The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1
by Kisari Mohan Ganguli
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"Then Bhishma, O king, addressing king Yudhisthira the just, said, "O Bharata, let Arghya (an article of respect) be offered unto the kings as each of them deserveth. Listen, O Yudhishthira, the preceptor, the sacrificial priest, the relative, the Snataka, the friend, and the king, it hath been said are the six that deserve Arghya. The wise have said that when any of these dwell with one for full one year he deserveth to be worshipped with Arghya. These kings have been staying with us for some time. Therefore, O king, let Arghyas be procured to be offered unto each of them. And let an Arghya be presented first of all unto him among those present who is the foremost.

"Hearing these words of Bhishma, Yudhishthira said—'O Grandsire, O thou of the Kuru race, whom thou deemest the foremost amongst these and unto whom the Arghya should be presented by us, O tell me.'

"Vaisampayana continued,—Then, O Bharata, Bhishma the son of Santanu, judged it by his intelligence that on earth Krishna was the foremost of all. And he said—'As is the sun among all luminous objects, so is the one (meaning Krishna) (who shines like the sun) among us all, in consequence of his energy, strength and prowess. And this our sacrificial mansion is illuminated and gladdened by him as a sunless region by the sun, or a region of still air by a gust of breeze. Thus commanded by Bhishma, Sahadeva endued with great prowess duly presented the first Arghya of excellent ingredients unto Krishna of the Vrishni race. Krishna also accepted it according to the forms of the ordinance. But Sisupala could not bear to see that worship offered unto Vasudeva. And this mighty king of Chedi, reproving in the midst of that assembly both Bhishma and. Yudhishthira, censured Vasudeva thereafter."


"Sisupala said—'O thou of the Kuru race, this one of the Vrishni race doth not deserve royal worship as if he were a king, in the midst of all these illustrious monarchs. O son of Pandu, this conduct of thine in thus willingly worshipping him with eyes like lotus-petals is not worthy of the illustrious Pandavas. Ye sons of Pandu. Ye are children. Ye know not what morality is, for that is very subtle. Bhishma, this son also of Ganga is of little knowledge and hath transgressed the rules of morality (by giving ye such counsel). And, O Bhishma, if one like thee, possessed of virtue and morality acteth from motives of interest, he is deserving of censure among the honest and the wise. How doth he of the Dasarha race, who is not even a king, accept worship before these kings and how is it that he hath been worshipped by ye? O bull of the Kuru race, if thou regardest Krishna as the oldest in age, here is Vasudeva, and how can his son be said so in his presence? Or, if thou regardest Vasudeva as your well-wisher and supporter, here is Drupada; how then can Madhava deserve the (first) worship? Or, O son of Kuru, regardest thou Krishna as preceptor? When Drona is here, how hast thou worshipped him of the Vrishni race? Or, O son of Kuru, regardest thou Krishna as the Ritwija? When old Dwaipayana is here, how hath Krishna been worshipped by thee? Again when old Bhishma, the son of Santanu, that foremost of men who is not to die save at his own wish is here, why, O king, hath Krishna been worshipped by thee? When the brave Aswatthaman, versed in every branch of knowledge is here, why, O king, hath Krishna, O thou of the Kuru race, been worshipped by thee? When that King of kings, Duryyodhana, that foremost of men, is here, as also Kripa the preceptor of the Bharata princes, why hath Krishna been worshipped by thee? How, O son of Pandu, passing over Druma, the preceptor of the Kimpurusas, hast thou worshipped Krishna? When the invincible Bhishmaka and king Pandya possessed of every auspicious mark, and that foremost of kings—Rukmi and Ekalavya and Salya, the king of the Madras, are here, how, O son of Pandu, hast thou offered the first worship unto Krishna? Here also is Karna ever boasting of his strength amongst all kings, and (really) endued with great might, the favourite disciple of the Brahmana Jamadagnya, the hero who vanquished in battle all monarchs by his own strength alone. How, O Bharata, hast thou, passing him over, offered the first worship unto Krishna? The slayer of Madhu is neither a sacrificial priest nor a preceptor, nor a king. That thou hast notwithstanding all these worshipped him, O chief of the Kurus, could only have been from motives of gain. If, O Bharata, it was your wish to offer the first worship unto the slayer of Madhu, why were these monarchs brought here to be insulted thus? We have not paid tributes to the illustrious son of Kunti from fear, from desire of gain, or from having been won over by conciliation. On the other hand, we have paid him tribute simply because he hath been desirous of the imperial dignity from motives of virtue. And yet he it is that thus insulteth us. O king, from what else, save motives of insult, could it have been that thou hast worshipped Krishna, who possesseth not the insignia of royalty, with the Arghya in the midst of the assembled monarchs? Indeed, the reputation for virtue that the son of Dharma hath acquired, hath been acquired by him without cause, for who would offer such undue worship unto one that hath fallen off from virtue. This wretch born in the race of the Vrishnis unrighteously slew of old the illustrious king Jarasandha. Righteousness hath today been abandoned by Yudhishthira and meanness only hath been displayed by him in consequence of his having offered the Arghya to Krishna. If the helpless sons of Kunti were affrighted and disposed to meanness, thou, O Madhava, ought to have enlightened them as to thy claims to the first worship? Why also, O Janarddana, didst thou accept the worship of which thou art unworthy, although it was offered unto thee by those mean-minded princes? Thou thinkest much of the worship unworthily offered unto thee, like a dog that lappeth in solitude a quantity of clarified butter that it hath obtained. O Janarddana, this is really no insult offered unto the monarchs; on the other hand it is thou whom the Kurus have insulted. Indeed, O slayer of Madhu, as a wife is to one that is without virile power, as a fine show is to one that is blind, so is this royal worship to thee who art no king. What Yudhishthira is, hath been seen; what Bhishma is, hath been seen; and what this Vasudeva is hath been seen. Indeed, all these have been seen as they are!"

"Having spoken these words, Sisupala rose from his excellent seat, and accompanied by the kings, went out of that assembly."


"Vaisampayana said,—Then the king Yudhishthira hastily ran after Sisupala and spoke unto him sweetly and in a conciliating tone the following words,—'O lord of earth, what thou hast said is scarcely proper for thee. O king, it is highly sinful and needlessly cruel. Insult not Bhishma, O king, by saying that he doth not know what virtue is. Behold, these many kings, older than thou art, all approve of the worship offered unto Krishna. It behoveth thee to bear it patiently like them. O ruler of Chedi, Bhishma knoweth Krishna truly. Thou knowest him not so well as this one of the Kuru race.'"

"Bhishma also, after this, said,—He that approveth not the worship offered unto Krishna, the oldest one in the universe, deserveth neither soft words nor conciliation. The chief of warriors of the Kshatriya rare who having overcome a Kshatriya in battle and brought him under his power, setteth him free, becometh the guru (preceptor or master) of the vanquished one. I do not behold in this assembly of kings even one ruler of men who hath not been vanquished in battle by the energy of this son of the Satwata race. This one (meaning Krishna) here, of undefiled glory, deserveth to be worshipped not by ourselves alone, but being of mighty arms, he deserveth to be worshipped by the three worlds also. Innumerable warriors among Kshatriyas have been vanquished in battle by Krishna. The whole universe without limit is established in him of the Vrishni race. Therefore do we worship Krishna amongst the best and the oldest, and not others. It behoveth thee not to say so. Let thy understanding be never so. I have, O king, waited upon many persons that are old in knowledge. I have heard from all those wise men, while talking; of the numerous much-regarded attributes of the accomplished Sauri. I have also heard many times all the acts recited by people that Krishna of great intelligence hath performed since his birth. And, O king of Chedi, we do not from caprice, or keeping in view our relationship or the benefits he may confer on us, worship Janarddana who is worshipped by the good on earth and who is the source of the happiness of every creature. We have offered unto him the first worship because of his fame, his heroism, his success. There is none here of even tender years whom we have not taken into consideration. Passing over many persons that are foremost for their virtues, we have regarded Hari as deserving of the first worship. Amongst the Brahmanas one that is superior in knowledge, amongst the Kshatriyas one that is superior in strength, amongst the Vaisyas one that is superior in possessions and wealth, and amongst the Sudras one that is superior in years, deserveth to be worshipped. In the matter of the worship offered unto Govinda, there are two reason, viz., knowledge of the Vedas and their branches, and also excess of strength. Who else is there in the world of men save Kesava that is so distinguished? Indeed, liberality, cleverness, knowledge of the Vedas, bravery, modesty, achievements, excellent intelligence, humility, beauty, firmness, contentment and prosperity—all dwell for ever in Achyuta. Therefore, ye kings; it behoveth ye to approve of the worship that hath been offered unto Krishna who is of great accomplishments, who as the preceptor, the father, the guru, is worthy of the Arghya and deserving of (everybody's) worship. Hrishikesa is the sacrificial priest, the guru, worthy of being solicited to accept one's daughter in marriage, the Snataka, the king, the friend: therefore hath Achyuta been worshipped by us. Krishna is the origin of the universe and that in which the universe is to dissolve. Indeed, this universe of mobile and immobile creatures hath sprung into existence from Krishna only. He is the unmanifest primal cause (Avyakta Prakriti), the creator, the eternal, and beyond the ken of all creatures. Therefore doth he of unfading glory deserve highest worship. The intellect, the seat of sensibility, the five elements, air, heat, water, ether, earth, and the four species of beings (oviparous, viviparous, born of filthy damp and vegetal) are all established in Krishna. The sun, the moon, the constellations, the planets, all the principal directions, the intermediate directions, are all established in Krishna. As the Agnihotra is the foremost among all Vedic sacrifices, as the Gayatri is the foremost among metres, as the king is the foremost among men, as the ocean is the foremost among all rivers, as the moon is the foremost among all constellations, as the sun is the foremost among all luminous bodies, as the Meru is the foremost among all mountains, as Garuda is the foremost among all birds, so as long as the upward, downward, and sideway course of the universe lasteth, Kesava is the foremost in all the worlds including the regions of the celestials. This Sisupala is a mere boy and hence he knoweth not Krishna, and ever and everywhere speaketh of Krishna thus. This ruler of Chedi will never see virtue in that light in which one that is desirous of acquiring high merit will see it. Who is there among the old and the young or among these illustrious lords of earth that doth not regard Krishna as deserving of worship or that doth not worship Krishna? If Sisupala regardeth this worship as undeserved, it behoveth him to do what is proper in this matter.'"


