"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Pandavas, the illustrious and blessed grandsire then bade them farewell. The great ascetic then left them and went to the place whence he had come.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Vyasa had gone away, those bulls among men, the Pandavas, saluted the Brahmana and bade him farewell, and proceeded (towards Panchala) with joyous hearts and with their mother walking before them. Those slayers of all foes, in order to reach their destination, proceeded in a due northerly direction, walking day and night till they reached a sacred shrine of Siva with the crescent mark on his brow. Then those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, arrived at the banks of the Ganga. Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior, walking before them, torch in hand, for showing the way and guarding them (against wild animals). And it so happened that at that time the proud king of the Gandharvas, with his wives, was sporting in that solitary region in the delightful waters of the Ganga. The king of the Gandharvas heard the tread of the Pandavas as they approached the river. On hearing the sounds of their foot-steps, the mighty Gandharvas were inflamed with wrath, and beholding those chastisers of foes, the Pandavas, approach towards him with their mother, he drew his frightful bow to a circle and said, 'It is known that excepting the first forty seconds the grey twilight preceding nightfall hath been appointed for the wandering of the Yakshas, the Gandharvas and the Rakshasas, all of whom are capable of going everywhere at will. The rest of the time hath been appointed for man to do his work. If therefore, men, wandering during those moments from greed of gain, come near us, both we and the Rakshasas slay those fools. Therefore, persons acquainted with the Vedas never applaud those men—not even kings at the head of their troops—who approach any pools of water at such a time. Stay ye at a distance, and approach me not. Know ye not that I am bathing in the waters of the Bhagirathi? Know that I am Angaraparna the Gandharva, ever relying on my own strength! I am proud and haughty and am the friend of Kuvera. This my forest on the banks of the Ganga, where I sport to gratify all my senses, is called Angaraparna after my own name. Here neither gods, nor Kapalikas, nor Gandharvas nor Yakshas, can come. How dare ye approach me who am the brightest jewel on the diadem of Kuvera?'
"Hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'Blockhead, whether it be day, night, or twilight, who can bar others from the ocean, the sides of the Himalayas, and this river? O ranger of the skies, whether the stomach be empty or full, whether it is night or day, there is no special time for anybody to come to the Ganga—that foremost of all rivers. As regards ourselves endued with might, we care not when we disturb thee. Wicked being, those who are weak in fighting worship thee. This Ganga, issuing out of the golden peaks of Himavat, falleth into the waters of the ocean, being distributed into seven streams. They who drink the waters of these seven streams, viz., Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Vitashtha, Sarayu, Gomati, and Gandaki, are, cleansed of all their sins. O Gandharva, this sacred Ganga again, flowing through the celestial region is called there the Alakananda, It hath again in the region of the Pitris become the Vaitarani, difficult of being crossed by sinners, and, Krishna-Dwaipayana himself hath said so. The auspicious and celestial river, capable of leading to heaven (them that touch its waters), is free from all dangers. Why dost thou then desire to bar us from it? This act of thine is not in consonance with eternal virtue. Disregarding thy words, why shall we not touch the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi free from all dangers and from which none can bar us?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Angaraparna became inflamed with wrath and drawing his bow to a circle began to shoot his arrows like venomous snakes at the Pandavas. Then Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, wielding a good shield and the torch he held in his hand, warded off all those arrows and addressing the Gandharva again said, 'O Gandharva, seek not to terrify those that are skilled in weapons, for weapons hurled at them vanish like froth. I think, O Gandharva, that ye are superior (in prowess) to men; therefore shall I fight with thee, using celestial weapons and not with any crooked means. This fiery weapon (that I shall hurl at thee), Vrihaspati the revered preceptor of Indra, gave unto Bharadwaja, from whom it was obtained by Agnivesya, and from Agnivesya by my preceptor, that foremost of Brahmanas, Drona, who gave it away to me.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying these words, the Pandava wrathfully hurled at the Gandharva that blazing weapon made of fire which burnt the Gandharva's chariot in a trice. Deprived of consciousness by the force of that weapon, the mighty Gandharva was falling, head downward, from his chariot. Dhananjaya seized him by the hair of his head adorned with garlands of flowers and thus dragged the unconscious Gandharva towards his brothers. Beholding this, that Gandharva's wife Kumbhinasi, desirous of saving her husband, ran towards Yudhishthira and sought his protection. The Gandharvi said, 'O exalted one, extend to me thy protection! O, set my husband free! O lord, I am Kumbhinasi by name, the wife of this Gandharva, who seeketh thy protection!' Beholding her (so afflicted), the mighty Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna and said, 'O slayer of foes, O child, who would slay a foe who hath been vanquished in fight, who hath been deprived of fame, who is protected by a woman, and who hath no prowess?' Arjuna replied, saying, 'Keep thou thy life, O Gandharva! Go hence, and grieve not I Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, commandeth me to show thee mercy.'
"The Gandharva replied, 'I have been vanquished by thee, I shall, therefore, abandon my former name Angaraparna (the blazing vehicle). In name alone, O friend, I should not be boastful when my pride in my strength hath been overcome: I have been fortunate in that I have obtained thee; O Arjuna, that wielder of celestial weapons! I like to impart to thee the power of (producing) illusions which Gandharvas alone have. My excellent and variegated chariot hath been burnt by means of thy fiery weapon. I who had formerly been called after my excellent chariot should now be called after my burnt chariot. The science of producing illusions that I have spoken of was formerly obtained by me by ascetic penances. That science I will today impart to the giver of my life-thy illustrious self! What good luck doth he not deserve who, after overcoming a foe by his might, giveth him life when that foe asketh for it? This science is called Chakshushi. It was communicated by Manu unto Soma and by Soma unto Viswavasu, and lastly by Viswavasu unto me. Communicated by my preceptor, that science, having come unto me who am without energy, is gradually becoming fruitless. I have spoken to thee about its origin and transmission. Listen now to its power! One may see (by its aid) whatever one wisheth to see, and in whatever way he liketh (generally or particularly). One can acquire this science only after standing on one leg for six months. I shall however, communicate to thee this science without thyself being obliged to observe any rigid vow. O king, it is for this knowledge that we are superior to men. And as we are capable of seeing everything by spiritual sight, we are equal to the gods. O best of men, I intend to give thee and each of thy brothers a hundred steeds born in the country of the Gandharvas. Of celestial colour and endued with the speed of the mind, those horses are employed in bearing the celestial, and the Gandharvas. They may be lean-fleshed but they tire not, nor doth their speed suffer on that account. In days of yore the thunderbolt was created for the chief of the celestials in order that he might slay (the Asura) Vritra with it. But hurled at Vritra's head it broke in a thousand pieces. The celestials worship with reverence those fragments of the thunderbolt. That which is known in the three worlds as glory is but a portion of the thunderbolt. The hand of the Brahmana with which he poureth libations on the sacrificial fire, the chariot upon which the Kshatriya fighteth, the charity of the Vaisya, and the service of the Sudra rendered unto the three other classes, are all fragments of the thunderbolt. It hath been said that horses, forming as they do a portion of the Kshatriya's chariot, are, on that account, unslayable. Again horses which form a portion of the Kshatriya's chariot, are the offspring of Vadava. Those amongst them that are born in the region of the Gandharvas can go everywhere and assume any hue and speed at the will of their owners. These horses of mine that I give thee will always gratify thy wishes."
"On hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, if from satisfaction for having obtained thy life at my hands in a situation of danger, thou givest me thy science, and these horses, I would not accept thy gift.' The Gandharva replied, saying, 'A meeting with an illustrious person is ever a source of gratification; besides thou hast given me my life. Gratified with thee, I will give thee my science. That the obligation, however, may not all be on one side, I will take from thee, O Vibhatsu, O bull in Bharata's race, thy excellent and eternal weapon of fire!'
