Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1
by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
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"Draupadi said, 'I do not ever disregard or slander religion, O son of Pritha! Why should I disregard God, the lord of all creatures? Afflicted with woe, know me, O Bharata, to be only raving I will once more indulge in lamentations; listen to me with attention. O persecutor of all enemies, every conscious creature should certainly act in this world. It is only the immobile, and not other creatures, that may live without acting. The calf, immediately after its birth, sucketh the mothers's teat. Persons feel pain in consequence of incantations performed with their statues. It seemeth, therefore, O Yudhishthira, that creatures derive the character of their lives from their acts of former lives. Amongst mobile creatures man differeth in this respect that he aspireth, O bull of the Bharata race, to affect his course of life in this and the other world by means of his acts. Impelled by the inspiration of a former life, all creatures visibly (reap) in this world the fruits of their acts. Indeed, all creatures live according to the inspiration of a former life, even the Creator and the Ordainer of the universe, like a crane that liveth on the water (untaught by any one.) If a creature acteth not, its course of life is impossible. In the case of a creature, therefore, there must be action and not inaction. Thou also shouldest act, and not incur censure by abandoning action. Cover thyself up, as with an armour, with action. There may or may not be even one in a thousand who truly knoweth the utility of acts or work. One must act for protecting as also increasing his wealth; for if without seeking to earn, one continueth to only spend, his wealth, even if it were a hoard huge as Himavat, would soon be exhausted. All the creatures in the world would have been exterminated, if there were no action. If also acts bore no fruits, creatures would never have multiplied. It is even seen that creatures sometimes perform acts that have no fruits, for without acts the course of life itself would be impossible. Those persons in the world who believe in destiny, and those again who believe in chance, are both the worst among men. Those only that believe in the efficacy of acts are laudable. He that lieth at ease, without activity, believing in destiny alone, is soon destroyed like an unburnt earthen pot in water. So also he that believeth in chance, i.e. sitteth inactive though capable of activity liveth not long, for his life is one of weakness and helplessness. If any person accidentally acquireth any wealth, it is said he deriveth it from chance, for no one's effort hath brought about the result. And, O son of Pritha, whatever of good fortune a person obtaineth in consequence of religious rites, that is called providential. The fruit, however that a person obtaineth by acting himself, and which is the direct result of those acts of his, is regarded as proof of personal ability. And, O best of men, know that the wealth one obtaineth spontaneously and without cause is said to be a spontaneous acquisition. Whatever is thus obtained by chance, by providential dispensation, spontaneously, of as the result of one's acts is, however, the consequence of the acts of a former life. And God, the Ordainer of the universe, judging according to the acts of former lives, distributeth among men their portions in this world. Whatever acts, good or bad, a person performeth, know that they are the result of God's, arrangements agreeably to the acts of a former life. This body is only the instruments in the hands of God, for doing the acts that are done. Itself, inert, it doth as God urgeth it to do. O son of Kunti, it is the Supreme Lord of all who maketh all creatures do what they do. The creatures themselves are inert. O hero, man, having first settled some purpose in his mind, accomplisheth it, himself working with the aid of his intelligence. We, therefore, say that man is himself the cause (of what he doeth). O bull among men, it is impossible to number the acts of men, for mansions and towns are the result of man's acts. Intelligent men know, by help of their intellect, that oil may be had from sesame, curds from milk, and that food may be cooked by means of igniting fuel. They know also the means for accomplishing all these. And knowing them, they afterwards set themselves, with proper appliances, to accomplish them. And creatures support their lives by the results achieved in these directions by their own acts. If a work is executed by a skilled workman, it is executed well. From differences (in characteristics), another work may be said to be that of an unskilful hand. If a person were not, in the matter of his acts, himself the cause thereof, then sacrifices would not bear any fruits in his case nor would any body be a disciple or a master. It is because a person is himself the cause of his work that he is applauded when he achieved success. So the doer is censured if he faileth. If a man were not himself the cause of his acts, how would all this be justified? Some say that everything is the result of providential dispensation; others again, that this is not so, but that everything which is supposed to be the result of destiny or chance is the result of the good or the bad acts of former lives. It is seen, possessions are obtained from chance, as also from destiny. Something being from destiny and something from chance, something is obtained by exertion. In the acquisition of his objects, there is no fourth cause in the case of man. Thus say those that are acquainted with truth and skilled in knowledge. If, however, God himself were not the giver of good and bad fruits, then amongst creatures there would not be any that was miserable. If the effect of former acts be a myth, then all purposes for which man would work should be successful. They, therefore, that regard the three alone (mentioned above) as the doors of all success and failure in the world, (without regarding the acts of former life), are dull and inert like the body itself. For all this, however, a person should act. This is the conclusion of Manu himself. The person that doth not act, certainly succumbeth, O Yudhishthira. The man of action in this world generally meeteth with success. The idle, however, never achieveth success. If success becometh impossible, then should one seek to remove the difficulties that bar his way to success. And, O king, if a person worketh (hard), his debt (to the gods) is cancelled (whether he achieveth success or not). The person that is idle and lieth at his length, is overcome by adversity; while he that is active and skillful is sure to reap success and enjoy prosperity. Intelligent persons engaged in acts with confidence in themselves regard all who are diffident as doubting and unsuccessful. The confident and faithful, however, are regarded by them as successful. And this moment misery hath overtaken us. If, however, thou betakest to action, that misery will certainly be removed. If thou meetest failure, then that will furnish a proof unto thee and Vrikodara and Vivatsu and the twins (that ye are unable to snatch the kingdom from the foe). The acts of others, it is seen, are crowned with success. It is probable that ours also will be successful. How can one know beforehand what the consequence will be? Having exerted thyself thou wilt know what the fruit of thy exertion will be. The tiller tilleth with the plough the soil and soweth the seeds thereon. He then sitteth silent, for the clouds (after that) are the cause that would help the seeds to grow into plants. If however, the clouds favour him not, the tiller is absolved from all blame. He sayeth unto himself, "What others do, I have done. If, notwithstanding this, I meet with failure, no blame can attach to me." Thinking so, he containeth himself and never indulgeth in self-reproach. O Bharata, no one should despair saying, "Oh, I am acting, yet success is not mine!" For there are two other causes, besides exertion, towards success. Whether there be success or failure, there should be no despair, for success in acts dependeth upon the union of many circumstances. If one important element is wanting, success doth not become commensurate, or doth not come at all. If however, no exertion is made, there can be no success. Nor is there anything to applaud in the absence of all exertion. The intelligent, aided by their intelligence, and according to their full might bring place, time, means, auspicious rites, for the acquisition of prosperity. With carefulness and vigilance should one set himself to work, his chief guide being his prowess. In the union of qualities necessary for success in work, prowess seemeth to be the chief. When the man of intelligence seeth his enemy superior to him in many qualities, he should seek the accomplishment of his purposes by means of the arts of conciliation and proper appliances. He should also wish evil unto his foe and his banishment. Without speaking of mortal man, if his foe were even the ocean or the hills, he should be guided by such motives. A person by his activity in searching for the holes of his enemies, dischargeth his debt to himself as also to his friends. No man should ever disparage himself for the man that disparageth himself never earneth high prosperity. O Bharata, success in this world is attainable on such conditions! In fact, success in the world is said to depend on acting according to time and circumstances. My father formerly kept a learned Brahmana with him. O bull of the Bharata race, he said all this unto my father. Indeed, these instructions as to duty, uttered by Vrihaspati himself, were first taught to my brothers. It was from them that I heard these afterwards while in my father's house. And, O Yudhishthira, while at intervals of business, I went out (of the inner apartments) and sat on the lap of my father, that learned Brahmana used to recite unto me these truths, sweetly consoling me therewith!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Hearing these words of Yajnaseni, Bhimasena, sighing in wrath, approached the king and addressed him, saying, 'Walk, O monarch, in the customary path trodden by good men, (before thee) in respect of kingdoms. What do we gain by living in the asylum of ascetics, thus deprived of virtue, pleasure, and profit? It is not by virtue, nor by honesty, nor by might, but by unfair dice, that our kingdom hath been snatched by Duryodhana. Like a weak offal-eating jackal snatching the prey from mighty lions, he hath snatched away our kingdom. Why, O monarch, in obedience to the trite merit of sticking to a promise, dost thou suffer such distress, abandoning that wealth which is the source of both virtue and enjoyments? It was for thy carelessness, O king, that our kingdom protected by the wielder of the Gandiva and therefore, incapable of being wrested by Indra himself, was snatched from us in our very sight. It was for thee, O monarch, that, ourselves living, our prosperity was snatched away from us like a fruit from one unable to use his arms, or like kine from one incapable of using his legs. Thou art faithful in the acquisition of virtue. It was to please thee, O Bharata, that we have suffered ourselves to be overwhelmed with such dire calamity. O bull of the Bharata race, it was because we were subject to thy control that we are thus tearing the hearts of our friends and gratifying our foes. That we did not, in obedience to thee, even then slay the sons of Dhritarashtra, is an act of folly on our part that grieveth me sorely. This thy abode, O king, in the woods, like that of any wild animal, is what a man of weakness alone would submit to. Surely, no man of might would ever lead such a life. This thy course of life is approved neither by Krishna, nor Vibhatsu, nor by Abhimanyu, nor by the Srinjayas, nor by myself, nor by the sons of Madri. Afflicted with the vows, thy cry is Religion! Religion! Hast thou from despair been deprived of thy manliness? Cowards alone, unable to win back their prosperity, cherish despair, which is fruitless and destructive of one's purposes. Thou hast ability and eyes. Thou seest that manliness dwelleth in us. It is because thou hast adopted a life of peace that thou feelest not this distress. These Dhritarashtras regard us who are forgiving, as really incompetent. This, O king, grieveth me more than death in battle. If we all die in fair fight without turning our backs on the foe, even that would be better than this exile, for then we should obtain regions of bliss in the other world. Or, if, O bull of the Bharata race, having slain them all, we acquire the entire earth, that would be prosperity worth the trial. We who ever adhere to the customs of our order, who ever desire grand achievements, who wish to avenge our wrongs, have this for our bounden duty. Our kingdom wrested from us, if we engage in battle, our deeds when known to the world will procure for us fame and not slander. And that virtue, O king, which tortureth one's own self and friends, is really no virtue. It is rather vice, producing calamities. Virtue is sometimes also the weakness of men. And though such a man might ever be engaged in the practice of virtue, yet both virtue and profit forsake him, like pleasure and pain forsaking a person that is dead. He that practiseth virtue for virtue's sake always suffereth. He can scarcely be called a wise man, for he knoweth not the purposes of virtue like a blind man incapable of perceiving the solar light. He that regardeth his wealth to exist for himself alone, scarcely understandeth the purposes of wealth. He is really like a servant that tendeth kine in a forest. He again that pursueth wealth too much without pursuing virtue and enjoyments, deserveth to be censured and slain by all men. He also that ever pursueth enjoyments without pursuing virtue and wealth, loseth his friends and virtue and wealth also. Destitute of virtue and wealth such a man, indulging in pleasure at will, at the expiration of his period of indulgence, meeteth with certain death, like a fish when the water in which it liveth hath been dried up. It is for these reasons that they that are wise are ever careful of both virtue and wealth, for a union of virtue and wealth is the essential requisite of pleasure, as fuel is the essential requisite of fire. Pleasure hath always virtue for its root, and virtue also is united with pleasure. Know, O monarch, that both are dependent on each other like the ocean and the clouds, the ocean causing the clouds and the clouds filling the ocean. The joy that one feeleth in consequence of contact with objects of touch or of possession of wealth, is what is called pleasure. It existeth in the mind, having no corporeal existence that one can see. He that wisheth (to obtain) wealth, seeketh for a large share of virtue to crown his wish with success. He that wisheth for pleasure, seeketh wealth, (so that his wish may be realised). Pleasure however, yieldeth nothing in its turn. One pleasure cannot lead to another, being its own fruit, as ashes may be had from wood, but nothing from those ashes in their turn. And, O king, as a fowler killeth the birds we see, so doth sin slay the creatures of the world. He, therefore, who misled by pleasure or covetousness, beholdeth not the nature of virtue, deserveth to be slain by all, and becometh wretched both here and hereafter. It is evident, O king, that thou knowest that pleasure may be derived from the possession of various objects of enjoyment. Thou also well knowest their ordinary states, as well as the great changes they undergo. At their loss or disappearance occasioned by decrepitude or death, ariseth what is called distress. That distress, O king, hath now overtaken us. The joy that ariseth from the five senses, the intellect and the heart, being directed to the objects proper to each, is called pleasure. That pleasure, O king, is, as I think, one of the best fruits of our actions.

