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

Part 3 out of 7

of heaven; I will as I have been pleased with thee, grant thee an
irresistible weapon. Soon shall thou be able to wield that weapon of

Vaisampayana continued, "Phalguna then beheld him--Mahadeva--that god of
blazing splendour--that wielder of the Pinaka--that one who had his
abode on the mountains (of Kailasa)--accompanied by Uma. Bending down on
his knee and bowing with his head, that conqueror of hostile cities--the
son of Pritha--worshipped Hara and inclined him to grace. And Arjuna
said, 'O _Kapardin_, O chief of all gods, O destroyer of the eyes of
Bhaga, O god of gods, O Mahadeva, O thou of blue throat, O thou of
matted locks, I know thee as the Cause of all causes. O thou of three
eyes, O lord of all! Thou art the refuge of all the gods! This universe
hath sprung from thee. Thou art incapable of being vanquished by the
three worlds of the celestials, the Asuras, and men. Thou art Siva in
the form of Vishnu, and Vishnu in the form of Siva. Thou destroyedest of
old the great sacrifice of Daksha. O Hari, O Rudra, I bow to thee. Thou
hast an eye on thy forehead. O Sarva, O thou that rainest objects of
desire, O bearer of the trident, O wielder of the Pinaka, O Surya, O
thou of pure body, O Creator of all, I bow to thee. O lord of all
created things, I worship thee to obtain thy grace. Thou art the lord of
the _Ganas_, the source of universal blessing, the Cause of the causes
of the universe. Thou art beyond the foremost of male beings, thou art
the highest, thou art the subtlest, O Hara! O illustrious Sankara, it
behoveth thee to pardon my fault. It was even to obtain a sight of
thyself that I came to this great mountain, which is dear to thee and
which is the excellent abode of ascetics. Thou art worshipped of all
worlds. O lord, I worship thee to obtain thy grace. Let not this
rashness of mine be regarded as a fault--this combat in which I was
engaged with thee from ignorance. O Sankara, I seek thy protection.
Pardon me all I have done.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Endued with great might, the god whose sign was
the bull, taking into his the handsome hands of Arjuna, smilingly
replied unto him, saying, 'I have pardoned thee.' And the illustrious
Hara, cheerfully clasping Arjuna with his arms, once more consoling
Arjuna said as follows."


"Mahadeva said, 'Thou wert in thy former life Nara, the friend of
Narayana. In Vadari wert thou engaged in fierce ascetic austerities for
several thousands of years. In thee as well as in Vishnu--that first of
male beings--dwelleth great might. Ye both, by your might, hold the
universe; O lord, taking up that fierce bow whose twang resembled the
deep roar of the clouds, thou, as well as Krishna, chastisedest the
Danavas during the coronation of Indra. Even this _Gandiva_ is that bow,
O son of Pritha, fit for thy hands. O foremost of male beings, I
snatched it from thee, helped by my powers of illusion. This couple of
quivers, fit for thee, will again be inexhaustible, O son of Pritha!
And, O son of the Kuru race, thy body will be free from pain and
disease. Thy prowess is incapable of being baffled. I have been pleased
with thee. And, O first of male beings, ask thou of me the boon that
thou desirest. O chastiser of all foes, O giver of proper respect, (to
those deserving it) not even in heaven is there any male being who is
equal to thee, nor any Kshatriya who is thy superior.'

"Arjuna said, 'O illustrious god having the bull for thy sign, if thou
wilt grant me my desire, I ask of thee, O lord that fierce celestial
weapon wielded by thee and called _Brahmasira_--that weapon of terrific
prowess which destroyeth, at the end of the _Yuga_ the entire
universe--that weapon by the help of which, O god of gods, I may under
thy grace, obtain victory in the terrible conflict which shall take
place between myself (on one side), and Karna and Bhishma and Kripa and
Drona (on the other)--that weapon by which I may consume in battle
Danavas and Rakshasas and evil spirits and Pisachas and Gandharvas and
Nagas--that weapon which when hurled with _Mantras_ produceth darts by
thousands and fierce-looking maces and arrows like snakes of virulent
poison, and by means of which I may fight with Bhishma and Drona and
Kripa and Karna of ever abusive tongue, O illustrious destroyer of the
eyes of Bhaga, even this is my foremost desire, _viz_., that I may be
able to fight with them and obtain success.'

"Bhava replied, 'O powerful one, I will give to thee that favourite
weapon of mine called the _Pasuputa_. O son of Pandu, thou art capable
of holding, hurling, and withdrawing it. Neither the chief himself of
the gods, nor Yama, nor the king of the Yakshas, nor Varuna, nor Vayu,
knoweth it. How could men know anything of it? But, O son of Pritha,
this weapon should not be hurled without adequate cause; for if hurled
at any foe of little might it may destroy the whole universe. In the
three worlds with all their mobile and immobile creatures, there is none
who is incapable of being slain by this weapon. And it may be hurled by
the mind, by the eye, by words, and by the bow.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words, the son of Pritha purified
himself. And approaching the lord of the universe with rapt attention,
he said, 'Instruct me!' Mahadeva then imparted unto that best of Pandu's
son the knowledge of that weapon looking like the embodiment of Yama,
together with all the mysteries about hurling and withdrawing it. And
that weapon thence began to wait upon Arjuna as it did upon Sankara, the
lord of Uma. And Arjuna also gladly accepted it. And at the moment the
whole earth, with its mountains and woods and trees and seas and forests
and villages and towns and mines, trembled. And the sounds of conchs and
drums and trumpets by thousands began to be heard. And at that moment
hurricanes and whirlwinds began to blow. And the gods and the Danavas
beheld that terrible weapon in its embodied form stay by the side of
Arjuna of immeasurable energy. And whatever of evil there had been in
the body of Phalguna of immeasurable energy was all dispelled by the
touch of the three-eyed deity. And the three eyed god then commanded
Arjuna, saying, 'Go thou into heaven.' Arjuna then, O king, worshipping
the god with bent head, gazed at him, with joined hands. Then the lord
of all the dwellers of heaven, the deity of blazing splendour having his
abode on mountain-breasts, the husband of Uma, the god of passions under
complete control, the source of all blessings, Bhava gave unto Arjuna,
that foremost of men, the great bow called _Gandiva_, destructive of
Danavas and Pisachas. And the god of gods, then leaving that blessed
mountain with snowy plateaus and vales and caves, favourite resort of
sky-ranging great Rishis, went up, accompanied by Uma into the skies, in
the sight of that foremost of men."


Vaisampayana said, "The wielder of the Pinaka, having the bull for his
sign, thus disappeared in the very sight of the gazing son of Pandu,
like the sun setting in the sight of the world. Arjuna, that slayer of
hostile heroes, wondered much at this, saying, 'O, I have seen the great
god of gods. Fortunate, indeed I am, and much favoured, for I have both
beheld and touched with my hand the three-eyed Hara the wielder of the
Pinaka, in his boon-giving form. I shall win success. I am already
great. My enemies have already been vanquished by me. My purposes have
been already achieved.' And while the son of Pritha, endued with
immeasurable energy, was thinking thus, there came to that place Varuna
the god of waters, handsome and of the splendour of the _lapis lazuri_
accompanied by all kinds of aquatic creatures, and filling all the
points of the horizon with a blazing effulgence. And accompanied by
Rivers both male and female, and Nagas, and Daityas and Sadhyas and
inferior deities, Varuna, the controller and lord of all aquatic
creatures, arrived at that spot. There came also the lord Kuvera of body
resembling pure gold, seated on his car of great splendour, and
accompanied by numerous Yakshas. And the lord of treasures, possessed of
great beauty, came there to see Arjuna, illuminating the firmament with
his effulgence. And there came also Yama himself, of great beauty, the
powerful destroyer of all the worlds, accompanied by those lords of the
creation--the Pitris--both embodied and disembodied. And the god of
justice, of inconceivable soul, the son of Surya, the destroyer of all
creatures, with the mace in hand, came there on his car, illuminating
the three worlds with regions of the Guhyakas, the Gandharvas and the
Nagas, like a second Surya as he riseth at the end of the Yuga. Having
arrived there, they beheld, from the effulgent and variegated summits of
the great mountain, Arjuna engaged in ascetic austerities. And there
came in a moment the illustrious Sakra also, accompanied by his queen,
seated on the back of (the celestial elephant) Airavata, and surrounded
also by all the deities. And in consequence of the white umbrella being
held over his head, he looked like the moon amid fleecy clouds. And
eulogised by Gandharvas, and Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism,
the chief of the celestials alighted on a particular summit of the
mountain, like a second sun. Then Yama possessed of great intelligence,
and fully conversant with virtue, who had occupied a summit on the
south, in a voice deep as that of the clouds, said these auspicious
words, 'Arjuna, behold us, the protectors of the worlds, arrive here! We
will grant thee (spiritual) vision, for thou deservest to behold us.
Thou wert in thy former life a Rishi of immeasurable soul, known as Nara
of great might. At the command, O child, of Brahma, thou hast been born
among men! O sinless one, by thee shall be vanquished in battle the
highly virtuous grandsire of the Kurus--Bhishma of great energy--who is
born of the Vasus. Thou shalt also defeat all the Kshatriyas of fiery
energy commanded by the son of Bharadwaja in battle. Thou shalt also
defeat those Danavas of fierce prowess that have been born amongst men,
and those Danavas also that are called Nivatakavachas. And, O son of the
Kuru race, O Dhananjaya, thou shalt also slay Karna of fierce prowess,
who is even a portion of my father Surya, of energy celebrated
throughout the worlds. And, O son of Kunti, smiter of all foes, thou
shalt also slay all the portions of celestials and Danavas and the
Rakshasas that have been incarnate on earth. And slain by thee, these
shall attain to the regions earned by them according to their acts. And,
O Phalguna, the fame of thy achievements will last for ever in the
world: thou hast gratified Mahadeva himself in conflict. Thou shalt,
with Vishnu himself, lighten the burden of the earth. O accept this
weapon of mine--the mace I wield incapable of being baffled by any body.
With this weapon thou wilt achieve great deeds.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "O Janamejaya, the son of Pritha then received
from Yama that weapon duly, along with the _Mantras_ and rite, and the
mysteries of hurling and withdrawing it. Then Varuna, the lord of all
aquatic creatures, blue as the clouds, from a summit he had occupied on
the west, uttered these words, 'O son of Pritha, thou art the foremost
of Kshatriyas, and engaged in Kshatriya practices. O thou of large
coppery eyes, behold me! I am Varuna, the lord of waters. Hurled by me,
my nooses are incapable of being resisted. O son of Kunti, accept of me
these Varuna weapons along with the mysteries of hurling and withdrawing
them. With these, O hero, in the battle that ensued of your on account
of Taraka (the wife of Vrihaspati), thousands of mighty Daityas were
seized and tied. Accept them of me. Even if Yama himself by thy foe,
with these in thy hands, he will not be able to escape from thee. When
thou wilt armed with these, range over the field of battle, the land,
beyond doubt, will be destitute of Kshatriyas.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "After both Varuna and Yama had given away their
celestial weapons, the lord of treasures having his home on the heights
of Kailasa, then spake, 'O son of Pandu, O thou of great might and
wisdom, I too have been pleased with thee. And this meeting with thee
giveth me as much pleasure as a meeting with Krishna. O wielder of the
bow with the left hand, O thou of mighty arms, thou wert a god before,
eternal (as other gods). In ancient _Kalpas_, thou hadst every day gone
through ascetic austerities along with us. O best of men, I grant thee
celestial vision. O thou of mighty arms, thou wilt defeat even
invincible Daityas and Danavas. Accept of me also without loss of time,
an excellent weapon. With this thou wilt be able to consume the ranks of
Dhritarashtra. Take then this favourite weapon of mine called
_Antarddhana_. Endued with energy and prowess and splendour, it is
capable of sending the foe to sleep. When the illustrious Sankara slew
Tripura, even this was the weapon which he shot and by which many mighty
Asuras were consumed. O thou of invincible prowess I take it up for
giving it to thee. Endued with the dignity of the Meru, thou art
competent to hold this weapon.'

"After these words had been spoken, the Kuru prince Arjuna endued with
great strength, duly received from Kuvera that celestial weapon. Then
the chief of the celestials addressing Pritha's son of ceaseless deeds
in sweet words, said, in a voice deep as that the clouds or the
kettle-drum, 'O thou mighty-armed son of Kunti, thou art an ancient god.
Thou hast already achieved the highest success, and acquired the stature
of a god. But, O represser of foes, thou hast yet to accomplish the
purposes of the gods. Thou must ascend to heaven. Therefore prepare thou
O hero of great splendour! My own car with Matali as charioteer, will
soon descend on the earth. Taking thee, O Kaurava, to heaven, I will
grant thee there all my celestial weapons.'

"Beholding those protectors of the worlds assembled together on the
heights of Himavat, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, wondered much. Endued
with great energy, he then duly worshipped the assembled _Lokapalas_,
with words, water, and fruits. The celestials then returning that
worship, went away. And the gods capable of going everywhere at will,
and endued with the speed of the mind, returned to the places whence
they had come.

"That bull among men--Arjuna--having obtained weapons thus, was filled
with pleasure. And he regarded himself as one whose desires had been
fulfilled and who was crowned with success."


