sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Contenido - Contents

Fotos de ART OF KRISHNA del álbum Fotos del muro

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

Añadida el 19 de abril

Añadida el 19 de abril

Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

showing of compassion to all fallen souls by loudly chanting the Holy
Name of Krishna is the essence of all forms of religion.

"[Vaisnava Siddhanta Mala]
Añadida el 10 de agosto

You are mine and I am Krishna’s, therefore you are also Krishna’s.

A.C Bhaktivedanta swami srila Prabhupada
Letter to Gargamuni, June 18, 1968
Añadida el 11 de agosto

Horse is controlled by the mouth. Therefore you have
seen the harnesses are fixed in the mouth, the driver controls the mouth
and the horse goes. So krishna was a boy. How did He know that This
demon Kesi has come in the shape of a horse. If I have to control him, I
will have to control his mouth. So He pushed His hand within the mouth
of the horse, and the horse felt it was just like a hot iron bar, so he
died. Similarly, when Krishna fought with Aristasura, He knew that to
control the bull you have to control the horns, So He took up the horns
and killed him. This is svabhaviki, natural. He knows everything.
Añadida el 11 de agosto

When the devotees of Lord Krishna dance,their steps crush the
inauspiciousness of the earth,their glances destroy the inaispiciousness
of the ten directions,and their raised arms push away the
inauspiciousness of the devata's planets...
Añadida el 12 de agosto

If you take one cent from somebody else without doing something good to
him or without exchanging something, then you are debtor, and you have
to pay him with interest and compound interest. That is the law of
karma. In the same way we take a lot of things from many demigods........like sunlight from sun , air to breath from Pawan dev .........etc etc so the only way to pay back is to worship the creator "lord krishna" other wise its impossible to payback......HARE KRISHNA!
Añadida el 13 de agosto

Spiritual master is representative of God, similarly,
king is also representative of God. The father is also representative
of God. These are the statements of the sastras. Because they will
guide. The king will guide. The spiritual master will guide. The father
will guide. What is that guidance? That guidance is how one can become
Krishna conscious by education, by culture.
Añadida el 13 de agosto

Happy (Krishna conscious) independence day to all the Krishna lovers..........try to make it a resolution to love sweet Krishna more and more........:-)
Añadida el 14 de agosto

Vrindaban does not require to be modernized becausse Krishna’s Vrindaban
is transcendental village. They completerly depend on nature’s beauty
and nature’s protection. The community in which Krishna preferred to
belong was Vaisya community, because Nanda Maharaj happened to be a
Vaisya king, or landholder, and his main business was cow protection. It
is understood that he had 900,000 cows and Krishna and Balarama used to
take charge of them, along with His many cowherd boy friends, and every
day, in the morning He used to go out with His friends and cows into
the pasturing grounds.
Añadida el 14 de agosto

Aôga: (sáns. vaiëòava). 1) proceso, división, parte. 2) las distintas prácticas del bhakti como escuchar y cantar se conocen como angas.

Aôga: (sáns. vaiëòava). limb, division, part; the various practices of bhakti such as hearing and chanting are referred to as aìgas (of bhakti).


Narration | Translation

Adi Parva 1 aadiparva.n
Sabha Parva 2 sabhaaparva.n
Sabha Parva 3 vanaparva.n
Sabha Parva 4 viraaTaparva.n
Udyoga Parva 5 udyogaparva.n
Bhisma Parva 6 bhiishhmaparva.n
7 droNaparva.n
Karna Parva 8 karNaparva.n
Salya Parva 9 shalyaparva.n
Sauptika Parva 10 sauptikaparva.n
Stree Parva 11 striiparva.n
Shanti Parva 12 shaa.ntiparva.n
Anushasana Parva 13 anushaasanaparva.n
Ashvamedha Parva 14 ashvamedhikaparva.n
Ashramvasika Parva 15 aashramavaasikaparva.n
Mausala Parva 16 mausalaparva.n
Mahaprasthanika Parva 17 mahaaprasthaanikaparva.n

18 svargaarohaNaparva.n

1 - Adi Parva AP37 - AP58

AP 37

Sri Suta Goswami said:

When the powerful Srngi thus heard that his venerable father was bearing a dead snake, his heart filled with anger and he burned in his rage. Glaring at Krsa, and giving up all kind and graceful speech, he demanded, "How is my father now wearing a dead snake?"

Krsa said:

"Dear friend, King Pariksit was chasing deer in the forest, and just now he hung a dead snake on your father's shoulder."

Srngi said:

"What did my father do to displease that wicked king? Tell me the truth, Krsa, and beware of the power of my austerities."

Krsa replied:

"King Pariksit, the son of Abhimanyu, was hunting, and after piercing a deer with a feathered arrow he pursued it alone into the forest. As he wandered in that deep forest, the king could not find the deer, but he did see your father and inquired of him, but your father made no reply. The king, disturbed by hunger, thirst, and fatigue, inquired again and again from your father about the deer and asked him for water, but your father remained as silent and still as a stone pillar. He was practicing a vow of silence and would not reply. So the king, with the end of his bow, placed a dead snake on his shoulder. O Srngi, the king has gone back to his own city of Hastinapura, and your father, dedicated to his religious vows, remains even now in that same condition."

Suta Goswami said:

Hearing these words, the sage's son stood motionless with unblinking eyes that turned bright red with rage. The maddened child seemed to scorch the world with his anger. Overwhelmed with anger, he then touched water and furiously cursed the king with all his strength.

Srngi said:

That sinner of a king has dared to hang a dead snake on the shoulders of my dear, elderly father, who was struggling to perform his religious penances. Therefore on the seventh night hence, Taksaka, mightiest of serpents, impelled by the strength of my words and by the fullness of his own fury, will engage his fiery prowess and deadly poison against this sinful king, a despiser of brahmanas, who has brought infamy upon the Kuru dynasty. By my curse, Taksaka will deliver the king to the lord of death!"

Suta Goswami said:

Thus cursing the king, the angry Srngi returned to his father, who sat in a cow pasture wearing the dead snake. Beholding the dead serpent upon his father's shoulder he was again overwhelmed with anger, and tears of grief rolled down his cheeks. He said to him. "My dear father, when I heard that the evil monarch Pariksit had offended you, I became so angry that I invoked a terrible curse upon him. That worst of the Kurus has earned it! In seven days the best of serpents, Taksaka, will drag him to the most horrible abode of the lord of death!"

O brahmana, the sorry father then replied to his enraged son, "My dear son, this does not please me. This is not the religious rule for ascetics, for the king is the best of men, and we are dwelling in his kingdom. He has always protected us according to the rules of justice. I do not condone his offense, but, my son, ascetics like us must nevertheless forgive a saintly king under all circumstances. If these laws of God are abused, they in turn will cause great injury without a doubt!

"If the king does not protect us, anguish shall be our lot. My son, without the king it would be impossible for us to practice our religious life peacefully. When the kings protect us in accordance with the sacred law, we are free to cultivate virtue; and by the rule of virtue a portion of our piety thus belongs to the guardian king. And King Pariksit especially, who is just like his great-grandfather, has protected us well, precisely as a king should protect every creature born in his realm.

"He undoubtedly did not know that I was practicing a sacred vow and could not attend him. He must have been sorely afflicted by hunger and fatigue. Therefore, out of immaturity and impulsiveness you have performed an evil deed. No matter what the circumstance, it was wrong for us to curse the king. He did not deserve it."

AP 38

Srngi said:

O Father, if I have acted rashly, or even if I have committed a wicked deed, and whether I have pleased or displeased you, nevertheless that which I have already uttered cannot be changed. O Father! I must tell you that it will come to pass, for I am incapable of false speach, even when joking, much less while uttering a curse.

The sage Samika said:

I know of your terrible prowess, my son, that your words must come to pass. You have never uttered a false word, and your tragic curse upon the king cannot fail to act. It is always a father's duty, however, to correct even a grown son, so that the son acquires good character and a lasting reputation. What then of a mere child such as you, who has prospered by austerities and now acts like the lord of the world? Anger multiplies to excess in the hearts of great and powerful persons. You have distinguished yourself in the practice of religious principles, but observing that you are my son, and a mere boy, and that you have acted so rashly and impulsively, I see that it is my duty to correct you. You must become peaceful. Maintain yourself by collecting the simple eatables of the forest and give up your anger and thus you will never reject your religious principles.

Anger plunders the hard-earned spiritual progress of those who endeavor for perfection, and those bereft of spiritual progress will never achieve their goal in life. When endeavoring spiritualists are able to forgive, their own equanimity will award them their desired perfection. This world can be enjoyed by the those who forgive, and the next world as well is only for those who forgive. Therefore, practice always a life of forgiveness, with your senses fully controlled. By such forgiveness you will some day achieve the spiritual planets, which lie beyond the world of Brahma and beyond the impersonal absolute.

Despite this tragedy, my son, I must remain calm. I shall immediately do all I can by sending the following message to the king: O king, my young and immature son, seeing your offense to me, was unable to tolerate it, and now he has cursed you.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

That ascetic sage of noble vows gave the message to a disciple, and, his heart breaking with compassion, sent him to King Pariksit. He carefully instructed the disciple, a well-behaved and serious young man named Gaura-mukha, to inquire about the king's welfare and about the news of state affairs in general.

Gaura-mukha went quickly to that ruler of men, who had benefitted the Kuru dynasty in so many ways. His arrival duly announced by the doorkeepers, he entered the king's palace. The brahmana Gaura-mukha was thereupon properly honored by the king, and after he was well-rested from his journey he accurately related to the monarch, in the presence of the royal ministers, the full and frightening message of the sage Samika, omitting nothing.

"Dear king," he said, "There is a most virtuous and self-controlled sage named Samika, who is peaceful and greatly austere and who lives in your kingdom. O tiger among men, O glory of the Bharatas, with the tip of your bow you wrapped a dead snake around the sage's shoulders. He himself was tolerant of your deed, but his son could not abide it. O king, without the knowledge of his father, he has cursed you! On the seventh night hence Taksaka will certainly cause your death. None can mitigate the curse, and therefore the compassionate sage again and again urges you to care for your soul. The sage was unable to restrain his enraged son, and therefore, O king, he who earnestly desires your welfare has sent me to you."

Hearing these terrible words, the beloved king of the Kuru dynasty began to grieve. He was himself highly advanced in spiritual knowledge and thus he grieved not for his own passing away, but for his offense against the sage. Understanding that the accomplished sage had been absorbed in meditation under a religious vow of silence, the king's lament grew all the greater. When he understood the sage Samika's sincere compassion upon him, his grief and remorse grew still more, and his heart was filled with sorrow for the sin he had committed upon the holy ascetic. Noble as a god, King Pariksit lamented only his sin against the sage and nothing more. He sent Gaura-mukha back with this message: "May the holy Samika again grant me his mercy."

As soon as Gaura-mukha had left, the king consulted with his ministers, his mind disturbed by his offense. The king knew how to take good counsel, and together with his ministers, he came to a decision. He arranged for a well-protected platform with but a single support. He also arranged for his security by bringing proper medicine and those who knew how to treat the diseased condition of the soul, and he placed all around him brahmanas who had perfected the chanting of Vedic mantras. Situated on that platform, he performed all the duties of a saintly king, along with his ministers. The king was protected on all sides because he knew the principles of religion.

On the seventh day, O best of the twice-born, the learned Kasyapa came there to protect the life of the king with his medical skill. Having heard that on this seventh day the most powerful of serpents, Taksaka, would send the greatest of kings to the abode of the lord of death, he thought, "When the king is bitten by that powerful snake I shall counteract the feverish effects of the poison. Thus I shall gain both material and spiritual benefit."

As Taksaka, the leader of serpents, moved toward the king he saw Kasyapa traveling with great determination in the same direction. Transforming himself into an elderly brahmana, Taksaka, chief of the serpents, said to the exalted sage Kasyapa, "Where are you going so quickly, and what is it that you are so anxious to do?"

Kasyapa said:

On this very day Taksaka, the greatest of serpents, will consume with his poison the heroic king of the Kuru dynasty. Dear and gentle brahmana, as soon as that leader of the race of snakes bites the mighty Kuru king with his fiery poison, I shall immediately counteract the effect. It is for this that I am going so quickly.

Taksaka said:

I am that very Taksaka, O brahmana, and I shall indeed bite the ruler of the earth! Turn back! You have no power to cure a man bitten by me.

Kasyapa said:

I shall in fact cure the king! As soon as you bite him, I shall counteract your poison; I have made my calculations on the strength of my vast knowledge.

AP 39

Taksaka said:

If you you have any power to cure someone bitten by me, Kasyapa, then revive a tree that I shall bite. Before your very eyes, O best of brahmanas, I shall burn this banyan tree with my poison. Try your best to save it. Show me the power of your mantras!

Kasyapa said:

Carry out your threat, O ruler of snakes, and bite the tree. But once you have bitten it, O serpent, I shall bring it back to life.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

Even as the ruler of snakes was thus addressed by the great soul Kasyapa, the powerful serpent approached the large banyan tree and bit it. Once bitten by Taksaka and filled with his poison, the entire tree immediately burst into flames. Having burned the tree, the snake again spoke to Kasyapa, "O best of brahmanas, now try to bring this tree back to life!"

Although the tree was reduced to mere ashes by the mighty serpent's power, Kasyapa nevertheless collected all those ashes and then spoke these words: "O snake ruler, behold the power of my science when it acts upon this noble tree. Before your eyes, serpent, I shall bring this tree back to full life."