"'Thus, O monarch, one should regard virtue, wealth and pleasure one after another. One should not devote one self to virtue alone, nor regard wealth as the highest object of one's wishes, nor pleasure, but should ever pursue all three. The scriptures ordain that one should seek virtue in the morning, wealth at noon, and pleasure in the evening. The scriptures also ordain that one should seek pleasure in the first portion of life, wealth in the second, and virtue in the last. And, O thou foremost of speakers, they that are wise and fully conversant with proper division of time, pursue all three, virtue, wealth, and pleasure, dividing their time duly. O son of the Kuru race, whether independence of these (three), or their possession is the better for those that desire happiness, should be settled by thee after careful thought. And thou shouldst then, O king, unhesitatingly act either for acquiring them, or abandoning them all. For he who liveth wavering between the two doubtingly, leadeth a wretched life. It is well known that thy behaviour is ever regulated by virtue. Knowing this thy friends counsel thee to act. Gift, sacrifice, respect for the wise, study of the Vedas, and honesty, these, O king, constitute the highest virtue and are efficacious both here and hereafter. These virtues, however, cannot be attained by one that hath no wealth, even if, O tiger among men, he may have infinite other accomplishments. The whole universe, O king, dependeth upon virtue. There is nothing higher than virtue. And virtue, O king, is attainable by one that hath plenty of wealth. Wealth cannot be earned by leading a mendicant life, nor by a life of feebleness. Wealth, however, can be earned by intelligence directed by virtue. In thy case, O king, begging, which is successful with Brahmanas, hath been forbidden. Therefore, O bull amongst men, strive for the acquisition of wealth by exerting thy might and energy. Neither mendicancy, nor the life of a Sudra is what is proper for thee. Might and energy constitute the virtue of the Kshatriya in especial. Adopt thou, therefore, the virtue of thy order and slay the enemies. Destroy the might of Dhritarashtra's sons, O son of Pritha, with my and Arjuna's aid. They that are learned and wise say that sovereignty is virtue. Acquire sovereignty, therefore, for it behoveth thee not to live in a state of inferiority. Awake, O king, and understand the eternal virtues (of the order). By birth thou belongest to an order whose deeds are cruel and are a source of pain to man. Cherish thy subjects and reap the fruit thereof. That can never be a reproach. Even this, O king, is the virtue ordained by God himself for the order to which thou belongest! If thou fallest away therefrom, thou wilt make thyself ridiculous. Deviation from the virtues of one's own order is never applauded. Therefore, O thou of the Kuru race, making thy heart what it ought to be, agreeably to the order to which thou belongest, and casting away this course of feebleness, summon thy energy and bear thy weight like one that beareth it manfully. No king, O monarch, could ever acquire the sovereignty of the earth or prosperity or affluence by means of virtue alone. Like a fowler earning his food in the shape of swarms of little easily-tempted game, by offering them some attractive food, doth one that is intelligent acquire a kingdom, by offering bribes unto low and covetous enemies. Behold, O bull among kings, the Asuras, though elder brothers in possession of power and affluence, were all vanquished by the gods through stratagem. Thus, O king, everything belongeth to those that are mighty. And, O mighty-armed one, slay thy foes, having recourse to stratagem. There is none equal unto Arjuna in wielding the bow in battle. Nor is there anybody that may be equal unto me in wielding the mace. Strong men, O monarch, engage in battle depending on their might, and not on the force of numbers nor on information of the enemy's plans procured through spies. Therefore, O son of Pandu exert thy might. Might is the root of wealth. Whatever else is said to be its root is really not such. As the shade of the tree in winter goeth for nothing, so without might everything else becometh fruitless. Wealth should be spent by one who wisheth to increase his wealth, after the manner, O son of Kunti, of scattering seeds on the ground. Let there be no doubt then in thy mind. Where, however, wealth that is more or even equal is not to be gained, there should be no expenditure of wealth. For investment of wealth are like the ass, scratching, pleasurable at first but painful afterwards. Thus, O king of men, the person who throweth away like seeds a little of his virtue in order to gain a larger measure of virtue, is regarded as wise. Beyond doubt, it is as I say. They that are wise alienate the friends of the foe that owneth such, and having weakened him by causing those friends to abandon him thus, they then reduce him to subjection. Even they that are strong, engage in battle depending on their courage. One cannot by even continued efforts (uninspired by courage) or by the arts of conciliation, always conquer a kingdom. Sometimes, O king, men that are weak, uniting in large numbers, slay even a powerful foe, like bees killing the despoiler of the honey by force of numbers alone. (As regards thyself), O king, like the sun that sustaineth as well as slayeth creatures by his rays, adopt thou the ways of the sun. To protect one's kingdom and cherish the people duly, as done by our ancestors, O king, is, it hath been heard by us, a kind of asceticism mentioned even in the Vedas. By asceticism, O king, a Kshatriya cannot acquire such regions of blessedness as he can by fair fight whether ending in victory or defeat. Beholding, O king, this thy distress, the world hath come to the conclusion that light may forsake the Sun and grace the Moon. And, O king, good men separately as well as assembling together, converse with one another, applauding thee and blaming the other. There is this, moreover, O monarch, viz., that both the Kurus and the Brahmanas, assembling together, gladly speak of thy firm adherence to truth, in that thou hast never, from ignorance, from meanness, from covetousness, or from fear, uttered an untruth. Whatever sin, O monarch, a king committeth in acquiring dominion, he consumeth it all afterwards by means of sacrifices distinguished by large gifts. Like the Moon emerging from the clouds, the king is purified from all sins by bestowing villages on Brahmanas and kine by thousands. Almost all the citizens as well as the inhabitants of the country, young or old, O son of the Kuru race, praise thee, O Yudhishthira! This also, O Bharata, the people are saying amongst themselves, viz., that as milk in a bag of dog's hide, as the Vedas in a Sudra, as truth in a robber, as strength in a woman, so is sovereignty in Duryodhana. Even women and children are repeating this, as if it were a lesson they seek to commit to memory. O represser of foes, thou hast fallen into this state along with ourselves. Alas, we also are lost with thee for this calamity of thine. Therefore, ascending in thy car furnished with every implement, and making the superior Brahmanas utter benedictions on thee, march thou with speed, even this very day, upon Hastinapura, in order that thou mayst be able to give unto Brahmanas the spoils of victory. Surrounded by thy brothers, who are firm wielders of the bow, and by heroes skilled in weapons and like unto snakes of virulent poison, set thou out even like the slayer Vritra surrounded by the Marutas. And, O son of Kunti, as thou art powerful, grind thou with thy might thy weak enemies, like Indra grinding the Asuras; and snatch thou from Dhritarashtra's son the prosperity he enjoyeth. There is no mortal that can bear the touch of the shafts furnished with the feathers of the vulture and resembling snakes of virulent poison, that would be shot from the Gandiva. And, O Bharata, there is not a warrior, nor an elephant, nor a horse, that is able to bear the impetus of my mace when I am angry in battle. Why, O son of Kunti, should we not wrest our kingdom from the foe, fighting with the aid of the Srinjayas and Kaikeyas, and the bull of the Vrishni race? Why, O king, should we not succeed in wresting the (sovereignty of the) earth that is now in the hands of the foe, if, aided by a large force, we do but strive?'"


Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by Bhimasena, the high-souled king Ajatasatru firmly devoted to truth, mustering his patience, after a few moments said these words, 'No doubt, O Bharata, all this is true. I cannot reproach thee for thy torturing me thus by piercing me with thy arrowy words. From my folly alone hath this calamity come against you. I sought to cast the dice desiring to snatch from Dhritarashtra's son his kingdom with the sovereignty. It was therefore that, that cunning gambler—Suvala's son—played against me on behalf of Suyodhana. Sakuni, a native of the hilly country, is exceedingly artful. Casting the dice in the presence of the assembly, unacquainted as I am with artifices of any kind, he vanquished me artfully. It is, therefore, O Bhimasena, that we have been overwhelmed with this calamity. Beholding the dice favourable to the wishes of Sakuni in odds and evens, I could have controlled my mind. Anger, however, driveth off a person's patience. O child, the mind cannot be kept under control when it is influenced by hauteur, vanity, or pride. I do not reproach thee, O Bhimasena, for the words thou usest. I only regard that what hath befallen us was pre-ordained. When king Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, coveting our kingdom, plunged us into misery and even slavery, then, O Bhima, it was Draupadi that rescued us. When summoned again to the assembly for playing once more, thou knowest as well as Arjuna what Dhritarashtra's son told me, in the presence of all the Bharatas, regarding the stake for which we were to play. His words were, O prince Ajatsatru, (if vanquished), thou shalt have with all thy brothers, to dwell, to the knowledge of all men, for twelve years in the forest of thy choice, passing the thirteenth year in secrecy. If during the latter period, the spies of the Bharatas, hearing of thee, succeed in discovering thee, thou shalt have again to live in the forest for the same period, passing once more the last year in secrecy. Reflecting upon this, pledge thyself to it. As regards myself, I promise truly in this assembly of the Kurus, that if thou canst pass this time confounding my spies and undiscovered by them, then, O Bharata, this kingdom of the five rivers is once more thine. We also, O Bharata, if vanquished by thee, shall, all of us, abandoning all our wealth, pass the same period, according to the same rules. Thus addressed by the prince, I replied unto him in the midst of all the Kurus, "So be it!" The wretched game then commenced. We were vanquished and have been exiled. It is for this that we are wandering miserably over different woody regions abounding with discomfort. Suyodhana, however, still dissatisfied, gave himself up to anger, and urged the Kurus as also all those under his sway to express their joy at our calamity. Having entered into such an agreement in the presence of all good men, who dareth break it for the sake of a kingdom on earth? For a respectable person, I think, even death itself is lighter than the acquisition of sovereignty by an act of transgression. At the time of the play, thou hadst desired to burn my hands. Thou wert prevented by Arjuna, and accordingly didst only squeeze thy own hands. If thou couldst do what thou hadst desired, could this calamity befall us? Conscious of thy prowess, why didst thou not, O Bhima, say so before we entered into such an agreement? Overwhelmed with the consequence of our pledge, and the time itself having passed, what is the use of thy addressing me these harsh words? O Bhima, this is my great grief that we could not do anything even beholding Draupadi persecuted in that way. My heart burneth as if I have drunk some poisonous liquid. Having, however, given that pledge in the midst of the Kuru heroes, I am unable to violate it now. Wait, O Bhima, for the return of our better days, like the scatterer of seeds waiting for the harvest. When one that hath been first injured, succeedeth in revenging himself upon his foe at a time when the latter's enmity hath borne fruit and flowers, he is regarded to have accomplished a great thing by his prowess. Such a brave person earneth undying fame. Such a man obtaineth great prosperity. His enemies bow down unto him, and his friends gather round him, like the celestials clustering round Indra for protection. But know, O Bhima, my promise can never be untrue. I regard virtue as superior to life itself and a blessed state of celestial existence. Kingdom, sons, fame, wealth,—all these do not come up to even a sixteenth part of truth.'"