"Vaisampayana said,—The mighty Bhishma ceased, having said this. Sahadeva then answered (Sisupala) in words of grave import, saying,—'If amongst ye there be any king that cannot bear to see Kesava of dark hue, the slayer of Kesi, the possessor of immeasurable energy, worshipped by me, this my foot is placed on the heads of all mighty ones (like him). When I say this, let that one give me an adequate reply. And let those kings that possess intelligence approve the worship of Krishna who is the preceptor, the father, the guru, and deserveth the Arghya and the worship (already offered unto him).'

"When Sahadeva thus showed his foot, no one among those intelligent and wise and proud and mighty monarchs said anything. And a shower of flowers fell on Sahadeva's head, and an incorporeal voice said—'Excellent, excellent.' Then Narada clad in black deer-skin, speaking of both the future and the past, that dispeller of all doubts, fully acquainted with all the worlds, said in the midst of innumerable creatures, these words of the clearest import,—'Those men that will not worship the lotus-eyed Krishna should be regarded as dead though moving, and should never be talked to on any occasion.'"

"Vaisampayana continued,—Then that god among men, Sahadeva cognisant of the distinction between a Brahmana and a Kshatriya, having worshipped those that deserved worship, completed that ceremony. But upon Krishna having received the first worship, Sunitha (Sisupala) that mower of foes—with eyes red as copper from anger, addressed those rulers of men and said,—'When I am here to head ye all, what are ye thinking of now? Arrayed let us stand in battle against the assembled Vrishnis and the Pandavas?' And the bull of the Chedis, having thus stirred the kings up, began to consult with them how to obstruct the completion of the sacrifice. All the invited monarchs who had come to the sacrifice, with Sunitha as their chief, looked angry and their faces became pale. They all said, 'We must so act that the final sacrificial rite performed by Yudhishthira and the worship of Krishna may not be regarded as having been acquiesced in by us. And impelled by a belief in their power and great assurance, the kings, deprived of reason through anger, began to say this. And being moved by self-confidence and smarting under the insult offered unto them, the monarchs repeatedly exclaimed thus. Though their friends sought to appease them, their faces glowed with anger like those of roaring lions driven away from their preys. Krishna then understood that the vast sea of monarchs with its countless waves of troops was preparing for a terrific rush."


(Sisupala-badha Parva)

"Vaisampayana said,—Beholding that vast assembly of kings agitated with wrath, even like the terrific sea agitated by the winds that blow at the time of the universal dissolution, Yudhishthira addressing the aged Bhishma, that chief of intelligent men and the grandsire of the Kurus, even like Puruhita (Indra) that slayer of foes, of abundant energy addressing Vrihaspati, said,—'This vast ocean of kings, hath been agitated by wrath. Tell me, O Grandsire, what I should do in view of this. O Grandsire, now what I should do that my sacrifice may not be obstructed and my subjects may not be injured.'

"When king Yudhishthira the just, conversant with morality, said this, Bhishma the grandsire of the Kurus, spoke these words in reply,—'Fear not, O tiger of the Kurus. Can the dog slay the lion? I have before this found out a way that is both beneficial and comfortable to practise. As dogs in a pack approaching the lion that is asleep bark together, so are all these lords of earth. Indeed, O child, like dogs before the lion, these (monarchs) are barking in rage before the sleeping lion of the Vrishni race. Achyuta now is like a lion that is asleep. Until he waketh up, this chief of the Chedis—this lion among men—maketh these monarchs look like lions. O child, O thou foremost of all monarchs, this Sisupala possessed of little intelligence is desirous of taking along with him all these kings, through the agency of him who is the soul of the universe, to the regions of Yama. Assuredly, O Bharata Vishnu hath been desirous of taking back unto himself the energy that existeth in this Sisupala. O Chief of all intelligent men, O son of Kunti, the intelligence of this wicked-minded king of the Chedis, as also of all these monarchs, hath become perverse. Indeed, the intelligence of all those whom this tiger among men desireth to take unto himself, becometh perverse even like that of this king of the Chedis. O Yudhishthira, Madhava is the progenitor as also the destroyer of all created beings of the four species, (oviparous, etc.,) existing in the three worlds.'"

"Vaisampayana continued—Then the ruler of Chedis, having heard these words of Bhishma, addressed the latter, O Bharata, in words that were stern and rough."


'Sisupala said,—'Old and infamous wretch of thy race, art thou not ashamed of affrighting all these monarchs with these numerous false terrors! Thou art the foremost of the Kurus, and living as thou dost in the third state (celibacy) it is but fit for thee that thou shouldst give such counsel that is so wide of morality. Like a boat tied to another boat or the blind following the blind, are the Kurus who have thee for their guide. Thou hast once more simply pained our hearts by reciting particularly the deeds of this one (Krishna), such as the slaying of Putana and others. Arrogant and ignorant as thou art, and desirous of praising Kesava, why doth not this tongue of thine split up into a hundred parts? How dost thou, superior as thou art in knowledge, desire to praise that cow-boy in respect of whom even men of little intelligence may address invectives? If Krishna in his infancy slew a vulture, what is there remarkable in that, or in that other feat of his, O Bhishma, viz., in his slaughter of Aswa and Vrishava, both of whom were unskilled in battle? If this one threw drown by a kick an inanimate piece of wood, viz., a car, what is there, O Bhishma, wonderful in that? O Bhishma, what is there remarkable in this one's having supported for a week the Govardhan mount which is like an anthill? 'While sporting on the top of a mountain this one ate a large quantity of food,'—hearing these words of thine many have wondered exceedingly. But, O thou who art conversant with the rules of morality, is not this still more wrongful that that great person, viz., Kansa, whose food this one ate, hath been slain by him? Thou infamous one of the Kuru race, thou art ignorant of the rules of morality. Hast thou not ever heard, from wise men speaking unto thee, what I would now tell thee? The virtuous and the wise always instruct the honest that weapons must never be made to descend upon women and kine and Brahmanas and upon those whose food hath been taken, as also upon those whose shelter hath been enjoyed. It seemeth, O Bhishma, that all these teachings hath been thrown away by thee. O infamous one of the Kuru race, desiring to praise Kesava, thou describest him before me as great and superior in knowledge and in age, as if I knew nothing. If at thy word, O Bhishma, one that hath slain women (meaning Putana) and kine be worshipped, then what is to become of this great lesson? How can one who is such, deserve praise, O Bhishma? 'This one is the foremost of all wise men,—'This one is the lord of the universe'—hearing these words of thine, Janarddana believeth that these are all true. But surely, they are all false. The verses that a chanter sings, even if he sings them often, produce no impression on him. And every creature acts according to his disposition, even like the bird Bhulinga (that picks the particles of flesh from between the lion's teeth, though preaching against rashness). Assuredly thy disposition is very mean. There is not the least doubt about it. And so also, it seemeth, that the sons of Pandu who regard Krishna as deserving of worship and who have thee for their guide, are possessed of a sinful disposition. Possessing a knowledge of virtue, thou hast fallen off from the path of the wise. Therefore thou art sinful. Who, O Bhishma, knowing himself to be virtuous and superior in knowledge, will so act as thou hast done from motives of virtue? If thou knowest the ways of the morality, if thy mind is guided by wisdom, blessed be thou. Why then, O Bhishma, was that virtuous girl Amva, who had set her heart upon another, carried off by thee, so proud of wisdom and virtue? Thy brother Vichitravirya conformably to the ways of the honest and the virtuous, knowing that girl's condition, did not marry her though brought by thee. Boasting as thou dost of virtue, in thy very sight, upon the widow of thy brother were sons begotten by another according to the ways of the honest. Where is thy virtue, O Bhishma? This thy celebacy, which thou leadest either from ignorance or from impotence, is fruitless. O thou who art conversant with virtue, I do not behold thy well-being. Thou who expoundest morality in this way dost not seem to have ever waited upon the old. Worship, gift, study,—sacrifices distinguished by large gifts to the Brahmanas,—these all equal not in merit even one-sixteenth part of that which is obtainable by the possession of a son. The merit, O Bhishma, that is acquired by numberless vows and fasts assuredly becomes fruitless in the case of one that is childless. Thou art childless and old and the expounder of false morality. Like the swan in the story, thou shalt now die at the hands of thy relatives. Other men possessed of knowledge have said this of old. I will presently recite it fully in thy hearing.