(Indralokagamana Parva)

Vaisampayana said, "After the _Lokapalas_ had gone away, Arjuna--that
slayer of all foes--began to think, O monarch, of the car of Indra! And
as Gudakesa gifted with great intelligence was thinking of it, the car
endued with great effulgence and guided by Matali, came dividing the
clouds and illuminating the firmament and filling the entire welkin with
its rattle deep as the roar of mighty masses of clouds. Swords, and
missiles of terrible forms and maces of frightful description, and
winged darts of celestials splendour and lightnings of the brightest
effulgence, and thunderbolts, and propellors furnished with wheels and
worked with atmosphere expansion and producing sounds loud as the roar
of great masses of clouds, were on that car. And there were also on that
car fierce and huge-bodied _Nagas_ with fiery mouths, and heaps of
stones white as the fleecy clouds. And the car was drawn by ten
thousands of horses of golden hue, endued with the speed of the wind.
And furnished with prowess of illusion, the car was drawn with such
speed that the eye could hardly mark its progress. And Arjuna saw on
that car the flag-staff called _Vaijayanta_, of blazing effulgence,
resembling in hue the emerald or the dark-blue lotus, and decked with
golden ornaments and straight as the bamboo. And beholding a charioteer
decked in gold seated on that car, the mighty-armed son of Pritha
regarded it as belonging to the celestials. And while Arjuna was
occupied with his thoughts regarding the car, the charioteer Matali,
bending himself after descending from the car, addressed him, saying, 'O
lucky son of Sakra! Sakra himself wisheth to see thee. Ascend thou
without loss of time this car that hath been sent by Indra. The chief of
the immortals, thy father--that god of a hundred sacrifices--hath
commanded me, saying, _Bring the son of Kunti hither. Let the gods
behold him._ And Sankara himself, surrounded by the celestials and
Rishis and Gandharvas and Apsaras, waiteth to behold thee. At the
command of the chastiser of Paka, therefore, ascend thou with me from
this to the region of the celestials. Thou wilt return after obtaining

"Arjuna replied, 'O Matali, mount thou without loss of time this
excellent car, a car that cannot be attained even by hundreds of
_Rajasuya_ and horse sacrifices. Even kings of great prosperity who have
performed great sacrifices distinguished by large gifts (to Brahmanas),
even gods and Danavas are not competent to ride this car. He that hath
not ascetic merit is not competent to even see or touch this car, far
less to ride on it. O blessed one, after thou hast ascended it, and
after the horses have become still, I will ascend it, like a virtuous
man stepping into the high-road of honesty.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Matali, the charioteer of Sakra, hearing these
words of Arjuna, soon mounted the car and controlled the horses. Arjuna
then, with a cheerful heart, purified himself by a bath in the Ganges.
And the son of Kunti then duly repeated (inaudibly) his customary
prayers. He then, duly and according to the ordinance, gratified the
_Pitris_ with oblations of water. And, lastly, he commenced to invoke
the Mandara--that king of mountains--saying, 'O mountain, thou art ever
the refuge of holy, heaven-seeking _Munis_ of virtuous conduct and
behaviour. It is through thy grace, O mountain, that Brahmanas and
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas attain heaven, and their anxieties gone, sport
with the celestials. O king of mountains, O mountain, thou art the
asylum of _Munis_, and thou holdest on thy breast numerous sacred
shrines. Happily have I dwelt on thy heights. I leave thee now, bidding
thee farewell. Oft have I seen thy tablelands and bowers, thy springs
and brooks, and the sacred shrines on thy breast. I have also eaten the
savoury fruits growing on thee, and have slated my thirst with draughts
of perfumed water oozing from the body. I have also drunk the water of
thy springs, sweet as _amrita_ itself. O mountain, as a child sleepeth
happily on the lap of his father, so have I, O king of mountains, O
excellent one, sported on thy breast, echoing with the notes of Apsaras
and the chanting of the Vedas. O mountain, every day have I lived
happily on thy tablelands.' Thus having bidden farewell to the mountain,
that slayer of hostile heroes--Arjuna--blazing like the Sun himself,
ascended the celestial car. And the Kuru prince gifted with great
intelligence, with a glad heart, coursed through the firmament on that
celestial car effulgent as the sun and of extra-ordinary achievements.
And after he had become invisible to the mortals of the earth, he beheld
thousands of cars of extra-ordinary beauty. And in that region there was
no sun or moon or fire to give light, but it blazed in light of its own,
generated by virtue of ascetic merit. And those brilliant regions that
are seen from the earth in the form of stars, like lamps (in the
sky)--so small in consequence of their distance, though very large--were
beheld by the son of Pandu, stationed in their respective places, full
of beauty and effulgence and blazing with splendour all their own. And
there he beheld royal sages crowned with ascetic success, and heroes who
had yielded up their lives in battle, and those that had acquired heaven
by their ascetic austerities, by hundreds upon hundreds. And there were
also Gandharvas, of bodies blazing like the sun, by thousands upon
thousands, as also Guhyakas and Rishis and numerous tribes of Apsaras.
And beholding those self-effulgent regions, Phalguna became filled with
wonder, and made enquiries of Matali. And Matali also gladly replied
unto him, saying, 'These, O son of Pritha, are virtuous persons
stationed in their respective places. It is these whom thou hast seen, O
exalted one, as stars, from the earth.' Then Arjuna saw standing at the
gates (Indra's region) the handsome and ever victorious
elephant--Airavata--furnished with four tusks, and resembling the
mountain of Kailasa with its summits. And coursing along that path of
the _Siddhas_, that foremost of the Kurus and the son of Pandu, sat in
beauty like Mandhata--that best of kings. Endued with eyes like lotus
leaves, he passed through the region set apart for virtuous kings. And
the celebrated Arjuna having thus passed through successive regions of
heaven at last beheld _Amaravati_, the city of Indra."


Vaisampayana said, "And the city of Indra which Arjuna saw was
delightful and was the resort of _Siddhas_ and _Charanas_. And it was
adorned with the flowers of every season, and with sacred trees of all
kinds. And he beheld also celestial gardens called _Nandana_--the
favourite resort of Apsaras. And fanned by the fragrant breezes charged
with the farina of sweet-scented flowers, the trees with their lord of
celestial blossoms seemed to welcome him amongst them. And the region
was such that none could behold it who had not gone through ascetic
austerities, or who had not poured libations on fire. It was a region
for the virtuous alone, and not for those who had turned their back on
the field of battle. And none were competent to see it who had not
performed sacrifices or observed rigid vows, or who were without a
knowledge of the Vedas, or who had not bathed in sacred waters, or who
were not distinguished for sacrifices and gifts. And none were competent
to see it who were disturbers of sacrifices, or who were low, or who
drank intoxicating liquors, or who were violators of their preceptors'
bed, or who were eaters of (unsanctified) meat, or who were wicked. And
having beheld those celestial gardens resounding with celestial music,
the strong-armed son of Pandu entered the favourite city of Indra. And
he beheld there celestial cars by thousands, capable of going everywhere
at will, stationed in proper places. And he saw tens of thousands of
such cars moving in every direction. And fanned by pleasant breezes
charged with the perfumes of flowers, the son of Pandu was praised by
Apsaras and Gandharvas. And the celestials then, accompanied by the
Gandharvas and Siddhas and great Rishis, cheerfully reverenced Pritha's
son of white deeds. Benedictions were poured upon him, accompanied by
the sounds of celestial music. The strong-armed son of Pritha then heard
around him the music of conchs and drums. And praised all around, the
son of Pritha then went, at the command of Indra, to that large and
extensive starry way called by the name of _Suravithi_. There he met
with the _Sadhyas_, the _Viswas_, the _Marutas_, the twin _Aswins_, the
_Adityas_, the _Vasus_, the _Rudras_, the _Brahmarshis_ of the great
splendour, and numerous royal sages with Dilipa at their head, and
Tumvura and Narada, and that couple of Gandharvas known by the names of
Haha and Huhu. And the Kuru prince--that chastiser of foes--having met
and duly saluted them, last of all beheld the chief of the
celestials--the god of a hundred sacrifices. Then the strong-armed son
of Pritha, alighting from the car approached the lord himself of the
gods--his father--that chastiser of Paka. And a beautiful white umbrella
furnished with a golden staff was held over the chief of the celestials.
And he was fanned with a _Chamara_ perfumed with celestial scents. And
he was eulogised by many Gandharvas headed by _Viswavasu_ and others, by
bards and singers, and by foremost Brahmanas chanting _Rik_ and _Yajus_
hymns. And the mighty son of Kunti, approaching Indra, saluted him by
bending his head to the ground. And Indra thereupon embraced him with
his round and plump arms. And taking his hand, Sakra made him sit by him
on a portion of his own seat, that sacred seat which was worshipped by
gods and Rishis. And the lord of the celestials--that slayer of hostile
heroes--smelt the head of Arjuna bending in humility, and even took him
upon his lap. Seated on Sakra's seat at the command of that god of a
thousand eyes, Pritha's son of immeasurable energy began to blaze in
splendour like a second Indra. And moved by affection, the slayer of
Vritra, consoling Arjuna, touched his beautiful face with his own
perfumed hands. And the wielder of the thunderbolt, patting and rubbing
gently again and again with his own hands which bore the marks of the
thunderbolt the handsome and huge arms of Arjuna which resembled a
couple of golden columns and which were hard in consequence of drawing
the bowstring, the god of a thousand eyes eying his son of curly locks
smilingly and with eyes expanded with delight, seemed scarcely to be
gratified. The more he gazed, the more he liked to gaze on. And seated
on one seat, the father and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly,
like the sun and moon beautifying the firmament together on the
fourteenth day of the dark fortnight. And a band of Gandharvas headed by
Tumvuru skilled in music sacred and profane, sang many verses in
melodious notes. And Ghritachi and Menaka and Rambha and Purvachitti and
Swayamprabha and Urvasi and Misrakesi and Dandagami and Varuthini and
Gopali and Sahajanya and Kumbhayoni and Prajagara and Chitrasena and
Chitralekha and Saha and Madhuraswana, these and others by thousands,
possessed of eyes like lotus leaves, who were employed in enticing the
hearts of persons practising rigid austerities, danced there. And
possessing slim waists and fair large hips, they began to perform
various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms, and casting their glances
around, and exhibiting other attractive attitude capable of stealing the
hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators."


Vaisampayana said, "The gods and the Gandharvas then, understanding the
wishes of Indra, procured an excellent _Arghya_ and reverenced the son
of Pritha in a hurry. And giving water to wash both his feet and face,
they caused the prince to enter the palace of Indra. And thus
worshipped, Jishnu continued to live in the abode of his father. And the
son of Pandu continued all the while to acquire celestial weapons,
together with the means of withdrawing them. And he received from the
hands of Sakra his favourite weapon of irresistible force, _viz_., the
thunder-bolt and those other weapons also, of tremendous roar, _viz_.,
the lightnings of heaven, whose flashes are inferable from the
appearance of clouds and (the dancing of) peacocks. And the son of
Pandu, after he had obtained those weapons, recollected his brothers.
And at the command of Indra, however, he lived for full five years in
heaven, surrounded by every comfort and luxury.

"After some time, when Arjuna had obtained all the weapons, Indra
addressed him in due time, saying, 'O son of Kunti, learn thou music and
dancing from Chitrasena. Learn the instrumental music that is current
among the celestials and which existeth not in the world of men, for, O
son of Kunti, it will be to thy benefit.' And Parandana gave Chitrasena
as a friend unto Arjuna. And the son of Pritha lived happily in peace
with Chitrasena. And Chitrasena instructed Arjuna all the while in
music; vocal and instrumental and in dancing. But the active Arjuna
obtained no peace of mind, remembering the unfair play at dice of
Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and thinking with rage of Dussasana and his
death. When however, his friendship with Chitrasena had ripened fully,
he at times learned the unrivalled dance and music practised among the
Gandharvas. And at last having learnt various kinds of dance and diverse
species of music, both vocal and instrumental, that slayer of hostile
heroes obtained no peace of mind remembering his brothers and mother


Vaisampayana said, "One day, knowing that Arjuna's glances were cast
upon Urvasi, Vasava, calling Chitrasena to himself, addressed him in
private saying, 'O king of Gandharvas, I am pleased; go thou as my
messenger to that foremost of Apsaras, Urvasi, and let her wait upon
that tiger among men, Phalguna. Tell her, saying these words of mine,
'As through my instrumentality Arjuna hath learnt all the weapons and
other arts, worshipped by all, so shouldst thou make him conversant with
the arts of acquitting one's self in female company.' Thus addressed by
Indra, the chief of the Gandharvas in obedience to that command of
Vasava, soon went to Urvasi that foremost of Apsaras. And as he saw her,
she recognised him and delighted him by the welcome she offered and the
salutation she gave. And seated at ease he then smilingly addressed
Urvasi, who also was seated at ease, saying, 'Let it be known, O thou of
fair hips, that I come hither despatched by the one sole lord of heaven
who asketh of thee a favour. He who is known amongst gods and men for
his many inborn virtues, for his grace, behaviour, beauty of person,
vows and self-control; who is noted for might and prowess, and respected
by the virtuous, and ready-witted; who is endued with genius and
splendid energy, is of a forgiving temper and without malice of any
kind; who hath studied the four Vedas with their branches, and the
_Upanishads_, and the Puranas also; who is endued with devotion to his
preceptors and with intellect possessed of the eight attributes, who by
his abstinence, ability, origin and age, is alone capable of protecting
the celestial regions like Mahavat himself; who is never boastful; who
showeth proper respect to all; who beholdeth the minutest things as
clearly as if those were gross and large; who is sweet-speeched; who
showereth diverse kinds of food and drink on his friends and dependents;
who is truthful, worshipped of all, eloquent, handsome, and without
pride; who is kind to those devoted to him, and universally pleasing and
dear to all; who is firm in promise; who is equal to even Mahendra and
Varuna in respect of every desirable attribute, _viz_., Arjuna, is known
to thee. O Urvasi, know thou that hero is to be made to taste the joys
of heaven. Commanded by Indra, let him today obtain thy feet. Do this, O
amiable one, for Dhananjaya is inclined to thee.'

"Thus addressed, Urvasi of faultless features assumed a smiling face,
and receiving the words of the Gandharva with high respect, answered
with a glad heart, saying, 'Hearing of the virtues that should adorn
men, as unfolded by thee, I would bestow my favours upon any one who
happened to possess them. Why should I not then, choose Arjuna for a
lover? At the command of Indra, and for my friendship for thee, and
moved also by the numerous virtues of Phalguna, I am already under the
influence of the god of love. Go thou, therefore, to the place thou
desirest. I shall gladly go to Arjuna.'"


