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

Part 10 out of 11

disguising himself hath assumed the form of a Brahmana and mustering such
energy of arms fighteth with me? No other person except the husband
himself of Sachi or Kiriti, the son of Pandu, is capable of fighting with
me when I am angry on the field of battle.' Then hearing those words of
his, Phalguna replied, saying, 'O Karna, I am neither the science of arms
(personified), nor Rama endued with superhuman powers. I am only a
Brahmana who is the foremost of all warriors and all wielders of weapons.
By the grace of my preceptor I have become accomplished in the Brahma and
the Paurandara weapons. I am here to vanquish thee in battle. Therefore, O
hero, wait a little.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by Arjuna), Karna the adopted
son of Radha desisted from the fight, for that mighty chariot-fighter
thought that Brahma energy is ever invincible. Meanwhile on another part
of the field, the mighty heroes Salya and Vrikodara, well-skilled in
battle and possessed of great strength and proficiency, challenging each
other, engaged in fight like two elephants in rut. And they struck each
other with their clenched fists and knees. And sometimes pushing each
other forward and sometimes dragging each other near, sometimes throwing
each other down; face downward, and sometimes on the sides, they fought on,
striking, each other at times with their clenched fists. And encountering
each other with blows hard as the clash of two masses of granite, the
lists rang with the sounds of their combat. Fighting with each other thus
for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes taking up Salya
on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that bull amongst men,
surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though he threw Salya on
the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when Salya was thus
thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other monarchs were all
alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima and exclaimed, 'Surely these
bulls amongst Brahmanas are excellent (warriors)! Ascertain in what race
they have been born and where they abide. Who can encounter Karna, the son
of Radha, in fight, except Rama or Drona, or Kiriti, the son of Pandu? Who
also can encounter Duryodhana in battle except Krishna, the son of Devaki,
and Kripa, the son of Saradwan? Who also can overthrow in battle Salya,
that first of mighty warriors, except the hero Valadeva or Vrikodara, the
son of Pandu, or the heroic Duryodhana? Let us, therefore, desist from
this fight with the Brahmanas. Indeed, Brahmanas, however offending,
should yet be ever protected. And first let us ascertain who these are;
for after we have done that we may cheerfully fight with them.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Krishna, having beheld that feat of Bhima,
believed them both to be the son of Kunti. And gently addressing the
assembled monarchs, saying, 'This maiden hath been justly acquired (by the
Brahmana),' he induced them to abandon the fight. Accomplished in battle,
those monarchs then desisted from the fight. And those best of monarchs
then returned to their respective kingdoms, wondering much. And those who
had come there went away saying, 'The festive scene hath terminated in the
victory of the Brahmanas. The princess of Panchala hath become the bride
of a Brahmana.' And surrounded by Brahmanas dressed in skins of deer and
other wild animals, Bhima and Dhananjaya passed with difficulty out of the
throng. And those heroes among men, mangled by the enemy and followed by
Krishna, on coming at last out of that throng, looked like the full moon
and the sun emerging from the clouds.

"Meanwhile Kunti seeing that her sons were late in returning from their
eleemosynary round, was filled with anxiety. She began to think of various
evils having overtaken her sons. At one time she thought that the sons of
Dhritarashtra having recognised her sons had slain them. Next she feared
that some cruel and strong Rakshasas endued with powers of deception had
slain them. And she asked herself, 'Could the illustrious Vyasa himself
(who had directed my sons to come to Panchala) have been guided by
perverse intelligence?' Thus reflected Pritha in consequence of her
affection for her offspring. Then in the stillness of the late afternoon,
Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode of the
potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those illustrious sons of Pritha, on returning
to the potter's abode, approached their mother. And those first of men
represented Yajnaseni unto their mother as the alms they had obtained that
day. And Kunti who was there within the room and saw not her sons, replied,
saying, 'Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).' The moment after, she
beheld Krishna and then she said, 'Oh, what have I said?' And anxious from
fear of sin, and reflecting how every one could be extricated from the
situation, she took the cheerful Yajnaseni by the hand, and approaching
Yudhishthira said, 'The daughter of king Yajnasena upon being represented
to me by thy younger brothers as the alms they had obtained, from
ignorance, O king, I said what was proper, viz., 'Enjoy ye all what hath
been obtained.' O thou bull of the Kuru race, tell me how my speech may
not become untrue; how sin may not touch the daughter of the king of
Panchala, and how also she may not become uneasy.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother that hero among men,
that foremost scion of the Kuru race, the intelligent king (Yudhishthira),
reflecting for a moment, consoled Kunti, and addressing Dhananjaya, said,
'By thee, O Phalguna, hath Yajnaseni been won. It is proper, therefore,
that thou shouldst wed her. O thou withstander of all foes, igniting the
sacred fire, take thou her hand with due rites.'

"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'O king, do not make me a participator in
sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed by
the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strong-armed Bhima of
inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all, Sahadeva
endued with great activity. Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins and
this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the
state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and
conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the king
of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of
respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the princess
of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And
casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked at
one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi alone.
Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at Draupadi,
the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush all their
senses. As the lavishing beauty of Panchali who had been modelled by the
Creator himself, was superior to that of all other women on earth, it
could captivate the heart of every creature. And Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti, beholding his younger brothers, understood what was passing in
their minds. And that bull among men immediately recollected the words of
Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king, then, from fear of a division amongst
the brothers, addressing all of them, said, 'The auspicious Draupadi shall
be the common wife of us all.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The sons of Pandu, then, hearing those words of
their eldest brother, began to revolve them in their minds in great
cheerfulness. The hero of the Vrishni race (Krishna suspecting the five
persons he had seen at the Swayamvara to be none else than the heroes of
the Kuru race), came accompanied by the son of Rohini (Valadeva), to the
house of the potter where those foremost of men had taken up their
quarters. On arriving there, Krishna and Valadeva beheld seated in that
potter's house Ajatasanu (Yudhishthira) of well developed and long arms,
and his younger brothers passing the splendour of fire sitting around him.
Then Vasudeva approaching that foremost of virtuous men--the son of Kunti--
and touching the feet of that prince of the Ajamida race, said, 'I am
Krishna.' And the son of Rohini (Valadeva) also approaching Yudhishthira,
did the same. And the Pandavas, beholding Krishna and Valadeva, began to
express great delight. And, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, those
heroes of the Yadu race thereafter touched also the feet of Kunti, their
father's sister. And Ajatasatru, that foremost of the Kuru race, beholding
Krishna, enquired after his well-being and asked, 'How, O Vasudeva, hast
thou been able to trace us, as we are living in disguise?' And Vasudeva,
smilingly answered, 'O king, fire, even if it is covered, can be known.
Who else among men than the Pandavas could exhibit such might? Ye
resisters of all foes, ye sons of Pandu, by sheer good fortune have ye
escaped from that fierce fire. And it is by sheer good fortune alone that
the wicked son of Dhritarashtra and his counsellors have not succeeded in
accomplishing their wishes. Blest be ye! And grow ye in prosperity like a
fire in a cave gradually growing and spreading itself all around. And lest
any of the monarchs recognise ye, let us return to our tent.' Then,
obtaining Yudhishthira's leave, Krishna of prosperity knowing no decrease,
accompanied by Valadeva, hastily went away from the potter's abode.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the Kuru princes (Bhima and Arjuna) were wending
towards the abode of the potter, Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchala prince
followed them. And sending away all his attendants, he concealed himself
in some part of the potter's house, unknown to the Pandavas. Then Bhima,
that grinder of all foes, and Jishnu, and the illustrious twins, on
returning from their eleemosynary round in the evening, cheerfully gave
everything unto Yudhishthira. Then the kind-hearted Kunti addressing the
daughter of Drupada said, 'O amiable one, take thou first a portion from
this and devote it to the gods and give it away to Brahmanas, and feed
those that desire to eat and give unto those who have become our guests.
Divide the rest into two halves. Give one of these unto Bhima, O amiable
one, for this strong youth of fair complexion--equal unto a king of
elephants--this hero always eateth much. And divide the other half into
six parts, four for these youths, one for myself, and one for thee.' Then
the princess hearing those instructive words of her mother-in-law
cheerfully did all that she had been directed to do. And those heroes then
all ate of the food prepared by Krishna. Then Sahadeva, the son of Madri,
endued with great activity, spread on the ground a bed of kusa grass. Then
those heroes, each spreading thereon his deer-skin, laid themselves down
to sleep. And those foremost of the Kuru princes lay down with heads
towards the south. And Kunti laid herself down along the line of their
heads, and Krishna along that of their feet. And Krishna though she lay
with the sons of Pandu on that bed of kusa grass along the line of their
feet as if she were their nether pillow, grieved not in her heart nor
thought disrespectfully of those bulls amongst the Kurus. Then those
heroes began to converse with one another. And the conversations of those
princes, each worthy to lead an army, was exceedingly interesting, they
being upon celestial cars and weapons and elephants, and swords and arrows,
and battle-axes. And the son of the Panchala king listened (from his place
of concealment) unto all they said. And all those who were with him beheld
Krishna in that state.

"When morning came, the prince Dhristadyumna set out from his place of
concealment with great haste in order to report to Drupada in detail all
that had happened at the potter's abode and all that he had heard those
heroes speak amongst themselves during the night. The king of Panchala had
been sad because he knew not the Pandavas as those who had taken away his
daughter. And the illustrious monarch asked Dhristadyumna on his return,
'Oh, where hath Krishna gone? Who hath taken her away? Hath any Sudra or
anybody of mean descent, or hath a tribute-paying Vaisya by taking my
daughter away, placed his dirty foot on my head? O son, hath that wreath
of flowers been thrown away on a grave-yard? Hath any Kshatriya of high
birth, or any one of the superior order (Brahmana) obtained my daughter?
Hath any one of mean descent, by having won Krishna, placed his left foot
on my head? I would not, O son, grieve but feel greatly happy, if my
daughter hath been united with Partha that foremost of men! O thou exalted
one, tell me truly who hath won my daughter today? O, are the sons of that
foremost of Kurus, Vichitravirya's son alive? Was it Partha (Arjuna) that
took up the bow and shot the mark?'"


