetly humming about. And there
were flowers of blossoming Parijatas with the Kokilas pouring forth their
melodies from under every twig echoing with the sweet hums of the black
bees. And he beheld also various other kinds of trees bent down with the
weight of their flowers and fruits. And there were also many fine pools of
water overgrown with hundreds of fragrant lotuses. Beholding all these,
Pandu felt the soft influence of desire. Roving like a celestial with a
light heart amidst such scenery, Pandu was alone with his wife Madri in
semi-transparent attire. And beholding the youthful Madri thus attired,
the king's desire flamed up like a forest-fire. And ill-able to suppress
his desire thus kindled at the sight of his wife of eyes like lotus-petals,
he was completely overpowered. The king then seized her against her will,
but Madri trembling in fear resisted him to the best of her might.
Consumed by desire, he forgot everything about his misfortune. And, O thou
of Kuru's race unrestrained by the fear of (the Rishi's) curse and
impelled by fate, the monarch, overpowered by passion, forcibly sought the
embraces of Madri, as if he wished to put an end to his own life. His
reason, thus beguiled by the great Destroyer himself by intoxicating his
senses, was itself lost with his life. And the Kuru king Pandu, of
virtuous soul, thus succumbed to the inevitable influence of Time, while
united in intercourse with his wife.

"Then Madri, clasping the body of her senseless lord, began to weep aloud.
And Kunti with her sons and the twins of Madri, hearing those cries of
grief, came to the spot where the king lay in that state. Then, O king,
Madri addressing Kunti in a piteous voice, said, 'Come hither alone, O
Kunti, and let the children stay there.' Hearing these words, Kunti, the
children stay, ran with speed, exclaiming, 'Woe to me!' And beholding both
Pandu and Madri lying prostrate on the ground she went in grief and
affliction, saying, 'Of passions under complete control, this hero, O
Madri, had all along been watched by me with care. How did he then
forgetting the Rishi's curse, approach thee with enkindled desire? O Madri,
this foremost of men should have been protected by thee. Why didst thou
tempt him into solitude? Always melancholy at the thought of the Rishi's
curse, how came he to be merry with thee in solitude? O princess of
Valhika, more fortunate than myself, thou art really to be envied, for
thou hast seen the face of our lord suffused with gladness and joy.'

"Madri then replied, saying, 'Revered sister, with tears in my eyes, I
resisted the king, but he could not control himself, bent on, as it were
making the Rishi's curse true.'

"Kunti then said, 'I am the older of his wedded wives; the chief religious
merit must be mine. Therefore, O Madri, prevent me not from achieving that
which must be achieved. I must follow our lord to the region of the dead.
Rise up, O Madri, and yield me his body. Rear thou these children.' Madri
replied, saying, 'I do clasp our lord yet, and have not allowed him to
depart; therefore, I shall follow him. My appetite hath not been appeased.
Thou art my older sister, O let me have thy sanction. This foremost one of
the Bharata princes had approached me, desiring to have intercourse. His
appetite unsatiated, shall I not follow him in the region of Yama to
gratify him? O revered one, if I survive thee, it is certain I shall not
be able to rear thy children as if they were mine. Will not sin touch me
on that account? But, thou O Kunti, shall be able to bring my sons up as
if they were thine. The king, in seeking me wishfully, hath gone to the
region of spirits; therefore, my body should be burnt with his. O revered
sister, withhold not thy sanction to this which is agreeable to me. Thou
wilt certainly bring up the children carefully. That indeed, would be very
agreeable to me. I have no other direction to give!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the daughter of the king of
Madras, the wedded wife of Pandu, ascended the funeral pyre of her lord,
that bull among men.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The godlike Rishis, wise in counsels, beholding the
death of Pandu, consulted with one another, and said, 'The virtuous and
renowned king Pandu, abandoning both sovereignty and kingdom came hither
for practising ascetic austerities and resigned himself to the ascetics
dwelling on this mountain. He hath hence ascended to heaven, leaving his
wife and infant sons as a trust in our hands. Our duty now is to repair to
his kingdom with these his offspring, and his wife.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those godlike Rishis of magnanimous hearts,
and crowned with ascetic success, summoning one another, resolved to go to
Hastinapura with Pandu's children ahead, desiring to place them in the
hands of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. The ascetics set out that very moment,
taking with them those children and Kunti and the two dead bodies. And
though unused to toil all her life, the affectionate Kunti now regarded as
very short the really long journey she had to perform. Having arrived at
Kurujangala within a short time, the illustrious Kunti presented herself
at the principal gate. The ascetics then charged the porters to inform the
king of their arrival. The men carried the message in a trice to the court.
And the citizens of Hastinapura, hearing of the arrival of thousands of
Charanas and Munis, were filled with wonder. And it was soon after sunrise
that they began to come out in numbers with their wives and children to
behold those ascetics. Seated in all kinds of cars and conveyances by
thousands, vast numbers of Kshatriyas with their wives, and Brahmanas with
theirs came out. And the concourse of Vaisyas and Sudras too was as large
on the occasion. The vast assemblage was very peaceful, for every heart
then was inclined to piety. And there also came out Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, and Somadatta or Valhika and the royal sage (Dhritarashtra)
endued with the vision of knowledge and Vidura himself and the venerable
Satyavati and the illustrious princess of Kosala and Gandhari accompanied
by the other ladies of the royal household. And the hundred sons of
Dhritarashtra, decked with various ornaments, also came out.

"The Kauravas, then, accompanied by their priest, saluted the Rishis by
lowering their heads, and took their seats before them. The citizens also
saluting the ascetics and bowing down unto them with touching the ground,
took their seats there. Then Bhishma, setting that vast concourse
perfectly still, duly worshipped, O king, those ascetics by offering them
water to wash their feet with and the customary Arghya. And having done
this, he spoke unto them about the sovereignty and the kingdom. Then the
oldest of the ascetics with matted locks on head and loins covered with
animal skin, stood up, and with the concurrence of the other Rishis, spoke
as follows, 'You all know that that possessor of the sovereignty of the
Kurus who was called king Pandu, had, after abandoning the pleasures of
the world, repaired hence to dwell on the mountain of a hundred peaks. He
adopted the Brahmacharya mode of life, but for some inscrutable purpose
the gods have in view, this his eldest son, Yudhishthira, was born there,
begotten by Dharma himself. Then that illustrious king obtained from Vayu
this other son--the foremost of all mighty men--called Bhima. This other
son, begotten upon Kunti by Indra, is Dhananjaya whose achievements will
humble all bowmen in the world. Look here again at these tigers among men,
mighty in the use of the bow, the twin children begotten upon Madri by the
twin Aswins. Leading in righteousness the life of a Vanaprastha in the
woods, illustrious Pandu hath thus revived the almost extinct line of his
grandfather. The birth, growth, and Vedic studies of these children of
Pandu, will, no doubt, give you great pleasure. Steadily adhering to the
path of the virtuous and the wise, and leaving behind him these children,
Pandu departed hence seventeen days ago. His wife Madri, beholding him
placed in the funeral pyre and about to be consumed, herself ascended the
same pyre, and sacrificing her life thus, hath gone with her lord to the
region reserved for chaste wives. Accomplish now whatever rites should be
performed for their benefit. These are (the unburnt portions of) their
bodies. Here also are their children--these oppressors of foes--with their
mother. Let these be now received with due honours. After the completion
of the first rites in honour of the dead, let the virtuous Pandu, who had
all along been the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, have the first
annual Sraddha (sapindakarana) performed with a view to installing him
formally among the Pitris.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The ascetics with Guhyakas, having said this
unto the Kurus, instantly disappeared in the very sight of the people. And
beholding the Rishis and the Siddhas thus vanish in their sight like
vapoury forms appearing and disappearing in the skies, the citizens filled
with wonder returned to their homes.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Dhritarashtra then said, 'O Vidura, celebrate
the funeral ceremonies of that lion among kings viz., Pandu, and of Madri
also, in right royal style. For the good of their souls, distribute cattle,
cloths, gems and diverse kinds of wealth, every one receiving as much as
he asketh for. Make arrangements also for Kunti's performing the last
rites of Madri in such a style as pleaseth her. And let Madri's body be so
carefully wrapped up that neither the Sun nor Vayu (god of wind) may
behold it. Lament not for the sinless Pandu. He was a worthy king and hath
left behind him five heroic sons equal unto the celestials themselves.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vidura, O Bharata, saying, 'So be it,' in
consultation with Bhishma, fixed upon a sacred spot for the funeral rites
of Pandu. The family priests went out of the city without loss of time,
carrying with them the blazing sacred fire fed with clarified butter and
rendered fragrant therewith. Then friends, relatives, and adherents,
wrapping it up in cloth, decked the body of the monarch with the flowers
of the season and sprinkled various excellent perfumes over it. And they
also decked the hearse itself with garlands and rich hangings. Then
placing the covered body of the king with that of his queen on that
excellent bier decked out so brightly, they caused it to be carried on
human shoulders. With the white umbrella (of state) held over the hearse
with waving yak-tails and sounds of various musical instruments, the whole
scene looked bright and grand. Hundreds of people began to distribute gems
among the crowd on the occasion of the funeral rites of the king. At
length some beautiful robes, and white umbrellas and larger yak-tails,
were brought for the great ceremony. The priests clad in white walked in
the van of the procession pouring libations of clarified butter on the
sacred fire blazing in an ornamental vessel. And Brahmanas, and Kshatriyas,
and Vaisyas, and Sudras by thousands followed the deceased king, loudly
wailing in these accents, 'O prince, where dost thou go, leaving us behind,
and making us forlorn and wretched for ever?' And Bhishma, and Vidura, and
the Pandavas, also all wept aloud. At last they came to a romantic wood on
the banks of the Ganga. There they laid down the hearse on which the
truthful and lion-hearted prince and his spouse lay. Then they brought
water in many golden vessels, washed the prince's body besmeared before
with several kinds of fragrant paste, and again smeared it over with
sandal paste. They then dressed it in a white dress made of indigenous
fabrics. And with the new suit on, the king seemed as if he was living and
only sleeping on a costly bed.

"When the other funeral ceremonies also were finished in consonance with
the directions of the priests, the Kauravas set fire to the dead bodies of
the king and the queen, bringing lotuses, sandal-paste, and other fragrant
substances to the pyre.