"Bhima said, 'O king, unsubstantial as thou art like froth, unstable like a fruit (falling when ripe), dependent on time, and mortal, having entered into an agreement in respect of time, which is infinite and immeasurable, quick like a shaft or flowing like a stream, and carrying everything before it like death itself, how canst regard it as available by thee? How can he, O son of Kunti, wait whose life is shortened every moment, even like a quantity of collyrium that is lessened each time a grain is taken up by the needle? He only whose life is unlimited or who knoweth with certitude what the period of his life is, and who knoweth the future as if it were before his eyes, can indeed wait for the arrival of (an expected) time. If we wait, O king, for thirteen years, that period, shortening our lives, will bring us nearer to death. Death is sure to overtake every creature having a corporeal existence. Therefore, we should strive for the possession of our kingdom before we die. He that faileth to achieve fame, by failing to chastise his foes, is like an unclean thing. He is a useless burden on the earth like an incapacitated bull and perisheth ingloriously. The man who, destitute of strength, and courage, chastiseth not his foes, liveth in vain, I regard such a one as low-born. Thy hand can rain gold; thy fame spreadeth over the whole earth; slaying thy foes, therefore, in battle, enjoy thou the wealth acquired by the might of thy arms. O repressor of all foes, O king, if a man slaying his injurer, goeth the very day into hell, that hell becometh heaven to him. O king, the pain one feeleth in having to suppress one's wrath is more burning than fire itself. Even now I burn with it and cannot sleep in the day or the night. This son of Pritha, called Vibhatsu, is foremost in drawing the bow-string. He certainly burneth with grief, though he liveth here like a lion in his den. This one that desireth to slay without aid all wielders of the bow on earth, represseth the wrath that riseth in his breast, like a mighty elephant. Nakula, Sahadeva, and old Kunti—that mother of heroes, are all dumb, desiring to please thee. And all our friends along with the Srinjayas equally desire to please thee. I alone, and Prativindhya's mother speak unto thee burning with grief. Whatever I speak unto thee is agreeable to all of them, for all of them plunged in distress, eagerly wish for battle. Then, O monarch, what more wretched a calamity can overtake us that our kingdom should be wrested from us by weak and contemptible foes and enjoyed by them? O king, from the weakness of thy disposition thou feelest shame in violating thy pledge. But, O slayer of foes, no one applaudeth thee for thus suffering such pain in consequence of the kindliness of thy disposition. Thy intellect, O king, seeth not the truth, like that of a foolish and ignorant person of high birth who hath committed the words of the Vedas to memory without understanding their sense. Thou art kind like a Brahmana. How hast thou been born in the Kshatriya order? They that are born in the Kshatriya order are generally of crooked hearts. Thou hast heard (recited) the duties of kings, as promulgated by Manu, fraught with crookedness and unfairness and precepts opposed to tranquillity and virtue. Why dost thou then, O king, forgive the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra? Thou hast intelligence, prowess, learning and high birth. Why dost thou then, O tiger among men, act in respect of thy duties, like a huge snake that is destitute of motion? O son of Kunti, he that desireth to conceal us, only wisheth to conceal the mountains of Himavat by means of a handful of grass. O son of Pritha, known as thou art over whole earth, thou wilt not be able to live unknown, like the sun that can never course through the sky unknown to men. Like a large tree in a well-watered region with spreading branches and flowers and leaves, or like Indra's elephant, how will Jishnu live unknown? How also will these children, the brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, equal unto a couple of young lions, both live in secret? How, O son of Pritha, will Krishna—the daughter of Drupada—a princess and mother of heroes, of virtuous deeds and known over all the world, live unknown? Me also, everybody knoweth from my boyhood. I do not see how I can live unknown. As well mighty mountains of Meru be sought to be concealed. Then, again, many kings had been expelled by us from their kingdom. These kings and princes will all follow the bad son of Dhritarashtra, for robbed and exiled by us, they have not still become friendly. Desiring to do good unto Dhritarashtra, they will certainly seek to injure us. They will certainly set against us numerous spies in disguise. If these discover us and report their discovery, a great danger will overtake us. We have already lived in the woods full thirteen months. Regard them, O king, for their length as thirteen years. The wise have said that a month is a substitute for a year, like the pot-herb that is regarded as a substitute for the Soma. Or, (if thou breakest thy pledge), O king, thou mayst free thyself from this sin by offering good savoury food to a quiet bull carrying sacred burdens. Therefore, O king resolve thou to slay thy enemies. There is no virtue higher than fighting, for every Kshatriya!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Hearing those words of Bhima, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti—tiger among men and slayer of all foes—began to sigh heavily, and reflect in silence. And he thought within himself, 'I have heard recited the duties of kings, also all truths about the duties of the different orders. He is said to observe those duties truly who keepeth them before his eyes, so as to regulate his conduct both in the present and the future. Knowing as I do the true course of virtue, which, however is so very difficult of being known, how can I forcibly grind virtue down like grinding the mountains of Meru?' Having reflected so for a moment, and settled what he should do, he replied unto Bhima as follows without allowing him another word:

