sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Contenido - Contents

Fotos de KRISHNA I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! - Fotos del muro

Dedicated to Romapada swami
"Most artwork courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. www.krishna.com"

"If you get one thousand of rupees, ten rupees is already there. If you
get Krishna, then you get all perfection.”
Añadida el 25 de julio

Anyone who carries Krishna within himself, constantly, can go anywhere
and turn the place into a sacred pilgrimage.
Añadida el 26 de julio

Think of Krishna always and try to work sincerely, and everything will
come automatically.
Today is the begining of first month of Chaturmasa.......very auspicious....so try to chant the holy name of radhey krishna as much as possible....Hare krishna
Añadida el 26 de julio

When Initiation(Deeksha) is given, the Spiritual Master becomes the spiritual
father and the gayatri mantra becomes the spiritual mother and thus
second birth takes place.
Añadida el 28 de julio

Originally Krishna’s energy is one; spiritual energy. But according to
different functions, Maya is represented differently. In the material
world the energy is called Bhadra, and in the spiritual world the same
Maya is called Subhadra. Su means auspicious. So in the spiritual world,
the same Maya works auspiciously, and in the material world the same
Maya works inauspiciously.
Añadida el 28 de julio

So far as learning the film industry, that is out of the question.
Krishna industry is good engagement for us.

Letter to Nayanabhirama, July 4, 1971
Añadida el 29 de julio

As soon as one man sees the breast and this armpit of a young woman,
then he is finished. And so long he will be charmed with these things,
he has to take birth again and again.

Washington D.C. July 2, 1976
Añadida el 30 de julio

Happy friendship's Day my Best Friend ....without you krishna its impossible to breath ............i love you as my best friend, my philosopher , my guide.........
Añadida el 31 de julio

Añadida el 05 de abril

Añadida el 05 de abril


Aprârabdha-karma: (sáns. vaiëòava). reacciones acumuladas de actividades que están aletargadas esperando dar frutos en el futuro.

Aprârabdha: (sáns. vaiëòava). karma - the accumulated stock of reactions to activities which are lying in a dormant condition and waiting to bear fruit at some time.

1 - Adi Parva I - Maharaja Shantanu Marries the Celestial Ganga

According to the historical records of this earth, there once lived a King named Maharaja Shantanu, the son of Pratipa, who took his birth in the solar dynasty and was considered naradeva, the manifest representative of the Supreme Lord on earth. His fame and rule extended to all parts of the world. The qualities of self-control, liberality, forgiveness, intelligence, modesty, patience and power always resided this exalted emperor. His neck was marked with three lines like a conchshell, and his shoulders were broad. In prowess He resembled a maddened elephant. Above all these qualities, he was a devoted servant of Lord Vishnu, and therefore he was given the title, King of kings.

Once when Maharaja Shantanu, that bull among men, was wandering in the forest, he came upon a place frequented by the Siddhas and Charanas (a class of heavenly demigods). There he saw an angelic woman who appeared like the goddess of fortune herself. In truth, she was the personification of the river Ganges. She was glancing at the monarch with her youthful longing eyes, and Maharaja Shantanu became attracted to her. He then approached her inquiring, O beautiful woman, are you from the race of the Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas, Nagas or the human race? As yet I have no queen, and your birth appears divine. Whatever your origin, O celestial beauty, I request you to become my wife.

The beautiful apsara (celestial maiden) then smilingly replied, O King, I shall become your wife and obey your commands, but there are certain conditions. You should not interfere with my actions, whether agreeable or disagreeable. Also you should never chastise me with harsh words. If you assent to my request, I shall live with you. The King, infatuated with love, agreed to her proposals.

Having taken the lovely Ganga for his wife, Maharaja Shantanu passed many years in her association. She satisfied the King by her charm and affection, as well as by her music and dance; and thus the King passed many seasons unconscious of time. While enjoying himself in her company, he conceived eight children by her that were equal in quality to the heavenly gods. However, on the birth of each child, Ganga threw them into the river, exclaiming, This is for your good! The King was not pleased with his wife's conduct, but he dared not speak a chastising word, lest she leave his company. However, when the eighth child was born, the King could not tolerate the killing of another child and he spoke harshly, Do not kill this child! Why do you kill your own children? O murderess of your sons, the reaction to such sin is very great!

When reproached in these words, the celestial beauty replied, I shall not cast this child into the river, but according to our marriage agreement, our relationship has ended. I am Ganga, the personification of the River Ganges, and I am ever-worshipped by the great sages and common people. My origin is the divine feet of Lord Vishnu. I have lived with you only to accomplish the purpose of the demigods. The eight Vasus were cursed by Vashistha Muni, and thus they have appeared on earth as a reaction to that curse. They have pleaded wth me to free them from this bondage immediately after their birth. I have lived with you long enough to fulfill my promise to the Vasus. This last child is destined to live on earth for some time. His name will be Devavrata, and he shall be famous as a lion among men.

Maharaja Shantanu then inquired from his wife, What offense did the Vasu's commit for which they were born on earth as human beings? Why, also, is this last child destined to live on earth longer than the others? O Ganga, my wife, please clarify this.

Being thus questioned by the King of the earth, Ganga replied to the Monarch, O best of the Bharata race, on Mount Meru there are many picturesque forests. In one such wooded region lives a renowned sage named Vashistha Muni. He is adept in the practice of austerity and meditation. With the help of his Kamadhenu cow, he performs sacrifices to please the Supreme Being. One day, the eight Vasus headed by Prithu came to that forest. Roaming about with their wives, the Vasus entered the hermitage of Vashistha Muni. At that time they spotted the celestial cow named Nandini. One of the Vasus, whose name was Dyu,then informed his wife, ÚThis cow belongs to the eminent sage Vashistha, and it is said that the mortal who drinks the milk of this cow remains unchanged for ten thousand years.' Turning to her husband she replied, I have a very dear friend named Jitavati who is the daughter of the sage Usinara. I wish to take this cow and calf as a present for her.' When repeatedly petitioned by his beautiful wife, Dyu, along with his brothers, abducted the Kamadhenu cow, forgetting who was the actual owner.

That evening, when Vashistha returned to his hermitage, he could not find his Kamadhenu cow or its calf. He began to search the forest, but nowhere could they be found. By his mystic power, obtained by long years of austerity, he then understood that the cow and its calf had been taken away by the Vasus.

When the sage's wrath was kindled, he cursed the Vasus, ÚBecause the Vasus have stolen my Kamadhenu cow, I curse them to be born on earth as ordinary mortals.' The sage then returned to his practice of ascetic meditation.

When the Vasus heard of Vashistha's curse, they came to his hermitage to pacify him. They praised him with amiable words and offered to return the cow. However, they failed to obtain clemency from the great sage. The great brahmana Vashistha, who is naturally kind to everyone, then compassionately said, ÚThis curse is the suitable punishment to rectify your enjoying mentality. You will be freed from it shortly after your earthly birth. However, your brother Dyu, who actually stole my cow, shall have to domicile on earth for a long period of time. Dyu, though living on earth, shall not marry and have children. He will, however, be a man of kingly virtue and will know the essence of the holy scriptures. He will be an obedient servitor to his father, but will have to live without female companionship.'

The Vasus Ganga continued, then came to me and begged a benediction. They asked that I cast them into the waters of the Ganges immediately upon taking their birth. O best among kings, I have fulfilled their desire, but this last child, Dyu, will have to reside on earth for some time to fulfill the curse of Vashistha Muni. Having related the Vasus' history, Ganga disappeared with the child, and the King returned to his palace with a sorrowful heart.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the First Chapter of the Adi Parva, Entitled, Maharaja Shantanu Obtains the Celestial Ganga for His Wife.

Chapter Commentary

Maharaja Shantanu lived in the age of the Dvapara yuga, more than five thousand years ago. He was a saintly King who cared about his citizens and sought their welfare.Time passes through four ages; the first being the Satya yuga which is compared to spring time. In this age persons have long lives and are very much inclined toward meditation and austerity. The Treta yuga is compared to the summer time. In this age people are very pious and there are hardly any stringent miseries. The Dvapara age is like autumn time. Material miseries become apparent and the principles of religion decline. The age we are living in now is the age of kali, which is compared to the winter season. Most people are not inclined toward spiritual life, and because of this they suffer stringent material miseries. They commit grossly sinful acts for which they suffer life after life. The history of the earth, before the Kali age, is recorded in such Vedic literatures as the Puranas, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. These divinely inspired literatures are filled with histories of saintly emperors who protected their citizens, endeavoring to elevate them to the platform of God realization. This Mahabharata is a factual historical account of what happened on earth thousands of years ago.

In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna told Arjuna, In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Vishnu, and blessed them by saying, ÚBe thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things.'(Bg.3.10) Advanced human society centered on God realization has been existing since the beginning of creation. In fact, the Puranas are historical records of civilizations more advanced than the one today. The people and civilizations of this present age, Kali yuga, have actually diminished in good qualities as confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided,
unlucky and, above all, always disturbed. (S.B. 1.1.10) This is a quotation by Saunaka rishi to the sages of Naimisharanya. We learn from Vedic history that thousands of years ago men were more advanced in moral qualities and that civilizations were more prosperous, materially and spiritually. This point will be discussed in greater detail as this narration proceeds.

Since the historical past cannot be perceived by the gross senses, we have to accept authorities who have knowledge of the past, present and future. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna states, From Me comes knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known. I am the compiler of Vedanta and, indeed, I am the knower of the Vedas. (B.g. 15.15) Lord Krishna is the Supreme Godhead and the Supreme Authority. Because He is God, He knows everything about the past, present and future. What is written in the Puranas is His account of the past. Therefore, if we accept His statements as they are handed down in disciplic succession and understood by the spiritual master, then we can have perfect knowledge of the past without having to waste billions of dollars on mental speculation. This Mahabharata is an emanation from that Supreme Being, and was compiled by Srila Vyasadeva who was empowered for this exact purpose.

