"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vasudeva said, 'I am of opinion that the Pandavas should go. But we should all abide by the opinion of king Drupada who is conversant with every rule of morality.'
"Drupada then spoke, 'I certainly agree with what this foremost of men, thinketh, having regard to the circumstances. For the illustrious sons of Pandu now are to me as they are, without doubt, to Vasudeva. Kunti's son Yudhishthira himself doth not seek the welfare of the Pandavas so earnestly as, Kesava, that tiger among men.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by the illustrious Drupada, the Pandavas, then, O king, and Krishna and Vidura, taking with them Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, and the renowned Kunti, journeyed towards the city called after the elephant, stopping at various places along the way for purposes of pleasure and enjoyment. King Dhritarashtra, hearing that those heroes had neared the capital sent out the Kauravas to receive them. They who were thus sent out were, O Bharata, Vikarna of the great bow, and Chitrasena, and Drona that foremost of warriors, and Kripa of Gautama's line. Surrounded by these, those mighty heroes, their splendour enhanced by that throng slowly entered the city of Hastinapura. The whole city became radiant, as it were, with the gay throng of sight-seers animated by curiosity. Those tigers among men gladdened the hearts of all who beheld them. And the Pandavas, dear unto the hearts of the people, heard, as they proceeded, various exclamations with the citizens, ever desirous of obeying the wishes of those princes, loudly uttered. Some exclaimed, 'Here returns that tiger among men, conversant with all the rules of morality and who always protects us as if we were his nearest relatives.' And elsewhere they said, 'It seems that king Pandu—the beloved of his people— returneth today from the forest, doubtless to do what is agreeable to us.' And there were some that said, 'What good is not done to us today when the heroic sons of Kunti come back to our town? If we have ever given away in charity, if we have ever poured libations of clarified butter on the fire, if we have any ascetic merit, let the Pandavas, by virtue of all those acts stay in town for a hundred years.'
"At last the Pandavas, on arriving at the place, worshipped the feet of Dhritarashtra, as also those of the illustrious Bhishma. They also worshipped the feet of everybody else that deserved that honour. And they enquired after the welfare of every citizen (there present). At last, at the command of Dhritarashtra they entered the chambers that had been assigned to them.
"After they had rested there for some time, they were summoned (to the court) by king Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, the son of Santanu. When they came, king Dhritarashtra addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'Listen, O son of Kunti, with thy brothers, to what I say. Repair ye to Khandavaprastha so that no difference may arise again (between you and your cousins). If you take up your quarters there no one will be able to do you any injury. Protected by Partha (Arjuna), like the celestials by the thunderbolt, reside ye at Khandavaprastha, taking half of the kingdom.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Agreeing to what Dhritarashtra said, those bulls among men worshipping the king set out from Hastinapura. And content with half the kingdom, they removed to Khandavaprastha, which was in unreclaimed desert. Then those heroes of unfading splendour, viz., the Pandavas, with Krishna at their head, arriving there, beautified the place and made it a second heaven. And those mighty car-warriors, selecting with Dwaipayana's assistance a sacred and auspicious region, performed certain propitiatory ceremonies and measured out a piece of land for their city. Then surrounded by a trench wide as the sea and by walls reaching high up to the heavens and white as the fleecy clouds or the rays of the moon, that foremost of cities looked resplendent like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) decked with the Nagas. And it stood adorned with palatial mansions and numerous gates, each furnished with a couple of panels resembling the out-stretched wings of Garuda. And it was protected with gateways looking like the clouds and high as the Mandara mountains. And well-furnished with numerous weapons of attack the missiles of the foes could not make slightest impression on them. And they were almost covered with darts and other missiles like double-tongued snakes. The turrets along the walls were filled with armed men in course of training; and the walls were lined with numerous warriors along their whole length. And there were thousands of sharp hooks and Sataghnis (machines slaying a century of warriors) and numerous other machines on the battlements. There were also large iron wheels planted on them. And with all these was that foremost of cities adorned. The streets were all wide and laid out excellently; and there was no fear in them of accident. And decked with innumerable mansions, the city became like unto Amaravati and came to be called Indraprastha (like unto Indra's city). In a delightful and auspicious part of the city rose the palace of the Pandavas filled with every kind of wealth and like unto the mansion of the celestial treasurer (Kuvera) himself. And it looked like a mass of clouds charged with lightning.
"When the city was built, there came, O king, numerous Brahmanas well- acquainted with all the Vedas and conversant with every language, wishing to dwell there. And there came also unto that town numerous merchants from every direction, in the hope of earning wealth. There also came numerous persons well-skilled in all the arts, wishing to take up their abode there. And around the city were laid out many delightful gardens adorned with numerous trees bearing both fruits and flowers. There were Amras (mango trees) and Amaratakas, and Kadamvas and Asokas, and Champakas; and Punnagas and Nagas and Lakuchas and Panasas; and Salas and Talas (palm trees) and Tamalas and Vakulas, and Ketakas with their fragrant loads; beautiful and blossoming and grand Amalakas with branches bent down with the weight of fruits and Lodhras and blossoming Ankolas; and Jamvus (blackberry trees) and Patalas and Kunjakas and Atimuktas; and Karaviras and Parijatas and numerous other kinds of trees always adorned with flowers and fruits and alive with feathery creatures of various species. And those verdant groves always resounded with the notes of maddened peacocks and Kokilas (blackbirds). And there were various pleasure-houses, bright as mirrors, and numerous bowers of creepers, and charming and artificial hillocks, and many lakes full to the brim of crystal water, and delightful tanks fragrant with lotuses and lilies and adorned with swans and ducks and chakravakas (brahminy ducks). And there were many delicious pools overgrown with fine aquatic plants. And there were also diverse ponds of great beauty and large dimension. And, O king, the joy of the Pandavas increased from day to day, in consequence of their residence in that large kingdom that was peopled with pious men.
"Thus in consequence of the virtuous behaviour of Bhishma and king Dhritarashtra towards them, the Pandavas took up their abode in Khandavaprastha. Adorned with those five mighty warriors, each equal unto Indra himself, that foremost of cities looked like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) adorned with the Nagas. And, O monarch, having settled the Pandavas there, the heroic Krishna, obtaining their leave, came back with Rama to Dwaravati.'"
"Janamejaya said, 'O thou possessed of ascetic wealth, what did those high- souled ones, my grandsires, the illustrious Pandavas, do, after obtaining the kingdom of Indraprastha? How did their wife Draupadi obey them all? How is it also that no dissensions arose amongst those illustrious rulers of men, all attached to one wife, viz., Krishna? O thou of the wealth of asceticism, I wish to hear everything in detail regarding the behaviour towards one another of those rulers of men after their union with Krishna.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, having obtained their kingdom, at the command of Dhritarashtra, passed their days in joy and happiness at Khandavaprastha with Krishna. And Yudhishthira. endued with great energy and ever adhering to truth, having obtained the sovereignty, virtuously ruled the land, assisted by his brothers. And the sons of Pandu, endued with great wisdom and devoted to truth and virtue, having vanquished all their foes, continued to live there in great happiness. And those bulls among men, seated on royal seats of great value, used to discharge all the duties of government. And one day, while all those illustrious heroes were so seated, there came unto them the celestial Rishi Narada, in course of his wanderings. Beholding the Rishi, Yudhishthira offered him his own handsome seat. And after the celestial Rishi had been seated, the wise Yudhishthira duly offered him the Arghya with his own hands. And the king also informed the Rishi of the state of his kingdom. The Rishi accepting the worship, became well-pleased, and eulogising him with benedictions, commanded the king to take his seat. Commanded by the Rishi, the king took his seat. Then the king sent word unto Krishna (in the inner apartments) of the arrival of the illustrious one. Hearing of the Rishi's arrival Draupadi, purifying herself properly, came with a respectful attitude to where Narada was with the Pandavas. The virtuous princess of Panchala, worshipping the celestial Rishi's feet, stood with joined hands before him, properly veiled. The illustrious Narada, pronouncing various benedictions on her, commanded the princess to retire. After Krishna had retired, the illustrious Rishi, addressing in private all the Pandavas with Yudhishthira at their head, said, 'The renowned princess of Panchala is the wedded wife of you all. Establish a rule amongst yourselves so that disunion may not arise amongst you. There were, in former days, celebrated throughout the three worlds, two brothers named Sunda and Upasunda living together and incapable of being slain by anybody unless each slew the other. They ruled the same kingdom, lived in the same house, slept on the same bed, sat on the same seat, and ate from the same dish. And yet they killed each for the sake of Tilottama. Therefore, O Yudhishthira, preserve your friendship for one another and do that which may not produce disunion amongst you.'