"'O thou of mighty arms, it is even so as thou hast said. But, O thou foremost of speakers, listen now to another word I say. Whatever sinful deeds, O Bhima, one seeketh to achieve, depending on his courage alone, become always a source of pain. But, O thou of mighty arms, whatever is begun with deliberation, with well-directed prowess, with all appliances, and much previous thought, is seen to succeed. The gods themselves favour such designs. Hear from me something about what, proud of thy might, O Bhima, and led away by thy restlessness, thou thinkest should be immediately begun. Bhurisravas, Sala, the mighty Jarasandha, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, the mighty son of Drona, Dhritarashtra's sons—Duryodhana and others—so difficult of being vanquished, are all accomplished in arms and ever ready for battle with us. Those kings and chiefs of the earth also who have been injured by us, have all adopted the side of the Kauravas, and are bound by ties of affection to them. O Bharata, they are engaged in seeking the good of Duryodhana and not of us. With full treasures and aided by large forces, they will certainly strive their best in battle. All the officers also of the Kuru army together with their sons and relatives, have been honoured by Duryodhana with wealth and luxuries. Those heroes are also much regarded by Duryodhana. This is my certain conclusion that they will sacrifice their lives for Duryodhana in battle. Although the behaviour of Bhishma, Drona, and the illustrious Kripa, is the same towards us as towards them, yet, O thou of mighty arms, this is my certain conclusion that in order to pay off the royal favours they enjoy, they will throw their very lives, than which there is nothing dearer, in battle. All of them are masters of celestial weapons, and devoted to the practice of virtue. I think they are incapable of being vanquished even by gods led by Vasava himself. There is again amongst them that mighty warrior—Karna—impetuous, and ever wrathful, master of all weapons, and invincible, and encased in impenetrable mail. Without first vanquishing in battle all those foremost of men, unaided as thou art, how canst thou slay Duryodhana? O Vrikodara, I cannot sleep thinking of the lightness of hand of that Suta's son, who, I regard, is the foremost of all wielders of the bow!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, the impetuous Bhima became alarmed, and forbore from speaking anything. And while the sons of Pandu were thus conversing with each other, there came to that spot the great ascetic Vyasa, the son of Satyavati. And as he came, the sons of Pandu worshipped him duly. Then that foremost of all speakers, addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'O, Yudhishthira, O thou of mighty arms, knowing by spiritual insight what is passing in thy heart, I have come to thee, O thou bull among men! The fear that is in thy heart, arising from Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and Drona's son, and prince Duryodhana, and Dussasana, I will dispel, O slayer of all foes, by means of an act enjoined by the ordinance. Hearing it from me, accomplish it thou with patience, and having accomplished it, O king, quell this fever of thine soon.'

"That foremost of speakers then, the son of Parasara, taking Yudhishthira to a corner, began to address him in words of deep import, saying, 'O best of the Bharatas, the time is come for thy prosperity, when, indeed Dhananjaya—that son of Pritha—will slay all thy foes in battle. Uttered by me and like unto success personified, accept from me this knowledge called Pratismriti that I impart to thee, knowing thou art capable of receiving it. Receiving it (from thee), Arjuna will be able to accomplish his desire. And let Arjuna, O son of Pandu, go unto Mahendra and Rudra, and Varuna, and Kuvera, and Yama, for receiving weapons from them. He is competent to behold the gods for his asceticism and prowess. He is even a Rishi of great energy, the friend of Narayana; ancient, eternal a god himself, invincible, ever successful, and knowing no deterioration. Of mighty arms, he will achieve mighty deeds, having obtained weapons from Indra, and Rudra, and the lokapalas, O son of Kunti, think also of going from this to some other forest that may, O king, be fit for thy abode. To reside in one place for any length of time is scarcely pleasant. In thy case, it might also be productive of anxiety to the ascetics. And as thou maintainest numerous Brahmanas versed in the Vedas and the several branches thereof, continued residence here might exhaust the deer of this forest, and be destructive of the creepers and plants.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having addressed him thus, that illustrious and exalted ascetic Vyasa, of great wisdom, acquired with the mysteries of the world, then imparted unto the willing Yudhishthira the just, who had meanwhile purified himself, that foremost of sciences. And bidding farewell unto the son of Kunti, Vyasa disappeared then and there. The virtuous and intelligent Yudhishthira, however, having obtained that knowledge carefully retained it in his mind and always recited it on proper occasions. Glad of the advice given him by Vyasa, the son of Kunti then, leaving the wood Dwaitavana went to the forest of Kamyaka on the banks of the Saraswati. And, O king, numerous Brahmanas of ascetic merit and versed in the science of orthoepy and orthography, followed him like the Rishis following the chief of the celestials. Arrived at Kamyaka, those illustrious bulls amongst the Bharata took up their residence there along with their friends and attendants. And possessed of energy, those heroes, O king, lived there for some time, devoted to the exercise of the bow and hearing all the while the chanting of the Vedas. And they went about those woods every day in search of deer, armed with pure arrows. And they duly performed all the rites in honour of the Pitris, the celestials and the Brahmanas."


