domingo, 11 de julio de 2010

1 - Adi Parva AP 193 - AP 225

AP 193

Dhrtarastra said:

I too am worried about this, just as all of you are, but I do not wish to reveal my real feelings to Vidura, and so in his company I especially praise the good qualities of the Pandavas so that Vidura does not discern my purpose by my words and expression. Duryodhana, tell me where you think we stand now, and Karna, you also tell me how you see the present situation.

Duryodhana said:

At this point, we must employ expert and trustworthy brahmanas to divide the sons of Kunti from the sons of Madri. Or perhaps we can use huge amounts of wealth to entice King Drupada, his sons, and all his ministers and then tell them, "You must all renounce King Yudhisthira Kaunteya." Or they might convince the Pandavas to make their permanent home right there in the kingdom of Drupada. They would have to explain to each of the Pandavas the disadvantages of their living here, so that the Pandavas themselves will make up their minds to separate from us.

Or perhaps some very clever men who are expert in such affairs should divide the Pandavas by manipulating their affections, or else they must cause Krsna to stand up against them. That should be an easy job, since she has to deal with so many of them. Or they may sew the seeds of conflict in the Pandavas against Draupadi and then cut her off from them. Another point is that some expert men must secretly arrange Bhimasena's death, O king, for he is definitely the strongest of them all. When he is cut down, O king, so will their daring and vigor and stamina be cut down. They will no more struggle for their kingdom, since he is their foundation and shelter.

Arjuna is invincible in battle as long as Bhima guards him from behind, but without him Arjuna is not even one fourth the man in battle that Karna is. Knowing their great weakness without Bhima and recognizing that we are strong, they shall perish with little resistence in his absence. When the Pandavas come here, if they agree to be ruled by our command then we shall move forward and crush them with full faith in our plan. Or we can always arrange beautiful, maddening women to seduce them, one by one, and Draupadi will surely give up her affection for them.

Or let us send Karna Radheya to bring them here, and we shall arrange for professional criminals we can trust to kill them on the way. Anyway, whichever of these methods you consider to be free of flaws, set it into motion at once, before time runs out. As long as Drupada, that bull of a king, has not developed full trust in them, only so long are these plans possible to carry out, but once Drupada's alliance with them is firmly in place, these plans will be impossible to execute. That is my opinion, father, which procedes from the conviction that we are to curb down the Pandavas. What do you think, Radheya? Is my opinion right or wrong?

AP 194

Karna Radheya said:

Duryodhana, I feel that your thinking on this matter is not accurate. O Kuru prince, the Pandavas cannot be subdued by the means you propose. In the past you have attempted to subdue them through subtle plots, my hero, but you could not overcome them. They were living right here with you, O king, like children or little birds without wings, and it was impossible to stop them. Now they have grown their wings, for they have allies and they have risen up to strength and prosperity, and in all ways they have matured. You cannot deal with the sons of Kunti by such means as you propose. This is my view, O unfailing one. They seem to embody the will of Providence, and it is impossible to entangle them in vice; moreover they are on their guard now, and are yearning to get back their ancestral kingdom.

It is impossible to create division among them; they all love a single wife, and they will not be separated from her. Nor can Draupadi be separated from them by the work of outsiders. Why, she chose them when they were in a miserable condition, and what to speak of now, when they have ended their troubles! It is a desireable quality for women to be maintained and protected by many men. Draupadi has attained such a status, and she will not be easily separated from her husbands.

King Drupada is a religious man of noble character; he is not the type of king who is mad after wealth. I am certain he would not renounce the Kaunteyas even in return for gifts of kingdoms. His son is just as noble as the father, and he is very attached to the Pandavas. Therefore I conclude that in no way can we handle the Pandavas through such means.

O best of men, this is what we can actually do now: as long as the Pandavas have not yet spread their roots, O king, we must directly attack them. May you approve and be pleased with a plan that depends on valor, [and not trickery]. As long as our side is strong and the side of Pancala much smaller, we should sieze the moment to attack them! There is nothing more for you to analyze. Now while they still do not have an abundance of vehicles and mounts, or a large number of friends, O godly son of Gandhari, march on them at once! It is now, while the King of Pancala and his powerful sons cannot even imagine such an enterprise, that you must make war!

And especially now that Sri Krsna has not yet come, leading the war machine of the Yadu dynasty to rescue the kingdom of the Pandavas, you must at once go to war! For the Pandavas' sake, O king, Krsna is prepared to sacrifice vast amounts of wealth, varieties of enjoyment, and his entire kingdom.

It is by the use of force that the great soul Bharata gained the earth, and it is through the employment of force that Indra conquered the three worlds. People praise a warrior's prowess, my king, for to use power courageously is the duty of heroes, noble king.

We ourselves, with our four-fold armies, O king, shall harass Drupada and then quickly capture the Pandavas and bring them here. No sweet words, no gifts or brides, and no ploys to divide and conquer will ever be successful in controlling the Pandavas. Therefore we must conquer them by courage and strength! When you have conquered them with your courage, you will enjoy every land on the face of the earth. I do not see any other means to carry out this task, O lord of the people.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing these words of Karna Radheya, the powerful Dhrtarastra thanked him, and after a moment he said, "O son of the suta, it is fitting that you, being a great-minded man and a master of weapons, have spoken such words, which are full of the vigor of combat. But it is best that Bhisma and Drona and Vidura, and you two men, together decide the wisest plan, the one that will bring us a happy ending." Then the famous Dhrtarastra brought all these advisers, O king, and they began to deliberate.

AP 195

Bhisma said:

Under no circumstances can I condone a war with the sons of Pandu, for as much as I care about Dhrtarastra, I care that much for Pandu and his family, without a doubt. I have the same feelings for Kunti's sons as I do for the sons of Gandhari, and it is my duty to protect them-- as much as it is your duty, Dhrtarastra. And as I am responsible for the well-being of the Pandavas, so is King Dhrtarastra, and so are you Duryodhana, and all the other Kurus. Indeed, all the citizens should be concerned to help and care for them.

This being the case, I find no pleasure in making war with them. Let us rather make peace with those heroes, and let us give them their land at once, for this kingdom is theirs to rule; it is the kingdom of their own father and of their forefathers, who were the greatest of the Kurus. Duryodhana, my son, just as you see this kingdom as the land of your fathers, so do the Pandavas see it. If the austere Pandavas have not really inherited the kingdom, then how does it belong to you, or to any Bharata? If you have gotten the kingdom fairly, noble Bharata, then surely they have gotten it before you, in my opinion.

We must act with kindness and give them half the kingdom, for that is certainly in the interest of all the people. If we do otherwise, it will not be for our good, and you will inherit utter infamy without doubt. You must guard your reputation, for a good reputation is surely the greatest power. It is said that when a man's reputation is ruined, his life becomes fruitless. If a man's reputation is unspoiled, Kaurava, then he actually lives, but when his reputation is ruined, O son of Gandhari, he is ruined. You must strictly abide by this religious law, for it is the custom of the Kuru family. O mighty-armed, act in a manner worthy of your ancestors and yourself. It is by the grace of heaven that those heroes live and Prtha is still alive. And by the grace of heaven wicked Purocana has passed away, frustrated in his schemes.

From the time I heard that Kunti was lost in the fire, Duryodhana, I had not the strength to see the face of a single creature. And the world does not accuse Purocana of evil-doing as much as it accuses you, O tiger of men. The fact that they are still living relieves you of the dark stain of sin. Indeed to see the Pandavas again is something to be fervently wished. Now that those heroes are alive, even Indra himself, thunderbolt in hand, could not take from them their rightful share of their father's kingdom. O Kuru child, every one of them is fixed in the sacred law, for their minds only think of God's will, and now those princes have been thrown out of the kingdom in the most unlawful way, though they have the same right as any of you to rule it. If you are interested in following the religious law, and if you are to please me, if you would act for the well-being of the world, then you must give half of this kingdom.

AP 196

Drona said:

Dhrtarastra's friends have been brought together for council, to make a practical proposal that will enhance our virtue and reputation; thus we have heard, your majesty. And I am of the same mind as the great soul Bhisma. The Pandavas must be given their equal share of the kingdom. That is our eternal religious law. We must quickly send to Drupada a man who knows how to speak pleasantly, and who will bring them many jewels, O Bharata. He should go at once and also bring many gifts that will lead Drupada to reciprocate our generosity.

The man should explain the tremendous benefits and prosperity that will arise by uniting, just as you might say it, Dhrtarastra. And he must explain again and again to Drupada and Dhrstadyumna that you and Duryodhana are most pleased with this prospect, O Bharata. Pacifying the sons of Kunti and Madri for all the past wrongs, the propriety and the pleasure of unity should be explained again and again.

By your command, mighty king, the messenger must present to Draupadi many shining adornments fashioned of gold; and fitting presents should similarly be offered to all the sons of Drupada, and to all the Pandavas and to Kunti. Thus as soon as Drupada and the Pandavas are completely conciliated, the messenger should speak and explain why they should return to Hastinapura. When those heroes agree to the proposal, a beautiful army escort, headed by Duhsasana and Vikarna, should go and escort the Pandavas back to the city. Thereupon, O noble king, being regularly honored by you, and with the good wishes of the citizens, they will stand in the place of their fathers. I agree with Bhisma, O Bharata, that this is the way you and your sons must act toward the Pandavas, for in the absence of their father they are also your children.

Karna said:

These two councillors have always worked for money and prestige in all their so-called duties. Why is it very amazing then when they cannot or will not give good advice? How can a man who claims to speak what is best for others convince honest people when he speaks with a dirty mind and hidden motives. This shows that when the things we value are threatened, our so-called friends can neither help nor harm us, for in both happiness or distress everything depends on destiny. Whether a man is wise or foolish, young or old, and whether he has friends to help him or not, wherever he goes he enounters all that is destined for him.

We have heard from authorities that long ago there was a certain king named Ambuvica in the royal palace of the Magadha monarchs. Deprived of all his senses, the king could only breathe and he depended on his ministers to perform all the duties of state. His councillor named Mahakarni then became the real master of the country, and thinking he had now gained control of the military, he began to despise the king. The foolish man siezed all the privileges and properties of the king, including his women and jewels. But after he had gained what he coveted, his greed only increased, and having taken everything, he now desired to formally sieze the kingdom. But although he endeavored, he was unable to steal the kingdom of a monarch who was deprived of all his senses and could only breathe, and this we have heard from authorites. What else could his kingship be, if not a position ordained by Providence?

If a kingdom is destined for you, then it shall be, O king. While the whole world watches, sovereignity will certainly stand with you. And if anything else is destined to be, even by endeavoring, you shall not attain it. Thus, learned man, you must take into consideration the honesty and dishonesty of those who advise you, and you must know whether a particular piece of advice is coming from the wicked, or from those who are free of malice.

Drona said:

We know for what purpose you with your flawed nature have spoken these words, for you are corrupted by envy of the Pandavas, and now you would persuade us to adopt your wicked envy. I speak what is absolutely most beneficial for the prosperity and well-being of the Kuru dynasty. If you think that is wicked, Karna, then you tell us what is best for the well-being of this dynasty. I speak what is best both in a practical and moral sense, and if anything besides this is done, then within a short time the ancient Kuru line will be destroyed. That is my conviction.

AP 197

Sri Vidura said:

King Dhrtarastra, it is beyond doubt the duty of your relatives to tell you what is best, but words do not long remain in those who do not want to hear them. The most noble of Kurus, Bhisma, son of Santanu, has told you what is actually good for us, but you do not accept it, O king. Similarly, Drona explained in various ways how we can achieve the greatest good, but that too the suta's son Karna does not think beneficial for you.

But even after thinking it over, I do not see anyone who is a better friend to you, king, than these two lionlike men, Bhisma and Drona, nor is anyone wiser than they. These two men are senior in age, wisdom, and education, and they are impartial towards you, noble king, and to the sons of Pandu. They are not less than Lord Rama or King Gaya in their truthfulness and in their devotion to duty, O Bharata, and there is no doubt about it. From the very beginning they have never uttered a single word that was not benevolent, nor have they ever been seen to do you any harm. How could these two tigers of men fail to recommend what is actually best for you, these two who are victorious by their devotion to truth? They hold real wisdom, O king, they are the best men in this world, and they will never say anything deceitful, especially when the matter concerns you, and that remains my unshakeable conviction, O Kuru son. These two religious-minded men will not speak in favor of a particular side for money's sake. Rather they are thinking of your greatest good, O Bharata.

Undoubtedly, king, the sons of your beloved brother Pandu are as much to you as your own sons, headed by Duryodhana. If your advisers foolishly council you to do anything harmful, they are simply not seeing what is good for you. And if in your heart, O king, there is partiality toward your sons, then these councillors, by revealing your bias, would certainly not help you.

These two great and brilliant souls did not reveal any such bias, O king, but still you are not convinced of their words. These two leaders of men have stated that the Pandavas cannot be overcome, and that is the fact, O tiger of men; it is a fact in your life, and may God bless you to realize it. How is it possible to conquer in battle the handsome Arjuna, when even Indra cannot defeat that fiery Pandava? And huge Bhimasena has the strength of ten thousand elephants in his mighty arms. How is it possible, O king, for even the gods to conquer him in battle? And it is the same with the twins who fight with the deadly precision of the sons of Death. How could anyone who wishes to live challenge them on a warfield? And the one in whom relentless drive, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and victory ever reside, how can he, the senior Pandava, be conquered in battle?

