Monday, March 10, 2008

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 13

"Vaisampayana said, 'Mandapala then addressed his children, saying, 'I had spoken unto Agni for the safety of you all. The illustrious deity had assured me that he would grant my wish. At those words of Agni, and knowing the virtuous disposition of your mother, as also the great energy that is in yourselves, I came not here earlier. Therefore, ye sons, do not harbor in your hearts any resentment towards me. Ye are all Rishis acquainted with the Vedas. Even Agni know you well.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having given such assurances unto his sons, the Brahmana Mandapala took with him his wife and sons, and leaving that region, went away to some other country.

"It was thus that the illustrious god of fierce rays, having grown in strength consumed the forest of Khandava with the help of Krishna and Arjuna, for the good of the world. And Agni having drunk several rivers of fat and marrow, became highly gratified, and showed himself to Arjuna. Then Purandara, surrounded by the Maruts, descended from the firmament and addressing Partha and Kesava said, 'Ye have achieved a feat that a celestial even could not. Ask ye each a boon that is not obtainable by any man. I have been gratified with you.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Partha asked from Indra all his weapons. At this Sakra of great splendour, having fixed the time for giving them, said, 'When the illustrious Madhava becomes pleased with thee, then, O son of Pandu, I will give thee all my weapons! O prince of Kuru's race, I shall know when the time cometh. Even for thy austere asceticism I will give thee all my weapons of fire and all my Vayavya weapons, and thou also wilt accept them all of me.' Then Vasudeva asked that his friendship with Arjuna might be eternal. The chief of the celestials granted unto the intelligent Krishna the boon he desired. And having granted these boons unto Krishna and Arjuna, the lord of the Maruts, accompanied by the celestials, ascended to heaven, having also spoken to Hutasana (one whose food is sacrificial butter). Agni also, having burnt that forest with its animals and birds for five and ten days, became gratified and ceased to burn. Having eaten flesh in abundance and drunk fat and blood, he became highly gratified, and addressing Achyuta and Arjuna said, 'I have been gratified by you two tigers among men. At my command, ye heroes, ye shall be competent to go wheresoever ye choose!' Thus addressed by the illustrious Agni, Arjuna and Vasudeva and the Danava Maya also—these three,--having wandered a little at last sat themselves down on the delightful banks of a river.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 12

"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Kuru's race, the Rishi Mandapala became very anxious about his children, although he had spoken of them to the god of fierce rays. Indeed, his mind was not in peace. Distressed on account of his sons, he addressed Lapita (his second wife with whom he then was), saying, 'O Lapita, as my children are incapable of the power of moving, how are they? When the fire will grow in strength and the wind begin to blow violently, my children will scarcely be able to save themselves. How will their mother be able to rescue them? That innocent woman will be afflicted with great sorrow when she will find herself unable to save her offspring. Oh, how will she compose herself, uttering various lamentations on account of my children who are all incapable of taking wing or rising up into the air. Oh, how is Jaritari, my son, and how is Sarisrikka, and how is Stamvamitra, and how is Drona, and how also is their helpless mother?'

"Unto the Rishi Mandapala thus weeping in the forest, Lapita, O Bharata, thus replied, under the influence of jealousy, 'Thou need not worry for thy children who, as thou hast assured me, are all Rishis endued with energy and prowess! They can have no fear from fire. Didst thou not speak to Agni in my presence, in their behalf? Has not the illustrious deity promised to save them? One of the regents of the universe as Agni is, he will never falsify his speech. Thou hast no anxiety, nor is thy heart inclined towards benefiting friends. It is only by thinking of her—my rival (Jarita) that thou art so distracted! Certain it is that the love thou bear to me is not equal to what thou hadst for her at first. He that hath two parties dividing his attention, can easily behold one of those suffer all sorts of pangs; but he should not disregard the party that is next to his heart. Then go thou to Jarita, for whom thy heart is sorrowing! As for myself, I shall henceforth wander alone, as a fit reward for my having attached myself to a wicked person.'

"Hearing these words, Mandapala replied, 'I do not wander over the earth with such intentions as thou conceive. It is only for the sake of progeny that I am here. And even those that I have are in danger. He who casteth off what he hath for the sake of what he may acquire, is a wicked person. The world disregard and insult him. (Therefore, go I must). As for thyself thou art free to do what thou choose. This blazing fire that lick up the trees cause sorrow in my anxious heart and raise therein evil presentiments.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Meanwhile, after the fire had left the spot where the Sarngakas dwelt, Jarita, much attached to her children, hastily came thither to see how they were. She found that all of them had escaped from the fire and were perfectly well. Beholding their mother, they began to weep, though safe and sound. She too shed tears upon beholding them alive. And she embraced, one by one, all her weeping children. Just at that time, O Bharata, the Rishi Mandapala arrived there. But none of his sons expressed joy, upon beholding him. The Rishi, however, began to speak to them one after another and unto Jarita also, repeatedly. But neither his sons nor Jarita spoke anything well or ill unto him in return.'

"Mandapala then said, 'Who amongst these is thy first born, and who the next after him? And who is the third, and who the youngest? I am speaking unto thee woefully; why dost thou not reply to me? I left thee, it is true, but I was not happy where I was.'

"Jarita then said, 'What hast thou to do with the eldest of these, and what with him that is next? And what with the third and what with the youngest? Go now unto that Lapita of sweet smiles and endued with youth, unto whom thou didst go of old, beholding me deficient in everything!' Mandapala replied, 'As regards females, there is nothing so destructive of their happiness whether in this or the other world as a co-wife and a clandestine lover. There is nothing like these two that, inflames the fire of hostility and causes such anxiety. Even the auspicious and well-behaved Arundhati, celebrated amongst all creatures, had been jealous of the illustrious Vasishtha of great purity of mind and always devoted to the good of his wife. Arundhati insulted even the wise Muni amongst the (celestial) seven. In consequence of such insulting thoughts of hers, she has become a little star, like fire mixed with smoke, sometimes visible and sometimes invisible, like an omen portending no good (amongst a constellation of seven bright stars representing the seven Rishis). I look to thee for the sake of children. I never wronged thee, like Vasishtha who never wronged his wife. Thou hast, therefore, by thy jealousy behaved towards me like Arundhati of old towards Vasishtha. Men should never trust women even if they be wives. Women, when they have become mothers, do not much mind serving their husbands.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, all his children came forward to worship him. And he also began to speak kindly towards them all, giving them every assurance.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 11

"Jaritari said, 'The person that is wise remain wakeful in view of death. Accordingly, when the hour of death approach, he feel no pangs. But the person of perplexed soul, who remain not awake, when the hour of death comes, feel the pangs of death and never attain salvation.'

"The second brother Sarisrikka, said, 'Thou art patient and intelligent. The time is come when our lives are threatened. Without doubt, one only amongst many become wise and brave.'

"The third brother, Stamvamitra, said, 'The eldest brother is called the protector. It is the eldest brother that rescue (the younger ones) from danger. If the eldest himself fail to rescue them, what can the younger ones do?'

"The fourth and the youngest brother, Drona said, 'The cruel god of fire, with seven tongues and seven mouths quickly cometh towards our habitation, blazing forth in splendor and licking up everything in his path.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having addressed one another thus, the sons of Mandapala then each devotedly addressed an eulogistic hymn to Agni. Listen now, O monarch, to those hymns as I recite them.'

"Jaritari said, 'Thou art, O fire, the soul of air! Thou art the body of the Earth's vegetation! O Sukra, water is thy parent as thou art the parent of water! O thou of great energy, thy flames, like the rays of the sun, extend themselves above, below, behind, and on each side.'

"Sarisrikka said, 'O smoke-bannered god, our mother is not to be seen, and we know not our father! Our feathers have not grown as yet. We have none to protect us save thee. Therefore, O Agni, infants that we are protect us! O Agni, as we are distressed, protect us with that auspicious form thou hast and with those seven flames of thine! We seek protection at thy hands. Thou alone, O Agni, art the giver of heat (in the universe). O lord, there is none else (save thee) that giveth heat to the rays of the sun. O, protect us who are young and who are Rishis. O Havyavaha (carrier of sacrificial butter), be pleased to go hence by some other route.'

"Stamvamitra said, 'Thou alone, O Agni, art everything! This whole universe is established in thee! Thou sustainest every creature, and thou support the universe! Thou art the carrier of the sacrificial butter, and thou art the excellent sacrificial butter itself! The wise know thee to be one (as cause) and many (as effects)! Having created the three worlds, thou, O Havyavaha, again destroy them when the time cometh, swelling thyself forth! Thou art the productive cause of the whole universe, and thou also art the essence in which the universe dissolveth itself!'

"Drona said, 'O lord of the universe, growing in strength and remaining within their bodies, thou cause the food that living creatures eat to be digested. Everything therefore, is established in thee. O Sukra, O thou from whose mouth the Vedas have sprung, it is thou who assumes the form of the sun, and sucking up the waters of the earth and every liquid juice that the earth yields, give them back in time in the form of rain and cause everything to grow! From thee, O Sukra, are these plants and creepers with green foliage! From thee have sprung these tanks and pools, and the great ocean also that is ever blessed! O thou of fierce rays, this our (human) body depend on Varuna (the water-god)! We are unable to bear thy heat. Be thou, therefore, our auspicious protector! O, destroy us not! O thou of copper-hued eyes, O thou of red neck, O thou whose path is marked by a black color, save us by going along any remote route, as indeed, the ocean save the house on its banks!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Drona--that utterer of Brahma--Agni, well-pleased at what he heard, and remembering also the promise he had made to Mandapala, replied unto him, saying, 'Thou art a Rishi, O Drona! For what thou hast said is Brahma (Vedic truth). I shall do your pleasure. Fear not! Indeed, Mandapala had spoken to me of you to the effect that I should spare his sons, while consuming the forest. The words he spoke and thy speech also are entitled to great weight to me. Say what I am to do. O best of Brahmanas, I have been greatly pleased with thy hymn. Blest be thou, O Brahmana!'

