"After the Pandavas had thus lived for ten nights, Purochana spoke to them of the mansion (he had built) called 'The Blessed Home,' but in reality the cursed house. Then those tigers among men, attired in costly dress, entered that mansion at the instance of Purochana like Guhyakas entering the palace (of Siva) on the Kailasa mount. The foremost of all virtuous men, Yudhishthira, inspecting the house, said unto Bhima that it was really built of inflammable materials. Smelling the scent of fat mixed with clarified butter and preparations of lac, he said unto Bhima, 'O chastiser of foes, this house is truly built of inflammable materials! Indeed, it is apparent that such is the case! The enemy, it is evident, by the aid of trusted artists well-skilled in the construction of houses, have finely built this mansion, after procuring hemp, resin, heath, straw, and bamboos, all soaked in clarified butter. This wicked wretch, Purochana, acting under the instruction of Duryodhana, stayeth here with the object of burning me to death when he seeth me trustful. But, O son of Pritha, Vidura of great intelligence, knew of this danger, and, therefore, hath warned me of it beforehand. Knowing it all, that youngest uncle of ours, ever wishing our good from affection hath told us that this house, so full of danger, hath been constructed by the wretches under Duryodhana acting in secrecy.'
"Hearing this, Bhima replied, 'If, sir, you know this house to be so inflammable, it would then be well for us to return thither where we had taken up our quarters first.' Yudhishthira replied, 'It seems to me that we should rather continue to live here in seeming unsuspiciousness but all the while with caution and our senses wide awake and seeking for some certain means of escape. If Purochana findeth from our countenances that we have fathomed designs, acting with haste he may suddenly burn us to death. Indeed, Purochana careth little for obloquy or sin. The wretch stayeth here acting under the instruction of Duryodhana. If we are burnt to death, will our grandfather Bhishma be angry? Why will he, by showing his wrath, make the Kauravas angry with him? Or, perhaps, our grandfather Bhishma and the other bull of Kuru's race, regarding indignation at such a sinful act to be virtuous, may become wrathful. If however, from fear of being burnt, we fly from here, Duryodhana, ambitious of sovereignty will certainly compass our death by means of spies. While we have no rank and power, Duryodhana hath both; while we have no friends and allies, Duryodhana hath both; while we are without wealth, Duryodhana hath at his command a full treasury. Will he not, therefore, certainly destroy us by adopting adequate means? Let us, therefore, by deceiving this wretch (Purochana) and that other wretch Duryodhana, pass our days, disguising ourselves at times. Let us also lead a hunting life, wandering over the earth. We shall then, if we have to escape our enemies, be familiar with all paths. We shall also, this very day, cause a subterranean passage to be dug in our chamber in great secrecy. If we act in this way, concealing what we do from all, fire shall never be able to consume us. We shall live here, actively doing everything for our safety but with such privacy that neither Purochana nor any of the citizens of Varanavata may know what we are after.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'A friend of Vidura's, well-skilled in mining, coming unto the Pandavas, addressed them in secret, saying, 'I have been sent by Vidura and am a skilful miner. I am to serve the Pandavas. Tell me what I am to do for ye. From the trust he reposeth in me Vidura hath said unto me, 'Go thou unto the Pandavas and accomplish thou their good.' What shall I do for you? Purochana will set fire to the door of thy house on the fourteenth night of this dark fortnight. To burn to death those tigers among men, the Pandavas, with their mother, is the design of that wicked wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra. O son of Pandu, Vidura also told thee something in the Mlechchha tongue to which thou also didst reply in same language. I state these particulars as my credentials.' Hearing these words, Yudhishthira, the truthful son of Kunti replied, 'O amiable one, I now know thee as a dear and trusted friend of Vidura, true and ever devoted to him. There is nothing that the learned Vidura doth not know. As his, so ours art thou. Make no difference between him and us. We are as much thine as his. O, protect us as the learned Vidura ever protecteth us. I know that this house, so inflammable, hath been contrived for me by Purochana at the command of Dhritarashtra's son. That wicked wretch commanding wealth and allies pursueth us without intermission. O, save us with a little exertion from the impending conflagration. If we are burnt to death here, Duryodhana's most cherished desire will be satisfied. Here is that wretch's well-furnished arsenal. This large mansion hath been built abutting the high ramparts of the arsenal without any outlet. But this unholy contrivance of Duryodhana was known to Vidura from the first, and he it was who enlightened us beforehand. The danger of which Kshattri had foreknowledge is now at our door. Save us from it without Purochana's knowledge thereof.' On hearing these words, the miner said, 'So be it,' and carefully beginning his work of excavation, made a large subterranean passage. And the mouth of that passage was in the centre of that house, and it was on a level with the floor and closed up with planks. The mouth was so covered from fear of Purochana, that wicked wretch who kept a constant watch at the door of the house. The Pandavas used to sleep within their chambers with arms ready for use, while, during the day, they went a- hunting from forest to forest. Thus, O king, they lived (in that mansion) very guardedly, deceiving Purochana by a show of trustfulness and contentment while in reality they were trustless and discontented. Nor did the citizens of Varanavata know anything about these plans of the Pandavas. In fact, none else knew of them except Vidura's friend, that good miner.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Seeing the Pandavas living there cheerfully and without suspicion for a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad. And beholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira, the virtuous son of Kunti, addressing Bhima and Arjuna and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) said, 'The cruel-hearted wretch hath been well-deceived. I think the time is come for our escape. Setting fire to the arsenal and burning Purochana to death and letting his body lie here, let us, six persons, fly hence unobserved by all!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then on the occasion of an almsgiving, O king, Kunti fed on a certain night a large number of Brahmanas. There came also a number of ladies who while eating and drinking, enjoyed there as they pleased, and with Kunti's leave returned to their respective homes. Desirous of obtaining food, there came, as though impelled by fate, to that feast, in course of her wanderings, a Nishada woman, the mother of five children, accompanied by all her sons. O king, she, and her children, intoxicated with the wine they drank, became incapable. Deprived of consciousness and more dead than alive, she with all her sons lay down in that mansion to sleep. Then when all the inmates of the house lay down to sleep, there began to blow a violent wind in the night. Bhima then set fire to the house just where Purochana was sleeping. Then the son of Pandu set fire to the door of that house of lac. Then he set fire to the mansion in several parts all around. Then when the sons of Pandu were satisfied that the house had caught fire in several parts those chastisers of foes with their mother, entered the subterranean passage without losing any time. Then the heat and the roar of the fire became intense and awakened the townspeople. Beholding the house in flames, the citizens with sorrowful faces began to say, 'The wretch (Purochana) of wicked soul had under the instruction of Duryodhana built his house for the destruction of his employer's relatives. He indeed hath set fire to it. O, fie on Dhritarashtra's heart which is so partial. He hath burnt to death, as if he were their foe, the sinless heirs of Pandu! O, the sinful and wicked- souled (Purochana) who hath burnt those best of men, the innocent and unsuspicious princes, hath himself been burnt to death as fate would have it.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The citizens of Varanavata thus bewailed (the fate of the Pandavas), and waited there for the whole night surrounding that house. The Pandavas, however, accompanied by their mother coming out of the subterranean passage, fled in haste unnoticed. But those chastisers of foes, for sleepiness and fear, could not with their mother proceed in haste. But, O monarch, Bhimasena, endued with terrible prowess and swiftness of motion took upon his body all his brothers and mother and began to push through the darkness. Placing his mother on his shoulder, the twins on his sides, and Yudhishthira and Arjuna on both his arms, Vrikodara of great energy and strength and endued with the speed of the wind, commenced his march, breaking the trees with his breast and pressing deep the earth with his stamp.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'About this time, the learned Vidura had sent into those woods a man of pure character and much trusted by him. This person going to where he had been directed, saw the Pandavas with their mother in the forest employed in a certain place in measuring the depth of a river. The design that the wicked Duryodhana had formed had been, through his spies, known to Vidura of great intelligence, and, therefore, he had sent that prudent person unto the Pandavas. Sent by Vidura unto them, he showed the Pandavas on the sacred banks of the Ganga a boat with engines and flags, constructed by trusted artificers and capable of withstanding wind and wave and endued with the speed of the tempest or of thought. He then addressed the Pandavas in these words to show that he had really been sent by Vidura, 'O Yudhishthira,' he said, 'listen to these words the learned Vidura had said (unto thee) as a proof of the fact that I come from him. Neither the consumer of straw and the wood nor the drier of dew ever burneth the inmates of a hole in the forest. He escapeth from death who protecteth himself knowing this, etc. By these credentials know me to be the person who has been truly sent by Vidura and to be also his trusted agent. Vidura, conversant with everything, hath again said, 'O son of Kunti, thou shalt surely defeat in battle Karna, and Duryodhana with his brothers, and Sakuni.' This boat is ready on the waters, and it will glide pleasantly thereon, and shall certainly bear you all from these regions!'