The exalted and learned Kasyapa, the best of the twice-born, then brought back to life a tree that had been turned into a heap of ashes. First he created a sapling, then gave it two leaves, adding twigs and branches, and at last manifested the full-grown tree, precisely as it was before. Seeing the great soul Kasyapa restore life to the tree, Taksaka said, "O brahmana, what you have done is truly amazing. Most learned one, it appears that you can nullify my poison and that of other powerful serpents. O ascetic, for what purpose are you going to the king? What do you hope to gain? Whatever reward you hope to obtain from this powerful monarch, I myself shall give you, even if it be something very difficult and rare to achieve."

"This king is afflicted by a brahmana's curse, and his life is at an end. If you try to save him, O learned sage, your success will be doubtful, and your brilliant reputation, which is spread all over the three worlds, will vanish like a sun which has lost its warm rays."

Kasyapa said:

O serpent, I go thence to obtain wealth, but if you yourself give it to me, then I shall return home as you desire.

Taksaka said:

As much wealth as you seek from the king I shall give you now and more. Desist and turn back, noble brahmana.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

When the very powerful and wise Kasyapa heard these words of Taksaka, he began to reflect deeply on the fate of the king. With his divine knowledge the mighty sage could understand that the life of the king, born in the line of Pandu, had actually come to an end. Kasyapa, the noble seer, collected from Taksaka all the wealth he desired and departed. When by this arrangement the great soul Kasyapa turned back, Taksaka quickly continued on toward the city of Hastinapura.

On the way Taksaka heard that the great monarch was surrounded by persons expert in counteracting poison through mantras and medicines. [Even though the king was detached from his fate, his people were determined to save him.] Taksaka began to think, "I will have to trick the king through some kind of magical process. What would be the best means?"

Thereupon Taksaka dispatched to the king a group of serpents disguised as ascetics with an offering of fruits, leaves, and water.

Taksaka said:

All of you must now carefully perform this duty. Go to the king and make him accept this gift of fruit, leaves, and water.

Suta Goswami said:

Instructed by Taksaka, the snakes acted accordingly, bringing the king a gift of darbha grass, water, and fruits. The noble monarch accepted it all, and having received them with all the formalities due the sages he sent them on their way. When the serpents disguised as ascetics had departed, the monarch of men spoke to his ministers and well-wishing friends, "You should eat, by my side, all these sweet fruits the ascetics have brought." Then the king, with his ministers, desired to take the fruits. The ruler held up a fruit on which was a tiny copper-colored insect, whose body was short with blackish eyes, O Saunaka. Taking this fruit in his hands, that best of kings then said to his ministers, "The sun is setting, so there is no danger for me today from poison. But a young sage cursed me to die today, so let his words be true! May this insect be transformed into Taksaka and bite me so that he will not have uttered a lie."

The ministers, moved by the will of God, agreed with the king, and having spoken thus, the monarch then quickly placed the insect on his neck and laughed. The saintly king had lost his external consciousness, and being prepared to ascend to his next life he desired to give up his mortal frame. As he continued to laugh, Taksaka came out of the fruit, which had been given to the king, and wrapped himself around the great ruler.

Note to Chapter 39:

The highly revered scripture Srimad Bhagavatam describes the king's last moments as follows (12.6.1-10 ):

King Pariksit spent his last days hearing about God from Sukadeva Goswami, the self-realized and peaceful son of Vyasa, and now the king humbly approached his holy teacher and bowed his head upon the sage's feet. The king had lived his entire life under the protection of Lord Visnu, and now at the end he folded his hands in supplication and spoke the following:

"I have now achieved my purpose in life. Indeed I am truly blessed because you have so mercifully taught me about the Supreme Lord, who is without beginning or end. Yet I am not surprised that a great soul in love with God has shown his mercy to a foolish king suffering the terrible miseries of this world.

"My lord, I now have no fear of Taksaka or anyone else, or of death itself, for my mind is now absorbed in God, whom you have revealed to me, and He has soothed my heart and taken away my fear.

"O holy one, now that my time is drawing near, grant me permission to give up my speech unto the Lord and to absorb my mind, free of all desire, in Him alone. Thus I shall give up my life."

Suta Goswami said:

Thus requested, the glorious son of Sri Vyasa gave his permission to King Pariksit. And after the king and all the sages had honored him, Sukadeva departed from that place. The saintly King Pariksit then sat down on the bank of the Ganges upon a seat of darbha grass with the tips of its stalks facing east and turned himself toward the north. Free of attachment and doubt, he sat as firmly as a tree and fixed his mind on the Supreme Soul, and his life air ceased to move. Sitting there like a great yogi, his consciousness was no longer in this world.

AP 40

Suta Goswami said:

When the ministers saw their monarch enwrapped by the serpent, their faces turned white and they cried out in utter distress. Hearing the sound of the king's departure, they scattered about. Overcome with grief, they saw the lord of serpents, the extraordinary serpent Taksaka, his duty done, streaking bright as a lotus through the sky, as if to part the hair of heaven. The house burst into flames from the fire of the serpent's poison, and as the king's men fled in fear it crumbled and fell as if struck by lightning.

When the great soul King Pariksit had thus departed from this world, the royal priest, who was a self-realized brahmana, joined with the ministers and performed all the funeral ceremonies meant to bestow blessings upon the king in his next life. The residents of the royal capital then met together, and everyone agreed that the king's son must succeed his father to the throne. Thus Janamejaya, the young hero of the Kuru dynasty, whom all declared to be invincible, was appointed to lead the great Kuru empire.

Though still a young man Janamejaya was noble by nature, and acting in concert with royal ministers and priests he proved to be an excellent ruler of men. This first-born son of Pariksit administered the kingdom exactly as his heroic great-grandfather Pandu had done. The ministers, observing that the king cut down like fire those who would pose a threat to the country, now felt him worthy to accept a royal bride, and so they approached the king of Kasi, Suvarna-varma, to request his daughter, Vapustama, as a wife for the Kuru leader. The Kasi king agreed to give his daughter Vapustama to the Kuru hero after carefully studying his character and virtues, and Janamejaya joyfully accepted her, and never again did he think of other women.

Thus with a happy heart this powerful king, the best of rulers, sported with his wife amid lakes and blossoming woods, just as in ancient times Pururava enjoyed life upon obtaining the celestial Urvasi. Likewise Vapustama, having obtained such a handsome ruler as her husband, loved him deeply, and in their free moments gave him much delight, for she was the joy and beauty of the king's palace.

AP 41

Suta Goswami said:

At that time the great and wise ascetic Jarat-karu wandered all over the world, and wherever he happened to be at sunset that place became his home for the night. With unusual strength he undertook religious duties that are most difficult for ordinary persons, fasting from food and consuming only air. Thus traveling about, bathing in sacred lakes and rivers, the sage caused his body to wither day by day, until one day he happened to behold his forefathers hanging upside down in a hole. They were suspended over a abysmal pit by a clump of fibres that had been reduced to a single thread by a mouse who lived in the hole and daily nibbled away at the vanishing rope. Those poor souls were weak from lack of food and yearned to be saved from that miserable hole. Jarat-karu, who appeared equally wretched, approached them and said, "Who are you, good sirs, hanging here by a mere clump of grass whose fibres are being eaten away by the mouse who lives in the hole? There is but a single shoot left growing from this clump, and that too the mouse is steadily removing with his sharp teeth. There is little remaining. He will surely cut his way through before a long time, and all of you will fall head first into this hole.

"I am very unhappy to see you here upside down, victims of a terrible misfortune! Tell me at once what I can do to help you. If I can deliver you from this calamity by donating a quarter of my austerities, or even a third or a half, then I will do so. Or even if all my austerities are required to free you from this plight, then so be it. I will happily do it!"

Jarat-karu's forefathers replied:

O best of brahmanas, you thrive in your celibate life and thus you wish to deliver us from this calamity. But our problem cannot be eased by austerities, dear friend, for we also enjoy the fruits of past austerities. That is not the problem, nor is it the solution. O best of holy teachers, we are about to fall into a filthy hell because our family line has been interrupted.

Dear well wisher, we are hanging over this hole, and thus our wits are not about us. Although you must surely be famous in the world for your strength and kindness, we do not know who you are. You must be a very fortunate and successful person indeed, so mercifully approaching us and grieving over our pitiable condition. Listen, good sir, to who we really are.

O great one, we are the sages known as the Yayavaras, strict in our vows yet fallen from the worlds of the pious by the destruction of our family line. Our penances and piety have been in vain, for there is no thread, no offspring, to continue our family line. Actually, we still have one thread remaining, but for all practical purposes he may as well not exist. So diminished is our good fortune that our only surviving relative is an unfortunate fellow known as Jarat-karu. He is a master of all the Vedic literature, but he is so avid to perform his austerities that we have been left to fall into this most miserable calamity: he has no wife, no son, nor does he have a single living relative. Because of this alone we hang here over this hole, almost out of our minds, deprived of anyone to care for us.

Now that you have seen us here, kindly help us and tell him for us, "Your wretched forefathers are hanging upside-down over an abyss. O strong-willed man, kindly take a wife and beget children. You are rich in austerities, yet you are the only remaining link of our family, the only one!"

O brahmana, the cluster of grass from which you see us hanging is in fact our family line, which was once numerous and strong, and the plant fibers you see here are our descendants who continued the family line but were devoured, dear friend, by time. The half-eaten fiber that you now witness, O brahmana, is the sole reason we are hanging here, for it is our only living descendant, and he will only practice austerities.

The mouse that you see, brahmana, is the great force of time, slowly wearing away that fool Jarat-karu, who is so absorbed in his severe austerities. So foolish is that boy, and so greedy is he to acquire the fruits of austerity, that he proudly carries on, mindless of how he affects us. O holy man, his penances will certainly not save us, for we have been cut at the roots, and cast into utter ruination. Time has plundered our keen intellect. Look at us! We are headed for hell like ordinary miscreants!

When we have fallen there along with our own grandfathers and forefathers, he too, likewise cut down by time, will go straight to hell, for the opinion of the wise, friend, is that no austerity, no sacrifice, or any other glorious means of purification equals the piety and holiness of preserving a God-conscious family.

Dear friend, you must tell the ascetic Jarat-karu what you have seen here today. O brahmana, tell him everything; speak to him in such a way that he will accept a lawful wife and beget children. Oh, for God's sake, please help us!

AP 42

Suta Goswami said:

Hearing all this, Jarat-karu lost himself in anguish and replied to his forefathers in a voice choked with tears of grief.

"I alone am that sinner Jarat-karu, your immature and misguided son. You should punish me for my misdeeds."

The forefathers replied:

O son, by God's grace alone did you happen to arrive at this place. O brahmana, why have you not taken a wife?

Jarat-karu said:

Dear forefathers, my life's goal, which has always been in my heart, is to practice celibacy and thus bring this body into the next world as well without ever passing semen. Yet as I see all of you hanging here like so many bats, my mind recoils from celibate life. Dear forefathers, I shall act for your happiness, and as is your wish I shall doubtlessly enter family life --- but only if I find a virgin girl with the same name as mine. There will be a certain woman who will present herself to me as a religious offering, and I shall accept her on the condition that I not bear the cost of her maintenance. O forefathers, I shall enter into family life only if permitted to do so under these conditions. Otherwise, the truth is that I shall not.

Suta Goswami said:

Having thus spoken to his forefathers, the muni Jarat-karut continued traveling about the earth. But he was old, dear Saunaka, and did not obtain a wife. He at last grew hopeless, though still driven by the plight of his forfathers, until finally one day he entered a forest and cried out in utter despair, "Whatever creatures there are, whether walking about or rooted in the earth or invisible to my eyes, may you all hear my words! I was engaged in severe austerities when my poor suffering forefathers commanded me to get married. Out of kindness to them. I am trying to marry, and thus I wander all over the world, hoping to obtain the gift of a suitable girl. Know that I am poor and wretched yet bound to obey my forefathers. If any creature within the sound of my voice has such a daughter, please offer her to me, for I have been everywhere.

"The girl meant to be my wife has the same name as me, and will be given freely as a religious offering. Moreover, I will not bear the cost of her maintenance. I beg all of you, bestow upon me such a girl!"

Just then, the serpents who were closely watching Jarat-karu carefully noted his behavior and reported it to Vasuki. Hearing the news, the serpent lord summoned his sister, who was bedecked with fine dress and ornaments, and went with her to the sage. O brahmana, when Vasuki, the king of snakes, arrived in the forest, he at once presented his sister as a religious offering to the great soul Jarat-karu. However the sage did not accept her, for he was thinking, "She must not have the same name as me, and besides, we have not even discussed her maintenance."

Jarat-karu simply stood there meditating on his free life as an ascetic, his mind divided over whether or not to accept her as a bride. Then, O son of Bhrgu, he asked for her name and said, "Vasuki, I will not be responsible for maintaining this girl!"

AP 43

Suta Goswami said:

Vasuki then spoke these words to the sage Jarat-karu: "This girl is my sister, and her name, like yours, is Jarat-karu. Like you, she is dedicated to the practice of austerities. O best of the twice-born, I shall take the responsibility to maintain your wife, so please accept her. You are an ascetic whose wealth is austerity, and therefore I shall make every effort to see that her needs are taken care of and that she is well protected."

When Vasuki promised, "I shall support my sister," Jarat-karu agreed to go to the serpent's home. There that virtuous soul, most learned in mantras, senior by austerity, and great in his vows, took the hand of Vasuki's sister in accord with religious rules and with the chanting of sacred hymns. Then to the praises of great sages, Jarat-karu took his wife to the brilliant residential quarters serpent lord had carefully designated for him. A bed was prepared with valuable coverings, and he dwelled in those quarters in the constant company of his wife.