"Then seeing the bodies aflame, Kausalya burst out, 'O my son, my son!'--
and fell down senseless on the ground. And seeing her down the citizens
and the inhabitants of the provinces began to wail from grief and
affection for their king. And the birds of the air and the beasts of the
field were touched by the lamentations of Kunti. And Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, and the wise Vidura, and the others also that were there, became

"Thus weeping, Bhishma, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, the Pandavas and the Kuru
ladies, all performed the watery ceremony of the king. And when all this
was over, the people, themselves filled with sorrow, began to console the
bereaved sons of Pandu. And the Pandavas with their friends began to sleep
on the ground. Seeing this the Brahmanas and the other citizens also
renounced their beds. Young and old, all the citizens grieved on account
of the sons of king Pandu, and passed twelve days in mourning with the
weeping Pandavas.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Bhishma and Kunti with their friends celebrated
the Sraddha of the deceased monarch, and offered the Pinda. And they
feasted the Kauravas and thousands of Brahmanas unto whom they also gave
gems and lands. Then the citizens returned to Hastinapura with the sons of
Pandu, now that they had been cleansed from the impurity incident to the
demise of their father. All then fell to weeping for the departed king. It
seemed as if they had lost one of their own kin.

"When the Sraddha had been celebrated in the manner mentioned above, the
venerable Vyasa, seeing all the subjects sunk in grief, said one day to
his mother Satyavati, 'Mother, our days of happiness have gone by and days
of calamity have succeeded. Sin beginneth to increase day by day. The
world hath got old. The empire of the Kauravas will no longer endure
because of wrong and oppression. Go thou then into the forest, and devote
thyself to contemplation through Yoga. Henceforth society will be filled
with deceit and wrong. Good work will cease. Do not witness the
annihilation of thy race, in thy old age.'

"Acquiescing in the words of Vyasa, Satyavati entered the inner apartments
and addressed her daughter-in-law, saying, 'O Ambika, I hear that in
consequence of the deeds of your grandsons, this Bharata dynasty and its
subjects will perish. If thou permit, I would go to the forest with
Kausalya, so grieved at the loss of her son.' O king, saying this the
queen, taking the permission of Bhishma also, went to the forest. And
arriving there with her two daughters-in-law, she became engaged in
profound contemplation, and in good time leaving her body ascended to

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the sons of king Pandu, having gone through
all the purifying rites prescribed in the Vedas, began to grow up in
princely style in the home of their father. Whenever they were engaged in
play with the sons of Dhritarashtra, their superiority of strength became
marked. In speed, in striking the objects aimed at, in consuming articles
of food, and scattering dust, Bhimasena beat all the sons of Dhritarashtra.
The son of the Wind-god pulled them by the hair and made them fight with
one another, laughing all the while. And Vrikodara easily defeated those
hundred and one children of great energy as if they were one instead of
being a hundred and one. The second Pandava used to seize them by the hair,
and throwing them down, to drag them along the earth. By this, some had
their knees broken, some their heads, and some their shoulders. That youth,
sometimes holding ten of them, drowned them in water, till they were
nearly dead. When the sons of Dhritarashtra got up to the boughs of a tree
for plucking fruits, Bhima used to shake that tree, by striking it with
his foot, so that down came the fruits and the fruitpluckers at the same
time. In fact, those princes were no match for Bhima in pugilistic
encounters, in speed, or in skill. Bhima used to make a display of his
strength by thus tormenting them in childishness but not from malice.

"Seeing these wonderful exhibitions of the might of Bhima, the powerful
Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, began to conceive hostility
towards him. And the wicked and unrighteous Duryodhana, through ignorance
and ambition, prepared himself for an act of sin. He thought, 'There is no
other individual who can compare with Bhima, the second son of Pandu, in
point of prowess. I shall have to destroy him by artifice. Singly, Bhima
dares a century of us to the combat. Therefore, when he shall sleep in the
garden, I shall throw him into the current of the Ganga. Afterwards,
confining his eldest brother Yudhishthira and his younger brother Arjuna,
I shall reign sole king without molestation.' Determined thus, the wicked
Duryodhana was ever on the watch to find out an opportunity for injuring
Bhima. And, O Bharata, at length at a beautiful place called Pramanakoti
on the banks of the Ganga, he built a palace decorated with hangings of
broad-cloth and other rich stuffs. And he built this palace for sporting
in the water there, and filled it with all kinds of entertaining things
and choice viands. Gay flags waved on the top of this mansion. The name of
the house was 'the water-sport house.' Skilful cooks prepared various
kinds of viands. When all was ready, the officers gave intimation to
Duryodhana. Then the evil-minded prince said unto the Pandavas, 'Let us
all go to the banks of the Ganga graced with trees and crowned with
flowers and sport there in the water.' And upon Yudhishthira agreeing to
this, the sons of Dhritarashtra, taking the Pandavas with them, mounted
country-born elephants of great size and cars resembling towns, and left
the metropolis.

"On arriving at the place, the princes dismissed their attendants, and
surveying the beauty of the gardens and the groves, entered the palace,
like lions entering their mountain caves. On entering they saw that the
architects had handsomely plastered the walls and the ceilings and that
painters had painted them beautifully. The windows looked very graceful,
and the artificial fountains were splendid. Here and there were tanks of
pellucid water in which bloomed forests of lotuses. The banks were decked
with various flowers whose fragrance filled the atmosphere. The Kauravas
and the Pandavas sat down and began to enjoy the things provided for them.
They became engaged in play and began to exchange morsels of food with one
another. Meanwhile the wicked Duryodhana had mixed a powerful poison with
a quantity of food, with the object of making away with Bhima. That wicked
youth who had nectar in his tongue and a razor in his heart, rose at
length, and in a friendly way fed Bhima largely with that poisoned food,
and thinking himself lucky in having compassed his end, was exceedingly
glad at heart. Then the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu together became
cheerfully engaged in sporting in the water. Their sport having been
finished, they dressed themselves in white habiliments, and decked
themselves with various ornaments. Fatigued with play, they felt inclined
in the evening to rest in the pleasurehouse belonging to the garden.
Having made the other youths take exercise in the waters, the powerful
second Pandava was excessively fatigued. So that on rising from the water,
he lay down on the ground. He was weary and under the influence of the
poison. And the cool air served to spread the poison over all his frame,
so that he lost his senses at once. Seeing this Duryodhana bound him with
chords of shrubs, and threw him into the water. The insensible son of
Pandu sank down till he reached the Naga kingdom. Nagas, furnished with
fangs containing virulent venom, bit him by thousands. The vegetable
poison, mingled in the blood of the son of the Wind god, was neutralised
by the snake-poison. The serpents had bitten all over his frame, except
his chest, the skin of which was so tough that their fangs could not
penetrate it.

"On regaining consciousness, the son of Kunti burst his bands and began to
press the snakes down under the ground. A remnant fled for life, and going
to their king Vasuki, represented, 'O king of snakes, a man drowned under
the water, bound in chords of shrubs; probably he had drunk poison. For
when he fell amongst us, he was insensible. But when we began to bite him,
he regained his senses, and bursting his fetters, commenced laying at us.
May it please Your Majesty to enquire who is.'

"Then Vasuki, in accordance with the prayer of the inferior Nagas, went to
the place and saw Bhimasena. Of the serpents, there was one, named Aryaka.
He was the grandfather of the father of Kunti. The lord of serpents saw
his relative and embraced him. Then, Vasuki, learning all, was pleased
with Bhima, and said to Aryaka with satisfaction, 'How are we to please
him? Let him have money and gems in profusion."

"On hearing the words of Vasuki, Aryaka said, 'O king of serpents, when
Your Majesty is pleased with him, no need of wealth for him! Permit him to
drink of rasakunda (nectar-vessels) and thus immeasurable strength. There
is the strength of a thousand elephants in each one of those vessels. Let
this prince drink as much as he can.'

"The king of serpents gave his consent. And the serpents thereupon began
auspicious rites. Then purifying himself carefully, Bhimasena facing the
east began to drink nectar. At one breath, he quaffed off the contents of
a whole vessel, and in this manner drained off eight successive jars, till
he was full. At length, the serpents prepared an excellent bed for him, on
which he lay down at ease.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile the Kauravas and the Pandavas, after having
thus sported there, set out, without Bhima, for Hastinapura, some on
horses, some on elephants, while others preferred cars and other
conveyances. And on their way they said to one another, 'Perhaps, Bhima
hath gone before us.' And the wicked Duryodhana was glad at heart to miss
Bhima, and entered the city with his brothers in joy.

"The virtuous Yudhishthira, himself unacquainted with vice and wickedness,
regarded others to be as honest as himself. The eldest son of Pritha,
filled with fraternal love, going unto his mother, said, after making
obeisance to her, 'O mother, hath Bhima come? O good mother, I don't find
him here. Where may he have gone? We long sought for him everywhere in the
gardens and the beautiful woods; but found him nowhere. At length, we
thought that the heroic Bhima preceded us all. O illustrious dame, we came
hither in great anxiety. Arrived here, where hath he gone? Have you sent
him anywhere? O tell me, I am full of doubts respecting the mighty Bhima.
He had been asleep and hath not come. I conclude he is no more.'

"Hearing these words of the highly intelligent Yudhishthira, Kunti
shrieked, in alarm, and said, 'Dear son, I have not seen Bhima. He did not
come to me. O, return in haste, and with your brothers search for him.'

"Having said this in affliction to her eldest son, she summoned Vidura,
and said, 'O illustrious Kshattri, Bhimasena is missing! Where has he
gone? The other brothers have all come back from the gardens, only Bhima
of mighty arms does not come home! Duryodhana likes him not. The Kaurava
is crooked and malicious and low-minded and imprudent. He coveteth the
throne openly. I am afraid he may have in a fit of anger slain my darling.
This afflicts me sorely, indeed, it burns my heart.'

"Vidura replied, 'Blessed dame, say not so! Protect thy other sons with
care. If the wicked Duryodhana be accused, he may slay thy remaining sons.
The great sage hath said that all thy sons will be long-lived. Therefore,
Bhima will surely return and gladden thy heart.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The wise Vidura, having said this unto Kunti,
returned to his abode, while Kunti, in great anxiety, continued to stay at
home with her children.