"Then beholding those foremost of men with their mother pensive and sad he caused them to go into the boat that was on the Ganga, and accompanied them himself. Addressing them again, he said, 'Vidura having smelt your heads and embraced you (mentally), hath said again that in commencing your auspicious journey and going alone you should never be careless.'
"Saying these words unto those heroic princes, the person sent by Vidura took those bulls among men over to the other side of the Ganga in his boat. And having taken them over the water and seen them all safe on the opposite bank, he uttered the word 'Jaya' (victory) to their success and then left them and returned to the place whence he had come.
"The illustrious Pandavas also sending through that person some message to Vidura, began, after having crossed the Ganga, to proceed with haste and in great secrecy.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then, when the night had passed away, a large concourse of the townspeople came there in haste to see the sons of Pandu. After extinguishing the fire, they saw that the house just burnt down had been built of lac in materials and that (Duryodhana's) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death. And the people began to bewail aloud saying, 'Indeed, this had been contrived by the sinful Duryodhana for the destruction of the Pandavas. There is little doubt that Duryodhana hath, with Dhritarashtra's knowledge, burnt to death the heirs of Pandu, else the prince would have been prevented by his father. There is little doubt that even Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and Drona and Vidura and Kripa and other Kauravas have not, any of them, followed the dictates of duty. Let us now send to Dhritarashtra to say, 'Thy great desire hath been achieved! Thou hast burnt to death the Pandavas!'
"They then began to extinguish the members to obtain some trace of the Pandavas, and they saw the innocent Nishada woman with her five sons burnt to death. Then the miner sent by Vidura, while removing the ashes, covered the hole he had dug with those ashes in such a way that it remained unnoticed by all who had gone there.
"The citizens then sent to Dhritarashtra to inform him that the Pandavas along with (Duryodhana's) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death. King Dhritarashtra, on hearing the evil news of the death of the Pandavas, wept in great sorrow. And he said, 'King Pandu, my brother of great fame, hath, indeed, died today when those heroic sons of his together with their mother have been burnt to death. Ye men, repair quickly to Varanavata and cause the funeral rites to be performed of those heroes and of the daughter of Kuntiraj! Let also the bones of the deceased be sanctified with the usual rites, and let all the beneficial and great acts (usual on such occasions) be performed. Let the friends and relatives of those that have been burnt to death repair thither. Let also all other beneficial acts that ought, under the circumstances, to be performed by us for the Pandavas and Kunti be accomplished by wealth.'
"Having said this, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, surrounded by his relatives, offered oblations of water to the sons of Pandu. And all of them, afflicted with excessive sorrow, bewailed aloud, exclaiming, 'O Yudhishthira! Oh prince of the Kuru race!'—While others cried aloud, 'Oh, Bhima!—O Phalguna!'—while some again,—'Oh, the twins!—Oh, Kunti!'— Thus did they sorrow for the Pandavas and offer oblations of water unto them. The citizens also wept for the Pandavas but Vidura did not weep much, because he knew the truth.
"Meanwhile the Pandavas endued with great strength with their mother forming a company of six going out of the town of Varanavata arrived at the banks of the Ganga. They then speedily reached the opposite bank aided by the strength of the boatmen's arms, the rapidity of the river's current, and a favourable wind. Leaving the boat, they proceeded in the southern direction finding their way in the dark by the light of the stars. After much suffering they at last reached, O king, a dense forest. They were then tired and thirsty; sleep was closing their eyes every moment. Then Yudhishthira, addressing Bhima endued with great energy, said, 'What can be more painful than this? We are now in the deep woods. We know not which side is which, nor can we proceed much further. We do not know whether that wretch Purochana hath or hath not been burnt to death. How shall we escape from these dangers unseen by others? O Bharata, taking us on thyself, proceed thou as before. Thou alone amongst us art strong and swift as the wind.'
"Thus addressed by Yudhishthira the just, the mighty Bhimasena, taking up on his body Kunti and his brothers, began to proceed with great celerity."
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said," As the mighty Bhima proceeded, the whole forest with its trees and their branches seemed to tremble, in consequence of their clash with his breast. The motion of his thighs raised a wind like unto that which blows during the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha (May and June). And the mighty Bhima proceeded, making a path for himself, but treading down the trees and creepers before him. In fact, he broke (by the pressure of his body) the large trees and plants, with their flowers and fruits, standing on his way. Even so passeth through the woods breaking down mighty trees, the leader of a herd of elephants, of the age of sixty years, angry and endued with excess of energy, during the season of rut when the liquid juice trickle down the three parts of his body. Indeed, so great was the force with which Bhima endued with the speed of Garuda or of Marut (the god of wind), proceeded that the Pandavas seemed to faint in consequence. Frequently swimming across streams difficult of being crossed, the Pandavas disguised themselves on their way from fear of the sons of Dhritarashtra. And Bhima carried on his shoulder his illustrious mother of delicate sensibilities along the uneven banks of rivers. Towards the evening, O bull of Bharata's race, Bhima (bearing his brothers and mother on his back) reached a terrible forest where fruits and roots and water were scarce and which resounded with the terrible cries of birds and beasts. The twilight deepened the cries of birds and beasts became fiercer, darkness shrouded everything from the view and untimely winds began to blow that broke and laid low many a tree large and small and many creepers with dry leaves and fruits. The Kaurava princes, afflicted with fatigue and thirst, and heavy with sleep, were unable to proceed further. They then all sat down in that forest without food and drink. Then Kunti, smitten with thirst, said unto her sons, 'I am the mother of the five Pandavas and am now in their midst. Yet I am burning with thirst!' Kunti repeatedly said this unto her sons. Hearing these words, Bhima's heart, from affection for his mother, was warmed by compassion and he resolved to go (along as before). Then Bhima, proceeding through that terrible and extensive forest without a living soul, saw a beautiful banian tree with widespreading branches. Setting down there his brothers and mother, O bull of Bharata's race, he said unto them, 'Rest you here, while I go in quest of water. I hear the sweet cries of aquatic fowls. I think there must be a large pool here.' Commanded, O Bharata, by his elder brother who said unto him, 'Go', Bhima proceeded in the direction whence the cries of those aquatic fowls were coming. And, O bull of Bharata's race, he soon came upon a lake and bathed and slaked his thirst. And affectionate unto his brothers, he brought for them, O Bharata, water by soaking his upper garments. Hastily retracing his way over those four miles he came unto where his mother was and beholding her he was afflicted with sorrow and began to sigh like a snake. Distressed with grief at seeing his mother and brothers asleep on the bare ground, Vrikodara began to weep, 'Oh, wretch that I am, who behold my brothers asleep on the bare ground, what can befall me more painful than this? Alas, they who formerly at Varanavata could not sleep on the softest and costliest beds are now asleep on the bare ground! Oh, what more painful sight shall I ever behold than that of Kunti—the sister of Vasudeva, that grinder of hostile hosts—the daughter of Kuntiraja,—herself decked with every auspicious mark, the daughter-in- law of Vichitravirya,—the wife of the illustrious Pandu,—the mother of us (five brothers),—resplendent as the filaments of the lotus and delicate and tender and fit to sleep on the costliest bed—thus asleep, as she should never be, on the bare ground! Oh, she who hath brought forth these sons by Dharma and Indra and Maruta—she who hath ever slept within palaces—now sleepeth, fatigued, on the bare ground! What more painful sight shall ever be beheld by me than that of these tigers among men (my brothers) asleep on the ground! Oh, the virtuous Yudhishthira, who deserveth the sovereignty of the three worlds, sleepeth, fatigued, like an ordinary man, on the bare ground! This Arjuna of the darkish hue of blue clouds, and unequalled amongst men sleepeth on the ground like an ordinary person! Oh, what can be more painful than this? Oh the twins, who in beauty are like the twin Aswins amongst the celestials, are asleep like ordinary mortals on the bare ground! He who hath no jealous evil-minded relatives, liveth in happiness in this world like a single tree in a village. The tree that standeth single in a village with its leaves and fruits, from absence of other of the same species, becometh sacred and is worshipped and venerated by all. They again that have many relatives who, however, are all heroic and virtuous, live happily in the world without sorrow of any kind. Themselves powerful and growing in prosperity and always gladdening their friends and relatives, they live, depending on each other, like tall trees growing in the same forest. We, however, have been forced in exile by the wicked Dhritarashtra and his sons having escaped with difficulty, from sheer good fortune, a fiery death. Having escaped from that fire, we are now resting in the shade of this tree. Having already suffered so much, where now are we to go? Ye sons of Dhritarashtra of little foresight, ye wicked fellows, enjoy your temporary success. The gods are certainly auspicious to you. But ye wicked wretches, ye are alive yet, only because Yudhishthira doth not command me to take your lives. Else this very day, filled with wrath, I would send thee, (O Duryodhana), to the of Yama (Pluto) with thy children and friends and brothers, and Karna, and (Sakuni) the son of Suvala! But what can I do, for, ye sinful wretches, the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, is not yet angry with you?'