"Drona said, 'O Sukra, these cats trouble us every day. O Hutasana; consume them with their friends and relatives.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Agni did what the Sarngakas; asked him to do, telling them of his intentions. And, O Janamejaya, growing in strength, he began then to consume the forest of Khandava.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 10

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing those words of her sons Jarita continued, 'The little mouse that had come out of this hole was seized by a hawk with his claws and carried away hence. Therefore, ye may fearlessly enter this hole now.' The young ones replied, 'We are not by any means certain of that mouse having been taken away by the hawk. There may be other mice living here. From them we have every fear. Whereas it is doubtful whether fire will at all approach us here. Already we see an adverse wind blowing the flames away. If we enter the hole, death is certain at the hands of the dwellers in the hole. But if we remain where we are, death is uncertain. O mother, a position in which death is uncertain is better than that in which it is certain. It is thy duty, therefore, to escape thyself, for, if thou livest thou may obtain other children as good.'

"Their mother then said, 'Ye children, I myself saw the mighty hawk, that best of birds, swoop down and fly away with the mouse from the hole. And while he was flying away swiftly, I followed him behind and pronounced blessing on him for his having taken away the mouse from the hole. I said unto him. 'O king of hawks, because thou art flying away with our enemy, the mouse, in thy claws, may thou, without a foe, live in heaven with a golden body.' Afterwards when that hawk devoured the mouse, I came away, obtaining his leave. Therefore, ye children, enter this hole trustfully. Ye have nothing to fear. The mouse that was its inmate was seized and taken away by the hawk in my sight.' The young ones again said, 'O mother, we do not by any means know that the mouse hath been carried away by the hawk. We cannot enter this hole in the ground without being certain of the fact.' Their mother said, 'I know to a certainty that the mouse hath been carried away by the hawk. Therefore, ye children, ye have nothing to fear; do what I say.' The young ones again said, 'We do not, O mother, say that thou art dispelling our fears with a false story. For whatever is done by a person when his reason hath been disturbed can scarcely be said to be that person's deliberate act. Thou hast not been benefited by us, nor dost thou know who we are. Why dost thou, therefore, strive to protect us at so much cost to thyself? Who are we to thee? Thou art young and handsome, and capable of seeking out thy husband. Go unto thy husband. Thou shalt obtain good children again. Let us by entering the fire attain to regions of felicity. If, however, the fire consume us not, thou may come back and obtain us again.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'The parent bird then, thus addressed by her sons, left them in Khandava and hastily went to the spot where there was no fire and there was safety. Then Agni in haste and with fierce flames approached the spot where the sons of Mandapala were. The young birds saw the blazing fire come towards them. Then Jaritari, the eldest of the four, in the hearing of Agni, began to speak.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 09

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the fire blazed forth in the forest of Khandava, the infant birds became very much distressed and afflicted. Filled with anxiety, they saw not any means of escape. Their mother, the helpless Jarita, knowing that they were too young to escape, was filled with sorrow and wept aloud. And she said, 'Oh, the terrible conflagration, illuminating the whole universe and burning the forest down, approach towards us, increasing my woe. These infants with immature understanding, without feathers and feet, and the sole refuge of our deceased ancestors, afflict me. Oh, this fire approach, spreading fear all around, and licking with its tongue the tallest trees. But my unfledged children are incapable of effecting their escape. I myself am not capable of escaping, taking all these with me. Nor am I capable of abandoning them, for my heart is distressed on their account. Whom amongst my sons, shall I leave behind, and whom shall I carry with me?

What (act) should I do now that is consistent with duty? What also do you, my infant sons, think? I do not, even by reflection, see any way of escape for you. I shall even cover you with my wings and die with you. Your cruel father left me some time before, saying, 'Upon this Jaritari, because he is the eldest of my sons, will my race depend. My second Sarisrikka will beget progeny for the expansion of my ancestors' race. My third, Stamvamitra, will be devoted to asceticism, and my youngest, Drona, will become the foremost of those acquainted with the Vedas.' But how hath this terrible calamity overtaken us! Whom shall I take with me? As I am deprived of judgment what should I do that is consistent with duty? I do not see, by the exercise of my own judgment, the escape of my children from the fire!'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Unto their mother indulging in these lamentations, the infant ones said. 'O mother, relinquishing thy affection for us, go thou to a place where there is no fire. If we are killed here, thou may have other children born to thee. If thou, O mother be killed, we can have no more children in our race. Reflecting upon both these calamities, the time hath come for thee, O mother, to do that which is beneficial to our race. Do not be influenced by affection for thy offspring, which promises to destroy both us and thee. If thou save thyself, our father, who is even desirous of winning regions of felicity, may have his wishes gratified.'

"Hearing what the infants said. Jarita replied, 'There is a hole here in the ground near to this tree, belonging to a mouse. Enter this hole without loss of time. You shall have then no fear of fire. After ye have entered it, I shall, ye children, cover its mouth with dust. This is the only means of escape that I see from the blazing fire. Then when the fire will be put out, I shall return hither to remove the dust. Follow my advice if you are to escape from the conflagration.'

"The infant birds replied, 'Without feathers we are but so many balls of flesh. If we enter the hole, certain it is that the carnivorous mouse will destroy us all. Beholding this danger before us, we cannot enter this hole. Alas, we do not see any means by which we may escape from the fire or from the mouse. We do not see how our father's act of procreation may be prevented from becoming futile, and how also our mother may be saved. If we enter the hole, the mouse will destroy us; we remain where we are and the sky-ranging fire will destroy us. Reflecting upon both the calamities, a death by fire is preferable to a death by being eaten up. If we are devoured by the mouse within the hole, that death is certainly ignoble, whereas the destruction of the body in fire is approved by the wise.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 08

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, tell me why and when that forest burnt in that way, Agni consumed not the birds called Sarngakas? Thou hast, O Brahmana, recited (to us) the cause of Aswasena and the Danava Maya not having been consumed. But thou hast not as yet said what the cause was of the escape of the Sarngakas? The escape of those birds, O Brahmana, appear to me to be wonderful. Tell us why they were not destroyed in that dreadful conflagration.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O slayer of all foes, I shall tell thee all as to why Agni did not burn up those birds during the conflagration. There was, O king, a great Rishi known by the name of Mandapala, conversant with all the shastras, of rigid vows, devoted to asceticism, and the foremost of all virtuous persons. Following in the wake of Rishis that had drawn up their virile fluid, that ascetic, O monarch, with every sense under complete control, devoted himself to study and virtue. Having reached the opposite shores of asceticism, O Bharata, he left his human form and went to the region of the Pitris. But going thither he failed to obtain the (expected) fruit of his acts. He asked the celestials that sat around the king of the dead as to the cause of his treatment, saying, 'Why have these regions become unattainable by me,--regions that I had thought had been acquired by me by my ascetic devotions? Have I not performed those acts whose fruits are these regions? Ye inhabitants of heaven, tell me why these regions are shut against me! I will do that which will give me the fruit of my ascetic penances.'

"The celestials answered, 'Hear, O Brahmana, of those acts and things on account of which men are born debtors. Without doubt, it is for religious rites, studies according to the ordinance, and progeny, that men are born debtors. These debts are all discharged by sacrifices, asceticism, and offspring. Thou art an ascetic and hast also performed sacrifices; but thou hast no offspring. These regions are shut against thee only for want of children. Beget children, therefore! Thou shalt then enjoy multifarious regions of felicity. The Vedas declared that the son rescueth the father from a hell called Put. Then, O best of Brahmanas, strive to beget offspring.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Mandapala, having heard these words of the dwellers in heaven, reflected how best he could obtain the largest number of offspring within the shortest period of time. The Rishi, after reflection, understood that of all creatures birds alone were blest with fecundity. Assuming the form of a Sarngaka the Rishi had connection with a female bird of the same species called by the name of Jarita. And he begat upon her four sons who were all reciters of the Vedas. Leaving all those sons of his with their mother in that forest, while they were still within eggs, the ascetic went to (another wife called by the name of) Lapita. And, O Bharata, when the exalted sage went away for the company of Lapita, moved by affection for her offspring, Jarita became very thoughtful.

Though forsaken by their father in the forest of Khandava, Jarita, anxious in her affection for them, could not forsake her offspring, those infant Rishis encased in eggs. Moved by parental affection, she brought up these children born of her, herself following the pursuits proper to her own species. Some time after, the Rishi, in wandering over that forest in the company of Lapita, saw Agni coming towards Khandava to burn it down. Then the Brahmana Mandapala, knowing the intention of Agni and remembering also that his children were all young moved by fear, gratified the god, of the burning element, that regent of the universe, endued with great energy. And he did this, desiring to put in a word for his unfledged offspring. Addressing Agni, the Rishi said, 'Thou art, O Agni, the mouth of all the worlds! Thou art the carrier of the sacrificial butter! O purifier (of all sins), thou move invisible with the frame of every creature! The learned have spoken of thee as an One, and again as possessed of triple nature. The wise perform their sacrifices before thee, taking thee as consisting of eight (mouths). The great Rishis declare that this universe hath been created by thee. O thou that feed on sacrificial butter, without thee this whole universe would be destroyed in a single day. Bowing to thee, the Brahmanas, accompanied by their wives and children, go to eternal regions won by them by help of their own deeds. O Agni, the learned represent thee as the clouds in the heavens charged with lightning. O

Agni, the flames put forth by thee consume every creature. O thou of great splendour, this universe hath been created by thee. The Vedas are thy word. All creatures, mobile and immobile, depend upon thee. Water primarily dependeth on thee, so also the whole of this universe. All offerings of clarified butter and oblations of food to the pitris have been established in thee. O god, thou art the consumer, and thou art the creator and thou art Vrihaspati himself (in intelligence). Thou art the twin Aswins; thou art Surya; thou art Soma; thou art Vayu.

