sábado, 17 de abril de 2010

1 - Adi Parva (AP 99 - AP 121)

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"

Añadida el 05 de abril

Añadida el 05 de abril

Purity is the Force. Preaching is the Essence. Utility is the Principle. Books are the Basis.
Añadida el 22 de agosto

Chanakya Pandita says that there is no comparison between a rich man and
a learned man.They are different catagories. A rich man, a king, may be
very respectable in his own country amongst his own men, but a learned
scholar is respected all over the world. If one is respected all over
the world, and if one is respected in his own village, how there can be
any comparison?

A.C Bhaktivedanta swami srila prabhupada.
Dallas, May 21, 1973
Añadida el 23 de agosto

Today(24 August 2010) is Lord Balrama Appearance{Fasting till noon}........Chant the holy name of Krishna as much as possible...........Hare Krishna
Añadida el 23 de agosto

Mahabharata AP 99 - AP 121

AP 99

Bhisma said:

Mother, I will explain to you the proper way for our dynasty to grow and flourish. Please hear what I have to say. We should arrange to bring a very qualified brahmana, whom we can pay if necessary, and he can beget offspring in the wives of Vicitravirya.

Vaisampayana said:

Satyavati smiled and gave a nervous laugh. "What you say is true," she said in a shy and faltering voice. "My dear mighty-armed son, you are a worthy member of the Bharata family. Therefore, because I trust you, I am going to tell you something that I hope will enable our family to grow and flourish. Considering the crisis we now face, there is something I cannot avoid telling you. You are the real virtue of our family, Bhisma. You are truth itself, and it is you whom we must follow and emulate. Therefore, after hearing my words, do the needful.

"O virtuous one, my stepfather was a mere fisherman, but he was a good man, a leader among his people. He owned a small boat, and one day, when I had just reached my mature youth, I went alone on that boat. The liberated sage Parasara, who is the greatest of those who uphold religious principles, desired to cross the Yamuna River and came on our boat. As I was taking that most noble thinker across the Yamuna, he was struck with a strong desire, and coming near me, he began to speak with many sweet and gentle words.

"O Bharata, fearing that Parasara would curse me, and having been promised the most rare gifts by him, I did not dare to refuse him. I also feared my father's displeasure. But as I was just a child, the sage overcame me with his splendor and brought me under his control. [I told him that there were many sages on both sides of the river who could see us.] But as I sat there in the boat, Parasara at once created a dense fog that covered everyone's eyes. Moreover, O Bharata, although previously my body had a strong fish odor, the sage granted me the lovely fragrance I now enjoy.

"[I asked him how I could go home to my father if my virginity were spoiled.] He then told me, `Simply give birth to my child on this island in the Yamuna River, and you will again become a virgin.' A great seer who is an empowered devotee of the Supreme Lord then appeared as the son of Parasara. He was born to me, a virgin girl, on a river island, and thus he was called Dvaipayana, "the island-born."

Dvaipayana is the divine seer who, by his austerities, divided the Veda, the book of knowledge, into four divisions so that all people could easily understand its message. Therefore my son is called Vyasa, the "compiler and arranger" of the Veda. And by his dark complexion, and because he is an empowered incarnation of Lord Krsna, he is also known as Krsna. He is thoroughly honest, peaceful in mind, and most austere. Sin can not touch him because he is constantly engaged in loving service to the Supreme Lord.

"Vyasa is the greatest brahmana. If I order him, naturally with your approval, then he will beget excellent children in the wives of your brother.

"When Vyasa appeared in this world, he said to me, `Mother, if ever you need me, just set your mind on me, and I shall appear before you.' O mighty Bhisma! If you so desire it, I will fix my mind on him this very moment. With your approval, Vyasa himself will surely beget children in the wives of Vicitravirya."

When Bhisma thus heard Satyavati glorify her son, he joined his palms in prayerful veneration, for everyone knew Dvaipayana Vyasa to be the holy sage who had divided the Veda and written down the ancient histories known as the Puranas.

"Your proposal is perfectly consistent with our religious principles," said Bhisma, "and will certainly help our family. I therefore think it an excellent idea."

Thus with Bhisma's approval Satyavati fixed her mind on her son, who at that moment was reciting the Vedas. When the wise sage understood that his mother had set her mind on him, he appeared before her within a moment. Satyavati welcomed her son with great honor, strictly following the Vedic rituals. Then she tightly embraced him with her arms and moistened him with her tears, for when the fisherman's daughter saw her son after long years of separation, she could not check her tears.

Satyavati's first-born child bowed respectfully to his aggrieved mother, sprinkled her with holy water, and then the grand seer spoke to her these words: "Dear mother, you are learned in the principles of religion, and I have full confidence in your judgment. Therefore please order me. How may I please you? Whatever your purpose was in calling me, that is what I have come to do."

Before Satyavati could reply to her son, the head priest of the Kuru dynasty came and with the chanting of holy mantras, offered worship to Vyasa, who was a seer of the Supreme. Vyasadeva accepted the honor as a religious duty. When Satyavati saw that her son was comfortably seated, and that he was in fine health, she then spoke her mind, carefully observing her son's face to note his response.

"My wise son," she began, "everyone knows that children are born from their mother and father, and that without doubt both father and mother are to be respected and obeyed by their children. Just as, by God's grace, you are my first son, similarly by His grace Vicitravirya is my youngest son. And as Bhisma is Vicitravirya's brother through their father, Santanu, so through me, your mother, you are also Vicitravirya's brother, as you also agree, my son. Here is Santanu's son, Bhisma. He is courageous in his devotion to truth, and to make true his word, he will not even entertain the thought of having children or ruling the kingdom. Therefore, O sinless son, to perpetuate your brother's family and bestow mercy and protection upon all creatures--- by the word of Bhisma and at my request--- be kind and do what I am about to ask you.

"Your younger brother left behind two lovely young wives, who are like children of the gods. These two women desire to get sons by religious principles. Please give them progeny, my dear son. You have the power to do it. Beget children worthy of our family and culture so that this great House of Kuru may live."

Vyasa said:

You are quite familiar with religious principles, both in spiritual and worldly affairs. You not only know these principles, but you are ever resolved to abide by them. Therefore whatever you order me to do, for the cause of dharma, I shall do it as you wish, for this is the time-honored custom. I shall beget for my brother sons equal to the gods Mitra and Varuna. However, both those godly women, Ambika and Ambalika, must first properly carry out a religious vow so that they will be purified. [Thus they will be able to conceive noble and virtuous children.] And no woman who is not purified by spiritual vow can approach me.

Satyavati said:

In kingdoms without rulers, there is no rainfall, or worship of deitiesup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn Without a proper ruler, religious principles are lost and people fail to worship God or His representatives, the demigods who control the cosmic affairs. Offending the demigods brings drought, disease, and terrible suffering. . Let one of those godly women get with a child immediately! My lord, how is it possible to sustain a kingless kingdom? Therefore beget a son, and Bhisma will raise him.

Vyasa said:

If I am to give a child at once, even though it is not the proper time, then the ladies will have to tolerate my unattractive appearence. Their intimate contact with me will constitute their vow and purification. [I live an ascetic's life of constant meditation, and I give little concern to my body.] If these women can tolerate the austerity of my unpleasant smell, my strange appearence and dress, and my body, then this very day let one of them conceive a fine son.

Vaisampayana said:

Having consented to his mother's proposal, Vyasa vanished from that spot. Satyavati then approached her oldest daughter-in-law, Ambika and, meeting privately with her, pleaded for Ambika's cooperation on the basis of religious principles and practical necessity.

"You belong to a very noble family," said Satyavati, "and I speak to you on the basis of religious law. The great Bharata line, which has protected the earth since time immemorial, has been severed and virtually destroyed by the tragic death of my sons. Bhisma understands how disturbed I am by this grave threat to his father's dynasty and fully shares my concern. Therefore he told me how our family could again flourish and continue to uphold virtue on the earth.

"Dear daughter, Bhisma's proposal depends on you. Deliver this vanquished dynasty so that it lives on. O lovely Ambika, beget a son as brilliant as the king of the gods himself. Your son will surely lift the heavy burden that weighs down our family."

Ambika, the oldest widow of the fallen king, had followed the law of dharma throughout her life. Gradually she was persuaded that somehow or other she must help save the great Bharata lineage. Filled with hope, Satyavati sumptuously fed the godly brahmanas and sages, and all who were guests in the pious capital of the Kurus.

AP 100

Vaisampayana continued:

At the proper time, in Ambika's fertile season, after she had bathed, Satyavati led her into the sleeping quarters and carefully told her these words: "Noble woman, your brother-in-law is here, and he will come to you tonight to beget a child. Please stay up and wait for him."

Hearing her mother-in-law's words, Ambika lay on a beautiful bed and began to think about Bhisma and the other heroes of the Kuru dynasty. [They were all strong and handsome rulers, and she wondered if Vyasa was also like that.] Soon thereafter Vyasa, the truthful seer, who had first been instructed to beget in Ambika, came to her bed. The flames of the lamps were lit, and as Ambika, who was as lovely as a goddess, gazed upon his tawny matted hair, his glowing eyes, and dark brown beard, she closed her eyes tightly.

In order to please his mother, Vyasa had intercourse that night with the daughter of the Kasi king. But as long as he was present, Ambika refused to open her eyes and look upon him. Later, as Vyasa was leaving Ambika's room, his mother, Satyavati, approached him and anxiously inquired, "My son, will Ambika give birth to a qualified prince?"

Vyasa was most intelligent, and as a liberated sage he possessed knowledge beyond the ordinary senses. When his mother urged him to reply, the truthful sage told her, "Ambika's son will possess the strength of ten thousand elephants. He will be learned and famous, the most illustrious of monarchs, and an intelligent king who will himself have a hundred powerful sons. However, because his mother refused to open her eyes for even a moment as she engaged in the act of conception, I am sorry to say that her son will be born blind."

At these words Satyavati turned pale. "My son!" she cried out, "A blind king is not fit to rule the House of Kuru! You must give us a second king who can actually protect our family and manage this world properly, an emperor who will carry on the normal traditions of your forefather's dynasty."

"So be it," the great ascetic promised, and he departed. In due course of time Ambika, the Kosala princess, gave birth to a blind son (who was named Dhrtarastra).

The goddess Satyavati then approached her younger daughter-in-law, and after convincing Ambalika, Satyavati again fixed her mind on her son Vyasa, and just as before brought him to her presence. The great sage, in obedience to the very same Vedic rule, agreed to approach his younger sister-in-law Ambalika.

[Ambalika had seen that her sister's son was born blind, and so she did not close her eyes.] The seer approached Ambalika, but, like her sister, shrank at the sight of the sage, and her skin turned white. O Bharata king, seeing her pale with fright and morose, Vyasa, son of Satyavati, told her: "O lovely lady, because you have turned so pale upon seeing my deformed appearance, an equally pale son will be born to you, and he will be known thoughout the world as Pandu, "the pale one."

Having thus spoken, that most noble seer, who was a divine personality, departed. Seeing him leave, Satyavati again anxiously questioned her son, and Vyasa explained to her why this child would be pale. When Satyavati understood what had happened, she again requested her son to beget another child. "As you wish," the great sage replied to his mother.

In due course of time the godly Ambalika gave birth to a son who was distinctly pale in complexion, though he shone with exceptional beauty. This child, named Pandu, would himself have five powerful sons, famous in history as the Pandavas, the sons of Pandu.

Thereafter, when the time for begetting had come, Satyavati again engaged Vyasa with Ambika, the oldest widow. Ambika, who shone like a child of the gods, was afraid to argue with her mother-in-law, but when she remembered the appearence and smell of the great sage she could not even bear the thought of having intercourse with him again.

Ambika had a female servant who was as beautiful as an Apsara goddess, and she dressed this servant with her own royal cloth and jewels and sent her to await Vyasa. When the sage arrived, the maidservant got up at once and bowed down to him. With his permission they sat down together, and she waited upon him with great respect. So anxious was that girl to please Vyasa, that he spent the entire night with her accepting her devoted service. At the end, the sage was fully satisfied by their intercourse and as he got up to leave, Vyasa told the girl, "You will be a servant no longer. Because of your devoted service, you will now attain a most honored position in society. And the beautiful son who has entered your womb will dedicate his life to virtue, and will be in fact the wisest of men.

Thus the learned Vidura took birth as the son of Vyasa and the brother of Dhrtarastra and Pandu. Actually, Vidura was the demigod Dharma, the universal minister of justice, forced to take birth on earth by the curse of a great sage named Mandavya. Vidura was to become celebrated in this world for his vast learning in the spiritual and political sciences, and for his freedom from lust and anger.

Vyasa again met with his mother and explained to her the circumstances of Vidura's conception in the womb of Ambika's maidservant. Having fulfilled his debt to his mother, he vanished from that spot. And so Dvaipayana Vyasa, in order that the Kuru dynasty might flourish, begot in the wives of Vicitravirya three sons as splendid as the children of the gods.

AP 101

Janamejaya inquired from his teacher:

O seer of the Absolute, how was Dharma, the lord of justice, cursed to be born on the earth as Vidura? What did he do wrong? And who had the power to curse him to take birth from the womb of a maidservant?

Vaisampayana replied:

There was a celebrated brahmana named Mandavya who was determined on the spiritual path. Steady in truthfulness and austerity, he knew all the religious law. Mandavya was a mighty yogi capable of great asceticism. Beneath a tree at the entrance to his asrama, he stood unmoving with upraised arms and observed a religious vow of silence. Much time passed until one day, as the sage dutifully performed his penances, a band of thieves rushed into his asrama carrying stolen valuables. Followed closely by a large group of police, the frightened thieves quickly concealed their booty in the sage's cottage and then hid themselves in the same spot, just as the heavily armed policemen arrived there.

Seeing the sage, who stood silently with upraised arms, the police captain anxiously questioned him, "Brahmana, which road did the thieves take? Whichever way they went, we have to follow them immediately!"

Even when thus questioned, the sage maintained his religious vow of silence and spoke not a word, true or false, to the police. At that point the king's men searched the sage's asrama and quickly discovered the thieves, together with the stolen property. The police then suspected the sage of complicity in the crime. They arrested him and delivered him with the thieves to the king.

The king then sentenced the sage and the actual thieves: "Let them be put to death!" The government executioners, not realizing that Mandavya was a holy ascetic, impaled him on a lance and left him in that condition. The guards then returned to the king and took their valuable reward.

Although that most religious man remained impaled on the stake for a considerable time without food or drink, he still did not die. Mandavya was such a powerful yogi that not only did he keep himself alive, but through his mystic power he was able to summon his fellow yogis to that place. That night many saintly sages, assuming the form of birds, came there from all directions and by their own mystic strength revealed themselves to Mandavya. Seeing him struggle to carry on his religious austerities even though suffering on a stake, the assembled sages were mortified and could hardly bear the sight. Griefstricken, they said, "O brahmana, we want to hear it directly from you. What sin have you committed to be punished in this terrible way?"

That tiger of a sage replied, "It would be wrong to blame others for my suffering." the sage replied to his fellow ascetics. "I do not know what I have done, but surely I and no one else am the cause of my suffering."