"Having said this, Bhima of mighty arms, fired with wrath, began to squeeze his palms, sighing deeply in affliction. Excited again with wrath like an extinguished fire blazing up all on a sudden, Vrikodara once more beheld his brothers sleeping on the ground like ordinary persons sleeping in trustfulness. And Bhima said unto himself, 'I think there is some town not far off from this forest. These all are asleep, so I will sit awake. And this will slake their thirst after they rise refreshed from sleep.' Saying this, Bhima sat there awake, keeping watch over his sleeping mother and brothers.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Not far from the place where the Pandavas were asleep, a Rakshasa by name Hidimva dwelt on the Sala tree. Possessed of great energy and prowess, he was a cruel cannibal of visage that was grim in consequence of his sharp and long teeth. He was now hungry and longing for human flesh. Of long shanks and a large belly, his locks and beard were both red in hue. His shoulders were broad like the neck of a tree; his ears were like unto arrows, and his features were frightful. Of red eyes and grim visage, the monster beheld, while casting his glances around, the sons of Pandu sleeping in those woods. He was then hungry and longing for human flesh. Shaking his dry and grizzly locks and scratching them with his fingers pointed upwards, the large-mouthed cannibal repeatedly looked at the sleeping sons of Pandu yawning wistfully at times. Of huge body and great strength, of complexion like the colour of a mass of clouds, of teeth long and sharp-pointed and face emitting a sort of lustre, he was ever pleased with human flesh. And scenting the odour of man, he addressed his sister, saying, 'O sister, it is after a long time that such agreeable food hath approached me! My mouth waters at the anticipated relish of such food. My eight teeth, so sharp-pointed and incapable of being resisted by any substance, I shall, today, after a long time, put into the most delicious flesh. Attacking the human throat and even opening the veins, I shall (today) drink a plentiful quantity of human blood, hot and fresh and frothy. Go and ascertain who these are, lying asleep in these woods. The strong scent of man pleaseth my nostrils. Slaughtering all these men, bring them unto me. They sleep within my territory. Thou needest have no fear from them. Do my bidding soon, for we shall then together eat their flesh, tearing off their bodies at pleasure. And after feasting to our fill on human flesh we shall then dance together to various measures!'
"Thus addressed by Hidimva in those woods, Hidimva, the female cannibal, at the command of her brother, went, O bull of Bharata's race, to the spot where the Pandavas were. And on going there, she beheld the Pandavas asleep with their mother and the invincible Bhimasena sitting awake. And beholding Bhimasena unrivalled on earth for beauty and like unto a vigorous Sala tree, the Rakshasa woman immediately fell in love with him, and she said to herself, 'This person of hue like heated gold and of mighty arms, of broad shoulders as the lion, and so resplendent, of neck marked with three lines like a conch-shell and eyes like lotus-petals, is worthy of being my husband. I shall not obey the cruel mandate of my brother. A woman's love for her husband is stronger than her affection for her brother. If I slay him, my brother's gratification as well as mine will only be momentary. But if I slay him not, I can enjoy with him for ever and ever.' Thus saying, the Rakshasa woman, capable of assuming form at will, assumed an excellent human form and began to advance with slow steps towards Bhima of mighty arms. Decked with celestial ornaments she advanced with smiles on her lips and a modest gait, and addressing Bhima said, 'O bull among men, whence hast thou come here and who art thou? Who, besides, are these persons of celestial beauty sleeping here? Who also, O sinless one, is this lady of transcendent beauty sleeping so trustfully in these woods as if she were lying in her own chamber? Dost thou not know that this forest is the abode of a Rakshasa. Truly do I say, here liveth the wicked Rakshasa called Hidimva. Ye beings of celestial beauty, I have been sent hither even by that Rakshasa—my brother—with the cruel intent of killing you for his food. But I tell thee truly that beholding thee resplendent as a celestial, I would have none else for my husband save thee! Thou who art acquainted with all duties, knowing this, do unto me what is proper. My heart as well as my body hath been pierced by (the shafts of) Kama (Cupid). O, as I am desirous of obtaining thee, make me thine. O thou of mighty arms, I will rescue thee from the Rakshasa who eateth human flesh. O sinless one, be thou my husband. We shall then live on the breasts of mountains inaccessible to ordinary mortals. I can range the air and I do so at pleasure. Thou mayest enjoy great felicity with me in those regions.'
"Hearing these words of hers, Bhima replied, 'O Rakshasa woman, who can, like a Muni having all his passions under control, abandon his sleeping mother and elder and younger brothers? What man like me would go to gratify his lust, leaving his sleeping mother and brothers as food for a Rakshasa?'
"The Rakshasa woman replied, 'O, awaken all these, I shall do unto you all that is agreeable to thee! I shall certainly rescue you all from my cannibal brother.'
"Bhima then said, 'O Rakshasa woman, I will not, from fear of thy wicked brother, awaken my brothers and mother sleeping comfortably in the woods. O timid one, Rakshasas are never able to bear the prowess of my arms. And, O thou of handsome eyes, neither men, nor Gandharvas, nor Yakshas are able to bear my might. O amiable one, thou mayst stay or go as thou likest, or mayst even send thy cannibal brother, O thou of delicate shape. I care not.'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hidimva, the chief of the Rakshasas, seeing that his sister returned not soon enough, alighted from the tree, proceeded quickly to the spot where the Pandavas were. Of red eyes and strong arms and the arms and the hair of his head standing erect, of large open mouth and body like unto a mass of dark clouds, teeth long and sharp-pointed, he was terrible to behold. And Hidimva, beholding her brother of frightful visage alight from the tree, became very much alarmed, and addressing Bhima said, 'The wicked cannibal is coming hither in wrath. I entreat thee, do with thy brothers, as I bid thee. O thou of great courage, as I am endued with the powers of a Rakshasa, I am capable of going whithersoever I like. Mount ye on my hips, I will carry you all through the skies. And, O chastiser of foes, awaken these and thy mother sleeping in comfort. Taking them all on my body, I will convey you through the skies.'
"Bhima then said, 'O thou of fair hips, fear not anything. I am sure that as long as I am here, there is no Rakshasa capable of injuring any of these, O thou of slender waist. I will slay this (cannibal) before thy very eyes. This worst of Rakshasas, O timid one, is no worthy antagonist of mine, nor can all the Rakshasas together bear the strength of my arms. Behold these strong arms of mine, each like unto the trunk of an elephant. Behold also these thighs of mine like unto iron maces, and this broad and adamantine chest. O beautiful one, thou shall today behold my prowess like unto that of Indra. O thou of fair hips, hate me not, thinking that I am a man.'
"Hidimva replied saying, 'O tiger among men, O thou of the beauty of a celestial, I do not certainly hold thee in contempt. But I have seen the prowess that Rakshasas exert upon men.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, the wrathful Rakshasa eating human flesh heard these words of Bhima who had been talking in that way. And Hidimva beheld his sister disguised in human form, her head decked with garlands of flowers and her face like the full moon and her eyebrows and nose and eyes and ringlets all of the handsomest description, and her nails and complexion of the most delicate hue, and herself wearing every kind of ornament and attired in fine transparent robes. The cannibal, beholding her in that charming human form, suspected that she was desirous of carnal intercourse and became indignant. And, O best of the Kurus, becoming angry with his sister, the Rakshasa dilated his eyes and addressing her said, 'What senseless creature wishes to throw obstacles in my path now that I am so hungry? Hast thou become so senseless, O Hidimva, that thou fearest not my wrath? Fie on thee, thou unchaste woman! Thou art even now desirous of carnal intercourse and solicitous of doing me an injury. Thou art ready to sacrifice the good name and honour of all the Rakshasas, thy ancestors! Those with whose aid thou wouldst do me this great injury, I will, even now, slay along with thee.' Addressing his sister thus, Hidimva, with eyes red with anger and teeth pressing against teeth, ran at her to kill her then and there. But beholding him rush at his sister, Bhima, that foremost of smiter, endued with great energy, rebuked him and said, 'Stop—Stop!'"
"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Bhima, beholding the Rakshasa angry with his sister, smiled (in derision), and said, addressing him, 'O Hidimva, what need is there for thee to awaken these persons sleeping so comfortably? O wicked cannibal, approach me first without loss of time. Smite me first,— it behoveth thee not to kill a woman, especially when she hath been sinned against instead of sinning. This girl is scarcely responsible for her act in desiring intercourse with me. She hath, in this, been moved by the deity of desire that pervadeth every living form. Thou wicked wretch and the most infamous of Rakshasas, thy sister came here at thy command. Beholding my person, she desireth me. In that the timid girl doth no injury to thee. It is the deity of desire that hath offended. It behoveth thee not to injure her for this offence. O wicked wretch, thou shalt not slay a woman when I am here. Come with me, O cannibal, and fight with myself singly. Singly shall I send thee today to the abode of Yama (Pluto). O Rakshasa, let thy head today, pressed by my might, be pounded to pieces, as though pressed by the tread of a mighty elephant. When thou art slain by me on the field of battle, let herons and hawks and jackals tear in glee thy limbs today on the ground. In a moment I shall today make this forest destitute of Rakshasas,—this forest that had so long been ruled by thee, devourer of human beings! Thy sister, O Rakshasa, shall today behold thyself, huge though thou art like a mountain, like a huge elephant repeatedly dragged by a lion. O worst of Rakshasas, thyself slain by me, men ranging these woods will henceforth do so safely and without fear.'
