viernes, 9 de julio de 2010

Virata Parva

Contenido - Contents

Rohan Shanti Shukla - Khumb Mela Of Maya Nagri Haridwar 2010

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Narration | Translation

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

18 svargaarohaNaparva.n

Virata Parva - Chapter One - Plans for the Thirteenth Year

It was now the beginning of the thirteenth year of their exile, and the Pandavas had to choose some place of residence where they would not be discovered. Yudhisthira inquired from Arjuna about any country where they might reside for the last year of exile. Arjuna replied, "There are many beautiful places to choose from. I can suggest Panchala, Chedi, Matsya, Dvaraka, Shalva, Avanti, Kalinga and Videha. Out of all of these, I suggest the kingdom of the Matsyas. The monarch there is Virata, who is a virtuous King, powerful and liked by all. Of course, there are many other cities that are also suitable, but I think that city is the only place where we will not be discovered."

Yudhisthira replied, "I agree with this proposal that we go to the kingdom of Virata for our thirteenth year."

"O god among men," Arjuna inquired, "what service will you perform in Virata's kingdom having lived all these years as a king?"

"O sons of the Kuru race," Yudhisthira replied "listen to what service I will perform in Virata's kingdom. Presenting myself as a brahmana, Kanka by name, I shall become the advisor of the King. Expert in dice and chess, I shall entertain the King and his followers. Bhima, how will you disguise yourself from the spies of Duryodhana?"

"I intend to present myself before the King as a cook," Bhima replied, "bearing the name Vallabha. I will profess that I am skilled in the culinary art, and I shall prepare very delicious food for the King. For the king's pleasure I shall wrestle with elephants and strong men alike. I will tell the King that formerly I was the wrestler and cook for King Yudhisthira. Thus, O King, I shall maintain myself."

"O Partha," Yudhisthira inquired, "how will you disguise yourself upon entering the kingdom of Virata?"

"O lord of the earth," Arjuna replied, "I shall declare in front of the King that I am a eunuch, one of the neuter sex. In order to hide the bow marks on my arms, I shall wear bangles. I will decorate my ears with brilliant rings and braid my hair down my back. I shall, O King, appear as one of the third sex, Brihannala by name. I shall also instruct the women of Virata's palace in singing and delightful styles of dancing. I will tell the King I lived as a maidservant to Draupadi, the queen of the Pandavas."

"O heroic Nakula," Yudhisthira inquired, "you are deserving of every luxury. What position will you assume while living in Virata's kingdom?"

"Under the name Granthika," Nakula replied, "I shall become the keeper of Virata's horses. I have thorough knowledge of this art, and I am skillful in tending horses. O bull of the Bharata race, I will tell the King that formerly I was employed by Yudhisthira in taking care of the horses in his stables."

Yudhisthira then questioned Sahadeva, "How, O Sahadeva, will you keep yourself hidden in the kingdom of Virata for this last year of exile?"

"I will take care of the King's cows," Sahadeva replied. "I am skilled in milking cows, how to tame them, and take their history. No one will be able to recognize me, and I will be very pleasing to the King. I will go by the name Tantripal."

Yudhisthira then turned to his queen and inquired, "O dearest Draupadi, how will you be able to hide your beauty for this period of one year. You have only known garlands, perfumes and the finest clothing. How will you disguise yourself in this last year of our exile?"

"I will present myself before the queen as a maidservant," Draupadi replied, "and my name will be Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. I shall serve Sudeshna, the King's favorite wife, and thus I shall pass my days in concealment."

"Let those who are with us," Yudhisthira ordered, "the brahmanas, the
maidservants, the charioteers with the chariots, and the cooks go to Drupada's
kingdom and inform him, 'We have been left by the Pandavas in the Dvaitavana
forest, and we do not know where they have gone.'" After giving this order and
bidding farewell to Dhaumya and the others, the Pandavas set out for the
kingdom of Virata.

When they arrived near the outskirts of the kingdom, Yudhisthira questioned Arjuna, "O Dhananjaya, where shall we leave our weapons for this one year period? If we enter this city armed, the citizens will become alarmed. Also this bow Gandiva is known to everyone, and if we are discovered, we will surely have to enter the forest for another twelve years."

"Just on top of this hill is a Shami tree that is not easily accessible," Arjuna replied. "If we leave our weapons in an animal skin on top of that tree, then we can enter the city free from anxiety." The brothers then climbed the hill and piled their weapons at the bottom of the tree. The weapons were then wrapped in an animal skin, and hung from the strongest tree branch. On being asked by the local men what the corpse was, the Pandavas told them that it was the dead body of their mother who was one hundred and eighty years old. The Pandavas then entered the city of Virata. Yudhisthira kept five names other than the ones they would identify themselves by. In cases of emergency they would refer to themselves as Jaya, Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena, and Jayatvala.

As Yudhisthira was entering the Virata's capital, he began to offer his
prayers to the goddess Durga and asked her for protection in this last year of
exile. The goddess was pleased with his prayers and appeared before him
offering benedictions, "O mighty armed King, listen to my words. After having
slain the ranks of the Kauravas in battle, you will be successful in regaining
the throne. You and your brothers shall again rule this earth planet with all
its kingdoms. By my grace you will be victorious, and during this thirteenth
year, you will not be discovered by the spies of Duryodhana." Having said this
much, the goddess disappeared.

Yudhisthira then entered Virata's imperial court at the time when the King was seated with his counselors. As Yudhisthira was approaching the throne, Virata could see that this was no ordinary person. In the dress of a brahmana Yudhisthira informed the King, "O great King, know me to be a brahmana, who has lost all his possessions and come to you seeking sustenance. My name is Kanka, and I was previously an adviser to the great King Yudhisthira. Since that pious King has gone to the forest, I have now come to you for shelter."

"I will grant you whatever benediction you desire," Virata replied. "You
appear to be capable of ruling the kingdom of the Matsyas. By your demeanor it
appears that I should remain a servant to you. You appear to be a demigod who
deserves a kingdom."

"Grant me the benediction," Yudhisthira replied, "that whoever I defeat at dice will not be able to keep their wager. I also do not want to argue with low born people I may defeat at the game."

"I shall certainly kill anyone who displeases you," King Virata replied, "or I shall banish him from this kingdom. Let the assembled subjects listen to this order. Kanka is as much a lord of this kingdom as I myself. He shall ride the same chariot that I ride, and eat the same food that I eat. We shall make decisions about the future of the Kingdom together. He need not fear anything as long as he lives in my kingdom."

On another day there came to the court, Bhima, walking with a playful gait
like a lion, and holding a cooking ladle and a spoon. He was also holding a
spotless stainless steel sword. When Virata saw Bhima, he questioned him in
wonder, "Who is this youth that walks like a lion. He is radiant like the
rising sun, and his handsome features are like the heavenly denizens."

Bowing before the King, Bhima informed the him of his identity, "O foremost of
Kings, I am a chef, Vallabha by name. I am skilled in culinary art and also in
wrestling. Will you please employ me in your kitchen? I was formerly King
Yudhisthira's cook, and he used to relish the delicacies that I prepared. I can
also wrestle and fight with lions and tigers for your pleasure."

"I will offer you benedictions," Virata replied. "You do not appear to be a
chef but the emperor of this entire earth. However, if you desire, you may be
the head cook in my kitchen." Thus appointed by the King, Bhima soon became a
favorite to Virata who relished the meals he prepared.

After Bhima had been established in the king's court, Draupadi entered the
city of Virata. She wore dirty clothes, and tried to hide her beautiful black
hair by covering it with a cloth. Her eyes and smile were charming to anyone
who saw them. Out of curiosity, the women approached her and asked who she was
seeking. She told them that she was formerly a maidservant to a queen, and she
was looking for shelter. When the women saw her extreme beauty, they doubted
that she was telling the truth. While she was wandering here and there,
Virata's queen, Sudeshna saw her and questioned her, "O beautiful one, who are
you, and what are you seeking?"

"O foremost queen," Draupadi replied, "I am Sairindhri, and my desire is to
serve you, and see to your comforts."

"I cannot believe that you are a maidservant," the queen said. "Your beauty is
unexcelled in this world. Your body is well developed, and you appear to be the
goddess of fortune herself. Are you an Apsara, a Gandharva or Indra's queen?
Please tell me where you have come from."

"I tell you truthfully that I am a maidservant," Draupadi replied, "Formerly I
served Krishna's favorite queen Satyabhama, and also the wife of the Pandavas,
Draupadi. I wander about alone earning good food and dress."

Hearing Draupadi's explanation, Sudeshna said, "If the King sees your beauty,
he will surely renounce me and accept you as his only queen. What man who sees
your faultless features could resist you? How shall I protect you in my

"O fair lady," Draupadi replied, "neither Virata nor any other person will be
able to touch me for I am married to five Gandharva husbands, who are the sons
of a King. They always protect me. It is my husbands' wish that I should serve
only such persons who will give me food not touched by another, or persons who
do not demand that I wash their feet. Any man who attempts to seduce me meets
death that very night."

"If you have told me the truth," Sudeshna said, "then I will offer you service
in my chambers, for you bring delight to my heart. You will not have to eat
another's food or touch another's feet."

Then dressed like a cowherdsmen and carrying a staff, Sahadeva entered
Virata's capital. He came to the cowpens of Virata, and when the King saw him,
he marveled at his stature. He questioned him, "Who are you, and where do you
come from?"

"I am a vaishya," Sahadeva replied, "Tantripal by name. I was formerly
employed by Emperor Yudhisthira, and used to tend his cows. Now that he has
been exiled to the forest, I wish to be employed in taking care of your cows."

"Your stature indicates a monarch able to rule this earth with all its seas
and islands," Virata said. "However, I have one hundred thousand cows that you
may take charge of. They are divided into distinct herds and are of the best
breed." After receiving permission from the King, Sahadeva took charge of the

Next came to the city, Arjuna, who was wearing the ornaments of a woman. He
wore jeweled earrings and bracelets made of conch, overlaid with gold. His hair
was braided like that of a woman. When Virata saw that bull among men dressed
in this fashion, he was astonished. He spoke to Arjuna, "You are like a
demigod, for power and beauty emanates from every part of your body, and you
walk with a lion's gait. Certainly, you are not a eunuch as you appear to be
dressed. I have grown old, and you are a fit person to inherit my kingdom."

"I sing, dance and play on musical instruments," Arjuna replied. "My name is
Brihannala, and I have no father or mother. I will prove to be a good teacher
to your daughter, Uttara."

"I will grant your desire," King Virata said, "but it does not seem the proper
position for you. You seem to have the capabilities to rule this entire world."
The King then had Arjuna examined, and when it was learned that actually he was
impotent, the King sent Arjuna into his daughter's chambers to give
instructions in dancing.

There then came to Virata's capital, Nakula, the last of the Pandavas to enter
the city. When the King saw him, he summoned Nakula and inquired, "You appear
to be a great warrior, and your handsome features are divine. Please tell me
who you are, and where you have come from?"

"O King," Nakula replied, "my name is Granthika, and I used to serve Emperor
Yudhisthira by taking care of his horses. I am familiar with the mood of
horses, and I know how to tame them. I also know how to treat their diseases
and keep them from becoming diseased. Please allow me to take care of your

"Whatever horses are in my domain," Virata replied, "I put under your charge,
but this office does not suit you. You look as much a King as I do. Your
presence here pleases me as much as if the great King Yudhisthira were present

When the disguised Pandavas were thus respectfully received by King Virata, they began to dwell in that kingdom without being detected by anyone. Even though the spies of Duryodhana came to that region, they could not find the Pandavas, because they were protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna Himself. Thus the spies of Duryodhana were deluded by the external potency of the Lord, and they could not recognize the Pandavas even though they were standing right in front of them.

