sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Contenido - Contents

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

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

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(sáns. vaiëòava). 1) irreligión. 2) fracaso en el desempeïo de los deberes socio-religiosos establecidos en las escrituras.

Adharma: (sáns. vaiëòava). irreligion; failure to carry out one’s socio-religious duties prescribed in the äâstra.

1 - Adi Parva (AP 122 - AP 154)

AP 122

Sri Vaisampayana continued:

Thereupon, my dear king, the mighty Drona, son of Bharadvaja, approached Drupada, son of Prsata, and said, "O king, know me to be your friend Drona!"

[Drupada was embarrassed by the raggedy brahmana who addressed him in such an intimate way. And not realizing that his old friend had acquired extraordinary weapons from Lord Parasurama, the king replied to Drona unkindly.]

King Drupada said:

Brahmana, your understanding of things is not very mature, nor is it at all sound, for you come in such a forward manner and tell me that I am your intimate friend. Nowhere at all, O simple one, do we find such friendship between exalted monarchs and those who are bereft of opulence and wealth. Close friendships fade away in time, for men themselves are worn out by time. Your intimate friendship with me was justified and proper in the past because we were both students in a similar situation. But nowhere in this world do we ever see friendship that does not suffer the effects of aging. Selfish desires pull it apart, and anger cuts it to pieces. You should not depend so much on aging friendships, but rather find new ones for yourself. O best of the twice-born, you and I once enjoyed a friendship because it was practical at that time. A poor man cannot be the friend of an affluent man, nor can a weak man be a friend to a hero. What is the value of a friend of the past? When two people have similar wealth and are born in families of similar nobility, then there can be friendship and marital ties between them, not however between the rich and the poor. An unschooled man cannot be a friend to a scholar, nor does a man with no chariot become a friend to a chariot warrior. Kings do not fraternize with non-royalty. What need is there for a friend of the past?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the mighty Drona was thus addressed by King Drupada, fury filled his heart, and he pondered for a moment. Setting his mind against the king of Pancala, the clever sage then journeyed to Hastinapura, the capital of the Kuru leaders. As he was arriving, the young princes, coming out of the city together, ran happily about, playing and batting a ball with a stick. As they sported, the ball fell into a well, and they found no means to get their ball back. Seeing the boys endeavoring to get their ball, powerful Drona chuckled at the scene and rebuked them in a friendly way,

"Look at that! Shame on your warrior srength! Shame on your skill with weapons! You who are born in the line of King Bharata cannot even get back your ball. Here is a handful of arrows made of reeds; I have empowered them by chanting military mantras. Now watch and see the strength of these arrows, which no other arrows possess. I shall pierce your ball with a reed-arrow, and I shall pierce that arrow with another, and that with another till I form a chain connecting your ball to my hand."

Eyes wide-open with wonder, the boys looked on as Drona proceeded to pull up the ball. Having seen this, they said to the man who rescued their ball with such skill, "O brahmana, we salute you; no one else can do that. Who are you? How shall we address you, and what can we do to serve you?"

Sri Drona said:

Tell your grandfather Bhisma about me, what I look like, and what I have done. He is most intelligent and will correctly ascertain my identity.

Sri Vaisampayana continued:

"So be it," they said, and they all went and told their grandfather Bhisma exactly what the brahmana had said, and especially what he had done. Hearing from the boys, Bhisma knew that the brahmana was Drona, and he began to think, "Such a qualified person is the right man to teach these boys."

Bhisma, the greatest of swordsmen, then personally fetched him with much honor and questioned him in a delicate manner, and Drona submitted all the reasons for his coming to Hastinapura.

"O unfailing Bhisma," he began, "in the past I went to the great saint Agni-vesya to get skill in weapons, for I wanted to master the military science. I lived there with him for a very long time, many years in fact, as a humble and celibate student with matted locks of hair, for I was anxious to acquire skill in the Dhanur Veda. The son of the Pancala king, a powerful boy then named Yajna-sena, was also there, and we studied together under our guru with great endeavor and concentration. That boy became my dear friend, and he would always help me in any way he could. I was also attached to his friendship, and we associated together for a long time, from our childhood up through our student years. O Kauravya, he used to approach me to do kind things and speak kind words. He would say things, Bhisma, that made my affection for him grow. He would say, `Drona, I am the most dear son of my father, and when he installs me on the royal throne of Pancala, then, I swear to you, my friend, the kingdom will be yours to enjoy. My property and wealth will be at your disposal, and my royal pleasures will also be yours.'

"Because he said that to me, when I had graduated from my study of weapons and had left school to seek an income for my family, and when I then heard that he had been installed as king, I thought, `Now my purpose is fulfilled.' In a loving mood, I set out to see once more my dear friend, and on the way I constantly remembered how we had lived together and all that he had promised me.

"Approaching my old friend Drupada, as he was now called, I said, `My lord, O tiger of men, it is me, your friend!' As I stood there humbly, having come to him in a spirit of loving friendship, he laughed at me as if I was most insignificant and said, `Brahmana, your understanding of things is not very mature, nor is at all sound, for you to come in such a forward manner and tell me that I am your intimate friend. Nowhere at all, O simple one, do we find such friendship between exalted monarchs and those who are bereft of opulence and wealth. An unschooled man cannot be a friend to a scholar, nor does a man with no chariot become a friend to a chariot warrior. Kings do not fraternize with non-royalty. What need is there for a friend of the past?'

"When I was thus addressed by King Drupada, fury filled my heart, and I came straight here to the Kuru capital, Bhisma, anxious to find qualified royal students."

Bhisma and the sons of Pandu accepted him as guru, and gathering together all his grandsons, with varieties of riches, Bhisma said, "Here are your disciples." He turned everything over to Drona with proper protocol, and the great archer accepted the Kaurava princes as his disciples.

When they were alone together in a secluded place and the disciples sat at his feet, Drona said to them with great determination, "There is a task that needs to be done, and it ever turns in my heart. Once you have learned weapons, you must execute that task for me. O innocent ones, tell me in truth that you will."

O ruler of the earth, hearing these words, the Kaurava princes remained silent. But then Arjuna, the great fighter, promised to give to his guru all that he desired. Drona then kissed the head of Arjuna again and again, and embracing him with affection, he wept tears of joy. The powerful Drona then taught the sons of Pandu to use all kinds of divine and human weapons.

Joining the sons of Pandu, kings and princes from the Vrsni and Andhaka dynasties and from many other countries came to Drona, the best of brahmanas, for they were eager to learn the use of weapons. The alleged son of a chariot driver, Radheya, also came to Drona to accept him as guru. Angry by nature, and wanting to defeat Arjuna and with the support of Duryodhana, he insulted the sons of Pandu.

AP 123

Sri Vaisampayana continued:

Arjuna consistently endeavored to honor his guru, and he strived to master the weapons with absolute dedication. He thus became especially dear to Drona. Once Drona called the cook to a private spot and told him, "Never give Arjuna food in the dark." Thereafter, when Arjuna was eating by lamplight the wind blew and extinguished the lamp's flame, but Arjuna continued to eat. He noticed that his hand was not baffled in finding his mouth, because it was so accustomed to the act of eating, and so, despite Drona's warning to the cook, Arjuna thus discovered the effect of constant practice and began to practice shooting at night. O Bharata, Drona heard the reverberating twang of the bow, and rising from bed he approached Arjuna. Embracing him he said, "I shall now endeavor in such a way that no other bowman in the world will be your equal. I declare this to you in truth!"up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn It is said that Drona originally tried to favor his son and make him the pre-eminent warrior, but then seeing Arjuna's devotion, the master made this vow to Arjuna. (See App. 76, Critical Edition)

Drona then taught Arjuna the art of fighting upon chariots, on the backs of elephants and horses, and on foot. He carefully instructed the son of Pandu in the battle of clubs, swords, lances, javelins, and darts, and in the art of combat that mixed different weapons.

Witnessing Drona's skill, kings and princes assembled by the thousands, Maharaja, eager to learn the military Veda. Hiranya-dhanu, the Nisadha king, had a son named Ekalavya, who also approached Drona, but the master would not accept him as a student, out of consideration for the others.up6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn Drona worried about the consequences of his revealing such potent knowledge to the future leader of an uncivilized people like the Nisadas. The Pandavas were factually qualified to govern the world. Were Drona to give the same advanced technology to the leader of an uncivilized people, his royal disciples would be discouraged and impeded in their responsible duties.

[Yet even though Drona had turned him down, Ekalavya did not accept the decision of the master.] The fierce warrior grabbed Drona's feet and placed his head upon them. He then immediately went to the forest and without the teacher's knowledge or consent crafted out of earthen clay a mystical form of Drona. By his unflinching endeavor for power and with a strange faith in his illicit deity, Ekalavya began to acquire unholy speed in the art of firing arrows.

One day, with Drona's permission, all the Kuru and Pandava princes, who were fierce warriors, set out on their chariots to hunt in the forest. There happened to be one particular man who carried the paraphernalia of the Pandavas and followed behind them, taking along a dog. As all the princes wandered about, each engaged in his own quest, the foolish dog lost his direction while roaming about in the forest and approached Ekalavya, the son of the Nisada king. Staring at the dark Nisadha man, who was covered with dirt and dressed in a black deerskin, the dog kept barking. As the dog continued to bark at him, Ekalavya shot seven arrows into its mouth, so quickly that they seemed to fly all at once. Its mouth full of shafts, the dog ran back to the Pandavas. When the heroic sons of Pandu saw the hound, they were utterly astonished [for all seven arrows had entered the dog's mouth before he could close it]. Realizing the extraordinary quickness required for such a feat, and verifying also by certain symptoms that the bowmen had aimed the arrows at the sound of the target, without looking, the princes were humbled and praised the feat.

Searching the forest for the forest-dweller who had shot the arrows, the Pandavas found Ekalavya incessantly hurling his arrows. O king, not recognizing him because of his strange appearance, they inquired, "Who are you sir, and whom do you serve?"

Ekalavya replied:

Please know, my dear warriors, that I am the son of Hiranya-dhanu, the Nisadha king, and that I am a disciple of Drona, striving hard to master the Dhanur Veda.

Sri Vaisampayana continued:

Realizing his actual identity and returning home, the Pandavas told Drona the entire amazing story, just as it had taken place. Arjuna in particular kept thinking of Ekalavya. Motivated by love for his teacher, he met Drona in a secluded place and said, "Did you not embrace me once with affection and tell me in private these very words, that `no student of mine shall be better than you?' Why then is there now another student of yours, the son of the Nisadha king, who is a better warrior than I, better indeed than anyone in the world?"

Drona thought for a moment and made his decision. Taking ambidextrous Arjuna along with him, he went to see the Nisadha prince. Drona beheld Ekalavya smeared all over with dirt and filth, his hair in matted locks, his garments ragged, and with bow in hand, incessantly firing arrows. Seeing Drona approaching him, Ekalavya came forward, touched his head to the ground, and embraced his master's feet. [Ekalavya had not actually obeyed Drona's order that he couldn't become his disciple, but] now Ekalavya worshiped Drona according to standard procedure. Presenting himself as Drona's disciple, he stood before the great master with his hands folded in reverence.

Then, O king, Drona said to Ekalavya, "If indeed you are my disciple, then you must immediately give me my fee." Hearing this, Ekalavya was pleased and said, "What may I offer you, my lord? May my guru command me! O best of Vedic scholars, there is nothing that I would not give my guru." Drona replied, "Give me your right thumb."

Hearing Drona's frightful words, Ekalavya kept his word, for he always made true his vow. His face jubilant and his mind free of remorse, he sliced off his right thumb without any hesitation and offered it to Drona. He then continued shooting arrows with his remaining fingers, but not as quickly as before, O king. Arjuna was then free of his intense anxiety, and he was also satisfied, for Drona was now true to his word,up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn an absolutely essential trait for a respectable man of the time. for none could defeat Arjuna.rs18up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn See note at end of chapter.

AP 123-c

In his book of essays, entitled Upakhyane Upadesa, "Instructions in Stories" (Gaudiya Mission 1936), Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following commentary on the story of Ekalavya:up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn The translation from the original Bengali is by H.H. Bhakti-caru Svami.

To many people, Ekalavya's devotion to his guru is ideal, but there is a special consideration...What was Ekalavya's fault? That should be considered. Wearing the mask of guru-bhakti (devotion to the guru), Ekalavya actually revolted against his guru. Whether his guru was actually considering him to be disqualified by birth in a low-class family, or was simply testing him-- for whatever reason--when his gurudeva refused to teach him the art of Dhanur Veda, it was Ekalavya's duty to accept the instruction of his spiritual master. But Ekalavya did not like that. He wanted to become great. Externally, without a guru his work would not be considered bona fide, or perhaps it was not possible to become great without accepting a guru. It was with these considerations that Ekalavya formed an imaginary or clay material form of the guru.

Actually, his main intention was to learn Dhanur Veda and become great. In this way he wanted to satisfy his own senses. He did not want to sacrifice himself to the will of his guru. That was not his honest desire.

Some may say that ultimately Ekalavya accepted the cruel order of his guru without a protest. But if we consider this issue more carefully, and deeply, we can see that Ekalavya considered mundane morality to be greater than transcendental devotion. It is a moral code that when the guru wants some daksina one must offer it to him, and this sense of morality inspired Ekalavya to cut off his thumb. He did not offer it with spontaneous devotion. (Otherise he would have accepted the guru's first order.)

Devotion is simple and spontaneous. If Ekalavya had unconditional and natural devotion for Hari (God), guru, and Vaisnava (the devotee of the Lord), then the guru, Dronacarya, and the best of Vaisnavas, Arjuna, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, would not have been dissapointed in Ekalavya's behavior. Ekalavya's endeavor to learn Dhanur Veda and his desire to become great were not accepted by his guru. In the core of Ekalavya's heart, he desired to become better than the best of Vaisnavas, Arjuna. The desire to become greater than the Vaisnavas is not devotion. It is nondevotional, and this is the principle of the Sahajiya sampradaya.

By mundane consideration, this kind of desire to become great is a good desire. But devotion is the effort to remain behind the Vaisnavas and to remain submissive to the Vaisnavas. Ekalavya wanted his skill to be greater than that acquired by learning the Vedic wisdom directly from a bona fide spiritual master. Arjuna showed Ekalavya his wrong approach to learning the Vedic science. If Arjuna had not mercifully pointed that out to him, then the glories of impersonalism would have prevailed. People would have created their imaginary, mundane, unconscious gurus, and learned different sciences and devotions, instead of approaching a bona fide guru.

So Arjuna took care that such an atheistic principle was not established. Therefore Arjuna was not envious of Ekalavya. It was actually a manifestastion of his causeless mercy toward Ekalavya and the whole world. If Ekalavya had been an unalloyed devotee of his guru, then Krsna would not have destroyed such a guru-bhakta, such an earnest disciple of the guru. Krsna always protects his devotees. But Ekalavya was killed by the hand of Krsna. That's what finally happened to Ekalavya. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we cannot judge a devotee just by seeing his external austerities. The demons also perform austerities, and the demigods cannot perform austerities as much as the demons.