What evades their conquest, when Lord Balarama has taken their side, Lord Krsna is their personal adviser, and Satyaki stands with them in battle? Drupada is the father of their wife; and his sons, the heroic brothers headed by Dhrstadyumna, are now their brothers-in-law. Knowing they cannot be overcome, and that by ancient and sacred law they have first right to their father's kingdom, you must behave rightly with them.

Your honor has been tainted by the great infamy of Purocana's act, O king, and now you must cleanse yourself of that stain by showing your mercy to the Pandavas. Drupada is a powerful king who has an old feud to settle with us; an alliance with him would strengthen our side. And there are many powerful warriors of the Dasarha clan who always side with Sri Krsna, and victory is always with Krsna. If a task can be accomplished with kind words, O king, who is that man so cursed by Providence that he would strive for the same result through war? The citizens of the town and country have already heard that the Pandavas are alive, and they intensely desire to see them. Give them that satisfaction, O king.

Duryodhana, Karna, and Subala's son Sakuni are bound to irreligious acts, for they have a corrupted vision and are still childish. Do not put faith in their words. You are a good man, my king, but I have told you long ago that by Duryodhana's treachery our people will perish.

AP 198

Dhrtarastra said:

My dear Vidura, Bhisma, son of Santanu, is a learned man, and Drona is an exalted sage. Both of them have explained the highest good, and you too are telling me the truth. As much as these heroic warriors are sons of Pandu and Kunti, so they are all as much my sons, undoubtedly and by religious law. And as much as this kingdom is to be enjoyed by my begotten sons, so without a doubt it is to be enjoyed equally by the sons of Pandu.

Vidura Ksattar, go and bring them and their mother with all honors, and, Bharata, also bring that Draupadi, who is as lovely as a goddess. Thank heaven the sons of Kunti are alive. Thank heaven our Kunti lives. Thank heaven those maharathas have won the daughter of Drupada. By the grace of heaven all of us shall flourish, and by heaven's grace Purocana is put to rest. O brilliant brother, thank heaven my greatest sorrow has been removed.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Dear Bharata, at Dhrtarastra's command Vidura went to see King Drupada and the Pandavas. He was expert in all the scriptures and knew his duty and how to perform it. Upon reaching Drupada's palace, he waited properly on the king, who received him according to the religious law for hosts, and they rightly discussed their health and well-being, and that of their kingdoms and families.

Vidura then saw the Pandavas and Sri Krsna, and he affectionately embraced them and asked if they were all well. They in turn welcomed and honored Vidura whose intelligence was vast, and Vidura, following Dhrtarastra's order, asked Pandu's children again and again with much affection about their health and happiness; and he presented jewels and varieties of wealth sent by the Kauravas to the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi, O king, and to Drupada and his sons. Then with grace and deference the vastly learned Vidura spoke most humbly to Drupada in the presence of the Pandavas and Lord Krsna Kesava.

"O king, may you kindly listen with your ministers and sons to my words. Dhrtarastra, along with his sons, ministers, and close associates, has the great satisfaction to offer you repeated wishes for your health and happiness, for he has real affection for you and your family, O king. Similarly, the most learned Bhisma, son of Santanu, and all of the Kauravas are anxious to hear that you are well and prospering in all your affairs and they send their sincere inquiries.

"The great archer Drona, son of Bharadvaja, considers himself your dear friend, and he sends his embrace and sincere wishes for your well-being. Dhrtarastra, O king of Pancala, has now become related to you through marriage, and he and all the Kauravas feel they are now successful by such a family tie. Even by acquiring a new kingdom, they would not feel the same pleasure as by achieving a family tie with you, O Yajnasena. Knowing this to be true, kindly let the Pandavas depart, for the Kurus are extremely anxious to see Pandu's legitimate heirs. These mighty men have been away for a long time, and surely both they and Prtha will be jubilant to see their city. And all the fine Kuru ladies are waiting anxiously to see Krsna, the princess of Pancala. Indeed our whole city and country is waiting.

"Please, sir, order without delay that the sons of Pandu depart with their wife, for that is my purpose in coming. Your majesty, as soon as you release the exalted Pandavas, I shall dispatch the speediest messengers to Dhrtarastra, and the sons of Kunti, with their wife Krsna will then come home."

AP 199

Drupada said:

Very wise Vidura, just as you expressed it to me now, so do I feel the greatest joy that a family tie has been established between us, my lord. And it is befitting that those great souls return now to their home, but it is not right that I tell them they can leave. Rather when Kunti's heroic son Yudhisthira decides, with Bhimasena, Arjuna, and the two mighty twins, and especially when Krsna and Balarama agree, then the Pandavas must go. Krsna and Balarama are tigerlike personalities who know their real duty, and are devoted to the happiness and welfare of the Pandavas.

Yudhisthira said:

We and our followers are all dependent on you, O king, and we shall gladly do whatever you tell us, for we know of your love for us.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then Lord Krsna said, "I think it is right to go, or whatever King Drupada decides, for he fully understands the principle of duty."

King Drupada said:

The great-armed hero of the Dasarhas, Lord Krsna, is the Supreme Personality, and I fully agree with Him that the time has come for the Pandavas to return. For as much as the Kaunteyas are now dear to me, they are just as dear to Lord Krsna, without doubt. When Lord Krsna Kesava, the tigerlike personality, considers what is best for them, Yudhisthira, son of Dharma, does not even consider the matter, so great is His faith in Krsna.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then granted permission by the great soul Drupada, the Pandavas, Sri Krsna, and great-minded Vidura, taking Draupadi Krsna and the illustrious Kunti, began an easy journey to the city of Hastinapura, stopping along the way for recreation. When Dhrtarastra heard that the heroes had arrived, he sent the Kauravas out to welcome and receive the Pandavas. The great archer Vikarna, Citrasena, the supreme archer, Drona, and Krpa Gautama all went out to meet them, and the arriving maharatha heroes, surrounded by such exalted men, shone beautifully as they slowly entered the city of Hastinapura.

Wherever the heroes passed, the great city burst into festivity, for the Pandava princes vanquished the anguished sorrow of the people who had mourned them as dead. The people loved their princes, and eager to show their love, they called out in all kinds of voices. The Pandavs heard those words, and the words went to the core of their hearts.

"He has returned! The knower of virtue, the tiger of a man who protects us with justice like his own begotten children! Today Pandu Maharaja has come from the forest he loves to show his love for us, and there's no doubt here! All has been accomplished now, for those whom we love most, the heroic sons of Kunti, our real protectors, have returned to us. If ever we have given charity, offered sacrifice, or endured austerity, then by all our merit may the Pandavas stay in our city for one hundred autumns."

The Pandavas then bowed at the feet of Dhrtarastra, the great soul Bhisma, and the other venerable elders, and having asked about the well-being of all the city, they went to their quarters at Dhrtarastra's invitation. After the great souls had rested for a short time together with Sri Krsna, they were called by Dhrtarastra and Bhisma.

Dhrtarastra said:

Kaunteya, may you and your younger brothers please listen carefully to my words. There must not be any more fighting among you princes. Go and settle in the land of Khandava Prastha. Once you are living there, protected by Bhima, no one will be able to bother you, just as no one can harass the gods when they are guarded by the thunderbolt of Indra. Half the kingdom will be yours; so go and settle there in Khandava Prastha.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Accepting the order, the Pandavas bowed to the king and departed toward the frightening forest. Taking half the kingdom, those best of men settled in the land of Khandava Prastha. With Krsna in the lead, they reached their new land, and at once the unfailing Pandavas built a beautiful town that resembled the cities of heaven.

They chose a pure and holy stretch of earth, and led by Dvaipayana Vyasa, the maharathas performed religious rites to bring peace and security to their new land. Then they measured, mapped out, and constructed the city. The new town was surrounded by moats that resembled the wide sea and enhanced with sparkling white walls that stood so high they seemed to cover the sky like masses of white clouds or snowy peaks. That most opulent city shone like Bhogavati, the wondrous land of the Nagas.

The city was protected by great double-hung doors that were as frightening to see as the wings of Garuda, and by towering archways that resembled masses of clouds or a range of Mandara mountains. The city was filled with varieties of deadly lances and missles that rose up, perfectly guarded, like the bifurcated tongues of snakes. And the city shone with its rows of turrets, guarded by battle-ready soldiers.

The city was splendidly defended with sharp hook weapons that could slay a hundred men each, and it was adorned with trellises crafted with mystic designs. The skyline of that fabulous city glittered with giant metal discs.

There was a well-designed system of wide roads that virtually eliminated collisions, and the city sparkled with various styles of elegant white mansions. This city, known as Indraprastha, shone with all the beauty of a celestial abode, and it seemed to float on the earth like a community of broad clouds filled with streaks of lightning. There in that charming, innocent land, the dwelling of the rightful Kuru leaders was so brilliant with wealth and treasure that it resembled the city of Kuvera, the lord of the cosmic treasury. Then, O king, brahmanas who were the greatest Vedic scholars and who spoke all languages began to notice and enjoy that city, and they began to establish their homes there.

Enterprising merchants began to move there, coming from all directions, and workers expert in all the fine arts and crafts came there to settle. All around were parks and gardens, lush with fruit, and flower-bearing trees such as mango, tropical plum, nipa, asoka, punnaga, naga-puspa, lakuca, breadfruit, sala, palm, kadamba, bakula, and jasmine. The trees bore enchanting arrays of flowers and bent down under the weight of their luscious fruits. There were full-grown amalakas, luodras, magnificent flowering ankolas, rose apples, patalas, kubjakas, luxuriant atimuktakas, karaviras, heavenly parijatas, and many other kinds of trees. The trees were ever in season, always filled with fruits and flowers, and all manner of birds adorned them. Maddened peacocks cried out all around them, and the peacock songs mixed with the melodies of the cuckoos, who seemed to be ever enchanted.

The houses were so clean that they shone like mirrors, and there were varieties of garden houses covered with flowering creepers. There was a charming variety of styles in the residential areas, with recreation areas atop the neighborhood hills; and there were varieties of ponds, filled with the purest water.

There were fabulous lakes, perfumed with the scents of blossoming lotuses and moving with the elegant strokes of swans, fine ducks, and cakravakas; and variegated lotus-filled ponds, shaded by surrounding woods; and large, wide pools of great charm. As they dwelled in that great country, Maharaja, with their good and honest neighbors, the Pandavas felt ever increasing pleasure.

When Bhisma and King Dhrtarastra brought forth the principles of justice, the Pandavas became residents there in the land of Khandava Prastha. And boasting five great archers, equal to Indra in prowess, the most glorious city shone like Bhogavati, the wondrous abode of the Nagas.

Mighty Krsna lived there for some time, but then he took permission from the Pandavas, O king, and returned with Balarama to the city of Dvaraka.

AP 200

King Janamejaya said:

O ascetic, what did the noble Pandavas do after attaining a kingdom at Indraprastha? They were all my great-grandfathers, those great souls, but how could Draupadi follow, as a religious wife, five husbands? And how could those five exalted princes live with Draupadi as their only wife and not fight among themselves? Dear sage, I want to hear everything in detail-- how they dealt with each other and their relationship with Draupadi.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

The Pandavas were truly tigers of men, warriors who burned their enemies, yet they were noble and submissive to their elders, and so with the permission of Dhrtarastra they and Draupadi enjoyed their new kingdom. On obtaining the realm, powerful Yudhisthira, fixed in truthfulness, ruled over the country with his brothers according to the pious law. Conquering their enemies and devoted to truth and justice, the very learned sons of Pandu dwelled there with the greatest of joy. Taking their seats on priceless royal thrones, they who were the best of men administered to all the needs of the citizens.

Once when all those great souls were sitting on their thrones, the godly sage Narada happened to come there, and Yudhisthira immediately gave him his own lovely seat. When the Devarsi was seated, wise Yudhisthira personally honored him with the customary gift of arghya and then offered his kingdom to the sage. Narada happily accepted the honorable welcome, and after blessing the king to prosper, he told him, "Please be seated."

King Yudhisthira sat down with Narada's permission, and at once sent word to Draupadi: "The holy one has come." Hearing this, Draupadi quickly cleansed herself, and with great attention she went to where Narada was sitting with the Pandavas. Worshiping the Devarsi's feet, that very religious woman, the daughter of Drupada, stood before him, her body chastely covered and her hands folded in reverence.

The greatest of sages, ever truthful and immersed in the spiritual life, pronounced various blessings upon the princess, and then godly Narada told that faultless woman, "You may go now."

When Krsna had left, the godly sage said to the Pandavas, headed by Yudhisthira, as they sat together in private, "The glorious princess of Pancala is the lawful wife of all of you, and a rule must be instituted so that there will be no conflict among you. It is well known that there were two demonic brothers named Sunda and Upasunda, and because they were united no one in the three worlds could slay them. They shared one kingdom, one house, one bed, one seat, and ate from one plate. But they eventually killed each other over a girl named Tilottama. Therefore the loving friendship you share with one another must be protected. Yudhisthira, you must act so that there will be no division among you."

Yudhisthira said:

O great sage, whose sons were those two demons, Sunda and Upasunda? How did a conflict arise between them, and how did they slay one another? The two brothers became completely insane and killed each other out of lust for the Apsara named Tilottama. Please tell me whose daughter was that celestial maiden? O ascetic sage, you have aroused tremendous curiosity in us, and we desire to hear the whole story, as it happened and in detail.