"On hearing this, Yudhishthira asked, 'O great Muni, whose sons were Asuras called Sunda and Upasunda? Whence arose that dissension amongst them, and why did they slay each other? Whose daughter also was this Tilottama for whose love the maddened brothers killed each other? Was she an Apsara (water nymph) or the daughter of any celestial? O thou whose wealth is asceticism, we desire, O Brahmana, to hear in detail everything as it happened. Indeed, our curiosity hath become great.'"
(Rajya-labha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, Narada replied, 'O son of Pritha, listen with thy brothers to me as I recite this old story, O Yudhishthira, exactly as everything happened. In olden days, a mighty Daitya named Nikumbha, endued with great energy and strength was born in the race of the great Asura, Hiranyakasipu. Unto this Nikumbha, were born two sons called Sunda and Upasunda. Both of them were mighty Asuras endued with great energy and terrible prowess. The brothers were both fierce and possessed of wicked hearts. And those Daityas were both of the same resolution, and ever engaged in achieving the same tasks and ends. They were ever sharers with each other in happiness as well as in woe. Each speaking and doing what was agreeable to the other, the brothers never were unless they were together, and never went anywhere unless together. Of exactly the same disposition and habits, they seemed to be one individual divided into two parts. Endued with great energy and ever of the same resolution in everything they undertook, the brothers gradually grew up. Always entertaining the same purpose, desirous of subjugating the three worlds, the brothers, after due initiation, went to the mountains of Vindhya. And severe were the ascetic penances they performed there. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, with matted locks on their heads and attired in barks of trees, they acquired sufficient ascetic merit at length. Besmearing themselves with dirt from head to foot, living upon air alone, standing on their toes, they threw pieces of the flesh of their bodies into the fire. Their arms upraised, and eye fixed, long was the period for which they observed their vows. And during the course of their ascetic penances, a wonderful incident occurred there. For the mountains of Vindhya, heated for a long course of years by the power of their ascetic austerities, began to emit vapour from every part of their bodies. And beholding the severity of their austerities, the celestials became alarmed. The gods began to cause numerous obstructions to impede the progress of their asceticism. The celestials repeatedly tempted the brothers by means of every precious possession and the most beautiful girls. The brothers broke not their vows. Then the celestials once more manifested, before the illustrious brothers, their powers of illusion. For it seemed their sisters, mothers, wives, and other relatives, with disordered hair and ornaments and robes, were running towards them in terror, pursued and struck by a Rakshasa with a lance in hand. And it seemed that the women implored the help of the brothers crying, 'O save us!' But all this went for nothing, for firmly wedded thereto, the brothers did not still break their vows. And when it was found that all this produced not the slightest impression on any of the two, both the women and the Rakshasa vanished from sight. At last the Grandsire himself, the Supreme Lord ever seeking the welfare of all, came unto those great Asuras and asked them to solicit the boon they desired. Then the brothers Sunda and Upasunda, both of great prowess, beholding the Grandsire, rose from their seats and waited with joined palms. And the brothers both said unto the God, 'O Grandsire, if thou hast been pleased with these our ascetic austerities, and art, O lord, propitious unto us, then let us have knowledge of all weapons and of all powers of illusion. Let us be endued with great strength, and let us be able to assume any form at will. And last of all, let us also be immortal.' Hearing these words of theirs, Brahman said, 'Except the immortality you ask for, you shall be given all that you desire. Solicit you some form of death by which you may still be equal unto the immortals. And since you have undergone these severe ascetic austerities from desire of sovereignty alone I cannot confer on you the boon of immortality. You have performed your ascetic penances even for the subjugation of the three worlds. It is for this, O mighty Daityas, that I cannot grant you what you desire.'
"Narada continued, 'Hearing these words of Brahman, Sunda and Upasunda said, 'O Grandsire, let us have no fear then from any created thing, mobile or immobile, in the three worlds, except only from each other!' The Grandsire then said, 'I grant you what you have asked for, even this your desire'. And granting them this boon, the Grandsire made them desist from their asceticism, and returned to his own region. Then the brothers, those mighty Daityas, having received those several boons became incapable of being slain by anybody in the universe. They then returned to their own abode. All their friends and relatives, beholding those Daityas of great intelligence, crowned with success in the matter of the boons they had obtained, became exceedingly glad. And Sunda and Upasunda then cut off their matted locks and wore coronets on their heads. Attired in costly robes and ornaments, they looked exceedingly handsome. They caused the moon to rise over their city every night even out of his season. And friends and relatives gave themselves up to joy and merriment with happy hearts. Eat, feed, give, make merry, sing, drink—these were the sounds heard everyday in every house. And here and there arose loud uproars of hilarity mixed with clappings of hands which filled the whole city of the Daityas, who being capable of assuming any form at will, were engaged in every kind of amusement and sport and scarcely noticed the flight of time, even regarding a whole year as a single day.'"
(Rajya-labha Parva continued)
'Narada continued, 'As soon as those festivities came to an end, the brothers Sunda and Upasunda, desirous of the Sovereignty of the three worlds, took counsel and commanded their forces to be arranged. Obtaining the assent of their friends and relatives, of the elders of the Daitya race and of their ministers of state, and performing the preliminary rites of departure, they set out in the night when the constellation Magha was in the ascendant. The brothers set out with a large Daitya force clad in mail and armed with maces and axes and lances and clubs. The Daitya heroes set out on their expedition with joyous hearts, the charanas (bards) chanting auspicious panegyrics indicative of their future triumphs. Furious in war, the Daitya brothers, capable of going everywhere at will, ascended the skies and went to the region of the celestials. The celestials knowing they were coming and acquainted also with the boons granted unto them by the Supreme Deity left heaven and sought refuge in the region of Brahman. Endued with fierce prowess, the Daitya heroes soon subjugated the region of Indra, and vanquishing the diverse tribes of Yakshas and Rakshasas and every creature ranging the skies, came away. Those mighty car-warriors next subjugated the Nagas of the nether region, and then the inmates of the ocean and then all the tribes of the Mlechchhas. Desirous next of subjugating the whole earth, those heroes of irresistible sway, summoning their soldiers, issued these cruel commands. 'Brahmanas and royal sages (on earth) with their libations and other food offered at grand sacrifices, increase the energy and strength of the gods, as also their prosperity. Engaged in such acts, they are the enemies of the Asuras. All of us, therefore, mustering together should completely slaughter them off the face of the earth!' Ordering their soldiers thus on the eastern shore of the great ocean, and entertaining such a cruel resolution, the Asura brothers set out in all directions. And those that were performing sacrifices and the Brahmanas that were assisting at those sacrifices, the mighty brothers instantly slew. And slaughtering them with violence they departed for some other place. Whilst their soldiers threw into the water the sacrificial fires that were in the asylums of Munis with souls under complete control, the curses uttered by the illustrious Rishis in wrath, rendered abortive by the boons granted (by Brahman), affected not the Asura brothers. When the Brahmanas saw that their curses produced not the slightest effect like shafts shot at stones they fled in all directions, forsaking their rites and vows. Even those Rishis on earth that were crowned with ascetic success, and had their passions under complete control and were wholly engrossed in meditation of the Deity, from fear of the Asura brothers, fled like snakes at the approach of Vinata's son (Garuda the snake-eater). The sacred asylums were all trodden down and broken. The sacrificial jars and vessels being broken, their (sacred) contents were scattered over the ground. The whole universe became empty, as if its creatures had all been stricken down during the season of general dissolution. And, O king, after the Rishis had all disappeared and made themselves invisible both the great Asuras, resolved upon their destruction, began to assume various forms. Assuming the forms of maddened elephants with temples rent from excess of juice, the Asura pair, searching out the Rishis who had sheltered themselves in caves, sent them to the region of Yama. Sometimes becoming as lions and again as tigers and disappearing the next moment, by these and other methods the cruel couple, seeing the Rishis, slew them instantly. Sacrifice and study ceased, and kings and Brahmanas were exterminated. The earth became utterly destitute of sacrifices and festivals. And the terrified people uttered cries of Oh and Alas and all buying and selling were stopped. All religious rites ceased, and the earth became destitute of sacred ceremonies and marriages. Agriculture was neglected and cattle were no longer tended. Towns and asylums became desolate. And scattered over with bones and skeletons, the earth assumed a frightful aspect. All ceremonies in honour of the Pitris were suspended, and the sacred sound of Vashat and the whole circle of auspicious rites ceased. The earth became frightful to behold. The Sun and the Moon, the Planets and Stars, and Constellations, and the other dwellers in the firmament, witnessing these acts of Sunda and Upasunda, grieved deeply. Subjugating all the points of heaven by means of such cruel acts, the Asura brothers took up their abode in Kurukshetra, without a single rival.'"