"Arjuna said, 'I would accept thy horses in exchange for my weapon. Let our friendship last for ever. O friend, tell us for what we human beings have to stand in fear of the Gandharvas. Chastisers of foes that we are and virtuous and conversant with the Vedas, tell us, O Gandharva, why in travelling in the night-time we have been censured by thee.'
"The Gandharva said, 'Ye are without wives (though ye have completed the period of study). Ye are without a particular Asrama (mode of life). Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before, therefore, ye sons of Pandu, ye have been censured by me. The Yakshas, Rakshasas, Gandharvas, Pisachas, Uragas and Danavas, are possessed of wisdom and intelligence, and acquainted with the history of the Kuru race. O hero, I have heard too from Narada and other celestial Rishis about the good deeds of your wise ancestors. I myself, too, while roaming over the whole earth bounded by her belt of seas, have witnessed the prowess of thy great race. O Arjuna, I have personal knowledge of thy preceptor, the illustrious son of Bharadwaja, celebrated throughout the three worlds for his knowledge of the Vedas and the science of arms. O tiger in Kuru's race, O son of Pritha, I also know Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, the twin Aswins, and Pandu,—these six perpetuators of Kuru race,—these excellent celestials and human progenitors of you all. I also know that you five brothers are learned and high-souled, that ye are foremost of all wielders of weapons, that ye are brave and virtuous and observant of vows. Knowing that your understanding and hearts are excellent and your behaviour faultless, I have yet censured you. For, O thou of Kuru's race, it behoveth no man endued with might of arms to bear with patience any ill usage in the sight of his wife. Especially as, O son of Kunti, our might increaseth during the hours of darkness, accompanied by my wife I was filled with wrath. O best of vow-observing men, I have, however, been vanquished by thee in battle. Listen to me as I tell thee the reasons that have led to my discomfiture. The Brahmacharya is a very superior mode of life, and as thou art in that mode now, it is for this, O Partha, that I have been defeated by thee in battle. O chastiser of foes, if any married Kshatriya fight with us at night, he can never escape, with life. But, O Partha, a married Kshatriya, who is sanctified with Brahma, and who hath assigned the cares of his State to a priest, might vanquish! all wanderers in the night. O child of Tapati, men should therefore, ever employ learned priests possessing self-command for the acquisition of every good luck they desire. That Brahmana is worthy of being the king's priest who is learned in the Vedas and the six branches thereof, who is pure and truthful, who is of virtuous soul and possessed of self-command. The monarch becometh ever victorious and finally earneth heaven who hath for his priest a Brahmana conversant with the rules of morality, who is a master of words, and is pure and of good behaviour. The king should always select an accomplished priest in order to acquire what he hath not and protect what he hath. He who desireth his own prosperity should ever be guided by his priest, for he may then obtain ever the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas. O son of Tapati, a king, who is without a Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or glory of birth alone. Know, therefore, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, that the kingdom lasteth for ever in which Brahmanas have power.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Arjuna said, 'Thou hast addressed me (more than once) as Tapatya. I therefore wish to know what the precise significance of this word is, O virtuous Gandharva, being sons of Kunti, we are, indeed, Kaunteyas. But who is Tapati that we should be called Tapatyas?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the Gandharva related to Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, the (following) story well-known in the three worlds.'
"The Gandharva said, 'O son of Pritha, O foremost of all intelligent men, I will duly recite to you in full this charming narrative. O, listen with attention to what I say in explanation of why I have addressed thee as Tapatya. That one in heaven who pervadeth by his light the whole firmament had a daughter named Tapati equal unto himself. Tapati, the daughter of the god Vivaswat, was the younger sister of Savitri, and she was celebrated throughout the three worlds and devoted to ascetic penances. There was no woman amongst the celestials, the Asuras, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Apsaras, and the Gandharvas, who was equal to her in beauty. Of perfect, symmetrical and faultless features, of black and large eyes, and in beautiful attire, the girl was chaste and of perfect conduct. And, O Bharata, seeing her Savitri (the sun) thought that there was none in the three worlds who, for his beauty, accomplishments, behaviour, and learning, deserved to be her husband. Beholding her attain the age of puberty and, therefore, worthy of being bestowed on a husband, her father knew no peace of mind, always thinking of the person he should select. At that time, O son of Kunti, Riksha's son, that bull amongst the Kurus, the mighty king Samvarana, was duly worshipping Surya with offerings of Arghya and flower-garlands and scents, and with vows and fasts and ascetic penances of various kinds. Indeed, Samvarana was worshipping Surya constantly in all his glory, with devotion and humility and piety. And beholding Samvarana conversant with all rules of virtue and unequalled on earth for beauty, Surya regarded him as the fit husband for his daughter, Tapati. And, O thou of Kuru's race, Vivaswat then resolved to bestow his daughter on that best of kings, viz., Samvarana, the scion of a race of world-wide fame. As Surya himself in the heavens filleth the firmament with his splendour, so did king Samvarana on earth fill every region with the splendour of his good achievements. And all men, O Partha, except Brahmanas, worshipped Samvarana. Blest with good luck, king Samvarana excelled Soma in soothing the hearts of friends and Surya in scorching the hearts of foes. And, O Kaurava, Tapana (Surya) himself was resolved upon bestowing his daughter Tapati upon king Samvarana, who was possessed of such virtues and accomplishments.
"Once on a time, O Partha, king Samvarana, endued with beauty (of person) and immeasurable prowess, went on a hunting expedition to the under-woods on the mountain-breast. While wandering in quest of deer, the excellent steed the king rode, overcome, O Partha, with hunger, thirst and fatigue, died on the mountains. Abandoning the steed, the king, O Arjuna, began to wander about upon the mountain-breast on foot and in course of his wandering the monarch saw a maiden of large eyes and unrivalled beauty, That grinder of hostile host—that tiger among kings—himself without a companion, beholding there that maiden without a companion, stood motionless gazing at her steadfastly. For her beauty, the monarch for some moment believed her to be (the goddess) Sri herself. Next he regarded her to be the embodiment of the rays emanating from Surya. In splendour of her person she resembled a flame of fire, though in benignity and loveliness she resembled a spotless digit of the moon. And standing on the mountain-breast, the black-eyed maiden appeared like a bright statue of gold. The mountain itself with its creepers and plants, because of the beauty and attire of that damsel, seemed to be converted into gold. The sight of that maiden inspired the monarch with a contempt for all women that he had seen before. By beholding her, the king regarded his eye-sight truly blessed. Nothing the king had seen from the day of his birth could equal, he thought, the beauty of that girl. The king's heart and eyes were captivated by that damsel, as if they were bound with a cord and he remained rooted to that spot, deprived of his senses. The monarch thought that the artificer of so much beauty had created it only after churning the whole world of gods Asuras and human beings. Entertaining these various thoughts, king Samvarana regarded that maiden as unrivalled in the three worlds for wealth of beauty.
"And the monarch of pure descent, beholding the beautiful maiden, was pierced with Kama's (Cupid's) shafts and lost his peace of mind. Burnt with the strong flame of desire the king asked that charming maiden, still innocent, though in her full youth, saying, 'Who art thou and whose? Why also dost thou stay here? O thou of sweet smiles, why dost thou wander alone in these solitary woods? Of every feature perfectly faultless, and decked with every ornament, thou seemest to be the coveted ornament of these ornaments themselves! Thou seemest not to be of celestial or Asura or Yaksha or Rakshasa or Naga or Gandharva or human origin. O excellent lady, the best of women that I have ever seen or heard of would not compare with thee in beauty! O thou of handsome face, at sight of thee lovelier than the moon and graced with eyes like lotus-petals, the god of desire is grinding me.'