Ekalavya wanted to become greater than a Vaisnava, against his guru's desire. That is why he was killed by Krsna and ultimately attained impersonal liberation. Only the demons are killed by Krsna. Devotees are always protected by Krsna. Hiranya-kasipu and Prahlada are the proof. Therefore we should never try to become greater than Vaisnavas and, wearing a mask of guru-bhakti, actually become an impersonalist. That is what we should learn from the example of Ekalavya. Proficiency in performing activities is not a symptom of devotion to the guru, or guru-bhakti. Bhakti means to remain subordinate and submissive to the Lord's loving servants, the Vaisnavas.

AP 123-b

[Sri Vaisampayana continued:]

Drona had two disciples among the Kuru princes who were especially skillful in club-fighting, Duryodhana and Bhima. Asvatthama was best in mystic arts, and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva surpassed all others in sword fighting. Yudhisthira was the best charioteer but in overall skill, Dhananjaya, Arjuna, was the finest. To the limits of the seas, Arjuna was celebrated as the natural chief of all other military leaders, for in the use of weapons he had strength, daring, and consummate knowledge. Because of his strong devotional link to the Lord, he performed his duty with courage and in full knowledge of the Supreme.

In weaponry as in affection for his teacher, Arjuna towered above all others. Although the same instructions in the use of weaponry were given to all the students, Arjuna alone, by his skill and dedication, received the title Atiratha, "an outstanding chariot fighter." But, O ruler of men, the wicked sons of Dhrtarastra could not stand to see the superior strength displayed by Bhimasena or the perfect knowledge achieved by Arjuna.

When his students had at last completed their studies, Drona, a leader of men, gathered them all together, eager to test their knowledge. He placed an artificial bird fashioned by craftsmen on top of a tree where the students could hardly see it and pointed it out as the target.

Sri Drona said:

Quickly, all of you take up your bows! Hurry now, fasten your arrows to the bows and take up your positions, aiming at this bird. The instant I give the word you must cut off its head. Dear sons, as I command each of you, one by one, do just as I say.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon Drona, the best in the line of Angira, first commanded Yudhisthira, "Fasten your arrow, O invincible one, and when I give the word let it fly!"

Yudhisthira was thus the first to be tested, and firmly grasping his loud-sounding bow, he stood aiming at the bird, totally fixed on the word of his guru. O best of the Bharatas, as Yudhisthira, the beloved Kuru prince, stood with his bowstring stretched, Drona paused for a moment and said to him, "O son of noble men, do you see the bird on top of the tree?"

"I see it," replied Yudhisthira to his teacher.

A moment later, Drona again said to him, "Is it the tree only that you see, or do you also see me and your brothers?"

The son of Kunti replied, "I see the large tree, and you, sir, and also my brothers as well as the bird."

Drona pressed him on this very point; again and again Yudhisthira gave the same answer. Drona was not pleased, and he said in a scolding voice, "You may leave the shooting ring, for you cannot hit the target!"

The illustrious teacher then tested all the sons of Dhrtarastra, headed by Duryodhana, asking the same questions. Then he tested his other disciples, headed by Bhima, and the kings of various countries, but all replied, "We see everything you have mentioned." And all were similarly rebuked by the master.

Then, smiling, Drona spoke to Dhananjaya, Arjuna: "Listen, you must strike this target, releasing your arrow the very instant you hear my command! Now, bend your bow and wait for that moment."

Thus addressed, the ambidextrous Arjuna bent his bow into a circle and stood there aiming at the target, awaiting his guru's command. As before, Drona paused for a moment and then said, "Do you see the bird on the tree, or do you see me?"

Arjuna replied, "I see the bird. I see neither you nor the tree."

Drona was pleased. A moment later the mighty teacher spoke again to the greatest Pandava warrior, "If you see the bird, then speak more about it."

"I only see the bird's head, not its body."

At this reply of Arjuna, Drona's hair stood on end out of sheer joy, and he ordered Arjuna, "Shoot!" Arjuna shot his shaft without any hesitation, and the razor-sharp arrowhead cut off the head of the bird and knocked it to the ground. Seeing Arjuna execute his command perfectly, Drona embraced him, and within himself he considered King Drupada and his associates already defeated in battle.

O best of the Bharatas, some time later, Drona, the leader of the Angira line, accompanied his disciples as they bathed in the Ganges. As Drona bathed, a powerful crocodile living in those waters, prompted by destiny's hand, grabbed him by the shin. Although he was able to free himself, Drona called out to his disciples, "Kill the crocodile and save me! Quickly!"

The very instant his guru spoke these words, the terrifying warrior Arjuna struck the submerged beast with a rush of five razor-sharp shafts while the other princes were still rushing about in utter confusion. Seeing Arjuna in action, Drona was delighted, and he deemed the son of Pandu to be the best of all his disciples.

Cut into numerous pieces by Arjuna's arrows, the crocodile released Drona's shin and relinquished his life.

Drona then said to the great soul and fighter Arjuna, "O mighty-armed one, take from me the best of all weapons, the invincible brahmastra, complete with the means for launching and withdrawing it. Under no circumstances is it to be used against human beings, for if it is launched against an enemy of little strength the excess fire of this weapon can burn up the cosmos. It is said that there is no equal of this weapon in all the worlds, so guard it carefully. Heed this instruction: if ever any nonhuman enemy should put you into difficulty, O hero, then you are to unleash this weapon and kill him in battle."

"So be it!" said the frightening Arjuna, promising his teacher with folded hands.

When Arjuna accepted the weapon, his guru again declared to him, "There is no man in this world who will equal you in a trial of bows."

AP 124

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, seeing that both the sons of Dhrtarastra and the sons of Pandu had acquired proficiency in the use of weapons, Drona spoke to Dhrtarastra, ruler of the people, in the presence of Krpa, Somadatta, the wise Bahlika, Bhisma, Vyasadeva, and Vidura: "O king, your boys have fully assimilated the military science, and now, noble Kuru, with your approval they should demonstrate to you what they have learned."

With a jubilant mind, the king said, "Drona, you are a great teacher and have done a great job! Whenever you think is the best time, and in whatever place you like, just order me so that things can be arranged exactly as you want.

"Today I must sadly envy those men who have good eyes and who will thus be able to see my children perform heroic feats to demonstrate their skill in weapons. Vidura, do exactly as the learned guru commands, for there will be no other pleasure like this, my righteous brother."

Taking permission from the king, Drona went outside followed by Vidura. That very learned Drona proceeded to locate and measure an area of flat, fertile land, without trees or bushes and gently sloping to the north. On that land, on the holy day of a venerable star, he made an offering to the Supreme, whose purpose was announced throughout the city, O eloquent king. On the site of the proposed arena, skilled workmen then constructed, exactly according to scriptural codes, a large palatial grandstand for the king and his associates, equipped with all kinds of weapons. And he made proper facilities for the ladies. The countryfolk arranged large, high platforms for themselves, and the wealthy families arranged for private palanquins.

When the day arrived, the king placed Bhisma and the noble professor Krpa in the front of his entourage and traveled with his ministers to his viewing palace, which was built of gold, shaded by a canopy of interlaced pearls, and adorned with precious gems. Then the king's wife, Gandhari, the glorious Kunti, and all the women of the king's family with their fully bedecked attendents, joyfully went up to the viewing platform like the wives of the gods ascending holy Mount Meru.

The four social orders, headed by the brahmanas and ksatriyas, quickly came out of the city, eager to see the Kuru princes demonstrate their skill in arms. With the thrilling music of bands and the excited roar of the crowd, that assembly of humanity heaved and sounded like a great tossing sea. Then the great teacher, garbed in white array, with a white silk thread round his chest, with white hair, white moustache, a white garland, and white tilak marking his body, entered the very center of the stadium with his son, like the moon attended by Mars entering brightly into the cloudless sky. That most excellent of mighty men then made an offering unto God, suitable for the moment, and commanded the brahmanas learned in mantra to chant the auspicious hymns. They chanted the holy hymns of the day, blessing the moment, and then special men entered the arena carrying varieties of weapons and gear.

Next, the mighty young bulls of the Bharata race entered the arena, their armor fixed tightly about them, their belts tightened for action, and their quivers bound tightly to their bodies. The princes came in order of age, with Yudhisthira in the lead. They first proceeded to the center of the field, and offering a respectful greeting to their teacher, Drona, they proceeded to formally honor in the traditional way both Drona and Krpa. When the two great professors conferred their blessings, all the princes were filled with joy, and they next offered respectful greetings to their mystical weapons, which were adorned with flowers that had been previously offered to the Deity. The Kaurava princes honored their weapons with sacred flowers mixed with red sandalwood. They themselves were annointed with red sandalwood paste, and they wore red garlands. All of them used red flags, and their eyes were red with the fire of determination.

With Drona's permission, those fierce fighters took their weapons in hand. First they took up their bows, crafted of refined gold. With various styles and facial expressions, the princes strung their bows, fixed arrows upon them, and twanged their bow-strings, making a wonderful sound to honor all the people gathered there.

Those great adolescent heroes then exhibited the most amazing weapons. Some people in the crowd ducked their heads in fear of being struck by a flying arrow, and other people boldly stared at the exhibition, struck with utter astonishment. Riding by on horses, they pierced the targets with vollies of arrows beautifully marked with their names and released with agility and speed. Observing the strength of the boys in wielding their bows and arrows, the crowd was amazed, as if they were seeing a magical Gandharva mansion in the sky. Wide-eyed with wonder, hundreds and thousands of spectators would suddenly cry out, "Sadhu! Sadhu!" as the stunning events unfolded. And the mighty princes went on exhibiting their routines---with bows, on chariots, on elephant-back, horseback, and in hand-to-hand combat.

The combatants then grabbed their swords and shields and, moving all over the field, displayed the ways of swordsmanship just as they had been taught. As the princes competed with sword and shield, the experienced spectators studied their agility, tactics, daring, steadiness, and firmness of grip. Then Duryodhana and Bhima, ever enlivened for combat, came down together, clubs in hand, their weapons like two big mountains with a single peak. Tightening their belts, those two heavy-armed warriors were brazenly determined to show their masculine strength. As they faced one another, their strength only increased like that of two maddened bull elephants fighting for a willing female. The two mighty men circled each other to their left, with their flawless clubs working away, maddened like lusty bulls. The great-minded Vidura described to Dhrtarastra all the deeds of the young princes, while Kunti narrated to Gandhari.

AP 125

Sri Vaisampayana said:

With the Kuru prince in the arena against Bhima, the best of strongmen, the crowd split into two factions, taking sides according to their affection.

"Go, hero!" "Go, Kuru King!" "Come on, Bhima!" cheered the people, and their sudden roaring and shouting at each new blow resounded throughout the arena. Seeing the stadium shaking like a stormy sea, the wise Drona said to his dear son Asvatthama, "Both Bhima and Duryodhana are highly trained and very powerful; stop them before a riot breaks out in the stadium."

Thus the son of the guru stopped the two warriors, who stood with upraised clubs, as wild as the fire of cosmic annihilation and as mighty as the ocean. Drona then entered the playing field of the arena. Stopping the music, he spoke out in a voice as deep and resonant as the rumbling of great clouds.

"He who is dearer to me than my own son, he who is first among those who wield all the weapons, born from Indra and equal in splendor to Lord Visnu Himself-- may you behold now Arjuna, son of Prtha!"

Blessed by the words of his guru, Arjuna came before the crowd in the full vigor of his youth, carrying his deadly bow, his arm and finger guards tightly fastened, and his quiver full. Garbed in golden armor, Arjuna appeared like a sunset raincloud, flashing with sunrays, rainbow, and lightning. There was a great commotion throughout the arena, conchshells trumpted, and the bands burst into music from every side of the stadium.

"There is the son of Kunti! That beautiful young man is the middle son of Pandu! He's actually the son of Indra himself! He will protect the Kuru kingdom! He's the best of all in his knowledge of weapons! He's the most religious of all the warriors! You may talk of noble men, but his knowledge of noble conduct is a transcendental ocean, for he is the dearest friend of Lord Krsna Himself, the Personality of Godhead, who slew evil Kamsa. Lord Krsna holds Arjuna to be as dear as His very self. Thus whatever Arjuna promises, he will certainly do, for the Lord is ever with him."

When Arjuna's mother, Kunti, heard these unique praises voiced by the spectators, loving tears ran down her chest and mixed with the milk that flowed from her breasts as she gazed upon her son. The great sound of the crowd filled Dhrtarastra's ears, and that leader of men then joyfully said to Vidura, "O Ksatta, what is that mighty sound which makes the arena shake like a stormy sea? It has arisen suddenly from the stadium and pierces the very heavens."

Sri Vidura said:

Maharaja, it is because of Arjuna, the beloved son of Pandu and Kunti. He has come down onto the field with his golden armor, and the crowd has gone wild.

King Dhrtarastra said:

I am fortunate. I am blessed. I am protected, O learned one, by these fiery warriors, the sons of Pandu, who have arisen from the sacred kindling wood of that great lady Kunti.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the uproarious arena somehow became settled, Arjuna, the awesome warrior, then displayed the military skill acquired from his teacher. With the weapon of Fire, he created fire; by the sea-lord's arm, he created water; by the weapon of the wind-god, he let loose the wind; and by the weapon of the lord of the rain, he released the clouds. By the weapon of earth, he entered the earth; by the science of mountains, he spread hills before everyone's sight; and by the weapon of internal placement, he went within and vanished from view.

One moment he expanded his body upwards, and at the next moment he shrank it down. In an instant he went to the front of his chariot, a second later he was sitting on the chariot seat, and at the next moment he was again standing on the ground. Endowed with consumate skill, that teacher's favorite pierced with varieties of arrows targets that were very delicate, barely visible, impenetrable, and in all ways troublesome. An iron boar was made to move about the field, and Arjuna shot fire arrows into its mouth in such rapid succession that the arrows appeared to the crowd to be one continuous shaft. Then the heroic prince buried twenty-one arrows into a hollow cow's horn as it swung about on a rope. In this and similar ways, with a huge sword, with a bow and club, that military master showed wonderful feats to the audience.

After the demonstration of Arjuna, the program was nearly finished. The crowd began filing out, and the musicians put down their instruments, when suddenly from the area of the main gate came a mighty slapping of arms that resembled the clashing of thunderbolts. So mighty and awesome was the sound that people began to wonder, "Are the hills exploding? Or is the earth breaking asunder? Or has the sky filled up with thundering clouds?"

These were the spontaneous thoughts of the stadium crowd, O king, as everyone turned and stared at the main gate of the arena. Surrounded by the five sons of Pandu, Drona stood brilliantly like the glowing moon surrounded by the bright hand-constellation. Deadly Duryodhana rose to his feet, and his hundred strong brothers and Asvathama at once surrounded him. Club in hand, he stood at the ready, and his brothers raised their clubs and stood with him. The eldest son of Dhrtarastra shone like Indra surrounded by the hosts of gods, ready to shatter the cities of the wicked.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Wide-eyed with wonder, the people gave way as into that broad stadium strode Karna, conqueror of cities, his face dazzling with the jeweled earrings and his body shielded by the mighty armor that were both with him at his birth. Girded tightly with sword and bow, he moved like a proud-pacing mountain.