(Rajya-labha Parva continued)
"Narada continued, 'Then the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and the high- souled Rishis possessing the attributes of tranquillity and self-restraint, beholding that act of universal slaughter, were afflicted with great grief. With passions and senses and souls under complete control, they then went to the abode of the Grandsire, moved by compassion for the universe. Arrived there, they beheld the Grandsire seated with gods, Siddhas, and Brahmarshis around him. There were present that God of gods, viz., Mahadeva, and Agni, accompanied by Vayu, and Soma and Surya and Sakra, and Rishis devoted to the contemplation of Brahma, and the Vaikhanasas, the Valakhilyas, the Vanaprasthas, the Marichipas, the Ajas, the Avimudas, and other ascetics of great energy. All those Rishis were sitting with the Grandsire, when the celestial and other Rishis, approaching Brahman with sorrowful hearts, represented unto him all the acts of Sunda and Upasunda. And they told the Grandsire in detail everything that the Asura brothers had done, and how they had done it, and in what order. Then all the celestials and the great Rishis pressed the matter before the Grandsire. The Grandsire, hearing everything they said, reflected for a moment and settled in his mind what he should do. Resolving to compass the destruction of the Asura brothers, he summoned Viswakarman (the celestial architect). Seeing Viswakarman before him, the Grandsire possessed of supreme ascetic merit commanded him, saying, 'Create thou a damsel capable of captivating all hearts.' Bowing down unto the Grandsire and receiving his command with reverence, the great artificer of the universe created a celestial maiden with careful attention. Viswakrit first collected all handsome features upon the body of the damsel he created. Indeed, the celestial maiden that he created was almost a mass of gems. And created with great care by Viswakarman, the damsel, in beauty, became unrivalled among the women of the three worlds. There was not even a minute part of her body which by its wealth of beauty could not attract the gaze of beholders. And like unto the embodied Sri herself, that damsel of extraordinary beauty captivated the eyes and hearts of every creature. And because she had been created with portions of every gem taken in minute measures, the Grandsire bestowed upon her the name of Tilottama. And as soon as he started it into life, the damsel bowed to Brahman and with joined palms said, 'Lord of every created thing, what task am I to accomplish and what have I been created for?' The Grandsire answered, 'Go, O Tilottama, unto the Asuras, Sunda and Upasunda. O amiable one, tempt them with thy captivating beauty. And, O damsel, conduct thyself there in such a way that the Asura brothers may, in consequence of the wealth of thy beauty, quarrel with each other as soon as they cast their eyes upon thee.'
"Narada continued, 'Bowing unto the Grandsire and saying, 'So be it,'—the damsel walked round the celestial conclave. The illustrious Brahman was then sitting with face turned eastwards, and Mahadeva with face also towards the east, and all the celestials with faces northwards, and the Rishis with faces towards all directions. While Tilottama walked round the conclave of the celestials, Indra and the illustrious Sthanu (Mahadeva) were the only ones that succeeded in preserving their tranquillity of mind. But exceedingly desirous as Mahadeva was (of beholding Tilottama) when the damsel (in her progress round the celestial conclave) was at his side, another face like a full-blown lotus appeared on the southern side of his body. And when she was behind him, another face appeared on the west. And when the damsel was on the northern side of the great god, a fourth face appeared on the northern side of his body. Mahadeva (who was eager to behold the damsel) came also to have a thousand eyes, each large and slightly reddish, before, behind and on his flanks. And it was thus that Sthanu the great god came to have four faces, and the slayer of Vala, a thousand eyes. And as regards the mass of the celestials and the Rishis, they turned their faces towards all directions as Tilottama walked round them. Except the divine Grandsire himself, the glances of those illustrious personages, even of all of them fell upon Tilottama's body. And when Tilottama set out (for the city of the Asuras) with the wealth of her beauty, all regarded the task as already accomplished. After Tilottama had gone away, the great god who was the First Cause of the Universe, dismissed all the celestials and the Rishis.'"
(Rajya-labha Parva continued)
"Narada continued, 'Meanwhile the Asura brothers having subjugated the earth were without a rival. The fatigue of exertion gone, they, having brought the three worlds under equal sway, regarded themselves as persons that had nothing more to do. Having brought all the treasures of the gods, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, and the kings of the earth, the brothers began to pass their days in great happiness. When they saw they had no rivals (in the three worlds), they gave up all exertion and devoted their time to pleasure and merriment, like the celestials. They experienced great happiness by giving themselves up to every kind of enjoyment, such as women, and perfumes and floral wreaths and viands, and drinks and many other agreeable objects all in profusion. In houses and woods and gardens, on hills and in forests, wherever they liked they passed their time in pleasure and amusement, like the immortals. And it so happened that one day they went for purposes of pleasure to a tableland of the Vindhya range, perfectly level and stony, and overgrown with blossoming trees. After every object of desire, all of the most agreeable kind, had been brought, the brothers sat on an excellent seat, with happy hearts and accompanied by handsome women. And those damsels, desirous of pleasing the brothers, commenced a dance in accompaniment to music, and sweetly chanted many a song in praise of the mighty pair.'
"Meanwhile Tilottama attired in a single piece of red silk that exposed all her charms, came along, plucking wild flowers on her way. She advanced slowly to where those mighty Asuras were. The Asura brothers, intoxicated with the large portions they had imbibed, were smitten upon beholding that maiden of transcendent beauty. Leaving their seats they went quickly to where the damsel was. Both of them being under the influence of lust, each sought the maiden for himself. And Sunda seized that maid of fair brows by her right hand. Intoxicated with the boons they had obtained, with physical might, with the wealth and gems they had gathered from every quarter, and with the wine they had drunk, maddened with all these, and influenced by wishful desire, they addressed each other, each contracting his brow in anger. 'She is my wife, and therefore your superior,' said Sunda. 'She is my wife, and therefore your sister-in-law', replied Upasunda. And they said unto each other, 'She is mine not yours.' And soon they were under the influence of rage. Maddened by the beauty of the damsel, they soon forgot their love and affection for each other. Both of them, deprived of reason by passion, then took up their fierce maces. Each repeating, 'I was the first, I was the first,' (in taking her hand) struck the other. And the fierce Asuras, struck by each other with the mace, fell down upon the ground, their bodies bathed in blood, like two suns dislodged from the firmament. And beholding this, the women that had come there, and the other Asuras there present, all fled away trembling in grief and fear, and took refuge in the nether regions. The Grandsire himself of pure soul, then came there, accompanied by the celestials, and the great Rishis. And the illustrious Grandsire applauded Tilottama and expressed his wish of granting her a boon. The Supreme Deity, before Tilottama spoke, desirous of granting her a boon, cheerfully said, 'O beautiful damsel, thou shalt roam in the region of the Adityas. Thy splendour shall be so great that nobody will ever be able to look at thee for any length of time!' The Grandsire of all creatures, granting this boon unto her, establishing the three worlds in Indra as before, returned to his own region.
"Narada continued, 'It was thus that Asuras, ever united and inspired by the same purpose slew each other in wrath for the sake of Tilottama. Therefore, from affection I tell you, ye foremost ones of Bharata's line, that if you desire to do anything agreeable to me, make some such arrangements that you may not quarrel with one another for the sake of Draupadi.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The illustrious Pandavas, thus addressed by the great Rishi Narada, consulting with one another, established a rule amongst themselves in the presence of the celestial Rishi himself endued with immeasurable energy. And the rule they made was that when one of them would be sitting with Draupadi, any of the other four who would see that one thus must retire into the forest for twelve years, passing his days as a Brahmacharin. After the virtuous Pandavas had established that rule amongst themselves, the great Muni Narada, gratified with them, went to the place he wished. Thus, O Janamejaya, did the Pandavas urged by Narada, established a rule amongst themselves in regard to their common wife. And it was for this, O Bharata, that no dispute ever arose between them.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, having established such a rule, continued to reside there. By the prowess of their arms they brought many kings under their sway. And Krishna became obedient unto all the five sons of Pritha, those lions among men, of immeasurable energy. Like the river Saraswati decked with elephants, which again take pleasure in that stream, Draupadi took great delight in her five heroic husbands and they too took delight in her. And in consequence of the illustrious Pandavas being exceedingly virtuous in their practice, the whole race of Kurus, free from sin, and happy, grew in prosperity.