Shortly thereafter, the police happened upon the sage Mandavya and were astonished to see that after so many days he was still alive. They told the king exactly what they had seen, and the monarch instantly understood that Mandavya was a true and powerful ascetic. The king and his ministers rushed to the spot, fell at Mandavya's feet and begged the sage, who was still fixed on the lance, for mercy and forgiveness.

"O best of sages," the king wept, "out of ignorance and illusion I have greatly offended you. Please forgive me. I beg that you not be angry with me."

Thus addressed by the king, Mandavya blessed him with his mercy, and the grateful ruler at once tried to remove the loathesome stake. Unable to pull it out, the king broke it off and a portion remained in the sage's body.

Mandavya Muni then resumed his travels, with a portion of the stake still in his body. So determined was he to carry on his religious duties, however, that he began to think of the stake in his body as a flower garland, and by such extraordinary penance he gained promotion to higher planets, which are extremely difficult to reach. After this incident, the sage became known throughout the universe as Animandavya, or "Mandavya-of-the-lance."

Eventually that most learned sage went to see Yamaraja, the lord of death, who is also known as Dharma because he punishes the sinful according to the laws of God. Seeing Dharma sitting in his abode, the powerful Animandavya began to rebuke him. The sage had acquired great power through his extraordinary austerities, and he spoke to Dharma in a threatening voice.

"What evil deed have I committed? Why was I made to suffer such a sinful reaction? Why was I falsely accused and impaled on a lance? I can't understand it. Answer me at once! "

Dharma said:

Previously you pierced small birds in their tail with a sharp blade of grass. For this act, O ascetic brahmana, you received that reaction.

Animandavya said:

For a small offense, Yamaraja, you have exacted a very heavy punishment indeed. Therefore, Dharma, for your own sin you will fall among the human beings of earth and take birth from the womb of a sudra woman!

Ani-mandavya then declared, "I hereby establish as a principle of justice that henceforth there will be no heavy sin for children up to fourteen years of age. After that they will be held responsible for their offenses."

Vaisampayana said:

Because of his offense, Dharma himself had to bear a sage's curse, and he took birth as the noble Vidura from the womb of a sudra woman. Completely free of greed and anger and vastly learned in both spiritual and material affairs, he was far-seeing, peaceful, and always devoted to the welfare of the noble Kuru dynasty.

AP 102

Vaisampayana continued:

When those three handsome boys were born, the Kuru family, the land of Kuru-ksetra, and the region of Kuru-jangala---all three began to flourish. Grains grew up high toward the sky and yielded rich harvests; rains fell in the proper season; trees were thickly laden with flowers and fruits; horses, oxen, and camels happily carried their loads as beasts; birds were ever in good spirits; flowers increased in fragrance; fruits were full with sweet nectar; merchants, traders, artists, and craftsman grew rich in the prosperous towns of the Kuru kingdom. Indeed, courageous leaders, learned teachers, and honest citizens all became happy in the land of the Kurus.

There were no thieves in that land, nor did anyone take delight in irreligious deeds. In every country and state of the vast Kuru empire, it seemed as if the great Age of Truth had returned. The people enjoyed giving charity, performing religious ceremonies, and following the laws of God, and they were true to their vows and eager to offer the fruits of their labor in sacrifice to the Supreme Creator. They tried to help and please one another, and their spirit of cooperation brought prosperity to all. The citizens were devoid of conceit, anger, and greed, and as they helped each other grow and flourish, virtue itself ruled the land.

The capital city of the Kurus shone beautifully with majestic gateways, decorated arches, turrets, steeples, and hundreds of palatial mansions that seemed to float like clouds on their landscaped grounds. The Kuru capital of Hastinapura was a veritable ocean of prosperity rivaling the celestial abode of the mighty Indra.

Under the protection of the great Kuru government, people were free to relax and sport in the kingdom's many rivers, forests, lakes, and pools as well as in her lovely mountains and groves. The southern branch of the Kuru dynasty enjoyed a peaceful rivalry with the northern branch, and their citizens mingled freely with higher beings like the perfected sages and Caranas. In that generous land there was not a miser or a neglected woman to be found.

In such a pleasureable monarchy, the members of the Kuru family built for the saintly brahmanas many villages, schools, and colleges, all equipped with wells, recreational areas, swimming ponds, and auditoriums. The kingdom was fully protected from all danger by Bhisma, who acted strictly according to the Vedic injunctions. Bhisma firmly established justice and virtue in the agreeable Kuru kingdom, which was adorned with hundreds of areas for sacrificial performance. Unifying the surrounding states under their enlightened government, the Kuru nation surpassed all others.

Seeing that the young Kuru princes possessed noble character and carefully carried out their royal duties, all the citizens of the Kuru lands were satisfied and always in a festive mood. Thus in the houses of the Kuru leaders and in the homes of their followers, as indeed in all directions, one could always hear people saying, "Please, accept this gift!" and "Please, come eat with us!"

Since birth, Dhrtarastra, Pandu, and the wise Vidura were completely protected by Bhisma, who treated them as his own sons. The three Kuru princes purified themselves with the Vedic ceremonies, called samskaras, which lead to goodness and self-realization. They dedicated themselves to their studies with strict vows and self-discipline, and they became expert in all types of athletic and martial competition.

Reaching physical maturity, they showed themselves to be masters of archery, horseback riding, club fighting, sword and shield fighting, elephant training, political science, and ethics. In the histories, as well as in the ancient accounts called Puranas-- in all fields of learning-- they studied and practiced untiringly, until they became knowers of the Veda in all its divisions and supplements.

Pandu was the supreme in archery, surpassing all other men. Dhrtarastra excelled all others in physical strength. And throughout the three worlds there was no one who could equal Vidura in the greatness and goodness of his character, or in his unfailing devotion to justice.

When the people realized that the threat to Santanu's dynasty had been powerfully dispelled, a popular saying arose throughout the land: "Among mothers of heroes, the two daughters of Kasi are the best. Among countries, Kuru-jangala is the best. Of all men who know and practice justice, Bhisma is the best, and of all cities, Hastinapura is the best."

Dhrtarastra (although the eldest prince) could not take over the kingdom because he was blind, nor could Vidura because he was born from the queen's maidservant. Thus the House of Kuru coronated Pandu as lord of the earth.


Bhisma said:

Our celebrated family has rightly risen to glory by its noble qualities, and thus this dynasty is sovereign over all the kings of the earth. Our forefathers were thoroughly religious kings, great souls who served and protected their family so well that our royal line has never been broken or vanquished.

Now, despite serious difficulty, the great soul Vyasa, your grandmother Satyavati, and I have again solidly established our dynasty through you three boys. Indeed, the family line now depends on you.

Son, I must arrange so that our family grows as broad and powerful as the ocean, and for that, O dear and wise Vidura, I depend especially on you. I've heard there is a very nice princess in the Yadu dynasty who would be quite suitable for our family. Similarly, King Subala has a nice daughter, and so too the king of Madras. All three girls received the finest education from their families. They are beautiful and chaste women who were fully protected by their fathers, and they are qualified to marry into our family. As far as I am concerned, we should accept those princesses so that we may properly continue our family line. My dear Vidura, you are the wisest, what do you think about my proposal?

Vidura said:

You are our father, you are our mother, and you are our greatest teacher. Therefore, without question you should simply consider the situation and do what you feel is best for the family.

Vaisampayana said:

Bhisma heard that of the three princesses, Gandhari, King Subala's daughter, had worshiped Lord Siva so nicely that the mighty demigod blessed her to give birth to a hunred sons.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn In the Vedic culture, young girls worship Lord Siva so that he will bless them with good husbands and nice children. Upon confirming this, Bhisma, the Kuru grandsire, sent word to Subala, king of Gandhara, that he desired to marry Dhrtarastra to the king's daughter.

King Subala was doubtful at first. "Dhrtarastra is blind," he thought. "How can he marry my beloved daughter?" But after this initial reaction, he began to carefully reconsider the nobility, character, and prestige of the Kuru family. Finally, he agreed to give his faithful daughter to the young Dhrtarastra. And when Gandhari heard that her father and mother had given her to the blind Kuru prince, she took a strip of cloth and wound it many times around her own eyes. So determined was she to be a devoted wife that she decided, "I shall not enjoy beyond my husband."

King Subala's son Sakuni then escorted his sister, and her fabulous dowry, to Hastinapura, the capital of the Kurus. Prince Sakuni properly presented his sister and the numerous gifts to the noble Kurus. Then Sakuni, the handsome son of Subala, arranged for his sister's wedding at an auspicious time. After being honored by Bhisma, he returned to his own city.

Lovely Gandhari satisfied all the Kurus with her good character, manners, and activities. She was so completely devoted to her husband that she practically worshiped his family members and would not even speak about any man other than her husband and the members of his family.


Vaisampayana said:

King Sura, the leader of the Yadu dynasty, was the father of Vasudeva [who later became the father of Lord Krsna]. Sura's daughter was named Prtha, and no woman on earth had beauty like hers.

The sister of King Sura's father had a son named Kuntibhoja who was unable to beget children, and so the mighty Sura promised to give his first child to his cousin. Thus when Prtha was born, Sura declared, "This girl is my first child," and acting as a true friend, he gave the baby girl to his friend Kuntibhoja, a great soul who yearned for the gift of a child.

Kuntibhoja was a saintly king, and as his daughter began to grow up, he engaged her in worshiping the Supreme Lord and respectfully serving guests who came to the palace. Once Prtha was asked to take care of a fierce brahmana named Durvasa, who was strict in his vows but possessed a frightening temper and an inscrutable sense of propriety. Prtha made every effort to please the brahmana, and he was fully satisfied with her service. Foreseeing her need for a lawful means to overcome her future problems, the sage gave her a mantra endowed with mystic power, and said to her, "Whichever god you summon with this mantra, that god will bless you with a child."

When the brahmana had thus instructed her, that chaste maiden of high reputation was filled with curiosity. [She wondered how the mantra worked, and when she was alone decided to see for herself.] Thus she summoned the sun-god, and at once saw coming toward her the great light-maker, maintainer of the world. Shapely Prtha gazed upon this wonder and was astonished, and the resplendent sun, who reveals all visible things, then gave her a child.

Prtha then gave birth to a heroic son destined to be the best of all who bear arms. Covered with armor, that handsome child of a god abounded in natural opulence, for he was born with a natural armor and glowing earrings that illuminated his face. One day this son would be famous throughout the world as Karna.

The supremely splendid sun then returned to the girl her virginity, and having given this, that most generous god returned to his celestial abode. Seeing her newborn son, the Vrsni princess became wretched with worry, and her mind could think of only one thing: "What is to be done? What can I do to become virtuous?" Kunti was terrified to face her relatives, and to conceal (what she felt to be) her improper deed, she sent her child, born with extraorindary armor and earrings, to float alone down the river. Just then a man who was the respectable son of a chariot driver, and the husband of Radha, found the abandoned child and with his wife accepted the babe as his own son. The two of them fashioned a name for the child: "This child has taken birth with riches, so his name shall be Vasusena."

Vasusena matured into a powerful and heroic youth who excelled in all kinds of weapons, and he would stand and worship the sun-god until his back was burning. He was true to his word, and at the time when he chanted his prayers to the sun, there was nothing that great soul and hero would not give to the brahmanas.

Once the effulgent Indra, who maintains this world, assumed the form of a brahmana and begged Vasusena for his natural armor and earrings. Though discouraged at this request, Karna cut off his bleeding armor and earrings and offered them with folded hands. Amazed at this act, Indra gave him the sakti weapon and said; "Whomever you desire to conquer, whether he be a god, a demon, or a man, whether a Gandharva, a celestial snake, or a horrible Raksasa--- at whomever you angrily hurl this weapon, that person shall be no longer."

Before, his name was known to be Vasusena, but now by this deed, he was known as Vaikartana Karna.

AP 105

Vaisampayana continued:

The daughter of Kuntibhoja could take great vows and carry them out faithfully, for she delighted in following the laws of God. She possessed a natural goodness, and her beauty was beyond compare. Prtha was endowed with an extraordinary feminine grace, but although she was in the full bloom of her radiant youth, no suitable prince had dared to come forward to request her hand in marriage. Prtha, also known as Kunti, was thoughtful about her future. Acting through her father, she called all the best kings and princes by having it announced that her father the king would give her away at a svayamvara ceremony. Then when the day arrived, and in the middle of the arena, that thoughtful young lady beheld the tiger of all kings, Pandu, the great son of the Bharata clan.

Out of the thousands of monarchs who eagerly courted her, Kunti selected the young and powerful Pandu, the beloved Kuru prince who had the chest of a lion, shoulders like a bull elephant, and large, handsome eyes as fearless as those of an angry bull. As the sun covers the splendor of the innumerable stars, so Pandu covered the splendor of all the other kings of the earth simply by standing in the festive arena. In that royal assembly he seemed like a new Indra.

The daughter of Kuntibhoja was radiantly beautiful, and her youthful body was a flawless creation. When she finally saw Pandu, that best of men, in the royal assembly, there was a strong fluttering in her heart, her entire body was filled with romantic desire, and her steady mind was disturbed. Kunti took the ceremonial garland and shyly approached the Kuru king and placed it on his shoulders, thus accepting him alone as her beloved husband.

When all the assembled kings heard that Kunti had chosen Pandu, they left that place as they had come, on elephants, horses, and chariots. Kunti's father then held an opulent wedding ceremony worthy of a king's daughter. [Often at a Svayamvara ceremony the other kings would challenge the chosen groom to test his strength, but not a single warrior dared step forward against the young Pandu.]

Pandu accepted Kunti's hand with grace and charm, and all agreed that his was a blessed life and that no one could estimate the fortune and happiness of a man who had gained such a qualified wife. Pandu joined with Kuntibhoja's daughter in sacred marriage just as mighty Indra had joined with the goddess Paulomi.

King Kuntibhoja, a lord of the earth, married his daughter Kunti to Pandu, and then he honored his son-in-law with all kinds of valuable gifts and sent Pandu and his new wife back to the city of the Kurus. With fatherly concern for the royal couple, he also arranged for a powerful military escort colorfully bedecked with varieties of official flags and festoons.

When Pandu reached his own city, he was met with an equally festive reception. Great sages and qualified brahmanas escorted him into the majestic capital city, all the while blessing and praising him with beautiful hymns. After completing brief formalities, King Pandu saw to it that his wife Kunti was comfortably settled in their new home.

Thereafter he journeyed with Devavrata Bhisma to the capital of Madra, for Madri, the daughter of the Madra ruler, was renowned throughout the three worlds as a woman of incomparable beauty. She was acquired, on Pandu's behalf, with the payment of a large treasure. Bhisma then arranged her marriage with that great soul, Pandu. The wise Pandu was a tiger among men. Throughout the earth all men who saw him were amazed, for he had the chest of a lion, shoulders like a mighty elephant, and large, handsome eyes as fearless as those of an angry bull. Satisfied with his marriages, endowed with extraordinary strength and daring, Pandu now desired to conquer the world, and he lashed out against the many enemies of the House of Kuru. Pandu first marched upon the wicked Dasarnas and defeated them in battle. Pandu fought like a lion for he knew that the honor of the Kuru dynasty rested on him. The Kuru army was a colorful sight with its many bright banners whipping in the wind.