"Hearing these words, Hidimva said, 'What need is there, O man, for this thy vaunt and this thy boast? Accomplish all this first, and then mayst thou vaunt indeed. Therefore, delay thou not. Thou knowest thyself to be strong and endued with prowess, so thou shalt rightly estimate thy strength today in thy encounter with me. Until that, I will not slay these (thy brothers). Let them sleep comfortably. But I will, as thou art a fool and the utterer of evil speeches, slay thee first. After drinking thy blood, I will slay these also, and then last of all, this (sister of mine) that hath done me an injury.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, the cannibal, extending his arms ran in wrath towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes. Then Bhima of terrible prowess quickly seized, as though in sport, with great force, the extended arms of the Rakshasa who had rushed at him. Then seizing the struggling Rakshasa with violence, Bhima dragged him from that spot full thirty-two cubits like a lion dragging a little animal. Then the Rakshasa, thus made to feel the weight of Bhima's strength, became very angry and clasping the Pandava, sent forth a terrible yell. The mighty Bhima then dragged with force the Rakshasa to a greater distance, lest his yells should awaken his brothers sleeping in comfort. Clasping and dragging each other with great force, both Hidimva and Bhimasena put forth their prowess. Fighting like two full-grown elephants mad with rage, they then began to break down the trees and tear the creepers that grew around. And at those sounds, those tigers among men (the sleeping Pandavas) woke up with their mother, and saw Hidimva sitting before them.'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Roused from sleep, those tigers among men, with their mother, beholding the extraordinary beauty of Hidimva, were filled with wonder. And Kunti, gazing at her with wonder at her beauty, addressed her sweetly and gave her every assurance. She asked, 'O thou of the splendour of a daughter of the celestials, whose art thou and who art thou? O thou of the fairest complexion, on what business hast thou come hither and whence hast thou come? If thou art the deity of these woods or an Apsara, tell me all regarding thyself and also why thou stayest here?' Thereupon Hidimva replied, 'This extensive forest that thou seest, of the hue of blue cloud, is the abode of a Rakshasa of the name of Hidimva. O handsome lady, know me as the sister of that chief of the Rakshasa. Revered dame, I had been sent by that brother of mine to kill thee with all thy children. But on arriving here at the command of that cruel brother of mine, I beheld thy mighty son. Then, O blessed lady, I was brought under the control of thy son by the deity of love who pervadeth the nature of every being, and I then (mentally) chose that mighty son of thine as my husband. I tried my best to convey you hence, but I could not (because of thy son's opposition). Then the cannibal, seeing my delay, came hither to kill all these thy children. But he hath been dragged hence with force by that mighty and intelligent son of thine—my husband. Behold now that couple— man and Rakshasa—both endued with great strength and prowess, engaged in combat, grinding each other and filling the whole region with their shouts.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words of hers, Yudhishthira suddenly rose up and Arjuna also and Nakula and Sahadeva of great energy and they beheld Bhima and the Rakshasa already engaged in fight, eager to overcome each other and dragging each other with great force, like two lions endued with great might. The dust raised by their feet in consequence of that encounter looked like the smoke of a forest- conflagration. Covered with that dust their huge bodies resembled two tall cliffs enveloped in mist. Then Arjuna, beholding Bhima rather oppressed in the fight by the Rakshasa, slowly, said with smiles on his lips, 'Fear not, O Bhima of mighty arms! We (had been asleep and therefore) knew not that thou wast engaged with a terrible Rakshasa and tired in fight. Here do I stand to help thee, let me slay the Rakshasa, and let Nakula and Sahadeva protect our mother.' Hearing him, Bhima said, 'Look on this encounter, O brother, like a stranger. Fear not for the result. Having come within the reach of my arms, he shall not escape with life.' Then Arjuna said, 'What need, O Bhima, for keeping the Rakshasa alive so long? O oppressor of enemies, we are to go hence, and cannot stay here longer. The east is reddening, the morning twilight is about to set in. The Rakshasa became stronger by break of day, therefore, hasten, O Bhima! Play not (with thy victim), but slay the terrible Rakshasa soon. During the two twilights Rakshasas always put forth their powers of deception. Use all the strength of thy arms.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'At this speech of Arjuna, Bhima blazing up with anger, summoned the might that Vayu (his father) puts forth at the time of the universal dissolution. And filled with rage, he quickly raised high in the air the Rakshasa's body, blue as the clouds of heaven, and whirled it a hundred times. Then addressing the cannibal, Bhima said, 'O Rakshasa, thy intelligence was given thee in vain, and in vain hast thou grown and thriven on unsanctified flesh. Thou deservest, therefore, an unholy death and I shall reduce thee today to nothing. I shall make this forest blessed today, like one without prickly plants. And, O Rakshasa, thou shalt no longer slay human beings for thy food.' Arjuna at this juncture, said, 'O Bhima, if thou thinkest it a hard task for thee to overcome this Rakshasa in combat, let me render thee help, else, slay him thyself without loss of time. Or, O Vrikodara, let me alone slay the Rakshasa. Thou art tired, and hast almost finished the affair. Well dost thou deserve rest.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Bhima was fired with rage and dashing the Rakshasa on the ground with all his might slew him as if he were an animal. The Rakshasa, while dying, sent forth a terrible yell that filled the whole forest, and was deep as the sound of a wet drum. Then the mighty Bhima, holding the body with his hands, bent it double, and breaking it in the middle, greatly gratified his brothers. Beholding Hidimva slain, they became exceedingly glad and lost no time in offering their congratulations to Bhima, that chastiser of all foes. Then Arjuna worshipping the illustrious Bhima of terrible prowess, addressed him again and said, 'Revered senior, I think there is a town not far off from this forest. Blest be thou, let us go hence soon, so that Duryodhana may not trace us.'
"Then all those mighty car-warriors, those tigers among men, saying, 'So be it,' proceeded along with their mother, followed by Hidimva, the Rakshasa woman.'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressed her, saying, 'Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adopting deceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O Hidimva, go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.' Then Yudhishthira beholding Bhima in rage, said, 'O Bhima, O tiger among men, however enraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is a higher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with the object of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sister of that Rakshasa, what can she do to us even if she were angry?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti and her son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, 'O revered lady, thou knowest the pangs that women are made to feel at the hands of the deity of love. Blessed dame, these pangs, of which Bhimasena hath been the cause, are torturing me. I had hitherto borne these insufferable pangs, waiting for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is now come, when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends and relations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen this son of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, O illustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either, I will no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairest complexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as very silly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thy son, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me go taking him with me wherever I like. Trust me, O blessed lady, I will again bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come to you immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I will rescue you from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and uneven regions. I will carry you on my back whenever ye desire to proceed with swiftness. O, be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath been said that in a season of distress one should protect one's life by any means. He, that seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple about the means. He, that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is the foremost of virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger to virtue and virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore is virtue called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or the observance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.'
"Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. 'It is even so, O Hidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of slender waist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hath washed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual propitiatory rites, pay his attentions to thee till the sun sets. Sport thou with him as thou likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed of the mind! But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day at night- fall.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all that Yudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, 'Listen to me, O Rakshasa woman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay with thee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.' Then Hidimva, saying, 'So be it,' took Bhima upon her body and sped through the skies. On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the gods, abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of feathered tribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornament and pouring forth at times mellifluous strains, Hidimva sported with the Pandava and studied to make him happy. So also, in inaccessible regions of forests, and on mountain-breasts overgrown with blossoming trees on lakes resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and their pebbly banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks and mountain-currents, in picturesque woods with blossoming trees and creepers in Himalayan bowers, and various caves, on crystal pools smiling with lotuses, on sea-shores shining with gold and pearls, in beautiful towns and fine gardens, in woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, in the regions of Guhyakas and ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovara abounding with fruits and flowers of every season Hidimva, assuming the handsomest form, sported with Bhima and studied to make him happy. Endued with the speed of the mind, she sported with Bhima in all these regions, till in time, she conceived and brought forth a mighty son begotten upon her by the Pandava. Of terrible eyes and large mouth and straight arrowy ears, the child was terrible to behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharp teeth and loud roar, of mighty arms and great strength and excessive prowess, this child became a mighty bowman. Of long nose, broad chest, frightfully swelling calves, celerity of motion and excessive strength, he had nothing human in his countenance, though born of man. And he excelled (in strength and prowess) all Pisachas and kindred tribes as well as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a little child, he grew up a youth the very hour he was born. The mighty hero soon acquired high proficiency in the use of all weapons. The Rakshasa women bring forth the very day they conceive, and capable of assuming any forms at will, they always change their forms. And the bald- headed child, that mighty bowman, soon after his birth, bowing down to his mother, touched her feet and the feet also of his father. His parents then bestowed upon him a name. His mother having remarked that his head was (bald) like unto a Ghata (water-pot), both his parents thereupon called him Ghatotkacha (the pot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas, became a great favourite with them, indeed almost one of them.