"Meanwhile, Bhimasena awoke from that slumber on the eighth day, and felt
strong beyond measure in consequence of the nectar he had taken having
been all digested. Seeing him awake, the Nagas began to console and cheer
him, saying, 'O thou of mighty arms, the strength-giving liquor thou hast
drunk will give thee the might of ten thousand elephants! No one now will
be able to vanquish thee in fight. O bull of Kuru's race, do thou bath in
this holy and auspicious water and return home. Thy brothers are
disconsolate because of thee.'

"Then Bhima purified himself with a bath in those waters, and decked in
white robes and flowery garlands of the same hue, ate of the paramanna
(rice and sugar pudding) offered to him by the Nagas. Then that oppressor
of all foes, decked in celestial ornaments, received the adorations and
blessings of the snakes, and saluting them in return, rose from the nether
region. Bearing up the lotus-eyed Pandava from under the waters, the Nagas
placed him in the selfsame gardens wherein he had been sporting, and
vanished in his very sight.

"The mighty Bhimasena, arrived on the surface of the earth, ran with speed
to his mother. And bowing down unto her and his eldest brother, and
smelling the heads of his younger brothers, that oppressor of all foes was
himself embraced by his mother and every one of those bulls among men.
Affectionate unto one another, they all repeatedly exclaimed, 'What is our
joy today, O what joy!'

"Then Bhima, endued with great strength and prowess, related to his
brothers everything about the villainy of Duryodhana, and the lucky and
unlucky incidents that had befallen him in the world of the Serpents.
Thereupon Yudhishthira said, 'Do thou observe silence on this. Do not
speak of this to any one. From this day, protect ye all one another with
care.' Thus cautioned by the righteous Yudhishthira, they all, with
Yudhishthira himself, became very vigilant from that day. And lest
negligence might occur on the part of the sons of Kunti, Vidura
continually offered them sage advice.

"Some time after, Duryodhana again mixed in the food of Bhima a poison
that was fresh, virulent, and very deadly. But Yuyutsu (Dhritarashtra's
son by a Vaisya wife), moved by his friendship for the Pandavas, informed
them of this. Vrikodara, however, swallowed it without any hesitation, and
digested it completely. And, though virulent the poison produced no
effects on Bhima.

"When that terrible poison intended for the destruction of Bhima failed of
its effect, Duryodhana, Karna and Sakuni, without giving up their wicked
design had recourse to numerous other contrivances for accomplishing the
death of the Pandavas. And though every one of these contrivances was
fully known to the Pandavas, yet in accordance with the advice of Vidura
they suppressed their indignation.

"Meanwhile, the king (Dhritarashtra), beholding the Kuru princes passing
their time in idleness and growing naughty, appointed Gautama as their
preceptor and sent them unto him for instruction. Born among a clump of
heath, Gautama was well-skilled in the Vedas and it was under him (also
called Kripa) that the Kuru princes began to learn the use of arms.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, it behoveth thee to relate to me everything
about the birth of Kripa. How did he spring from a clump of heath? Whence
also did he obtain his weapons?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, the great sage Gautama had a son named
Saradwat. This Saradwat was born with arrows (in hand). O oppressor of
foes, the son of Gautama exhibited great aptitude for the study of the
science of weapons, but none for the other sciences. Saradwat acquired all
his weapons by those austerities by which Brahmanas in student life
acquire the knowledge of Vedas. Gautama (the son of Gotama) by his
aptitude for the science of weapons and by his austerities made Indra
himself greatly afraid of him. Then, O thou of Kuru's race, the chief of
the gods summoned a celestial damsel named Janapadi and sent her unto
Gautama, saying, 'Do thy best to disturb the austerities of Gautama.'
Repairing unto the charming asylum of Saradwat, the damsel began to tempt
the ascetic equipped with bow and arrows. Beholding that Apsara, of figure
unrivalled on earth for beauty, alone in those woods and clad in a single
piece of cloth, Saradwat's eyes expanded with delight. At the sight of the
damsel, his bow and arrows slipped from his hand and his frame shook all
over with emotion; but possessed of ascetic fortitude and strength of soul,
the sage mustered sufficient patience to bear up against the temptation.
The suddenness, however, of his mental agitation, caused an unconscious
emission of his vital fluid. Leaving his bow and arrows and deer-skin
behind, he went away, flying from the Apsara. His vital fluid, however,
having fallen upon a clump of heath, was divided into two parts, whence
sprang two children that were twins.

"And it happened that a soldier in attendance upon king Santanu while the
monarch was out a-hunting in the woods, came upon the twins. And seeing
the bow and arrows and deer-skin on the ground, he thought they might be
the offspring of some Brahmana proficient in the science of arms. Deciding
thus, he took up the children along with the bow and arrows, and showed
what he had to the king. Beholding them the king was moved with pity, and
saying, 'Let these become my children,' brought them to his palace. Then
that first of men, Santanu, the son of Pratipa having brought Gautama's
twins into his house, performed in respect of them the usual rites of
religion. And he began to bring them up and called them Kripa and Kripi,
in allusion to the fact that he brought them up from motives of pity
(Kripa). The son of Gotama having left his former asylum, continued his
study of the science of arms in right earnest. By his spiritual insight he
learnt that his son and daughter were in the palace of Santanu. He
thereupon went to the monarch and represented everything about his lineage.
He then taught Kripa the four branches of the science of arms, and various
other branches of knowledge, including all their mysteries and recondite
details. In a short time Kripa became an eminent professor of the science
(of arms). And the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, and the Pandavas along
with the Yadavas, and the Vrishnis, and many other princes from various
lands, began to receive lessons from him in that science.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Desirous of giving his grandsons a superior education,
Bhishma was on the look-out for a teacher endued with energy and well-
skilled in the science of arms. Deciding, O chief of the Bharatas, that
none who was not possessed of great intelligence, none who was not
illustrious or a perfect master of the science of arms, none who was not
of godlike might, should be the instructor of the Kuru (princes), the son
of Ganga, O tiger among men, placed the Pandavas and the Kauravas under
the tuition of Bharadwaja's son, the intelligent Drona skilled in all the
Vedas. Pleased with the reception given him by the great Bhishma, that
foremost of all men skilled in arms, viz., illustrious Drona of world-wide
fame, accepted the princes as his pupils. And Drona taught them the
science of arms in all its branches. And, O monarch, both the Kauravas and
the Pandavas endued with immeasurable power, in a short time became
proficient in the use of all kinds of arms.'

"Janamejaya asked, 'O Brahmana, how was Drona born? How and whence did he
acquire his arms? How and why came he unto the Kurus? Whose son also was
endued with such energy? Again, how was his son Aswatthaman, the
foremost of all skilled in arms born? I wish to hear all this! Please
recite them in detail.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'There dwelt at the source of the Ganga, a great sage
named Bharadwaja, ceaselessly observing the most rigid vows. One day, of
old, intending to celebrate the Agnihotra sacrifice he went along with
many great Rishis to the Ganga to perform his ablutions. Arrived at the
bank of the stream, he saw Ghritachi herself, that Apsara endued with
youth and beauty, who had gone there a little before. With an expression
of pride in her countenance, mixed with a voluptuous languor of attitude,
the damsel rose from the water after her ablutions were over. And as she
was gently treading on the bank, her attire which was loose became
disordered. Seeing her attire disordered, the sage was smitten with
burning desire. The next moment his vital fluid came out, in consequence
of the violence of his emotion. The Rishi immediately held it in a vessel
called a drona. Then, O king, Drona sprang from the fluid thus preserved
in that vessel by the wise Bharadwaja. And the child thus born studied all
the Vedas and their branches. Before now Bharadwaja of great prowess and
the foremost of those possessing a knowledge of arms, had communicated to
the illustrious Agnivesa, a knowledge of the weapon called Agneya. O
foremost one of Bharata's race, the Rishi (Agnivesa) sprung from fire now
communicated the knowledge of that great weapon to Drona the son of his

"There was a king named Prishata who was a great friend of Bharadwaja.
About this time Prishata had a son born unto him, named Drupada. And that
bull among Kshatriyas, viz., Drupada, the son of Prishata, used every day
to come to the hermitage of Bharadwaja to play with Drona and study in his
company. O monarch, when Prishata was dead, this Drupada of mighty arms
became the king of the northern Panchalas. About this time the illustrious
Bharadwaja also ascended to heaven. Drona continuing to reside in his
father's hermitage devoted himself to ascetic austerities. Having become
well-versed in the Vedas and their branches and having burnt also all his
sins by asceticism, the celebrated Drona, obedient to the injunctions of
his father and moved by the desire of offspring married Kripi, the
daughter of Saradwat. And this woman, ever engaged in virtuous acts and
the Agnihotra, and the austerest of penances, obtained a son named
Aswatthaman. And as soon as Aswatthaman was born, he neighed like the
(celestial) steed Ucchaihsravas. Hearing that cry, an invisible being in
the skies said, 'The voice of this child hath, like the neighing of a
horse, been audible all around. The child shall, therefore, be known by
the name of Aswatthaman, (the horse-voiced).' The son of Bharadwaja
(Drona) was exceedingly glad at having obtained that child. Continuing
to reside in that hermitage he devoted himself to the study of the
science of arms.

"O king, it was about this time that Drona heard that the illustrious
Brahmana Jamadagnya, that slayer of foes, that foremost one among all
wielders of weapons, versed in all kinds of knowledge, had expressed a
desire of giving away all his wealth to Brahmanas. Having heard of Rama's
knowledge of arms and of his celestial weapons also, Drona set his heart
upon them as also upon the knowledge of morality that Rama possessed. Then
Drona of mighty arms, endued with high ascetic virtues, accompanied by
disciples who were all devoted to vows ascetic austerities, set out for
the Mahendra mountains. Arrived at Mahendra, the son of Bharadwaja
possessed of high ascetic merit, beheld the son of Bhrigu, the
exterminator of all foes, endued with great patience and with mind under
complete control. Then, approaching with his disciples that scion of the
Bhrigu race Drona, giving him his name, told him of his birth in the line
of Angiras. And touching the ground with his head, he worshipped Rama's
feet. And beholding the illustrious son of Jamadagni intent upon retiring
into the woods after having given away all his wealth, Drona said, 'Know
me to have sprung from Bharadwaja, but not in any woman's womb! I am a
Brahmana of high birth, Drona by name, come to thee with the desire of
obtaining thy wealth.'