The disciplic succession is maintained by Lord Krishna so that perfect knowledge is available at all times. The skeptics will say that it is impossible not to make a mistake in handing down disciplic knowledge, because of man's imperfection. However, a bona fide spiritual master does not have the imperfection of mortal senses. How is this? Because a pure devotee of God is being directed by the Lord in the heart, his senses become as good as the Lord's. Pure devotees of God may differ in implementing God's will according to time, place and circumstance, but the conclusion of the teachings is the same. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna states, The Supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings received it in that way. But in the course of time the succession was broken, and, therefore, the science as it is appears to be lost. (B.g. 4.2) The disciplic succession was broken when Duryodhana became king, and therefore Lord Krishna had to reestablish it by removing Duryodhana and establishing Maharaja Yudhisthira as a saintly king, able to carry on the disciplic succession. The Supreme Lord fulfills all desires. If one wants perfect knowledge of God, the Lord will send his authorized representative to teach him.

Sometimes we fantasize that we are more materially advanced than previous civilizations, considering our archeological findings. We will learn from the Mahabharata that human beings had superior intelligence and stronger bodies in bygone ages. A man could capture knowledge just by hearing it once and could recall it anytime during his life, verbatim. He didn't need computers, printing presses or books, for just by hearing from teachers and authorities once, he would remember it for the rest of his life. However, today, we are not so fortunate. The brain cannot retain knowledge just by hearing once. The knowledge needs to be repeated again and again. We need computers and books to help us for we lack that power of remembrance. Oral tradition is actually superior if the brain is superior.

In this first chapter of the Adi Parva, Ganga, the goddess of the river Ganges, was married to Maharaja Shantanu to fulfill the curse of Vashistha Muni. The children born of their marriage were destined to die after birth, due to a sin that was performed in a previous life. Today, children are killed in the womb for the same reason. If we kill, we will be killed. That is the law of nature or karma. For sins committed in a previous life, we suffer in this life. If a child is aborted in this life, that child killed in a previous life. How do we stop abortion? We have to stop killing in this life for which we will suffer in the next. For good works done in a previous life, we prosper in this life. God is not so cruel as to allow some to enjoy and others to suffer. The living being is the cause of his or her own happiness and distress. This is confirmed by Lord Krishna in the thirteenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Nature is said to be the cause of all material activities and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world. (B.g. 13.21) When suffering comes to us, we should understand that it is for our sins. We should not blame others, but we should blame ourselves.

Adi Parva

Chapter Two

Maharaja Shantanu and Devavrata

Many, many years passed, and Maharaja Shantanu had to learn to live in separation from his wife and son. One day while chasing a deer along the bank of the Ganges, the King noticed that the river had become shallow. He had never seen this before, and he sought the cause. While searching along the river bank, he spotted a handsome, powerful, and heroic youth. The boy was releasing celestial weapons impeding the flow of the Ganges. This young boy was Maharaja Shantanu's son, whom he had not seen since the boy was born. However, the King could not recognize him as such because he had only seen his son for a few moments after his birth. The youth, upon seeing his father, knew him to be so and out of shyness disappeared from sight.

King Shantanu was struck with wonder and imagined that the youth might be his own son. He then continued down the river bank, and there he saw Ganga whom he had not seen in years. As he approached her, he saw the same boy standing at her side. She then informed the king, O best among kings, our eighth child is standing next to me. His name is Devavrata. He has been trained in the heavenly planets and has knowledge of all the celestial weapons of warfare. Devavrata has been the student of Vashistha Muni, who has taught our son the Vedas and their branches. O descendent of Bharata, both the demigods and the demons look upon him with favor. Whatever knowledge the sage Brihaspati has learned, this child has also learned, and whatever weapons the powerful and great Parashurama possess, this boy also possesses. Now that his training is complete, you may take Devavrata and raise him as your own. Thus commanded by Ganga, Devavrata accompanied Maharaja Shantanu to his capital city.

Maharaja Shantanu became attached to the boy who was endowed with all good qualities. Devavrata also became attached to his father, and it was seen that the two were always together. They talked together, walked together, ate together, slept together, and hunted together. Indeed, they were almost inseparable. Four years passed in this way.

One day, the King entered the forest along the bank of the Yamuna. While
roaming in that region, he perceived a sweet aroma coming from an unknown
direction. He followed the scent, and while wandering here and there, he came
across a woman of heavenly beauty. Her name was Satyavati, and she was the
daughter of a fisherman. He was pierced by the arrows of Cupid, and desiring
her for his wife, he inquired, Who are you, and who is your father? Also,
please tell me what you are doing here. Replying to the King she said, My
name is Satyavati, and I am the daughter of the fishermen King. My father has
engaged me in the pious activity of rowing passengers across the river

Bewildered by the beauty and charm of this girl, the King approached the
fisherman and spoke to him of a proposed marriage. The fisherman replied, My
daughter certainly could not find a more suitable husband than yourself.
However, you must fulfill my one desire. I wish that the son born of my
daughter be the next king of the world, and no one else can become your

When that great descendant of Bharata heard the terms for gaining Satyavati,
he felt no desire to grant such a benediction, and thus he returned to his
capital. While riding on his chariot, he constantly thought of the beautiful
fisherman's daughter. With a sorrowful heart, he entered his palace and did not
say a word to anyone, not even Devavrata. Upon seeing his father's unhappiness,
Devavrata approached him inquiring, Please tell me father why you are so
unhappy? You have not spoken a word to me, nor have you performed your daily
duties. Please reveal the cause of your distress, and I will find a cure for

When requested in these words, Maharaja Shantanu replied, My dear son, I am
thinking of the instability of human life. If sudden death were to overcome
you, I would be without a son. You are like a hundred sons to me, and I do not
desire to marry again. I only desire that our dynasty be perpetuated. The wise
say that he who has one son has no son at all. It is quite possible that you
will be slain on the battle field, and if that happens, what will be the state
of the Bharata dynasty? It is these thoughts that have made me so unhappy.

Devavrata was intelligent and reflected on his father's words. He felt there
was something more than his father had revealed. He then went to the King's
chariot driver and questioned him about the cause of the monarch's sullen mood.
The charioteer told Devavrata about the fisherman's daughter and the
benediction sought by her father. Understanding the situation, Devavrata,
accompanied by some of the family elders, went to the fisherman's cottage. The
chief of the fishermen greeted Devavrata, offering him a seat. He then informed
him in sweet words, O son of Shantanu, I welcome you for you are the pride of
the kshatriya race. You are certainly invincible, but I have something to tell
you. Even if the future husband of my daughter were to be Indra himself, he
would have to lament, for the requirements for marrying Satyavati apply to all.
Many sages have told me that your father is the only suitable husband for
Satyavati. I have even rejected the requests of the great rishis in the matter
of her marriage. The one great obstacle to this marriage is that you will be
crowned King and not the son born of Satyavati and Shantanu. This is all I have
to say in the matter.

Understanding the fisherman's desire, Devavrata meditated on the situation,
and wanting to benefit his father, he informed the fisherman, O fisherman,
listen to my vow. There has not been, nor will there ever be born a man who can
make this vow. I shall fulfill your request. I take the vow that the son born
from Satyavati and my father shall be king, and I shall relinquish my claim to
the throne.

Upon hearing Devavrata's promise, the fisherman, who sought sole sovereignty
for Satyavati's son, said, This vow that you have taken will certainly come to
pass, but I have one doubt that is still in my mind. What will happen to your
children? They may also claim the throne. Devavrata replied, O chief among
fishermen, listen to the vow I shall make in the presence of these assembled
elders. I have already relinquished my claim to the throne, and now I shall
settle the matter of my descendants. I shall adopt the vow of brahmacharya and
agree never to marry.

Hearing the oath spoken by Devavrata, the hair on the fisherman's body stood
on end, and he promised, I shall hand over my daughter to Shantanu. When
Devavrata made this vow, the heavenly denizens showered flowers, and the
firmament was filled with the sounds, This one shall be known as Bhishma [one
who has taken a difficult vow]. The only sounds heard were Bhishma!,
Bhishma!, This one shall be called Bhishma!

Ganga's son then took Satyavati on the chariot and returned to Hastinapura.
When Maharaja Shantanu heard about the oath his son had taken, he was pleased
and gave him a benediction, You shall never experience death as long as you
wish to live. Indeed, you will die only when you desire it. Thus Satyavati was
married to Maharaja Shantanu, and that glorious King accepted her into his
palace and maintained her as she desired.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the Second Chapter of the Adi Parva,
Maharaja Shantanu and Devavrata.

Chapter Commentary

Devavrata had taken a life-long vow of celibacy, and this was a rare occurance
amongst the ksatriyas. Ksatriyas usually have many wives and sometimes hundreds
of children. This was not uncommon in the previous ages. Because ksatriyas are
in the mode of passion, it was almost impossible for them to control sex
desire, which is the cause of all bondage to this world. They, therefore, took
many wives and maintained them in great opulence. Bhishma was a great devotee
of the Lord and because of his devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord, he was
able to make a life-long celibacy vow, rejecting the feminine beauty of this
world. By keeping the seminal fluid within, a man increases in strength,
memory, intelligence and duration of life. This is one reason why Bhishma was
destined to become the most powerful of the great warriors. Even in his old age
during the battle of the Bharatas at Kurukshetra, he was considered to have
been the most powerful warrior.