Pandu next directed this powerful force of elephants, horses, chariots, and infantry toward the kingdom of Magadha. King Darva of Magadha was the declared enemy of all the world's kings, whom he cruelly harassed in many ways, but Pandu boldly struck him down in his royal palace. [The kingdom of Magadha had grown wealthy and powerful by its constant aggression.] Pandu now carried away the inflated treasury as well as many fine animals and soldiers. Next Pandu went to Mithila and defeated the Videha army in battle, and then in direct combat with the fighting men of Kasi, Suhma, and Pundra, Pandu established the glory of the Kurus by the frightening strength of his own two arms. Young Pandu, with his blazing volleys of arrows, and the shooting flames of his lances, was like a scorching fire, and when the kings of men approached that fire they were burned to ashes. The kings with their armies were devastated by Pandu and his army, and they were brought under Pandu's government and integrated into the central tax structure.rs18up6 2rootnote rs20up6 2rs20 For many years the followers of Vedic culture throughout the earth had lived together peacefully as a great, world-wide family. Pandu's purpose was not to exploit or harass other kingdoms. In fact, battles never involved innocent citizens, for only willing and professional soldiers would fight according to a stict code of etiquette. Defeated kings were brought under the enlightened Kuru administration and made to pay taxes at a standard rate, exactly like the states of a great nation, in which the citizens of various states must also pay federal tax.

When Pandu conquered all the kings of the world, the rulers themselves unanimously agreed that Pandu alone was a great hero, just like Indra, who overshadows all other cosmic rulers. Thus all the leaders of this abundant earth came before Pandu with their hands folded in respect, bringing as tribute to the world's leader varieties of jewels, precious pearls, coral, gold, and silver, and a wealth of cows, bulls, horses, chariots, and elephants. The kings also delivered asses, camels, buffalo, and goats and sheep. The great ruler of Hastinapura graciously accepted all these offerings and again set out with his spirited mounts, touring and engladdening the lands of his kingdom, and finally returning to his capital city, Hastinapura.

[The people exclaimed:]

"Santanu was a lion among kings, and steeped in wisdom was the fabled Bharata, but their glorious victory cry had perished, but now Pandu has again raised up that celebrated sound. Those who stole the royal lands and treasures of the Kurus now are dutiful subjects who pay tax to their lord, the lion of Hastinapura."

Thus with trusting hearts, jubilant kings and royal ministers joined the citizens of town and country in praise of King Pandu. When Pandu returned to the capital after conquering the entire world, all the citizens, along with the royal family, were overwhelmed with happiness. Headed by Bhisma they all hurried out to meet him. Before they had gone very far, the citizens of Hastinapura were thrilled to see that the their earth was crowded with many types of people who had returned with the victorious Pandu. Bhisma and the other Kurus could see no end to the fabulous wealth carried by the victorious army. Varieties of vehicles were being employed simply to carry the jewels and precious stones. There seemed to be unlimited herds of elephants, horses, bulls, and cows as well, and there were numberless camels and sheep and countless chariots and wagons.

When Pandu caught sight of Bhisma, who was like his father, he immediately came forward and offered respect at his feet. Then Pandu gave great joy to his mother, and duly honored even the simple citizens of the town and country.

Pandu had brought the entire world back into order and had smashed cruel and wicked kingdoms. His mission accomplished, he had now come home. Approaching his beloved son, the mighty Bhisma shed tears of joy.

To the stirring sounds of hundreds of musical instruments being played together, and with the deep rumbling of kettle-drums, King Pandu, lifting the hearts of the citizens, entered the royal city of Hastinapura.

AP 106

Vaisampayana said:

With his own hands Pandu had conquered great riches, but he did not keep them for himself. After consulting with his older brother, Dhrtarastra, Pandu offered the wealth to Bhisma, Satyavati, and his own mother, Ambalika, and he set aside riches for his wise brother Vidura.

Pandu was generous by nature, and he fully satisfied his well-wishing friends with opulent gifts. In that festive atmosphere, Bhisma also pleased Satyavati by presenting her with a gift of beautiful gems won by Pandu. With great affection Ambalika embraced her mighty son Pandu, the best of men, just as Paulomi embraces Jayanta.

With the vast wealth amassed by Pandu, Dhrtarastra performed the five great sacrifices that are ultimately meant to satisfy the Supreme Lord. At these powerful events, which were equal to a hundred horse sacrifices, hundreds and thousands of precious gifts were offered to the teachers of mankind and to other respectable citizens.

Although Pandu had truly conquered the world, he was nevertheless disinterested in a life of leisure and royal opulence. Taking his wives, Kunti and Madri, he left his palatial residence, with its gorgeous beds and couches, and went to the forest. Pandu always liked to wander through the beautiful forests and woods, and he would spend most of his time away from the city engaged in hunting.

King Pandu especially enjoyed the delightful foothills and valleys south of the Himalayan range, and he established a dwelling there in a forest of giant Sala trees. Accompanied by his charming wives, Kunti and Madri, Pandu shone in that forest setting like Indra's lordly elephant in the midst of two she-elephants.

Pandu was large and handsome and a consummate master of weapons. When the simple inhabitants of the forest saw the heroic Bharata king with his two wives, wielding his arrows, sword, and bow, and dressed in his fabulous armor, they considered him to be a god on earth. Encouraged by Dhrtarastra, the forest dwellers always brought to Pandu whatever he needed or desired, immediately carrying it to him even to the far ends of the forest.

Meanwhile in the Kuru capital of Hastinapura, Bhisma heard that King Devaka had a beautiful young daughter named Parasavi, who was eligible for marriage to a royal family. After studying the matter, Bhisma decided that she was a most desirable bride for a Kuru prince, and so he arranged to bring her to the Kuru capital, where he married her with the great-minded Vidura. Indeed, her birth was similar to that of Vidura. Vidura was especially admired by the Kuru royalty for his wisdom and kindness, and with his faithful wife he begot fine sons who shared all the sublime qualities of their father.


Sri Vaisampayana said:

O king, then Dhrtarastra begot a hundred sons in his wife, Gandhari, and his one hundred and first child was born from the daughter of a merchant. And Pandu, to expand his royal lineage, obtained five sons, all Maharatha warriors, through his two wives, Kunti and Madri. These five sons were all fathered by the gods themselves.

King Janamejaya said:

O best of the twice-born, how did a hundred sons take birth from Gandhari? How long did it take to beget them all, and who was the eldest of the boys? How was a single child born to Dhrtarastra from a merchant's daughter? And how could Dhrtarastra disregard in that way a wife like Gandhari, who was always devoted to his happiness, and who ever walked in the path of righteousness?

How is it that Pandu, though cursed by a saintly sage, obtained from the gods five sons who were all Maharatha warriors? O ascetic whose wealth is austerity, you know the answers to my questions. Explain, then, in detail these events as they actually took place, for I never grow tired of hearing about my ancestors.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Once the great sage Dvaipayana, known as Vyasa, happened to be troubled by hunger and fatigue. Gandhari, the chaste wife of Dhrtarastra, met him in that exhausted state and fully satisfied him with her devoted service. Vyasa then offered her a boon, and she chose to have a hundred sons of the same character as her husband. Vyasa blessed her as she desired, and in time she became pregnant by her husband Dhrtarastra.

Gandhari carried her pregnancy for two full years, and still she was childless. Gradually, grief took hold of her mind. Hearing that her sister-in-law Kunti had given birth to a son who was like a little sun-god, and seeing no progress in her own pregnancy, Gandhari desperately thought of what to do. Unable to bear her frustration, she repeatedly struck her womb with great effort, causing the embryo to fall out. A hard lump of flesh, like a red iron ball, fell from her womb. After two years of suffering, this was the result. Pain and anger grew in her chest, and without saying anything to her husband, Gandhari was about to throw away the lump of flesh.

The great sage Vyasa had blessed Gandhari to have one hundred sons. Now by his powerful vision he understood that Gandhari was about to destroy her embryo, and so that eloquent sage quickly came to her and saw the fleshy mass. He then said to her, "O daughter of Subala, what are you planning to do?"

Gandhari truthfully revealed her plan to the great sage. "When I heard," she said, "that Kunti was the first to have a son and that her child was as beautiful as the sun-god himself, I could not bear the frustration and struck down this embryo from my womb. My lord, you once blessed me to have a hundred children. But now, for my hundred sons, this mere lump of flesh has taken birth."

Vyasadeva said:

Dear daughter of Subala, it is even so, and cannot be otherwise, for my words never prove false, even when spoken in jest. Certainly whatever I promised you must come true. Quickly, prepare a hundred bowls and fill them with clarified butter. Then we shall sprinkle cold water over this ball of flesh and keep it, along with the bowls, in a carefully guarded place.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the fleshy ball was sprinkled with cold water, it divided itself in time into a 101 little embryos, each the size of a thumb. Vyasadeva then placed these embryos in the bowls filled with clarified butter and arranged for the bowls to be carefully guarded. Vyasa instructed Gandhari that the pots should be opened only after a certain amount of time had elapsed. The arrangement thus completed, the great soul Vyasadeva returned to the mighty Himalaya mountains to continue his austerities.

Gandhari carefully followed the instructions of the great sage and eventually her first child, known as Duryodhana, took birth. Although Duryodhana was the first son born to Gandhari and Dhrtarastra, Pandu's son Yudhisthira was clearly his senior, being by birth the eldest Kuru prince.

Indeed, the moment his son was born, Dhrtarastra called for many learned brahmanas,up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn Dhrtarastra was anxious to know the future of his first son, and so following the Vedic custom, he summoned learned brahmanas who could scientifically calculate the future of a newborn child. along with Bhisma and Vidura, and said to them, "Let me first acknowledge that among the Kuru princes, Yudhisthira, the son of Pandu, is the eldest, and I am certain that he will bring nothing but fortune to our family. By his own excellent qualities he has earned the right to rule our kingdom, and we cannot speak even a word against him. But will my son Duryodhana, who was born immediately after Yudhisthira, also become a worthy king. All of you, tell me truly and precisely what the future is for my son." No sooner had Dhrtarastra finished speaking, when evil omens appeared in all directions. Jackels and other scavanging beasts began howling, and observing such fearful signs everywhere, the brahmanas, along with the wise Vidura, said to Dhrtarastra, "O king, it is manifest from the signs that this son of yours will destroy the entire dynasty! If you want any peace for your family, we urge you to reject this child. If you raise him as your son, you will commit a grievous mistake. O king, be satisfied with ninety-nine sons. Sacrifice one to save the world and to protect your own family. One relative may be rejected to save the family, and one family may be given up to save a village. A single village may be sacrificed to save the state, and the whole world should be renounced to save one's soul."

Even when thus addressed by Vidura and all the learned brahmanas, Dhrtarastra was unable follow their advice, bewildered as he was by affection for his infant son. And in the following month, all of Dhrtarastra's hundred sons were born, as well as a single daughter, his hundred-and-first child.

During the time that Gandhari had been suffering and incapacitated with the burden of her large and prolonged pregnancy, a merchant's daughter had taken care of the mighty-armed Dhrtarastra, who was blind and always needed a nurse. After serving the king for one year, the woman gave birth to his child, the famous and wise Yuyutsu, also named Karana because of his mixed birth by a royal father and a mother of a vaisya, or mercantile, family.

Thus the learned Dhrtarastra begot a hundred warrior sons in the royal line along with a single lovely daughter named Duhsala [and an additional son begotten in a vaisya maiden]. Each of these hunred sons would become masters of chariot fighting, able to fight alone with thousands of enemy warriors.

App. to 107 *63

Janamejaya said:

You have told us how by the mercy of saintly Vyasa, Dhrtarastra had a hundred sons. You have also mentioned that Dhrtarastra begot a son named Yuyutsu with a nurse born of the merchant community. But you have not explained about Dhrtarastra's daughter.

It is well known, O sinless one, that Gandhari was blessed by Vyasadeva, the seer of measureless might, to have a hundred sons. Now, my lord, please describe how that single daughter was born. If saintly Vyasa divided the lump of flesh into one hundred parts, and Gandhari had no other children after that, how was her daughter Duhsala born? Please tell me what happened. O learned sage, I am extremely curious to hear about this.

Vaisampayana said:

Dear descendant of Pandu, you have raised a very good question, and I shall answer you.

The great ascetic Vyasa had sprinkled cold water on the lump of flesh, thus dividing it into different living parts. As each new embryo appeared, Gandhari's nurse placed them one by one into bowls filled with clarified butter. As this continued the pious Gandhari, always firm in her religious vows, began to meditate on what it would be like to have a daughter. That lovely woman had been blessed to have a hundred sons, but now within her mind she felt a mother's natural affection for a daughter. The more she thought about it, the more her desire grew.

"Undoubtedly," she thought, "the holy sage will fulfill his promise and I will have a hundred sons, but if I could have just one daughter, I would feel the greatest satisfaction. Just one little daughter, younger than all her one hundred brothers, would be so nice. Then my husband could enjoy the pious rewards given to those whose daughters beget good sons.

"Women cherish a special love for a son-in-law. I have been blessed with one hundred sons, but if I just had one daughter in addition, (whom I'd marry with a fine son-in-law), then, surrounded by my sons and my daughter's sons, I would certainly fulfill all my duties in life.

[Gandhari's mind was fixed in her desire to have a daughter, and she offered this prayer to God:]

"If I have been truthful in life, if I have performed austerities, given charity, or ignited the fire of sacrifice, if ever I have pleased my respectable superiors, then may I please have a daughter."

Just as Gandhari was praying in that way, the illustrious sage Dvaipayana Vyasa finished dividing the lump of flesh, counting the pieces to make sure there were a hundred. He then addressed Gandhari, the daughter of King Subala: "Dear lady," he said, "There are a full hundred sons here and so I did not make you a false promise. But somehow by the arrangement of providence there is one extra part, in addition to the hundred, and it shall become the daughter you so much desire, O fortunate woman."

Vaisampayana said:

The grand ascetic Vyasa then had one more pot full of clarified butter brought to that place, and he placed within it the embryo that was Gandhari's daughter. And so, dear Bharata king, I have now explained to you how Gandhari gave birth to a single daughter named Duhsala. Now tell me, sinless king, what else shall I narrate to you?