(Vaivahika Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of the
Lunar princes, cheerfully said unto his father all that had happened and
by whom Krishna had been won. And the prince said, 'With large, red eyes,
attired in deer-skin, and resembling a celestial in beauty, the youth who
strung that foremost of bows and brought down to the ground the mark set
on high, was soon surrounded by the foremost of Brahmanas who also offered
him their homage for the feat he had achieved. Incapable of bearing the
sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to exert his
prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the thunder-wielding
Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the Rishis. And like a
she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna cheerfully followed
that youth catching hold of his deer-skin. Then when the assembled
monarchs incapable of bearing that sight rose up in wrath and advanced for
fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large tree rushed at
that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like Yama himself
smiting down creatures endued with life. Then, O monarch, the assembled
kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes, while they,
resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them, left the
amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs of the
town, and there at the potter's abode sat a lady like unto a flame of fire
who, I think, is their mother. And around her also sat three other
foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of heroes
having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said unto
Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those foremost
of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time after when
they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained as alms,
devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion away (in
gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a portion to
that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those five foremost
of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last of all. Then, O
monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna lying along the
line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on which they lay
was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their deer-skins. And before
going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in voices deep as of black
clouds. The talk of those heroes indicated them to be neither Vaisyas nor
Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O monarch, they are bulls amongst
Kshatriyas, their discourse having been on military subjects. It seems, O
father, that our hope hath been fructified, for we have heard that the
sons of Kunti all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac. From
the way in which the mark was shot down by that youth, and the strength
with which the bow was strung by him, and the manner in which I have heard
them talk with one another proves conclusively, O monarch, that they are
the sons of Pritha wandering in disguise.'

"Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad, and
he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were and
whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed, the
king's priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the king's
message duly, saying, 'Ye who are worthy of preference in everything, the
boon-giving king of the earth--Drupada--is desirous of ascertaining who ye
are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no
bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye your
feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of
Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was the dear friend of
Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all
along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu as
his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king
Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna of
strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the
ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better; nothing
more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as
Drupada is concerned.'

"Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an
answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded Bhima
who sat near, saying, 'Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya be
offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada's priest and, therefore,
worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary
reverence.' Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the worship
thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his ease.
Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, 'The king of the Panchalas hath,
by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to
the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by satisfying
that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing now
to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who
hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by
the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by doing
what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away Krishna
from among the assembled monarchs. In these circumstances, the king of the
Lunar race should not indulge in any regrets which can only make him
unhappy without mending matters in the least. The desire that king Drupada
hath all along cherished will be accomplished for his handsome princess
who beareth, I think, every auspicious mark. None that is weak in strength
could string that bow, and none of mean birth and unaccomplished in arms
could have shot down the mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of the
Panchalas to grieve for his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the world
undo that act of shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not
grieve for what must take its course.'

"While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the king
of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, 'The (nuptial) feast' is


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The messenger said, 'King Drupada hath, in view
of his daughter's nuptials prepared a good feast for the bride-groom's
party. Come ye thither after finishing your daily rites. Krishna's wedding
will take place there. Delay ye not. These cars adorned with golden
lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on them,
come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those bulls among the Kurus, dismissing the
priest and causing Kunti and Krishna to ride together on one of those cars,
themselves ascended those splendid vehicles and proceeded towards
Drupada's place. Meanwhile, O Bharata, hearing from his priest the words
that Yudhishthira had said, king Drupada, in order to ascertain the order
to which those heroes belonged, kept ready a large collection of articles
(required by the ordinance for the wedding of each of the four orders).
And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and
shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles and
implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch, every
article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and apparatus
of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail and
shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and beautiful
chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and
various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold. And he also kept ready
darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And there
were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and
cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada's abode, Kunti
taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of the
king. The ladies of the king's household with joyous hearts worshipped the
queen of the Kurus. Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each
possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their upper
garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and long-
hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and the
king's ministers, and the king's son, and the king's friends and
attendants, all became exceedingly glad. Those heroes sat on excellent
seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and hesitation.
And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly
seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After those
heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful
cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and
silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and became
well-pleased. And after the dinner was over, those heroes among men,
passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the
various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada's son and Drupada himself,
along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the sons of
Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressing
prince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfully
enquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, 'Are we to know you as
Kshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials who
disguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come hither
for the hand of Krishna? O tell us truly, for we have great doubts! Shall
we not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of enemies,
have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly! Truth
becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks.
Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of a celestial,
O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall make arrangements for my
daughter's wedding according to the order to which ye belong.'

"Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying 'Be not
cheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by thee
hath certainly been accomplished. We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons of
the illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti and
these to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won amid
the concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti wait
where Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy heart,
for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus been
transferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our revered
superior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words, the king Drupada's eyes
rolled in ecstasy. And filled with delight the king could not, for some
moments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort, that
chastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words. The
virtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town of
Varanavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in detail
of their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything that
the son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler of
men. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to restore
Yudhishthira to his paternal throne.

"Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded by
the king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Then
king Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened, approaching
Yudhishthira, said, 'O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjuna
take with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day, and
let him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuous
king Yudhishthira replied, saying, 'O great king, I also shall have to
marry.' Hearing him, Drupada said, 'If it pleaseth thee, take thou the
hand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in marriage
unto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.' Yudhishthira said, 'Thy
daughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hath
been ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhima
also is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hath
been won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoy
equally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule of
conduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become the wedded
wife of us all. Let her take our hands, one after another before the

'Drupada answered, 'O scion of Kuru's race, it hath been directed that one
man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one woman may
have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquainted with
the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that is
sinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thy
understanding become so?' Yudhishthira said in reply, 'O monarch, morality
is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the way trodden by the
illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never uttered an untruth. My
heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mother commandeth so; and
my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, that is quite
conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without any scruples.
Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.'

"Drupada said, 'O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna and
thyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me the
result of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti and
Dhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however,
the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of his


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the Pandavas and the illustrious king of the
Panchalas and all others there present stood up and saluted with reverence
the illustrious Rishi Krishna (Dwaipayana). The high-souled Rishi,
saluting them in return and enquiring after their welfare, sat down on a
carpet of gold. And commanded by Krishna (Dwaipayana) of immeasurable
energy, those foremost of men all sat down on costly seats. A little after,
O monarch, the son of Prishata in sweet accents asked the illustrious
Rishi about the wedding of his daughter. And he said, 'How, O illustrious
one, can one woman become the wife of many men without being defiled by
sin? O, tell me truly all about this.' Hearing these words Vyasa replied,
'This practice, O king, being opposed to usage and the Vedas, hath become
obsolete. I desire, however, to hear what the opinion of each of you is
upon this matter.'

"Hearing these words of the Rishi, Drupada spoke first, saying, 'The
practice is sinful in my opinion, being opposed to both usage and the
Vedas. O best of Brahmanas, nowhere have I seen many men having one wife.
The illustrious ones also of former ages never had such a usage amongst
them. The wise should never commit a sin. I, therefore, can never make up
mind to act in this way. This practice always appeareth to me to be of
doubtful morality.

"After Drupada had ceased, Dhrishtadyumna spoke, saying 'O bull amongst
Brahmanas, O thou of ascetic wealth, how can, O Brahmana, the elder
brother, if he is of a good disposition, approach the wife of his younger
brother? The ways of morality are ever subtle, and, therefore, we know
them not. We cannot, therefore, say what is conformable to morality and
what not. We cannot do such a deed, therefore, with a safe conscience.
Indeed, O Brahmana, I cannot say, 'Let Draupadi become the common wife of
five brothers.'

"Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth and
my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of it,
it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name
Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama
had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a tree,
had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all
bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by
asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of
morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious.
Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost.
Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as
alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed)
act as virtuous.'

"Kunti then said, 'The act is even so as the virtuous Yudhishthira hath
said. I greatly fear, O Brahmana, lest my speech should become untrue. How
shall I be saved from untruth?'

"When they had all finished speaking, Vyasa said, 'O amiable one, how
shall thou be saved from the consequence of untruth? Even this is eternal
virtue! I will not, O king of the Panchalas, discourse on this before you
all. But thou alone shalt listen to me when I disclose how this practice
hath been established and why it is to be regarded as old and eternal.
There is no doubt that what Yudhishthira hath said is quite conformable to

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa--the master
Dwaipayana--rose, and taking hold of Drupada's hand led him to a private
apartment. The Pandavas and Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata's race
sat there, waiting for the return of Vyasa and Drupada. Meanwhile,
Dwaipayana began his discourse with illustrious monarch for explaining how
the practice of polyandry could not be regarded as sinful.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Vyasa continued, 'In days of yore, the celestials had
once commenced a grand sacrifice in the forest of Naimisha. At that
sacrifice, O king, Yama, the son of Vivaswat, became the slayer of the
devoted animals. Yama, thus employed in that sacrifice, did not (during
that period), O king, kill a single human being. Death being suspended in
the world, the number of human beings increased very greatly. Then Soma
and Sakra and Varuna and Kuvera, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vasus, the
twin Aswins,--these and other celestials went unto Prajapati, the Creator
of the universe. Struck with fear for the increase of the human population
of the world they addressed the Master of creation and said, 'Alarmed, O
lord, at the increase of human beings on earth, we come to thee for relief.
Indeed, we crave thy protection.' Hearing those words the Grandsire said,
'Ye have little cause to be frightened at this increase of human beings.
Ye all are immortal. It behoveth you not to take fright at human beings.'
The celestials replied, 'The mortals have all become immortal. There is no
distinction now between us and them. Vexed at the disappearance of all
distinction, we have come to thee in order that thou mayest distinguish us
from them.' The Creator then said, 'The son of Vivaswat is even now
engaged in the grand sacrifice. It is for this that men are not dying. But
when Yama's work in connection with the sacrifice terminates, men will
again begin to die as before. Strengthened by your respective energies,
Yama will, when that time comes, sweep away by thousands the inhabitants
on earth who will scarcely have then any energy left in them.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the first-born deity, the
celestials returned to the spot where the grand sacrifice was being
performed. And the mighty one sitting by the side of the Bhagirathi saw a
(golden) lotus being carried along by the current. And beholding that
(golden) lotus, they wondered much. And amongst them, that foremost of
celestials, viz., Indra, desirous of ascertaining whence it came,
proceeded up along the course of the Bhagirathi. And reaching that spot
whence the goddess Ganga issues perennially, Indra beheld a woman
possessing the splendour of fire. The woman who had come there to take
water was washing in the stream, weeping all the while. The tear-drops
she shed, falling on the stream, were being transformed into golden
lotuses. The wielder of the thunderbolt, beholding that wonderful sight,
approached the woman and asked her, 'Who art thou, amiable lady? Why dost
thou weep? I desire to know the truth. O, tell me everything.'