[That saintly man had never wanted to marry, but had done so to save his forefathers. It was not easy for him to act like a husband.] Thus he established this rule with his wife: "You are never to do anything that displeases me, or correct or criticize me at any time. If you do anything that displeases me, I shall renounce you and give up my residence in your house. Please take seriously these words I speak to you."

Hearing this, the sister of the serpent lord was seized by a terrible anxiety. [Her entire race depended on her, and her mission was clear: somehow she must satisfy her husband and beget by him a child who would stop King Janamejaya's dreaded sacrifice. Thus the harsh terms of marriage left her shaken.] But despite her intense grief, she said to him, "So be it!"

Just as she had promised, this most respectable woman, so anxious to please her husband, served the unhappy man with a devotion and skill as rare as the sight of a white crow. When her fertile season arrived, the sister of Vasuki purified her body and with perfect etiquette stood before her husband, the great sage. She thus obtained from him a child who even in her womb glowed with the luster of fire. Conceived by the most advanced of ascetics, the embryo shone with the effulgence of the fire god and grew exactly like the waxing moon in the bright fortnight.

Some days after conception, the great ascetic Jarat-karu placed his head in the lap of his wife and slept. He seemed unhappy and tired, and as the learned one slept the sun began to set over the hill. Seeing that the day was ending, Vasuki's sister worried about her husband, for he had sacred duties to perform at sunset, and the thoughtful lady feared that if he did not awaken he would transgress his religious principles.

"What is my first duty," she thought, "to awake my husband or not? This saintly man is always melancholy; how can I avoid offending him? Let me consider which is worse for a religious man, anger or neglect of his religious duties? Actually, to neglect religious duties would be the worse of the two."

Thus she made up her mind: "If I wake him, he will surely become angry, but if I do not wake him, he will sleep through the juncture of day and night and neglect the sacred duties that must be performed at twilight."

Thus settling the matter in her mind, the serpent princess Jarat-karu, whose voice was beautiful, spoke these sweet words to the sleeping sage, whose fierce austerities made him glow like fire.

"You must arise, most fortunate one, for the sun is setting. My lord, so strict of vow, dip your hands in water and perform the evening worship. At this charming yet perilous moment you must ignite the sacred flames of sacrifice, for the sandhya, the juncture of day and night, is vanishing into the western horizon."

Thus addressed, the advanced ascetic Jarat-karu spoke to his wife with trembling lips, "You have insulted me, O serpent woman! No longer will I live in your presence. I shall go just as I came. O shapely lady, I know in my heart that the mighty sun does not dare set at the appointed time while I am sleeping. No one likes to live with a person who insults him; what to speak of one as strict about the rules as I am!"

Hearing these words of her husband, the devoted sister of Vasuki, Jarat-karu, felt her heart breaking, and there within their residential quarters she replied as follows: "I awoke you not out of contempt, learned brahmana, but rather that you not violate your religious duties."

Thus addressed, the powerful ascetic Jarat-karu was filled with anger, and anxious to leave his serpent wife, he said,

"With my god-given voice, I have never spoken a lie, and I tell you now that I shall leave, O serpent lady. Our agreement was that nothing would be done to displease me, and both of us accepted it. You are a good woman, and I have lived happily with you.

"O shy and innocent lady, when I am gone tell your brother that 'my husband has left.' Do not grieve for me, once I have departed."

Addressed thus, the lovely and shapely Jarat-karu was overcome by anxiety and grief, and she tried to reply to her husband, but her voice choked up with sobs and her mouth went dry. That slender princess simply stood there with hands folded, her eyes filled with tears, struggling to regain her composure. Finally with a trembling heart she spoke.

"It is not right for you who know the principles of virtue to abandon me, who have done you no wrong! I have loved you and acted always for your good. A religious man should not leave a religious wife.

"O best of brahmanas, I married you for a noble purpose. What will Vasuki say to his foolish sister, if I fail to fulfill that purpose? O saintly one, my relatives were cursed by their mother, and the child they are all hoping for has not yet appeared. If only I could have your child, my relatives would be saved. O brahmana, my sacred union with you must not go in vain.

"My lord, because I seek the good of my people, I beg your compassion! O saintly one, you have placed your seed within me, but our child is not yet born. How can you, such a great soul suddenly decide to reject your sinless wife and go away?"

Being so addressed, the ascetic philosopher Jarat-karu spoke to his wife in fair and fitting words.

"O blessed woman, there is a child in your womb who is as brilliant as the god of fire. This son of yours son will be the most saintly of sages, and he will master the Vedas and all their supplementary branches."

Having spoken thus, the law-abiding Jarat-karu departed, for the great sage had firmly decided to resume his practice of severe austerities. [It had never been his desire to marry, but he had accepted a wife to please his forefathers, and in so doing he had also redeemed the race of pious serpents. His forefathers and the serpents were delighted by the marriage, but Jarat-karu had never wanted it. Even so he dutifully conceived a child who would save both his forefathers and the race of serpents.]

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Suta Goswami said:

O thriving ascetic, as soon as her husband departed, Jarat-karu quickly went to her brother and told him exactly what had happened. The leader of snakes, hearing the most discouraging news, said to his grieving sister, himself the most miserable of all, "You surely know, dear sister, the reason for which I bestowed you on that man and the duty that was to be done. If a son is born to you he will save the serpent race. Lord Brahma told me in the presence of the gods that your powerful son would surely save us from the snake sacrifice. Good woman, are you indeed with child from that best of sages? I pray that your marriage with that learned man was not fruitless. Admittedly it is not proper for me to ask you about such affairs, but the extreme gravity of the matter forces me to question you in this way.

"Knowing how irritable your husband is, due to his excessive austerities, I shall not pursue him because he would be apt to curse me at any moment. Good woman, tell me all that your husband did and thus remove the terrible thorn that has lain so long in my heart."

At these words, Jarat-karu replied to the suffering Vasuki, and her words gave new hope to the serpent lord.

"When I questioned my husband about a child, the exalted ascetic pointed to my womb and said, 'It is,' and then departed. I do not recall, O king, that he ever spoke falsely, even in jest, so how could he tell a lie at a time when he was leaving his wife forever? Indeed, he said to me, 'You should not worry about the success of your mission, serpent woman; your son will indeed take birth, and he shall be as resplendent as the blazing sun.'

"O brother, having thus spoken, my husband left for the forest to perform austerities. Now may this terrible suffering in your heart be gone!"

Hearing this, Vasuki, ruler of the snakes, accepted his sister's words with the greatest of joy, declaring "So be it!" That finest of serpents then honored his pregnant sister with an appropriate offering of encouraging and respectful words, wealth, and other gifts.

O best of brahmanas, the greatly powerful embryo, shining like the sun, grew steadily in her womb like the waxing moon in the heavens. In due time, O learned one, the sister of the snakes gave birth to a male infant who shone like a celestial child, and who was destined to vanquish the fears of his mother's and father's houses.

The child was reared there in the palace of the serpent king, and he learned the Vedas and their branches from Bhargava, the son of Cyavana. Even as a boy he carefully followed his vows, for he was richly endowed with spiritual wisdom and goodness. The world came to know him by the name of Astika, because his father, upon leaving for the forest, had said of him "Asti!," "He is!".

The child, of immeasureable intelligence, was raised with utmost care in the house of the serpent king. As he continued to mature, he delighted the serpent race, who found in him all the glory and grace of the gold-giving, trident-wielding Siva, the lord of the gods.

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The sage Saunaka said:

Please tell me again in detail all that King Janamejaya said to his ministers when he questioned them about his father's journey to the divine kingdom.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

O brahmana, when the ministers were questioned by the king, they all explained to him about the demise of his father, Maharaja Pariksit. Hear now as I describe to you that conversation.

King Janamejaya said:

Gentlemen, you know how my father lived his life and how that very famous king, in the course of time, met his death. By directly hearing from you all about my father's life, by learning what his deeds were, I shall walk the way of righteousness and I shall never meet with evil.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

O brahmana, thus questioned by the great-spirited king, those learned ministers, who knew fully the religious law, replied to the monarch in these words.

"Your father was a religious man, a great soul who cared for all of God's creatures. Listen now to the deeds he performed in this world and how he went to his final destination.

"Your father organized human society into its natural divisions of varna and asrama, and all people worked according to their individual nature and ability. The king knew well the divine law, and he protected the citizens with justice, for he himself was justice personified. He guarded the earth goddess with unparalleled courage, and not a soul hated such a beautiful king, nor did he hate anyone. He was equal and fair to all creatures and ruled like the fatherly gods who are patrons of mankind.

"Teachers, warriors, merchants, and workers cheerfully performed their respective duties, O King, because they were so expertly engaged by that king. He cared for the widowed, the unprotected, the poor, and the maimed; and for all creatures his handsome countenance shone like a second moon.

"He studied the military science under the illustrious Saradvata and was steady in his prowess, a speaker of truth, a brilliant monarch who nourished and satisfied his people. Your very famous father, Janamejaya, was well loved by Lord Krsna Himself, and so he was loved by all the world. When all the descendents of the Kuru dynasty were slain, mighty Pariksit took birth as the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara.

"The king was endowed with all the noble qualities and dealt expertly with the practical and spiritual demands of kingship. He was self-controlled, self-realized, brilliant of mind, and a humble servant of the elderly and senior.

"He was careful to avoid the six vices and possessed brilliant powers of discrimination. Your father was the greatest scholar of political science and ethics, and he cared for all the creatures of his realm for sixty years. Then a snake brought the king to his destined and unavoidable end, and you, O best of men, have inherited this kingdom of the Kuru clan, to reign for one thousand years!"

King Janamejaya said:

In our family never was there a king who did not do good to the people, nor a single ruler not loved by his subjects, and this was especially due to the exalted conduct of our forefathers and their utter devotion to duty. But how did my father meet his death? What were the circumstances? Please explain this to me as it is, for I wish to hear the truth.

Suta Goswami said:

All the ministers loved King Janamejaya, as they had loved his father, and they were devoted to the young king's welfare. Being thus urged to speak by their monarch, they replied as follows:

"O king, just as the glorious Pandu was the greatest of bowmen in battle and thus protected the world, so was his great-grandson, your father, the greatest archer of his day. [Since the world depended on such as them to uphold justice, both Pandu and your father would often go to the forest to hunt and thus maintain their skills in sharp readiness.] We remember well how your father would delegate to us all the affairs of state and then spend his time in the woods, perfecting his extraordinary talent with a bow.

"Once as he wandered in the forest, he pierced a deer with a feathered shaft and then quickly followed the deer as it fled into the deep forest. Moving on foot, bound with a heavy sword and carrying a bow and quiver, your father could not find the lost deer in the dense woods. He was already sixty years of age and became exhausted and famished in the great forest when he saw nearby a learned sage. The leader of kings questioned the sage, who sat silently in deep meditation. Though the king repeatedly spoke to him, the muni did not speak a single word. Afflicted by hunger and fatigue, the king suddenly grew angry at the peaceful sage, who sat as silent and still as a tree. The king did not realize that the holy sage was meditating and had taken a vow of silence. Overcome with anger, your father insulted him. O best of the Bharatas, with the end of his bow he lifted up a dead snake from the ground and placed it on the shoulder of that pure-hearted sage. The wise man did not speak to him, neither approving nor condemning the king's act, but simply remained there, bearing the snake on his shoulder, and did not become angry at the king.

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The ministers said:

O best of kings, the exhausted king was afflicted with hunger, and having placed a snake on the sage's shoulder he returned to his own city. The sage had a famous son named Srngi, who had taken birth from a cow. Though still a young boy, Srngi was very powerful and possessed fearsome strength and a terrible temper. With his father's permission he had gone to play, when he heard from a friend that his father had been insulted by your father. O Janamejaya, tiger among men, Srngi heard that although his father had done no wrong, your father had wrapped a dead snake around his shoulders.

This sage was pure and self-controlled, a most dedicated ascetic who regularly performed extraordinary deeds. Indeed, he was a most learned man, his soul illumined by austerity. He was the master of all his senses, free of selfish desire, pure in word and deed. Thus your father had insulted a respectable senior, one free of envy and small-mindedness, and worthy to give shelter to all creatures. Alas, your father did not know that the sage was fixed in meditation under a vow of silence.

Hearing of this incident, the sage's mighty son was filled with fury and cursed your father. Though but a child in years, the boy was mature in his asceticism, having practiced for many lifetimes, and blazing with power and rage, the boy quickly touched water and then directed these words at your father: "On the seventh night hence, the angry Taksaka, leader of the Nagas, will bring down that sinful man who flung down a dead snake upon my sinless spiritual master. Behold the power of my asceticism!"

Speaking thus, Srngi went to his father, and seeing him in that same condition told him of the curse. The tiger among sages then sent word to your father, as follows: "O lord of the earth, you have been cursed by my son, so please do what you must, O king, for Taksaka shall bring you down with his fiery venom." O Janamejaya, hearing these terrible words your father was extremely concerned to end his life properly, and he prepared himself for the serpent king Taksaka.

When the seventh day had arrived, a devoted sage named Kasyapa desired to approach the king, but the serpent lord spied Kasyapa as he hurried along, and disguised as a fellow brahmana, Taksaka said to him, "Sir, where are you going in such a hurry, and what is the task you wish to accomplish?"

Kasyapa replied:

The snake Taksaka is about to bite King Pariksit, the best of the Kurus, and I hasten to that very place. I am hurrying there because as soon as the snake bites the king I shall immediately neutralize the venom. The snake will not overcome the king with me there to help him.

Taksaka said:

It is I who shall bite the king, but why do you wish to bring him back to life? Tell me what you want, and I shall give it to you immediately! Then go back to your home.