"There lived of yore an old swan on the sea-coast. Ever speaking of morality, but otherwise in his conduct, he used to instruct the feathery tribe. Practise ye virtue and forego sin,—these were the words that other truthful birds, O Bhishma, constantly heard him utter And the other oviparous creatures ranging the sea, it hath been heard by us, O Bhishma use for virtue's sake to bring him food. And, O Bhishma, all those other birds, keeping their eggs, with him, ranged and dived in the waters of the sea. And the sinful old swan, attentive to his own pursuits, used to eat up the eggs of all those birds that foolishly trusted in him. After a while when the eggs were decreasing in number, a bird of great wisdom had his suspicions roused and he even witnessed (the affair) one day. And having witnessed the sinful act of the old swan, that bird in great sorrow spoke unto all the other birds. Then, O thou best of the Kurus, all those birds witnessing with their own eyes the act of the old swan, approached that wretch of false conduct and slew him.

"Thy behaviour, O Bhishma, is even like that of the old swan. These lords of earth might slay thee in anger like those creatures of the feathery tribe slaying the old swan. Persons conversant with the Puranas recite a proverb, O Bhishma, as regards this occurrence, I shall, O Bharata, repeat it to thee fully. It is even this: O thou that supportest thyself on thy wings, though thy heart is affected (by the passions), thou preachest yet (of virtue); but this thy sinful act of eating up the eggs transgresseth thy speech!"


"Sisupala said,—"That mighty king Jarasandha who desired not to fight with Krishna, saying 'He is a slave,' was worthy of my greatest esteem. Who will regard as praiseworthy the act which was done by Kesava, as also by Bhima and Arjuna, in the matter of Jarasandha's death? Entering by an improper gate, disguised as a Brahmana, thus Krishna observed the strength of king Jarasandha. And when that monarch offered at first unto this wretch water to wash his feet, it was then that he denied his Brahmanahood from seeming motives of virtue. And when Jarasandha, O thou of the Kuru race, asked Krishna and Bhima and Dhananjaya to eat, it was this Krishna that refused that monarch's request. If this one is the lord of the universe, as this fool representeth him to be, why doth he not regard himself as a Brahmana? This, however, surpriseth me greatly that though thou leadest the Pandavas away from the path of the wise, they yet regard thee as honest. Or, perhaps, this is scarcely a matter of surprise in respect of those that have thee, O Bharata, womanish in disposition and bent down with age, for their counsellor in everything."

"Vaisampayana continued,—Hearing these words of Sisupala, harsh both in import and sound, that foremost of mighty men, Bhimasena endued with energy became angry. And his eyes, naturally large and expanding and like unto lotus leaves became still more extended and red as copper under the influence of that rage. And the assembled monarchs beheld on his forehead three lines of wrinkles like the Ganga of treble currents on the treble-peaked mountain. When Bhimasena began to grind his teeth in rage, the monarchs beheld his face resembling that of Death himself, at the end of the Yuga, prepared to swallow every creature. And as the hero endued with great energy of mind was about to leap up impetuously, the mighty-armed Bhishma caught him like Mahadeva seizing Mahasena (the celestial generalissimo). And, O Bharata, Bhima's wrath was soon appeased by Bhishma, the grand-sire of the Kurus, with various kinds of counsel. And Bhima, that chastiser of foes, could not disobey Bhishma's words, like the ocean that never transgresseth (even when swollen with the waters of the rainy season) its continents. But, O king, even though Bhima was angry, the brave Sisupala depending on his own manhood, did not tremble in fear. And though Bhima was leaping up impetuously every moment, Sisupala bestowed not a single thought on him, like a lion that recks not a little animal in rage. The powerful king of Chedi, beholding Bhima of terrible prowess in such rage, laughingly said,—'Release him, O Bhishma! Let all the monarchs behold him scorched by my prowess like an insect in fire.' Hearing these words of the ruler of the Chedis, Bhishma, that foremost of the Kurus and chief of all intelligent men, spoke unto Bhima these words."


"Bhishma said,—This Sisupala was born in the line of the king of Chedi with three eyes and four hands. As soon as he was born, he screamed and brayed like an ass. On that account, his father and mother along with their relatives, were struck with fear. And beholding these extraordinary omens, his parents resolved to abandon him. But an incorporeal voice, about this time, said unto the king and his wife with their ministers and priest, all with hearts paralysed by anxiety, those words,—'This thy son, O king, that hath been born will become both fortunate and superior in strength. Therefore thou hast no fear from him. Indeed cherish the child without anxiety. He will not die (in childhood). His time is not yet come. He that will slay him with weapons hath also been born.' Hearing these words, the mother, rendered anxious by affection for her son, addressed the invisible Being and said,—I bow with joined hands unto him that hath uttered these words respecting my son; whether he be an exalted divinity or any other being, let him tell me another word, I desire to hear who will be the slayer of this my son. The invisible Being then said,—'He upon whose lap this child being placed the superfluous arms of his will fall down upon the ground like a pair of five-headed snakes, and at the sight of whom his third eye on the forehead will disappear, will be his slayer?' Hearing of the child's three eyes and four arms as also of the words of the invisible Being, all the kings of the earth went to Chedi to behold him. The king of Chedi worshipping, as each deserved, the monarchs that came, gave his child upon their laps one after another. And though the child was placed upon the laps of a thousand kings, one after another, yet that which the incorporeal voice had said came not to pass. And having heard of all this at Dwaravati, the mighty Yadava heroes Sankarshana and Janarddana also went to the capital of the Chedis, to see their father's sister—that daughter of the Yadavas (the queen of Chedi) And saluting everybody according to his rank and the king and queen also, and enquiring after every body's welfare, both Rama and Kesava took their seats. And after those heroes had been worshipped, the queen with great pleasure herself placed the child on the lap of Damodara. As soon as the child was placed on his lap, those superfluous arms of his fell down and the eye on his forehead also disappeared. And beholding this, the queen in alarm and anxiety begged of Krishna a boon. And she said,—'O mighty-armed Krishna, I am afflicted with fear; grant me a boon. Thou art the assurer of all afflicted ones and that the dispeller of everybody's fear. Thus addressed by her. Krishna, that son of the Yadu race, said—'Fear not, O respected one. Thou art acquainted with morality. Thou needest have no fear from me. What boon shall I give thee? What shall I do, O aunt? Whether able or not, I shall do thy bidding.'—Thus spoken to by Krishna, the queen said, 'O thou of great strength, thou wilt have to pardon the offences of Sisupala for my sake. O tiger of the Yadu race. Know O lord, even this is the boon that I ask.' Krishna then said, 'O aunt, even when he will deserve to be slain, I will pardon an hundred offences of his. Grieve thou not.'

"Bhishma continued,—'Even thus, O Bhima, is this wretch of a king—Sisupala of wicked heart, who, proud of the boon granted by Govinda, summons thee to battle!'"


"Bhishma said,—The will under which the ruler of Chedi summoneth thee to fight though thou art of strength that knoweth no deterioration, is scarcely his own intention. Assuredly, this is the purpose of Krishna himself, the lord of the universe. O Bhima, what king is there on earth that would dare abuse me thus, as this wretch of his race, already possessed by Death, hath done to-day? This mighty-armed one is, without doubt, a portion of Hari's energy. And surely, the Lord desireth to take back unto himself that energy of his own. In consequence of this, O tiger of the Kuru race, this tiger-like king of Chedi, so wicked of heart, roareth in such a way caring little for us all."

"Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of Bhishma, the king of Chedi could bear no more, He then replied in rage unto Bhishma in these words.—

'Let our foes, O Bhishma, be endued with that prowess which this Kesava hath, whom thou like a professional chanter of hymns praisest, rising repeatedly from thy seat. If thy mind, O Bhishma, delighteth so in praising others, then praise thou these kings, leaving off Krishna. Praise thou this excellent of kings, Darada, the ruler of Valhika, who rent this earth as soon as he was born. Praise thou, O Bhishma, this Karna, the ruler of the territories of Anga and Vanga, who is equal in strength unto him of a thousand eyes, who draweth a large bow, who endued with mighty arms owneth celestial ear-rings of heavenly make with which he was born and this coat of mail possessing the splendour of the rising sun, who vanquished in a wrestling encounter the invincible Jarasandha equal unto Vasava himself, and who tore and mangled that monarch. O Bhishma, praise Drona and Aswatthaman, who both father and son, are mighty warriors, worthy of praise, and the best of Brahmanas, and either of whom, O Bhishma, if enraged could annihilate this earth with its mobile and immobile creatures, as I believe. I do not behold, O Bhishma, the king that is equal in battle unto Drona or Aswatthaman. Why wishest thou not to praise them? Passing over Duryyodhana, that mighty-armed king of kings, who is unequalled in whole earth girt with her seas and king Jayadratha accomplished in weapons and endued with great prowess, and Druma the preceptor of the Kimpurushas and celebrated over the world for prowess, and Saradwata's son, old Kripa, the preceptor of the Bharata princes and endued with great energy, why dost thou praise Kesava? Passing over that foremost of bowmen—that excellent of kings, Rukmin of great energy, why praisest thou Kesava? Passing over Bhishmaka of abundant energy, and king Dantavakra, and Bhagadatta known for his innumerable sacrificial stakes, and Jayatsena the king of the Magadha, and Virata and Drupada, and Sakuni and Vrihadvala, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avant Pandya, Sweta Uttama Sankhya of great prosperity, the proud Vrishasena, the powerful Ekalavya, and the great charioteer Kalinga of abundant energy, why dost thou praise Kesava? And, O Bhishma, if thy mind is always inclined to sing the praises of others, why dost thou not praise Salya and other rulers of the earth? O king, what can be done by me when (it seemeth) thou hast not heard anything before from virtuous old men giving lessons in morality? Hast thou never heard, O Bhishma, that reproach and glorification, both of self and others, are not practices of those that are respectable? There is no one that approveth thy conduct, O Bhishma, in unceasingly praising with devotion, from ignorance alone, Kesava so unworthy of praise. How dost thou, from thy wish alone, establish the whole universe in the servitor and cowherd of Bhoja (Kansa)? Perhaps, O Bharata, this thy inclination is not conformable to thy true nature, like to what may be in the bird Bhulinga, as hath already been said by me. There is a bird called Bhulinga living on the other side of the Himavat. O Bhishma, that bird ever uttereth words of adverse import. Never do anything rash,—this is what she always sayeth, but never understandeth that she herself always acteth very rashly. Possessed of little intelligence that bird picketh from the lion's mouth the pieces of flesh sticking between the teeth, and at a time when the lion is employed in eating. Assuredly, O Bhishma, that bird liveth at the pleasure of the lion. O sinful wretch, thou always speakest like that bird. And assuredly, O Bhishma, thou art alive at the pleasure only of these kings. Employed in acts contrary to the opinions of all, there is none else like thee!"