Vaisampayana said, "After some time, Yudhishthira the just, remembering the command of the Muni (Vyasa) and calling unto himself that bull among men—Arjuna—possessed of great wisdom, addressed him in private. Taking hold of Arjuna's hands, with a smiling face and in gentle accents, that chastiser of foes—the virtuous Yudhishthira—apparently after reflecting for a moment, spake these words in private unto Dhananjaya, 'O Bharata, the whole science of arms dwelleth in Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and Drona's son. They fully know all sorts of Brahma and celestial and human and Vayavya weapons, together with the modes of using and warding them off. All of them are conciliated and honoured and gratified by Dhritarashtra's son who behaveth unto them as one should behave unto his preceptor. Towards all his warriors Dhritarashtra's son behaveth with great affection; and all the chiefs honoured and gratified by him, seek his good in return. Thus honoured by him, they will not fail to put forth their might. The whole earth, besides, is now under Duryodhana's sway, with all the villages and towns, O son of Pritha, and all the seas and woods and mines! Thou alone art our sole refuge. On thee resteth a great burden. I shall, therefore, O chastiser of all foes, tell thee what thou art to do now. I have obtained a science from Krishna Dwaipayana. Used by thee, that science will expose the whole universe to thee. O child, attentively receive thou that science from me, and in due time (by its aid) attain thou the grace of the celestials. And, O bull of the Bharata race, devote thyself to fierce asceticism. Armed with the bow and sword, and cased in mail, betake thyself to austerities and good vows, and go thou northwards, O child, without giving way to anybody. O Dhananjaya, all celestial weapons are with Indra. The celestials, from fear of Vritra, imparted at the time all their might to Sakra. Gathered together in one place, thou wilt obtain all weapons. Go thou unto Sakra, he will give thee all his weapons. Taking the bow set thou out this very day in order to behold Purandara.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, the exalted Yudhishthira the just, imparted that science unto Arjuna. And the elder brother having communicated with due rites the Knowledge unto his heroic brother, with speech and body and mind under perfect control, commanded him to depart. And at the command of Yudhishthira, the strong-armed Arjuna, taking up the Gandiva as also his inexhaustible quivers, and accoutred in mail and gauntlets and finger-protectors made of the skin of the guana, and having poured oblations into the fire and made the Brahmanas to utter benedictions after gifts, set out (from Kamyaka) with the objects of beholding Indra. And armed with the bow, the hero, at the time of setting out heaved a sigh and cast a look upwards for achieving the death of Dhritarashtra's sons. And beholding Kunti's son thus armed and about to set out, the Brahmanas and Siddhas and invisible spirits addressed him, saying, 'O son of Kunti, obtain thou soon what thou wishest.' And the Brahmanas, also uttering benedictions said, 'Achieve thou the object thou hast in view. Let victory be truly thine.' And beholding the heroic Arjuna, of thighs stout as the trunks of the Sala, about to set out taking away with him the hearts of all, Krishna addressed him saying, 'O thou strong-armed one, let all that Kunti had desired at thy birth, and let all that thou desirest, be accomplished, O Dhananjaya! Let no one amongst us be ever again born in the order of Kshatriyas. I always bow down unto the Brahmanas whose mode of living is mendicancy. This is my great grief that the wretch Duryodhana beholding me in the assembly of princes mockingly called me a cow! Besides this he told me in the midst of that assembly many other hard things. But the grief I experience at parting with thee is far greater than any I felt at those insults. Certainly, in thy absence, thy brothers will while away their waking hours in repeatedly talking of thy heroic deeds! If, however, O son of Pritha, thou stayest away for any length of time, we shall derive no pleasure from our enjoyments or from wealth. Nay, life itself will be distasteful to us. O son of Pritha, our weal, and woe, life and death, our kingdom and prosperity, are all dependent on thee. O Bharata, I bless thee, let success be thine. O sinless one, thy (present) task thou wilt be able to achieve even against powerful enemies. O thou of great strength, go thou to win success with speed. Let dangers be not thine. I bow to Dhatri and Vidhatri! I bless thee. Let prosperity be thine. And, O Dhananjaya, let Hri, Sree, Kirti, Dhriti, Pushti, Uma, Lakshmi, Saraswati, all protect thee on thy way, for thou ever worshippest thy elder brother and ever obeyest his commands. And, O bull of the Bharata race, I bow to the Vasus, the Rudras and Adityas, the Manilas, the Viswadevas, and the Sadhyas, for procuring thy welfare. And, O Bharata, be thou safe from all spirits of mischief belonging to the sky, the earth, and the heaven, and from such other spirits generally.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Krishna, the daughter of Yajnasena, having uttered these benedictions, ceased. The strong-armed son of Pandu then, having walked round his brothers and round Dhaumya also, and taking up his handsome bow, set out. And all creatures began to leave the way that Arjuna of great energy and prowess, urged by the desire of beholding Indra, took. And that slayer of foes passed over many mountains inhabited by ascetics, and then reached the sacred Himavat, the resort of the celestials. And the high-souled one reached the sacred mountain in one day, for like the winds he was gifted with the speed of the mind, in consequence of his ascetic austerities. And having crossed the Himavat, as also the Gandhamadana, he passed over many uneven and dangerous spots, walking night and day without fatigue. And having reached Indrakila, Dhananjaya stopped for a moment. And then he heard a voice in the skies, saying, 'Stop!' And hearing that voice, the son of Pandu cast his glances all around. And Arjuna, capable of using his left hand with skill equal to that of his right hand, then beheld before him an ascetic under the shade of a tree, blazing with Brahma brilliancy, of a tawny colour, with matted locks, and thin. And the mighty ascetic, beholding Arjuna stop at that place, addressed him, saying, 'Who art thou, O child, arrived hither with bow and arrows, and cased in mail and accoutred in scabbard and gauntlet, and (evidently) wedded to the customs of the Kshatriya? There is no need of weapons here. This is the abode of peaceful Brahmanas devoted to ascetic austerities without anger or joy. There is no use for the bow here, for there is no dispute in this place of any kind. Therefore throw away, O child, this bow of thine. Thou hast obtained a pure state of life by coming here. O hero, there is no man who is like thee in energy and prowess.' That Brahmana thus addressed Arjuna, with a smiling face, repeatedly. But he succeeded not in moving Arjuna, firmly devoted to his purpose. The regenerate one, glad at heart, smilingly addressed Arjuna once more, saying, 'O slayer of foes, blest be thou! I am Sakra: ask thou the boon thou desirest.' Thus addressed, that perpetuator of the Kuru race, the heroic Dhananjaya bending his head and joining his hands, replied unto him of a thousand eyes, saying, 'Even this is the object of my wishes; grant me this boon, O illustrious one. I desire to learn from thee all the weapons.' The chief of the celestials then, smiling, replied unto him cheerfully, saying, 'O Dhananjaya, when thou hast reached this region, what need is there of weapons? Thou hast already obtained a pure state of life. Ask thou for the regions of bliss that thou desirest.' Thus addressed, Dhananjaya replied unto him of a thousand eyes, saying, 'I desire not regions of bliss, nor objects of enjoyment, nor the state of a celestial; what is this talk about happiness? O chief of the celestials, I do not desire the prosperity of all the gods. Having left my brothers behind me in the forest, and without avenging myself on the foe, shall I incur the opprobrium for all ages of all the world?' Thus addressed, the slayer of Vritra, worshipped of the worlds, consoling him with gentle words, spake unto the son of Pandu, saying, 'When thou art able to behold the three-eyed trident-bearing Siva, the lord of all creatures, it is then, O child, that I will give thee all the celestial weapons. Therefore, strive thou to obtain the sight of the highest of the gods; for it is only after thou hast seen him, O son of Kunti, that thou wilt obtain all thy wishes.' Having spoken thus unto Phalguna, Sakra disappeared then and there, and Arjuna, devoting himself to asceticism, remained at that spot.'"