Vaisampayana said, "Having thus sent away the Gandharva successful in
his mission, Urvasi of luminous smiles, moved by the desire of
possessing Phalguna, took a bath. And having performed her ablutions,
she decked herself in charming ornaments and splendid garlands of
celestial odour. And inflamed by the god of love, and her heart pierced
through and through by the shafts shot by Manmatha keeping in view the
beauty of Arjuna, and her imagination wholly taken up by the thoughts of
Arjuna, she mentally sported with him on a wide and excellent bed laid
over with celestial sheets. And when the twilight had deepened and the
moon was up, that Apsara of high hips set out for the mansions of
Arjuna. And in that mood and with her crisp, soft and long braids decked
with bunches of flowers, she looked extremely beautiful. With her beauty
and grace, and the charm of the motions of her eye-brows and of her soft
accents, and her own moon like face, she seemed to tread, challenging
the moon himself. And as she proceeded, her deep, finely tapering
bosoms, decked with a chain of gold and adorned with celestial unguents
and smeared with fragrant sandal paste, began to tremble. And in
consequence of the weight of her bosoms, she was forced to slightly
stoop forward at every step, bending her waist exceedingly beautiful
with three folds. And her loins of faultless shape, the elegant abode of
the god of love, furnished with fair and high and round hips and wide at
their lower part as a hill, and decked with chains of gold, and capable
of shaking the saintship of anchorites, being decked with thin attire,
appeared highly graceful. And her feet with fair suppressed ankles, and
possessing flat soles and straight toes of the colour of burnished
copper and high and curved like tortoise back and marked by the wearing
of ornaments furnished with rows of little bells, looked exceedingly
handsome. And exhilarated with a little liquor which she had taken, and
excited by desire, and moving in diverse attitudes and expressing a
sensation of delight, she looked more handsome than usual. And though
heaven abounded with many wonderful objects, yet when Urvasi proceeded
in this manner, the _Siddhas_ and _Charanas_ and _Gandharvas_ regarded
her to be the handsomest object they had cast their eyes upon. And the
upper half of her body clad in an attire of fine texture and cloudy
hues, she looked resplendent like a digit of the moon in the firmament
shrouded by fleecy clouds. And endued with the speed of the winds or the
mind, she of luminous smiles soon reached the mansion of Phalguna, the
son of Pandu. And, O best of men, Urvasi of beautiful eyes, having
arrived at the gate of Arjuna's abode, sent word through the keeper in
attendance. And (on receiving permission), she soon entered that
brilliant and charming palace. But, O monarch, upon beholding her at
night in his mansion, Arjuna, with a fearstricken heart, stepped up to
receive her with respect and as soon as he saw her, the son of Pritha,
from modesty, closed his eyes. And saluting her, he offered the Apsara
such worship as is offered unto a superior. And Arjuna said, 'O thou
foremost of the Apsaras, I reverence thee by bending my head down. O
lady, let me know thy commands. I wait upon thee as thy servant.'"

Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Phalguna, Urvasi became
deprived of her senses. And she soon represented unto Arjuna all that
had passed between her and the Gandharva, Chitrasena. And she said, 'O
best of men, I shall tell thee all that hath passed between me and
Chitrasena, and why I have come hither. On account of thy coming here, O
Arjuna, Mahendra had convened a large and charming assembly, in which
celestial festivities were held. Unto that assembly came, O best of men,
the Rudras and the Adityas and the Aswins and the Vasus. And there came
also numbers of great Rishis and royal sages and Siddhas and Charanas
and Yakshas and great Nagas. And, O thou of expansive eyes, the members
of the assembly resplendent as fire or the sun or the moon, having taken
their seats according to rank, honour, and prowess, O son of Sakra, the
Gandharvas began to strike the _Vinas_ and sing charming songs of
celestial melody. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, the principal
Apsaras also commenced to dance. Then, O son of Pritha, thou hadst
looked on me only with a steadfast gaze. When that assembly of the
celestials broke, commanded by thy father, the gods went away to their
respective places. And the principal Apsaras also went away to their
abodes, and others also, O slayer of foes, commanded by thy father and
obtaining his leave. It was then that Chitrasena sent to me by Sakra,
and arriving at my abode, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves, he addressed
me, saying, "O thou of the fairest complexion, I have been sent unto
thee by the chief of the celestials. Do thou something that would be
agreeable to Mahendra and myself and to thyself also. O thou of fair
hips, seek thou to please Arjuna, who is brave in battle even like Sakra
himself, and who is always possessed of magnanimity." Even these, O son
of Pritha, were his words. Thus, O sinless one, commanded by him and thy
father also, I come to thee in order to wait upon thee, O slayer of
foes. My heart hath been attracted by thy virtues, and am already under
the influence of the god of love. And, O hero, even this is my wish, and
I have cherished it for ever!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "While in heaven, hearing her speak in this
strain, Arjuna was overcome with bashfulness. And shutting his ears with
his hands, he said, 'O blessed lady, fie on my sense of hearing, when
thou speakest thus to me. For, O thou of beautiful face, thou art
certainly equal in my estimation unto the wife of a superior. Even as
Kunti of high fortune or Sachi the queen of Indra, art thou to me, O
auspicious one, of this there is no doubt! That I had gazed particularly
at thee, O blessed one, is true. There was a reason for it. I shall
truly tell it to thee, O thou of luminous smiles! In the assembly I
gazed at thee with eyes expanded in delight, thinking, _Even this
blooming lady is the mother of the Kaurava race._ O blessed Apsara, it
behoveth thee not to entertain other feelings towards me, for thou art
superior to my superiors, being the parent of my race.'

"Hearing these words of Arjuna, Urvasi answered, saying, 'O son of the
chief of the celestials, we Apsaras are free and unconfined in our
choice. It behoveth thee not, therefore, to esteem me as thy superior.
The sons and grandsons of Puru's race, that have come hither in
consequence of ascetic merit do all sport with us, without incurring any
sin. Relent, therefore, O hero, it behoveth thee not to send me away. I
am burning with desire. I am devoted to thee. Accept me, O thou giver of
proper respect.'

"Arjuna replied, 'O beautiful lady of features perfectly faultless,
listen. I truly tell thee. Let the four directions and the transverse
directions, let also the gods listen. O sinless one, as Kunti, or Madri,
or Sachi, is to me, so art thou, the parent of my race, an object of
reverence to me. Return, O thou of the fairest complexion: I bend my
head unto thee, and prostrate myself at thy feet. Thou deservest my
worship as my own mother; and it behoveth thee to protect me as a son.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Partha, Urvasi was deprived
of her senses by wrath. Trembling with rage, and contracting her brows,
she cursed Arjuna, saying, 'Since thou disregardest a woman come to thy
mansion at the command of thy father and of her own motion--a woman,
besides, who is pierced by the shafts of _Kama_, therefore, O Partha,
thou shalt have to pass thy time among females unregarded, and as a
dancer, and destitute of manhood and scorned as a eunuch.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having cursed Arjuna thus, Urvasi's lips still
quivered in anger, herself breathing heavily all the while. And she soon
returned to her own abode. And that slayer of foes, Arjuna also sought
Chitrasena without loss of time. And having found him, he told him all
that had passed between him and Urvasi in the night. And he told
Chitrasena everything as it had happened, repeatedly referring to the
curse pronounced upon him. And Chitrasena also represented everything
unto Sakra. And Harivahana, calling his son unto himself in private, and
consoling him in sweet words, smilingly said, 'O thou best of beings,
having obtained thee, O child, Pritha hath to-day become a truly blessed
mother. O mighty-armed one, thou hast now vanquished even Rishis by the
patience and self-control. But, O giver of proper respect, the curse
that Urvasi hath denounced on thee will be to thy benefit, O child, and
stand thee in good stead. O sinless one, ye will have on earth to pass
the thirteenth year (of your exile), unknown to all. It is then that
thou shalt suffer the curse of Urvasi. And having passed one year as a
dancer without manhood, thou shalt regain thy power on the expiration of
the term.'

"Thus addressed by Sakra, that slayer of hostile heroes, Phalguna,
experienced great delight and ceased to think of the curse. And
Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, sported in regions of heaven with the
Gandharva Chitrasena of great celebrity.

"The desires of the man that listeneth to this history of the son of
Pandu never run after lustful ends. The foremost of men, by listening to
this account of the awfully pure conduct of Phalguna, the son of the
lord of the celestials, become void of pride and arrogance and wrath and
other faults, and ascending to heaven, sport there in bliss."


Vaisampayana said, "One day, the great _Rishi_ Lomasa in course of his
wanderings, went to the abode of Indra, desirous of beholding the lord
of the celestials. And the great Muni, having approached the chief of
the gods, bowed to him respectfully. And he beheld the son of Pandu
occupying half of the seat of Vasava. And worshipped by the great
Rishis, that foremost of Brahmanas sat on an excellent seat at the
desire of Sakra. And beholding Arjuna seated on Indra's seat, the Rishi
began to think as to how Arjuna who was a Kshatriya had attained to the
seat of Sakra himself. What acts of merit had been performed by him and
what regions had been conquered by him (by ascetic merit), that he had
obtained a seat that was worshipped by the gods themselves? And as the
Rishi was employed with these thoughts, Sakra, the slayer of Vritra,
came to know of them. And having known them, the lord of Sachi addressed
Lomasa with a smile and said, 'Listen, O _Brahmarshi_, about what is now
passing in thy mind. This one is no mortal though he hath taken his
birth among men. O great Rishi, the mighty-armed hero is even my son
born of Kunti. He hath come hither, in order to acquire weapons for some
purpose. Alas! dost thou not recognise him as an ancient Rishi of the
highest merit? Listen to me, O Brahmana, as I tell thee who is and why
he hath come to me. Those ancient and excellent Rishis who were known by
the names of Nara and Narayana are, know, O Brahmana, none else than
Hrishikesa and Dhananjaya. And those Rishis, celebrated throughout the
three worlds, and known by the names of Nara and Narayana have, for the
accomplishment of a certain purpose, been born on earth--for the
acquisition of virtue. That sacred asylum which even gods and
illustrious Rishis are not competent to behold, and which is known
throughout the world by the name of Vadari, and situate by the source of
the Ganga, which is worshipped by the Siddhas and the Charanas, was the
abode, O Brahmana, of Vishnu and Jishnu. Those Rishis of blazing
splendour have, O _Brahmarshi_, at my desire, been born on earth, and
endued with mighty energy, will lighten the burden thereof. Besides
this, there are certain Asuras known as Nivatakavachas, who, proud of
the boon they have acquired, are employed in doing us injuries. Boastful
of their strength, they are even now planning the destruction of the
gods, for, having received a boon, they no longer regard the gods. Those
fierce and mighty Danavas live in the nether regions. Even all the
celestials together are incapable of fighting with them. The blessed
Vishnu--the slayer of Madhu--he, indeed who is known on earth as Kapila,
and whose glance alone, O exalted one, destroyed the illustrious sons of
Sagara, when they approached him with loud sounds in the bowels of the
earth,--that illustrious and invincible Hari is capable, O Brahmana of
doing us a great service. Either he or Partha or both may do us that
great service, without doubt. Verily as the illustrious Hari had slain
the Nagas in the great lake, he, by sight alone, is capable of slaying
those Asuras called the Nivatakavachas, along with their followers. But
the slayer of Madhu should not be urged when the task is insignificant.
A mighty mass of energy that he is, it swelleth to increasing
proportions, it may consume the whole universe. This Arjuna also is
competent to encounter them all, and the hero having slain them in
battle, will go back to the world of men. Go thou at my request to
earth. Thou wilt behold the brave Yudhishthira living in the woods of
Kamyaka. And for me tell thou the virtuous Yudhishthira of unbaffled
prowess in battle, that he should not be anxious on account of Phalguna,
for that hero will return to earth a thorough master of weapons, for
without sanctified prowess of arms, and without skill in weapons, he
would not be able to encounter Bhishma and Drona and others in battle.
Thou wilt also represent unto Yudhishthira that the illustrious and
mighty-armed Gudakesa, having obtained weapons, hath also mastered the
science of celestial dancing and music both instrumental and vocal. And
thou wilt also tell him, O king of men, O slayer of foes, thyself also,
accompanied by all thy brothers, should see the various sacred shrines.
For having bathed in different sacred waters, thou wilt be cleansed from
thy sins, and the fever of thy heart will abate. And then thou wilt be
able to enjoy thy kingdom, happy in the thought that thy sins have been
washed off. And, O foremost of Brahmanas, endued with ascetic power, it
behoveth thee also to protect Yudhishthira during his wandering over the
earth. Fierce Rakshasas ever live in mountain fastnesses and rugged
steppes. Protect thou the king from those cannibals.'

"After Mahendra had spoken thus unto Lomasa, Vibhatsu also reverently
addressed that Rishi, saying, 'Protect thou ever the son of Pandu. O
best of men, let the king, O great Rishi, protected by thee, visit the
various places of pilgrimage and give away unto Brahmanas in charity.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "The mighty ascetic Lomasa, having answered both
saying, 'So be it,' set out for the earth, desirous of arriving at
Kamvaka. And having arrived at those woods, he beheld the slayer of foes
and son of Kunti, king Yudhishthira the just, surrounded by ascetics and
his younger brothers."


Janamejaya said, "These feats of Pritha's son endued with immeasurable
energy, were certainly marvellous. O Brahmana, what did Dhritarashtra of
great wisdom say, when he heard of them?"

Vaisampayana said, "Amvika's son, king Dhritarashtra, having heard of
Arjuna's arrival and stay at Indra's abode, from Dwaiparana, that
foremost of Rishis, spake unto Sanjaya, saying, 'O charioteer, dost thou
know in detail the acts of the intelligent Arjuna, of which I have heard
from beginning to end? O charioteer, my wretched and sinful son is even
now engaged in a policy of the most vulgar kind. Of wicked soul, he will
certainly depopulate the earth. The illustrious person whose words even
in jest are true, and who hath Dhananjaya to fight for him, is sure to
win the three worlds. Who that is even beyond the influence of Death and
Decay will be able to stay before Arjuna, when he will scatter his
barbed and sharp-pointed arrows whetted on stone? My wretched sons, who
have to fight with the invincible Pandavas are indeed, all doomed.
Reflecting day and night, I see not the warrior amongst us that is able
to stay in battle before the wielder of the _Gandiva_. If Drona, or
Karna, or even Bhishma advance against him in battle, a great calamity
is likely to befall the earth. But even in that case, I see not the way
to our success. Karna is kind and forgetful. The preceptor Drona is old,
and the teacher (of Arjuna) Arjuna, however, is wrathful, and strong,
and proud, and of firm and steady prowess. As all these warriors are
invincible, a terrible fight will take place between them. All of them
are heroes skilled in weapons and of great reputation. They would not
wish for the sovereignty of the world, if it was to be purchased by
defeat. Indeed, peace will be restored only on the death of these or of
Phalguna. The slayer of Arjuna, however, existeth not, nor doth one that
can vanquish him. Oh, how shall that wrath of his which hath myself for
its object be pacified. Equal unto the chief of the celestials, that
hero gratified Agni at _Khandava_ and vanquished all the monarchs of the
earth on the occasion of the great _Rajasuya_. O Sanjaya, the
thunder-bolt falling on the mountain top, leaveth a portion unconsumed;
but the shafts, O child, that are shot by Kiriti leave not a rack
behind. As the rays of the sun heat this mobile and immobile universe,
so will the shafts shot by Arjuna's hands scorch my sons. It seemeth to
me that the _Chamus_ of the Bharatas, terrified at the clatter of
Arjuna's chariot-wheels, are already broken through in all directions.
Vidhatri hath created Arjuna as an all-consuming Destroyer. He stayeth
in battle as a foe, vomitting and scattering swarms of arrows. Who is
there that will defeat him?'"


