sábado, 17 de abril de 2010

Advaita-vâda, Advaita-vâdî

Contenido - Contents

Rohan Shanti Shukla - Konark Temple

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Advaitavâdî: (sáns. vaiëòava). defensor de la teoría del monismo (ver advaitavada)

Advaita-vâda: (sáns. vaiëòava). the doctrine of non-dualism, monism – the doctrine that emphasizes the absolute oneness of the living entities with God. This is often equated with the Mâyâvâda theory that everything is ultimately one; that there is no distinction whatsoever between the Supreme Absolute and the individual living entities; that the Supreme is devoid of form, personality, qualities, and activities; and that perfection is to merg oneself into the all-pervading impersonal brahma. This doctrine was propagated by Ärî Äaôkarâcârya (see Glossary of Names).

Advaita-vâdî: (sáns. vaiëòava). one who advocates the doctrine of monism (see advaita-vâda).

1 - Adi Parva AP155 - AP192

AP 155

The brahmana said:

King Drupada was a frustrated man, and he journeyed to the dwellings of many a brahmana, seeking the very best of the twiceborn, sages who had perfected the Vedic science of action. He had faith that a powerful son would defend his father and mitigate the grief that afflicted his mind, and he constantly thought, "I don't have outstanding children."

As his sons were born, the discouraged father said, "What a shame are these relatives!" and he was forever sighing, for he yearned to pay back Drona. He fretted over the situation, but no matter how he tried he could find no way to counteract Drona's power, discipline, learning, and deeds with his own warrior strength.

Once, as the king was wandering about the bank of the Ganges where it flows near the Yamuna River, he came upon a sanctified dwelling of brahmanas wherein each sage was fully trained, faithful to his religious vows, and greatly fortunate. Drupada, son of Prsata, particularly noticed two powerful sages named Yaja and Upayaja, who were brothers, peaceful and strict in their vows. Born in the family of Kasyapa, they were advanced in their studies of the Vedas. The two brahmanas, leaders of all the sages there, seemed perfect for Drupada's purpose. Confident that they would save him from his plight, he eagerly served them, satisfying all their desires.

After ascertaining the strength and learning of both, he submitted himself discreetly, to the younger brother, Upayaja, who was particularly firm in his vows, and offered him all that he might desire. Rendering him menial service, addressing him in a most pleasing tone, and arranging all that he wanted, the king honored the sage in the traditional way and then said to him, "Dear brahmana, there must be a process by which I can get a son who will kill Drona. Upayaja, do it for me and I shall give you ten millon cows, or whatever else is very dear to your mind, O illustrious brahmana. I have no doubt about what I want, and I shall give you everything if you will only help me."

At this, the sage replied to him, "I do not care to perform such a rite."

To win his favor, Drupada continued to render him faithful service, and at the end of one year, O king, at the proper moment the exalted brahmana Upayaja said to Drupada in a gentle voice, "My older brother, while strolling in the forest by a waterfall, picked up a fruit that had fallen there, but he did not investigate the purity of the ground. I was following behind him, and I saw my brother's improper behavior. He ate an unclean fruit without any investigation. There were impurities clinging to the fruit, but he did not see them. And when a person does not consider cleanliness in one thing, why should he in another? When we were living in our guru's house and studying the Vedas, my brother would constantly eat other people's leftover alms, praising the quality of the food again and again without the slightest disdain. After carefully studying the matter, I have concluded that my brother is willing to work for profit, so go to him, O king, and he will help you perform your sacrifice."

Hearing these words from Upayaja and not liking them at all, the wise king kept his feelings to himself. After thinking over the matter, he went and worshiped the venerable saint Yaja and said to him, "My lord, engage me in the rite of sacrifice, and I shall certainly give you eighty thousand cows. I have suffered so much because of my conflict with Drona, and you must now bring some happiness to my life. He is the greatest of Vedic scholars, and none is more skilled in the deadly brahmastra weapon. Therefore, when we had a quarrel between friends, he easily defeated me. There is no warrior or commander on the earth who is equal to that wise son of Bharadvaja, who is now the chief military teacher of the Kuru empire.

"His large bow, the length of three outstretched arms, is clearly unique, and when Drona lets fly his impenetrable network of arrows, they simply remove the body of his foe. The son of Bharadvaja has a brilliant mind, and he is an extraordinary archer. With his brahmana's power he will doubtlessly strike down a warrior's strength. He seems to be ordained to cut down the ruling class, as if he were Parasurama himself, and there is no man on earth who can bear the terrible power of his weapons.

"Like fire fed with the butter of rite, he shoots out his brahmana's power; and joining the battle, that first of brahmanas burns up those of the warrior class. It has been ordained by the creator that among brahmanas and kings a brahmana's power is greater. Thus with the mere strength of a king, I am wretched, and so I resort now to the power of brahmanas by approaching you, sir, who are greater than Drona, for you are a supreme scholar in the Vedic science. I must attain a son who is invincible, who can bring down Drona in battle. Do that work for me, Yaja, and I shall select for you ten million cows."

Yaja consented, saying, "So be it," and he began to prepare for the sacrifice. Though Upayaja was unwilling, Yaja urged him to participate, saying, "Do it for your older brother's sake." Finally Upayaja also promised to work the rite for the destruction of Drona. The mighty ascetic Upayaja then briefed the king on the sacrificial procedure that would produce the son he desired.

"O king," he said, "exactly as you desire, your son will be a mighty warrior of extraordinary fire and strength."

King Drupada, determined to have a son who would kill Drona, performed all the sacrificial rites with precision so that the process would be successful. Then at the end of the sacrifice, Yaja called upon Drupada's godly wife.

"Come toward me, queen, daughter-in-law of Prsata, for twin children are ready to have you as their mother."

The godly queen replied:

O brahmana, I'm not quite prepared for the holy act. I have to rinse my mouth, and I'm holding the sacred scents in my hands. Please wait, Yaja, as a favor to me.

Yaja said:

Your priest, Yaja, has already cooked the oblation in the fire, and Upayaja has blessed it with mantra. How then can it not fulfill the purpose of the rite? As for you, you may come forward or stay there as you like.

The brahmana said (to the Pandavas):

When Yaja had thus spoken, he made the sacrificial offering he had prepared so well, and from the fire of sacrifice arose a male child, glowing like the gods. The child was radiant as fire and frightening to behold. He wore a beautiful helmet and armor and was equipped with a sword, a bow, and arrows. He repeatedly let out a thundering warrior cry. He mounted an excellent chariot and went forth on it, and all the people of Pancala who were present there joyously roared their approval.

From the sky a great and invisible being declared, "Now the glory of Pancala is born, a king's son who will drive away the people's fear and banish the king's sorrow, for this child is born to kill Drona!"

Then from the middle of the sacrificial altar arose a beautiful and blessed maiden. All her limbs were lovely to behold, her waist was as attractive as a sacred altar and everything about her was enchanting. Her color and complexion were radiant, for she was an immortal godly being who had taken human form as a Pancala princess.

No other woman on earth could match her supreme beauty. And the fragrance of her body, equal to that of the blue lotus, wafted for many miles. She came forth in an exquisitely mature body with lovely curving hips, and the moment she appeared an invisible voice declared, "This best of all women is known as Krsna, and she is meant to bring many kings to ruin. In due time this thin-waisted woman will carry out the mission of the gods, and because of her, terrible fear will arise among the rulers of the earth."

Hearing this, all the people of Pancala roared like a host of lions, and the abundant earth could hardly bear their weight, so heavy were they with joy. Seeing the twins produced from the sacrifice, Queen Prsati approached Yaja, eager to have her children, and said, "These two must not know anyone but me as their mother."

"So be it," said Yaja, for he desired to please the king.

With full meditation the learned sages then gave names to the two children: "Because this boy is bold and daring (dhrsta) and fiercely courageous (dhrsnu) and because he follows the sacred law and was born from shining light (dyut), this son of Drupada will be called Dhrstadyumna.

"Because this girl will always call upon the name of Lord Krsna, and because her color is dark, she will be called Krsna."

Thus in a great sacrificial rite, twins were born to King Drupada. And Drona, the mighty son of Bharadvaja, brought the Pancala prince to his own home and gave him instruction in the military science. Drona was a brilliant and liberal man. He knew that the future as ordained by God cannot be avoided, and so he acted thus to preserve his own glory.

AP 156

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing all of this, the Pandavas felt as if darts had pierced their hearts, and all of them, mighty warriors, lost their normal composure and seemed to forget themselves. Then the ever truthful Kunti, seeing them so confused and almost unconscious, said to her son Yudhisthira, "We have been living for a long time here in the brahmana's house, Yudhisthira, enjoying the charming city and collecting alms. And we have seen all the lovely forests and groves again and again, O enemy-tamer. If we see them again, they will not give us any more pleasure, nor can we go on collecting alms as before, O Kuru child. I think it good that we visit the land of the Pancalas, if of course you agree. We have never seen that place, son, and it will be quite a pleasant experience. O mighty one, the Pancalas are said to be a generous people who give freely in alms, and we have heard that King Drupada is very kind to brahmanas. I do not think it good for us to stay a long time in one place, so if you agree, my son, let us go straight there.

Yudhisthira Maharaja said:

Whatever you think should be done, I accept as the very best for us. But I don't know if my younger brothers want to travel or not.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Kunti then spoke to Bhimasena, Arjuna, and the twins about the trip, and they all agreed. Then taking permission of the brahmana, Kunti and her sons departed for the charming capital city of the great soul Drupada.

AP 157

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When those great souls, the Pandavas, were living in disguise, Vyasadeva, son of Satyavati, came to see them. Seeing that he had come, those fierce princes rose up from their seats, offered their prostrate obeisances, and, respectfully greeting him, stood reverently before him with folded hands. Thus honored by the Pandavas, the holy sage was pleased and, greeting them in return and bidding them all sit down, spoke to them out of his deep love for the family of Pandu.

"Are you living according to the laws of God, carefully following the holy books? O mighty princes, do you honor without fail the saintly brahmanas and all those who are worthy of honor?"

The saintly Vyasa, an incarnation of the Godhead, then spoke to them about their religious life and their practical plans, and after narrating for them many fascinating histories and tales, he said, "Once in a forest where ascetics dwell, there was a great-souled sage whose daughter was endowed with all good qualities. She was very lovely, with a thin waist, curving hips, and tender brows, but by her activities in a former life she suffered ill fortune and could not find a husband. She was unhappy, and to get a husband she began to perform austerities. By her severe self-denial, she pleased Lord Siva.

"Being satisfied with her, the lord said to the ascetic maiden, `Dear humble girl, I am a giver of blessings, and you may now choose a blessing from me, for I wish all good upon you.'

"The girl was anxious to fulfill her wish, and so again and again she said to the lord, `I desire a husband who has all good qualities.' The eloquent Lord Siva then replied to her, `My sweet child, you will have five husbands.' But the girl replied to Lord Siva, `Please give me just one husband.'

"Lord Siva again spoke to her in the finest language and said, `Five times you told me to give you a husband, and so when you have gone on to your next body, it will be just as you said.'

"That girl recently took birth in the family of King Drupada, and she is as lovely as a goddess. Her name is Krsna, and this faultless maiden, in the line of King Prsata, is destined by the decree of Providence to be the wife of the five Pandavas. Therefore, mighty princes, enter the capital of Pancala, for when you win that girl, you will be very happy without a doubt."

Having thus spoken, the greatly fortunate grandfather of the Pandavas, that great ascetic, bid Kunti and her sons farewell and departed.

AP 158

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Carefully protecting their mother, keeping her always in view in front of them, the Pandavas, strong as bulls, set out toward the north on the smooth and recommended roads. The powerful sons of Pandu traveled day and night until they reached the sacred Soma-sravayana, on the bank of the Ganges. (As the sun set,) admirable Arjuna went in front of them, holding up a torch to illumine the path for safety.

They came to a lovely deserted stretch of the Ganges, where a jealous Gandharva king had come to play in the water with his women, and he was in the water with the ladies, busy at his sport. As the Pandavas all came down to the water's edge, the Gandharva king heard the noise, which stuck in his mind and drove that mighty being into a fierce rage.

Seeing the valiant Pandavas there with their mother, he brandished his awful bow and said, "When the forbidding twilight is stained with red and early evening enters, only the first eighty moments are fit for you people to be about. All the darkening time thereafter has been ordained for Yaksas, Gandharvas, and Raksasas to move about as they will. The remaining time is meant for human beings to go as they please. If human beings in their selfish confusion come roaming about at those hours, we and the Raksasas deal with those childish fools and drag them down. Therefore scholars of the Vedic science condemn all men--though they be kings and armies--who come to these waters at night.

"Stay back where you are! Don't come close to me! Why do you not recognize me, who have come here to the waters of the Bhagirathi? Know that I am the Gandharva Angaraparna, and I live by my own power. I am proud and jealous, for I am the dear friend of the great Kuvera. This forest along the Ganges, also called Angaraparna, is mine, and the colorful settlement called Vaka wherein I dwell is also mine. Not even a dead body is allowed here, nor a living beast with horns, nor gods, nor human beings. How then do you people dare come here?

Arjuna said:

You fool, in night or day or the time between, who dares claim the ocean or the Himalaya mountain or this sacred river? We are ready with power, and we dare to approach you now at the wrong time, for it is certain that only weak and powerless men will obey you in the hour of your cruelty.

The Ganges flows freely from a golden peak in the Himalayas, and transforming into seven branches, she goes to the waters of the sea. She is a sacred river, Gandharva, and she flows among the gods in heaven as the Ekaprava, on earth she merges with the Alakananda, and she flows among the forefathers as the Vaitarani, which the sinful can never cross. That is what Dvaipayana Vyasa has said about this river. She is a godly river, and you cannot obstruct her, Gandharva, or drive people away from her, because her pure waters lead to the kingdom of God. How could you even think to close off this river? That is not the eternal law. How can we not bathe in the pure waters of the Ganges as much as we desire? Her waters cannot be held obstructed by your mere words.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing these words, Angaraparna was furious, and bending back his bow, he fired blazing arrows that shot out like deadly poisonous snakes. But Arjuna, whirling his torch like the finest of shields, drove away every one of the arrows.

Arjuna said:

These scare tactics are not effective with those who know their weapons. Rather, such attempts to frighten collapse like bubbles and foam when used on an expert fighter. I recognize that all Gandharvas are superior to human beings. Therefore I shall employ divine weapons, Gandharva, and not mere magic.

Brhaspati, the Guru of lord Indra, long ago gave this weapon, called Agneya, unto Bharadvaja, Bharadvaja then taught it to Agnivesya, and Agnivesya delivered this fiery weapon of the gods to my guru. And he, Drona, the best of brahmanas, gave it unto me.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having thus spoken, the furious Pandava released his blazing Agneya weapon against the Gandharva, burning his chariot to ashes. Stunned by the missle's heat and bereft of his chariot, the mighty Gandharva tottered and fell head first toward the ground. But Arjuna siezed him by the hair on his head, which was adorned with wreaths, and dragged him back to show his brothers. By this time the Gandharva was unconscious from the effect of the weapon, and his wife, named Kumbhinasi, desperate to save her husband's life, surrendered to Yudhisthira and begged for asylum.

The Gandharva lady said:

O lord, my name is Kumbinasi, I am a Gandharva woman, and I have come to you for shelter. Please, I beg you Maharaja, forgive and protect us and release my husband.

Yudhisthira Maharaja said:

Who would kill an enemy who has been defeated in battle and deprived of his glory, especially one who is the husband of a good woman and who is no longer resisting? Arjuna, O slayer of enemies, release him.

Arjuna said:

Take him, brother. Go now, Gandharva! Don't worry. Yudhisthira, the Kuru king, grants you immunity from all punishment.

The Gandharva said:

I admit defeat, and I am giving up my former name Angaraparna, for I can no longer be proud of my strength or my name in the public assembly. With all my pride I tried to fight with Gandharva magic, a younger, stronger man who holds divine weapons. But even in defeat, I have achieved an excellent boon, for I have had the chance to know you.

By the fire of your weapon, my fabulous chariot was burned to ashes, and so I, who was known as Citra-ratha, "he of the wonderful chariot," have now earned the name Dagdha-ratha, "he of the burnt chariot."

Whatever knowledge I have of the military science I acquired by my previous austerities, and I shall now give it all to the great soul who gave me back my life. When a warrior saves the life of an enemy whom he has quickly stunned and defeated and who has come to him for shelter, what beautiful gifts does he not deserve?

First I give to you the science known as Caksusi, which Manu gave to Soma, who gave it to Visvavasu, who gave it to me. If this science falls into the hands of a coward, though given by a guru it automatically vanishes. Well, I have told you the lineage of this science, and now I shall describe its power, so listen carefully.

Anything within the universe that a person wishes to see, he may see with this science, and exactly in the manner he desires. If a person stands on one foot for six months continuously, he may obtain this knowledge, but I present it to you, for so I have vowed. It is by this technology, O king, that we Gandharvas rise above the human kind, for by the power of this science we have become virtually indistinguishable from the gods.