"On hearing him, that illustrious grinder of the Kshatriya race replied,
'Thou art welcome, O best of regenerate ones! Tell me what thou desirest.'
Thus addressed by Rama, the son of Bharadwaja replied unto that foremost
of all smiters, desirous of giving away the whole of his wealth, 'O thou
of multifarious vows, I am a candidate for thy eternal wealth.' 'O thou of
ascetic wealth, returned Rama, 'My gold and whatever other wealth I had,
have all been given away unto Brahmanas! This earth also, to the verge of
the sea, decked with towns and cities, as with a garland of flowers, I
have given unto Kasyapa. I have now my body only and my various valuable
weapons left. I am prepared to give either my body or my weapons. Say,
which thou wouldst have! I would give it thee! Say quickly!'

"Drona answered, O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy
weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.'

"Saying, 'So be it,' the son of Bhrigu gave all his weapons unto Drona,--
indeed, the whole science of arms with its rules and mysteries. Accepting
them all, and thinking himself amply rewarded that best of Brahmanas then,
glad at heart, set out, for (the city of) his friend Drupada.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then, O king, the mighty son of Bharadyaja presented
himself before Drupada, and addressing that monarch, said, 'Know me for
thy friend.' Thus addressed by his friend, the son of Bharadwaja, with a
joyous heart, the lord of the Panchalas was ill-able to bear that speech.
The king, intoxicated with the pride of wealth, contracted his brows in
wrath, and with reddened eyes spake these words unto Drona, 'O Brahmana,
thy intelligence is scarcely of a high order, inasmuch as thou sayest unto
me, all on a sudden, that thou art my friend! O thou of dull apprehension,
great kings can never be friends with such luckless and indigent wights as
thou! It is true there had been friendship between thee and me before, for
we were then both equally circumstanced. But Time that impaireth
everything in its course, impaireth friendship also. In this world,
friendship never endureth for ever in any heart. Time weareth it off and
anger destroyeth it too. Do not stick, therefore, to that worn-off
friendship. Think not of it any longer. The friendship I had with thee, O
first of Brahmanas, was for a particular purpose. Friendship can never
subsist between a poor man and a rich man, between a man of letters and an
unlettered mind, between a hero and a coward. Why dost thou desire the
continuance of our former friendship? There may be friendship or hostility
between persons equally situated as to wealth or might. The indigent and
the affluent can neither be friends nor quarrel with each other. One of
impure birth can never be a friend to one of pure birth; one who is not a
car-warrior can never be a friend to one who is so; and one who is not a
king never have a king for his friend. Therefore, why dost thou desire the
continuance of our former friendship?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Drupada, the mighty son of
Bharadwaja became filled with wrath, and reflecting for a moment, made up
his mind as to his course of action. Seeing the insolence of the Panchala
king, he wished to check it effectually. Hastily leaving the Panchala
capital Drona bent his steps towards the capital of the Kurus, named after
the elephant.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Arrived at Hastinapura, that best of Brahmanas, the
son of Bharadwaja, continued to live privately in the house of Gautama
(Kripa). His mighty son (Aswatthaman) at intervals of Kripa's teaching,
used to give the sons of Kunti lessons in the use of arms. But as yet none
knew of Aswatthaman's prowess.

"Drona had thus lived privately for some time in the house of Kripa when
one day the heroic princes, all in a company, came out of Hastinapura. And
coming out of the city, they began to play with a ball and roam about in
gladness of heart. And it so happened that the ball with which they had
been playing fell into a well. And thereupon the princes strove their best
to recover it from the well. But all the efforts the princes made to
recover it proved futile. They then began to eye one another bashfully,
and not knowing how to recover it, their anxiety became great. Just at
this time they beheld a Brahmana near enough unto them, of darkish hue,
decrepit and lean, sanctified by the performance of the Agnihotra and who
had finished his daily rites of worship. And beholding that illustrious
Brahmana, the princes who had despaired of success surrounded him
immediately. Drona (for that Brahmana was no other), seeing the princes
unsuccessful, and conscious of his own skill, smiled a little, and
addressing them said, 'Shame on your Kshatriya might, and shame also on
your skill in arms! You have been born in the race of Bharata! How is it
that ye cannot recover the ball (from the bottom of this well)? If ye
promise me a dinner today, I will, with these blades of grass, bring up
not only the ball ye have lost but this ring also that I now throw down!'
Thus saying, Drona that oppressor of foes, taking off his ring, threw it
down into the dry well. Then Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressing
Drona, said, 'O Brahmana (thou askest for a trifle)! Do thou, with Kripa's
permission, obtain of us that which would last thee for life!' Thus
addressed, Drona with smiles replied unto the Bharata princes, saying,
'This handful of long grass I would invest, by my mantras, with the virtue
of weapons. Behold these blades possess virtues that other weapons, have
not! I will, with one of these blades, pierce the ball, and then pierce
that blade with another, and that another with a third, and thus shall I,
by a chain, bring up the ball.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Drona did exactly what he had said. And the
princes were all amazed and their eyes expanded with delight. And
regarding what they had witnessed to be very extraordinary, they said, O
learned Brahmana, do thou bring up the ring also without loss of time.'

"Then the illustrious Drona, taking a bow with an arrow, pierced the ring
with that arrow and brought it up at once. And taking the ring thus
brought up from the well still pierced with his arrow, he coolly gave it
to the astonished princes. Then the latter, seeing the ring thus recovered,
said, 'We bow to thee, O Brahmana! None else owneth such skill. We long to
know who thou art and whose son. What also can we do for thee?'

"Thus addressed, Drona replied unto the princes, saying, 'Do ye repair
unto Bhishma and describe to him my likeness and skill. The mighty one
will recognize me.' The princes then saying, 'So be it,' repaired unto
Bhishma and telling him of the purport of that Brahmana's speech, related
everything about his (extraordinary) feat. Hearing everything from the
princes, Bhishma at once understood that the Brahmana was none else than
Drona, and thinking that he would make the best preceptor for the princes,
went in person unto him and welcoming him respectfully, brought him over
to the place. Then Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of arms,
adroitly asked him the cause of his arrival at Hastinapura. Asked by him,
Drona represented everything as it had happened, saying, 'O sir, in times
past I went to the great Rishi Agnivesa for obtaining from him his weapons,
desirous also of learning the science of arms. Devoted to the service of
my preceptor, I lived with him for many years in the humble guise of a
Brahmacharin, with matted locks on my head. At that time, actuated by the
same motives, the prince of Panchala, the mighty Yajnasena, also lived in
the same asylum. He became my friend, always seeking my welfare. I liked
him much. Indeed, we lived together for many, many years. O thou of Kuru's
race, from our earliest years we had studied together and, indeed, he was
my friend from boyhood, always speaking and doing what was agreeable to me.
For gratifying me, O Bhishma, he used to tell me, 'O Drona, I am the
favourite child of my illustrious father. When the king installeth me as
monarch of the Panchalas, the kingdom shall be thine. O friend, this,
indeed, is my solemn promise. My dominion, wealth and happiness, shall all
be dependent on thee.' At last the time came for his departure. Having
finished his studies, he bent his steps towards his country. I offered him
my regards at the time, and, indeed, I remembered his words ever

"Some time after, in obedience to the injunctions of my father and tempted
also by the desire of offspring, I married Kripi of short hair, who gifted
with great intelligence, had observed many rigid vows, and was ever
engaged in the Agnihotra and other sacrifices and rigid austerities.
Gautami, in time, gave birth to a son named Aswatthaman of great prowess
and equal in splendour unto the Sun himself. Indeed, I was pleased on
having obtained Aswatthaman as much as my father had been on obtaining me.

"And it so happened that one day the child Aswatthaman observing some rich
men's sons drink milk, began to cry. At this I was so beside myself that I
lost all knowledge of the point of the compass. Instead of asking him who
had only a few kine (so that if he gave me one, he would no longer be able
to perform his sacrifices and thus sustain a loss of virtue), I was
desirous of obtaining a cow from one who had many, and for that I wandered
from country to country. But my wanderings proved unsuccessful, for I
failed to obtain a milch cow. After I had come back unsuccessful, some of
my son's playmates gave him water mixed with powdered rice. Drinking this,
the poor boy, was deceived into the belief that he had taken milk, and
began to dance in joy, saying, 'O, I have taken milk. I have taken milk!'
Beholding him dance with joy amid these playmates smiling at his
simplicity, I was exceedingly touched. Hearing also the derisive speeches
of busy-bodies who said, 'Fie upon the indigent Drona, who strives not to
earn wealth, whose son drinking water mixed with powdered rice mistaketh
it for milk and danceth with joy, saying, 'I have taken milk,--I have
taken milk!'--I was quite beside myself. Reproaching myself much, I at
last resolved that even if I should have to live cast off and censured by
Brahmanas, I would not yet, from desire of wealth, be anybody's servant,
which is ever hateful. Thus resolved, O Bhishma, I went, for former
friendship, unto the king of the Somakas, taking with me my dear child and
wife. Hearing that he had been installed in the sovereignty (of the
Somakas), I regarded myself as blessed beyond compare. Joyfully I went
unto that dear friend of mine seated on the throne, remembering my former
friendship with him and also his own words to me. And, O illustrious one,
approaching Drupada, I said, 'O tiger among men, know me for thy friend!'--
Saying this, I approached him confidently as a friend should. But Drupada,
laughing in derision cast me off as if I were a vulgar fellow. Addressing
me he said, 'Thy intelligence scarcely seemeth to be of a high order
inasmuch as approaching me suddenly, thou sayest thou art my friend! Time
that impaireth everything, impaireth friendship also. My former friendship
with thee was for a particular purpose. One of impure birth can never be a
friend of one who is of pure birth. One who is not a car-warrior can never
be a friend of one who is such. Friendship can only subsist between
persons that are of equal rank, but not between those that are unequally
situated. Friendship never subsisteth for ever in my heart. Time impaireth
friendships, as also anger destroyeth them. Do thou not stick, therefore,
to that worn-off friendship between us. Think not of it any longer. The
friendship I had with thee, O best of Brahmanas, was for a special purpose.
There cannot be friendship between a poor man and a rich man, between an
unlettered hind and a man of letters, between a coward and a hero. Why
dost thou, therefore, desire the revival of our former friendship? O thou
of simple understanding, great kings can never have friendship with such
indigent and luckless wight as thou. One who is not a king can never have
a king for his friend. I do not remember ever having promised thee my
kingdom. But, O Brahmana, I can now give thee food and shelter for one
night.'--Thus addressed by him, I left his presence quickly with my wife,
vowing to do that which I will certainly do soon enough. Thus insulted by
Drupada, O Bhishma, I have been filled with wrath, I have come to the
Kurus, desirous of obtaining intelligent and docile pupils. I come to
Hastinapura to gratify thy wishes. O, tell me what I am to do.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by the son of Bharadwaja, Bhishma
said unto him, 'String thy bow, O Brahmana, and make the Kuru princes
accomplished in arms. Worshipped by the Kurus, enjoy with a glad heart to
thy fill every comfort in their abode. Thou art the absolute lord, O
Brahmana, of what ever wealth the Kurus have and of their sovereignty and
kingdom! The Kurus are thine (from this day). Think that as already
accomplished which may be in thy heart. Thou art, O Brahmana, obtained by
us as the fruit of our great good luck. Indeed, the favour thou hast
conferred upon me by thy arrival is great.'