AP 201

Narada Muni said:

Hear from me, Yudhisthira, son of Prtha, along with your brothers, this ancient history, in detail and just as it happened. Long ago, among the descendants of the great demon Hiranya-kasipu, there was a strong and mighty demon named Nikumbha who became the leader of the Daityas. Two sons were born of him, and both were endowed with unusual prowess and frightening audacity. These two enjoyed everything together and would do nothing separately. Always trying to please each other with their words and deeds, they developed the same behavior, as if one person had been made into two. As the two mighty creatures grew in strength, they shared a single determination in all their tasks, and gradually they focused their determination on the single objective of conquering the three worlds.

Taking initiation into the Vedic science, they went to Vindhya and there performed dreadful austerities. For a very long time those two did not desist from their ambitious practice of self-discipline. They wore tree bark and long matted hair and drove themselves to the limits of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. With their limbs caked with dirt, they began to eat only air. For a long time they stood on the tips of their toes, arms upraised, staring with unblinking eyes and offering pieces of their own flesh in sacrifice, and they did not waver from their vows.

The two Vindhya hills, which for a long time had been heating up from the power of their fiery austerities, finally belched out clouds of smoke. It was a wondrous sight. Even the gods were frightened by this, seeing how fierce were the austerities of the two brothers, and the gods created obstacles to break the austerities. Again and again they tried to seduce the brothers with jewels and women, but the two would not break their vows, for they had sworn their vows with utmost determination.

The gods tried again by creating magical effects in front of the two mighty souls, who suddenly saw their sisters, mother, aunts, wives, and other relatives being cruelly attacked by a Raksasa, spear in hand. The terrified women ran about, their hair and ornaments disheveled, and finally, losing all of their clothes, they all screamed out to the two brothers, "We beg you! Save us! Save us!"

Mighty in their vows, the two would not break their discipline. When neither of the brothers would allow himself to be disturbed or feel any grief, the women and the Raksasa and the whole scene vanished before them.

At last Lord Brahma, the grandfather of all the worlds, approached the two great demons and offered to grant them whatever they desired, [for by their austerities they had earned a boon, and by law Brahma had to grant it.] The two brothers Sunda and Upasunda were fixed in their determination, and upon seeing the creator and grandfather standing before them, they stood with folded hands, and in unison they said to the creator, "If the grandfather is satisfied with our austerity, then let us both become knowers of magic, knowers of weapons, most powerful, and able to change our bodies at will. And if the lord is truly satisfied with us, then grant us immortality!"

The Grandfather said:

Except for immortality, all that you request will be granted. Select some other arrangement for your death, as even the gods do. You have undertaken these mighty austierities to achieve a material objective, and by any such materially motivated endeavor one can never achieve immortality. You took to austerity to conquer the universe, and for that reason, O leaders of the Daityas, I cannot fulfill your desire.

Sunda and Upasunda said:

We wish that there be no danger for us from any creature in the universe, moving or unmoving. Our death will come only from each other, O Grandfather.

The Grandfather said:

That which you have requested, exactly as you have stated it, I now grant to you. The arrangement of your death will be according to this boon.

Narada Muni said:

Then, having given them this boon and restrained them from further austerities, the grandfather returned to his own planet, Brahmaloka. The two mighty demons also went home, for having achieved all these wishes they were now invulnerable in all the material worlds. Seeing that the two great demons had achieved their wishes and fulfilled their desires, all of their close associates and relatives began to rejoice and celebrate. They gave up their matted locks and placed crowns on their heads, adorned themselves with priceless jewelry, and dressed in the purest garments. At an incorrect time the two demon leaders and their relatives celebrated the full moon festival, but still managed to satisfy all their desires with the most pleasure they had ever known.

"Eat! Enjoy! Don't stop; have a good time! Let's sing, everybody! Drink! Take this; it's yours!" Everywhere, in every house, these were the merry cries; people drank like never before, loudly clapping their hands, and the whole city of demons thrilled to the joyous celebration. The demonic Daityas could change their forms at will, and in these many merry ways they lost themselves in play. Thus the passing years seemed to them like a single day.

AP 202

Narada Muni said:

As soon as the celebration was over, Sunda and Upasunda, yearning to conquer the universe, took counsel and called out their army. Their close friends and the Daitya elders and councilors bade them farewell, and having performed the rites for an auspicious journey, they set out in the dead of night under the constellation Magha, at the head of a great and united Daitya army, equipped with clubs and three-bladed spears and with lances and hammers in their hands.

The two went forth with supreme confidence, and on the way they were praised by the mystic Caranas with rousing battle hymns meant to invoke fortune and victory. The two Daityas flew up into space, for they could travel anywhere at will, and they went straight to the home of the gods in a warlike frenzy. Realizing they had come, and knowing also the boon they had acquired from Lord Brahma, the gods gave up their heavenly abode and went to Brahmaloka. Thus with their intense prowess, the two brothers conquered the planet of Indra and the hosts of Yaksas and Raksasas, and subdued the sky-borne beings as well.

The great demons then conquered the Nagas, who had gone within the earth, and all the ocean dwellers, and they subjugated the semi-civilized nations of Mlecchas. Then they began to systematically conquer all the earth, placing it under their dread rule. Calling together all the warriors, they vehemently spoke these harsh words: "The strength and stamina of the gods, and their fortune as well, is fed by the grand sacrifices and oblations offered by saintly kings and brahmanas, who thus flourish as enemies of the demons. We must therefore find out and slay every one of them."

Thus instructing all their men as they stood on the eastern shore of the great ocean, those two proceded in all directions, fixed in their cruel decision. The two mighty demons then massacred on sight every brahmana who was offering sacrifice to the Supreme or engaging others in the same. Fearlessly entering the hermitages of self-realized sages, their demonic soldiers siezed the sacred fires and hurled them into the water. When the exalted sages furiously pronounced curses upon them, they had no effect on the two brothers, who had grown wild by the gift of the boon.

When their curses had no effect, like arrows fired on stone, the brahmanas abandoned their religious centers and fled. Whoever on the earth was perfect in austerity, self-controlled, and devoted to peace fled in fear of the two demons, like snakes fleeing from Garuda. When the centers of spiritual culture were thus attacked and broken to pieces, with their sacred pots and spoons, and other religious articles scattered all about, the whole world seemed vacant, as if struck down by the force of mortal time.

When saintly kings and sages were no longer visible--for they were all hiding in fear--the two mighty demons, eager to murder, transformed themselves into maddened elephants with oozing temples. Charging wildly about, they sent those who were lying concealed in hard to reach places to the lord of death .

They became two lions, and again two tigers, and again became invisible---by all these methods the savage ones continued to slaughter the sages wherever they could find them. All over the giving earth sacrifice and scriptural study ceased, the royal and priestly orders were decimated, and pious festivals and offerings were devastated. The Earth could only cry out in anguish and fear. Even buying and selling stopped, as were all the duties that are done for God, as well as the beauty of sacred marriage.

Plowing and cow protection were no more, the towns and hermitages were ravished, and with bones and skeletons strewn about her the earth was a dreadful sight. Gone were the offerings to the departed elders and the inspiring temple chant. The whole world, wearing the face of terror, was a sight not to be seen.

Seeing the works of Sunda and Upasunda, the Moon, the Sun, the planets, stars, and asterisms, and all who dwell in heaven, went to utter despair. Thus having conquered in all directions by cruel deeds, and facing no further opposition, the two Daityas established their residence in Kuruksetra.

AP 203

Narada Muni said:

Thereupon all the supreme and godly sages and the perfect mystics were mortified to see the terrible persecution. Out of compassion for the universe, they who had conquered worldly anger by controling the mind and senses proceded to the abode of the Grandfather, and there they saw him seated with the gods, surrounded by the Siddhas and Vedic sages. Indra was there as were Siva, Fire, the Wind, the Sun, the Moon, Dharma, and Budha, son of the Moon.

The Vaikhanasas, Valakhilyas, Vanaprasthas, and beam-drinking sages had all come, along with the unborn, unbewildered sages and the Tejogarbha ascetics. All these groups of sages had come to see the Grandfather, Brahma. All the grand thinkers approached together and related to Brahma the wicked works of Sunda and Upasunda--- what they had done, how they had done it, and in what sequence. They revealed everything to Brahma, leaving nothing out. All the hosts of gods and supreme sages then urged the Grandfather to deal with this problem as his first priority. Hearing all their words, the Grandfather pondered for a moment and then decided what must be done. He authorized the killing of the two brothers and called the heavenly designer Visvakarma. When he saw him, the Grandfather gave this instruction: "Create an irresistibly maddening woman!"

Thus spoke the greatest ascetic, and Visvakarma bowed to the Grandfather and welcomed his instruction. He thought deeply and, working hard, constructed a heavenly woman. So much did he endeavor that he brought together in one woman all of the beautiful features of every moving and unmoving creature that lives in the three worlds and invested in the woman's limbs these millions of jewels of loveliness. Thus he created a woman of celestial shape and splendor, a monumental composite of gemlike beauties.

Visvakarma built her with grand endeavor, and in all the three worlds not a single woman equaled her in the gorgeous quality of her figure and face. Such was her endowment of loveliness that not a single tiny part of her limbs was flawed or failed to entangle the eyes of those who beheld her.

Lke the Goddess of Fortune incarnate, she possessed a most lovely, radiant body that stole the eyes and minds of all creatures. Bringing bits and bits of jewels, her creator had fashioned her, and thus she was named Tilottama, "the ultimate woman, from bits of beauty."

The Grandfather said:

Now, Tilottama, go unto Sunda and Upasunda and with your most desireable body arouse their desire, good woman. Behave so that simply by seeing you a conflict arises between them over the possession of your perfect body and they fight each other for your sake.

Narada Muni said:

"So it shall be," she promised, and after bowing to the Grandfather, she respectfully circumambulated the gods. Lord Brahma, the great controller, sat to the south, facing east, the gods sat to the north, and the sages were all around. As she walked around them, making her circle, Indra and Sthanu gravely kept themselves steady in mind, but Sthanu desired very much to see her, and as she moved to his side, he sprouted another face with curving lashes on his south side. As she continued around behind him, he sprouted a face on that side, and as she moved to the northern side, he sprouted a northern face. The great Indra manifested wide red eyes on his two sides, and in front and back, until he had a thousand eyes all over his body. Thus the great lord Sthanu became four-headed, and Indra, slayer of Bala, grew one thousand eyes. Wherever Tilottama went, the faces of the hosts of gods and sages turned that way and followed her. The vision of those illustrious souls was locked on the limbs of the woman, except for the greatest god, the Grandfather. All the gods and mighty sages, seeing her perfect beauty as she moved along, considered that their task was already accomplished. When Tilottama had gone to do her work, the maintainer of the world sent all the hosts of gods and sages back to their own abodes.

AP 204

Narada Muni said:

Having conquered the wide world, the two demons ruled the universe in a cool and deliberate manner, for having done all they set out to do, they had no rivals and felt no anxiety. Taking away all the jewels and treasures of the gods, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Nagas, earthly kings, and Raksasas, they felt the highest satisfaction.

When there were no authorities anywhere to forbid or challenge them, they ceased from their strenuous efforts and simply enjoyed life as if they were two immortal gods. With abundant women, opulent necklaces and garlands, magnificent perfumes, the finest food, varieties of liquors that move the heart, and all that is rich and enjoyable, they achieved the highest pleasure. In their private apartments, in the forested parks and gardens and hilltop groves, and in all the places and lands that men desire, they enjoyed like two deathless gods.

One day they were freely enjoying in a forest of bright blossoming Sala trees, atop the stoney plateau of the Vindhya hills. All things that give heavenly pleasure were brought there for the brothers, and the two joyfully sat with their women on excellent seats.

The women entertained them with music and dancing and with songs that praised their feats, and then the women came near them for pleasure. It was then that Tilottama appeared in the forest, collecting flowers, dressed in a single piece of red cloth that exposed the beauty of her body. Searching for karnikara flowers that grew on the riverbank, she gradually came to the spot where the two mighty demons sat. They were drinking fine liquors, and seeing the shapely lady with their bloodshot eyes, their minds became agitated. The two of them got up, left their seat, and went to where she stood. Both were maddened by lust, and both yearned to have her. With his hand, Sunda took the right hand of the fine-browed woman, and Upasunda held Tilottama's left hand. The brothers were intoxicated by their boon and with their own strength. They were drunk from liquor and maddened by their wealth and jewels.

Intoxicated by all these types of madness, they scowled at each other, furrowing their brows. Being overwhelmed by the madness of lust, they spoke to each other. "She's my wife and your guru!" declared Sunda. "She's my wife and your sister-in-law!" insisted Upasunda. Both flew into a rage, telling each other, "She's not yours, she's mine!" Intent on getting her, both of them grabbed their ferocious clubs, and dizzy, with lust, clubs in hand, they bashed one another, screaming, "I shall be first! I shall be first!"

Struck by the horrible clubs, the two collapsed onto the earth, their bodies smeared with blood, like two bright suns fallen from the sky. Thereupon the women and the entire host of demons, trembling with shock and fear, fled to the lower world of Patala.

Then the Grandfather, with the gods and great sages, came to inspect the scene, and that pure soul paid homage to Tilottama. Brahma awarded her a wish of her choosing, and she chose the simple pleasure of devoted service to Lord Brahma. The Grandfather then happily said to her, "Bright maiden, you will move freely in the worlds of the gods, and such will be your radiance that none will easily see you." Having given her this boon, the Grandfather of all the material planets entrusted the three worlds to lord Indra, and he returned to his own planet, Brahmaloka.