"Sanjaya said, 'That which hath been uttered by thee, O king, with
respect to Duryodhana is all true. Nothing that thou hast said, O lord
of the earth, is untrue. The Pandavas of immeasurable energy have been
filled with rage at the sight of Krishna their wedded wife of pure
fame--brought in the midst of the assembly. Hearing also those cruel
words of Dussasana and Karna, they have been so incensed, O king, that
they will not, I ween, forgive (the Kurus) on my account. I have heard,
O king, how Arjuna hath gratified in battle by means of his bow the god
of gods--Sthanu of eleven forms. The illustrious lord of all the
gods--Kapardin himself--desirous of testing Phalguna, fought with him,
having assumed the guise of a _Kirata_. And there it was that the
_Lokapala_, in order to give away their weapons unto that bull of the
Kuru race, showed themselves unto him of undeteriorating prowess. What
other man on earth, except Phalguna, would strive to have a sight of
these gods in their own forms? And, O king, who is there that will
weaken in battle Arjuna, who could not be weakened by Maheswara himself
possessed of eight forms? Thy sons, having dragged Draupadi, and thereby
incensed the sons of Pandu, have brought this frightful and horrifying
calamity upon themselves. Beholding Duryodhana showing both his thighs
unto Draupadi, Bhima said with quivering lips, _wretch! those thighs of
thine will I smash with my fierce descending mace, on the expiration of
thirteen years_. All the sons of Pandu are the foremost of smiters; all
of them are of immeasurable energy; all of them are well-versed in every
kind of weapons. For these, they are incapable of being vanquished even
by the gods. Incensed at the insult offered to their wedded wife,
Pritha's sons, urged by wrath, will, I ween, slay all thy sons in

"Dhritarashtra said, 'O charioteer, what mischief hath been done by
Karna uttering those cruel words, to the sons of Pandu! Was not the
enmity sufficient that was provoked by bringing Krishna into the
assembly? How can my wicked sons live, whose eldest brother and
preceptor walketh not in the path of righteousness? Seeing me void of
eye-sight, and incapable of exerting myself actively, my wretched son, O
charioteer, believeth me to be a fool, and listeneth not to my words.
Those wretches also that are his counsellors, _viz_., Karna and Suvala,
and others, always pander to his vices, as he is incapable of
understanding things rightly. The shafts that Arjuna of immeasurable
prowess may lightly shoot, are capable of consuming all my sons, leave
alone those shafts that he will shoot, impelled by anger. The arrows
urged by the might of Arjuna's arms and shot from his large bow, and
inspired with _mantras_ capable of converting them into celestial
weapons can chastise the celestials themselves. He who hath for his
counsellor and protector and friend that smiter of sinful men--the lord
of the three worlds--Hari himself--encountereth nothing that he cannot
conquer. This, O Sanjaya, is most marvellous in Arjuna that, as we have
heard, he hath been clasped by Mahadeva in his arms. That also which
Phalguna, assisted by Damodara did of old towards helping Agni in the
conflagration of _Khandava_, hath been witnessed by all the world. When,
therefore, Bhima and Partha and Vasudeva of the Satwata race become
enraged, surely my sons along with their friends and the Suvalas are all
unequal to fight with them.'"


Janamejaya said, "Having sent the heroic sons of Pandu into exile, these
lamentations, O _Muni_, of Dhritarashtra were perfectly futile. Why did
the king permit his foolish son Duryodhana to thus incense those mighty
warriors, the sons of Pandu? Tell us now, O Brahmana, what was the food
of the sons of Pandu, while they lived in the woods? Was it of the
wilderness, or was it the produce of cultivation?"

Vaisampayana said, "Those bulls among men, collecting the produce of the
wilderness and killing the deer with pure arrows, first dedicated a
portion of the food to the Brahmanas, and themselves are the rest. For,
O king, while those heroes wielding large bows lived in the woods, they
were followed by Brahmanas of both classes, _viz_., those worshipping
with fire and those worshipping without it. And there were ten thousand
illustrious _Snataka_ Brahmanas, all conversant with the means of
salvation, whom Yudhishthira supported in the woods. And killing with
arrows _Rurus_ and the black deer and other kinds of clean animals of
the wilderness, he gave them unto those Brahmanas. And no one that lived
with Yudhishthira looked pale or ill, or was lean or weak, or was
melancholy or terrified. And the chief of the Kurus--the virtuous king
Yudhishthira--maintained his brothers as if they were his sons, and his
relatives as if they were his uterine brothers. And Draupadi of pure
fame fed her husbands and the Brahmanas, as if she was their mother; and
last of all took her food herself. And the king himself wending towards
the east, and Bhima, towards the south, and the twins, towards the west
and the north, daily killed with bow in hand the deer of the forest, for
the sake of meat. And it was that the Pandavas lived for five years in
the woods of _Kamyaka_, in anxiety at the absence of Arjuna, and engaged
all the while in study and prayers and sacrifices."


Vaisampayana said, "That bull among men--Dhritarashtra--the son of
Amvika, having heard of this wonderful way of life--so above that of
men--of the sons of Pandu, was filled with anxiety and grief. And
overwhelmed with melancholy and sighing heavily and hot, that monarch,
addressing his charioteer Sanjaya, said, 'O charioteer, a moment's peace
I have not, either during the day or the night, thinking of the terrible
misbehaviour of my sons arising out of their past gambling, and thinking
also of the heroism, the patience, the high intelligence, the unbearable
prowess, and the extraordinary love unto one another of the sons of
Pandu. Amongst the Pandavas, the illustrious Nakula and Sahadeva, of
celestial origin and equal unto the chief himself of the celestials in
splendour, are invincible in battle. They are firm in the wielding of
weapons, capable of shooting at a long distance, resolute in battle, of
remarkable lightness of hand, of wrath that is not easily quelled,
possessed of great steadiness, and endued with activity. Possessed of
the prowess of lions and unbearable as the Aswins themselves, when they
will come to the field of battle with Bhima and Arjuna in front, I see,
O Sanjaya, that my soldiers will all be slain without a remnant. Those
mighty warriors of celestial origin, unrivalled in battle by anybody,
filled with rage at the remembrance of that insult to Draupadi, will
show no forgiveness. The mighty warriors of the Vrishnis also, and the
Panchalas of great energy, and the sons of Pritha themselves, led by
Vasudeva of unbaffled prowess, will blast my legions. O charioteer, all
the warriors on my side assembled together, are not competent to bear
the impetus of the Vrishnis alone when commanded by Rama and Krishna.
And amongst them will move that great warrior Bhima of terrible prowess,
armed with his iron mace held on high and capable of slaying every hero.
And high above the din will be heard the twang of the _Gandiva_ loud as
the thunder of heaven. The impetus of Bhima's mace and the loud twang of
the Gandiva are incapable of being stood against by any of the kings on
my side. It is then, O Sanjaya, that obedient as I have been to the
voice of Duryodhana, I shall have to call back the rejected counsels of
my friends--counsels that I should have attended to in time.'

"Sanjaya said, 'This hath been thy great fault, O king, _viz_., that
though capable, thou didst not, from affection prevent thy son from
doing what he hath done. The slayer of Madhu, that hero of unfading
glory, hearing that the Pandavas had been defeated at dice, soon went to
the woods of _Kamyaka_ and consoled them there. And Draupadi's sons also
headed by Dhrishtadyumna, and Virata, and Dhrishtaketu, and those mighty
warriors, the Kekayas, all went there. All that was said by these
warriors at the sight of Pandu's son defeated at dice, was learnt by me
through our spies. I have also told thee all, O king. When the slayer of
Madhu met the Pandavas, they requested him to become the charioteer of
Phalguna in battle. Hari himself, thus requested, answered them, saying,
_so be it_. And even Krishna himself beholding the sons of Pritha
dressed in deer skins, became filled with rage, and addressing
Yudhishthira, said, "That prosperity which the sons of Pritha had
acquired at Indraprastha, and which, unobtainable by other kings, was
beheld by me at the _Rajasuya_ sacrifice, at which, besides, I saw all
kings, even those of the Vangas and Angas and Paundras and Odras and
Cholas and Dravidas and Andhakas, and the chiefs of many islands and
countries on the sea-board as also of frontier states, including the
rulers of the Sinhalas, the barbarous _mlecchas_, the natives of Lanka,
and all the kings of the West by hundreds, and all the chiefs of the
sea-coast, and the kings of the Pahlavas and the Daradas and the various
tribes of the Kiratas and Yavanas and Sakras and the Harahunas and
Chinas and Tukharas and the Sindhavas and the Jagudas and the Ramathas
and the Mundas and the inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the
Tanganas and the Kekayas and the Malavas and the inhabitants of Kasmira,
afraid of the prowess of your weapons, present in obedience to your
invitation, performing various offices,--that prosperity, O king, so
unstable and waiting at present on the foe, I shall restore to thee,
depriving thy foe of his very life. I shall, O chief of the Kurus,
assisted by Rama and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins and Akrura and Gada
and Shamva and Pradyumna and Ahuka and the heroic Dhrishtadyumna and the
son of Sisupala, slay in battle in course of a day Duryodhana and Karna
and Dussasana and Suvala's son and all others who may fight against us.
And thou shalt, O Bharata, living at Hastinapura along with thy
brothers, and snatching from Dhritarashtra's party the prosperity they
are enjoying, rule this earth." Even these, O king, were Krishna's words
unto Yudhishthira, who, on the conclusion of Krishna's speech, addressed
him in that meeting of heroes and in the hearing of all those brave
warriors headed by Dhrishtadyumna, saying, "O Janardana, I accept these
words of thine as truth. O thou of mighty arms, do thou, however, slay
my enemies along with all their followers on the expiry of thirteen
years. O Kesava, promise this truly unto me. I promised in the presence
of the king to live in the forest as I am now living." Consenting to
these words of king Yudhishthira the just, his counsellors headed by
Dhrishtadyumna soon pacified the incensed Kesava with sweet words and
expressions suitable to the occasion. And they also said unto Draupadi
of pure deeds in the hearing of Vasudeva himself, these words, "O lady,
in consequence of thy anger, Duryodhana shall lay down his life. We
promise it, O thou of the fairest complexion. Therefore, grieve no more.
O Krishna, those that mocked thee, beholding thee won at dice, shall
reap the fruit of their act. Beasts of prey and birds shall eat their
flesh, and mock them thus. Jackals and vultures will drink their blood.
And, O Krishna, thou shalt behold the bodies of those wretches that
dragged thee by the hair prostrate on the earth, dragged and eaten by
carnivorous animals. They also that gave thee pain and disregarded thee
shall lie on the earth destitute of their heads, and the earth herself
shall drink their blood." These and other speeches of various kinds were
uttered there, O king, by those bulls of the Bharata race. All of them
are endued with energy and bravery, and marked with the marks of battle.
On the expiration of the thirteenth year, those mighty warriors, chosen
by Yudhishthira and headed by Vasudeva, will come (to the field of
battle). Rama and Krishna and Dhananjaya and Pradyumna and Shamva and
Yuyudhana and Bhima and the sons of Madri and the Kekaya princes and the
Panchala princes, accompanied by the king of Matsya, these all,
illustrious and celebrated and invincible heroes, with their followers
and troops, will come. Who is there that, desiring to live, will
encounter these in battle, resembling angry lions of erect manes?'

"Dhritarashtra said, 'What Vidura told me at the time of the game at
dice, "If thou seekest, O king, to vanquish the Pandavas (at dice), then
certainly a terrible blood-shed ending in the destruction of all the
Kurus will be the result," I think it is about to be realised. As Vidura
told me of old, without doubt a terrible battle will take place, as soon
as the pledged period of the Pandavas expireth.'"