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus worshipped by Bhishma, Drona, that first of men,
endued with great energy, took up his quarters in the abode of the Kurus
and continued to live there, receiving their adorations. After he had
rested a while, Bhishma, taking with him his grandsons, the Kaurava
princes, gave them unto him as pupils, making at the same time many
valuable presents. And the mighty one (Bhishma) also joyfully gave unto
the son of Bharadwaja a house that was tidy and neat and well-filled with
paddy and every kind of wealth. And that first of archers, Drona,
thereupon joyfully accepted the Kauravas, viz., the sons of Pandu and
Dhritarashtra, as his pupils. And having accepted them all as his pupils,
one day Drona called them apart and making them touch his feet, said to
them with a swelling heart, 'I have in my heart a particular purpose.
Promise me truly, ye sinless ones, that when ye have become skilled in
arms, ye will accomplish it.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, the Kuru princes remained
silent. But Arjuna, O king, vowed to accomplish it whatever it was. Drona
then cheerfully clasped Arjuna to his bosom and took the scent of his head
repeatedly, shedding tears of joy all the while. Then Drona endued with
great prowess taught the sons of Pandu (the use of) many weapons both
celestial and human. And, O bull of the Bharata race, many other princes
also flocked to that best of Brahmanas for instruction in arms. The
Vrishnis and the Andhakas, and princes from various lands, and the
(adopted) son of Radha of the Suta caste, (Karna), all became pupils of
Drona. But of them all, the Suta child Karna, from jealousy, frequently
defied Arjuna, and supported by Duryodhana, used to disregard the Pandavas.
Arjuna, however, from devotion to the science of arms, always stayed by
the side of his preceptor, and in skill, strength of arms, and
perseverance, excelled all (his class-fellows). Indeed, although the
instruction the preceptor gave, was the same in the case of all, yet in
lightness and skill Arjuna became the foremost of all his fellow-pupils.
And Drona was convinced that none of his pupils would (at any time) be
able to be equal to that son of Indra.

"Thus Drona continued giving lessons to the princes in the science of
weapons. And while he gave unto every one of his pupils a narrow-mouthed
vessel (for fetching water) in order that much time may be spent in
filling them, he gave unto his own son Aswatthaman a broad-mouthed vessel,
so that, filling it quickly, he might return soon enough. And in the
intervals so gained, Drona used to instruct his own son in several
superior methods (of using weapons). Jishnu (Arjuna) came to know of this,
and thereupon filling his narrow-mouthed vessel with water by means of the
Varuna weapon he used to come unto his preceptor at the same time with his
preceptor's son. And accordingly the intelligent son of Pritha, that
foremost of all men possessing a knowledge of weapons, had no inferiority
to his preceptor's son in respect of excellence. Arjuna's devotion to the
service of his preceptor as also to arms was very great and he soon became
the favourite of his preceptor. And Drona, beholding his pupil's devotion
to arms, summoned the cook, and told him in secret, 'Never give Arjuna his
food in the dark, nor tell him that I have told thee this.' A few days
after, however, when Arjuna was taking his food, a wind arose, and
thereupon the lamp that had been burning went out. But Arjuna, endued with
energy, continued eating in the dark, his hand, from habit, going to his
mouth. His attention being thus called to the force of habit, the strong-
armed son of Pandu set his heart upon practising with his bow in the night.
And, O Bharata, Drona, hearing the twang of his bowstring in the night,
came to him, and clasping him, said, 'Truly do I tell thee that I shall do
that unto thee by which there shall not be an archer equal to thee in this

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thereafter Drona began to teach Arjuna the art
of fighting on horse-back, on the back of elephants, on car, and on the
ground. And the mighty Drona also instructed Arjuna in fighting with the
mace, the sword, the lance, the spear, and the dart. And he also
instructed him in using many weapons and fighting with many men at the
same time. And hearing reports of his skill, kings and princes, desirous
of learning the science of arms, flocked to Drona by thousands. Amongst
those that came there, O monarch, was a prince named Ekalavya, who was the
son of Hiranyadhanus, king of the Nishadas (the lowest of the mixed
orders). Drona, however, cognisant of all rules of morality, accepted not
the prince as his pupil in archery, seeing that he was a Nishada who might
(in time) excel all his high-born pupils. But, O oppressor of all enemies,
the Nishada prince, touching Drona's feet with bent head, wended his way
into the forest, and there he made a clay-image of Drona, and began to
worship it respectfully, as if it was his real preceptor, and practised
weapons before it with the most rigid regularity. In consequence of his
exceptional reverence for his preceptor and his devotion to his purpose,
all the three processes of fixing arrows on the bowstring, aiming, and
letting off became very easy for him.

"And one day, O grinder of foes, the Kuru and the Pandava princes, with
Drona's leave, set out in their cars on a hunting excursion. A servant, O
king, followed the party at leisure, with the usual implements and a dog.
Having come to the woods, they wandered about, intent on the purpose they
had in view. Meanwhile, the dog also, in wandering alone in the woods,
came upon the Nishada prince (Ekalavya). And beholding the Nishada of dark
hue, of body besmeared with filth, dressed in black and bearing matted
locks on head, the dog began to bark aloud.

"Thereupon the Nishada prince, desirous of exhibiting his lightness of
hand, sent seven arrows into its mouth (before it could shut it). The dog,
thus pierced with seven arrows, came back to the Pandavas. Those heroes,
who beheld that sight, were filled with wonder, and, ashamed of their own
skill, began to praise the lightness of hand and precision of aim by
auricular precision (exhibited by the unknown archer). And they thereupon
began to seek in those woods for the unknown dweller therein that had
shown such skill. And, O king, the Pandavas soon found out the object of
their search ceaselessly discharging arrows from the bow. And beholding
that man of grim visage, who was totally a stranger to them, they asked,
'Who art thou and whose son?' Thus questioned, the man replied, 'Ye heroes,
I am the son of Hiranyadhanus, king of the Nishadas. Know me also for a
pupil of Drona, labouring for the mastery of the art of arms.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas then, having made themselves
acquainted with everything connected with him, returned (to the city), and
going unto Drona, told him of that wonderful feat of archery which they
had witnessed in the woods. Arjuna, in particular, thinking all the while,
O king, Ekalavya, saw Drona in private and relying upon his preceptor's
affection for him, said, 'Thou hadst lovingly told me, clasping me, to thy
bosom, that no pupil of thine should be equal to me. Why then is there a
pupil of thine, the mighty son of the Nishada king, superior to me?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing these words, Drona reflected for a
moment, and resolving upon the course of action he should follow, took
Arjuna with him and went unto the Nishada prince. And he beheld Ekalavya
with body besmeared with filth, matted locks (on head), clad in rags,
bearing a bow in hand and ceaselessly shooting arrows therefrom. And when
Ekalavya saw Drona approaching towards him, he went a few steps forward,
and touched his feet and prostrated himself on the ground. And the son of
the Nishada king worshipping Drona, duly represented himself as his pupil,
and clasping his hands in reverence stood before him (awaiting his
commands). Then Drona, O king, addressed Ekalavya, saying, 'If, O hero,
thou art really my pupil, give me then my fees.' On hearing these words,
Ekalavya was very much gratified, and said in reply, 'O illustrious
preceptor, what shall I give? Command me; for there is nothing, O foremost
of all persons conversant with the Vedas, that I may not give unto my
preceptor.' Drona answered, 'O Ekalavya, if thou art really intent on
making me a gift, I should like then to have the thumb of thy right hand.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these cruel words of Drona, who had
asked of him his thumb as tuition-fee, Ekalavya, ever devoted to truth and
desirous also of keeping his promise, with a cheerful face and an
unafflicted heart cut off without ado his thumb, and gave it unto Drona.
After this, when the Nishada prince began once more to shoot with the help
of his remaining fingers, he found, O king, that he had lost his former
lightness of hand. And at this Arjuna became happy, the fever (of
jealousy) having left him.

"Two of Drona's pupils became very much accomplished in the use of mace.
These were Druvodhana and Bhima, who were, however, always jealous of each
other. Aswatthaman excelled everyone (in the mysteries of the science of
arms). The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) excelled everybody in handling the
sword. Yudhishthira surpassed everybody as a car-warrior; but Arjuna,
however, outdistanced everyone in every respect--in intelligence,
resourcefulness, strength and perseverance. Accomplished in all weapons,
Arjuna became the foremost of even the foremost of car-warriors; and his
fame spread all over the earth to the verge of the sea. And although the
instruction was the same, the mighty Arjuna excelled all (the princes in
lightness of hand). Indeed, in weapons as in devotion to his preceptor, he
became the foremost of them all. And amongst all the princes, Arjuna alone
became an Atiratha (a car-warrior capable of fighting at one time with
sixty thousand foes). And the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, beholding
Bhimasena endued with great strength and Arjuna accomplished in all arms,
became very jealous of them.

