Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 49

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

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

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