"Vyasa continued, 'The woman thereupon answered, 'O Sakra, thou mayest
know who I am and why, unfortunate that I am, I weep, if only, O chief of
the celestials, thou comest with me as I lead the way. Thou shall then see
what it is I weep for." Hearing these words of the lady, Indra followed
her as she led the way. And soon he saw, not far off from where he was, a
handsome youth with a young lady seated on a throne placed on one of the
peaks of Himavat and playing at dice. Beholding that youth, the chief of
the celestials said, 'Know, intelligent youth, that this universe is under
my sway.' Seeing, however, that the person addressed was so engrossed in
dice that he took no notice of what he said, Indra was possessed by anger
and repeated, 'I am the lord of the universe.' The youth who was none else
than the god Mahadeva (the god of the gods), seeing Indra filled with
wrath, only smiled, having cast a glance at him. At that glance, however,
the chief of the celestials was at once paralysed and stood there like a
stake. When the game at dice was over, Isana addressing the weeping woman
said, 'Bring Sakra hither, for I shall soon so deal with him that pride
may not again enter his heart.' As soon as Sakra was touched by that woman,
the chief of the celestials with limbs paralysed by that touch, fell down
on the earth. The illustrious Isana of fierce energy then said unto him,
'Act not, O Sakra, ever again in this way. Remove this huge stone, for thy
strength and energy are immeasurable, and enter the hole (it will
disclose) where await some others possessing the splendour of the sun and
who are all like unto thee.' Indra, then, on removing that stone, beheld a
cave in the breast of that king of mountains, within which were four
others resembling himself. Beholding their plight, Sakra became seized
with grief and exclaimed, 'Shall I be even like these?' Then the god
Girisha, looking full at Indra with expanded eyes, said in anger, 'O thou
of a hundred sacrifices, enter this cave without loss of time, for thou
hast from folly insulted me.' Thus addressed by the lord Isana, the chief
of the celestials, in consequence of that terrible imprecation, was deeply
pained, and with limbs weakened by fear trembled like the wind-shaken leaf
of a Himalayan fig. And cursed unexpectedly by the god owning a bull for
his vehicle, Indra, with joined hands and shaking from head to foot,
addressed that fierce god of multi-form manifestations, saying, 'Thou art,
O Bhava, the over-looker of the infinite Universe!' Hearing these words
the god of fiery energy smiled and said, 'Those that are of disposition
like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the cave) had at
one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there
for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of you
shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having achieved
many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again by
the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra. Ye
shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds of
work.' Then those Indras, of their shorn glory said, 'We shall go from our
celestial regions even unto the region of men where salvation is ordained
to be difficult of acquisition. But let the gods Dharma, Vayu, Maghavat,
and the twin Aswins beget us upon our would-be mother. Fighting with men
by means of both celestial and human weapons, we shall again come back
into the region of Indra.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the former Indras, the wielder
of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying,
'Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create
from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou assignest)
to form the fifth among these!' Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great
energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five
Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his
kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And he
also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else than
celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in the
world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went
unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the
Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without
limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in
the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one
of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered
the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one of
these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair that
was black was born as Kesava's self, Krishna. And those Indras of old who
had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons
of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas,
called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a
portion of Sakra.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas
are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who
had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary beauty.
How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the moon, whose
fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any other than
an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue of the
sacrificial rites? Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this other boon
in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti endued with
their sacred and celestial bodies of old!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of
generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight
unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with
their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial bodies,
with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra
himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with
every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and statures
measuring about five cubits. Endued with every accomplishment, and decked
with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of excellent
making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods (Mahadeva), or
Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves. And observing the Pandavas in the
forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form of Indra sprung
from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And the monarch
wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial power under
deep disguise. The king looking at his daughter, that foremost of women
endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel and possessed of
the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the worthy wife of
those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and fame. And beholding
that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of Satyavati's son,
exclaiming, 'O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in thee!' The Rishi then
cheerfully continued, 'In a certain hermitage there was an illustrious
Rishi's daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, obtained not a husband.
The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances, the god Sankara
(Mahadeva). The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances, told her himself,
'Ask thou the boon thou desirest.' Thus addressed, the maiden repeatedly
said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, 'I desire to obtain a husband
possessed of every accomplishment.' Sankara, the chief of the gods,
gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, 'Thou shall have,
amiable maiden, five husbands.' The maiden, who had succeeded in
gratifying the god, said again, 'O Sankara, I desire to have from thee
only one husband possessed of every virtue?' The god of gods, well-pleased
with her, spake again, saying, 'Thou hast, O maiden, addressed me five
full times, repeating, 'Give me a husband.' Therefore, O amiable one, it
shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All this, however, will
happen in a future life of thine!'

"Vyasa continued, 'O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is
that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata's race
hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The
celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the
sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy
grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the celestials,
as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of five
husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having
listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Drupada, on hearing this, observed, O great Rishi, it
was only when I had not heard this from thee that I had sought to act in
the way I told thee of. Now, however, that I know all, I cannot be
indifferent to what hath been ordained by the gods. Therefore do I resolve
to accomplish what thou hast said. The knot of destiny cannot be untied.
Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which had been
appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now
terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had repeatedly
said, 'O, give me a husband!' the great god himself even gave her the boon
she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of this. As
regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong, no sin can
attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained, the hand of
Krishna with the rites.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing
Yudhishthira the just, said, 'This day is an auspicious day, O son of
Pandu! This day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya. Take
thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!' When
Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for the
wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as marriage
presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked, after a bath,
with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the wedding all
the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state, and many
Brahmanas and citizens. And they all took their seats according to their
respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men, with its
yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and beautified
with lines of troops, king Drupada's palace, festooned around with
diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with
brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth
and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with
sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and
accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour of
fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with
glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen. Then Dhaumya, well-
conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due
mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And
calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united him
with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took
each other's hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya,
taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the
palace. Then those mighty car-warriors,--those perpetuators of the Kuru
line,--those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that
best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king, the
celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing in
connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess of
slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous marriage.
After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those mighty car-
warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave unto them
one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four steeds with
golden bridles. And he gave them one hundred elephants all possessing
auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a hundred
mountains with golden peaks. He also gave them a hundred female servants
all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments and
floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave unto
each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a
witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments of
great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after their
wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a second
Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and happiness, like
so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the Panchalas,'"


(Vaivahika Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'King Drupada, after his alliance with the Pandavas,
had all his fears dispelled. Indeed, the monarch no longer stood in fear
even of the gods. The ladies of the illustrious Drupada's household
approached Kunti and introduced themselves unto her, mentioning their
respective names, and worshipped her feet with heads touching the ground.
Krishna also, attired in red silk and her wrists still encircled with the
auspicious thread, saluting her mother-in-law with reverence, stood
contentedly before her with joined palms. Pritha, out of affection,
pronounced a blessing upon her daughter-in-law endued with great beauty
and every auspicious mark and possessed of a sweet disposition and good
character, saying, 'Be thou unto thy husband as Sachi unto Indra, Swaha
unto Vibhavasu, Rohini unto Soma, Damayanti unto Nala, Bhadra unto
Vaisravana, Arundhati unto Vasishtha, Lakshmi unto Narayana! O amiable one,
be thou the mother of long-lived and heroic children, and possessed of
everything that can make thee happy! Let luck and prosperity ever wait on
thee! Wait thou ever on husbands engaged in the performance of grand
sacrifices. Be thou devoted to thy husbands. And let thy days be ever
passed in duly entertaining and reverencing guests and strangers arrived
at thy abode, and the pious and the old; children and superiors. Be thou
installed as the Queen of the kingdom and the capital of Kurujangala, with
thy husband Yudhishthira the just! O daughter, let the whole earth,
conquered by the prowess of thy husbands endued with great strength, be
given away by thee unto Brahmanas at horse-sacrifice! O accomplished one
whatever gems there are on earth possessed of superior virtues, obtain
them, O lucky one, and be thou happy for a full hundred years! And, O
daughter-in-law, as I rejoice today beholding thee attired in red silk, so
shall I rejoice again, when, O accomplished one, I behold thee become the
mother of a son!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the sons of Pandu had been married, Hari
(Krishna) sent unto them (as presents) various gold ornaments set with
pearls and black gems (lapis lazuli). And Madhava (Krishna) also sent unto
them costly robes manufactured in various countries, and many beautiful
and soft blankets and hides of great value, and many costly beds and
carpets and vehicles. He also sent them vessels by hundreds, set with gems
and diamonds. And Krishna also gave them female servants by thousands,
brought from various countries, and endued with beauty, youth and
accomplishments and decked with every ornament. He also gave them many
well-trained elephants brought from the country of Madra, and many
excellent horses in costly harness, cars drawn by horses of excellent
colours and large teeth. The slayer of Madhu, of immeasurable soul, also
sent them coins of pure gold by crores upon crores in separate heaps. And
Yudhishthira the just, desirous of gratifying Govinda, accepted all those
presents with great joy.'"


(Viduragamana Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who had
come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the
handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And
they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow and
shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious
warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became
known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on
the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by means
of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all foes
in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of hostile
ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all foes.
The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the guise
of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with all
her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of lac.
They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who had
come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel scheme
contrived by Purochana, they began to say, 'O, fie on Bhishma, fie on
Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!'

"After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come thither),
hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for their
own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the
owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed.
Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and
Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then
Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said, 'If
Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have
succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that no
one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme.
Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are
still alive!' Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for
his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with
cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha,
escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and
thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada all
accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with

"Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas and
that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in shame,
their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king, approaching
Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, 'The Kurus are prospering by good luck!'
Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering, said
in great glee, 'What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!' From ignorance,
the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been
chosen by Drupada's daughter as her lord. And the king immediately ordered
various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both
Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to Hastinapura.
It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the
Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at peace,
and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And he
also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the
many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and with
many others who had come to that self-choice.

"Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, 'Those children are to
me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my
affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well
and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others
whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength. Who
amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have Drupada
with his relatives as an ally?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura
said, 'O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a
hundred years!' Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then, O
monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of Radha,
Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, 'We cannot, O king, speak of any
transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone, and
will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O monarch,
desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it were
thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of men,
in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in the
way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way as
to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father,
for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow us
all with our children and friends and relatives.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do exactly
what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even by
a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding the
Pandavas in Vidura's presence, so that he might not know even by a sign
what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the time, O
Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon, and what,
O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.'