Another point to be learned from this chapter is position of young women in
Vedic society. Young girls were never allowed to walk the streets searching for
a husband. It was the duty of a father to get his daughter married at a young
age. The sex desire becomes very prominent when a young girl reaches puberty.
If she is married at that time, this will save her from becoming a prostitute.
In Vedic times, if a girl was even touched by another man, no one would marry
her. Wives were chosen on the basis of chasity and purity. It has become a
social custom in the western world for young girls to mingle freely with young
boys and often lose their virginity before marriage. Sometimes these girls
become pregnant and give birth to unwanted children. The young girl, bereft of
a husband, has to fend for herself, which may lead her to further sinful
activities. The child born out of such lust generally turns out to be a useless
member of society, and no one can understand why our youth are becoming
degraded. This is all due to ignorance of God's law concerning the social
organization of human society.

In the western societies, abortions and contraceptives have become the
standard. Aborting a child in the womb means suffering a future sinful
reaction. The mother, the father, the doctor and anyone else involved will
suffer the karmic reaction of killing another living being. In their next lives
they will be forced to enter the womb of a woman and be aborted themselves. The
pain that they inflicted by aborting the innocent child in the womb will come
back to them in a future birth. Due to ignorance of material nature's laws,
people suffer greatly; and even when they are told of sinful activities and
their consequences, they say they don't believe in such things. In this dark
Kali age we seem to have to learn things the hard way.

Another important point in this chapter is Maharaja Bhishma's vow. Generally,
great devotees take vows to please Lord Krishna; they never take vows for
fruitive gain. Bhishma took this vow of celebacy so his father could enjoy
material sense gratification. One may say that this has nothing to due with
pure devotional service, and in fact it doesn't. However, we learned from the
previous chapter that Bhishma, as the Vasu, Dyu, was cursed by Vashistha Muni
to not have female companionship while living as an ordinary mortal. His vow
was simply a fulfillment of that curse, and had nothing to do with any fruitive
desire of his own. Also, Bhishma was a great devotee and was under the
influence of Krishna's Yogamaya potency. In other words, this situation set the
scene for the Lord's forthcoming appearance and would play a role for
instructing the whole world.

Adi Parva

Chapter Three

Bhishma Abducts Three Princesses

In due course, Maharaja Shantanu's Queen, Satyavati, bore a highly qualified
son named Chitrangada. He was blessed with invincible power and was destined to
become a renowned archer. Later, another son was born to Satyavati, named
Vichitravirya. He developed into a natural leader and heroic warrior. As the
two sons grew to maturity, they brought joy to the King and Queen. Soon
Maharaja Shantanu found himself growing old, and seeing the influence of
inevitable time, he decided to retire to the forest to practice austerities for
realizing the kingdom of God. Before entering the forest, Maharaja Shantanu
enthroned Chitrangada as the world's king under Bhishma's protection. He then
departed to the forest alone to perform penances and austerities. Maharaja
Shantanu soon became absorbed in trance and realized his original relationship
with the Lord in the kingdom of God. When his meditation upon the Lord's
transcendental form was unbroken, he ascended to the spiritual world.

When Chitrangada became King, he soon challenged and eliminated all opponents
on the planet earth. Indeed, all the earthly kings considered that there was no
kshatriya equal to him. Nevertheless, in the heavenly planets there lived a
Gandharva King whose name was also Chitrangada. Upon hearing that an earthly
being bore his name and was considered invincible, he challenged the son of
Satyavati. There then took place on the field of Kurukshetra a battle that
endured for a full three years. Both Chitrangadas were powerful, and the battle
was fierce, but in the end the Kuru prince was slain. The King of the
Gandharvas then ascended to the heavenly planets satisfied at heart. After the
death of his step brother, Bhishma performed the last funeral rites and then
enthroned Vichitravirya as the world's emperor, although he was only a small
boy. Until Vichitravirya matured in age, Bhishma ruled the kingdom. Maharaja
Bhishma took care of Vichitravirya like a father, arranging for the education
and military training of the future king.

When Maharaja Bhishma saw that Vichitravirya was of marriageable age, he
thought of obtaining a queen for him. At this time he heard that in the kingdom
of Kashi three daughters were being offered in marriage. These princesses had
heavenly beauty, and it was known that they were to select their own husbands.
Bhishma went alone in his chariot to the city of Varanasi, and there he saw
countless monarches who had assembled hoping to wed one of the princesses. The
names of those beautiful girls were Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. While the
daughters of the King were being introduced to the assembled heroic princes,
Bhishma stood up in the assembly and commanded, The wise have declared that
when a qualified person has been invited to a svayamvara, a maiden may be
bestowed upon him. There are eight kinds of marriage ceremonies, but the wise
highly applaud that a princess taken by force in the presence of competitors is
the foremost svayamvara. Therefore, strive to your best ability to defeat me or
be defeated.

After challenging the assembled kings and princes, Bhishma put the three
princesses on his chariot and proceeded to leave the Kashi kingdom. The
kshatriya princes then stood up and, in great fury, challenged Bhishma to a
fight. They put on their armour and pursued him in great haste. Attacking
Ganga's son with full force, they poured a thick deluge of arrows upon him.
Maharaja Bhishma, however, nullified those arrows with his own, and then
pierced each prince with three shafts.The princes in turn pierced Bhishma with
many arrows, and then released javelins and darts hoping to encompass his
death. The battle was fought with such intense fury that even those who were
courageous became struck with fear. Keeping his bow drawn in a constant circle,
Bhishma severed arrows, bows, flagstaffs, coats of armor and human heads by the
hundreds. The son of Ganga defeated the supporting armies that opposed him, and
those who were heroes applauded the prowess of such a great warrior. When
Shantanu's son had crushed all opponents, he proceeded to the Kuru kingdom,
taking with him the three heavenly princesses.

While Maharaja Bhishma was proceeding toward Hastinapura, King Salwa, whose
prowess was famed, suddenly appeared from behind. He challenged Bhishma,
Wait!, Wait! Bhishma flamed up in anger and turned to meet the challenge of
the oncoming monarch. All the princes, who had been defeated, assembled to see
the battle between those two bulls among men. King Salwa first covered Bhishma
with many golden arrows. All the assembled princes applauded Salwa's prowess,
but Bhishma was furious and told his charioteer, Take me closer to Salwa's
chariot, so I may kill him in the way Garuda kills a serpent. The Kuru chief
then fixed the varuna weapon to his bow, and releasing it put Salwa's horses
into confusion. This weapon caused a tidal wave to appear. Showing his
supremacy with the bow, Bhishma released a flaming arrow which killed Salwa's
charioteer. The powerful son of Shantanu then released the aindra weapon which
killed Salwa's horses. (This weapon is similar to a modern day machine gun, but
is more powerful and more accurate.) As the battle continued, Bhishma shattered
all the weapons of Salwa, but left him with his life. After defeating all
opponents, Bhishma proceeded to Hastinapura and offered the beautiful
princesses to his younger brother.

After performing this uncommon exploit, Bhishma arranged the marriage ceremony
for Vichitravirya. At that time the eldest daughter of the Kashi King, whose
name was Amba, approached Bhishma appealing to him, At heart I had chosen King
Salwa as my husband. He had in his heart chosen me for his wife. This was also
approved by my father. At the svayamvara in Kashi I would have garlanded him
and accepted him as my lord if you had not forcibly taken me away. You are
aware of moral principles, so please decide whether I am free to go. Bhishma
deliberated for some time, and after consulting with qualified brahmanas, he
decided that Amba could return to the kingdom of Kashi and marry the lord of
her heart.

The other two princesses, Ambika and Ambalika, who were as beautiful as the
heavenly denizens, accepted Vichitravirya as their husband and considered
themselves very fortunate. They considered him a worthy husband, and loved and
respected him in every way. Vichitravirya was endowed with the prowess of the
devas and could steal away the heart of any woman. Thus King Vichitravirya was
duly married to the princesses of Kashi, and he passed seven years happily in
their company. However, while he was still in his youth, he was attacked by
tuberculosis, and although everyone tried to effect a cure, the Kuru prince
died, setting like the evening sun. Bhishma lamented the death of his younger
brother, and finally performed the last funeral rites.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the third Chapter of the Adi Parva,
Bhishma Obtains Three Queens for Vichitravirya.

Chapter Commentary

Maharaja Shantanu wanted to be enlightened in self realization and factually
know the difference between the body and the soul. The soul takes one body
after another according to the sinful or pious activities of this life. Emperor
Shantanu wanted to stop the repetition of birth and death by becoming fully
absorbed in God consciousness. Not only did he himself take spiritual
realization seriously, but he also instructed his citizens about the life's
ultimate aspiration. In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, O scion of
Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to
understand this body and its owner is called knowledge. That is my opinion.
(B.g. 13.3) Because spiritual knowledge is the zenith of wisdom, Vedic
civilization centered on this point, and therefore was considered more
progressive than the present civilizations in which knowledge of the external
body is given primary importance. Any civilization that doesn't teach the
difference between the body and the soul is an animal civilization, no matter
how materially advanced. The animals simply eat, sleep, mate and defend, and
any civilization that teaches these animalistic propensities as life's prime
goal cannot obtain spiritual perfection. As Lord Jesus Christ states, Seek ye
first the kingdom of God and all things will follow.

Kings in Vedic culture were called naradeva, because they were representatives
of the Supreme Lord. They never thought themselves to be the highest authority,
but acted on the advice of highly qualified priests and sages. Any head of
state who does not act as the representative of the Lord will surely guide
himself and his citizens down to hellish life. They become like blind men who
lead their citizens into the ditch of repeated birth and death. King Shantanu
set the example for his citizens, and upon seeing that his body was aging, went
to the forest to attain liberation in complete Krishna consciousness.