"Vaisampayana continued, 'O monarch, thus praised by Mandapala, Agni was gratified with that Rishi of immeasurable energy; and the god, well-pleased, replied, 'What good can I do to thee?' Then Mandapala with joined palms said unto the carrier of clarified butter, 'While thou burn the forest of Khandava, spare my children.' The illustrious bearer of clarified butter replied, 'So be it.' It was, therefore, O monarch, that he blazed not forth, while consuming the forest of Khandava, for the destruction of Mandapala's children.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 07

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the inhabitants of the forest of Khandava, the Danavas and Rakshasas and Nagas and wolves and bears and other wild animals, and elephants with rent temples, and tigers, and lions with manes and deer and buffaloes by hundreds, and birds, and various other creatures, frightened at the falling stones and extremely anxious, began to fly in all directions. They saw the forest (burning all around) and Krishna and Arjuna also ready with their weapons. Frightened at the terrible sounds that were audible there those creatures lost their power of movement. Beholding the forest burning in innumerable places and Krishna also ready to smite them down with his weapons, they all set up a frightful roar. With that terrible clamour as also with the roar of fire, the whole welkin resounded, as it were, with the voice of portentous clouds. Kesava of dark hue and mighty arms, in order to compass their destruction, hurled at them his large and fierce discus resplendent with its own energy. The forest-dwellers including the Danavas and the Rakshasas, afflicted by that weapon, were cut in hundreds of pieces and fell unto the mouth of Agni. Mangled by Krishna's discus, the Asuras were besmeared with blood and fat and looked like evening clouds. And, O Bharata, he of the Vrishni race moved able like death itself, slaying Pisachas and birds and Nagas and other creatures by thousands. The discus itself, repeatedly hurled from the hands of Krishna, that slayer of all foes, came back to his hands after slaughtering numberless creatures. The face and form of Krishna that soul of every created thing--became fierce to behold while he was thus employed in the slaughter of the Pisachas,Nagas and Rakshasas.

No one among the celestials, who had mustered there could vanquish in battle Krishna and Arjuna. When the celestials saw that they could not protect that forest from the might of Krishna and Arjuna by extinguishing that conflagration, they retired from the scene. Then, O monarch, he of a hundred sacrifices (Indra), beholding the immortals retreat, became filled with joy and applauded Krishna and Arjuna. And when the celestials gave up the fight, an incorporeal voice, deep and loud, addressing him of a hundred sacrifices, said, 'Thy friend Takshaka, that chief of snakes, hath not been slain! Before the conflagration commenced in Khandava he had journeyed to Kurukshetra. Know from my words, O Vasava, that Vasudeva and Arjuna are incapable of being vanquished in battle by any one! They are Nara and Narayana--those gods of old heard of in heaven! Thou know what their energy is and what their prowess. Invincible in battle, these best of old Rishis are unconquerable by any one in all the worlds! They deserve the most reverential worship of all the celestials and Asuras; of Yakshas and Rakshasas and Gandharvas, of human beings and Kinnaras and Nagas. Therefore, O Vasava, it belove thee to go hence with all the celestials. The destruction of Khandava hath been ordained by Fate!' Then the chief of the immortals, ascertaining those words to be true abandoned his wrath and jealousy, and went back to heaven. The dwellers in heaven, O monarch, beholding the illustrious Indra abandon the fight, followed him with all their soldiers.

Then those heroes, Vasudeva and Arjuna, when they saw the chief of the celestials retreat accompanied by all the gods, set up a leonine roar. And, O monarch, Kesava and Arjuna, after Indra had left the scene, became exceedingly glad. Those heroes then fearlessly assisted at the conflagration of the forest. Arjuna scattered the celestials like the wind scattering the clouds, and slew with showers of his arrows, numberless creatures that dwelt in Khandava. Cut off by Arjuna's arrows, no one amongst the innumerable creatures could escape from the burning forest. Far from fighting with him, none amongst even the strongest creatures mustered there could look at Arjuna whose weapons were never futile. Sometimes piercing hundred creatures with one shaft and sometimes a single creature with hundred shafts, Arjuna moved about in his car. The creatures themselves, deprived of life, began to fall into the mouth of Agni (god of fire), struck down as it were by death itself.

On the banks of rivers or on uneven plains or on crematoriums, go where they did, the creatures (dwelling in Khandava) found no ease, for wherever they sought shelter there they were afflicted by the heat. And hosts of creatures roared in pain, and elephants and deer and wolves set up cries of affliction. At that sound the fishes of the Ganges and the sea, and the various tribes of Vidyadharas dwelling in that forest all became frightened. O thou of mighty arms, let alone battling with them, no one, could even gaze at Arjuna and Janardana of dark hue. Hari slew with his discus those Rakshasas and Danavas and Nagas that rushed at him in bands. Of huge bodies, their heads and trunks were cut off by the swift motion of the discus, and deprived of life they fell down into the blazing fire. Gratified with large quantities of flesh, blood, and fat, the flames rose up to a great height without a curling wreath of smoke. Hutasana (fire-god) with blazing and coppery eyes, and flaming tongue and large mouth, and the hair on the crown of his head all fiery, drinking, with the help of Krishna and Arjuna, that nectar-like stream of animal fat, became filled with joy. Gratified greatly, Agni derived much happiness.

"And it so happened that the slayer of Madhu suddenly beheld an Asura of the name of Maya escaping from the abode of Takshaka. Agni having Vayu for his car-driver, assuming a body with matted locks on head, and roaring like the clouds, pursued the Asura, desirous of consuming him. Beholding the Asura, Vasudeva stood with his weapon upraised, ready to smite him down, seeing the discus uplifted and Agni pursuing from behind to burn him, Maya said 'Run to me, O Arjuna, and protect me!' Hearing his affrighted voice Arjuna said, 'Fear not!' That voice of Arjuna, O Bharata, seemed to give Maya his life. As the merciful son of Pritha said unto Maya that there was nothing to fear, he of the Dasarha race no longer desired to slay Maya who was the brother of Namuchi, and Agni also burned him not.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Protected from Indra by Krishna and Partha, Agni gifted with great intelligence, burned that forest for five and ten days. And while the forest burned Agni spared only six of its dwellers, viz., Aswasena, Maya, and four birds called Sarngakas.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 06

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Vibhatsu, the son of Pandu, invoking his excellent weapons, prevented that shower of rain by Indra, by means of a shower of his own weapons. And Arjuna of immeasurable soul soon covered the forest of Khandava with innumerable arrows like the moon covering the atmosphere with a thick fog. When the sky above that forest was thus covered with the arrows of Arjuna no living creature could then escape from below. And it so happened that while that forest was burning, Takshaka, the chief of the Nagas, was not there, having gone at that time to the field of Kurukshetra. But Aswasena, the mighty son of Takshaka, was there. He made great efforts to escape from that fire; but confined by Arjuna's shafts he succeeded not in finding a way. It was then that his mother, the daughter of a snake, determined to save him by swallowing him first. His mother first swallowed his head and then was swallowing his tail. And desirous of saving her son, the sea-snake rose (up from the earth) while still employed in swallowing her son's tail.

But Arjuna as soon as he beheld her escaping, severed her head from her body by means of a sharp and keen-edged arrow. Indra saw all this, and desiring to save his friend's son, the wielder of the thunderbolt, by raising a violent wind, deprived Arjuna of consciousness. During those few moments, Aswasena succeeded in effecting his escape. Beholding that manifestation of the power of illusion, and deceived by that snake, Arjuna was much enraged. He forthwith cut every animal seeking to escape by the skies, into two, three, or more pieces. And Vibhatsu in anger, and Agni, and Vasudeva also, cursed the snake that had escaped so deceitfully, saying, 'Never shalt thou be famous!' And Jishnu remembering the deception practiced upon him, became angry, and covering the firmament with a cloud of arrows, sought to fight with him of a thousand eyes.

The chief of the celestials also, seeing Arjuna in anger, sought to fight with him, and hurled his own fierce weapons, covering the wide expanse of the firmament. Then the winds, making a loud roar and agitating all the oceans, brought together masses of clouds in the sky, charged with torrents of rain. Those masses of clouds began to vomit thunder and terrible flashes of lightning charged with the thunderclap. Then Arjuna possessing a knowledge of means, hurled the excellent weapon called Vayavya with proper mantras to dispel those clouds. With that weapon the energy and force of Indra's thunderbolt and of those clouds were destroyed. And the torrents of rain with which those clouds were charged were all dried up, and the lightning that played amongst them was also destroyed. Within a moment the sky was cleared of dust and darkness, and a delicious, cool breeze began to blow and the disc of the sun resumed its normal state.

Then the eater of clarified butter (Agni), glad because none could baffle him, assumed various forms, and sprinkled over with the fat exuded by the bodies of creatures, blazed forth with all his flames, filling the universe with his roar. Then numerous birds of the Garuda tribe bearing excellent feathers, beholding that the forest was protected by Krishna and Arjuna, descended filled with pride, from the upper skies, desirous of striking those heroes with their thunderlike wings, beaks and claws. Innumerable Nagas also, with faces emitting fire descending from high, approached Arjuna, vomiting the most virulent poison all the while. Beholding them approach, Arjuna cut them into pieces by means of arrows steeped in the fire of his own wrath. Then those birds and snakes, deprived of life, fell into the burning element below. And there came also, desirous of battle, innumerable Asuras with Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Nagas sending forth terrific yells. Armed with machines vomiting from their throats (mouths?) iron balls and bullets, and catapults for propelling huge stones, and rockets, they approached to strike Krishna and Partha, their energy and strength increased by wrath.

But though they rained a perfect shower of weapons, Vibhatsu, addressing them reproachfully, struck off their heads with his own sharp arrows. That slayer of foes, Krishna, also, endued with great energy, made a great slaughter of the Daitya and the Danava with his discus. Many Asuras of immeasurable might, pierced with Krishna's arrows and smitten with the force of his discus, became motionless like waifs and strays stranded on the bank by the violence of the waves. Then Sakra the lord of the celestials, riding on his white elephant, rushed at those heroes, and taking up his thunderbolt which could never go in vain, hurled it with great force. And the slayer of Asuras said unto the gods, 'These two are slain.' Beholding the fierce thunderbolt about to be hurled by their chief, the celestials all took up their respective weapons. Yama, O king, took up the death-dealing mace, and Kuvera his spiked club, and Varuna his noose and beautiful missile. And Skanda (Kartikeya) took up his long lance and stood motionless like the mountain of Meru.

The Aswins stood there with resplendent plants in their hands. Dhatri stood, bow in hand, and Jaya with a thick club. Tvashtri of great strength took up in wrath, a huge mountain and Surya stood with a bright dart, and Mrityu with a battle-axe. Aryaman stalked about with a terrible bludgeon furnished with sharp spikes, and Mitra stood there with a discus sharp as a razor. And, O monarch, Pusha and Bhaga and Savitri, in wrath, rushed at Krishna and Partha with bows and scimitars in hand. And Rudras and the Vasus, the mighty Maruts and the Viswedevas and the Sadhyas, all resplendent with their own energy,--these and many other celestials, armed with various weapons rushed against those exalted of men, Krishna and Partha, for smiting them down. Then were seen in that great conflict wonderful portents all around robbing every creature of his sense, and resembling those that appeared at the time of the universal dissolution.