Thus the united brothers, sharing a single conviction in all matters, furiously murdered each other for the sake of Tilottama. Therefore out of affection I am telling this story to all of you, who are the glory of the Bharatas. Now, if you want to please me, arrange things so that you all don't fight over Draupadi.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by the great sage Narada, the exalted Pandavas immediately sat down together, O king, and in the presence of Devarsir Narada, of immeasurable might, they reached an agreement as follows: "Whenever one of us is sitting alone with Draupadi, if another of us intrudes upon them the intruder must live for twelve months in the forest and practice celibacy." The Pandavas were strict followers of the religious path, and when they made this agreement, Narada was pleased, and that Maha-muniup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn Maha --- great; muni ---sage departed to whatever land he desired. Having thus established these rules at the urging of Narada, the Pandavas took care in their mutual dealings not to violate their agreement, O Bharata.

AP 205

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having made this pact, the Pandavas dwelled in their city and by the fiery strength of weapons brought other regional rulers under the control of a central government. So skillful was Draupadi that she remained submissive to all five Pandavas, who were lionlike men of unmeasured prowess. The men were completely satisfied with her, and she with her five husband just as the sacred river Sarasvati is pleased with the mighty elephants who splash in her waters. The Pandavas were great souls, they lived by the rules of virtue, and all the Kurus prospered, for they were now sinless and happy.

Then after a long time had passed, O king, some thieves stole the cows of a brahmana. When his only property was being stolen away, the sage, almost senseless with rage, came to Khandava Prastha and cried out to the Pandavas, "Pandavas! Ignorant, cruel, and wretched men are stealing my wealth of cows, right here in your kingdom. Pursue them! Crows are plundering the religious property of a distracted brahmana. A lowly jackal is attempting to enjoy a tiger's cave. When thieves plunder a brahmana's property and I am crying out for help, you must take up arms!"

Arjuna, son of Pandu and Kunti, stood nearby, and he heard the brahmana. The great-armed one called to the sage, "Do not fear!"

In the place where the glorious Pandavas had stored their weapons, Yudhisthira, king of virtue, was now sitting alone with Draupadi. Therefore Arjuna could not go in to gather his weapons and pursue the thieves. But the suffering brahmana continued to cry out, and he urged the rulers again and again to help him. Arjuna was pained by these piteous cries, and he anxiously wondered what to do. Finally, he decided that he must act to dry up the tears of the ascetic sage whose wealth in cows was being plundered.

"If I do not give protection immediately to that sage who is crying at the gate, my neglect will be a very terrible offense for one who claims to be a ruler of the land. Everyone will lose faith in our ability or willingness to protect them, lawlessness will prevail, and irreligion will corrupt us. But if I enter there without permission from King Yudhisthira, he will be displeased with me, without a doubt. In fact, as soon as I intrude upon the king, I must be banished to the forest. Either I commit a most impious act by neglecting a helpless and saintly citizen, or I shall die in the forest. Well, virtue is more important, even at the cost of one's body."

Having thus decided, Dhananjaya, son of Kunti, went in on the king, grabbed his bow, and took his leave. He approached the brahmana and said to him with a jubilant heart, "Brahmana, come with me quickly before those wretched men, who covet another's property, get very far away, for I shall at once take back your wealth from the hands of those thieves."

The mighty-armed prince, with bow, armor, chariot, and flag, pursued and killed the thieves with arrows, recovering the brahmana's wealth. Pandava Arjuna thus returned the cows, and after hearing the brahmana praise him, the ambidextrous hero returned to the city, having once again burned his foes to ashes.

Bowing to all his elders, and receiving their welcome, Arjuna said to his older brother Dharmaraja, the king of virtue, "Let our vow be enacted upon me. I shall go to live in the forest, for that is the agreement we made."

At these dreaded words spoken all of a sudden, Yudhisthira's heart sank. "But how can you go?" said the brother to his vigilant, unfailing brother. "If I am the judge, then listen to my words, innocent one. If you have displeased me by coming into the room, O hero, I forgive everything, and there is no pain or hidden motive in my heart. There is no transgression when a younger brother enters his older brother's place, rather the rule is broken when the elder intrudes upon the younger. Turn back from your decision, O mighty-armed, and obey my words. You have broken no religious rule, nor done me any harm."

Arjuna said:

I have heard you say, "One cannot practice virtue by deception or pretense." I shall not deviate from the truth, for by truth I gain the right to use weapons."

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Arjuna then persuaded the king to grant him leave, and when the priests had duly initiated him for a life of celibacy, he left for the forest to live there for twelve months.

AP 206

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When great-armed Arjuna, the glory of the Kauravas, departed for the forest, exalted brahmanas who had gone to the far shore in their mastery of the Vedas followed him. Among them were learned scholars of all the Vedas and Vedic branches, others absorbed in thought on the Supreme Soul, and mighty devotees of the Personality of Godhead, who poetically recited the Lord's glories and narrated the ancient histories. There were saintly weavers of tales, O king, forest-dwelling sages who worked hard to purify their souls, and brahmanas who studied and taught the divine narrations with sweet voices.

The dear son of Pandu, like Indra circled by the wind gods, went forth surrounded by these and many other companions who spoke the truth with kind and graceful voices. The Bharata prince saw along the way charming and colorful forests, lakes, rivers, seas, and countries, and holy places of pilgrimmage, until he approached the gateway of the Ganges, where he made his residence. Hear from me, Janamejaya, of the wonderful feat performed there by that pure soul, the excellent chariot warrior and son of Pandu.

While the son of Kunti resided there among the brahmanas, O Bharata, the sages brought to fruition many agni-hotras, the offering to the sacred fire. As the fires on both banks of the divine river were roused and brought to blaze, the offerings poured, and the flowers offered in worship by learned, self-controlled sages, duly consecrated and fixed as great souls on the spiritual path, then, O king, the gateway of the Ganges shone with exceeding splendor.

When his residence was thus crowded with divinity, the darling son of Pandu and Kunti then went down into the Ganges water, to be consecrated for holy rite. Taking his ritual bath and worshiping his forefathers, Arjuna, happy to take his part in the rite of fire, was rising out of the water, O king, when he was pulled back in by Ulupi, the virgin daughter of the serpent king, who could travel about at her will and was now within those waters. Holding onto him, she pulled him down into the land of the Nagas, into her father's house.

Arjuna then saw in the most honorable house of the Naga king, whose name was Kauravya, a carefully attended fire. Dhananjaya Arjuna, son of Kunti, took over the duty of the fire, and without hesitation he made the offering and satisfied the sacred flames. Having done the duty to the fire, the son of Kunti then said laughingly to the daughter of the Naga king, "Why have you acted so boldly, O shy and beautiful woman? What is the name of this opulent land? Who are you and whose daughter are you?"

Ulupi said:

There is a serpent named Kauravya, born in the family of Airavata. I am his daughter, O Partha, and my name is Ulupi, lady of the snakes. I saw you, Kaunteya, when you went down into the waters to take your ritual bath, and I was stunned by Cupid. O Kuru child, now that the god of love has stirred me up so, you must welcome me, for I have no one else, and I have given myself to you in a secluded place.

Arjuna said:

Dharmaraja Yudhisthira has instructed me to practice celibacy for twelve months, and I agreed; thus I am not my own master. I would like to please you, but I have never spoken an untruth. How can I avoid a lie and also please you, snake woman? If it could be done without hurting my religious principles, then I would do it.

Ulupi said:

I understand, son of Pandu, how you are wandering the earth, and how your elder brother has instructed you to practice celibacy: "There will be a mutual accord that if any one of us mistakenly intrudes upon the others during their time with Drupada's daughter, then he must remain in the forest for twelve months as a celibate brahmacari." That was the agreement you all made. But this exile you agreed upon is in regards to Draupadi. You all accepted the religious vow to be celibate in relation to her, and so your religious vow is not violated here with me.

Your eyes are very big and handsome, and it is your duty to rescue those who are in pain. Save me now, and there will be no breach of your religious principles. And even if there is some very subtle transgression of your religious principles, then let this be religious rule, Arjuna, that you gave me back my life. My lord, accept me as I have accepted you, for it will be an act approved by decent people; And if you will not accept me, then know that I am a dead woman. O strong-armed one, practice the greatest virtue, which is the act of giving life. I come to you now for shelter, for you are an ideal man.

Kaunteya, you always take care of the poor and helpless people, and I have gone straight to you for shelter and am crying out in pain. I beg you, for my desire is so strong. Therefore you must please me by giving yourself; it is proper for you to make me a satisfied woman.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by the virgin daughter of the serpent lord, the son of Kunti, basing his actions on the religious law, did for her all that she desired. The fiery hero Arjuna spent the night in the palace of the Naga king, and when the sun rose he too rose up from Kauravya's abode.

AP 207

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, Arjuna, born of thunder-wielding Indra, told the brahmanas all that had transpired, and then he departed for the Himalayan slopes. Coming to the banyan tree of sage Agastya and the mountain of Vasistha, the son of Kunti performed his ablutions on the Bhrgu Peak. He donated thousands of cows in charity at the pilgrimmage spots and sanctuaries, and he gave dwelling places to the brahmanas.

Bathing at holy Hiranya-bindu ("the golden drop"), the glorious Arjuna saw there the exalted mountain and the purifying sanctuaries. Descending from that high place with the brahmanas, Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, pushed on, for he desired to reach the eastern lands.

The Kuru leader saw the holy places, one after another, including the charming river Utpalini, near the sacred forest of Naimisa, and the rivers Nanda, Aparananda, the famous Kausiki, the great river Gaya, and the Ganges, O Bharata. Thus visiting all the holy places and working to purify his soul, Arjuna gave much wealth to the brahmanas.

In the lands of Anga, Vanga, and Kalinga, whatever holy places there were he went to all of them, and in each place he observed and worshiped and gave in charity, strictly following the religious law. He toured pilgrimmage spots and shrines and gave wealth to the worthy.

At the gateway to the kingdom of Kalinga, O Bharata, the brahmanas took their leave from the son of Kunti and returned to their homes. With their permission the heroic son of Kunti, Dhananjaya, with just a few companions proceded on towards the ocean. Traversing the various regions of Kalinga, with their charming religious centers, the lord continued his trek.

Seeing the Mahendra Mountain, made beautiful by its ascetics, he proceeded slowly along the ocean shore toward Manalura. Arriving there and visiting all the holy places and pious shrines, the mighty-armed Arjuna then approached the lord of Manalura, King Citravahana, who was learned in the laws of God.

The king had a daughter named Citrangada who was a lovely sight to see, and Arjuna happened to see her as she strolled about the city. Seeing the beauty and figure of Citravahana's daughter, Arjuna approached the king and revealed his intention. The monarch then told him in a conciliatory tone, "There was a king in this family named Prabhankara who had no son, and yearning for offspring, he performed the most difficult austerities. By his fierce self-denial and his sincere submission, Lord Siva, husband of Uma, was satisfied with him, and the lord bestowed upon him the boon that each king in his line would have a single son. Thus in our family each ruler in succession always begets just one son. All the previous kings had sons, but to me was born this daughter, who surely must bring forth progeny to continue our family line.

"O best of men, I imagine this girl to be my son, in the sense that she will give birth to a boy who will then become my son and continue our dynasty. Thus by the rule of necessity she must act like a puppet of her father, O noble Bharata. This is the price you must pay for her--that her son will be mine, so that we who are living now may save our ancient tradition. With this agreement, O Pandava, please accept her."

"So it shall be," Arjuna promised, and accepting the royal maiden, Kaunteya lived in that city of cool air for three months.

AP 208

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereafter Arjuna proceeded along the southern sea coast, visiting holy pilgrimmage sites made glorious by the devoted ascetics who lived there. There were five pilgrimmages sites, however, that the ascetics strictly avoided, although in the past they had visited and lived there. Among these were the spot where Agastya Muni had lived; that of Subhadra; the purifying place where sage Puloma had resided; the peaceful site of the sage Karandhama, which offered the same pious results as an elaborate horse sacrifice; and the holy hermitage where Bharadvaja had lived, a place that continued to be a great destroyer of sin.

Noting that these holy places were deserted and shunned by the munis whose thoughts were always religious, Arjuna, son of the Kurus, asked the ascetics with folded hands, "Why are these holy places shunned by the Vedic teachers?"

The ascetic sages replied:

Five crocodiles live in them, and they drag away the sages. Therefore these pilgrimmage sites are shunned, O Kuru child.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Upon hearing from the sages, mighty-armed Arjuna went to see the pilgrimmage sites even though the sages tried to stop him, for he was the greatest of men. Going first to the beautiful site where the great sage Subhadra had lived, the fiery hero quickly dove into the water and took his bath. A giant crocodile living in the water then siezed Kunti's tigerlike son, Dhananjaya, within the water. But Arjuna was mighty even among the mighty, and taking the writhing crocodile in his hands, he came out of the water. As glorious Arjuna was dragging the crocodile out of the water, it suddenly transformed into a graceful woman, adorned with all kinds of jeweled ornaments. She was illumined, O king, by the splendor of her own divine enchanting body. Seeing this great wonder, Arjuna, son of Kunti, was most pleased and said to the woman, "Who, indeed, are you, gracious woman, and how did you become a crocodile in the water? What great sin have you committed in the past?"

The lady said:

I am an Apsara, O great-armed warrior, and I roamed about the forests of the gods. My name is Varga, and I am the favorite of Kuvera, lord of the treasury. I have four Apsara girlfriends, and all of them are very lovely and can travel simply by wishing it. Once I went with them to the abode of the cosmic ruler. On the way we saw a handsome brahmana of rigid vows. He was studying by himself, for he lived alone, and by the fire of his austerities, O king, he covered the forest with his splendor. Like the Sun himself, he lit up all the land.