"Duryodhana said. 'Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful and
adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti
and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of
state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon
the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. Or, let our spies induce the
Pandavas to settle in Drupada's dominions, by describing to them,
separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that,
separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let some
clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among the
Pandavas, make them jealous of one another. Or, let them incite Krishna
against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any
difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves dissatisfied
with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be dissatisfied with them.
Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing thither, secretly compass
the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest of them all. Relying upon
Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us, of old. Bhima is fierce
and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas. If he be slain, the
others will be deprived of strength and energy. Deprived of Bhima who is
their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to regain their kingdom.
Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima protecteth him from
behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a fourth part of
Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their own feebleness
without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive to recover the
kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove docile and obedient
to us, we would then seek to repress them according to the dictates of
political science (as explained by Kanika). Or, we may tempt them by means
of handsome girls, upon which the princess of Panchala will get annoyed
with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be despatched to bring them
hither, so that, when arrived, we may through trusted agents, by some of
the above methods, cause them to be slain. Strive, O father, to employ any
of these (various) methods that may appear to thee faultless. Time passeth.
Before their confidence in king Drupada--that bull amongst kings--is
established we may succeed, O monarch, to encounter them. But after their
confidence hath been established in Drupada, we are sure to fail. These, O
father, are my views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge whether
they be good or bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, 'It doth
not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O
perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the Pandavas.
O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to
carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes. They
were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of tender
years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a
distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm
resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine.
This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they are
desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in
injuring them by any means in our power. It is impossible to create
disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken to a
common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas by
any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in adversity.
Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women
always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She can
never be estranged from the Pandavas. The king of Panchala is honest and
virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom he
will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada's son also possesseth every
accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not think
that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power. But,
O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now, viz.,
to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course
recommend itself to thee. As long as our party is strong and that of the
king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple. O
son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals,
friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O king,
to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together with
his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting
with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy
prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava
host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to restore
the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of enjoyment,
kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake of
the Pandavas. The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by his
prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by
prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O
bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave. Let
us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds of
forces, grind Drupada without loss of time, and bring hither the Pandavas.
Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy of
conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish
them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess, rule
thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we may
accomplish our end.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Radheya, Dhritarashtra,
endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then
addressed him and said, 'Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great
wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the
exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona, and
Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal which
may lead to our benefit.'

Vaisampayana continued, "'Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all
those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion, Bhishma
replied, 'O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I can never
approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And the sons of
Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti. I should protect them as well as I
should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas are as much
near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the other Kurus.
Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I never like.
Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be given unto
them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost ones
of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this
kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as their
paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the kingdom,
how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata race?
If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the
possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have
lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give them
half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to all.
If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be
covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. A
good name is, indeed, the source of one's strength. It hath been said that
one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth not
die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one's fame endureth,
and dieth when one's fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the
practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms, imitate
thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not perished.
We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch
Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself
perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja's
daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to
meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that
overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it
regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu with
life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy
evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru's race, that as long as those heroes
live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their
ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united. They
are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou
shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if thou
shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto them.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhishma had concluded, Drona spoke, saying, 'O
king Dhritarashtra, it hath been heard by us that friends summoned for
consultation should always speak what is right, true, and conductive to
fame. O sire, I am of the same mind in this matter with the illustrious
Bhishma. Let a share of the kingdom be given unto the Pandavas. This is
eternal virtue. Send, O Bharata, unto Drupada without loss of time some
messenger of agreeable speech, carrying with him a large treasure for the
Pandavas. And let the man go unto Drupada carrying costly presents for
both the bridegrooms and the bride, and let him speak unto that monarch of
thy increase of power and dignity arising from this new alliance with him.
And, O monarch, let the man know also that both thyself and Duryodhana
have become exceedingly glad in consequence of what hath happened. Let him
say this repeatedly unto Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. And let him speak
also about the alliance as having been exceedingly proper, and agreeable
unto thee, and of thyself being worthy of it. And let the man repeatedly
propitiate the sons of Kunti and those of Madri (in proper words). And at
thy command, O king, let plenty of ornaments of pure gold be given unto
Draupadi. And let, O bull of Bharata's race, proper presents be given unto
all the sons of Drupada. Let the messenger then propose the return of the
Pandavas to Hastinapura. After the heroes will have been permitted (by
Drupada), to come hither, let Duhsasana and Vikarna go out with a handsome
train to receive them. And when they will have arrived at Hastinapura, let
those foremost of men be received with affection by thee. And let them
then be installed on their paternal throne, agreeably to the wishes of the
people of the realm. This, O monarch of Bharata's race, is what I think
should be thy behaviour towards the Pandavas who are to thee even as thy
own sons.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After Drona had ceased, Karna spake again, 'Both
Bhishma and Drona have been pampered with wealth that is thine and favours
conferred by thee! They are also always regarded by thee as thy trusted
friends! What can therefore be more amusing than that they both should
give thee advice which is not for thy good? How can the wise approve that
advice which is pronounced good by a person speaking with wicked intent
but taking care to conceal the wickedness of his heart? Indeed, in a
season of distress, friends can neither benefit nor injure. Every one's
happiness or the reverse dependeth on destiny. He that is wise and he that
is foolish, he that is young (in years) and he that is old, he that hath
allies and he that hath none, all become, it is seen everywhere, happy or
unhappy at times. It hath been heard by us that there was, of old, a king
by name Amvuvicha. Having his capital at Rajagriha, he was the king of all
the Magadha chiefs. He never attended to his affairs. All his exertion
consisted in inhaling the air. All his affairs were in the hands of his
minister. And his minister, named Mahakarni, became the supreme authority
in the state. Regarding himself all powerful, he began to disregard the
king. And the wretch himself appropriated everything belonging unto the
king, his queens and treasures and sovereignty. But the possession of all
these, instead of satisfying his avarice, only served to inflame him the
more. Having appropriated everything belonging to the king, he even
coveted the throne. But it hath been heard by us that with all his best
endeavours he succeeded not in acquiring the kingdom of the monarch, his
master, even though the latter was inattentive to business and content
with only breathing the air. What else can be said, O king, than that
monarch's sovereignty was dependent on destiny? If, therefore, O king,
this kingdom be established in thee by destiny, it will certainly continue
in thee, even if the whole world were to become thy enemy! If, however,
destiny hath ordained otherwise, howsoever mayest thou strive, it will not
last in thee! O learned one, remembering all this, judge of the honesty or
otherwise of thy advisers. Ascertain also who amongst them are wicked and
who have spoken wisely and well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Karna, Drona replied, 'As
thou art wicked it is evident thou sayest so in consequence of the
wickedness of thy intent. It is for injuring the Pandavas that thou
findest fault with us. But know, O Karna, what I have said is for the good
of all and the prosperity of the Kuru race. If thou regardest all this as
productive of evil, declare thyself what is for our good. If the good
advice I have given be not followed, I think the Kurus will be
exterminated in no time.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Drona had ceased, Vidura spoke, saying, 'O
monarch, thy friends without doubt, are saying unto thee what is for thy
good. But as thou art unwilling to listen to what they say, their words
scarcely find a place in thy ears. What that foremost one of Kuru's race,
viz., Bhishma, the son of Santanu, hath said, is excellent and is for thy
good. But thou dost not listen to it. The preceptor Drona also hath said
much that is for thy good which however Karna, the son of Radha, doth not
regard to be such. But, O king, reflecting hard I do not find any one who
is better a friend to thee than either of these two lions among men (viz.,
Bhishma and Drona), or any one who excels either of them in wisdom. These
two, old in years, in wisdom, and in learning, always regard thee, O king,
and the sons of Pandu with equal eyes. Without doubt, O king of Bharata's
race, they are both, in virtue and truthfulness, not inferior to Rama, the
son of Dasaratha, and Gaya. Never before did they give thee any evil
advice. Thou also, O monarch, hast never done them any injury. Why should,
therefore, these tigers among men, who are ever truthful, give thee wicked
advice, especially when thou hast never injured them? Endued with wisdom
these foremost of men, O king, will never give thee counsels that are
crooked. O scion of Kuru's rate, this is my firm conviction that these two,
acquainted with all rules of morality, will never, tempted by wealth,
utter anything betraying a spirit of partisanship. What they have said, O
Bharata, I regard highly beneficial to thee. Without doubt, O monarch, the
Pandavas are thy sons as much as Duryodhana and others are. Those
ministers, therefore, that give thee any counsel fraught with evil unto
the Pandavas, do not really look to thy interests. If there is any
partiality in thy heart, O king, for thy own children, they who by their
counsel seek to bring it out, certainly do thee no good. Therefore, O king,
these illustrious persons endued with great splendour, have not I think,
said anything that leadeth to evil. Thou, however, dost not understand it.
What these bulls among men have said regarding the invincibility of the
Pandavas is perfectly true. Think not otherwise of it, O tiger among men.
Blest be thou! Can the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, using the
right and the left hand with equal activity, be vanquished in battle even
by Maghavat himself? Can the great Bhimasena of strong arms possessing the
might of ten thousand elephants, be vanquished in battle by the immortals
themselves? Who also that desireth to live can overcome in battle the
twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) like unto the sons of Yama himself, and well-
skilled in fight? How too can the eldest one of the Pandavas in whom
patience, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and prowess always live together, be
vanquished? They who have Rama (Valadeva) as their ally, and Janardana
(Krishna) as their counsellor, and Satyaki as their partisan, have already
defeated everybody in war. They who have Drupada for their father-in-law,
and Drupada's sons--the heroic brothers, viz., Dhristadyumna and others of
Prishata's race for their brothers-in-law, are certainly invincible.
Remembering this, O monarch, and knowing that their claim to the kingdom
is even prior to thine, behave virtuously towards them. The stain of
calumny is on thee, O monarch, in consequence of that act of Purochana.
Wash thyself of it now, by a kindly behaviour towards the Pandavas. This
kindly behaviour of thine, O monarch, towards the Pandavas will be an act
of great benefit to us, protecting the lives of us all that belong to
Kuru's race, and leading to the growth of the whole Kshatriya order! We
had formerly warred with king Drupada; if we can now secure him as an ally,
it will strengthen our party. The Dasarhas, O king, are numerous and
strong. Know where Krishna is, all of them must be, and where Krishna is,
there victory also must be! O king, who, unless cursed by the gods, would
seek, to effect that by means of war which can be effected by
conciliation? Hearing that the sons of Pritha are alive, the citizens and
other subjects of the realm have become exceedingly glad and eager for
beholding them. O monarch, act in a way that is agreeable to them.
Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, are sinful, foolish
and young; listen not to them. Possessed of every virtue thou art I long
ago told thee, O monarch that for Duryodhana's fault, the subjects of this
kingdom would be exterminated.'"