Thus Ends the First Chapter of the Virata Parva, Entitled, Plans for the Thirteenth Year.

Chapter Commentary

One may ask why the Pandavas took so much effort to remain concealed when they
were blessed by demigods such as Yamaraja and the goddess Durga. The answer is
that a devotee is always humble and never proud. Yamaraja had benedicted them
they they could walk the earth in their very same forms and dress, and not be
discovered. So why bother trying to hide? The Pandavas business was to remain
concealed for the thirteenth year, and therefore, they followed their plan
despite being benedicted by the devas. The Pandavas never thwarted their

One may also ask why Yudhisthira prayed to the goddess Durga for protection
from being detected. To facilitate one's service, one may pray to the demigods
for help. What was Yudhisthira's service? Lord Krishna wanted him to reign as
emperor of the entire world. The last year of exile had to be passed incognito
before Yudhisthira could accept the throne. The Gopis prayed to the Goddess
Durga to have Lord Krishna as their husband, and Yudhisthira prayed for
assistance in his service to Lord Krishna. Yudhisthira never considered the
Goddess Durga supreme.

Virata Parva - Chapter Two - Kichaka

The Pandavas resided for three months in the kingdom of Virata, serving each
others demands and remaining undetected. In the fourth month of the thirteenth
year of exile a grand festival was planned, and wrestlers and athletes came
from all parts of the country. They were strongly built, and their thick necks
resembled those of a lion. They had all won many contests in the presence of
great kings, and they so hoped to win the competition in Virata's kingdom.
Amongst the wrestlers was one who excelled the rest, because he was taller and
stronger than all others. He defeated anyone who came before him, and this
disappointed the other wrestlers.

Not tolerating the prowess of this wrestler, King Virata called for his cook,
Vallabha and ordered him to fight in the competition. Bhima was a little
reluctant for fear of being discovered, but he couldn't disobey the king's
orders. Bhima approached the arena to the delight of the assembled crowd. The
wrestler's name was Jimuta and was compared to the demon Vritrasura in prowess.
They faced each other like a couple of angry elephants. Each opponent was able
to pick the other up and throw him on the ground. There was fighting, pushing,
shoving, and embracing; all executed with great expertise. Both looked equally
qualified, and both were hopeful of victory. They kicked each other and dug
their nails into each others body. Their heads collided like two boulders
making a great sound. Those two broad-chested, long-armed heroes pulled and
pressed, and whirled and hurled each other and struck each other with their
knees, expressing their disgust for one another. They began to fight with bare
arms which were like iron spiked maces. At last the invincible and mighty-armed
Bhima, the slayer of his enemies, shouting aloud, seized Jimuta by his sturdy
arms, and lifted him up. He began to whirl him round and round, to the great
astonishment of the audience. And having whirled him around a hundred times
till he was insensible, the stout-armed Vikrodara dashed him to his death on
the ground. When the famed Jimuta was killed in this way, Virata and the
Matsyas were very pleased and congratulated him. The King then caused him to
fight with the other wrestlers and when all were defeated, he ordered Bhima to
fight with lions and tigers, and also elephants. Witnessing the unearthly power
of Bhima, King Virata was pleased and bestowed upon him all kinds of wealth.

Ten months had now passed in the Virata's capital, and the Pandavas were
living peacefully without being discovered. One day, toward the end of the
year, the commander in chief of Virata's army, Kichaka, returned to the city.
He seemed invincible and had conquered many lands including the powerful
Trigartas. His sister, Sudeshna, was the King's wife. It so happened that will
going to visit his sister he saw the attractive Draupadi in Sudeshna's garden,
and he was struck with love. He approached his sister and asked who the
beautiful girl was. Sudeshna told him that she was her maidservant. Kichaka
said, "This woman has the beauty of a celestial Apsara and is fit to decorate
my palace. She is surely the cure for my ailing heart. Certainly she is
ill-suited to serve you, and therefore, she may rule over me and whatever is

Kichaka then left his sister and approached Draupadi like a jackal in the
forest attacking a lioness. He flattered her with sweet words, "Who are you and
who is your husband? You appear to be a goddess like Laksmi or perhaps a
heavenly maiden. Every part of your body is perfectly formed, and your speech
is just like nectar. Upon seeing your uncommon features, a burning desire has
arisen in my heart. If you become my queen, I will give you all the opulence
that you deserve. Give up this lowly life of a maidservant and become my wife.
Kuvera's opulence awaits you, and I will serve you like a slave."

Hearing this marriage proposal, Draupadi replied, "A maidservant of a low caste does not deserve to become the wife of a king. Besides I am already married, and therefore, you should not let adultery enter your mind for it does not befit the conduct of a great king. You should take delight only in your own queens and not in the wives of others. This leads only to calamity."

Conquered by lust and losing control over his senses, forgetting the reactions to sinful activities, the wicked Kichaka again tried to seduce Draupadi with his words, "You should not neglect me for I have come under your influence. Try to understand that I am the real lord of this kingdom, and there is no one on earth who can defeat me. I excel all in handsome features, strength, youth and prosperity. Upon becoming my wife, I will confer upon you all my kingdom. Therefore accept me and enjoy the opulence you deserve."

When Kichaka proposed again with these lusty words, the chaste daughter of
King Drupada replied, "Do not act so foolishly, and do not throw away your
life. Know that I am protected, and you cannot force me to be your wife. I have
five Gandharva husbands, and if they are provoked, they will certainly kill
you. Therefore, do not unnecessarily cause your own death. You are desiring an
object that can never be yours. You are like a child laying in the lap of its
mother and crying for the moon. Give up this sinful idea of taking another's
wife and save yourself from a hellish reaction."

Kichaka could not be swayed from his determination. He went to his sister and
requested her, "You should act in such a way that I may win this woman for my
wife. I am craving a great lust for her, and I can think of nothing else."

Sudeshna offered a solution, "When the next festival comes, I will request
from you some of the best wines. At that time I will send Sairindhri to your
palace. When she has arrived, you may speak to her in solitude about this
matter, and perhaps she may become inclined toward you."

As it so happened when the next festival day came, Sudeshna approached
Draupadi and ordered her, "Get up my maidservant, and make your way to my
brother's palace. I am thirsty for the finest wine, and it is he only who can
satisfy my thirst."

"O princess," Draupadi replied, "I shall not be able to go to Kichaka's palace
for he is shameless. I cannot lead a lustful life, unchaste to my husbands. Do
you remember the conditions upon which I agreed to become your maidservant? The
foolish Kichaka, upon seeing me, will try to violate my chastity. Therefore do
not send me, for you have many others who can go in my place."

"Kichaka is not one to molest women," The queen said. "This I can promise you.
Now go quickly, and do as I ask. I do not want to hear another word."

Draupadi was forced by circumstances to follow her order. She started to make
her way to Kichaka's palace, taking with her a golden vessel for carrying wine.
She began to mentally pray to the demigods to help her, and answering her
prayers, the sun god sent one very powerful Rakshasa to guard her. He remained
invisible and could not be seen by anyone. When Draupadi entered the palace of
Kichaka, that wicked person rose from his seat and came to her. "O princess,"
He said, "today is auspicious because you have become the mistress of my house.
I will bring you the finest dresses as well as jewelry set with rubies,
diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. Come sit with me and enjoy life. I have a
beautiful bed prepared for you that we both can enjoy."

Hearing this licentious proposal, Draupadi replied, "I have been sent here by
the queen to bring wine back to her palace. Please fill this vessel for I must
leave soon." As Draupadi began to leave the palace, Kichaka grabbed her arm.
Draupadi, looking like an angered cobra, rebuked him, "I have never been
unfaithful to my husbands even at heart. O wicked person, I shall see you
beaten and lying dead on the ground." Kichaka then seized her by her upper
garment as she attempted to run away. As Kichaka attempted to bring her near
him, she was unable to tolerate it, and slapped him to the ground. She then ran
to Virata's imperial court where she hoped to receive protection from
Yudhisthira and the King. As she was running into the court, Kichaka again
grabbed her and kicked her in the side in the presence of the King. The
invisible Rakshasa, who was protecting Draupadi, then gave Kichaka a shove, and
overpowered by that force, he fell down to the ground senseless. Both Bhima and
Yudhisthira witnessed the outrage against Draupadi. Bhima, desiring to finish
Kichaka's life, gnashed his teeth, and his forehead was covered with sweat.
Fire appeared in his eyes, as he rose from his chair next to the King. However,
before he could take another step, he was grabbed by Yudhisthira who was bent
on keeping the disguise for the last month of exile. He ordered Bhima, "Go look
for trees to use as cooking fuel. Take your passions out on them."

Draupadi then pleaded with the King, "Alas, this Suta's son has kicked the
wife of those who will take his life for this insult. He has offended the wife
of those whose prowess knows no bounds. Alas, this son of a Suta has kicked the
proud and beloved wife of those who, although in disguise, always grant
protection to those who ask for it. Why do those heroes not take action when
their wife is insulted in this manner. Oh, where is the wrath of my husbands
who cannot stand to see their wife insulted by this wicked wretch. O King, why
do you sit there and allow this injustice to go on. Your behavior is like a
coward and does not befit your court. These assistants of yours have the same

When the Matsya King heard Draupadi's rebuking words, he instructed her,
"Whatever happened to you has happened out of our sight. Not knowing the real
circumstances, how can I administer justice impartially?" However, when the
King's counselors heard what had happened, they endorsed Draupadi and chastised

Yudhisthira then advised Draupadi, "Do not stay here, O Sairindhri, but
retire to the apartments of the queen. Your Gandharva husbands do not consider
this an occasion for manifesting their wrath, for they have not come to your
aid. In the future your husbands will fulfill your desire and take the life of
him who has harmed you."

Hearing Yudhisthira's advice Draupadi replied, "Those husbands of mine to whom
I am wedded, I think, are kind. The oldest of them is addicted to dice and is
liable to be oppressed by all." After saying these words, Draupadi ran from the
palace to the quarters of Sudeshna. When the Queen saw her weeping, she
inquired what had happened, and Draupadi told her everything. The queen said,
"I will today order my brother's death if it pleases you." Draupadi replied,
"There are others who will kill him. For this wrong he will have to enter
Yamaraja's abode."

Draupadi then went to her quarters and thought of how Virata's general could
be killed. She reflected for a while and thought of her husband, Bhima. After
dark when everyone was asleep, Draupadi made her way to the place where her
lord was sleeping. Draupadi entered her husband's quarters intending to provoke
Bhima to action, "How can you sleep while that wretched Kichaka lives. Are you
not affected by the sinful act he committed against me?" Upon embracing her
husband she said, "Arise, arise! Why do you sleep there like a dead person.
Only a dead person could tolerate the wrong that has happened to me today."

Upon hearing Draupadi's distraught words, Bhima rose up from his bed half
dazed and inquired, "Please tell me why you have come here in the dead of
night. I will accomplish what ever you want, but it must be done before others
awaken from sleep. I alone, O Krishna, am able to deliver you from the
suffering you feel."

"Do you remember," Draupadi asked, "when that monstrous Duhshasana tried to
disrobe me in the assembly hall at Hastinapura? I had to tolerate that insult
while you elder brother gambled away our kingdom as well as myself. I also had
to tolerate the attack by the sinful Jayadratha, and today I had to tolerate
another insult, even while my husbands looked on. Is it that all my husbands
are cowards? I cannot go to Yudhisthira for help, nor can Arjuna help me.
Nakula and Sahadeva will only act according to the desires of Yudhisthira. You
alone love me, and therefore, I have come to you. I have been suffering all
these months, serving as a menial servant to this queen. Look at my hands that
are filled with callouses from grinding sandal paste for that woman." Draupadi
then showed Bhima her delicate hands that were not fit for menial work.