"O bull among men, one day Drona desirous of testing the comparative
excellence of all his pupils in the use of arms, collected them all
together after their education had been completed. And before assembling
them together, he had caused an artificial bird, as the would be aim, to
be placed on the top of a neighbouring tree. And when they were all
together, Drona said unto them, 'Take up your bows quickly and stand here
aiming at that bird on the tree, with arrows fixed on your bowstrings;
shoot and cut off the bird's head, as soon as I give the order. I shall
give each of you a turn, one by one, my children.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Drona, that foremost of all Angira's sons
first addressed Yudhishthira saying, 'O irrepressible one, aim with thy
arrow and shoot as soon as I give the order.' Yudhishthira took up the bow
first, as desired, O king, by his preceptor, and stood aiming at the bird.
But, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona in an instant, addressing the Kuru
prince standing with bow in hand, said, 'Behold, O prince, that bird on
top of the tree.' Yudhishthira replied unto his preceptor, saying, 'I do.'
But the next instant Drona again asked him, 'What dost thou see now, O
prince? Seest thou the tree, myself or thy brothers?' Yudhishthira
answered, 'I see the tree, myself, my brothers, and the bird.' Drona
repeated his question, but was answered as often in the same words. Drona
then, vexed with Yudhishthira, reproachingly said, 'Stand thou apart. It
is not for thee to strike the aim.' Then Drona repeated the experiment
with Duryodhana and the other sons of Dhritarashtra, one after another, as
also with his other pupils, Bhima and the rest, including the princes that
had come unto him from other lands. But the answer in every case was the
same as Yudhishthira's viz., 'We behold the tree, thyself, our fellow-
pupils, and the bird.' And reproached by their preceptor, they were all
ordered, one after another, to stand apart.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When everyone had failed, Drona smilingly called
Arjuna and said unto him, 'By thee the aim must be shot; therefore, turn
thy eyes to it. Thou must let fly the arrow as soon as I give the order.
Therefore, O son, stand here with bow and arrow for an instant.' Thus
addressed, Arjuna stood aiming at the bird as desired by his preceptor,
with his bow bent. An instant after Drona asked him as in the case of
others, 'Seest thou, O Arjuna, the bird there, the tree, and myself?'
Arjuna replied, 'I see the bird only, but nor the tree, or thyself.' Then
the irrepressible Drona, well-pleased with Arjuna, the instant after,
again said unto that mighty car-warrior amongst the Pandavas, 'If thou
seest the vulture, then describe it to me.' Arjuna said, 'I see only the
head of the vulture, not its body.' At these words of Arjuna, the hair (on
Drona's body) stood on end from delight. He then said to Partha, 'Shoot.'
And the latter instantly let fly (his arrow) and with his sharp shaft
speedily struck off the head of the vulture on the tree and brought it
down to the ground. No sooner was the deed done than Drona clasped
Phalguna to his bosom and thought Drupada with his friends had already
been vanquished in fight.

"Some time after, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona, accompanied by all of
his pupils, went to the bank of the Ganga to bathe in that sacred stream.
And when Drona had plunged into the stream, a strong alligator, sent as it
were, by Death himself seized him by the thigh. And though himself quite
capable, Drona in a seeming hurry asked his pupil to rescue him. And he
said, 'O, kill this monster and rescue me.' Contemporaneously with this
speech, Vibhatsu (Arjuna) struck the monster within the water with five
sharp arrows irresistible in their course, while the other pupils stood
confounded, each at his place. Beholding Arjuna's readiness, Drona
considered him to be the foremost of all his pupils, and became highly
pleased. The monster, in the meantime cut into pieces by the arrows of
Arjuna, released the thigh of illustrious Drona and gave up the ghost. The
son of Bharadwaja then addressed the illustrious and mighty car-warrior
Arjuna and said, 'Accept, O thou of mighty arms, this very superior and
irresistible weapon called Brahmasira with the methods of hurling and
recalling it. Thou must not, however, ever use it against any human foe,
for if hurled at any foe endued with inferior energy, it might burn the
whole universe. It is said, O child, that this weapon hath not a peer in
the three worlds. Keep it, therefore, with great care, and listen to what
I say. If ever, O hero, any foe, not human, contendeth against thee thou
mayst then employ it against him for compassing his death in battle.'
Pledging himself to do what he was bid, Vibhatsu then, with joined hands,
received that great weapon.

The preceptor then, addressing him again, said, 'None else in this world
will ever become a superior bowman to thee. Vanquished thou shall never be
by any foe, and thy achievements will be great.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Bharata's race, beholding the sons of
Dhritarashtra and Pandu accomplished in arms, Drona, O monarch, addressed
king Dhritarashtra, in the presence of Kripa, Somadatta, Valhika, the wise
son of Ganga (Bhishma), Vyasa, and Vidura, and said, 'O best of Kuru kings,
thy children have completed their education. With thy permission, O king,
let them now show their proficiency.' Hearing him, the king said with a
gladdened heart, 'O best of Brahmanas, thou hast, indeed, accomplished a
great deed. Command me thyself as to the place and the time where and when
and the manner also in which the trial may be held. Grief arising from my
own blindness maketh me envy those who, blessed with sight, will behold my
children's prowess in arm. O Kshatri (Vidura), do all that Drona sayeth. O
thou devoted to virtue, I think there is nothing that can be more
agreeable to me.' Then Vidura, giving the necessary assurance to the king,
went out to do what he was bid. And Drona endued with great wisdom, then
measured out a piece of land that was void of trees and thickets and
furnished with wells and springs. And upon the spot of land so measured
out, Drona, that first of eloquent men, selecting a lunar day when the
star ascendant was auspicious, offered up sacrifice unto the gods in the
presence of the citizens assembled by proclamation to witness the same.
And then, O bull among men, the artificers of the king built thereon a
large and elegant stage according to the rules laid down in the scriptures,
and it was furnished with all kinds of weapons. They also built another
elegant hall for the lady-spectators. And the citizens constructed many
platforms while the wealthier of them pitched many spacious and high tents
all around.

"When the day fixed for the Tournament came, the king accompanied by his
ministers, with Bhishma and Kripa, the foremost of preceptors, walking
ahead, came unto that theatre of almost celestial beauty constructed of
pure gold, and decked with strings of pearls and stones of lapis lazuli.
And, O first of victorious men, Gandhari blessed with great good fortune
and Kunti, and the other ladies of the royal house-hold, in gorgeous
attire and accompanied by their waiting women, joyfully ascended the
platforms, like celestial ladies ascending the Sumeru mountain. And the
four orders including the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, desirous of beholding
the princes' skill in arms, left the city and came running to the spot.
And so impatient was every one to behold the spectacle, that the vast
crowd assembled there in almost an instant. And with the sounds of
trumpets and drums and the noise of many voices, that vast concourse
appeared like an agitated ocean.

"At last, Drona accompanied by his son, dressed in white (attire), with a
white sacred thread, white locks, white beard, white garlands, and white
sandal-paste rubbed over his body, entered the lists. It seemed as if the
Moon himself accompanied by the planet Mars appeared in an unclouded sky.
On entering Bharadwaja performed timely worship and caused Brahmanas
versed in mantras to celebrate the auspicious rites. And after auspicious
and sweet-sounding musical instruments had been struck up as a
propitiatory ceremony, some persons entered, equipped with various arms.
And then having girded up their loins, those mighty warriors, those
foremost ones of Bharata's race (the princes) entered, furnished with
finger-protectors (gauntlet), and bows, and quivers. And with Yudhishthira
at their head, the valiant princes entered in order of age and began to
show wonderful skill with their weapons. Some of the spectators lowered
their heads, apprehending fall of arrows while others fearlessly gazed on
with wonder. And riding swiftly on horses and managing them 'dexterously'
the princes began to hit marks with shafts engraved with their respective
names. And seeing the prowess of the princes armed with bows and arrows,
the spectators thought that they were beholding the city of the Gandharvas,
became filled with amazement. And, O Bharata, all on a sudden, some
hundreds and thousands, with eyes wide open in wonder, exclaimed, 'Well
done! Well done!' And having repeatedly displayed their skill and
dexterity in the use of bows and arrows and in the management of cars, the
mighty warriors took up their swords and bucklers, and began to range the
lists, playing their weapons. The spectators saw (with wonder) their
agility, the symmetry of their bodies, their grace, their calmness, the
firmness of their grasp and their deftness in the use of sword and buckler.
Then Vrikodara and Suyodhana, internally delighted (at the prospect of
fight), entered the arena, mace in hand, like two single-peaked mountains.
And those mighty-armed warriors braced their loins, and summoning all
their energy, roared like two infuriate elephants contending for a cow-
elephant; and like two infuriated elephants those mighty heroes
faultlessly (in consonance with the dictates of the science of arm)
careered right and left, circling the lists. And Vidura described to
Dhritarashtra and the mother of the Pandavas (Kunti) and Gandhari, all the
feats of the princes.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon the Kuru king and Bhima, the foremost of
all endued with strength, having entered the arena, the spectators were
divided into two parties in consequence of the partiality swaying their
affections. Some cried, 'Behold the heroic king of the Kurus!'--some--
'Behold Bhima!'--And on account of these cries, there was, all on a sudden,
a loud uproar. And seeing the place become like a troubled ocean, the
intelligent Bharadwaja said unto his dear son, Aswatthaman, 'Restrain both
these mighty warriors so proficient in arms. Let not the ire of the
assembly be provoked by this combat of Bhima and Duryodhana.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the son of the preceptor of the princes
restrained those combatants with their maces uplifted and resembling two
swollen oceans agitated by the winds that blow at the universal
dissolution. And Drona himself entering the yard of the arena commanded
the musicians to stop, and with a voice deep as that of the clouds
addressed these words, 'Behold ye now that Partha who is dearer to me than
my own son, the master of all arms, the son of Indra himself, and like
unto the younger brother of Indra, (Vishnu)! And having performed the
propitiatory rites, the youthful Phalguna, equipped with the finger
protector (gauntlet) and his quiver full of shafts and bow in hand,
donning his golden mail, appeared in the lists even like an evening cloud
reflecting the rays of the setting sun and illumined by the hues of the
rainbow and flashes of lightning.