The ministers said:

Thus addressed by the serpent king, the sage replied, "I desire wealth, therefore I go to the king."

Taksaka spoke to the mighty sage with sweet words, saying, "As much wealth as you would beg from the king, O sinless one, you may take even more from me and return at once to your home."

When the serpent had thus spoken, Kasyapa, exalted among human creatures, took from Taksaka all the wealth he desired and turned back from his mission. Having thus stopped the learned brahmana, Taksaka then took on yet another disguise and approached your righteous father, the best of monarchs, who sat peacefully, fully prepared for his destiny. Taksaka burned the greatest of monarchs with the fire of his poison, and thereafter you, Janamejaya, were installed on the royal throne for the glory and victory of the Kuru clan.

O virtuous king, we have have described to you all these tragic events exactly as we saw and heard. We have invented nothing. O glorious ruler, having heard of the destruction of a king and the humiliation of this wise Uttanka, you should now take proper measures.

King Janamejaya said:

First I want to hear about the conversation that took place between the lord of snakes and the brahmana Kasyapa. Since they met on a deserted forest path, who could have seen or heard them and reported the information to all of you?

The ministers replied:

Hear, O king, how and from whom we came to know that the best of brahmanas and the most powerful of serpents actually met on a forest path. O earthly ruler, a certain man happened to be in that forest collecting firewood and had climbed up into a tall tree looking for dead and dry branches. Both the snake and the sage were unaware that the man was up in the tree, and he was burned to ashes along with the tree. O best of kings, the man was then brought back to life, along with the lordly tree, by the power of the twice-born brahmana. O noble ruler, the man then returned to the city and recounted all that had happened between Taksaka and the brahmana. We have now explained to you exactly what happened, just as we heard it. Having heard this, you who are a tiger among kings should now do as you wish.

Suta Goswami said:

Hearing the words of his ministers, King Janamejaya felt a searing pain in his heart, and overcome with anguish he pounded his fist into his hand. A long, burning breath issued from his handsome mouth and tears poured from his lotus eyes. The ruler of the world, lost in grief, then said, "Gentlemen, hearing from you how my father left this world and journeyed to the kingdom above, my mind is now fixed in unbreakable determination. Please hear of my decision. The wicked Taksaka cruelly attacked my father, and now he must pay for his deed.

"If Taksaka had simply carried out the words of Srngi and bitten the king, my father would still be alive. And if the king had lived, by the mercy of Kasyapa and the good counsel of the ministers, what would that snake have lost? Kasyapa was invincible and desired to save my father's life, yet out of sheer ignorance this snake turned back that exalted brahmana. Taksaka is evil, and great is his sin, for he dared to offer gifts to a brahmana, that my father might die. I shall now please the sage Uttanka, and I shall greatly please my own tortured soul. And I shall surely satisfy all of you, for now I shall avenge the murder of my father!"

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Suta Goswami said:

Having made his statement and gained the approval of his ministers, the very handsome son of Pariksit, a tiger of the Bharata race, then swore that he would conduct a snake sacrifice. Calling for his priest and others learned in the science of sacrifice, the eloquent monarch, anxious to accomplish his mission, then spoke these words:

"Gentlemen, the wicked Taksaka slew my beloved father. Now kindly tell me how I may avenge that sin. Do you know the process by which I can personally send Taksaka and his associates into the blazing fire of sacrifice? As he once burned my father with the fire of his poison, so now in the same way I wish to burn that sinner to ashes."

The sacrificial priests replied:

O king, there is a great sacrifice that was created by the gods as if to fulfill your very purpose. O ruler of men, it is described in the ancient Puranas as the Snake Sacrifice, and experts agree that only you, as emperor, are in a position to sponsor such a sacrifice. If that be your desire, we possess the necessary technology to carry it out."

Srila Suta Goswami said:

O noble sage, when thus addressed by his ministers, the saintly king envisioned the serpent Taksaka falling into the blazing mouth of the sacrificial fire, and thus he said to the brahmanas who were expert in chanting potent hymns, "Please procure the necessary articles, for I shall carry out the sacrifice!"

O best of the twice-born, priests then arranged for a careful survey of the king's land according to scriptural codes in order to find the most effective ground for sacrifice. The priests were distinguished scholars and self-realized souls, and under their guidance the sacrificial arena was properly constructed and with the greatest of opulence, bedecked with abundant jewels and grains, and attended by learned communities of respectable men.

After the sacrificial area was properly measured and built in the most desireable way, the priests next blessed the king for the accomplishment of the Snake Sacrifice. Before this, however, a great portent arose which signaled that an obstacle would occur in the performance of the Snake Sacrifices. As the sacrificial ground was being prepared, a master builder of vast wisdom, thoroughly schooled in the art of construction, spoke these words: "Considering the time and place in which the land survey was begun, this ceremony will not be completed and a brahmana will be the cause." Thus spoke the twice-born scholar, who was learned in the ancient science.

Hearing these words before his consecration into the ceremony, the king said to the royal gatekeeper, "Let no one who is unknown to me enter this area."

The procedure of the Snake Sacrifice then began, precisely according to rule, and each of the sacrificial priests carefully attended to his duties. Gravely garbed in black robes, their eyes reddened from smoke, they poured the potent ghee into the blazing fire of sacrifice, chanting the deadly and irrevocable mantras. As they proceeded to offer the race of snakes into the fiery mouth of sacrifice, the minds of all the chest-crawling serpents trembled with terror as snakes came flying and dropped into the sacrificial flames, writhing in wretched pain and crying out to one another. Quivering, gasping and hissing, coiling wildly around one another with their heads and tails, they plunged into the wondrous fire.

White snakes, black snakes, blue snakes, old snakes, and young snakes, shrieking in terror, fell into the mighty blaze. O best of the twice-born, thus did hundreds of thousands, millions, and tens of millions of helpless serpents meet their destruction. Some were as tiny as mice, others as thick as elephant trunks, and still others, having giant bodies and terrible strength, were as furious as maddened bull elephants. But all serpents, the mighty as well as the insignificant, with their varieties of hues, their horrible venom, and their awesome deadly power, fell into the unyielding fire, broken and ruined by the club of a mother's curse.

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Sri Saunaka said:

In the snake sacrifice of the learned Pandava king, Janamejaya, who were the great sages who acted as the sacrificial priests? Who were the assembly members in that terrifying snake sacrifice, which caused such extreme fear and grief to the serpents? Dear Suta, kindly explain all this in detail, for those powerful men, who knew all the technology of sacrifice, should themselves be known to us.

Suta Goswami replied:

Yes, I shall tell you at once the names of the priests and council members who served the king on that occasion. The Hota priest at the sacrifice was the brahmana Canda-bhargava, born in the Cyavana dynasty and known to have excelled among Vedic scholars. The senior and learned brahmana named Kautsarya Jaimini served as the Udgata priest; Sarngarava as the Brahma priest; and Bodha-pingala the Adhvarya priest.

Vyasadeva was present as an assembly member, as were his son and disciples. Other assembly members were Uddalaka, Samathaka, Sveta-ketu, and Pancama. Similarly present in the assembly were great sages such as Asita, Devala, Narada, Parvata, Atreya, the twice-born Kunda-jathara, and Kuti-ghata.

There was also Vatsya, and Sruta-srava the elder, distinguished for his austerity, scholarship, and conduct; and Kahoda, Deva-sarma, Maudgalya, and Sama-saubhara. These and many other brahmanas, strict of vow, were present as assembly members at the sacrifice led by Pariksit's son, Janamejaya.

As the priests offered oblations at this great ritualistic sacrifice of snakes, horrible serpents who were frightening to all creatures fell into the irresistible flames. Streams of boiling fat and blood began to flow about, spreading the stark odor of death, as serpents incessantly burned in the tumultuous fire. There was the constant sound of shrieking snakes hovering in the air, and cooking horribly in the insatiable fire.

However, Taksaka, lord of the snakes, upon hearing that King Janmejaya had been initiated into a snake sacrifice, had immediately gone to the abode of Lord Indra. Knowing that he had sinned, and thoroughly frightened, the mighty serpent explained to Lord Indra all that had happened. Indra was very pleased with his humble submission and said, "O Taksaka, lord of the Nagas, there is absolutely no danger for you from this snake sacrifice. In the past I secured the blessings of Lord Brahma for your sake, and therefore you need not fear. Let your terrible anxiety be gone."

Being thus reassured by Indra, the mighty snake rejoiced and dwelt happily in the abode of the lord. But the great serpent Vasuki was most unhappy, and he grieved deeply for the snakes who continued to plunge into the fire, for so few of his associates were left alive. A terrible depression overtook the powerful serpent, and with a trembling heart he spoke these words to his sister:

"O blessed woman, my limbs are burning and I have no sense of where I am. I am sinking away in utter confusion and my mind is spinning. My vision is lost and my heart is bursting. Today I shall fall helplessly into that blazing fire. The sacrifice of Pariksit's son will go on until every one of us is dead. It is now clear that I am going to the abode of the Lord of death. Sister, the time has now come for which I once gave you to the sage Jarat-karu. Oh save us, and save all our family! O glorious lady of the serpents, our own grandfather Lord Brahma said in the past that your son Astika would put an end to this relentless sacrifice. Therefore, dear sister, tell your beloved child, who is so highly regarded by the elders as the greatest knower of the Vedas, that he must now save me and my dependants!"

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Sri Suta Goswami said:

Thereupon the Snake woman Jarat-karu called for her son, and remembering the instruction of the snake king Vasuki, she told him, "Son, my brother gave me to your father with a mission, and its time has now come. You must do the needful!"

Astika said:

For what purpose did uncle give you to my father? Explain it to me truthfully, and upon hearing of that grave mission I shall properly execute it.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

Jarat-karu, sister to the serpent lord, yearned to help her relatives, and therefore with great determination she explained the situation to her son.

Jarat-karu said:

The goddess Kadru is understood to be the mother of all the serpents, without exception, but she grew furious with her sons and cursed them. Listen and you will know why.

"My dear children," she said, "even though my very freedom is at stake, you refuse to enter the tail of the king of horses, Uccaihsrava, and falsify it so I might win a wager with my sister Vinata. Therefore I curse you, that in the sacrifice of Janamejaya, a celestial fire, whipped and driven by the god of wind, will consume you, and your bodies will dissolve back into the earth, water, fire, air, and ether from which they came. From there you will go to the land of the dead."

As she thus cursed her serpent sons, the grandfather of the universe, Lord Brahma, approved her words and said, "So be it!"

My dear son, Vasuki heard the statement of Lord Brahma, and when the churning of the ocean had been accomplished, my brother approached the demigods for shelter. The gods had fulfilled their own purpose, having won the heavenly nectar, and thus they were all kindly disposed toward my brother. Placing him at the front of their entourage, they all went to see Lord Brahma.

All the gods, along with Vasuki, beseeched the Grandsire for mercy. "May this curse not act!" they pleaded. Vasuki, king of the snakes, agonized by the fate of his relatives, begged the Grandfather, "O my lord, may this cruel curse spoken by our mother not act upon us!"

Lord Brahma replied:

Saintly Jarat-karu will obtain a wife who will also be named Jarat-karu, and they will beget a brahmana son who will free the snakes from the curse.

Jarat-karu continued:

My dear godly son, hearing these words, Vasuki, lord of snakes, then presented me to your illustrious father, and before the fated time of calamity had come he begot you within my womb. Now the time has certainly arrived, and you must therefore save us from this danger. You must especially save my brother from that terrible fire. I was given to your wise father to set the serpents free, and our marriage must not be in vain. Do you agree, my son?

Suta Goswami said:

Thus adressed, Astika agreed to his mother's request. He then spoke to the grief-stricken Vasuki, as if to bring him back to life.

"O Vasuki, O greatest of serpents, I shall deliver you from the curse. Most noble one, I tell you this in truth. Be settled in mind, dear uncle, for you have nothing to fear. You have always been kind to others, and I shall act in such a way that all good fortune will be yours. I have never spoken a lie, not even in jest, and I would hardly do so in a most serious matter such as this! My dear maternal uncle, I shall go today to that noble King Janamejaya, who has undergone religious initiation, and satisfy him with words that offer real blessings, so that the king's sacrifice will stop.

"O wise and noble serpent king, have full trust in me, and your faith will never go in vain."

Vasuki replied:

O Astika, I am trembling and my heart is about to shatter. I have no sense of where I am, for I am tortured by that all-powerful curse.

Astika said:

O serpent lord, there is absolutely no reason for you to feel such anxiety. I shall vanquish all danger from that blazing fire of sacrifice. That horrible conflagration is like the very fire of annihilation, with its all-powerful flames, yet I shall destroy it. Believe me, you have nothing to fear!"

Sri Suta Goswami said:

Having removed the terrible anxiety that raged like a fever in Vasuki's mind, and having placed that burden on his own shoulders, Astika, best of the twice-born, then went with great haste to the flourishing sacrifice of Janamejaya, determined to save the serpent race from utter extinction. Arriving there Astika saw the fabulous sacrificial arena, filled with exalted assembly members who shone like the rays of the sun. In fact, the great sacrificial enterprise of Janamejaya was endowed with the best of personalities and the richest of paraphernalia.

As the pure brahmana Astika attempted to gain entry, he was stopped by the gatekeepers. He then generously praised the sacrifice, begging to be granted entrance.