"Vaisampayana continued,—Hearing these harsh words of the ruler of Chedi, Bhishma, O king, said in the hearing of the king of Chedi,—'Truly am I alive at the pleasure of these rulers of earth. But I do regard these kings as not equal to even a straw.' As soon as these words were spoken by Bhishma, the kings became inflamed with wrath. And the down of some amongst them stood erect and some began to reprove Bhishma. And hearing those words of Bhishma, some amongst them, that were wielders of large bows exclaimed, 'This wretched Bhishma, though old, is exceedingly boastful. He deserveth not our pardon. Therefore, ye kings, incensed with rage as this Bhishma is, it is well that this wretch were slain like an animal, or, mustering together, let us burn him in a fire of grass or straw.' Hearing these words of the monarchs, Bhishma the grand-sire of the Kurus, endued with great intelligence, addressing those lords of earth, said,—'I do not see the end of our speeches, for words may be answered with words. Therefore, ye lords of earth, listen ye all unto what I say. Whether I be slain like an animal or burnt in a fire of grass and straw, thus do I distinctly place my foot on the heads of ye all. Here is Govinda, that knoweth no deterioration. Him have we worshipped. Let him who wisheth for speedy death, summon to battle Madhava of dark hue and the wielder of the discus and the mace; and falling enter into and mingle with the body of this god!"


"Vaisampayana said,—Hearing these words of Bhishma, the ruler of Chedi endued with exceeding prowess, desirous of combating with Vasudeva addressed him and said,—O Janarddana, I challenge thee. Come, fight with me until I slay thee today with all the Pandavas. For, O Krishna, the sons of Pandu also, who disregarding the claims of all these kings, have worshipped thee who art no king, deserve to be slain by me along with thee. Even this is my opinion, O Krishna, that they who from childishness have worshipped thee, as if thou deservest it, although thou art unworthy of worship, being only a slave and a wretch and no king, deserve to be slain by me.' Having said this, that tiger among kings stood there roaring in anger. And after Sisupala had ceased, Krishna addressing all the kings in the presence of the Pandavas, spoke these words in a soft voice.—'Ye kings, this wicked-minded one, who is the son of a daughter of the Satwata race, is a great enemy of us of the Satwata race; and though we never seek to injure him, he ever seeketh our evil. This wretch of cruel deeds, ye kings, hearing that we had gone to the city of Pragjyotisha, came and burnt Dwaraka, although he is the son of my father's sister. While king Bhoja was sporting on the Raivataka hill, this one fell upon the attendants of that king and slew and led away many of them in chains to his own city. Sinful in all his purpose, this wretch, in order to obstruct the sacrifice of my father, stole the sacrificial horse of the horse-sacrifice that had been let loose under the guard of armed men. Prompted by sinful motives, this one ravished the reluctant wife of the innocent Vabhru (Akrura) on her way from Dwaraka to the country of the Sauviras. This injurer of his maternal uncle, disguising himself in the attire of the king of Karusha, ravished also the innocent Bhadra, the princess of Visala, the intended bride of king Karusha. I have patiently borne all these sorrows for the sake of my father's sister. It is, however, very fortunate that all this hath occurred today in the presence of all the kings. Behold ye all today the hostility this one beareth towards me. And know ye also all that he hath done me at my back. For the excess of that pride in which he hath indulged in the presence of all these monarchs, he deserveth to be slain by me. I am ill able to pardon today the injuries that he hath done me. Desirous of speedy death, this fool had desired Rukmini. But the fool obtained her not, like a Sudra failing to obtain the audition of the Vedas."

Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of Vasudeva, all the assembled monarchs began to reprove the ruler of Chedi. But the powerful Sisupala, having heard these words, laughed aloud and spoke thus,—'O Krishna, art thou not ashamed in saying in this assembly, especially before all these kings that Rukmini (thy wife) had been coveted by me? O slayer of Madhu, who else is there than thee, who regarding himself a man would say in the midst of respectable men that his wife had been intended for some body else? O Krishna, pardon me if thou pleasest, or pardon me not. But angry or friendly, what canst thou do unto me?'

"And while Sisupala was speaking thus, the exalted slayer of Madhu thought in his mind of the discus that humbleth the pride of the Asuras. And as soon as the discus came into his hands, skilled in speech the illustrious one loudly uttered these words,—'Listen ye lords of earth, why this one had hitherto been pardoned by me. As asked by his mother, a hundred offences (of his) were to be pardoned by me. Even this was the boon she had asked, and even this I granted her. That number, ye kings, hath become full. I shall now slay him in your presence, ye monarchs.' Having said this, the chief of the Yadus, that slayer of all foes, in anger, instantly cut off the head of the ruler of Chedi by means of his discus. And the mighty-armed one fell down like a cliff struck with thunder. And, O monarch, the assembled kings then beheld a fierce energy, like unto the sun in the sky, issue out of the body of the king of Chedi, and O king, that energy then adored Krishna, possessed of eyes like lotus leaves and worshipped by all the worlds, and entered his body. And all the kings beholding the energy which entered that mighty-armed chief of men regarded it as wonderful. And when Krishna had slain the king of Chedi, the sky, though cloudless, poured showers of rain, and blasting thunders were hurled, and the earth itself began to tremble. There were some among the kings who spoke not a word during those unspeakable moments but merely sat gazing at Janarddana. And some there were that rubbed in rage their palms with their forefingers. And there were others who deprived of reason by rage bit their lips with their teeth. And some amongst the kings applauded him of the Vrishni race in private. And some there were that became excited with anger; while others became mediators. The great Rishis with pleased hearts praised Kesava and went away. And all the high-souled Brahmanas and the mighty kings that were there, beholding Krishna's prowess, became glad at heart and praised him.

"Yudhishthira then commanded his brothers to perform without delay the funeral rites of king Sisupala, the brave son of Damaghosha, with proper respect. The sons of Pandu obeyed the behest of their brother. And Yudhishthira then, with all the kings, installed the son of king Sisupala in the sovereignty of the Chedis.

"Then that sacrifice, O monarch, of the king of the Kurus possessed of great energy, blessed with every kind of prosperity, became exceedingly handsome and pleasing unto all young men. And commenced auspiciously, and all impediments removed, and furnished with abundance of wealth and corn, as also with plenty of rice and every kind of food, it was properly watched by Kesava. And Yudhishthira in due time completed the great sacrifice. And the mighty-armed Janarddana, the exalted Sauri, with his bow called Saranga and his discus and mace, guarded that sacrifice till its completion. And all the Kshatriya monarchs, having approached the virtuous Yudhishthira who had bathed after the conclusion of the sacrifice, said these words: 'By good fortune thou hast come out successful. O virtuous one, thou hast obtained the imperial dignity. O thou of the Ajamida race, by thee hath been spread the fame of thy whole race. And, O king of kings, by this act of thine, thou hast also acquired great religious merit. We have been worshipped by thee to the full extent of our desires. We now tell thee that we are desirous of returning to our own kingdoms. It behoveth thee to grant us permission.'

"Hearing these words of the monarchs, king Yudhishthira the just, worshipping each as he deserved, commanded his brothers, saying, 'These monarchs had all come to us at their own pleasure. These chastisers of foes are now desirous of returning to their own kingdoms, bidding me farewell. Blest be ye, follow ye these excellent kings to the confines of our own dominions.' Hearing these words of their brother, the virtuous Pandava princes followed the kings, one after another as each deserved. The powerful Dhrishtadyumna followed without loss of time king Virata: and Dhananjaya followed the illustrious and mighty charioteer Yajnasena; and the mighty Bhimasena followed Bhishma and Dhritarashtra: and Sahadeva, that master of battle, followed the brave Drona and his son; and Nakula, O king, followed Suvala with his son; and the sons of Draupadi with the son of Subhadra followed those mighty warriors—the kings of the mountainous countries. And other bulls among Kshatriyas followed other Kshatriyas. And the Brahmanas by thousands also went away, duly worshipped.