"Then Hidimva, knowing that the period of her stay (with her husband) had come to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment with them went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha also—that foremost of Rakshasas—promising unto his father that he would come when wanted on business, saluted them and went away northward. Indeed, it was the illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) the mighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of unrivalled energy, in consequence of the dart he had given unto Karna (and which was sure to kill the person against whom it would be hurled)."
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the heroic Pandavas, then went, O king, from forest to forest killing deer and many animals (for their food). And in the course of their wanderings they saw the countries of the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Panchalas and then of the Kichakas, and also many beautiful woods and lakes therein. And they all had matted locks on their heads and were attired in barks of trees and the skins of animals. Indeed, with Kunti in their company those illustrious heroes were attired in the garbs of ascetics. And those mighty car-warriors sometimes proceeded in haste, carrying their mother on their backs; and sometimes they proceeded in disguise, and sometimes again with great celerity. And they used to study the Rik and the other Vedas and also all the Vedangas as well as the sciences of morals and politics. And the Pandavas, conversant with the science of morals, met, in course of their wanderings their grandfather (Vyasa). And saluting the illustrious Krishna-Dwaipayana, those chastisers of enemies, with their mother, stood before him with joined hands.'
"Vyasa then said, 'Ye bulls of Bharata's race, I knew beforehand of this affliction of yours consisting in your deceitful exile by the son of Dhritarashtra. Knowing this, I have come to you, desirous of doing you some great good. Do not grieve for what hath befallen you. Know that all this is for your happiness. Undoubtedly, the sons of Dhritarashtra and you are all equal in my eye. But men are always partial to those who are in misfortune or of tender years. It is therefore, that my affection for you is greater now. And in consequence of that affection, I desire to do you good. Listen to me! Not far off before you is a delightful town where no danger can overtake you. Live ye there in disguise, waiting for my return.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, thus comforting the Pandavas, led them into the town of Ekachakra. And the master also comforted Kunti, saying, 'Live, O daughter! This son of thine, Yudhishthira, ever devoted to truth, this illustrious bull among men, having by his justice conquered the whole world, will rule over all the other monarchs of the earth. There is little doubt that, having by means of Bhima's and Arjuna's prowess conquered the whole earth with her belt of seas, he will enjoy the sovereignty thereof. Thy sons as well as those of Madri—mighty car-warriors all—will cheerfully sport as pleaseth them in their dominions. These tigers among men will also perform various sacrifices, such as the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice, in which the presents unto the Brahmanas are very large. And these thy sons will rule their ancestral kingdom, maintaining their friends and relatives in luxury and affluence and happiness.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words Vyasa introduced them into the dwelling of a Brahmana. And the island-born Rishi, addressing the eldest of the Pandavas, said, 'Wait here for me! I will come back to you! By adapting yourselves to the country and the occasion you will succeed in becoming very happy.'
"Then, O king, the Pandavas with joined hands said unto the Rishi, 'So be it.' And the illustrious master, the Rishi Vyasa, then went away to the region whence he had come.'"
"Janamejaya asked, 'O first of Brahmanas, what did the Pandavas, those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, do after arriving at Ekachakra?'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, on arriving at Ekachakra, lived for a short time in the abode of a Brahmana. Leading an eleemosynary life, they behold (in course of their wanderings) various delightful forests and earthly regions, and many rivers and lakes, and they became great favourites of the inhabitants of that town in consequence of their own accomplishments. At nightfall they placed before Kunti all they gathered in their mendicant tours, and Kunti used to divide the whole amongst them, each taking what was allotted to him. And those heroic chastisers of foes, with their mother, together took one moiety of the whole, while the mighty Bhima alone took the other moiety. In this way, O bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Pandavas lived there for some time.
"One day, while those bulls of the Bharata race were out on their tour of mendicancy, it so happened that Bhima was (at home) with (his mother) Pritha. That day, O Bharata, Kunti heard a loud and heart-rending wail of sorrow coming from within the apartments of the Brahmana. Hearing the inmates of the Brahmana's house wailing and indulging in piteous lamentations, Kunti, O king, from compassion and the goodness of her heart, could not bear it with indifference. Afflicted with sorrow, the amiable Pritha, addressing Bhima, said these words full of compassion. 'Our woes assuaged, we are, O son, living happily in the house of this Brahmana, respected by him and unknown to Dhritarashtra's son. O son, I always think of the good I should do to this Brahmana, like what they do that live happily in others' abodes! O child, he is a true man upon whom favours are never lost. He payeth back to others more than what he receiveth at their hands. There is no doubt, some affliction hath overtaken this Brahmana. If we could be of any help to him, we should then be requiting his services.'
"Hearing these words of his mother, Bhima said, 'Ascertain, O mother the nature of the Brahmana's distress and whence also it hath arisen. Learning all about it, relieve it I will however difficult may the task prove.'
"Vaisampayana continued 'While mother and son were thus talking with each other, they heard again, O king, another wail of sorrow proceeding from the Brahmana and his wife. Then Kunti quickly entered the inner apartments of that illustrious Brahmana, like unto a cow running towards her tethered calf. She beheld the Brahmana with his wife, son and daughter, sitting with a woeful face, and she heard the Brahmana say, 'Oh, fie on this earthly life which is hollow as the reed and so fruitless after all which is based on sorrow and hath no freedom, and which hath misery for its lot! Life is sorrow and disease; life is truly a record of misery! The soul is one: but it hath to pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure. And because these are pursued at one and the same time, there frequently occurs a disagreement that is the source of much misery. Some say that salvation is the highest object of our desire. But I believe it can never be attained. The acquisition of wealth is hell; the pursuit of wealth is attended with misery; there is more misery after one has acquired it, for one loves one's possessions, and if any mishap befalls them, the possessor becomes afflicted with woe. I do not see by what means I can escape from this danger, nor how I can fly hence, with my wife to some region free from danger. Remember, O wife, that I endeavoured to migrate to some other place where we would be happy, but thou didst not then listen to me. Though frequently solicited by me, thou, O simple woman, said to me, 'I have been born here, and here have I grown old; this is my ancestral homestead.' Thy venerable father, O wife, and thy mother also, have, a long time ago, ascended to heaven. Thy relations also had all been dead. Oh why then didst thou yet like to live here? Led by affection for thy relatives thou didst not then hear what I said. But the time is now come when thou art to witness the death of a relative. Oh, how sad is that spectacle for me! Or perhaps the time is come for my own death, for I shall never be able to abandon cruelly one of my own as long as I myself am alive. Thou art my helpmate in all good deeds, self-denying and always affectionate unto me as a mother. The gods have given thee to me as a true friend and thou art ever my prime stay. Thou hast, by my parents, been made the participator in my domestic concerns. Thou art of pure lineage and good disposition, the mother of children, devoted to me, and so innocent; having chosen and wedded thee with due rites, I cannot abandon thee, my wife, so constant in thy vows, to save my life. How shall I myself be able to sacrifice my son a child of tender years and yet without the hirsute appendages (of manhood)? How shall I sacrifice my daughter whom I have begotten myself, who hath been placed, as a pledge, in my hands by the Creator himself for bestowal on a husband and through whom I hope to enjoy, along with my ancestors, the regions attainable by those only that have daughters' sons? Some people think that the father's affection for a son is greater; others, that his affection for a daughter is greater; mine, however, is equal. How can I be prepared to give up the innocent daughter upon whom rest the regions of bliss obtainable by me in after life and my own lineage and perpetual happiness? If, again, I sacrifice myself and go to the other world, I should scarcely know any peace, for, indeed, it is evident that, left by me these would not be able to support life. The sacrifice of any of these would be cruel and censurable. On the other hand, if I sacrifice myself, these, without me, will certainly perish. The distress into which I have fallen is great; nor do I know the means of escape. Alas, what course shall I take today with my near ones. It is well that I should die with all these, for I can live no longer.