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Sri Astika said:

At the confluence of the sacred rivers Ganga and Yamuna, in the holy city of Prayaga, the lord of the moon performed a sacrifice. Likewise, in that place the lord of the waters worshiped his Maker, as did the great progenitor. But your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is as good as theirs. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Lord Indra performed a hunred sacrifices, but now a single sacrifice has equaled them, for your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is as good as Indra's hunred. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Lord Yama performed sacrifices, as did Harimedha and the pious king Rantideva. But your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is equal to theirs. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Kings like Gaya, Sasabindu, and Vaisravana all performed sacrifice. But yours, O best of the Bharata race, is as good as theirs. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Nrga, Ajamidha, and Rama Himself are known to have performed sacrifices. And your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is just like theirs. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Even in heaven one hears of the sacrifice performed by the son of a god, King Yudhisthira, the scion of Ajamidha. And yet your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is like unto his. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

The greatest of sages, Sri Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, conducted a sacrifice wherein he personally performed the sacred functions. Even still, your sacrifice, O best of the Bharata race, is equal to his. O son of Pariksit, may your sacrifice bring all good fortune to my loved ones.

Effulgent as fire or the sun, these priests sit around the sacrifice like the saints who attended Indra's own rites. For them, there is no knowledge yet to be known, and charity offered to them shall never go in vain.

I am convinced that there is no priest in all the worlds equal to Srila Vyasa, who sits at this ceremony. Why, his disciples traverse the entire world, each expert in his own priestly duties.

The mighty fire of such wondrous light, that great soul of golden seed, who in consuming all, leaves but a dark trail of ash and smoke, whose ignited flames whirl round to the right, that godly fire, the enjoyer of oblations, now consumes the offerings of your sacrifice.

In this world of lost souls there is no monarch equal to you, none who cares for his people as you do. I am ever satisfied by your determination. You are the monarch and the king of virtue, the lord of death for the wicked!

In this world you are like Indra himself, who stands with thunderbolt in hand, because you deliver the innocent creatures of the earth. O leader of men, we understand your glorious position, for in this world none but you can lead a sacrifice such as this.

You are as sturdy and competent as the great rulers of yore, kings like Khatvanga, Nabhaga, and Dilipa, and your prowess is equal to that of Yayati and Mandhata. Your potency is like the potency of the sun, and in strict adherence to your vows you shine like the mighty Bhisma.

You carry yourself with the gravity of Valmiki, and you control your anger like a second Vasista. I consider you equal to Indra in your ability to rule, for your splendor shines like that of almighty Narayana.

In ascertaining justice and spiritual truth you are like Yama, the cosmic lord of justice, and all good qualities come to you as to Lord Krsna Himself. You are the abode of beauty and plenty, for all potent religious rites have their resting place in you.

You are equal in strength to Dambhodbhava, and you expertly wield both hand weapons and missiles with the skill of Rama Himself. With the splendor of Aurva and Trita and the menancing countenance of Bhagiratha, you can hardly even be gazed upon by your rivals.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

Thus praised by young Astika, the king, the assembly members, the priests, the fire-god--- indeed everyone became wholly satisfied. King Janamejaya observed the reactions of all those present and then spoke as follows.

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King Janamejaya said:

Though young this boy speaks like a learned elder. Therefore, I accept him as a learned elder and not as a mere child. I wish to grant him a boon, and I ask the brahmanas gathered here to extend me that privilege.

The members of the saintly assembly replied:

A brahmana, though a child, always deserves the respect of kings, especially when he is learned. Therefore you should grant this young sage all that he may desire, so that by his blessings Taksaka will come quickly into our fire.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

The generous king was just about to tell Astika, "You may select a boon and I shall grant it," when suddenly the Hota priest, who was not pleased with the progress of the ceremony, spoke out and said, "We are duly performing the sacrifice, but Taksaka still has not come."

King Janamejaya replied to the priest:

Taksaka is our mortal enemy, and all of you must endeavor with your combined might to bring my sacrifice to completion, so that Taksaka is swiftly thrown into the fire.

The priests replied:

O king, the sacred books clearly inform us, and the sacred fire confirms, that the snake ruler Taksaka is hiding in terror at the palace of Lord Indra.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

The great soul and Puranic scholar, Lohitaksa, already knew all these things, and now, being questioned by the king, he confirmed what the brahmanas had said.

"Having carefully studied the Puranas, I tell you, O king, that Indra has given a boon to that snake. `Dwell here with me,' Indra has said to him. `Stay close to me, well concealed, and those flames will never burn you.' "

Hearing this, the annointed king burned with grief, yet finding no relief and knowing that the time was at hand to consumate the rite, he encouraged the Hota priest. The diligent priest then worshiped the holy fire with mantras, and thereupon Indra himself came.

"Yes, let Indra come!" said the king. "And together with the serpent king, Taksaka, let him quickly plunge into the blazing fire!"

The Hota priest then intoned the words, jambhasya hanta! making Lord Indra himself, the slayer of Jambha, an offering unto the fire; and then mighty Indra -- he who had promised all security to the serpent -- came toward the sacrificial fire.

Befitting an exalted univeral ruler, Indra had come in a heavenly airship, surrounded and praised by all the gods and followed by a train of menacing clouds. He led an entourage of powerful Vidyadharas and gorgeous pleasure maidens. But Taksaka, trembling with fear and unable to calm his panic-stricken mind, hid himself in Indra's outer garment. The furious Janamejaya, desiring the death of Taksaka, spoke these words to his expert priests: "O twice-born men, if the serpent Taksaka is indeed concealed under the custody of Indra, throw him and Indra together into this fire-- now!"

The priests replied:

O king, the serpent Taksaka is quickly coming under your control. Listen, and you will hear the piercing sound of the snake as he screams in terror. For Indra, who wields the thunder bolt, has released him. The snake has fallen from Indra's lap, for our mantras have broken his strength and pulled his body away. Now with his mind faint and ruined he comes through the sky toward us, helplessly twisting-- the so-called lord of snakes-- gasping hot and acrid breaths.

O lord, O leader of kings, your sacrifice is proceeding properly. Therefore you should now grant a boon to that excellent brahmana.

Janamejaya agreed and said:

Though you appear a young boy your glory is great, and we shall offer you a suitable gift. Choose now that which you firmly desire within your heart, and I shall grant unto you that very thing, even if it is normally not to be given.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

And so, at the very moment in which Taksaka, the lord of snakes, was to fall into the sacrificial fire, Astika gave this command: "O Janamejaya, if you grant me a wish, then I wish that this sacrifice of yours cease. Let no more snakes fall into the fire!"

O brahmana, when the king, son of Pariksit, was thus addressed, he was not at all pleased and spoke these words to Astika, "Gold, silver, cows and bulls-- anything else that pleases you, O lord, all that would I grant you as a boon-- but please, brahmana, my sacrifice must not stop!"

Astika replied:

Gold, silver, cows and bulls, I do not ask of you O king. Let this sacrifice of yours stop! That alone will benefit my mother's kin.

O son of Bhrgu, hearing Astika's words, King Janamejaya, son of Pariksit, appealed again and again to the eloquent brahmana: "O best of the twice-born, I wish the best for you, but please choose another boon."

Yet the young sage refused to ask for anything else. The members of the sacrificial assembly were all learned Vedic scholars, and they all therefore joined together and said unto the king, "May the brahmana have his wish!"

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Sri Saunaka said:

O son of Romaharsana, I would like to hear all the names of those serpents who fell into the offering fire of the snake sacrifice.

Sri Suta Goswami replied:

O best of Vedic scholars, many thousands, millions, and tens of millions of snakes fell in that fire. There were so many that they cannot even be counted. We do know however from the Smrti scriptures the names of the most important of those snakes who were offered to the sacrificial fire. Please hear from me as I name them.

First hear about the serpents in the dynasty of Vasuki. The chief ones were blue, red, and white, possessing huge and loathsome bodies full of deadly venom. There names were Kotika, Manasa, Purna, Saha, Paila, Halisaka, Picchila, Konapa, Cakra, Konavega, Prakalana, Hiranyavaha, Sarana, Kaksaka, and Kaladantaka. These serpents, born of the race of Vasuki, entered the fire.

Now hear from me as I name the serpents born in the family of Taksaka: There was Pucchandaka, Mandalaka, Pindabhetta, Rabhenaka, Ucchikha, Surasa, Dranga, Balaheda, Virohana, Silisalakara, Muka, Sukumara, Pravepana, Mudgara, Sasaroma, Sumana, and Vegavahana. These serpents, born of the race of Taksaka, entered the fire.

Paravata, Pariyatra, Pandara, Harina, Krsa, Vihanga, Sarabha, Moda, Pramoda, and Samhatangada, all from the family of Airavata, entered into the fire. Now, O best of the twiceborn, hear of the snakes from the Kauravya dynasty. These were Aindila, Kundala, Munda, Veniskandha, Kumaraka, Bahuka, Srngavega, Dhurtaka, Pata, and Patara.

Now hear, as I recite their names, exactly which snakes from the family of Dhrtarastra perished therein. These serpents, O brahmana, were swift as the wind and terribly poisonous. They were Sankukarna, Pingalaka, Kutharamukha, Mecaka, Purnangada, Purnamukha, Prahasa, Sakuni, Hari, Amahatha, Komathaka, Svasana, Manava, Vata, Bhairava, Mundavedanga, Pisanga, Udraparaga, Rsabha, Vegavan Pindaraka, Mahahanu, Raktanga, Sarvasaranga, Samrddha, Pata, and Raksasa, Varahaka, Varanaka, Sumitra, Citravedika, Parasara, Tarunaka, Maniskandha, and Aruni.

Thus I have described, O brahmana, the most important serpents, those who brought fame to their race. But there were so many who died in that sacrifice that I cannot name them all. Nor is it possible to enumerate all of their sons and grandsons, and all the later generations who fell into the blazing fire.

Some of those serpents had seven heads, and some had two heads, while still others had five. Those ghastly creatures, with poison like the fire of annihilation, were sacrificed by the hundreds of thousands. They had great bodies, great power, and when they raised themselves up they stood like the peaks of mountains. Indeed, some of them stretched to a length of eight miles, and others extended to a full sixteen miles. They could assume any form at will and go wherever they desired, and their terrible poison was like a blazing fire. But they burned to death in that great sacrifice, ruined by a mother's curse that was sanctioned by the Creator.

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Sri Suta Goswami said:

We have heard from authorities that even as King Janamejaya, son of Pariksit, was encouraging the sage Astika with boons and benedictions, the young sage did something extraordinary. The snake Taksaka had fallen from Indra's hand, but he remained hovering in the sky, and seeing this, King Janamejaya was filled with anxiety. The learned priests continued to offer abundant oblations into the blazing fire, following the regular procedure, but still the terrified Taksaka would not fall into the fire.

Sri Saunaka said:

O Suta, can it be that those wise brahmanas did not clearly recall the sacred hymns and for that reason Taksaka did not fall into the fire?

Sri Suta Goswami said:

Actually, as that most powerful snake, stunned and somewhat dazed, slipped from the hand of Indra, Astika turned to him and three times uttered the words, "Stay there!" The snake, his heart trembling, stayed in midair like a man frozen in fear in the midst of a circle of bulls. Then at the strong urging of the council members, the monarch decreed: "Let it be as Astika desires. This sacrifice must now come to an end! The snakes shall be saved from harm. Astika must be satisfied, and may the prophetic words of the master builder come true."

As the king thus granted Astika his boon, joyous applause and roars of approval spread in all directions, for the deadly ritual overseen by Janamejaya, son of Pariksit, had now come to an end. King Janamejaya himself, that worthy descendant of Bharata, was pleased with this turn of events. [All the kings in his lineage were staunch devotees of the Supreme Lord, and he rightly understood that the sudden end of his sacrifice was an arrangement of Providence.]

Following Vedic custom, the king awarded significant wealth to all the hundreds and thousands of priests and assembly members, and he further bestowed fine gifts upon all everyone who had gathered for the sacrifice. That mighty king presented magnificent gifts to the builder and bard Lohitaksa, who had predicted at the outset that the sacrifice would be stopped by a brahmana.

Having thus displayed genuine nobility, Janamejaya, strictly following the prescribed procedures, took the ritualistic avabhrtha bath, officially signaling the end of the sacrifice. The king's mind was thus at peace, and Astika too was satisfied, for he had performed his duty. The king greatly honored him and bid him farewell as he departed for his home. As the sage took his leave, the king graciously said to him, "You must come again and act as a council member in our great asvamedha

Suta Goswami said:

That best of brahmanas, having freed the snakes from the sacrifice designed to annihilate them, spent his days practicing virtue, and in due course of time he went to his destined end, leaving behind him worthy children and grandchildren. Thus have I narrated to you the actual story of Astika. It is a most righteous story because it causes goodness to flourish in the world. One who thus recites or listens from the beginning this glorious tale of the learned Astika will have nothing to fear from serpents.

Sri Saunaka said:

O son of Romaharsana, you have thoroughly recited for me a glorious history, from the beginning of the Bhrgu dynasty, and therefore, my son, you have pleased me very much. And so I shall inquire from you again, dear son of a scholar, regarding that excellent history composed by the great Vyasa. Kindly continue that recitaion.

O Suta, we wish to hear from you all these stories and subject matters that were regularly discussed among the exalted council members during the intervals of that most lengthy snake sacrifice. Being an accomplished scholar, you are certainly expert in this field as well.

Sri Suta Goswami replied:

During intervals in the sacrifice, the brahmanas recited stories from the Vedas. The great Vyasa, however, always recited the story of Mahabharata.

Sri Saunaka said:

The Mahabharata has forever established the fame of the five sons of Pandu. King Janamejaya inquired about them, and Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa then regularly recited their story during the intervals of the sacrifice. Now I would like to hear, in the same systematic way, the glorious story of the Mahabharata.