(Kairata Parva)

Janamejaya said, "O illustrious one, I desire to hear in detail the history of the acquisition of weapons by Arjuna of spotless deeds. O tell me how that tiger among men, Dhananjaya, of mighty arms and possessed of great energy, entered that solitary forest without fear. And, O thou foremost of those acquainted with the Veda, what also did Arjuna do while dwelling there? How also were the illustrious Sthanu and the chief of the celestials gratified by him? O thou best of regenerate ones, I desire to hear all this under thy favour. Thou art omniscient; thou knowest all about the gods and all about men. O Brahmana, the battle that took place of old between Arjuna—that foremost of smiters never defeated in battle—and Bhava was highly extraordinary and without parallel. It maketh one's hair stand on end to hear of it. Even the hearts of those lions among men—the brave sons of Pritha—trembled in consequence of wonder and joy and a sense of their own inferiority. O tell me in full what else Arjuna did, I do not see even the most trivial thing to Jishnu that is censurable. Therefore, recite to me in full the history of that hero."

Vaisampayana said, "O tiger among Kurus, I shall recite to thee that narration, excellent and extensive and unrivalled, in connection with the illustrious hero. O sinless one, hear in detail the particulars about Arjuna's meeting with the three-eyed god of gods, and his contact with the illustrious god's person!

"At Yudhishthira's command, Dhananjaya of immeasurable prowess set out (from Kamyaka) to obtain a sight of Sakra, the chief of the celestials and of Sankara, the god of gods. And the strong-armed Arjuna of great might set out armed with his celestial bow and a sword with golden hilt, for the success of the object he had in view, northwards, towards the summit of the Himavat. And, O king, that first of all warriors in the three worlds, the son of Indra, with a calm mind, and firmly adhering to his purpose, then devoted himself, without the loss of any time, to ascetic austerities. And he entered, all alone, that terrible forest abounding with thorny plants and trees and flowers and fruits of various kinds, and inhabited by winged creatures of various species, and swarming with animals of diverse kinds, and resorted to by Siddhas and Charanas. And when the son of Kunti entered that forest destitute of human beings, sounds of conchs and drums began to be heard in the heavens. And a thick shower of flowers fell upon the earth, and the clouds spreading over the firmament caused a thick shade. Passing over those difficult and woody regions at the foot of the great mountains, Arjuna soon reached the breast of the Himavat; and staying there for sometime began to shine in his brilliancy. And he beheld there numerous trees with expanding verdure, resounding with the melodious notes of winged warblers. And he saw there rivers with currents of the lapis lazuli, broken by the fierce eddies here and there, and echoing with the notes of swans and ducks and cranes. And the banks of those rivers resounded with the mellifluous strains of the male Kokilas and the notes of peacocks and cranes. And the mighty warrior, beholding those rivers of sacred and pure and delicious water and their charming banks, became highly delighted. And the delighted Arjuna of fierce energy and high soul then devoted himself to rigid austerities in that delightful and woody region. Clad in rags made of grass and furnished with a black deerskin and a stick, he commenced to eat withered leaves fallen upon the ground. And he passed the first month, by eating fruits at the interval of three nights; and the second by eating at the interval of the six nights; and the third by eating at the interval of a fortnight. When the fourth month came, that best of the Bharatas—the strong-armed son of Pandu—began to subsist on air alone. With arms upraised and leaning upon nothing and standing on the tips of his toes, he continued his austerities. And the illustrious hero's locks, in consequence of frequent bathing took the hue of lightning or the lotus. Then all the great Rishis went together unto the god of the Pinaka for representing unto him about the fierce asceticism of Pritha's son. And bowing unto that god of gods, they informed him of Arjuna's austerities saying, 'This son of Pritha possessed of great energy is engaged in the most difficult of ascetic austerities on the breast of the Himavat. Heated with his asceticism, the earth is smoking all round, O god of gods. We do not know what his object is for which he is engaged in these austerities. He, however, is causing us pain. It behoveth thee to prevent him!' Hearing these words of those munis with souls under perfect control, the lord of all creatures—the husband of Uma said, 'It behoveth you not to indulge in any grief on account of Phalguna! Return ye all cheerfully and with alacrity to the places whence ye have come. I know the desire that is in Arjuna's heart. His wish is not for heaven, nor for prosperity, nor for long life. And I will accomplish, even this day, all that is desired by him.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "The truth-speaking Rishis, having heard these words of Mahadeva, became delighted, and returned to their respective abodes."