Bhima was aroused to action, and encouraged her, "After seeing what happened
today, I would have slaughtered the entire house of the Matsyas if it had not
been for the restraining glance of Yudhisthira. I can understand his
intentions. The thought of our being deprived of our kingdom, and the thought
that the unscrupulous Duryodhana, Duhshasana, Karna and Shakuni are still
living is burning my heart like a javelin. O beautiful lady, do not sacrifice
our disguise, and try to subdue your wrath. If King Yudhisthira were to hear
your reprimand, he would give up his life, as would Arjuna, Nakula and
Sahadeva. Remember the hardships Sita endured on behalf of Rama, and also
remember the outcome of such patience. There is now only half a month left till
the exile is finished. If you wait till that time, I promise you I will
mutilate the body of the wicked Kichaka."

Draupadi's anger only increased as Bhima tried to pacify her. She then prodded
him further, "This sinful Kichaka will not be satisfied with what has happened
today. He will come again to fulfill his lusty desires. I told him that my five
Gandharva husbands would protect me, but when they did not come, surely he will
not think twice to approach me again. If tomorrow the sun shines on the head of
this Kichaka, I will take poison and kill myself rather than see that sinful
person's face." Then crying, Draupadi pressed her face on the chest of her
lord. Bhima tried to console Draupadi as much as possible, but an anger then
arose in his heart at the thought of the wicked Kichaka. Bhima then promised
his dear wife, "I will do as you say. I will kill Kichaka and all his friends.
Near here is the dancing hall that the King has erected for the use of dancing
girls. It is used during the day and vacant at night. There in that hall is an
excellent bed. Tell Kichaka to come there in the middle of the night. While you
are talking with him make sure that no one sees you." Feeling satisfied that
she was protected, Draupadi then returned to her quarters.

In the morning the vain Kichaka approached Draupadi and spoke to her the
following words, "In the presence of the King I threw you down and kicked you,
but still he did not act. Virata is the Matsya king in name only. I am in truth
the real monarch for it is I who protect and guard this kingdom. Come and be my
wife, and I will give you all the opulence you deserve. I will become your
slave; do not deny me. Let our union take place."

"O Kichaka," Draupadi replied, "I will fulfill your lusty desires, but only
under my conditions. Neither your brothers nor your friends should know of our
secret meeting, for I am in great fear of being detected by my husbands. Just
near here is a dancing hall recently erected by King Virata. It is vacant at
night. Come there in the middle of the night so that our love affair will not
be known by others."

"Afflicted by the god of love," Kichaka said, "I will come alone so that your
five husbands will not know of our love affair."

Reflecting on the conversation with Draupadi, Kichaka spent the rest of the
day as if it were many years. The stupid Kichaka did not know that death was on
his head. Deprived of his senses by lust, he spent his time adorning his person
with valuable oils, the finest silken clothes, garlands and many valuable
ornaments. Thinking of Draupadi's beauty, he was like a burning wick that was
about to expire.

While Kichaka was preparing himself for his evening escapade, Draupadi went to
the kitchen and and informed Bhima of everything that had taken place. Bhima
promised to kill the vile Suta's son that night in the dancing hall. Draupadi
then retired to her apartments. When nightfall came Bhima disguised himself and
went to the dancing hall, waiting under the bed covers for the sinful Kichaka.
He was like a lion waiting for a deer. Kichaka then entered the dark hall and
came to the bed that was in one corner of that room. As he approached the bed,
he could see that someone was lying there, and he took the person to be
Draupadi. Kneeling next to the bed, he lustfully spoke to who he thought was
Draupadi, "O beautiful lady, I have already arranged all kinds of wealth for
your pleasure. A beautiful mansion awaits you as well as a hundred
maidservants. Gold, silver, jewels, and whatever you desire is at your
disposal. After arranging all these opulences for your enjoyment, I have come
to you. Upon seeing me leave the palace, the women have commented, 'There is
none in this world equal to you in handsome features and dress.'"

Hearing the seductive words of Kichaka, Bhima imitated Draupadi's voice, "It
is very good that you are handsome, and it is very good that you praise
yourself so much. I think, however, that you have not experienced power of my
hands. You are skilled in the art of love making and are a favorite of women.
There is none like you in the world." Saying this and laughing, Bhima rose up
and roared, "You diabolic wretch, I shall, today, mutilate your body for
kicking my wife. When you are killed, my wife will feel satisfaction, and we,
also, will live in peace."

After saying this, Bhima seized Kichaka by his beautifully combed hair, which
was adorned with garlands. Kichaka quickly grabbed Bhima's hands, and there
ensued a hand to hand combat like that of two powerful elephants. Kichaka was
furious and embarrassed, and attacked Bhima with all his potency. Bhima,
however, did not waver a step. Locked in each other's tight grip and dragging
each other, they fought like two bulls for the sake of a cow. Bhima then
squeezed Kichaka with all his might, but Kichaka threw Bhima to the ground.
Those mighty warriors fought on, and the crashing of their arms sounded like
bamboos splitting. Vikrodara threw Kichaka down with great force. He tossed him
about by his arms till he grew weak and began to tremble. Despite his weakness,
Kichaka attacked Bhima, kicked him with his knees and brought him down to the
ground. Overthrown by the powerful Kichaka, Bhima rose up again like Yamaraja
after defeating his enemies.

And thus the powerful Bhima and the Suta wrestled in that great hall in the
middle of the night. They thundered at each other and shouted abusive words. As
they moved gracefully around each other, the whole building began to tremble.
Bhima hit Kichaka on the chest with all his power, but the mighty Kichaka did
not move an inch. However, this was all the Suta could withstand. Kichaka was
growing feeble, and seeing his faltering condition, Bhima forcible embraced
Kichaka and began to press hard. Kichaka could not breathe and Bhima, seeing
him exhausted, began to whirl him around till he began to scream frightfully
like a broken trumpet. In order to pacify Krishna's (Draupadi) wrath, Vikrodara
began to squeeze Kichaka's throat while kicking his body with his knees. When
all the bones in Kichaka's body were broken, he lay there deprived of life. His
eyes were still rolling and his body was trembling. Bhima, emotional with
intense hatred, then thrust Kichaka's arms, legs, and head into his body.
Crushing Kichaka in this astonishing way, he reduced him to a ball of flesh.
The invincible Bhima then revealed to Draupadi Kichaka's mutilated body. He lit
a torch and showed her the ball of flesh. "Come, O princess of Panchala," he
said, "and see what has become of this immoral person." He then kicked
Kichaka's body, showing his wife the reaction that will come to those who
insult her. He then said, "O my wife, those who will harm you shall meet the
same end as Kichaka has met." Bhima then left Draupadi and went back to his

Draupadi went to the door of the dancing hall and awakened all the nearby
people with the sound of her voice. When the people came with lit torches and
saw Kichaka's mutilated body, they exclaimed, "Where are his arms and where is
his head?"

Draupadi announced to all assembled, "Behold Kichaka's mutilated body! He
tried to violate my chastity, but my five Gandharva husbands came here and
killed him in the same way a lion kills a deer."

Soon all the brothers and relatives of Kichaka arrived, and when they saw
Kichaka's mangled body lying there like a tortoise, the hairs on their body
stood on end out of fear. Kichaka's brothers then cast their angry eyes upon
Draupadi who was nearby leaning against a pillar. "Let this unchaste woman be
killed for causing our brother's death," they said. "Since he wanted her for
his wife, let her be cremated along with our brother so that in the next life
all his desires will be fulfilled." Kichaka's brothers forcibly grabbed
Draupadi and took her into the presence of the King. They requested Virata, "It
is for her sake that Kichaka has lost his life. Let her, therefore, be cremated
along with him. It is your obligation to allow this to take place since he was
your commander in chief." Virata immediately gave his assent to the proposal,
remembering the victorious battles Kichaka had won for him.

Binding Draupadi to the same palanquin as Kichaka's, Kichaka's brothers
proceeded to the burial grounds. Draupadi cried aloud exclaiming, "Oh, Jaya,
Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena and Jayatvala! Listen to my words! The Sutas are
taking me away. Let my Gandharva husbands come immediately and save my life!"

Hearing the distraught calls of Draupadi, Bhima arose from his bed and
exclaimed, "I have heard your words, O timid lady, and you have nothing to fear
at the Sutas' hands!" Bhima then left the palace and jumped over the city walls
by means of a tree. He then rushed to cremation grounds and beheld a huge tree,
forty feet in height. He uprooted it, stripped it of branches, and placed it on
his shoulders. He then rushed towards the Sutas in the same way Yamaraja rushes
at his enemies with mace in hand. Seeing Bhima running toward them with that
upraised tree, Kichaka's brothers, numbering one hundred and five, became panic
stricken. They immediately left Draupadi and ran toward the city. However, they
were not quick enough, for Bhima pounded thirty brothers into the ground with
several blows of the tree. With several more swings he knocked the remaining
brothers into shapeless masses. He thus dispatched them all to Yamaraja's abode
by means of that tree. Setting Draupadi free, Bhima consoled her, "This is what
happens to those who have offended you. Return to the city. You will no longer
have any fear. I, myself, will return to Virata's kitchen by another path."

When the citizens of Virata's capital learned what had happened, they were
horror stricken. After Draupadi again entered the city, they fled in different
directions. Some went to Virata and told him that Sairindhri's five Gandharva
husbands had slain Kichaka's one hundred and five brothers, and that they now
lay on the ground like huge mountain peaks. For the protection of the city,
they asked that she not be allowed to enter. The King then called for Sudeshna
and ordered her, "Tell Sairindhri that she may go to whatever province she
likes, but she can no longer stay here." He then sent the queen back to her
apartments. When Draupadi arrived, the queen gave her the King's order, "The
King has ordered you to leave the kingdom. You are undoubtedly unparalleled in
beauty to any other woman on earth. You will be the object of lusty desire by
all men. Your husbands are exceedingly wrathful."

"O beautiful lady," Draupadi replied, "Let the King allow me to live here for
thirteen days more. Without doubt my husbands will then take me away, and you
will certainly be benefitted. I will not leave the palace until that time."
Agreeing with the desires of her maidservant, Sudeshna allowed Draupadi to
remain in the palace unseen by others.

Thus Ends the Second Chapter of the Virata Parva, Entitled, Kichaka.

Chapter Commentary

Here we see the reaction to adulterous activity. All the scriptures of the
world say that one should not commit adultery. In the Islamic tradition if a
man is not satisfied with one wife, he may take up to four. In the Christian
tradition only one wife is allowed. In the days of Vedic culture, if a man was
not satisfied with one wife, he could take as many wives as he could support.
But in all bona fide scriptures adultery is forbidden, because the reaction to
such activity is severe. One has to suffer in Yamaraja's abode after this life.
Sex life is the binding force in this world, and only in the animal species can
one have unlimited sex life. Those desiring unlimited sex are born in those
species that facilitate such activity, like a rabbit, monkey or pigeon.
Therefore, in the human form of life, sex is regulated with he idea that it
will be eventually given up. As long as one is addicted to gross sex desire, he
must be reborn in this world.

The Vedic system trains a person to be free from sex desire. First a person is
trained to be a brahmachary or celibate student. If the student cannot maintain
such a vow, he is allowed to marry. When the householder reaches the age of 50,
he should become a Vanaprastha. This is a time when the children are grown up,
and the household couple are free to travel to different places of pilgrimage.
They take a vow of celibacy. When the man reaches the age of 75, he should take
sannyasa and completely devote his time to spiritual activities. The wife then
lives with the eldest son and trains the grandchildren in spiritual life. In
this way the Vedic culture would gradually purify a person of sex desire

Kichaka was fortunate to receive his reaction immediately rather than wait
till the next life. Unfortunately, people today don't believe in next life, and
therefore they commit all kinds of forbidden activities for which they suffer
in this life and the next. People don't believe in the law of karma or the next
life, so the suffering will continue until we learn the hard way to follow
God's law.