(Nalopakhyana Parva)

Janamejaya said, "When the high-souled Partha went to Indra's region for
obtaining weapons, what did Yudhishthira and the other sons of Pandu

Vaisampayana said, "When the high-souled Partha went to Indra's region
for obtaining weapons, those bulls of the Bharata race continued to
dwell with Krishna in (the woods of) _Kamyaka_. One day, those foremost
of the Bharatas, afflicted with grief, were seated with Krishna on a
clean and solitary sward. Grieving for Dhananjaya, overwhelmed with
sorrow, their voices were choked with weeping. Tortured by Dhananjaya's
absence, grief afflicted them equally. And filled with sorrow at their
separation from Arjuna and at the loss of their kingdom, the
mighty-armed Bhima among them addressed Yudhishthira, saying, 'That Bull
of the Bharata race, Arjuna, O great king, on whom depend the lives of
Pandu's sons, and on whose death the Panchalas as also ourselves with
our sons and Satyaki and Vasudeva are sure to die, hath gone away at thy
behest. What can be sadder than this that the virtuous Vibhatsu hath
gone away at thy command, thinking of his many griefs? Depending upon
the might of that illustrious hero's arms, regard our foes as already
vanquished in battle, and the whole earth itself as already acquired by
us. It was for the sake of that mighty warrior that I refrained from
sending to the other world all the Dhartarashtras along with the
Suvalas, in the midst of the assembly. Gifted with might of arms, and
supported by Vasudeva, we have to suppress the wrath that hath been
roused in us, because thou art the root of that wrath. Indeed, with
Krishna's help, slaying our foes headed by Karna, we are able to rule
the entire earth (thus) conquered by our own arms. Endued with
manliness, we are yet overwhelmed with calamities, in consequence of thy
gambling vice, while the foolish followers of Dhritarashtra are growing
stronger with the tributes (gathered from dependent kings). O mighty
monarch, it behoveth thee to keep in view the duties of the Kshatriya. O
great king, it is not the duty of a Kshatriya to live in the woods. The
wise are of the opinion that to rule is the foremost duty of a
Kshatriya. O king, thou art conversant with Kshatriya morality. Do not,
therefore, deviate from the path of duty. Turning away from the woods,
let us, summoning Partha and Janardana, slay, O king, the sons of
Dhritarashtra, even before the twelve years are complete. O illustrious
monarch, O king of kings, even if these Dhartarashtras be surrounded by
soldiers in array of battle, I shall send them to the other world by
dint of might alone. I shall slay all the sons of Dhritarashtra along
with the Sauvalas, indeed, Duryodhana, Karna, and any one else that will
fight with me. And after I shall have slain all our foes, thou mayst
come back unto the woods. By acting thus, O king, no fault will be
thine. (Or if any sin be thine), O represser of foes, O mighty monarch,
washing it off, O sire, by various sacrifices, we may ascend to a
superior heaven. Such a consummation may come to pass, if our king
proveth not unwise or procrastinating. Thou art, however, virtuous.
Verily the deceitful should be destroyed by deceit. To slay the
deceitful by deceit, is not regarded as sinful. O Bharata, it is also
said by those versed in morality that one day and night is, O great
prince, equal unto a full year. The Veda text also, exalted one, is
often heard, signifying that a year is equivalent to a day when passed
in the observance of certain difficult vows. O thou of unfading glory,
if the Vedas are an authority with thee, regard thou the period of a day
and something more as the equivalent of thirteen years. O represser of
foes, this is the time to slay Duryodhana with his adherents. Else, O
king, he will beforehand bring the whole earth obedient to his will. O
foremost of monarchs, all this is the result of thy addiction to
gambling. We are on the verge of destruction already, in consequence of
thy promise of living one year undiscovered. I do not find the country
where, if we live, the wicked-minded Suyodhana may not be able to trace
us by his spies. And finding us out, that wretch will again deceitfully
send us into such exile in the woods. Or if that sinful one beholdeth us
emerge, after the expiry of the pledged period of non-discovery, he will
again invite thee, O great king, to dice, and the play will once more
begin. Summoned once more, thou wilt again efface thyself at dice. Thou
art not skilled at dice, and when summoned at play, thou wilt be
deprived of thy senses. Therefore, O mighty monarch thou wilt have to
lead a life in the woods again. If, O mighty king, it behoveth thee not
to make us wretched for life, observe thou fully the ordinance of the
Vedas, (which inculcateth that) verily the deceitful ought to be slain
by deceit. If I but have thy command I would go (to Hastinapura) and,
even as fire falling upon a heap of grass consumeth it, would slay
Duryodhana, putting forth my utmost might. It behoveth thee, therefore,
to grant me the permission.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Bhima, king Yudhishthira the
just, smelt the crown of that son of Pandu, and pacifying him said, 'O
mighty-armed one, without doubt, thou wilt, assisted by the wielder of
the _Gandiva_, slay Suyodhana at the expiry of the thirteenth year. But,
O son of Pritha, as for thy assertion, _O Lord, the time is complete_, I
cannot dare tell an untruth, for untruth is not in me. O son of Kunti,
without the help of fraud, wilt thou kill the wicked and irrepressible
Duryodhana, with his allies.'

"While Yudhishthira the just, was speaking unto Bhima thus, there came
the great and illustrious Rishi Vrihadaswa before them. And beholding
that virtuous ascetic before him, the righteous king worshipped him
according to the ordinance, with the offering of _Madhuparka_. And when
the ascetic was seated and refreshed, the mighty-armed Yudhishthira sat
by him, and looking up at the former, addressed him thus in exceedingly
piteous accents:

"'O holy one, summoned by cunning gamblers skilled at dice, I have been
deprived of wealth and kingdom through gambling. I am not an adept at
dice, and am unacquainted with deceit. Sinful men, by unfair means,
vanquished me at play. They even brought into the public assembly my
wife dearer unto me than life itself. And defeating me a second time,
they have sent me to distressful exile in this great forest, clad in
deer skins. At present I am leading a distressful life in the woods in
grief of heart. Those harsh and cruel speeches they addressed me on the
occasion of that gambling match, and the words of my afflicted friends
relating to the match at dice and other subjects, are all stored up in
my remembrance. Recollecting them I pass the whole night in (sleepless)
anxiety. Deprived also (of the company) of the illustrious wielder of
the Gandiva, on whom depend the lives of us all, I am almost deprived of
life. Oh, when shall I see the sweet-speeched and large-hearted Vibhatsu
so full of kindness and activity, return to us, having obtained all
weapons? Is there a king on this earth who is more unfortunate than
myself? Hast thou ever seen or heard of any such before? To my thinking,
there is no man more wretched than I am.'

"Vrihadaswa said, 'O great king, O son of Pandu, thou sayest, "There is
no person more miserable than I am." O sinless monarch, if thou wilt
listen, I will relate unto thee the history of a king more wretched than

Vaisampayana continued, "And thereupon the king said unto the ascetic,
'O illustrious one, tell me, I desire to hear the history of the king
who had fallen into such a condition.'

"Vrihadaswa said, 'O king, O thou that never fallest off, listen
attentively with thy brothers, I will narrate the history of a prince
more miserable than thyself. There was a celebrated king among the
Nishadhas, named Virasena. He had a son named Nala, versed in (the
knowledge of) virtue and wealth. It hath been heard by us that, that
king was deceitfully defeated by Pushkara, and afflicted with calamity,
he dwelt in the woods with his spouse. And, O king, while he was living
in the forest, he had neither slaves nor cars, neither brother nor
friends with him. But thou art surrounded by thy heroic brothers like
unto the celestials, and also by foremost regenerate ones like unto
Brahma himself. Therefore, it behoveth thee not to grieve.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'I am anxious to hear in detail, O thou foremost of
eloquent men, the history of the illustrious Nala. It behoveth thee
therefore to relate it unto me.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'There was a king named Nala, the son of Virasena. And
he was strong, and handsome, and well-versed in (the knowledge of)
horses, and possessed of every desirable accomplishment. And he was at
the head of all the kings, even like the lord of the celestials. And
exalted over all, he resembled the sun in glory. And he was the king of
the Nishadhas, intent on the welfare of the Brahmanas, versed in the
Vedas, and possessed of heroism. And he was truth-telling, fond of dice,
and the master of a mighty army. And he was the beloved of men and
women, and of great soul and subdued passions. And he was the protector
(of all), and the foremost of bowmen, and like unto Manu himself. And
like him, there was among the Vidarbhas (a king named) Bhima, of
terrible prowess, heroic and well-disposed towards his subjects and
possessed of every virtue. (But withal) he was childless. And with a
fixed mind, he tried his utmost for obtaining issue. And, O Bharata
there came unto him (once) a Brahmarshi named Damana. And, O king of
kings, desirous of having offspring, Bhima, versed in morality, with his
queen gratified that illustrious Rishi by a respectful reception. And
Damana, well-pleased, granted unto the king and his consort a boon in
the form of a jewel of a daughter, and three sons possessed of lofty
souls and great fame. (And they were called respectively) Damayanti, and
Dama and Dama, and illustrious Damana. And the three sons were possessed
of every accomplishment and terrible mien and fierce prowess. And the
slender-waisted Damayanti, in beauty and brightness, in good name and
grace and luck, became celebrated all over the world. And on her
attaining to age, hundreds of hand-maids, and female slaves, decked in
ornaments, waited upon her like _Sachi_ herself. And Bhima's daughter of
faultless features, decked in every ornament, shone in the midst of her
hand-maids, like the luminous lightning of the clouds. And the
large-eyed damsel was possessed of great beauty like that of Sree
herself. And neither among celestials, nor among Yakshas, nor among men
was anybody possessed of such beauty, seen or heard of before. And the
beautiful maiden filled with gladness the hearts of even the gods. And
that tiger among men, Nala also had not his peer in the (three) worlds:
for in beauty he was like _Kandarpa_ himself in his embodied form. And
moved by admiration, the heralds again and again celebrated the praises
of Nala before Damayanti and those of Damayanti before the ruler of the
Nishadhas. And repeatedly hearing of each other's virtues they conceived
an attachment towards each other not begot of sight, and that
attachment, O son of Kunti began to grow in strength. And then Nala was
unable to control the love that was in his bosom. And he began to pass
much of his time in solitude in the gardens adjoining the inner
apartment (of his palace). And there he saw a number of swans furnished
with golden wings, wandering in those woods. And from among them he
caught one with his hands. And thereupon the sky-ranging one said unto
Nala. "Deserve I not to be slain by thee. O king. I will do something
that is agreeable to thee. O king of the Nishadhas. I will speak of thee
before Damayanti in such a way that she will not ever desire to have any
other person (for her lord)." Thus addressed, the king liberated that
swan. And those swans then rose on their wings and went to the country
of the Vidarbhas. And on arriving at the city of the Vidarbhas the birds
alighted before Damayanti, who beheld them all. And Damayanti in the
midst of her maids, beholding those birds of extraordinary appearance
was filled with delight, and strove without loss of time to catch those
coursers of the skies. And the swans at this, before that bevy of
beauties, fled in all directions. And those maidens there pursued the
birds, each (running) after one. And the swan after which Damayanti ran,
having led her to a secluded spot, addressed her in human speech,
saying, O Damayanti, there is a king amongst the Nishadhas named Nala.
He is equal unto the Aswins in beauty, not having his peer among men.
Indeed, in comeliness, he is like _Kandarpa_ himself in his embodied
form. O fair-complexioned one, O thou of slender waist, if thou becomest
his wife, thy existence and this thy beauty may be of purpose. We have,
indeed, beheld celestials and Gandharvas, and Nagas, and Rakshasas, and
men, but never saw we before any one like Nala. Thou also art a jewel
among thy sex, as Nala is the prime among men. The union of the best
with the best is happy." Thus addressed by the swan, Damayanti, O
monarch, replied unto him there, saying, "Do thou speak thus unto Nala
also." Saying _So be it_, to the daughter of Vidarbha, the oviparous
one, O king, returned to the country of the Nishadhas, and related
everything unto Nala.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'O Bharata, hearing those words of the swan, Damayanti
thenceforth lost all peace of mind on account of Nala. And heaving
frequent sighs she was filled with anxiety, and became melancholy and
pale-faced and lean. And with her heart possessed by the god of love,
she soon lost colour, and with her upturned gaze and modes of
abstraction, looked like one demented. And she lost all inclination for
beds and seats and object of enjoyment. And she ceased to lie down by
day or night, always weeping with exclamation of _Oh!_ and _Alas!_ And
beholding her uneasy and fallen into that condition, her hand-maids
represented, O king, the matter of her illness unto the ruler of
Vidarbha by indirect hints. And king Bhima, hearing of this from the
handmaids of Damayanti, regarded the affair of his daughter to be
serious. And he asked himself, "Why is it that my daughter seemeth to be
so ill now?" And the king, reflecting by himself that his daughter had
attained to puberty, concluded that Damayanti's _Swayamvara_ should take
place. And the monarch, O exalted one, (invited) all the rulers of the
earth, saying, _Ye heroes, know that Damayanti's Swayamvara is at hand_.
And all the kings, hearing of Damayanti's _Swayamvara_, came unto Bhima,
agreeable to his message, filling the earth with the clatter of their
cars, the roar of their elephants, and the neighing of their horses, and
accompanied with their fine-looking battalions decked in ornaments and
graceful garlands. And the mighty-armed Bhima paid due reverence unto
those illustrious monarchs. And duly honoured by him they took up their
quarters there.

"'And at the juncture, those foremost of celestial Rishis possessed of
great splendour, of great wisdom and great vows--namely, Narada and
Parvata--having arrived in course of their wandering at the regions of
Indra entered the mansion of the lord of the immortals, receiving proper
worship. And Maghavat having worshipped them reverentially, inquired
after their undisturbed peace and welfare as regards all respects. And
Narada said, "O lord, O divine one, peace attendeth us in every respect.
And, O Maghavat, peace attendeth also O exalted one, the kings of the
whole world."'

"Vrihadaswa continued. 'Hearing the words of Narada the slaver of Vala
and Vritra said, "Those righteous rulers of the earth who fight
renouncing all desire of life, and who meet death when their time is
come by means of weapons, without flying from the field,--theirs is this
region, everlasting unto them and granting all desires, even as it is to
me. Where be those Kshatriya heroes? I do not see those kings approach
(now). Where are my favourite guests?" Thus addressed by Sakra, Narada
replied, "Listen, O Mahaval, why seest not thou the kings (now)? The
ruler of the Vidarbhas hath a daughter--the celebrated Damayanti. In
beauty she transcendeth all the women of the earth. Her _Swayamvara_, O
Sakra, will take place shortly. Thither are going all the kings and
Princes from all directions. And all the lords of the earth desire to
have that pearl of the earth,--desire to have her eagerly, O slaver of
Vala and Vritra." And while they were talking thus, those foremost of
the immortals, the _Lokapalas_ with Agni among them, appeared before the
lord of the celestials. And all of them heard the words of Narada
fraught with grave import. And as soon as they heard them, they
exclaimed in rapture, _We also will go there_. And, O mighty monarch,
accompanied by their attendants and mounted on their (respective)
vehicles, they set out for the country of Vidarbhas, whither (had gone)
all the kings. And, O son of Kunti, the high-souled king Nala also
hearing of that concourse of kings, set out with a cheerful heart, full
of Damayanti's love. And (it came to pass) that the gods saw Nala on the
way treading on the earth. And his form owing to its beauty was like
that of the god of love himself. And beholding him resplendent as the
sun, the _Lokapalas_ were filled with astonishment at his wealth of
beauty, and abandoned their intention. And, O king, leaving their cars
in the sky the dwellers of heaven alighted from the welkin and spake
unto the ruler of the Nishadhas, saying, "O foremost of monarchs ruling
the Nishadhas, O Nala, thou art devoted to truth. Do thou help us. O
best of men, be thou our messenger."'"