"On seeing Arjuna, the whole assembly were delighted and conchs began to
be blown all around with other musical instruments. And there arose a
great uproar in consequence of the spectators' exclaiming,--'This is the
graceful son of Kunti!'--'This is the middle (third) Pandava!'--'This is
the son of the mighty Indra!'--'This is the protector of the Kurus'--'This
is the foremost of those versed in arms!'--'This is the foremost of all
cherishers of virtue!'--'This is the foremost of the persons of correct
behaviour, the great repository of the knowledge of manners!' At those
exclamations, the tears of Kunti, mixing with the milk of her breast,
wetted her bosom. And his ears being filled with that uproar, that first
of men, Dhritarashtra, asked Vidura in delight, 'O Kshatri, what is this
great uproar for, like unto that of the troubled ocean, arising all on a
sudden and rending the very heavens?' Vidura replied, 'O mighty monarch,
the son of Pandu and Pritha, Phalguna, clad in mail hath entered the lists.
And hence this uproar!' Dhritarashtra said, 'O thou of soul so great, by
the three fires sprung from Pritha who is even like the sacred fuel, I
have, indeed, been blessed, favoured and protected!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, excited with delight, had
somewhat regained their equanimity, Vibhatsu began to display his
lightness in the use of weapons. By the Agneya weapon, he created fire,
and by the Varuna weapon he created water, by the Vayavya weapon, he
created air, and by the Parjanya weapon he created clouds. And by the
Bhauma weapon, he created land, and by the Parvatya weapon, he brought
mountains into being. By the Antardhana weapon all these were made to
disappear. Now the beloved one of his preceptor (Arjuna) appeared tall and
now short; now he was seen on the yoke of his car, and now on the car
itself; and the next moment he was on the ground. And the hero favoured by
his practised dexterity, hit with his various butts--some tender, some
fine and some of thick composition. And like one shaft, he let fly at a
time into the mouth of a moving iron-boar five shafts together from his
bow-string. And that hero of mighty energy discharged one and twenty
arrows into the hollow of a cow's horn hung up on a rope swaying to and
fro. In this manner, O sinless one, Arjuna showed his profound skill in
the use of sword, bow, and mace, walking over the lists in circles.

"And, O Bharata, when the exhibition had well-nigh ended, the excitement
of the spectators had cooled, and the sounds of instruments had died out
there was heard proceeding from the gate, the slapping of arms, betokening
might and strength, and even like unto the roar of the thunder. And, O
king, as soon as this sound was heard, the assembled multitude instantly
thought, 'Are the mountains splitting or is the earth itself rending
asunder, or is the welkin resounding with the roar of gathering clouds?'
And then all the spectators turned their eyes towards the gate. And Drona
stood, surrounded by the five brothers, the sons of Pritha, and looked
like the moon in conjunction with the five-starred constellation Hasta.
And Duryodhana, that slayer of foes, stood up in haste and was surrounded
by his century of haughty brothers with Aswatthaman amongst them. And that
prince, mace in hand, thus surrounded by his hundred brothers with
uplifted weapons appeared like Purandara in days of yore, encircled by the
celestial host on the occasion of the battle with the Danavas.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, with eyes expanded with
wonder, made way for that subjugator of hostile cities, Karna, that hero
with his natural mail and face brightened with ear-rings, took up his bow
and girded on his sword, and then entered the spacious lists, like a
walking cliff. That far-famed destroyer of hostile hosts, the large-eyed
Karna, was born of Pritha in her maidenhood. He was a portion of the hot-
beamed Sun and his energy and prowess were like unto those of the lion, or
the bull, or the leader of a herd of elephants. In splendour he resembled
the Sun, in loveliness the Moon, and in energy the fire. Begotten by the
Sun himself, he was tall in stature like a golden palm tree, and, endued
with the vigour of youth, he was capable of slaying a lion. Handsome in
features, he was possessed of countless accomplishments. The mighty-armed
warrior, eyeing all around the arena, bowed indifferently to Drona and
Kripa. And the entire assembly, motionless and with steadfast gaze,
thought, 'Who is he?' And they became agitated in their curiosity to know
the warrior. And that foremost of eloquent men, the offspring of the Sun,
in a voice deep as that of the clouds, addressed his unknown brother, the
son of the subduer of the Asura, Paka (Indra), saying, 'O Partha, I shall
perform feats before this gazing multitude; excelling all thou hast
performed! Beholding them, thou shall be amazed.' And, O thou best of
those blest with speech, he had hardly done when the spectators stood up
all at once, uplifted by some instrument, as it were. And, O tiger among
men, Duryodhana was filled with delight, while Vibhatsu was instantly all
abashment and anger. Then with the permission of Drona, the mighty Karna,
delighting in battle, there did all that Partha had done before. And, O
Bharata, Duryodhana with his brothers thereupon embraced Karna in joy and
then addressed him saying, 'Welcome O mighty-armed warrior! I have
obtained thee by good fortune, O polite one! Live thou as thou pleasest,
and command me, and the kingdom of the Kurus.' Karna replied, 'When thou
hast said it, I regard it as already accomplished. I only long for thy
friendship. And, O lord, my wish is even for a single combat with Arjuna.'
Duryodhana said, 'Do thou with me enjoy the good things of life! Be thou
the benefactor of thy friend, and, O represser of enemies, place thou thy
feet on the heads of all foes.'

"Arjuna, after this, deeming himself disgraced, said unto Karna
stationed amidst the brothers like unto a cliff, 'That path which the
unwelcome intruder and the uninvited talker cometh to, shall be thine,
O Karna, for thou shall be slain by me.' Karna replied, 'This arena is
meant for all, not for thee alone, O Phalguna! They are kings who are
superior in energy; and verily the Kshatriya regardeth might and might
alone. What need of altercation which is the exercise of the weak? O
Bharata, speak then in arrows until with arrows I strike off thy head
today before the preceptor himself!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hastily embraced by his brothers, Partha that
subduer of hostile cities, with the permission of Drona, advanced for the
combat. On the other side, Karna, having been embraced by Duryodhana with
his brothers, taking up his bow and arrows, stood ready for the fight.
Then the firmament became enveloped in clouds emitting flashes of
lightning, and the coloured bow of Indra appeared shedding its effulgent
rays. And the clouds seemed to laugh on account of the rows of white
cranes that were then on the wing. And seeing Indra thus viewing the arena
from affection (for his son), the sun too dispersed the clouds from over
his own offspring. And Phalguna remained deep hid under cover of the
clouds, while Karna remained visible, being surrounded by the rays of the
Sun. And the son of Dhritarashtra stood by Karna, and Bharadwaja and Kripa
and Bhishma remained with Partha. And the assembly was divided, as also
the female spectators. And knowing the state of things, Kunti the daughter
of Bhoja, swooned away. And by the help of female attendants, Vidura,
versed in the lore of all duties, revived the insensible Kunti by
sprinkling sandal-paste and water on her person. On being restored to
consciousness, Kunti, seeing her two sons clad in mail, was seized with
fear, but she could do nothing (to protect them). And beholding both the
warriors with bows strung in their hands the son of Saradwat, viz., Kripa,
knowing all duties and cognisant of the rules regulating duels, addressed
Karna, saying 'This Pandava, who is the youngest son of Kunti, belongeth
to the Kaurava race: he will engage in combat with thee. But, O mighty-
armed one, thou too must tell us thy lineage and the names of thy father
and mother and the royal line of which thou art the ornament. Learning all
this, Partha will fight with thee or not (as he will think fit). Sons of
kings never fight with men of inglorious lineage.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When he was thus addressed by Kripa, Karna's
countenance became like unto a lotus pale and torn with the pelting
showers in the rainy season. Duryodhana said, 'O preceptor, verily the
scriptures have it that three classes of persons can lay claim to royalty,
viz., persons of the blood royal, heroes, and lastly, those that lead
armies. If Phalguna is unwilling to fight with one who is not a king, I
will install Karna as king of Anga.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'At that very moment, seated on a golden seat, with
parched paddy and with flowers and water-pots and much gold, the mighty
warrior Karna was installed king by Brahmanas versed in mantras. And the
royal umbrella was held over his head, while Yak-tails waved around that
redoubtable hero of graceful mien. And the cheers, having ceased, king
(Karna) said unto the Kaurava Duryodhana, 'O tiger among monarchs, what
shall I give unto thee that may compare with thy gift of a kingdom? O king,
I will do all thou biddest!' And Suyodhana said unto him, 'I eagerly wish
for thy friendship.' Thus spoken to, Karna replied, 'Be it so.' And they
embraced each other in joy, and experienced great happiness.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After this, with his sheet loosely hanging down,
Adhiratha entered the lists, perspiring and trembling, and supporting
himself on a staff.

"Seeing him, Karna left his bow and impelled by filial regard bowed down
his head still wet with the water of inauguration. And them the charioteer,
hurriedly covering his feet with the end of his sheet, addressed Karna
crowned with success as his son. And the charioteer embraced Karna and
from excess of affection bedewed his head with tears, that head still wet
with the water sprinkled over it on account of the coronation as king of
Anga. Seeing the charioteer, the Pandava Bhimasena took Karna for a
charioteer's son, and said by way of ridicule, 'O son of a charioteer,
thou dost not deserve death in fight at the hands of Partha. As befits thy
race take thou anon the whip. And, O worst of mortals, surely thou art not
worthy to sway the kingdom of Anga, even as a dog doth not deserve the
butter placed before the sacrificial fire.' Karna, thus addressed, with
slightly quivering lips fetched a deep sigh, looked at the God of the day
in the skies. And even as a mad elephant riseth from an assemblage of
lotuses, the mighty Duryodhana rose in wrath from among his brothers, and
addressed that performer of dreadful deeds, Bhimasena, present there, 'O
Vrikodara, it behoveth thee not to speak such words. Might is the cardinal
virtue of a Kshatriya, and even a Kshatriya of inferior birth deserveth to
be fought with. The lineage of heroes, like the sources of a lordly river,
is ever unknown. The fire that covereth the whole world riseth from the
waters. The thunder that slayeth the Danavas was made of a bone of (a
mortal named) Dadhichi. The illustrious deity Guha, who combines in his
composition the portions of all the other deities is of a lineage unknown.
Some call him the offspring of Agni; some, of Krittika, some, of Rudra,
and some of Ganga. It hath been heard by us that persons born in the
Kshatriya order have become Brahmanas. Viswamitra and others (born
Kshatriyas) have obtained the eternal Brahma. The foremost of all wielders
of weapons, the preceptor Drona hath been born in a waterpot and Kripa of
the race of Gotama hath sprung from a clump of heath. Your own births, ye
Pandava princes, are known to me. Can a she-deer bring forth a tiger (like
Karna), of the splendour of the Sun, and endued with every auspicious mark,
and born also with a natural mail and ear-rings? This prince among men
deserveth the sovereignty of the world, not of Anga only, in consequence
of the might of his arm and my swearing to obey him in everything. If
there be anybody here to whom all that I have done unto Karna hath become
intolerable, let him ascend his chariot and bend his bow with the help of
his feet.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then there arose a confused murmur amongst the
spectators approving of Duryodhana's speech. The sun, however, went down,
but prince Duryodhana taking Karna's hand led him out of the arena lighted
with countless lamps. And, O king, the Pandavas also, accompanied by Drona
and Kripa and Bhishma, returned to their abodes. And the people, too, came
away, some naming Arjuna, some Karna, and some Duryodhana (as the victor
of the day). And Kunti, recognising her son in Karna by the various
auspicious marks on his person and beholding him installed in the
sovereignty of Anga, was from motherly affection, very pleased. And
Duryodhana, O monarch, having obtained Karna (in this way), banished his
fears arising out of Arjuna's proficiency in arms. And the heroic Karna,
accomplished in arms, began to gratify Duryodhana by sweet speeches, while
Yudhishthira was impressed with the belief that there was no warrior on
earth like unto Karna.'"