But Arjuna and Krishna, fearless and invincible in battle, beholding Sakra and the other celestials prepared for fight, calmly waited, bows in hands. Skilled in battle, those heroes in wrath assailed the advancing host of celestials with their own thunder like arrows. The celestials repeatedly routed by Krishna and Arjuna, at last left the field of battle for fear and sought the protection of Indra. The Munis who were witnessing the battle from the skies, beholding the celestials defeated by Madhava and Arjuna, were filled with wonder. Sakra also repeatedly witnessing their prowess in battle, became exceedingly gratified, and once more rushed to the assault. The chastiser of Paka then caused a heavy shower of stones, desiring to ascertain the prowess of Arjuna who was able to draw the bow even with his left hand. Arjuna, in great wrath, dispelled with his arrows that thick shower. Then he of a hundred sacrifices beholding that shower baffled, once more caused a thicker shower of stones. But the son of the chastiser of Paka (viz., Arjuna) gratified his father by baffling that shower also with his swift arrows.

Then Sakra, desirous of smiting down the son of Pandu, tore up with his hands a large peak from Mandara, with tall trees on it, and hurled it against him. But Arjuna divided that mountain-peak into a thousand pieces by his swift-going and fire-mouthed arrows. The fragments of that mountain, in falling through the skies, looked as if the sun and the moon and the planets, displaced from their positions fell down on earth. That huge peak fell down upon that forest and by its fall killed numerous living creatures that dwelt in Khandava.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 05

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those foremost of car-warriors (Krishna and Arjuna), riding in their cars and placing themselves on opposite sides of that forest, began a great slaughter, on all sides, of the creatures dwelling in Khandava. At whatever point any of the creatures residing in Khandava could be seen attempting to escape, thither rushed those mighty heroes (to prevent its flight). Indeed those two excellent cars seemed to be but one, and the two warriors also therein but one individual. And while the forest was burning, hundreds and thousands of living creatures, uttering frightful yells, began to run about in all directions. Some had particular limbs burnt, some were scorched with excessive heat, and some came out, and some ran about from fear. And some clasping their children and some their parents and brothers, died calmly without, from excess of affection, being able to abandon these that were dear to them. And many there were who biting their nether lips rose upwards and soon fell whirling into the blazing element below. And some were seen to roll on the ground with wings, eyes, and feet scorched and burnt. These creatures were all seen to perish there almost soon enough. The tanks and ponds within that forest, heated by the fire around, began to boil; the fishes and the tortoises in them were all seen to perish. During that great slaughter of living creatures in that forest, the burning bodies of various animals looked as if fire itself had assumed many forms. The birds that took wings to escape from that conflagration were pierced by Arjuna with his shafts, and cut into pieces, they fell down into the burning element below. Pierced all over with Arjuna's shafts, the birds dropped down into the burning forest, uttering loud cries. The denizens of the forest, struck with those shafts, began to roar and yell. The clamour they raised was like unto the frightful uproar heard during the churning of the ocean (in days of yore). The mighty flames of the blazing fire reaching the firmament, caused great anxiety to the celestials themselves. Then all the illustrious dwellers in heaven went in a body unto him of a hundred sacrifices and thousand eyes, viz., their chief, that grinder of Asuras. Approaching Indra, the celestial said, 'Why, O lord of immortals, do Agni burn these creatures below? Hath the time come for the destruction of the world?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the gods, and himself beholding what Agni was doing, the slayer of Vritra set out for the protection of the forest of Khandava. And Vasava, the chief of the celestials soon covering the sky with masses of clouds of every kind began to shower upon the burning forest. Those masses of clouds by hundreds and thousands, commanded by Indra began to pour rain upon Khandava in showers thick as the flag-staffs of battle-cars. But the showers were all dried up in the sky itself by the heat of the fire and could not, therefore, reach the fire at all! Then the slayer of Namuchi, getting angry with Agni, collected huge masses of clouds and caused them to yield a heavy downpour. Then with the flames contending with those heavy showers, and with masses of clouds overhead, that forest, filled with smoke and flashes of lightning, became terrible to behold.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 04

"Vaisampayana, said, 'Thus addressed by Arjuna, the smoke-bannered Hutasana, desirous of an interview with Varuna, recollected that son of Aditi,--that deity protecting one of the points of the heavens and having his home in the water and ruling that element. Varuna, knowing that he was thought of by Pavaka, immediately appeared before that deity. The smoke-bannered celestial welcoming with reverence the ruler of the waters, that fourth of the Lokapalas, said unto that eternal god of gods, 'Give me without loss of time that bow and quiver, and that ape-bannered car also, which were obtained from king Soma. Partha will achieve a great task with Gandiva, and Vasudeva also with the discus! Give both, therefore, unto me today.' Hearing these words, Varuna replied unto Pavaka, saying, 'Well, I am giving them.' He then gave that wonderful jewel of a bow that was endued with great energy. That bow was the enhancer of fame and achievements, and was incapable of being injured by any weapon. It was the chief of all weapons, and the grinder of them all.

And it was the smiter of hostile armies and was alone equal to a hundred thousand bows. It was the multiplier of kingdoms, and was variegated with excellent colors. It was well-adorned, and beautiful to behold, and without a mark of weakness or injury anywhere. And it was always worshipped both by the celestials and the Gandharvas. Varuna also gave two inexhaustible quivers, and he also gave a car furnished with celestial weapons and whose banner bore a large ape. Yoked unto that car were steeds white as silver of the fleecy clouds, and born in the region of the Gandharvas, and decked with golden harness, and resembling in fleetness the wind or the mind. And it was equipped with implement of war, and was incapable of being vanquished by the celestials or the Asuras.

Its splendour was great and the sounds of its wheels was tremendous. It delighted the heart of every creature that looked at it. It had been made by Viswakarman, the architect of the universe and one of the lords of creation, after severe ascetic meditation. Its splendour, like that of the sun, was so great that no one could gaze at it. It was the very car from which the lord Soma had vanquished the Danavas. Resplendent with beauty, it looked like an evening cloud reflecting the effulgence of the setting sun. It was furnished with an excellent flag-staff of golden colour and great beauty. And there sat upon that flag-staff a celestial ape of form fierce like that of a lion or a tiger.

Stationed on high, the ape seemed bent upon burning everything it beheld. And upon the (other) flags were various creatures of large size, whose roars and yells caused the enemy's soldiers to faint. Then Arjuna, accoutred in mail and armed with the sword, and his fingers cased in leathern gloves, walking round that excellent car adorned with numerous flags and bowing unto the gods, ascended it like a virtuous man riding in the celestial car that bears him to heaven. And taking up that celestial and first of bows created by Brahman of old and called Gandiva, Arjuna was filled with joy. And bowing unto Hutasana, Partha endued with great energy, took up the bow and strung it forcibly. Those who heard the noise that was made while the mighty Pandava strung that bow, quaked with fear. And having obtained that car and that bow, and the two inexhaustible quivers, the son of Kunti became glad and thought himself competent to assist at the task. And Pavaka then gave unto Krishna a discus with an iron pole attached to a hole in the center. And it was a fiery weapon and became his favourite.

Having obtained that weapon, Krishna also became equal to the task. Pavaka then, addressing Krishna, said, 'With this, O slayer of Madhu, thou shalt be able without doubt to vanquish in battle even foes that are not human. With this weapon, without doubt, thou shalt be superior in battle to men and gods, and Rakshasas and Pisachas, and Daityas and Nagas. And thou shalt certainly be able with this to smite all. And, O Madhava, hurled by thee in battle at thy foes, this weapon will irresistibly slay the enemy and again come back into thy hands.' And the lord Varuna, after this, gave unto Krishna a mace, of name Kaumodaki, capable of slaying every Daitya and producing, when hurled, a roar like that of the thunder. Then Arjuna and Achyuta, filled with joy said unto Pavaka, 'O exalted one, furnished with weapons and knowing their use, possessed of cars with flags and flagstaffs, we are now able to fight with even all the celestials and the Asuras (together), let alone the wielder of the thunderbolt desirous of fighting for the sake of the Naga (his friend Takshaka).' Arjuna also said, 'O Pavaka, while Hrishikesa, endued with abundant energy, moves on the field of battle with this discus in hand, there is nothing in the three worlds that he will not be able to consume by hurling this weapon. Having obtained the bow Gandiva and this couple of inexhaustible quivers I also am ready to conquer in battle the three worlds. Therefore, O lord, blaze thou forth as thou likest, surrounding this large forest on every side. We are quite able to help thee.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed both by Dasarha and Arjuna, the illustrious god then put forth his most energetic form, and prepared to consume the forest. Surrounding it on all sides with his seven flames, he began to consume the forest of Khandava, exhibiting his all-consuming form like that at the end of the Yuga (cycle). And, O bull of Bharata's race, surrounding that forest and catching it from all sides with a roar like that of the clouds, Agni made every creature within it tremble. And, O Bharata, that burning forest then looked resplendent like the king of mountains, Meru, blazing with the rays of the sun fallen thereupon.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 03

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Havyavahana (Agni) in anger and disappointment, with his ailment uncured, went back to the Grandsire. And he represented unto Brahman all that had happened: The illustrious deity, reflecting for a moment, said unto him, 'O sinless one. I see a way by which thou may consume the forest of Khandava today in the very sight of Indra. Those old deities, Nara and Narayana, have become incarnate in the world of men to accomplish the business of the celestials. They are called on earth Arjuna and Vasudeva. They are even now staying in the forest of Khandava. Solicit them for aiding thee in consuming that forest. Thou shalt then consume the forest even if it be protected by the celestials. They will certainly prevent the population of Khandava from escaping, and thwart Indra also (in aiding any one in the escape). I have no doubt of this!' Hearing these words, Agni came in haste unto Krishna and Partha. O king, I have already told thee what he said, having approached the illustrious pair.