"King Samvarana thus addressed that damsel in the forest, who however, spoke not a word unto the monarch burning with desire. Instead, like lightning in the clouds, that large-eyed maiden quickly disappeared in the very sight of the monarch. The king then wandered through the whole forest, like one out of his senses, in search of that girl of eyes like lotus-petals. Failing to find her, that best of monarchs indulged in copious lamentations and for a time stood motionless with grief.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'When that maiden disappeared, that feller of hostile ranks deprived of his senses by Kama (concupiscence) himself fell down on the earth. And as the monarch fell down, that maiden of sweet smiles and prominent and round hips appeared again before him, and smiling sweetly, said unto that perpetuator of Kuru's race these honeyed words, 'Rise, rise, O chastiser of foes! Blest be thou; it behoveth thee not, O tiger among kings, to lose thy reason, a celebrated man as thou art in the world.' Addressed in these honeyed words, the king opened his eyes and saw before him that selfsame girl of swelling hips. The monarch who was burning with the flame of desire then addressed that black-eyed damsel in accents, weak with emotion, and said, 'Blest be thou O excellent woman of black eyes! As I am burning with desire and paying thee court, O, accept me! My life is ebbing away. O thou of large eyes, for thy sake it is, O thou of the splendour of the filaments of the lotus, that Kama is incessantly piercing me with his keen shafts without stopping for a moment! O amiable and cheerful girl, I have been bitten by Kama who is even like a venomous viper. O thou of swelling and large hips, have mercy on me! O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou of face like unto the lotus-petal or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee! Without thee, O timid one, I am unable to live! O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, Kama is piercing me incessantly! O large-eyed girl, be merciful unto me! It becometh thee not, O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; O handsome girl, it behoveth thee to relieve me from such affliction by giving me thy love! At first sight thou hast attracted my heart. My mind wandereth! Beholding thee I like not to cast my eyes on any other woman! Be merciful! I am thy obedient slave—thy adorer! O, accept me! O beautiful lady, O large-eyed girl at the sight of thee, the god of desire hath entered my heart, and is piercing me with his shafts! O thou of lotus-eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me! O, extinguish that flame with the water of thy love poured on it! O beautiful lady, by becoming mine, pacify thou the irrepressible god of desire that hath appeared here armed with his deadly bow and arrows and that is piercing me incessantly with those keen shafts of his! O thou of the fairest complexion, wed me according to the Gandharva form, for, O thou of tapering hips, of all forms of marriage the Gandharva hath been said to be the best.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Hearing those words of the monarch, Tapati made answer, 'O king, I am not the mistress of my own self! Be it known that I am a maiden under the control of my father. If thou really entertainest an affection for me, demand me of my father. Thou sayest, O king, that thy heart hath been robbed by me. But thou also hast, at first sight, robbed me of my heart; I am not the mistress of my body, and therefore, O best of kings, I do not approach thee; women are never independent. What girl is there in the three worlds that would not desire thee for her husband, as thou art kind unto all thy dependents and as thou art born in a pure race? Therefore, when the opportunity comes, ask my father Aditya for my hand with worship, ascetic penances, and vows. If my father bestoweth me upon thee, then, O king, I shall ever be thy obedient wife. My name is Tapati and I am the younger sister of Savitri, and the daughter, O bull amongst Kshatriyas of Savitri, of (Sun) the illuminator of the universe.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'Saying this, Tapati of faultless features, ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth. His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest at length came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding that excellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the ground like a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief became like one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection and respect, the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on the ground and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, old in achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised the prostrate monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweet words that were also for his good, he said, 'Blest be thou, O sinless one! Fear not, O tiger among kings!' The minister thought that the monarch, that great feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying on the ground overcome with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man then sprinkled over the crownless head of the monarch water that was cold and rendered fragrant with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness, the mighty monarch sent away all his attendants with the exception of his minister only. After those attendants had retired at his command, the king sat upon the mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the king sat upon that chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms and upturned face, to worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes, thought also of his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The king continued to sit there day and night without intermission. The Brahmana sage Vasishtha came there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soul under perfect command knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarch had lost his senses in consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and best of Munis, as soon as he knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch who was ever observant of vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance. The illustrious Rishi, in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upward to interview Surya, himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary. The Brahmana then approached with joined hands the god of a thousand rays and introduced himself cheerfully unto him, saying, 'I am Vasishtha.' Then Vivaswat of great energy said unto that best of Rishis, 'Welcome art thou, O great Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great good fortune, whatever thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, I will confer on thee, however difficult it may be for me!' Thus addressed by Surya, the Rishi of great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light, replied, saying, 'O Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri, I ask of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mighty achievements, conversant with virtue, and of high soul. O firmament-ranger, Samvarana will make a worthy husband for thy daughter.' Thus addressed by the Rishi Vibhakara, resolved upon bestowing his daughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi, and replied unto him, saying, 'Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs, thou art the best of Rishis, Tapati is the best of women. What should we do, therefore, but bestow her on Samvarana?' With these words, the god Tapana, made over his daughter, Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless, unto the illustrious Vasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great Rishi then accepted the girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came back to the spot, where that bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial achievements, was. King Samvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on Tapati, beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha, became exceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from the firmament like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of the heavens. And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached the monarch after the latter's twelve nights' vow was over. It was thus that king Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with like the full moon. And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru's race having his curiosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha's ascetic power, asked the Gandharva, saying, 'I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thou hast mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of the Gandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest of our forefathers.' The Gandharva replied, 'Vasishtha is Brahma's spiritual (lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati's husband. Ever difficult of being conquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered by Vasishtha's ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his wrath was excited by Viswamitra's offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yet exterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted at the loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though really otherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the ocean transgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the laws of) Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king of the dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered his own self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth. And, O prince of Kuru's race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best of Rishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grand sacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assisted these monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspati assisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished and desirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtue prevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage, desirous of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, O Partha, first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering the earth should have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let some accomplished and learned Brahmana, who has his senses under complete control and who is conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be your priest.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing this, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, whence arose the hostility between Viswamitra and Vasishtha both of whom dwelt in a celestial hermitage? O, tell us all about it.'