O best of men, I now wish to offer each of you five brothers a hundred horses of the type bred by the Gandharvas. The mounts of the gods and Gandharvas exude a celestial fragrance, and they move at the speed of the mind. Even when their energy is spent, they do not diminish their speed.

Long ago, a thunderbolt was fashioned for Indra so that he could pull down the mighty demon Vrtra. When the thunderbolt struck Vrtra's head, the thunderbolt shattered into ten, and then a hundred pieces. The gods divided up the pieces of the thunderbolt, and each god honored his piece of the divine weapon. Since then, it is common in this world that whatever brings one fulfillment in one's life is said to be an expansion of the original thunderbolt. Thus spiritual knowledge is a brahmana's thunderbolt; a warrior's thunderbolt is his chariot; charity is said to be the merchant's thunderbolt, for thus does the mercantile class gain future wealth and heaven; and honest work, done to satisfy the Supreme, is said to be the worker's thunderbolt. Warriors must also depend on their horses, and thus good horses that cannot be easily slain are, too, the thunderbolt of kings. Vadava gave birth to the race of chariot steeds, and therefore those who drive the horses are called suta.

These Gandharva horses change color at will and fly at the speed they desire. And simply by your desire, they will appear before you, ready to serve. Indeed, these horses will always honor your wish.

Arjuna said:

Whether you have given these gifts out of love or in fear of your life, Gandharva, I do not want to take your science or wealth or even your accumulated knowledge.

The Gandharva said:

It is clearly seen that when people actually sit down together and unite in friendship, they derive a special pleasure. You have given me the gift of life. I am very moved by what you have done, and I therefore give you this science. I shall take from you the superb Agneya weapon, and thus our friendship will long endure, O best of the Bharata race.

Arjuna said:

I then choose from you the gift of your horses, and may our alliance last forever. Now, my friend, tell me how people can be free of their fear of you Gandharvas.

AP 159

Arjuna said:

Tell me the reason, Gandharva, why you attacked us as we traveled at night, though we are knowers of the Supreme, O tamer of enemies.

The Gandharva said:

You had no sacred fire or sacrificial offerings, nor did you place a priest before you. Thus I attacked you, O son of Pandu. O hero, the Yaksas, Raksasas, Gandharvas, Pisacas, Uragas, and human beings all discuss at length the glorious Kuru dynasty. I myself have listened to godly sages like Narada narrate the histories of your wise forefathers. And as I wander all about the ocean-skirted earth, I have witnessed the power of your family. I am familiar with your military professor who taught you the Dhanur Veda, for the illustrious son of Bharadvaja is known throughout the three worlds.

O tiger of the Kurus, I know well that six mighty beings---the lord of justice, the Wind, Indra, the twin Asvins, and your own father, Pandu---are the force behind the Kuru empire; these forefathers of yours are truly the best among gods and men. Thus it is not surprising that all you Pandava brothers are divine beings, great souls who excel in all the weapons, heroes who faithfully act for the good of all creatures. Actually, all of you possess a spiritual mind and intelligence, for your consciousness is fixed on the Supreme Soul. Although I knew this, Partha, I still attacked you on the riverbank. In the company of women, Kauravya, a man cannot tolerate it when he sees that he has been slighted, and he immediately tries to assert his own strength and prestige. At night, our strength very much increases, and that is why, Kaunteya, my wife and I allowed ourselves to become so angry.

O glory of the Kurus, you have defeated me in battle, but listen now as I tell you the principles by which you gained your victory. Celibacy in the service of God is the best religious principle, and you have regularly practiced it. Any ksatriya warrior who lives a promiscuous life should be opposed in battle at night, for there is no way he will keep his life. But even though a king may live a lusty life, he will be victorious in battle over all the creatures of the night if he is led by a saintly priest. Therefore, my dear Tapatya, whatever benefit men hope to achieve, they must engage self-controlled priests in the task. Those who know and follow the laws of God, who are clean in body and mind, who are devoted to the essence of the six-limbed Veda, and who speak the truth should be the priests of kings. Victory on earth and then promotion to heaven are assured for a king whose priest knows and speaks the principles of religion, who practices them in his own life, and who is thus pure in spirit. A king who appoints and follows a fully qualified priest will gain all that he lacks and preserve all that he has.

A monarch who abides by the decision of his priest may aspire to attain all the ocean-skirted earth, with handsome Mount Meru as its crown. O Tapathya, no king who does not serve a brahmana will ever conquer the world through family alliances or naked heroism. O glory of the Kurus, understand that it is a kingdom led by brahmanas that can be preserved for a long time.

AP 160

Arjuna said:

As you spoke, you called me Tapatya, but I want to know what Tapatya actually means. I know that we sons of Kunti are called Tapatya after a woman named Tapati, but who is she? Certainly, good man, we all desire to know the truth in this regard.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus questioned, the Gandharva narrated to Arjuna, son of Kunti, a story that had been heard throughout the universe.

The Gandharva said:

I will be glad to tell you this pleasurable story, Partha, as it actually happened and in its entirety, for this story increases our enthusiasm to lead a religious life, and you are distinguished among those who lead such a life. Listen to me now with single-minded attention, and I shall tell you why I referred to you as Tapatya.

Vivasvan, the sun-god, who covers the firmament with his benevolent rays, had an incomparable daughter named Tapati. O mighty son of Kunti, this girl, a younger sister to Savitri, devoted herself to religious austerities and became famous throughout the three worlds. There was not a single women among the gods, Asuras, Yaksas, Raksasas, Apsaras, or Gandharvas who had beauty like hers. Each of her limbs was flawless, and the shape and proportion of her body was gorgeous. Her eyes were large and dark, her behavior ideal, her character saintly, her style of dress enchanting, and her moods both fiery and subdued at the proper times.

O Bharata, her father, the Sun, felt that in all the three worlds there was no suitable husband who could equal her in beauty, behavior, lineage, and education. Seeing that his daughter had reached the maturity of her youth and that she must be given in marriage, her father could find no peace, for he worried about the marriage of his daugher.

At that time, Arjuna, the leader of the Kuru dynasty was King Samvarana, the mighty son of Rksa, and this monarch used to always worship the Sun with offerings of garlands and arghya. The king never failed to perform his daily religious duties and executed various kinds of fasts and other austerities. He was eager to serve, free of false pride, and clean in body and mind, and ever day, as soon as the Sun would rise, that popular Kuru monarch would honor him with real devotion.

Seeing him to be a grateful, religious man whose beauty was unrivalled on earth, the sun-god considered Samvarana a suitable husband for his daughter Tapati. He desired to give his daughter to Samvarana, that excellent king born in a celebrated and noble family, for as the sun lights up the heavens with his fiery rays, so did King Samvarana by his radiance light up the earth, Kauravya. And, Partha, as Vedic teachers worship the rising sun, so did all the citizens worship Samvarana. For his well-wishers, and even for those who wished him ill, the handsome king appeared to be more agreeable than the moon and more fiery than the sun. And so, Kauravya, the lord of the son decided to personally give his daughter to that most qualified and virtuous king.

Now, once that splendid king of wide fame went to hunt in a mountain wood, and as he roamed about, his incomparable horse could not endure the pace and, afflicted by hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, died suddenly on the mountain slope. When his horse died, Partha, the king continued to roam the mountain on foot, and he came upon a large-eyed maiden unlike any other in this world. He was alone, and so was she, and the mighty warrior, a tiger of a man, approached her and stood staring, for his eyes would not leave her. The king analyzed from her beauty that she might be the Goddess of Fortune herself, but then he reasoned that she must be the splendor of the sun, fallen to the earth. Simply by standing on that mountain plateau, the dark-eyed woman so transformed the forest with its trees, bushes, and creepers that everything appeared to be bathed in gold.

Beholding her beauty, the king realized how ordinary were the bodies of all other creatures, and that he had now achieved the perfection of his created eyes. The monarch thought that anything he had ever seen since his birth did not compare to the beauty of this woman. She had captured his mind and sight with the tight ropes of her excellent qualities, and he did not move from that place, nor was he aware of anything but her. Only with the greatest enterprise, churning all the worlds of the gods, Asuras, and men, had the creator fashioned the beautiful sight of this woman. Thus King Samvarana judged from her blessed wealth of beauty that there was no other girl like her in the world.

The monarch had been raised in a most noble family, and seeing that most noble girl he was pierced by the arrows of lust, and anxiety filled his mind. Burning in the fierce fire of mind-stirring Cupid, the bold king said to the glorious but shy girl, "Who are you, and who is taking care of you, shapely maiden? Why do you wander about here alone in this uninhabited forest, sweet-smiling one? All the limbs of your body are faultless creations, and although you wear all the most desireable jewelry, you yourself adorn your own adornments, for you are the most desireable jewel. I do not think you a woman of the gods, or of the Asuras, Yaksas, Raksasas, or Gandharvas, or of those who dwell in Bhogavati. Lovely lady, whatever I have ever seen or heard of cannot compare to you, for the luster of your beauty is maddening."

Afflicted with desire in that deserted forest, the king thus spoke to the girl, but she did not say anything at all in reply. And as the king yearned and begged for her love, that girl of such large and lovely eyes suddenly vanished from the spot as if she were a streak of lightning that flashes for but a moment in the clouds.

The king ran all about like a wild man, searching the forest for that girl whose eyes were like the soft petals of a forest-born lotus. Not finding her, he grieved much in that lonely forest, and for a time the exalted Kuru king was senseless with grief.

AP 161

The Gandharva said:

When the king, deluded by desire, could not find her, he who had felled the hosts of his enemies now fell upon the surface of the earth. As he lay there on the ground, she revealed herself again to the king, with her full, wide hips and a lovely smiling face. Now that most graceful girl did speak to the king, the pillar of the Kuru dynasty, whose mind was devastated by desire for her, and her voice was sweet and gentle.

"Please rise; rise, O tiger of kings. Bless you, it is not right for you to let the world see you so bewildered."

Addressed in such a kind way, the king looked up and saw the shapely woman standing in front of him. She looked shyly at him with her dark, enchanting eyes, and the king, filled with the fire of mind-stirring Cupid, said to her with anxious tones, "O woman, when you shyly glance at me with your deep, dark eyes, I am so struck with desire for you that my very life would leave me, for your beauty is maddening. Accept me then as I have accepted you. Because of you, with your large and lovely eyes, this desire pierces me with sharpened arrows, for you shine like the lotus whorl. I have been helplessly siezed by the great snake of desire, good woman. You with your full wide hips and pure shining face--you must take me. My life now depends on you--you whose speech is like the sweet song of the Kinnaras; your every limb is lovely and perfect, and your face is like the lotus or the moon. O shy one, I have no power to live alone with you. Therefore, woman, be merciful to me! You with your big dark enchanting eyes--you cannot reject me when I so love you. Gentle girl, you must save me by means of your love. Come to me now by gandharva marriage, my shy and lovely lady, for the gandharva wedding is the most beautiful.

Tapati said:

I do not rule my own life, O king, for I am a young girl under her father's care. If you love me, then request my father to give me to you. O king, just as I have completely captured your mind and your very life simply by your seeing me, so have you stolen my heart and my very life. But I do not rule my own body, noble king, and therefore I cannot go near you. Certainly women cannot protect themselves in this world, and therefore they must be cared for. As a young girl, I am naturally dependent on my father.

Please don't misunderstand me. What young girl in all the worlds would not eagerly desire an affectionate husband like you, who is born in such a famous and noble family? Now that things have come to this point, go and ask my father, the Sun. Be submissive and please him with your austerities and religious vows. If he wishes to give me to you, O mighty warrior, then, dear king, I shall always be your most obedient wife. O noble warrior, I am Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri and the daughter of Savita, he who lights up the world.

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The Gandharva said:

Having thus spoken, the faultless girl quickly rose into the sky and was gone, and the king again sank to the ground in that very place. His minister and traveling attendent found the king, who stood as tall as Indra's hoisted banner, lying now upon the earth in the vast and lonely forest. Seeing the grand archer without his steed and fallen on the earth, the king's trusted minister burned as if with fire. Quickly he came to his ruler bewildered out of love and raised from the earth the lord of earthly rulers, who was stunned with desire for the Sun's own daughter. The minister was elderly in age and wisdom, and he lifted the king like a father raising his fallen son.

The minister's own feverish concern was relieved as he lifted the monarch, and he said to the king with kind and noble words, "Do not fear, O tiger of men, for all good must come to you, O sinless one." The minister reasoned that the king must have been exhausted by hunger and thirst, and thus he who felled the enemies in battle had himself fallen on the bare ground. Now he bathed the king's head with cool, refreshing water, as fragrant as lotuses, taking care not to touch the royal crown.

Thereafter, when the mighty king had regained his strength and vigor, he sent away the entire army but for the one minister. By the king's order, the army departed, and the king again sat down on that mountain plain. The king then cleansed himself and folded his hands in prayer, and desiring to worship the Sun, he stood on that fine mountain and raised up his arms. Then the mighty King Samvarana mentally sought the exalted sage Vasistha, who was his royal priest. When the king remained standing in that position day and night, the learned sage finally came to him on the twelfth day. The great sage was a God-realized soul, and by a spiritual process he knew that Tapati had stolen the king's mind. The virtuous Vasistha wanted to help the excellent king, who was so enagaged in austerities, and he spoke to him. Then as the best of kings looked on, the exalted saint, shining like the sun, journeyed up into the heavens to meet with the mighty light-maker. The sage respectfully approached the resplendent sun and, folding his hands with respect and affection, introduced himself, saying, "I am Vasistha."

The dazzling Vivasvan, lord of the sun, replied to the exalted sage, "You are welcome, great saint. Please tell me your desire in coming here."

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The sage Vasistha said:

O mighty sun, on behalf of Samvarana I ask you for your daughter named Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri. The king I represent is truly glorious, for he is knowledgeable both in spiritual and worldly affairs, a broad-minded man, and a qualified husband for your daughter, O sky-traveler.

The Gandharva said:

At these words from Vasistha, the Sun was convinced, and he replied, "Yes, I must give her." He congratulated the sage with these words: "Samvarana is the best of kings, you are the best of sages, and Tapati is the best of women, so why marry her to another?"

Then the fiery Sun presented Tapati, whose limbs were flawless, to the great soul Vasistha, and the illustrious sage dutifully accepted her on the king's behalf. Granted his leave, Vasistha returned to where the celebrated Kuru leader was waiting. The king was lost in romantic thoughts, thinking only of Tapati, and when he saw that child of the gods, with her lovely smile, coming towards him with Vasistha, he shone with jubilation. The pure and exalted sage Vasistha arrived just when the king completed his difficult twelve-night religious observance. Thus by his own austerity, by worshiping the munificent shining god, and by the power of Vasistha, Samvarana obtained the woman he loved. On that glorious mountain frequented by gods and Gandharvas, that best of men took the hand of Tapati by the rules and rites of the holy path. The saintly king then desired to relax and sport on that very slope with his beloved wife, and taking permission from Vasistha, he placed his faithful minister in charge of the town and country and the cavalry and army. Vasistha approved the king's plan and went his way, and the Kuru monarch relaxed and sported on the mountain like an immortal god.

With his beloved wife he enjoyed in the forests, rivers, and lakes of that mountain for twelve years. But during those twelve years, the god of heaven did not rain anywhere within the kingdom of Samvarana, neither in the city nor in country. The capital of the departed king became like a city of ghosts, for it was filled with starving, joyless people who passed their days in anguish, their bodies all but dead. Learning of this sorry state of the realm, the godly sage Vasistha went at once to the mighty king and brought the tiger of monarchs, who had lived twelve years with Tapati, back to his own city. When the tiger of kings again entered his city, the lord of heaven showered the rains as he had done before. The city and country rejoiced with the greatest of joy, protected once again by the best of kings, who now set his mind on the Lord. And the monarch, joined by his faithful wife Tapati, offered sacrifice to God for twelve years, with rites and remunerations like those offered by Indra, lord of the wind.

The glorious woman named Tapati, the daughter of the sun, was your ancestor, Partha, because in Tapati, King Samvarana begot a son named Kuru, the forebear of your dynasty. And so, Arjuna, best of the self-disciplined, you are indeed Tapatya.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing the words of the Gandharva, Arjuna glowed with full satisfaction, his face as bright as the full moon. The power of Vasistha's austerities awakened in him intense curiosity, and that grand archer, the glory of the Kurus, said to the Gandharva, "I would like to hear the true history of the sage you call Vasistha. Please tell me, who was that exalted saint who served as the royal priest to my ancestors? Explain this to me, Gandharva lord."

The Gandharva said:

He was a person who conquered lust and anger, which are invincible even for the gods. It is said that lust and anger reverently massaged his feet. When Visvamitra offended him, he kept his powerful rage within himself and was so magnanimous that he did not destroy the Kusikas. Stricken by the tragic loss of his sons and fully capable of destroying the culprit Visvamitra, he did not even consider such a violent act of retaliation. And he did not overstep the lord of death to retrieve his departed sons from death's abode, just as the great ocean does not cross over its boundaries.

By finding that self-controlled saint, the kings of Iksvaku's line gained sovereignity over the earth and protected this world. O Kuru child, when the monarchs found Vasistha, that excellent priest and noble seer, they worshiped the Lord with sacrificial rites. The godly sage Vasistha made those noble kings offer sacrifice to God, just as Brhaspati engaged the gods, O noble Pandava.