O tiger among kings, hearing those words of Agni who was desirous of consuming the forest of Khandava against the will of Indra, Vibhatsu said unto him these words well-suited to the occasion, I have numberless excellent celestial weapons with which I can fight even many wielders of the thunderbolt. But, O exalted one, I have no bow suited to the strength of my arms, and capable of bearing the might I may put forth in battle. In consequence of the lightness of my hands also I require arrows that must never be exhausted. My car also is scarcely able to bear load of arrows that I would desire to keep by me. I desire celestial steeds of pure white, possessing the speed of the wind; and a car possessing the splendour of the sun and the clatter of whose wheels should resemble the roar of the clouds. Then, there is no weapon suited to Krishna's energy and with which Madhava can slay Nagas and Pisachas. O exalted one, it belove thee to give us the means by which success may be achieved and by which we may thwart Indra in pouring his showers upon that extensive forest. O Pavaka, we are ready to do all that manliness and prowess can do. But, O exalted one, it belove thee to give us the adequate means.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 02

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then that Brahmana addressed Arjuna and Vasudeva of the Satwata race, saying, 'Ye who are now staying so near unto Khandava are the two foremost of heroes on earth. I am a voracious Brahmana that always eateth much. O thou of the Vrishni race, and O Partha, I solicit you to gratify me by giving me sufficient food.' Thus addressed by the Brahmana, Krishna and the son of Pandu answered him, saying, 'O, tell us what kind of food will gratify thee so that we may endeavor to give it thee.' The illustrious Brahmana, thus replied to, said unto those heroes who were enquiring after the kind of food he sought, 'I do not desire to eat ordinary food. Know that I am Agni! Give me that food which suit me. This forest of Khandava is always protected by Indra. And as it is protected by the illustrious one, I always fail to consume it. In that forest dwell, with his followers and family, a Naga, called Takshaka, who is the friend of Indra. It is for him that the wielder of the thunderbolt protect this forest. Many other creatures also are thus protected here for the sake of Takshaka. Desiring to consume the forest I succeed not in my attempts in consequence of Indra's prowess. Beholding me blazing forth, he always pour upon me water from the clouds. Therefore, I succeed not in consuming the forest of Khandava, although I desire very much to do so. I have now come to you--you who are both skilled in weapons! If you help me I will surely consume this forest: for even this is the food that is desired by me! As ye are conversant with excellent weapons, I pray you to prevent those showers from descending and any of the creatures from escaping, when I begin to consume this forest!'

"Janamejaya said, 'Why did the illustrious Agni desire to consume the forest of Khandava that was filled with various living creatures and protected by the chief of the celestials? When Agni consumed in wrath the forest of Khandava, it is evident there was a grave cause. I desire, O Brahmana, to hear all this in detail from thee. Tell me, O sage, how the Khandava forest was consumed in days of yore.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'O chief of men, I will narrate to you the story of the conflagration of Khandava as told by Rishis in the Purana. It hath been heard, O king, in the Purana that there was a celebrated king of the name of Swetaki who was endued with strength and prowess and who was equal unto Indra himself. No one on earth has equaled him in sacrifices, charity, and intelligence. Swetaki performed the five great sacrifices and many others, at all of which the presents unto Brahmanas were large. The heart of that monarch, O king, was always set upon sacrifices, religious rites, and gifts of all kinds. And king Swetaki of great intelligence, assisted by his Ritwiks performed sacrifices for many long years, till those sacrificial priests with eyes afflicted by the continued smoke and becoming very weak, left that monarch, wishing never more to assist at his sacrifices. The king, however, repeatedly asked those Ritwiks to come to him.

But they came not to his sacrifice in consequence of the painful state of their eyes. The king, therefore, invited at the command of his own Ritwiks, others like unto them, and completed the sacrifice that he had begun. After some days had elapsed, king Swetaki desired to perform another sacrifice which should extend for a hundred years. But the illustrious monarch obtained not any priest to assist him in it. The celebrated king then, with his friends and relatives, casting off all sloth, repeatedly courted his priests with great persistence, by bowing down unto them, by conciliatory speeches, and by gifts of wealth. All of them, however, refused to accomplish the purpose which that king of immeasurable energy had in view. Then that royal sage, getting angry, addressed those Brahmanas sitting in their asylums, and said, 'If, ye Brahmanas, I were a fallen person, or, if, I were wanting in homage and service to you, I should then deserve to be abandoned without scruple by you and by other Brahmanas at the same time. But as I am neither degraded nor wanting in homage to you, it belove you not to obstruct the performance by me of my sacrifice or to abandon me thus, ye foremost of Brahmanas, without adequate reason. I seek, ye Brahmanas, your protection! It belove you to be propitious unto me.

But, ye foremost of Brahmanas, if you abandon me from enmity alone or any improper motive, I shall go unto other priests for their assistance in this sacrifice of mine, and conciliating them by sweet words and gifts, I shall represent unto them the business I have on hand, so that they may accomplish it.' Having said this, the monarch became silent. And, O chastiser of foes, when those priests well knew that they could not assist at the king's sacrifice, they pretended to be angry, and addressing that best of monarchs said, 'O best of kings, thy sacrifices are incessant! By assisting thee always, we have all been fatigued. And as we have been wearied in consequence of these labours, it belove thee to give us leave. O sinless one, from loss of judgment thou canst not wait (but urge us repeatedly). Go unto Rudra! He will assist at thy sacrifice!' Hearing those words of censure and wrath, king Swetaki became angry. And the monarch wending to the mountains of Kailasa, devoted himself to asceticism there. And, O king, the monarch began to worship Mahadeva, with fixed attention, and by observing the most rigid vows. And foregoing all food at times, he passed a long period. The monarch ate only fruits and roots sometimes at the twelfth and sometimes at the sixteenth hour of the whole day. King Swetaki stood for six months, rapt in attention, with arms upraised and steadfast eyes, like the trunk of a tree or a column rooted to the ground. And, O Bharata, Sankara at last gratified with that tiger among kings, who was undergoing such hard penances, showed himself unto him.

And the god spake unto the monarch in a calm and grave voice, saying, 'O tiger among kings, O chastiser of foes, I have been gratified with thee for thy asceticism! Blest be thou! Ask now the boon that thou, O king, desire.' Hearing these words of Rudra of immeasurable energy, the royal sage bowed unto that deity and replied, saying, 'O illustrious one, O thou that art worshiped by the three worlds, if thou hast been gratified with me, then, O god of gods, assist me thyself, O lord of the celestials, in my sacrifice!' Hearing these words spoken by the monarch, the illustrious god was gratified, and smilingly said, 'We do not ourselves assist at sacrifices: but as thou, O king, hast undergone severe penances, desirous of obtaining a boon, I will, O chastiser of foes, assist at thy sacrifice, upon, O king, this condition.' And Rudra continued, 'If, O king of kings, thou canst, for twelve years, pour without intermission libations of clarified butter into the fire, thyself leading all the while the life of a Brahmacharin with rapt attention, then thou shalt obtain from me what thou ask.' King Swetaki, thus addressed by Rudra, did all that he was directed to do by the wielder of the trident. And after twelve years had elapsed, he again came unto Maheswara. And Sankara, the Creator of the worlds upon seeing Swetaki, that excellent monarch, immediately said, in great gratification, 'I have been gratified by thee, O best of kings, with this thy own act! But, O chastiser of foes, the duty of assisting at sacrifices properly belongs to Brahmanas.

Therefore, O oppressor of foes, I will not myself assist at thy sacrifice today. There is on earth an exalted Brahmana who is even a portion of my own self. He is known by the name of Durvasa. Even that Brahmana endued with great energy will assist you in thy sacrifice. Let, therefore, every preparation be made.' Hearing these words uttered by Rudra, the king, returning to his own capital, began to collect all that was necessary. After everything had been collected, the monarch again presented himself before Rudra and said, 'Every necessary article hath been collected, and all my preparations are complete, through thy grace, O god of gods! Let me, therefore, be installed at the sacrifice tomorrow.' Having heard these words of that illustrious king, Rudra summoned Durvasa before him and said. 'This, O Durvasa, is that best of monarchs called Swetaki. At my command, O best of Brahmanas, assist even this king in his sacrifice.' And the Rishi Durvasa said unto Rudra, 'So be it.' Then the sacrifice for which king Swetaki had made those preparations, took place. And the illustrious monarch's sacrifice was performed according to the ordinance and in proper season. And the gifts, on that occasion, unto the Brahmanas were large. And after that monarch's sacrifice had come to an end, all the other priests who had come to assist at it went away with Durvasa's leave. All other Sadasyas also of immeasurable energy, who had been installed at that sacrifice, then went away. That exalted monarch then entered his own palace, worshiped by exalted Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas, eulogised by chanters of panegyrical hymns and congratulated by the citizens.

"Such was the history of that best of monarchs, the royal sage Swetaki, who, when the time came, ascended to heaven, having won great renown on earth, and accompanied by the Ritwiks and the Sadasyas that had helped him in life.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'At that sacrifice of Swetaki, Agni had drunk clarified butter for twelve years. Indeed, clarified butter had been poured into Agni's mouth in a continuous stream for that period. Having drunk so much butter, Agni, satiated, desired not to drink butter again from the hand of anybody else at any other sacrifice. Agni became pale, having lost his colour, and he could not shine as before. He felt a loss of appetite from surfeit, and his energy itself decreased and sickness afflicted him. Then when the drinker of sacrificial libations perceived that his energy was gradually diminishing, he went to the sacred abode of Brahman that is worshipped by all. Approaching the great Deity seated on his seat, Agni said, 'O exalted one, Swetaki hath (by his sacrifice) gratified me to excess. Even now I am suffering from surfeit which I cannot dispel. O Lord of the universe, I am being reduced both in splendour and strength. I desire to regain, through thy grace, my own permanent nature.'

Hearing these words from Hutavaha, the illustrious Creator of all things smilingly replied unto him, saying, 'O exalted one, thou hast eaten, for twelve years, a continuous stream of sacrificial butter poured into thy mouth! It is for this that illness hath seized thee. But, O Agni, grieve not for it. Thou shalt soon regain thy own nature. I shall dispel this surfeit of thine and the time for it is even come. The dreadful forest Khandava, that abode of the enemies of the gods, which thou hadst of old once consumed to ashes at the request of the gods, hath now become the home of numerous creatures. When thou will have eaten the fat of those creatures, thou shalt regain thy own nature. Proceed thither in haste to consume that forest with its living population. Thou wilt then be cured of thy malady.' Hearing the words that fell from the lips of the Supreme Deity, Hutasana proceeded with great speed and soon reached the forest of Khandava in great vigour. Arrived there, he suddenly blazed forth in anger, assisted by Vayu. Beholding Khandava on fire the dwellers (in the forest) that were there, made great efforts to extinguish the conflagration. Elephants by hundreds of thousands, speeding in anger, brought water in their trunks and scattered it upon the fire. Thousands of many-hooded snakes, mad with anger, hastily began to scatter upon fire much water from those many hoods of theirs. And so, O bull of Bharata's race, the other creatures dwelling in that forest, by various appliances and efforts, soon extinguished the fire. In this way, Agni blazed forth in Khandava repeatedly, even for seven times. And it was in this way that the blazing fire was extinguished there as often by the denizens of that forest.'"