"The Gandharva replied, 'O Partha, the story of Vasishtha is regarded as a Purana (legend) in all the three worlds. Listen to me as I recite it fully. There was, in Kanyakuvja, O bull of Bharata's race, a great king of worldwide fame named Gadhi, the son of Kusika. The virtuous Gadhi had a son named Viswamitra, that grinder of foes, possessing a large army and many animals and vehicles. And Viswamitra, accompanied by his ministers, used to roam in quest of deer through the deep woods and over picturesque marascetic penances the propitious lord Vivaswat, by the help of Vasishtha's (ascetic power). And Samvarana, that bull among men with due rites took Tapati's hand on that mountain-breast which was resorted to by the celestials and the Gandharvas. The royal sage, with the permission of Vasishtha, desired to sport with his wife on that mountain. And the king caused Vasishtha, to be proclaimed his regent in his capital and kingdom, in the woods and gardens. And bidding farewell unto the monarch, Vasishtha left him and went away. Samvarana, who sported on that mountain like a celestial, sported with his wife in the woods and the under-woods on that mountain for twelve full years. And, O best of the Bharatas, the god of a thousand eyes poured no rain for twelve years on the capital and on the kingdom of that monarch. Then, O chastiser of enemies, when that season of drought broke out, the people of that kingdom, as also the trees and lower animals began to die fast. And during the continuance of that dreadful drought, not even a drop of dew fell from the skies and no corn grew. And the inhabitants in despair, and afflicted with the fear of hunger, left their homes and fled away in all directions. And the famished people of the capital and the country began to abandon their wives and children and grew reckless of one another. The people being afflicted with hunger, without a morsel of food and reduced to skeletons, the capital looked very much like the city of the king of the dead, full of only ghostly beings. On beholding the capital reduced to such a state, the illustrious and virtuous and best of Rishis, Vasishtha was resolved upon applying a remedy and brought back unto the city that tiger among kings, Samvarana, along with his wife, after the latter had passed so long a period in solitude and seclusion. After the king had entered his capital, things became as before, for, when that tiger among kings came back to his own, the god of a thousand eyes, the slayer of Asuras, poured rain in abundance and caused corn to grow. Revivified by the foremost of virtuous souls the capital and the country became animated with extreme joy. The monarch, with his wife, Tapati, once more performed sacrifices for twelve years, like the lord Indra (god of rain) performing sacrifices with his wife, Sachi.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'This, O Partha, is the history of Tapati of old, the daughter of Vivaswat. It is for her that thou art (called) Tapatya. King Samvarana begot upon Tapati a son named Kuru, who was the foremost of ascetics. Born in the race of Kuru, thou art, O Arjuna, to be called Tapatya.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'That bull among the Bharatas, Arjuna, hearing these words of the Gandharva, was inspired with feelings of devotion and stood shes (???—JBH), killing deer and wild boars. Once on a time, while out in quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The monarch arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed and illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage that best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the monarch by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya, and wild fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a cow yielding anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed, saying, 'O give',—she always yielded the article that was sought. And she yielded various fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields, and milk, and many excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds of juice (taste?) and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of enjoyable things, O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating, and for licking and sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of various kinds. With these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was worshipped. And the king with his minister and troops became highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much, beholding that cow with six elevated limbs and the beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that were broad, and eyes prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in size, and high udders, and faultless make, and straight and uplifted ears, and handsome horns, and well-developed head and neck.
"And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and applauding the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, 'O Brahmana, O great Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand kine, or my kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).'
"Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, 'O sinless one, this cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the Pitris, as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for even thy kingdom.' Viswamitra replied, 'I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a Brahmana devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in Brahmanas who are peaceful and who have their souls under perfect command? When thou givest me not what I desire in exchange even for ten thousand cows, I will not abandon the practice of my order; I will take thy cow even by force!'
"Vasishtha said, 'Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou art a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not to consider its propriety.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes and persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha, to low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before him with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to leave the Rishi's asylum.'
"Beholding her in that plight, Vasishtha said, 'O amiable one, thou art lowing repeatedly and I am hearing thy cries. But, O Nandini, even Viswamitra is taking thee away by force, what can I do in this matter, as I am a forgiving Brahmana?'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O bull in Bharata's race, Nandini, alarmed at the sight of Viswamitra's troops and terrified by Viswamitra himself, approached the Rishi still closer, and said, 'O illustrious one, why art thou so indifferent to my poor self afflicted with the stripes of the cruel troops of Viswamitra and crying so piteously as if I were masterless?' Hearing these words of the crying and persecuted Nandini, the great Rishi lost not his patience nor turned from his vow of forgiveness. He replied, 'The Kshatriya's might lies in physical strength, the Brahmana's in forgiveness. Because I cannot give up forgiveness, go thou, O Nandini, if thou choosest.' Nandini answered, 'Castest thou me away, O illustrious one, that thou sayest so? If thou dost not cast me off, I cannot, O Brahmana, be taken away by force.' Vasishtha said, 'O blessed one, I do not cast thee off! Stay if thou canst! O, yonder is thy calf, tied with a stout cord, and even now being weakened by it!'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Then the cow of Vasishtha, hearing the word stay, raised her head and neck upward, and became terrible to behold. With eyes red with rage and lowing repeatedly, she then attacked Viswamitra's troops on all sides. Afflicted with their stripes and running hither and thither with those red eyes of hers, her wrath increased. Blazing with rage, she soon became terrible to behold like unto the sun in his midday glory. And from her tail she began to rain showers of burning coals all around. And some moments after, from her tail she brought forth an army of Palhavas, and from her udders, an army of Dravidas and Sakas; and from her womb, an army of Yavanas, and from her dung, an army of Savaras; and from her urine, an army of Kanchis; and from her sides, an army of Savaras. And from the froth of her mouth came out hosts of Paundras and Kiratas, Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas and Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas with Keralas, and numerous other Mlechchhas. And that vast army of Mlechchhas in various uniforms, and armed with various weapons, as soon as it sprang into life, deploying in the very sight of Viswamitra, attacked that monarch's soldiers. And so numerous was that Mlechchha host that each particular soldier of Viswamitra was attacked by a band of six or seven of their enemies. Assailed with a mighty shower of weapons, Viswamitra's troops broke and fled, panic-stricken, in all directions, before his very eyes. But, O bull in Bharata's race, the troops of Vasishtha, though excited with wrath, took not the life of any of Viswamitra's troops. Nandini simply caused the monarch's army to be routed and driven off. And driven (from the asylum) twenty-seven full miles, panic-stricken, they shrieked aloud and beheld not anyone that could protect them. Viswamitra, beholding this wonderful feat that resulted from Brahmana prowess, became disgusted with Kshatriya prowess and said, 'O, fie on Kshatriya prowess! Brahmana prowess is true prowess! In judging of strength and weakness, I see that asceticism is true strength.' Saying this, the monarch, abandoning his large domains and regal splendour and turning his back upon all pleasures, set his mind on asceticism. Crowned with success in asceticism and filling the three worlds with the heat of his ascetic penances, he afflicted all creatures and finally became a Brahmana. The son of Kusika at last drank Soma with Indra himself (in Heaven).'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'There was, O Partha, a king in this world, named Kalmashapada, who was of the race of Ikshvaku and was unequalled on earth for prowess. One day the king went from his capital into the woods for purposes of hunting, and this grinder of foes pierced (with his arrows) many deer and wild boars. And in those deep woods the king also slew many rhinoceroses. Engaged in sport for some length of time, the monarch became very much fatigued and at last he gave up the chase, desiring to rest awhile.
"The great Viswamitra, endued with energy, had, a little while ago, desired to make that monarch his disciple. As the monarch, afflicted with hunger and thirst, was proceeding through the woods, he came across that best of Rishis, the illustrious son of Vasishtha, coming along the same path. The king ever victorious in battle saw that Muni bearing the name of Saktri, that illustrious propagator of Vasishtha's race, the eldest of the high-souled Vasishtha's hundred sons, coming along from opposite direction. The king, beholding him said, 'Stand out of our way.' The Rishi, addressing the monarch in a conciliatory manner, said unto him sweetly, 'O king, this is my way. This is the eternal rule of morality indicated in every treatise on duty and religion, viz., that a king should ever make way for Brahmanas.' Thus did they address each other respecting their right of way. 'Stand aside, stand aside', were the words they said unto each other. The Rishi, who was in the right, did not yield, nor did the king yield to him from pride and anger. That best of monarchs, enraged at the Rishi, refusing to yield him the way, acted like a Rakshasa, striking him with his whip. Thus whipped by the monarch, that best of Rishis, the son of Vasishtha, was deprived of his senses by anger, and speedily cursed that first of monarchs, saying, 'O worst of kings, since thou persecutest like a Rakshasa an ascetic, thou shalt from this day, became a Rakshasa subsisting on human flesh! Hence, thou worst of kings! thou shalt wander over the earth, affecting human form!' Thus did the Rishi Sakti, endued with great prowess, speak unto king Kalmashapada. At this time Viswamitra, between whom and Vasishtha there was a dispute about the discipleship of Kalmashapada, approached the place where that monarch and Vasishtha's son were. And, O Partha, that Rishi of severe ascetic penances, viz., Viswamitra of great energy, approached the pair (knowing by his spiritual insight that they had been thus quarrelling with each other). After the curse had been pronounced, that best of monarchs knew that Rishi to be Vasishtha's son and equal unto Vasishtha himself in energy. And, O Bharata, Viswamitra, desirous of benefiting himself, remained on that spot, concealed from the sight of both by making himself invisible. Then that best of monarchs, thus cursed by Saktri, desiring to propitiate the Rishi began to humbly beseech him. And, O chief of the Kurus, Viswamitra, ascertaining the disposition of the king (and fearing that the difference might be made up), ordered a Rakshasa to enter the body of the king. And a Rakshasa of the name of Kinkara then entered the monarch's body in obedience to Saktri's curse and Viswamitra's command. And knowing, O chastiser of foes, that the Rakshasa had possessed himself of the monarch, that best of Rishis, Viswamitra, then left the spot and went away.