Virata Parva - Chapter Three - The Trigartas attack the Kingdom of Virata

While the Pandavas were secretly living in the kingdom of Virata, the spies of
Duryodhana searched intently all the kingdoms and provinces trying to find the
sons of Pandu, and not being successful, they returned to Hastinapura. They
entered the King's imperial court, and in the assembly of great warriors made
the following submission, "Dear King, we have searched the entire earth, but
nowhere could we find the Pandavas. After leaving the Dvaitavana forest, they
have disappeared. We followed their charioteers and servants to the city of
Dvaraka, but nowhere could we find them in the city of the Yadavas. We followed
their footprints from the forest of Dvaitavana, but the path disappeared, and
it appears they have perished without leaving a mark. O bull of the Bharata
race, we have not been able to discover their path or their present abode. We
now wait for further instructions concerning Pandu's sons. During our search
for the Pandavas, wehave gathered one interesting bit of information that you
will like to hear. King Virata's commander, Kichaka, by whom the Trigarta's
have been repeatedly routed with force, has now been killed violently along
with his one hundred and five brothers. They have been slain by five Gandharvas
during the hours of darkness. Having heard this delightful news about the
position of the enemy, we have come here quickly to inform you."

Having listened to the report of his spies, King Duryodhana reflected for a
while and addressed the assembled Kings, "It is difficult to understand exactly
where the sons of Pandu have hidden themselves during this last year. The one
year period has now almost expired, and if they are not discovered, they will
return like enraged elephants or serpents spitting poison. They will inflict
heavy casualties upon the Kuru host. Therefore, we should again send spies to
the different provinces to discover their whereabouts. Certainly this time our
spies will be able to uncover their hiding place, forcing them to enter the
forest for another twelve years."

Hearing Duryodhana's opinion, Karna spoke, "Other spies, who are more
qualified and intelligent, should seek out the Pandavas. Let them examine every
person at places where people take shelter, such as holy places, towns,
villages, and even the forests. We should send out spies in greater number."

When Karna had given his counsel, the scheming Duhshasana spoke in that assembly, "Give the spies advance payment, and once more send them out. Karna's recommendation has our full approval. It is my belief, however, that the Pandavas will not be discovered. Perhaps, they have gone to the other side of the ocean, or perhaps, they have been devoured in the forest by fierce beasts of prey. Therefore, O prince of the Kuru race, relieve yourself of all anxiety, and rule the kingdom as your own property."

When Duhshasana had spoken, Drona advised the assembled Kings, "Persons like the Pandavas never experience pain or death. The Pandavas are saintly, virtuous, moral, learned in the Vedas, sense controlled, and are always truthful. They will never perish under any circumstances. They associate only with the most pious men, and therefore, if we are to discover them, the spies should search those regions where the demigods and saintly persons reside."

Then the Kuru grandsire, Bhishma, who was conversant with Vedic knowledge,
spoke to the assembly, "Drona's words of wisdom have my approval. The Pandavas
can never experience misfortune at anytime. They are reservoirs of all good
qualities and are always subordinate to the Lord of the universe, Keshava.
Where is the question of harm coming to them? Wherever the Pandavas have gone,
that place has become prosperous in all respects. Wherever Yudhisthira resides
there will be Vedic hymns chanted at all times; the clouds will pour abundant
rain; the breezes will blow cool; the rice will be the best quality; the fruits
will be full of juice; the garlands will be full of scent; the cows will be
numerous and happy. Everyone will follow his respective duty, and everyone will
be contented, cheerful, pure in conduct and free from any misery. Wherever
Yudhisthira resides people will be inclined to charity, inclined toward
religion, and inclined toward doing good to others. The wise Yudhisthira is
living in those regions whose characteristics I have described. Reflecting on
what I have said, you must quickly execute a plan that will benefit your

After the great devotee, Bhishma, had spoken, the King of the Trigartas,
Susharma, who owned innumerable chariots and who was a great warrior, then
spoke to the assembled princes, "Taking advantage of Kichaka's death, I suggest
we attack Virata's kingdom. Formerly the King was aided by this commander in
chief, who was wicked and powerful. I was defeated many times in battle by
Kichaka, who had attained worldly fame for his prowess. Now that he has been
killed, we should take advantage of the situation, and subjugate the Matsyas.
Using our combined forces, let us steal his wealth which he had hoarded for so
long. Let us steal his cows, and bring King Virata under our control. We will
then live peacefully in our kingdom."

Agreeing with King Susharman, Karna advised, "Susharma has spoken well. This
is an opportune time to challenge Virata, and the outcome will be profitable.
Forget about Pandu's sons, for they have lost their wealth and prowess. They
have either disappeared for good or entered the abode of Yamaraja."

Accepting Karna's advice, Duryodhana ordered King Susharman, "Organize your
army and attack Virata's kingdom from the southeastern direction. On the
following day, the Kuru host headed by Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Ashvatthama,
Karna and myself will attack from another direction. We will plunder his cows
and other kinds of wealth." After making their plan, the Trigartas and the Kuru
host organized their vast forces. The Trigaratas set out on the seventh night
of the waning moon, and the Kurus set out on the eighth night of the waning
moon, hoping to catch the Matsyas by surprise.

While living in the city of the Matsyas, the Pandavas completed the promised
period of disguised exile. And it was at the end of the thirteenth year that
Susharman attack the kingdom of Virata and took away his cows. When the cows
had been seized, the cowherdsmen went to Virata's royal court and anxiously
explained what had happened, "O foremost of Kings, King Susharma, after
defeating and humiliating us, has stolen your cows. His army has taken tens of
thousands of your best cows and is herding them away to his kingdom. Please,
therefore, speedily rescue them before they are lost for good."

Hearing about the attack on his Kingdom, King Virata ordered his forces to
prepare for battle. The princes put on their armor and mounted their chariots.
Virata's brother, Satanika, put on a dazzling, golden coat of mail, and his
other brother, Madirakshya, also put on his golden armor and ascended his
chariot. King Virata ordered that weapons and chariots be given to Kanka,
Vallabha, Tantripal and Grantika. The sons of Pandu put on their armor, and
happily accepted the weapons and chariots. They then set out to subdue the
Trigarta king. They were followed by eighty thousand chariots, a thousand
elephants and sixty thousand horses.

Marching out of the city in battle formation, those heroes overtook the
Trigartas when half the day had gone. Both parties were anxious for victory and
both sent up thunderous roars. The encounter that took place between the
Trigartas and the Matsyas was like the encounter between the demigods and the
asuras. The combatants rushed against each other with the intent of sending the
other party to Yamaraja's abode. With upraised weapons the forces collided
causing a huge dust storm to rise into the sky. The sky was thick with arrows,
and because of the dust, and the weapons thrown by the enemy, the sun could not
be seen. Chariots encountered chariots, foot soldiers fought with foot
soldiers, and horsemen fought with horsemen. The battlefield was thick with
flying axes, darts, javelins, iron clubs and arrows. Soon, severed heads began
to decorate the battlefield, and arms and legs were strewn here and there. The
ground became muddy from the blood flowing from the trunks of decapitated
warriors. Satanika penetrated the Trigarta divisions and killed a hundred enemy
soldiers, and Visalaksya also killed another four hundred. They both penetrated
deep into the Trigarta host. King Virata, accompanied by his brothers
Madirakshya and Suryadatta, destroyed five hundred chariots, eight hundred
horses and five great fighters on Susharman's side. Infuriated, King Susharman
challenged Virata to single combat. They rushed at each other releasing their
powerful weapons. King Virata pierced Susharma with ten arrows and each of his
horses with five arrows each. And King Susharman also pierced Virata with fifty
sharp pointed arrows. King Susharman, followed by his brother, descended from
their chariots and attacked the Matsya army with their maces in hand. Driving
deep into the infantry ranks, they approached King Virata's chariot. King
Susharman killed Virata's horses and the charioteer. He then jumped on Virata's
chariot, and in hand to hand combat, Susharman knocked Virata unconscious and
threw him down from the chariot. He then drug the unconscious king to his own
chariot and proceeded to leave the battlefield. Seeing this the Matsyas began
to flee in all directions.

Upon witnessing the rout of the Matsya host, Yudhisthira commanded Bhima, "The
Matsya king has been taken by the vile Trigartas. Dear Bhima, do rescue him so
that he may not be killed by the enemy. We have lived long in this pious king's
city, and we must show our gratitude for his hospitality."

Eager for combat and following the order of his brother, the stout armed Bhima
set out on his chariot to fight with King Susharman. Nakula and Sahadeva
accompanied him to defend his chariot wheels. Bhima rushed toward Susharma
ordering, "Stand your ground and fight! Do not run from the battlefield like a
coward." When challenged, King Susharman stood his ground, and taking up his
bow, he faced the oncoming enemy protected by his powerful brothers. Thousands
of chariots attacked Bhima; and thousands of chariots were destroyed by him
within a twinkling of an eye. He soon again decimated thousands of elephants
and thousands of foot soldiers within King Virata's sight. Looking on in
horror, Susharman thought, "Is my army going to be annihilated?" Angered at the
loss of so many soldiers, Susharman took up his bow, and drawing the string
back to his ear began to release his forceful arrows.

Seeing the Pandavas penetrating deep into the Trigarta ranks, King Virata's
army returned, releasing their weapons against the Trigarta host. Yudhisthira
then killed a thousand soldiers and Bhima sent to Yamaraja's abode another
seven thousand. Nakula killed seven hundred and Sahadeva killed three hundred.
Greatly provoked, Yudhisthira rushed at Susharman with an anger like that of
Yamaraja. Susharman quickly pierced Yudhisthira with nine arrows. Then, Bhima,
the son of Kunti, killed Susharman's horses and dragged the wicked King from
his chariot. King Susharma escaped from Bhima and quickly ran away. When Bhima
saw that King Virata had come to his senses, he chased after Susharman mace in
hand. Bhima called to him, "Stand your ground! Do not flee!" When challenged in
these words, Susharman turned back and rushed at Bhima. Bhima immediately
seized Susharman by the hair, and raising him up in the air, dashed him to the
ground. As he lay their crying in agony, Bhima kicked him in the head. Pandu's
second son then placed his knee on Susharman's chest and slapped his head
around like a balloon. At this the Trigarta became senseless. Witnessing their
King's defeat, the Trigarta army, stricken with fear, fled the battlefield.
Bhimasena then took Susharman by the hair and drug him before King Virata
inquiring, "This wretched person does not deserve to live. What should I do
with him?"

"His life should be spared," Virata replied. Virata then commanded Susharman,
"Do not foolishly attack my kingdom again. If you do, you and your followers
will be annihilated."

Bhima then took Susharman to the presence of Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira, seeing
Susharman in such an half conscious state, spoke to Bhima smilingly, "Set free
this lowest of men."

When ordered by his elder brother, Bhima said to Susharman, "If, O wretched
person, you wish to live, listen to my order. You must say in every court and
assembly of men, 'I am a slave to King Yudhisthira.' On this condition only
will I spare your life. This is the law for those that have been conquered."
With no other choice, Susharman had to agree with the proposal. Bhima then set
Susharma free, and the humiliated King left with his head lowered in shame. He
went to King Virata, offered his respects, and then went back to his kingdom a
defeated man.

King Virata was very pleased with the Pandavas and wanted to benedict them,
"This kingdom is as much yours as it is mine. By your prowess you have defeated
the enemy and liberated me from a dangerous condition. I will crown you as the
Kings of the Matsyas and bestow upon you all kinds of wealth. It is by your
grace that I can once again see my brothers and friends. You have saved me from
a certain death."