King Janamejaya said:

O potent sage, tell me the names of Dhrtarastra's son, in order starting with the eldest.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O kKing, the eldest son was Duryodhana, followed by Yuyutsu, Duhsasana, Duhsaha, Duhsala, Jalasandha, Sama, and Saha; then Vinda, Anuvinda, Durdharsa, Subahu, Duspradharsana, Durmarsana, Durmukha, Duskarna, and Karna; Vivimsati, Vikarna, Sulocana, Citra Upacitra, Citraksa, Carucitra, and Sarasana; Durmada, Duspragaha, Vivitsu, Vikata, Urnunabha, Sunabha, and also Nanda and Upananda; Senapati, Susena, Kundodara, Mahodara, Citrabana, Citravarma, Suvarma, Durvimocana; Ayobahu, Mahabahu, Citranga, Citrakundala, Bhimavega, Bhimabala, Balaki, Balavardhana; Ugrayudha, Bhimakarma, Kanakayu, Drdhayudha, Drdhavarma, Drdhaksatra, Somakirti, Anudara; Drdhasandha, Jarasandha, Satyasandha, Sadahsuvak, Ugrasrava, Asvasena, Senani, Dusparajaya; Aparajita, Panditaka, Visalaksa, Duravara, Drdhahasta, Suhasta, Vatavega, Suvarca; Adityaketu, Bahvasi, Nagadanta, Ugrayayina, Kavaci, Nisangi, and Pasi, Dandadhara, Dhanurgraha; Ugra, Bhimaratha, Vira, Virabahu, Alolupa, Abhaya, Raudrakarma, and Drdharatha; Anadhrsya, Kundabhedi, Viravi, Dirghalocana, Dirghabahu, Mahabahu, Vyudhoru, Kanakadhvaja; Kundasi, Viraja, and the daughter Duhsala, the hundred and first child.

Know that these are the names of Dhrtarastra's children, in the order of their birth, O king. The hundred sons were all great warriors, expert in battle, and capable of fighting with many opponents at once. All were knowers of the Veda and learned in political and social science. Indeed, all of them were brilliant both in their education and in the aristocracy of their lineage.

At the proper time, Dhrtarastra arranged suitable wives for all of his sons, carefully studying the nature and desire of each one and marrying them according to Vedic customs. And at the proper time, O Bharata, Dhrtarastra gave his only daughter, Duhsala, with Gandhari's approval, to Jayadratha, the well-known Sindhu king.

AP 109

King Janamejaya said:

O master of Vedic knowledge, you have told how, by the arrangement of the sage Vyasadeva, the human sons of Dhrtarastra took birth in a nonhuman and extraordinary way. And I have heard you systematically recite their names, O brahmana. Now please describe the sons of Pandu, who were great souls, as mighty as the king of the gods, for as mentioned by you, the gods incarnated in this world by investing their own potency in the sons of Pandu. Therefore, I want to hear all about their birth, for their deeds were superhuman. O narrate it, Vaisampayana!

Sri Vaisampayana said:

While living in the woodlands, King Pandu once entered a vast forested area that teemed with wild and dangerous beasts. There he saw a large male deer about to mate with his doe, and with five quick, deadly arrows of golden shafts and handsome plumes, Pandu pierced both the deer and his female companion. The deer was actually a sage's son who had grown powerful by practice of severe austerities. Just as that young and mighty ascetic was having intercourse with his wife, who had taken the shape of a lovely doe, he was struck down by Pandu's arrows. Giving out a human shriek, he fell to the ground in shock and anguish, and realizing what had happened, he cried out to the king.

The deer said:

Even the most sinful men filled with lust and anger and lacking all reason and sanity would never act as cruelly as you have! Your judgment is not above the law! It is the law that is above you! Wisdom does not agree to purposes forbidden by law and providence. You took birth in a leading family, a family that has always been devoted to religious principles. How could you be so overwhelmed by desire and greed that your mind could deviate so far from those principles?

Pandu said:

It is the function of kings to personally kill enemies in battle, and kings are also authorized to hunt wild animals. O deer, you should not wrongly condemn me. Kings are allowed to kill deer when they do so without concealment or trickery. You know this to be the law, so why do you condemn me?

The great sage Agastya, while seated in sacrifice, went to the deep forest and hunted for deer, which he then consecrated and offered to all the appropriate deities.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn Agastya was a great soul who would never harm another living being. He knew that by Vedic sacrifice even an ordinary animal is quickly elevated and ultimately achieves liberation. If you wish to blame someone for my act, then it is Agastya's fault that you are being offered in sacrifice to God.

The deer replied:

Although you cite the example of Agastya, kings traditionally do not shoot their arrows at enemies who are caught in a moment of weakness. There are very specific times at which one is allowed to kill one's enemies.

Pandu said:

But kings slay deer whether they are alert or not, wherever they find them, using their sharp arrows and strength. Therefore, why do you condemn me?

The deer said:

I do not condemn you for my own sake simply because you were hunting deer. But you should have waited while I begot a child in my beloved wife. You did not have to be so cruel. All God's creatures desire to beget children, for the begetting of life is a blessing for all. What truly wise man would slay a deer who was in the very act of begetting a child? We wanted to beget a religious child. That was the goal of our life, and now you have ruined everything.

You took birth in the great Kuru dynasty. The wise Kuru kings never caused suffering or harm to an innocent person. Therefore you have done something that does not befit you. You have committed the cruelest of all acts, something the whole world condemns. What you have done will not lead you to heaven, nor will it spread your good fame, for it is a most irreligious deed, O ruler of the Bharatas.

O Pandu, you know quite well about affairs with women, and you have learned the truth and meaning of the law from our scriptures. O Pandu, you who shine like a god should never have committed such an unholy act! Indeed it is you who are meant to subdue the perpetrators of cruelty, the sinful men who care nothing for civilized life, who seek money and pleasure without regard for the rights or happiness or others. What have you done? O best of kings, you have struck me down, a simple sage who offended no one, who asked nothing from others. I lived in this forest eating roots and wild fruit, always peaceful and kind to all creatures.

Hear my words, Pandu! Because you have cruelly slain us, a married couple joined in the act of begetting, I declare that one day when you are helplessly driven by desire, the same act of begetting will most surely bring your life to an end!

I am Kindama, a sage of unrivaled austerities. Feeling embarassed among human beings, I took the form of a stag and wandered with the deer in the deep woods, engaging in conjugal affairs with my wife, who took the form of a doe. You will not incur the sin of killing a brahmana, for you did not understand my identity. Nevertheless, you slayed me when I was lost in conjugal desire. You fool! For that sin you must suffer. Indeed, you will suffer the very same fate, for when you go to lie with your dear one, enchanted by desire, in that very situation you will go to the world of the departed! And the lover with whom you lay in your final moment will follow you with great devotion as you fall into the hands of the lord of death, whom all creatures must obey. O wisest of men, as I was hurled into distress, even as I was experiencing such happiness, so will you, at a time of happiness, come to a painful end.

Vaisampayana said:

Having spoken thus, the griefstricken ascetic lost his life, and in that instant Pandu fell into utter despair.

AP 110

Vaisampayana said:

Seeing the young sage pass away, the king was distraught. Agonizing over the the accidental killing of a saintly brahmana, he and his wives lamented as if for their own kin.

Pandu said:

People like me who lack spiritual advancement, even though born in noble families, come to misfortune by their own foolish activities. They are trapped in the network of their selfish desires.

I have heard that my father Vicitravirya, though born to religious parents, became absorbed in sex pleasure and by overindulgence that young king died childless. Therefore, the self-disciplined and divine sage Dvaipayana begot me in my father's wife. [What a blessed birth was mine!] And yet today my degraded mind became absorbed in evil passion, and I foolishly lost myself in hunting. I am so wicked that even the gods have abandoned me!

[I conquered the earth with military strength, but because I did not conquer my own material desires I remained in bondage.] I am determined to seek salvation, for bondage to this world is nothing but a great calamity. Now I shall follow the imperishable path of my father Dvaipayana. I have no doubt. I shall practice the most severe austerities and wander the world alone as a thoughtful mendicant, staying each day beneath the shelter of a single tree. I am going to shave my head and cover my body with dust. I shall live in deserted houses or simply beneath a tree, and nothing will please or displease me. I shall not lament or rejoice for any material thing. Whether people ridicule or praise me, I shall accept both ridicule and praise equally. I shall not hanker for anything in this mortal world, or flatter any man for his favor. Heat and cold, happiness and distress, victory and defeat---I shall not waver in the face of these worldly dualities, nor will I claim anything to be mine. I will not ridicule or frown upon any creature. I will always be of cheerful countenance and dedicate myself to the spiritual welfare of every living being. I will not commit violence against any life, moving or unmoving, for I shall always look upon all God's creatures as my own beloved kin. I shall treat all living things with equality.

Once each day I shall approach two and five families for alms, and if I receive nothing I will simply fast. I will eat very little, and only food that is fit to be offered to the Supreme Lord. Whatever food I obtain, I shall never save for a future meal. Having gone to seven houses, even if I receive nothing I will not go to another house. I will never transgress this rule. Whether I receive food or not, it will be the same to me. I shall undergo this great austerity.

If someone chops off one of my arms with an axe and someone else spreads luxurious sandalwood paste on my other arm, I will not wish good fortune to one and bad fortune to the other. I will not behave like one who is eager to live nor like one eager to die. I will not welcome life or death, nor will I hate either of them.

I must now completely transcend all those rituals and activities that men perform for material advancement. I shall live like the sages who sit with half-opened eyes, oblivious to the external world. In all situations I will give up sense gratification. Completely renounced and devoted to virtue, I will surely purify myself of my evil deeds. Free of all sins, I will overcome all the traps and pitfalls of this material world. I shall be like the wind, which is controlled by no man.

Thus shall I always live, maintaining myself by these principles without anxiety, for adherence to this path will certainly free me from all fear. Never shall I live like a common dog, serving and flattering others so that they will care for my bodily needs. If I tried to enjoy life like that, lacking any dignity, I should deviate from my spiritual principles.

Whether honored or dishonored, if a person is so greedy and low-minded that he sells himself to others for material gain, surely he follows the path of ordinary dogs.

Vaisampayana said:

Speaking thus, King Pandu, deeply agrieved, breathed heavily for a long time. Carefully meeting the eyes of his beloved Kunti and Madri, he told them, "Everyone must be told of the changes in my life. Many people depend on me, so as gently as possible, you must inform the wise Vidura and King Dhrtarastra, my mother, and all our other relatives. Speak to the noble Satyavati and Bhisma, all the priests of the royal family, and the brahmanas, those great souls so strict in their vows who drink the nectar of the gods. Tell all the senior and elderly citizens who have faithfully served us all their lives. Tell them all that Pandu is gone, gone alone to the forest."

Hearing of his decision to live in the forest as an ascetic, the women replied with equal determination: "There are other stages of life for married people in which you can perform heavy austerities together with us, your lawful wives. Undoubtedly you will be successful and reach the heavenly abode. Both of us are ready to fix our mind and senses on spiritual life, for we are determined to follow you in this life and the next. We have decided to give up material lust and enjoyment, and we shall undergo serious austerities. O most learned one, O lord of the earth, if you reject us we shall immediately give up our lives, and there is no doubt about it."

Pandu said:

If that is what you have both decided, then you may come along, since your proposal is in accord with religious principles. But I warn you, I shall follow my vows strictly, following my father Dvaipayana Vyasa. I am truly going to renounce all domestic comfort and concerns and perform severe austerities. I shall wander in the deep forest, dressed in treebark, nourished on wild fruits, nuts, and roots. I'll sit by the fire, not only in freezing winter but in scorching summer. I shall bathe in the river not only in summer, but in winter as well. I shall wear rags and skins and long matted hair, and my body will grow thin from my meager diet. I shall have to tolerate cold, wind, and heat. Hunger, thirst, and fatigue will be my constant companions. By all these difficult austerities I must conquer and dry up the senses before they conquer me. If my senses overwhelm me, I shall immediately die, and not a glorious death.

In all my thoughts and activities spiritual progress will be my only goal. With the fruits of the wilderness, ripened or not, and with my words and thoughts and all that I collect, I shall worship my venerable forefathers and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom they adored, and I shall revere the Lord's empowered servants who manage this temporary world.

As I wander about the wilderness, I shall never do anything to harm or displease the elderly who have retired to the forest for spiritual liberation. Nor will I disturb my countrymen or any of the simple village-dwellers. I will strictly follow the scriptural injunctions for renounced life in the forest. Indeed, I wish to follow the most severe of those injunctions, until this body is finished and I lie down in peace.

Vaisampayana said:

Having thus spoken to Kunti and Madri, the great Kuru monarch took off his jeweled crown, medallion, bracelets, and earrings and he offered everything to the saintly brahmanas, including his invaluable wardrobe as well as the wardrobe and jewels of his wives.

Pandu then spoke again, this time addressing his followers and personal attendants: "Go to Hastinapura," he said sadly, "and make it known that Pandu, along with his faithful wives, has departed for the forest to live as a mendicant, without worldly riches or pleasure."

Hearing these heart-rending words from their beloved lord, Pandu's followers and personal attendants made a terrible cry and sobbed in anguish. Shedding hot tears, they turned away from their monarch and ran to Hastinapura to deliver his final message. When the Kuru leader Dhrtarastra heard from them all that had happened in the deep forest, he could not stop weeping for his younger brother.

In the meantime Pandu, the beloved Kuru prince, journeyed with Kunti and Madri to the mountain called Naga-sabha, along the way eating only wild fruits, nuts, and roots. Like sages, they traveled next to Caitraratha and beyond that to Varisena, continuing their trek by crossing over the mighty Himalayan range and traveling up to Gandhamadana. All along the way, Pandu and his women were protected by powerful higher beings such as the mystic Siddhas and liberated sages. Sometimes he stayed on smooth and easy earth, and at times on the steep sides of mountains. He lived at times in hardship and at times with an abundance of natural gifts. Reaching the famous lake of the primeval monarch Indradyumna, he crossed beyond to Hamsakuta and finally arrived at the mountain region called Satasrnga, "Hundred Peaks," where he surrendered fully to the practice of religous austerity.

AP 111

Vaisampayana said:

The mighty Pandu lived for some time in the region of Hundred Peaks, perfectly executing religious austerities. Higher beings like Siddhas and Caranas, who frequented the area, appreciated his noble character and grew quite fond of him. They saw that Pandu was free of false pride, always eager to help others, and completely self-controlled in mind and senses. To some residents of Hundred Peaks he was like a brother, and to others he was a close friend. The senior sages loved him like their son and took care of him in every way. With the blessings of those sages and after long practice, Pandu achieved mastery in his religious austerities and became exactly like a powerful sage versed in the spiritual wisdom of the Vedas.

Once on a darkmoon night, the leading sages of Hundred Peaks, so strict in their vows, prepared to leave that place. These great ascetics wished to see Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, and they were all leaving together. Seeing the sages ready to depart, Pandu said, "O eloquent masters, kindly tell me where you are all going."

The sages replied, "There will be a great meeting of saints on the planet of Lord Brahma. The demigods, sages, forefathers, and all the great souls will be there. We are eager to see Lord Brahma, and so we will also journey there."

Hearing their words, Pandu at once yearned to go with them and quickly rose up from his seat. Eager to reach the heavenly abode, he prepared to depart with his wives toward the north, but seeing this, the austere sages told him, "We are going very far to the north on our way to Brahma's abode. We'll be ascending Mountain King, the vast Himalayan region. In our previous journeys there, we have seen many lands that are difficult to cross, places where the gods themselves, as well as the Gandharvas and Apsaras, have established exclusive recreational areas. We have seen there the famous gardens of Kuvera, both flat and hilly, the undulating banks of mighty rivers, and impenetrable mountain canyons.