When both Chitrangada and Vichitravirya died, there was lamentation by all the
family members. Happiness in this material world is temporary. Everyone wants
an eternal lover, father, mother, friend, son or daughter. We are eager to have
a lover eternally, but the lover grows old and is no longer appealing to the
mind. We are always eager to have a parent-child relationship, but the son
grows up, or as in this case the son dies. We are very eager to have a friend,
but we find that the friend moves to a distant country or we are cheated in
personal dealings. And the relationship of master and servant is broken by
mistrust. The temporary relationships in this world are like drinking sweet
rice mixed with sand. The nice taste of the sweet rice is there, but the sand
particles make it unpalatable. Similarly, the relationships of this material
world are only temporarily pleasing, because the sand particles of birth,
death, old age and disease make it unpalatable. In the spiritual world,
however, one can have Krishna as a lover eternally, as in the case of the Gopis
of Vrindavana. Mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja enjoy having Krishna as their
son eternally. In the spiritual world one can play with Krishna as a cowherd
boyfriend eternally. One can have God as his master eternally and never feel
cheated. Therefore this material world is only a mirror reflection of the
spiritual world. If you place a banana in front of a mirror and try to eat the
mirror reflection, you will be frustrated. Similarly if we try to enjoy the
temporary relationships of this world, we will be frustrated. We have to
reestablish our loving relationship with the Supreme Lord, and then we will be
happy and never have to lament as did the queens of Vichitravirya.

Adi Parva

Chapter four

Bhishma Battles Parashurama

After receiving consent from Maharaja Bhishma, Princess Amba left the city of
Hastinapura, and traveled to the province where King Salwa ruled. She was
granted an interview and bowing before him she pleaded, I have come to take
shelter of your mighty arms, O brave King. Please accept me as your queen.
King Salwa laughed to hear Amba's request and informed her, I no longer desire
you for my queen, for you have been touched by another. It is Bhishma only who
can marry you. When Bhishma abducted you, you followed him willingly enough.
How can a king like myself, who is acquainted with Vedic knowledge and is
supposed to guide others accordingly, accept into his palace a woman who is
intended to marry another? O princess of Kashi, you may go wherever you like,
but I cannot accept you as my queen.

Amba was aggrieved by King Salwa's rejection. She pleaded again, O lord of
the earth, it is not as you say. Bhishma took me away by force. I did not go
with him willingly. I am attached to you, and I beg you to accept me. The
scriptures declare that a king should not abandon one who is dependent on him.
I swear, O tiger among men, that I have never thought of any other man except
you. Bhishma will not marry anyone, and my two sisters have been married to
Vichitravirya. Therefore, O King, accept me as you wife for I have no other
shelter. Although she repeatedly solicited King Salwa, he would not accept her
and ordered her to leave his kingdom. Thus Amba left the kingdom of Salwa,
lamenting her destiny.

Amba decided to inhabit the forest and practice austerities and penances for
the rest of her life. In her wanderings, she came upon the ashrama of some
great rishis, and she informed them of her plight. It so happened that among
those great sages was her maternal grandfather, Hotravahana. The royal sage
felt despondent for what had befallen her and told her that on the following
day, Parashurama, the martial teacher of Bhishma, would come to the ashrama. He
was sure Parashurama would influence Bhishma to accept her hand in marriage.

The next day Parashurama arrived at the ashrama and Amba related to him the events of her abduction by Bhishma and her rejection by King Salwa. She requested the great sage to kill Bhishma. Parashurama felt sorry for the girl and gave her hope by saying, O daughter of Kashi, I will not take up weapons except to protect those that follow the Vedas. Tell me, therefore, what I can do for you. Both Bhishma and Salwa are obedient to me. Do not lament. I will fulfill your desire.

Parashurama, the annihilator of the ksatriyas, then went to Hastinapura, and
when Bhishma learned that his preceptor had arrived, he went out of the city to
greet him. Bhishma worshipped him according to his position and then waited for
him to speak. Rama inquired from Bhishma, After taking a vow of celibacy, in
what mood did you abduct the princess of Kashi and then send her away?
Contaminated by the touch of your hands, no one will marry her. Salwa has
rejected her because you have forcibly placed her on your chariot. O King, it
is not proper for her to be humiliated in this way. Therefore, at my command
take her yourself and marry her according to Vedic rites.

O brahmana, Maharaja Bhishma replied, I could not bestow this maiden upon
my brother because of her desire to accept Salwa as her lord. As for myself, I
have taken a vow of perpetual celibacy, and I will not break that vow under any
circumstances. Upon hearing the disobedient words of his disciple, Parashurama
was outraged and rolling his eyes in anger, he said, If you do not follow my
commands, then I shall kill you this very day, along with your counsellors!
Bhishma tried to placate his preceptor by sweet words, but Parashurama could
not be pacified. He told Bhishma, You accepted me as your preceptor, yet, O
Kaurava, you will not follow my instructions. If you want to please me then
accept this maiden as your wife.

I cannot follow this instruction, O best of the rishis, Maharaja Bhishma
replied. O son of Jamadagni, all your attempts to secure this marriage will be
in vain. What warrior would accept into his abode a woman whose heart was
wedded to another. O brahmana, I will not forsake justice even from fear of
Indra. One can reject the order of the preceptor if he is filled with vanity,
destitute of knowledge concerning right and wrong, and who follows a devious
path. You are my preceptor, and I have tried to pacify you as far as possible.
However, this instruction is not according to religious principles, and
therefore, I will fight with you. I would never slay my preceptor in battle.
However, it is a well known truth that one is not guilty of slaying a brahmana
who takes up arms like a kshatriya. Because you are acting unrighteously, I
will fight with you. O Rama, equip yourself with proper weapons and position
yourself on the Kurukshetra field. Subdued by my arrows, you will obtain the
higher regions. The brahmanas have spoken of the power which you exhibited
against the kingly dynasties long ago. However, in those days there was no
Bhishma, nor were there any warrior kings like Bhishma. Kshatriyas endowed with
power took their births later on. The person who will quell your pride has now
taken birth, and this is none other than myself.

Bhishma and Parashurama then made their way to Kurukshetra. Maharaja Bhishma
was stationed on a chariot drawn by white horses. Parashurama had created by
his mystic power a beautiful chariot drawn by horses that could travel at the
speed of the mind. The fighting began when Parashurama struck his disciple with
hundreds of arrows. Bhishma countered with many more arrows, and the fighting
went on till the end of the day. However, it was seen that neither was the

After the battle had ceased, Bhishma's charioteer plucked out Parashurama's
arrows from his own body. He also withdrew the arrows from the horses and those
of his master, Bhishma. The son of Ganga then went to his tent for his nightly
rest. When the sun had risen the following day, the battle resumed. Bhishma
offered his obeisances unto his preceptor and again fought with him. On this
day all the celestial weapons were used. Rama released the vayavaya weapon
(tornado weapon), but Bhishma countered it with the guhyaka weapon. Bhishma
then released the agneya weapon which brought about great fire. However
Parashurama released the varuna weapon (water weapon) causing the fire to
abate. The preceptor neutralized all the weapons released by his disciple.
Parashurama then released a flaming arrow that struck Bhishma in the chest,
causing him to fall unconscious on the floor of his chariot. The charioteer
then took Bhishma away from the battlefield. All the followers of Parashurama,
including the princess of Kashi, were pleased with that action. However,
Bhishma regained consciousness and came back to fight with his martial teacher.
He struck Parashurama with a powerful arrow, causing him to fall unconscious on
the battlefield. The princess of Kashi and others came to his side, reviving
him with cold water and sweet words. Parashurama then rose up like lightning,
and again engaged in furious combat with his disciple. In this way the duel
went on for twenty three days.

On the night of the twenty third day, Maharaja Bhishma retired to his tent
and, lying down on his bed, began to reason, This fighting has been going on
for many days, and still I have not defeated him. I am unable to vanquish the
son of Jamadagni. If I am to succeed in subduing this foremost brahmana, then
the gods must assist me. Thinking like this, Bhishma fell asleep. In a dream,
eight brahmanas appeared before him encouraging, Rise up, O son of Ganga. Do
not fear. We will protect you from Parashurama. We will help you conquer Rama
in battle. During tomorrows encounter, the mantras for the praswapa weapon will
come to your mind. Neither Parashurama nor any other person is acquainted with
it. With this weapon you will defeat your preceptor. O King, it will not slay
Parashurama outright, and, therefore, there will be no sin incurred in using
it. After he has been defeated, you will be able to awaken him with the
samvodhana weapon. Having said this much, the eight effulgent brahmanas

When dawn appeared the next day, Maharaja Bhishma joyfully equipped himself
for battle. Parashurama also ascended his chariot and prepared to fight his
disobedient disciple. Parashurama first hurled a dart that was as relentless as
Indra's thunderbolt. It was thrown with such lightning force that it appeared
like a blazing meteor. That dart descended upon the Bhishma's shoulder, causing
severe pain to the great hero. Angered by the weapon, Bhishma released an arrow
that struck his martial teacher in the forehead. Rama paid no attention to the
pain and invoked the brahmastra weapon. This weapon is similar to a modern day
atomic bomb. Bhishma also released the same weapon, and when the two weapons
met, there was an expansion of light similar to that at the time of
dissolution. When the two weapons were neutralized, Bhishma thought of
releasing the praswapa weapon. When he was thinking in this way, the mantras
for the weapon appeared in his mind. While Bhishma was fixing the weapon to his
bowstring, he heard many voices in the sky loudly exclaiming, O son of the
Kuru race, do not release the praswapa weapon! Bhishma paid no attention and
drew back the string of his bow. At that time Narada appeared on the scene
imploring Bhishma, O descendent of Kuru, do not release this weapon. Even the
demigods are forbidding you. Rama is a brahmana who has performed great
austerities, and he is also your teacher. O Bhishma, never humiliate him.