"Shortly after, O Partha, the monarch, possessed by the Rakshasa and terribly afflicted by him, lost all his senses. At this time a Brahmana beheld the king in the woods. Afflicted with hunger, that Brahmana begged of the king some food with meat. The royal sage, Kalmashapada, that cherisher of friends, answered the Brahmana, saying, 'Stay thou here, O Brahmana for a moment. On my return, I will give thee whatever food thou desirest.' Having said this, the monarch went away, but the Brahmana stayed on there. The high-minded king having roved for some time at pleasure and according to his will, at last entered his inner apartment. Thus waking at midnight and remembering his promise, he summoned his cook and told him of his promise unto the Brahmana staying in the forest. And he commanded him, saying, 'Hie thee to that forest. A Brahmana waiteth for me in the hope of food. Go and entertain him with food and meat.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus commanded, the cook went out in search of meat. Distressed at not having found any, he informed the king of his failure. The monarch, however, possessed as he was by the Rakshasa, repeatedly said, without scruple of any kind, 'Feed him with human flesh.' The cook, saying, 'So be it,' went to the place where the (king's) executioners were, and thence taking human flesh and washing and cooking it duly and covering it with boiled rice offered it unto that hungry Brahmana devoted to ascetic penances. But that best of Brahmanas, seeing with his spiritual sight that the food was unholy and, therefore, unworthy of being eaten, said these words with eyes red with anger, 'Because that worst of kings offereth me food that is unholy and unworthy of being taken, therefore that wretch shall have himself a fondness for such food. And becoming fond of human flesh as cursed by Saktri of old, the wretch shall wander over the earth, alarming and otherwise troubling all creatures.' The curse, therefore, on that king, thus repeated a second time, became very strong, and the king, possessed by a Rakshasa disposition, soon lost all his senses.
"A little while after, O Bharata, that best of monarchs, deprived of all his senses by the Rakshasa within him, beholding Saktri who had cursed him, said, 'Because thou hast pronounced on me this extraordinary curse, therefore, I shall begin my life of cannibalism by devouring thee.' Having said this, the king immediately slew Saktri and ate him up, like a tiger eating the animal it was fond of. Beholding Saktri thus slain and devoured, Viswamitra repeatedly urged that Rakshasa (who was within the monarch) against the other sons of Vasishtha. Like a wrathful lion devouring small animals, that Rakshasa soon devoured the other sons of the illustrious Vasishtha that were junior to Saktri in age. But Vasishtha, learning that all his sons had been caused to be slain by Viswamitra, patiently bore his grief like the great mountain that bears the earth. That best of Munis, that foremost of intelligent men, was resolved rather to sacrifice his own life than exterminate (in anger) the race of Kusikas. The illustrious Rishi threw himself down from the summit of Meru, but he descended on the stony ground as though on a heap of cotton. And, O son of Pandu, when the illustrious one found that death did not result from that fall, he kindled a huge fire in the forest and entered it with alacrity. But that fire, though burning brightly, consumed him not. O slayer of foes, that blazing fire seemed to him cool. Then the great Muni under the influence of grief, beholding the sea, tied a stony weight to his neck and threw himself into its waters. But the waves soon cast him ashore. At last when that Brahmana of rigid vows succeeded not in killing himself by any means, he returned, in distress of heart, to his asylum.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding his asylum bereft of his children, the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainy season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its margin. Beholding this, O thou of Kuru's race, the distressed Muni thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters of that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung himself, under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty stream. But, O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast the Rishi ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords with which he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken off by the violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the name of Vipasa (the cord-breaker). For his grief the Muni could not, from that time, stay in one place; he began to wander over mountains and along rivers and lakes. And beholding once again a river named Haimavati (flowing from Himavat) of terrible aspect and full of fierce crocodiles and other (aquatic) monsters, the Rishi threw himself into it, but the river mistaking the Brahmana for a mass of (unquenchable) fire, immediately flew in a hundred different directions, and hath been known ever since by the name of the Satadru (the river of a hundred courses). Seeing himself on the dry land even there he exclaimed, 'O, I cannot die by my own hands!' Saying this, the Rishi once more bent his steps towards his asylum. Crossing numberless mountains and countries, as he was about to re-enter his asylum, he was followed by his daughter-in-law named Adrisyanti. As she neared him, he heard the sound from behind of a very intelligent recitation of the Vedas with the six graces of elocution. Hearing that sound, the Rishi asked, 'Who is it that followeth me?' His daughter-in-law then answered, 'I am Adrisyanti, the wife of Saktri. I am helpless, though devoted to asceticism.' Hearing her, Vasishtha said, 'O daughter, whose is this voice that I heard, repeating the Vedas along with the Angas like unto the voice of Saktri reciting the Vedas with the Angas?' Adrisyanti answered, 'I bear in my womb a child by thy son Saktri. He hath been here full twelve years. The voice thou hearest is that of the Muni, who is reciting the Vedas.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by her the illustrious Vasishtha became exceedingly glad. And saying, 'O, there is a child (of my race)!'—he refrained, O Partha, from self-destruction. The sinless one accompanied by his daughter-in-law, then returned to his asylum. And the Rishi saw one day in the solitary woods (the Rakshasa) Kalmashapada. The king, O Bharata, possessed by fierce Rakshasa, as he saw the Rishi, became filled with wrath and rose up, desiring to devour him. And Adrisyanti beholding before her that the Rakshasa of cruel deeds, addressed Vasishtha in these words, full of anxiety and fear, 'O illustrious one, the cruel Rakshasa, like unto Death himself armed with (his) fierce club, cometh towards us with a wooden club in hand! There is none else on earth, except thee, O illustrious one, and, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas to restrain him today. Protect me, O illustrious one, from this cruel wretch of terrible mien. Surely, the Rakshasa cometh hither to devour us' Vasishtha, hearing this, said, 'Fear not, O daughter, there is no need of any fear from any Rakshasa. This one is no Rakshasa from whom thou apprehendest such imminent danger. This is king Kalmashapada endued with great energy and celebrated on earth. That terrible man dwelleth in these woods.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding him advancing, the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha, endued with great energy, restrained him, O Bharata, by uttering the sound Hum. Sprinkling him again with water sanctified with incantations the Rishi freed the monarch from that terrible curse. For twelve years the monarch had been overwhelmed by the energy of Vasishtha's son like Surya seized by the planet (Rahu) during the season of an eclipse. Freed from the Rakshasa the monarch illumined that large forest by his splendour like the sun illumining the evening clouds. Recovering his power of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with joined palms and said, 'O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and thy disciple, O best of Munis! O, tell me what is thy pleasure and what I am to do.' Vasishtha replied, saying, 'My desire hath already been accomplished. Return now to thy kingdom and rule thy subjects. And, O chief of men, never insult Brahmanas any more.' The monarch replied, 'O illustrious one, I shall never more insult superior Brahmanas. In obedience to thy command I shall always worship Brahmanas. But, O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain from thee that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku! O best of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku's race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good behaviour.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch, saying, 'I will give you.' After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha, accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter's capital known all over the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven coming out to receive their chief. The monarch, accompanied by Vasishtha, re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the rising sun. The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled by his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling by his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the rows of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the monarch's heart. And, O prince of Kuru's race, the city filled as it was with joyous and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay like Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After the royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king's command, approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little while, when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the reverential salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did not bring forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O Partha, Adrisyanti, who had been residing in Vasishtha's asylum, brought forth (when the time came) a son who was the perpetuator of Saktri's race and who was a second Saktri in everything. O foremost of Bharatas, that best of Munis, the illustrious Vasishtha himself performed the usual after-birth ceremonies of his grandson. And, because the Rishi Vasishtha had resolved on self-destruction but had abstained therefrom as soon as he knew of the existence of that child, that child, when born, was called Parasara (the vivifier of the dead). The virtuous Parasara, from the day of his birth, knew Vasishtha for his father and behaved towards the Muni as such. One day, O son of Kunti, the child addressed Vasishtha, that first of Brahmana sages, as father, in the presence of his mother Adrisyanti. Adrisyanti, hearing the very intelligible sound father sweetly uttered by her son, addressed him with tearful eyes and said, 'O child, do not address this thy grandfather as father? Thy father, O son, has been devoured by a Rakshasa in a different forest. O innocent one, he is not thy father whom thou regardest so. The revered one is the father of that celebrated father of thine.' Thus addressed by his mother that best of Rishis of truthful speech, gave way to sorrow, but soon fired up and resolved to destroy the whole creation. Then that illustrious and great ascetic Vasishtha, that foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma, that son of Mitravaruna, that Rishi acquainted with positive truth, addressed his grandson who had set his heart upon the destruction of the world. Hear, O Arjuna, the arguments by which Vasishtha succeeded in driving out that resolution from his grandson's mind.