Seeing his unique austerities and his beauty, which was a wonder to see, we all descended to that land, hoping to break his austerities. With my girlfriends Saurabheyi, Samici, Budbuda, and Lata, I approached him at once, O Bharata. We began to sing loudly and laugh, and we tried to seduce him, but the sage would in no way put his mind on us, O hero. He was fixed in pure austerities, and with his splendid power he was not at all shaken. Rather, noble prince, the brahmana angrily cursed us: "All of you shall live in the water as crocodiles for one hundred years!"

AP 209

Varga said:

Then, noble Bharata, we were all very disturbed, and we took shelter of that brahmana, whose unfailing wealth was austerity. "O sage," we said, "we were all puffed up with our beauty, youth, and romantic ideas, and you should forgive us for the wrong we did. We tried to seduce you, though you are a holy sage strict in your vows, and now we are cursed to die by our actions. Since the beginning of creation those who ponder the sacred law have enjoined that women are not to be killed. You know well the law, and for the law's sake, you should not be violent with us. You know the religious principle that a brahmana is a true friend to all creatures. O noble one, may this assurance of the wise now come true. Those who are learned give shelter and protection to surrendered souls, and we have come to you for shelter; therefore forgive us!"

Sri Vaisampayana said:

At these words, the dutiful brahmana, who always did good works and who shone like the sun and moon, bestowed his mercy.

The brahmana said:

The words hundred, thousand and universal are all words that may indicate something that does not end. But the hundred I spoke indicates a variable time period. When you all become crocodiles, you will attack men in the water, but the very best of men will drag you out of the water to the land, and then all of you will again assume your original forms. I have never spoken a lie, even while joking, and this arrangement is all that I can do. Once you are saved, all the holy places where you reside as crocodiles will become famous by the name of Nari-tirthas, "the holy sites of the women," for they will purify and sanctify all the people who visit them.

Varga said:

We then bowed to the sage and respectfully walked around him in a circle. In utter despair we came here from that place, thinking, "How short a time will it be? When, oh when will we meet that man who will give us back our beautiful bodies? It seemed that we were worrying about it for only a moment when we saw the exalted Devarsi Narada. All of us were joyous upon seeing Narada, who is a sage of immeasurable splendor, and offering him our sincere respect, we stood before him with our anxiety visible in our faces.

He asked us the cause of our unhappiness, and we told him. Hearing what had happened, he said to us, "In the marshlands of the southern seas, there are five pilgrimmage sites that are especially charming and purifying. You should go there at once, for soon the tigerlike Pandava Arjuna, who is a pure soul, will undoubtedly free you from your suffering."

O hero, hearing his words, we came here, and now his words are coming true, for you have actually saved me, O sinless one. But my four friends are still living in the water. O hero, do a noble deed and liberate them all!

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O king, then without the slightest hesitation the glorious Pandava freed all the goddesses from their curse, for great was his prowess. Rising from the water and regaining their own bodies, the Apsaras looked just as they did before, O king. Arjuna then cleaned and purified the pilgrimmage sites, and taking leave of the Apsaras, he journeyed again to Manalura City to see the princess Citrangada. He begot in her a son and future king named Babhruvahana, and having seen his son, O king, the Pandava traveled toward Gokarna.

AP 210

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Arjuna, of unlimited valor, visited in order all the pilgrimmage sites and purifying sanctuaries. In the course of visiting all the holy places and shrines on the western coast, he reached Prabhasa. Lord Krsna, who slew the demon Madhu, heard that Arjuna had reached Prabhasa and was visiting the holy places, one after the other. Krsna then came incognito to meet Arjuna, and Sri Krsna and Arjuna saw each other at Prabhasa. They embraced and asked one another about their health and well-being. As the two dear friends, who had formerly incarnated together as the sages Nara and Narayana, sat together, Sri Krsna asked how Arjuna was faring in his forest exile. Lord Krsna also inquired from Arjuna about his itinerary, saying, "My dear Pandava, why are you visiting all the holy places?"

Arjuna then explained everything he had done in the forest, and Lord Krsna, chief of the Vrsni clan, listened and approved. Krsna and Arjuna freely enjoyed themselves in Prabhasa and then went to spend some time at the Raivataka Mountain. By the order of Krsna some men had adorned the mountain and brought foodstuffs, and Arjuna, accepting all these tasteful arrangements, ate with Lord Krsna and watched a program of theater and dance. Thanking and then dismissing all the entertainers, the Pandava, of great splendor, then went to the divine bed that had been well prepared for him. He told Lord Krsna of the Satvatas about the holy lands, rivers, and forests he had seen, and as he told his tales, Janamejaya, sleep carried off the son of Kunti, as he lay in his bed, which was as comfortable as those of the gods.

Arjuna awoke to the sounds of sweet songs and the soft strumming of vinas and the chanting of joyful hymns, all designed to gently arouse him from slumber, O sinless king of the Bharatas. Performing all the essential duties for the body and soul, and then, being warmly invited by Lord Krsna, chief of the Vrsnis, he went with Him in a golden chariot to the Lord's city of Dvaraka.

The entire city of Dvaraka, down to the smallest estates, was decorated in honor of Arjuna, the son of Kunti. O Janamejaya, the inhabitants of Dvaraka, eager to see Arjuna, rushed out to the king's highway by the hundreds and thousands. A large crowd of men gathered from the Bhoja, Vrsni, and Andhaka dynasties, and hundreds and thousands of their fine ladies looked on. All the sons of the Bhoja, Vrsni, and Andhaka clans honored Arjuna, and he saluted them, even as they were saluting him, and everyone welcomed him to the city. Every one of the young boys of those great dynasties saluted him with reverence, and the men of his same age embraced the hero again and again. For many nights Arjuna stayed in the city, living with Krsna in Krsna's own charming palace, built of gems and full of all pleasureable things.

AP 211

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then after some days had passed, O king, the Vrsni, and Andhanka dynasties staged a huge festival on Raivataka Mountain, and the Bhoja, Vrsni, and Andhaka heroes gave charity to thousands of brahmanas during the festival of the mountain. With elegant cottages and colorful jewels spread all around the mountain, the whole region looked gorgeous, O king, and on all sides the trees were beautifully lit up with lamps. Skilled musicians sounded their instruments, dancers danced, and singers sang their songs.

The powerful Vrsni boys were nicely dressed and ornamented, and they dashed about in their chariots made of golden parts. The people of the city came on foot, and in varieties of simple and elaborate vehicles, with their wives and followers, and by the hundreds and thousands.

Then almighty Lord Haladhara, intoxicated from drinking Varuni honey and followed by the Gandharvas, came strolling about with His wife Revati. Similarly, the mighty Ugrasena, king of the Vrsnis, being praised in song by the Gandharvas, walked about with a thousand female companions. Pradyumna and Samba, sons of Lord Krsna who could fight with frenzied might, were also affected by drinking heavenly beverages. Sporting divine garlands, they enjoyed themselves like two immortal gods.

Akrura, Sarana, Gada, Bhanu, Viduratha, Nisatha, Carudesna, Prthu, Viprthu, Satyaka, Satyaki, Bhangakara, Sahacara, Hardikya, Krtavarma, and all those who are not mentioned were all individually praised in song by the Gandharvas. Surrounded by ladies, they all made the festival at Raivataka Mountain a striking affair. In the midst of the thrill and excitement and splendor, Lord Krsna, son of Vasudeva, and Arjuna, son of Prtha, walked around together. As the two transcendental friends stolled about the festival ground, they saw Vasudeva's lovely daughter, who was Sri Krsna's younger sister, in the midst of her friends. She was gorgeously decorated and radiant with pure goodness. As soon as Arjuna saw her, Cupid rose up in his heart, and Krsna immediately noted that Arjuna's mind was fixed on His sister. Now the lotus-eyed Krsna said to Arjuna, as if to tease him, "O Bharata, What is this? The mind of a saintly forest-dweller is agitated by romantic desire! She is my sister and the sister of my brother Sarana, Arjuna, born of the same mother. If you are seriously thinking about her, I myself shall speak to our father.

Arjuna said:

Who would she not bewilder with her perfect beauty, the daughter of Vasudeva and sister of Sri Krsna? If your sister, the Vrsni princess, could become my queen, then I surely must have done all that is good and noble. But what means should I use to win her? Please tell me, Janaradana, and I shall do it precisely, if it can be done by a man.

Lord Krsna said:

Normally among the warriors, marriages are decided by the bride's own choice at a svayamvara. But that is doubtful here, Arjuna, because your own sentiments would not necessarily influence the decision. Those who know the sacred law have stated, "Among warriors who have proven to be heroes, forcibly taking a princess for the purpose of marriage is approved." Therefore you yourself should take my noble sister by force.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then Arjuna and Krsna made up their minds: "Let us do it!" they said, and they dispatched fast-moving men to go at once and deliver their entire proposal to Dharmaraja Yudhisthira, who was staying at Indraprastha. As soon as he heard the plan, the mighty-armed Pandava king gave his approval.

AP 212

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon, Janamejaya, when Yudhisthira agreed and authorized him, Arjuna then learned that the girl had gone to the Raivataka Mountain. Arjuna took counsel with Krsna, and the Lord gave His approval, saying, "Let it be done." Abiding by Krsna's decision, Arjuna then departed in a golden chariot built to scriptural code, yoked with the horses Sainya and Sugriva, and delicately adorned with a garland of bells. The chariot was equipped with a full assortment of weapons. It rumbled like a rain cloud, shone like blazing fire, and struck dead the hopes of the hostile.

Tightly fitted with armor, wielding a sword, and with finger and wrist guards fastened, Arjuna set out at once on the pretext of a hunting expedition. Now Subhadraup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn The sister of Lord Krsna. offered reverence to Raivata, the great stone mountain, and to all the deities who resided there, and to the brahmanas, having them invoke good fortune with their chants. Having circumambulated the mountain, she departed for Dvaraka, but Arjuna, son of Kunti, rushed up to her and forcibly placed her in his chariot. Thus taking the girl, who was smiling innocently, the tigerlike Arjuna departed for his own city with that chariot that could travel in the sky.

Seeing that Subhadra was being stolen away, her military escort cried out and, they all hurried back toward Dvaraka city to sound the alarm. They all went at once to Sudharma, the royal assembly hall, and fully explained Arjuna's bold act to the assembly leader. Hearing this, the assembly leader repeatedly struck the gold-encircled battle drum, and it reverberated throughout the city.

Stirred by the sound, the Bhojas, Vrsnis, and Andhakas put aside their eating and drinking and rushed to the assembly hall. Then as fires blaze on the sacred altars, so those tigerlike men of the Vrsnis and Andhakas, maharatha warriors who shone like swirling fire, took their seats by the hundreds on royal thrones wrought in gold, upholstered with costly cushions, and colorfully studded with gems and coral. When they were all seated like the gods in their sessions, the assembly chief and his assistents explained what Arjuna had done.

When the Vrsni heroes heard this, their eyes turned red with rage, for they could not endure Arjuna's deed, and they proudly rose up together, and the war cry went forth, "Yoke the chariots immediately! Bring the lances, the most prized bows, and full armor!"

Some warriors cried out to their chariot drivers, "Yoke the chariots!" while other warriors themselves brought their swift horses adorned in gold. As the chariots, armor, and flags were being brought forward, and as the heroic men roared instructions, a great crowd and commotion arose about them.

But Lord Balarama, sporting a garland of forest flowers, acting as if He were drunk and emboldened by Varuni beverage, and standing, in his blue garb, as big and strong as the peak of Mount Kailasa, then said, "What is this you are all doing, without knowledge, when you see that Lord Krsna remains silent? Without knowing His feelings, you are all enraged and roaring in vain. Let Him, with His great mind, explain to you His own plan, and what He would like to do, and then do it with full attention."

Hearing these authoritative words from Balarama, everyone became silent, and then they began to say, "Yes, He is right. That is the best thing." Thus hearing these balanced, objective words from the intelligent Balarama, all the men again took their seats in the assembly.

Then Lord Balarama asked victorious Lord Krsna, "My dear Krsna, why do You remain seated, watching all this in silence? O infallible one, for Your sake all of us honored Arjuna, but it seems that He did not deserve the honor, for he has a wicked mind and has disgraced his family. Indeed what man, anywhere, having eaten our food, should then break our dish, and still consider himself born in a noble family? Who would behave so rashly and inconsiderately, having come here seeking our friendship, and beseeching our help, and knowing all that we have done for him in the past? Insulting us, and disregarding You, he has stolen Subhadra by force, and thus he has taken death upon himself.

"How can I tolerate it, Govinda, when he puts his foot right on My head, for he is treading on the head of a cobra? Today I alone shall rid the earth of the Kauravas, for I will not tolerate such an offense from Arjuna."

All of the Bhojas, Vrsnis, and Andhakas agreed, and they supported Lord Balarama, whose deep and grave voice vibrated like rumbling clouds or kettledrums.

AP 213

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When all the Vrsnis repeatedly spoke in the same spirit as Balarama, Lord Krsna then spoke with words that revealed the practical and moral reality of the situation.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn Lord Krsna tells why Arjuna did not offer gifts in return for Subhadra, or seek to win her at a svayamvara.

"Arjuna did not commit an offense to our family, for he actually holds us in the highest regard without a doubt. And he realizes that you Satvatas are not greedy for his money. Furthermore, he did not want to create havoc at Subhadra's svayamvara.