"After all the Kings and the Brahmanas had gone away, the powerful Vasudeva addressing Yudhishthira said,—'O son of the Kuru race, with thy leave, I also desire to go to Dwaraka. By great good fortune, thou hast accomplished the foremost of sacrifices—Rajasuya!' Thus addressed by Janarddana, Yudhishthira replied, 'Owing to thy grace, O Govinda. I have accomplished the great sacrifice. And it is owing to thy grace that the whole Kshatriya world having accepted my sway, had come hither with valuable tribute. O hero, without thee, my heart never feeleth any delight. How can I, therefore, O hero, give thee, O sinless one, leave to go? But thou must have to go to the city of Dwaraka.' The virtuous Hari of worldwide fame, thus addressed by Yudhishthira, cheerfully went with his cousin to Pritha and said,—'O aunt, thy sons have now obtained the imperial dignity. They have obtained vast wealth and been also crowned with success. Be pleased with all this. Commanded by thee, O aunt, I desire to go to Dwaraka.' After this, Kesava bade farewell to Draupadi and Subhadra. Coming out then of the inner apartments accompanied by Yudhishthira, he performed his ablutions and went through the daily rites of worship, and then made the Brahmanas utter benedictions. Then the mighty armed Daruka came there with a car of excellent design and body resembling the clouds. And beholding that Garuda-bannered car arrived thither, the high-souled one, with eyes like lotus leaves, walked round it respectfully and ascending on it set out for Dwaravati. And king Yudhishthira the just, blessed with prosperity, accompanied by his brothers, followed on foot the mighty Vasudeva. Then Hari with eyes like lotus leaves, stopping that best of cars for a moment, addressing Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, said,—'O king of kings, cherishest thou thy subjects with ceaseless vigilance and patience. And as the clouds are unto all creatures, as the large tree of spreading bough is unto birds, as he of a thousand eyes is unto the immortals, be thou the refuge and support of thy relatives. And Krishna and Yudhishthira having thus talked unto each other took each other's leave and returned to their respective homes. And, O king, after the chief of the Satwata race had gone to Dwaravati, king Duryodhana alone, with king Suvala's son, Sakuni,—these bulls among men,—continued to live in that celestial assembly house.


(Dyuta Parva)

Vaisampayana said,—"when that foremost of sacrifices, the Rajasuya so difficult of accomplishment, was completed, Vyasa surrounded by his disciples presented himself before Yudhishthira. And Yudhishthira, upon beholding him quickly rose from his seat, surrounded by his brothers, and worshipped the Rishi who was his grand-father, with water to wash his feet and the offer of a seat. The illustrious one having taken his seat on a costly carpet inlaid with gold, addressed king Yudhishthira the just and said.—'Take thy seat'. And after the king had taken his seat surrounded by his brothers, the illustrious Vyasa, truthful in speech said,—'O son of Kunti, thou growest from good fortune. Thou hast obtained imperial sway so difficult of acquisition. And O perpetuator of the Kuru race, all the Kauravas have prospered in consequence of thee. O Emperor, I have been duly worshipped. I desire now to go with thy leave! King Yudhishthira the just, thus addressed by the Rishi of dark hue, saluted (him) his grandfather and touching his feet said,—'O chief of men, a doubt difficult of being dispelled, hath risen within me. O bull among regenerate ones, save thee there is none to remove it. The illustrious Rishi Narada said that (as a consequence of the Rajasuya sacrifice) three kinds of portents, viz., celestial, atmospherical and terrestrial ones happen. O grandsire, have those portents been ended by the fall of the kind of the Chedis?''

Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of the king, the exalted son of Parasara, the island-born Vyasa of dark hue, spoke these words,—'For thirteen years, O king, those portents will bear mighty consequences ending in destruction, O king of kings, of all the Kshatriyas. In course of time, O bull of the Bharata race, making thee the sole cause, the assembled Kshatriyas of the world will be destroyed, O Bharata, for the sins of Duryodhana and through the might of Bhima and Arjuna. In thy dream, O king of kings thou wilt behold towards the end of this might the blue throated Bhava, the slayer of Tripura, ever absorbed in meditation, having the bull for his mark, drinking off the human skull, and fierce and terrible, that lord of all creatures, that god of gods, the husband of Uma, otherwise called Hara and Sarva, and Vrisha, armed with the trident and the bow called Pinaka, and attired in tiger skin. And thou wilt behold Siva, tall and white as the Kailasa cliff and seated on his bull, gazing unceasingly towards the direction (south) presided over by the king of the Pitris. Even this will be the dream thou wilt dream today, O king of kings. Do not grieve for dreaming such a dream. None can rise superior to the influence of Time. Blest be thou! I will now proceed towards the Kailasa mountain. Rule thou the earth with vigilance and steadiness, patiently bearing every privation!'"

Vaisampayana continued,—"Having said this, the illustrious and island-born Vyasa of dark hue, accompanied by his disciples ever following the dictates of the Vedas, proceeded towards Kailasa. And after the grand-father had thus gone away, the king afflicted with anxiety and grief, began to think continuously upon what the Rishi hath said. And he said to himself, 'Indeed what the Rishi hath said must come to pass. We will succeed in warding off the fates by exertion alone?' Then Yudhishthira endued with great energy addressing all his brothers, said, 'Ye tigers among men, ye have heard what the island-born Rishi hath told me. Having heard the words of the Rishi, I have arrived at this firm resolution viz., that I should die, as I am ordained to be the cause of the destruction of all Kshatriyas. Ye my dear ones, if Time hath intended so what need is there for me to live?' Hearing these words of the king, Arjuna replied, 'O king, yield not thyself to this terrible depression that is destructive of reason. Mustering fortitude, O great king, do what would be beneficial.' Yudhishthira then, firm in truth, thinking all the while of Dwaipayana's words answered his brothers thus,—'Blest be ye. Listen to my vow from this day. For thirteen years, what ever purpose have I to live for, I shall not speak a hard word to my brothers or to any of the kings of the earth. Living under the command of my relatives, I shall practise virtue, exemplifying my vow. If I live in this way, making no distinction between my own children and others, there will be no disagreement (between me and others). It is disagreement that is the cause of war in the world. Keeping war at a distance, and ever doing what is agreeable to others, evil reputation will not be mine in the world, ye bulls among men. Hearing these words of their eldest brother, the Pandavas, always engaged in doing what was agreeable to him, approved of them. And Yudhishthira the just, having pledged so, along with his brothers in the midst of that assembly, gratified his priests as also the gods with due ceremonies. And, O bull of the Bharata race, after all the monarchs had gone away, Yudhishthira along with his brothers, having performed the usual auspicious rites, accompanied by his ministers entered his own palace. And, O ruler of men, king Duryodhana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, continued to dwell in that delightful assembly house.


Vaisampayana said,—"That bull among men, Duryodhana, continued to dwell in that, assembly house (of the Pandavas). And with Sakuni, the Kuru prince slowly examined the whole of that mansion, and the Kuru prince beheld in it many celestial designs, which he had never seen before in the city called after the elephant (Hastinapore). And one day king Duryodhana in going round that mansion came upon a crystal surface. And the king, from ignorance, mistaking it for a pool of water, drew up his clothes. And afterwards finding out his mistake the king wandered about the mansion in great sorrow. And sometime after, the king, mistaking a lake of crystal water adorned with lotuses of crystal petals for land, fell into it with all his clothes on. Beholding Duryodhana fallen into the lake, the mighty Bhima laughed aloud as also the menials of the palace. And the servants, at the command of the king, soon brought him dry and handsome clothes. Beholding the plight of Duryodhana, the mighty Bhima and Arjuna and both the twins—all laughed aloud. Being unused to putting up with insults, Duryodhana could not bear that laugh of theirs. Concealing his emotions he even did not cast his looks on them. And beholding the monarch once more draw up his clothes to cross a piece of dry land which he had mistaken for water, they all laughed again. And the king sometime after mistook a closed door made of crystal as open. And as he was about to pass through it his head struck against it, and he stood with his brain reeling. And mistaking as closed another door made of crystal that was really open, the king in attempting to open it with stretched hands, tumbled down. And coming upon another door that was really open, the king thinking it as closed, went away from it. And, O monarch, king Duryodhana beholding that vast wealth in the Rajasuya sacrifice and having become the victim of those numerous errors within the assembly house at last returned, with the leave of the Pandavas, to Hastinapore.

And the heart of king Duryodhana, afflicted at sight of the prosperity of the Pandavas, became inclined to sin, as he proceeded towards his city reflecting on all he had seen and suffered. And beholding the Pandavas happy and all the kings of the earth paying homage to them, as also everybody, young and old, engaged in doing good unto them, and reflecting also on the splendour and prosperity of the illustrious sons of Pandu, Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, became pale. In proceeding (to his city) with an efflicted heart, the prince thought of nothing else but that assembly house and that unrivalled prosperity of the wise Yudhishthira. And Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, was so taken up with his thoughts then that he spoke not a word to Suvala's son even though the latter addressed him repeatedly. And Sakuni, beholding him absent-minded, said,—'O Duryodhana, why art thou proceeding thus'?