Destined for wide fame, handsome with large, wide eyes, Karna was born from the virgin Kunti, begotten by the sharp-rayed light-maker, the mighty Sun. Invested with the Sun's own virile strength, Karna would lay low the hosts of his enemies. He fought and lived with the power and courage of the lion, the bull, and the elephant, and in brilliance, beauty, and luster, he shone as bright as the sun and the moon. He was tall and straight like a golden palm tree, and his youthful body was built as solid as that of a lion. This handsome child of the sun clearly possessed innumerable qualifications. The strong-armed warrior looked all about the arena and then offered his obeisances to Drona and Krpa, but without much real respect. Not a single person in that vast assembly moved, nor for a single moment did they take their eyes off Karna. "Who is he?" they frantically asked one another, as suspense and curiosity filled the air. Then Karna himself spoke out in an eloquent voice as deep and grave as the rumbling of clouds. He addressed himself to Arjuna, not knowing that he spoke to his own brother, [for the mother of both was Kunti. Nor did Karna know the identity of his own father.] The child of the sun called out to the earth-born son of Indra, "Son of Prtha, whatever deeds you have performed here today, I shall perform better than you, and before everyone's eyes. So steady your mind, and don't be overwhelmed by what you are about to see."

Before Karna could even finish his words, the entire audience rose to its feet as if shot up by a machine. O tiger of men, at that moment joy came to Duryodhana, and for an instant, shame and anger pierced mighty Arjuna. Then with Drona's official permission, mighty Karna, who ever loved a fight, performed all that Arjuna had done. Seeing all this, O Bharata, Duryodhana and his brothers joyfully embraced Karna and said to him, "You are most welcome here, mighty-armed one. It is our good fortune that you have come, for I see that you are a true gentleman. I myself and the entire Kuru kingdom are at your full disposal, to enjoy as you wish."

Karna said:

I need nothing else but your friendship, sir, and if I must accept some other boon, O Bharata, then I would fight a duel with that son of Kunti named Arjuna.

Duryodhana said:

Enjoy with me all that princes enjoy! Do good to your friends, O tamer of the enemy, and put your foot on the head of those who wish us ill.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Feeling himself deeply insulted, Arjuna called out to Karna, who stood fixed like a mountain in the midst of that assembly of royal cousins, "Those who enter though not invited, and those who speak their whim, though not requested, attain the worlds reserved for their kind. Slain now by me, Karna, you will attain those very worlds."

Karna said:

This arena is open for all. What is your complaint, Arjuna? Among the royal order, leadership goes to the strongest men, for justice depends on power. Why these insults that are uttered by weaklings to comfort themselves? Speak with arrows, Bharata, for today with arrows I shall take off your head before the eyes of your guru.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

With Drona's consent, and quickly embraced by his brothers, Arjuna, conqueror of hostile cities, went toward Karna for combat. Embraced by Duryodhana and his brothers, Karna took up his bow and arrows and stood ready for battle. Thereupon the sky was suddenly covered by thundering clouds that flashed with lightning, and there were profusions of rainbows and formations of shrieking cranes. Seeing Lord Indra affectionately sending his signs to encourage his son Arjuna and forecast his victory, the Sun vanquished the clouds that came too near to his child Karna. Thus Arjuna could be seen covered by the shadow of Indra's clouds, whereas Karna was fully exposed, bathed in the heat of the Sun.

The sons of Dhrtarastra stayed on Karna's side of the field, and Drona, Krpa, and Bhisma stayed on the side of Arjuna. Two factions also arose among the ladies in the crowd. Only the daughter of King Kuntibhoja understood that a fight to the death between blood brothers was about to take place, for Arjuna and Karna were both her beloved sons, and thus she became faint with anxiety. Seeing her in utter confusion, Vidura, the knower of all justice, tried to bring her to her senses by sprinkling her with water mixed with sandalwood. Kunti came back to her senses, and seeing her two sons fit with armor, she went through such agony that she could not follow anything that was happening. Krpa, son of Saradvan, was an expert in the customs and rules of duel combat, for he knew all of the sacred law, and he thus said to the two warriors who stood with their large bows raised for action, "This man here is the beloved son of Pandu, and the youngest child of Prtha. He is a Kuru prince, and he will make battle with you, sir. And you, mighty-armed one, must now tell us the names of your mother and father and your royal line. Who are those leaders of men to whom you bring glory? As soon as we learn this, the son of Prtha will set his bow against you, or perhaps he will not."

Thus addressed, Karna's face bent down in shame, like a withered lotus flooded by the monsoon waters.

Duryodhana said:

Professor, our religious scriptures conclude that a man becomes a king in three ways: by birth in a royal family, by acts of heroism, and by leading an army. If Arjuna does not wish to fight with a non-king, then I hereby install this man as king of the land of Anga.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

That very moment, learned brahmanas ceremonially annointed mighty Karna with sacred grains and flowers, bathed him with water from golden pitchers, installed him on a golden seat, and endowed that maharatha warrior with riches, for he was now the new ruler of Anga. He then received the paraphernalia of kingship, such as the royal umbrella and yak-tail fan, and he was honored with cries of victory. He then said to the Kuru king, "What could I give to you or do for you that would equal your gift of a kingdom? Say it, O tiger of kings, and I shall certainly do it."

"I desire everlasting friendship with you," replied Duryodhana. Thus addressed, Karna replied, "It shall be so!" and the two warriors happily embraced and felt the greatest joy.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then with his upper cloth scattered about him, Adhiratha came trembling and sweating into the arena, out of breath and held up by his rod. Catching his sight, Karna, bound by reverence for his father, put aside his bow and worshipfully bowed his head, still wet from the royal consecration. Adhiratha was embarassed and covered his feet with his cloth. Then to Karna, whose goals had been richly fulfilled, the chariot-driver said, "My son!," and embraced Karna and with his tears, again wetted his head.

Seeing all this, Bhimasena, son of Pandu, concluded, "He's the son of a chariot driver." [Bhima had witnessed the unwarranted attempt of Karna and Duryodhana to humiliate and destroy his younger brother Arjuna.] Now it was Bhima who laughed and declared, "You do not deserve death in battle from Arjuna, O son of a driver. Quickly, take up the driving whip, which is appropriate for your family. You lowest of men, you are not worthy to enjoy the kingdom of Anga, for you are like a dog that comes near the sacred fire to eat up the offering."

When thus addressed, Karna's lower lip trembled, and breathing heavily he looked up at the day-making Sun. Then mighty Duryodhana leaped up in rage from the midst of his brothers, like a maddened elephant charging out from the midst of a lotus forest. He spoke out to the terribly powerful Bhimasena, who stood before him, "Vrkodara, it is not right for you to speak such words! Among warriors, strength comes first. Even a fallen `friend of a warrior' deserves a fight. Of heroes and rivers, it is hard to understand the original source. Why, from water arose fire, the fire that pervades all creatures. From the bones of Dadhici, the gods fashioned a thunderbolt to kill the Danavas. We hear from sages that Karttikeya is the son of Agni, and of Krttika, and of Rudra and of Ganga Devi. The origin of such an exalted god is shrouded in mystery. Hence he is called Guha.

"Famous brahmanas have taken birth from ksatriya mothers, and Dronacarya himself was born from a pot. Guru Krpa was born from a clump of reeds. Why, it is known to the kings of this world that even the birth of you five brothers is most unusual.

"How could an ordinary doe give birth to a tiger? This man was born with earrings and armor built into his body; these are the the marks of divine birth. Don't you see that he's as brilliant as the sun?

"This man is a lord of men. He deserves the whole earth as his kingdom, not merely the state of Anga! He deserves it by his ample prowess, and by his relation to me, for I follow his command. Or if there is anyone born of man who will not tolerate what I have done, then either mounting his chariot or with his feet on the earth, let him bend the bow against me!"

A great uproar swept through the stadium, and many spectators [failing to recognize Duryodhana's evil motives] praised and cheered his words. But then the sun journeyed below the horizon, and the day was done. Duryodhana took Karna firmly by the hand, O king, and with the way lit up by the fire of lamps, he went out of the stadium. Then the Pandavas, with Drona, Krpa, and Bhimasena, all went back to their own homes.

As the people departed, O Bharata, they spoke in animated tones. Some were saying "Arjuna!" Others were saying "Karna!" and others "Duryodhana!"

The divine marks on Karna's body had proved to Kunti that the new king of Anga was her own son, and her secret love for him only increased, for such is the affection of a mother.

Having made friendship with Karna, O king, Duryodhana's terrible fear of Arjuna suddenly vanished. Karna himself, who had labored hard to master his weapons, then saluted Duryodhana with exquisite words of praise. And even Yudhisthira began to think that there was no archer equal to Karna on the face of the earth.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then Drona, having summoned his students, insisted that all of them, without exception, offer him payment in return for the education he had given them. The daksina, or payment, that he demanded was this:

"My dear students, you must capture Drupada, king of Pancala, in face to face combat, and bring him to me. May you be blessed in your endeavor, for this shall be the highest daksina."

"So be it!" said the young warriors, and accompanied by Drona they went quickly on their chariots to secure that valuable gift for their guru. Those powerful men went straight to the land of the Pancalas, and they attacked and leveled the city of mighty Drupada. Arresting Drupada, known as Yajnasena, those powerful men brought him with his ministers before Drona. Drupada's pride was broken, and his wealth was lost, for he was now a helpless prisoner. Remembering their enmity, Drona then said to the fallen king, "I have quickly smashed your kingdom and city, and you have been taken alive by your enemy. [As you once said], what need is there for a friend of the past?"

Having spoken thus, and laughing loudly at the fallen king, Drona came to a decision and said, "Do not fear for your life, O king, for we brahmanas are forgiving. In our childhood, I played with you in the hermitage, and I developed a strong affection for you, O mighty ksatriya. Indeed, I would pray to again have friendship with you, O leader of men, and therefore I award you a boon. Take back half of your kingdom.

"One who is not a king is not worthy to be a friend of kings, and therefore, O Yajnasena, I endeavored to gain your kingdom so that we might be friends. You are now king of the land on the southern bank of the Bhagirathi, and I am king on the northern bank. If you agree, then know for certain that I am your friend, Pancala.

King Drupada said:

Your victory and your generosity are not surprising, O brahmana, for that is the way of the great and mighty. I do feel love for you, and I desire your everlasting love upon me.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When thus addressed by the king, Drona at once released him, and with joy in his heart he honored his old friend and delivered to him half the kingdom. Drupada then ruled Makandi on the bank of the Ganges, with its broad countryside, and he dwelled in the fine capital city of Kampilya, controlling the southern Pancalas as far south as the Carmanvati River. But Drupada was terribly depressed, for he constantly remembered his feud with Drona and could not find peace. He saw no way to achieve victory with his warrior strength.up6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn Drupada had unfairly rejected his old friend, but he had done him no real harm. Drona, on the other hand, had attacked and leveled his beautiful kingdom. Drupada found no joy or peace in a kingdom granted to him in charity by Drona.

Feeling himself helpless against the power of a brahmana, the king began to yearn for a son [who would regain his father's honor.] As Drupada fixed this thought in his mind, Drona settled into his new kingdom of Ahicchatra. Thus, O king, Arjuna conquered in battle the capital of Ahicchatra and the surrounding country and delivered it as a gift to Drona.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Recognizing the superior strength of Bhimasena and the masterful skill of Arjuna, evil-minded Duryodhana was consumed with envy. And so Sun-born Karna and Sakuni, son of Subala, schemed in many ways with Duryodhana to assasinate the Pandavas. The Pandavas learned everything of these plots, but on the advice of Vidura those tamers of enemies did not make an uprising or even reveal their knowledge.

The residents of the capital city, seeing that the sons of Pandu were blessed with so many good qualities, spoke of them wherever they met, in the town squares and in public assemblies. "Dhrtarastra has the eye of wisdom," they said, "but he is physically blind and thus formerly that lord of the people did not receive the royal throne. How then has he now become the king? Similarly, Bhisma, son of Santanu, is a most honest man of great vows, but formerly he declined the kingdom, and he will not accept the throne now or ever. Well and good! We ourselves should immediately install on the royal throne the eldest Pandava, Yudhisthira, for though he is young in years, he shows the behavior of a wise elder. He is always truthful, and he is a truly compassionate man. Once he is king, Yudhisthira will be most kind to Bhisma, son of Santanu, and to Dhrtarastra and his sons. He will honor them and bestow upon them all kinds of gifts and facilities."

When Duryodhana heard the people speak these words, that evil man was consumed with envy. Burning with jealousy, he could not stand the people's words, and in sheer torment he went to Dhrtarastra. Meeting alone with his father, and duly honoring him, he spoke in anguish about the people's love for the Pandavas:

"Dear father, I have heard the people gossiping, and they are speaking inauspicious words. Disrespecting you and Bhisma, they want Yudhisthira as their lord. Bhisma gives the same report, and [clearly he has no motive, since] he does not desire the kingdom. The people of this city want to inflict on us the greatest pain. Formerly Pandu got the kingdom from his father by his own qualifications. [Although you were the eldest son of the king] you did not have the necessary qualifications, so you did not attain the royal throne. Now if that man Yudhisthira is able to inherit Pandu's throne and all that goes with it, then certainly his son will also get the throne, and his son, and so on. And what shall we do? Deprived of royal lineage, we and our children shall be despised by the world. O lord of the world, hell shall ever be our lot, as we feed off the charity of our rivals! O king, we must arrange immediately to stop it! If you had been firm in your kingdom, then surely we would have inherited that kingdom, and the people would have been powerless.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing his son, Dhrtarastra reflected for a moment and then said to Duryodhana, "Pandu always followed religious principles, and he always acted for my happiness and well-being. He was kind to all our relatives, but he was especially good to me. There is nothing at all that I did not know about that man, even what foods he liked to eat and the things he liked to do. Firm in his vows, he always offered me all that he had in his kingdom. And Pandu's son is every bit as good and religious as his father. Why, the whole world knows how qualified the boy is, and he has the full backing of the citizens. How can we possibly drag him down by force from the kingdom of his father and forefathers, especially when he stands with so many faithful friends and allies?

"Pandu always took personal care of the government ministers and the army, and he gave special attention to their sons and grandsons. When they and all the citizens were so loved and honored by Pandu, how would they not kill us and all our men for Yudhisthira's sake?"

Duryodhana said:

I have already meditated on that very problem, dear father. I have also seen that all the citizens are moved by money and position. Surely most of them will become our faithful friends and supporters. And I might add that the royal treasury and its ministers are now firmly on my side, O king.

You, sir, must quickly banish the Pandavas and send them to live in the city of Varanavata. Tell them that it's for some other purpose, something that appears kind and reasonable. Then, O Bharata, as soon as the kingdom is securely in my hands, Kunti and her children may return.