"Vrihadaswa continued, 'O Bharata, Nala pledged his word to the
celestials saying, "_I will do it_." And then approaching these, he
asked with folded hands, "Who are ye? And who also is he that desireth
me to be his messenger? And what, further, shall I have to do for you? O
tell me truly!"--When the king of the Nishadhas spoke thus, Maghavat
replied, saying, "Know us as the immortals come hither for Damayanti's
sake. I am Indra, this one is Agni, this the lord of waters, and this, O
king, is even Yama the destroyer of the bodies of men. Do thou inform
Damayanti of our arrival, saying, 'The guardians of the world,
(consisting of) the great Indra and the others, are coming to the
assembly, desirous of beholding (the Swayamvara). The gods, Sakra and
Agni and Varuna and Yama, desire to obtain thee. Do thou, therefore,
choose one of them for thy lord.'" Thus addressed by Sakra, Nala said
with joined hands, "I have come here with the self same object. It
behoveth thee not to send me (on this errand). How can a person who is
himself under the influence of love bring himself to speak thus unto a
lady on behalf of others? Therefore, spare me, ye gods." The gods,
however, said, "O ruler of the Nishadhas, having promised first, saying,
_I will!_ why wilt thou not act accordingly now? O ruler of the
Nishadhas, tell us this without delay."'

"Vrihadaswa continued, 'Thus addressed by those celestials, the ruler of
Nishadhas spake again, saying, "Those mansions are well-guarded. How can
I hope to enter them?" Indra replied, "Thou shalt be able to enter."
And, saying, _So be it_, Nala thereupon went to the palace of Damayanti.
And having arrived there, he beheld the daughter of the king of Vidarbha
surrounded by her hand-maids, blazing in beauty and excelling in
symmetry of form, of limbs exceedingly delicate, of slender waist and
fair eyes. And she seemed to rebuke the light of the moon by her own
splendour. And as he gazed on that lady of sweet smiles. Nala's love
increased, but desirous of keeping his truth, he suppressed his passion.
And at the sight of Naishadha, overpowered by his effulgence, those
first of women sprang up from their seats in amazement. And filled with
wonder (at his sight), they praised Nala in gladness of heart. And
without saying anything, they mentally paid him homage, "Oh, what
comeliness! Oh, what gentleness belongeth to this high-souled one! Who
is he? Is he some god or Yaksha or Gandharva?" And those foremost of
women, confounded by Nala's splendour and bashfulness would not accost
him at all in speech. And Damayanti although herself struck with
amazement, smilingly addressed the warlike Nala who also gently smiled
at her, saying, "What art thou, O thou of faultless features, that hast
come here awakening my love? O sinless one, O hero of celestial form, I
am anxious to know who thou art that hast come hither. And why hast thou
come hither? And how is it that thou hast not been discovered by any
one, considering that my apartments are well-guarded and the king's
mandates are stern." Thus addressed by the daughter of the king of the
Vidarbhas, Nala replied, "O beauteous lady, know that my name is Nala. I
come here as the messenger of the gods. The celestials, Sakra, Agni,
Varuna and Yama, desire to have thee. O beautiful lady, do thou choose
one of them for thy lord. It is through their power that I have entered
here unperceived, and it is for this reason that none saw me on my way
or obstructed my entrance. O gentle one, I have been sent by the
foremost of the celestials even for this object. Hearing this, O
fortunate one, do what thou pleasest."'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'Damayanti, having bowed down unto the gods, thus
addressed Nala with a smile, "O king, love me with proper regard, and
command me what I shall do for thee. Myself and what else of wealth is
mine are thine. Grant me, O exalted one, thy love in full trust. O king,
the language of the swans in burning me. It is for thy sake, O hero,
that I have caused the kings to meet. O giver of proper honour, if thou
forsake me who adore thee, for thy sake will I resort to poison, or
fire, or water or the rope." Thus addressed by the daughter of the king
of the Vidarbhas, Nala answered her saying, "With the _Lokapalas_
present, choosest thou a man? Do thou turn thy heart to those
high-souled lords, the creators of the worlds, unto the dust of whose
feet I am not equal. Displeasing the gods, a mortal cometh by death.
Save me, O thou of faultless limbs! Choose thou the all-excelling
celestials. By accepting the gods, do thou enjoy spotless robes, and
celestial garlands of variegated hues, and excellent ornaments. What
woman would not choose as her lord Hutasana--the chief of the
celestials, who encompassing the earth swalloweth it? What woman would
not choose him as her lord the dread of whose mace induceth all
creatures to tread the path of virtue? And what woman would not choose
as her lord the virtuous and high-souled Mahendra, the lord of the
celestials, the chastiser of Daityas and Danavas? Or, if thou couldst
choose in thy heart Varuna amongst the _Lokapalas_, do so
unhesitatingly. O accept this friendly advice." Thus addressed by
Naishadha, Damayanti, with eyes bathed in tears of grief spake thus unto
Nala, "O lord of the earth, bowing to all the gods, I choose thee for my
lord. Truly do I tell thee this." The king, who had come as the
messenger of the gods, replied unto the trembling Damayanti standing
with folded hands, "O amiable one, do as thou pleasest. Having given my
pledge, O blessed one, unto the gods in especial, how can I, having come
on other's mission, dare seek my own interest? If seeking my own
interest consists with virtue, I will seek it, and do thou also, O
beauteous one, act accordingly." Then Damayanti of luminous smiles
slowly spake unto king Nala, in words choked with tears, "O lord of men
I see a blameless way, by which no sin whatever will attach unto thee. O
king, do thou, O foremost of men, come to the _Swayamvara_ in company
with all the gods headed by Indra. There, O Monarch, in the presence of
the _Lokapalas_ I will, O tiger among men, choose thee--at which no
blame will be thine." Thus addressed, O monarch, by the daughter of
Vidarbha, king Nala returned to where the gods were staying together.
And beholding him approach those great gods, the _Lokapalas_, eagerly
asked him about all that had happened saying, "Hast thou, O king, seen
Damayanti of sweet smiles? What hath she said unto us all? O sinless
monarch, tell us everything." Nala answered, "Commanded by you I entered
Damayanti's palace furnished with lofty portals guarded by veteran
warders bearing wands. And as I entered, no one perceived me, by virtue
of your power, except the princess. And I saw her hand-maids, and they
also saw me. And, O exalted celestials, seeing me, they were filled with
wonder. And as I spake unto her of you, the fair-faced maiden, her will
fixed on me, O ye best of the gods, chose me (for her spouse). And the
maiden said, 'Let the gods, O tiger among men, come with thee to the
_Swayamvara_, I will in their presence, choose thee. At this, O thou of
mighty arms, no blame will attach to thee.' This is all, ye gods, that
took place, as I have said. Finally, everything rests with you, ye
foremost of celestials."'"