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these various speeches, Dhritarashtra said,
'The learned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and the illustrious Rishi Drona,
and thyself also (O Vidura), have said the truth and what also is most
beneficial to me. Indeed, as those mighty car-warriors, the heroic sons of
Kunti, are the children of Pandu, so are they, without doubt, my children
according to the ordinance. And as my sons are entitled to this kingdom,
so are the sons of Pandu certainly entitled to it. Therefore, hasten to
bring hither the Pandavas along with their mother, treating them with
affectionate consideration. O thou of Bharata's race, bring also Krishna
of celestial beauty along with them. From sheer good fortune the sons of
Pritha are alive; and from good fortune alone those mighty car-warriors
have obtained the daughter of Drupada. It is from good fortune alone that
our strength hath increased, and it is from good fortune alone that
Purochana hath perished. O thou of great splendour, it is from good
fortune that my great grief hath been killed!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vidura, at the command of Dhritarashtra,
repaired, O Bharata, unto Yajnasena and the Pandavas. And he repaired
thither carrying with him numerous jewels and various kinds of wealth for
Draupadi and the Pandavas and Yajnasena also. Arrived at Drupada's abode,
Vidura conversant with every rule of morality and deep in every science,
properly accosted the monarch and waited upon him. Drupada received Vidura
in proper form and they both enquired after each other's welfare. Vidura
then saw there the Pandavas and Vasudeva. As soon as he saw them he
embraced them from affection and enquired after their well being. The
Pandavas also along with Vasudeva, in due order, worshipped Vidura of
immeasurable intelligence. But Vidura, O king, in the name of
Dhritarashtra repeatedly enquired with great affection after their welfare.
He then gave, O monarch, unto the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi, and
unto Drupada and Drupada's sons, the gems and various kinds of wealth that
the Kauravas had sent through him. Possessed of immeasurable intelligence,
the modest Vidura then, in the presence of the Pandavas and Keshava,
addressed the well-behaved Drupada thus:

"With thy ministers and sons, O monarch, listen to what I say. King
Dhritarashtra, with ministers, sons, and friends, hath with a joyous heart,
O king, repeatedly enquired after thy welfare. And, O monarch, he hath
been highly pleased with this alliance with thee. So also, O king, Bhishma
of great wisdom, the son of Santanu, with all the Kurus, enquired after
thy welfare in every respect. Drona also of great wisdom the son of
Bharadwaja and thy dear friend, embracing thee mentally, enquired of thy
happiness. And, O king of Panchalas, Dhritarashtra and all the Kurus, in
consequence of this alliance with thee regard themselves supremely blest.
O Yajnasena, the establishment of this alliance with thee hath made them
happier than if they had acquired a new kingdom. Knowing all this, O
monarch, permit the Pandavas to re-visit their ancestral kingdom. The
Kurus are exceedingly eager to behold the sons of Pandu. These bulls among
men have been long absent (from their kingdom). They as well as Pritha
must be very eager to behold their city. And all the Kuru ladies and the
citizens and our subjects are eagerly waiting to behold Krishna the
Panchala Princess. This, therefore, is my opinion, O monarch, that thou
shouldst, without delay, permit the Pandavas to go thither with their wife.
And after the illustrious Pandavas, O king, will have received thy
permission to go thither, I shall send information unto Dhritarashtra by
quick messengers. Then, O king, will the Pandavas set out with Kunti and


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Vidura, Drupada said, 'It is
even so as thou, O Vidura of great wisdom, hast said. Venerable one, I too
have been exceedingly happy in consequence of this alliance. It is highly
proper that these illustrious princes should return to their ancestral
kingdom. But it is not proper for me to say this myself. If the brave son
of Kunti viz., Yudhishthira, if Bhima and Arjuna, if these among men, viz.,
the twins, themselves desire to go and if Rama (Valadeva) and Krishna,
both acquainted with every rule of morality, be of the same mind, then let
the Pandavas go thither. For these tigers among men (Rama and Krishna) are
ever engaged in doing what is agreeable and beneficial to the sons of

"Hearing this, Yudhishthira said, 'We are now, O monarch, with all our
younger brothers, dependent on thee. We shall cheerfully do what thou art
pleased to command.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vasudeva said, 'I am of opinion that the
Pandavas should go. But we should all abide by the opinion of king Drupada
who is conversant with every rule of morality.'

"Drupada then spoke, 'I certainly agree with what this foremost of men,
thinketh, having regard to the circumstances. For the illustrious sons of
Pandu now are to me as they are, without doubt, to Vasudeva. Kunti's son
Yudhishthira himself doth not seek the welfare of the Pandavas so
earnestly as, Kesava, that tiger among men.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by the illustrious Drupada, the
Pandavas, then, O king, and Krishna and Vidura, taking with them Krishna,
the daughter of Drupada, and the renowned Kunti, journeyed towards the
city called after the elephant, stopping at various places along the way
for purposes of pleasure and enjoyment. King Dhritarashtra, hearing that
those heroes had neared the capital sent out the Kauravas to receive them.
They who were thus sent out were, O Bharata, Vikarna of the great bow, and
Chitrasena, and Drona that foremost of warriors, and Kripa of Gautama's
line. Surrounded by these, those mighty heroes, their splendour enhanced
by that throng slowly entered the city of Hastinapura. The whole city
became radiant, as it were, with the gay throng of sight-seers animated by
curiosity. Those tigers among men gladdened the hearts of all who beheld
them. And the Pandavas, dear unto the hearts of the people, heard, as they
proceeded, various exclamations with the citizens, ever desirous of
obeying the wishes of those princes, loudly uttered. Some exclaimed, 'Here
returns that tiger among men, conversant with all the rules of morality
and who always protects us as if we were his nearest relatives.' And
elsewhere they said, 'It seems that king Pandu--the beloved of his people--
returneth today from the forest, doubtless to do what is agreeable to us.'
And there were some that said, 'What good is not done to us today when the
heroic sons of Kunti come back to our town? If we have ever given away in
charity, if we have ever poured libations of clarified butter on the fire,
if we have any ascetic merit, let the Pandavas, by virtue of all those
acts stay in town for a hundred years.'

"At last the Pandavas, on arriving at the place, worshipped the feet of
Dhritarashtra, as also those of the illustrious Bhishma. They also
worshipped the feet of everybody else that deserved that honour. And they
enquired after the welfare of every citizen (there present). At last, at
the command of Dhritarashtra they entered the chambers that had been
assigned to them.

"After they had rested there for some time, they were summoned (to the
court) by king Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, the son of Santanu. When they
came, king Dhritarashtra addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'Listen, O son of
Kunti, with thy brothers, to what I say. Repair ye to Khandavaprastha so
that no difference may arise again (between you and your cousins). If you
take up your quarters there no one will be able to do you any injury.
Protected by Partha (Arjuna), like the celestials by the thunderbolt,
reside ye at Khandavaprastha, taking half of the kingdom.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Agreeing to what Dhritarashtra said, those bulls
among men worshipping the king set out from Hastinapura. And content with
half the kingdom, they removed to Khandavaprastha, which was in
unreclaimed desert. Then those heroes of unfading splendour, viz., the
Pandavas, with Krishna at their head, arriving there, beautified the place
and made it a second heaven. And those mighty car-warriors, selecting with
Dwaipayana's assistance a sacred and auspicious region, performed certain
propitiatory ceremonies and measured out a piece of land for their city.
Then surrounded by a trench wide as the sea and by walls reaching high up
to the heavens and white as the fleecy clouds or the rays of the moon,
that foremost of cities looked resplendent like Bhogavati (the capital of
the nether kingdom) decked with the Nagas. And it stood adorned with
palatial mansions and numerous gates, each furnished with a couple of
panels resembling the out-stretched wings of Garuda. And it was protected
with gateways looking like the clouds and high as the Mandara mountains.
And well-furnished with numerous weapons of attack the missiles of the
foes could not make slightest impression on them. And they were almost
covered with darts and other missiles like double-tongued snakes. The
turrets along the walls were filled with armed men in course of training;
and the walls were lined with numerous warriors along their whole length.
And there were thousands of sharp hooks and Sataghnis (machines slaying a
century of warriors) and numerous other machines on the battlements. There
were also large iron wheels planted on them. And with all these was that
foremost of cities adorned. The streets were all wide and laid out
excellently; and there was no fear in them of accident. And decked with
innumerable mansions, the city became like unto Amaravati and came to be
called Indraprastha (like unto Indra's city). In a delightful and
auspicious part of the city rose the palace of the Pandavas filled with
every kind of wealth and like unto the mansion of the celestial treasurer
(Kuvera) himself. And it looked like a mass of clouds charged with

"When the city was built, there came, O king, numerous Brahmanas well-
acquainted with all the Vedas and conversant with every language, wishing
to dwell there. And there came also unto that town numerous merchants from
every direction, in the hope of earning wealth. There also came numerous
persons well-skilled in all the arts, wishing to take up their abode there.
And around the city were laid out many delightful gardens adorned with
numerous trees bearing both fruits and flowers. There were Amras (mango
trees) and Amaratakas, and Kadamvas and Asokas, and Champakas; and
Punnagas and Nagas and Lakuchas and Panasas; and Salas and Talas (palm
trees) and Tamalas and Vakulas, and Ketakas with their fragrant loads;
beautiful and blossoming and grand Amalakas with branches bent down with
the weight of fruits and Lodhras and blossoming Ankolas; and Jamvus
(blackberry trees) and Patalas and Kunjakas and Atimuktas; and Karaviras
and Parijatas and numerous other kinds of trees always adorned with
flowers and fruits and alive with feathery creatures of various species.
And those verdant groves always resounded with the notes of maddened
peacocks and Kokilas (blackbirds). And there were various pleasure-houses,
bright as mirrors, and numerous bowers of creepers, and charming and
artificial hillocks, and many lakes full to the brim of crystal water, and
delightful tanks fragrant with lotuses and lilies and adorned with swans
and ducks and chakravakas (brahminy ducks). And there were many delicious
pools overgrown with fine aquatic plants. And there were also diverse
ponds of great beauty and large dimension. And, O king, the joy of the
Pandavas increased from day to day, in consequence of their residence in
that large kingdom that was peopled with pious men.

"Thus in consequence of the virtuous behaviour of Bhishma and king
Dhritarashtra towards them, the Pandavas took up their abode in
Khandavaprastha. Adorned with those five mighty warriors, each equal unto
Indra himself, that foremost of cities looked like Bhogavati (the capital
of the nether kingdom) adorned with the Nagas. And, O monarch, having
settled the Pandavas there, the heroic Krishna, obtaining their leave,
came back with Rama to Dwaravati.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva)

"Janamejaya said, 'O thou possessed of ascetic wealth, what did those high-
souled ones, my grandsires, the illustrious Pandavas, do, after obtaining
the kingdom of Indraprastha? How did their wife Draupadi obey them all?
How is it also that no dissensions arose amongst those illustrious rulers
of men, all attached to one wife, viz., Krishna? O thou of the wealth of
asceticism, I wish to hear everything in detail regarding the behaviour
towards one another of those rulers of men after their union with

"Vaisampayana said, 'Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, having
obtained their kingdom, at the command of Dhritarashtra, passed their days
in joy and happiness at Khandavaprastha with Krishna. And Yudhishthira.
endued with great energy and ever adhering to truth, having obtained the
sovereignty, virtuously ruled the land, assisted by his brothers. And the
sons of Pandu, endued with great wisdom and devoted to truth and virtue,
having vanquished all their foes, continued to live there in great
happiness. And those bulls among men, seated on royal seats of great value,
used to discharge all the duties of government. And one day, while all
those illustrious heroes were so seated, there came unto them the
celestial Rishi Narada, in course of his wanderings. Beholding the Rishi,
Yudhishthira offered him his own handsome seat. And after the celestial
Rishi had been seated, the wise Yudhishthira duly offered him the Arghya
with his own hands. And the king also informed the Rishi of the state of
his kingdom. The Rishi accepting the worship, became well-pleased, and
eulogising him with benedictions, commanded the king to take his seat.
Commanded by the Rishi, the king took his seat. Then the king sent word
unto Krishna (in the inner apartments) of the arrival of the illustrious
one. Hearing of the Rishi's arrival Draupadi, purifying herself properly,
came with a respectful attitude to where Narada was with the Pandavas. The
virtuous princess of Panchala, worshipping the celestial Rishi's feet,
stood with joined hands before him, properly veiled. The illustrious
Narada, pronouncing various benedictions on her, commanded the princess to
retire. After Krishna had retired, the illustrious Rishi, addressing in
private all the Pandavas with Yudhishthira at their head, said, 'The
renowned princess of Panchala is the wedded wife of you all. Establish a
rule amongst yourselves so that disunion may not arise amongst you. There
were, in former days, celebrated throughout the three worlds, two brothers
named Sunda and Upasunda living together and incapable of being slain by
anybody unless each slew the other. They ruled the same kingdom, lived in
the same house, slept on the same bed, sat on the same seat, and ate from
the same dish. And yet they killed each for the sake of Tilottama.
Therefore, O Yudhishthira, preserve your friendship for one another and do
that which may not produce disunion amongst you.'