Therefore, a ruler must search for a priest who places his religious principles above everything and knows the spiritual essence of the Vedas, a desireable brahmana who possesses the good qualities of a purified soul. One who is born to rule and desires to conquer the wide earth must first accept a priest, Partha, so that his kingdom will prosper in a spirit of justice. A king who desires to rule the world must place spiritual values above all, and see all creatures as part of God. Therefore, you Pandavas must work under the guidance of a qualified brahmana priest.

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Arjuna said:

Why did such bitter feelings arise between Visvamitra and Vasistha, both of whom resided in holy asramas. Please tell me all about it.

The Gandharva said:

This ancient story of Vasistha is told throughout the universe, Partha, and I shall faithfully repeat it to you, so listen carefully. Once, in the place called Kanyakubja, there was a great king named Gadhi, famous throughout the world for his devotion to justice and truth. This pious soul had a son who raised huge mounted armies and who became known as Visvamitra, a crusher of enemies.

Once Visvamitra, accompanied by his minister, went deep into the forest in pursuit of deer. Entering a beautiful wilderness, he pierced the stags and wild boars with his shafts. Weak from the strenuous chasing of deer, his throat parched, he came upon the asrama of Vasistha. Noticing his arrival, Vasistha, the consummate sage, received with honor the ideal prince Visvamitra, offering him a footbath, gifts, water to rinse his hands and mouth, and a meal of wholesome forest fare with pure butter.

Now, the great soul Vasistha owned a wish-yielding cow; whenever the cow was ordered, "Fulfill these wishes!" she would yield all that was asked. She also yielded herbs found in the village and forest and of course milk, but with six different flavors. She gave a special drink with the flavor of nectar and an unsurpassed elixir of longevity. And she gave eatables as tasty as nectar, in varieties that are to be chewed, drunk, licked up, and sucked. And so, Arjuna, the fortunate sage honored the king, his minister, and his army with a full offering of delicacies that completely satisfied the guests.

The king gazed at that cow, with her perfect proportions (being six measures long, three measures wide, and five measures around the girth) her fine flanks and thighs, her large frog-eyes, her attractive build, her fat udder, handsome tail, pointed ears, beautiful horns, and strong wide head and neck. He was astonished, for he could find not a single flaw in this most pleasing cow.

Happily praising Vasistha's milk-cow, named Nandi, and exceedingly content, Visvamitra said to the sage, "O brahmana, offer me this cow, and I shall give you ten million cows, or my own kingdom. Great sage, give me this agreeable cow and enjoy a kingdom."

Vasistha Muni said:

Nandini the milk cow is necessary so that I can properly worship the Deity, receive my guests, and make offerings to my ancestors. Therefore, I cannot give her, even in return for your kingdom.

Visvamitra said:

I am a ksatriya warrior, and you are a sage, devoted to austerity and scholarship. What courage is there in the peaceful, self-restrained brahmanas? You will not give me what I want, even for ten million cows-- then I shall not give up the duty of a warrior to be strong. I shall take your cow by force.

Vasistha Muni said:

You are a king with an army, a warrior with powerful arms, so do as you wish at once. Do not even analyze it.

The Gandharva said:

At these words, Partha, Visvamitra siezed the cow named Nandini, who was as graceful as a swan and as radiant as the moon. As Vasistha's cow was driven away, beaten with straps and sticks, gentle Nandini began to bellow. Coming straight back to the sage, Partha, she stood looking up at the holy one, and though severely and continuously beaten, she would not leave the hermitage.

Vasistha Muni said:

I hear your cry, noble cow, which you are sounding again and again. By force you are being stolen from me, Nandi, for I am a brahmana, trained to tolerate.

The Gandharva said:

Shaken by fear of Visvamitra, and by the strength of the soldiers, Nandini nuzzled up close to Vasistha, O best of the Bharatas.

The cow said:

My lord, when I am crying out, unprotected, when the frightening soldiers of Visvamitra beat me with sticks and stones, why do you remain indifferent?

The Gandharva said:

O Partha, when the desire-cow was thus being attacked, the exalted sage, fixed in his saintly vow, did not become agitated, nor did he stray from his grave spiritual vision.

Vasistha said:

The strength of warriors is their prowess in battle, but the strength of brahmanas is their forgiveness. Forgiveness possesses me; therefore you may go if you like.

The cow said:

Have I now been rejected, my lord, and is that why you speak to me thus? Until you reject me, O brahmana, no one can lead me away by force.

Vasistha said:

Gentle one, I do not reject you; stay with me if you can. This man is binding your calf with strong rope, and he is going to steal her by force.

The Gandharva said:

(Vasistha then said) "Stay if you can!" Hearing these words from Vasistha, the milk cow turned her head and neck up high and began to assume a menacing look. Her eyes turned red with rage, and she bellowed out like the thundering of clouds, scattering the army of Visvamitra in all directions. When another attempt was made to beat her with tipped straps and sticks and to drag her about, her eyes blazed with fury and her fury grew stronger and stronger, until her whole body was blazing like the midday sun. Her tail let fly a continuous and mighty shower of burning embers. From her backside she unleased wild barbarian warriors, the Pahlavas, and from her dung the Sabaras and Sakas. From her urine she let loose the blood-thirsty Yavanas, for she was blinded by rage. From her froth she sent out the Pundras, Kiratas, Dramidas, Barbaras and Simhalas, and the Daradas and Mlecchas.

Set upon by the furious hoardes of created warriors, all of whom were fully covered with varieties of armor and armed with all kinds of weapons, Visvamitra's great army was scattered before his eyes. Each of his soldiers was surrounded by five to seven of the enemy, and the entire army was driven about, just as they had driven the cow, until, before Visvamitra's eyes, his army was completely broken by mighty showers of weapons. But the furious soldiers of Vasistha did not kill a single warrior of Visvamitra, O noble Bharata.

As Visvamitra's army was driven back over twenty miles, screaming in fear, they could find no one to save them. Witnessing this astonishing display of brahminical power, Visvamitra was frustrated and discouraged with his status as a warrior, and he said, "A warrior's strength is useless! The prowess of a brahmana is real strength! By studying strength and weakness, the conclusion is that austerity is strength."

Renouncing his flourishing kingdom and the shining wealth of a ruler, and turning his back on worldly pleasures, Visvamitra fixed his mind on the practice of austerity. He went on to achieve perfection in his penance, and he pervaded the worlds with his splendor, for all people felt the fire of his newly kindled strength. Thus did Visvamitra achieve the status of a brahmana, and he drank with Indra the celestial Soma, extracted from the rites of sacrifice.

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The Gandharva said:

There was a king named Kalmasa-pada in the dynasty of Iksvaku, and his prowess was unique, Partha. Once he left his city and went out to the forest to chase the deer, and that crusher of foes roamed about piercing the stags and wild boars with his shafts. The king, invincible in battle, began to suffer from hunger and thirst, until on a narrow path, wide enough for a single traveler, he came face to face with a spiritually advanced sage who was the exalted son of Vasistha. Sakti by name, this fortunate and agreeable soul was the eldest of saintly Vasistha's hundred sons.

"Get out of my way!" said the king. The sage tried to pacify the king and informed him in gentle tones that it was rather the monarch's duty to let the sage go by. The sage stood by his rights and stayed on the path. He did not get out of the way, nor would the king move out of respect for a sage. Rather, the king angrily charged forward, and as the sage gave way, the powerful king, bewildered and like a Raksasa in his rage, struck the holy man with his whip. Stung by a blow from the king's whip, the powerful sage also gave in to anger, and in senseless fury the son of Vasistha cursed the exalted king.

"You outcast king! Like a Raksasa, you dare to strike an ascetic! Therefore I declare that from this day on you shall become a man-eater! Greedy for human flesh, you will roam this earth. Now go, you lowest of kings!" Thus the did powerful Sakti curse the king.

Now, Visvamitra and Vasistha had been fighting over the king, who was a rich patron of sacrifices, and it so happened that Visvamitra had been following him through the forest. Thus when the king and Sakti were quarreling on the narow road, the mighty Visvamitra, a sage of fierce austerity, came close to them, and from behind, Partha, Visvamitra recognized the sage as the son of saintly Vasistha, equal to his father in power. Eager to gain something for himself, Visvamitra made himself invisible, Bharata, and came close to both of them.

When the learned king was cursed by Sakti, he came to his senses, took shelter of Sakti, and begged him for mercy. Knowing well the king's mind and condition, O child of the Kurus, Visvamitra waited until the king had returned to his city and then ordered a Raksasa to approach him. By the sage's curse, and by the order of Visvamitra, the Raksasa was able to enter the king and possess him. And once Visvamitra knew that the king was possessed by the Raksasa, he left that country, O tamer of enemies.

Thereafter the learned king was severely harassed by the Raksasa who had gone inside of him, but he was still able to protect himself by his own strength. Then when the king had again gone out of the city, a certain man of the twice-born community saw the monarch, and being hungry, begged him for a meal with meat. The wise king, who was also called Mitrasaha because he could withstand his enemies, pacified the twice-born man by saying, "Sit down here for a moment, brahmana. As soon as I return to my home, I will send the food you requested." Having thus spoken, the king departed, and the twice-born man waited.

But the brahmana's words slipped the king's mind, and entering the quarters of his women, the monarch retired for the night. The king awoke at midnight, remembering his promise to the brahmana, and he quickly sent for a cook, to whom he explained the situation and gave this instruction: "The brahmana is waiting for me in that place, and he is very hungry, so go there and provide him a meal with meat."

Thus addressed, the cook searched but could not find any meat. The cook, filled with anxiety, reported to the king that meat was not to be found. Then the Raksasa within the king finally exerted his influence, and the king, without the least concern said to the cook, "Then feed him human meat!" and repeated this instruction again and again.

"So be it!" said the cook, and hehurried off to the place where condemned prisoners were being executed. Emboldened by the king's order, he stole some flesh from an executed criminal. Quickly cleaning and preparing the meat, he mixed it with rice and presented it to the hungry ascetic brahmana. That learned twice-born man looked at the food with his experienced eye and said, "This food is unfit to eat!" and he stared with a face that quivered with rage. "Because that king gives me such nasty food, which is not fit to eat, a strange appetite will arise in that foolish man. As stated before by Sakti, he will lust after human flesh and roam the earth, feared and shunned by all creatures."

When the curse was thus uttered twice, it grew very strong. The Raksasa's strength now took hold of the king, and he lost his senses, now dominated by the Raksasa.

Soon after, Bharata, seeing the sage Sakti, the king said to him, "Because you punished me with an unprecedented curse, now because of you I must begin to eat human flesh." Speaking thus, he suddenly siezed the sage, tore out his life, and devoured him as a tiger consumes his desired prey.

Witnessing the death of Sakti, Visvamitra again ordrered the Raksasa within the king's body, this time sending him to the other sons of Vasistha. The king then approached the hundred younger sons of the great soul Vasistha and furiously devoured them, as a lion consumes small and weak deer. Hearing that his sons had all been murdered by Visvamitra's plot, Vasistha bore his grief as a great mountain bears its terrible burden of earth. The brilliant sage then made up his mind to take his own life, for the holy one did not even consider destroying the family of Visvamitra. The exalted saint threw himself from the high peak of Mount Meru, falling headfirst onto the stone ground below. But when he fell onto the stone, it received him like a pile of soft cotton. When he did not die from his fall, Pandava, he ignited a fire in the deep forest, and the divine sage entered within it. But the blazing fire did not burn him, for as soon as he entered it the scorching flames became cool and refreshing, O slayer of enemies. Overcome by grief, the great sage next headed for the ocean, and binding a heavy stone about his neck he fell into the sea. But the powerful ocean waves brought the sage back to the shore. Frustrated at his failure to take his own life, he went back to his hermitage.

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The Gandharva said:

Thereupon, seeing his hermitage bereft of his beloved boys, the sage was filled with anguish and again went out of his hermitage. He then saw a river, swollen with the new waters of the rainy season, carrying away many variegated trees that grew along her bank. He was beside himself with grief, Partha, and again he began to think about suicide and said to himself, "I should drown myself in the water of this river." The sage then bound himself tightly with ropes and in utter despair sank down in the river's deep currents. O slayer of rival armies, the river then cut his bonds, and deposited the sage, without the ropes, onto a level bank. Free of his bonds, the great sage got up and, seeing what had happened, named the river Vipasa, "Unfettered."

Thereafter he lost his mind in sorrow and did not stay in one place, but went to mountains, rivers, and lakes. Then the sage again saw a large river coming down from the Himalayan range, full of ferocious crocodiles. He dropped himself into her waters. But that fine river felt the sage like the touch of fire, and she fled into a hundred parts, wherefrom she became famous as the Satadru, the "Hundred-runner."

Realizing that despite his effort he was again on the land, he said, "It is not possible to die!" and went back to his hermitage. As he came near his asrama, his daughter-in-law Adrsyanti followed along behind him unseen. Vasistha heard the loud, clear sound of Vedic recitation, exquisite and full, with the meaningful chanting of the six Vedic branches. The lovely sound surprised the sage, and he realized that someone was following him.

"Who is that following me?" he said.

"My name is Adrsyanti. I am your daughter-in-law," the girl replied. "Most noble sage, I am the wife of Sakti. I am an ascetic engaged in austerity."

Vasistha Muni said:

Daughter, who is making that beautiful sound, reciting the Vedas with their branches? I once heard Sakti chant the Veda in that way.

Adrsyanti said:

He who chants is born of your son Sakti, dear sage, and for twelve years, he has been studying the Vedas inside my womb.

The Gandharva said:

At these words, the exalted seer Vasistha was jubilant. "Our family lives!" he said, and turned away from death. O sinless Arjuna, son of Prtha, Sakti's faithful wife thus brought the sage out of his depression, but then, as he looked around his hermitage, he saw King Kalmasa-pada sitting in the surrounding wilderness.

Spying the sage, the king angrily rose up, O Bharata, possessed by the fierce Raksasa, and went to attack Vasistha. Seeing that man of cruel deeds in front of them, Adrsyanti was terrified and said to Vasistha, "My lord, the horrible Raksasa has grabbed a log and he's coming at us like Death himself with his terrible staff. O noble one, best of Vedic scholars, in this whole world there is no one but you with the power to stop him. My lord, save me from this wicked man! The Raksasa wants to eat us! I know that's what he wants."

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Vasistha Muni said:

Don't be afraid, daughter. There is nothing to fear from this Raksasa. The person you see standing in front of you is not a Raksasa at all, nor is he the lord of death. He is King Kalmasa-pada, celebrated throughout the world for his prowess. But he now stays here and spreads terror in this remote corner of the forest.

The Gandharva said:

Seeing the king rushing to attack them, the lordly sage Vasistha, shining with prowess, immediately stopped him simply by uttering the vibration Hum! Then with water sanctified by mantra, the sage again consecrated the mighty king and liberated him from the ghastly Raksasa. For twelve years, by the force of Vasistha's son, the king's real consciousness had been virtually swallowed up, like the day-making sun at the time of eclipse. Freed now from the Raksasa, the king lit up the forest with his splendor, as the dazzling sun lights up the sunset clouds.

Having regained his true consciousness, the king saluted the sage with folded hands, and at the appropriate moment he said to the holy Vasistha, "Great soul, I am Saudasa, son of Sudasa, and I am anxious to arrange sacrifices for you, O glorious brahmana. At this time, whatever you desire, please tell me. Please let me know how I can serve you."

Vasistha Muni said:

At this time, it is best that you go back and rule your kingdom. O leader of men, don't ever again deride the brahmanas.

The King said:

O brahmana, I shall never again deride the powerful brahmanas. I am steady in your instruction, and I shall always honor the twice-born. O excellent brahmana, best of Vedic scholars, I tell you in truth that I would like to obtain from you a boon by which I can pay my debt to my ancestors in the royal line of Iksvaku. I ask you to go unto my queen, who is endowed with the qualities of good character and beauty, and beget for me a son who will cause the Iksvaku dynasty to flourish.

The Gandharva said:

"I must grant you your wish," replied the truthful sage Vasistha to the mighty archer and king. The king then returned with Vasistha to the fine city of Ayodhya, which is celebrated throughout the worlds. All the citizens joyfully welcomed their king, a great soul who was now freed of sin, and they all rose up to meet him, just as the celestial denizens receive with jubilation the coming of the Lord.

Without delay, the monarch entered that city of pious deeds accompanied by the great soul Vasistha, and the people gazed upon them, for, O king, they were as glorious as the rising sun with the lunar asterism called Pusya. That most opulent king in turn filled Ayodhya with opulent gifts, as the autumn moon fills the heavens with its cooling rays.

With its spotless roads sprinkled with fragrant water and its high flying flags coloring the skies, the grand city filled the king's mind and heart with joy. Bustling with satisfied, healthy citizens, the city shone with its returning king like the celestial Amaravati shines in the presence of Indra, O blessed Kuru child. When the king, this Indra of kings, had entered the city, he gave permission, and his godly wife approached Vasistha. It was in the proper season that the glorious sage Vasistha, strictly following the divine law, joined with that godly woman. And when a son began to grow in her womb, the excellent sage, honored by the king, departed for his hermitage.