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Beholding the Pandavas and the son of
Dhritarashtra accomplished in arms, Drona thought the time had come when
he could demand the preceptorial fee. And, O king, assembling his pupils
one day together, the preceptor Drona asked of them the fee, saying,
'Seize Drupada, the king of Panchala in battle and bring him unto me. That
shall be the most acceptable fee.' Those warriors then answering, 'So be
it', speedily mounted up on their chariots, and for bestowing upon their
preceptor the fee he had demanded, marched out, accompanied by him. Those
bulls among men, smiting the Panchalas on their way, laid siege to the
capital of the great Drupada. And Duryodhana and Karna and the mighty
Yuyutsu, and Duhsasana and Vikarna and Jalasandha and Sulochana,--these
and many other foremost of Kshatriya princes of great prowess, vied with
one another in becoming the foremost in the attack. And the princes,
riding in first class chariots and following the cavalry, entered the
hostile capital, and proceeded along the streets.

"Meanwhile, the king of Panchala, beholding that mighty force and hearing
its loud clamour, came out of his palace, accompanied by his brothers.
Though king Yajnasena was well-armed, the Kuru army assailed him with a
shower of arrows, uttering their war-cry. Yajnasena, however, not easy to
be subdued in battle, approaching the Kurus upon his white chariot, began
to rain his fierce arrows around.

"Before the battle commenced, Arjuna, beholding the pride of prowess
displayed by the princes, addressed his preceptor, that best of Brahmanas,
Drona, and said, 'We shall exert ourselves after these have displayed
their prowess. The king of Panchala can never be taken on the field of the
battle by any of these.' Having said this, the sinless son of Kunti
surrounded by his brothers, waited outside the town at a distance of a
mile from it. Meanwhile Drupada beholding the Kuru host, rushed forward
and pouring a fierce shower of arrows around, terribly afflicted the Kuru
ranks. And such was his lightness of motion on the field of battle that,
though he was fighting unsupported on a single chariot, the Kurus from
panic supposed that there were many Drupadas opposed to them. And the
fierce arrows of that monarch fell fast on all sides, till conchs and
trumpets and drums by thousands began to be sounded by the Panchalas from
their houses (giving the alarm). Then there arose from the mighty Panchala
host a roar terrible as that of the lion, while the twang of their bow-
strings seemed to rend the very heavens. Then Duryodhana and Vikarna,
Suvahu and Dirghalochana and Duhsasana becoming furious, began to shower
their arrows upon the enemy. But the mighty bowman, Prishata's son,
invincible in battle, though very much pierced with the arrows of the
enemy, instantly began, O Bharata, to afflict the hostile ranks with
greater vigour. And careering over the field of battle like a fiery wheel,
king Drupada with his arrows smote Duryodhana and Vikarna and even the
mighty Karna and many other heroic princes and numberless warriors, and
slaked their thirst for battle. Then all the citizens showered upon the
Kurus various missiles like clouds showering rain-drops upon the earth.
Young and old, they all rushed to battle, assailing the Kurus with vigour.
The Kauravas, then, O Bharata, beholding the battle become frightful,
broke and fled wailing towards the Pandavas.

"The Pandavas, hearing the terrible wail of the beaten host, reverentially
saluted Drona and ascended their chariots. Then Arjuna hastily bidding
Yudhishthira not to engage in the fight, rushed forward, appointing the
sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva) the protectors of his chariot-wheels,
while Bhimasena ever fighting in the van, mace in hand, ran ahead. The
sinless Arjuna, thus accompanied by his brothers, hearing the shouts of
the enemy, advanced towards them, filling the whole region with the rattle
of his chariot-wheels. And like a Makara entering the sea, the mighty-
armed Bhima, resembling a second Yama, mace in hand, entered the Panchala
ranks, fiercely roaring like the ocean in a tempest. And Bhima, mace in
hand, first rushed towards the array of elephants in the hostile force,
while Arjuna, proficient in battle, assailed that force with the prowess
of his arms. And Bhima, like the great Destroyer himself, began to slay
those elephants with his mace. Those huge animals, like unto mountains,
struck with Bhima's mace, had their heads broken into pieces. Covered with
stream of blood, they began to fall upon the ground like cliffs loosened
by thunder. And the Pandavas prostrated on the ground elephants and horses
and cars by thousands and slew many foot-soldiers and many car-warriors.
Indeed, as a herdsman in the woods driveth before him with his staff
countless cattle with ease, so did Vrikodara drive before him the chariots
and elephants of the hostile force.

"Meanwhile, Phalguna, impelled by the desire of doing good unto
Bharadwaja's son, assailed the son of Prishata with a shower of arrows and
felled him from the elephant on which he was seated. And, O monarch,
Arjuna, like unto the terrible fire that consumeth all things at the end
of the Yuga, began to prostrate on the ground horses and cars and
elephants by thousands. The Panchalas and the Srinjayas, on the other hand,
thus assailed by the Pandava, met him with a perfect shower of weapons of
various kinds. And they sent up a loud shout and fought desperately with
Arjuna. The battle became furious and terrible to behold. Hearing the
enemy's shouts, the son of Indra was filled with wrath and assailing the
hostile host with a thick shower of arrows, rushed towards it furiously
afflicting it with renewed vigour. They who observed the illustrious
Arjuna at that time could not mark any interval between his fixing the
arrows on the bowstring and letting them off. Loud were the shouts that
rose there, mingled with cheers of approval. Then the king of the
Panchalas, accompanied by (the generalissimo of his forces) Satyajit,
rushed with speed at Arjuna like the Asura Samvara rushing at the chief of
the celestials (in days of yore). Then Arjuna covered the king of Panchala
with a shower of arrows. Then there arose a frightful uproar among the
Panchala host like unto the roar of a mighty lion springing at the leader
of a herd of elephants. And beholding Arjuna rushing at the king of
Panchala to seize him, Satyajit of great prowess rushed at him. And the
two warriors, like unto Indra and the Asura Virochana's son (Vali),
approaching each other for combat, began to grind each other's ranks. Then
Arjuna with great force pierced Satyajit with ten keen shafts at which
feat the spectators were all amazed. But Satyajit, without losing any time,
assailed Arjuna with a hundred shafts. Then that mighty car-warrior,
Arjuna, endued with remarkable lightness of motion, thus covered by that
shower of arrows, rubbed his bow-string to increase the force and velocity
of his shafts. Then cutting in twain his antagonist's bow, Arjuna rushed
at the king of the Panchalas, but Satyajit, quickly taking up a tougher
bow, pierced with his arrows Partha, his chariot, charioteer, and horses.
Arjuna, thus assailed in battle by the Panchala warrior, forgave not his
foe. Eager to slay him at once, he pierced with a number of arrows his
antagonist's horses, flags, bow, clenched (left) fist, charioteer, and the
attendant at his back. Then Satyajit, finding his bows repeatedly cut in
twain and his horses slain, desisted from the fight.

"The king of the Panchalas, beholding his general thus discomfited in the
encounter, himself began to shower his arrows upon the Pandava prince.
Then Arjuna, that foremost of warriors, crowned with success, began to
fight furiously, and quickly cutting his enemy's bow in twain as also his
flagstaff which he caused to fall down, pierced his antagonist's horses,
and charioteer also with five arrows. Then throwing aside his bow Arjuna
took his quiver, and taking out a scimitar and sending forth a loud shout,
leaped from his own chariot upon that of his foe. And standing there with
perfect fearlessness he seized Drupada as Garuda seizeth a huge snake
after agitating the waters of the ocean. At the sight of this, the
Panchala troops ran away in all directions.

"Then Dhananjaya, having thus exhibited the might of his arm in the
presence of both hosts, sent forth a loud shout and came out of the
Panchala ranks. And beholding him returning (with his captive), the
princes began to lay waste Drupada's capital. Addressing them Arjuna said,
'This best of monarchs, Drupada, is a relative of the Kuru heroes.
Therefore, O Bhima, slay not his soldiers. Let us only give unto our
preceptor his fee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, thus prevented by Arjuna, the mighty
Bhimasena, though unsatiated with the exercise of battle, refrained from
the act of slaughter. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the princes then,
taking Drupada with them after having seized him on the field of battle
along with his friends and counsellors, offered him unto Drona. And Drona
beholding Drupada thus brought under complete control--humiliated and
deprived of wealth--remembered that monarch's former hostility and
addressing him said, 'Thy kingdom and capital have been laid waste by me.
But fear not for thy life, though it dependeth now on the will of thy foe.
Dost thou now desire to revive thy friendship (with me)?' Having said this,
he smiled a little and again said, 'Fear not for thy life, brave king! We,
Brahmanas, are ever forgiving. And, O bull among Kshatriyas, my affection
and love for thee have grown with me in consequence of our having sported
together in childhood in the hermitage. Therefore, O king, I ask for thy
friendship again. And as a boon (unasked), I give thee half the kingdom
(that was thine). Thou toldest me before that none who was not a king
could be a king's friend. Therefore is it, O Yajnasena, that I retain half

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