"On hearing this, Yudhishthira asked, 'O great Muni, whose sons were
Asuras called Sunda and Upasunda? Whence arose that dissension amongst
them, and why did they slay each other? Whose daughter also was this
Tilottama for whose love the maddened brothers killed each other? Was she
an Apsara (water nymph) or the daughter of any celestial? O thou whose
wealth is asceticism, we desire, O Brahmana, to hear in detail everything
as it happened. Indeed, our curiosity hath become great.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, Narada replied,
'O son of Pritha, listen with thy brothers to me as I recite this old
story, O Yudhishthira, exactly as everything happened. In olden days, a
mighty Daitya named Nikumbha, endued with great energy and strength was
born in the race of the great Asura, Hiranyakasipu. Unto this Nikumbha,
were born two sons called Sunda and Upasunda. Both of them were mighty
Asuras endued with great energy and terrible prowess. The brothers were
both fierce and possessed of wicked hearts. And those Daityas were both of
the same resolution, and ever engaged in achieving the same tasks and ends.
They were ever sharers with each other in happiness as well as in woe.
Each speaking and doing what was agreeable to the other, the brothers
never were unless they were together, and never went anywhere unless
together. Of exactly the same disposition and habits, they seemed to be
one individual divided into two parts. Endued with great energy and ever
of the same resolution in everything they undertook, the brothers
gradually grew up. Always entertaining the same purpose, desirous of
subjugating the three worlds, the brothers, after due initiation, went to
the mountains of Vindhya. And severe were the ascetic penances they
performed there. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, with matted locks on
their heads and attired in barks of trees, they acquired sufficient
ascetic merit at length. Besmearing themselves with dirt from head to foot,
living upon air alone, standing on their toes, they threw pieces of the
flesh of their bodies into the fire. Their arms upraised, and eye fixed,
long was the period for which they observed their vows. And during the
course of their ascetic penances, a wonderful incident occurred there. For
the mountains of Vindhya, heated for a long course of years by the power
of their ascetic austerities, began to emit vapour from every part of
their bodies. And beholding the severity of their austerities, the
celestials became alarmed. The gods began to cause numerous obstructions
to impede the progress of their asceticism. The celestials repeatedly
tempted the brothers by means of every precious possession and the most
beautiful girls. The brothers broke not their vows. Then the celestials
once more manifested, before the illustrious brothers, their powers of
illusion. For it seemed their sisters, mothers, wives, and other relatives,
with disordered hair and ornaments and robes, were running towards them in
terror, pursued and struck by a Rakshasa with a lance in hand. And it
seemed that the women implored the help of the brothers crying, 'O save
us!' But all this went for nothing, for firmly wedded thereto, the
brothers did not still break their vows. And when it was found that all
this produced not the slightest impression on any of the two, both the
women and the Rakshasa vanished from sight. At last the Grandsire himself,
the Supreme Lord ever seeking the welfare of all, came unto those great
Asuras and asked them to solicit the boon they desired. Then the brothers
Sunda and Upasunda, both of great prowess, beholding the Grandsire, rose
from their seats and waited with joined palms. And the brothers both said
unto the God, 'O Grandsire, if thou hast been pleased with these our
ascetic austerities, and art, O lord, propitious unto us, then let us have
knowledge of all weapons and of all powers of illusion. Let us be endued
with great strength, and let us be able to assume any form at will. And
last of all, let us also be immortal.' Hearing these words of theirs,
Brahman said, 'Except the immortality you ask for, you shall be given all
that you desire. Solicit you some form of death by which you may still be
equal unto the immortals. And since you have undergone these severe
ascetic austerities from desire of sovereignty alone I cannot confer on
you the boon of immortality. You have performed your ascetic penances even
for the subjugation of the three worlds. It is for this, O mighty Daityas,
that I cannot grant you what you desire.'

"Narada continued, 'Hearing these words of Brahman, Sunda and Upasunda
said, 'O Grandsire, let us have no fear then from any created thing,
mobile or immobile, in the three worlds, except only from each other!' The
Grandsire then said, 'I grant you what you have asked for, even this your
desire'. And granting them this boon, the Grandsire made them desist from
their asceticism, and returned to his own region. Then the brothers, those
mighty Daityas, having received those several boons became incapable of
being slain by anybody in the universe. They then returned to their own
abode. All their friends and relatives, beholding those Daityas of great
intelligence, crowned with success in the matter of the boons they had
obtained, became exceedingly glad. And Sunda and Upasunda then cut off
their matted locks and wore coronets on their heads. Attired in costly
robes and ornaments, they looked exceedingly handsome. They caused the
moon to rise over their city every night even out of his season. And
friends and relatives gave themselves up to joy and merriment with happy
hearts. Eat, feed, give, make merry, sing, drink--these were the sounds
heard everyday in every house. And here and there arose loud uproars of
hilarity mixed with clappings of hands which filled the whole city of the
Daityas, who being capable of assuming any form at will, were engaged in
every kind of amusement and sport and scarcely noticed the flight of time,
even regarding a whole year as a single day.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

'Narada continued, 'As soon as those festivities came to an end, the
brothers Sunda and Upasunda, desirous of the Sovereignty of the three
worlds, took counsel and commanded their forces to be arranged. Obtaining
the assent of their friends and relatives, of the elders of the Daitya
race and of their ministers of state, and performing the preliminary rites
of departure, they set out in the night when the constellation Magha was
in the ascendant. The brothers set out with a large Daitya force clad in
mail and armed with maces and axes and lances and clubs. The Daitya heroes
set out on their expedition with joyous hearts, the charanas (bards)
chanting auspicious panegyrics indicative of their future triumphs.
Furious in war, the Daitya brothers, capable of going everywhere at will,
ascended the skies and went to the region of the celestials. The
celestials knowing they were coming and acquainted also with the boons
granted unto them by the Supreme Deity left heaven and sought refuge in
the region of Brahman. Endued with fierce prowess, the Daitya heroes soon
subjugated the region of Indra, and vanquishing the diverse tribes of
Yakshas and Rakshasas and every creature ranging the skies, came away.
Those mighty car-warriors next subjugated the Nagas of the nether region,
and then the inmates of the ocean and then all the tribes of the
Mlechchhas. Desirous next of subjugating the whole earth, those heroes of
irresistible sway, summoning their soldiers, issued these cruel commands.
'Brahmanas and royal sages (on earth) with their libations and other food
offered at grand sacrifices, increase the energy and strength of the gods,
as also their prosperity. Engaged in such acts, they are the enemies of
the Asuras. All of us, therefore, mustering together should completely
slaughter them off the face of the earth!' Ordering their soldiers thus on
the eastern shore of the great ocean, and entertaining such a cruel
resolution, the Asura brothers set out in all directions. And those that
were performing sacrifices and the Brahmanas that were assisting at those
sacrifices, the mighty brothers instantly slew. And slaughtering them with
violence they departed for some other place. Whilst their soldiers threw
into the water the sacrificial fires that were in the asylums of Munis
with souls under complete control, the curses uttered by the illustrious
Rishis in wrath, rendered abortive by the boons granted (by Brahman),
affected not the Asura brothers. When the Brahmanas saw that their curses
produced not the slightest effect like shafts shot at stones they fled in
all directions, forsaking their rites and vows. Even those Rishis on earth
that were crowned with ascetic success, and had their passions under
complete control and were wholly engrossed in meditation of the Deity,
from fear of the Asura brothers, fled like snakes at the approach of
Vinata's son (Garuda the snake-eater). The sacred asylums were all trodden
down and broken. The sacrificial jars and vessels being broken, their
(sacred) contents were scattered over the ground. The whole universe
became empty, as if its creatures had all been stricken down during the
season of general dissolution. And, O king, after the Rishis had all
disappeared and made themselves invisible both the great Asuras, resolved
upon their destruction, began to assume various forms. Assuming the forms
of maddened elephants with temples rent from excess of juice, the Asura
pair, searching out the Rishis who had sheltered themselves in caves, sent
them to the region of Yama. Sometimes becoming as lions and again as
tigers and disappearing the next moment, by these and other methods the
cruel couple, seeing the Rishis, slew them instantly. Sacrifice and study
ceased, and kings and Brahmanas were exterminated. The earth became
utterly destitute of sacrifices and festivals. And the terrified people
uttered cries of Oh and Alas and all buying and selling were stopped. All
religious rites ceased, and the earth became destitute of sacred
ceremonies and marriages. Agriculture was neglected and cattle were no
longer tended. Towns and asylums became desolate. And scattered over with
bones and skeletons, the earth assumed a frightful aspect. All ceremonies
in honour of the Pitris were suspended, and the sacred sound of Vashat and
the whole circle of auspicious rites ceased. The earth became frightful to
behold. The Sun and the Moon, the Planets and Stars, and Constellations,
and the other dwellers in the firmament, witnessing these acts of Sunda
and Upasunda, grieved deeply. Subjugating all the points of heaven by
means of such cruel acts, the Asura brothers took up their abode in
Kurukshetra, without a single rival.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Narada continued, 'Then the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and the high-
souled Rishis possessing the attributes of tranquillity and self-restraint,
beholding that act of universal slaughter, were afflicted with great grief.
With passions and senses and souls under complete control, they then went
to the abode of the Grandsire, moved by compassion for the universe.
Arrived there, they beheld the Grandsire seated with gods, Siddhas, and
Brahmarshis around him. There were present that God of gods, viz.,
Mahadeva, and Agni, accompanied by Vayu, and Soma and Surya and Sakra, and
Rishis devoted to the contemplation of Brahma, and the Vaikhanasas, the
Valakhilyas, the Vanaprasthas, the Marichipas, the Ajas, the Avimudas, and
other ascetics of great energy. All those Rishis were sitting with the
Grandsire, when the celestial and other Rishis, approaching Brahman with
sorrowful hearts, represented unto him all the acts of Sunda and Upasunda.
And they told the Grandsire in detail everything that the Asura brothers
had done, and how they had done it, and in what order. Then all the
celestials and the great Rishis pressed the matter before the Grandsire.
The Grandsire, hearing everything they said, reflected for a moment and
settled in his mind what he should do. Resolving to compass the
destruction of the Asura brothers, he summoned Viswakarman (the celestial
architect). Seeing Viswakarman before him, the Grandsire possessed of
supreme ascetic merit commanded him, saying, 'Create thou a damsel capable
of captivating all hearts.' Bowing down unto the Grandsire and receiving
his command with reverence, the great artificer of the universe created a
celestial maiden with careful attention. Viswakrit first collected all
handsome features upon the body of the damsel he created. Indeed, the
celestial maiden that he created was almost a mass of gems. And created
with great care by Viswakarman, the damsel, in beauty, became unrivalled
among the women of the three worlds. There was not even a minute part of
her body which by its wealth of beauty could not attract the gaze of
beholders. And like unto the embodied Sri herself, that damsel of
extraordinary beauty captivated the eyes and hearts of every creature. And
because she had been created with portions of every gem taken in minute
measures, the Grandsire bestowed upon her the name of Tilottama. And as
soon as he started it into life, the damsel bowed to Brahman and with
joined palms said, 'Lord of every created thing, what task am I to
accomplish and what have I been created for?' The Grandsire answered, 'Go,
O Tilottama, unto the Asuras, Sunda and Upasunda. O amiable one, tempt
them with thy captivating beauty. And, O damsel, conduct thyself there in
such a way that the Asura brothers may, in consequence of the wealth of
thy beauty, quarrel with each other as soon as they cast their eyes upon