When after a very long time, the queen did not give birth to her son, the godly woman split her abdomen with a stone, and thus after twelve years, her child was born. Named Asmaka ("done by a stone"), the boy grew to be a saintly king and founded the city of Potana.

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The Gandharva said:

O king, staying in the hermitage, Adrsyanti finally gave birth to Sakti's son, who was destined to preserve the noble family, for he was a second Sakti. The excellent sage Vasistha personally performed for his grandson all of the religious ceremonies that secure the blessings of God upon a newborn child. And because the child gave Vasistha new life, even while in the womb, he became known in the world as Parasara.

The religious-minded child considered Vasistha his father, and from his birth he treated the sage like his real father. Once, in the presence of his mother, Adrsyanti, the child said to the saintly Vasistha, "You are my daddy." Hearing her child say "daddy" with such feeling and in such a tender voice, Adrsyanti, her eyes full of tears, said to him, "Don't say `daddy! daddy! daddy!' The great sage is not your daddy! My beloved child, I must tell you that your real daddy was eaten by a Raksasa in the forest. The person you think is your daddy is not your daddy, my innocent one. He is the most venerable father of your real daddy, who was also a great soul."

When his mother told him this, the young truthful sage was struck with bitter sorrow, and in his brilliant mind he decided that he must destroy this evil world that had taken away his father. Seeing the exalted child fixed in his radical thoughts, the mighty ascetic Vasistha restrained him with a particular argument. Hear what it was.

Vasistha Muni said:

Once there was a king on this earth known as Krtavirya. That bull of a monarch sponsored many sacrifices for the Vedic scholars in the line of Bhrgu. The brahmanas are always allowed to eat first, my child, as a sign of respect, and at the end of his Soma sacrifice the king satisfied the brahmanas with magnificent gifts of grains and wealth. Once when that tiger of a king had gone to the heavenly planets, his relatives needed goods for their sustenance. Knowing of the wealth that had been given to the noble brahmanas in Bhrgu's line, all the men of the royal order went to them to solicit their favors. Some of the brahmanas hid their limitless wealth in the ground, some gave it away to other sages, knowing of the danger from the warriors, and some simply gave it in charity to the kings, my child, seeing other good reasons for such an act. After that, my boy, it so happened that a warrior was digging the earth around a brahmana's house, and he came upon a treasure. All the leading warriors then came there and saw the treasure. With fury and contempt they killed the brahmanas there with their sharpened arrows, even when they begged for mercy. The mighty archers then went about the earth killing every brahmana, down to the children in the womb.

When the brahmanas in the line of Bhrgu were being slaughtered in this way, their wives fled in fear, my child, to the Himalayan mountains. One of those ladies, fearing the warriors, carried her radiant embryo in one of her beautiful thighs so that the child might live and cause her husband's family to flourish. The angry warriors noticed that brahmana lady, who glowed with her own effulgence. But the child then opened his mother's thigh and came out, blinding the warriors' eyes like the noonday sun.

Having lost their vision, the warriors then stumbled about the rough mountain terrain. They were frustrated in their plans and terror-stricken. Their leader went to the brahmana lady for shelter and begged that faultless woman to give them back their sight. Those warriors were like fires whose flames are extinguished, for deprived of all light they were almost unconscious with agony, and they said to the glorious wife of a brahmana, "By your mercy the royal class may regain their sight. All of us will stop our wicked acts and leave you in peace. Please, you and your son must be merciful to all of us. We beg you to deliver the royal order from destruction. Grant us our eyes!

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The wife of the brahmana said:

I did not take away your eyes, nor am I filled with anger. This descendent of Bhrgu

Having regained their sight, the kings returned to their homes, but the Bhargava sage was not pacified, and he thought of ending all the worlds. Within his powerful mind, he then firmly decided that all the planets must be destroyed. Desiring revenge for the massacre of the descendents of Bhrgu, that powerful brahmana began to grow in strength through his awesome austerities aimed at the destuction of all the worlds. He wanted to please his forefathers by his awesome austerities, but the fire of his practice began to burn up the worlds of the gods, Asuras, and human beings. His forefathers realized what he was doing, and all of them came down from the Pitr planet and said to their illustrious child: "Aurva, dear child, the power of your fierce austerities is plain to see, but please restrain your anger and be merciful to all these worlds. It is not out of weakness that we allowed the warriors to cut us down, my child. Rather, when our duration of life had grown very long, boredom set upon us, and we ourselves wanted the warriors to kill us. Therefore one of us buried the treasure in a brahmana's house and left it there so that we could create enmity with the warriors and anger them. What use did we have of earthly wealth, when our only desire was to pass on to the higher world? Death had no power to take us, and so we envisioned this means, child, and we all agreed upon it. A man who commits suicide cannot attain the worlds of the pious, and so we realized that we could not take our own lives.

"Dear son, this plan you are trying to accomplish does not please us. Withdraw your mind from this sinful plan of ending all the worlds. None of these warriors, or even the seven great planets, dear son, can disgrace the power of our austerity. Conquer this rising rage!"

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Aurva said:

My dear fathers, although I spoke out of anger, I did make a promise to destroy all the planets and I cannot make a false promise. Were my angry promise to prove false, I could not bear to live. And in any case, if my anger does not have an outlet, it will burn me, its source, like fire that burns the kindling stick. A man who would tolerate anger that arose for good cause cannot fully protect his self-interest in the realms of religion, prosperity, and personal pleasure.

When anger is applied to restrain the uncivilized and protect the civilized, it has been properly applied, especially by kings who wish to attain entrance to heaven. I heard a terrible shrieking when I was yet unborn and lay hidden in my mother's thigh. It was the screaming of the womanfolk, the mothers, as their husbands and fathers and sons were being murdered by the ksatriyas. Yet when those lowest of warriors murdered even the helpless babes who slept in their mothers' wombs, and all the worlds and the gods who rule them stood by and forgave, fury overcame me.

They were heavy with child, those mothers! And the simple fathers in their fear found no shelter, nowhere to go in all the worlds. No one at all came to help those wives of the Bhrgu sages when my saintly mother bore me in her thigh. When in this universe there is someone who forbids and stops the wicked, in all the planets there will be no evil-doer. But when the evil-doer never meets a person who forbids and checks him, many people in this world persist in evil deeds. When a person with power knowing of an evil deed does not stop it, that lord, that powerful being is implicated in the act he did not stop. If my fathers could not be saved, even by the kings and gods who had the power to do so, if those who should have helped were so cowardly or indifferent that they would not disturb their own happy lives, then my rage is for them, and now I have gained the power to show and sound that rage in all the worlds!

Yet you are my venerable fathers, and I cannot pass over your words. But if I too should neglect the evil of the world, now that I have the power to act, the greatest danger would arise for me, the danger of sin. This fire, born of fury, now burns within me, and it wants to take the worlds away. If I lock it inside of me with my prowess, it will burn me to ashes. I realize that you are devoted to the welfare of all creatures, and therefore as my lords you must know what is best for the worlds, and for me.

The forefathers said:

This fire born of rage that burns within you, that wants to take the worlds away, you must release into the waters, for the worlds are resting on those waters. Water is the essential part of all things, for the whole world is constituted of water. Therefore, for your own good, O best of the twice-born, release the fire of your fury into the waters. If you so desire, brahmana, let the fire of your fury stay in the great ocean, burning the waters.Thus your promise will come true, innocent one, and at the same time the planets and the gods who rule them will not come to ruin.

Vasistha Muni said:

Thereupon Aurva released the fire of his fury into the great ocean, the abode of Varuna, thus utilizing the waters to resolve his dilemna. The Vedic scholars know that the furious fire became a giant horse-head, spitting the fire from its mouth and drinking the waters of the great ocean.

Therefore, Parasara, knowing that there are higher duties and laws, you also should not destroy the worlds, for by God's blessings you are a very wise man.

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The Gandharva said:

Thus addressed by the great soul Vasistha, the saintly scholar withdrew his fury, which aimed to destroy all the worlds. The mighty sage Parasara, son of Sakti, with his excellent knowledge of the Vedas, then began to worship the Supreme through the sacrifice of wicked Raksasas. The potent sage, remembering constantly the murder of his fathe, Sakti, burned up the Raksasas, old and young alike, in the wide flames of sacrifice. Vasistha did not stop him from killing the Raksasas, for having dissuaded him from his vow to destroy the worlds, he concluded, "I must not make him break his second promise, to kill the demons."

In that sacrifice, wherein three sacred fires blazed, the mighty sage Parasara sat in front like a fourth sacred fire. As the shining rite proceeded with the appropriate offering of oblations, it lit up the vast sky like the sun shining forth in a clear, rain-cleansed sky. Vasistha and all the sages there concluded that Parasara himself was lighting up the heavens like a second day-making sun.

Thereupon, wishing to end that sacrifice, which few others could perform, the magnanimous sage Atri came to the assembly. Similarly Pulastya, Pulaha, and Kratu arrived at the large sacrifice, hoping to save the lives of the Raksasas. O best of the Bharatas, then Pulastya, affected by the killing of Raksasas, spoke out to Parasara, tamer of the hostile. "My dear son, will nothing stop you? Are you actually enjoying the murder of all the Raksasas who have committed no crime against you and do not even know why they are being killed? Parasara, you are a brahmana, a most educated man, and yet you are committing the most irreligious act by annihilating all of the progeny I myself created as part of the Creator's plan. And King Kalmasa-pada has been saved and even aspires to ascend to heaven.

"All the sons of saintly Vasistha, who were younger brothers of Sakti, have already entered the lord's heaven, and they are joyfully celebrating with the gods. O mighty sage, your grandfather Vasistha certainly knows all this to be true.

"O son of Sakti, you were engaged by Providence to painfully destroy these Raksasas in the fire of sacrifice, but now let it be finished. Give up this ceremony, and may God bless you!"

When thus addressed by Pulastya, whose words were confirmed by the wise Vasistha, Parasara, son of Sakti, ended his ritual. The potent fire had been gathered to kill sacrificially all the Raksasas, and the sage now released it on a northern Himalayan slope, within a deep forest. The fire is still visible there even today, for it periodically devours the Raksasas there and likewise the trees and stones.

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Arjuna said:

How did King Kalmasa-pada justify his decision to have his own wife conceive a child with his guru, who was an excellent Vedic scholar? The king, being a great soul, had knowledge of spiritual principles as well as traditional morality. Why, then, would he arrange for the great soul Vasistha to approach a woman whom normally the guru should never approach? Kindly explain all this to me, for I am asking in earnest.

The Gandharva said:

My dear Arjuna, you have raised serious questions about the invincible Vasistha and King Mitrasaha, so listen carefully as I answer you. I previously explained to you, Arjuna, how the king was cursed by the great soul Sakti, son of Vasistha. Having come under the power of the curse, his eyes wild with rage, the fiery king took his wife and left the city. He and his wife then roamed about the wilderness, which was full of varieties of deer herds and crowded with all kinds of creatures. Possessed by the curse, he wandered throughout that wilderness, thick with all kinds of bushes, covered by a canopy of variegated trees, and echoing with the frightening sounds of deadly animals.

Once he was overcome with hunger and was searching for food when in that most troubled state he came to a waterfall cascading through the wild forest, and there he saw a brahmana and his wife engaged in the sexual act. Seeing him, both were terrified, and without consummating their act they fled into the forest. But even as they ran, the king siezed the brahmana by force.

Seeing her husband captured, the brahmani said, "Listen, O king, to the words that I shall now speak to you. O faithful man, you were born in the royal dynasty of the Sun and are renowned all over the world as a sober man, fixed in religious principles and always serving your guru. You have suffered a curse, invincible one, and you should be aware of it and not commit an evil act. Now is the occasion of a religious ceremony, and my husband has approached me to beget a child. I am not yet fulfilled, for I have a great desire to beget a child. Be merciful, O best of kings, and release my husband!"

As she was thus crying out for mercy, the king, who had become very cruel in his acts, devoured her husband as like a tiger consumes his wanted prey. The brahmani was overwhelmed with rage, and her single tear fell to the ground and became a blazing fire that lit up the entire area with brilliant light. Burning with grief and anguish over the atrocity against her husband, she angrily cursed the saintly king Kalmasa-pada in these words: "Vile man! Because you cruelly devoured my most venerable lord and protector before my eyes at a moment when I was unfulfilled, therefore evil-minded one, struck down by my curse should you ever approach your wife in her fertile season, you too will at once lose your life.

"You have murdered the sons of the sage Vasistha, O lowest of kings, and therefore I declare that Vasistha will lie with your wife and beget a son, and that son will inherit your throne."

Having thus cursed the king, that brilliant woman born in the line of Angira entered into the sacred fire in the presence of the king. By his mystic knowledge, and vast austerities, the glorious Vasistha witnessed all these events, O mighty Arjuna.

After a long time, the saintly king was freed from the cursed life of a Raksasa, and when he eagerly approached his wife Madanti in her fertile season, she stopped him. Bewildered by the curse of the brahmana's wife, he did not at first remember the curse, but hearing the words of his godly wife, that noble king then recalled it, and he lamented piteously for what he had done. For that reason, O best of the Bharatas, the king had Vasistha lie with his wife, for he was disqualified by the terms of the curse.

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Arjuna said:

All is known to you, Gandharva, and therefore point out a priest who would be suitable for us, one who knows the Vedas.

The Gandharva said:

In the forest at sacred Utkocaka, the younger brother of Devala performs austerities. His name is Dhaumya; select him if you wish.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon Arjuna presented his agneya weapon to the Gandharva with honor and protocol, and affectionately told him, "These horses should remain with you for now. Later, at the time of action I shall take them. May you fare well."

The Gandharva and the Pandavas respectfully bid each other farewell and departed at their pleasure from the charming bank of the Ganges. The Pandavas went to the hermitage of the sage Dhaumya at sacred Utkocaka and chose him as their royal priest, O Bharata. And Dhaumya, that excellent Vedic scholar, received them with water to wash their feet, and forest fare of fruits and roots, and he agreed to become their priest.

Now the Pandavas had serious hopes of regaining their kingdom and fortune and of winning the hand of the Pancala princess at her svayamvara, for they had accepted the guidance of a brahmana. The five brothers and their mother, in the company of their guru, felt themselves well-protected.

Dhaumya was certainly a most learned scholar of the Vedas, and he was open-minded and generous. He was an aristocratic brahmana, handsome and eloquent, and he was equal to Brhaspati, the priest to the gods, in his potency, intelligence, beauty, fame, fortune, and knowledge of mantras. Dhaumya considered that the heroic brothers had already regained their kingdom, for he knew them to be as intelligent, chivalrous, strong, and devout as the gods themselves. With his keen knowledge of religious principles, and of all matters, Dhaumya engaged the Pandavas in holy sacrifice to that end.

Thereupon, with the full blessings of Dhaumya, those kingly men resolved to journey together to the svayamvara festival of the Pancala princess.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

The five Pandava brothers, tigers of men, then set out to see Draupadi and the divine festival. Traveling with their mother, they met on the road many brahmanas who were also going to that festival with their followers. The brahmanas said to the Pandavas, who were disguised as celibate brahminical students, "Fellow brahmanas, where are you headed, and from where are you coming?"

Yudhisthira Maharaja replied:

O saintly ones who have seen the Lord, be informed that we brothers have come from Ekacakra and are traveling with our mother.

The brahmanas said:

You should all go at once to the palace of King Drupada in the land of Pancala. A grand svayamvara is going to take place there, and the king will be giving away a fortune in charity. We ourselves are going there, making our way in one large group. There will be a most glorious and amazing festival there.

The daughter of the great soul Drupada arose from a sacred altar, and her eyes are just like lotus petals. She is a young and very delicate lady, lovely to see, and intelligent also. She is the sister of Dhrstadyumna, the fiery foe of Drona born with armor, sword, arrows, and bow. He has powerful arms and took birth from a blazing fire of sacrifice. He glows like fire.

His sister is called Draupadi, and there is not a single flaw in the figure of that thin-waisted girl. The natural fragrance of her body is just like a blue lotus, and the aroma spreads for miles. The daughter of King Drupada is eagerly preparing for her svayamvara, and we are going there to see her at her divine festival. Kings and princes will be arriving there, great souls fixed in their vows, clean in their habits, and most generous to the brahmanas, for all of them have studied the Vedas under their learned priests. Young and handsome rulers from many countries will come together, great chariot fighters who have mastered their weapons.

Hoping for the blessing of victory, the monarchs who come there will distribute all varieties of gifts, including valuable stones and coins, cows, and food grains, to all who come. After we have received all that charity, seen the svayamvara, and experienced the festival, we shall then go as we please.

Actors, bards, dancers, reciters of legends and history, and powerful wrestlers will all come there from different countries. Thus when you have seen and participated in the wondrous event and received charity, you great souls will return with us from whence you came. And who knows, when Draupadi Krsna sees all you handsome boys standing there, as good-looking as gods, she might just choose one of you as her husband! This attractive brother of yours is very good-looking, and his arms are huge. If he wrestles there, he could win a big prize!