"We are honored with your kind offer," Yudhisthira replied, "but we are
content to see you happily ruling your kingdom. Messengers should be sent to
the city informing the citizens of the good news." The Matsya king then sent
messengers into the city proclaiming the dawn hour as the victory for the

Thus Ends the Third Chapter of the Virata Parva, Entitled, The Trigartas
Attack the Kingdom of Virata.

Chapter Commentary

Before this age of Kali, some five thousand years ago, the earth had become
overburdened with military forces antagonistic to the will of the Lord. At
Brahma's request the Lord descended to decrease this burden. When the Lord
descends so do His associates to assist him. The Pandavas were assistants to
decrease the military burden. King Susharman was antagonistic to the will of
the Lord, and later, in the great battle of the Bharatas, we will see how
Arjuna kills him.

In the age of Kali practically everyone is infected with demoniac qualities.
It is not possible to kill everyone so the Lord descends as Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu and annihilates the demoniac mentality with the chanting of the Hare
Krishna maha mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This transcendental sound has be
chosen to cleanse the heart of all impurities in this fallen age. This is
confirmed in the Kali Santarana Upanishad, "The sixteen words of the Hare
Krishna mantra are especially meant for counteracting the sins of the age of
Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of this age there is no
alternative but to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. After searching through all
the Vedic literatures one cannot find a method of religion for this age so
sublime as the chanting of Hare Krishna." (Kali-Santarana Upanishad 5-6) This
is part of a conversation where Lord Brahma instructs Narada muni.

Virata Parva - Chapter Four - Arjuna Challenges the Kaurava Army

After the Matsya King had recovered his cows, Duryodhana and the Kuru host
invaded the kingdom of Virata. With Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, Ashvatthama,
and Duhshasana, Duryodhana succeeded in driving away the cowherdsmen and
stealing sixty thousand cows. When the cowherdsmen were defeated, they hurried
went to King Virata to complain of the Kuru's action. When the cowherdsmen saw
that the city was empty of men, they approached Uttara Kumara, the son of the
King. They related to him everything that had happened and asked that he free
the cows at once. Hearing the appeals of the cowherdsmen, Uttara Kumara assured
them, "As expert as I am in the use of the bow, I would set out this very day
if only I could find someone who could be my charioteer. Therefore, look for
someone competent to manage my horses, and I will without delay enter the
battlefield and penetrate deep into the ranks of the Kaurava army. I will fight
with Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Duryodhana and Ashvatthama, and defeat them all.
The Kaurava army shall witness my prowess. Seeing me raining arrows from my
chariot, they will ask if it is not Arjuna returned to take back the kingdom."

Hearing these boastful words, Arjuna whispered in private to his dear wife
Draupadi, "Tell Uttara that Brihannala was formerly the Arjuna's charioteer,
and has been tested in many previous battles." While the prince was still
glorifying himself, Panchali bashfully spoke out from among the women, "The
handsome youth of the name Brihannala was formerly Arjuna's charioteer. It was
he who held the reins of Arjuna's chariot when Agni consumed the Khandava
forest. It was with him that Partha conquered all creatures at Khandavaprastha.
In fact, there is no charioteer equal to him."

"O Sairindhri," Uttara said, "you may know what this youths past history may
be. You may know what this one of the neuter sex may or may not have done. I
cannot, however, request Brihannala to hold the reins of my chariot."

"Brihannala, O hero, will without doubt, obey the words of your younger
sister," Draupadi replied. "If he consents to become your charioteer, you will,
without doubt, return, having vanquished the Kurus and rescued the cows."

Thus informed by Sairindhri, Uttara asked his sister to go to the dancing hall
and bring Brihannala to him. The princess then hurriedly went to the dancing
hall and requested Brihannala to become the charioteer of Uttara Kumara. The
princess stated that if he did not do so, she would give up her life.
Brihannala quickly agreed and came into the presence of the young prince.
Uttara then inquired, "O Brihannala, Sairindhri has said that formerly you
drove the chariot of Arjuna when he conquered the whole world. Will you not,
therefore, drive my chariot, and help me conquer the Kuru host who have stolen
our cows?"

"O prince," Arjuna replied, "what ability do I have to act as a charioteer? I
only know about music, dance, and songs. I can entertain you in this way, but
little do I know about holding the reins of a chariot."

"O Brihannala," Uttara ordered, "whether you are a dancer or a singer, take
the reins of my chariot, and together let us challenge the Kuru warriors."
Although Arjuna knew perfectly how to put on armor, in the presence of all he
began to make many mistakes trying to attire his armor. All the women began to
laugh at his attempts to put on the golden mail. Seeing Arjuna failing to garb
the armor properly, Uttara Kumara helped him equip himself for battle. Together
they then mounted the chariot and hoisted the chariot's flag bearing the sign
of a lion. As they were leaving, the girls of the palace requested, "O
Brihannala, bring us some fine sample of clothes from Bhishma and Drona after
Kumara has defeated them in battle." Agreeing with their proposal, Arjuna urged
the horses on, and they left the capital city. Having left the city, Virata's
heroic son commanded Brihannala, "Proceed quickly to where the Kurus are. I
will rescue the cows and bring them back to the city bringing great joy to my

Arjuna quickly caught up to the retreating Kuru army. It looked like a vast
sea and was causing dust to rise up into the sky. Beholding the ocean of Kuru
warriors, headed by Bhishma, Drona, Karna, and Duryodhana, the hairs of
Uttara's body stood on end out of fear. He then revealed to Partha his anxiety,
"I am incapable of fighting with so many warriors. These heroes cannot be
vanquished even by the heavenly denizens. My mind is overcome with fear at the
very sight of Bhishma and Drona. My father has gone out to meet the Trigartas
and has left me alone to encounter these innumerable warriors. Therefore, O
Brihannala, cease to advance any further."

"Why do you look so pale and fearful," Brihannala scornfully replied. "This
will only bring joy to your enemy? As of yet you have not encountered one
warrior in battle. It was you who ordered me to drive your chariot and
challenge the enemy. I will, therefore, take you to the front line of the
battlefield. In the presence of the women you boasted your prowess. Why do you
now want to run from the battlefield? If you were to return home without
fighting, men and women would meet together and laugh at you. As for myself, I
will not return from the battlefield without rescuing the cows. I have been
praised highly by Sairindhri and yourself, and therefore I will give battle to
the Kurus."

Uttara, his knees shaking, falteringly said, "Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas of
all their wealth. Let the men and women laugh at me. Let the cows perish, and
let the city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is
no need for battle." Saying this much, the prince panicked, jumped from his
chariot and ran away, sacrificing honor and pride.

Brihannala called to him, "This is not the practice of those who are brave. A
kshatriya never runs from his enemies. Even death in battle is better than
running from the battlefield." Saying this and descending from the chariot,
Arjuna, the son of Kunti, ran after the prince while his braid and red garments
fluttered in the air. When the Kuru warriors saw this scene, they burst into
laughter. They began to talk amongst themselves, "Who is this person who is
part man and part women. Although bearing a neuter form, he resembles Arjuna.
He has the same head, arms, neck and he walks in the same way as Arjuna. He is
certainly none other than Arjuna. Who else but Arjuna would dare to challenge
us alone? The one running away is Uttara, the King's son. He has come out of
the city due to childishness and not from true heroism. Arjuna is running after
him to bring him back." Some generals disagreed with this, and thus they could
not come to any conclusion.

Meanwhile, Arjuna caught up to Uttara within a hundred steps and grabbed him
by the hair. Apprehend in this way, he pleaded with Arjuna, "Listen, O
Brihannala, let us turn the chariot and go back to the city. He that lives
meets with prosperity. I will give you all kinds of wealth and beautiful women
as well. Only please set me free."

When offered material benediction, Arjuna laughed and dragged Uttara back to
the chariot. Arjuna, through compassion for the frightened prince, tried to
encourage him, "If, O chastiser of the enemy, you do not wish to fight with
them, then hold the reins of the chariot, and I will fight with them. Protected
by the potency of my arms, we will penetrate the enemies ranks and subdue them.
Do not succumb to fear." In this way Arjuna comforted the frightened prince and
asked him to ascend the chariot. He then told Uttara to drive the chariot
toward the Shami tree that was just out side the city. This was the place where
the Pandavas had left their weapons.

Beholding that person of the third sex seated on the chariot, the Kurus headed
by Bhishma and Drona became frightened at the thought that it might be Arjuna.
They then noticed evil omens in all directions. Violent and hot winds began to
blow. The sky became overcast with a dark gloom. The clouds presented a strange
sight, and Jackals began howling from all directions. Seeing this, Drona
ordered the troops into battle formation. He ordered them, "Stand your ground,
and do not flee out of fear. Protect yourselves and expect a terrible
slaughter. This person on the chariot dressed like a eunuch is definitely
Arjuna. There is no doubt about this. After defeating our forces, he will take
away the cows. I do not see any hero amongst us who can withstand him. He has
even defeated the demigods including Lord Shiva and Indra."

Hearing the cautious words of Drona, Karna boasted, "You always speak of the
glories of Arjuna, but he is not even equal to a sixteenth part of myself or

"If this is Arjuna," Duryodhana said, "they my purpose has been served. He
will have to return to the forest for another twelve years. However, if this be
anyone else in a eunuch's garb, I will prostrate him on the ground with my

Upon reaching the Shami tree, Arjuna ordered Uttara Kumara, "Climb this tree,
and bring down that bag covered with the skin of an animal. It appears like a
corpse, but it contains the weapons of the Pandavas. Out of all the weapons I
want the Gandiva bow that is owned by Arjuna. It is the strongest of all bows
and can withstand the enemy's weapons. With it I will defeat the Kuru host."
Uttara then climbed the tree and cut the wrappings from around the bag and
beheld the weapons of the Pandavas shining like the sun. He saw the Gandiva
along with four other bows, and he was struck with wonder. His hair stood on
end, and while touching those bows, he questioned Arjuna, "To what warrior does
this magnificent bow belong, and to what warrior does this bow belong which has
golden elephants embossed on it. Whose bow is this that has radiant golden suns
embossed on it? Whose bow is this that has gold inlay and precious gems? Whose
quivers are these covered in gold and holding a thousands arrows with golden
heads? All these swords, maces, bows and arrows have an effulgence that is hard
to bear. Tell me truly, O Brihannala, to whom do these weapons belong?"

"The bow of which you have inquired about first is Arjuna's bow called the
Gandiva," Brihannala replied, "It is famed throughout the universe and equals a
hundred thousand weapons. It was originally owned by Lord Shiva for the period
of a thousand years. It was then owned by Indra for eighty years and Soma for
five hundred years. Varuna has owned it for a hundred years, and now Arjuna has
owned it for sixty-five years. Partha has obtained this bow from Varuna. The
other bows belong to the other Pandavas. The quivers you asked about belong to
Arjuna and are inexhaustible. The other quivers and weapons belong to
Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva respectively."

Uttara then questioned Brihannala, "These weapons are very beautiful, but
where is the son of Pritha, Arjuna, as well as Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and
Sahadeva. We have heard that they have lost their kingdom and are now in exile.
Also where is Draupadi who followed her lords into the forest although she was
a princess accustomed to great comforts?"

Arjuna replied, "I am Arjuna, also called Partha. Your father's counselor,
named Kanka, is Yudhisthira. Your father's chef is Bhima. The caretaker of your
father's horses is Nakula, and the cowherdsmen that takes care of your father's
cows is Sahadeva. Know the maidservant of Sudeshna, Sairindhri, to be Draupadi.
For her sake Kichaka was slain."

Skeptical, Uttara questioned Arjuna, "I will believe you if you can tell me
the ten names of Arjuna."