Vaisampayana said, "After all those illustrious ascetics had gone away, that wielder of the Pinaka and cleanser of all sins—the illustrious Hara—assuming the form of a Kirata resplendent as a golden tree, and with a huge and stalwart form like a second Meru, and taking up a hand some bow and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, and looking like an embodiment of fire, came quickly down on the breast of Himavat. And the handsome god of gods was accompanied by Uma in the guise of a Kirata woman, and also by a swarm of merry spirits of various forms and attire, and by thousands of women in the form and attire of Kiratas. And, O king, that region suddenly blazed up in beauty, in consequence of the arrival of the god of gods in such company. And soon enough a solemn stillness pervaded the place. The sounds of springs, and water-courses, and of birds suddenly ceased. And as the god of gods approached Pritha's son of blameless deeds, he beheld a wonderful sight, even that of a Danava named Muka, seeking, in the form of a boar, to slay Arjuna. Phalguna, at the sight of the enemy seeking to slay him, took up the Gandiva and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison. And stringing his bow and filling the air with its twang, he addressed the boar and said, 'I have come here but done thee no injury. As thou seekest to slay me, I shall certainly send thee to the abode of Yama.' And beholding that firm wielder of the bow—Phalguna—about to slay the boar, Sankara in the guise of a Kirata suddenly bade him stop saying, 'The boar like the mountain of Indrakila in hue hath been aimed at by me first'; Phalguna, however, disregarding these words, struck the boar. The Kirata also blazing splendour, let fly an arrow like flaming fire and resembling the thunderbolt at the same object. And the arrows thus shot by both fell at the same instant of time upon the wide body of Muka, hard as adamant. And the two shafts fell upon the boar with a loud sound, even like that of Indra's thunderbolt and the thunder of the clouds falling together upon the breast of a mountain. And Muka, thus struck by two shafts which produced numerous arrows resembling snakes of blazing mouths, yielded up his life, assuming once more his terrible Rakshasa form. Jishnu—that slayer of foes—then beheld before him that person, of form blazing as god, and attired in the dress of a Kirata and accompanied by many women. And beholding him, the son of Kunti with a joyous heart addressed him smilingly and said, 'Who art thou that thus wanderest in these solitary woods, surrounded by women? thou of the splendour of gold, art thou not afraid of this terrible forest? Why, again, didst thou shoot the boar that was first aimed at by me? This Rakshasa that came hither, listlessly or with the object of slaying me, had been first aimed at by me. Thou shalt not, therefore, escape from me with life. Thy behaviour towards me is not consistent with the customs of the chase. Therefore, O mountaineer, I will take thy life.' Thus addressed by the son of Pandu, the Kirata, smiling, replied unto his capable of wielding the bow with his left hand, in soft words, saying, 'O hero, thou needst not be anxious on my account. This forest land is proper abode for us who always dwell in the woods. Respecting thyself, however, I may inquire, why thou hast selected thy abode here amid such difficulties. We, O ascetic, have our habitation in these woods abounding in animals of all kinds. Why dost thou, so delicate and brought up in luxury and possessed of the splendour of fire, dwell alone in such a solitary region?' Arjuna said, 'Depending on the Gandiva and arrows blazing like fire, I live in this great forest, like a second Pavaki. Thou hast seen how this monster—this terrible Rakshasa—that came hither in the form of an animal, hath been slain by me.' The Kirata replied, 'This Rakshasa, first struck with the shot from my bow, was killed and sent to the regions of Yama by me. He was first aimed at by me. And it is with my shot that he has been deprived of life. Proud of thy strength, it behoveth thee not to impute thy own fault to others. Thou art thyself in fault, O wretch, and, therefore, shalt not escape from me with life. Stay thou: I will shoot at thee shafts like thunderbolts. Strive thou also and shoot, to the best of thy power, thy arrows at me.' Hearing these words of the Kirata, Arjuna became angry, and attacked him with arrows. The Kirata, however, with a glad heart received all those shafts upon himself, repeatedly saying, 'Wretch, wretch, shoot thou best arrows capable of piercing into the very vitals.' Thus addressed, Arjuna, began to shower his arrows on him. Both of them then became angry and, engaging in fierce conflict, began to shoot at each other showers of arrows, each resembling a snake of virulent poison. And Arjuna rained a perfect shower of arrows on the Kirata. Sankara, however, bore that downpour on him with a cheerful heart. But the wielder of the Pinaka, having borne that shower of arrows for a moment, stood unwounded, immovable like a hill. Dhananjaya, beholding his arrowy shower become futile, wondered exceedingly, repeatedly saying, 'Excellent! Excellent! Alas, this mountaineer of delicate limbs, dwelling on the heights of the Himavat, beareth, without wavering, the shafts shot from the Gandiva! Who is he? Is he Rudra himself, or some other god, or a Yaksha, or an Asura? The gods sometimes do descend on the heights of the Himavat. Except the god who wieldeth the Pinaka, there is none rise that can bear the impetuosity of the thousands of arrows shot by me from the Gandiva. Whether he is a god or a Yaksha, in fact, anybody except Rudra, I shall soon send him, with my shafts, to the regions of Yama.' Thus thinking, Arjuna, with a cheerful heart, began, O king, to shoot arrows by hundreds, resembling in splendour the rays of the sun. That downpour of shafts, however, the illustrious Creator of the worlds—the wielder of the trident—bore with a glad heart, like a mountain bearing a shower of rocks. Soon, however, the arrows of Phalguna were exhausted. And noticing this fact, Arjuna became greatly alarmed. And the son of Pandu then began to think of the illustrious god Agni who had before, during the burning of the Khandava, given him a couple of inexhaustible quivers. And he began to think, 'Alas, my arrows are all exhausted. What shall I shoot now from my bow? Who is this person that swalloweth my arrows? Slaying him with the end of my bow, as elephants are killed with lances, I shall send him to the domains of the mace-bearing Yama.' The illustrious Arjuna then, taking up his bow and dragging the Kirata with his bow-string, struck him some fierce blows that descended like thunderbolts. When, however, that slayer of hostile heroes—the son of Kunti—commenced the conflict with the end of the bow, the mountaineer snatched from his hands that celestial bow. And beholding his bow snatched from him, Arjuna took up his sword, and wishing to end the conflict, rushed at his foe. And then the Kuru prince, with the whole might of his arms, struck that sharp weapon upon the head of the Kirata, a weapon that was incapable of being resisted even by solid rocks. But that first of swords, at touch of the Kirata's crown, broke into pieces. Phalguna then commenced the conflict with trees and stones. The illustrious god in the form of the huge-bodied Kirata, however, bore that shower of trees and rocks with patience. The mighty son of Pritha then, his mouth smoking with wrath, struck the invincible god in the form of a Kirata, with his clenched fists, blows that descended like thunderbolts. The god in the Kirata form returned Phalguna's blows with fierce blows resembling the thunderbolts of Indra. And in consequence of that conflict of blows between the son of Pandu and the Kirata, there arose in that place loud and frightful sounds. That terrible conflict of blows, resembling the conflict of yore between Vritra and Vasava, lasted but for a moment. The mighty Jishnu clasping the Kirata began to press him with his breast, but the Kirata, possessed of great strength pressed the insensible son of Pandu with force. And in consequence of the pressure of their arms and of their breasts, their bodies began to emit smoke like charcoal in fire. The great god then, smiting the already smitten son of Pandu, and attacking him in anger with his full might, deprived him of his senses. Then, O Bharata, Phalguna, thus pressed by the god of the gods, with limbs, besides, bruised and mangled, became incapable of motion and was almost reduced to a ball of flesh. And struck by the illustrious god, he became breathless and, falling down on earth without power of moving, looked like one that was dead. Soon, however, he regained consciousness, and, rising from his prostrate position, with body covered with blood, became filled with grief. Mentally prostrating himself before the gracious god of gods, and making a clay image of that deity, he worshipped it, with offerings of floral garlands. Beholding, however, the garland that he had offered to the clay image of Bhava, decking the crown of the Kirata, that best of Pandu's sons became filled with joy and regained his ease. And he prostrated himself thereupon at the feet of Bhava, and the god also was pleased with him. And Hara, beholding the wonder of Arjuna and seeing that his body had been emaciated with ascetic austerities, spake unto him in a voice deep as the roaring of the clouds, saying, 'O Phalguna, I have been pleased with thee for thy act is without a parallel. There is no Kshatriya who is equal to thee in courage, and patience. And, O sinless one, thy strength and prowess are almost equal to mine. O mighty-armed one, I have been pleased with thee. Behold me, O bull of the Bharata race! O large-eyed one! I will grant thee eyes (to see me in my true form). Thou wert a Rishi before. Thou wilt vanquish all thy foes, even the dwellers of heaven; I will as I have been pleased with thee, grant thee an irresistible weapon. Soon shall thou be able to wield that weapon of mine.'"

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


(Indralokagamana Parva)

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

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

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

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