Upon hearing Narada's order, Bhishma withdrew the praswapa weapon.
Parashurama's father, Jamadagni and grandfather, Richika, then appeared before
Parashurama ordering, O son, never again engage in battle with Bhishma or any
other kshatriya. Heroism and courage in battle are the qualities of a warrior,
and study of the Vedas and the practice of austerities are the wealth of the
brahmanas. Previously you took up weapons to protect the brahmanas, but this is
not the case now. Let this battle with Bhishma be your last.

Parashurama then replied to his forefathers, I cannot give up this combat. I
have vowed that I will never leave the battlefield without defeating my enemy.
This battle can only cease if Ganga's son desists from fighting.

Those great sages then went to Bhishma requesting, O son of Shantanu, you
should not fight any longer with your preceptor. You should now worship that
esteemed brahmana.

I have taken a vow that I will never lay down my weapons without defeating my
enemy, Bhishma replied. I cannot abandon my kshatriya oath.

The sages once again spoke to Rama, O son of the Bhrigu race, it is not
possible to defeat Bhishma, nor is it possible for Bhishma to defeat you. It
has been ordained by providence that the son of Indra, Arjuna, will be the
slayer of Bhishma. While the forefathers of Rama were speaking to him, the
pitris (a class of demigods) appeared on the scene and obstructed the chariot
of Rama. They forbade him to fight any longer.

Just at this time, the eight effulgent brahmanas that Maharaja Bhishma had
seen in his dream appeared before him requesting, O powerful warrior, go to
your preceptor and worship him. Without his benediction, you cannot obtain

Bhishma, upon seeing that his mentor had laid aside his weapons, bowed before
him and offered respectful worship. Rama then praised his disciple, There is
no kshatriya equal to you on earth. You have pleased me with your prowess and
your humility. Bhishma then offered respects to his teacher and returned to

Parashurama then called for Amba and remorsefully said to her, O princess of
Kashi, I have fought to my best ability, but I could not defeat Bhishma. I have
fought with the weapons of the heavenly gods, but still I could not slay him. O
beautiful lady, fate seems to have you in her strong grip. It will not be
possible for me to change what providence has destined for you.

Amba was determined that Bhishma should die. She again inhabited the forest
and practiced very severe austerities. She gave up all food and water and lived
only on air. She stood immovable like a tree for six months. After this she
increased her austerities by entering the waters of the Yamuna for one whole
year. She then stood on her toes for twelve years, scorching the heavens by her
austerities. Soon Lord Shiva became pleased and appeared before her. He asked
her to take a benediction. With joined palms, she solicited Bhishma's death. He
granted the benediction saying, It will be you who will cause his death. Amba
then inquired, How will it come to pass that I, a woman, will defeat Bhishma?
Lord Shiva replied, My boons will never go in vain. You will be born in your
next life as a female in the family of King Drupada, changing to manhood in
that very life. You will become a great maharathi (chariot fighter), and
remembering your former hatred for Bhishma and the incidents in this life, you
will cause his death in battle. After granting this benediction, Lord Shiva
disappeared from that place.

Amba was joyous to receive Lord Shiva's boon. Wanting to take her next birth
as soon as possible, she gathered logs for a funeral pyre. When the fire was
blazing, she entered it uttering the words, I pray for Bhishma's death. Amba
then took her birth in the family of King Drupada, and she was known as
Shikhandi. She was born to fulfill Lord Shiva's benediction.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata Summation to the fourth Chapter of the Adi Parva,
Entitled, Bhishma battles Parashurama.

Chapter Commentary

Parashurama was the martial teacher of Bhishma, and, therefore, it was
expected that Bhishma would submit to the demands of his preceptor. That is how
one advances in spiritual life. Both Bhishma and Parashurama are in the
category of liberated associates of the Lord. Parashurama is an shaktavesha
avatara [an empowered living entity], and Bhishma was a pure devotee of the
Lord, one of the twelve mahajanas. This pastime was arranged by the internal
potency of the Lord and therefore cannot be imitated. The four Kumaras were
liberated devotees, and they disobeyed the order of their father, Brahma, when
he requested them to get married and beget progeny. The conditioned soul cannot
imitate these pastimes and disobey the order of the spiritual master. It is
stated by Vishvanatha Chakravarty Thakur that by pleasing the spiritual master
one pleases God, and by displeasing the spiritual master one displeases God. We
have personally seen during the life of our spiritual master that certain
disciples fell down from the path of devotional service by displeasing the
spiritual master. For the conditioned soul it is imperative that he follow the
order of Guru so that he can come to the transcendental platform of self

All the spiritual masters and acharyas in the disciplic line of Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu have set the example of strictly following the order of the
spiritual master. Even Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Lord Krsna Himself,
accepted a spiritual master, Isvara Puri, and strictly followed his
instructions. Isvara Puri instructed Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to only chant the
Hare Krishna maha mantra and not to read Vedanta Sutra. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
who is Lord Krsna Himself, is the author of Vedanta Sutra, but to show the
conditioned souls in this age of Kali how to follow the instructions of a bona
fide spiritual master, he never studied Vedanta Sutra again. When Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu defeated Prakashananda Saraswati, a mayavadi sannyasin, in debate,
he did so on the basis of Srimad Bhagavatam. He did this to show humility
before the order of the bona fide spiritual master.

In this chapter the revengeful attitude shown by Amba is not the nature of a
Vaishnava (devotee). Due to sinful activities performed in many millions of
births, the living entity has caused his own suffering. In the thirteenth
chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna told Arjuna purusah sukha-duhkhanam,
The living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in
this world. From this we understand who is the actual cause of Amba's
suffering. Due to some impious deed performed in a previous life, she is
suffering for want of a husband. Therefore, she should not blame a respected
person like Bhishma, but herself.

When a person comes to Krishna consciousness, the Supreme Lord minimizes the
karma of the living entity, karmani nirdhahati kintu ca bhakti bhajan (Bs.5.54)
What ever karmic reactions the living entity would have received under the
modes of material nature are now minimized and given directly by Lord Krishna.
Therefore, a devotee should see everything as God sent and take the humble
position as mentioned by Lord Chaitanya in His shikshastaka, One should chant
the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind thinking oneself lower than
the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree and ready to offer all
respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the
Lord constantly.(Shikshastaka 3)

Unfortunately, Amba had not conquered the real enemy of hatred within. She had
not achieved the platform of a Vaishnavi. If she had, she would have tolerated
the situation, taking it as the mercy of the Lord. In Lord Brahma's prayers to
Lord Krishna the ideal mentality is revealed, My dear Lord, one who earnestly
waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently
suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful
obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation,
for it has become his rightful claim. [Bhag. 10.14.8] Our sufferings are due
to our own misdeeds, and others are simply instruments to receive our
punishment. We should learn, not to see the immediate cause, but the remote
cause of our suffering, our own sins. Therefore, Jesus Christ told the stone
throwers, Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone. We cannot blame
anyone else for our own sufferings.

Adi Parva

Chapter Five

The Birth of Dhritarastra, Pandu and Vidura

After the last funeral rites were performed for Vichitravirya, Satyavati wept
and lamented for her deceased son. Ambika and Ambalika were also greatly
overwhelmed at the untimely death of their husband. Upon realizing the possible
extinction of the dynasty, Satyavati approached Bhishma requesting him, The
perpetuation of the Kuru dynasty now depends on you. The wives of your brother,
Ambalika and Ambika, desire progeny, and under my order you should procreate
children by them to continue this dynasty. You should duly marry a wife of good
character and enthrone yourself as king. Do not plunge our ancestors into

Upon hearing Satyavati's request, the relatives and friends of the Kuru family
agreed. However, Bhishma replied to his stepmother, O mother, what you have
said is certainly sanctioned according to the code of virtue, but you forget my
vow regarding marriage and children. I have taken a vow of lifelong celibacy. I
may have to renounce kingship of the three worlds, the kingdom of heaven, and
anything greater that exists, but this vow I will never renounce. The earth may
lose its scent, water may lose its moisture, the sun may lose its glory, and
fire, its heat. The moon may lose its cooling rays, or Indra his prowess, but I
will not renounce this vow.

Hearing Bhishma's determination, Satyavati replied, I know the vow that you
have taken is on my account, but considering the present emergency you should
accept this order as duty to the ancestors. Bhishma again emphasized his duty
to truth, O Queen, do not sway from the path of virtue. Renunciation of a vow
is never acclaimed in the shastras (holy scriptures). Listen to this narration
and then decide the right course of action. In a former millennium,
Parashurama, killed Kartavirya Arjuna in battle for the sin of slaying his
father. Not only did he kill the followers of Kartavirya Arjuna, but he
destroyed the entire kshatriya race twenty-one times. When the earth was devoid
of great warriors, the queens approached the great rishis and procreated
children by them and thus the kshatriya race was revived. Therefore, a purified
brahmana should be invited with an offer of wealth, and let him raise children
by the wives of Vicitravirya.

Smiling brightly, Satyavati agreed with Bhishma and informed him, O
descendant of Bharata, I agree with this proposal. I now understand what is to
be done in this connection. My father was an honest man, and to maintain pious
activities, he kept a boat for rowing passengers across the river Yamuna. One
day the great sage Parashara came and requested me to take him across the
river. While I was rowing the boat, the sage became attracted to my beauty and
requested fulfillment of his passionate desire. However, I was afraid of my
father's wrath, but I was also afraid that the rishi might curse me. The sage
brought me under his control, and in the middle of the river Yamuna, he created
a dense fog. He satisfied his sensual desires and was very pleased with my

Before that time, Satyavati continued, a fishy odor emanated from my body,
but after the rishi's touch, a celestial aroma radiates from my person. The
sage assured me that by bringing forth a child in the middle of the river, I
would still remain a virgin. The child born of our union was the eminent
erudite sage, Vyasadeva. He has compiled the Vedic knowledge, and expounded the
science of devotion to God. Because he was born in the middle of a river, he
became known as Dwaipayana [the island born]. Because he compiled the Vedas, he
is known as Vyasadeva, and because of his blackish complexion, he is known as
Krishna. He is truthful in speech, sense controlled, and freed from all sins.
If I ask him, then certainly he will generate good children by the wives of
your brother. Previously, Vyasa had promised me, ÚMother, when you are in
difficulty simply remember me, and I will come to you by the speed of the
mind.' If you are willing, Bhishma, I will call him this very moment.