King Dhrtarastra said:

Duryodhana, this very idea has been turning around in my own heart, but it's such a sinful thought, I did not reveal it to anyone. Neither Bhisma nor Drona nor Vidura nor Krpa will ever approve a plan to banish the Pandavas. My son, the Kuru leaders are all intelligent, religious men. They regard us on an equal level with the Pandavas, and they will not tolerate discrimination. If we enact such a plan, then these senior men of the Kuru dynasty, and indeed the whole world, will certainly consider us guilty of capital crimes, and fit to be executed.

Duryodhana said:

Bhisma is always neutral. Drona's son stands with me. Wherever his son stands, there stands Drona; there's no doubt in this matter. Krpa, son of Saradvan, will always remain united with those two, for he will never renounce Drona or Drona's son, who is his own nephew. Vidura's fortunes are bound to our own, though he secretly sides with the Pandavas; and he alone has no power to harm us for their sake. Be confident and banish Pandu's sons and their mother to Varanavata on this very day. There will be no difficulty in this plan. By this action, father, destroy the horrible dart that has sunk in my heart and set such a fire of grief that I cannot sleep at night.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then King Duryodhana and his younger brothers steadily captured all the government ministers with gifts of wealth and position. And expert counselors, engaged by Dhrtarastra, began to speak about a charming city called Varanavata: "In the town of Varanavata," they said, "there is going to be a very big convention, the most enjoyable in the world, in honor of Lord Siva. That region is full of all kinds of jewels. It's a most charming area!" Thus by the order of Dhrtarastra, they continued to eulogize the region of Varanavata.

As the Pandavas heard more and more about the charming city of Varanavata, a desire rose among the sons of Pandu to go there. When Dhrtarastra, son of Ambika, felt that a strong curiosity had been aroused in them, he said to the Pandavas, "These men of mine are always talking, again and again, about Varanavata. They say it's the most charming city in the world. My dear Yudhisthira, if you boys would like to see the festivities in Varanavata, then go there with your friends and followers and enjoy yourselves like the immortal gods. You may offer as many jewels as you like to the brahmanas and to all who sing the sacred songs, and thus you will shine in that city like the gods in heaven. After enjoying for some time there and experiencing the highest pleasure, you happy boys will come again to Hastinapura."

Agreeing to Dhrtarastra's desire and realizing that Duryodhana had successfully won over the important men in the government, Yudhisthira replied to his uncle, "So be it." Then Yudhisthira quietly spoke these pathetic words to the very wise Bhisma, the great-minded Vidura, Drona, Bahlika, the Kuru Somadatta, and to Krpa, Asvatthama, and the highly revered Gandhari: "Dear relatives, by the order of Dhrtarastra, we shall dwell for some time with our people in the beautiful and bustling city of Varanavata. May all of you be pleased with this plan and benedict us with your auspicious words so that, fortified with your blessings, we shall never be overcome by evil."

When all the Kauravas heard Yudhisthira's words, their faces became peaceful, and they came forward and blessed the Pandavas, saying, "May you always be healthy and happy on your journey with whomever you meet, and in every respect! O beloved sons of Pandu, may you not have even a trace of misfortune!" Thus the Pandavas were blessed to obtain good fortune in their new kingdom, and having performed all the necessary duties, they deparated for Varanavata.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the king had thus spoken to the great-souled Pandavas, Duryodhana, whose soul was corrupted by evil, felt the greatest pleasure. He took his adviser Purocana aside, O noble Bharata, and clasping his right hand, said to him, "Purocana, this abundant earth, full of riches, is now mine! And because it is mine, it is also yours and you must help me protect it. There is no one else I trust more than you, no other associate with whom I can make alliance and consult as I can with you. Keep our meeting completely confidential, dear friend, for you must destroy my enemies and save me from their wiles by a most clever means. I shall explain it to you, and you must carry it out precisely as I say.

"Dhrtarastra has ordered the Pandavas to Varanavata, and by Dhrtarastra's order they will stay there for some time and enjoy the local festivities. You must go in a swiftly moving chariot drawn by strong mules. Do what you must so that you reach Varanavata on this very day. There you must see to the construction of a very luxurious house with four stately halls. The house should be extremely well guarded and must adjoin the armoury. You must find hemp, tree resin, and whatever other flammable materials are available locally and provide all of them to the builders. The walls should be built of clay mixed with clarified butter, oil, and large quantities of lac. See that the walls are covered with plaster.

"Place hemp, bamboo, butter, and all types of wood implements throughout the house. Do everything in such a way that the Pandavas, even if they investigate, will not suspect you, and so that neither they nor other men will notice that this house has been built to go up in flames.

"When the mansion has been built in this way, you should offer the Pandavas the greatest of honor and see that they live there with Kunti and her affectionate maid-servants. Exquisite seats, vehicles, and beds must be arranged for the Pandavas so that my father may be pleased. With as much time as we have, everything should be arranged so that they live happily, with full confidence, in the city of Varanavata. However, when you know that they are sleeping soundly, without fear or suspicion, then you are to set fire by the door of the house. When the Pandavas have burned to death, all that the citizens and our relatives will ever say about the Pandavas is that `They burned to death in their own house."'

"And so it shall be!" promised Purocana to the wicked Kaurava, and he departed in a mule-drawn chariot for the city of Varanavata. He left swiftly, O king, resolved to carry out the will of Duryodhana, and he arranged everything exactly as ordered by King Dhrtarastra's son.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

The Pandavas yoked their chariots with pure-bred horses that ran like the wind. As they were about to mount for the journey, they felt sad to leave their family and friends, and they respectfully embraced the lotus feet of Bhisma, King Dhrtarastra, the great soul Drona, and of other venerable elders like Vidura and Krpacarya. Thus they offered their heart-felt respect to all the senior Kurus, embraced their peers, and accepted respectful greetings from the younger generation. Having begged permission to leave from all the elder ladies, whom they regarded as their mothers, and having circumambulated the venerable ones, they and all their ministers departed for Varanavata. The very wise Vidura and other Kuru leaders and citizens, their hearts pulled by the sorrow of separation, followed those tigers of men as they departed.

Then, O noble Bharata, some brahmanas there began to speak out fearlessly, grieving terribly for the sons of Pandu: "King Drtarastra is completely covered by darkness, and he sees with unfair partiality. So bad is his intelligence that he cannot see the laws of God. The eldest Pandava is a sinless man who will never approve a sinful act, nor will Bhima, best of the strong, nor the son of Kunti Arjuna. And the two sons of Madri are mature and great in wisdom and would never do evil. These men rightfully received the kingdom from their father, and Dhrtarastra cannot tolerate that. But why does Bhisma allow all this injustice, that the best of the Bharatas, the sons of Kunti, be improperly driven from their home? In the old days, the saintly king Vicitravirya, son of Santanu, was just like a father to us, and so was Pandu, the beloved of the Kurus. But now that King Pandu, a saintly tiger of a man, has gone to his blessed fate, Dhrtarastra will not tolerate the king's own sons, who are still like children. But we shall not tolerate this crime. Every one of us shall give up our homes and leave this fine city to go with Yudhisthira."

When the grief-stricken and shrewd citizens had spoken thus, Yudhisthira, the king of virtue, was extremely pleased and said to them, "We have accepted the king as our father, as our best teacher; therefore we have sworn to do whatever he tells us without hestiation. All of you are our well-wishing friends, so kindly circumambulate us, engladden us with your heartfelt blessings, and then please return to your homes. When the time comes that we need your help, then you will surely act for our happiness and welfare."

"So be it," said all the people, swearing their loyalty to Yudhisthira. Then after circumambulating the princes and engladdening them with their heartfelt blessings, they went back to the city.

When the citizens had retired, Vidura, who was learned in all the principles of justice and religion, alerted the leader of the Pandavas to the imminent danger. Vidura clearly saw the best means to protect both body and soul, and that wise man, who was also learned in the art of riddles, spoke to his wise nephew, who was trained to understand them.up6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn r228rs20 Vidura was the smartest of the Kurus, and for some reason he did not tell King Yudhisthira earlier of the grave danger. It may have taken until then for him to collect and analyze the top-secret information. Also, the Pandavas, important world leaders, were constantly under public and private scrutiny, and Vidura was already suspected of siding with them. Were it to be know before the departure for Varanavata that Vidura was extensively counseling them, Duryodhana might have changed his plans. We do know with certainty that Vidura chose to give his warning in a brief riddle at that moment for some good reason.

"One must act to escape disaster by understanding a sharp weapon not made of iron that cuts the body to pieces. This weapon does not strike the one who knows it and turns it against his enemy; it slays the underwood and strikes down the cold. But it does not burn the inhabitants of holes in the great hiding place. One who guards himself lives.

"The eyeless know not the path; the eyeless find not the direction; the irresolute attain not the weal; awaken, thus alerted. A man who accepts the gift, a weapon not of iron, given by those who are not close can be saved from the devouring fire by going to the refuge of the porcupine. Wandering about, he knows the ways by the stars and finds his direction. Subduing the five with his mind, he will not be subdued."

Having accompanied the Pandavas for a short stretch and given these instructions, Vidura then circumambulated them and, granting them permission to begin their journey, returned to his home.

When Vidura, Bhisma, and all the townspeople had gone back to their homes, Kunti called her son Yudhisthira, who hated no one, and said to him, "When Vidura spoke to you in the middle of the crowd, it seemed like he was not saying anything coherent, and yet you agreed to his words. We don't understand it. If we are able to hear about it, and there is nothing indecent, then I would like to hear all about the conversation you had with him."

King Yudhisthira said:

Vidura told me that we must beware of poison and fire, and he also said that no path should be unknown to us. And he said to me, "You will gain the abundant earth if you conquer your five senses." I then said to Vidura, "It is all understood."

Sri Vaisampayana said:

On the eighth day of the month of Phalguna, under the star of Rohini, they departed. Upon arriving in Varanavata, they gazed upon the town and its people.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing that the sons of Pandu had arrived, all the citizens came out of the city of Varanavata with joy and vigor. Riding on thousands of vehicles of all kinds and carrying auspicious gifts as enjoined in the scriptures, they went toward the Pandavas, the greatest of men.

The city residents, known as the Varanavatakas, reached the sons of Kunti and offered their blessings for the success of Pandu's sons. Then they all surrounded the Pandavas, eager to serve them in any way. Circled by the citizens, Yudhisthira, a tiger of a man, shone forth like the king of the gods, thunderbolt in hand, surrounded by the immortals. Honored by the citizens, the faultless Pandavas honored them in turn, and they entered the beautifully decorated and bustling city of Varanavata.

Upon entering the city, O king, the heroic princes immediately went to the homes of the brahmana,s who were busily and happily engaged in their religious duties. The brothers similarly visited the homes of the city governors and the noble chariot warriors. They next paid respectful visits to the homes of the merchants and workers, and in every house the Pandavas, leaders of the Bharata dynasty, were honored by the cityfolk. Finally they went to their own temporary lodging, and Purocana was there to receive and welcome them. Purocana offered them fine food and drink, clean, shining beds, and valuable seats.

Worshiped by the local townfolk, the Pandavas dwelled there with their royal entourage, honored by Purocana and enjoying the most luxurious furniture and household accessories. After staying there for ten nights, Purocana brought them to that inauspicious house, which was called Siva-grha, "the auspicious house." At Purocana's bidding, those tigerlike men entered the house with their royal entourage, just as the mystic Guhyakas enter fabled Mount Kailasa. Yudhisthira could expertly analyze the properties and qualities of things, and carefully observing the house and smelling the subtle aroma of fat mixed with butter and lac, he said to Bhimasena, "This residence is clearly made to go up in flames. Hemp and resins were used to build this house, and the straw, rope, bamboo and other materials have all been sprinkled with clarified butter, O mighty one. It was well constructed by expert craftsmen who are trusted servants of evil Purocana, who now wants to burn me alive when my guard is down. Vidura is very intelligent, Partha, and having seen this danger, he has already alerted me to it. Now that he has apprised us, we have recognized this to be an `inauspicious house,' well built by our respectable teachers who are seem to be secret followers of Duryodhana.

Bhimasena said:

If you think this house was built to go up in flames, then we had all better go back to our previous residence.

Sri Yudhisthira said:

No, I feel we should live here for now, acting very innocent and casual. Our enemies will think we are already lost, and that will give us time to think of a sure way to escape. If Purocana discovers any clue to our real plan, if he sees anxiety or fear in our faces, then he will act at once, and by the most violent and unpredictable means he will burn us to death. Purocana does not fear public censure or the reactions to sin. He is a fool who only cares about the desire of Duryodhana, and he functions precisely on that basis.

If we were burned alive, perhaps our grandfather Bhisma would be enraged and not merely lament, and perhaps he would then rouse the Kauravas to anger for the atrocity. If he should be moved to fury, understanding that the sacred law demands it, then perhaps the other Kuru leaders would react in a similar fashion. If, on the other hand, we now flee in fear of being burned, certainly Duryodhana, out of his greed for the kingdom, will have us murdered by his spies. We have no position now; rather, he occupies the capital. We are without allies, but he is surrounded by them. We are bereft of a royal treasury, but his treasury is vast. Therefore it is certain that by various means he will have us murdered.

We must cheat this wicked Purocana and his wicked master Duryodhana. We will stay here for now, but we will move here and there, concealing our whereabouts. We will show a keen interest in hunting, and travel all over the country. By this means, we will acquire a good knowledge of all the roads and paths, and that will be necessary when the time comes to flee. Let us begin at once to build a very well hidden hole in the earth, and by concealing our endeavor, the consuming fire will not burn us. We must be very careful and dwell here in such a way that neither Purocana nor any of the local people discover us.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

There was a dear friend of Vidura, O king, who was a professional excavator, and one day he met the Pandavas in a secluded place and said, "Vidura has sent me. I am expert at digging, and Vidura told me, `The Pandavas need help.' Please tell me, what can I do for you? Vidura told me in private, `Have full faith in the Pandavas and try your best to help them.' So tell me, what can I do for you?

"On the fourteenth evening of the dark fortnight, Purocana will put fire in the door of your house. `The Pandavas are leaders of the people, and they are to be burned to death with their mother.' This, Partha, is the determined plan of Dhrtarastra's son, as I have heard it. When you were leaving the city, Pandava, Vidura spoke a few words to you in the dialect of the Mlecchas, and you replied to him, `So be it.' I say this to gain your trust."

Dedicated to truth, Yudhisthira, son of Kunti, then replied, "I know, kind sir, that you are truly a well-wishing friend of Vidura, and that you are innocent, trustworthy, and always trying to please us. Your firm devotion to our cause is obvious, and there is no need for a password from the learned Vidura for us to recognize you. As Vidura is to us, so are you to us. We see no difference in you; we shall be true to you as we are to him. Now, please save us as the learned Vidura would.