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Then Vasishtha said, 'There was a celebrated king of the name of Kritavirya. That bull among the kings of the earth was the disciple of the Veda-knowing Bhrigus. That king, O child, after performing the Soma sacrifice, gratified the Brahmanas with great presents of rice and wealth. After that monarch had ascended to heaven, an occasion came when his descendants were in want of wealth. And knowing that the Bhrigus were rich, those princes went unto those best of Brahmanas, in the guise of beggars. Some amongst the Bhrigus, to protect their wealth, buried it under earth; and some from fear of the Kshatriyas, began to give away their wealth unto (other) Brahmanas; while some amongst them duly gave unto the Kshatriyas whatever they wanted. It happened, however, that some Kshatriyas, in digging as they pleased at the house of particular Bhargava, came upon a large treasure. And the treasure was seen by all those bulls among Kshatriyas who had been there. Enraged at what they regarded as the deceitful behaviour of the Bhrigus, the Kshatriyas insulted the Brahmanas, though the latter asked for mercy. And those mighty bowmen began to slaughter the Bhrigus with their sharp arrows. And the Kshatriyas wandered over the earth, slaughtering even the embryos that were in the wombs of the women of the Bhrigu race. And while the Bhrigu race was thus being exterminated, the women of that tribe fled from fear to the inaccessible mountains of Himavat. And one amongst these women, of tapering thighs, desiring to perpetuate her husband's race, held in one of her thighs an embryo endued with great energy. A certain Brahmana woman, however, who came to know this fact, went from fear unto the Kshatriyas and reported the matter unto them. And the Kshatriyas then went to destroy that embryo. Arrived at the place, they beheld the would-be mother blazing with inborn energy, and the child that was in her thigh came out tearing up the thigh and dazzling the eyes of those Kshatriyas like the midday sun. Thus deprived of their eyes, the Kshatriyas began to wander over those inaccessible mountains. And distressed at the loss of sight, the princes were afflicted with woe, and desirous of regaining the use of their eyes they resolved to seek the protection of that faultless woman. Then those Kshatriyas, afflicted with sorrow, and from loss of sight like unto a fire that hath gone out, addressed with anxious hearts that illustrious lady, saying, 'By thy grace. O lady, we wish to be restored to sight. We shall then return to our homes all together and abstain for ever from our sinful practice. O handsome one, it behoveth thee with thy child to show us mercy. It behoveth thee to favour these kings by granting them their eye-sight.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vasishtha continued, 'The Brahmana lady, thus addressed by them, said, 'Ye children, I have not robbed you of your eye-sight, nor am I angry with you. This child, however, of the Bhrigu race hath certainly been angry with you. There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been robbed of your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been kindled at the remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children, while ye were destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child was held by me in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the prosperity of Bhrigu's race might be restored, the entire Vedas with their branches came unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is plain that this scion of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his fathers, desireth to slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your eyes have been scorched. Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my excellent child born of my thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may restore your eye-sight.'
"Vasishtha continued, 'Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all these princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, 'Be propitious!' And the child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana Rishis, in consequence of his having been born after tearing open his mother's thigh, came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name of Aurva (thigh-born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went away. But the Muni Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the whole world. And the high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the destruction of every creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu race, for paying homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors, devoted himself to the austerest of penances with the object of destroying the whole world. And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the Rishi afflicted by his severe asceticism the three worlds with the celestials, the Asuras and human beings. The Pitris, then, learning what the child of their race was about, all came from their own region unto the Rishi and addressing him said:
'Aurva, O son, fierce thou hast been in thy asceticism. Thy power hath been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control thy wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls under complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own destruction at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we grew weary of the long periods of life alloted to us, it was then that we desired our own destruction through the instrumentality of the Kshatriyas. The wealth that the Bhrigus had placed in their house underground had been placed only with the object of enraging the Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel with them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as we were desirous of heaven, of what use could wealth be to us? The treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a large treasure for us. When we found that death could not, by any means, overtake us all, it was then, O child, that we regarded this as the best means (of compassing our desire). They who commit suicide never attain to regions that are blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-destruction. That which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable to us. Restrain thy mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the whole world. O child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds. O, kill this wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva said, 'Vasishtha after this, continued the narration saying, 'Hearing these words of the Pitris, Aurva, O child, replied unto them to this effect:
'Ye Pitris, the vow I have made from anger for the destruction of all the worlds, must not go in vain. I cannot consent to be one whose anger and vows are futile. Like fire consuming dry woods, this rage of mine will certainly consume me if I do not accomplish my vow. The man that represseth his wrath that hath been excited by (adequate) cause, becometh incapable of duly compassing the three ends of life (viz., religion, profit and pleasure). The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain the wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother's thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas. Ye Pitris, when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the Bhrigus together with unborn children of their race, it was then that wrath filled my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in an advanced state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed, found not in all the worlds a single protector. Then when the Bhrigu women found not a single protector, my mother held me in one of her thighs. If there be a punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the worlds would dare commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the number of sinners becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent or punish sin doth not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is himself defiled by that sin. When kings and others, capable of protecting my fathers, protect them not, postponing that duty preferring the pleasures of life, I have just cause to be enraged with them. I am the lord of the creation, capable of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable of obeying your command. Capable of punishing this crime, if I abstain from so doing, men will once more have to undergo a similar persecution. The fire of my wrath too that is ready to consume the worlds, if repressed, will certainly consume by its own energy my own self. Ye masters, I know that ye ever seek the good of the worlds: direct me, therefore, as to what may benefit both myself and the worlds.'
"Vasishtha continued, 'The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire that is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the waters. That will do thee good. The worlds, indeed, are all dependent on water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth water, indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best of Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If, therefore, thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath abide in the great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been said that the worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one, thy word will be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be destroyed.'