"And who will approve of giving away an innocent maiden, as if she were a head of cattle? And what man on earth would make a purchase of his offspring? In my opinion, the son of Kunti saw all these discrepancies, and therefore in accord with religious law he has taken the initiative and carried away the girl. The relation appears to be a proper one. Subhadra is a most respected lady, and Arjuna is of the same nobility. Therefore he simply took the initiative and carried her away. Who could possibly seek revenge against Arjuna, who took birth as the son of King Kuntibhoja's daughter, in the dynasty of the exalted Bharata and Santanu?

"I do not see anyone in all the worlds with the courage and prowess to defeat Arjuna, and that includes Indra and Rudra, O worthy colleague. What a chariot he has! And it is yoked with my own horses. Arjuna is a fighter, and his delivery of weapons is extremely rapid. Who could be equal to him in battle? My conclusion is that with supreme kindness we should run after Arjuna and in a mood of joyful celebration persuade him to return. For if Arjuna defeats all of you in a violent encounter and by his own strength returns to his city, your reputations will be ruined instantly, but there is no defeat in reconciliation."

Hearing this from Sri Krsna, they acted accordingly, and Arjuna came back and celebrated his wedding in Dvaraka city. Arjuna stayed the last nights of the year there, and the remainder of the time he passed in Puskara. When the twelve-month exile was finished, he returned to Khandava Prastha.

Greeting King Yudhisthira with great humility and offering reverence to the brahmanas, he at last went to greet Draupadi. But because of her love for him, Draupadi said to the Kuru prince, "You should go and stay with Subhadra, Kaunteya. After all, even when a load is well tied, the knot that was first to be tied is the first one that comes loose."

Draupadi thus lamented in many ways, and Arjuna pacified her again and again, pleading for her understanding and tolerance. Arjuna hastened to send for Subhadra, having her change from her red silk garments to the dress of a cowherd girl. That glorious lady, a hero's wife, looked even more beautiful in that style, with her excellent figure and large, copper eyes, and upon reaching the main palace, the well-admired girl honored her mother-in-law, Kunti. Then she whose face was lustrous like the full moon quickly approached Draupadi, and she honored Drupada's daughter and said, "I am Subhadra, your servant." Krsna rose to greet her and embraced the sister of Lord Krsna and said happily, "May your husband have no rival." Subhadra too was joyful and replied, "May it be so!"

The mighty Pandavas were delighted, and Kunti too was extremely pleased, O Janamejaya. Lord Krsna, whose eyes are as lovely as the lotus, received the news that Arjuna, the foremost Pandava, had reached his own city of Indraprastha. Sri Krsna Kesava, who is always beyond the influence of material nature, then came there with Sri Balarama and the very aristocratic heroes of the Vrsni and Andhaka dynasties, all of whom were maharatha warriors. As they traveled, Lord Krsna was surrounded by his brothers and other young princes and warriors, and He was well guarded by a large army.

The illustrious Akrura, generous and wise, also came, as the mighty general of the Vrsni warriors, along with Anadhrsti, of extraordinary prowess; and Uddhava, a direct disciple of Brhaspati and a man of tremendous intelligence and fame, came with the Lord on His journey; and also Satyaka, Satyaki, and the Satvata named Krtavarma; Pradyumna, Samba, Nisatha, and Sanku as well; courageous Carudesna, Jhilli, Viprthu, Sarana, and mighty-armed Gada, who was especially wise. These and many other Vrsnis, Bhojas, and Andhakas came to Khandava Prastha, bearing many gifts.

Thereupon, hearing that Lord Krsna had arrived, King Yudhisthira sent out the twins to receive Sri Krsna, the husband of the Goddess of Fortune. They greeted Him and also welcomed that most aristocratic circle of Vrsnis, who then entered Khandava Prastha, which was adorned with banners and flags in their honor. The roads had been thoroughly cleansed and sprinkled with water, and flowers were profusely strewn about. The city was further enhanced with cooling essence of sandalwood and varieties of pure, bracing scents. Here and there fragrant aloe was being burned. The city was bustling with freshly bathed citizens in spotless garments, and the wealthy merchants in the crowd lent sparkling color to the scene.

Surrounded by Vrsnis, Andhakas, and Mahabhojas, the mighty-armed Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality, reached the city with His brother Balarama. As He was being worshiped by the citizens and by thousands of brahmanas, He entered the palace of King Yudhisthira, which resembled the abode of Indra.

Yudhisthira properly greeted Balarama, and kissed Lord Krsna's head, embracing Him with his arms. Krsna greeted the joyful king with submission and respectfully greeted tigerlike Bhisma, following the rules of etiqutte for older brothers. Yudhisthira then received most respectfully the foremost Vrsnis and Andhakas as they began arriving in the palace. Those who were older, he honored as superiors, those of his age, he honored as beloved friends, greeting them with affection, and those who were younger honored him in turn.

Then the greatly renowned Krsna gave extraordinary treasure to the bridegroom's party as a dowry, on Subhadra's behalf. Lord Krsna gave one thousand chariots, wrought in gold, bedecked with garlands of bells, yoked with four horses, and driven by charioteers of widely recognized skill; and ten thousand cows from the land of Mathura, all fine milkers of the purest breed. The opulent Krsna also gave, with pleasure, one thousand pure-bred mares, as bright as the moonbeams and decorated with golden ornaments; and similarly five hundred black and five hundred white mules, fully trained and as fast as the wind.

The lotus-eyed Lord presented a thousand youthful ladies of light complexion, beautifully dressed, bright and pure, and very expert in bathing and massaging. All the girls wore one hundred gold pieces around their necks, enjoyed the best of health, were well groomed, and possessed fine ability in all types of personal service.

Lord Janardana, chief of the Dasarha dynasty, also gave worked and unworked gold of the finest quality, as bright as fire and as much as ten strong men could carry.

Lord Balarama was fond of bold heroism, and being ultimately pleased with Arjuna's behavior, He desired to strengthen the loving relationship with the Pandavas and show His submission to King Yudhisthira. Thus He who wields the plow weapon awarded to Arjuna a thousand fine elephants who stood like shining hilltops, their temples cleft in three, and oozing maddening juice. Equipped with drivers and adorned with loud bells and golden garlands, these elephants would never turn back in battle.

Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama gave so many priceless jewels to the Pandavas that the gems became like the waves of a river, in which gifts of fine garments and blankets were the foam on the waves, and the colorful flags and banners were the bright green river moss. This mighty river went swirling into the ocean of the Pandavas, filling it up and bringing grief to those who envied them. Dharmaraja Yudhisthira accepted all these gifts, and he duly honored the maharatha warriors of the Vrsni and Andhaka dynasties.

All those great souls, the leaders of the Kurus, Vrsnis, and Andhakas, sported together like pious men who have gone to the dwelling of the gods. Drinking together and loudly clapping their hands, the Kurus and Vrsnis enjoyed to their full satisfaction and within the bonds of decency. Thus those superlative heroes celebrated for many days, and finally, with full honors from the Kurus, the Vrsnis returned to their city of Dvaraka. Taking with them gleaming jewels, gifted by the Kuru nobles, the champion warriors of the Vrsnis and Andhakas placed Lord Balarama in the lead and departed. The very wise Sri Krsna stayed with Arjuna in the enchanting city of Indraprastha, O Bharata, and the two friends would stroll along the banks of the Yamuna River.

Thereafter Lord Krsna's beloved sister Subhadra gave birth to a brilliant and beautiful child, just as Paulomi had given birth to Jayanta. The boy had long arms, exceptional strength, and large eyes like a bull, and he was destined to subdue his enemies. This future hero and leader of men was named Abhimanyu because he was fearless (abhi) and capable of powerful anger (manyu). He arose from Dhananjaya in the womb of the Satvata princess, just as sacred fire springs from the sami firewood in the course of sacrifice. When Abhimanyu was born, Kunti's mighty-armed son Yudhisthira awarded ten thousand cows to the brahmanas and as many coins.

From birth the child became a favorite of Lord Krsna's, and of all his uncles, just as the cool moon rays are dear to hard-working people. Sri Krsna Himself performed the religious rites, beginning with the birth ceremony, that invoke blessings on children, and the boy grew steadily like the waxing moon.

Arjuna knew the military Veda, and he taught his child, a tamer of enemies, the entire ten-fold miliary science, Dhanur Veda, in its four divisions, including both human and divine weapons. The mighty father taught his son the finest techniques in the use of weapons, skills that can only be acquired by long experience. In all the duties of royalty, he gave him extraordinary training. Seeing that his son by Subhadra was equal to the father in theory and practice, Arjuna was satisfied.

Like the lord of heaven admiring his son, Arjuna, of frightening prowess, gazed upon his child, admiring the hard muscle throughout his limbs and all the signs of nobility on his body; his invincible fortitude; his neck and shoulders like those of a bull; and his wide jaws as forbidding as the jaws of a cobra. He was proud as a lion, a grand wielder of the bow, with the courage of a maddened elephant, a deep voice like thunder or rumbling kettledrums, a face as bright and handsome as the full moon, and just like Krsna Himself in courage, power, beauty, and physique.

Draupadi too, whose body was a treasure of blessings, begot five heroic and brilliant sons, who were as steady and unmoveable as mountains. By Yudhisthira, Pancali gave birth to Prativindhya; by Vrkodara, Sutasoma; by Arjuna she begot Srutakarma; by Nakula, Satanika; and by Sahadeva, Srutasena. Just as Aditi gave birth to the Aditya gods, so Draupadi begot five heroic sons, all of whom became maharatha warriors.

Consulting the holy books, the brahmanas said to Yudhisthira about his son, "He shall be called Prativindhya, for he will acquire knowledge of his enemies' weapons." Bhimasena's son with Draupadi was called Sutasoma, for he shone like sun and moon together after a thousand sacrifices of Soma. The brahmanas declared that the son whom Arjuna begot after performing mighty deeds would be called Srutakarma, "one whose deeds are heard." Nakula, the Kaurava prince, named his son after the saintly king Satanika, "one who commands a hundred armies," and his son would indeed bring glory to the clan. Draupadi gave birth to a son by Sahadeva during the asterism of Fire, and thus the child became known as Srutasena, "one who leads a famous army."

The five illustrious sons of Draupadi were born in that order, at one year intervals, O best of kings, and they were dedicated to serving one another. Dhaumya, the royal priest of the Pandavas, performed successively the birth ceremonies and the hair-cutting and initiation rites for the boys, strictly following the Vedic path, O noble Bharata. The five of them were well-behaved and faithful to their vows, and they studied the Vedas. They learned from Arjuna the complete military science, both human and divine.

O tiger of kings, the Pandavas achieved a life of joy, for they were faithfully followed by their mighty broad-chested sons, who shone like sons of the gods.

AP 214

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Living in Indraprastha, the Pandavas subdued other regional rulers by the order of King Dhrtarastra and Bhisma, son of Santanu, and brought their states within a peaceful and unified Pandava administration. Taking shelter of Dharmaraja, the king of virtue, the whole world lived happily, for people depended on the righteous deeds of the king just as they depended on their own bodies.

The noble Bharata king, Yudhisthira, attended to his religious duties, economic policies, and personal desires in a balanced way, as a man with aquaintences respects them as he does himself and yet sees them as different from himself. So ideal and balanced was the king in his worldly and religious affairs that religion, economy, and personal satisfaction seemed to incarnate on the earth in his person, although he was always apart from these three, as a fourth and transcendental being.

The Vedas found in the king the supreme student, the grand rituals gained in him the best performer and patron, and the social classes found in their king a pure-hearted protector. In that realm the Goddess of Fortune found a proper place to live, wisdom gained a shelter, and the laws of God found a true friend. The king appeared to be nobler and finer in the company of his four brothers, as a grand ritual becomes lovelier when united with the four Vedas.

Equal in splendor to Brhaspati, the leading priests headed by Dhaumya surrounded the king, attending to his requirements, as the immortal gods surround and assist the Prajapati. The eyes and hearts of the citizens rejoiced exceedingly in that king of virtue, as much as in the spotless full moon. The citizens not only delighted in their destined good fortune, but whatever they desired in their hearts the king endeavored to give them. The king was wise and his speech was elegant, and never did he utter a word that was unbefitting, untrue, deceitful, or unkind. He wielded unusual power, but he found his pleasure in working for the good of all people and of his own soul, O noble Bharata. So did all the Pandavas rejoice in the goodness of their works, for the fever of personal ambition did not burn in their hearts. Yet by their personal prowess they instilled a fear of God in all the rulers of the earth.

After Lord Krsna had been staying for some days in Indraprastha, Arjuna said to Him, "Krsna, the hot days are here; let us go to the Yamuna River. We will enjoy there with our close friends, Madhusudana, and we'll come back in the evening; that is, if you like the idea, Janardana."

Sri Krsna said:

Yes, son of Kunti, I also like the idea. Let us go with out close friends, Arjuna, and enjoy in the water as we like.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Informing King Yudhisthira and receiving permission, Arjuna and Govinda departed, surrounded by intimate friends. Reaching the recreational area, which featured a large variety of excellent trees; both simple cottages and palatial estates like that of Indra; a wide range of tasty food, drink, and other comforts; large stocks of wealth, and variegated garlands and necklaces; and everything needed for the enjoyment of Arjuna and Krsna. The two friends arrived at that place which was filled with all types of shining jewels, and everyone began to play and enjoy as they wished, O Bharata.

Some of the women sported in the forest, some in the water, and some in the nice cottages. They enjoyed especially wherever Krsna and Arjuna went, and always tried to please them. At the height of the excitement Draupadi and Subhadra offered gifts of priceless clothes and jewelry to all the ladies present. Some of the ladies danced joyfully, while others cried out in the joy of celebration. Some ladies laughed, and others drank fine beverages. Some ladies wept, some wrestled and struck one another, and others discussed seriously together in secluded spots. All around, the opulent forest was filled with the exquisitely rich sounds of flute, vina, and mrdanga drum.