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, "On hearing these words of the Brahmana, his wife said, 'Thou shouldst not, O Brahmana, grieve like an ordinary man. Nor is this the time for mourning. Thou hast learning; thou knowest that all men are sure to die; none should grieve for that which is inevitable. Wife, son, and daughter, all these are sought for one's own self. As thou art possessed of a good understanding, kill thou thy sorrows. I will myself go there. This indeed, is the highest and the eternal duty of a woman, viz., that by sacrificing her life she should seek the good of her husband. Such an act done by me will make thee happy, and bring me fame in this world and eternal bliss hereafter. This, indeed, is the highest virtue that I tell thee, and thou mayest, by this, acquire both virtue and happiness. The object for which one desireth a wife hath already been achieved by thee through me. I have borne thee a daughter and a son and thus been freed from the debt I had owed thee. Thou art well able to support and cherish the children, but I however, can never support and cherish them like thee. Thou art my life, wealth, and lord; bereft of thee, how shall these children of tender years—how also shall I myself, exist? Widowed and masterless, with two children depending on me, how shall I, without thee, keep alive the pair, myself leading an honest life? If the daughter of thine is solicited (in marriage) by persons dishonourable and vain and unworthy of contracting an alliance with thee, how shall I be able to protect the girl? Indeed, as birds seek with avidity for meat that hath been thrown away on the ground, so do men solicit a woman that hath lost her husband. O best of Brahmanas, solicited by wicked men, I may waver and may not be able to continue in the path that is desired by all honest men. How shall I be able to place this sole daughter of thy house—this innocent girl—in the way along which her ancestors have always walked? How shall I then be able to impart unto this child every desirable accomplishment to make him virtuous as thyself, in that season of want when I shall become masterless? Overpowering myself who shall be masterless, unworthy persons will demand (the hand of) this daughter of thine, like Sudras desiring to hear the Vedas. And if I bestow not upon them this girl possessing thy blood and qualities, they may even take her away by force, like crows carrying away the sacrificial butter. And beholding thy son become so unlike to thee, and thy daughter placed under the control of some unworthy persons, I shall be despised in the world by even persons that are dishonourable, and I will certainly die. These children also, bereft of me and thee, their father, will, I doubt not, perish like fish when the water drieth up. There is no doubt that bereft of thee the three will perish: therefore it behoveth thee to sacrifice me. O Brahmana, persons conversant with morals have said that for women that have borne children, to predecease their lords is an act of the highest merit. Ready am I to abandon this son and this daughter, these my relations, and life itself, for thee. For a woman to be ever employed in doing agreeable offices to her lord is a higher duty than sacrifices, asceticism, vows, and charities of every description. The act, therefore, which I intend to perform is consonant with the highest virtue and is for thy good and that of thy race. The wise have declared that children and relatives and wife and all things held dear are cherished for the purpose of liberating one's self from danger and distress. One must guard one's wealth for freeing one's self from danger, and it is by his wealth that he should cherish and protect his wife. But he must protect his own self both by (means of) his wife and his wealth. The learned have enunciated the truth that one's wife, son, wealth, and house, are acquired with the intention of providing against accidents, foreseen or unforeseen. The wise have also said that all one's relations weighed against one's own self would not be equal unto one's self. Therefore, revered sir, protect thy own self by abandoning me. O, give me leave to sacrifice myself, and cherish thou my children. Those that are conversant with the morals have, in their treatises, said, that women should never be slaughtered and that Rakshasas are not ignorant of the rules of morality. Therefore, while it is certain that the Rakshasa will kill a man, it is doubtful whether he will kill a woman. It behoveth thee, therefore, being conversant with the rules of morality, to place me before the Rakshasa. I have enjoyed much happiness, have obtained much that is agreeable to me, and have also acquired great religious merit. I have also obtained from thee children that are so dear to me. Therefore, it grieveth not me to die. I have borne thee children and have also grown old; I am ever desirous of doing good to thee; remembering all these I have come to this resolution. O revered sir, abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife. By her thou mayest again acquire religious merit. There is no sin in this. For a man polygamy is an act of merit, but for a woman it is very sinful to betake herself to a second husband after the first. Considering all this, and remembering too that sacrifice of thy own self is censurable, O, liberate today without loss of time thy own self, thy race, and these thy children (by abandoning me).'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by her, O Bharata, the Brahmana embraced her, and they both began to weep in silence, afflicted with grief.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'On hearing these words of her afflicted parents, the daughter was filled with grief, and she addressed them, saying, 'Why are you so afflicted and why do you so weep, as if you have none to look after you? O, listen to me and do what may be proper. There is little doubt that you are bound in duty to abandon me at a certain time. Sure to abandon me once, O, abandon me now and save every thing at the expense of me alone. Men desire to have children, thinking that children would save them (in this world as well as in the region hereafter). O, cross the stream of your difficulties by means of my poor self, as if I were a raft. A child rescueth his parents in this and the other regions; therefore is the child called by the learned Putra (rescuer). The ancestors desire daughter's sons from me (as a special means of salvation). But (without waiting for my children) I myself will rescue them by protecting the life of my father. This my brother is of tender years, so there is little doubt that he will perish if thou diest now. If thou, my father, diest and my brother followeth thee, the funeral cake of the Pitris will be suspended and they will be greatly injured. Left behind by my father and brother, and by my mother also (for she will not survive her husband and son) I shall be plunged deeper and deeper in woe and ultimately perish in great distress. There can be little doubt that if thou escape from this danger as also my mother and infant brother, then thy race and the (ancestral) cake will be perpetuated. The son is one's own self; the wife is one's friend; the daughter, however, is the source of trouble. Do thou save thyself, therefore, by removing that source of trouble, and do thou thereby set me in the path of virtue. As I am a girl, O father, destitute of thee, I shall be helpless and plunged in woe, and shall have to go everywhere. It is therefore that I am resolved to rescue my father's race and share the merit of that act by accomplishing this difficult task. If thou, O best of Brahmanas, goest thither (unto the Rakshasa), leaving me here, then I shall be very much pained. Therefore, O father, be kind to me. O thou best of men, for our sake, for that of virtue and also thy race, save thyself, abandoning me, whom at one time thou shall be constrained to part from. There need be no delay, O father, in doing that which is inevitable. What can be more painful than that, when thou hast ascended to heaven, we shall have to go about begging our food, like dogs, from strangers. But if thou art with thy relations from these difficulties, I shall then live happily in the region of the celestials. It hath been heard by us that if after bestowing thy daughter in this way, thou offerest oblations to the gods and the celestials, they will certainly be propitious.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Brahmana and his wife, hearing these various lamentations of their daughter, became sadder than before and the three began to weep together. Their son, then, of tender years, beholding them and their daughter thus weeping together, lisped these words in a sweet tone, his eyes having dilated with delight, 'Weep not, O father, nor thou, O mother, nor thou O sister!' And smilingly did the child approach each of them, and at last taking up a blade of grass said in glee, 'With this will I slay the Rakshasa who eateth human beings!' Although all of them had been plunged in woe, yet hearing what the child lisped so sweetly, joy appeared on their faces. Then Kunti thinking that to be the proper opportunity, approached the group and said these words. Indeed, her words revived them as nectar reviveth a person that is dead.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued
"Kunti said, 'I desire to learn from you the cause of this grief, for I will remove it, if possible.'
"The Brahmana replied, 'O thou of ascetic wealth, thy speech is, indeed worthy of thee. But this grief is incapable of being removed by any human being. Not far from this town, there liveth a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka, which cannibal is the lord of this country and town. Thriving on human flesh, that wretched Rakshasa endued with great strength ruleth this country. He being the chief of the Asuras, this town and the country in which it is situate are protected by his might. We have no fear from the machinations of any enemy, or indeed from any living soul. The fee, however, fixed for that cannibal is his food, which consists of a cart- load of rice, two buffaloes, and a human being who conveyeth them unto him. One after another, the house-holders have to send him this food. The turn, however, cometh to a particular family at intervals of many long years. If there are any that seek to avoid it, the Rakshasa slayeth them with their children and wives and devoureth them all. There is, in this country, a city called Vetrakiya, where liveth the king of these territories. He is ignorant of the science of government, and possessed of little intelligence, he adopts not with care any measure by which these territories may be rendered safe for all time to come. But we certainly deserve it all, inasmuch as we live within the dominion of that wretched and weak monarch in perpetual anxiety. Brahmanas can never be made to dwell permanently within the dominions of any one, for they are dependent on nobody, they live rather like birds ranging all countries in perfect freedom. It hath been said that one must secure a (good) king, then a wife, and then wealth. It is by the acquisition of these three that one can rescue his relatives and sons. But as regards the acquisition of these three, the course of my actions hath been the reverse. Hence, plunged into a sea of danger, am suffering sorely. That turn, destructive of one's family, hath now devolved upon me. I shall have to give unto the Rakshasa as his fee the food of the aforesaid description and one human being to boot. I have no wealth to buy a man with. I cannot by any means consent to part with any one of my family, nor do I see any way of escape from (the clutches of) that Rakshasa. I am now sunk in an ocean of grief from which there is no escape. I shall go to that Rakshasa today, attended by all my family in order that that wretch might devour us all at once.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Kunti said, 'Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger. I see a way by which to rescue thee from that Rakshasa. Thou hast only one son, who, besides, is of very tender years, also only one daughter, young and helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or even thyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, let one of them go, carrying in thy behalf tribute of that Rakshasa.'