"Vasishtha continued, 'Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of the great ocean, became like unto a large horse's head which persons conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean. Blest be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of wise men!'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed by the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the worlds. But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy—the son of Saktri—the foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas—performed a grand Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father) Saktri, the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in the sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing this second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth fire. And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds, illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then Vasishtha and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as if he were the second Sun. Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul desirous of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for others,—came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all foes, Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great sacrifices, all influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O thou bull of the Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas had already been slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of all enemies:
'There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child! Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father's death. It behoveth thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice? It behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was well-acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to extirpate any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha's race, that which befell thy father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own fault that Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was capable of devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And, O Parasara, Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both Saktri and Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great happiness. And, the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were younger than Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the celestials. And, O child, O offspring of Vasishtha's son, thou hast also been, in this sacrifice, only an instrument in the destruction of these innocent Rakshasas. O, blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice of thine. Let it come to an end.'
"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni—the son of Saktri then brought that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had ignited for the purpose of the Rakshasas' sacrifice into the deep woods on the north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Arjuna asked, 'What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command his queen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas—the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and great Rishi Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of morality know a woman he should not have known? O friend, was this an act of sin on the part of Vasishtha? It behoveth thee to remove the doubts I entertain and refer to thee for solution.'
"The Gandharva replied, saying, 'O irrepressible Dhananjaya, listen to me as I answer the question thou hast asked in respect of Vasishtha and king Kalmashapada that cherisher of friends. O thou best of the Bharatas, I have told thee all about the curse of king Kalmashapada by Saktri, the illustrious son of Vasishtha. Brought under the influence of the curse, that smiter of all foes—king Kalmashapada—with eyes whirling in anger went out of his capital accompanied by his wife. And entering with his wife the solitary woods the king began to wander about. And one day while the king under the influence of the curse was wandering through that forest abounding in several kinds of deer and various other animals and overgrown with numerous large trees and shrubs and creepers and resounding with terrible cries, he became exceedingly hungry. And the monarch thereupon began to search for some food. Pinched with hunger, the king at last saw, in a very solitary part of the woods, a Brahmana and his wife enjoying each other. Alarmed at beholding the monarch the couple ran away, their desire ungratified. Pursuing the retreating pair, the king forcibly seized the Brahmana. Then the Brahmani, beholding her lord seized, addressed the monarch, saying, 'Listen to what I say, O monarch of excellent vows! It is known all over the world that thou art born in the solar race, and that thou art ever vigilant in the practice of morality and devoted to the service of thy superiors. It behoveth thee not to commit sin, O thou irrepressible one, deprived though thou hast been of thy senses by (the Rishi's) curse. My season hath come, and wishful of my husband's company I was connected with him. I have not been gratified yet. Be propitious unto us, O thou best of kings! Liberate my husband.' The monarch, however, without listening to her cries cruelly devoured her husband like a tiger devouring its desirable prey. Possessed with wrath at this sight, the tears that that woman shed blazed up like fire and consumed everything in that place. Afflicted with grief at the calamity that overtook her lord, the Brahmani in anger cursed the royal sage Kalmashapada, 'Vile wretch, since thou hast today cruelly devoured under my very nose my illustrious husband dear unto me, even before my desires have been gratified, therefore shall thou, O wicked one afflicted by my curse, meet with instant death when thou goest in for thy wife in season. And thy wife, O wretch, shall bring forth a son uniting herself with that Rishi Vasishtha whose children have been devoured by thee. And that child, O worst of kings, shall be the perpetuator of thy race.' And cursing the monarch thus, that lady of Angira's house bearing every auspicious mark, entered the blazing fire in the very sight of the monarch. And, O thou oppressor of all foes, the illustrious and exalted Vasishtha by his ascetic power and spiritual insight immediately knew all. And long after this, when the king became freed from his curse, he approached his wife Madayanati when her season came. But Madayanati softly sent him away. Under the influence of passion the monarch had no recollection of that curse. Hearing, however, the words of his wife, the best of kings became terribly alarmed. And recollecting the curse he repented bitterly of what he had done. It was for this reason, O thou best of men, that the monarch infected with the Brahmani's curse, appointed Vasishtha to beget a son upon his queen.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Arjuna asked, 'O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell us, therefore, which Veda-knowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as our priest.'
"The Gandharva replied, 'There is in these woods a shrine of the name of Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest."
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that had happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, 'O thou best of Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time. When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.' Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other, left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they desired. Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents of wild fruits and (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And the Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata race, having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule of morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas, made them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples). And that Brahmana, beholding those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance like unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of their own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom. Then those kings of men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana, resolved to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of Panchala.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those tigers among men—those brothers—the five Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi and the festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among men—those oppressors of all enemies—in going along with their mother, saw on the way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those Brahmanas who were all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked them, 'Where are ye going to? Whence also are ye come?' And Yudhishthira replied unto them, saying, 'Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are uterine brothers proceeding together with our mother. We are coming even from Ekachakra.' The Brahmanas then said, 'Go ye this very day to the abode of Drupada in the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara takes place there, on which a large sum of money will be spent. We also are proceeding thither. Let us all go together. Extraordinary festivities will take place (in Drupada's abode). The illustrious Yajnasena, otherwise called Drupada, had a daughter risen from the centre of the sacrificial altar. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and intelligence, she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like unto that of the blue lotus for two full miles around, is the sister of the strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted with great prowess—the (would-be) slayer of Drona—who was born with natural mail and sword and bow and arrows from the blazing fire, himself like unto the second Fire. And that daughter of Yajnasena will select a husband from among the invited princes. And we are repairing thither to behold her and the festivities on the occasion, like unto the festivities of heaven. And to that Swayamvara will come from various lands kings and princes who are performers of sacrifices in which the presents to the Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to study, are holy, illustrious, and of rigid vows; who are young and handsome; and who are mighty car-warriors and accomplished in arms. Desirous of winning (the hand of) the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth and kine and food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will give away and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities, we shall go wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that Swayamvara, from various countries, actors, and bards singing the panegyrics of kings, and dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds, and powerful athletes. And beholding all these sights and taking what will be given away to illustrious ones, ye will return with us. Ye are all handsome and like unto the celestials! Beholding you, Krishna may, by chance, choose some one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy brother of mighty arms and handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in (athletic) encounters, may, by chance, earn great wealth.'
"On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden's Swayamvara—that excellent jubilee.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruled over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the illustrious Dwaipayana—that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless. And duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation was over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada's abode. And those mighty chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time within those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along their way. Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and sweet-speeched, the Pandavas at last entered the country of the Panchalas. And beholding the capital, as also the fort, they took up their quarters in the house of a potter, Adopting the Brahmanical profession, they began to lead an eleemosynary life. And no men recognised those heroes during their stay in Drupada's capital.
"Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on Kiriti (Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna. Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, 'He that will string this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine shall obtain my daughter.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words king Drupada proclaimed the Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands came to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and the Kurus accompanied by Kama. There also came many superior Brahmanas from every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with reverence by the illustrious Drupada. Desirous of beholding the Swayamvara, the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on the platforms that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch entered the grand amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the amphitheatre which itself had been erected on an auspicious and level plain to the north-east of Drupada's capital, was surrounded by beautiful mansions. And it was enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat with arched doorways here and there. The vast amphitheatre was also shaded by a canopy of various colours. And resounding with the notes of thousands of trumpets, it was scented with black aloes and sprinkled all over with water mixed with sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of flowers. It was surrounded with high mansions perfectly white and resembling the cloud-kissing peaks of Kailasa. The windows of those mansions were covered with net works of gold; the walls were set with diamonds and precious costly carpets and cloths. All those mansions adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers and rendered fragrant with excellent aloes, were all white and spotless, like unto the necks of swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be perceived from the distance of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were each furnished with a hundred doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons; they were adorned with costly beds and carpets, and beautified with various metals; they resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those seven-storied houses of various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by Drupada whose persons were adorned with every ornament and who were possessed with the desire of excelling one another. And the inhabitants of the city and the country who had come to behold Krishna and taken their seats on the excellent platforms erected around, beheld seated within those mansions those lions among kings who were all endued with the energy of great souls. And those exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the fragrant paste of the black aloe. Of great liberality, they were all devoted to Brahma and they protected their kingdoms against all foes. And for their own good deeds they were loved by the whole world.