As the festival was thus progressing, the darlings of the Kurus and Dasarhas, Krsna and Arjuna, went nearby to see a particularly charming area, and those two mighty souls who conquer hostile cities then sat down on most valuable seats. They, Partha and Madhava, enjoyed reminiscing about their many past adventures and romances, and as they sat together very happily, like the two Asvin gods seated in heaven, a brahmana arrived and approached them. Standing tall like a big sala tree, with a complexion like molten gold, and tawny skin, a reddish moustache, and with an evenly built body, he shone like the newly risen sun. He was dressed in black, with matted locks and a face as delicate as a lotus petal. Blazing with prowess, the tawny man came near Krsna and Arjuna, and the two quickly stood up to receive the radiant brahmana.

\'00AP 215

Sri Vaisampayana said:

The brahmana said to Arjuna and Lord Krsna, leader of the Satvatas, "You are the two great heroes of the world, standing here by the Khandava forest. I am a brahmana who eats a lot. In fact, I always consume immeasureable amounts, and I now beg you two, Krsna and Arjuna, that for once you offer me my full satisfaction of food."

Thus addressed, Krsna and Arjuna said to him, "Tell us what food will satisfy you, and we will try to bring it."

When the two heroes were thus asking him what kind of food was to be arranged, the lord replied, "I do not eat ordinary grains, for you may know me to be the god of fire. Thus you should offer food that is appropriate for me.

"Lord Indra always carefully guards this Khandava forest, and because such a mighty personality guards it, I cannot burn it. His friend Taksaka the serpent always resides here with his associates, and for his sake the thunderbolt-wielder carefully guards this forest. Many other beasts are equally protected by this arrangement. I desire to burn the forest, but Indra's might does not allow me to burn it. As soon as he sees me blazing, he rains down water from the clouds, and I am unable to burn this desireable forest. But now that I have met you two, who can help me by your unique skill with weapons, I can burn the Khandava forest, which I have selected as my food. With your supreme knowledge of weapons, you will ward off the torrents of water and all the beasts on all sides."

Addressed thus, fearsome Arjuna replied to the sacred Fire, "I have many ultimate weapons of divine power, so I can battle many thunderbolt-wielding Indras. But, my lord, I do not have a bow that fits the strength of my arms and withstands my speed and power in battle. And when I am firing rapidly, I need an inexhaustible supply of arrows; moreover my chariot will not hold all the arrows I need. I would also request divine horses, white and as swift as the wind, and a chariot that rumbles like the clouds, and shines bright as the sun.

"Similarly Sri Krsna does not have a weapon equal to His strength, a weapon by which He will slay the serpents and ghosts in battle. My lord, you must declare the means by which to accomplish this task, so that I may ward off Indra when he sends showers into the great forest. Whatever is to be done by manly prowess we two shall do, O Fire, but you, my lord, should provide the proper instruments.

AP 216

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed, the smoke-crested lord of fire fixed his mind on Varuna, desiring to see that lord of worlds. Varuna is the son of Aditi, and he is the god of the seas. Within his watery abode he understood that he was being thought of and so he appeared to Fire, who welcomed him and spoke to the lord of the waters, who is the fourth among the leaders of the universe, being a protector and controller.

"King Soma once gave you a bow and quiver. Please give me both of them at once, and also the chariot marked with Hanuman, for Partha will perform a great task with the Gandiva bow. And also, for my sake, please give the Cakra disc to Sri Krsna."

"Yes, I shall give," Varuna replied to Fire. He then presented the amazingly potent bow, a weapon that always increased the glory and fame of its owner, for it was invincible by any other weapon, being the harasser of all arms, the great one among weapons, devastating to enemy armies. That one weapon was equal to 100,000 weapons, and it made its kingdom flourish. Multicolored with all the hues, smooth and shining, without a scratch or scar, it had been worshipped by the gods and Gandharvas since time immemorial. Varuna gave that jewel of bows, two great quivers of inexhaustible shafts, and a chariot yoked to divine horses, its banner marked with the foremost of monkeys, Hanuman. The silver Gandharva horses were garlanded in gold. They moved at the speed of the mind or the wind and flashed like swift white clouds. The chariot had all necessary equipment. It could not be conquered by gods or demons, and it radiated light and reverberated with a deep rumbling sound. Its beauty captivated the mind of all who beheld it.

Visvakarma, the lord of design and construction, had created it by the power of his austerities, and its form, like that of the sun, could not be precisely discerned. By mounting this chariot, as big as an elephant or cloud and blazing with splendor, the Moon had overcome the wicked Danavas. On top of this finest chariot was placed a flag staff that shone like Indra's thunderbolt. It was made of gold and uniquely attractive. On the staff was the divine Vanara, a transcendental monkey with the marks of the lion and tiger. Situated on top of the chariot, he seemed to roar out and shine with power. On the flag were all kinds of powerful creatures, whose fierce roars destroyed the consciousness of enemy armies.

Arjuna walked reverentially around the unique chariot, which shone with variegated flags, and he offered his obeisances to the Supreme Lord, and to the secondary deities who had delivered the marvelous car. Tightly fitted with armor, with his sword and wrist and finger guards in place, Partha mounted the chariot as a pious man mounts the celestial craft that takes him to heaven. Firmly grasping the divine and glorious Gandiva bow, which had been constructed long ago by Brahma, Arjuna rejoiced. Bowing to the sacred fire, the hero then gripped the bow, and exerting his power, strung it with a proper cord. When mighty Arjuna strung his bow, the twanging sound was so piercing that the minds of those who heard it shuddered.

Having obtained a suitable chariot and bow, and two inexhaustible quivers of arrows, the son of Kunti was now ready and enthusiastic to assist the god of fire, who then gave to Lord Krsna a discus whose hub was a thunderbolt. Holding again His eternal, fiery weapon, which is ever devoted to Him, the Lord was ready to perform His pastimes.

Fire then said to the Lord, "My dear Krsna, slayer of Madhu, with this weapon, You will undoubtedly conquer in battle, even against superhuman opponents. With this weapon You will ever be superior in battle to the human beings and even to the gods, and certainly the Raksasas, the Pisacasas, the wicked Daityas, and the Nagas--no matter how excellent your enemy may be. Whenever you throw this weapon, my dear Madhava, it will strike down the enemy in battle, without ever being struck, and it will always return to Your hand."

Varuna then gave Lord Krsna a terrifying club named Kaumodaki, which roared like a thunderbolt and brought death to the wicked. Krsna and Arjuna were enlivened by the gifts, and now, prepared with weapons, missiles, chariots, and banners, they said to Fire, "We are ready to fight, lord, even with all the gods and demons, what to speak of Indra, who desires to fight for the sake of a serpent."

Arjuna said:

When Sri Krsna, chief of the Vrsnis, hurls His disc weapon, no one in the universe will stand unconquered. Taking the Gandiva bow and these two inexhaustible quivers of arrows, I too, O Fire, shall boldly conquer all the worlds in battle. My lord, we are ready to help you, and as soon as you like, you may surround the forest with a great fire. This very moment, blaze away as you desire!

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by Lord Krsna of the Dasarhas and Arjuna, the lord of fire assumed a flaming form and began to burn the forest. Surrounding it, the seven-tongued blaze angrily burned the Khandava forest, as if to reveal the almighty blaze that destroys the worlds at the end of the millenium. O noble Bharata, he siezed and pervaded the forest with a roar like that of thunder clouds, burning up all the creatures Providence had placed there. As the great woods burned, they revealed a form resembling Mount Meru, the king of mountains which shines with its skin of gold.

AP 217

Sri Vaisampayana said:

[Lord Krsna and Arjuna had appeared in this world to eliminate the large demonic population that infested the earth.] Now these two tigerlike heroes situated themselves on both sides of the forest and carried out the great devastation. Wherever the creatures dwelling in the Khandava forest were seen to be escaping, the two heroes pursued them, and because of the speed and power of their chariots, there was no opening, no escape, for the two warriors and their splendid chariots pervaded the area.

As the Khandava forest burned, creatures by the thousands leaped up and fled, bellowing out their fearful cries to the ten directions. Some were burned in one part of their body, and others were burned entirely, their eyes bulging, scattered, overwhelmed, and senseless. Some of these beings embraced their offspring; others clung to their fathers and mothers, unable to let go out of affection, and in that posture they met destruction.

Others leaped up with twisted expressions, and by the thousands they dashed about, finally plunging into the fire. All around, embodied souls could be seen writhing in their death throes on the earth's surface, their wings, eyes, and feet burned. As all the rivers and lakes reached a boil, O Bharata, the turtles and fish could be seen lying lifeless by the thousands.

In that destruction of life the living beings in that forest appeared like embodied fires, as their limbs shot up in flames. As they leaped up, Arjuna cut them to pieces with arrows, and, smiling, hurled them into the blazing fire. [He knew that by giving up their mortal bodies in the presence of Lord Krsna, these demonic creatures would be instantly liberated from the cycle of birth and death.]

Their limbs covered with arrows, and bellowing tumultuously, they thrust themselves up, only to fall back into the fire. The tumult of those forest animals, struck fiercely with arrows and burning up, was like the sound of the great ocean churning. The flames of the joyful fire flew up to the heavens, generating tremendous concern among the celestial denizens. Then all the exalted celestial denizens went for shelter to the king of gods, thousand-eyed Indra, who pulverizes the cities of his enemies.

The gods said:

O lord of the immortals, why are all these creatures burning in the presence of Lord Krsna? Can it be that the devastation of the worlds has come?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing this from them, Indra, killer of the great Vrtra, looked down and studied the situation. Then, to save the Khandava forest, he set out on the back of a celestial lion. The wielder of the thunderbolt spread the heavens thick with all manner of cloud formations, and commenced the heavy rains. Hurling down torrents as hard and wide as axles, by the hundreds and thousands, thousand-eyed Indra rained fiercely on the fire-god and his Khandava fuel. But before those shafts of rain could even reach their target, the sacred Fire, with his prowess, dried them up in the sky, and none could touch him.

Then Indra, slayer of Namuci, grew utterly furious with the flaming Fire, and again he showered fiercely upon him, hurling a deluge of water. Filled with flames and torrents, crowded with smoke and lightning, and echoing with the crack of thunder, the forest was awful with fear.

AP 218

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When Indra showered down water, Pandava Arjuna rushed it away with a shower of arrows, revealing in the process the finest of weapons. The Pandava covered the entire Khandava area with arrows, thus driving the rain away from the forest. So thoroughly did ambidextrous Arjuna blanket the forest with his sky-going shafts that not a single creature was able to escape.

Taksaka, the mighty serpent king, was not present as the forest was burning, for he had gone to Kuruksetra. However, Taksaka's powerful son Asvasena was there, and he made a frantic effort to save himself from the voracious fire. But harassed by Arjuna's arrows, he was unable to get out. His serpent mother saved him from burning by swallowing him, first gulping down his head and then his tail, stretching to let her son go down. But when the snake woman moved, Arjuna shot off her head with a sharp, wide-bladed arrow. Indra then saw Taksaka's son, and, anxious to save him, the thunderbolt-wielder bewildered Arjuna with sudden bursts of wind and rain, and in that instant, Asvasena escaped.

Seeing the terrible power of illusion, and deceived by the snake, O Bharata, Arjuna cut into two and three pieces those who fled in the sky. The frightening Arjuna furiously cursed the crooked-moving snake, and Fire and Krsna cursed him as well, saying, "He shall have no position or place to rest!"

Then victorious Arjuna covered the skies with cutting arrows and poured them on thousand-eyed Indra, for he kept remembering the god's deception and went in a rage to battle him. The king of the gods, seeing Arjuna's fury, also took up the battle, releasing his own blazing weapon, which expanded across the firmament. Then the Wind, roaring its challenge, shook up the seas and, standing in the sky, sent forth frenzied torrential clouds.

But Arjuna was expert in counteracting the enemy, and to neutralize this attack he invoked and unleased his own supreme air missile. By its power the thunderbolt and clouds of Indra lost all their strength, the rain clouds dried up, and the lightning vanished. In a moment the sky was tranquil, free of passion and destruction, a cool and refreshing wind blew, and the sun disk was shining normally upon the earth. Joyful at the sudden collapse of interference, the sacred Fire, in his manifold forms, swirled into an unprecedented blaze, filling the world with his roaring, crackling sound.

Seeing the two Krsnas guarding the forest, despite all opposition, the birds, headed by the descendents of Garuda, pridefully rose up into the sky. The birds in Garuda's line had beaks and talons like thunderbolts, and they rushed down from the sky toward Krsna and Arjuna, eager to strike them. At the same time, hoardes of snakes came out near Arjuna, spewing out horrible venom from their burning faces. Arjuna turned his attention to the birds, fighting with such speed that as soon as he saw them, he angrily shattered them with his arrows. They fell helplessly into the blazing fire, and their bodies were no more.

Then the gods united with the Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas, and serpents and rushed forward roaring with unheard of power, eager for combat. Their rage had driven them into a frenzy, and with iron maces and lethal wheels, stones, and fire-spitting missiles in their hands, they came to strike and kill Krsna and Arjuna.