"Vrihadaswa continued, 'Then at the sacred hour of the holy lunar day of
the auspicious season, king Bhima summoned the kings to the
_Swayamvara_. And hearing of it, all the lords of earth smit with love
speedily came thither, desirous of (possessing) Damayanti. And the
monarchs entered the amphitheatre decorated with golden pillars and a
lofty portal arch, like mighty lions entering the mountain wilds. And
those lords of earth decked with fragrant garlands and polished
ear-rings hung with jewels seated themselves on their several seats. And
that sacred assembly of Kings, graced by those tigers among men,
resembled the _Bhogavati_ swarming with the Nagas, or a mountain cavern
with tigers. And their arms were robust, and resembling iron maces, and
well-shaped, and graceful, and looking like five-headed snakes. And
graced with beautiful locks and fine noses and eyes and brows, the
countenance of the kings shone like stars in the firmament. And (when
the time came), Damayanti of beauteous face, stealing the eyes and
hearts of the princes by her dazzling light, entered the hall. And the
glances of those illustrious kings were rivetted to those parts of her
person where they had chanced to fall first, without moving at all. And
when, O Bharata, the names of the monarchs were proclaimed, the daughter
of Bhima saw five persons all alike in appearance. And beholding them
seated there, without difference of any kind in form, doubt filled her
mind, and she could not ascertain which of them was king Nala. And at
whomsoever (among them) she looked, she regarded him to be the king of
the Nishadhas. And filled with anxiety, the beautious one thought within
herself, "Oh, how shall I distinguish the celestials, and how discern
the royal Nala?" And thinking thus, the daughter of Vidarbha became
filled with grief. And, O Bharata, recollecting the marks belonging to
the celestials, of which she had heard, she thought, "Those attributes
of the celestials, of which I have heard from the aged, do not pertain
to any of these deities present here upon the earth." And revolving the
matter long in her mind, and reflecting upon it repeatedly, she decided
upon seeking the protection of the gods themselves. And bowing down unto
them with mind and speech, with folded hands, she addressed them
trembling, "Since I heard the speech of the swans, I chose the king of
the Nishadhas as my lord. For the sake of truth, O, let the gods reveal
him to me. And as in thought or word I have never swerved from him, O,
let the gods, for the sake of that truth, reveal him to me. And as the
gods themselves have destined the ruler of the Nishadhas to be my lord,
O, let them, for the sake of that truth, reveal him to me. And as it is
for paying homage unto Nala that I have adopted this vow, for the sake
of that truth, O, let the gods reveal him unto me, O, let the exalted
guardians of the worlds assume their own proper forms, so that I may
know the righteous king." Hearing these piteous words of Damayanti, and
ascertaining her fixed resolve, and fervent love for the king of
Nishadhas, the purity of her heart and her inclination and regard and
affection for Nala, the gods did as they had been adjured, and assumed
their respective attributes as best they could. And thereupon she beheld
the celestials unmoistened with perspiration, with winkless eyes, and
unfading garlands, unstained with dust, and staying without touching the
ground. And Naishadha stood revealed to his shadow, his fading garlands,
himself stained with dust and sweat, resting on the ground with winking
eyes. And, O Bharata, discerning the gods and the virtuous Nala the
daughter of Bhima chose Naishadha according to her truth. And the
large-eyed damsel then bashfully caught the hem of his garment and
placed round his neck a floral wreath of exceeding grace. And when that
fair-complexioned maiden had thus chosen Nala for her husband, the kings
suddenly broke out into exclamations of _Oh!_ and _Alas!_ And, O
Bharata, the gods and the great Rishis in wonder cried _Excellent!
Excellent!_, applauding the king the while. And, O Kauravya, the royal
son of Virasena, with heart filled with gladness, comforted the
beauteous Damayanti, saying, "Since thou, O blessed one, hast chosen a
mortal in the presence of the celestials, know me for a husband even
obedient to thy command. And, O thou of sweet smiles, truly do I tell
thee this that as long as life continueth in this body of mine, I will
remain thine and thine alone." Damayanti also, with folded hands paid
homage unto Nala in words of like import. And the happy pair beholding
Agni and the other gods mentally sought their protection. And after the
daughter of Bhima had chosen Naishadha as her husband, the _Lokapalas_
of exceeding effulgence with pleased hearts, bestowed on Nala eight
boons. And Sakra, the lord of Sachi, bestowed on Nala the boon that he
should be able to behold his godship in sacrifices and that he should
attain to blessed regions thereafter, and Hutasana bestowed on him the
boon of his own presence whenever Naishadha wished, and regions also
bright as himself. And Yama granted him subtle taste in food as well as
pre-eminence in virtue. And the lord of waters granted Nala his own
presence whenever he desired, and also garlands of celestial fragrance.
And thus each of them bestowed upon him a couple of boons. And having
bestowed these the gods went to heaven. And the kings also, having
witnessed with wonder Damayanti's selection of Nala, returned delighted
whence they had come. And on the departure of those mighty monarchs, the
high-souled Bhima, well pleased, celebrated the wedding of Nala and
Damayanti. And having stayed there for a time according to his desire,
Naishadha, the best of men, returned to his own city with the permission
of Bhima. And having attained that pearl of a woman, the virtuous king,
O monarch, began to pass his days in joy, like the slayer of Vala and
Vritra in the company of Sachi. And resembling the sun in glory, the
king, full of gladness, began to rule his subjects righteously, and give
them great satisfaction. And like unto Yayati, the son of Nahusha, that
intelligent monarch celebrated the horse sacrifice and many other
sacrifices with abundant gifts to Brahmanas. And like unto a very god,
Nala sported with Damayanti in romantic woods and groves. And the
high-minded king begat upon Damayanti a son named Indrasena, and a
daughter named Indrasena. And celebrating sacrifice, and sporting (with
Damayanti) thus, the king ruled the earth abounding in wealth.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'When the blazing guardians of the worlds were
returning after the daughter of Bhima had chosen Naishadha, on their way
they met Dwapara with Kali approaching towards them. And seeing Kali,
Sakra the slayer of Vala and Vritra, said, "O Kali, say whither thou art
going with Dwapara." And thereupon Kali replied unto Sakra, "Going to
Damayanti's _Swayamvara_, will I obtain her (for my wife), as my heart
is fixed upon that damsel." Hearing this, Indra said with a smile, "That
_Swayamvara_ is already ended. In our sight she hath chosen Nala for her
husband." Thus answered by Sakra, Kali, that vilest of the celestials,
filled with wrath, addressing all those gods spake, "Since in the
presence of the celestials she hath chosen a mortal for her lord, it is
meet that she should undergo a heavy doom." Upon hearing these words of
Kali, the celestials answered, "It is with our sanction that Damayanti
hath chosen Nala. What damsel is there that would not choose king Nala
endued with every virtue? Well-versed in all duties, always conducting
himself with rectitude, he hath studied the four Vedas together with the
Puranas that are regarded as the fifth. Leading a life of harmlessness
unto all creatures, he is truth-telling and firm in his vows, and in his
house the gods are ever gratified by sacrifices held according to the
ordinance. In that tiger among men--that king resembling a _Lokapala_,
is truth, and forbearance, and knowledge, and asceticism, and purity and
self-control, and perfect tranquillity of soul. O Kali, the fool that
wisheth to curse Nala bearing such a character, curseth himself, and
destroyeth himself by his own act. And, O Kali, he that seeketh to curse
Nala crowned with such virtues, sinketh into the wide bottomless pit of
hell rife with torments." Having said this to Kali and Dwapara, the gods
went to heaven. And when the gods had gone away, Kali said unto Dwapara,
"I am ill able, O Dwapara, to suppress my anger. I shall possess Nala,
deprive him of his kingdom, and he shall no more sport with Bhima's
daughter. Entering the dice, it behoveth thee to help me."'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'Having made this compact with Dwapara, Kali came to
the place where the king of the Nishadhas was. And always watching for a
hole, he continued to dwell in the country of the Nishadhas for a long
time. And it was in the twelfth year that Kali saw a hole. For one day
after answering the call of nature, Naishadha touching water said his
twilight prayers, without having previously washed his feet. And it was
through this (omission) that Kali entered his person. And having
possessed Nala, he appeared before Pushkara, and addressed him, saying,
"Come and play at dice with Nala. Through my assistance thou wilt surely
win at the play. And defeating king Nala and acquiring his kingdom, do
thou rule the Nishadhas." Thus exhorted by Kali, Pushkara went to Nala.
And Dwapara also approached Pushkara, becoming the principal die called
_Vrisha_. And appearing before the warlike Nala, that slayer of hostile
heroes, Pushkara, repeatedly said, "Let us play together with dice."
Thus challenged in the presence of Damayanti, the lofty-minded king
could not long decline it. And he accordingly fixed the time for the
play. And possessed by Kali, Nala began to lose, in the game, his stakes
in gold, and silver, and cars with the teams thereof, and robes. And
maddened at dice, no one amongst his friends could succeed in dissuading
that represser of foes from the play that went on. And thereupon, O
Bharata, the citizens in a body, with the chief councillors, came
thither to behold the distressed monarch and make him desist. And the
charioteer coming to Damayanti spake to her of this, saying, "O lady,
the citizens and officers of the state wait at the gate. Do thou inform
the king of the Nishadhas that the citizens have come here, unable to
bear the calamity that hath befallen their king conversant with virtue
and wealth." Thereupon Bhima's daughter, overwhelmed with grief and
almost deprived of reason by it, spake unto Nala in choked accents, "O
king, the citizens with the councillors of state, urged by loyalty, stay
at the gate desirous of beholding thee. It behoveth thee to grant them
an interview." But the king, possessed by Kali, uttered not a word in
reply unto his queen of graceful glances, uttering thus her
lamentations. And at this, those councillors of state as also the
citizens, afflicted with grief and shame, returned to their homes,
saying, "_He liveth not_." And, O Yudhishthira, it was thus that Nala
and Pushkara gambled together for many months, the virtuous Nala being
always worsted.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'Bhima's daughter, the cool-headed Damayanti, seeing
the righteous king maddened and deprived of his senses at dice, was
filled, O king, with alarm and grief. And she thought the affair to be a
serious one with the king. And apprehensive of the calamity that
threatened Nala, yet seeking his welfare and at last understanding that
her lord had lost everything, she said unto her nurse and maid-servant
Vrihatsena of high fame, intent upon her good, dexterous in all duties,
faithful and sweet-speeched, these words, "O Vrihatsena, go thou and
summon the councillors in the name of Nala, and tell them also what of
wealth and other things hath been lost and what remaineth." The
councillors then, hearing of Nala's summons, said, "This is fortunate
for us" and approached the king. And when the subjects in a body had
(thus) come a second time, the daughter of Bhima informed Nala of it.
But the king regarded her not. Finding her husband disregarding her
words, Damayanti, filled with shame, returned to her apartments. And
hearing that the dice were uniformly unfavourable to the virtuous Nala,
and that he had lost everything, she again spake unto her nurse, saying,
"O Vrihatsena, go thou again in Nala's name to bring hither, O blessed
one, the charioteer, Varshneya. The matter at hand is very serious." And
Vrihatsena, hearing those words of Damayanti caused Varshneya to be
summoned by trusty servants. And the blameless daughter of Bhima,
acquainted with conduct suitable to time and place, addressing soft
words said according to the occasion, "Thou knowest how the king hath
always behaved towards thee. He is now in difficulty, and it behoveth
thee to assist him. The more the king loseth to Pushkara, the greater
becometh his ardour for the play. And as the dice fall obedient to
Pushkara, it is seen that they are adverse to Nala in the matter of the
play. And absorbed in the play, he heedeth not the words of his friends
and relatives, nor even those of mine. I do not think, however, that in
this the high-souled Naishadha is to blame, in as much as the king
regarded not my words, being absorbed in play. O Charioteer, I seek thy
protection. Do my behest. My mind misgiveth me. The king may come to
grief. Yoking Nala's favourite horses endued with the fleetness of the
mind, do thou take these twins (my son and daughter) on the car and hie
thou to Kundina. Leaving the children there with my kindred as also the
car and the horses, either stay thou there, or go to any other place as
it listeth thee." Varshneya, the charioteer of Nala, then reported in
detail these words of Damayanti unto the chief officers of the king. And
having settled (the matter) in consultation with them, and obtaining
their assent, O mighty monarch, the charioteer started for Vidarbha,
taking the children on that car. And leaving there the boy Indrasena and
the girl Indrasena, as also that best of cars and those steeds, the
charioteer, with a sad heart grieving for Nala, bade farewell unto
Bhima. And wandering for some time, he arrived at the city of Ayodhya.
And there he appeared with a sorrowful heart before king Rituparna, and
entered the service of that monarch as charioteer.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'After Varshneya had gone away, Pushkara won from the
righteous Nala that latter's kingdom and what else of wealth he had. And
unto Nala, O king, who had lost his kingdom, Pushkara laughingly said,
"Let the play go on. But what stake hast thou now? Damayanti only
remaineth; all else of thine hath been won by me. Well, if thou likest,
that Damayanti be our stake now." Hearing these words of Pushkara the
virtuous king felt as if his heart would burst in rage, but he spake not
a word. And gazing at Pushkara in anguish, king Nala of great fame took
all the ornaments off every part of his body. And attired in a single
piece of cloth, his body uncovered, renouncing all his wealth, and
enhancing the grief of friends, the king set out. And Damayanti, clad in
one piece of cloth, followed him behind as he was leaving the city. And
coming to the outskirts of the city, Nala stayed there for three nights
with his wife. But Pushkara, O king, proclaimed through the city that
_he that should show any attention to Nala, would be doomed to death_.
And on account of these words of Pushkara and knowing his malice towards
Nala, the citizens, O Yudhishthira, no longer showed him hospitable
regards. And unregarded though deserving of hospitable regards, Nala
passed three nights in the outskirts of the city, living on water alone.
And afflicted with hunger, the king went away in search of fruit and
roots, Damayanti following him behind. And in agony of famine, after
many days, Nala saw some birds with plumage of golden hue. And thereupon
the mighty lord of the Nishadhas thought within himself, "These will be
my banquet today and also my wealth." And then he covered them with the
cloth he had on--when bearing up that garment of his, the birds rose up
to the sky. And beholding Nala nude and melancholy, and standing with
face turned towards the ground, those rangers of the sky addressed him,
saying, "O thou of small sense, we are even those dice. We had come
hither wishing to take away thy cloth, for it pleased us not that thou
shouldst depart even with thy cloth on." And finding himself deprived of
his attire, and knowing also that the dice were departing (with it), the
virtuous Nala, O king, thus spake unto Damayanti, "O faultless one, they
through whose anger I have been despoiled of my kingdom, they through
whose influence distressed and afflicted with hunger, I am unable to
procure sustenance, they for whom the Nishadhas offered me not any
hospitality, they, O timid one, are carrying off my cloth, assuming the
form of birds. Fallen into this dire disaster, I am afflicted with grief
and deprived of my senses, I am thy lord, do thou, therefore, listen to
the words I speak for thy good. These many roads lead to the southern
country, passing by (the city of) Avanti and the Rikshavat mountains.
This is that mighty mountain called Vindhya; yon, the river Payasvini
running sea-wards, and yonder are the asylums of the ascetics, furnished
with various fruit and roots. This road leadeth to the country of the
Vidarbhas--and that, to the country of the Kosalas. Beyond these roads
to the south is the southern country." Addressing Bhima's daughter, O
Bharata, the distressed king Nala spake those words unto Damayanti over
and over again. Thereupon afflicted with grief, in a voice choked with
tears, Damayanti spake unto Naishadha these piteous words, "O king,
thinking of thy purpose, my heart trembleth, and all my limbs become
faint. How can I go, leaving thee in the lone woods despoiled of thy
kingdom and deprived of thy wealth, thyself without a garment on, and
worn with hunger and toil? When in the deep woods, fatigued and
afflicted with hunger, thou thinkest of thy former bliss, I will, O
great monarch, soothe thy weariness. In every sorrow there is no physic
equal unto the wife, say the physicians. It is the truth, O Nala, that I
speak unto thee." Hearing those words of his queen, Nala replied, "O
slender-waisted Damayanti, it is even as thou hast said. To a man in
distress, there is no friend or medicine that is equal unto a wife. But
I do not seek to renounce thee, wherefore, O timid one, dost thou dread
this? O faultless one, I can forsake myself but thee I cannot forsake."
Damayanti then said, "If thou dost not, O mighty king, intend to forsake
me, why then dost thou point out to me the way to the country of the
Vidarbhas? I know, O king, that thou wouldst not desert me. But, O lord
of the earth, considering that thy mind is distracted, thou mayst desert
me. O best of men, thou repeatedly pointest out to me the way and it is
by this, O god-like one, that thou enhancest my grief. If it is thy
intention that I should go to my relatives, then if it pleaseth thee,
both of us will wend to the country of the Vidarbhas. O giver of
honours, there the king of the Vidarbhas will receive thee with respect.
And honoured by him, O king, thou shall live happily in our home."'"


"'Nala said, "Surely, thy father's kingdom is as my own. But thither I
will not, by any means, repair in this extremity. Once I appeared there
in glory, increasing thy joy. How can I go there now in misery,
augmenting thy grief?"'

"Vrihadaswa continued, 'Saying this again and again unto Damayanti, king
Nala, wrapped in half a garment, comforted his blessed wife. And both
attired in one cloth and wearied with hunger and thirst, in course of
their wanderings, at last they came to a sheltered shed for travellers.
And arrived at this place, the king of the Nishadhas sat down on the
bare earth with the princes of Vidarbha. And wearing the same piece of
cloth (with Damayanti), and dirty, and haggard, and stained with dust,
he fell asleep with Damayanti on the ground in weariness. And suddenly
plunged in distress, the innocent and delicate Damayanti with every mark
of good fortune, fell into a profound slumber. And, O monarch, while she
slept, Nala, with heart and mind distraught, could not slumber calmly as
before. And reflecting on the loss of his kingdom, the desertion of his
friends, and his distress in the woods, he thought with himself, "What
availeth my acting thus? And what if I act not thus? Is death the better
for me now? Or should I desert my wife? She is truly devoted to me and
suffereth this distress for my sake. Separated from me, she may
perchance wander to her relatives. Devoted as she is to me, if she
stayeth with me, distress will surely be hers; while it is doubtful, if
I desert her. On the other hand, it is not unlikely that she may even
have happiness some time." Reflecting upon this repeatedly, and thinking
of it again and again, he concluded, O monarch, that the desertion of
Damayanti was the best course for him. And he also thought, "Of high
fame and auspicious fortune, and devoted to me, her husband, she is
incapable of being injured by any one on the way on account of her
energy." Thus his mind that was influenced by the wicked Kali, dwelling
upon Damayanti, was made up for deserting her. And then thinking of his
own want of clothing, and of her being clad in a single garment, he
intended to cut off for himself one half of Damayanti's attire. And he
thought, "How shall I divide this garment, so that my beloved one may
not perceive?" And thinking of this, the royal Nala began to walk up and
down that shed. And, O Bharata, pacing thus to and fro, he found a
handsome sword lying near the shed, unsheathed. And that repressor of
foes, having with that sword cut off one half of the cloth, and throwing
the instrument away, left the daughter of Vidharbha insensible in her
sleep and went away. But his heart failing him, the king of the
Nishadhas returned to the shed, and seeing Damayanti (again), burst into
tears. And he said, "Alas! that beloved one of mine whom neither the god
of wind nor the sun had seen before, even she sleepeth to-day on the
bare earth, like one forlorn. Clad in this severed piece of cloth, and
lying like one distracted, how will the beauteous one of luminous smiles
behave when she awaketh? How will the beautiful daughter of Bhima,
devoted to her lord, all alone and separated from me, wander through
these deep woods inhabited by beasts and serpents? O blessed one, may
the Adityas and the Vasus, and the twin Aswins together with the Marutas
protect thee, thy virtue being thy best guard." And addressing thus his
dear wife peerless on earth in beauty, Nala strove to go, reft of reason
by Kali. Departing and still departing, king Nala returned again and
again to that shed, dragged away by Kali but drawn back by love. And it
seemed as though the heart of the wretched king was rent in twain, and
like a swing, he kept going out from cabin and coming back into it. At
length after lamenting long and piteously, Nala stupefied and bereft of
sense by Kali went away, forsaking that sleeping wife of his. Reft of
reason through Kali's touch, and thinking of his conduct, the king
departed in sorrow, leaving his wife alone in that solitary forest.'"