Upon hearing the name of Vyasa, Bhishma joined his palms in reverence saying,
This sage has true wisdom and sense control, and would be a fit person to
continue the Kuru dynasty. Therefore, you have my full approval.

When Bhishma had given his consent, Satyavati immediately thought of her son,
Vyasa, and within moments, the great sage appeared before her. Satyavati duly
welcomed her son and taking him in her arms, bathed him with affectionate
tears. Vyasa offered obeisances to his mother saying, O mother, I have come to
fulfill your desire. Command me at once, and I shall carry out your order.

O my son, Satyavati replied, recently Vichitravirya, the King of this
world, expired leaving no descendant, and thus the Kuru dynasty is in danger of
extinction. Here is Bhishma, Shantanu's son, but he has taken a vow of celibacy
and will not beget children. The two wives of Vichitravirya, Ambika and
Ambalika, are still living, and I request you to conceive children by them to
continue the Kuru dynasty.

Vyasadeva, hearing the appeals of his mother, replied, Since Vichitravirya is
my brother, born of your womb, I shall give birth to children who will equal
the heavenly gods. Let the queens observe the vows I indicate for one full

Satyavati expressed her urgency, There is very little time for vows. The
earth is without a king, and the citizens, being without a protector, will
certainly perish.

If conception must take place this month, Vyasadeva replied, then the
queens of Kashi must be willing to bear my ugliness, strong odor and matted
locks. If they can perform these austerities, then they will give birth to
noble children. Let one of the queens, dressed in clean clothes and bedecked
with ornaments, wait for me in her bed chamber.

Satyavati then approached Ambika, explaining to her the situation. With great
e fort Ambika was convinced that it was for the good of the world. When the
right time came for conceiving a child, Satyavati took Ambika to the bed
chamber and told her, Vichitravirya had an older brother who has been, until
this time, unknown to you. He will soon come here and conceive a child by you
that will perpetuate our dynasty. Wait for him here without dropping off to

Ambika then waited in her room contemplating the person to be Bhishma or one
of the other Kuru elders. Suddenly Vyasadeva entered the room, and Ambika,
seeing his matted locks, ugly features and grim visage, closed her eyes in fear
and did not open them once during the time of conception. When Vyasa came out
of the chambers, he met his mother who inquired, Will this princess have a
worthy son? Hearing her, he replied, The child born shall have the power of
ten thousand elephants. He will be equal to a royal sage, and will possess
learning, intelligence and prowess. However, because the princess has closed
her eyes during conception, the child shall be born blind. Upon hearing this
prediction from her son, Satyavati wondered, How can a blind king rule this
earth? How will he protect his family and the people of this world? You must
again conceive another child that can act as a King. Vyasadeva agreed and went
away. In due course of time, Ambika gave birth to a male child who was blind.
After the child's birth, he was given the name Dhritarastra.

Satyavati was anxious to beget another male child who could rule the world,
and after receiving Ambalika's consent, she called for Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva
came as promised and approached the chambers of Ambalika. Ambalika, seeing the
repulsive features of Vyasa, turned pale with fear. After conception, the sage
left the chambers and told his mother, Because this queen has paled upon
seeing my austere features, the child born will be white in color. His name,
therefore, will be Pandu, or one with a white complexion. In due course of
time, Ambalika gave birth to a child endowed with auspicious marks. He was pale
in complexion, but was handsome in all respects. Indeed, it was this child who
would become the future father of the Pandavas.

Sometime after this child was born, Satyavati approached the beautiful
Ambalika, again asking her to conceive a child by Vyasadeva. The princess felt
she could not bear again to see the ugly features of the sage, and thus she
sent to her chambers one of her maid servants who had heavenly beauty. When
Vyasa entered the chambers, the maid servant offered respects to the sage,
treating him kindly. She took her seat near him when asked. Vyasadeva was well
pleased with her, and upon leaving told her, You shall be a slave no longer.
Your child will be justice personified and esteemed among intelligent men on

After leaving the queen's chambers, Vyasa met his mother and informed her of
Ambalika's deception, and how he had begotten a son by a shudra woman. After
speaking with his mother, Vyasa disappeared. The child born of the maid servant
was named Vidura. He was an incarnation of Yamaraja, the great vaishnava
mahajana and the lord of death. Due to the curse of Mandavya Muni, Yamaraja had
to be born on earth as a shudra. Thus from the wives of Vichitravirya,
Vyasadeva begot two sons, Dhritarastra and Pandu, who would save the Kuru race
from extinction.

Thus Ends the Mahabharata summation to the Fifth Chapter of the Adi Parva,
Entitled, The Birth of Dhritarastra, Pandu and Vidura.

Chapter Commentary

After Vichitravirya's death, the mother and wives lamented greatly. Attachment
is found even in the families of great dynasties. Maya is so strong that one
thinks that his family members will live eternally and that he or she will
never die. Queen Kunti was born in a royal dynasty descending from the moon
god. Her sons were all born of great demigods and were highly qualified. She
understood her attachment was not proper, and therfore she prayed in the
presence of Lord Krishna, O Lord of the universe, soul of the universe, O
personality of the form of the universe, please sever my tie of affection for
my kinsmen, the Pandavas and the Vrishnis. (Bhag. 1.8.41) There is nothing
wrong with affection and attachment, but we must owe our greatest affection to
God first. Queen Kunti concluded her prayers to Lord Krishna, O Lord of Madhu,
as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be
constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (Bhag.
1.8.42) Or as Lord Jesus Christ put it, I have not come to this earth to bring
peace, but a sword, I will turn the father against the son and the mother
against the daughter. Those of his own household will be his enemy. He, who
loves father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me.

It is not that emotional feelings can be suddenly cut off. Feelings of
affection have to be transferred to Lord Krishna, and then one not only has
affection for his family members, but for all living entities, because one
comes to the realization that everyone is part of the family of the Supreme
father, Lord Krishna. The process for becoming attached to Krsna has been given
to us by Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Yuga Avatara for the Kali
age. He has requested us to chant the Hare Krishna maha mantra, Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare
Hare. This will cleanse the heart of all material desires and attachments and
fix the mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.

Queen Satyavati was very anxious beget a qualified king to give protection to
the citizens. In the age of Kali powerful warrior kings no longer exist nor do
qualified brahmanas. Previously the kings were heroic men who would face each
other on the field of battle and fight till death. They knew that if they died
on the field of battle facing the enemy, they would attain a higher destination
after this life. Therefore, they were fearless in battle. As the iron age of
Kali progressed, the warrior kings lost their strength and heroism. Today
armies no longer face each other in battle, but hide in trenches and behind
trees, fearful of death. They are not conviced that there is another life after
this one. Gone are the days of these chivalrous warriors, because everyone in
this Kali age is fastly becoming a shudra. The modern leaders of the world do
not have a heroic fighting spirit, and thus they do not come out on the field
of battle to lead their forces. They sit in their offices thousands of miles
away from the battlefield. Even the modern day generals do not lead their
forces into battle, but direct them miles away from the front line. Great
generals such as Bhishma and Arjuna commanded the respect of all the citizens
by being fearless in battle.

In the Kali-yuga, the act of begetting a child in a brother's wife is
forbidden. In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, there is the following verse,
asvamedham gavalambham, sannyasam pala-paitrikam, devarena sutopattim, kalau
panca vivarjayet, In the age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of
a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the
order of sannyasa, the offerings of flesh to the forefathers, and a man's
begetting children in his brother's wife. [Brahma-vaivarta Purana,
Krishna-janma-khanda 185.180] In the Kali-yuga the offering of a cow or horse
in sacrifice is forbidden because the brahmanas are no longer qualified. The
brahmanas would first kill a cow or horse by mantra, and then by another mantra
bring it back to life with a new body. This power of mantra has been lost in
the Kali-yuga, and therefore the act is forbidden. When the brahmanas could not
bring the animal back to life, they continued with the sacrifices, considering
the animal meat as the prasad or mercy of the Lord. In this way meat eating
began in Vedic culture. It was for this reason that the Lord incarnated as
Buddha, saving the the poor animals from slaughter. He stopped all Vedic
sacrifice by preaching the philosophy of ahimsa or nonviolence.

The only sacrifice recommended in the age of Kali is the chanting of the Hare
Krishna maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare
Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. After all, sacrifices are meant to please
God, and in this age the Lord is satisfied by such a simple process. In the age
of Kali, the Supreme Lord in His form of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu should be
worshiped with his associates by performance of sankirtan yajna, the
congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. This process is accepted by
intelligent men. yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah [Bhag.
11.5.32]. The word sumedhasah refers to intelligent men who possess sufficient
brain substance.

Sannyasa is also forbidden in the age of Kali because it is difficult to find
a person qualified for complete renunciation. In the Kali-yuga people are very
fallen. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam Shrila Saunaka Rishi addressed Suta Goswami
thus, O learned one, in this iron age of Kali persons have but short lives.
They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and above all always disturbed.
[Bhag. 1.1.10] In India it has become popular to accept the renounced order of
life simply to fill one's belly. This has give a very bad name to the sannyasa
order, and people no longer have respect for that ashrama. These so-called
renunciates have sex with many women and are more like monkeys than sannyasis.
Because people are generally in the modes of passion and ignorance, it is not
possible for them to accept the renounced order of life and follow the strict
rules and regulations of that order. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the
renounced order of life at the age of twenty-four. He did so to deliver the
fallen condition souls. Only a person who has transcended the modes of passion
and ignorance, and is firmly established in goodness can become a sannyasi,
strictly following the regulative principle of no sex.