"After some time, O king, it so happened that certain robbers lifted the cattle of a Brahmana, and while they were carrying away the booty, the Brahmana, deprived of his senses by anger, repaired to Khandavaprastha, and began to reprove the Pandavas in accents of woe. The Brahmana said, 'Ye Pandavas, from this your dominion, my kine are even now being taken away by force by despicable and wicked wretches! Pursue ye the thieves. Alas, the sacrificial butter of a peaceful Brahmana is being taken away by crows! Alas, the wretched jackal invadeth the empty cave of a lion! A king that taketh the sixth part of the produce of the land without protecting the subject, hath been called by the wise to be the most sinful person in the whole world. The wealth of a Brahmana is being taken away by robbers! Virtue itself is sustaining a diminution! Take me up by the hand, ye Pandavas for I am plunged in grief!"
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, heard those accents of the Brahmana weeping in bitter grief. As soon as he heard those accents, he loudly assured the Brahmana, saying, 'No fear!' But it so happened that the chamber where the illustrious Pandavas had their weapons was then occupied by Yudhishthira the just with Krishna. Arjuna, therefore, was incapable of entering it or, going alone with the Brahmana, though repeatedly urged (to do either) by the weeping accents of the Brahmana. Summoned by the Brahmana, Arjuna reflected, with a sorrowful heart, 'Alas, this innocent Brahmana's wealth is being robbed! I should certainly dry up his tears. He hath come to our gate, and is weeping even now. If I do not protect him, the king will be touched with sin in consequence of my indifference; our own irreligiousness will be cited throughout the kingdom, and we shall incur a great sin. If, disregarding the king, I enter the chamber, without doubt I shall be behaving untruthfully towards the monarch without a foe. By entering the chamber, again, I incur the penalty of an exile in the woods. But I must overlook everything. I care not if I have to incur sin by disregarding the king. I care not if I have to go to the woods and die there. Virtue is superior to the body and lasteth after the body hath perished!' Dhananjaya, arriving at this resolution, entered the chamber and talked with Yudhishthira. Coming out with the bow, he cheerfully told the Brahmana, 'Proceed, O Brahmana, with haste, so that those wretched robbers may not go much ahead of us. I shall accompany thee and restore unto thee thy wealth that hath fallen into the hands of the thieves.' Then Dhananjaya, capable of using both his arms with equal skill, armed with the bow and cased in mail and riding in his war-chariot decked with a standard, pursued the thieves, and piercing them with his arrows, compelled them to give up the booty. Benefiting the Brahmana thus by making over to him his kine, and winning great renown, the hero returned to the capital. Bowing unto all the elders, and congratulated by everybody, Partha at last approached Yudhishthira, and addressing him, said, 'Give me leave, O lord, to observe the vow I took. In beholding thee sitting with Draupadi, I have violated the rule established by ourselves. I shall therefore go into the woods, for this is even our understanding.' Then Yudhishthira, suddenly hearing those painful words, became afflicted with grief, and said in an agitated voice, 'Why!' A little while after, king Yudhishthira in grief said unto his brother Dhananjaya of curly hair who never departed from his vows, these words, 'O sinless one, if I am an authority worthy of regard, listen to what I say. O hero, full well do I know the reason why thou hadst entered my chamber and didst what thou regardest to be an act disagreeable to me. But there is no displeasure in my mind. The younger brother may, without fault, enter the chamber where the elder brother sitteth with his wife. It is only the elder brother that acts against the rules of propriety by entering the room where the younger brother sitteth with his wife. Therefore, O thou of mighty arms, desist from thy purpose. Do what I say. Thy virtue hath sustained no diminution. Thou hast not disregarded me.'
"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'I have heard, even from thee, that quibbling is not permitted in the discharge of duty. I cannot waver from truth. Truth is my weapon.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Obtaining then the king's permission, Arjuna prepared himself for a forest-life; and he went to the forest to live there for twelve years.'"
(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When that spreader of the renown of Kuru's race, the strong-armed Arjuna, set out (for the forest), Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas walked behind that illustrious hero to a certain distance. Followed by Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas and their branches and devoted to the contemplation of the Supreme Spirit, by persons skilled in music, by ascetics devoted to the Deity, by reciters of Puranas, by narrators of sacred stories by devotees leading celibate lives, by Vanaprasthas, by Brahmanas sweetly reciting celestial histories, and by various other classes of persons of sweet speeches, Arjuna journeyed like Indra followed by the Maruts. And, O thou of Bharata's race, that bull among the Bharatas saw, as he journeyed, many delightful and picturesque forests, lakes, rivers, seas, provinces, and waters. At length, on arriving at the source of the Ganges the mighty hero thought of settling there.
"Listen now, O Janamejaya, to a wonderful feat which that foremost of the sons of Pandu, of high soul, did, while living there. When that son of Kunti, O Bharata, and the Brahmanas who had followed him, took up their residence in that region, the latter performed innumerable Agnihotras (sacrificial rites by igniting the sacred fire). And, O king, in consequence of those learned vow-observing, and illustrious Brahmanas, who never deviated from the right path, daily establishing and igniting with mantras on the banks of that sacred stream, after the performance of their ablutions, fires for their sacrifices, and pouring libations of clarified butter into the same, and worshipping those fires with offerings of flowers, that region itself where the Ganges entered the plains became exceedingly beautiful. One day that bull amongst the Pandavas, while residing in that region in the midst of those Brahmanas, descended (as usual) into the Ganges to perform his ablutions. After his ablutions had been over, and after he had offered oblations of water unto his deceased ancestors, he was about to get up from the stream to perform his sacrificial rites before the fire, when the mighty-armed hero, O king, was dragged into the bottom of the water by Ulupi, the daughter of the king of the Nagas, urged by the god of desire. And it so happened that the son of Pandu was carried into the beautiful mansion of Kauravya, the king of the Nagas. Arjuna saw there a sacrificial fire ignited for himself. Beholding that fire, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti performed his sacrificial rites with devotion. And Agni was much gratified with Arjuna for the fearlessness with which that hero had poured libations into his manifest form. After he had thus performed his rites before the fire, the son of Kunti, beholding the daughter of the king of the Nagas, addressed her smilingly and said, 'O handsome girl, what an act of rashness hast thou done, O timid one! Whose is this beautiful region, who art thou and whose daughter?'
"Hearing these words of Arjuna, Ulupi answered, 'There is a Naga of the name of Kauravya, born in the line of Airavata. I am, O prince, the daughter of that Kauravya, and my name is Ulupi. O tiger among men, beholding thee descend into the stream to perform thy ablutions, I was deprived of reason by the god of desire. O sinless one, I am still unmarried. Afflicted as I am by the god of desire on account of thee, O thou of Kuru's race, gratify me today by giving thyself up to me.'
"Arjuna replied, 'Commanded by king Yudhishthira, O amiable one, I am undergoing the vow of Brahmacharin for twelve years. I am not free to act in any way I like. But, O ranger of the waters, I am still willing to do thy pleasure (if I can). I have never spoken an untruth in my life. Tell me, therefore, O Naga maid, how I may act so that, while doing thy pleasure, I may not be guilty of any untruth or breach of duty.'
"Ulupi answered, 'I know, O son of Pandu, why thou wanderest over the earth, and why thou hast been commanded to lead the life of a Brahmacharin by the superior. Even this was the understanding to which all of you had been pledged, viz., that amongst you all owning Drupada's daughter as your common wife, he who would from ignorance enter the room where one of you would be sitting with her, should lead the life of a Brahmacharin in the woods for twelve years. The exile of any one amongst you, therefore, is only for the sake of Draupadi. Thou art but observing the duty arising from that vow. Thy virtue cannot sustain any diminution (by acceding to my solicitation). Then again, O thou of large eyes, it is a duty to relieve the distressed. Thy virtue suffereth no diminution by relieving me. Oh, if (by this act), O Arjuna, thy virtue doth suffer a small diminution, thou wilt acquire great merit by saving my life. Know me for thy worshipper, O Partha! Therefore, yield thyself up to me! Even this, O lord, is the opinion of the wise (viz., that one should accept a woman that wooeth). If thou do not act in this way, know that I will destroy myself. O thou of mighty arms, earn great merit by saving my life. I seek thy shelter, O best of men! Thou protectest always, O son of Kunti, the afflicted and the masterless. I seek thy protection, weeping in sorrow. I woo thee, being filled with desire. Therefore, do what is agreeable to me. It behoveth thee to gratify my wish by yielding thy self up to me.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the daughter of the king of the Nagas, the son of Kunti did everything she desired, making virtue his motive. The mighty Arjuna, spending the night in the mansion of the Naga rose with the sun in the morning. Accompanied by Ulupi he came back from the palace of Kauravya to the region where the Ganges entereth the plains. The chaste Ulupi, taking her leave there, returned to her own abode. And, O Bharata, she granted unto Arjuna a boon making him invincible in water, saying, 'Every amphibious creature shall, without doubt, be vanquishable by thee.'"