"Hearing this, the Brahmana replied, 'To save my own life I shall never suffer this to be done. I shall never sacrifice, to save myself, the life of a Brahmana or of a guest. Indeed, even those that are of low origin and of sinful practices refuse to do (what thou askest me to do). It is said that one should sacrifice one's self and one's offspring for the benefit of a Brahmana. I regard this advice excellent and I like to follow it too. When I have to choose between the death of a Brahmana and that of my own, I would prefer the latter. The killing of a Brahmana is the highest sin, and there is no expiation for it. I think a reluctant sacrifice of one's own self is better than the reluctant sacrifice of a Brahmana. O blessed lady, in sacrificing myself I do not become guilty of self-destruction. No sin can attach to me when another will take my life. But if I deliberately consent to the death of a Brahmana, it would be a cruel and sinful act, from the consequence of which there is no escape. The learned have said that the abandonment of one who hath come to thy house or sought thy protection, as also the killing of one who seeketh death at thy hands, is both cruel and sinful. The illustrious among those conversant with practices allowable in seasons of distress, have before now said that one should never perform an act that is cruel and censurable. It is well for me that I should today perish myself with my wife, but I would never sanction the death of a Brahmana.'
"Kunti said, 'I too am firmly of opinion, O Brahmana, that Brahmanas should ever be protected. As regards myself, no son of mine would be less dear to me even if I had a hundred instead of the five I have. But this Rakshasa will not be able to kill my son, for that son of mine is endued with great prowess and energy, and skilled in mantras. He will faithfully deliver to the Rakshasa his food, but will, I know to a certainty, rescue himself. I have seen before many mighty Rakshasas of huge bodies engaged in combat with my heroic son and killed too by him. But, O Brahmana, do not disclose this fact to anybody, for if it be known, persons desirous of obtaining this power, will, from curiosity, always trouble my sons. The wise have said that if my son imparteth any knowledge, without the assent of his preceptor, unto any person, my son himself will no longer be able to profit by that knowledge.'
"Thus addressed by Pritha, the Brahmana with his wife became exceedingly glad and assented to Kunti's speech, which was unto them as nectar. Then Kunti, accompanied by the Brahmana, went unto the son of Vayu (Bhima) and asked him to accomplish (that difficult task). Bhima replied unto them, saying, 'So be it.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhima had pledged himself to accomplish the task, saying, 'I will do it,' the Pandavas, O Bharata, returned home with the alms they had obtained during the day. Then Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu from Bhima's countenance alone, suspected the nature of the task he had undertaken to accomplish. Sitting by the side of his mother, Yudhishthira asked her in private, 'What is the task, O mother, that Bhima of terrible prowess seeketh to accomplish? Doth he do so at thy command or of his own accord?' Kunti replied, 'Bhima, that chastiser of foes, will at my command, do this great deed for the good of the Brahmana and the liberation of this town.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'What rash act hast thou done, O mother! It is difficult of being performed and almost amounteth to suicide! The learned never applaud the abandonment of one's own child. Why dost thou, O mother, wish to sacrifice thy own child for the sake of another's? Thou hast, O mother, by this abandonment of thy child, acted not only against the course of human practices but also against the teachings of the Vedas. That Bhima, relying on whose arms we sleep happily in the night and hope to recover the kingdom of which we have been deprived by the covetous son of Dhritarashtra, that hero of immeasurable energy, remembering whose prowess Duryodhana and Sakuni do not sleep a wink during the whole night and by whose prowess we were rescued from the palace of lac and various other dangers, that Bhima who caused the death of Purochana, and relying on whose might we regard ourselves as having already slain the sons of Dhritarashtra and acquired the whole earth with all her wealth, upon what considerations, O mother, hast thou resolved upon abandoning him? Hast thou been deprived of thy reason? Hath thy understanding been clouded by the calamities thou hast undergone?'
"On hearing these words of her son, Kunti said, 'O Yudhishthira, thou needst not be at all anxious on account of Vrikodara. I have not come to this resolve owing to any weakness of understanding. Respected by him, and with our sorrows assuaged, we have, O son, been living in the house of this Brahmana, unknown to the sons of Dhritarashtra. For requiting, O son, that Brahmana, I have resolved to do this. He, indeed, is a man upon whom good offices are never lost. The measure of his requital becometh greater than the measure of the services he receiveth. Beholding the prowess of Bhima on the occasion of (our escape from) the house of lac, and from the destruction also of Hidimva, my confidence in Vrikodara is great. The might of Bhima's arms is equal unto that of ten thousand elephants. It was, therefore, that he succeeded in carrying you all, each heavy as an elephant, from Varanavata. There is no one on earth equal unto Bhima in might; he may even overcome that foremost of warriors, the holder of the thunderbolt himself. Soon after his birth he fell from my lap on the breast of the mountain. By the weight of his body the mass of stone on which he fell down broke in pieces. From this also, O son of Pandu, I have come to know Bhima's might. For this reason have I resolved to set him against the Brahmana's foe. I have not acted in this from foolishness or ignorance or from motive of gain. I have deliberately resolved to do this virtuous deed. By this act, O Yudhishthira, two objects will be accomplished; one is a requital of the services rendered by the Brahmana and the other is the acquisition of high religious merit. It is my conviction that the Kshatriya who rendereth help unto a Brahmana in anything acquireth regions of bliss hereafter. So also a Kshatriya who saveth the life of a Kshatriya achieveth that great fame in this world as in the other. A Kshatriya rendering help unto a Vaisya also on this earth certainly acquires world-wide popularity. One of the kingly tribe should protect even the Sudra who cometh to him for protection. If he doeth so, in his next life he receiveth his birth in a royal line, commanding prosperity and the respect of other kings. O scion of Puru's race, the illustrious Vyasa of wisdom acquired by hard ascetic toil told me so in bygone days. It is therefore, that I have resolved upon accomplishing this.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Having heard these words of his mother, Yudhishthira said, 'What thou, O mother, hast deliberately done, moved by compassion for the afflicted Brahmana, is, indeed, excellent. Bhima will certainly come back with life, after having slain the cannibal, inasmuch as thou art, O mother, always compassionate unto Brahmanas. But tell the Brahmana, O mother, that he doth not do anything whereby the dwellers in this town may know all about it, and make him promise to keep thy request.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, when the night passed away, Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, taking with him the Rakshasa's food set out for the place where the cannibal lived. The mighty son of Pandu, approaching the forest where the Rakshasa dwelt, began to eat himself the food he carried, calling loudly to the Rakshasa by name. The Rakshasa, inflamed with anger at Bhima's words, came out and approached the place where Bhima was.
"Of huge body and great strength, of red eyes, red beard, and red hair, he was terrible to behold, and he came, pressing deep the earth with his tread. The opening of his mouth, was from ear to ear and his ears themselves were straight as arrows. Of grim visage, he had a forehead furrowed into three lines. Beholding Bhima eating his food, the Rakshasa advanced, biting his nether lip and expanding his eyes in wrath. And addressing Bhima he said, 'Who is this fool, who desiring to go to the abode of Yama, eateth in my very sight the food intended for me?' Hearing these words, Bhima, O Bharata, smiled in derision and disregarding the Rakshasa, continued eating with averted face. Beholding this, the cannibal uttered a frightful yell and with both arms upraised ran at Bhima desiring to kill him, there and then. Even then disregarding the Rakshasa and casting only a single glance at him, Vrikodara, that slayer of hostile heroes continued to eat the Rakshasa's food. Filled with wrath at this, the Rakshasa struck from behind with both his arms a heavy blow on the back of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti. But Bhima, though struck heavily by the mighty Rakshasa, with both his hands, did not even look up at the Rakshasa but continued to eat as before. Then the mighty Rakshasa, inflamed with wrath, tore up a tree and ran at Bhima for striking him again. Meanwhile the mighty Bhima, that bull among men had leisurely eaten up the whole of that food and washing himself stood cheerfully for fight. Then, O Bharata, possessed of great energy, Bhima, smiling in derision, caught with his left hand the tree hurled at him by the Rakshasa in wrath. Then that mighty Rakshasa, tearing up many more trees, hurled them at Bhima, and the Pandava also hurled as many at the Rakshasa. Then, O king, the combat with trees between that human being and the Rakshasa, became so terrible that the region around soon became destitute of trees. Then the Rakshasa, saying that he was none else than Vaka, sprang upon the Pandava and seized the mighty Bhima with his arms. That mighty hero also clasping with his own strong arms the strong-armed Rakshasa, and exerting himself actively, began to drag him violently. Dragged by Bhima and dragging Bhima also, the cannibal was overcome with great fatigue. The earth began to tremble in consequence of the strength they both exerted, and large trees that stood there broke in pieces. Then Bhima, beholding the cannibal overcome with fatigue, pressed him down on the earth with his knees and began to strike him with great force. Then placing one knee on the middle of the Rakshasa's back, Bhima seized his neck with his right hand and the cloth on his waist with his left, and bent him double with great force. The cannibal then roared frightfully. And, O monarch, he also began to vomit blood while he was being thus broken on Bhima's knee.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said 'Then Vaka, huge as a mountain, thus broken (on Bhima's knee), died, uttering frightful yells. Terrified by these sounds, the relatives of that Rakshasa came out, O king, with their attendants. Bhima, that foremost of smiters, seeing them so terrified and deprived of reason, comforted them and made them promise (to give up cannibalism), saying, 'Do not ever again kill human beings. If ye kill men, ye will have to die even as Vaka.' Those Rakshasas hearing this speech of Bhima, said, 'So be it,' and gave, O king, the desired promise. From that day, O Bharata, the Rakshasas (of the region) were seen by the inhabitants of that town to be very peaceful towards mankind. Then Bhima, dragging the lifeless cannibal, placed him at one of the gates of the town and went away unobserved by any one. The kinsmen of Vaka, beholding him slain by the might of Bhima, became frightened and fled in different directions.