Adi Parva - Khandava Daha Parva 01

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, after they had taken up their abode at Indraprastha at the command of Dhritarashtra and Bhishma began to bring other kings under their sway. All the subjects (of the kingdom) lived most happily depending upon Yudhishthira the just, like a soul living happily depending upon a body blest with auspicious marks and pious deeds. And, O bull in Bharata's race, Yudhishthira paid homage unto virtue, pleasure, and profit, in judicious proportion, as if each were a friend dear unto him as his own self. It seemed as if the three pursuits--virtue, pleasure, and profit--became personified on earth, and amongst them the king shone as a fourth. The subjects having obtained Yudhishthira as their king, obtained in their monarch one that was devoted to the study of the Vedas, one that was performer of the great sacrifices, and one that was protector of all good people. In consequence of Yudhishthira's influence, the good fortune of all the monarchs of the earth became stationary, and their hearts became devoted to the meditation of the Supreme Spirit, and virtue itself began to grow every way all round. And in the midst of and assisted by his four brothers, the king looked more resplendent (than he would have done if he were alone), like a great sacrifice depending upon and assisted by the four Vedas. Many learned Brahmanas with Dhananjaya at their head, each like unto Vrihaspati, waited upon the monarch, like the celestials waiting upon the Lord of the creation. From excess of affection, the eyes and hearts of all the people equally took great delight in Yudhishthira who was even as the full moon without a stain. The people took delight in him not only because he was their king but also from sincere affection. The king always did what was agreeable to them. The sweet-speeched Yudhishthira of great intelligence never uttered anything that was improper or untrue or unbearable or disagreeable. The best of monarchs of the Bharata race, endued with great energy, passed his days happily for the welfare of all as his own. His brothers also bringing by their energy other kings under their sway, passed their days in happiness, without a foe to disturb their peace.

"After a few days, Vibhatsu, addressing Krishna, said, 'The summer days have set in, O Krishna! Therefore, let us go to the banks of the Yamuna. O slayer of Madhu, sporting there in the company of friends, we will, O Janardana, return in the evening'. Thereupon Vasudeva said, 'O son of Kunti, this is also my wish. Let us, O Partha, sport in the waters as we please, in the company of friends.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, having consulted thus with each other, Partha and Govinda, with Yudhishthira's leave, set out, surrounded by friends. Reaching a fine spot (on the banks of the Yamuna) suitable for purposes of pleasure, overgrown with numerous tall trees and covered with several high mansions that made the place look like the celestial city and within which had been collected for Krishna and Partha numerous costly and well-flavored viands and drinks and other articles of enjoyment and floral wreaths and various perfumes, the party entered without delay the inner apartments adorned with many precious gems of pure rays. Entering those apartments, everybody, O Bharata, began to sport, according to his pleasure. The women of the party, all of full rotund hips and deep bosoms and handsome eyes, and gait unsteady with wine began to sport there at the command of Krishna and Partha. Some amongst the women sported as they liked in the woods, some in the waters, and some within the mansions, as directed by Partha and Govinda. Draupadi and Subhadra, exhilarated with wine, began to give away unto the women so sporting, their costly robes and ornaments. And some amongst those women began to dance in joy, and some began to sing; and some amongst them began to laugh and jest, and some to drink excellent wines. Some began to obstruct one another's progress and some to fight with one another, and to discourse with one another in private. Those mansions and the woods, filled with the charming music of flutes and guitars and kettledrums, became the scene of Prosperity personified.

"When such was the state of things there, Arjuna and Vasudeva went to a certain charming spot (in those woods) not far from the place where the others were. O monarch, the high-souled Krishna, and that subjugators of hostile cities, viz., Arjuna, going thither, sat down upon two very costly seats. Vasudeva and Partha amused themselves there with discoursing upon many past achievements of prowess and other topics. Unto Vasudeva and Dhananjaya happily sitting there like the Aswins in heaven, a certain Brahmana came. The Brahmana that came there looked like a tall Sala tree. His complexion was like unto molten gold; his beard was bright yellow tinged with green; and the height and the thickness of the body were in just proportion. Of matted locks and dressed in rags, he resembled the morning sun in splendor. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of a tawny hue, he seemed to be blazing with effulgence. Beholding that foremost of Brahmanas blazing with splendor approach towards them both Arjuna and Vasudeva, hastily rising from their seats, stood, waiting (for his commands).'"

Adi Parva - Haranaharana Parva

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the heroes of the Vrishni race began to speak repeatedly in this strain, Vasudeva uttered these words pregnant with deep import and consistent with true morality. Gudakesa (the conqueror of sleep or he of the curly hair), by what he hath done, hath not insulted our family. He hath without doubt, rather enhanced our respect. Partha know that we of the Satwata race are never mercenary. The son of Pandu also regard a self-choice as doubtful in its results. Who also would approve of accepting a bride in gift as if she were an animal? What man again is there on earth that would sell his offspring? I think Arjuna, seeing these faults in all the other methods took the maiden away by force, according to the ordinance. This alliance is very proper. Subhadra is a renowned girl. Partha too possess renown. Perhaps, thinking of all this, Arjuna hath taken her away by force. Who is there that would not desire to have Arjuna for a friend, who is born in the race of Bharata and the renowned Santanu, and the son also of the daughter of Kuntibhoja? I do not see, in all the worlds with Indra and the Rudras, the person that can by force vanquish Partha in battle, except the three-eyed god Mahadeva. His car is well-known. Yoked thereunto are those steeds of mine. Partha as a warrior is well-known; and his lightness of hand is well-known. Who shall be equal to him? Even this is my opinion: go ye cheerfully after Dhananjaya and by conciliation stop him and bring him back. If Partha goes to his city after having vanquished us by force, our fame will be gone. There is no disgrace, however, in conciliation.'

Hearing, O monarch, those words of Vasudeva, they did as he directed. Stopped by them, Arjuna returned to Dwaraka and was united in marriage with Subhadra. Worshipped by the sons of Vrishni's race, Arjuna, sporting there as he pleased, passed a whole year in Dwaraka. The last year of his exile the exalted one passed at the sacred region of Pushkara. After the twelve years were complete he came back to Khandavaprastha. He approached the king first and then worshipped the Brahmanas with respectful attention. At last the hero went unto Draupadi. Draupadi, from jealousy, spoke unto him, saying, 'Why tarriest thou here, O son of Kunti? Go where the daughter of the Satwata race is! A second tie always relaxeth the first one upon a faggot!' And Krishna lamented much in this strain. But Dhananjaya pacified her repeatedly and asked for her forgiveness. And returning soon unto where Subhadra, attired in red silk, was staying, Arjuna, sent her into the inner apartments dressed not as a queen but in the simple garb of a cowherd woman. But arrived at the palace, the renowned Subhadra looked handsomer in that dress. The celebrated Bhadra of large and slightly red eyes first worshipped Pritha. Kunti from excess of affection smelt the head of that girl of perfectly faultless features, and pronounced infinite blessing upon her. Then that girl of face like the full moon hastily went unto Draupadi and worshipped her, saying, 'I am thy maid!' Krishna rose hastily and embraced the sister of Madhava from affection, and said, 'Let thy husband be without a foe!' Bhadra then, with a delighted heart, said unto Draupadi, 'So be it!' From that time, O Janamejaya, those great warriors, the Pandavas, began to live happily, and Kunti also became very happy.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When that scorcher of foes, viz., Kesava of pure soul and eyes, like lotus-petals, heard that the foremost of the Pandavas, viz., Arjuna, had reached his own excellent city of Indraprastha, he came thither accompanied by Rama and the other heroes and great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, and by his brothers and sons and many other brave warriors. And Saurin came accompanied by a large army that protected him. And there came with Saurin, that oppressor of foes, viz., the exceedingly liberal Akrura of great intelligence and renown, the generalissimo of the brave Vrishni host. And there also came Anadhrishti of great prowess, and Uddhava of great renown, of great intelligence, of great soul, and a disciple of Vrihaspati himself. And there also came Satyaka and Salyaka and Kritavarman and Satwata; and Pradyumna and Samva and Nisatha and Sanku; and Charudeshna, and Jhilli of great prowess, and Viprithu also and Sarana of mighty arms and Gada, the foremost of learned men. These and many other Vrishnis and Bhojas, and Andhakas came to Indraprastha, bringing with them many nuptial presents. King Yudhishthira, hearing that Madhava had arrived, sent the twins out to receive him. Received by them, the Vrishni host of great prosperity entered Khandava prastha well-adorned with flags and ensigns. The streets were well-swept and watered and decked with floral wreaths and bunches. These were, again, sprinkled over with sandalwood water that was fragrant and cooling. Every part of the town was filled with the sweet scent of burning aloes. And the city was full of joyous and healthy people and adorned with merchants and traders. That best of men, viz., Kesava of mighty arms, accompanied by Rama and many of the Vrishnis, Andhakas and Bhojas, having entered the town, was worshipped by the citizens and Brahmanas by thousands. At last Kesava entered the palace of the king which was like unto the mansion of Indra himself. Beholding Rama, Yudhishthira received him with due ceremonies.

The king smelt the head of Kesava and embraced him. Govinda, gratified with the reception, humbly worshipped Yudhishthira. He also paid homage unto Bhima, that tiger among men. Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then received the other principal men of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes with due ceremonies. Yudhishthira reverentially worshipped some as his superiors, and welcomed others as equals. And some he received with affection and by some he was worshipped with reverence. Then Hrishikesa of great renown gave unto the party of the bridegroom much wealth. And unto Subhadra he gave the nuptial presents that had been given to her by her relatives. Krishna gave unto the Pandavas a thousand cars of gold furnished with rows of bells, and unto each of which were put four steeds driven by well-trained charioteers. He also gave unto them ten thousand cows belonging to the country of Mathura, and yielding much milk and all of excellent colour. Well-pleased, Janardana also gave them a thousand mares with gold harnesses and of colour white as the beams of the moon. He also gave them a thousand mules, all well-trained and possessing the speed of the wind, of white colour with black manes. And he of eyes like lotus-petals also gave unto them a thousand damsels well-skilled in assisting at bathing and at drinking, young in years and virgins all before their first-season, well-attired and of excellent complexion, each wearing a hundred pieces of gold around her neck, of skins perfectly polished, decked with every ornament, and well-skilled in every kind of personal service.