(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of the wielder of the thunderbolt narrated everything unto those Brahmanas (residing with him there), set out for the breast of Himavat. Arriving at the spot called Agastyavata, he next went to Vasishtha's peak. Thence the son of Kunti proceeded to the peak of Bhrigu. Purifying himself with ablutions and rites there, that foremost of the Kurus gave away unto Brahmanas many thousands of cows and many houses. Thence that best of men proceeded to the sacred asylum called Hiranyavindu. Performing his ablutions there, that foremost of the sons of Pandu saw many holy regions. Descending from those heights that chief of men, O Bharata, accompanied by the Brahmanas, journeyed towards the east, desiring to behold the regions that lay in that direction. That foremost one of Kuru's race saw many regions of sacred waters one after another. And beholding in the forest of Naimisha the delightful river Utpalini (full of lotuses) and the Nanda and the Apara Nanda, the far-famed Kausiki, and the mighty rivers Gaya and Ganga, and all the regions of sacred water, he purified himself, O Bharata, (with the usual rites), and gave away many cows unto Brahmanas. Whatever regions of sacred waters and whatever other holy palaces there were in Vanga and Kalinga, Arjuna visited all of them. Seeing them all and performing proper ceremonies, he gave away much wealth. Then, O Bharata, all those Brahmanas following the son of Pandu, bade him farewell at the gate of the kingdom of Kalinga and desisted from proceeding with him any further. The brave Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, obtaining their leave, went towards the ocean, accompanied by only a few attendants. Crossing the country of the Kalingas, the mighty one proceeded, seeing on his way diverse countries and sacred spots and diverse delightful mansions and houses. Beholding the Mahendra mountain adorned with the ascetics (residing there), he went to Manipura, proceeding slowly along the sea-shore. Beholding all the sacred waters and other holy places in that province, the strong-armed son of Pandu at last went, O king, to the virtuous Chitravahana, the ruler of Manipura. The king of Manipura had a daughter of great beauty named Chitrangada. And it so happened that Arjuna beheld her in her father's palace roving at pleasure. Beholding the handsome daughter of Chitravahana, Arjuna desired to possess her. Going unto the king (her father), he represented unto him what he sought. He said, 'Give away unto me thy daughter, O king! I am an illustrious Kshatriya's son.' Hearing this, the king asked him, 'Whose son art thou?' Arjuna replied, 'I am Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu and Kunti.' The king, hearing this, spoke unto him these words in sweet accents, 'There was in our race a king of the name of Prabhanjana, who was childless. To obtain a child, he underwent severe ascetic penances. By his severe asceticism, O Partha, he gratified that god of gods, Mahadeva, the husband of Uma, that supreme Lord holding (the mighty bow called) Pinaka. The illustrious Lord granted him the boon that each successive descendant of his race should have one child only. In consequence of that boon only one child is born unto every successive descendant of this race. All my ancestors (one after another) had each a male child. I, however, have only a daughter to perpetuate my race. But, O bull amongst men, I ever look upon this daughter of mine as my son. O bull of Bharata's race, I have duly made her a Putrika. Therefore, one amongst the sons that may be begotten upon her by thee, O Bharata, shall be the perpetuator of my race. That son is the dower for which I may give away my daughter. O son of Pandu, if thou choosest, thou canst take her upon this understanding.' Hearing these words of the king, Arjuna accepted them all, saying, 'So be it.' Taking Chitravahana's daughter (as his wife), the son of Kunti resided in that city for three years. When Chitrangada at last gave birth to a son, Arjuna embraced that handsome princess affectionately. And taking leave of the king (her father), he set out on his wanderings again.'"
(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then that bull of Bharata's race went to the sacred waters on the banks of the southern ocean, all adorned with the ascetics residing there. And there lay scattered five such regions where also dwelt many ascetics. But those five waters themselves were shunned by all of them. Those sacred waters were called Agastya, and Saubhadra and Pauloma of great holiness, and Karandhama of great propitiousness yielding the fruits of a horse-sacrifice unto those that bathed there, and Bharadwaja, that great washer of sins. That foremost one among the Kurus, beholding those five sacred waters, and finding them uninhabited, and ascertaining also that they were shunned by the virtuous ascetics dwelling around, asked those pious men with joined hands, saying, 'Why O ascetics, are these five sacred waters shunned by utterers of Brahma?' Hearing him, the ascetics replied, 'There dwell in these waters five large crocodiles which take away the ascetics that may happen to bathe in them. It is for this, O son of Kuru's race, that these waters are shunned.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the ascetics, that foremost of men endued with mighty arms, though dissuaded by them went to behold those waters. Arrived at the excellent sacred water called Saubhadra after a great Rishi, the brave scorcher of all foes suddenly plunged into it to have a bath. As soon as that tiger among men had plunged into the water a great crocodile (that was in it) seized him by the leg. But the strong-armed Dhananjaya the son of Kunti, that foremost of all men endued with might, seized that struggling ranger of the water and dragged it forcibly to the shore. But dragged by the renowned Arjuna to the land, that crocodile became (transformed into) a beautiful damsel bedecked with ornament. O king, that charming damsel of celestial form seemed to shine for her beauty and complexion. Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, beholding that strange sight, asked that damsel with a pleased heart, 'Who art thou, O beautiful one? Why hast thou been a ranger of the waters? Why also didst thou commit such a dreadful sin?' The damsel replied, saying, 'I am, O mighty-armed one, an Apsara that sported in the celestial woods. I am, O mighty one, Varga by name, and ever dear unto the celestial treasurer (Kuvera). I have four other companions, all handsome and capable of going everywhere at will. Accompanied by them I was one day going to the abode of Kuvera. On the way we beheld a Brahmana of rigid vows, and exceedingly handsome, studying the Vedas in solitude. The whole forest (in which he was sitting) seemed to be covered with his ascetic splendour. He seemed to have illuminated the whole region like the Sun himself. Beholding his ascetic devotion of that nature and his wonderful beauty, we alighted in that region, in order to disturb his meditations. Myself and Saurabheyi and Samichi and Vudvuda and Lata, that Brahmana, O Bharata, at the same time. We began to sing and smile and otherwise tempt that Brahmana. But, O hero, that Brahmana (youth) set not his heart even once upon us. His mind fixed on pure meditation, that youth of great energy suffered not his heart to waver, O bull among Kshatriyas, the glance he cast upon us was one of wrath. And he said, staring at us, 'Becoming crocodiles, range ye the waters for a hundred years.'"
(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Varga continued, 'We were then, O foremost one of Bharata's race, deeply distressed at this curse. We sought to propitiate that Brahmana of ascetic wealth that departed not from his vow. Addressing him, we said, 'Inflated with a sense of our beauty and youth, and urged by the god of desire, we have acted very improperly. It behoveth thee, O Brahmana, to pardon us! Truly, O Brahmana, it was death to us that we had at all come hither to tempt thee of rigid vows and ascetic wealth. The virtuous, however, have said that women should never be slain. Therefore grow thou in virtue. It behoveth thee not to slay us so. O thou that art conversant with virtue, it hath been said that a Brahmana is ever the friend of every creature. O thou of great prosperity, let this speech of the wise become true. The eminent always protect those that seek protection at their hands. We seek thy protection. It behoveth thee to grant us pardon.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, that Brahmana of virtuous soul and good deeds and equal in splendour, O hero, unto the sun or the moon, became propitious unto them. And the Brahmana said, 'The words hundred and hundred thousand are all indicative of eternity. The word hundred, however, as employed by me is to be understood as a limited period and not indicative of a period without end. Ye shall, therefore, becoming crocodiles, seize and take away men (for only a hundred years as explained by me). At the end of that period, an exalted individual will drag you all from water to the land. Then ye will resume your real forms. Never have I spoken an untruth even in jest. Therefore, all that I have said must come to pass. And those sacred waters (within which I assign you your places), will, after you will have been delivered by that individual, become known all over the world by the name of Nari-tirthas (or sacred waters connected with the sufferings and the deliverance of females), and all of them shall become sacred and sin cleansing in the eyes of the virtuous and the wise.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Varga then addressing Arjuna, finished her discourse, saying, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, we saluted him with reverence and walked round him. Leaving that region we came away with heavy hearts, thinking as we proceeded, 'Where shall we all soon meet with that man who will give us back our own shapes (after our transformation)?' As we were thinking of it, in almost a moment, O Bharata, we beheld even the eminent celestial Rishi Narada. Beholding that Rishi of immeasurable energy, our hearts were filled with joy. Saluting him with reverence, O Partha, we stood before him, with blushing faces. He asked of us the cause of our sorrow and we told him all. Hearing what had happened the Rishi said, 'In the low-lands bordering on the southern ocean, there are five regions of sacred water. They are delightful and eminently holy. Go ye thither without delay. That tiger among men, Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu of pure soul, will soon deliver you, without doubt, from this sad plight.' O hero, hearing the Rishi's words, all of us came hither. O sinless one, true it is that I have today been delivered by thee. But those four friends of mine are still within the other waters here. O hero, do a good deed by delivering them also.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O monarch, that foremost of the Pandavas, endued with great prowess, cheerfully delivered all of them from that curse. Rising from the waters they all regained their own forms. Those Apsaras then, O king, all looked as before. Freeing those sacred waters (from the danger for which they had been notorious), and giving the Apsaras leave to go where they chose, Arjuna became desirous of once more beholding Chitrangada. He, therefore, proceeded towards the city of Manipura. Arrived there, he beheld on the throne the son he had begotten upon Chitrangada, and who was called by the name of Vabhruvahana. Seeing Chitrangada once more, Arjuna proceeded, O monarch, towards the spot called Gokarna.'"