"Meanwhile Bhima, having slain the Rakshasa, returned to the Brahmana's abode and related to Yudhishthira all that had happened, in detail. The next morning the inhabitants of the town in coming out saw the Rakshasa lying dead on the ground, his body covered with blood. Beholding that terrible cannibal, huge as a mountain cliff, thus mangled and lying on the ground, the hair of the spectators stood erect. Returning to Ekachakra, they soon gave the intelligence. Then, O king, the citizens by thousands accompanied by their wives, young and old, all began to come to the spot for beholding the Vaka and they were all amazed at seeing that superhuman feat. Instantly, O monarch, they began to pray to their gods. Then they began to calculate whose turn it had been the day before to carry food to the Rakshasa. And ascertaining this, they all came to that Brahmana and asked him (to satisfy their curiosity). Thus asked by them repeatedly, that bull among Brahmanas, desirous of concealing the Pandavas, said these words unto all the citizens, 'A certain high-souled Brahmana, skilled in mantras, beheld me weeping with my relatives after I had been ordered to supply the Rakshasa's food. Asking me the cause and ascertaining the distress of the town, that first of Brahmanas gave me every assurance and with smiles said, 'I shall carry the food for that wretched Rakshasa today. Do not fear for me.' Saying this he conveyed the food towards the forest of Vaka. This deed, so beneficial unto us all, hath very certainly been done by him.'
"Then those Brahmanas and Kshatriyas (of the city), hearing this, wondered much. And the Vaisyas and the Sudras also became exceedingly glad, and they all established a festival in which the worship of Brahmanas was the principal ceremony (in remembrance of this Brahmana who had relieved them from their fears of Vaka)."
"After this citizens returned to their respective houses and the Pandavas continued to dwell at Ekachakra as before."
"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, what did those tigers among men, the Pandavas, do after they had slain the Rakshasa Vaka?'
"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, O king, after slaying the Rakshasa Vaka, continued to dwell in the abode of that Brahmana, employed in the study of the Vedas. Within a few days there came a Brahmana of rigid vows unto the abode of their host to take up his quarters there. Their host, that bull among Brahmanas, ever hospitable unto all guests, worshipping the newly- arrived Brahmana with due ceremonies, gave him quarters in his own abode. Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, with their mother Kunti, solicited the new lodger to narrate to them his interesting experiences. The Brahmana spake to them of various countries and shrines and (holy) rivers, of kings and many wonderful provinces and cities. And after this narration was over, that Brahmana, O Janamejaya, also spoke of the wonderful self-choice of Yajnasena's daughter, the princes of Panchala, and of the births of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandi, and of the birth, without the intervention of a woman, of Krishna (Draupadi) at the great sacrifice of Drupada.
"Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, hearing of these extraordinary facts regarding that illustrious monarch (Drupada), and desiring to know the details thereof, asked the Brahmana, after his narration was concluded, to satisfy their curiosity. The Pandavas said, 'How, O Brahmana, did the birth of Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupada, take place from the (sacrificial) fire? How also did the extraordinary birth of Krishna take place from the centre of the sacrificial platform? How also did Drupada's son learn all weapons from the great bowman Drona? And, O Brahmana, how and for whom and for what reason was the friendship between Drona and Drupada broken off?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus questioned, O monarch, by those bulls among men, the Brahmana narrated all the particulars about the birth of Draupadi.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Brahmana said, 'At that region where the Ganga entered the plains there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigid vows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming to the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi, who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over. And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi's vital fluid came out. And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid thus preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the pot- born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches. And Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas. And about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son named Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata's son, going every day to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona. And after Prishata's death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona about this time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of his retiring into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth. Hearing this, the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to retire into the woods and addressing him, said, 'O best of Brahmanas, know me to be Drona who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.' Rama replied, saying, 'I have given away everything. All that I now have is this body of mine and my weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one of these two, either my body or my weapons.' Then Drona said, 'It behoveth thee, sir, to give me all thy weapons together with (the mysteries of) their use and withdrawal.'
"The Brahmana continued, 'Then Rama of Bhrigu's race, saying, 'So be it,' gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired a decided superiority over all men. Then the son of Bharadwaja, endued with great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that tiger among men, said, 'Know me for thy friend.' Hearing this Drupada said, 'One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is pure, nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his friend. So also one who is not a king cannot have a king as his friend. Why dost thou, therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?'
"The Brahmana continued, 'Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the Kurus, called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona, desirous of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and addressed them, 'Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been accomplished in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my heart.' Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, 'So be it.'— After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure aims, demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words, 'Drupada, the son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from him his kingdom, and give it unto me.' Then the Pandavas, defeating Drupada in battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers, offered him unto Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, 'O king, I again solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king deserveth to be the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am resolved to divide thy kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king of the country to the south of Bhagirathi (Ganga), I will rule the country to the north.'
"The Brahmana continued, 'The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by the wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of all persons conversant with weapons, these words, 'O high-souled son of Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal friendship between us as thou desirest!' Thus addressing each other and establishing a permanent bond between themselves, Drona and the king of Panchala, both of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king's mind for a single moment. Sad at heart, the king began to waste away.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Brahmana continued, 'King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart, wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanas well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly yearning for children, the king always said, 'Oh, I have no offspring surpassing all in accomplishments.' And the monarch, from great despondency, always said 'Oh, fie on those children that I have and on my relatives!' And ever thinking of revenging himself on Drona, the monarch sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona. Wandering along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once came upon a sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no Brahmana who was not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and none who was not virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two Brahmana sages named Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under complete control and belonging to the most superior order. They were both devoted to the study of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race of Kasyapa. And those best of Brahmanas were well able to help the king in the attainment of his object. The king then, with great assiduity and singleness of purpose, began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas. Ascertaining the superior accomplishments of the younger of the two the king courted in private Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every desirable acquisition. Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja, always addressing in sweet words and offering him every object of human desire, Drupada, after worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one day), saying, 'O Upayaja, O Brahmana, if thou, performest those sacrificial rites by (virtue of) which I may obtain a son who may slay Drona, I promise thee ten thousand kine, or whatever else may be agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly am I ready to make gifts to thee.' Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi replied, saying, 'I cannot (perform such rites).' But Drupada without accepting this reply as final, once more began to serve and pay homage unto that Brahmana. Then, after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that first of Brahmanas, O monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said, 'My elder brother (Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods, took up a fruit that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he cared not to enquire about. I was following him (at the time) and observed this unworthy act of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting things impure. In accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety of sinful nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is not very likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in the house of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always used to eat (impure) remnants of other people's feasts. He always speaks approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing from these, I believe that my brother covets earthy acquisitions. Therefore, O king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.' Hearing these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion of Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still) worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, 'O master, perform thou spiritual offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine! Enmity with Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool that heart of mine. Foremost of those conversant with the Vedas, Drona is also skilled in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in a contest arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great intelligence, the son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the Kurus. There is no Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is full six cubits long and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of slaying every living being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, habited as a Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all over the earth. Indeed, he is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the extermination of the Kshatriya race. There is no man on earth who can overcome the terrible force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with clarified butter, Drona, possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with Kshatriya might, consumeth every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma force is greater in itself than (Drona's) Brahma force united with Kshatriya might. Therefore, as I am inferior (to Drona) in consequence of my possession of Kshatriya might alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma force, having obtained thee so superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma. O Yaja, perform that sacrifice by means of which I may obtain a son invincible in battle and capable of slaying Drona. Ready am I to give thee ten thousand kine.' Hearing these words of Drupada, Yaja said, 'So be it.' Yaja then began to recollect the various ceremonies appertaining to the particular sacrifice. And knowing the affair to be a very grave one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja who coveted nothing. Then Yaja promised to perform the sacrifice for the destruction of Drona. Then the great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king Drupada of everything required for the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire) from which the king was to obtain offspring. And he said, 'O king, a child shall be born unto thee, endued, as thou desirest, with great prowess, great energy, and great strength.'