"There are lands enroute which are always cold---icy places where no trees, animals, or birds can live. There are vast expanses of inaccessible terrain and zones of such heavy rainfall that even birds cannot cross, what to speak of other animals. Mystic Siddhas and liberated sages like ourselves can make it across, but other than us only the wind goes through that land. How could your two wives possibly travel through Mountain King without collapsing on the way? Those fine ladies are the daughters of kings and are quite unaccustomed to such hardship. We might add that they hardly deserve such pain and trouble. O Bharata king, it is best that you not go."

[Hearing the words of the sages whom he so deeply revered, Pandu bowed to their request. But since they were leaving, he revealed to them that which troubled his heart, despite all of his austerities.]

Pandu said:

O most fortunate sages, authorities say that there is no way to heaven for a childless man. I confess to you all that being childless causes me great anguish. Strapped with four kinds of debts, men are born in this world, for they have dues to pay to the forefathers, the gods, the sages, and to other man---debts by the hundreds and thousands. Knowers of the law have established that a human being who does not acknowledge these debts at the proper time, will not attain to the higher planets. One satisfies the gods by performances of sacrifice, the sages by study and penance, he forefathers by children and sraddha rites, and humankind by kindness.

By law, I am freed of my debts to the sages, gods, and humankind, but I still owe a debt to the forefathers, and for this I feel pain, O ascetics rich in austerity. If a man leaves no descendants, then when his body perishes his forefathers also perish. That is a fact. Thus it is to have progeny that noble men take birth in this world.

Dear sages, even I was begotten in my father's widow by a great soul. By a similar arrangement, couldn't there be offspring from my wives?

The ascetics said:

O virtuous king, you certainly will have beautiful and sinless children, like unto gods. We know it by divine sight. O tiger of men, by your acts you must accomplish what is ordained by providence. An intelligent man, undistracted, enjoys a happy ending. Dear son, since the goal is already in sight, you must simply endeavor, and upon obtaining very qualified children, you will attain to happiness.

Vaisampayana said:

Hearing these words from the ascetic sages, Pandu absorbed himself in thought, knowing well that because of the brahmana-deer's curse, he could not beget a child. [The sages were gone, but Pandu fixed their words in his mind.] He then spoke to his lawful wife Kunti in a secluded part of the forest, urging that celebrated woman to accept the right and necessary means to to beget children in times of difficulty:

"My dear Kunti, to beget good children is the very foundation of society, and thus it is enjoined in the sacred lawbooks. Sober authorities have therefore recognized that to raise good children is sanatana dharma, a perpetual duty for civilized human beings. The performance of sacrifice, charity, and austerity, the careful observation of regulative principles---it is said that even all these will not suffice to sanctify the life of a childless man.

"Knowing this well, I clearly see that as a childless man I myself shall not achieve the blessed worlds. This is my constant worry, O sweet-smiling woman. O shy one, due to my immaturity, I was cruel toward the brahmana-deer, and as I ruined his act of begetting, so my power to conceive a child has been ruined by his curse.

But in the sight of the law, there are six kinds of sons accepted as legitimate heirs to the family fortune, and six who are not lawful heirs. Please hear of these, Prtha:

Of rightful heirs, the first is the father's own child, born of his lawfully wedded wife. In the second case, if a man is impotent and therefore allows his wife to conceive with another qualified man who is acting selflessly, then the child so born is accepted as the son of the mother and her lawful husband. In the third case, the son is begotten by a proper man, paid with a fee by the impotent father. In the fourth instance, after the father's death, a son conceived in the mother by a fit man is a legitimate heir. In the fifth circumstance, a man begets a child with a qualified young maiden according to religious principles. Finally, a child begotten even with an unchaste wife is considered to be one's lawful heir.

A child given to another family does not inherit the family property. A child purchased or adopted is in the same category. A young person who approaches a couple and begs them to take care of him is considered the same. The fourth case is a child born from a woman who is already pregnant at the time of her marriage. The fifth case is the brother's son, and the final instance is that of a child whom a man begets in the womb of an unqualified woman who is not his wife.

A woman should always try to have a child of the first kind, and if that fails she tries by the second method, or the third, and so on, until she obtains her child. In times of difficulty, a woman should always seek to unite with a superior man.

My dear Prtha, learned men know well that raising a good, religious son is the best way to lead a pious life and enjoy all its attendant rewards. The great law-giver Svayambhuva Manu has declared this to be true. He confirms that even if a husband cannot beget with his own seed, he should raise a religious son or daughter.

Most respectable wife, that is why I want to send you today to conceive a child with someone who is equal to or better than me, because in this life, I can never beget a child. Kunti, listen to this story of a royal lady named Saradandayani. She was the wife of a powerful ruler, and when her husband could not give her a child, she was ordered by her family elders to somehow beget a son who could maintain the family tradition.

Dear Kunti, one night, when her proper time had come, she bathed herself and went to a major crossroads to find a qualified father. She selected a learned brahmana, perfect in his spiritual practice, and with him lit a sacrificial fire to worship the Supreme Lord. She fasted and performed various sacred rituals to cleanse her mind of lust, and when all these functions were complete, she joined with him in the religious act of conception.

That lady begot three sons, headed by Durjaya, who were all great warriors and leaders of men. Similarly, by my order you also, my beautiful and innocent wife, should quickly arrange to conceive a child with a saintly brahmana who is even greater than me in his austerity and dedication to the religious path.

AP 112

Vaisampayana said:

Pandu was the world's leader, but for Kunti he was her beloved husband. Hearing his words, she replied as follows to the powerful leader of the Kuru dynasty:

"You should never speak to me in that way," she said, looking into his eyes, which appeared to her as beautiful as the silver moon. "You know our sacred principles. It is by those principles that you accepted me as your true and religious wife. O mighty-armed Bharata, you are a hero, and you will beget in me heroic children, in accord with our sacred law. O tiger of a man, I shall go with you to the heavenly abode. O beloved Kuru monarch, come to me, you alone, if we are to have a child. I shall never, even in my mind, approach any man but you. [You say I should approach a man who is better than you,] but what man on earth is better than you? You have such big and beautiful eyes. Now please hear from me, for I shall recite an ancient story, which is well known to Vedic scholars, and which helps us on on the spiritual path.

"Long ago there was an earthly king named Vyusitasva, who was utterly devoted to religious principles. So great was this king that he increased the prestige and influence of the famous Puru dynasty.

"Once while that great and religious man was performing sacrifice to the Supreme Lord, the demigods, headed by Indra, along with the great sages, came to his ceremony. Indeed, Indra himself became intoxicated by drinking the great supply of Soma, heavenly nectar, which the king's potent sacrifice had produced. And the saintly brahmanas were overwhelmed by the many priceless gifts they received from the great soul Vyusitasva.

"My dear husband, Vyusitasva shone forth above all other men, like the mighty sun, which surpasses all creatures as it shines in the cool of early spring. That greatest of monarchs conquered all the kings of the east, north, south, and west, and the middle provinces, exacting taxes from them and bringing them under the control of Vedic law.

"Having conquered all other rulers, Vyusitasva was able to perform the Asva-medha sacrifice, and thus he became the powerful emperor of the world, endowed with the strength of ten bull elephants. Those who are learned in the ancient histories sing this song about the great king:

`Vyusitasva conquered this bountiful, water-bounded earth, and he governed all the citizens like a father caring for his own beloved children. He worshiped the Supreme Lord and His empowered representatives with magnificent sacrifices at which he distributed fabulous wealth to the saintly teachers.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn These brahmanas were austere by nature and would immediately redistribute their wealth for the benefit of all people. Collecting countless jewels, Vyusitasva stretched out the Soma rites, and produced large quantities of the celestial beverage.'

"His wife, O leader of kings, was the most celebrated Kaksivati Bhadra, whose beauty was unrivalled on earth. History tells that they grew very attached to one another. In fact, Vyusitasva became so completely absorbed in sexual affairs with his wife that he was eventually stricken with tuberculosis, and within a short time he passed from this world like the inexorably setting sun.

"His poor wife Bhadra, widowed and without child, wailed in agony. Dear Pandu, O tiger among men, hear from me how she cried out to her departed husband: `Most wise and virtuous man,' she wept, `you know that a woman is unfulfilled without a husband and child. A woman who lives without her man does not live at all, for her life is nothing but misery. O fierce leader of warriors, death is better than life for a woman who has lost her beloved husband. I want to go with you. Be merciful and take me with you! I cannot bear to live even a moment without you. Be kind to me, O king, and take me quickly from this place. I will follow along behind you, in good times and bad, and wherever you go, you will never have to wait for me. I shall be your shadow; I shall never leave you and always obey your command. At every moment, I shall act for your pleasure. O beloved lotus-eyed husband, if from now on I cannot have you, then unbearable grief will surely dry up my heart and overwhelm me.

" `Surely in some past life, without any kindness or mercy I separated loving companions, and for that sin I have now been separated from you and left to suffer like a sinner in hell. O king, from now on, I do not want to see the lonely face of luxury. I will lie down on a barren mat of kusa grass. It is you alone I long to see, and without you anguish is my only companion. My beautiful husband, O lord of men, I am wretched and helpless. Tears and grief have taken my life. Be kind and show yourself to me!'

"As Vyusitasva's wife cried for her husband, praying to him again and again in many piteous ways and tightly clasping his dead body, suddenly an invisible voice spoke to her, `Arise, dear Bhadra, and go now! I shall give you the boon you desire. O Bhadra, let that lovely smile return to your lips, for I shall beget children in you. On the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon, at your time of fertility, when you have bathed, O shapely woman, lie down with me on your bed.'

"At these words, the goddess Bhadra, devoted to her husband and yearning for his child, did exactly as she was instructed. And by contact with her husband's expired body that godly woman gave birth to seven illustrious sons, the three Salva kings and the four Madra monarchs. Similarly, by the strength of your austerities and devotion to God, O noble Bharata, you have the power to beget sons in me, just with your mind.

AP 113

Vaisampayana continued:

Thus addressed by Kunti, King Pandu, who knew the path of virtue, replied to his godly wife in words imbued with that virtue. "Dear Kunti," he began, "King Vyusitasva did indeed accomplish all that you said. My lovely lady, he was like a god on earth. But now I shall explain to you an interesting moral principle. Please hear from me, for it is an ancient rule known to the sages, the great souls who know the sacred law.

"Long ago women were not at all restricted, O lovely one. Women were self-reliant in those remote times and could go where they liked and enjoy in their own way. From childhood, fine lady, they were not faithful to their husbands, and yet their behavior was not irreligious, for that was the religious principle of those former days.

"Even today those of the animal species follow that ancient rule, without lust or rivalry. [Similarly, the women of those remote times were by nature pure and innocent, free of lust and uncorrupted by their contact with men. Likewise, men were not jealous or possessive with women. It was a golden age of highly advanced human beings. The great sages recognized this purity of the people.] Therefore they honored this liberal law, which is also seen in the Purana scriptures.

"Even today, shapely woman, this principle exists among certain of the northern Kurus. It is an eternal rule that is very kind to women. O sweet-smiling one, hear from me in detail why and by whom our current moral code was established in this world, not long ago. We have heard that there was a great sage named Uddalaka whose son was known as Svetaketu, "the sage of the white flag." It is this Svetaketu, according to Vedic authority, who established restrictions on human sexuality. He did so out of anger, my lotus-eyed lady, and I shall tell you how it came about.

"Once a brahmana grabbed the hand of Svetaketu's mother in the presence of her husband and ordered her, `Come, let us go, just the two of us!' Svetaketu happened to arrive on the scene, and when he saw his mother being led away as if by force he exploded with rage. Seeing his son Svetaketu so furious, the father, Uddalaka, told him, `My dear son, don't become angry. This brahmana is acting according to the principles of religion. Women of all social orders are unrestricted on the earth. Just as cows and bulls mix freely, so do the creatures of all species and social groups.'

"But the sage's son could not tolerate this principle, and he established a moral law for male and female among human beings, but not other creatures. We hear from authorities, O fortunate lady, that since then, that law has been in effect. Svetuketu declared: `From this day on, women who offend their husband by adultery commit a sin equal to killing the embryo in the womb, and their deed shall bring them to grief. A man will surely fall by the very same sin when he offends by adultery a devoted and religious wife. And this very sin will arise for a wife who refuses when her husband enjoins her to have a child.'

"O timid one, it was thus Uddalaka's son Svetaketu who, by his spiritual strength, established these moral laws in the olden days. We also hear, O shapely one, that on the order of Saudasa, his wife Madayanti, "the enchantress," went to the sage Vasista, and with the desire to please her husband, that shy woman obtained from the sage a son named Asmaka. O lotus-eyed, you know that I myself was begotten in a similar way by Krsna-dvaipayana so that the Kuru dynasty might flourish.

"O faultless lady, considering all these examples, you should carry out my lawful instruction.

"Dear daughter of a king, you are so strict in your chaste vow, but whenever a woman comes into her fertile season, she is not to ignore her husband's request. Knowers of the sacred law know this to be the law. At all other times, a woman deserves to make her own decision. The saintly persons recognize this to be the ancient rule. O daughter of a king, that which a husband says to his wife, be it traditional or unusual, must be done. Knowers of the law understand this principle. And it is especially the case when the husband hankers for a son, yet has lost his own power of begettting. Dear princess of faultless limbs, that is my situation, and you know how I yearn to see my son.

"Good woman, I cup my red nailed hands like lotus petals, and placing them on my head in supplication, I beseech your mercy. O lovely-tressed lady, at my behest approach a brahmana who is greater than me in his vows and austerity and beget sons endowed with every noble quality. With your help, broad woman, I will surely go to the blessed land reserved for the fathers of good sons."

Determined to help her husband and to please him, that lovely woman of tapering thighs then replied to her Pandu, who had conquered the cities of all impious kings: "While living as a young girl in my father's house, I was engaged in serving the respected guests who came to our kingdom. Once I received the fierce brahmana Durvasa, who is so strict in his vows. Durvasa possesses frightening power and is extremely dangerous when displeased. It is moreover most difficult to understand what will please or displease him. I made every possible effort to serve him nicely, and at last that strict seer was satisfied. He gave me a boon and revealed a set of mantras invested with mystic power, and he said this to me, `Whatever demigod you care to summon with this mantra, he will certainly come under your control, willing or unwilling.'

O Bharata, that brahmana thus spoke when I was still in my father's house. His words are true, and the time has come. O mighty, saintly king, with your permission, I shall summon a god with this mantra so that we may have a child. You know best what is right and true. Tell me, which god shall I summon? Know that I simply await your permission, for I am determined to carry out this mission.

Pandu said:

This very day, O statuesque woman, you must act, and by the rule! Bring to you the god Dharma, good lady, for he among all the gods is devoted to virtue. Dharma would never join us in this endeavor, were it unjust or evil. O statuesque lady, thus the world will conclude, "This act was lawful." Our little son will undoubtedly be the very image of justice for the Kurus. When he is given to us by Dharma, the lord of justice, his mind will never delight in adharma, injustice. Therefore, making dharma, virtue, our first priority, you must concentrate, sweet-smiling one. With reverence and mystic mantra, seek the blessings of Dharma.