"Narada continued, 'Bowing unto the Grandsire and saying, 'So be it,'--the
damsel walked round the celestial conclave. The illustrious Brahman was
then sitting with face turned eastwards, and Mahadeva with face also
towards the east, and all the celestials with faces northwards, and the
Rishis with faces towards all directions. While Tilottama walked round the
conclave of the celestials, Indra and the illustrious Sthanu (Mahadeva)
were the only ones that succeeded in preserving their tranquillity of mind.
But exceedingly desirous as Mahadeva was (of beholding Tilottama) when the
damsel (in her progress round the celestial conclave) was at his side,
another face like a full-blown lotus appeared on the southern side of his
body. And when she was behind him, another face appeared on the west. And
when the damsel was on the northern side of the great god, a fourth face
appeared on the northern side of his body. Mahadeva (who was eager to
behold the damsel) came also to have a thousand eyes, each large and
slightly reddish, before, behind and on his flanks. And it was thus that
Sthanu the great god came to have four faces, and the slayer of Vala, a
thousand eyes. And as regards the mass of the celestials and the Rishis,
they turned their faces towards all directions as Tilottama walked round
them. Except the divine Grandsire himself, the glances of those
illustrious personages, even of all of them fell upon Tilottama's body.
And when Tilottama set out (for the city of the Asuras) with the wealth of
her beauty, all regarded the task as already accomplished. After Tilottama
had gone away, the great god who was the First Cause of the Universe,
dismissed all the celestials and the Rishis.'"


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

"Narada continued, 'Meanwhile the Asura brothers having subjugated the
earth were without a rival. The fatigue of exertion gone, they, having
brought the three worlds under equal sway, regarded themselves as persons
that had nothing more to do. Having brought all the treasures of the gods,
the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, and the kings of
the earth, the brothers began to pass their days in great happiness. When
they saw they had no rivals (in the three worlds), they gave up all
exertion and devoted their time to pleasure and merriment, like the
celestials. They experienced great happiness by giving themselves up to
every kind of enjoyment, such as women, and perfumes and floral wreaths
and viands, and drinks and many other agreeable objects all in profusion.
In houses and woods and gardens, on hills and in forests, wherever they
liked they passed their time in pleasure and amusement, like the immortals.
And it so happened that one day they went for purposes of pleasure to a
tableland of the Vindhya range, perfectly level and stony, and overgrown
with blossoming trees. After every object of desire, all of the most
agreeable kind, had been brought, the brothers sat on an excellent seat,
with happy hearts and accompanied by handsome women. And those damsels,
desirous of pleasing the brothers, commenced a dance in accompaniment to
music, and sweetly chanted many a song in praise of the mighty pair.'

"Meanwhile Tilottama attired in a single piece of red silk that exposed
all her charms, came along, plucking wild flowers on her way. She advanced
slowly to where those mighty Asuras were. The Asura brothers, intoxicated
with the large portions they had imbibed, were smitten upon beholding that
maiden of transcendent beauty. Leaving their seats they went quickly to
where the damsel was. Both of them being under the influence of lust, each
sought the maiden for himself. And Sunda seized that maid of fair brows by
her right hand. Intoxicated with the boons they had obtained, with
physical might, with the wealth and gems they had gathered from every
quarter, and with the wine they had drunk, maddened with all these, and
influenced by wishful desire, they addressed each other, each contracting
his brow in anger. 'She is my wife, and therefore your superior,' said
Sunda. 'She is my wife, and therefore your sister-in-law', replied
Upasunda. And they said unto each other, 'She is mine not yours.' And soon
they were under the influence of rage. Maddened by the beauty of the
damsel, they soon forgot their love and affection for each other. Both of
them, deprived of reason by passion, then took up their fierce maces. Each
repeating, 'I was the first, I was the first,' (in taking her hand) struck
the other. And the fierce Asuras, struck by each other with the mace, fell
down upon the ground, their bodies bathed in blood, like two suns
dislodged from the firmament. And beholding this, the women that had come
there, and the other Asuras there present, all fled away trembling in
grief and fear, and took refuge in the nether regions. The Grandsire
himself of pure soul, then came there, accompanied by the celestials, and
the great Rishis. And the illustrious Grandsire applauded Tilottama and
expressed his wish of granting her a boon. The Supreme Deity, before
Tilottama spoke, desirous of granting her a boon, cheerfully said, 'O
beautiful damsel, thou shalt roam in the region of the Adityas. Thy
splendour shall be so great that nobody will ever be able to look at thee
for any length of time!' The Grandsire of all creatures, granting this
boon unto her, establishing the three worlds in Indra as before, returned
to his own region.

"Narada continued, 'It was thus that Asuras, ever united and inspired by
the same purpose slew each other in wrath for the sake of Tilottama.
Therefore, from affection I tell you, ye foremost ones of Bharata's line,
that if you desire to do anything agreeable to me, make some such
arrangements that you may not quarrel with one another for the sake of

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The illustrious Pandavas, thus addressed by the
great Rishi Narada, consulting with one another, established a rule
amongst themselves in the presence of the celestial Rishi himself endued
with immeasurable energy. And the rule they made was that when one of them
would be sitting with Draupadi, any of the other four who would see that
one thus must retire into the forest for twelve years, passing his days as
a Brahmacharin. After the virtuous Pandavas had established that rule
amongst themselves, the great Muni Narada, gratified with them, went to
the place he wished. Thus, O Janamejaya, did the Pandavas urged by Narada,
established a rule amongst themselves in regard to their common wife. And
it was for this, O Bharata, that no dispute ever arose between them.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, having established such a rule,
continued to reside there. By the prowess of their arms they brought many
kings under their sway. And Krishna became obedient unto all the five sons
of Pritha, those lions among men, of immeasurable energy. Like the river
Saraswati decked with elephants, which again take pleasure in that stream,
Draupadi took great delight in her five heroic husbands and they too took
delight in her. And in consequence of the illustrious Pandavas being
exceedingly virtuous in their practice, the whole race of Kurus, free from
sin, and happy, grew in prosperity.

"After some time, O king, it so happened that certain robbers lifted the
cattle of a Brahmana, and while they were carrying away the booty, the
Brahmana, deprived of his senses by anger, repaired to Khandavaprastha,
and began to reprove the Pandavas in accents of woe. The Brahmana said,
'Ye Pandavas, from this your dominion, my kine are even now being taken
away by force by despicable and wicked wretches! Pursue ye the thieves.
Alas, the sacrificial butter of a peaceful Brahmana is being taken away by
crows! Alas, the wretched jackal invadeth the empty cave of a lion! A king
that taketh the sixth part of the produce of the land without protecting
the subject, hath been called by the wise to be the most sinful person in
the whole world. The wealth of a Brahmana is being taken away by robbers!
Virtue itself is sustaining a diminution! Take me up by the hand, ye
Pandavas for I am plunged in grief!"

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, heard those
accents of the Brahmana weeping in bitter grief. As soon as he heard those
accents, he loudly assured the Brahmana, saying, 'No fear!' But it so
happened that the chamber where the illustrious Pandavas had their weapons
was then occupied by Yudhishthira the just with Krishna. Arjuna, therefore,
was incapable of entering it or, going alone with the Brahmana, though
repeatedly urged (to do either) by the weeping accents of the Brahmana.
Summoned by the Brahmana, Arjuna reflected, with a sorrowful heart, 'Alas,
this innocent Brahmana's wealth is being robbed! I should certainly dry up
his tears. He hath come to our gate, and is weeping even now. If I do not
protect him, the king will be touched with sin in consequence of my
indifference; our own irreligiousness will be cited throughout the kingdom,
and we shall incur a great sin. If, disregarding the king, I enter the
chamber, without doubt I shall be behaving untruthfully towards the
monarch without a foe. By entering the chamber, again, I incur the penalty
of an exile in the woods. But I must overlook everything. I care not if I
have to incur sin by disregarding the king. I care not if I have to go to
the woods and die there. Virtue is superior to the body and lasteth after
the body hath perished!' Dhananjaya, arriving at this resolution, entered
the chamber and talked with Yudhishthira. Coming out with the bow, he
cheerfully told the Brahmana, 'Proceed, O Brahmana, with haste, so that
those wretched robbers may not go much ahead of us. I shall accompany thee
and restore unto thee thy wealth that hath fallen into the hands of the
thieves.' Then Dhananjaya, capable of using both his arms with equal skill,
armed with the bow and cased in mail and riding in his war-chariot decked
with a standard, pursued the thieves, and piercing them with his arrows,
compelled them to give up the booty. Benefiting the Brahmana thus by
making over to him his kine, and winning great renown, the hero returned
to the capital. Bowing unto all the elders, and congratulated by everybody,
Partha at last approached Yudhishthira, and addressing him, said, 'Give me
leave, O lord, to observe the vow I took. In beholding thee sitting with
Draupadi, I have violated the rule established by ourselves. I shall
therefore go into the woods, for this is even our understanding.' Then
Yudhishthira, suddenly hearing those painful words, became afflicted with
grief, and said in an agitated voice, 'Why!' A little while after, king
Yudhishthira in grief said unto his brother Dhananjaya of curly hair who
never departed from his vows, these words, 'O sinless one, if I am an
authority worthy of regard, listen to what I say. O hero, full well do I
know the reason why thou hadst entered my chamber and didst what thou
regardest to be an act disagreeable to me. But there is no displeasure in
my mind. The younger brother may, without fault, enter the chamber where
the elder brother sitteth with his wife. It is only the elder brother that
acts against the rules of propriety by entering the room where the younger
brother sitteth with his wife. Therefore, O thou of mighty arms, desist
from thy purpose. Do what I say. Thy virtue hath sustained no diminution.
Thou hast not disregarded me.'