Yudhisthira Maharaja said:

Yes, sir, we shall go with all of you to see that most prominent and divine festival, wherein the young princess will choose her prince.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

My dear Janamejaya, when the Pandavas were thus invited by the brahmanas, they set out with them toward the kingdom of Pancala, ruled by King Drupada. On the way, O king, the Pandavas met that great and pure soul untouched by sin, Dvaipayana Vyasa. Having properly honored him, and being encouraged and comforted by him, they spoke for some time, and then with his permission, they went on their way to the kingdom of Drupada.

The great warriors traveled at their leisure and set up camp wherever they encountered lovely lakes and forests. They took time to study Vedic literature and to maintain strict cleanliness, and thus their minds were gentle and their speech kind and pleasant. Eventually those Kuru princes reached the land of the Pancalas.

After they had seen the city and the king's palace, the Pandavas made their residence in the house of a potter and fully adopted the activites of the brahmanas, collecting alms for their sustenance. So well did they play the part that the local people had not an inkling that those great heroes had arrived in their city.

Now, it had always been the desire of King Drupada to give his daughter to Arjuna, but he did not reveal his wish. In his attempt to seek out the sons of Kunti, O Janamejaya, the Pancala king had arranged for a tough and unyielding bow and an artificial device suspended in the air, and within that contrivance the king placed a golden target.

King Drupada said:

Whoever can string this bow and with the bow and these arrows shoot through the hanging device and pierce the target wins my daughter's hand.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

King Drupada had this message announced all around, (knowing that only Arjuna could pass the test). Hearing the king's challenge, O Bharata, all the kings of the world eagerly assembled in Drupada's city. The holy sages also came, eager to see the svayamvara, and all the Kuru princes, headed by Duryodhana, with his close friend Karna, arrived there to try for Draupadi's hand.

Exalted brahmanas arrived from many countries, and the great soul Drupada welcomed and honored them as he did the contingents of monarchs. The local crowds roared like the tossing sea, as the visiting kings reached the fine city and settled in for the affair.

Northeast of the town, on a flat and sanctified stretch of land, a beautiful stadium shone with much splendor, boasting luxurious viewing stands on all sides. A colorful canopy was stretched across the entire arena; a protective wall and moat encircled it. It was adorned with tall arched gateways, Hundreds of musical instruments filled the air with sound, priceless aloe perfumes scented the atmosphere, sandalwood water was sprinkled about, and colorful garlands of flowers added bright beauty to the scene.

The palatial pavillions on all sides of the stadium were of excellent construction and stood so high that they seemed to scrape the heavens like the peak of Mount Kailasa. They were covered in golden trellises and inlaid gorgeously with gems. Access to the upper stands was gradual and easy, and there were large seats and other furnishings completely upholstered with material not to be found in ordinary villages, for the fabrics and carpets were as white as swans and scented with the finest aloe, perfuming the air for miles. There were a hundred wide and unobstructed gateways, furnished with exquisite seats and sofas that were fashioned with varieties of valuable metals, as are the peaks of the Himalayas. All the kings, splendidly dressed, took their seats on the various levels of the pavillion, competing with one another for position and prestige.

The citizens of the town and country saw that those mighty warriors were lionlike monarchs, ferocious in battle, but exceedingly kind to those who sought their shelter. Indeed they were loved by all their countrymen for their good and pious deeds, and those fortunate kings, tastefully scented with black aloe cologne, were devoted to the brahmanas and ruled their lands with saintly guidance. The citizens sought the satisfaction of seeing the chaste Princess Daraupadi, and so they took their seats in the opulent viewing areas.

The Pandavas took their seat with the brahmanas and beheld the unparalleled opulence of the Pancala king. The gathering continued to grow for many days, O king, and it was magnificent. Jewels were freely given in charity, and professional actors and dancers performed.

O best of the Bharatas, a large and beautiful gathering was present when, on the sixteenth day, it was time for Draupadi to appear. Her body freshly bathed and adorned with all the finest jewelry, she took in her hands the hero's cup, golden and exquisitely wrought, and descended into the arena. At that moment, the royal priest of the Pancalas, a pure brahmana learned in mantra, spread the sacred grass and fed the fire of sacrifice with oblations of clear butter. All was done precisely by the ancient rule.

Having sated the fire of rite and the holy brahmanas, and having invoked blessings on the assembly, the royal priest then signalled for all the musicians to cease. When not a sound could be heard, O king, Dhrstadyumna went to the center of the arena, and in a voice as deep and grave as thunder rumbling in the clouds, he pronounced these graceful and meaningful words:

"May all the kings hear me now! This is the bow, these are the arrows, and there is the target. With only five arrows at your disposal, you must send a shaft through the opening in that mechanical device and strike the target.

"Of the man endowed with noble lineage, beauty, and strength who carries out this most difficult task, my sister Krsna shall today become the wife, and I speak the truth."

Having spoken thus to the kings, the son of Drupada then turned to Draupadi and began to recite to her, so that all could hear, the name, lineage, and deeds of the assembled monarchs.

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Prince Dhrstadyumna said:

The one hundred sons of Dhrtarastra are celebrated as leaders of the warrior race, for they are powerful and heroic. Assembled here today are Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha, Duspradharsana, Vivimsati, and Vikarna; Saha, Duhsasana, Sama, Yuyutsu, Vatavega, and Bhimavegadhara; Ugrayudha, Balaki, Kanakayus, Virocana, Sukundala, Citrasena, Suvarca, Kanakadhvaja, Nandaka, Bahusali, Kundaja, and Vikata. All these and many other sons of Dhrtarastra have come here with Karna seeking your hand.

All the sons of the Gandhara king have gathered here, and their names are Sakuni, Bala, Vrsaka, and Brhadbala. Asvatthama and Bhoja are distinguished among all who wield weapons, and these two great souls, beautifully dressed, have come here because of you.

Brhanta and Manimat, powerful Dandadhara, Sahadeva, Jayatsena, and Meghasandhi of Magadha; Virata with his two sons, Sankha and Uttara; Vardhaksemi, Suvarca, and King Senabindu; Abhibhu with his splendid son Sudama, Sumitra, Sukumara, Vrka, and Satyadhrti; Suryadhvaja, Rocamana, Nila, and Citrayudha; Amsuman, Cekitana, mighty Sreniman, fiery Candrasena, son of Samudrasena; Jalasandha, and father and son named Sudanda and Danda; Paundraka, who claims to be Vasudeva; heroic Bhagadatta, Kalinga, Tamralipta, and the ruler of Pattana; the great car-warrior Salya, king of the Madras with his sons, the champion Rukmangada and Rukmaratha---all these have come.

Somadatta the Kauravya and his three heroic maharatha sons, Bhuri, Bhurisrava, and Sala have also come; and there are Sudaksina, Kamboja, and Drdhadhanva the Kaurava; Brhadbala, Susena, and Sibi Ausinara; Sankarsana, Vasudeva, and Samba, the powerful son of Rukmini; Carudesna, Sarana, Gada, Akrura, Satyaki, and the very strong Uddhava; Krtavarma Hardikya, Prthu, and Viprthu; Viduratha, Kanka, Samika, and Saramejaya; heroic Vatapati and Jhilli; the courageous Pindaraka and Usinara. All these are celebrated warriors of the Vrsni clan.

There are also Bhagiratha, the great warrior, and the Saindhava king, Jayadratha; Bahlika and the Srutayus, who are all Maharathas; Uluka, King Kaitava, and Citrangada with Subhangada; the very determined king of the Vatsas and the king of Kosala.

These and many other kings from many countries, all celebrated rulers in this world, have all come here seeking your hand, fair woman. These mighty men will try to pierce a most difficult target for your sake, and should one of them find the mark, good woman, you should then choose him to be your husband.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Those young kings with their jewels and earrings now came together, challenging one another, each convinced that power and skill in weapons rested with him, each highly enlivened with worldly pride. (Thus when they heard the words of Dhrstadyumna), they all proudly sprang to their feet, (each claiming that he would meet the challenge).

Their pride was great, for each king possessed beauty, valor, lineage, virtue, and youth, and by the maddening force of this pride they became as mad as the mighty elephants of the Himalayas. They challenged and stared at one another, their strong bodies bristling with determination. "Draupadi is meant for me!" they boasted, suddenly rising from their seats.

Those warriors assembled in the great arena sought to win the hand of Drupada's daughter, just as the hosts of gods had once assembled to win the hand of Uma, born of the mountain king. All the kings' limbs were harassed by the arrows of Cupid, for their hearts had already gone to Draupadi Krsna. Because of Draupadi they now went down to the center of the arena, and even kings who had been dear friends now treated each other as hostile rivals.

At that moment, the hosts of gods arrived in their airships. Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, the twin Asvins, all the Sadhyas, and the Marutas--- all arrived, led by Yamaraja, the lord of Justice, and Kuvera, head of the celestial treasury.

Then came the Daityas, the great birds and serpents, godly sages, Guhyakas, Caranas, Visvavasu, Narada and Parvata, and the chief Gandharvas, with their Apsara mates.

Present there were Lord Balarama and Lord Krsna, and the leading men of the Vrsni and Andhaka dynasties. The great personalities of the Yadu dynasty, ready to execute Lord Krsna's command, carefully glanced around the arena. Lord Krsna Himself, the Yadu hero, then noticed five men dressed as renunciants and covered with ashes as if they were five sacrificial fires. The five looked as strong and alert as mighty red-spotted elephants in the season of their fury. Lord Krsna reflected deeply, (for He alone knew their identity,) and He quietly and discreetly indicated to Lord Balarama, "There is Yudhisthira-- and Bhima and Arjuna and the heroic twins." Lord Balarama gazed upon them, and then with a joyful mind He glanced at Lord Krsna, who is known as Janardana.

There were many other kings, with their sons and grandsons, and all of them had lost their eyes, minds, and personalities to Draupadi. Seeing her stroll about the arena, their faces blushed and they chewed on their lips, straining to do battle for her sake. And so it was with the three wide-armed sons of Prtha and the powerful, heroic twins. Their eyes fixed on Draupadi, all of them were struck by the arrows of Cupid.

The sky above the arena was filled with godly sages, Gandharvas, celestial birds and serpents, Asuras, and mystic Siddhas. Divine scents wafted everywhere. Falling blossoms from divine garlands scattered and floated in the bracing air. The great sounds of big drums sent forth deep thudding vibrations. And the sky was crowded with airplanes and alive with the sounds of flutes, vinas, and cymbals.

Thereafter the hosts of kings came forward one by one, hoping to win Draupadi, but with all their strength they could not string the iron-stiff bow. Though they struggled with valor to bend it, the determined bow would recoil and throw the kings to the ground, where they lay miserably moving their limbs before all the crowd. Thus their proud demeanor was shattered.

Breaking and crushing the bracelets and earrings of the monarchs, the determined bow cried out its sound, and a circle formed of suffering kings whose bold affection for Draupadi had shrunk. Then Karna, the so called son of the chariot driver, roaring and pulling with all his might, came within a hair's breadth of stringing the bow, but the bow threw him violently away. Then every king was filled with fear, for even Karna, renowned in the three worlds for his strength, had been tossed aside by that bow. All the great kings bent down their heads, their eyes unable to even look at the bow. They had no more hope of lifting the bow and winning Draupadi.

Finally King Duryodhana, son of Dhrtarastra, a proud tamer of foes who had a skillful steady hand with weapons and who was endowed with all the signs of royalty, stood up suddenly. In the midst of his brothers, that very, very strong man joyfully glanced at Draupadi, and then came near the bow. He took the bow as if he were bow-wielding Indra, and with all his might he came within the width of a sesame seed of stringing it. But however much he pulled and struck the bow, he could not close the gap, for the powerful bow would not yield to him. Suddenly it burst open, smacking his thumbs, and the monarch left it and went away, beaten and ashamed.

Then in that assembly of bewildered men, when all the kinds had ceased their vows and cries, Arjuna, son of Kunti, came forward to string the bow and fit it with the arrow.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon, when all the kings had given up their attempt to string the bow, the wise Arjuna rose up from the midst of the brahmanas. Seeing that Prtha's son, shining like the flag of Indra, had set out for the center of the arena, the leading brahmanas cried out and shook their deerskins. Some were unhappy to see a brahmana going to compete with warriors, and others were filled with joy.

Some of the sages who were considered to be experts, and who lived by their intelligence, said to each other, "When the kings of the earth, led by Karna and Salya, mighty monarchs renowned in all the world as masters of the military science, could not bend the bow,how is it that a mere brahminical student, frail and lacking stamina, with no training in weapons, will string the bow? We brahmanas will be ridiculed by all the kings when this whimsical and thoughtless act comes to nothing. Whether out of pride or impulsiveness or unsteadiness in his life as a religious student, he has gone out to string the bow. He must be stopped! For God's sake, don't let him go!

"We shall not be made ridiculous in public so that we are no longer taken seriously. And we shall not risk a conflict with all the kings of the world."

But others disagreed.

"This young man looks very good. He's built like the trunk of the king of elephants. His shoulders, thighs, and arms are bulging with muscles. And he seems as steady and hard to move as the Himalaya mountains.

"It can be inferred from his bold confidence that this task is actually possible for him. He has power and great daring. A weak man could not go out there alone as he is doing. And after all, whether among the gods, human beings, or lower life, there is no task whatsoever that cannot be accomplished by the brahmanas. Eating only water or living on air or collecting fruits in the forest, brahmanas are fixed in their vows, and though apparently weak, by their spiritual power they are very strong. A brahmana should never be scorned, whether he is behaving properly or even if he has committed some fault, whether his work in this world is great or small, and whether it brings apparent joy or sorrow."

As the sages were thus discussing in different ways, Arjuna, the glory of the Pandavas, said to Dhrstadyumna, "Is it permitted for brahmanas to string this bow?"

Hearing these words, Dhrstadyumna replied, "Either a brahmana or one of the royal order or a merchant or an ordinary laborer! Any one of them who is able to string this most opulent bow, noble brahmana, unto him shall my sister be given, and I say the truth."

After hearing this statement, the mighty Pandava, undefeatable in battle, proceeded on, surrounded by other brahmanas. Coming to the center of the arena, Arjuna simply stood by the bow, as unmoving as a mountain. Then he respectfully circumambulated the bow, keeping it to his right, and bowed down, touching his head to the ground.Then the fiery warrior happily took it in his hands.

In the wink of an eye, he fastened the cord, took the five arrows in his hands, and shot the target, which fell suddenly through the contraption onto the earth, pierced through by Arjuna's shafts. The heavens burst into sound, and a great roaring filled the stadium. The lord of heaven showered flowers on the head of Arjuna, the slayer of the wicked. Throughout the stadium people waved their cloths in jubilation, some cried out in wonder, and still others shouted their dissapproval, while showers of flowers fell from the sky, covering the land with celestial blossoms. Hundred-piece bands broke into song, reciters began to recite, and bards and historical chroniclers at once began to praise the astonishing event with elegant voices and language. Seeing Arjuna's feat, Drupada, destroyer of the enemy, was well pleased, and he stood ready with his army to help Arjuna.

As the great uproar continued unabated, the most virtuous Yudhisthira quickly returned to his residence with the twins, the finest of men.

Seeing the target pierced, and observing that Arjuna shone with the brilliance of Indra, Draupadi took the white garland meant for the groom and went broadly smiling to the son of Kunti. As the brahmanas praised and honored him-- for he had performed an inconceivable deed-- Arjuna took the woman he had won in the arena of heroes, and followed by his new wife, he walked out of the stadium.

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Sri Vaisampayana continued:

When King Drupada desired to give his daughter to the great-spirited brahmana who had won her, there was fury among the assembled kings, and they began to look at one another. "This king passes over all of us, treating the assembled warriors like straw in the gutter, and instead he wants to give Draupadi, the best of women, to a simple brahmana. Let us kill this wicked king who thinks so little of us. He shows by his qualities that he is not worthy of respect, or of the consideration offered to the elderly. Let us kill this evil-doer now, along with his son, for he is a hater of kings. First he calls all the rulers to his city and honors them, and feeds them sumtuously, and finally he humiliates them.

"Are we to believe that in this gathering of royalty, like unto a council of the gods, he has not found a single ruler of men to be worthy of his family? The sages have not the privilege of choosing a princess. The Vedas declare that a svayamvara is for men of the royal order. On the other hand, if this fair maiden finds not a single one of us to be worthy of her, then, fellow kings, let us throw her into the fire and go back to our kingdoms.

"Whether the brahmana has so displeased us out of immaturity or greed, in no way is he to be killed. Indeed, we rule our kingdoms, spend our wealth, raise our sons and grandsons, and live our very lives for the sake of the saintly brahmanas.

"Still, we must avoid the danger that henceforth kings are to be regularly insulted. We must protect the sacred principles of warriors so that other svayamvaras do not end like this one."

Having thus spoken, those tigerlike kings, bristling with anger, bludgeons in hand, rushed upon Drupada to arrest him. Seeing the furious kings rushing to attack him with bows and arrows at the ready, Drupada fled in terror and sought shelter of the brahmanas. The kings charged forward in pursuit like maddened elephants, but then the two greatly powerful sons of Pandu, subduers of enemies, went forward against them.