(Arjuna-vanavasa Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna of immeasurable prowess saw, one after another, all the sacred waters and other holy places that were on the shores of the western ocean. Vibhatsu reached the sacred spot called Prabhasa. When the invisible Arjuna arrived at that sacred and delightful region, the slayer of Madhu (Krishna) heard of it. Madhava soon went there to see his friend, the son of Kunti. Krishna and Arjuna met together and embracing each other enquired after each other's welfare. Those dear friends, who were none else than the Rishis Nara and Narayana of old, sat down. Vasudeva asked Arjuna about his travels, saying, 'Why, O Pandava art thou wandering over the earth, beholding all the sacred waters and other holy places?' Then Arjuna told him everything that had happened. Hearing everything, that mighty hero of Vrishni's race said, 'This is as it should be.' And Krishna and Arjuna having sported as they liked, for some time at Prabhasa, went to the Raivataka mountain to pass some days there. Before they arrived at Raivataka, that mountain had, at the command of Krishna been well-adorned by many artificers. Much food also had, at Krishna's command, been collected there. Enjoying everything that had been collected there for him, Arjuna sat with Vasudeva to see the performances of the actors and the dancers. Then the high-souled Pandava, dismissing them all with proper respect, laid himself down on a well-adorned and excellent bed. As the strong-armed one lay on that excellent bed, he described unto Krishna everything about the sacred waters, the lakes and the mountains, the rivers and the forests he had seen. While he was speaking of these, stretched upon that celestial bed, sleep, O Janamejaya, stole upon him. He rose in the morning, awakened, by sweet songs and melodious notes of the Vina (guitar) and the panegyrics and benedictions of the bards. After he had gone through the necessary acts and ceremonies, he was affectionately accosted by him of the Vrishni race. Riding upon a golden car, the hero then set out for Dwaraka, the capital of the Yadavas. And, O Janamejaya, for honouring the son of Kunti, the city of Dwaraka, was well-adorned, even all the gardens and houses within it. The citizens of Dwaraka, desirous of beholding the son of Kunti, began to pour eagerly into the public thoroughfares by hundreds of thousands. In the public squares and thoroughfares, hundreds and thousands of women, mixing with the men, swelled the great crowd of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas, that had collected there. Arjuna was welcomed with respect by all the sons of Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas. And he, in his turn, worshipped those that deserved his worship, receiving their blessings. The hero was welcomed with affectionate reception by all the young men of the Yadava tribe. He repeatedly embraced all that were equal to him in age. Wending then to the delightful mansion of Krishna that was filled with gems and every article of enjoyment, he took up his abode there with Krishna for many days.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'O best of monarchs, within a few days after this, there commenced on the Raivataka mountain, a grand festival of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. At the mountain-festival of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, the heroes of those tribes began to give away much wealth unto Brahmanas by thousands. The region around that hill, O king was adorned with many a mansion decked with gems and many an artificial tree of gaudy hue. The musicians struck up in concert and the dancers began to dance and the vocalists to sing. And the youth of the Vrishni race, endued with great energy, adorned with every ornament, and riding in their gold-decked cars, looked extremely handsome. The citizens, some on foot and some in excellent cars, with their wives and followers were there by hundreds and thousands. And there was the lord Haladhara (Valarama), roving at will, hilarious with drink, accompanied by (his wife) Revati, and followed by many musicians and vocalists. There came Ugrasena also, the powerful king of the Vrishni race, accompanied by his thousand wives and followed by sweet singers. And Raukmineya and Shamva also, ever furious in battle, roved there, excited with drink and adorned with floral wreaths of great beauty and with costly attires, and disported themselves like a pair of celestials. And Akrura and Sarana and Gada, and Vabhru, and Nisatha, and Charudeshna, and Prithu, Viprithu, and Satyaka, and Satyaki, and Bhangakara, and Maharava, and Hardikya, and Uddhava, and many others whose names are not given, accompanied by their wives that followed by bands of singers, adorned that mountain-festival. When that delightful festival of immense grandeur commenced, Vasudeva and Partha went about, together, beholding everything around. While wandering there, they saw the handsome daughter of Vasudeva, Bhadra by name, decked with every ornament, in the midst of her maids. As soon as Arjuna beheld her he was possessed by the god of desire. Then, O Bharata, that tiger among men, Krishna, observing Partha contemplate her with absorbed attention, said with a smile, 'How is this? Can the heart of one that rangeth the woods be agitated by the god of desire? This is my sister, O Partha, and the uterine sister of Sarana. Blest be thou, her name is Bhadra and she is the favourite daughter of my father. Tell me if thy heart is fixed upon her, for I shall then speak to my father myself.'
"Arjuna answered, 'She is Vasudeva's daughter and Vasudeva's (Krishna) sister; endued with so much beauty, whom can she not fascinate? If this thy sister, this maid of the Vrishni race, becometh my wife, truly may I win prosperity in everything. Tell me, O Janardana, by what means I may obtain her. To get her I will achieve anything that is achievable by man.'
"Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its consequences), O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna, carry away this my beautiful sister by force, for who knows what she may do at a self-choice.' Then Krishna and Arjuna, having thus settled as to what should be done sent some speedy messengers unto Yudhishthira at Indraprastha, informing him of everything. The strong-armed Yudhishthira, as soon as he heard it, gave his assent to it.'"