Janardana also gave unto them hundreds of thousands of draft horses from the country of the Valhikas as Subhadra's excellent dower. That foremost one of Dasarha's race also gave unto Subhadra as her peculium ten carrier-loads of first class gold possessing the splendor of fire, some purified and some in a state of ore. And Rama having the plough for his weapon and always loving bravery gave unto Arjuna, as a nuptial present, a thousand elephants with secretions flowing in three streams from the three parts of their bodies (the temple, the ears, and the anus) each large as a mountain summit, irresistible in battle, decked with coverlets and bells, well-adorned with other golden ornaments, and equipped with excellent thrones on their backs. And that large wave of wealth and gems that the Yadavas presented, together with the cloths and blankets that represented its foam, and the elephants its alligators and sharks, and the flags its floating weeds swelling into large proportions, mingled with the Pandu ocean and filled it to the brim, to the great sorrow of all foes. Yudhishthira accepted all those presents and worshipped all those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races. Those illustrious heroes of the Kuru, the Vrishni, and the Andhaka races passed their days in pleasure and merriment there like virtuous men (after death) in the celestial regions. The Kurus and the Vrishnis with joyous hearts amused themselves there, setting up at times loud shouts mingled with clappings of the hand. Spending many days in sports and merriment there, and worshipped by the Kurus all the while, the Vrishni heroes endued with great energy then returned to the city of Dwaravati.

And the great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races set out with Rama in the van, carrying with them those gems of the purest rays that had been given them by those foremost ones of Kuru's race. And, O Bharata, the high-souled Vasudeva remained there with Arjuna in the delightful city of Indraprastha. And the illustrious one wandered over the banks of the Yamuna in search of deer. And he sported with Arjuna piercing with his shafts deer and wild boars. Then Subhadra, the favourite sister of Kesava, gave birth to an illustrious son, like Puloma's daughter, (the queen of heaven) bringing forth Jayanta. And the son that Subhadra brought forth was of long arms, broad chest, and eyes as large as those of a bull. That hero and oppressor of foes came to be called Abhimanyu. And the son of Arjuna, that grinder of foes and bull among men, was called Abhimanyu because he was fearless and wrathful. And that great warrior was begotten upon the daughter of the Satwata race by Dhananjaya, like fire produced in a sacrifice from within the sami wood by the process of rubbing. Upon the birth of this child, Yudhishthira, the powerful son of Kunti, gave away unto Brahmanas ten thousand cows and coins of gold. The child from his earliest years became the favourite of Vasudeva and of his father and uncles, like the moon of all the people of the world. Upon his birth, Krishna performed the usual rites of infancy. The child began to grow up like the Moon of the bright fortnight. That grinder of foes soon became conversant with the Vedas and acquired from his father the science of weapon both celestial and human, consisting of four branches and ten divisions.

"Endued with great strength, the child also acquired the knowledge of counteracting the weapons hurled at him by others, and great lightness of hand and fleetness of motion forward and backward and transverse and wheeling. Abhimanyu became like unto his father in knowledge of the scriptures and rites of religion. And Dhananjaya, beholding his son, became filled with joy. Like Maghavat beholding Arjuna, the latter beheld his son Abhimanyu and became exceedingly happy. Abhimanyu possessed the power of slaying every foe and bore on his person every auspicious mark. He was invisible in battle and broad-shouldered as the bull. Possessing a broad face as (the hood of) the snake, he was proud like the lion. Wielding a large bow, his prowess was like that of an elephant in rut. Possessed of a face handsome as the full-moon, and of a voice deep as the sound of the drum or the clouds, he was equal unto Krishna in bravery and energy, in beauty and in features. The auspicious Panchali also, from her five husbands, obtained five sons all of whom were heroes of the foremost rank and immovable in battle like the hills. Prativindhya by Yudhishthira, Sutasoma by Vrikodara, Srutakarman by Arjuna, Satanika by Nakula, and Srutasena by Sahadeva,--these were the five heroes and great warriors that Panchali brought forth, like Aditi bringing forth the Adityas. And the Brahmanas, from their foreknowledge, said unto Yudhishthira that as the son of his would be capable of bearing like the Vindhya mountains the weapons of the foe, he should be called Prativindhya. And because the child that Draupadi bore to Bhimasena was born after Bhima had performed a thousand Soma sacrifices, he came to be called Sutasoma. And because Arjuna's son was born upon his return from exile during which he had achieved many celebrated feats, that child came to be called Srutakarman.

While Nakula named his son Satanika after a royal sage of that name, in the illustrious race of Kuru. Again the son that Draupadi bore to Sahadeva was born under the constellation called Vahni-daivata (Krittika), therefore was he called after the generalissimo of the celestial host, Srutasena (Kartikeya). The sons of Draupadi were born, each at the interval of one year, and all of them became renowned and much attached to one another. And, O monarch, all their rites of infancy and childhood, such as Chudakarana and Upanayana (first shave of the head and investiture with the sacred threads) were performed by Dhaumya according to the ordinance. All of them, of excellent behavior and vows, after having studied the Vedas, acquired from Arjuna a knowledge of all the weapons, celestial and human. And, O tiger among kings, the Pandavas, having obtained sons all of whom were equal unto the children of the celestials and endued with broad chests, and all of whom became great warriors, were filled with joy.'"

Adi Parva - Subhadra Harana Parva 02

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Dhananjaya, informed of the assent of Yudhishthira, and ascertaining, O Janamejaya, that the maiden had gone to the Raivataka hill, obtained the assent of Vasudeva also, after having settled in consultation with him all that required to be done. Then that bull of Bharata's race, that foremost of men, with Krishna's assent, riding in his well-built car of gold equipped with rows of small bells and with every kind of weapon and the clatter of whose wheels resembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like unto that of a blazing fire and which struck terror into the hearts of all foes and unto which were yoked the steeds Saivya and Sugriva, himself accoutred in mail and armed with sword and his fingers encased in leathern gloves, set out, as it were, on a hunting expedition. Meanwhile Subhadra, having paid her homage unto that prince of hills, Raivataka and having worshipped the deities and made the Brahmanas utter benedictions upon her, and having also walked round the hill, was coming towards Dwaravati. The son of Kunti, afflicted with the shafts of the god of desire, suddenly rushed towards that Yadava girl of faultless features and forcibly took her into his car. Having seized that girl of sweet smiles, that tiger among men proceeded in his car of gold towards his own city (Indraprastha).

Meanwhile, the armed attendants of Subhadra, beholding her thus seized and taken away, all ran, crying towards the city of Dwaraka. Reaching all together the Yadava court called by the name of Sudharma, they represented everything about the prowess of Partha unto the chief officer of the court. The chief officer of the court, having heard everything from those messengers, blew his gold-decked trumpet of loud blare, calling all to arms. Stirred up by that sound, the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas began to pour in from all sides. Those that were eating left their food, and those that were drinking left their drink. Those tigers among men, those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, took their seats upon their thousand thrones of gold covered with excellent carpets and variegated with gems and corals and possessed of the lustre of blazing fire. Indeed they took their seats upon those thrones, like blazing fires receiving fagots to increase their splendor. And after they were seated in that court which was like unto a conclave of the celestials themselves, the chief officer of the court, assisted by those that stood at his back, spoke of the conduct of Jishnu.

The proud Vrishni heroes, of eyes red with wine, as soon as they heard of it, rose up from their seats, unable to brook what Arjuna had done. Some amongst them said, 'Yoke our cars', and some, 'Bring our weapons' and some said, 'Bring our costly bows and strong coats of mail; and some loudly called upon their charioteers to harness their cars, and some, from impatience, themselves yoked their horses decked with gold unto their cars. And while their cars and armours and standards were being brought, loud became the uproar of those heroes. Then Valadeva, white and tall as the peak of Kailasa, decked with garlands of wild flowers and attired in blue robes, and proud and intoxicated with drink, said these words:

'Ye senseless men, what are ye doing, when Janardana sit silent? Without knowing what is in his mind, vainly do we roar in wrath! Let the high-souled Krishna give out what he propose. Accomplish promptly what he desire to do.' Then all of them, hearing those words of Halayudha that deserved to be accepted, exclaimed, 'Excellent! Excellent!' They then all became silent. Silence having been restored by the words of the intelligent Valadeva, they took their seats once more in that assembly. Then Rama, that oppressor of foes, spoke unto Vasudeva, saying, 'Why, O Janardana, sit thou, gazing silently? O Achyuta, it was for thy sake that the son of Pritha had been welcomed and honoured by us. It seem, however, that that vile wretch deserved not our homage. What man is there born of a respectable family that would break the plate after having dined from it! Even if one desire to make such an alliance, yet remembering all the services he hath received, who is there, desirous of happiness, that acts so rashly? That Pandava disregarding us and thee too hath today outraged Subhadra, desiring (to compass) his own death. He hath placed his foot on the crown of my head. How shall I, O Govinda, tamely bear it? Shall I not resent it, even like a snake that is trodden upon? Alone shall I today make the earth destitute of Kauravas! Never shall I put up with this transgression by Arjuna.' Then all the Bhojas, Vrishnis, and Andhakas, present there, approved of everything that Valadeva had said, deeply roaring like unto a kettle-drum or the clouds.'"