"I am aware that Purocana built this so-called home, on Duryodhana's order, to burn us to death. The sinful son of Dhrtarastra has a great treasury and allies, and being a wicked, evil-minded man, he constantly harasses us. When we are burned alive, Duryodhana's desire will be fulfilled, but you sir must work to save us from that fire.

"Next door to us here is the fully equipped armoury of wicked Purocana. It's ramparts come flush against our big house, with nothing in between. Vidura certainly knew previously of Purocana's wicked plan, and therefore he took care to warn us. The crisis he had foreseen is now upon us. You must save us without exposing our plan to Purocana."

The excavator vowed to do it, and set about his task with zeal. Digging out a trench, he constructed a large hole in the middle of the house, but with a deceptively small mouth so that it could be easily covered and the floor kept smooth and even. Fearing evil-minded Purocana, who practically lived in the doorway of the house, the excavator disguised the hole so well that it could not be detected.

All the Pandavas spent their nights in the house, keeping their weapons near at hand, but during the day, on the pretext of a fondness for hunting, they wandered from one forest to another. Feigning confidence though having none, and always in anxiety though feigning satisfaction, the Pandavas lived in the greatest distress, but they successfully deceived Purocana. Nor could the residents of the city discover them, except for one man, a most skillful excavator, who was a trusted adviser to Vidura.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Seeing the Pandavas happily dwelling there for one full year, and observing them to be fully confident and at ease, Purocana rejoiced. Yudhisthira was wise in the ways of men, and seeing Purocana so joyful, he said to his brothers Bhima, Arjuna, and the twins, "Wicked Purocana is convinced that we fully trust him, but that cruel man is deceived. I think it is time to escape. We shall ignite the armoury and burn up Purocana, along with this house of lac, leaving six bodies here so we will escape unnoticed."

That night, O king, on the pretext of giving charity, Kunti arranged a huge reception to feed the saintly brahmanas, and they arrived their wives. After eating, drinking, and enjoying as they desired, they begged their leave from Kunti, and returned late at night to their homes.

The hand of destiny brought to that celebration a low-class Nisada woman, the mother of five sons, who came to that affair to beg for food. She and her sons became drunk and wild from drinking liquor, until they collapsed in the house of lac and slept without a trace of consciousness, as if they were dead.

A noisy wind blew that night, and all the city slept, O mighty king, when Bhima arose and ignited a blazing fire on the very spot where Purocana lay asleep. A roaring fire arose, consuming the armoury and the house of lac. So ferociously did it roar and burn that all the city awoke.

The citizens said:

Sinful and stupid Purocana, engaged by Duryodhana, had this house built and burned down and thus destroyed his own soul. Damn the foolish mind of Dhrtarastra, who works through his counselor to burn the pure and innocent Pandavas! The only good thing is that wicked Purocana himself has burned to death. His brain was so incredibly evil that he killed with fire the very best of men, the faultless sons of Pandu who had such faith in him.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus the Varanataka people spoke to one another, and surrounding the devastated house of lac, they kept vigil throughout the night. Meanwhile, escaping unnoticed through the tunnel under the house, the Pandavas fled with their mother.

The mighty Pandavas and their mother were very disturbed and unhappy, having passed the night without sleep in extreme anxiety, and they could not find the energy to run. Bhimasena, however, bristled with power and courage, and taking his brothers and his mother, he pushed forward, O king. Placing his mother on his shoulder, the twins on his hips, and his two powerful brothers Yudhisthira and Arjuna in his arms, mighty Bhima moved swiftly along under cover of night, breaking down trees, tearing apart the earth with his two feet, and blazing ahead with the power of the wind.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the night was over, every man and woman in the city rushed about the ruins looking for the beloved sons of Pandu. When they finally extinguished the blaze, the people saw from the remains of the house that it had been intentionally built with lacquer and that the minister Purocana had burned up in the blaze.

"Surely Duryodhana, that evil-doer, arranged this to destroy the Pandavas," the people wailed. "Without doubt, with Dhrtarastra's knowledge his son has burned to death the heirs to Pandu's empire, and Dhrtarastra did not forbid this murder. It is now clear that Bhisma, son of Santanu, does not really follow the religious principles, nor does Drona, nor even Vidura or Krpa, nor all the rest of the Kauravas. We ourselves will send a message to the wicked Dhrtarastra: `Your greatest desire is now fulfilled. You have burned to death the sons of your own brother Pandu.' "

Searching for the Pandavas, they removed the remains of the blaze and saw the Nisada woman with her five innocent sons, burned to death. While helping to clean and purify the area, the very same excavator who had built the tunnel covered the hole with debris so that it was unnoticed by the other men.

The people of the town then sent word to Dhrtarastra that the Pandavas had burned to death in a fire along with the minister Purocana. However, upon hearing this most shocking news of the destruction of the the sons of Pandu, Dhrtarastra lamented in great agony.

"Today my beloved brother King Pandu has died and there will be no other like him, for his heroic sons have burned to death along with their poor mother! Men must go immediately to the city of Varanavata and offer the highest and final honors to those heroes and to the precious daughter of King Kuntibhoja. Arrange at once for large, magnificent urns for their remains and let all those who loved them, who were their friends, pay homage to them in this tragic moment. In these trying circumstances, anything I can do to benefit the departed souls of the Pandavas and Kunti must be done, and we shall spend for it!"

Having thus spoken, and surrounded by all his relatives, Dhrtarastra, the son of Ambika, offered the holy water on behalf of the sons of Pandu. All the Kauravas cried and shrieked in the depths of anguish, but Vidura lamented only briefly, for he knew the truth.

In the meantime, the Pandavas, having escaped the city of Varanavata, sought safety to the south, and with great speed they made their way. Heading steadily south, they easily found their way by the stars, and with much endeavor, O king, they reached the deep jungle under cover of night. Thereupon the dear sons of Pandu, their energy spent, pained by thirst, and blinded by sleep, spoke again to the great champion Bhimasena.

"What could be more miserable than for us to be here in this deep jungle? We have no idea where we are, and we don't have the strength to go any farther. We don't even know if Purocana has actually died in the fire. What can we possibly do to save ourselves from this danger without anyone seeing us or knowing that we're alive? Carry us again, just like before, and keep going, Bharata. You are the only one of us who has any strength left, for only you can go on forever like the wind."

Thus addressed by Yudhisthira, who spoke for all the brothers, the mighty Bhima picked up his mother, Kunti, and his brothers, and that mighty one raced forward.

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Bhima's Lament

Sri Vaisampayana said:

As Bhima quickly moved through the jungle, his powerful thighs sent the trees and thickets whirling about, stirring up winds, O king, that blew like the summer blasts in the months of Suci and Sukra. Mighty Bhima made his own road by flattening the creepers and lordly trees, shattering branches, tearing out bushes that entered his path, and demolishing the forest giants that grew from the earth and gave their fruits in the sky. Immeasurable was Bhima's prowess, and as he went crashing through the forest, his speed and force left the Pandavas dizzy and dazed.

More than once they crossed wide rivers with the boats of their arms, and on land they assumed disguises, fearing the son of Dhrtarastra. When the going was rough, on treacherous land and up the banks and mountain slopes, Bhima carried his glorious mother, whose body was most delicate. As evening settled in, those bulls of the Bharata race came to a corner of the vast forest where the forest fare of roots and fruits and even water was scarce, and where the birds and beasts were cruel and ghastly. Grim was that twilight, as horrible birds and beasts roamed all about, all directions fell blind with darkness, and unseasonable winds howled.

Afflicted with fatigue and thirst, and irresistible sleep, the Kauravyas could not go any farther. Then Bhima, best of the Bharatas, entered a vast and frightening forest where no man lived, and he moved quickly to the shelter of a wide and charming banyan tree, where he placed down all the family and said, "I shall search for water here. My lord Yudhisthira, all of you should now rest. Water-going cranes are crying out their sweet songs, so I think there must be a large reservoir of water in this area."

"Go ahead!" said the eldest brother, giving permission, and Bhima went to the place where the water-birds were crying out. There he drank good, clean water and took bath, O king, and with his upper cloth he gathered up drinking water for his family. He quickly returned the distance of several miles, eager to bring water to his mother. Seeing his mother and brothers sleeping there on the bare ground, Vrkodara was filled with unhappiness, and he grieved for them:

"How ironic that in Varanavata, they could not fall asleep on the most costly beds, and now they sleep so soundly on the bare ground. Behold this lady, the sister of Vasudeva who crushed the hosts of wicked enemies, this Kunti, who is the daughter of King Kuntibhoja, and who is glorified by all the marks of divine and noble birth; the daughter-in-law of Vicitravirya, and the wife of the great soul Pandu; she who has always slept in palaces, and who shines like the bright whorl of the lotus; the most delicate of women, who by all rights deserves the costliest bedding. Just see her now so unfairly lying on the dirt of the earth! She bore her sons from the god of justice, from the king of heaven, and from the Wind, and now that same innocent woman lies exhausted on this bare land. What could be more heartbreaking for me than to see this, that I must now watch my own brothers, tigers among men, sleeping here on the empty ground? Whatever kingdom there may be in these three worlds, this king deserves to rule it, for it is he who knows the Law. How can that very king lie here exhausted on bare ground like a most wretched and vulgar man? And Arjuna, who has no equal among men in this world, whose divine hue is dark like a bluish rain cloud--- he too lies here on the empty land like a wretched one. What is sadder than this? And the twins, endowed with such beauty, like that of the celestial Asvins, they too take their rest on the hard surface of the earth as if they were the poorest of men.

"A man who has no biased and scheming relatives to disgrace his family lives very happily in this world, like a tree that stands alone in a village. That single tree, full of leaves and fruits, becomes sacred to the village, and because it stands alone, without a jungle of relatives, the people honor and revere it.

"Of course, those who have many courageous relatives, devoted to religious principles, they too live happily in this world, free of distress. Powerful, prosperous people who love and take care of their friends and family live by helping and depending on each other, like trees in a noble forest. But Dhrtarastra and his wicked son have driven us out of our home, and somehow by the instruction of Vidura we were not burned to death. And here we are under the shelter of a tree. What direction shall we take, now that we've come to the worst trouble of our lives?

"I seem to make out a city not too far from this forest. Someone had better keep guard while the others sleep, so I myself will stay awake. They will drink water later when they awaken and are rested and relaxed."

Thus making up his mind, Bhima guarded his family throughout the night.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Not too far from the forest where the Pandavas slept lived a monstrous creature, a Raksasaup6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn Raksasas are a species of powerful and demonic beings who feast on human flesh.

named Hidimba who preyed on human flesh. Making his home in a huge Sala tree, he possessed great power and might, but his deformed features were hideous, with bright yellow eyes, a gaping mouth with sabre-like teeth, and an insatiable lust for human flesh. Afflicted by hunger, he was roaming the night when he happened to spy from a distance the sleeping Pandavas and their mother. Shaking his head with its harsh and grizzly hairs and scratching it with his fingers pointed upward, the Raksasa opened his great mouth wide and yawned, looking again and again toward the sleeping princes. The wicked giant, who preyed with terrible strength on human flesh, smelled the aroma of human meat and said to his sister, "After a long time, some food has come that I really like. My mouth is watering with relish, and my tongue is licking my lips. Finally I can sink my eight deadly, razor-sharp teeth into these juicy, fleshy bodies. I shall step over these human necks and rip open the jugular veins, and then I shall drink lots of hot, foaming blood. Go and find out who they are, sleeping so confidently in the forest.

"The aroma of human meat is very strong, and it gives me great pleasure. Go kill all those humans and bring me their bodies. You have nothing to fear from them, for they sleep in my domain. We shall very nicely prepare the meat of these humans, and then we shall feast together. Quickly, do what I say!"

Obeying her brother's order, the Raksasi monster, jumping from one tree to another, went swiftly to where the Pandavas slept, O best of the Bharatas. Arriving there, she saw the Pandavas and their mother, Prtha, sleeping on the ground, and she saw the invincible Bhimasena standing guard over them. But when she saw Bhimasena standing as tall and sturdy as the trunk of a Sala tree and incomparably handsome, the Raksasi desired him.

"This dark, handsome man has powerful arms, and shoulders like a lion, and his body seems to glow. His neck is thick and precious like a conchshell, and his eyes are like the petals of a lotus. This man is fit to be my husband! I shall never execute the cruel order of my brother. The love a woman feels for her husband is much stronger than her friendship with a brother. If I kill these people, my brother and I will be satisfied for an hour or so, but if I don't kill them, I shall enjoy forever."

Able to change her body at will, she then took the form of a gorgeous human female, adorned herself with celestial ornaments, and very slowly, like a bashful creeper, approached the mighty-armed Bhimasena. She smiled at him and said, "Where have you come from, noble man, and who are you? Who are the men who sleep here as handsome as gods? And who is this very delicate woman, tan and luminous, who has come here to the forest with you and lies sleeping as securely as if she were in her own house? She doesn't know that the wild jungle is inhabited by Raksasas, and that a most wicked Raksasa named Hidimba dwells in this very place. That evil Raksasa is my brother, and he sent me here because he wants to eat all of your flesh, O divine one. But when I look upon you, who are as handsome as a child of the gods, I desire no one else for my husband. I tell you the truth.

"Now that you know this, please treat me properly. My mind and body desire you, so accept me as I have accepted you. O innocent one, be my husband, and I shall save you from that man-eating Raksasa. Then, O mighty-armed, we shall live together, with the mountains as our citadel. I can fly through space and wander where I will. Come with me, and discover pleasure that you have never known before!

Bhimasena said:

My dear Raksasi, what man would abandon his mother, an older brother, and younger brothers like these when he has the power to protect them? How can a man like me hand over his sleeping brothers and mother as food for the Raksasas and go off pining for romance?

The Raksasi said:

Whatever you like I shall do. Wake them all up, and I shall gladly save all of you from the man-eating Raksasa.

Bhimasena said:

O Raksasi, my brothers and mother are peacefully sleeping in these woods, and I will not wake them all up out of fear of your wicked brother. O timid one, neither Raksasas, humans, Gandharvas, nor Yaksas can withstand my prowess, O lady of lovely eyes. Either go or stay, good woman. Do as you like, or send at once your man-eating brother, my thin beauty.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Noticing that his sister had been gone for a long time, Hidimba, lord of the Raksasas, descended from his tree and went to hunt the Pandavas. His arrogant, bulging eyes were red with rage. His hairs standing on end, the mighty demon stood so tall that his body bruised the clouds. Repeatedly throwing around his mighty arms, he smashed his palm with his fist, and ground together the sharpened fangs that lit up his hideous face.

Seeing that awful monster coming to attack them, his sister Hidimba was terrorstruck and said to Bhimasena, "He's going to attack! He's a wicked man-eater, terribly cruel. You and your brothers must do exactly as I say. I have all the strength of the Raksasas, and I can go anywhere at will. Climb onto my hip, my hero, and I will take you away through the skyways. Please, mighty one! Wake up your sleeping brothers and your mother, and I will take all of you and flee through the celestial sky."