(Subhadra-harana Parva continued)
"'Then Dhananjaya, informed of the assent of Yudhishthira, and ascertaining, O Janamejaya, that the maiden had gone to the Raivataka hill, obtained the assent of Vasudeva also, after having settled in consultation with him all that required to be done. Then that bull of Bharata's race, that foremost of men, with Krishna's assent, riding in his well-built car of gold equipped with rows of small bells and with every kind of weapon and the clatter of whose wheels resembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like unto that of a blazing fire and which struck terror into the hearts of all foes and unto which were yoked the steeds Saivya and Sugriva, himself accoutred in mail and armed with sword and his fingers encased in leathern gloves, set out, as it were, on a hunting expedition. Meanwhile Subhadra, having paid her homage unto that prince of hills, Raivataka and having worshipped the deities and made the Brahmanas utter benedictions upon her, and having also walked round the hill, was coming towards Dwaravati. The son of Kunti, afflicted with the shafts of the god of desire, suddenly rushed towards that Yadava girl of faultless features and forcibly took her into his car. Having seized that girl of sweet smiles, that tiger among men proceeded in his car of gold towards his own city (Indraprastha). Meanwhile, the armed attendants of Subhadra, beholding her thus seized and taken away, all ran, crying towards the city of Dwaraka. Reaching all together the Yadava court called by the name of Sudharma, they represented everything about the prowess of Partha unto the chief officer of the court. The chief officer of the court, having heard everything from those messengers, blew his gold-decked trumpet of loud blare, calling all to arms. Stirred up by that sound, the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas began to pour in from all sides. Those that were eating left their food, and those that were drinking left their drink. Those tigers among men, those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, took their seats upon their thousand thrones of gold covered with excellent carpets and variegated with gems and corals and possessed of the lustre of blazing fire. Indeed they took their seats upon those thrones, like blazing fires receiving faggots to increase their splendour. And after they were seated in that court which was like unto a conclave of the celestials themselves, the chief officer of the court, assisted by those that stood at his back, spoke of the conduct of Jishnu. The proud Vrishni heroes, of eyes red with wine, as soon as they heard of it, rose up from their seats, unable to brook what Arjuna had done. Some amongst them said, 'Yoke our cars', and some, 'Bring our weapons' and some said, 'Bring our costly bows and strong coats of mail,' and some loudly called upon their charioteers to harness their cars, and some, from impatience, themselves yoked their horses decked with gold unto their cars. And while their cars and armours and standards were being brought, loud became the uproar of those heroes. Then Valadeva, white and tall as the peak of Kailasa, decked with garlands of wild flowers and attired in blue robes, and proud and intoxicated with drink, said these words:
'Ye senseless men, what are ye doing, when Janardana sitteth silent? Without knowing what is in his mind, vainly do we roar in wrath! Let the high-souled Krishna give out what he proposeth. Accomplish promptly what he desireth to do.' Then all of them, hearing those words of Halayudha that deserved to be accepted, exclaimed, 'Excellent! Excellent!' They then all became silent. Silence having been restored by the words of the intelligent Valadeva, they took their seats once more in that assembly. Then Rama, that oppressor of foes, spoke unto Vasudeva, saying, 'Why, O Janardana, sittest thou, gazing silently? O Achyuta, it was for thy sake that the son of Pritha had been welcomed and honoured by us. It seemeth, however, that that vile wretch deserved not our homage. What man is there born of a respectable family that would break the plate after having dined from it! Even if one desireth to make such an alliance, yet remembering all the services he hath received, who is there, desirous of happiness, that acts so rashly? That Pandava disregarding us and thee too hath today outraged Subhadra, desiring (to compass) his own death. He hath placed his foot on the crown of my head. How shall I, O Govinda, tamely bear it? Shall I not resent it, even like a snake that is trodden upon? Alone shall I today make the earth destitute of Kauravas! Never shall I put up with this transgression by Arjuna.' Then all the Bhojas, Vrishnis, and Andhakas, present there, approved of everything that Valadeva had said, deeply roaring like unto a kettle-drum or the clouds.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'When the heroes of the Vrishni race began to speak repeatedly in this strain, Vasudeva uttered these words pregnant with deep import and consistent with true morality. 'Gudakesa (the conqueror of sleep or he of the curly hair), by what he hath done, hath not insulted our family. He hath without doubt, rather enhanced our respect. Partha knoweth that we of the Satwata race are never mercenary. The son of Pandu also regardeth a self-choice as doubtful in its results. Who also would approve of accepting a bride in gift as if she were an animal? What man again is there on earth that would sell his offspring? I think Arjuna, seeing these faults in all the other methods took the maiden away by force, according to the ordinance. This alliance is very proper. Subhadra is a renowned girl. Partha too possesseth renown. Perhaps, thinking of all this, Arjuna hath taken her away by force. Who is there that would not desire to have Arjuna for a friend, who is born in the race of Bharata and the renowned Santanu, and the son also of the daughter of Kuntibhoja? I do not see, in all the worlds with Indra and the Rudras, the person that can by force vanquish Partha in battle, except the three-eyed god Mahadeva. His car is well-known. Yoked thereunto are those steeds of mine. Partha as a warrior is well-known; and his lightness of hand is well-known. Who shall be equal to him? Even this is my opinion: go ye cheerfully after Dhananjaya and by conciliation stop him and bring him back. If Partha goes to his city after having vanquished us by force, our fame will be gone. There is no disgrace, however, in conciliation.' Hearing, O monarch, those words of Vasudeva, they did as he directed. Stopped by them, Arjuna returned to Dwaraka and was united in marriage with Subhadra. Worshipped by the sons of Vrishni's race, Arjuna, sporting there as he pleased, passed a whole year in Dwaraka. The last year of his exile the exalted one passed at the sacred region of Pushkara. After the twelve years were complete he came back to Khandavaprastha. He approached the king first and then worshipped the Brahmanas with respectful attention. At last the hero went unto Draupadi. Draupadi, from jealousy, spoke unto him, saying, 'Why tarriest thou here, O son of Kunti? Go where the daughter of the Satwata race is!' And Krishna lamented much in this strain. But Dhananjaya pacified her repeatedly and asked for her forgiveness. And returning soon unto where Subhadra, attired in red silk, was staying, Arjuna, sent her into the inner apartments dressed not as a queen but in the simple garb of a cowherd woman. But arrived at the palace, the renowned Subhadra looked handsomer in that dress. The celebrated Bhadra of large and slightly red eyes first worshipped Pritha. Kunti from excess of affection smelt the head of that girl of perfectly faultless features, and pronounced infinite blessing upon her. Then that girl of face like the full moon hastily went unto Draupadi and worshipped her, saying, 'I am thy maid!' Krishna rose hastily and embraced the sister of Madhava from affection, and said, 'Let thy husband be without a foe!' Bhadra then, with a delighted heart, said unto Draupadi, 'So be it!' From that time, O Janamejaya, those great warriors, the Pandavas, began to live happily, and Kunti also became very happy.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When that scorcher of foes, viz., Kesava of pure soul and eyes, like lotus-petals, heard that the foremost of the Pandavas, viz., Arjuna, had reached his own excellent city of Indraprastha, he came thither accompanied by Rama and the other heroes and great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, and by his brothers and sons and many other brave warriors. And Saurin came accompanied by a large army that protected him. And there came with Saurin, that oppressor of foes, viz., the exceedingly liberal Akrura of great intelligence and renown, the generalissimo of the brave Vrishni host. And there also came Anadhrishti of great prowess, and Uddhava of great renown, of great intelligence, of great soul, and a disciple of Vrihaspati himself. And there also came Satyaka and Salyaka and Kritavarman and Satwata; and Pradyumna and Samva and Nisatha and Sanku; and Charudeshna, and Jhilli of great prowess, and Viprithu also and Sarana of mighty arms and Gada, the foremost of learned men. These and many other Vrishnis and Bhojas, and Andhakas came to Indraprastha, bringing with them many nuptial presents. King Yudhishthira, hearing that Madhava had arrived, sent the twins out to receive him. Received by them, the Vrishni host of great prosperity entered Khandavaprastha well-adorned with flags and ensigns. The streets were well- swept and watered and decked with floral wreaths and bunches. These were, again, sprinkled over with sandalwood water that was fragrant and cooling. Every part of the town was filled with the sweet scent of burning aloes. And the city was full of joyous and healthy people and adorned with merchants and traders. That best of men, viz., Kesava of mighty arms, accompanied by Rama and many of the Vrishnis, Andhakas and Bhojas, having entered the town, was worshipped by the citizens and Brahmanas by thousands. At last Kesava entered the palace of the king which was like unto the mansion of Indra himself. Beholding Rama, Yudhishthira received him with due ceremonies. The king smelt the head of Kesava and embraced him. Govinda, gratified with the reception, humbly worshipped Yudhishthira. He also paid homage unto Bhima, that tiger among men. Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then received the other principal men of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes with due ceremonies. Yudhishthira reverentially worshipped some as his superiors, and welcomed others as equals. And some he received with affection and by some he was worshipped with reverence. Then Hrishikesa of great renown gave unto the party of the bridegroom much wealth. And unto Subhadra he gave the nuptial presents that had been given to her by her relatives. Krishna gave unto the Pandavas a thousand cars of gold furnished with rows of bells, and unto each of which were put four steeds driven by well-trained charioteers. He also gave unto them ten thousand cows belonging to the country of Mathura, and yielding much milk and all of excellent colour. Well-pleased, Janardana also gave them a thousand mares with gold harnesses and of colour white as the beams of the moon. He also gave them a thousand mules, all well-trained and possessing the speed of the wind, of white colour with black manes. And he of eyes like lotus-petals also gave unto them a thousand damsels well-skilled in assisting at bathing and at drinking, young in years and virgins all before their first-season, well-attired and of excellent complexion, each wearing a hundred pieces of gold around her neck, of skins perfectly polished, decked with every ornament, and well-skilled in every kind of personal service. Janardana also gave unto them hundreds of thousands of draft horses from the country of the Valhikas as Subhadra's excellent dower. That foremost one of Dasarha's race also gave unto Subhadra as her peculium ten carrier-loads of first class gold possessing the splendour of fire, some purified and some in a state of ore. And Rama having the plough for his weapon and always loving bravery gave unto Arjuna, as a nuptial present, a thousand elephants with secretions flowing in three streams from the three parts of their bodies (the temple, the ears, and the anus) each large as a mountain summit, irresistible in battle, decked with coverlets and bells, well-adorned with other golden ornaments, and equipped with excellent thrones on their backs. And that large wave of wealth and gems that the Yadavas presented, together with the cloths and blankets that represented its foam, and the elephants its alligators and sharks, and the flags its floating weeds swelling into large proportions, mingled with the Pandu ocean and filled it to the brim, to the great sorrow of all foes. Yudhishthira accepted all those presents and worshipped all those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races. Those illustrious heroes of the Kuru, the Vrishni, and the Andhaka races passed their days in pleasure and merriment there like virtuous men (after death) in the celestial regions. The Kurus and the Vrishnis with joyous hearts amused themselves there, setting up at times loud shouts mingled with clappings of the hand. Spending many days in sports and merriment there, and worshipped by the Kurus all the while, the Vrishni heroes endued with great energy then returned to the city of Dwaravati. And the great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races set out with Rama in the van, carrying with them those gems of the purest rays that had been given them by those foremost ones of Kuru's race. And, O Bharata, the high- souled Vasudeva remained there with Arjuna in the delightful city of Indraprastha. And the illustrious one wandered over the banks of the Yamuna in search of deer. And he sported with Arjuna piercing with his shafts deer and wild boars. Then Subhadra, the favourite sister of Kesava, gave birth to an illustrious son, like Puloma's daughter, (the queen of heaven) bringing forth Jayanta. And the son that Subhadra brought forth was of long arms, broad chest, and eyes as large as those of a bull. That hero and oppressor of foes came to be called Abhimanyu. And the son of Arjuna, that grinder of foes and bull among men, was called Abhimanyu because he was fearless and wrathful. And that great warrior was begotten upon the daughter of the Satwata race by Dhananjaya, like fire produced in a sacrifice from within the sami wood by the process of rubbing. Upon the birth of this child, Yudhishthira, the powerful son of Kunti, gave away unto Brahmanas ten thousand cows and coins of gold. The child from his earliest years became the favourite of Vasudeva and of his father and uncles, like the moon of all the people of the world. Upon his birth, Krishna performed the usual rites of infancy. The child began to grow up like the Moon of the bright fortnight. That grinder of foes soon became conversant with the Vedas and acquired from his father the science of weapon both celestial and human, consisting of four branches and ten divisions.