It is also forbidden to beget children in the womb of a brother's wife. In
previous yugas if a man was sterile or the husband had died, then the brother
was called upon to propagate children as in the case of Vicitravirya and
Vyasadeva. However in the Kali-yuga unscrupulous people will take advantage of
this Vedic principle simply to have illicit sex. This leads to further incest
which degrades the quality of the population. Thus this is a forbidden act in
this age.

Adi Parva

Chapter Six

The Pandavas are Born

Upon the birth of Dhritarastra, Pandu, and Vidura, the earth prospered. There
was an abundant harvest of crops, and all the trees were ladened with fruits
and flowers. The seasons arrived and passed on time, and there was ample
rainfall in the land of Bharatvarsha. The people became learned, brave and
honest, and guided by Maharaja Bhishma, performed devotional sacrifices for the
pleasure of Lord Vishnu. The people of Hastinapura were so contented with the
rule of Maharaja Bhishma that they thought they were living in the Vaikuntha
planets. Hearing of the Kuru's prosperity, people came to take shelter in that
kingdom. Thus under the influence of a godly King the earth prospered.

Maharaja Bhishma raised the three children, Dhritarastra, Pandu and Vidura, as
if they were his own. As Pandu grew, he excelled all men in archery, whereas
Dhritarastra excelled in personal strength, and it was soon known to everyone
that there was no one equal to Vidura in devotion to Vishnu and knowledge of
the dictates of morality. In due course of time Pandu became King, for
Dhritarastra was blind, and Vidura was born of a maid servant. Therefore,
neither of them could accept the throne.

As Dhritarastra and Pandu matured in age, the time came to marry them to
proper wives. Considering the situation, Bhishma decided that three princesses
were worthy of being married to the Kuru princes. They were Gandhari, the
daughter of the Gandhara King, Pritha, the daughter of King Surasena, and
Madri, the daughter of the King of Madras. Bhishma had heard that Gandhari, the
daughter of King Subala, was granted a benediction by Lord Shiva that she could
have one hundred sons. Attracted to the idea of marrying Dhritarastra to
Gandhari, Bhishma, the grandfather of the Kurus, sent messengers to the father
of Gandhari. King Subala at first hesitated, hearing that Dhritarastra was
blind, but taking into consideration the blood line of the Kurus, he consented
to marry her to Dhritarastra. When the chaste Gandhari heard that her future
husband was blind, she voluntarily blindfolded herself and took a vow to remain
so for the rest of her life. Shakuni, the son of Subala, then took Gandhari to
the city of the Kurus, Hastinapura, and formally handed her over to
Dhritarastra. Gandhari became so chaste and devoted to Dhritarastra, that she
never spoke of men other than her husband or her superiors.

The chief of the Yadu dynasty was Surasena. He was the father of the
magnanimous Vasudeva. He also had a daughter named Pritha, who was unrivaled in
beauty among earth women. She was adopted by King Kuntibhoja, who had no
children. This was an agreement made previously by the two Kings. They agreed
that if a girl was born to Surasena, she would be handed over to King
Kuntibhoja who was childless. Thus Pritha, who later became known as Kunti,
lived in the palace of King Kuntibhoja and looked after the duties of greeting
important guests and brahmanas. Once, during her youthful years, she pleased,
by menial service, the easily angered brahmana Durvasa Muni. The muni gave her
a benediction that she could call any celestial being from the heavenly regions
to produce children of the highest quality. Kunti, while still a virgin girl,
once called, out of curiosity, Surya, the sun god. When she chanted the mantra,
the sun god immediately appeared before her saying, I have come before you, O
lotus-eyed lady. Please fulfill the purpose of the mantra. Kunti was stunned
and told the sun god, I simply tested the mantra given to me by Durvasa Muni.
O lord, please forgive my offense. Surya replied, Once I have been called by
this mantra, the result cannot go in vain; it must bear fruit. Although you
will bear a son by me, you shall remain a virgin girl.

Thus succumbing to the desires of the deva, Kunti immediately conceived and
bore a child that was equal to the sun god himself. The child was born with
natural golden armor and glittering earrings. To keep her virginity intact, the
sun god arranged that the child be born from Kunti's ear, and for this reason
the child was named Karna. The sun god immediately ascended to heaven. Not
knowing what to do, Kunti placed the child in a basket and set it afloat on the
Ganges. She prayed to the sun god to protect the child. The child floated down
the river for some time and was eventually picked up by a carpenter and chariot
driver named Adiratha. In great happiness he took the newly found child to his
wife Radha, who was childless. Together, both mother and father began to care
for the child considering him a gift of providence. Unfortunately, Kunti had to
give the child up out of fear of her relatives.

When it was time for Kunti to be married, her foster father, Kuntibhoja,
invited princes and kings from other countries to be present. In this
svayamvara (wedding) ceremony she was to pick her own husband. The budding
youthful Kunti, upon entering the assembly hall, saw the handsome Pandu, proud
as a lion, broad-chested and endowed with unsurpassable prowess. He was like
the moon amidst its many luminaries. Advancing with modesty, she placed the
wedding garland around Pandu's neck, and thus she accepted the Kuru prince as
her beloved husband. King Kuntibhoja arranged for the wedding functions and
bestowed upon Pandu a large dowry. Afterwards, Pandu took his new wife back to
Hastinapura and gave her the opulence she deserved.

Sometime later, Bhishma set his heart upon getting Pandu married to a second
wife. Accompanied by his army, Bhishma went to the kingdom of Madras. There he
obtained Madri, the attractive sister of Salya, and, after receiving a
sufficient dowry, brought her back to Hastinapura where she was united to Pandu
in great pomp.

After some time, Pandu set his mind on conquering the world. With his vast
army, consisting of many akshauhini divisions of soldiers, Pandu subjugated one
country after another (A solid phalanx of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants,
109,650 infantry and 65,000 calvary is called an akshauhini). He first
conquered the robber tribes of Asarna. He next headed toward the kingdom of
Magadha, where there reigned a King named Dhirga. This King was proud of his
strength and had made numerous offenses against other monarches. Pandu broke
the strength of his army and killed him on the field of battle. Taking
everything in the King's treasury, he marched into Mithila and subjugated the
Videhas. He then conquered the kingdoms of Kashi, Sumbha, and Pundra. When all
the kings of the world were thus defeated, they considered Pandu to be a
demigod like Indra, the King of heaven. They paid tribute to him and offered
all kinds of wealth to gain his favor. Thus the Kuru King returned to his
capital, taking with him his acquired opulence.

After establishing his power over the earth, King Pandu retired to the forest
along with his two wives, Kunti and Madri. There they lived in opulence and
enjoyed the beautiful wooded areas at the base of the Himalayan mountains. One
day, Pandu, while roaming about the forest, saw a large deer that seemed to be
the leader of a herd. It was engaged in sex with its female companion. Pandu
pierced them both with five sharp arrows. The animal was not actually a deer
but a rishi's son of great ascetic merit, who was enjoying his mate in the form
of a deer. When pierced in this way, the deer fell uttering cries like a human

In anger the deer chastised Maharaja Pandu, O King, even men that are slaves
to lust and anger and who are ever sinful never commit cruel acts such as this.
Why have you pierced me with arrows while I was enjoying my wife?

Kings engage in the sport of killing deer in the same way as they kill
opponents of religion, Pandu replied. You should not reproach me for a sin
done in ignorance. Animals of this species are killed in the open or hidden
from view. Formerly, the sage Agastya, while engaged in the performance of
sacrifice, killed every deer in the forest and offered it in sacrifice to the
heavenly gods. I am presently killing deer in the forest for use in sacrifice.
You have been killed for the same reason. Seeing that I am following in the
footsteps of the great sages, why do you reproach me?

O King, the deer replied, I do not blame you for slaying a deer. But
instead of acting so cruelly, you should have waited till the act of
intercourse was complete. I am a muni named Kindama, and I was engaged in
sexual intercourse with my mate, because unrestricted sex life is not allowed
in human society. You have slain me without knowing that I am a brahmana, and
therefore, the reaction for killing a brahmana will not come upon you. However,
because you have killed me while I was enjoying my wife, certainly your fate
will be like mine. When you approach your wife for intercourse, premature death
will overcome you and your wife. You have brought lamentation to me when I was
seeking happiness, and now I say, grief will come to you when you seek pleasure
with your wife. Pronouncing this curse, the sage, in the form of a deer, left
his body and attained the heavenly regions due to his ascetic merits.

After the sage's death, King Pandu was momentarily bewildered by such a
reversal in his life. The wicked, Pandu exclaimed, even if born in pious
families, are deluded by their passions. Although I am the son of the great
Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, I have engaged in the frivolous act of killing deer
in the forest. O, how foolish I have been; the demigods have forsaken me. I now
seek liberation. The great impediments to salvation are the desire to beget
children and the other pleasures related to sex life. I shall live the life of
an ascetic and bring my passions under control by severe austerities. I shall
renounce my kingdom and, shaving my head, wander the earth begging my
sustenance from the trees and the rivers. I will no longer find fault with
others, but have a friendly attitude, devoted to the good of all creatures. I
will take complete shelter of the Supreme Lord, who is the only savior from all

After this unforeseen calamity, King Pandu sent all his servants and wealth
back to Hastinapura, and he also sent the news to Bhishma and his brothers of
all that had taken place. The elders in the court at Hastinapura were sullen on
hearing what had happened. Dhritarastra was especially affected by the turn of

While living in the forest, Pandu renounced sense gratification and became a
distinguished sage, although born of the warrior race. The great rishis in the
forest treated him like a brother or friend. While living in the forest, Pandu
became fully satisfied in himself, but he understood that the world was now
without protection. Also he knew that his debt to his forefathers could not be
paid unless he had children who could perform sacrifices. When the rishis in
the forest visited the heavenly realm, Pandu could not accompany them. With
some anxiety in his heart, he requested Kunti, For the world's protection and
to preserve the Bharata dynasty, I want you to procreate children by a highly
advanced brahmana. Without powerful children to maintain the Kuru dynasty, the
whole world may fall into ruin. Also, one has a debt to pay to his ancestors by
begetting good children. In the same manner that Vyasadeva conceived me, I want
you to concieve children by the semen of some great rishi.