"The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas and beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And that concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the performances of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of wealth being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted, O king, several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full, the daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of the lunar race—a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras—ignited the sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified butter. And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast amphitheatre, O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed of a voice deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold of his sister's arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with a voice loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of excellent import, 'Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the mark, and these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed of lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great feat shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.' Having thus spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada's son then addressed his sister, reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of those assembled lords of the earth.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Dhrishtadyumna said, 'Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha and Dushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu and Vayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana, Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and Vahusali, and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of Dhritarashtra—all heroes—accompanied by Karna, have come for thy hand. Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas—have also come for thee. Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrisaka, and Vrihadvala,—these sons of the king Gandhara—have also come. Foremost of all wielders of weapons—the illustrious Aswatthaman and Bhoja, adorned with every ornament have also come for thee. Vrihanta, Manimana, Dandadhara, Sahadeva, Jayatsena, Meghasandhi, Virata with his two sons Sankha and Uttara, Vardhakshemi, Susarma, Senavindu, Suketu with his two sons Sunama and Suvarcha, Suchitra, Sukumara, Vrika, Satyadhriti, Suryadhwaja, Rochamana, Nila, Chitrayudha, Agsuman, Chekitana, the mighty Sreniman, Chandrasena the mighty son of Samudrasena, Jarasandha, Vidanda, and Danda—the father and son, Paundraka, Vasudeva, Bhagadatta endued with great energy, Kalinga, Tamralipta, the king of Pattana, the mighty car-warrior Salya, the king of Madra, with his son, the heroic Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta of the Kuru race with his three sons, all mighty chariot-fighters and heroes, viz., Bhuri, Bhurisrava, and Sala, Sudakshina, Kamvoja of the Puru race, Vrihadvala, Sushena, Sivi, the son of Usinara, Patcharanihanta, the king of Karusha, Sankarshana (Valadeva), Vasudeva (Krishna) the mighty son of Rukmini, Samva, Charudeshna, the son of Pradyumna with Gada, Akrura, Satyaki, the high-souled Uddhava, Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, Prithu, Viprithu, Viduratha, Kanka, Sanku with Gaveshana, Asavaha, Aniruddha, Samika, Sarimejaya, the heroic Vatapi Jhilli Pindaraka, the powerful Usinara, all these of the Vrishni race, Bhagiratha, Vrihatkshatra, Jayadratha the son of Sindhu, Vrihadratha, Valhika, the mighty charioteer Srutayu, Uluka, Kaitava, Chitrangada and Suvangada, the highly intelligent Vatsaraja, the king of Kosala, Sisupala and the powerful Jarasandha, these and many other great kings—all Kshatriyas celebrated throughout the world—have come, O blessed one, for thee. Endued with prowess, these will shoot the mark. And thou shalt choose him for thy husband who amongst these will shoot the mark.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-rings, vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in arms and gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. And intoxicated with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth, and youth, they were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut with crowns split from excess of temporal juice. And beholding each other with jealousy and influenced by the god of desire, they suddenly rose up from their royal seats, exclaiming 'Krishna shall be mine.' And the Kshatriyas assembled in that amphitheatre, each desirous of winning the daughter of Drupada, looked like the celestial (of old) standing round Uma, the daughter of the King of mountains. Afflicted with the shafts of the god of the flowery bow and with hearts utterly lost in the contemplation of Krishna, those princes descended into the amphitheatre for winning the Panchala maiden and began to regard even their best friends with jealousy. And there came also the celestials on their cars, with the Rudras and the Adityas, the Vasus and the twin Aswins, the Swadhas and all the Marutas, and Kuvera with Yama walking ahead. And there came also the Daityas and the Suparnas, the great Nagas and the celestial Rishis, the Guhyakas and the Charanas and Viswavasu and Narada and Parvata, and the principal Gandharvas with Apsaras. And Halayudha (Valadeva) and Janardana (Krishna) and the chief of the Vrishni, Andhaka, and Yadava tribes who obeyed the leadership of Krishna were also there, viewing the scene. And beholding those elephants in rut—the five (Pandavas)—attracted towards Draupadi like mighty elephants towards a lake overgrown with lotuses, or like fire covered with ashes, Krishna the foremost of Yadu heroes began to reflect. And he said unto Rama (Valadeva), 'That is Yudhishthira; that is Bhima with Jishnu (Arjuna); and those are the twin heroes.' And Rama surveying them slowly cast a glance of satisfaction at Krishna. Biting their nether lips in wrath, the other heroes there—sons and grandsons of kings—with their eyes and hearts and thoughts set on Krishna, looked with expanded eyes on Draupadi alone without noticing the Pandavas. And the sons of Pritha also, of mighty arms, and the illustrious twin heroes, beholding Draupadi, were all likewise struck by the shafts of Kama. And crowded with celestial Rishis and Gandharvas and Suparnas and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas, and filled with celestial perfumes and scattered over with celestial flowers, and resounding with the kettle-drum and the deep hum of infinite voices, and echoing with the softer music of the flute, the Vina, and the tabor, the cars of the celestials could scarcely find a passage through the firmament. Then those princes—Karna, Duryodhana, Salwa, Salya, Aswatthaman, Kratha, Sunitha, Vakra, the ruler of Kalinga and Banga, Pandya, Paundra, the ruler of Videha, the chief of the Yavanas, and many other sons and grandsons of kings,—sovereigns of territories with eyes like lotus-petals,—one after another began to exhibit prowess for (winning) that maiden of unrivalled beauty. Adorned with crowns, garlands, bracelets, and other ornaments, endued with mighty arms, possessed of prowess and vigour and bursting with strength and energy, those princes could not, even in imagination, string that bow of extraordinary stiffness.
"And (some amongst) those kings in exerting with swelling lips each according to his strength, education, skill, and energy,—to string that bow, were tossed on the ground and lay perfectly motionless for some time. Their strength spent and their crowns and garlands loosened from their persons, they began to pant for breath and their ambition of winning that fair maiden was cooled. Tossed by that tough bow, and their garlands and bracelets and other ornaments disordered, they began to utter exclamations of woe. And that assemblage of monarchs, their hope of obtaining Krishna gone, looked sad and woeful. And beholding the plight of those monarchs, Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to where the bow was, and quickly raising it strung it and placed the arrows on the string. And beholding the son of Surya—Karna of the Suta tribe—like unto fire, or Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the mark, those foremost of bowmen—the sons of Pandu—regarded the mark as already shot and brought down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi loudly said, 'I will not select a Suta for my lord.' Then Karna, laughing in vexation and casting glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already drawn to a circle.
Then when all those Kshatriyas gave up the task, the heroic king of the Chedis—mighty as Yama (Pluto) himself—the illustrious and determined Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa, in endeavouring to string the bow, himself fell upon his knees on the ground. Then king Jarasandha endued with great strength and powers, approaching the bow stood there for some moment, fixed and motionless like a mountain. Tossed by the bow, he too fell upon his knees on the ground, and rising up, the monarch left the amphitheatre for (returning to) his kingdom. Then the great hero Salya, the king of Madra, endued with great strength, in endeavouring to string the bow fell upon his knees on the ground. At last when in that assemblage consisting of highly respectable people, all the monarchs had become subjects of derisive talk that foremost of heroes—Jishnu, the son of Kunti—desired to string the bow and placed the arrows on the bow-string.'"