"Endued with great strength, the child also acquired the knowledge of counteracting the weapons hurled at him by others, and great lightness of hand and fleetness of motion forward and backward and transverse and wheeling. Abhimanyu became like unto his father in knowledge of the scriptures and rites of religion. And Dhananjaya, beholding his son, became filled with joy. Like Maghavat beholding Arjuna, the latter beheld his son Abhimanyu and became exceedingly happy. Abhimanyu possessed the power of slaying every foe and bore on his person every auspicious mark. He was invisible in battle and broad-shouldered as the bull. Possessing a broad face as (the hood of) the snake, he was proud like the lion. Wielding a large bow, his prowess was like that of an elephant in rut. Possessed of a face handsome as the full-moon, and of a voice deep as the sound of the drum or the clouds, he was equal unto Krishna in bravery and energy, in beauty and in features. The auspicious Panchali also, from her five husbands, obtained five sons all of whom were heroes of the foremost rank and immovable in battle like the hills. Prativindhya by Yudhishthira, Sutasoma by Vrikodara, Srutakarman by Arjuna, Satanika by Nakula, and Srutasena by Sahadeva,—these were the five heroes and great warriors that Panchali brought forth, like Aditi bringing forth the Adityas. And the Brahmanas, from their foreknowledge, said unto Yudhishthira that as the son of his would be capable of bearing like the Vindhya mountains the weapons of the foe, he should be called Prativindhya. And because the child that Draupadi bore to Bhimasena was born after Bhima had performed a thousand Soma sacrifices, he came to be called Sutasoma. And because Arjuna's son was born upon his return from exile during which he had achieved many celebrated feats, that child came to be called Srutakarman. While Nakula named his son Satanika after a royal sage of that name, in the illustrious race of Kuru. Again the son that Draupadi bore to Sahadeva was born under the constellation called Vahni-daivata (Krittika), therefore was he called after the generalissimo of the celestial host, Srutasena (Kartikeya). The sons of Draupadi were born, each at the interval of one year, and all of them became renowned and much attached to one another. And, O monarch, all their rites of infancy and childhood, such as Chudakarana and Upanayana (first shave of the head and investiture with the sacred threads) were performed by Dhaumya according to the ordinance. All of them, of excellent behaviour and vows, after having studied the Vedas, acquired from Arjuna a knowledge of all the weapons, celestial and human. And, O tiger among kings, the Pandavas, having obtained sons all of whom were equal unto the children of the celestials and endued with broad chests, and all of whom became great warriors, were filled with joy.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, after they had taken up their abode at Indraprastha at the command of Dhritarashtra and Bhishma began to bring other kings under their sway. All the subjects (of the kingdom) lived most happily depending upon Yudhishthira the just, like a soul living happily depending upon a body blest with auspicious marks and pious deeds. And, O bull in Bharata's race, Yudhishthira paid homage unto virtue, pleasure, and profit, in judicious proportion, as if each were a friend dear unto him as his own self. It seemed as if the three pursuits—virtue, pleasure, and profit—became personified on earth, and amongst them the king shone as a fourth. The subjects having obtained Yudhishthira as their king, obtained in their monarch one that was devoted to the study of the Vedas, one that was performer of the great sacrifices, and one that was protector of all good people. In consequence of Yudhishthira's influence, the good fortune of all the monarchs of the earth became stationary, and their hearts became devoted to the meditation of the Supreme Spirit, and virtue itself began to grow every way all round. And in the midst of and assisted by his four brothers, the king looked more resplendent (than he would have done if he were alone), like a great sacrifice depending upon and assisted by the four Vedas. Many learned Brahmanas with Dhananjaya at their head, each like unto Vrihaspati, waited upon the monarch, like the celestials waiting upon the Lord of the creation. From excess of affection, the eyes and hearts of all the people equally took great delight in Yudhishthira who was even as the full moon without a stain. The people took delight in him not only because he was their king but also from sincere affection. The king always did what was agreeable to them. The sweet-speeched Yudhishthira of great intelligence never uttered anything that was improper or untrue or unbearable or disagreeable. The best of monarchs of the Bharata race, endued with great energy, passed his days happily for the welfare of all as his own. His brothers also bringing by their energy other kings under their sway, passed their days in happiness, without a foe to disturb their peace.
"After a few days, Vibhatsu, addressing Krishna, said, 'The summer days have set in, O Krishna! Therefore, let us go to the banks of the Yamuna. O slayer of Madhu, sporting there in the company of friends, we will, O Janardana, return in the evening'. Thereupon Vasudeva said, 'O son of Kunti, this is also my wish. Let us, O Partha, sport in the waters as we please, in the company of friends.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, having consulted thus with each other, Partha and Govinda, with Yudhishthira's leave, set out, surrounded by friends. Reaching a fine spot (on the banks of the Yamuna) suitable for purposes of pleasure, overgrown with numerous tall trees and covered with several high mansions that made the place look like the celestial city and within which had been collected for Krishna and Partha numerous costly and well-flavoured viands and drinks and other articles of enjoyment and floral wreaths and various perfumes, the party entered without delay the inner apartments adorned with many precious gems of pure rays. Entering those apartments, everybody, O Bharata, began to sport, according to his pleasure. The women of the party, all of full rotund hips and deep bosoms and handsome eyes, and gait unsteady with wine began to sport there at the command of Krishna and Partha. Some amongst the women sported as they liked in the woods, some in the waters, and some within the mansions, as directed by Partha and Govinda. Draupadi and Subhadra, exhilarated with wine, began to give away unto the women so sporting, their costly robes and ornaments. And some amongst those women began to dance in joy, and some began to sing; and some amongst them began to laugh and jest, and some to drink excellent wines. Some began to obstruct one another's progress and some to fight with one another, and to discourse with one another in private. Those mansions and the woods, filled with the charming music of flutes and guitars and kettledrums, became the scene of Prosperity personified.
"When such was the state of things there, Arjuna and Vasudeva went to a certain charming spot (in those woods) not far from the place where the others were. O monarch, the high-souled Krishna, and that subjugator of hostile cities, viz., Arjuna, going thither, sat down upon two very costly seats. Vasudeva and Partha amused themselves there with discoursing upon many past achievements of prowess and other topics. Unto Vasudeva and Dhananjaya happily sitting there like the Aswins in heaven, a certain Brahmana came. The Brahmana that came there looked like a tall Sala tree. His complexion was like unto molten gold; his beard was bright yellow tinged with green; and the height and the thickness of the body were in just proportion. Of matted locks and dressed in rags, he resembled the morning sun in splendour. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of a tawny hue, he seemed to be blazing with effulgence. Beholding that foremost of Brahmanas blazing with splendour approach towards them both Arjuna and Vasudeva, hastily rising from their seats, stood, waiting (for his commands).'"