The kings could tolerate no more. Weapons raised with armored hands, their only aim now to kill, they flew forward upon Arjuna and Bhimasena, the two sons of the old Kuru king. Bhima was a warrior of astonishing power and deeds, however, and with his great strength he struck with the shock of a thunderbolt. With his bare arms that unique fighter jerked a large tree out of the ground, and like a lordly elephant he clipped off its leaves (so that the foliage would not soften his blow). Staying close to Arjuna and brandishing his new weapon in his long wide, arms, Bhima, pain of his enemies, stood as if he were the fearsome lord of death wielding his death-dealing rod.

Having first witnessed Arjuna's feat, which required more than human intelligence, and now the inconceivable prowess of Arjuna's brother Bhima, Lord Krsna, known as Damodara, turned and said to His fiercely potent brother, Balarama, who was armed with His plow weapon, "My dear Sankarsana, my brother, that one there who moves with the bearing of a maddened bull, who bent the mighty bow that stood as tall as a palm tree, he is Arjuna, as indisputably as I am all-pervading Vasudeva. And that one who immediately returned when the kings became wild and who so easily tore out a tree, he is Bhimasena, playing the part of a human being, for no man on earth has the power to do what he just did here.

"That other one who left earlier, with large eyes like lotus petals and a more slender physique, with the gait of a great lion yet a humble demeanor, fair-skinned, and with a prominent and handsome nose that enhances his face, he, infallible one, is surely the king of virtue, Yudhisthira.

Those twins who seem like two young gods of war, I reckon to be the sons of the Asvin gods. I have heard that the sons of Pandu and their mother Prtha were saved from the burning of the house of lac."

Trusting in the words of His younger brother, Lord Balarama, whose complexion is as white as the purest cloud, said to Lord Krsna, "I am so happy that by the grace of Providence our father's sister Prtha and her sons, who are the best of the Kurus, have all been saved."

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Sri Vaisampayana continued:

The powerful brahmanas, shaking their deerskins and water vessels, said to King Drupada, "You have nothing to fear! We shall fight the enemy!"

When the sages spoke thus, Arjuna smiled and said to them, "Please, be spectators and stand to the side. Just as one can ward off poisonous snakes with mantras, so I shall stop these furious ksatriyas, dispersing them with hundreds of straight-shooting arrows."

Taking his prize bow, Arjuna stood with his brother Bhima like an unmoving mountain, for he was a maharatha. Like fearless bull elephants rushing against a hostile herd, the two courageous brothers flew at the angry warriors, headed by Karna, who had now been roused to full fury. The monarchs and their men declared, "Even a brahmana may be killed in battle if he desires to fight. So says the law."

Karna went after Arjuna with tremendous power, like a battle-hungry elephant fighting another bull for the sake of his mate. Salya, the mighty lord of the Madras, attacked Bhimasena. Duryodhana and other kings battled the brahmanas, but gently and without effort.

Strongly bending his bow, Arjuna struck the attacking Karna with three arrows. Radheya (Karna) was stunned by the force of the sharp, sizzling arrows and approached with much caution. As they furiously battled each other, the skill and speed of the two fighters was incomparable, and each fought hard for victory over the other. They addressed each other in words meaningful to heroes: "Just see how I countered your move!" and "See the strength of my arms!"

Realizing that the power of Arjuna's bow-wielding arms was unmatched on earth, Karna was prompted to fight with even greater fury. Counteracting the swift shafts fired off by Arjuna, he roared his battle sound, and his fellow warriors shouted with admiration.

Karna said:

I am satisfied by your performance in battle, O brahmana chief. There is great prowess in your arms, and you have learned all the weapons. You do not become discouraged. O noble sage, are you Dhanur Veda himself, or perhaps even Lord Parasurama? Are you Lord Indra, or possibly the infallible Visnu? To disguise yourself you have assumed the appearance of a brahmana, and using the might of your arms you now fight with me. Once I become angry, no one save Indra himself or the Pandava Arjuna can fight me.

Vaisampayana said:

Hearing Karna speak to him thus, Phalguna Arjuna replied, "I am not Dhanur Veda, O Karna, nor am I the powerful Parasurama. Quite simply, I am the best of fighting brahmanas and the most skillful in the use of weapons. By the instructions of my guru, I am expert in the Brahma weapon and in the device of Purandara Indra. I therefore stand here in battle to conquer you, O heroic warrior. Be resolved!"

At these words Radheya Karna, the great chariot fighter, withdrew from the battle, having decided that the power of a brahmana could not be defeated. But at that very moment, O king, the two mighty warriors Salya and Vrkodara Bhima began to fight one another, both of them maddened with strength and hungry for victory. Like huge, enraged bull elephants they taunted one another. With fist colliding against fist, knee smashed against knee, they dragged each other around the fighting ring. Then, in the midst of their battle, Bhima seized Salya in his arms, lifted him high, and slammed him against the ground. The brahmanas broke into smiles. Having brought down powerful Salya, the mighty Bhimasena, best among men, astonished everyone, for he did not strike and kill his foe.

With Salya now brought down and Karna hesitant, the ksatriyas grew doubtful and surrounded Bhimasena and said, "These bull-like brahmanas have done very well indeed! We should learn where they took birth and where they reside, for who has the power to oppose Karna in battle if he is not Parasurama or Drona or Krpa, the son of Saradvan? Who has the power to meet Duryodhana in battle but Krsna, the son of Devaki, or the fiery Phalguna Arjuna? Salya, king of the Madras, is the strongest of men. Who could fight him but the heroic Lord Baladeva or the Pandava Vrkodara Bhima? Let us forge a truce and so suspend fighting with these brahmanas. After we discover who they are, we shall fight again later."

Carefully watching the activities of Bhima, Sri Krsna believed that he and Arjuna were the sons of Kunti. He therefore convinced all the warriors that Draupadi had indeed been fairly won, and thus restrained them from fighting on. The noble kings were experienced warriors, and on hearing Lord Krsna's remarks they desisted from battle and returned to their kingdoms in utter amazement.

"The competition was dominated by brahmanas. The princess of Pancala now lives with the brahmanas, for they have chosen her." Thus spoke the kings who had gathered for the festival as they journeyed to their homes.

Meanwhile, surrounded by brahmanas clad in deerskins, Bhimasena and Arjuna could hardly move. Those two heroes of mankind at last broke free of the pressing crowd, and while their enemies studied and stared at them, and as Draupadi faithfully followed them, they shone beautifully amid the tumultuous scene.

The Pandavas' mother knew only that her sons had gone out, as usual, to collect alms, and that they had not returned on time. She began to imagine all sorts of calamities that might have befallen them. "I pray that Dhrtarastra's sons have not discovered and killed them, for they are the best of the Kurus.

"Could they have been waylaid by horrible Raksasas who possess mystical powers and never forgive an enemy? But the great soul Vyasa declared that my sons would be victorious. Could his conclusion be in error?"

Filled with affection for her sons, Prtha thus worried over them, until late in the afternoon, when Jisnu Arjuna returned. Like the bright sun surrounded by clouds, he came in with brahmanas on all sides of him, and all of them kept the Absolute Truth before them.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Prtha's two exalted sons, who were the finest of men, went back to the potter's workshop with the greatest of joy, and finding Prtha home, they called to her, joking about Draupadi, "We brought alms!"

Kunti was inside the shop, and without looking at her sons, she called back, "All of you enjoy the alms together." Later, when she saw they had brought a young girl, she cried out, "Oh what a terrible thing I said!" Embarrassed and fearful of an irreligious act, Kunti took the very blissful Draupadi by the hand and went to see Yudhisthira and said, "Your two younger brothers delivered to me the young daughter of King Drupada, and being distracted, son, I said, as usual, `All of you enjoy the alms together!' O best of the Kurus, how will my statement not prove false? (For I cannot lie.) Yet how will sin not overtake the king of Pancala's sinless daughter?"

Yudhisthira, a king of tremendous ability, thought over the matter for some time, and then, trying his best to encourage Kunti, the courageous Kuru said to Dhananjaya Arjuna, "You have won Draupadi, O Pandava, and it is you who will satisfy the princess. Now let the sacred fire be ignited. May the offerings be made, and you shall lawfully accept her hand."

Arjuna said:

Do not bestow upon me an irreligious deed, my king. What you propose is not the virtue that people seek. You, as the eldest brother, will marry first, and then the mighty-armed Bhima of inconceivable works. I come next, after me Nakula, and finally Madri's son Sahadeva. Vrkodara, the twins, this girl, and I, O king, are all your subordinates. It being thus, you must carefully consider the situation and then do what must be done to enhance our virtue and reputation. Your actions must also be pleasing to the king of Pancala. You may command us, for we are all prepared to obey you.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

All the Pandavas then looked over at the glorious Draupadi, who stood before them, and they all sat staring at each other, holding her within their hearts. Each of the Pandavas was a man of inmeasurable vigor, and as they went on looking at the maiden Krsna, a deep love arose in their hearts and forcefully took hold of their eyes and ears and all of their senses. The creator of this world had designed the very attractive body of the Pancala princess, and all creatures were enchanted with her grace, for she was lovelier than other women.

Yudhisthira understood that all the Pandavas were absorbed in thinking of the lovely form of Draupadi, and he remembered well all that their grandfather Dvaipayana Vyasa had told them about their future marriage. The king then told his brothers, "To avoid the serious danger of division among us, pure-hearted Draupadi will be a wife to all of us."

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

The Pandavas pondered the instruction of their brother, Pandu's eldest son. Deep within their minds they meditated on the ultimate purpose and meaning of his decision, and thus those most able warriors simply sat in silence.

Meanwhile, the Vrsni hero Lord Krsna, surmising the identity of the Kuru heroes, went with Lord Balarama to the potter's workshop to see those valiant men.

Arriving there, Krsna and Balarama saw Yudhisthira, of wide, long arms, as he sat free of hatred and surrounded by his brothers, who were as bright as fire. Approaching Yudhisthira, the most distinguished of religious men, Lord Krsna, known as Vasudeva, affectionately pressed the feet of the rightful Kuru king, and said, "I am Krsna."

Sri Balarama also touched Yudhisthira's feet, and the Kuru princes joyfully welcomed Krsna and Balarama. The two Yadu leaders also touched the feet of their aunt Kunti, the sister of their father. King Yudhisthira, who saw no one as his enemy, then asked Lord Krsna about His well-being, and revealing their own state of affairs, he inquired, "Dear Krsna, we have all been living in disguise. How did you know who we are?"

Lord Krsna smiled and replied, "Fire, even when covered, is detected, O king. Who but the noble sons of Pandu, among all mankind, could perform such feats? Thank heaven all of you Pandavas were saved from that fire, and thank heaven the sinful son of Dhrtarastra, and his minister, could not accomplish their plan. May you all be blessed so that even in hiding you grow and prosper, shining like a steadily burning fire. None of the kings must know who you are, so we will go now back to our own camp."

Granted His leave by the eldest Pandava, Sri Krsna, whose opulence is inexhaustible, departed quickly with His brother, Sri Baladeva.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Dhrstadyumna, prince of Pancala, had followed Bhima and Arjuna as they returned to the potter's shop, and hiding his men all around, he sat undetected near the workshop.

When night fell, Bhima, harasser of foes, Arjuna, and the mighty twins happily gave Yudhisthira the alms they had begged. Then in time, generous Kunti said to Drupada's daughter, "Now, sweet girl, take the first portion of our alms and offer it to the Supreme Lord, and then give it in alms to a learned brahmana. And whoever in this neighborhood desires food, give some to them. Then quickly divide the remainder and keep half for the four brothers and me and you, and give the other half, good woman, to Bhima. He's that son of mine who looks like a maddened bull. That swarthy young man is built very strongly, and he's our hero, but he always eats a lot."

The joy in the heart of the princess made her beauty shine, and accepting Kunti's words without the slightest doubt, the saintly young bride did exactly as instructed. And they all took their food.

Then Sahadeva, the expert son of Madri, put down a ground covering of Kusa grass, and all the heroes spread out their deerskins on it and slept soundly on the earth. The men slept with their heads pointing toward the direction blessed by the sage Agastya. Kunti was in front of them, and Draupadi was across from their feet. The princess lay on the earth with the sons of Pandu, as if she were made into a pillow for their feet, but there was no unhappiness in her heart, nor did she think less of those princes, who were the foremost of the Kurus.

As they lay there, talks arose among them, and the mighty heroes began to tell wondrous stories of armies and governments, of divine weapons, chariots, and elephants, of swords, clubs, and deadly axes. And as they told their stories, the prince of Pancala heard them, and his men saw how their princess Krsna lay there without any of her usual comforts.

Dhrstadyuman, the king's son, was eager to tell his father, Drupada, in detail all that the Pandavas and their women had said and done that night, and he hurried back to the palace.

The king of Pancala looked worried and upset, for he did not know the identity of the Pandavas, to whom he had given his beloved daughter. As soon as his son returned, the exalted monarch questioned him, "Where has my daughter Krsna gone, and who led her away? Is the princess now the property of a low-class man? Is she in the hands of an outcast? Or does she now serve a tax-paying merchant? Is a foot now stuck on my head? Has the royal garland fallen on the polluted ground where bodies are burned? Or has it been placed on a man of distinguished, kingly rank, or was it one of still higher rank, a brahmana? Or is it, my son, that a lowly left foot has been thrust on my head by the man who carried away Krsna?

"Or may I yet dream that the son of Pandu lives, and that I am now united with the very best of men? Tell me in truth! Who is that man of great power who has now won the right to my daughter?

"Oh, Vicitravirya was such a hero for the Kurus! Can it be that sons in his line have prevailed? Can it be that the youngest son of Prtha grabbed that bow today and struck down the target?"

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then Prince Dhrstadyumna, the crown-jewel of Pancala, enthusiastically related to his father what had happened and who had taken Draupadi.

"It was that youth with large, copper-colored eyes and deerskin dress, the one as handsome as the gods, who strung the finest bow and sent the target falling to the earth. And without becoming entangled, he quickly left, all the while being praised on all sides by the finest brahmanas. There he strode like thunder-wielding Indra attended by all the gods and seers as he strides through the demon sons of Diti.

"Draupadi held on to his trailing deerskin, and he looked like a mighty elephant followed by his jubilant mate. All the kings were livid with indignation, and they assailed him as he departed. But in the midst of those monarchs another man appeared, uprooted a large tree that stood firmly in the earth, and furiously drove off and chased those rows of kings just as Death pursues all that breathe. And as all the kings watched them, O king, those two extraordinary men, shining like the sun and moon, took our Krsna and departed, and they went outside the city to the workshop of a potter.

"There I saw a woman sitting, and she resembled a fire's flame. I reason that she is their mother. Sitting near her were three powerful men who appeared to be of the same family, and they too shone like fire.

"The two men arrived from the stadium, offered their respects at the woman's feet, and had Draupadi do the same. They immediately introduced Draupadi to the others, and then all the men went out to collect alms. As soon as they came back, Draupadi took the alms, made an offering to the Lord, and fed the brahmanas. With the remainder, she waited upon the older woman and the heroic men, serving them their meal, and then she ate. Then every one of them went to sleep, and Draupadi lay at their feet like their foot-pillow. Their bed was made of fine deerskins spread over darbha grass, and somehow it seemed appropriate for the occasion.

"They began to narrate stories with voices as deep and strong as doomsday clouds. And how they told those wonderful stories! These were not the stories that merchants and common laboring men would have to tell, nor would brahmanas speak like those heroes. The way they talked about battle and war, they are undoubtedly prominent warriors, O king.

"Clearly, our great hope will now be fulfilled for we hear that Prtha's sons were saved from the fire! The forceful way he strung the bow and struck the target, and the way they all speak to each other-- they are surely the Pandavas moving about in disguise."

Thereupon King Drupada was overjoyed, and calling his royal priest, he sent this message, "We must know who you are, great souls, whether or not you are the sons of Pandu."

Taking the king's words, the priest went and recited to the Pandavas the king's complete message just as he had spoken it and in the proper sequence, for the messenger understood the importance of sequence. "Most worthy ones, King Drupada, lord of this land, desires to know you, for having seen how one of you struck down the target, the king now sees no end to his happiness.

("The king says,) `please explain the lineage of your family and community. Place your foot on the heads of the envious and bring pleasure to this heart of mine and to the hearts of those who follow me, the king of Pancala.'

"King Pandu was a beloved friend to King Drupada, and Drupada loved him like his very self. This was Drupada's desire: `If only my daughter could be the daughter-in-law of the Kaurava king!' O men of flawless form, the desire of King Drupada has ever stayed in his heart-- `Arjuna, with his long, wide arms, should accept my daughter in sacred marriage!' This was Drupada's heart."

The priest spoke his message and stood humbly before them. Yudhisthira looked up at him and then ordered Bhima, who stood close by, "We must honor this person with footbath and gifts. He is the royal priest of King Drupada, and he is to be offered the highest honors."