"Duryodhana replied,—O uncle, beholding this whole earth owning the sway of Yudhishthira in consequence of the might of the illustrious Arjuna's weapons and beholding also that sacrifice of the son of Pritha like unto the sacrifice of Sakra himself of great glory among the celestials, I, being filled with jealousy and burning day and night, am being dried up like a shallow tank in the summer season. Behold, when Sisupala was slain by the chief of the Satwatas, there was no man to take the side of Sisupala. Consumed by the fire of the Pandava, they all forgave that offence; otherwise who is there that could forgive it? That highly improper act of grave consequence done by Vasudeva succeeded in consequence of the power of the illustrious son of Pandu. And so many monarchs also brought with them various kinds of wealth for king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, like tribute-paying Vaisyas! Beholding Yudhishthira's prosperity of such splendour, my heart burneth, efflicted with jealously, although it behoveth me not to be jealous.'

"Having reflected in this way, Duryodhana, as if burnt by fire, addressed the king of Gandhara again and said,—'I shall throw myself upon a flaming fire or swallow poison or drown myself in water. I cannot live. What man is there in the world possessed of vigour who can bear to see his foes in the enjoyment of prosperity and himself in destitution? Therefore I who bear to see that accession of prosperity and fortune (in my foes) am neither a woman nor one that is not a woman, neither also a man nor one that is not a man. Beholding their sovereignty over the world and vast affluence, as also that sacrifice, who is there like me that would not smart under all that? Alone I am incapable of acquiring such royal prosperity; nor do I behold allies that could help me in the matter. It is for this that I am thinking of self-destruction. Beholding that great and serene prosperity of the son of Kunti, I regard Fate as supreme and exertions fruitless. O son of Suvala, formerly I strove to compass his destruction. But baffling all my efforts he hath grown in prosperity even like the lotus from within a pool of water. It is for this that I regard Fate as supreme and exertions fruitless. Behold, the sons of Dhritarashtra are decaying and the sons of Pritha are growing day by day. Beholding that prosperity of the Pandavas, and that assembly house of theirs, and those menials laughing at me, my heart burneth as if it were on fire. Therefore, O uncle, know me now as deeply grieved and filled with jealousy, and speak of it to Dhritarashtra.


"Sakuni said.—'O Duryodhana, thou shouldst not be jealous of Yudhishthira. The sons of Pandu are enjoying what they deserve in consequence of their own good fortune. O slayer of foes, O great king, thou couldst not destroy them by repeatedly devising numberless plans, many of which thou hadst even put to practice. Those tigers among men out of sheer luck escaped all those machinations. They have obtained Draupadi for wife and Drupada with his sons as also Vasudeva of great prowess as allies, capable of helping them in subjugating the whole world. And O king, having inherited the paternal share of the kingdom without being deprived of it they have grown in consequence of their own energy. What is there to make thee sorry for this? Having gratified Hustasana, Dhananjaya hath obtained the bow Gandiva and the couple of inexhaustible quivers and many celestial weapons. With that unique bow and by the strength of his own arms also he hath brought all the kings of the world under his sway. What is there to make thee sorry for this? Having saved the Asura Maya from a conflagration, Arjuna, that slayer of foes, using both his hands with equal skill, caused him to build that assembly house. And it is for this also that commanded by Maya, those grim Rakshasas called Kinkaras supported that assembly house. What is there in this to make thee sorry? Thou hast said, O king, that thou art without allies. This, O Bharata, is not true. These thy brothers are obedient to thee. Drona of great prowess and wielding the large bow along with his son, Radha's son Karna, the great warrior Gautama (Kripa), myself with my brothers and king Saumadatti—these are thy allies. Uniting thyself with these, conquer thou the whole of the earth.'

"Duryodhana said,—'O king, with thee, as also with these great warriors, I shall subjugate the Pandavas, if it pleases thee. If I can now subjugate them, the world will be mine and all the monarchs, and that assembly house so full of wealth.'

"Sakuni replied,—'Dhananjaya and Vasudeva, Bhimasena and Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva and Drupada with his sons,—these cannot be vanquished in battle by even the celestials, for they are all great warriors wielding the largest bows, accomplished in weapons, and delighting in battle. But, O king, I know the means by which Yudhishthira himself may be vanquished. Listen to me and adopt it.'

"Duryodhana said,—'without danger to our friends and other illustrious men, O uncle, tell me if there is any way by which I may vanquish him.'

"Sakuni said,—'The son of Kunti is very fond of dice-play although he doth not know how to play. That king if asked to play, is ill able to refuse. I am skillful at dice. There is none equal to me in this respect on earth, no, not even in the three worlds, O son of Kuru. Therefore, ask him to play at dice. Skilled at dice, I will win his kingdom, and that splendid prosperity of his for thee, O bull among men. But, O Duryodhana, represent all this unto the king (Dhritarashtra). Commanded by thy father I will win without doubt the whole of Yudhishthira's possessions.'

"Duryodhana said 'O son of Suvala, thou thyself represent properly all this to Dhritarashtra, the chief of the Kurus. I shall not be able to do so.


Vaisampayana said—"O king, impressed with the great Rajasuya sacrifice of king Yudhishthira, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, having learnt before the intentions of Duryodhana, while accompanying him in the way from the assembly house, and desirous of saying what was agreeable to him, approached Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom, and finding the monarch deprived of his eye seated (in his throne), told him these words,—'Know, O great king, O bull of the Bharata race, that Duryodhana, having lost colour, hath become pale and emaciated and depressed and a prey to anxiety. Why dost thou not, after due enquiry, ascertain the grief that is in the heart of thy eldest son, the grief that is caused by the foe?'

"Dhritarashtra said,—'Duryodhana, what is the reason of thy great affliction. O son of the Kuru race? If it is fit for me to hear it, then tell me the reason. This Sakuni here says that thou hast lost colour, become pale and emaciated, and a prey to anxiety. I do not know what can be the reason of the sorrow. This vast wealth of mine is at thy control. Thy brothers and all our relations never do anything that is disagreeable to thee. Thou wearest the best apparel and eatest the best food that is prepared with meat. The best of horse carries thee. What it is, therefore, that hath made thee pale and emaciated? Costly beds, beautiful damsels, mansions decked with excellent furniture, and sport of the delightful kind, without doubt these all wait but at thy command, as in the case of the gods themselves Therefore, O proud one, why dost thou grieve, O son, as if thou wert destitute.'

"Duryodhana said,—'I eat and dress myself like a wretch and pass my time all the while a prey to fierce jealousy. He indeed is a man, who incapable of bearing the pride of the foe, liveth having vanquished that foe with the desire of liberating his own subjects from the tyranny of the foe. Contentment, as also pride, O Bharata, are destructive of prosperity; and those other two qualities also, viz., compassion and fear. One who acteth under the influence of these, never obtaineth anything high. Having beheld Yudhishthira's prosperity, whatever I enjoy brings me no gratification. The prosperity of Kunti's son that is possessed of such splendour maketh me pale. Knowing the affluence of the foe and my own destitution, even though that affluence is not before me, I yet see it before me. Therefore, have I lost colour and become melancholy, pale and emaciated. Yudhishthira supporteth eighty-eight thousand Snataka Brahmanas leading domestic lives, giving unto each of them thirty slave-girls. Beside this, thousand other Brahmanas daily eat at his palace the best of food on golden plates. The king of Kambhoja sent unto him (as tribute) innumerable skins, black, darkish, and red, of the deer Kadali, as also numberless blankets of excellent textures. And hundreds and thousands and thousands of she-elephants and thirty thousand she-camels wander within the palace, for the kings of the earth brought them all as tribute to the capital of the Pandavas. And, O lord of earth, the kings also brought unto this foremost of sacrifices heaps upon heaps of jewels and gems for the son of Kunti. Never before did I see or hear of such enormous wealth as was brought unto the sacrifice of the intelligent sons of Pandu. And, O king, beholding that enormous collection of wealth belonging to the foe, I can not enjoy peace of mind. Hundreds of Brahmanas supported by the grants that Yudhishthira hath given them and possessing wealth of kine, waited at the palace gate with three thousands of millions of tribute but were prevented by the keepers from entering the mansion. Bringing with them clarified butter in handsome Kamandalus made of gold, they did not obtain admission into the palace, and Ocean himself brought unto him in vessels of white copper the nectar that is generated within his waters and which is much superior to that which flowers and annual plants produce for Sakra. And Vasudeva (at the conclusion of the sacrifice) having brought an excellent conch bathed the Sun of Pritha with sea water brought in thousand jars of gold, all well adorned with numerous gems. Beholding all this I became feverish with jealousy. Those jars had been taken to the Eastern and the Southern oceans. And they had also been taken on the shoulders of men to the Western ocean, O bull among men. And, O father, although none but birds only can go to the Northern region Arjuna, having gone thither, exacted as tribute a vast quantity of wealth. There is another wonderful incident also which I will relate to thee. O listen to me. When a hundred thousand Brahmanas were fed, it had been arranged that to notify this act every day conches would be blown in a chorus. But, O Bharata, I continually heard conches blown there almost repeatedly. And hearing those notes my hair stood on end. And, O great king, that palatial compound, filled with innumerable monarchs that came there as spectators, looked exceedingly handsome like the cloudless firmament with stars. And, O king of men, the monarchs came into that sacrifice of the wise son of Pandu bringing with them every kind of wealth. And the kings that came there became like Vaisyas the distributors of food unto the Brahmanas that were fed. And O king, the prosperity that I beheld of Yudhishthira was such that neither the chief himself of the celestials, nor Yama or Varuna, nor the lord of the Guhyakas owneth the same. And beholding that great prosperity of the son of Pandu, my heart burneth and I cannot enjoy peace.

"Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Sakuni replied,—'Hear how thou mayest obtain this unrivalled prosperity that thou beholdest in the son of Pandu, O thou that hast truth for thy prowess. O Bharata, I am an adept at dice, superior to all in the world. I can ascertain the success or otherwise of every throw, and when to stake and when not. I have special knowledge of the game. The Son of Kunti also is fond of dice playing though he possesseth little skill in it. Summoned to play or battle, he is sure to come forward, and I will defeat him repeatedly at every throw by practising deception. I promise to win all that wealth of his, and thou, O Duryodhana, shalt then enjoy the same.'"

Vaisampayana continued,—"King Duryodhana, thus addressed by Sakuni, without allowing a moment to elapse, said unto Dhritarashtra,—'This, Sakuni, an adept at dice, is ready to win at dice, O king, the wealth of the sons of Pandu. It behoveth thee to grant him permission to do so.'

"Dhritarashtra replied,—'I always follow the counsels of Kshatta, my minister possessed of great wisdom. Having consulted with him, I will inform thee what my judgment is in respect of this affair. Endued with great foresight, he will, keeping morality before his eyes, tell us what is good and what is proper for both parties, and what should be done in this matter.'

"Duryodhana said,—'If thou consultest with Kshatta he will make thee desist. And if thou desist, O king, I will certainly kill myself. And when I am dead, O king, thou wilt become happy with Vidura. Thou wilt then enjoy the whole earth; what need hast thou with me?'"

Vaisampayana continued,—"Dhritarashtra, hearing these words of affliction uttered by Duryodhana from mixed feeling, himself ready to what Duryodhana had dictated, commanded his servant, saying,—'Let artificers be employed to erect without delay a delightful and handsome and spacious palace with an hundred doors and a thousand columns. And having brought carpenters and joiners, set ye jewels and precious stones all over the walls. And making it handsome and easy of access, report to me when everything is complete. And, O monarch, king Dhritarashtra having made this resolution for the pacification of Duryodhana, sent messengers unto Vidura for summoning him. For without taking counsel with Vidura never did the monarch form any resolution. But as regards the matter at hand, the king although he knew the evils of gambling, was yet attracted towards it. The intelligent Vidura, however, as soon as he heard of it, knew that the arrival of Kali was at hand. And seeing that the way to destruction was about to open, he quickly came to Dhritarashtra. And Vidura approaching his illustrious eldest brother and bowing down unto his feet, said these words:

'O exalted king, I do not approve of this resolution that thou hast formed. It behave thee, O king, to act in such a way that no dispute may arise between thy children on account of this gambling match.'

Dhritarashtra replied,—'O Kshatta, if the gods be merciful unto us, assuredly no dispute will ever arise amongst my sons. Therefore, auspicious or otherwise, beneficial or otherwise, let this friendly challenge at dice proceed. Even this without doubt is what fate hath ordained for us. And, O son of the Bharata race, when I am near, and Drona and Bhishma and thou too, nothing evil that even Fate might have ordained is likely to happen. Therefore, go thou on a car yoking thereto horses endued with the speed of the wind, so that thou mayest reach Khandavaprastha even today and bring thou Yudhishthira with thee. And, O Vidura, I tell that even this is my resolution. Tell me nothing. I regard Fate as supreme which bringeth all this.' Hearing these words of Dhritarashtra and concluding that his race was doomed, Vidura in great sorrow went unto Bhishma with great wisdom."


Janamejaya said,—"O thou foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, how did that game at dice take place, fraught with such evil to the cousins and through which my grand-sires, the son of Pandu, were plunged into such sorrow? What kings also were present in that assembly, and who amongst them approved of the gambling match and who amongst them forbade it? O sinless one, O chief of regenerate ones, I desire thee to recite in detail all about this, which, indeed, was the cause of the destruction of the world."

Santi said,—"Thus addressed by the king, the disciple of Vyasa, endued with great energy and conversant with the entire Vedas, narrated everything that had happened."

Vaisampayana said,—"O best of the Bharatas, O great king, if thou desirest to hear, then listen to me as I narrate to thee everything again in detail.

"Ascertaining the opinion of Vidura, Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika, calling Duryodhana told him again in private—'O son of Gandhari, have nothing to do with dice. Vidura doth not speak well of it. Possessed of great wisdom, he will never give me advice that is not for my good. I also regard what Vidura sayeth as exceedingly beneficial for me. Do that, O son, for I regard it all as for thy good also. Indeed, Vidura knoweth with all its mysteries the science (of political morality) that the illustrious and learned and wise Vrihaspati, the celestial Rishi who is the spiritual guide of Vasava—had unfolded unto the wise chief of the immortals. And O son, I always accept what Vidura adviseth. O king, as the wise Uddhava is ever regarded amongst the Vrishnis, so is Vidura possessed of great intelligence esteemed as the foremost of the Kurus. Therefore, O son, have nothing to do with dice. It is evident that dice soweth dissensions. And dissensions are the ruin of the kingdom. Therefore, O son, abandon this idea of gambling. O son, thou hast obtained from us what, it hath been ordained, a father and a mother should give unto their son, viz., ancestral rank and possessions. Thou art educated and clever in every branch of knowledge, and hast been brought up with affection in thy paternal dwelling. Born the eldest among all thy brothers, living within thy own kingdom, why regardest thou thyself as unhappy? O thou of mighty arms, thou obtainest food and attire of the very best kind and which is not obtainable by ordinary men. Why dost thou grieve yet. O son, O mighty-armed one, ruling thy large ancestral kingdom swelling with people and wealth, thou shinest as splendidly as the chief of the celestials in heaven. Thou art possessed of wisdom. It behoveth thee to tell me what can be the root of this grief that hath made thee so melancholy.

"Duryodhana replied,—'I am a sinful wretch, O king, because I eat and dress beholding (the prosperity of the foes). It hath been said that man is a wretch who is not filled with jealousy at the sight of his enemy's prosperity. O exalted one, this kind of prosperity of mine doth not gratify me. Beholding that blazing prosperity of the son of Kunti, I am very much pained. I tell thee strong must be my vitality, in as much as I am living even at the sight of the whole earth owning the sway of Yudhishthira. The Nipas, the Chitrakas, the Kukkuras, the Karaskaras, and the Lauha-janghas are living in the palace of Yudhishthira like bondsmen. The Himavat, the ocean, the regions on the sea-shore, and the numberless other regions that yield jewels and gems, have all acknowledged superiority of the mansion of Yudhishthira in respect of wealth it containeth. And, O Monarch, regarding me as the eldest and entitled to respect, Yudhishthira having received me respectfully, appointed me in receiving the jewels and gems (that were brought as tribute). O Bharata, the limit and the like of the excellent and invaluable jewels that were brought there have not been seen. And O king, my hands were fatigued in receiving that wealth. And when I was tired, they that brought those valuable articles from distant regions used to wait till I was able to resume my labour. Bringing jewels from the lake Vindu, the Asura architect Maya constructed (for the Pandavas) a lake-like surface made of crystal. Beholding the (artificial) lotuses with which it was filled, I mistook it, O king for water. And seeing me draw up my clothes (while about to cross it), Vrikodara (Bhima) laughed at me, regarding me as wanting in jewels and having lost my head at the sight of the affluence of my enemy. If I had the ability, I would, O king, without the loss of a moment, slay Vrikodara for that. But, O monarch, if we endeavour to slay Bhima now, without doubt, ours will be the fate of Sisupala. O Bharata, that insult by the foe burneth me. Once again, O king, beholding a similar lake that is really full of water but which I mistook for a crystal surface, I fell into it. At that, Bhima with Arjuna once more laughed derisively, and Draupadi also accompanied by other females joined in the laughter. That paineth my heart exceedingly. My apparel having been wet, the menials at the command of the king gave me other clothes. That also is my great sorrow. And O king, hear now of another mistake that I speak of. In attempting to pass through what is exactly of the shape of a door but through which there was really no passage, I struck my forehead against stone and injured myself. The twins Nakula and Sahadeva beholding from a distance that I was so hit at the head came and supported me in their arms, expressing great concern for me. And Sahadeva repeatedly told me, as if with a smile,—'This O king, is the door. Go this way!' And Bhimasena, laughing aloud, addressed me and said,—'O son of Dhritarashtra, this is the door. And, O king I had not even heard of the names of those gems that I saw in that mansion. And it is for these reasons that my heart so acheth."