"Vrihadaswa said, 'O king, after Nala had gone away, the beauteous
Damayanti, now refreshed, timorously awoke in that lonely forest. And O
mighty monarch, not finding her lord Naishadha, afflicted with grief and
pain, she shrieked aloud in fright, saying, "O lord? O mighty monarch! O
husband, dost thou desert me? Oh, I am lost and undone, frightened in
this desolate place. O illustrious prince, thou art truthful in speech,
and conversant with morality. How hast thou then, having pledged thy
word, deserted me asleep in the woods? Oh, why hast thou deserted thy
accomplished wife, ever devoted to thee, particularly one that hath not
wronged thee, though wronged thou hast been by others? O king of men, it
behoveth thee to act faithfull, according to those words thou hadst
spoken unto me before in the presence of the guardians of the worlds. O
bull among men, that thy wife liveth even a moment after thy desertion
of her, is only because mortals are decreed to die at the appointed
time. O bull among men, enough of this joke! O irrepressible one, I am
terribly frightened. O lord, show thyself. I see thee! I see thee, o
king! Thou art seen, O Naishadha. Hiding thyself behind those shrubs,
why dost thou not reply unto me? It is cruel of thee, O great king, that
seeing me in this plight and so lamenting, thou dost not, O king,
approach and comfort me. I grieve not for myself, nor for anything else.
I only grieve to think how thou wilt pass thy days alone, O king. In the
evening oppressed with hunger and thirst and fatigue, underneath the
trees, how wilt it take with thee when thou seest me not?" And then
Damayanti, afflicted with anguish and burning with grief, began to rush
hither and thither, weeping in woe. And now the helpless princess sprang
up, and now she sank down in stupor; and now she shrank in terror, and
now she wept and wailed aloud. And Bhima's daughter devoted to her
husband, burning in anguish and sighing ever more, and faint and weeping
exclaimed, "That being through whose imprecation the afflicted Naishadha
suffereth this woe, shall bear grief that is greater than ours. May that
wicked being who hath brought Nala of sinless heart this, lead a more
miserable life bearing greater ills." Thus lamenting, the crowned
consort of the illustrious (king) began to seek her lord in those woods,
inhabited by beasts of prey. And the daughter of Bhima, wailing
bitterly, wandered hither and thither like a maniac, exclaiming, _"Alas!
Alas! Oh king!"_ And as she was wailing loudly like a female osprey, and
grieving and indulging in piteous lamentations unceasingly, she came
near a gigantic serpent. And that huge and hungry serpent thereupon
suddenly seized Bhima's daughter, who had come near and was moving about
within its range. And folded within serpent's coils and filled with
grief, she still wept, not for herself but for Naishadha. And she said
"O lord, why dost thou not rush towards me, now that I am seized,
without anybody to protect me, by this serpent in these desert wilds?
And, O Naishadha, how will it fare with thee when thou rememberest me? O
lord, why hast thou gone away, deserting me today in the forest? Free
from thy course, when thou wilt have regained thy mind and senses and
wealth, how will it be with thee when thou thinkest of me? O Naishadha,
O sinless one, who will soothe thee when thou art weary, and hungry, and
fainting, O tiger among kings?" And while she was wailing thus, a
certain huntsman ranging the deep woods, hearing her lamentations,
swiftly came to the spot. And beholding the large-eyed one in the coils
of the serpent, he pushed towards it and cut off its head with his sharp
weapon. And having struck the reptile dead, the huntsman set Damayanti
free. And having sprinkled her body with water and fed and comforted
her, O Bharata, he addressed her saying, "O thou with eyes like those of
a young gazelle, who art thou? And why also hast thou come into the
woods? And, O beauteous one, how hast thou fallen into this extreme
misery?" And thus accosted, O monarch, by that man, Damayanti, O
Bharata, related unto him all that had happened. And beholding that
beautiful woman clad in half a garment, with deep bosom and round hips,
and limbs delicate and faultless, and face resembling the full moon, and
eyes graced with curved eye-lashes, and speech sweet as honey, the
hunter became inflamed with desire. And afflicted by the god of love,
the huntsman began to soothe her in winning voice and soft words. And as
soon as the chaste and beauteous Damayanti, beholding him understood his
intentions, she was filled with fierce wrath and seemed to blaze up in
anger. But the wicked-minded wretch, burning with desire became wroth,
attempted to employ force upon her, who was unconquerable as a flame of
blazing fire. And Damayanti already distressed upon being deprived of
husband and kingdom, in that hour of grief beyond utterance, cursed him
in anger, saying, "I have never even thought of any other person than
Naishadha, therefore let this mean-minded wretch subsisting on chase,
fall down lifeless." And as soon as she said this, the hunter fell down
lifeless upon the ground, like a tree consumed by fire.'"


"Vrihadaswa continued, 'Having destroyed that hunter Damayanti of eyes
like lotus leaves, went onwards through that fearful and solitary forest
ringing with the chirp of crickets. And it abounded with lions, and
leopards, and _Rurus_ and tigers, and buffaloes, and bears and deer. And
it swarmed with birds of various species, and was infested by thieves
and _mlechchha_ tribes. And it contained _Salas_, and bamboos and
_Dhavas_, and _Aswatthas_, and _Tindukas_ and _Ingudas_, and _Kinsukas_,
and _Arjunas_, and _Nimvas_, and _Tinisas_ and _Salmalas_, and _Jamvus_,
and mango trees, and _Lodhras_, and the catechu, and the cane, and
_Padmakas_, and _Amalahas_, and _Plakshas_, and _Kadamvas_, and
_Udumvaras_ and _Vadaras_, and _Vilwas_, and banians, and _Piyalas_, and
palms, and date-trees, and _Haritakas_ and _Vibhitakas_. And the
princess of Vidarbha saw many mountains containing ores of various
kinds, and groves resounding with the notes of winged choirs, and many
glens of wondrous sight, and many rivers and lakes and tanks and various
kinds of birds and beasts. And she saw numberless snakes and goblins and
_Rakshasas_ of grim visage, and pools and tanks and hillocks, and brooks
and fountains of wonderful appearance. And the princess of Vidarbha saw
there herds of buffaloes, and boars, and bears as well as serpents of
the wilderness. And safe in virtue and glory and good fortune and
patience, Damayanti wandered through those woods alone, in search of
Nala. And the royal daughter of Bhima, distressed only at her separation
from her lord, was not terrified at aught in that fearful forest. And, O
king, seating herself down upon a stone and filled with grief, and every
limb of hers trembling with sorrow on account of her husband, she began
to lament thus: "O king of the Nishadhas, O thou of broad chest and
mighty arms, whither hast thou gone, O king, leaving me in this lone
forest? O hero, having performed the _Aswamedha_ and other sacrifices,
with gifts in profusion (unto the Brahmanas), why hast thou, O tiger
among men, played false with me alone? O best of men, O thou of great
splendour, it behoveth thee, O auspicious one, to remember what thou
didst declare before me, O bull among kings! And, O monarch, it behoveth
thee also to call to mind what the sky-ranging swans spake in thy
presence and in mine. O tiger among men, the four Vedas in all their
extent, with the Angas and the Upangas, well-studied, on one side, and
one single truth on the other, (are equal). Therefore, O slayer of foes,
it behoveth thee, O lord of men, to make good what thou didst formerly
declare before me. Alas, O hero! warrior! O Nala! O sinless one being
thine, I am about to perish in this dreadful forest. Oh! wherefore dost
thou not answer me? This terrible lord of the forest, of grim visage and
gaping jaws, and famishing with hunger, filleth me with fright. Doth it
not behove thee to deliver me? Thou wert wont to say always, _Save thee
there existeth not one dear unto me_. O blessed one, O king, do thou now
make good thy words so spoken before. And, O king, why dost thou not
return an answer to thy beloved wife bewailing and bereft of sense,
although thou lovest her, being loved in return? O king of the earth, O
respected one, O represser of foes, O thou of large eyes, why dost thou
not regard me, emaciated, and distressed and pale, and discoloured, and
clad in a half piece of cloth, and alone, and weeping, and lamenting
like one forlorn, and like unto a solitary doe separated from the herd?
O illustrious sovereign, it is, I, Damayanti, devoted to thee, who,
alone in this great forest, address thee. Wherefore, then, dost thou not
reply unto me? Oh, I do not behold thee today on this mountain, O chief
of men, O thou of noble birth and character with every limb possessed of
grace! In this terrible forest, haunted by lions and tigers, O king of
the Nishadhas, O foremost of men, O enhancer of my sorrows, (Wishing to
know) whether thou art lying down, or sitting, or standing, or gone,
whom shall I ask, distressed and woe-stricken on thy account, saying,
_Hast thou seen in this woods the royal Nala?_ Of whom shall I in this
forest enquire after the departed Nala, handsome and of high soul, and
the destroyer of hostile arrays? From whom shall I today hear the sweet
words, _viz_., _That royal Nala, of eyes like lotus-leaves, whom thou
seekest, is even here?_ Yonder cometh the forest-king, that tiger of
graceful mien, furnished with four teeth and prominent cheeks. Even him
will I accost fearlessly: Thou art the lord of all animals, and of this
forest the king. Know me for Damayanti, the daughter of the king of the
Vidarbhas, and the wife of Nala, destroyer of foes, and the king of the
Nishadhas. Distressed and woe-stricken, I am seeking my husband alone in
these woods. Do thou, O king of beasts, comfort me (with news of Nala)
if thou hast seen him. Or, O lord of the forest, if thou cannot speak of
Nala, do thou, then, O best of beasts, devour me, and free me from this
misery. Alas! hearing my plaintive appeal in the wilderness, this king
of mountains, this high and sacred hill, crested with innumerable
heaven-kissing and many-hued and beauteous peaks, and abounding in
various ores, and decked with gems of diverse kings, and rising like a
banner over this broad forest, and ranged by lions and tigers and
elephants and boars and bears and stags, and echoing all around with
(the notes of) winged creatures of various species, and adorned with
_kinsukas_ and _Asokas_ and _Vakulas_ and _Punnagas_, with blossoming
_Karnikaras_, and _Dhavas_ and _Plakshas_, and with streams haunted by
waterfowls of every kind, and abounding in crested summits, O sacred
one! O best of mountains! O thou of wondrous sight! O celebrated hill! O
refuge (of the distressed)! O highly auspicious one! I bow to thee, O
pillar of the earth! Approaching, I bow to thee. Know me for a king's
daughter, and a king's daughter-in-law, and king's consort, Damayanti by
name that lord of earth who ruleth the Vidarbhas, that mighty
warrior-king Bhima by name, who protecteth the four orders, is my sire.
That best of kings celebrated the _Rajasuya_ and _Aswamedha_ sacrifices,
with profuse gifts to the Brahmanas. Possessed of beautiful and large
eyes, distinguished for devotion to the Vedas, of unblemished character,
truth-telling, devoid of guile, gentle, endued with prowess, lord of
immense wealth, versed in morality, and pure, he having vanquished all
his foes, effectually protecteth the inhabitants of Vidarbha. Know me, O
holy one, for his daughter, thus come to thee. That best of men--the
celebrated ruler of the Nishadha--known by the name of Virasena of high
fame, was my father-in-law. The son of that king, heroic and handsome
and possessed of energy incapable of being baffled, who ruleth well the
kingdom which hath descended to him from his father, is named Nala.
Know, O mountain, that of that slayer of foes, called also _Punyastoka_,
possessed of the complexion of gold, and devoted to the Brahmanas, and
versed in the Vedas, and gifted with eloquence,--of that righteous and
_Soma_-quaffing and fire-adoring king, who celebrateth sacrifices and is
liberal and warlike and who adequately chastiseth (criminals), I am the
innocent spouse--the chief of his queens--standing before thee.
Despoiled of prosperity and deprived of (the company of my) husband
without a protector, and afflicted with calamity, hither have I come, O
best of mountains, seeking my husband. Hast thou, O foremost of
mountains, with thy hundreds of peaks towering (into the sky) seen king
Nala in this frightful forest? Hast thou seen my husband, that ruler of
the Nishadhas, the illustrious Nala, with the tread of a mighty
elephant, endued with intelligence, long-armed, and of fiery energy,
possessed of prowess and patience and courage and high fame? Seeing me
bewailing alone, overwhelmed with sorrow, wherefore, O best of
mountains, dost thou not today soothe me with thy voice, as thy own
daughter in distress? O hero, O warrior of prowess, O thou versed in
every duty, O thou adhering to truth--O lord of the earth, if thou art
in this forest, then, O king, reveal thyself unto me. Oh, when shall I
again hear the voice of Nala, gentle and deep as that of the clouds,
that voice, sweet as _Amrita_, of the illustrious king, calling me
_Vidharva's daughter_, with accents distinct, and holy, and musical as
the chanting of the Vedas and rich, and soothing all my sorrows. O king,
I am frightened. Do thou, O virtuous one, comfort me."

"'Having addressed that foremost of mountain thus, Damayanti then went
in a northerly direction. And having proceeded three days and nights,
that best of women came to an incomparable penance grove of ascetics,
resembling in beauty a celestial grove. And the charming asylum she
beheld was inhabited and adorned by ascetics like Vasishtha and Bhrigu
and Atri, self-denying and strict in diet, with minds under control,
endued with holiness, some living on water, some on air, and some on
(fallen) leaves, with passions in check, eminently blessed, seeking the
way to heaven, clad in barks of trees and deer-skins, and with senses
subdued. And beholding that hermitage inhabited by ascetics, and
abounding in herds of deer and monkeys, Damayanti was cheered. And that
best of women, the innocent and blessed Damayanti, with graceful
eye-brows, and long tresses, with lovely hips and deep bosom, and face
graced with fine teeth and with fine black and large eyes, in her
brightness and glory entered that asylum. And saluting those ascetics
grown old in practising austerities, she stood in an attitude of
humility. And the ascetics living in that forest, said, _Welcome!_ And
those men of ascetic wealth, paying her due homage, said, "Sit ye down,
and tell us what we may do for thee." That best of women replied unto
them, saying, "Ye sinless and eminently blessed ascetics, is it well
with your austerities, and sacrificial fire, and religious observances,
and the duties of your own order? And is it well with the beasts and
birds of this asylum?" And they answered, "O beauteous and illustrious
lady, prosperity attendeth us in every respect. But, O thou of faultless
limbs, tell us who thou art, and what thou seekest. Beholding thy
beauteous form and thy bright splendour, we have been amazed. Cheer up
and mourn not. Tell us, O blameless and blessed one, art thou the
presiding deity of this forest, or of this mountain, or of this river?"
Damayanti replied unto those ascetics, saying, "O Brahmanas, I am not
the goddess of this forest, or of this mountain, or of this stream. O
Rishis of ascetic wealth, know that I am a human being. I will relate my
history in detail. Do ye listen to me. There is a king--the mighty ruler
of the Vidarbhas--Bhima by name. O foremost of regenerate ones, know me
to be his daughter. The wise ruler of the Nishadhas, Nala by name, of
great celebrity, heroic, and ever victorious in battle, and learned, is
my husband. Engaged in the worship of the gods, devoted to the
twice-born ones, the guardian of the line of the Nishadhas, of mighty
energy, possessed of great strength, truthful, conversant with all
duties, wise, unwavering in promise, the crusher of foes, devout,
serving the gods, graceful, the conqueror of hostile towns, that
foremost of kings, Nala by name, equal in splendour unto the lord of
celestials, the slayer of foes, possessed of large eyes, and a hue
resembling the full moon, is my husband. The celebrator of great
sacrifices, versed in the Vedas and their branches, the destroyer of
enemies in battle, and like unto the sun and the moon in splendour, is
he. That king devoted to faith and religion was summoned to dice by
certain deceitful persons of mean mind and uncultured soul and of
crooked ways, and skilful in gambling, and was deprived of wealth and
kingdom. Know that I am the wife of that bull among kings, known to all
by the name of Damayanti, anxious to find out my (missing) lord. In
sadness of heart am I wandering among woods, and mountains, and lakes,
and rivers, and tanks and forests, in search of that husband of
mine--Nala, skilled in battle, high-souled, and well-versed in the use
of weapons. O hath king Nala, the lord of the Nishadhas, come to this
delightful asylum of your holy selves? It is for him, O Brahmanas, that
I have come to this dreary forest full of terrors and haunted by tigers
and other beasts. If I do not see king Nala within a few days and
nights, I shall seek my good by renouncing this body. Of what use is my
life without that bull among men? How shall I live afflicted with grief


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