Bhimasena said:

Do not fear, shapely one. He is nothing in my presence. O thin-waisted lady, I shall kill him before your attentive eyes. This degraded Raksasa is no match for me, my timid one. Why, not even all the Raksasas combined can withstand my pressure in battle. Just look at my bulging arms, as wide as elephant trunks, my thighs as tough as iron beams, and my hard, massive chest. Lovely lady, do not insult me by thinking that I am an ordinary human being, for you will see now, shapely one, that I am equal in prowess to Indra.

Hidimba said:

I am not insulting you, O tiger of men, for I see that you are as handsome as a god. But I have also seen the havoc wrought by this Raksasa upon human beings.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, as Bhimasena was thus speaking, the man-eating Raksasa heard his words and flew into a rage. Hidimba then saw that his sister had assumed a human form with a garland atop her head and a face as lustrous as the full moon. Her eyebrows, nose, and hair were all exquisite, her skin and nails most delicate, and she was dressed in very thin garments and adorned with all sorts of jewelry. Seeing her maintaining such a charming human form, the man-eater suspected her of lusting after a man, and this only fanned the fire of his wrath. In full fury the Raksasa bulged out his huge eyes at his sister, O noble Kuru, and rebuked her, "Who is this fool that obstructs me when I'm hungry? Hidimba! Are you so bewildered and deceived that you do not fear my rage? Damn you, shameless woman! Lusting after men! You disgust me, for you bring infamy to all the Raksasa lords who have come before us. Taking the side of these humans, you have unkindly offended me. I shall immediately kill all of them, and I shall kill you too!"

Having spoken thus, Hidimba, his eyes red with rage and furiously gnashing his teeth, rushed upon Hidimba to kill her, but seeing this, mighty Bhima, best of fighters, shouted in a menacing voice, "Halt! Stand right there!"

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Seeing the Raksasa raging at his sister, Bhimasena began to laugh and said to him, "Why should you wake up these people who are sleeping so peacefully? Come and attack me, you stupid man-eater. Hurry up! I've done you no wrong. You are the offender, but at least try your blows on me and don't strike a woman.

"You stupid Raksasa, it is you who are the infamy of your family. This girl is an innocent child, and she could not help desiring me, for she was moved by the god of love who dwells within her body. By your command she came here, and upon seeing my God-given beauty, she immediately desired me. This shy woman does not defile your family. The fault was committed by Cupid, and when I am standing here, you wicked Raksasa, you are not going to strike a woman. Let's come together, man-eater, one on one, and I shall send you now to the abode of Yama, lord of death. Now, Raksasa, I'm going to pound your head into the ground till it shatters, as if it were smashed by the foot of a mighty elephant. Let the vultures and jackals be happy to drag your body on the earth, for this very day I shall slay you in battle. For too long you have defiled this forest, devouring innocent men, but now in one moment I shall free the forest of its painful pest.

"Even though an elephant is as big as a hill, a powerful lions kills it and drags it over the land. So today your sister will see you killed and dragged by me across this earth. When I slay you, O disgrace of the Raksasas, the men who live in this forest will wander its woods free of harassment."

Hidimba said:

What is all your useless roaring and boasting, son of man? First do all that you say and speak with action! Don't go on forever bragging in vain. You think you are strong and invincible, but you will now learn in battle that I am stronger than you. You offend me with your words, you fool, but I promise that I will not slaughter these people sleeping here so happily until I have first slaughtered you. But when I have drunk the blood of your limbs, then I shall slay these others, and I shall murder this woman who dares to disgust me.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having thus spoken, the man-eater grasped his own arms and with terrible fury rushed upon Bhimasena, the slayer of enemies. As the demon rushed upon him, swinging his deadly fist, Bhima, of frightening prowess, swiftly caught and held his arm and laughed at him. As the demon struggled in his mighty grasp, Bhima dragged him eight bowlengths from that spot as easily as a lion drags a petty animal.

Held in the mighty grip of Pandu's son, the furious Raksasa wrapped his arms around Bhimasena and screamed out in a terrifying voice. Again powerful Bhima dragged him on the ground and said, "I don't want this noise to wake up my sleeping brothers."

Bhima wanted to fight, and the two of them attacked and dragged one another with sheer power. Both the Raksasa and Bhima demonstrated extraordinary prowess, as they broke apart giant trees and tore apart the toughest jungle vines as furiously as two maddened bull elephants that have grown mighty for sixty years.

Awakened by the great sound of the battle, the Pandavas and their mother awakened, opened their eyes, and saw the lady Hidimba standing before them.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Awaking and seeing before them the superhuman beauty of Hidimba, the tiger-like Pandavas and their mother Prtha became astonished. Studying her carefully, and amazed by her gorgeous features, Kunti spoke to her in words that were gentle, sweet, and comforting.

"You are as bright as a child of the gods. Who is your guardian, and who are you, fair lady? Where do you come from, shapely woman, and what duty brought you here? Whether you are a venerable deity of this forest or an Apsara goddess, please explain everything to me. How is it that you are standing here before us?"

Hidimba said:

The forest that you are seeing, as vast and luminous as the blue rain-bearing clouds, is the residence of the Raksasa Hidimba, and it is my abode as well. You may know me to be the sister of that Raksasa lord. Noble lady, my brother wanted to kill you and your sons, and therefore he sent me here. I came here on the order of that cruel and wicked demon, but then I saw your powerful son, whose skin is like gold. Cupid moves in the heart of all beings, good woman, and he has put me under the control of your son. I chose your mighty son as my husband, and I tried to take him away, but he would not be controlled by me. Then, knowing that I had been gone for a long time, that man-eater came himself to kill all of your sons. But your intelligent son, who is my beloved, with his strength, stamina, and skill smashed my wicked brother and dragged him away [so the fight wouldn't disturb you]. Look, you can see them there, roaring and tearing at each other, man against Raksasa, both of them full of power and courage.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing her words [and suddenly realizing that their brother Bhima was engaged in mortal combat], Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Nakula, and mighty Sahadeva all jumped to their feet and saw the two fighters clasping and dragging each other like two furious lions in a savage fight for victory. Holding and dragging one another, they raised a dust cloud like the smoke of a forest fire. Covered with earth and dust, they seemed like two mountains, and they shone like two great slopes covered with mountain dew.

As Arjuna watched his brother struggling with the Raksasa, he laughed and whispered to him, "Bhima, don't be afraid, mighty-armed one. We were exhuasted and sleeping soundly, and we didn't know you were fighting with such a ferocious enemy. I'm here to help you, Partha, I shall fight with the Raksasa, and Nakula and Sahadeva will protect Mother."

Bhima said:

Just stay on the sideline and watch. And don't be confused by this exercise. There's no way he's going to live, now that he's come within the reach of my arms.

Arjuna said:

Bhima, why let this sinful Raksasa live so long? We have to leave soon; we can't stay here, O tamer of foes. End this fight before the western horizon turns red and the twilight begins, for in that eerie hour the Raksasas gain tremendous power. Hurry up, Bhima; don't play with him! Kill this horrible Raksasa before he works up his magical powers.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by Arjuna, Bhima threw up the body of the ferocious Raksasa and whirled it around more than a hunred times.

Bhimasena said:

With useless meat you maintained your useless life and grew strong, but with a useless brain. You deserve a useless death! So now you will be useless no more!

Arjuna said:

If you consider the Raksasa to be a burden for you in this fight, then I can help you, but he must be killed instantly. Or I alone shall kill him, Bhima. You have done a good job and you're tired, so it's the right time for you to rest.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing these words from Arjuna, Bhimasena fumed with indignation and pulverized the demon against the hard ground, slaughtering him like a sacrificial animal. As Bhima dealt him death blows, the Raksasa blasted the air with horrible screams that filled the entire forest, echoing like a moist and booming kettledrum. The powerful and beloved son of Pandu then grasped the Raksasa's body firmly in his hands and broke it in half, delighting his anxious brothers.

Seeing that Hidimba was dead, the Pandavas became wildly enthusiastic, and they honored Bhimasena, a tiger among men, who always tamed his foe. Having praised and honored the great soul Bhima of awesome prowess, Arjuna again spoke to him.

"Bless you! I think, my lord, there's a city not far away from this foresy. Let us go there quickly so that Duryodhana does not discover us here." Everyone agreed, saying, "So be it," and those fierce warriors, tigers of men, took their mother and departed, and the Raksasa lady Hidimba went with them.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

The Raksasa's sister, Hidimba, quickly fell at the feet of the Pandavas, and with obeisances to Kunti and the eldest brother, Yudhisthira, she honored all of them and said to Bhimasena, "Just by seeing you, I was captured by Cupid, and rejecting the cruel words of my brother, I took your side instead. And I saw your great feats when you battled the terrible, angry Raksasa. Please! I want to serve you and care for all your needs!"

Bhimasena said:

Raksasas remember their grudges and they resort to bewildering magic to avenge themselves. You are one of them, Hidimba! Go now the way of your brother!

Yudhisthira said:

Bhima, O tiger of men, even when you are angry you cannot kill a woman. Protect the sacred law, Pandava, and don't simply worry about protecting your body. The mighty demon came to kill us, but you cut him down. So what can his sister do to us, even if she is secretly angry?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Folding her hands in a prayerful sign, Hidimba again turned to Kunti, and to Yudhisthira and Arjuna, and pleaded for their help.

"O noble woman, you know how much women suffer when struck by the arrows of Cupid, and now, good woman, that pain has reached my heart because of Bhimasena. I tolerated the greatest sorrow, waiting for the right time, but now my time has come to be truly happy. Giving up my best friends, my duties, and my people, I chose this tiger of a man, your son, as my husband, good lady. Most honored woman, does this chosen man, and do you also, reject my proposal for a wedding because I speak as I do? Whether you consider me a fool or a devoted servant, O fortunate woman, please join me with your son in sacred marriage! Taking your son, who is as handsome as a god, I would go with him wherever we wish, and when my desire has been fulfilled, we shall return. Please have faith in me, fair lady.

"If all of you just think of me, then I shall always come to you in times of trouble, and I will take these best of men across impassable roads. When you desire to travel with great spead, I shall carry all of you on my back. But now, please, give me your mercy so that Bhimasena will accept me.

"It is said, `To escape disaster a man should save his life by whatever means is practical, and one who follows this rule must honor every practical means as his duty. This does not mean, however, that one should resort to evil acts, for even in distress one should maintain one's higher principles. One who knows this is the greatest student of virtue, for calamity often spells the ruin of religious principles and those who practice them. But virtue preserves one's life, and virtue is the giver of life, so whatever means one adopts to preserve one's virtue cannot be condemned.' "

Yudhisthira said:

It is exactly as you said, Hidimba; there's no doubt about it. Religion must be practiced as you've described it, slender lady. Bhimasena shall now take his bath and perform his daily rites, and when he has taken the sacred marriage thread, you may receive him as your husband before the sun has set. You may travel with him during the days as much as your desire, and at the speed of the mind, but you must always bring Bhimasena back to us at night.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hidimba, the Raksasi, then promised, saying, "It shall be so." Taking Bhimasena, she traveled up into the sky and went with her husband to visit beautiful mountain peaks and sanctuaries of the gods, enchanting abodes always busy with the sounds of deer and birds. Assuming the most beautiful feminine form, adorning herself with all manner of exquisite jewelry, and conversing very sweetly, she gave pleasure in all these places to the son of Pandu.

Similarly, in inaccessible forests and on hilltops filled with flowering trees, in charming lakes bedecked with blossoming lotus flowers;on river islands and beaches where the sand was made of gems; in the waters of the holiest forests; in the mountain rivers; in the lands of the ocean, filled with jewels and gold; strolling through charming villages; and in forests of giant Sala trees; in the sacred groves of the gods; on the mountain cliffs; in the abodes of the mystic Guhyakas; in the shrines of the ascetics; on the banks of the celestial Manasa lake, which abound in the fruits and flowers of all seasons--in all these places Hidimba maintained a most beautiful form and delighted the Pandava.

Giving pleasure to Bhima in all these places, going from one to the other at the speed of the mind, the Raksasi eventually gave birth to Bhimasena's mighty son. With his crooked eyes, great mouth, and conchlike ears, the boy was frightening to behold. His form was bhima, awesome, his lips bright copper-red, his fanglike teeth very sharp, and his power great. He was a great archer, a great hero with great stamina and strength in his arms. He had great speed, a huge body, and great mystic power, and he could easily subdue his enemies. He had superhuman speed and strength, though apparently born from a human father, and he surpassed all the witches and warlocks in mystic power, as well as all the human beings.

Although Hidimba had transformed her body into a beautiful feminine form, she was in fact a Raksasi, and thus her son bore her own original features. Though an infant , this mighty hero quickly assumed the features of a human adolescent, O king, and attained pre-eminent skill with all weapons.

Raksasa women give birth to their children on the same day they conceive. They can assume any form at will, and they do in fact appear in many forms.

The hairless child respectfully took his father's feet, and then the mighty young archer reverently touched the feet of his mother. The two parents next gave their child a name. "His bald head is as bright as a pot," said Bhima to the boy's motherrs20up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn ghata-bhasa-utkaca, hence ghata-utkaca, or ghatotkaca. and thus the boy's name forever after was Ghatotkaca. Ghatotkaca was always devoted to his uncles, the Pandavas, and they always held him dear, for he was ever faithful to them, seeing always their interest.

"We agreed to live together until our son was born, and that agreement has now expired," said Hidimba to her husband. Making another covenant with Bhima, she went upon her way. Ghatotkaca then promised that whenever he was needed, he would come to serve his father and uncles. Taking his leave, that best of the Raksasa race departed toward the north. Lord Indra himself had arranged the birth of this powerful child who in the future would cause the destruction of the exalted and invincible Karna.


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Sri Vaisampayana said:

O king, those maharatha heroes journeyed quickly from one forest to another, hunting many deer. Traveling through the kingdoms of the Matsyas, the Tri-gartas, the Pancalas, and the Kicakas, they observed enchanting regions full of woods and lakes. The Pandavas assumed the appearence of ascetics, braiding their matted hair and garbing themselves with tree bark and deerskin, and Kunti did the same. At times they traveled hurriedly, carrying their mother, and at times they moved completely at their leisure. By studying the Brahmana portion of the Vedas, all the Vedic supplements, and the moral treatise known as Niti-sastra, they became knowers of the sacred law.

They met on the way their grandfather, the great soul Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasa. All the mighty Pandavas and their mother respectfully greeted him and stood with hands folded in veneration.

Srila Vyasa said:

I already knew within my mind, O noble Bharatas, how you were driven from your home by the sons of Dhrtarastra, who are set in their irreligious ways. Knowing that, I came, for I desire to do the greatest good for you. You should not be discouraged, for all this will eventually lead to your true happiness. Without doubt all of you boys [the Kurus and the Pandavas] are equal to me, but when a child is suffering or very young, the relatives show him special affection. Therefore I now have greater affection for you Pandavas, and because of that affection I desire to act for your good, so listen now. Close by is a lovely city where you will have no trouble. Live there in disguise and wait for my return.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus encouraging the sons of Prtha, those tamers of foes, Vyasa went directly with them to the city, which was called Ekacakra, and along the way the lord encouraged his daughter-in-law Kunti.