Kunti was ever agreeable to her husband's desires and advised him, When I was
a young girl, I used to wait upon guests and satisfy them to their hearts'
content. One day a brahmana named Durvasa Muni came to my father's palace. By
my menial services I satisfied the brahmana, and he desired to grant me a
benediction. He bestowed upon me a mantra by which I could call any demigod
from the heavenly realms. He benedicted me saying, ÚWith this mantra you may
call any demigod, and they will abide by your will. Any demigod you summon will
give you children.' On your order, I shall petition any celestial being you
wish. O foremost of all truthful men, tell me which of the devas I should

Kunti's words delighted Pandu, and he joyfully replied, O most fortunate
Kunti, invite the ruler of justice, Yamaraja. He is most pious and devoted to
Lord Vishnu. Indeed, he is a mahajanas and will not pollute our dynasty with
sin. Kunti abided by Pandu's order and prepared to call the demigod Yamaraja.
(At this time Gandhari had been pregnant for one whole year.) Kunti repeated
the incantation that Durvasa Muni had imparted to her, and Yamaraja appeared.
By him she conceived a child that was equal to the great Yamaraja himself. When
the child was born, there was a celestial voice from the heavens that
announced, This child will possess divine consciousness, and he will be the
foremost of virtuous. He will become famous as one who rules by the will of
God. Endowed with invincibility and truthful speech, he will become the emperor
of this earth. This first son of Pandu will be named Yudhisthira, and his fame
shall be celebrated throughout the heavens.

Pandu was overjoyed by the birth of such a pious son, and he again ordered
Kunti, The wise have declared that a king must be endowed with physical
strength, otherwise he is no warrior. Therefore, call for Vayu, the mighty
demigod of the wind. Kunti then summoned the celestial being Vayu, and coming
before her, the wind god inquired, O Kunti, please tell me why you have called
me. Smiling with modesty, she replied, Please give me, O best of the
celestials, a child endowed with super human strength and a robust body. Let
him be capable of humbling the pride of everyone. Vayu then conceived a child
by her who was destined to become the strongest human on earth. When the child
was born, a voice from the heavens announced, This child shall be known as
Bhima, and by his physical prowess he will conquer all men. On this same day
that Bhima took his birth, Duryodhana was also born from Gandhari.

One day, shortly after Bhima's birth, Kunti was holding him in her lap. The
child had just fallen asleep, when suddenly a lion roared. Kunti rose,
forgetful that the child was on her lap. The child fell down the mountain side
and pulverized a large stone upon which he fell. The child was not hurt in the
least, but Pandu was amazed at the sturdy body of his son.

After the birth of Bhima, Pandu desired more children. He told Kunti to
practice austerities for one year, and he himself stood on one leg from morning
till evening every day in rapt meditation, hoping to satisfy Indra, the King of
heaven. Indra, being pleased with Pandu, appeared before him and said, I will
give you, O King, a child who will be celebrated for all time. He shall
annihilate the impious and give joy to the virtuous. He will be a great devotee
of the one Supreme Lord.

King Pandu then called for Kunti, and told her to summon Indra. Kunti,
following the order of her husband, called Indra, and by him a child was born
that was to be the intimate friend of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. Upon the birth of this child, a celestial voice from the heavens
announced, This child shall be known as Arjuna. He will be equal in bowmanship
to the great Kartavirya, and in prowess he will resemble Lord Shiva. Invincible
in battle, he will propagate the fame of the Kuru dynasty far and wide. After
acquiring all celestial weapons, he will retrieve the fortunes of your
dynasty. After these prophetic words were heard, kettledrums rolled, and the
heavenly gods and rishis showered flowers on the Earth.

The celebrated Pandu was overjoyed and approached his wife aspiring for more
children. However, before Pandu could speak, Kunti warned, The wise do not
sanction a fourth child even in case of emergency. The woman who has
intercourse with four different men is called a prostitute, and with a fifth
she is called a harlot. Therefore, O great King, because you are learned in the
scriptures, please do not ask me again to bear children.

After the birth of Kunti's first three sons and also the birth of one hundred
sons to Gandhari, Madri, the daughter of the Madras King, approached Pandu
requesting, O great King, I have no objection if you do not favor me. O
sinless one, I also have no complaint that although I am senior to Kunti, I am
inferior to her in position. I do not grieve when I hear that Gandhari has
obtained 100 sons. This, however, is my great grief that while Kunti and I are
equal, I am childless. If Kunti could teach me to have children in the same way
that she has conceived these children, then I would be satisfied. Please ask
her on my account.

Pandu then lovingly requested Kunti to teach the mantra to Madri so that she
could also have children. Kunti readily agreed, and told Madri, Think of some
demigod you favor and certainly by him you shall bear children. Madri thought
of the twin Asvini-kumara demigods, and within a matter of seconds, they
appeared before her. They gave her two children named Nakula and Sahadeva, who
were unrivaled on earth for personal beauty. As soon as they were born, a voice
from the heavens proclaimed, In prowess and beauty these two children shall
excel even the twin Asvins themselves. Thus five children were born to Pandu,
and the great King felt fully satisfied to see the good quality of his
children. As they grew, they were favored by the great sages in that region.

Gandhari also gave birth to children. She received a benediction from
Vyasadeva that she could have one hundred sons. Sometime thereafter, Gandhari
conceived, and she bore the pregnancy for two years without delivering. When
she heard that Kunti had given birth to a child whose splendor was like the
morning sun, she was angered and violently hit her womb. She then gave birth to
a piece of flesh that was hard like an iron ball. When she was about to throw
the ball of flesh away, Vyasadeva appeared. Without disguising her feelings,
she angrily cried, When I heard that Kunti gave birth to a child who was
radiant like the sun, I struck my womb. You have promised me a hundred sons,
but here is a ball of flesh.

O daughter of Subala, Vyasadeva replied, my boons will always bear fruit. I
have never falsified a benediction even in jest. You should now arrange that a
hundred pots full of clarified butter be brought instantly. In the meantime
sprinkle cool water over this piece of flesh.

Gandhari was pacified and began sprinkling water on the ball of flesh. It
separated into 100 pieces, each about the size of a thumb. Each piece of flesh
was then placed in a pot of ghee and covered. Vyasadeva told Gandhari that a
child would be born from each of the pots. He then left for the Himalayan

The first child born from one of the hundred pots was Duryodhana. As soon as
he could cry, he began to bray like an ass. And hearing that sound, the asses,
vultures, jackals and crows uttered their respective cries. Violent winds began
to blow, and there were fires in various directions. Duryodhana was born on the
same day that Bhima was born.

After the birth of Duryodhana, Dhritarastra called for Bhishma, Vidura and all
the senior brahmanas and members of the Kuru household. He questioned them,
The oldest of the princes is Yudhisthira, and he shall become King. By virtue
of his being the first born, he has gained the kingdom. But what about this son
born to me. Will he become king? While inquiring from the elders, jackals,
crows and asses began to howl frightfully.

O King, Vidura said, when these frightful omens are noticeable at birth, it
is evident that this child will destroy your dynasty. Your prosperity depends
on forsaking him, and if you decide otherwise, misfortune will befall the
Kurus. You already have 99 other sons, so let this one go. O King, favor the
world by casting away this child.

When Vidura had wisely spoken, all the brahmanas agreed, but Dhritarastra had
no heart to destroy a small baby. Within a month's time all the one hundred
pots of ghee had produced a child, and in addition to these one hundred,
Vyasadeva produced another pot in which a female child named Duhsala was born.
There was also a vaishya woman who used to serve Dhritarastra very faithfully.
By her the King conceived a child named Yuyutsu who later became renowned for
sharp intelligence. Thus one hundred and one sons as well as one daughter were
born to Dhritarastra. In order of birth, they were Duryodhana, Yuyutsu,
Duhshasana, Duhshaha, Duhshala, etc. All the hundred and one sons became heroes
and great chariot fighters.

One day after the birth of his five sons, King Pandu was wandering about the
woods with his wife Madri. It was springtime and the forest flowers were in
bloom, casting their scent in all directions. Birds like the parrot, the
cuckoo, the crane, and the peacock were singing sweetly, and the bees were
humming. Bewildered by the atmosphere, Pandu became attracted to his wife, and
forgetting the curse of the rishi, forcibly embraced her. Madri tried to resist
the advances of her husband, but it was no use. Impelled by fate, the great
King, overwhelmed by passion, ended his life, trying to enjoy his beautiful

Embracing the dead body of her husband and weeping aloud, Madri called out for Kunti. Kunti heard her cries and came to where Madri lay with Pandu. Viewing the dead body of Pandu, Kunti fell to the ground lamenting. She was overpowered by separation, and she chastised Madri repeatedly for not resisting the King. Madri related to her all that happened and how she tried to stop Pandu's advances. Kunti then decided, I am the eldest wife, and therefore the religious rite of Sati belongs to me. You must now take care of the children and see that they are raised properly.


Mahabharata H.J. Resnik

01 - Adi Parva I - II - Maharaja Shantanu Marries the Celestial Ganga
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