"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'I have heard, even from thee, that
quibbling is not permitted in the discharge of duty. I cannot waver from
truth. Truth is my weapon.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Obtaining then the king's permission, Arjuna
prepared himself for a forest-life; and he went to the forest to live
there for twelve years.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When that spreader of the renown of Kuru's race, the
strong-armed Arjuna, set out (for the forest), Brahmanas conversant with
the Vedas walked behind that illustrious hero to a certain distance.
Followed by Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas and their branches and
devoted to the contemplation of the Supreme Spirit, by persons skilled in
music, by ascetics devoted to the Deity, by reciters of Puranas, by
narrators of sacred stories by devotees leading celibate lives, by
Vanaprasthas, by Brahmanas sweetly reciting celestial histories, and by
various other classes of persons of sweet speeches, Arjuna journeyed like
Indra followed by the Maruts. And, O thou of Bharata's race, that bull
among the Bharatas saw, as he journeyed, many delightful and picturesque
forests, lakes, rivers, seas, provinces, and waters. At length, on
arriving at the source of the Ganges the mighty hero thought of settling

"Listen now, O Janamejaya, to a wonderful feat which that foremost of the
sons of Pandu, of high soul, did, while living there. When that son of
Kunti, O Bharata, and the Brahmanas who had followed him, took up their
residence in that region, the latter performed innumerable Agnihotras
(sacrificial rites by igniting the sacred fire). And, O king, in
consequence of those learned vow-observing, and illustrious Brahmanas, who
never deviated from the right path, daily establishing and igniting with
mantras on the banks of that sacred stream, after the performance of their
ablutions, fires for their sacrifices, and pouring libations of clarified
butter into the same, and worshipping those fires with offerings of
flowers, that region itself where the Ganges entered the plains became
exceedingly beautiful. One day that bull amongst the Pandavas, while
residing in that region in the midst of those Brahmanas, descended (as
usual) into the Ganges to perform his ablutions. After his ablutions had
been over, and after he had offered oblations of water unto his deceased
ancestors, he was about to get up from the stream to perform his
sacrificial rites before the fire, when the mighty-armed hero, O king, was
dragged into the bottom of the water by Ulupi, the daughter of the king of
the Nagas, urged by the god of desire. And it so happened that the son of
Pandu was carried into the beautiful mansion of Kauravya, the king of the
Nagas. Arjuna saw there a sacrificial fire ignited for himself. Beholding
that fire, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti performed his sacrificial rites
with devotion. And Agni was much gratified with Arjuna for the
fearlessness with which that hero had poured libations into his manifest
form. After he had thus performed his rites before the fire, the son of
Kunti, beholding the daughter of the king of the Nagas, addressed her
smilingly and said, 'O handsome girl, what an act of rashness hast thou
done, O timid one! Whose is this beautiful region, who art thou and whose

"Hearing these words of Arjuna, Ulupi answered, 'There is a Naga of the
name of Kauravya, born in the line of Airavata. I am, O prince, the
daughter of that Kauravya, and my name is Ulupi. O tiger among men,
beholding thee descend into the stream to perform thy ablutions, I was
deprived of reason by the god of desire. O sinless one, I am still
unmarried. Afflicted as I am by the god of desire on account of thee, O
thou of Kuru's race, gratify me today by giving thyself up to me.'

"Arjuna replied, 'Commanded by king Yudhishthira, O amiable one, I am
undergoing the vow of Brahmacharin for twelve years. I am not free to act
in any way I like. But, O ranger of the waters, I am still willing to do
thy pleasure (if I can). I have never spoken an untruth in my life. Tell
me, therefore, O Naga maid, how I may act so that, while doing thy
pleasure, I may not be guilty of any untruth or breach of duty.'

"Ulupi answered, 'I know, O son of Pandu, why thou wanderest over the
earth, and why thou hast been commanded to lead the life of a Brahmacharin
by the superior. Even this was the understanding to which all of you had
been pledged, viz., that amongst you all owning Drupada's daughter as your
common wife, he who would from ignorance enter the room where one of you
would be sitting with her, should lead the life of a Brahmacharin in the
woods for twelve years. The exile of any one amongst you, therefore, is
only for the sake of Draupadi. Thou art but observing the duty arising
from that vow. Thy virtue cannot sustain any diminution (by acceding to my
solicitation). Then again, O thou of large eyes, it is a duty to relieve
the distressed. Thy virtue suffereth no diminution by relieving me. Oh, if
(by this act), O Arjuna, thy virtue doth suffer a small diminution, thou
wilt acquire great merit by saving my life. Know me for thy worshipper, O
Partha! Therefore, yield thyself up to me! Even this, O lord, is the
opinion of the wise (viz., that one should accept a woman that wooeth). If
thou do not act in this way, know that I will destroy myself. O thou of
mighty arms, earn great merit by saving my life. I seek thy shelter, O
best of men! Thou protectest always, O son of Kunti, the afflicted and the
masterless. I seek thy protection, weeping in sorrow. I woo thee, being
filled with desire. Therefore, do what is agreeable to me. It behoveth
thee to gratify my wish by yielding thy self up to me.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the daughter of the king of the
Nagas, the son of Kunti did everything she desired, making virtue his
motive. The mighty Arjuna, spending the night in the mansion of the Naga
rose with the sun in the morning. Accompanied by Ulupi he came back from
the palace of Kauravya to the region where the Ganges entereth the plains.
The chaste Ulupi, taking her leave there, returned to her own abode. And,
O Bharata, she granted unto Arjuna a boon making him invincible in water,
saying, 'Every amphibious creature shall, without doubt, be vanquishable
by thee.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of the wielder of the thunderbolt
narrated everything unto those Brahmanas (residing with him there), set
out for the breast of Himavat. Arriving at the spot called Agastyavata, he
next went to Vasishtha's peak. Thence the son of Kunti proceeded to the
peak of Bhrigu. Purifying himself with ablutions and rites there, that
foremost of the Kurus gave away unto Brahmanas many thousands of cows and
many houses. Thence that best of men proceeded to the sacred asylum called
Hiranyavindu. Performing his ablutions there, that foremost of the sons of
Pandu saw many holy regions. Descending from those heights that chief of
men, O Bharata, accompanied by the Brahmanas, journeyed towards the east,
desiring to behold the regions that lay in that direction. That foremost
one of Kuru's race saw many regions of sacred waters one after another.
And beholding in the forest of Naimisha the delightful river Utpalini
(full of lotuses) and the Nanda and the Apara Nanda, the far-famed Kausiki,
and the mighty rivers Gaya and Ganga, and all the regions of sacred water,
he purified himself, O Bharata, (with the usual rites), and gave away many
cows unto Brahmanas. Whatever regions of sacred waters and whatever other
holy palaces there were in Vanga and Kalinga, Arjuna visited all of them.
Seeing them all and performing proper ceremonies, he gave away much wealth.
Then, O Bharata, all those Brahmanas following the son of Pandu, bade him
farewell at the gate of the kingdom of Kalinga and desisted from
proceeding with him any further. The brave Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti,
obtaining their leave, went towards the ocean, accompanied by only a few
attendants. Crossing the country of the Kalingas, the mighty one proceeded,
seeing on his way diverse countries and sacred spots and diverse
delightful mansions and houses. Beholding the Mahendra mountain adorned
with the ascetics (residing there), he went to Manipura, proceeding slowly
along the sea-shore. Beholding all the sacred waters and other holy places
in that province, the strong-armed son of Pandu at last went, O king, to
the virtuous Chitravahana, the ruler of Manipura. The king of Manipura had
a daughter of great beauty named Chitrangada. And it so happened that
Arjuna beheld her in her father's palace roving at pleasure. Beholding the
handsome daughter of Chitravahana, Arjuna desired to possess her. Going
unto the king (her father), he represented unto him what he sought. He
said, 'Give away unto me thy daughter, O king! I am an illustrious
Kshatriya's son.' Hearing this, the king asked him, 'Whose son art thou?'
Arjuna replied, 'I am Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu and Kunti.' The king,
hearing this, spoke unto him these words in sweet accents, 'There was in
our race a king of the name of Prabhanjana, who was childless. To obtain a
child, he underwent severe ascetic penances. By his severe asceticism, O
Partha, he gratified that god of gods, Mahadeva, the husband of Uma, that
supreme Lord holding (the mighty bow called) Pinaka. The illustrious Lord
granted him the boon that each successive descendant of his race should
have one child only. In consequence of that boon only one child is born
unto every successive descendant of this race. All my ancestors (one after
another) had each a male child. I, however, have only a daughter to
perpetuate my race. But, O bull amongst men, I ever look upon this
daughter of mine as my son. O bull of Bharata's race, I have duly made her
a Putrika. Therefore, one amongst the sons that may be begotten upon her
by thee, O Bharata, shall be the perpetuator of my race. That son is the
dower for which I may give away my daughter. O son of Pandu, if thou
choosest, thou canst take her upon this understanding.' Hearing these
words of the king, Arjuna accepted them all, saying, 'So be it.' Taking
Chitravahana's daughter (as his wife), the son of Kunti resided in that
city for three years. When Chitrangada at last gave birth to a son, Arjuna
embraced that handsome princess affectionately. And taking leave of the
king (her father), he set out on his wanderings again.'"


(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then that bull of Bharata's race went to the sacred
waters on the banks of the southern ocean, all adorned with the ascetics
residing there. And there lay scattered five such regions where also dwelt
many ascetics. But those five waters themselves were shunned by all of
them. Those sacred waters were called Agastya, and Saubhadra and Pauloma
of great holiness, and Karandhama of great propitiousness yielding the
fruits of a horse-sacrifice unto those that bathed there, and Bharadwaja,


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