"I will tell you, O son of Virata, my ten names," Arjuna replied. "Listen to
them with close attention. They are Arjuna, Phalguna, Jishnu, Kiritin,
Svetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin and Dhananjaya. I am known
as Dhananjaya because I have defeated all countries and taken away their
wealth. They call me Vijaya because I enter the battlefield and never return
without vanquishing my enemy. I am called Svetavahana because of the white
horses yoked to my chariot. They call me Phalguna because I was born on the
mountain crest of Himavat at the auspicious time when the constellation Uttara
Phalguna was on the ascendent. I am named Kiritin because of the crown given by
Indra that is as effulgent as the sun. I am known as Vibhatsu, among demigods
and men, for never having committed an unworthy deed on the battlefield. I am
known as Savyasachin, because by drawing the string of my bow with both hands,
I can release countless arrows. I am known as Arjuna because my complexion has
no equal on earth. I am known as Jishnu because I am invincible on the
battlefield. And I was given the name Krishna because I always meditate on Lord
Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the Yadu dynasty."

After hearing Arjuna's description, Uttara was pleased and offered respects
and worship to Arjuna. He begged his forgiveness for acting out of fear and
then agreed to drive his chariot. Ascending the chariot, he requested Arjuna,
"Order me as to where I should drive this chariot."

Uttara Kumara had taken all the weapons of the Pandavas and put them in the
chariot. He cast off all fear and was prepared to do as he was ordered. He said
to Arjuna, "I will drive this chariot as Daruka drives the chariot of Lord
Krishna, or as Matali drives the chariot of Indra."

Then Arjuna took off his bracelets and wore on his hands a pair of beautiful
gloves embroidered with gold. He then tied his hair in the back with a white
cloth. Seated on that excellent chariot, he turned toward the east, purifying
his body and concentrating his attention on Lord Krishna's form. He recalled to
mind all his weapons, and they appeared before him saying, "We are here, O
illustrious one. We are your servants, O son of Indra." Obtaining the celestial
weapons, Arjuna looked cheerful. After stringing his bow, he pulled back the
string and released it, causing the earth to tremble, and the Kuru's hearts
were seized with fear. He then hoisted on the chariot his own golden banner,
bearing the insignia of an ape who was none other than Hanuman. Then Arjuna,
his fingers encased in leather gloves, set out in a northerly direction. He
blew his conchshell causing a tremendous sound to vibrate in all directions.
The hairs of the Kuru warriors stood and end, and Uttara Kumara fell to his
knees at the sound of the blast. Even Arjuna's horses fell to the ground at the
sound of his conch. Arjuna then took the reins of the chariot, raised the
horses and comforted Uttara, "Why do you fear the sound of a conch. You are a
kshatriya by birth and have heard the blast of many conchshells. Why are you so
terrified now?"

"I have heard the sounds of many conchshells on the field of battle," Uttara
Kumara replied, "but none like this. Nor Have I ever seen a banner like this
one with a monkey shouting heartrending screams. The sound of your bow, and the
blaring of your conch, as well as the screams of this superhuman creature on
the banner have greatly bewildered me. The whole sky seems to be affected by
the monkey on this banner, and the sound of your Gandiva bow has deafened my

Arjuna laughed heartedly and said, "Firmly stand on the chariot and tightly
catch the reins, for I will blow the conch again." Arjuna then blew his
conchshell which was so loud that the mountains seemed to split, and the clouds
dispersed from the sky.

Sizing up the situation, Drona informed the others, "It appears from the sound
of his conchshell that this is none other than Arjuna. The evil omens in all
directions indicate misfortune for the Kurus. Our whole army is stepping
backwards out of fear of that ape on the banner of Arjuna's chariot. Send the
cows ahead, for we should stand here prepared to meet the onslaught of

"It appears that Arjuna has come out of hiding before completing the last year
of exile," Duryodhana then said to the Kuru generals. "This being the case,
they will have to enter the forest for another twelve years. We will have to
consult Grandfather in this regard. We must now prepare ourselves to fight. Why
are all these great warriors sitting on their chariots panic stricken?"

"Everything is in confusion because Drona has come under the sway of fear,"
Karna spoke condescendingly. "He is affectionate towards Arjuna, and he doesn't
want to fight. I see that all our generals are seized with fear. I don't care
if it is Indra himself that we have to encounter, I will fight with all my
weapons and kill this Arjuna. I am in no way inferior to Arjuna, and today, I
will slay him as promised in the gambling match to my friend Duryodhana. I will
grind this Arjuna into the ground, and with my javelin, I will kill this monkey
that rides on the banner. You will behold today Arjuna's chariot broken, his
horses killed, his prowess gone and himself lying on the ground sighing like a

"O Karna," Kripacharya said, "your heart is crooked and always inclined to
war. Do you not remember that Arjuna alone stopped the onslaught of the
Gandharvas in the Dvaitavana forest while you ran from the battlefield. Do you
not remember that Arjuna alone killed the Nivatakavachas which were incapable
of being slain by the demigods. Even Indra himself is unfit to fight with
Arjuna. Therefore, he, who would fight with Arjuna, should take sleeping pills.
You are like a fool that wants to enter blazing fire. You want to tie a stone
around your neck and enter the deepest part of a river. Although he is
undefeatable, still we should stand and array our troops in battle formation.
Do not, out of foolishness, fight with Arjuna alone. If all six of the great
warriors fight with him at one time, then maybe we can defeat him."

"O Karna," Ashvatthama advised, "you cannot win battles with words. Why then
do you boast? What kshatriya is there that expresses delight at winning a
kingdom with dice like the wicked son of Dhritarastra? In single combat did you
defeat the Pandavas for their kingdom? What act of prowess caused you to order
Draupadi to be brought into the assembly of Kings, and by what act of prowess
did you endeavor to see her stripped naked? Take out your dice now and throw
them at Arjuna. Let the sinful Shakuni come and fight with Arjuna. The Gandiva
does not throw dice, but arrows as deadly as virulent poison. Let this battle
be lead by Shakuni, if he chooses to fight. I shall, however, not fight with
one who is greater than all the demigods combined."

Bhishma, the great grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, then gave his counsel,
"Drona's son has spoken well as well as Kripa. As for Karna, he fights only out
of duty trying to enliven the troops. I am of the opinion that we should fight.
When the son of Kunti has come, it is not a time for quarrel. Let us arrange
our troops in battle array and protect Duryodhana from Arjuna's onslaught. He
should take the cows and return to Hastinapura. Arjuna has not come out of
hiding unless the time period of exile has expired. The wheel of time revolves
with it divisions. At certain times there are excesses which add up to two
months every five years. Thus being the case, there would be an excess of five
months in thirteen years. Arjuna has not come out of hiding unless he knew this
fact. Therefore, O King, you can make the decision on whether to battle is
proper. Arrange the forces quickly for Dhananjaya is at hand."

"I will not, O grandsire, give back the Pandavas their kingdom," Duryodhana
said. "Let all preparations for the battle be made without delay."

"Listen to what I regard as good advice," Bhishma said. "Take one fourth of
the army and proceed to Hastinapura. Another fourth of the army will escort the
cows to our city. With half of the troops will will fight with Arjuna. Myself,
Drona, Karna, Ashvatthaman, and Kripa will fight with Vibhatsu when he
approaches. We will try to withstand him like the bank withstanding the surging

Grandfather Bhishma then gave orders for the army formation. Having sent away
Duryodhana with one fourth of the troops, Bhishma ordered Drona to guard the
middle of the formation. He ordered Ashvatthama to guard the left and Kripa to
guard the right. He ordered Karna to stand in front of the army, and he himself
chose to guard the army from the back.

As Arjuna approached the Kuru army, he released two arrows that fell to the
ground in front of Bhishma and Drona. After thirteen years of exile, he was
offering obeisances to his grandfather and his martial guru. He then released
two more arrows that barely grazed the ears of each, indicating that he was now
ready to fight with them. Hanuman was roaring from the banner striking terror
into the troops. Seeing the Kurus ready for battle, Arjuna ordered Uttara
Kumara, "O charioteer, keep the horses at a distance so that my arrows may
reach them. I want to find that vain prince of the Kurus, Duryodhana. Disregard
all the other great warriors and single him out. After defeating him, all the
others will cease battle. There in the distance stands Drona and beyond him his
son Ashvatthama. And there are the great bowmen--Bhishma, Kripa and Karna. I do
not see the King, and I suspect he has taken the southern road anxious to save
his life. Follow the Duryodhana's path, for after defeating him I will come
back, bringing with me the cows."

Arjuna encircled the ocean of troops trying to make his way to Duryodhana.
Understanding his intentions, Kripa and the others began to chase after him.
Arjuna soon caught up with Duryodhana and challenged his troops to battle. From
Arjuna's bow issued a thick shower of arrows. Soon the whole sky was covered
with those arrows, and the soldiers of Duryodhana fell into confusion. While
those warriors were in a confused state, he again blew his conchshell which
struck terror into the hearts of the Kuru warriors. They gave up all hope for
life and fled the battlefield. In this state of confusion, the cows turned back
and headed for the city of Virata. As Arjuna was approaching Duryodhana, the
Kuru host headed by Karna fell upon him. The first warrior to reach him was
Vikarna. He rained arrows upon Arjuna, but it was no use. Arjuna cut his
bowstring and the standard from his chariot. Losing the use of his bow, he fled
the battlefield. The next warrior to reach Arjuna was King Satruntapa. He was
provoked and desired to put an end to Pandu's son. Arjuna, however, killed his
four horses and his chariot driver and then with an arrow capable of piercing
his heavy coat of armor, he sent him to Yamaraja's court.

Arjuna then ranged the field of battle depriving life from the Kuru host. The
next warrior to approach Arjuna was Sangramajit, the brother of Karna. He
challenged Arjuna like a tempest, but Arjuna quickly killed his four red horses
and with a crescent shaped arrow, severed his head. When his brother had fallen
on the battlefield, Karna quickly pierced Arjuna with twelve arrows. He covered
his horses with arrows and pierced Virata's son in the hand where he held the
chariot's reins. Seeing the duel that was taking place, the Kuru host looked
on, not taking any part. Arjuna covered the Karna's chariot with thousands of
arrows so that it could not be seen. However, Karna soon released himself from
that network of arrows and sent forth a thunderous roar competing with the
monkey on the banner of Arjuna's chariot. Karna then released a multitude of
arrows that covered Arjuna's chariot. Highly annoyed, and drawing his bow back
to his ear, Arjuna pierced Karna in every part of his body. Mangled by Arjuna's
crescent shaped arrows, Karna fled the battlefield.

After Radha's son had been routed, the Kuru host fell upon Arjuna like the
ocean attacks the beach. Using his celestial weapons, Partha pierced every
warrior on the battlefield whether he was a foot soldier, charioteer, horseman,
or elephant rider. Every warrior was not pierced with enough arrows so that
there was not two fingers breadth between each wound. Horses were running here
and there, dragging behind them the remnants of broken chariots. Elephants,
pierced by thousands of arrows, were dropping on the field of battle, and
looked like huge hills with streams of water running from them. Arjuna struck
terror, besides arrows, into the hearts of Duryodhana's troops. As soon as
anyone reached Arjuna he was sent to the other world. The whole battlefield
soon turned into a nightmare of mangled bodies and severed heads. The Gandiva
bow was in a perfect circle at all times, and the celestial weapons were
drinking the blood of all who opposed. The earth became muddied by the river
that was created from the dead soldiers of the Kurus. Arjuna pierced Drona with
seventy arrows and Duryodhana with a hundred. He then pierced Karna in the ear
with a bearded arrow and destroyed his chariot and horses. With this act, the
troops that were supporting him fled in all directions.