Duryodhana said,—'Listen now, O Bharata, about all the most costly articles I saw, belonging unto the sons of Pandu, and brought one after another by the kings of the earth. Beholding that wealth of the foe, I lost my reason and scarcely knew myself. And, O Bharata, listen as I describe that wealth consisting of both manufactures and the produce of the land. The king of Kamboja gave innumerable skins of the best king, and blankets made of wool, of the soft fur of rodents and other burroughers, and of the hair of cats,—all inlaid with threads of gold. And he also gave three hundred horses of the Titteti and the Kalmasha species possessing noses like parrots. And he also gave three hundred camels and an equal number of she-asses, all fattened with the olives and the Pilusha. And innumerable Brahmanas engaged in rearing cattle and occupied in low offices for the gratification of the illustrious king Yudhishthira the just waited at the gate with three hundred millions of tribute but they were denied admission into the palace. And hundred upon hundreds of Brahmanas possessing wealth of kine and living upon the lands that Yudhishthira had given them, came there with their handsome golden Kamandalus filled with clarified butter. And though they had brought such tribute, they were refused admission into the palace. And the Sudra kings that dwelt in the regions on the seacoast, brought with them, O king, hundred thousands of serving girls of the Karpasika country, all of beautiful features and slender waist and luxuriant hair and decked in golden ornaments; and also many skins of the Ranku deer worthy even of Brahmanas as tribute unto king Yudhishthira. And the tribes Vairamas, Paradas, Tungas, with the Kitavas who lived upon crops that depended on water from the sky or of the river and also they who were born in regions on the sea-shore, in woodlands, or countries on the other side of the ocean waited at the gate, being refused permission to enter, with goats and kine and asses and camels and vegetable, honey and blankets and jewels and gems of various kinds. And that great warrior king Bhagadatta, the brave ruler of Pragjyotisha and the mighty sovereign of the mlechchas, at the head of a large number of Yavanas waited at the gate unable to enter, with a considerable tribute comprising of horses of the best breed and possessing the speed of the wind. And king Bhagadatta (beholding the concourse) had to go away from the gate, making over a number of swords with handles made of the purest ivory and well-adorned with diamonds and every kind of gems. And many tribes coming from different regions, of whom some possess two eyes, some three and some had eyes on their foreheads, and those also called Aushmikas, and Nishadas, and Romakas, some cannibals and many possessing only one leg. I say, O king, standing at the gate, being refused permission to enter. And these diverse rulers brought as tribute ten thousand asses of diverse hues and black necks and huge bodies and great speed and much docility and celebrated all over the world. And these asses were all of goodly size and delightful colour. And they were all bred on the coast of Vankhu. And there were many kings that gave unto Yudhishthira much gold and silver. And having given much tribute they obtained admission into the palace of Yudhishthira. The people that came there possessing only one leg gave unto Yudhishthira many wild horses, some of which were as red as the cochineal, and some white, and some possessing the hues of the rainbow and some looking like evening clouds, and some that were of variegated colour. And they were all endued with the speed of the mind. And they also gave unto the king enough gold of superior quality. I also saw numberless Chins and Sakas and Uddras and many barbarous tribes living in the woods, and many Vrishnis and Harahunas, and dusky tribes of the Himavat, and many Nipas and people residing in regions on the sea-coast, waiting at the gate being refused permission to enter. And the people of Valhika gave unto him as tribute ten thousand asses, of goodly size and black necks and daily running two hundred miles, And those asses were of many shapes. And they were well-trained and celebrated all over the world. And possessed of symmetrical proportion and excellent colour, their skins were pleasant to the touch. And the Valhikas also presented numerous blankets of woollen texture manufactured in Chin and numerous skins of the Ranku deer, and clothes manufactured from jute, and others woven with the threads spun by insects. And they also gave thousands of other clothes not made of cotton, possessing the colour of the lotus. And these were all of smooth texture. And they also gave soft sheep-skins by thousands. And they also gave many sharp and long swords and scimitars, and hatchets and fine-edged battle-axes manufactured in the western countries. And having presented perfumes and jewels and gems of various kinds by thousands as tribute, they waited at the gate, being refused admission into the palace. And the Sakas and Tukhatas and Tukharas and Kankas and Romakas and men with horns bringing with them as tribute numerous large elephants and ten thousand horses, and hundreds and hundreds of millions of gold waited at the gate, being refused permission to enter. And the kings of the eastern countries having presented numerous valuable articles including many costly carpets and vehicles and beds, and armours of diverse hues decked with jewels and gold and ivory, and weapons of various kinds, and cars of various shapes and handsome make and adorned with gold, with well-trained horses trimmed with tiger skins, and rich and variegated blankets for caprisoning elephants, and various kinds of jewels and gems, arrows long and short and various other kinds of weapons, obtained permission to enter the sacrificial palace of the illustrious Pandava!'"


Duryodhana said,—'O sinless one, listen to me as I describe that large mass of wealth consisting of various kinds of tribute presented unto Yudhishthira by the kings of the earth. They that dwell by the side of the river Sailoda flowing between the mountains of Mer and Mandara and enjoy the delicious shade of topes of the Kichaka bamboo, viz., the Khashas, Ekasanas, the Arhas, the Pradaras, the Dirghavenus, the Paradas, the Kulindas, the Tanganas, and the other Tanganas, brought as tribute heaps of gold measured in dronas (jars) and raised from underneath the earth by ants and therefore called after these creatures. The mountain tribes endued with great strength having brought as tribute numerous Chamaras (long brushes) soft and black and others white as moon-beam and sweet honey extracted from the flowers growing on the Himavat as also from the Mishali champaka and garlands of flowers brought from the region of the northern Kurus, and diverse kinds of plants from the north even from Kailasa, waited with their heads bent down at the gate of king Yudhishthira, being refused permission to enter. I also beheld there numberless chiefs of the Kiratas armed with cruel weapons and ever engaged in cruel deeds, eating of fruits and roots and attired in skins and living on the northern slopes of the Himavat and on the mountain from behind which the sun rises and in the region of Karusha on the sea-coast and on both sides of the Lohitya mountains. And, O king, having brought with them as tribute loads upon loads of sandal and aloe as also black aloe, and heaps upon heaps of valuable skins and gold and perfumes, and ten thousand serving-girls of their own race, and many beautiful animals and birds of remote countries, and much gold of great splendour procured from mountains, the Kiratas waited at the gate, being refused permission to enter. The Kairatas, the Daradas, the Darvas, the Suras, the Vaiamakas, the Audumvaras, the Durvibhagas, the Kumaras, the Paradas along with the Vahlikas, the Kashmiras, the Ghorakas, the Hansakayanas, the Sivis, the Trigartas, the Yauddheyas, the ruler of Madras and the Kaikeyas, the Amvashtas, the Kaukuras, the Tarkshyas, the Vastrapas along with the Palhavas, the Vashatayas, the Mauleyas along with the Kshudrakas, and the Malavas, the Paundrayas, the Kukkuras, the Sakas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Punras, the Sanavatyas, and the Gayas—these good and well-born Kshatriyas distributed into regular clans and trained to the use of arms, brought tribute unto king Yudhishthira by hundreds and thousands. And the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Tamraliptas, the Supundrakas, the Dauvalikas, the Sagarakas, the Patrornas, the Saisavas, and innumerable Karnapravaranas, who presented themselves at the gate, were told by the gate-keepers at the command of the king, that if they could wait and bring good tribute they could obtain admission. Then the kings of those nations each gave a thousand elephants furnished with tusks like unto the shafts of ploughs and decked with girdles made of gold, and covered with fine blankets and therefore, resembling the lotus in hue. And they were all darkish as rocks and always musty, and procured from the sides of the Kamyaka lake, and covered with defensive armour. And they were also exceedingly patient and of the best breed. And having made these presents, those kings were permitted to enter. O king, these and many others, coming from various regions, and numberless other illustrious kings, brought jewels and gems unto this sacrifice. And Chitraratha, also the king of Gandharvas, the friend of Indra, gave four hundred horses gifted with the speed of the wind. And the Gandharva Tumvuru gladly gave a hundred horses of the colour of mango leaf and decked in gold. And, O thou of the Kuru race, the celebrated king of the Mlechcha tribe, called the Sukaras, gave many hundreds of excellent elephants. And Virata, the king of Matsya, gave as tribute two thousand elephants decked in gold. And king Vasudana from the kingdom of Pansu presented unto the son of Pandu six and twenty elephants and two thousand horses. O king, all decked in gold and endued with speed and strength and in full vigour of youth, and diverse other kinds of wealth. And Yajnasena presented unto the sons of Pandu for the sacrifice, fourteen thousand serving-girls and ten thousand serving-men with their wives, many hundreds of excellent elephants, six and twenty cars with elephants yoked unto them, and also his whole kingdom. And Vasudeva of the Vrishni race, in order to enhance the dignity of Arjuna, gave fourteen thousands of excellent elephants. Indeed, Krishna is the soul of Arjuna and Arjuna is the soul of Krishna, and whatever Arjuna may say Krishna is certain to accomplish. And Krishna is capable of abandoning heaven itself for the sake of Arjuna. and Arjuna also is capable of sacrificing his life for the sake of Krishna. And the Kings of Chola and Pandya, though they brought numberless jars of gold filled with fragrant sandal juice from the hills of Malaya, and loads of sandal and aloe wood from the Dardduras hills, and many gems of great brilliancy and fine cloths inlaid with gold, did not obtain permission (to enter). And the king of the Singhalas gave those best of sea-born gems called the lapis lazuli, and heaps of pearls also, and hundreds of coverlets for elephants. And numberless dark-coloured men with the ends of their, eyes red as copper, attired in clothes decked with gems, waited at the gate with those presents. And numberless Brahmanas and Kshatriyas who had been vanquished, and Vaisyas and serving Sudras, from love of Yudhishthira, brought tribute unto the son of Pandu. And even all the Mlechchas, from love and respect, came unto Yudhishthira. And all orders of men, good, indifferent and low, belonging to numberless races, coming from diverse lands made Yudhishthira's habitation the epitome of the world.

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