Adi Parva - Subhadra Harana Parva 01

"Vaisampayana said, 'O best of monarchs, within a few days after this, there commenced on the Raivataka mountain, a grand festival of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. At the mountain-festival of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, the heroes of those tribes began to give away much wealth unto Brahmanas by thousands. The region around that hill, O king was adorned with many a mansion decked with gems and many an artificial tree of gaudy hue. The musicians struck up in concert and the dancers began to dance and the vocalists to sing. And the youth of the Vrishni race, endued with great energy, adorned with every ornament, and riding in their gold-decked cars, looked extremely handsome. The citizens, some on foot and some in excellent cars, with their wives and followers were there by hundreds and thousands. And there was the lord Haladhara (Valarama), roving at will, hilarious with drink, accompanied by (his wife) Revati, and followed by many musicians and vocalists. There came Ugrasena also, the powerful king of he Vrishni race, accompanied by his thousand wives and followed by sweet singers. And Raukmineya and Shamva also, ever furious in battle, roved there, excited with drink and adorned with floral wreaths of great beauty and with costly attires, and disported themselves like a pair of celestials. And Akrura and Sarana and Gada, and Vabhru, and Nisatha, and Charudeshna, and Prithu, Viprithu, and Satyaka, and Satyaki, and Bhangakara, and Maharava, and Hardikya, and Uddhava, and many others whose names are not given, accompanied by their wives that followed by bands of singers, adorned that mountain-festival. When that delightful festival of immense grandeur commenced, Vasudeva and Partha went about, together, beholding everything around. While wandering there, they saw the handsome daughter of Vasudeva, Bhadra by name, decked with every ornament, in the midst of her maids. As soon as Arjuna beheld her he was possessed by the god of desire. Then, O Bharata, that tiger among men, Krishna, observing Partha contemplate her with absorbed attention, said with a smile, 'How is this? Can the heart of one that rangeth the woods be agitated by the god of desire? This is my sister, O Partha, and the uterine sister of Sarana. Blest be thou, her name is Bhadra and she is the favorite daughter of my father. Tell me if thy heart is fixed upon her, for I shall then speak to my father myself.'

"Arjuna answered, 'She is Vasudeva's daughter and Vasudeva's (Krishna) sister; endued with so much beauty, whom can she not fascinate? If this thy sister, this maid of the Vrishni race, become my wife, truly may I win prosperity in everything. Tell me, O Janardana, by what means I may obtain her. To get her I will achieve anything that is achievable by man.'

"Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its consequences), O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna, carry away this my beautiful sister by force, for who knows what she may do at a self-choice.' Then Krishna and Arjuna, having thus settled as to what should be done sent some speedy messengers unto Yudhishthira at Indraprastha, informing him of everything. The strong-armed Yudhishthira, as soon as he heard it, gave his assent to it.'"

Friday, March 7, 2008

Adi Parva - Arjuna Vana Vasa Parva 06

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna of immeasurable prowess saw, one after another, all the sacred waters and other holy places that were on the shores of the western ocean. Vibhatsu reached the sacred spot called Prabhasa. When the invisible Arjuna arrived at that sacred and delightful region, the slayer of Madhu (Krishna) heard of it. Madhava soon went there to see his friend, the son of Kunti. Krishna and Arjuna met together and embracing each other enquired after each other's welfare. Those dear friends, who were none else than the Rishis Nara and Narayana of old, sat down. Vasudeva asked Arjuna about his travels, saying, 'Why, O Pandava art thou wandering over the earth, beholding all the sacred waters and other holy places?' Then Arjuna told him everything that had happened. Hearing everything, that mighty hero of Vrishni's race said, 'This is as it should be.' And Krishna and Arjuna having sported as they liked, for some time at Prabhasa, went to the Raivataka mountain to pass some days there.

Before they arrived at Raivataka, that mountain had, at the command of Krishna been well-adorned by many artificers. Much food also had, at Krishna's command, been collected there. Enjoying everything that had been collected there for him, Arjuna sat with Vasudeva to see the performances of the actors and the dancers. Then the high-souled Pandava, dismissing them all with proper respect, laid himself down on a well-adorned and excellent bed. As the strong-armed one lay on that excellent bed, he described unto Krishna everything about the sacred waters, the lakes and the mountains, the rivers and the forests he had seen. While he was speaking of these, stretched upon that celestial bed, sleep, O Janamejaya, stole upon him. He rose in the morning, awakened, by sweet songs and melodious notes of the Vina (guitar) and the panegyrics and benedictions of the bards. After he had gone through the necessary acts and ceremonies, he was affectionately accosted by him of the Vrishni race. Riding upon a golden car, the hero then set out for Dwaraka, the capital of the Yadavas. And, O Janamejaya, for honouring the son of Kunti, the city of Dwaraka, was well-adorned, even all the gardens and houses within it. The citizens of Dwaraka, desirous of beholding the son of Kunti, began to pour eagerly into the public thoroughfares by hundreds of thousands.

In the public squares and thoroughfares, hundreds and thousands of women, mixing with the men, swelled the great crowd of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas, that had collected there. Arjuna was welcomed with respect by all the sons of Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas. And he, in his turn, worshipped those that deserved his worship, receiving their blessings. The hero was welcomed with affectionate reception by all the young men of the Yadava tribe. He repeatedly embraced all that were equal to him in age. Wending then to the delightful mansion of Krishna that was filled with gems and every article of enjoyment, he took up his abode there with Krishna for many days.'"

Adi Parva - Arjuna Vana Vasa Parva 05

"Vaisampayana said, 'Varga continued, 'We were then, O foremost one of Bharata's race, deeply distressed at this curse. We sought to propitiate that Brahmana of ascetic wealth that departed not from his vow. Addressing him, we said, 'Inflated with a sense of our beauty and youth, and urged by the god of desire, we have acted very improperly. It belove thee, O Brahmana, to pardon us! Truly, O Brahmana, it was death to us that we had at all come hither to tempt thee of rigid vows and ascetic wealth. The virtuous, however, have said that women should never be slain. Therefore grow thou in virtue. It belove thee not to slay us so. O thou that art conversant with virtue, it hath been said that a Brahmana is ever the friend of every creature. O thou of great prosperity, let this speech of the wise become true. The eminent always protect those that seek protection at their hands. We seek thy protection. It belove thee to grant us pardon.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, that Brahmana of virtuous soul and good deeds and equal in splendour, O hero, unto the sun or the moon, became propitious unto them. And the Brahmana said, 'The words hundred and hundred thousand are all indicative of eternity. The word hundred, however, as employed by me is to be understood as a limited period and not indicative of a period without end. Ye shall, therefore, becoming crocodiles, seize and take away men (for only a hundred years as explained by me). At the end of that period, an exalted individual will drag you all from water to the land. Then ye will resume your real forms. Never have I spoken an untruth even in jest. Therefore, all that I have said must come to pass. And those sacred waters (within which I assign you your places), will, after you will have been delivered by that individual, become known all over the world by the name of Nari-tirthas (or sacred waters connected with the sufferings and the deliverance of females), and all of them shall become sacred and sin cleansing in the eyes of the virtuous and the wise.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Varga then addressing Arjuna, finished her discourse, saying, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, we saluted him with reverence and walked round him. Leaving that region we came away with heavy hearts, thinking as we proceeded, 'Where shall we all soon meet with that man who will give us back our own shapes (after our transformation)?' As we were thinking of it, in almost a moment, O Bharata, we beheld even the eminent celestial Rishi Narada. Beholding that Rishi of immeasurable energy, our hearts were filled with joy. Saluting him with reverence, O Partha, we stood before him, with blushing faces. He asked of us the cause of our sorrow and we told him all. Hearing what had happened the Rishi said, 'In the low-lands bordering on the southern ocean, there are five regions of sacred water. They are delightful and eminently holy. Go ye thither without delay. That tiger among men, Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu of pure soul, will soon deliver you, without doubt, from this sad plight.' O hero, hearing the Rishi's words, all of us came hither. O sinless one, true it is that I have today been delivered by thee. But those four friends of mine are still within the other waters here. O hero, do a good deed by delivering them also.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O monarch, that foremost of the Pandavas, endued with great prowess, cheerfully delivered all of them from that curse. Rising from the waters they all regained their own forms. Those Apsaras then, O king, all looked as before. Freeing those sacred waters (from the danger for which they had been notorious), and giving the Apsaras leave to go where they chose, Arjuna became desirous of once more beholding Chitrangada. He, therefore, proceeded towards the city of Manipura. Arrived there, he beheld on the throne the son he had begotten upon Chitrangada, and who was called by the name of Vabhruvahana. Seeing Chitrangada once more, Arjuna proceeded, O monarch, towards the spot called Gokarna.'"

Adi Parva - Arjuna Vana Vasa Parva04

"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, that great washer of sins. That foremost one among the Kurus, beholding those five sacred waters, and finding them uninhabited, and ascertaining also that they were shunned by the virtuous ascetics dwelling around, asked those pious men with joined hands, saying, 'Why O ascetics, are these five sacred waters shunned by utterers of Brahma?' Hearing him, the ascetics replied, 'There dwell in these waters five large crocodiles which take away the ascetics that may happen to bathe in them. It is for this, O son of Kuru's race, that these waters are shunned.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the ascetics, that foremost of men endued with mighty arms, though dissuaded by them went to behold those waters. Arrived at the excellent sacred water called Saubhadra after a great Rishi, the brave scorcher of all foes suddenly plunged into it to have a bath. As soon as that tiger among men had plunged into the water a great crocodile (that was in it) seized him by the leg. But the strong-armed Dhananjaya the son of Kunti, that foremost of all men endued with might, seized that struggling ranger of the water and dragged it forcibly to the shore. But dragged by the renowned Arjuna to the land, that crocodile became (transformed into) a beautiful damsel bedecked with ornament. O king, that charming damsel of celestial form seemed to shine for her beauty and complexion. Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, beholding that strange sight, asked that damsel with a pleased heart, 'Who art thou, O beautiful one? Why hast thou been a ranger of the waters? Why also didst thou commit such a dreadful sin?' The damsel replied, saying, 'I am, O mighty-armed one, an Apsara that sported in the celestial woods. I am, O mighty one, Varga by name, and ever dear unto the celestial treasurer (Kuvera). I have four other companions, all handsome and capable of going everywhere at will. Accompanied by them I was one day going to the abode of Kuvera. On the way we beheld a Brahmana of rigid vows, and exceedingly handsome, studying the Vedas in solitude.

The whole forest (in which he was sitting) seemed to be covered with his ascetic splendour. He seemed to have illuminated the whole region like the Sun himself. Beholding his ascetic devotion of that nature and his wonderful beauty, we alighted in that region, in order to disturb his meditations. Myself and Saurabheyi and Samichi and Vudvuda and Lata, approached that Brahmana, O Bharata, at the same time. We began to sing and smile and otherwise tempt that Brahmana. But, O hero, that Brahmana (youth) set not his heart even once upon us. His mind fixed on pure meditation, that youth of great energy suffered not his heart to waver, O bull among Kshatriyas, the glance he cast upon us was one of wrath. And he said, staring at us, 'Becoming crocodiles, range ye the waters for a hundred years.'"