"Push on with your life, my daughter, for your child Yudhisthira is the son of Justice, and he will rule over all the kings of the earth as the king of justice! He knows the sacred law, and he is naturally the world's leader. He will conquer the whole earth by his virtue, and by the strength of Bhimasena and Arjuna he will enjoy unrivaled sovereignity. Your sons and those of Madri are all maharathas, warriors of the highest caliber, and one day with their minds at peace they will delight and find happiness in their own kingdom. Having conquered the earth, these tigers of men will offer sacrifice to the Supreme Lord through the Raja-suya, the Asvamedha, and other celebrated rites, in all of which abundant charity will be distributed. Your sons will rule and enjoy the kingdom of their father and forefathers, and they will show great kindness to their loving friends, granting them wealth and happiness."

Having thus spoken, and settling them in the house of a brahmana, the sage Vyasa then said to Yudhisthira, the greatest of earthly monarchs, "You must all wait for me here, for I shall come again. By understanding the place and time, all of you will know the greatest joy."

O king, the Pandavas and their mother stood with folded hands and said to the sage, "So be it!" Then that incarnation of Godhead Srila Vyasa, that lord and saint, went to another place by his own infallible will.

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King Janamejaya said:

Those great warriors, the sons of Kunti, went to Ekacakra. But what did the Pandavas do after that, O best of brahmanas?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Those great warriors, the sons of Kunti, did go to Ekacakra, but they did not spend much time within the brahmana's house, for disguised as humble ascetics, they went out begging, and as they went about collecting alms, O king, they would see the charming varieties of forests, the fascinating geological regions, and the rivers and lakes of that country. By their excellent character and qualities, the Pandavas became a very agreeable sight for the people of the city.

Every night they would deliver their alms to Kunti, and each son would enjoy what she set aside for him. Four heroic brothers and Kunti herself would eat half of the food collected by begging, and mighty Bhima would eat the other half. As those great souls thus spent their days there, O mighty Bharata king, a long time passed.

One day, when the Bharata princes had gone out begging and Bhimasena had stayed behind to keep company with his mother, Kunti heard a terrible cry of grief sounding throughout the brahmana's house. My dear Bharata king, Kunti was a very merciful person, a godly woman with the mind of a saint, and when she heard the brahmana and his family wailing in anguish, she could not bear it. Her heart suddenly churning with sorrow, the gentle lady called her son Bhima and said to him in a voice filled with kindness, "My son, we are living very happily in the house of the brahmana; we live as honored guests, without any strife, and completely hidden from the sons of Dhrtarastra. I am always thinking, son, whether I could not possibly do something to please the brahmana, for when people live happily as guests in another's home, it is normal to offer something to the host. After all, a person's character is measured by his gratitude. When kindness is shown to a gentleman, he never forgets it, and he feels that he must do even more in return. It is quite clear that some tragedy has befallen this brahmana, and if I can help him in his crisis, I will have done a good deed.

Bhima said:

We must find out what grief has arisen for this brahmana. Once we know it, I am determined to help him, even if it be a most difficult task.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O lord of men, as the two of them went on talking, they again heard a cry of anguish coming from the brahmana and his wife. Thereupon, Kunti rushed into the inner quarters of the noble brahmana like a merciful cow whose calf has been trapped. There she saw the brahmana with his wife, son, and daughter, but his face was transformed in grief.

The brahmana said:

What a curse, to be born in a world where our dreams go unfulfilled and instead we suffer a pain that burns like fire; we depend on others and take the deepest sorrow as our lot. To be alive is the greatest grief; to be alive is the hottest fever; to be alive and working in this world surely means to choose among conflicting delusions. Even if a person lives alone and does not worry about worldly piety, prosperity, and bodily pleasure, nonetheless a life without these things is considered the greatest misery. Some people say that salvation is the greatest thing, but I have no hope that I will achieve it. And if a person acquires ordinary wealth, all hell besets him. To be greedy for wealth is the worst misery, and if one actually acquires wealth, he suffers even more. And one who falls in love with his money suffers the greatest pain of all when he inevitably parts with it. In any case, I see no way to save myself from this disaster unless I flee to a safe place with my wife and children.

You know very well, brahmana lady, that in the past I tried to get you to leave for your own good, but you did not listen to me. No matter how many times I begged you, foolish woman, all you could say was, "I was born and raised here, and my father was born and raised here." But your old father and mother went to heaven a long time ago, and so did your other seniors, relatives, and friends. So what pleasure is there in living here? You were so attached to your relatives that you did not listen to my words, and now your own family must perish, and I cannot stand the pain. The only solution is that I perish. I cannot bear to lose any one of my own family and go on living myself like a cruel and heartless man.

I have always practiced religion together with my wife, and she is like a mother to me, always restrained, a true friend arranged by the gods who has always helped me more than anyone in my life's progress. She was ordained for me by my venerable father and mother, and she has shared with me from the beginning all the duties and burdens of married people. My dear wife, you are an educated woman from a noble family, the mother of my children, and having accepted you in accordance with all our customs and wed you in sacred marriage with the chanting of mantras, how can I now sacrifice you, a saintly and faultless wife who is ever faithful, simply to save my own life?

And how could I ever bring myself to sacrifice my beloved daughter, who is still a child, who has not even reached her full youth or developed the mature signs of womanhood. The exalted creator of this world has placed her in my care on behalf of her future husband. I aspire for higher planets where dwell my forefathers dwell, but I can only achieve them through the goodness and piety of my daughter's son. And having brought her into this world, how could I dare abandon her?

Some men think that a father has greater affection for his son than for his daughter, but my love is the same for both my children. On the son rests one's hopes for higher worlds, family lineage, and eternal happiness, but my daughter is an innocent child. How could I dare abandon her? If I did that, I would be rejecting my own soul, and I would suffer in the tenebrous worlds of fallen spirits. And yet if I leave them behind, it is clear that they also will not have the strength to live. To sacrifice any one of them would be an act of cruelty, condemned by the wise, yet if I sacrifice myself, they will all die without me.

I have fallen into such anguish, and I have no power to escape it. O damn! What will happen to me and my family? To die with all of them is best, for I can no more endure this life.

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The brahmana's wife said:

You should never lament like that, as if you were an ordinary man. You are a brahmana, learned in the spiritual science, and under no circumstance should you lament like that. Destruction of the material body is inevitable, for all men must die. There should be no lamentation for that which is bound to perish. Ultimately, a man cherishes all his possessions--- his wife, son, and daughter--- for his own satisfaction. The soul itself is eternal and dependent only on God. Therefore give up your anxiety through perfect spiritual knowledge, for I am determined that I myself shall go to that place. Since time began, the supreme duty for a woman in this world is to do what is best for her faithful husband, even at the cost of her life. Therefore by performing such an act, I shall bring you happiness, and I shall gain undying glory both in this world and the next.

I shall now declare to you the religious principles that must guide our present actions, for they will clearly increase your prosperity and virtue: you have now fulfilled with me the purpose for which a man seeks a wife. I have given you a good daughter and a son, and therefore I have no further debt to you. You are capable of nourishing and protecting our two children. I cannot nourish and protect them as well as you. Without you, I would simply suffer, unable to satisfy the needs of the family. How would the two young children survive, and how would I live? Without you, I shall be an unprotected widow with two small children. How will I give a good life to my children and keep myself on the path of righteousness?

How will I be able to protect our daughter when she is pursued by proud and indecent men who are unworthy of marriage with our family? Just as birds eagerly chase a piece of meat that is thrown on the ground, so do all men pursue and exploit a woman who has no strong man to protect her. O best of brahmanas, I will be disturbed by wicked men who will come lusting after me, and I will not have the power to stay on the godly path that is so revered by the decent.

If you do not see to her religious education, how will I have the energy or authority to keep this young girl, your only daughter, on the path of her father and forefathers? How will I have the strength to instill good and necessary qualities in this young boy when he is fatherless and exploited all around? How will I teach him to care about religion as you do? Unworthy men will push me aside and go after your unprotected daughter, like the uncultured men who seek to force their way into the spiritual science. And if I don't want to give them this virgin girl, who is endowed with all your fine qualities, they will grow violent with me and take her by force, as crows steal clarified butter from the arena of sacrifice.

When I am forced to see your son grow up unlike his father, and your daughter fallen into the hands of unworthy men, and when I am thus despised by the people, and I forget my own soul in the company of polluted men, then I shall undoubtedly die. My two young children will have already lost their father, and when they lose their mother, there is no question but that they will perish, like two fish in a lake gone dry. Bereft of you, the three of us will thus perish without a doubt. Therefore, it is I whom you must sacrifice. O brahmana, for women it is the highest felicity and the noblest act to make the final journey before their husband, not to let the husband die and then try to take his place in their children's life. I am prepared to give up my son, my daughter, and all my relatives, because I live only for your sake. To live always for the good of her husband is far better for a woman than the practice of sacrificial rites, austerities, religious formulas, and all kinds of charity. That which I desire to do is a religious act, fully approved by the Supreme and, [considering the situation,] it is certainly desirable and beneficial for you and for our family.

The sages know that a man wants children, property, and loving friends to free himself from trouble and woe, and he wants a wife for the same reason. Putting the whole family on one side and you on the other, all of us are not equal to you. That would certainly be the decision of rational people, even though you have done so much for the family. Do with me what must be done, and act yourself to save yourself. Grant me leave, O noble one, and take good care of our two children.

In any case, knowers of law say that the law definitely forbids the killing of women. They say that even Raksasas know these laws, and so he probably won't even kill me. Men will undoubtedly be killed, but the killing of women is doubtful. Therefore, you who know the law should send me there. I have enjoyed my life, for I have received much love, and I have practiced virtue in my life. Now, having borne loving children by you, losing my life will give me no pain. I have had my children, and I am getting older. I only want your happiness. I have studied the whole situation and made my decision. Though losing me, noble man, you will find another woman, and your religious duties [as a husband and father] will again be firmly established. My gentle husband, it is not irreligious for men to take many wives, but it is most irreligious for women to betray their first husband. If you study the whole situation, you will see how abominable it is for you to sacrifice yourself. Rather, through me you must save yourself, your family, and our two children.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the husband was thus addressed by his wife, he tightly embraced her, O Bharata, and they silently shed tears in deep anguish.

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Sri Vaisampayana said:

Listening to the words of her parents, who were grieving beyond measure, their young daughter felt her entire body siezed by that same grief, and she said to them, "How is it that you are both so griefstricken that you wail as if there were no one to help you? I have something to say, so please listen, and then kindly do as I ask. According to our religious laws, it is I whom you must surrender. Surrender me, who without doubt am to be given up here, and thus by one, me, all will be saved. After all, when parents have children they think, `My child will save me one day.' That time has now come, and you two must save yourselves with my help, for I am like a boat that will take you across the ocean of grief. Both in this world and in the next, a child is meant to save the family from the troubles of life, and that is why the wise have named the child putra. That is why grandparents always long to have children from their daughters. Now I will personally deliver my forefathers by saving the life of my father. My brother is just a child, and if you go the next world, father, he will perish in a short time without doubt. Certainly if father goes to heaven, my little brother will perish. The sacred offerings to the forefathers will be cut off, and that will create much suffering for them. If I am left without my father and mother and brother, then I shall go from misery to greater misery, and I would then die in a most unnatural way.

"If you, father, along with my mother and baby brother, are free and healthy, then our family line and the offerings to the ancestors will undoubtedly go on nicely. A son is the father's very soul, and a wife is his best friend, but a daughter is simply trouble for her father. Free yourself from this trouble, and engage me according to our religious laws. Otherwise, if I am deprived of my father, then wherever I go, an unprotected and wretched young girl, I shall only find misery. Either I shall set our family free (and by executing such a difficult duty my end will be beneficial to all), or else, dear father, best of brahmanas, you will pass away, leaving me behind, and I shall become a miserable creature. Therefore you must consider me too.

"Thus for my sake, for religion's sake, and for the family's sake, noble man, sacrifice me and protect yourself, for it is I who should be given up. In the matter of an unavoidable duty, the Lord will not punish you, and the greatest good will come to me from the sacred water offered by your hand to a departed daughter.

"What could be more miserable than for you to go to heaven, father, so that we are left to run around like dogs, begging food from others? Rather when you and the family are freed from this trouble and are all healthy and strong, then I shall dwell in the immortal world, and my heart will be filled with joy."

Hearing many such entreaties from the young girl, the father and mother, and the girl herself, all wailed and wept. Then, hearing all his family crying, the brahmana's tiny son opened his eyes wide, and the child spoke out in the broken, unclear speech of the very young.

"Daddy, don't cry; don't, mother! Don't you, sister!" and laughing, he went up to each of them one by one. He then took a straw in his hand and again spoke in a joyful tone, "I'll kill the man-eating Raksasa with this!"

In spite of the misery that filled their hearts, upon hearing the mumbling speech of the little boy a great joy arose among them. "Now is the time," Kunti realized, and she went to them, who were almost dead with grief, and brought them back to life with words that were like the immortal nectar.

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Kunti Devi said:

What is the cause of all this suffering? I want to know the facts, and once I understand the situation, if there is any way to drive away your grief I shall do it.

The brahmana said:

O ascetic woman, the words you speak are to be expected from holy persons like you, but I must tell you that no human being can dispell our grief. Close to this city dwells a mighty Raksasa named Baka, and he rules the city and all the countryside. He is an evil-minded man-eater.

That powerful and demonic Raksasa king protects the city, countryside, and the entire state; indeed, it is because of him that we have no fear of other kings or creatures.

But he has established a price for his protection: we must provide him a wagon-load of rice, two buffaloes, and the person who delivers it to him. One by one, each person offers him his food, and when a person's turn comes, after many years, it is not at all easy to escape. Whenever a man tries to get free of this atrocious duty, the Raksasa kills him with his wife and children and immediately eats them. Our official king lives in Vetrakiya, but he has no plan whereby we might live in peace, forever free of this demon.

Actually, we deserve our fate, for we have chosen to live in the domain of a weakling king. We are always in anxiety, for we have chosen the shelter of a bad king. After all, who can tell the brahmanas what they must do? The brahmanas have their own mind; they are not subservient to anyone's will. With all their saintly qualities, they blow about like the wind and go where they will like the birds.

It is said that one should first find a good king, and after that a wife, and then one should seek one's fortune. One who gathers these three necessities will be able to maintain his relatives and children. Unfortunately, I acquired all this, but in the wrong order, and now having fallen into the terrible calamity we are all suffering. You see, our turn has come and it will destroy this family, for I must now pay the price of the demon's food by providing one human being. I could never raise enough money to purchase a man who would sacrifice his own life to enrich his family. And I could never bring myself to sacrifice one of my friends. I see no way to get free from the Raksasa. I have sunk into the great ocean of grief, and it is very, very difficult to escape. I shall go with all of my family to meet that Raksasa, and that hungry monster will consume all of us together.