Srila Vyasa was a great sage and his own activities were glorious. O son of a sage, O best of the saintly, relate to us now that magnificent history that arose from the oceanic mind of that powerful seer.

Sri Suta Goswami replied:

Yes, I shall recite to you from its beginning the great and transcendent history known as Mahabharata, exactly as it was conceived by Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa. O brahmana of excellent mind, I am enthusiatic to tell this history. May you delight in its narration!

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Sri Suta Goswami continued:

Hearing that Janamejaya had been initiated into the snake sacrifice, the learned seer Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa approached the king. Vyasa, grandfather of the Pandavas, was begotten by the maiden Kali and sage Parasara, son of Sakti, on an island in the holy Yamuna River.

At birth, the celebrated Vyasa at once brought his body to maturity by his own will and then thoroughly studied the Vedas, with their supplements and historical works. No one could surpass him in his austerity, Vedic study, vows, fasting, and procreation, nor in the power of his anger. The greatest of all Vedic scholars, he divided the one Veda into four. He was a self-realized sage, pure and truthful, a poet and a seer of past, present, and future. Renowned for his extraordinary piety, he begot Pandu, Dhrtarastra, and Vidura in order to preserve the dynasty of Santanu.

Accompanied by his disciples, he who knew all the Vedic literature entered the snake sacrifice of saintly King Janamejaya and there beheld the monarch sitting amidst his council members, like Indra surrounded by the gods. In this elaborate rite, many annointed kings and expert godlike priests sat around the king.

Janamejaya noted the sage's arrival, and he quickly stood up with all his associates and lovingly received him. With the instant consent of the assembly, the king offered the sage a magnificent golden seat, just as Indra offers to the priest of heaven, Brhaspati.

When the munificent Vyasa took his seat, the first of kings, following the scriptural law, worshiped the sage whom all godly seers revere, offering him scented water to bathe his feet, water to rinse his mouth, thoughtful gifts that engladden a guest, and a fine cow. All these presents were properly presented to the venerable forefather Vyasa, who richly deserved the honor.

Accepting the prize cow and the symbolic gestures of honor, from Janamejaya, heir to Pandu's throne, Srila Vyasa was visibly satisfied. King Janamejaya was also satisfied at heart, for he made every effort to worship his grandfather's grandfather, and sitting near the holy one, the king inquired all about his health and happiness. The divine sage then looked upon the king and saw that he too was well. Honored by all the council members, Vyasa honored them in turn.

Thereupon, Janamejaya folded his hands in reverence and seriously inquired from his illustrious forefather, who had been so well received by the council members;

"My lord, you were an eyewitness to the activities of the Pandavas and Kurus. O brahmana, I would so much like to hear about them from you. How did a conflict arise among those indefatigable men? How did the conflict lead to such a terrible war, which finished the life of so many creatures? My lord, you are learned in these matters, so tell me everything, just as it happened. Those men, whose minds were overwhelmed by some higher destiny, were all my own forefathers."

Hearing these words, Vyasa then ordered his disciple Vaisampayana, who was sitting nearby, "Please explain to him, as you have heard it from me, exactly how a conflict arose between the Kurus and the Pandavas."

Understanding the order of his teacher, the eminent brahmana then fully explained the ancient history to the monarch, his council members, and all the assembled kings. He told how strife arose between the Kurus and Pandavas and how it brought destruction to a kingdom.\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00\'00

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Let me first offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual maser, Srila Vyasadeva, fixing my mind and intelligence in devotion to his lotus feet. Let me then offer my complete reverence to all the brahmanas assembled here with us and to all the learned and wise people gathered at this site.

The noble sage Vyasa is renowned throughout the universe for his wisdom and immeasurable strength, and all that I speak is authorized by him. My dear king, you are qualified to hear, and I myself, having now obtained an opportunity to recite my spiritual master's history of the Bharata race, feel my heart trembling and swelling with joy.

Hear, O king, how a conflict arose among the Kurus and Pandavas over a game of dice, played with an entire kingdom at stake, and how the Pandavas were then sent to live in the forest. Hear of the great war that caused such untold destruction on the earth. O best of the Bharatas, you have inquired about these events, and I shall explain them in full.

When their father passed away, the heroic young sons of Pandu left their forest dwelling and returned to their ancestral home in the imperial capital, where they soon became experts in Dhanurveda, the military science. But their cousins the Kurus, seeing the Pandavas' extraordinary beauty, courage, and stamina, and their popularity with every citizen, burned with a jealous rage. They could not bear seeing their cousins' wealth and fame. Thus the cruel Duryodhana and Karna, along with Saubala (Sakuni), worked in many ways to bring down the Pandavas and banish them from their royal home.

Duryodhana, the sinful son of Dhrtarastra, administered poison to Bhima, but Pandu's heroic son, with the stomach of a wolf, digested the poison along with his food. Then again, when Bhima was soundly asleep at Pramana-koti, Duryodhana tied him up, threw him into the waters of the Ganges, and returned to his city. When Bhima awoke, O king, he burst his bonds and sprang out of the river without the slightest pain or trouble.

Another time when Bhima was asleep, Duryodhana had poisonous black snakes bite him in every limb of his body, but Bhima, slayer of foes, did not die. In all these wicked acts, the very wise Vidura was ever alert to save the Pandavas from harm and to undo the Kuru schemes. Just as Lord Indra, from his heavenly abode, always bestows happiness on the good people of earth, so Vidura always brought happiness to the five Pandavas. The Kuru princes tried by so many open and covert means to annihilate the Pandavas, but the Supreme Lord protected the sons of Pandu, for in the future they would carry out His will.

Consulting with such advisers as Vrsa and Duhsasana and unobstructed by his father, Dhrtarastra, Duryodhana ordered the construction of an inflammable house of lac and arranged for the apparently trusting Pandavas to dwell there. Then he tried to burn it down with fire, but Vidura warned the powerful Pandavas of the danger and dispatched a trusted engineer to dig a tunnel under the lacquer house. Thus the Pandavas were saved from the burning mansion and fled in mortal fear. Entering a deep and deadly forest, they encountered the monstrous Raksaka named Hidimba, but Bhima with his terrible prowess angrily killed him.

Remaining close together, the heroic sons of Pandu then traveled with their mother to the town of Ekacakra, where they disguised themselves as brahmanas, living for some time in the house of a saintly brahmana; then to save that brahmana's life Bhima slew the mighty demon Baka. After this the Pandavas journeyed with a group of devoted brahmanas to the kingdom of Pancala, and there they won the hand of the princess Draupadi and dwelled for one year in her father's kingdom. Having lived in hiding, their identity was now discovered and so the mighty sons of Pandu returned to the Kuru capital of Hastinapura.

Upon their arrival, King Dhrtarastra and Grandfather Bhisma told them, "We are very anxious for this fighting to stop among you cousin brothers, and therefore we want you to make your home in the region of Khandava-prastha. Please give up your anger toward the Kurus and go live in Khandava-prastha, which is well settled, with a large, well-organized system of roads."

The Pandavas accepted the order of their two elders, and taking all their jewels and wealth they journeyed with all their well-wishing friends to the city of Khandava-prastha and resided there for many years, dominating other kings by their strength of arms. O king, the sons of Pandu were wholly dedicated to justice; they were honest and true to their word. They were never overcome by lust or greed and were ever vigilant in their duties. Forgiving those who sought their shelter, they punished those who would harm them.

The mighty Bhimasena conquered the kingdoms to the East, and the heroic Arjuna conquered the North. Nakula took the West, and Sahadeva, the slayer of his enemies, conquered the South. Thus the Pandavas spread their circle of influence over the entire planet. These five brothers shone like the sun, for they derived their power from their dedication to truth. And together with the shining sun in the sky, the earth was now radiant with the light of six suns.

For a particular reason, Yudhisthira, king of virtue, thereafter sent his brother Arjuna to the forest, where he lived for one full year plus one month. Then the fierce warrior, the third-born of Pandu, went to see Lord Krsna in Dvaraka and there won the hand of the Lord's younger sister, Subhadra, the lotus-eyed beauty of lovely speech. As Saci unites with Lord Indra or as the goddess of fortune unites with Lord Sri Krsna, so did Subhadra happily unite with Arjuna, the son of Pandu.

In the Khandava forest, O excellent king, Arjuna, together with Lord Krsna, satisfied the lord of fire. No deed was too difficult for Arjuna as long as he was with Lord Krsna, just as Lord Visnu, endowed with His limitless determination, always kills His enemies. Thus the god of fire gave Arjuna the extraordinary bow named Gandiva and two inexhaustible quivers of arrows, along with a chariot marked with the symbol of Hanuman.

As the Khandava forest was being offered to Agni, the god of fire, Arjuna saved the great asura wizard Maya from the blaze, and in gratitude Maya constructed for the Pandavas a celestial assembly hall studded with all types of jewels. In that fabulous building the foolish Duryodhana became greedy and, with the help of Saubala, cheated Yudhisthira in a game of dice. As the fradulent victor in the gambling match, he banished the Pandavas to the forest wilds for successive periods of seven and five years, with the stipulation that for one additional year they would have to live somewhere within a kingdom without being discovered. Thus they were banished for a total of thirteen years.

In the fourteenth year, the Pandavas returned and asked that their kingdom and wealth be returned to them. But they were denied, O king, and there was war, a war in which the Pandavas destroyed all their enemies and killed King Duryodhana, regaining their rightful kingdom, which had been so greatly disturbed by the conflict.

Thus in the past, among great and tireless men, there was conflict, the loss of a kingdom, and ultimate victory, O victorious king.

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King Janamejaya said:

O best of brahmanas, you have briefly summarized the whole story of the Mahabharata and the extraordinary deeds of the Kuru warriors. O sinless saint, as you recite this fascinating story there arises within me an intense curiosity to hear it in greater detail. Please lord, tell the story again, but in full, for my thirst to hear of the great deeds of my forefathers is not yet sated.

O knower of justice, all mankind praises the Pandavas, and so it was certainly not for some trifling reason that they slew respectable seniors who normally are never to be killed. But why did the innocent and powerful Pandavas, those tigers among men, tolerate for so long the terrible harassment of their wicked foes? O best of brahmanas, how could the mighty-armed Bhima, with the strength of ten thousand elephants, control his rage when put to such much trouble? How is it that Draupadi, the chaste devotee of Lord Krsna, when harassed by wicked men, did not burn them to ashes with her terrible glance, even though she was certainly able to do so?

How could Bhima, Arjuna, and the two sons of Madri follow their eldest brother, Yudhisthira, a tiger among men, when they saw that he was being cheated by their wicked cousins in a crooked gambling match? Yudhisthira knew well the principles of justice, and he above all others followed those principles, for he was the son of Dharma. How, then, could he tolerate such extreme and unwarranted suffering? How is it that Arjuna, the son of Pandu, standing alone with Lord Krsna as his charioteer, sent so many entire armies to the land of the dead? O ascetic whose wealth is austerity, kindly explain all this to me exactly as it happened. Relate to me all the deeds done by those supreme warriors as they wandered about the earth.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

I shall tell you what I have heard from my spiritual master, that great rsi honored throughout the worlds, the great soul of limitless might: Srila Vyasa. This most potent son of Satyavati has narrated 100,000 verses describing the holy deeds of the sons of Pandu. Learned persons who teach this history and those who hear it will both come to the spiritual platform and attain qualitative oneness with God. This ancient history is equal to the Vedas, for it is pure and transcendental. Indeed, it is the best of histories that are worthy to hear, and it is therefore highly praised by sages.

This most pious history shows the path of economic and moral development and trains the reader to function with complete and steady intelligence. A learned person who teaches this Krsna-veda to those who are openminded, generous, truthful, and not dogmatically atheistic will surely fulfill his purpose in life. Simply by hearing this history, even a very cruel man can most assuredly overcome all his sins, even that of killing an embryo in the womb.

Victory is the very name of this history, and it is to be heard by one who seeks victory. For by the power of this literature, a king can become victorious throughout the entire world and gain victory over his enemies. The Mahabharata should be heard repeatedly by a young king and his queen, because this great and auspicious history is the best sacrament for begetting a son.

It is the most sacred among worldly books of wisdom and stands at the forefront of religious scriptures. It leads to spiritual liberation, for it is a work composed by Srila Vyasa, a sage of boundless intellect. For those who recite it, now and in the future, their children will be obedient and their helpers eager to please them. A person who regularly hears this history will quickly be released from reactions to all sins commited with body, mind, or words. Those who, without envy, hear of the great lives of the Bharata kings will never be frightened by disease, and they will certainly not have to worry about their lives after death.

Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa sought to help people attain holiness in their lives, and so he composed a work that bestows wealth, fame, long life, and promotion to heaven, and at the same time leads people to pure existence. In so doing he has glorified throughout the world the exalted sons of Pandu and other warriors who possessed abundant wealth and power.

Just as the lord of the ocean and the Himalayan range are both renowned as reservoirs of jewels, so is the Mahabharata celebrated as a storehouse of riches. A learned person who on holy days recites this work to brahmanas is cleansed of all sin and conquers the heavenly abode. Ultimately he journeys to the spiritual world itself. If one recites even one quarter couplet of this work to brahmanas during the Sraddha ceremony for departed ancestors, his performance of Sraddha will provide everlasting benefit to his forefathers.

All sins unknowingly performed each day vanish simply upon hearing the narration of Mahabharata. It tells of the great (maha) lives of the Bharata kings, and so it is known as Mahabharata, and one who simply understands this meaning of the words Maha-bharata is freed of all sin.

The philosopher Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa worked continuously for three years to compose this extraordinary history. O leader of the Bharatas, whatever is found here on the subjects of religion, economics, satisfaction of bodily needs, and salvation may also be found in other works; but that which is not to be found here in the Maha-bharata will not be found elsewhere.