Dhananjaya then ordered Uttara Kumara to head in the direction where Kripa was
the commander of a division of soldiers. Seeing Arjuna coming, Kripa pierced
Arjuna with twelve arrows. Arjuna was furious and pierced Kripa's horses with
four arrows, causing the horses to rear, and Kripa fell from his chariot.
Greatly angered by his defeat, Kripa mounted his chariot, and by means of a
celestial weapon, pierced Arjuna with ten thousand arrows. Arjuna shook off
that network of arrows, and with his own arrows, cut the armor from Kripa's
body. He then cut his bow string and the standard from his chariot. Kripa
picked up another bow, but that string was cut by Arjuna. Each bow that Kripa
picked up was cut by Arjuna, and having no more bows, Saradwat's son picked up
a javelin that resembled a blazing thunderbolt. Kripacharya released it with a
meteor's speed, but Arjuna cut it to pieces with ten arrows. When Arjuna had
smashed his chariot, killed his horses and charioteer, Kripa took up a mace,
and descending from his chariot, ran at Arjuna. Kripa released the mace with
all his might, but Arjuna sent it in another direction by means of his forceful
arrows. When the warriors in Kripa's division saw that Kripa was in danger of
being killed, they surrounded Arjuna and covered him with arrows. Taking
Saradwat's son onto a chariot, they took him to another part of the

After Kripacharya had been taken away, the invincible Drona rushed towards
Arjuna on his golden chariot drawn by red horses. Arjuna then spoke to Drona,
"Having completed our exile in the forest, we are not desirous of avenging
offenses committed against us. O sinless one, I will not strike you unless you
strike me first. This in my intention." Thus addressed by Arjuna, Drona
released twenty arrows at the son of Kunti. Arjuna countered those arrows and
released a shower of arrows so that Drona could not be seen. With his celestial
weapons, Drona tried to overcome Arjuna, but Partha countered the Aindra, the
Vayavya and the Agneya weapons. While engaged in a fight with Drona, Arjuna was
being attacked on all sides. By means of his celestial weapons, Arjuna pierced
thousands of warriors with thousands of arrows, and all that approached the
chariot of Arjuna were sent to Yamaraja's abode. Suddenly Arjuna released from
his bow hundreds of arrows that covered Drona's chariot, and the Kuru army
thought that Drona was finished. Coming to his father's aid, Ashvatthama
challenged Arjuna to fight. Drona's armor and weapons were gone, and this gave
him a chance to slip away from the battlefield.

Arjuna immediately attacked Ashvatthaman's horses and threw them into
confusion. Ashvatthama countered and found the opportunity to cut the string of
the Gandiva bow. He then released an arrow that pierced the Arjuna's chest.
Arjuna laughed loudly, and placing another string on his bow, again attacked
Drona's son. Arjuna's quivers were inexhaustible, and he was releasing a
constant flow of arrows, creating a slaughter on the field of battle. The
stench of the dead bodies was overwhelming, and Uttara Kumara was fainting
under the strain. When Ashvatthama's arrows were exhausted, he left the
battlefield with no more weapons to fight with.

While havoc was being created on the battlefield, grandfather Bhishma rushed
at Arjuna. He blew his conchshell cheering the sons of Dhritarastra. The
demigods as well as the sages assembled in the heavens to see the wonderful
fight with the son of Ganga and the son of Kunti. Bhishma quickly pierced the
monkey on the flagstaff with eight arrows. Arjuna, taking up a mighty javelin,
cut off the top of Bhishma's chariot. The battle became fierce, and both were
using celestial weapons received from such demigods as Prajapati, Indra, Agni,
Rudra, Kuvera, Varuna, Yamaraja and Vayu. The demigods and the sages exclaimed
the glories of both, and the Kauravas sent up loud roars, encouraging the aged
Bhishma. Then, suddenly, Partha cut the bow of Bhishma into pieces. He then
pierced Bhishma in the chest with ten arrows, and Ganga's son fell to the floor
of his chariot in a swoon. The charioteer, seeing the critical situation, took
grandfather Bhishma from the battlefield.

After Bhishma had fled, Duryodhana attacked Arjuna with a murderous intention.
He released an arrow that struck Arjuna in the forehead, causing blood to flow
from his wound. Greatly incensed, Kunti's son pierced the King in return. In
order to save Duryodhana's life, Vikarna, riding on the back of a huge
elephant, attacked Arjuna. Seeing the elephant approaching like a mountain,
Arjuna pulled out a golden arrow, and drawing the string of his bow back to his
ears, released that arrow which entered into the elephant's forehead up to the
feathers. The elephant trembled and fell to the earth screaming in agony.
Vikarna jumped off the dead beast, ran backwards a full eight hundred feet and
ascended his brother's chariot.

Arjuna then pierced Duryodhana's chest, and that great warrior, vomiting
blood, tried to run from the battlefield. However, Arjuna would not let him go.
He challenged him again, "Sacrificing your name and fame, why do you flee from
the battlefield? I am Arjuna, the third son of Pritha. Turn back and show me
your face, bearing in mind the behavior of kings. Why are your running away
from the battlefield like a coward. I do not see any body guards around your
chariot. They have all fled like you. Stand and fight!" Being stung by the
words of Arjuna, Dhritarastra's son returned like a snake trampled under foot.
Suddenly all the divisions of the army, headed by Bhishma, Drona, Kripa,
Ashvatthama, and Karna, attacked Arjuna, trying to save the King's life. Seeing
them coming at once, Arjuna called for the Sanmohana weapon received from
Indra. Releasing this weapon and blowing on his conchshell, the whole of the
army fell to the ground deprived of their senses. Arjuna then addressed Uttara
Kumara, "O best of men, go to the Kurus and take away their scarfs. Take some
garment from Drona, Kripa, Duryodhana, Karna and Ashvatthama. Bhishma is still
conscious for he knows how to counter this astra." Jumping down from the
chariot, Kumara took some garment from each of the great generals and came back
to the chariot. Feeling satisfied after his victory, Arjuna decided to leave
the battlefield. However, Bhishma again attacked Arjuna, but Partha killed his
horses and his charioteer, and with a smile on his face headed for the city of

Duryodhana awoke, and seeing Arjuna leaving the battlefield, chastised Bhishma
in strong words. "Why don't you rise and challenge him," Bhishma replied.
"While you were unconsciousness, he could have taken your life. He, however, is
not inclined to sin, and therefore, you are still alive. Let us go back to the
city of the Kurus, and let Partha return to Virata's kingdom, having retrieved
the cows. Do not foolishly throw away your life." Following the advice of the
grandsire, Duryodhana, accompanied by the rest of his army, went back to
Hastinapura humiliated by the prowess of Arjuna.

Arjuna then had Uttara Kumara return to the Shami tree. Again the weapons and
the ape banner were put into the corpse-like covering and hoisted into the
tree. Arjuna then told Prince Uttara that he should take credit for what had
happened, and that he should not reveal their disguise to the King. Prince
Uttara agreed not to disclose the Pandava's secret, but refused to take credit
for such super human activities. That afternoon Uttara Kumara ordered the
cowherdsmen to go to the capital and announce the King's victory. The son of
Kunti and the son of Virata rested for the afternoon and then entered the city
of the Matsyas.

Thus Ends the Fourth Chapter of the Virata Parva, Entitled, Arjuna Challenges
the Kaurava Army.

Chapter Commentary

Arjuna was like the full moon in the sky. He was an empowered representative
of the Lord. It is stated in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, krishna shakti vina
nahe tara pravartana, "Unless empowered by the Lord one cannot propagate the
Lord's mission." (C.c. Antya 7.11) One who receives the Lord's empowerment is
called a shaktavesha avatara.Arjuna was empowered to relieve the earth's burden
in the form numerous military divisions. Arjuna alone killed many millions and
millions of men during his lifetime, but it was all for the service of the
Lord. We have seen in the life of our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, that he alone came to the Western world to
spread the Krishna consciousness movement. Because he surrendered everything,
the Lord Krishna empowered him to spread this movement and to lighten the
earth's burden in the form of demoniac mentality. Srila Prabhupada carried with
him the empowerment of chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra. He made this
transcendental sound vibration a household word throughout the entire world. If
one becomes empowered by the Lord, he can do wondrous and marvelous things that
no ordinary human can perform, as we have heard from this chapter.

Virata Parva - Chapter Five - The Pandavas Reveal Their Disguise

When Virata had defeated the Trigartas, he entered his city accompanied by
four of the Pandavas. He entered his palace and sat upon his throne. He was
then worshiped by the brahmanas and by the citizens. While listening to his
glorification, he inquired about Uttara. The women in the palace replied, "The
cows were taken away by the Kuru host, and Uttara, being upset, set out on a
single chariot with Brihannala as his charioteer. He set out to fearlessly
challenge the Kuru elders: Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, Duryodhana and

When the King heard that his son had single-handedly challenged the enemy, his
heart filled with grief. He ordered that troops leave the city arrayed in
battle formation for Uttara Kumara's protection, "Immediately go out of the
city, and find out whether the prince is still alive. I think that with only
Brihannala as his assistant, he no longer lives."

King Yudhisthira then advised Virata, "If Brihannala is the charioteer of
Uttara Kumara, then there is no need to worry for your son's safety or the
safety of your cows. Protected by Brihannala, your son will be able to vanquish
the demigods, the asuras and the Yakshas combined."

As Yudhisthira was speaking to King Virata, the messengers arrived with the
news that the Kauravas had been defeated and the cows recovered. The messengers
exclaimed, "Your son, O King, is well, having defeated the Kurus in battle! The
cows have also been brought back. Soon, your blessed son will be in your
presence." On hearing this, King Virata's hair stood on end out of excessive
joy, and he could not control himself. Yudhisthira then said to him, "It is by
good luck that the cows have been recovered and the Kurus defeated. I don't
think it very wonderful, however, that your son defeated the Kurus as long as
Brihannala was his chariot driver." The King was in ecstasy and paid little
attention to Yudhisthira's words. He ordered that the citizens greet the prince
at the city gate with all kinds of auspicious presentations. He then desired to
play a game of dice with Yudhisthira. When Yudhisthira saw his excessive joy
like a fever, he spoke to the King, "O monarch, what business do you have with
gambling which is accompanied by many evils? It should not be indulged in. You
may have heard how Pandu's sons lost their extensive kingdom in this evil game.
For this reason I dislike the game. If, however, you are insistent, then let
the game begin."

While the dice game was going on, King Virata joyfully said, "Just imagine,
the Kauravas, who are invincible in battle, have been routed by my son."

"Uttara would be able to conquer anyone as long as he had Brihannala for his
chariot driver," Yudhisthira replied.

The King became angry with Yudhisthira's response, "You foolish brahmana, how
can you compare a eunuch to my son. Have you no knowledge of what is proper,
and what is improper to say? Are you disregarding my statements? It is possible
for my son to crush all the Kuru leaders such as Bhishma and Drona. Because of
our friendship, I will pardon this offense. Do not make this statement again if
you wish to live."

Boldly, Yudhisthira replied, "There was Bhishma, Drona, and Drona's son,
Karna, Kripa and King Duryodhana, and other royal and stalwart car warriors.
Even if Indra was there along with the Maruts, there could be none other than
Brihannala who could conquer them. There has been none, there is none and there
will be none who can be his equal. He can vanquish the celestial demigods, the
demons and the human beings combined. With such a person as an ally, why can he
not conquer the enemy?"

Becoming offended, Virata angrily said, "I have repeatedly forbidden you, and
still you do not restrain your tongue. If I do not punish you, you will not
learn virtue."

Saying this, the King threw the dice at Yudhisthira's face exclaiming, "Do not
let this happen again!" When struck in this way, blood began to flow from
Yudhisthira's nose. He held his hand out and prevented it from touching the
ground. The first son of Kunti then indicated to Draupadi that she should bring
something to catch the blood. She immediately brought a golden water jug and
caught the blood that flowed from his wound. It was at this time that Prince
Uttara entered the palace followed by Brihannala. When it was announced that
the prince was to enter the court, Yudhisthira whispered to Sairindhri,
"Indicate to Arjuna that he should not enter the court with Prince Uttara. He
has taken a vow that anyone who sheds my blood, other than at the time of
battle, shall not live. If he sees what has happened, he will kill Virata along
with the whole Matsya army." Draupadi quickly did as she was told, and Prince
Uttara entered the assembly alone.