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Kunti Devi said:

You should in no way be depressed over this danger, for there is clearly a means to get free from the Raksasa. You have one little son and a saintly virgin daughter. I don't think that you or the children or your wife should go. I have five sons, brahmana, and one of them will take the offering on your behalf and go to the sinful Raksasa.

The brahmana said:

Though I wish to live, I shall absolutely not do that. When a brahmana is a guest in my home, I will never take his life to serve my own interest. Even among the most low-born and irreligious women, there is no such rule that a woman is to sacrifice herself and her son for a brahmana. I should know what is best for me, so it seems, and between murdering a brahmana and killing myself, it is better that I take my own life. Killing a brahmana is the greatest sin, and there is no atoning for such an act, even if committed unknowingly, so it is best that I take my own life. I do not desire to be killed, good woman, but if I am killed by others, I am guilty of no sin. Were I to intentionally cause a brahmana's death, I see no means of atonement for such a shameless act of cruelty. In just the same way, to sacrifice a person who has come to my home seeking shelter, to cause the death of one who is begging me for charity, I consider to be the supreme cruelty. In ancient times the great souls who understood religious duties in times of trouble stated that one must never perform an abominable act or an act of cruelty. It is better that I myself perish with my wife, for I shall never allow the killing of a brahmana under any circumstances.

Kunti Devi said:

Learned brahmana, my mind will not move from my conviction that sages such as you must be protected. Nor is it that I don't love my own son. Even if I had a hunred sons, I would dearly love every one of them. The simple fact is that the Raksasa does not have the power to kill my son. My son has perfected the art of mantras. He is powerful and can burn like fire. My mind is convinced that he will deliver all the food to the Raksasa, and then he will free himself. We have already seen many strong and giant Raksasas do battle with my heroic son, and every one of them was killed. But this is not to be spoken to anyone, no matter what, O brahmana, for surely people would desire to get this knowledge, and out of curiosity they would harass my sons. And without the permission of his guru, even if my son were to teach his knowledge to another the science would not perform its function. That is the opinion of the saintly sages.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

At these words of Kunti, the brahmana and his wife joyfully welcomed her proposal, which seemed to them like the life-giving nectar of the gods. Thereupon, Kunti and the brahmana went and spoke to Bhima, telling him that he must execute this task. He agreed and said, "So be it."

AP 150

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, after Bhima had given his word, saying, "I will do it!" all the other Pandavas returned home, bringing the alms they had gathered. Yudhisthira, son of Pandu, knew his brother well, and he could see from Bhima's appearence that something was happening. Sitting down with his mother in private, he asked her, "What is Bhima about to do, with all his awesome prowess? Has he received permission for something he desires to do here?

Kunti Devi said:

Yes, on my order Bhima, a burner of the foe, will perform a great task to help the brahmana and set the city free.

Yudhisthira Maharaja [understanding the task] said:

What is this rash enthusiasm that has led you to such a thoughtless act? The saintly do not recommend that a mother sacrifice her own son. Why do you want to give up your own son for the sake of someone else's son? By sacrificing your son, you have violated the moral codes of this world. By depending on his two arms, we all sleep peacefully at night, and we shall take back our kingdom, which was stolen from us by wicked cousins. Such is Bhima's immeasureable strength and courage that just by thinking about him, Duryodhana and Sakuni cannot lie down peacefully in their many mansions. By the strength of that mighty hero, we were saved from the house of lac and from other wicked men, and he is the one slew Purocana. Because we depend upon his strength, we are confident that we shall cut down the sons of Dhrtarastra and regain our rightful rule over this most abundant earth. What were you thinking of that convinced you to abandon him? Could it not be that your intelligence was overcome by your many troubles and you lost your discrimination?

Kunti Devi said:

Yudhisthira, you need not lament for Bhima, nor did I reach my decision because of weak intelligence. Here in this brahmana's house we have been living very happily, my son, and I have correctly concluded, my child, that we must do something for him in return. After all, a man is measured by his gratitude, that whatever is done for him is not forgotten. Having seen Bhima's great prowess in the house of lac and in the killing of Hidimba, I now have full confidence in him. The great power in Bhima's arms is equal to the strength of thousands of elephants, and by that strength all of you, who are yourselves like elephants, were carried out of Varanavata. There is no one with the strength of Bhima, nor will there be. Why, he could stand up in battle to thunder-wielding Indra, who is the best of the gods. Long ago, just a few days after his birth, he fell from my lap onto the hillside, and so strong was his body that his limbs pulverized the mountain stone.

With proper intelligence, I recalled the actual strength of Bhima, and I made up my mind, Pandava, to repay our debt to the learned brahmana. This decision is not a result of greed or ignorance, nor does it proceed from delusion. With careful thought I have determined our duty. There will be two purposes acomplished: we shall repay our stay in this house, and we shall perform an act of great piety. I have heard from authorities that a warrior who helps a brahmana in his hour of need attains to the planets where the pious dwell. A warrior who saves another warrior from death achieves widespread glory in this world and in the next. A warrior who helps a merchant in battle will certainly gain popularity among the citizens of every country. And a king who saves a laborer who has come to him begging for shelter will take birth in this world in a wealthy family that is honored by the government.

Vyasadeva, the incarnation of Godhead, has already declared this, O Kaurava son, and he is extremely wise. Therefore, this is the desireable course of action.

Yudhisthira Maharaja said:

You acted, mother, out of compassion for a suffering brahmana, and I see now that your plan is proper and well-conceived. Bhima will surely slay that man-eater and return to us. But we must seriously advise and restrain the brahmana so that the residents of the city do not discover us.

AP 151

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the night had passed, the Pandava Bhimasena gathered the food and went to where the man-eater was waiting. Approaching the Raksasa's forest, the powerful Pandava called out his name, inviting him to come and eat the food. Thereupon the Raksasa, hearing Bhimasena's words, came in a fit of rage to where Bhima was stationed. His body was huge, and he seemed to shatter the earth as he came at great speed. He tightened his eyebrows, which stood up like tridents, and he chewed horribly on his lips.

[Waiting for the demon, Bhima himself began to eat the food.] Seeing that Bhimasena was eating food meant for him, the Raksasa opened his eyes wide and angrily said, "Who is this stupid man who eats food sent for me before my very eyes? He must be eager to visit the lord of death!"

Hearing this, Bhima simply laughed, O Bharata, and rudely ignoring the Raksasa, he looked away and continued to eat. Then with a heart-stopping scream, the man-eater raised his hands and rushed to kill Bhimasena. But the mighty Pandava warrior again showed his contempt for the Raksasa, for without even looking up he continued to eat the food. Wild with indignation, the Raksasa stood behind Kunti's son and slammed him in the back with both fists. When Bhima was thus severely struck by the powerful demon, he did not even glance at the Raksasa and he went on eating his meal.

Newly enraged, the mighty Raksasa uprooted a tree, and again rushed upon Bhima, smashing him with this weapon. Bhima had gradually finished his meal, and washing his hands and mouth with water, that best of men stood up with all his enormous power, overjoyed at the opportunity to fight. As the tree was furiously hurled at him, powerful Bhima simply grabbed it and held it with his left hand and laughed loudly, O Bharata. Thereupon the demon pulled many kinds of trees out of the earth and hurled them at Bhima, who hurled them back at the Raksasa. Thus a terrifying fight with trees arose between Baka and the Pandava, O king, and all the forest trees were ruined.

Proudly shouting his own name, Baka then rushed up to mighty Bhima and siezed him with his arms. Bhimasena then wrapped his own huge arms about the Raksasa, and as demon writhed mightily in his grip, powerful Bhima dragged him about. Being hauled around by Bhima, and dragging him in turn, the man-eater was afflicted by intense fatigue. By the great power of the two fighters, the very earth shook. Battling their way through the forest, they pulverized gigantic trees.

Seeing clearly that the Raksasa was coming to the end of his endurance, Vrkodara slammed him against the ground and pounded him with his fists. Then with his knee Bhima pushed hard on the demon's back, holding his neck with his right hand and siezing his waist cloth with his left. As the demon screamed and bellowed in horrible anguish, Bhima broke him in two. As the horrible monster was being cracked apart, blood flowed from his mouth.

AP 152

Sri Vaisampayana continued:

Terrified by the sound, the Raksasa's loyal followers rushed out of their homes, O king, accompanied by their servants. The powerful Bhima calmed them down, for they were practically fainting with fright. That best of fighters then made them agree to the following treaty: "You Raksasas are never again to commit violence against human beings. Those who commit violence will immediately be killed in the same way as Baka."

O Bharata, when the Raksasas heard this command they replied, "So be it!" and accepted the terms of the treaty. From that time on, O Bharata, the Raksasas of that country became peaceful and could be seen moving about the city along with the humans who dwelled there.

Thereafter, Bhima took the lifeless body of the man-eater and threw it down by the city gate and departed without being seen. Having killed the demon and returned to the house of the brahmana, Bhima explained to King Yudhisthira all that had happened.

At daybreak, when the people began to walk outside the city gates, they beheld the Raksasa lying dead on the ground, ripped asunder, blood still oozing from his body, which resembled a mountain summit. Seeing the frightful scene, they went back into the city of Ekacakra and reported the news. Then, O king, the men of the city came there by the thousands with their wives, elders, and young children to see the slain Baka. They were all astonished at this superhuman deed, and everyone offered prayers and worship to their deities. The citizens calculated whose turn it had been that day to feed the demon and approaching the brahmana inquired from him about the awesome event.

Although questioned repeatedly, the brahmana protected the Pandavas. The best of sages declared to all the townspeople, "When ordered to feed the demon, I was weeping with my family when a very mighty brahmana with perfect knowledge of mantras saw me in that pitiable state. He first inquired about the cause of my suffering and then about the misfortune of our city, and laughing as if to encourage me that most noble brahmana bravely declared, `I shall deliver this food to the evil Baka! Do not fear for my sake.' He took the food and went toward Baka's forest. Clearly it was that saint who accomplished this feat for the good of the world."

At this, all the brahmanas and ksatriya princes were quite amazed, and together with the merchants and workers they joyfully celebrated a festival in honor of the brahmanas. Soon after, all the countryfolk came to the city to see the great wonder and the sons of Prtha continued to dwell in the very same place.

AP 153

King Janamejaya said:

The Pandavas were truly tigers among men. After the slaying of Baka the Raksasa, O brahmana, what did they do next?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having slain Baka the Raksasa, they continued to dwell in the same place, studying the Absolute Truth in the house of the learned brahmana. After some days had passed, another brahmana, strict in his religious vows, came to the brahmana's house to seek lodging. Having vowed to receive all guests whom God sent to his home, the learned brahmana, a leader of his community, gave full honor to the visiting sage and offered him shelter in his home.

The wandering holy man began to tell many stories, and all the noble Pandavas and Kunti worshiped him and sat down to hear. He then talked about various countries, describing their holy places, the deeds of their kings, and the diverse features of their capital cities. And as he finished his tale, Janamejaya, the learned man mentioned that in the Pancala country the beautiful princess Draupadi would be holding a most extraordinary svayamvara to choose her husband.

He also described the unusual birth of Dhrstadyumna and Sikhandi, and mentioned how Draupadi, the daughter of King Drupada, was born from a great sacrifice, without passing through a mother's womb. Hearing the saintly one tell this most amazing news of world events, those noble men urged the sage to tell the stories again in detail.

"How did these wonderful events take place, that Drupada's son Dhrstadyumna took birth from the flames of a sacred fire, and his sister Draupadi arose from the middle of a sacrificial altar? How did Dhrstadyumna then learn all the weapons from the great archer Drona, and how could two loving friends like Drona and Drupada become enemies? Who caused their friendship to break?"

My dear king, when the exalted Pandavas had thus urged him to speak, the sage began by explaining all about the birth of Princess Draupadi.

AP 154

The brahmana said:

Near the gateway of the Ganges [where the sacred river begins her earthly course], there lived a mighty saint and ascetic named Bharadvaja who was most learned and faithful to his religious vows. Once when he had come to the Ganges to bathe, he saw the chaste Apsara Ghrtaci, who had come there first and had just taken her bath. Just then, as she stood on the river bank the wind came and stole away her clothes. Seeing her without any covering, the sage could not help but desire her. Though he had carefully practiced celibacy since childhood, his mind was now entangled in the goddess, and in his excitement semen spilled from his body. The sage placed his seed in a pot, and thereafter Drona took birth from that pot as the son of the sage, and the child thoroughly studied the Vedas with all their branches.

Bharadvaja had a friend named Prsata, a king who had a son named Drupada. Young Drupada would always go to the sage's retreat and the powerful prince played and studied with Drona as his companion. Then Prsta passed away and Drupada became king. Drona heard that Lord Parasurama had retired to the forest and desired to give all his wealth to the brahmanas. So the son of Bharadvaja went to him and said, "O noble twice-born, I am Drona, and you may know that I have come in need of money."

Lord Parasurama said:

All that is left to me now is my own body and my weapons, so you may select, brahmana, either my body or my weapons.

Sri Drona said:

Sir, it is best that you give me all of your weapons and the technology to engage and withdraw them.

The brahmana [continued speaking to the Pandavas]:

Lord Parasurama, born in the Bhrgu dynasty, agreed to this request and presented all his weapons to Drona, who accepted them and thus became a successful man. Drona was jubilant, for he received from Parasurama the most highly regarded of all weapons, the brahmastra. He now excelled mankind. With his fierce new power, the son of Bharadvaja was a tiger among men, and approaching King Drupada he said, "I am your old friend."

King Drupada said:

An uneducated man cannot be a friend to a learned man, nor a chariot-less man to a chariot warrior, nor a non-king to a king. What need is there for a friend of the past?

The brahmana continued:

The intelligent Drona then and there made up his mind to sieze the kingdom of Pancala, and he went directly to Hastinapura, the capital of the Kuru chiefs. The Kuru grandsire Bhisma gathered up his grandsons and presented them to the learned Drona to be his students, and he also awarded the professor all kinds of wealth. Determined to make Drupada suffer for his offense, the expert Drona then assembled all his students said to them, "When students have learned their weapons, they owe a debt to their teacher, which must be paid. There is something I desire that turns strongly in my heart, and you, my innocent boys, must promise me that when you have learned your weapons you will give me what I desire."

Later, when the all the Pandavas had mastered their weapons through diligent practice, Drona again brought up the debt to the teacher and said: "The son of Prsata is a monarch named Drupada, who lives in the city of Chatravati.up6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn Also known as Ahicchattra.

rs20 You must immediately take away his kingdom and offer it to me."

The five sons of Pandu then defeated Drupada in battle, arrested him, and brought him with his ministers before Drona.

Sri Drona said:

Once again, O ruler of men, I request your friendship. A non-king is not fit to be the friend of a king. Therefore, Yajnasena, I strove to capture your kindom so that we could in fact be friends. You will be king of all the land to the south of the Bhagirathi River, and I shall rule the land to the north.

The brahmana said:

That great insult, though spoken in a minute's time, never left the king's heart, and he grew morose and thin.

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