Vaisampayana said:

When Kunti was thus addressed by her husband, that excellent woman replied, "So be it!" She offered him her heartfelt obeisances and with his permission, respectfully circumambulated him.

AP 114

Vaisampayana said:

My dear King Janamejaya, after a year of pregnancy, Dhrtarastra's wife Gandhari still had not given birth to a child. At that time Kunti summoned the unfailing Dharma so that she herself could become pregnant.

Kunti quickly offered an oblation to Dharma and carefully chanted the mantra given to her years ago by Durvasa Muni. Joining with Dharma, who appeared in his true form as a devoted servant of the Lord, the statuesque princess obtained as her son the best of all that breathe.

Exactly at noon, at a most auspcious moment, when the moon is especially benevolent and the stars foretell pious victory, Kunti gave birth to a son of glorious fame. As soon as he was born, an invisible voice spoke from the heavens: "Among all who faithfully follow the laws of God, this child is undoubtedly the best. The first-born son of Pandu will be known as Yudhisthira, "steady in battle," and his fame as a monarch will spread throughout the universe. Fully endowed is he with fame, strength, and kindness."

Having obtained a virtuous child as his first son, Pandu again approached Kunti and said, "It is said that a ksatriya king is pre-eminent in strength. [Our sons will be leaders, and they must have ideal qualities.] Therefore, choose for your boon a son who is the strongest of all men."

Being so instructed by her husband, Kunti summoned the mighty wind-god, Vayu, and from him was born a mighty-armed son named Bhima, "the dreadful one," for he would act with terrifying power. Indeed, Bhima's surpassing strength would never fail, and at his birth a heavenly voice declared, "Of all mighty men, the mightiest has now taken birth."

Indeed soon after his birth, a most amazing incident took place. Still an infant, Bhima once fell from his mother's lap and with his tender limbs pulverized masses of solid stone. On the tenth day after his birth, Kunti had taken her son to a charming lake to bathe him. After bathing him, she went to visit various religious shrines in the area to obtain blessings on her baby. Just as Kunti reached the foot of a mountain and stopped to rest, a huge tiger suddenly emerged from a mountain cave and rushed with deadly speed toward the helpless mother and child. Pandu had been keenly watching his wife as she walked toward the mountain. He always carried his bow and arrows in order to protect his family in the dangerous jungle. As the huge tiger rushed to kill, Pandu, with the prowess of the gods, pulled back his handsome bow and pierced the tiger's body with three deadly arrows. Lunging back into its cave, the mortally wounded beast filled the cavern with his awful roars.

When the tiger attacked, Kunti had jumped up in terror, forgetting that her child slept peacefully on her lap. The infant Bhima fell from her lap and began to role down the slope. He struck the stone mountain with the strength of thunderbolts hurled by mighty Indra. Indeed as Bhima bounced down the slope, solid stone shattered into hundreds of pieces. Seeing his beloved son fall from his mother's lap, Pandu had come running, but when he beheld the shattered stone he was struck with awe.

On the very day that Bhima was born, O lord of the abundant earth, Duryodhana also was born. Soon after Vrkodara's birth Pandu again began to desire another son. "How can I have another excellent son," he thought, "a son who will be most exalted in this world? Success in life depends both on God's blessings and our own honest endeavor. If we carefully follow the laws of God and act at the proper time, surely we can obtain His blessings.

"We have heard that among the demigods who manage our world, Indra is the chief. He is said to possess immeasureable strength, courage, nobility, and splendor. [Surely Indra could give us the greatest son of all.] I shall make a special effort to satisfy Indra by performing austerities, and I shall thus obtain a mighty son. Indeed Indra will give a most exalted son. Yes, I shall perform very difficult austerities with my body, mind, and speech [to convince mighty Indra of our sincerity]."

Pandu discussed his plan with the great sages and he then instructed Kunti to observe an auspicious vow for one year. And with utmost concentration, Pandu underwent a grueling austerity, standing on one leg without rest from sunrise to sunset, determined to gain the favor of Lord Indra, the chief of the thirty principle demigods. After a long time, O Bharata, Indra addressed the virtuous Kuru king: "I shall give you a son who will be celebrated throughout the universe. That excellent child will fulfill the mission of the gods, the brahmanas, and his own loved ones, for I shall give unto you the first of sons, and he will vanquish all who oppose him."

Hearing these words from Lord Indra, and keeping them in his mind, the noble Pandu said to Kunti, "O sweet-smiling wife, we have received the mercy of the king of gods. O shapely wife, call him now and beget a son who contains all the fire and might of the warrior race, a great soul who will be strict in moral principles, brilliant as the sun, invincible in battle, dynamic, and exceedingly wondrous to behold."

At these words, that illustrious lady called Indra, and the king of gods came to her and begot Arjuna. As soon as the child, was born an invisible voice spoke out in such deep, clear tones that the heavens resounded with the message: "O Kunti, this child shall bring glory to your name, for he will be as invincible as his mighty father, Indra. Indeed, his power and courage will equal that of kings like Kartavirya and Sibi.

"Just as the Supreme Lord Visnu gave ever-increasing pleasure to His mother Aditi [when He advented as Vamana], similarly your son Arjuna, who is like Visnu Himself, will increase your happiness more and more. He will subude Madra warriors, along with the Kekayas and the warriors of Cedi, Kasi, and Karusa, and thus he will establish the authority of the Kuru dynasty. By the strength of his arms, the god of fire will be fully satisfied by consuming all the creatures of the Khandava forest.

"This powerful leader of his people will heroically conquer the regional rulers of the earth and then with his brothers perform three great religious sacrifices. O Kunti, your son will be fierce in battle like Parasurama himself, and his deeds as glorious as those of primeval Visnu. Arjuna will be the very best of heroes, and none will defeat him, for he will secure unto himself the most advanced celestial weapons. Thus this best of men will bring back the glory and opulence of his dynasty."

Resting in the maternity room, Kunti heard these most extraordinary words which Vayu himself vibrated in the sky. Hearing these loud declarations, the greatest joy arose among the learned ascetics of Hundred Peaks. And so Lord Indra himself, with all the demigods, great sages, and other denizens of heaven, began to celebrate the birth of his earthly son. Celestial drums sounded forth, and a joyful tumult filled the skies. Showers of flowers floated to earth from the heavenly abodes as communities of demigods and godly beings, shouting congratulations, gathered to honor the exalted son of Prtha.

There were the celestial serpent sons of Kadru, and great birds owing their lineage to Vinata; the Gandharvas, Apsaras, all the lords of creatures, and the seven great sages; and seers like Bharadvaja, Kasyapa, Gautama, Visvamitra, Jamadagni, Vasista, and he who rises when the great light-maker sets. And Atri, the godly sage, came too.

There was Marici, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Daksa, progenitor of many creatures. Adorned in celestial garlands and garments, with jewels and all kinds of adornments, Apsara maidens sang and danced in honor of the frightening warrior, Arjuna. And the Gandharvas, led by handsome Tumburu, loudly sang his glory.

Among them were Bhimasena, Ugrasena, Urnayu, Anagha, Gopati, and Dhrtarastra, and Suryavarca as the seventh; also Yugapa, Trnapa, Karsni, Nandi, and Citraratha; Salisira was the thirteenth, Parjanya the fourteenth; the fifteenth was Kali, and the sixteenth Narada; there was Sad, Brhad, Brhaka, and the celebrated Karala; Brahmacari, Bahuguna, and Suparna, of wide fame; Visvavasu, Bhumanyu, Sucandra, as the tenth, and also the illustrious Haha and Huhu, who are gifted with the sweetest of songs. These were the godly Gandharvas who there sang to the best of men.

With wide-open eyes and all kinds of jewels and adornments, the most fortunate Apsaras joyfully danced and lifted their voices in song. Their names were Anuna, Anavadya, Priyamukhya, Gunavara, and Adrika; also Saci, Misrakesi, and Alambusa; Marici, Sucika, Vidyutparna, Tilottama, Agnika, Laksana, Ksema, Devi, Rambha, and Manorama; Asita, Subahu, Supriya, Suvapu, Pundarika, Sugandha, Suratha, and Pramathini; Kamya and Saradvati--- all danced there in groups; Menaka, Sahajanya, Parnika, and Punjikasthala; Kratusthala, Ghrtaci, Visvaci, and Purvacitti; the renowned Umloca and Pramloca completed a group of ten, with Urvasi as the eleventh, and these maidens sang with wide and lovely eyes.

All the Adityas were there, glowing like the flames of a fire: Dhata, Aryama, Mitra, Varuna, Amsa, Bhaga, Indra, Vivasvan, Pusa, Tvasta, Savita, Parjanya, and Lord Visnu. Situated in the sky, they heightened the glories of the son of Pandu.

Also present were Mrgavyadha, Sarva, the renowned Nirrti, Aja Ekapad, Ahi, Budhnya, and Pinaki, burner of foes. O Lord of the earth, there was Dahana, Isvara, Kapali, Sthanu, and Lord Bhava and the Rudras. Attending all around were the twin Asvins, the eight Vasus, the mighty Marut wind-gods, the Visvedevas, and the Sadhyas. Karkotaka, Sesa, Vasuki the serpent, Kacchapa, Apakunda, and the large serpent Taksaka---these and many other serpents, endowed with fiery strength and terrible anger, all came and participated in the festivities. The sons of Vinata were present there: Tarksya, Aristanemi, Garuda, Asitadhvaja, Aruna, and Aruni. Seeing this great wonder, all the exalted sages of Hundred Peaks were astonished, and they showed even greater affection and admiration for the sons of Pandu.

Pandu himself happily worshiped the Supreme Lord and His appointed representatives. Pleased with his worship, the demigods then addressed that best of kings: "By the mercy of the Supreme Lord, acting through his empowered demigod agents, Justice himself has taken birth as your first son, Yudhisthira; the mighty Wind has appeared as your powerful son Bhima, who will always crush the wicked; and now by the mercy of Indra, Arjuna has appeared as your son, endowed with all the potency of Lord Indra. Surely there is none more pious than you, for the gods themselves have become the fathers of your children. You are free of your debt to the forefathers, and you willl attain the heavenly abode, for the merit of piety is yours to enjoy." Having thus spoken, all the demigods departed as they had come.

King Pandu, overjoyed by his blessings, was still not satiated, but rather felt encouraged to pursue further his intense yearning for exalted children. Again, therefore, the illustrious monarch requested his lovely and shapely wife Kunti to beget a child, but this time Kunti adamantly refused and spoke the following words:

"Even in times of crisis, authorities do not allow a woman to approach four different men. If I approach another man, I shall certainly become a fallen woman. A fifth time and I would become an ordinary harlot. Pandu, you speak like a madman. How can you think to violate my honor like this for the sake of another son, knowing as you do our religious principles? We should remember those principles!"

"Yes," said Pandu, "you are right. The religious principle is exactly as you've stated it."

AP 115

Vaisampayana continued:

After Kunti and Gandhari gave birth to their children, the lovely Madri, daughter of the Madra king, approached her husband, Pandu, in a secluded place and spoke these words: "I have no complaint against you, even if you have treated me unfairly. I have always taken the inferior role, though by right I was to be honored. Nor was I unhappy or jealous when I heard that Gandhari gave birth to a hunred sons. But allow me to tell you what makes me very, very unhappy. Although I am equal to these women, yet I have no children! It is our good fortune that Kunti has given you sons to preserve your family line. If she could possibly arrange for me to give you sons also, this would be the greatest blessing for me and good for you as well. Because of my natural rivalry with Kunti, I cannot bring myself to ask her, but if you are in any way pleased with me after all these years you should personally convince her."

Pandu said:

My dear Madri, you know that the desire for children is ever turning in my heart. I dared not ask you to do this because I was not certain whether you would be pleased with the idea or not. But now that I know your feelings, I accept personal responsibility to do this for you. I'm sure that Kunti will carry out my instruction.

Vaisampayana said:

Thereafter Pandu again spoke to Kunti in a secluded place and told her, "You must act to preserve my family and bring happiness to the world. You are a good woman, and now, out of your love for me, you must carry out a supreme act of goodness so that I and our forefathers never lose the holy Pinda. For the sake of your good name and glory, perform this difficult task. Even after achieving sovereignity, Lord Indra performed sacrifices, seeking a good reputation. O lovely lady, so do the twice-born knowers of mantras yet undertake grueling austerities and wait upon their gurus for the sake of a good name and glory. Likewise all the saintly seers, brahmanas, and ascetics underwent difficult tasks, large and small, for the sake of true glory. O faultless woman, with the boat of your boon, it is you who must take Madri across the river of her grief. Share the gift of progeny and attain to the highest glory."

Thus addressed, Kunti at once spoke to Madri, "You must think of a deity, one time, and he will undoubtedly bestow on you a child with qualities similar to his own." Hearing these words, Madri began to carefully consider the matter, until finally her mind settled on the twin Asvins, the handsome physicians of the heavenly planets. Kunti then faithfully chanted her powerful mantra, and the twin gods came at once and begot in Madri a set of twins.

Madri's two sons, unequalled in their beauty, became known in this world as Nakula and Sahadeva. As with Pandu's other children, an invisible voice announced their glorious birth: "These two boys will surpass all orthers in their beauty, strength, and kindness. Indeed, they are blessed with extraordinary splendor, stamina, beauty, and wealth."

As these noble Kuru princes were born to Pandu, each one year after the other, the joyful brahmanas bestowed the names: the eldest they called Yudhisthira; the middle son of Kunti, Bhimasena; the third, Arjuna; and they declared the eldest twin of Madri to be Nakula, and the younger Sahadeva. All five possessed great nobility, stamina, courage, strength, and daring. Seeing that his sons were as handsome as gods and very powerful, the monarch rejoiced, and the greatest happiness was his. And the five Pandava boys were loved by all the sages who dwelled in Hundred Peaks, and by all their saintly wives.

Then Pandu again spoke to Kunti, requesting that Madri be allowed to use the special mantra again. As they sat alone together, the chaste Prtha replied, "I invoked the mantra only once on her behalf, and yet she obtained two children. Somehow I feel cheated by that. I fear that Madri will surpass me. I am sorry, but that is the nature of women. I was so foolish. I didn't know that by calling two gods it was possible to get two sons at once. Therefore, I should not be ordered by you to do this. Please give me that benediction."

[Pandu agreed.] Thus all five God-given sons were born to King Pandu. Each of them possessed great strength, all would be glorified for their heroic deeds, and all would increase the prosperity and influence of the Kuru dynasty. Their bodies were marked with auspicious signs, and they were as agreeable to the sight as the placid moon. Proud as lions, they possessed deadly skills with the bow and arrow. They walked with the confident gait of lions, and their necks were as strong as a lion's. They were the natural leaders of society, and as they grew to maturity their heroic deeds revealed their godly origins. Growing up in the holy Himalaya range, the five constantly amazed the saints who resided there with them. In fact, both the five Pandavas and the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra grew quickly, like lotus flowers quickly rising up in clear waters.