AP 57a

Vaisampayana said:

Once there was a virtuous king named Vasu, who never failed to keep his vows. King Vasu traveled beyond the earth to the upper regions of the universe, and thus he became celebrated as Upari-cara, "one who goes to the heights." By the order of Indra, the king agreed to rule the charming kingdom of Cedi.

Once King Vasu put aside his weapons and began to live in an asrama, devoted to the practice of austerities, until Indra himself, wielder of the thunderbolt, came to see the king. Indra was worried and thought, "By his fiery penance this King Vasu is almost strong enough to seize my own position."

Indra approached the king and with kind words convinced him to stop his austerities.

Indra said:

You are a king of the earth (and not a brahmana). The religious principles should not be confused. Follow your religious principles, which are meant for kings, and those same sacred principles will sustain the entire world.

Always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, you should carefully maintain those religious principles that will lead you to the higher planets. You will attain the pure, eternal planets of the pious simply by engaging in your prescribed duty as an act of service to God.

[Although your regimen was not authorized, you did perform great penances, and since you are now voluntarily obeying, me your faith and penances will not go unrewarded.]

Although you live on earth and I in heaven, I now accept you as my friend, and I grant you an extraordinary kingdom that is the very bosom of this earth. It is a rich land, filled with virtuous citizens and useful animals. The climate is mild and steady, and there is abundant wealth in grains. Easy to defend, that sublime kingdom abounds with all the enjoyable things to be found on earth. That country is better than all other earthly kingdoms and is richly endowed with all sorts of wealth and jewels. I speak of the fabled kingdom of Cedi, which lacks nothing in natural resources. Dwell in the kingdom of Cedi, O king, for you are meant to protect that land.

The inhabitants of Cedi are thoroughly honest and satisfied with their lives. They are peaceful men and women who are happy to follow the laws of God. In the land of Cedi, O king, a false word is never spoken, not even in jest, and certainly not otherwise. The children of Cedi do not squander their fathers' wealth; rather they gladly serve their wise elders.

In Cedi, cows are never yoked to the plow, and even the lean cows give rich and abundant milk. All the citizens are devoted to their own duties. Such is the land of Cedi, O respectful king.

Finally, I grant you a most extraordinary boon so that nothing in this universe remain unknown to you. I grant you now a divine crystal airship, meant for the pleasure of the gods. This extraordinary vehicle will soon approach you, and you alone among mortal men will board that airship. Like one of the gods, you will thus travel to the upper regions of the universe.

And I give you the Vaijayanti Victory Garland of unfading lotus flowers. This celestial garland will sustain you in battle, and by its power, weapons will never pierce you. In fact, O king, this garland will be your emblem in this world, for you have achieved the greatest and richest of symbols, the celestial garland of Indra.

Vaisampayana said:

Finally, Lord Indra gave the pious King Vasu a bamboo staff with two extraordinary powers: it bestowed whatever the king desired, and it fully protected all honest people. Having given all of this, Lord Indra departed.

Following Indra's instruction, King Vasu assumed the throne of Cedi, and after he had ruled for one year, the monarch arranged for the wonderful bamboo staff to be stood upright on the earth, whereupon it became the focus of a great celebration honoring King Indra, the ruler of heaven. From that time on the most important rulers of earth followed King Vasu's example and performed the same celebration. Adorning the sacred staff with various banners, fragrant scents, garlands, jewels, and wreaths, they continued to honor Lord Indra just as King Vasu had done.

King Vasu was a great soul, and he honored King Indra with such affection that the lord of heaven felt jovial and affectionate toward the earthly ruler. Seeing the splendid ceremony in his honor, Indra spoke to Vasu as follows: "O King of Cedi! From this time on, all earthly kings who perform this ceremony and joyfully honor me exactly as you have done will certainly gain opulence and victory for themselves and their citizens. Their cities will flourish and happiness will reign among their people."

Thus did mighty Indra happily confer great honor upon King Vasu. And those men, O king,who ever arrange this festival of Indra, with gifts of land and other good works, become purified by the Indra rite, as much as by fulfulling wishes with gifts, and performing grand sacrificial rites. Indra fully honored Vasu, king of Cedi, and stationed in Cedi, the king protected this earth through virtue and law. And loved by Indra, Vasu performed the grand Indra festivities.

The king then begat five sons of fierce prowess and incomparable strength, and these fine sons established themselves in their own kingdoms and capital cities, all of which came to bear their names, and each of the five sons established a long-lived dynasty. Their father, King Vasu, traveled about the heavens in the celestial airship given to him by Lord Indra, and as he traveled, handsome Gandharvas and lovely Apsaras would approach him and fulfill his desires. Thus the fame of King Vasu, the Upward Mover, spread far and wide.

Near the capital city of King Vasu there flowed a charming river called Suktimati, which was full of pearls and other wealth. One day a mountain endowed with consciousness and named Kolahala, the "Uproarious One," decided to enjoy the lovely goddess of that river, and he lustily blocked her waters, embracing the river goddess.

When the powerful King Vasu understood that Kolahala was raping the unwilling goddess, he rushed to the spot and gave Kolahala a mighty kick, cracking him open and releasing the blocked-up river and its goddess. But the river goddess, Suktimati, was already pregnant from Kolahala's embrace, and she soon gave birth to a male and a female child.

Grateful to the king for her deliverance, the river goddess delivered to him her newborn babies, and the very saintly King Vasu agreed to take care of them. The generous king eventually established the male child as a powerful general of his armies, and the female child, born of a goddess, quickly grew into a lovely and gentle maiden named Girika, the "mountain-born," and King Vasu loved her and made her his wife.

AP 57b

The time of begetting had arrived, and the lovely young Queen Girika, longed for her husband's embrace. For twelve days she had subsisted on whole milk and faithfully performed religious rites meant to calm the senses and purify the mind. [Girika knew that if a woman's mind is filled with good and noble thoughts at the moment of conception, she will beget an excellent child.]

The queen bathed her youthful body and dressed with new garments. With a bright face and chaste mind, she approached her husband and eagerly told him that the moment for conception was nigh.

[King Vasu intensely longed to lie down with his wife and therefore immediately prepared for the sacred act.] But on that very day, before the king could lie with his wife his venerable forefathers came to him and ordered him to the forest for his family's sake, to procure sacrificial animals for the holy rites.

King Vasu could not disregard the order of his forefathers, and though ardently desiring union with his young wife, he sadly left at once for the forest. But as he moved along the path, he could only remember his lovely Girika, for she was endowed with extraordinary beauty like that of the Goddess of Fortune herself. Wandering about the enchanting forest, King Vasu felt semen spill out of his body, and he immediately collected it in the leaf of a tree.

[King Vasu was born in the exalted Kuru dynasty, and in such a family marriages were arranged with painstaking care so that great women would combine with great men, and their noble children would preserve the indomitable House of Kuru, which was sworn to protect the innocent. Centuries of careful, devoted breeding were now preserved in the seed of King Vasu, and that seed could not be wasted, not on this special day when lovely Girika so much yearned for his child.]

"I must not waste this powerful seed," he thought, "for lovely Girika's season has come, and she must not be frustrated."

Again and again King Vasu pondered what he should do. Then he decided to send his semen to Girika, even if he couldn't personally be with her. King Vasu had a deep understanding of religious affairs and was expert in practical action. Consecrating his seed with mantra, he saw a swift hawk resting nearby. King Vasu was able to make the hawk understand the following: "O kind hawk, please help me. Carry this semen to my house and deliver it to my wife, Girika, for her season has come today."

The hawk was capable of great speed, and taking the leaf package in his talons he rose into the air and rushed off toward the king's palace. As he flew at tremendous speed, another hawk spied him and mistakenly thought the semen in the leaf to be the meat of a fallen prey. Hoping to steal the prey, therefore, the rival hawk rushed forward in attack, and the two hawks fought fiercely in the sky, tearing at each other with their sharp beaks. But while they fought, the king's semen fell from out of the sky into the waters of the Yamuna River. Within these waters of the Yamuna was a romantic young goddess named Adrika, whom a brahmana had cursed because of her misdeeds. Adrika was a celestial Apsara maiden, but by the brahmana's curse she had fallen to earth from the higher planets and was forced to take birth as a fish within the Yamuna River.

Thus when King Vasu's semen fell into the river, the cursed goddess Adrika, swimming about as a fish, quickly approached it and swallowed it.

Ten months later some fishermen caught the accursed fish who was pregnant with the king's semen and about to give birth. Killing the fish and cutting her open, the fishermen extracted from her belly a female and a male child, both quite human. Thoroughly astonished, they rushed to tell King Vasu.

"O king," they said, "these two human children came out of a fish's belly."

King Vasu accepted the male child, who later became a most religious monarch named Matsya, ever devoted to truth. And the goddess, her fish body cut to pieces by the fishermen, was instantly freed from the brahmana's curse, for previously the exalted brahmana had told her, "Good maiden, after giving birth to two human children, you will be freed from this curse." Thus having begotten the human twins and being cut up by the fisherman, she relinquished her life as a fish and regained her celestial body. Following the path of the perfected seers and the mystic Caranas, she returned to her position among the finest celestial courtesans.

Unfortunately, the female child born of the fish gave off a strong fishy odor, and so the king gave her back to the fishermen and told them: "This girl will be yours. You may raise her."

The girl grew into a beautiful young lady of fine character, glorified with all good qualities, and she became known as Satyavati, "the truthful one." But because of her close connection with the killers of fish, that lovely girl with her innocent smile continued to be plagued for some time with scent of fish.

To serve her foster father, beautiful Satyavati would ply his boat across the waters of the Yamuna River, taking passengers from one side to the other, until one day the sage Parasara, desiring to cross the river, approached that young maiden, who was so extraordinarily lovely that even the perfected beings of higher planets would long for her company. Upon seeing the beautiful sight of the maiden, the wise Parasara desired to beget a child in her, for the exalted sage had a sacred duty to perform, and he knew her to be the daughter of the religious king Vasu.

[Satyavati was still very young, and nothing had prepared her for such an abrupt request as this.]

"My lord," she said, "there are sages sitting on both sides of this sacred river. How could I unite with you out here with all of them watching us?"

Hearing this earnest plea, the mighty Parasara with his godly power at once created a dense fog that shrouded the entire area in darkness. Satyavati was astonished to see that Parasara was able to cover the entire region in fog. Yet with all the wits of a king's daughter, the maiden spoke with simple shyness to the sage.

"My lord, you must know that I am a virgin girl living under the protection of my father. If I have contact with you now, my virginity will be spoiled. I know that you're a sinless man, in fact the best of the brahmanas, and I believe in your mission. But I humbly ask you this: if my virginity is spoiled, how can I possibly go home and face my father? How could I dare return to him under these conditions?" Satyavati glanced anxiously at the sage.

"My lord," she said, "please consider my situation and do what is fair and proper."

That most excellent sage Parasara was quite pleased by Satyavati's honest statement, and he told her,

"Simply do as I desire. Have intercourse with me, and I shall bless you to again become a virgin, even after our child is born."

[Upon hearing that he would truly restore her virginity, she could think of no further objection.]

"My dear Satyavati," he said, "you are very kind and innocent, and I want to give you a boon. Choose whatever you want, and I shall grant it. Your smile is so lovely and pure. Tell me what you desire and you shall have it, for never in the past have my blessings ever failed."

r228uldb [Satyavati longed to be free forever of the awful fish scent, which stained her otherwise perfect beauty.]

Hearing the words of the sage, she revealed her desire that her lovely body possess a charming fragrance, and the powerful sage immediately granted her wish. Satyavati was delighted, for at once her body was adorned with a most enchanting fragrance. With perfect feminine charm, she retired with the sage to an island in the Yamuna River, and there joined with holy Parasara, who could perform such wonderful deeds. By Parasara's blessings, Satyavati became celebrated on earth for her lovely aroma, for men could perceive her delightful scent at a distance of eight miles.

The godly Parasara returned to his own residence. Satyavati was filled with joy, for she had received an incomparable boon, and by the potency of Parasara, she gave birth at once to a powerful son. [The child did not grow day by day like an ordinary boy, but rather upon taking birth he came at once to youthful maturity.] Standing respectfully before his mother, he fixed his mind on austerity. [For it is by austerity that the sages achieve spiritual power to guide and inspire humanity.]

[Parasara's son could not go back to his mother's home, for no one knew of Satyavati's connection with Parasara. Satyavati had in fact again become a virgin girl] She left her capable son on that island in the sacred Yamuna River, and because the boy was born and left on the Yamuna island, he became known as Dvaipayana, "the island-born."

Before his mother departed, the faithful son told her, "Mother, whenever there is need, simply remember me and I shall immediately appear before you."

Thus Dvaipayana took birth from the womb of Satyavati, fathered by Parasara.

[Dvaipayana knew that the earth cycles through four great ages, as it turns through its seasons. In the Age of Truth all mankind gladly follows the laws of God, and people are long-living and powerful].

But in the next three ages, the religiosity, longevity, and strength of mortal beings diminish by one fourth in each age, by the influence of the age. He desired (for the people of the current fallen age) the blessings of the Supreme Lord and of the saintly brahmanas who worship Him.

Therefore he divided the holy Veda into four parts so that all people could understand and follow the Book of Knowledge and attain a blessed life. Then the merciful Dvaipayana, the greatest of all holy teachers, revealed the history known as the Mahabharata, and it became the fifth division of the Vedas.