Bhima did exactly that, O king, and the priest accepted the honors in a noble fashion. When the brahmana was seated at his leasure, Yudhisthira said to him. "The Pancala king has released his daughter in accordance with his religious duty, and following his own desire. The heroic King Drupada designated this princess as a royal gift, and he has honored his word. There is no need here for an investigation into our social class, our means of livelihood, or our family or lineage. Because he strung the bow and pierced the target in the midst of the earthly kings, a great soul fairly won this girl Draupadi, and she was properly entrusted to him.

"Things being what they are, the king of the Pancalas should not lament and make himself miserable. You stated that King Drupada has long desired to marry his daughter to the son of Pandu, and his majesty's wish shall certainly come to pass. Dear brahmana, it is my considered judgement that no ordinary woman could hope to attain the beauty and grace of the king's daughter, and certainly no dull or weak man could possibly have strung the bow. And how could a man unschooled in weapons, or one of wretched birth, have struck down the target? Therefore, there is no reason for the Pancala king to grieve over his daughter. Nor is there any man on earth who can change the fact that the target was brought down."

As Yudhisthira was thus speaking, another messenger came running from the Pancala king and announced that the feast was ready.

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The messenger said:

On the occasion of his daugher's marriage, and in honor of the bridgegroom's party, a splendid meal has been arranged by King Drupada. All of you are urged to complete your religious duties and come for the feast, with Draupadi and without delay. These chariots, yoked with fine horses and adorned with gold lotuses, are worthy of kings. All of you should mount them and proceed to the home of the Pancala king.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Placing the royal priest on the first one, the rightful leaders of the Kurus mounted those grand chariots and departed, and Kunti and Draupadi went with them. Hearing from his priest what Yudhisthira had said, King Drupada, hoping to learn the identity of the Kuru leaders, brought various gifts appropriate for all the social classes. Thus he collected fruits and other simple foods (preferred by the brahmanas), and beautifully woven garlands, shields, armor, and royal seats. For the farmers, there were gifts of cows, ropes, and other such implements. And he brought all the tools and materials used for the crafts and trades, with nothing left out. The king also collected all the necessary equipment for sports and recreation.

(Still, Dhrstadyumna had indicated that they were probably warriors, and so the king especially prepared gifts suitable for warriors.) Thus, there were brilliant sets of armor for chariot horses, large swords, bright chariots of various styles, excellent bows, the best arrows, and lances and spears that were beautifully adorned with gold. There were javelins, explosives, battle-axes, all that is used in battle, and the most exquisitely wrought beds and chairs in plentiful variety.

Saintly Kunti took Draupadi to the inner apartments of Drupada's palace, where the women resided, and there the ladies of the royal household honored the wife of Pandu without a trace of envy or reluctance. Meanwhile, the king, with his sons and ministers as well as the close friends of the family and all the royal attendents, got their first opportunity to see the Pandavas at close quarters. Observing their lionlike gait, their large eyes like those of a mighty bull, their massive shoulders draped in deerskin, and their long arms, bulging like ruling serpents, the king and all his associates were filled with exceeding joy.

The courageous brothers then took their seats in the finest chairs with exquisite foot rests. They accepted such royal opulence without hesitation, for the grand riches spread before them did not surprise or affect them, and the noblest of men calmly sat according to age.

The male and female attendents and cooks, all in spotless uniforms, brought out all sorts of simple and elaborate foods, fit for kings and served in bowls and dishes of silver and gold. Then those heroes of men ate to their full satisfaction. With full trust in King Drupada, they relaxed in a most cheerful mood. Passing over all of the ornate and opulent gifts, they made straight for the collections of military articles, for they had come to earth to be warriors.

Drupada, his son, and all the important ministers marked their behavior, and approaching the sons of Kunti, who were sons and grandsons of monarchs, they joyfully accorded them the highest honors.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

The brilliant king of Pancala then called for Yudhisthira, the son of a king, and formally welcomed him with the welcome offered to brahmanas. With a generous, open mind, he asked Kunti's shining son, "How can we know whether you are all warriors or brahmanas or qualified merchants or if you are born of working-class mothers? Or are you perfected mystics who wander in all directions, displaying your magical powers, descended now from heaven to meet my daughter Krsna? Sir, tell us the truth of this matter, for we are burdened by a heavy doubt. When our doubts are dispelled and we know you, will satisfaction then dwell in our minds? Does a good and noble lot await us, O fiery champion? Kindly speak the truth, for the truth, when spoken, shines beautifully among kings, more so than sacrifice or gifts, whereas falsehood clearly has no such appeal among noble men. I see that you are a true warrior, for you shine like the gods, and upon hearing your words, I shall certainly arrange a proper wedding.

Yudhisthira Maharaja said:

My dear king of Pancala, do not despair; rather, you should be pleased, for your cherished desire has certainly been fulfilled without any doubt. We are royalty, O king, the sons of the great soul Pandu. Know me to be the eldest son of Kunti, and those two are Bhima and Arjuna; it is they who won your daughter, O king, in the meeting of monarchs. Those are the twin sons of Madri, over there where Krsna is standing. Let the sorrow in your heart be dispelled, O best of kings, for we are ksatriyas, and your daughter is like a lotus plant that has gone from one clear lake to another. I am now telling you everything as it is Maharaja, for you, sir, are our guru and our greatest shelter.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

King Drupada was so deeply moved with joy that he could not even see what was in front of him, and although he wanted to respond properly to Yudhistira, he could not speak. With much effort, however, the fiery old warrior restrained his jubilation, and with the manners of a noble king, he replied in a befitting way. The righteous ruler then inquired as to how the Pandavas had fled from those who tried to murder them, and the eldest Pandava explained everything in the order that it happened.

Hearing the statements of Kunti's son, King Drupada condemned the leadership of Dhrtarastra, and he consoled and encouraged Yudhisthira. The eloquent Drupada then promised that he would strive to help the Pandavas regain their rightful kingdom. Then at the king's behest, Kunti, Draupadi, Bhimasena, Arjuna, and the twins, along with Yudhisthira, moved into the royal palace, and they began to live there, O king, well attended and honored by Drupada.

When they had all rested and were refreshed, the king came to them with his sons and said, "On this very day, the Kuru prince should take my daughter's hand in sacred marriage. It is a holy day, and mighty-armed Arjuna should take the opportunity."

King Yudhisthira, son of Dharma, then said to him, "It is I who am first to accept a wife, O king, (being the eldest brother)."

King Drupada said:

Then you, sir, being a hero, may take my daughter's hand in sacred marriage, or whomever you designate as the proper one for Krsna.

Yudhisthira said:

Draupadi will be the queen of all of us, for that is what our mother has decreed, O king. I am unmarried at present, and so is Pandava Bhimasena. Arjuna has won your daughter, who is like a jewel, and the agreement in our family, O king, is that a jewel will be shared equally. O best of rulers, we have no desire to renounce our pact. By our religious principles, Krsna will be queen to all of us. So let her take the hand of each of us, in order, before the ritual fire.

King Drupada said:

My dear Kuru prince, it is ordained that one king may accept many queens, but many kings have never been authorized to marry a single queen. You are a most decent and religious man, Kaunteya, and you should not perform an irreligious act that violates the Vedas, as well as common morality. Why is your mind set like that?

Yudhisthira said:

Virtue can be subtle, Maharaja, and we do not always understand where it will lead us. But with firm conviction, we follow, step by step, the path of our venerable predecessors and superiors. I have never spoken a lie, nor does my mind dwell in the irreligious. I have simply repeated to you what my venerable mother has said, and what is my own conviction. This is indeed in accord with dharma, O king, and you should accept it without analyzing it any further. Your majesty, you should have no doubt in this matter.

King Drupada said:

You, your mother, and my son Dhrstadyumna should discuss what is to be done, and whatever you all decide, we shall carry it out tomorrow morning.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

All of them then met together and began to discuss, O Bharata, when suddenly, Dvaipayana Vyasa happened to arrive.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Seeing the arrival of holy Vyasa, all the Pandavas and the illustrious Pancala king rose to meet and honor him. He greeted them in turn, inquired about their health and happiness, and at last the great-minded one sat down in a shining golden seat. With the permission of Srila Vyasa, all those illustrious people sat down in very costly seats. After a moment, King Drupada Parsata asked the great soul, in a kind and gentle voice, about his daughter Draupadi: "How can one woman accept many men and not violate our religious law? My lord, explain all this to us, as it is."

Srila Vyasa said:

It appears to be a violation, indeed almost a mockery, of the religious law, an act incompatible with the Vedas, as well as common morality. I want to hear everyone's view.

King Drupada said:

I feel that this act is irreligion, for it contradicts the holy scriptures and traditional morality. One woman does not become the wife of many men, O best of brahmanas. Nor was this custom of polyandry ever practiced by our forefathers, who were great and learned souls. Thus it cannot be sanatana-dharma, the eternal law of God. That is why I cannot be convinced about this procedure, for to me its virtue and authority are covered with doubt.

Dhrstadyumna said:

O noble twice-born, how can an older brother who follows the spiritual path act in such an aggressive manner with the wife of his younger brother? O brahmana rich in austerity, however subtle or intangible religion may be, we do not understand how it can possibly lead to such a conclusion. Simply by one's own determination one cannot turn irreligion into religion. Therefore, I am not convinced that people of our culture should commit such an act. In no way should Draupadi become the queen of five men.

Yudhisthira said:

My voice has never uttered a lie, nor does my mind dwell on irreligion, yet still my mind favors this course, for it is not at all irreligion. Most virtuous sage, in the Puranas authorities say that a brahmana lady named Jatila, in the line of Gautama, had intercourse with seven sages. You know best what is the law, and certainly the order of a guru is law. And of all gurus, the highest guru is a saintly mother. It was our mother who said, thinking we had brought alms, "Whatever you have brought you must all enjoy equally." Therefore I consider our decision to be dharma, the path of virtue.

Kunti Devi said:

Yudhisthira always treads the path of righteousness, and it is just as he said. I have an acute fear of untruth, so how can I be saved from speaking falsely?

Srila Vyasa said:

You shall be saved from untruth, good woman, for this is in obedience to the eternal law of God. I shall not speak now to everyone, but rather I shall explain to you privately, O Pancala king, how this unusual religious duty was ordained, and why it is accepted as being in accord with the eternal law of God, for just as Kaunteya stated, this is indeed a moral act, without doubt.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

The divine incarnation Vyasa then got up, and taking the king's hand, went with him to the king's quarters. The Pandavas, Kunti, and Dhrstadyumna Parsata did not know what to think, and they waited anxiously for both of them to return. Meanwhile, Dvaipayana Vyasa explained to the king, who was a great soul, exactly why it was permitted by religious law that a single wife have many husbands.

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Srila Vyasa said:

Once in the past, in the sacred forest of Naimisaranya, the gods dedicated themselves to the performance of sacrifice. Yama the lord of death, who was born of the Sun, took the task of rejuvenating selected animals by offering them in the sacred fire. After Yama was duly initiated into the rite, O king, he did not bring death to a single creature, for he was busy in yhat religious function. Thereupon living beings became numerous for the effects of time were not working and no one died.

Thus Lord Indra, Varuna, Kuvera, the Sadhyas, Rudras, Vasus, Asvins, and other gods with similar status all went to see the director of the cosmos, the Prajapati. As a united committee they said to the guru of the worlds, "There is acute danger arising from the unchecked increase of human beings. Worried by that danger and desiring a happy resolution, we have come to you, sir, for help."

Brahma said:

All of you are immortal gods; what danger is there to you have from the human beings? You should not fear what might happen in the society of mortal men.

The gods replied:

But the mortals have become immortals; there is no longer any distinction. It is precisely this lack of distinction that worries us, and we have come here to request that such a distinction be reinstated.

Brahma said:

Yama is busily engaged in the sacrifice, and therefore human beings are not dying. Now he is concentrating on one service, but as soon as he finishes those duties deadly time will again act on human beings. Because you gods have engaged him in spiritual work, he has grown mighty by your strength, and with that personal strength he will again put limits on the lives of human beings, for his strength will be fierce among men.

Srila Vyasa said:

After hearing this instruction from their senior god, the delegation returned to where all the gods were engaged, seated in assembly, sacrificing with great power. There in the Bhagirathi Ganges they saw a (golden) lotus. Upon seeing it, they were all surprised, and the hero among them, Indra, went to where the Ganges forever begins her earthly trek, and there he saw a woman who was as dazzling as fire. The woman was crying and begging for water. She had gone into the Ganges and stood in the river's waters. Her teardrops fell into the sacred water, and each became a golden lotus. Witnessing this wonder, thunderbolt-wielding Indra came close and asked the woman, "Who are you? Why are you crying? And how do your teardrops turn into golden lotuses? If you would, please tell me as it is.

The woman said:

You will know, Indra, who I really am and why I am crying, having lost my good fortune. Come, O king, I shall lead the way, and you will see for whose sake I cry.

Srila Vyasa said:

Indra followed her as she led the way, and he saw nearby on the top of King Mountain a beautiful and tender boy sitting on a throne, surrounded by young female companions and playing with dice. Indra, king of gods, said to him, "Know that this universe is mine, for the world is under my control. I am the lord." Indra spoke with anger, seeing the boy completely distracted with his dice.

The boy, who was also a god, simply laughed and then slowly lifted his eyes toward Indra. As soon as the boy glanced at him, the king of gods was paralyzed and stood as stiff as a tree trunk.

When the boy was finished with his game, he said to the weeping goddess, "Bring him close to me, and we shall see that pride does not again overwhelm him."

The moment Indra was touched by the goddess, all his limbs were loosened and he fell to the ground. The fiercely potent boy then said to him, "Do not ever act like this again, Indra, under any circumstances. Now open this great mountain king, for your strength and prowess are immeasurable, and having uncovered it, enter into its middle, where there are others like you, luminous as the sun."

Rolling back the peak of that great mountain, Indra saw four others with splendor equal to his own. Gazing upon them, he grieved and said, "Will I too become like them?"

Thereupon the mountain god, who was an expansion of Siva, angrily opened wide his eyes and addressed Indra, who stood with thunderbolt in hand, "Enter this cave, Indra, for despite all your sacrifices, like a child you have insulted me."

When the king of gods was thus addressed by the powerful lord, he trembled all over with trepidation, for his limbs had gone limp as if he were a banyan leaf fluttering in the wind on the peak of the mountain king. With a face full of modesty and hands folded in prayer, and trembling at the god's sudden speech, he too spoke out to the fierce one of many forms, "My lord, may you find today an end to this-- some way out!"

Wielding a frightening bow and laughing, the lord said, "Those who behave liker that find no escape. These others will be in front of you, so enter deep into the cave and lie down there. There will be an end to this for all of you, undoubtedly, for you will be forced to enter a human womb, and in a human birth you will perform awesome deeds and cause the destruction of many men. And you will come again to the planet of Indra, which you previously achieved by your most glorious deeds. All that I have spoken will come to pass, and many other things as well.

The former Indras said:

We shall go from the planets of the gods to the planet of man, where by the will of Providence there is little freedom for the soul. But at least may the gods themselves place us in our mothers. Specifically, we pray to be begotten by the lord of justice, by the wind, by the present Indra, and by the twin Asvins.

Sri Vyasa said:

Hearing these words, Lord Indra again spoke to the foremost of gods, saying, "You desire that we Indras go to the earth to accomplish a mission there, but with my own potency I can beget and empower another person who will serve as the fifth in this mission."

The lord of fierce bow accepted their appeal and granted their wish, and from his noble nature he arranged for a single woman, an expansion of the goddess of fortune, whom all the world desires, to be their wife during their sojourn in the world of man. Thereupon, that god went with the five Indras to see the Supreme Lord Narayana, whom all beings serve, and when the Lord had authorized all these arrangements the five appeared on the earth.

Then Lord Hari expanded His potency and appeared in two manifestations of the Personality of Godhead, who is the Lord of the creator, Brahma. The Lord appeared in a white form as Baladeva, and in a darkish form as Krsna. The mothers of these incarnations were Rohini and Devaki of the Yadu dynasty, whose members were incarnating on the earth. (According to some commentaries,) Lord Hari plucked out two hairs, one white and the other black, and said, "Let these two hairs enter into the family of the Yadus, in the wombs of two women, Rohini and Devaki." One of the two hairs became Balarama, and the second became Krsna, Kesava.

Those Indras who had formerly been imprisoned in the cave of the topmost mountain appeared in this world as the powerful Pandavas, and the empowered portion of the most recent Indra appeared as the Pandava Arjuna. Thus, O king, those who have now taken birth as the Pandavas were all formerly rulers of the universe, for they all held the post of Indra. And the expansion of the goddess of fortune who was formerly designated to be their wife is the divinely beautiful Draupadi.

How could a woman, at the end of a rite, arise from the face of the earth, shining like the sun and moon, with her excellent fragrance wafting for miles, except by the mystic power of God? To please you, king, I give you a most wonderful boon: see now with divine eyes the sons of Kunti, endowed with the celestial bodies of their former life, which they achieved by their piety.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon Srila Vyasa, the pure sage whose works are most magnanimous, with his ascetic strength awarded divine vision to the king, who then saw all the sons of Pandu exactly as they appeared in their former bodies. The king saw the five youths in their celestial forms as rulers of the cosmos, with golden helmets and garlands, the color of fire and sun, broad-chested, beautiful of form, with ornaments crowning their heads. There was not a particle of dust on their celestial robes, which were woven of gold, and the Indras shone exceedingly with most valuable necklaces and garlands. Endowed with all good qualities, they were like the expansions of Siva himself, or like the heavenly Vasus and Adityas.