Then the Prince entered and approached his father to worship him. After
offering respects to the King and receiving his blessings, Uttara Kumara saw
Kanka, sitting off a little ways, his face covered in blood. He was waited upon
by Sairindhri. Overwhelmed with fear, he spoke to his father, "Who has
performed the heinous act of drawing blood from this greatest of men, Kanka.
The reaction to this sin will be very great."

"I hit this proud brahmana," Virata replied. "He deserves more than this, for
while I was glorifying your prowess, he was praising Brihannala for conquering
the enemy."

"Father, I think that you have unnecessarily offended a great soul," Uttara
Kumara said. "You should seek his forgiveness so that his curse will not
consume your whole dynasty at the roots!"

Coming to his senses, King Virata went to Yudhisthira, comforted him and
sought his forgiveness.

"O King," Yudhisthira replied, "I have already forgiven you, for anger does
not exist in me. Had this blood fallen to the ground, you would have been
devastated along with your kingdom. I do not blame you for striking an innocent
person for such are the ways of powerful persons. They generally act with
unreasoning severity."

At this time Brihannala entered the court. He offered respects to the King and
also Kanka. As he stood there, King Virata began to glorify his son in the
presence of all, "O my son, please tell us how you were able to challenge and
defeat the grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, Bhishma. Relate to us also how you
defeated the preceptor of the Kurus, the mighty Drona, who prowess knows now
bounds. Please, also, tell us also how you conquered the invincible Karna. who
can pierce a thousand warriors at a time. Relate to us how you encountered
Kripa, Ashvatthaman and the very powerful Duryodhana, Dhritarastra's son.
Please tell us for we are anxious to hear."

Uttara Kumara replied, "Actually, I have not recovered the cows, nor did I
defeat in battle the great Kuru generals. This was all accomplished by a
demigod of celestial origin. When I saw the vast ocean of Kuru warriors, I ran
from the battlefield. However, this youth stopped me and encouraged me to fight
with them. He asked me to drive his chariot, and thus it was he who repulsed
the arrows of Kripa, Drona and Bhishma. It was his prowess alone that sent
Duryodhana running from the battlefield. Also, Karna was stripped of his
prowess and defeated by this youth, and Drona's son was also defeated. It was
he that mowed down the Kuru troops in thousands like a hurricane destroying
trees. He released the cows and sent them running back to your city. I
witnessed all of this, but I was simply the chariot driver."

"Where is that heavenly youth," Virata asked, "who has recovered my wealth. I
am anxious to behold and worship that powerful warrior who has defeated the
greatest generals on earth."

"The powerful youth disappeared after he had accomplished his purpose," Uttara
replied. "However, he told me that he would appear in your palace within a few

Virata could not understand that the youth his son was referring to was
Brihannala, and thus he remained ignorant of the Pandava's disguise. Brihannala
then went to the princess, the daughter of the King, and presented to her the
garments of the great warriors. Princess Uttara was overjoyed to receive those
garments and asked for a detailed report on what had happened. Thus Brihannala
entered the ladies chambers and began to relate all that had happened.

Then on the third day, the Pandavas entered Virata's imperial court wearing golden ornaments, valuable gems, and the white robes of Kings. They entered the council hall and sat on the seats reserved for Kings. After taking their seats, Virata came there to perform his daily duties. He saw the Pandavas seated on the royal thrones, effulgent as the sun, appearing like five demigods descended from the heavens. He was, however, overwhelmed with anger and rebuked Yudhisthira, "Yesterday, you were a dice player and my subordinate counselor. How can you now claim to occupy the royal throne, and wear kingly dress?"

Hearing the resentful words of Virata, Arjuna smilingly informed him, "This
person, O King, deserves to sit on Indra's throne. He is devoted to the
brahmanas and learned in Vedic knowledge. He is indifferent to opulence and
bodily enjoyments, and as such he is superior to everyone on earth. He is
intelligent, devoted to asceticism, and kind to all living entities. There is
none amongst the demigods, demons or human beings who is his equal. As a
performer of sacrifices to Vishnu, he is a royal sage in kingly dress. He is
equal in wealth to Indra and Kuvera, and in prowess for protecting the
citizens, he is like Manu, the father of mankind. Devoted to the cause of
justice, he is none other than the foremost of all men, King Yudhisthira. His
fame is known all over the universe just like the sun. Ten thousands elephants
used to follow him wherever he traveled, as well as thirty thousand chariots
bedecked with gold and drawn by the best horses. To perform the Rajasuya
sacrifice, he made all the kings of the earth pay tribute to him. The good
qualities of this person cannot be fully expounded. Why then can he not sit on
the royal throne and rule everyone?"

King Virata was in a bewildered state, and he inquired from Arjuna, "If this
is King Yudhisthira, then where is Bhima, and which one of these heroes is the
great archer Arjuna. Which of these men is Nakula and which is Sahadeva? Also
where is Draupadi? We have heard that the Pandavas have gone to the forest and
have not been seen or heard of for the period of one year."

"O King," Arjuna replied, "the cook in your kitchen, the one known as
Vallabha, is the stout-armed Bhima. It was by him that the great Rakshasas,
Hidimva and Baka were slain. It is by the force of his arms, alone, that
Kichaka and his relatives were killed. It is by his prowess, alone, that you
were saved from death at the hands of the mighty Trigarta, Susharman. The
eminent chariot fighter, Nakula, is the one who has been taking care of your
horses. The highly intelligent Sahadeva is the one who has been taking care of
your cows. There is none equal in beauty to these two twins, not even in the
heavenly planets. These great chariot warriors are an equal match for a
thousand great chariot fighters. Your wife's maidservant Sairindhri, for whom
Kichaka was killed, is the beautiful and chaste Draupadi. She is like a
demigoddess and is a second expansion to Laksmi, the goddess of fortune. I am,
O King, Arjuna, by whose prowess all the great Kuru warriors were defeated the
other day. We have happily passed, in your abode the last year of our exile."

After revealing themselves to Virata and hearing confirmation from the King's
son, Uttara, the King considered that he had committed a grave offense against
Yudhisthira. He said to his son, "I think the time has come for me to worship
the sons of Pandu. I should bestow my daughter Uttara upon Arjuna."

Virata then addressed the Pandavas, "When I had been defeated by the enemy, it
was Bhima who rescued me. And by the grace of Arjuna, all the great heroes in
the Kuru dynasty were defeated and my cows saved. Such being the case, please
accept our worship and forgive any offenses that we may have committed against
you in ignorance."

The Matsya King was overjoyed at the presence of such exalted personalities
and made an alliance with them. He offered them his kingdom along with his
wealth and cities. He also requested Arjuna, "Please accept, along with my
kingdom, my beautiful daughter in marriage."

"O monarch," Arjuna replied, "I will accept your daughter as my
daughter-in-law. While in her association, she trusted me as her father, and I
also protected her as one would protect a daughter. While associating with her,
I have remained pure with controlled senses. My son, Abhimanyu, is a fit
husband for your daughter. He resembles a celestial denizen and is
knowledgeable of all the weapons of warfare. He is a favorite of Lord Krishna
and thus an equal to your daughter."

Greatly pleased that the Pandavas would be his allies through marriage, Virata
began to arrange a wedding ceremony. Arjuna sent for his son Abhimanyu, and
also invited Lord Krishna and the members of the Yadu dynasty. All the
favorable kings of the earth were invited to come and participate in the
festival. After thirteen years of exile, the Pandavas had now taken up their
abode in Virata's kingdom.

Upon hearing that the Pandavas were living in the kingdom of the Matsyas, Lord
Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, came there along with His most
powerful brother, Balarama. Kritavarman arrived as well as Satyaki, the
commander in chief of the Yadu dynasty. The King of Kashi arrived accompanied
by an akshauhini division of troops. Also King Saivya, being very friendly with
Yudhisthira, arrived with another Akshauhini division. The mighty King Drupada
arrived along with his powerful sons, Dhristadyumna and Shikhandi, the foremost
wielders of weapons. They came with another akshauhini division of soldiers.
Many kings with their troops arrived ready to die for the cause of Yudhisthira.
All these kings bestowed great wealth upon the Pandavas during the marriage
ceremony of Abhimanyu and Princess Uttara. A great ceremony was held and all
enjoyed it. While sitting on the royal throne in the imperial court of Virata,
King Yudhisthira appeared like Indra, the king of heaven, surrounded by all the
subordinate demigods.

Thus Ends the Fifth Chapter of the Virata Parva, Entitled, The Pandavas Reveal
Their Disguise.

Thus ends the Virata Parva to the summary study of the Mahabharata

Chapter Commentary

King Virata was ignorant of the fact that the Pandavas were in disguise. Thus
he committed an offense by throwing dice at Yudhisthira's nose and drawing
blood. Yudhisthira forgave Virata by saying that Kings generally act with
unreasoning severity. When a person achieves a high position by the result of
his pious activities, he sometimes commits offenses against saintly persons
which cause his falldown. Indra lost his kingdom by offending his spiritual
master, Brishaspati. Maharaja Rahugana offended Jad Bharata, a great devotee of
the Lord. Fortunately, he realized his mistake and requested forgiveness from
the saint. Ramachandra Khan offended both Haridas Thakur and Lord Nityananda
for which he lost his family, wealth and position. Gopal Chakravarty offended
Haridas Thakur for which he contacted leprosy. This caused his handsome nose to
wither and his artistic fingers to fall off.

It was said of Maharaja Prithu that although he was praised by everyone, he
never became proud. He always knew that he was not the cause of his success,
but always glorified the Lord. He thus offered respect to all living beings. It
is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, trinad api sunichena, taror api
sahisnuna, amanina amanadena, kirtaniya sada hari."One should chant the Holy
name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the
straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all false prestige
and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state one can chant the
holy name of the Lord constantly." (Shikshastaka 3)

Yudhisthira was always humble, although achieving a high position in life. He
respected all others, including the most insignificant citizen, and thus he was
loved by all. Generally, Lord Krishna keeps his devotees in a poverty stricken
condition so they can remain humble and make spiritual advancement. When the
Lord sees that a devotee is completely free of material desire, He may bestow
upon him uncommon material opulence as the Lord did with Yudhisthira, Sudama
brahmana and our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada's life was dedicated to the order of his spiritual
master to preach Krishna consciousness in the Western countries. He cared
nothing for material opulence and came to America with only $7.00. He preached
in poverty for one year, living in such lowly places as the bowery in New York
City. When the Lord saw Srila Prabhupada's unswerving determination, he
bestowed upon him wealth, disciple and position. Srila Prabhupada never misused
these material assets nor became proud, but always remained a humble servant of
his spiritual master. Without humility all our attempts at material or
spiritual success will end up in disaster.

Mahabharata H.J. Resnik

01 - Adi Parva I - II - Maharaja Shantanu Marries the Celestial Ganga
09 - Salya Parva - The Death of Salya
12 - Shanti Parva - The Lamentation of Maharaja Yudhisthira
13 - Anushasana Parva (13 capter) - The Final Instruct...
14 - Ashvamedha Parva
16 - Mausala Parva
17 - Mahaprasthanika Parva - Mahaprasthanika Parva...

1 - Adi Parva AP 01 - AP 07
1 - Adi Parva AP 08 - AP 36
1 - Adi Parva AP 37 - AP 58
1 - Adi Parva AP 59 - AP 77
1 - Adi Parva AP 78 - AP 98
1 - Adi Parva AP 99 - AP 121
1 - Adi Parva AP 122 - AP 154
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1 - Adi Parva AP 193 - AP 225

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