Thereafter Dvaipayana was celebrated throughout the world as Vyasa, "the compiler and arranger of the Veda." That noble and munificent sage taught this knowledge to his disciples Sumantu, Jaimini, and Paila, to his own son Suka, and to me, Vaisampayana. It is through this unbroken chain that the great history called Mahabharata came to be known in this world.


The Heroes of Mahabharata AP 57/c

[When Vyasa told the story of Mahabharata, he revealed the lives of many great souls.] There was Bhisma, of incomparable splendor, who took birth as the son of King Santanu from the womb of goddess Ganga. Bhisma was not an ordinary human being, but as one of the godly Vasus, he came to earth and spread his undying fame.

There was Vidura, dragged down to the earth by the curse of a mystic sage. Once, the famous sage Ani-man-davya, a Puranic scholar, was falsely accused of theft and condemned in court to be pierced by a lance. The great sage called upon the lord of death, Yamaraja, and demanded an explanation.

[Yamaraja is called Dharma because he punishes the sinful according to the laws of God.] But the sage angrily accused Yamaraja of improperly punishing him. "When I was a small child," he told Yamaraja, "I once pierced a little bird with a straw. I remember committing that sin, but I do not recall any other sin in my life. Why have my penances, which are thousands of times greater, not neutralized this one childish sin? Of all killing, the most sinful is the killing of a simple brahmana dedicated to the spiritual path, and yet you ordained that I be killed. Therefore it is you, the lord of death, who are sinful. Because of your own sin you will take birth in the womb of a sudrani, a woman of the lowest class."

By that curse Dharma himself took birth in the womb of a sudra woman and assumed the form of Vidura, a wise and virtuous man of impeccable behavior.

Sanjaya, the royal secretary with the intelligence of a mature philosopher, was born to Gavalgana. Karna, the military master, took birth by the sun-god himself in the womb of the virgin princess Kunti. None would call him an ordinary man, for he was born with celestial armor and dazzling earrings that illumined his handsome face.

Then to show mercy on all the worlds, the Supreme Lord Visnu, whom all the world worships, appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. Though not always visible to our conditioned eyes, He is the almighty God without beginning or end, the maker of the cosmos, and the inperishable Absolute Truth. He transforms His own potency into the ingredients of this world, yet He is never affected by material qualities. The wise know him as the inexhaustible Soul, the transcendental source of all that be, and the ultimate basis of the material world. He is the supreme enjoyer, the universal doer, the indestructible eternal being who spreads goodness throughout the worlds. He is the infinite and unchanging God, the essential being who is celebrated as Narayana, the everlasting and unaging creator, supreme and untiring, the grandfather of all creatures. So that the principles of virtue might flourish on the earth, He appeared in the dynasty of Andhaka and Vrsni.

Two heroes named Satyaki and Krtavarma, born of Satyaka and Hrdika, took birth as faithful followers of the Supreme Lord and were endowed with enormous power. Both possessed extraordinary knowledge in the use of missles, and both were consummate masters of all kinds of weapons.

[Other extraordinary births also occured.] When the great sage Bharadvaja happened to pass semen, he kept it in a pot, and by the power of his fierce austerities the famous military professor Drona took birth from that seed.

The sage Gautama dropped his semen in a clump of bushes, and that seed also grew. Thus the powerful Krpa and his twin sister, Krpi, took birth. Krpi became the wife of Drona, and they begot as their son that excellent wielder of weapons Asvatthama.

When the embittered King Drupada vowed to kill Drona, the monarch performed a fierce sacrifice, and up from the sacrificial flames arose Prince Dhrstadyumna, wielding a bow and blazing like fire, born to destroy the invincible Drona. Then from the same sacrificial altar Dhrstadyumna's powerful sister Draupadi took birth. Radiant and pure, her body displayed the highest degree of feminine beauty.

Strong kings also appeared on this earth, like Nagnajita, the disciple of Prahlada, and Subala, King of Gandhara, whose shrewd son Sakuni, called Saubala after his father, incurred the wrath of the gods and thus became the wicked enemy of religion. Subala also begot a daughter named Gandhari, who like her brother was learned in worldly affairs.

The great sage Vyasa begot Dhrtarastra and the powerful Pandu in the wives of his departed brother, Vicitravirya. Pandu's five sons, born of his two wives, were all equal to the gods, but the noblest of them all was Yudhisthira. Plagued by a brahmana's curse, King Pandu could not beget children, so Dharma, the god of justice, begot Pandu's eldest son, Yudhisthira; Marut, lord of the wind, begot Bhima; Lord Indra begot handsome Arjuna, the most skillful wielder of weapons; and the twin Asvins, the celestial physicians, begot the most handsome of the Pandavas, Nakula and Sahadeva, who were always eager to serve their elder brothers.

The learned Dhrtarastra begot a hundred sons, headed by Duryodhana, and also Yuyutsu by a woman of a lower station. Arjuna begot Abhimanyu in the womb of Subhadra, the sister of Lord Krsna, and this child became a worthy grandson of the great soul Pandu.

The five Pandavas each begot a beautiful son in the womb of their common wife, Draupadi, and all five boys became masters of the military science. Yudhisthira begot Prativindhya; mighty Bhima begot Sutasoma; from Arjuna came Srutakirti; from Nakula, Satanika; and the fierce fighter Srutasena was born from Sahadeva. While staying in the forest, Bhima also begot Ghatotkaca in his wife Hidimba.

Sikhandi took birth as a daughter of King Drupada, but later became a male when the Yaksa named Sthuna transformed her into a man in order to satisfy her desire for battle.

In the conflict which consumed the House of Kuru, many hundreds and thousands of kings came to the field of battle intent on fighting, and their innumerable names could not be fully recounted in many thousands of years. I have mentioned here the principle rulers, those who dominate this history.

AP 58

King Janamejaya said:

O brahmana, I wish to hear the entire story of those brilliant warriors you have just mentioned, and also of other outstanding kings you have not yet described. O most fortunate one, please fully explain why and how these Maha-rathas appeared on the earth like gods incarnate.

Vaisampayana replied:

My dear king, we have heard that this topic is so confidential that it is known only to the gods, and of course to the godly people in whom they confide. But I shall explain it to you, after first offering my obeisances unto the Creator of this world.

[Long ago, the kings of the world, maddened by pride, viciously rebelled against their holy teachers and cruelly murdered the leading sage, Jamadagni. The Supreme Lord incarnated as Parasurama, the son of the murdered sage, and furiously cut down the wicked kings who had killed His father. Again and again the wicked descendants of these kings, originally headed by Karta-viryarjuna, tried to regain their power] but Lord Parasurama cut them to pieces twenty-one times, until He rid the earth of all its kings.

Having accomplished His mission, Lord Parasurama then gave up his weapons and retired to the mountainous country known as Mahendra, where He passed his days performing penance for the violence He had committed against the cruel kings.

[In the aftermath of Parasurama's victory yet another problem arose on the earth. Many young women of the royal ksatriya families desired husbands and children, but there were no princes or kings on the face of the earth to marry them. Moreover, with the death of all the earth's monarchs there were no trained leaders to manage human affairs and protect innocent creatures.] The eligible women of the royal families then approached the brahmanas, the saintly teachers of mankind, and asked them for children. The brahmanas, strict in their religious vows, had union with those women of the leading families, but only in the proper season. And never were they impelled by ordinary lust. In devotion to God they begot powerful children who would uphold the sacred principles.

By contact with the brahmanas, thousands of ksatriya ladies became pregnant as they desired and thereafter gave birth to male and female children of pure and powerful lineage. Once more a great dynasty of rulers arose on the earth, but unlike their cruel forefathers these young monarchs strictly followed the principles of religion, and with the blessings of the brahmanas they enjoyed long durations of life.

At that time the four human communities lived in peace under the guidance of the learned brahmanas. Men approached their wives in the proper season and never because of lust. All the earth's creatures conceived in the proper season, and thus hundreds and thousands of variegated life forms flourished on the earth, conceived in obedience to the laws of God.

The rejuvenated monarchies ruled the ocean-bounded earth with all its mountains, forests, and valleys, and all mankind, headed by the brahmans, experienced the greatest joy. Leaders cast off their lust and greed and carefully protected the citizens, punishing them fairly, and only when necessary. With the rulers thus devoted to dharma, the mighty Indra nourished the earth with pleasant rains that fell at the suitable times and places. Childhood death was unknown, and boys who had not reached physical maturity did not intimately know of young women. Thus this fertile earth, encircled by its seas, was filled with long-lived living beings.

The faithful rulers ignited the fires of sacrifice and worshiped the Supreme Godhead and His saintly servants. At such joyful sacrificial rites all the citizens carried away abundant charity to their heart's delight.

Brahmanas faithfully studied the books of knowledge: the Vedas, Upanisads, and supplementary works. These gentle scholars would not sell their wisdom for profit, but gave it freely to the pure and pious, refusing to recite it for any price before those who were insincere or mean in their habits. The vaisya farmers plowed the earth with ox and brought forth abundant food. No ox was idle, and ailing oxen were brought back to strength. Men did not milk cows whose calves still drank their milk, and men sold their products fairly without false claims or measurements.

All mankind looked to dharma, the divine law, and with devotion to dharma they faithfully performed their duties. Indeed, teachers, rulers, tradersmen, and workers were all content to perform their God-given tasks (which arose from the natural propensity of each citizen). So strong was the people's enthusiasm for virtue that virtue did not decline as often occurs among successful people.

Women bore their babes, trees gave their flowers and fruits, and cows bore their calves all in the proper season. So prosperous and sublime was this world that every man and woman claimed that the great Age of Truth had come again, just as it had flourished millions of years before. And the earth was filled with variegated living beings.

But then, O best of monarchs, just as humankind was flourishing, powerful and demonic creatures began to take birth from the wives of earthly kings.

Once the godly Adityas, who administer the universe, fought their wicked cousins the Daityas and vanquished them. Bereft of their power and positions, the Daityas began to take birth on this planet, having carefully calculated that they could easily become the gods of the earth, bringing it under their demonic rule. And thus it happened, O mighty one, that the Asuras began to appear among different creatures and communities.

[Conducting their calculated invasion of the earth with brilliant precision, the Daityas disguised themselves in many ways.] Some of these demonic creatures even took birth as bulls, cows, asses, camels, buffalos, elephants, deer, and other four-legged creatures.

As these demonic creatures continued to take birth on the earth, the earth herself could not bear the weight of their presence. Having fallen from their positions in the higher planets, the sons of Diti and Danu thus appeared in this world as monarchs, endowed with great strength, and in many other forms. They were bold and haughty, and they virtually surrounded the water-bounded earth, ready to crush those who would oppose them.

They harassed the teachers, rulers, merchants, and workers of the earth, and all other creatures. Moving about by the hundreds and thousands, they began to slay the earth's creatures, and they brought terror to the world. Unconcerned with the godly culture of the brahmanas, they threatened the sages who sat peacefully in their forest asramas, for the so-called kings were maddened by the strength of their bodies.

Thus so much afflicted was the earth by the mighty Daityas who were haughty with their strength and armies, that she approached Lord Brahma. O king, not even the wind or the celestial serpents or the mighty mountains could hold up the earth, as she was being so forcefully trampled by the demonic Danavas. Thereupon the earth goddess herself, tortured by her burden and haunted by fear, went for shelter to the grandfather of all created beings, the primal demigod Brahma.

She saw the untiring maker of this world surrounded by exalted souls like the godly Adityas, saintly brahmanas, great sages, celestial Gandharva musicians, and heavenly pleasure maidens known as the Apsaras. As they all sang with great delight the praises of Lord Brahma, Mother Earth approached him and also sang his glories.

Begging for shelter, goddess Bhumi told Brahma her troubles in front of all the leaders of the planets of the universe. But Lord Brahma already knew her needs, for he is born directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, he is the Lord's chief representative in the created cosmos, and as the creator of the universe, how could he not be conscious, O Bharata, of the mental workings of all the gods and demons and of all people?

Mighty Lord Brahma, lord of the earth, master and origin of all created beings, the progenitor who is known as Sambhu, then spoke to Mother Earth as follows: "O bountiful earth goddess, I know why you have come to my presence, and so serious is your problem that to solve it I shall engage all of the celestial denizens."

Having thus spoken to the earth, O king, and giving her permission to leave, Lord Brahma himself, the maker of creatures, then instructed all of the demigods.

[As the Lord's representative, Brahma transmitted to them the personal message of the Supreme Lord:] "In order to remove the burden of the earth, each of you is to take birth on the earth through your empowered expansions to stop the spread of the demonic forces."

Lord Brahma then summoned the hosts of Gandharvas and Apsaras and gave them his authoritative instructions: "All of you must take birth among the humankind in whatever family you desire, by expanding your personal potency."

Hearing this statement from Lord Brahma, who is the guru of the godly beings, the demigods headed by Indra accepted his words as accurate and meaningful. Eager to act on his instructions, and to go everywhere on the earth through their empowered portions, they approached the Supreme Lord Narayana, destroyer of the hostile, on His spiritual planet, Vaikuntha.

The Supreme Lord holds a disc and club in his hands, He wears yellow silken garments, and His glowing complexion is swarthy. His navel is as lovely as a lotus, He slays the enemies of the godly, and His glistening eyes are wide and gorgeous.

In order to cleanse the earth of its disease, Lord Indra then prayed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, "O my Lord, please expand Yourself and descend!"

And the Lord accepted his prayer.

Mahabharata H.J. Resnik

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

1 - Adi Parva AP 01 - AP 07
1 - Adi Parva AP 08 - AP 36
1 - Adi Parva AP 37 - AP 57
1 - Adi Parva AP 99 - AP 121

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

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Conceptos Hinduistas (1428)SC

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


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