Beholding the handsome forms of those who had been Indra, King Drupada was pleased and astonished. And by the influence of the imeasureable potency of the Lord, the king saw a lovely and excellent expansion of the goddess of fortune, matching the five youths in her beauty, potency, and fame, and destined to be their wife.

Seeing that great wonder, he held the feet of Satyavati's son, and with a blissful mind said to the sage, "Great sage, coming from one as exalted as you, this vision is not surprising or incredible."

Srila Vyasa said:

In the forest of ascetics there was a girl born of an exalted sage, but that girl, though chaste and beautiful, could not find a proper husband to protect her. She then satisfied Lord Siva with her fierce austerities, and the lord, being pleased, said to her, "Choose what you want." Thus addressed, the girl spoke to the god, who was ready and able to grant her wish, "I want a husband who is endowed with all good qualities," she replied, and she said it again and again. Lord Siva was pleased with the innocent and religious girl, and the lord gave the boon to her, saying, "You will have five excellent husbands."

Begging the lord for mercy, she again addressed him, "I should receive from you just one qualified husband." Delighted with the young lady, the god of gods again spoke to her in a pleasant tone, "Five times you said, `give me a husband,' and I in turn shall do just that, good woman. Five is what you shall get, and may God bless you. Everything will take place when you proceed to your next body."

And so, Drupada, she took birth as your daughter, a girl as lovely as the gods. Draupadi is destined to be the wife of five men, and there will be no sin or blame on her, for her mind will always be pure. An expansion of the goddess of fortune has come down from heaven and taken birth in a great sacrifice just to marry the Pandavas. Having performed the most frightening austerities, she has now become your daughter. She is a true goddess, that lovely girl, for she is meant for the pleasure of God, as are the Pandavas. By her own deeds she has become the single wife of five men; on the other hand, the creator has sent her to earth to marry the Pandavas, who are the Lord's pure devotees. Now that you have heard this, King Drupada, you should do the needful.


Illusory stories opposed to the conclusions of Krsna consciousness concern the destruction of the Yadu dynasty, Krsna's disappearance, the story that Krsna and Balarama arise from a black hair and a white hair of Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and the story about the kidnapping of the queens. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Sanatana Gosvami the proper conclusions of these stories.


Due to envy, many asuras describe Krsna to be like a black crow or an incarnation of a hair. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Sanatana Gosvami how to counteract all these asuric explanations of Krsna. The word Kaka means crow, and kesa means hair. The asuras describe Krsna as incarnation of a crow, an incarnation of a sudra (a blackish tribe) and an incarnation of a hair, not knowing that the word kesa means ka-isa and that ka means Lord Brahma and isa means Lord. Thus Krsna is the Lord of Lord Brahma.

Some of Lord Krsna's pastimes are mentioned in the Mahabharata as mausala-lila. These include the stories of the destruction of the Yadu dynasty, Krsna's disappearance, His being pierced by a hunter's arrow, the story of Krsna's being an incarnation of a piece of hair (kesa-avatara) as well as mahisi-harana, the kidnapping of Krsna's queens. Actually these are not factual but are related for the bewilderment of the asuras who want to prove that Krsna is an ordinary human being. They are false in the sense that these pastimes are not eternal, nor are they transcendental or spiritual. There are many people who are by nature averse to the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. Such people are called asuras. They have mistaken ideas about Krsna. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, the asuras are given a chance to forget Krsna more and more, birth after birth. Thus they make their appearance in a family of asuras and continue this process, being kept in bewilderment about Krsna. Asuras in the dress of sannyasis even explain Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam in different ways according to their own imaginations. Thus they continue to remain asuras birth after birth.

As far as the kesa-avatara (incarnation of hair) is concerned, it is mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.26).The Visnu Purana also states: ujjaharatmanah kesau sita-krsnau maha-bala.

Similarly, in the Mahabharata:

sa capi kesau harir uccakarta
ekam suklam aparam capi krsnam
tau capi kesavav isatam yadunam
kule striyau rohinim devakim ca
tayor eko balabhadro babhuva
yo `sau svetas tasya devasya kesah
krsno dvitiyah kesavah sambabhuva
kesah yo `sau varnatah krsna uktah

Thus in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Visnu Purana and Mahabharata there are references to Krsna and Balarama being incarnations of a black hair and a white hair. It is stated that Lord Visnu snatched two hairs--one white and one black--from His head. These two hairs entered the wombs of Rohini and Devaki, members of the Yadu dynasty. Balarama was born from Rohini, and Krsna was born of Devaki. Thus Balarama appeared from the first hair, and Krsna appeared from the second hair. It was also foretold that all the asuras, who are enemies of the demigods, would be cut down by Lord Visnu by His white and black plenary expansions and that the Supreme Personality of Godhead would appear and perform wonderful activities. In this connection, one should see Laghu-bhagavatamrta, the chapter called Krsnamrta, verses 156-164. Srila Rupa Gosvami has refuted this argument about the hair incarnation, and his refutation is supported by Sri Baladeva Visyabhusana's commentaries. This matter is further discussed in the Krsna-sandarbha (29) and in the commentary known as Sarva-samvadini, by Srila Jiva Gosvami.

In our reading of the Mahabharata, the word udbabarha is used instead of uccakarta. Thus the key phrase "sa capi kesau harir udbabarha," normally translated: "And that very Hari then pulled out two hairs. ", may be understood as follows:

As explained, kesa means ka-isa and that ka means Lord Brahma and isa means Lord. Thus Krsna is the Lord of Lord Brahma.

ud-babarha is a combination of the prefix ud and babarha which is the past tense of three verbs: \'c3brh: to be thick, grow great or strong; \'c3barh: to speak; to hurt; to give or cover; to speak; to shine; \'c3brh: to tear, pluck, root up. The meanings of ud are: up, upwards; upon, on; over above; out, out of, from, off, away from, apart.

Thus, taking the sense of babarha from the first root brh, we find that Lord Hari manifested in a greater form, as the original Personality of Godhead Krsna, with His brother Balarama. If we derive babarha from the root barh, the verse indicates that Lord Visnu expanded Himself, as in a normal incarnation, and thus appeared as Vasudeva and Sankarsana, the plenary portions of Narayana who appeared within Lords Krsna and Balarama to perform the killing of demons, etc. It is explained in this regard by the Vaisnava acaryas, and emphasized by Srila Prabhupada, that although the Lord appeared in His supreme and original form of Krsna, the Lord's pastimes as a Yadu prince, and those in which He killed the demons, were performed by the Lord's plenary expansion as Vasudeva. Similarly Lord Balarama performed such princely pastimes in His expansion as Sankarsana.

And if we take the word babarha in the third sense, that of plucking out two hairs, we may then refer to the comments of the great Vaisnava teachers, as mentioned above.

In any case, as clearly mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita, the philosophical essence of the Mahabharata, this transcendental science must be heard from the lips of the pure devotees in disciplic succession, those like Arjuna who are completely devoted to the Lord. These points are elaborately explained in the Bhagavad-gita, by the Lord Himself. The authority of Sri Krsna has been clearly enunciated in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata, and the great soul Bhisma will emphatically reiterate the glories of Lord Sri Krsna in the next section, the Sabha Parva, during the episode with Sisupala at Yudhisthira's Raja-suya rite.

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King Drupada said:

It was only because I had not heard these words from you, Maharsi, that I first endeavored to do things in a certain way. What is ordained by Providence cannot be avoided, and that alone is the relevant rule here. The knot tied by destiny is never to be undone, and nothing will be accomplished by our own effort if we strive against the will of the Supreme. Arrangements were made for a single bridegroom, but the preparations are quite suitable for many.

Previously, Krsna requested the lord several times to give her a husband, and he pronounced her blessing in the same way, for the lord surely knows what is best here. If Lord Siva, with his superior knowledge, has personally established what is right and wrong in this case, then there is no offense on my part. Let these boys take her hand in sacred marriage, as they wish, for Draupadi is clearly destined for them.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then the exalted Vyasa said to Yudhisthira, the king of righteousness, "Today is a holy day, Pandava, for the moon has reached its conjunction with Pausya. Therefore on this very day you should be the first to take the hand of Krsna."

At this, King Drupada and his son gathered all kinds of wealth to present to the bridegroom's party, and he arranged to bring his daughter, after she had bathed and adorned herself with many jewels. Then all the close friends of the family, and the ministers and advisers, came in joyful spirits to see the wedding, and so did the important brahmanas and city dwellers.

The king's palace was beautified by brahmanas who came for charity, and lotus blossoms were scattered about to adorn the festival grounds. The palace shone with an abundance of most valuable gems, like the sky with its hosts of pure white stars. Then the sons of the Kaurava king, dressed in priceless garments, with earrings and other jeweled ornaments, and cooled by costly sandalwood paste, were duly annointed in the ritual ablutions, and they performed all the rites that invoke solid blessings at the time of marrige.

In proper order, in the ritual way, and accompanied by the royal priest Dhaumya, who shone with the splendor of fire, the Pandavas entered the great hall like mighty, jubilant bulls entering their pleasure pastures. Kindling the sacred fire and offering oblations, when it blazed with the potent Vedic mantras Dhaumya, a master of the Vedic science, brought Yudhisthira forward and joined him in wedlock to Draupadi, with all the proper mantras. Husband and wife held each other's hands, and with his masterful comprehension of Vedic rite Dhaumya led them around the sacrificial fire. Then bidding farewell to Yudhisthira, who was so brilliant in battle, the priest departed from the royal palace.

In order of age, and one day after another, each royal prince took the hand of that excellant woman who had assumed a form of supreme beauty. All the princes were maharatha warriors who spread the glory of the Kuru dynasty, and each one married Draupadi. The holy sage Vyasa spoke of the wonderful superhuman splendor of the occasion, for as each day passed, thin-waisted Krsna with her great spiritual influence again became a virgin.

When the wedding was done, Drupada gave many sorts of valuable treasures to the grand warriors, including a hundred chariots that were all ornamented in gold and yoked to four horses with golden bridles. Similarly, he presented them one hundred red-spotted elephants, who stood like one hundred gold-peaked mountains, and a hundred exquisite young handmaids, bedecked in the most costly garments, ornaments, and garlands.

As the sacred fire witnessed, King Drupada gave to each Pandava vast amounts of wealth, with extremely valuable garments and ornaments befitting their prowess. When the wedding ceremonies were finally completed, the Pandavas graciously took the huge fortune, which was heavy in gems, and those mighty warriors equal to Indra relaxed and enjoyed themselves in the capital city of the Pancala king.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having united with the Pandavas, Drupada feared nothing, not even the gods. The women of noble Drupada then approached Kunti, told her their names, and touched her feet with their heads. Dressed in linen, with the auspicious marriage thread tied about her, Draupai too paid obeisances to her mother-in-law and stood bowed with folded hands. Draupadi was endowed with beauty and the marks of nobility, and her character and conduct were ideal. Prtha knew this and with love she spoke words of blessing to her daughter-in-law.

"As Indrani abides in Indra, as Svaha in the lord of fire, as Rohini in the Moon, as the chaste Damayanti in Nala, as Bhadra in Vaisravana, as Arundhati in Vasistha, and as the Goddess of Fortune ever resides in Lord Narayana, so may you abide in your men, and they will maintain you. May you give birth to healthy, heroic sons who fill your heart with joy. May good fortune be yours, and all the comforts of life, and having married before the sacred fire, may you ever honor your vow.

"May endless years be yours, as you honor even the uninvited guests, and the saintly, the young, the elderly, and the teachers, according to propriety and the religious law. Following your virtue-loving king, may you be annointed queen of the nations, headed by Kuru and Jangala, and of their cities. When with their valor your mighty lords have conquered the earth, make of her a joyous offering to the brahmanas, with great sacrifices like the Asvamedha. Kind lady, may you obtain all the fine treasures of the earth and live happily, noble woman, for one hundred autumns. As I rejoice with you today, for you are a new bride dressed in linen, so shall I rejoice with you again when you bear a son filled with good qualities."

Thereupon Lord Krsna sent the newly wed Pandavas beautiful varieties of pearls, diamonds, and ornaments of pure gold. Lord Krsna, known as Madhava, also sent costly clothes from many countries, and blankets, deerskins, and jewels. All these were pleasing to the touch and of the purest quality. He sent large beds and seats of all varieties, grand vehicles in different styles, and vessels by the hundreds, inlaid with diamonds and cat's-eye gems. Krsna also sent them thousands of lovely young meticulous female attendents, beautifully adorned and from many countries, and obedient, good-natured elephants, celestial horses with fine ornaments, and wonderfully responsive chariots that were decorated with shining gold cloth. Lord Krsna Madhusudana, the immeasureable Soul of the universe, also dispatched unworked gold bricks by the millions. Dharmaraja, Yudhisthira, accepted all these gifts with the greatest of joy, and his only motive was to please his Lord Krsna, who is known as Govinda, the supreme source of pleasure for the senses of all living beings.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Spies and agents brought news to the world leaders that the Pandavas were not dead, and it was they who had won splendid Draupadi as their wife. It was the great soul Arjuna, a most glorious fighter with his mighty bow and arrows, who had strung the impossible bow and pierced the difficult target. And the mighty one who had lifted up Salya, king of Madra, and spun him around, and who had terrified the men by angrily brandishing a tree in the arena--- there was no more confusion whatsoever about the identity of that great soul, for he was Bhimasena, of the awesome touch, who brings down whole divisions and armies of enemies. Hearing that the sons of King Pandu had done all this disguised as brahmanas, the rulers of mankind were wonderstruck. The kings of the world had formerly heard that Kunti and her sons had burned to death in a house of lac, and now they felt as if the Pandavas had risen from the dead. Cursing and reviling Bhisma and the Kuru king, Dhrtarastra, for the most cruel act, which was in fact perpetrated by Purocana under the direction of Duryodhana, the kings dispersed at the conclusion of the svayamvara festival knowing that it was the Pandavas in disguise whom Krsna had chosen.

Now King Duryodhana was discouraged, and he returned to his home with his brothers, and Asvatthama, Sakuni, Karna, and Krpa, having seen Draupadi select as her husband Arjuna, who was known for his pure white stallions. Duhsasana was ashamed at this setback for the Pandavas' enemies, and in a soft whisper he said to Duryodhana, "If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a brahmana, he never would have won Draupadi. Actually, king, no one knew that he was Dhananjaya Arjuna. My opinion is that the will of God is supreme, and the efforts of men are of no avail. Our manly strength is useless, dear brother, for the Pandavas have stolen the prize."

Thus conversing, and rebuking Purocana, they entered the city of Hastinapura in confused and dejected spirits. Seeing how the mighty sons of Prtha had escaped the raging fire and were now allied with Drupada, the Kuru princes were deeply afraid of retaliation, for they had failed in their sinister plot. They also worried over Dhrstadyumna, who was born to kill Drona, and Sikhandi, who was bent on slaying Bhisma, and the other sons of Drupada, for all these warriors were masters of war.

Vidura Ksatta was pleased and amazed upon hearing that Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas, O king, and that the sons of Dhrtarastra had returned embarrassed, their pride broken. He said to his eldest brother, Dhrtarastra, "By God's grace the Kuru dynasty is expanding." Hearing the news from Vidura, Dhrtarastra, the son of Vicitravirya, was filled with joy, O Bharata, and he cried out, "Thank heaven! Thank heaven!" for the blind king, who was said to have an eye of wisdom, mistakenly assumed that young Draupadi had chosen his eldest son, Duryodhana. Dhrtarastra then ordered a wealth of ornaments to be given to Draupadi and sent word to his son Duryodhana, "Let my new daughter-in-law Krsna be brought here at once!"

At this point, Vidura explained that Draupadi had actually chosen the Pandavas, and that all those heroes had survived the fire and were healthy; moreover, now that Drupada had honored and welcomed them into his family, they had acquired many powerful alliances.

Dhrtarastra said:

As much as Pandu loved his sons, so do I love them and more. My pleasure has now increased, Vidura, and the Kurus have prospered more than I had imagined, for the heroic Pandavas are alive and healthy and they have acquired important friends. Indeed what king deprived of his opulence and seeking prosperity would not be eager to approach Drupada and his associates and secure their friendship.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When Dhrtarastra was speaking in this way, Vidura replied, "O king, may you always see things this way, for a hundred autumns."

Thereupon Duryodhana and Karna Radheya came to see Dhrtarastra, O king, and they said to him, "We are not able to speak to you in the presence of Vidura. We will speak to you in private. What does he want with you? Father, do you think the success of your rivals is your own? You praise them highly in the presence of Vidura, O noble man, when our real duty is quite different. You, my faultless king, will act now in a different way, for we must constantly cut down their strength. The time has come for all of us to seriously plan what we wish to do, so that they do not swallow us whole with our children, armies, and friends."

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