As soon as the sons of Pandu came into this world, the ascetic inhabitants of Hundred Peaks immediately accepted them within their community, treating them as if they were their own children. Meanwhile, the members of the Vrsni dynasty, headed by Vasudeva, discussed among themselves as follows: "Frightened by a brahmana's curse, Pandu journeyed to Hundred Peaks and there became an ascetic, dwelling with the sages. He has lived on forest vegetables, roots, and fruits, performed austerities, carefully controlled his senses, and fully devoted himself to mystic meditation on the form of the Lord within the heart. So has the king lived."

[The Vrsni leader, Vasudeva, was Kunti's brother and Pandu's brother-in-law.] And the many Vrsni warriors, with their friends and allies, shared a great love for Pandu, so much that as they heard and discussed the news of his condition, their hearts were torn by grief. "When will we hear good news about Pandu?" they lamented.

Even as the Vrsnis and their friends were thus grieving, they heard that [Pandu, despite the brahmana's curse] had become the father of worthy sons, all of them were filled with joy. Celebrating among themselves, they spoke these words to Vasudeva, "The mighty sons of Pandu must not be deprived of the proper religious ceremonies. O Vasudeva, you ever seek their welfare and affection. Send the royal priest to them!"

"So be it!" said Vasudeva, and he sent the royal priest, together with many gifts appropriate for young boys. Remembering Kunti and Madri, he also sent cows, gold, and silver, and he dispatched servants, maidservants, and gifts for the home. When all these gifts were ready, the priest took them and departed.

When King Pandu, who had conquered the cities of his enemies, saw that the royal priest Kasyapa, the best of brahmanas, had come to them in the forest, he received him with full honor, strictly observing the protocol. Kunti and Madri were joyous, and they praised Vasudeva. Pandu then had the priest perform all the religious rites for the birth of his sons, and Kasyapa did all that was required and all that was beneficial. He cut the hair of those illustrious princes, whose gaze was as fearless as that of a bull. He initiated them as serious students of the Vedic science, and they excelled in their studies.

AP 116

Vaisampayan continued:

Then, watching his five beautiful sons grow up in the great Himalaya forests, Pandu rejoiced, and he protected the boys with his own powerful hands. Once, at the height of spring when the forest was ablaze with colorful new blossoms, King Pandu began to wander about the woods with his faithful wife Madri. So lovely and sensuous was that forest that it could enchant the mind of any creature.

The lovely forest was alive with the fruits and flowers of blossoming coral and palm trees, glorybowers, mango, and heavenly campaka. The colorful scenery sparkled with cooling springs, rivers, and lotus-filled lakes, and as Pandu contemplated the forest, mind-meddling Cupid arose in his heart.

Madri was dressed in bright garments. She saw Pandu sporting there like a demigod, his handsome face bright with affection, and she followed behind him. Pandu observed his youthful wife walking along in her thin dress, and his desire now grew like a fire that flames up from the depths of its fuel. Alone with Madri in that secluded dale, Pandu saw the same fire burn in Madri's heart, and as he peered into her lovely eyes he could no longer control his desire, for it had taken over his very life.

In that secluded forest the monarch pressed down his wife by force. The goddess writhed and struggled with all her strength to stop him, but desire had already possessed him, and Pandu remembered nothing of the curse as by force he went upon Madri in the act of love. As if to end his life, the great Kuru monarch, throwing off his long fear of the curse, fell under the sway of mind-churning Cupid and went upon his beloved by force.

[God is said to be the force of time which carries away all things in this world.] Destiny, as revealed through time, so harassed Pandu'ss senses and bewildered his intelligence, that he lost his reason, and even his ordinary awareness. O Kuru child, even as he united with his wife, that most virtuous king was joined to the inexorable workings of time.

Tightly embracing the unfeeling king, Madri wailed in agony. Again and again her tormented cries pierced the forest sky until Kunti came running with all five boys to see what was wrong. As they came near the fallen king, Madri cried out to Kunti, "Come here alone! The children must stay where they are!"

Hearing these words, Kunti held the children back and proceeded alone. [Knowing intuitively what had happened,] she moaned to herself: "My life is over! My life is finished!" Then she saw Pandu and Madri lying on the ground, and every one of Kunti's limbs was siezed with sorrow, and she wailed in pain.

"I always protected him!" she sobbed, "and he was a self-realized soul, in full control of himself. O Pandu, you knew that the forest brahmana had cursed you. How could you violate the curse?" [Trembling with pain, Kunti turned to Madri.]

"You of all people, Madri, were meant to protect the king. How could you lust for him in this secluded forest? The poor king was always worried about the curse. How could he be so agitated with desire that he would came to you in a secluded place? O Madri, you are blessed; you are far more fortunate than I. You have seen Pandu's face in his rapture of desire."

Madri said:

The king was allured by me, but I tried again and again to stop him. But he would not turn back, as if he himself would make the brahmana's words come true."

Kunti said:

I am the oldest of his religious wives, and if our years of faithful service are to bear fruit, then the first reward is for the eldest. Do not turn me back, Madri, from that which must come to be. I am going to follow our lord who has now passed way. You should rise now! You can let go of him, [for I shall die with Pandu on the funeral pyre.] Take care of these children!

Madri said:

I must follow my husband, for he will not return. My desires for him were not satisfied. As my senior, please let me do it! The great Bharata king was approaching me with desire at the moment of his death. How could I thwart his love, even in the halls of Yamaraja? And were I to remain in this world, Kunti, I could not treat your children like my own. I will act out my real character and thus, noble lady, evil would truly lay hands on me. Therefore, Kunti, you must take care of my boys like your sons, for you can actually do it. After all, the king was longing for me when he passed away. My body is to be burned on the funeral pyre along with that of the king. The bodies must be completely covered. O noble woman, do me this kindness! Be careful, and do what is best for the children! I see nothing else to be said.

Vaisampayana said:

Pandu was the best of men, and the daughter of the Madra king loved him with a sacred vow. Now that famous woman hurriedly mounted his funeral pyre.

AP 117

Vaisampayana continued:

The great and godly sages performed the avabhrtha bath to conclude the funeral rites for Pandu. Thereafter they came together and took counsel.

"King Pandu gave up his kingdom and country and came here to undertake austerities under the shelter of the ascetics. That noble soul, that great ascetic, has now left his young sons and wife under our care and has gone to the spiritual world."

The ascetics of Sata-srnga, kind and self-realized men dedicated to the welfare of all creatures, placed the interest of Pandu's sons before their own and decided to leave their peaceful forest retreat and escort Pandu's family back to Hastinapura, the capital, and entrust them to Bhisma and Dhrtarastra. Taking the remains of his body, and of Madri's, the ascetics departed immediately with Pandu's wife and sons.

Kunti was joyful by nature, and although she faced a long journey, as an affectionate mother she thought about her children and the long road seemed very short. Before much time had passed she found herself once again in Kuru-jangala, the country of the Kurus. The illustrious lady approached the capital and arrived at the city gate known as Vardhamana.

When the city folk heard that thousands of Caranas and learned sages had arrived, they were filled with wonder. As soon as the sun rose, the men of the city, accompanied by their wives, went out to see the ascetics, eager to receive their distinguished guests according to the generous principles of sacred law. Delegations of women and warriors rode out on crowds of vehicles, along with brahmana men and their wives. Similarly, groups of merchants and workers poured out of the city, and in the midst of the mighty tumult, not a single person was jealous or disturbed, for all the citizens were spiritually minded people.

So too Bhisma, son of Santanu, Somadatta Bahlika, Dhrtarastra (the saintly king who had served with the eye of wisdom in Pandu's absence), and Vidura all came in person. Pandu's famous mother, Ambalika, accompanied by godly Satyavati, and Gandhari and all the women of the royal palace all came out together. The sons and heirs of Dhrtarastra, headed by Duryodhana, well-adorned with colorful ornaments, and numbering one hunred, came to greet the sages. All bowed their heads to the ground before the host of illustrious sages, and all the Kauravas, together with their royal priests, seated themselves near the sages. In the same manner the capital residents and country folk bowed to the sages, touching their heads to the ground, and sat near the Kauravas.

Seeing thatthe mass of people were sitting in complete silence, Bhisma then respectfully offered the kingdom and country to the great sages. The oldest ascetic, with his matted locks and deerskin, stood up, and knowing the feelings of the other sages, the mighty seer said, "He who was heir to the Kauravya throne, the ruler of men named Pandu, renounced pleasure and property and went hither to Hundred Peaks. He lived a life of celibacy, with high spiritual motives, and so this son of his, Yudhisthira, was begotten by Dharma himself, the god of justice! Similarly, the wind-god gave to that great soul and king a very powerful son named Bhima, who is most distinguished among powerful men. Lord Indra begot in Kunti this boy Arjuna, whose bold prowess lies in his dedication to the highest truth. It is his glory that he will defeat all the bow-wielding warriors of the world. And Madri begot twin sons by the twin Asvin gods. Her two sons, the very pride of the Kuru dynasty, are the young boys standing here with bow and arrows, tigers among men.

"Thus while living in the forest, constantly devoted to the religious path, the illustrious Pandu has again raised up and exalted the family of his forefathers. Seeing his sons take birth, grow, and flourish, and seeing them learn their Vedic lessons, he felt happiness and love ever swell in his heart. Yet even as he walked the path of the saints, and obtained the gift of good sons, Pandu passed away to the blessed land of his fathers seventeen days ago.

"Knowing him to be on the funeral pyre, a sacred offering in the mouth of the holy flame, Madri too entered the fire, rejecting her own mortal life. She is with him now, having followed him to his world. Whatever is to be done for her soul and his, let it be done at once!

"Here are the remains of their bodies, and here are their excellent sons. Let these courageous young men and their mother be received with ceremony, honor, and kindness, and when the rites for the departed are done, may he who knew everything of virtue and justice, he who raised up the Kuru nation, may the illustrious Pandu receive the sacred oblations offered to the departed fathers."

Having spoken thus to the Kurus, the sages, together with the Caranas and Guhyakas, instantly vanished before the very eyes of the Kurus. Seeing the multitude of sages and perfected mystics vanish like a magical Gandharva city-in-the-sky, the people were struck with the greatest of wonder.


King Dhrtarastra said:

Vidura, arrange all the funeral rites for Pandu and see that they are worthy of a king, for he was a lion among kings. And take special care for Madri. On behalf of Pandu and Madri, give presents of animals, garments, jewels, and different valuables to anyone in need, and as much as they need. Kunti always honors her superiors, so now following her example, you must honor Madri. Her body must be so well covered that even the Wind and Sun cannot see her. May we not grieve over Pandu, but rather rejoice in his praises, for he was a glorious leader of men, who lives in his five heroic sons, who were born like sons of the gods.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

"So be it," said Vidura to his brother, and together with Bhisma, he arranged all the sacraments for Pandu in a most discreet area. The royal priests quickly brought from the city blazing sacred fires headed by the Ajyahoma. They adorned his bier with all the best scents and garlands of the season, and covered it with cloth on all sides, and it shone with the finest garlands, fabrics, and valuable jewels. His relatives, close friends, and royal ministers stood near in prayerful attendance on the departed one, and when the lion among kings was placed in an exquisitely adorned vehicle drawn by an honor guard of men, they took him away, fully covered, with Madri at his side. The beautiful scene was enhanced by the the royal white umbrella, white yak-tail fans, and the stirring sounds of all kinds of instruments. Men by the hundreds carried heaps of jewels by the hundreds and distributed them to those in need on behalf of Pandu, so that his charity might speed him to a godly destination. Then for Pandu's sake, they brought (for distribution) large and shining white umbrellas and beautiful garments.

White robed sacrifial priests poured oblations into the flaming sacred fires that moved along in front of the funeral wagon. Teachers, rulers, merchants, and workers, by the thousands, sobbing and stricken with grief, followed their fallen king. "He has left us," they cried, "placing us in unending grief. The greatest protector no longer protects us. Where will our monarch go now?"

Crying out in grief, all the Pandavas, with Bhisma and Vidura, set down, in a lovely corner of the forest on the bank of the Ganges, the funeral bier of Madri and Pandu, the lion of kings, ever truthful, and ever victorious. Then when his body had been adorned with all the finest scents, annointed with the purest yellow sandalwood, and bathed with the finest bath oils, they quickly sprinkled it with water from golden pots and then spread on the finest white sandalwood paste, and Tunga juice mixed with aloe. Then they wrapped him up in sparkling white cloth produced in his own country. Covered by the cloth, that leader of men appeared as if still living, and he shone even as he lay in his most valuable bed, which was worthy of such a tiger among men.

The sacrificial priests, learned in the rituals for the departed, then gave their permission, and the bodies of the king and Madri, annointed with ghee, finely adorned and scented with very fragrant sandalwood mixed with tunga, padmaka, and many other costly fragrances, were set ablaze. Seeing the two bodies on fire, Pandu's mother cried out, "My son! O God, my son!" and stunned with grief, suddenly collapsed onto the earth. Seeing her fallen in such agony, all the capital residents and the countryfolk cried out at once with heart-rending sounds, for they loved the king, and the sight of his mother tore at their souls. Joining mankind, all the creatures, even the poor animals, let out their anguished cries, as if their lives were leaving them.

Bhisma, son of Santanu, the broad-minded Vidura, and all of the Kauravas wailed from the depths of their grief. Then Bhisma, Vidura, King Dhrtarastra, their relatives, and all the Kuru women made the offering of sacred water for the departed. O king, when the sons of Pandu had made their offering of sacred water and were pale and drawn from lamentation, all the government officials, themselves lamenting, surrounded the boys. That night, the young sons of Pandu simply lay down and slept there on the bare earth, and all the citizens, headed by the brahmanas, did not return to their homes; they lay there with them on the empty ground. For twelve nights the entire city, down to the little children, remained there with the Pandavas. There was no pleasure, nor did anyone feel sound or healthy, nor was there joy in a single heart.

AP 119

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then Vidura, King Dhrtarastra, Bhisma, and the rest of the family offered Pandu the sacred offering of food and nectar meant for the departed. They fed the Kuru people and the qualified brahmanas by the thousands, giving to the very best brahmanas excellent villages and heaps of jewels. When the Pandavas, the pride of the Bharata line, had cleansed themselves and put on new garments, the citizens took them along and entered the city of Hastinapura. Constantly grieving for the departed Bharata chief, the capital residents and countryfolk all felt as if their own friend and kin had died.

At the completion of the sraddha ceremony for the departed, Vyasadeva, seeing the people bewildered with grief, and his own mother Satyavati agonizing over the loss, he said to his mother, "The happy times are passed, and dreaded times are coming quickly upon us. Now each new day will bring greater sin, for the earth has lost her innocent youth. Utterly infested with delusion, crowded and choking with hypocrisy, a terrible age is coming, and it will be the ruin of religion, sacrifice, and ideal conduct.

"You must go now. Take up the life of renunciation by linking yourself with God, and live in the forest with the ascetics. I do not want you to see the tragic devastation of your dynasty."

"So be it," she said, in complete agreement with her son. Satyavati then entered the quarters of her daughter-in-law and said, "Ambika, we have heard that the Bharata men, with their relatives and grandsons, will all perish, and it will happen by the wicked counsel of your son, Dhrtarastra. Let us take your sister, who is tortured with grief over the death of her son Pandu, and if you think it is all right, let us go to the forest and seek the blessings of the Supreme Lord."

"So be it," replied Ambika. O Bharata king, ever true to her vows, Satyavati then received final permission from her stepson Bhisma, and taking her two daughters-in-law with her, she went to the forest. O best of the Bharatas, living in the forest, those godly women performed the most difficult and frightening austerities, and giving up their mortal bodies, they all achieved the highest spiritual perfection.

The Pandavas, living in their father's house, were trained in all the Vedic reformatory ceremonies meant to sanctify human life, and they steadily grew, enjoying all the pleasures of a princely life. In their father's house, they played with the sons of Dhrtarastra, and in all the games that children play, the Pandavas excelled their cousins. In racing, hitting a target, eating, and raising dust, Bhimasena soundly defeated all the sons of Dhrtarastra. He would joyfully grab them by the tufts of hair above their ears as they played, and holding their heads down, the Pandava boy would have them fight one another. All the sons of Dhrtarastra were very powerful boys, trained and destined to be fighters and kings, but Vrkodara, Bhima, all alone, would push and defeat them all, with little trouble, even though they numbered 101. With his great strength, he would grab them by their legs, pull them down, and drag them yelling on the ground, scraping their knees, heads, and faces. Playing in the water, he would embrace ten of them with his arms, remain submerged in the water until they were almost drowning, and then release them. When they would climb a tree to collect fruits, Bhima would strike the tree with his foot and make it shake. When the tree was struck so forcefully by Bhima, the dizzy boys immediately slipped and fell down with their armfuls of fruit. In combat, in racing, in drills and gymnastics, the boys could never win against Bhima, though they tried to defeat him.

Although Bhima always competed with the sons of Dhrtarastra, he had no desire to hurt his cousins. Rather, he acted with the natural enthusiasm of a young boy. But his cousins developed a terrible hatred for him, which he in no way felt toward them. Observing that Bhimasena was becoming most renowned for his strength, one fierce warrior son of Dhrtarastra began to show a wicked attitude toward Pandu's second son. Turning away from virtue, this son of Dhrtarastra began to contemplate evil deeds. So deluded was he by greed for power, that a sinful mind arose in him.

"Bhima is the mightiest of men, and since I cannot kill him fairly, I will destroy by trickery the middle son of Kunti and Pandu. Then, by capturing and locking up by force his older brother Yudhisthira, and his younger brother Arjuna, I shall rule the earth and all its riches."

Having made up his mind, that sinful man named Duryodhana began to constantly look for opportunities to assasinate the great soul Bhimasena.

Then, to engage in water sports, O Bharata, Duryodhana had large and colorful cloth tents erected on a bank of the Ganges near Pramana-koti. All the cousins went there, and when their play was finished, they put on fresh clothes and attractive jewelry and silently enjoyed heaping plates of sumptuous food that satisfied all one's desires. When day was done, the Kuru princes, exhausted from a long day of sports, eagerly entered their tents to rest. Having won all the contests and games, even mighty Bhima was fatigued. That powerful prince had carried all the other boys during their games within the water. Eager to bed down for the night, he climbed up on the raised earth where their tents were built, and slept on the fertile land of Pramana-koti. Tired, and dizzy from drinking, O king, the son of Pandu, dressed in white cloth, slept unmoving like a dead body.

Duryodhana then silently approached Bhima in the black of night and bound him up with strong cords made from crawling plants. He pushed him off the camping plateau down into the deep water below as it rushed by with fearful force, like that of Bhima himself. Waking up within the rushing waves of the Ganges, the son of Kunti, the best of fighters, snapped apart the binding cords, and climbed out of the water.

Another time, while Bhima slept, Duryodhana brought highly venemous serpents, with sharp fangs and furious mood, and had them bite deeply into all of the weak and mortal parts of Bhima's body. But even when those terrible serpents angrily sank their fangs into the softest parts of Bhima's body, they could not pierce his skin, for his broad-chested body was as hard as iron. Bhima then awoke and crushed all the snakes, and in the process struck his favorite chariot driver with the back of his hand.

On another occasion, Duryodhana threw into Bhima's food fresh Kalakuta poison, so deadly that to hear about it makes one's hair stand on end. Yuyutsu, son of a vaisya mother, wanted to save the sons of Partha, and so he told them what had happened. But Bhima had already eaten the food, and without suffering any effect, he simply digested it. That most virulent poison could not produce any effect in Bhima, for his body was so powerful that it consumed the poison.

Thus by various schemes and plots, Duryodhana, Karna, and Sakuni, son of Subala, tried to assasinate the sons of Pandu. O tamer of the foe, the Pandavas discerned all that was happening, but staunchly following the advice of Vidura, they did not expose their knowledge.

Seeing that the children's play was becoming too violent, King Dhrtarastra looked for a guru to educate the boys and eventually turned them over to Gautama, also known as Krpa, a master of the Vedic literature, who had taken birth from a clump of grass.

AP 120

King Janamejaya said:

Great brahmana, kindly explain to me Krpa's origin. How could he take birth from a clump of grass, and how did he acquire his expert knowledge of weapons?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Once the great seer Gautama had a son who was born with arrows and hence was named Saradvan, O mighty king. The mind of this child was not inspired to study the religious texts of the Vedas, but rather the Vedic texts which teach the military science. Just as by austerity, the religious scholars master the Vedas, so by serious austerity did that child acquire expertise in all kinds of weapons. Wholly dedicated to the Dhanur Veda (the military science), empowered by endless austerities, the son of Gautama greatly disturbed Lord Indra, king of the gods. O Kaurava, the lord of the celestials then dispatched a heavenly maiden named Jalapadi, telling her, "You must go and break the austierities of that sage!"

She approached the charming hermitage of Saradvan, and finding him with bow and arrows in hand, she enticed that son of Gautama. Seeing the Apsara maiden, who had but a single cloth to cover a figure unmatched in this world, the son of Gautama stared with wide-open eyes. His prized bow and arrows slipped from his hands and fell to the ground, for simply by seeing that young girl, his whole body trembled. Because of his continuous austerities, he had developed very heavy spiritual knowledge, and with his utmost self-discipline, that sage of great learning stood his ground. But with the sudden transformations in his body, the sage unknowingly discharged semen. Leaving his hermitage and the lady behind, the sage went away, and his semen fell into a clump of reeds. Fallen in that clump of reeds, the semen divided into two, O king, and thus twins were born of Saradvan, son of Gautama.

Once when King Santanu was off hunting, one of his soldiers happened to see the twins lying in the forest. Seeing too the bow and arrows that had fallen there, and also the black deer skins, he determined the children to be offspring of a brahmana who had mastered the Dhanur Veda, and he showed the twins and the arrows to the king. The king was filled with compassion, and taking the twins, he went back to his home, declaring, "These two shall be my own children." He then raised them carefully, and he engaged them in the purifying religious rites. Meanwhile, Saradvan, son of Gautama, having escaped the wiles of the Apsara maiden, rededicated himself to the Dhanur Veda, the military science.

"I have carefully raised these two children out of a sense of mercy," thought the king, and he thus named the male child Krpa ("mercy"), and the female Krpi, ("lady mercy"). By his powerful austerities, the son of Gautama, also called Gautama, discovered that he had fathered two children, and he came to the king and explained everything about the birth and lineage of the twins.

Saradvan then taught his son the four branches of the Dhanur Veda and fully explained the use of all kinds of weapons. Within a short time, Krpa became a great teacher, paramacarya, of the military art. From him, the sons of Dhrtarastra and the mighty Pandavas, along with the Vrsnis and other kings who came from many countries, all learned the Dhanur Veda and achieved the exalted warrior status of Maharatha.

AP 121

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Bhisma sought a distinct excellence for his grandsons and desired for them self-discipline and selflessness. Thus he searched about for great teachers of archery and missile warfare renowned for their prowess. No man of small intelligence, or lacking exalted qualities and keen knowledge of weapons, or not as strong and noble as the gods could hope to control the mighty Kuru warriors and train them in the use of weapons.

It so happened that once the great, self-realized sage Bharadvaja happened to be in Hardwar, where the Ganges enters the plains. The illustrious sage, ever strict in his vows, was busy in the work of sacrifice, when he beheld an Apsara, Ghrtaci herself, who had just bathed. All of a sudden, a wind blew past, shaking her garments and dragging them away. The girl had been drinking, and the drink made her bold and careless, and she stood there exposed in all her wonderful youthful beauty. Seeing this, the saintly Drona spilled his semen, but the wise sage gathered up the spilt seed and placed it in a bucket or pot, and from that vessel the wise Drona took birth.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn \plain r228 The word \plain ir228 drona\plain r228 means "pot, bucket," etc. He thoroughly studied all the Vedas with their supplements.

Powerful Bharadvaja, the best of the righteous, taught the weapon of Fire to the lordly Agni-vesya, who was born on the day of glorification of the fire-god. Agni-vesya then taught the same great weapon, the Agneya, to Bharadvaja's son, Drona.

O best of the Bharatas, there was a king named Prsata who was Bharadvaja's friend, and to the king was born a son named Drupada. The son of Prsata was a leader among all the princes, and he used to always go to Bharadvaja's hermitage, where he would play and study with Drona. When Prsata passed away, the mighty-armed Drupada became sovereign king of the North Pancala. The exalted Bharadvaja then ascended to heaven, and the illustrious Drona, by his father's command and by his own desire to have a son, took the hand of Krpi, daughter of Saradvan, in sacred marriage. Krpi, the grandaughter of Gautama, was always fond of sacrifice, religion, and self-control, and it was her fate to obtain Asvatthama as her son.

As soon as this child was born, he sounded forth like Uccaihsrava, the celestial stallion. Hearing this sound, an invisible being standing within inner space said, "This child has sent forth his horselike sound in all directions, and therefore his name will be Asvatthama."

The learned Drona was very pleased with his son, and he remained there where his son was born and devoted himself to the Dhanur Veda. Once he heard that the great soul and warrior Parasurama, son of Jamadagni, desired to give all kinds of wealth to the brahmanas. Upon learning that Lord Parasurama possessed complete mastery of the Dhanur Veda and many divine weapons, Drona decided to beg them in charity and also to beg for instruction in the political science. Thereupon, the great and mighty-armed ascetic departed, surrounded by his austere disciples, fixed in their vows, and they all headed for the glorious mountain called Mahendra, where Lord Parasurama had retired after annihilating the royal class. Approaching Mahendra, the saintly son of Bharadvaja saw Lord Parasurama, protector of the brahmanas, sitting patiently, his senses fully quieted, having already slain his enemies.

Approaching the Lord, Drona, accompanied by his disciples, gave his name, told of his birth in the line of Angira, and respectfully greeted Him by offering his head on the ground at the Lord's lotus feet. Drona then said to Lord Parasurama, who had retired to that forest, "You may thus know me to be Drona, a leader among the brahmanas, and I have come here seeking financial help."

Lord Parasurama said:

My dear ascetic, I have already given everything, all my gold and whatever wealth I had, to the brahmanas. Even the earth goddess herself, till the ends of her oceans, with all her towns and garlands of cities--all of the earth I have given to the sage Kasyapa. All that I have left now is this body of mine, my invaluable missiles, and various other weapons. You choose, Drona! What shall I offer you? Tell me quickly. Choose my weapons or my own body, for I place them at your disposal.

Sri Drona said:

O Bhargava, you should kindly offer me all of your weapons, with all the secrets related to their use, including the art of pulling them back even after they have been launched.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

"So be it," said Lord Parasurama, acting as a brahmana in the line of Bhrgu, and he gave to Drona all his weapons, with their secret rules, and the entire military science. Accepting it all, Drona, best of the twice-born, thus became accomplished in weapons, and he went in great joy to see his dear friend Drupada.


Mahabharata H.J. Resnik

01 - Adi Parva I - II - Maharaja Shantanu Marries the Celestial Ganga
09 - Salya Parva - The Death of Salya
14 - Ashvamedha Parva
16 - Mausala Parva
17 - Mahaprasthanika Parva - Mahaprasthanika Parva...

1 - Adi Parva AP37 - AP57

El Mahabharata
The Mahabharata - neurom.ch
The Mahabharata - bombay.oriental.cam.ac.uk

Mahakali Caves (696):
Mahalanabis, Dilip (2000):
Mahanthappa, Rudresh (1860):
Maharashtrian Brahmin communities (448):

Mahendravarman (2131):
Mahîdhara (1041):
Mahishmati (212):

Fuentes - Fonts


bai_____.ttf - 46 KB
babi____.ttf - 47 KB
bab_____.ttf - 45 KB

inbenr11.ttf - 64 KB
inbeno11.ttf - 12 KB
inbeni11.ttf - 12 KB
inbenb11.ttf - 66 KB
balaram_.ttf - 45 KB
indevr20.ttf - 53 KB

free counters

Disculpen las Molestias
Conceptos Hinduistas (1428)SC

Conceptos Hinduistas (2919)SK · (2592)SK
Aa-Ag · Ah-Am · Ana-Anc · And-Anu · Ap-Ar · As-Ax · Ay-Az · Baa-Baq · Bar-Baz · Be-Bhak · Bhal-Bhy · Bo-Bu · Bra · Brh-Bry · Bu-Bz · Caa-Caq · Car-Cay · Ce-Cha · Che-Chi · Cho-Chu · Ci-Cn · Co-Cy · Daa-Dan · Dar-Day · De · Dha-Dny · Do-Dy · Ea-Eo · Ep-Ez · Faa-Fy · Gaa-Gaq · Gar-Gaz · Ge-Gn · Go · Gra-Gy · Haa-Haq · Har-Haz · He-Hindk · Hindu-Histo · Ho-Hy · Ia-Iq · Ir-Is · It-Iy · Jaa-Jaq · Jar-Jay · Je-Jn · Jo-Jy · Kaa-Kaq · Kar-Kaz · Ke-Kh · Ko · Kr · Ku - Kz · Laa-Laq · Lar-Lay · Le-Ln · Lo-Ly · Maa-Mag · Mah · Mai-Maj · Mak-Maq · Mar-Maz · Mb-Mn · Mo-Mz · Naa-Naq · Nar-Naz · Nb-Nn · No-Nz · Oa-Oz · Paa-Paq · Par-Paz · Pe-Ph · Po-Py · Raa-Raq · Rar-Raz · Re-Rn · Ro-Ry · Saa-Sam · San-Sar · Sas-Sg · Sha-Shy · Sia-Sil · Sim-Sn · So - Sq · Sr - St · Su-Sz · Taa-Taq · Tar-Tay · Te-Tn · To-Ty · Ua-Uq · Ur-Us · Vaa-Vaq · Var-Vaz · Ve · Vi-Vn · Vo-Vy · Waa-Wi · Wo-Wy · Yaa-Yav · Ye-Yiy · Yo-Yu · Zaa-Zy


No hay comentarios:

Correo Vaishnava

Mi foto
Correo Devocional

Archivo del blog