As they cried out and released a shower of weapons, frightening Arjuna harassed their arms and faces with his sharp arrows. [Having descended to this universe to destroy the wicked, most powerful Krsna took advantage of the occasion.] With His invincible disc he began slaying entire hoardes of Daityas and Danavas. Others, pierced by the arrows and slammed by the racing disc, crumpled to the earth, like waves making their final reach upon the shore.

Now Indra was raging wildly, and mounting his white elephant, he swiftly charged Krsna and Arjuna. Taking his thunderbolt in hand, the slayer of demons instantly hurled the lethal rod, crying out to the gods, "Those two are dead!"

Seeing that the king of gods had raised and hurled his thunderbolt, the gods took up all their weapons. King Yama, lord of death, grabbed the staff of deadly time, and Kuvera, lord of the treasury, his war palanquin; Varuna his noose and Siva his trident. The Asvins held their flaming herbs, Dhata took his bow, and Jaya his club. Mighty Tvasta angrily siezed a mountain, Amsa took a spear, and the god of death now brandished an axe. Aryama, holding up an awesome bludgeon, strode about, while Mitra took a razor-edged disc and positioned himself. Pusa, wrathful Bhaga, and Savita, O king, took their bows and swords and rushed toward Krsna and Arjuna. Then the mighty Rudras, Vasus, Maruts, Visvedevas, and Sadhyas, ablaze with their own prowess, and many other gods, ready to strike, advanced with various weapons upon the two exalted personalities Krsna and Arjuna.

In the great battle that ensued, wondrous signs were seen, portents normally visible at the end of the millenium when the worlds are annihilated, signifying that many creatures will relinquish their lives. Seeing that Indra was furiously attacking with the gods, the two unfailing friends were fearless and invincible, and they stood with ready bows. Seeing the gods advancing from all corners, the two now showed their fury, hurling them back with arrows hard as thunderbolts.

When time and again their determination was broken, the gods fled the battle in fear and took shelter of Indra. Great sages in heaven were astonished to see that Sri Krsna and Arjuna had driven back the gods, and even lord Indra, having repeatedly witnessed the valor of the two in battle, was most pleased, and in a sporting spirit he again went to battle them.

Indra then released a shower of stones, for he was eager to observe once more the prowess of his son Arjuna. And the ambidextrous Arjuna indignantly shattered the shower with his arrows. Seeing the futility of the effort, even as he was making it, Indra, of the hundred sacrifices, then greatly increased the lethal shower. But with his swift arrows, Arjuna annihilated the rain of stones, giving joy to his father, the king of the gods.

Indra then ripped out with his bare hands a gigantic peak of Mandara Mountain and speedily hurled it, trying to strike the son of Pandu. Then Arjuna, with fast, fiery, and side-winding arrows, blew up the mountain peak into a thousand pieces. The shattering of the mountain peak looked as spectacular as the shattering of outer space with its sun, moon, and stars. And as the great mountain peak came crashing down on the forest, it smashed the bodies of even more of souls who lived in the doomed forest of Khandava.

AP 219

Sri Vaisampayana said:

The crashing of the mountain terrified the creatures who dwelled in the forest, and hundreds of demonic Danavas, Raksasas, serpents, hyenas, bears, maddened elephants and tigers, full-maned lions, deer, buffalo, and birds all fled in panic. As they gazed up at the burning forest and at the two Krsnas, this sight and the clear sounds of devastation left them in utter terror.

Lord Krsna then released his self-effulgent disc, and the wicked communities such as the Danavas and ghostly Pisacaras, who had given so much pain to the earth, were cut to pieces by the hundreds and fell instantly into the fire. The Raksasas were ripped apart by Sri Krsna's disc, but by the touch of the Lord's own weapon, their bodies, although drenched in blood and fat, shone as beautifully as a formation of rain clouds at the reddening sunset.

Lord Krsna, chief of the Vrsnis, roamed about like deadly time, O Bharata, cutting down ghostly Pisacas, evil birds, serpents, and beasts by the thousands. Sri Krsna devastates his foes, and as He repeatedly hurled His Cakra disc, it struck down many creatures, and again and again it returned to His hand. As the Lord thus proceeded to slay all the marked creatures of the forest, His appearence terrified all beings. Among all the assembled gods and demons, there was not a one who could conquer Sri Krsna and Arjuna in battle. When the gods with all their strength were unable to put out the fire and save the forest, they turned away. Seeing how the hosts of celestials had given up the fight, Indra was pleased. Remaining there, he began to praise Krsna and Arjuna.

When the gods had retired, an invisible voice, mighty and deep, declared to lord Indra, "Your friend Taksaka, leader of the serpents, was not trapped below, for at the time of burning the Khandava forest he had already gone to Kuruksetra. Listen to my words, Indra. You are unable to conquer Sri Krsna and Arjuna, for they are committed to this battle. They are not human beings, but rather Krsna is the Supreme Godhead, Narayana, and Arjuna is His eternal pure devotee, who appears as Nara. These two are the divine Nara-Narayana, who are famous even in heaven, and you know well their invincible prowess. These two primeval beings, the Lord and His pure devotee, are the wisest of all, and they cannot even be approached unless they will it. Certainly no one in all the planets of the universe can conquer them, for they are undefeatable in battle

"These two, above all beings, are to be worshiped by all the gods and demons, and by the Yaksasa, Raksasas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and snakes. Therefore, Indra, you and the gods should leave this place, and you should behold that the Lord has ordained the destruction of the Khandava forest."

Hearing this voice, and recognizing its words to be accurate, the lord of the immortals gave up his fury and indignation and departed for his heavenly home. Seeing that the great being had departed, the celestial denizens quickly went with him, O king. Seeing that the king of gods was leaving with the other celestials, the two heroes Krsna and Arjuna, acting the part of earthly warriors, cried out like conquering lions.

When the king of gods had gone, O king, Krsna and Arjuna were jubilant, and without hestiation they returned to the burning of the forest. Just as the wind disperses the clouds, so Arjuna had dispersed the gods, and now with the strikes of his arrows he continued to liberate the living beings who lived in the Khandava forest. As Savyasaci fired away, not a single creature there could escape, for every one of them, as destined, was separated from his body.

The mighty beasts and demonic beings in the forest could not even see Arjuna, so quickly did he fire his infallible shafts, and what to speak of making battle with him. He shot one creature with a hundred shafts, and with one feathered arrow he brought down one hundred. The liberated souls died instantly, falling senseless into the fire, as if struck down by Time himself. They found no peace behind barriers, on rough land, or in the temples of the ancestors and gods, for the full fire sprang up everywhere. Elephants, monkeys, deer, birds, and thousands of herds of creatures cried out wretchedly and made such a mighty sound that the aquatics in the Ganges and the ocean were panicstricken. Not a single creature was able to even look upon mighty-armed Arjuna or powerful Krsna, what to speak of fighting with them.

Some groups funneled into hopelessly narrow paths and simply collapsed on the spot. And Lord Krsna, with his disc, continued to slay the wicked Raksasas, Danavas, and serpents, and with their heads and bodies cut to pieces by the swift power of the disc, their giant bodies fell lifeless into the mouth of the swirling fire. Fueled by the floods of flesh and blood and fat, the fire was swept up and up until it blazed clear and smokeless high in the sky. With blazing eyes, a blazing tongue, and a blazing wide, giant mouth, with blazing upright hairs and orange eyes, it drank the fat of those souls whose bodies were sinful, and the fire became happy and peaceful. Indeed, he experienced the greatest bliss in the association of Sri Krsna and Arjuna, for their association was just like celestial nectar.

Suddenly Lord Krsna saw the Asura named Maya fleeing from the residence of Taksaka. The wind-driven god of fire, eager to burn him, took the body of a sage with matted locks and roared like a raincloud. Krsna also wished to slay him, and, standing His ground, He raised His disc. Seeing the upraised disc and the voracious fire, Maya cried out, "Arjuna! Please come and help me!"

Hearing his fearful cry, Arjuna, son of Prtha, replied to Maya, "Do not fear," giving him the hope of life. As soon as Arjuna gave Namuci's brother Maya an assurance of safety, Lord Krsna did not want to slay him, nor did Fire burn him.

Thus as the forest burned, the fire did not consume six persons: Asvasena, Maya, and the four birds known as the Sarngakas.

AP 220

Janamejaya said:

When the forest was ablaze, why did Agni hold off burning the Sarngakas? O brahmana, kindly tell me at once. You have explained why the fire did not burn Asvasena and the Danava named Maya, O brahmana, but you have not explained about the Sarngakas. I find it amazing that they did not perish. Please explain how they survived when Agni, god of fire, was wreaking such devastation.

Sri Vaisampayana replied:

Even when the fire reached a fierce pitch, it did not burn the Sarngakas, O Bharata, and I shall now narrate to you in full how and why it happened.

Once there was an ascetic who was strict in his vows and the very best among those who know sacred law. This saintly and well-educated seer was known as Mandapala, and he followed the path of celibate saints who raise their vital fluid to the brain and so nourish their spiritual intelligence. He was scholarly, austere, and a lover of virtue, and having fully controlled his senses he had freedom to practice his noble convictions.

Having gone to the highest limit of austerities, he relinquished his material body, O Bharata, and went to Pitrloka, the planet of ancestors, but he did not achieve the result he had expected. Realizing that even the planets he had attained by austerities did not bestow the results he desired, he inquired of the celestial residents in the presence of Yamaraja.

"Why do these planets seem concealed from me, even though I have fairly acquired them by my austerities? What did I fail to accomplish in my religious practices, that I have obtained such a result for all my works? I shall make up whatever is lacking and keeps these planets, the fruit of my austerities, closed to me. Tell me what I lack, O celestial denizens."

The demigods replied:

Human beings are born in debt, O brahmana. Hear now what their obligations are: to perform sacred rites, to practice celibate student life, and to beget progeny. The entire debt is paid by sacrifice, austerity, and offspring. You have lived the austere life of a celibate and have offered sacrifice, but you have no offspring. Because of this lack the planets you earned are still sealed off to you. Beget progeny, and then you will enjoy these immortal realms. O sage, a son saves his father from the hell known as Put, and thus a son is called putra, the savior from hell. O best of the brahmanas, you must therefore endeavor to beget a son to perpetuate your line.

Vaisampayana said:

Hearing such a declaration from the celestial beings, the sage Mandapala wondered, "Where can progeny be had quickly and in good quantity?" Considering the matter, he realized that birds have many offspring, and so, transforming himself into a Sarngaka bird, he approached a young female Sarngaka named Jarita and begot in her four sons who would become learned Vedic scholars. But the sage left his young sons in the woods with the mother while they were still in their eggs and went after a female named Lapita.

When the great soul had flown off after Lapita, O Bharata, Jarita worried constantly out of affection for her children. The sage had abandoned his sons even though the young should not have been left in the forest while still in their eggs. The aggrieved mother Jarita did not desert them, and when they were born, she was moved by affection and did everything she could do to maintain them, O king, in the ill-fated Khandava Forest.

As Mandapala moved about the woods with Lapita, the sage realized that Agni was coming to burn down Khandava Forest. Understanding the fire-god's purpose and realizing that his children would be trapped in the blaze, the learned brahmana sage fearfully offered prayers of praise to the sacred fire, the powerful ruler of the world, entrusting his sons to the god's mercy.

Mandapala said:

O Agni, you are the mouth of all the gods, for it is you who carries the ritual oblation. O Agni, you dwell undetected within all beings. The wise say that you are one, and again they say that you are three-fold, and calling you eight-fold, they render you the one who bears the sacrificial offering. It is by you, O Agni, that the world is created; so say the exalted sages. O sacred fire, without you the entire universe would immediately cease to exist. After offering their obeisances to you, the brahmanas journey with their wives and children to the eternal destination they have won by their good deeds.

The learned say you are the rain cloud suspended in the sky and flashing with lightning. The fire that burns all beings emanates from you. Great is your splendor, O sacred fire, for this cosmic creation is yours, and all deeds and all beings, both moving and unmoving, are arranged by you. You have set the primeval waters on their course. All the worlds rest in you. Offerings to the gods and forefathers are established within you, exactly as they are meant to be.

O Agni, you alone are the fire, the sustainer, the seer Brhaspati, the twin Asvins, the lord of friendship, the moon, and the wind.

Vaisampayana said:

Thus praised by Mandapala, Fire was satisfied, O king, with that sage of immeasureable splendor and said to him, "What may I do to please you?"

With folded hands Mandapala addressed the sacred Fire, "When you burn the Khandava woods, please spare my sons." "So be it!" promised the lord of fire, and at that very moment he entered the Khandava forest, eager to burn.

AP 221

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the fire began to blaze, the Sarngakas were very aggrieved and disturbed. Indeed they were utterly terrified for they could find no shelter. Seeing her little sons in such danger, Jarita agonized over them and wailed, O king.

"The fearful fire is coming, burning every hiding place, igniting the world, and giving me grief, more and more. And my children are pulling on me, for they are young and don't know what to think. They have not even grown their feathers or feet, and they are the hope of our ancestors, yet the terrifying flames are coming. Now they are licking and tasting the nearby trees. Even though I could escape, my sons have no strength and could not make it, and if I carry my sons, then I will be too weak to escape. And I do not have the power to leave them. Oh, how my heart is shaking! Which son could I leave behind, and which son would I take with me? What should I do? What is to be done? My dear sons, think of what to do. I am thinking of how to save you, but I find no solution. I shall simply cover you with my own body and give up my life with you.

" `Jaritari is our eldest son, and certainly our family line depends on him. Sarisrkva will beget progeny and bring prosperity to our ancestors. Stambamitra should perform austerities, and Drona will be a superb Vedic scholar.' After saying all this, your cruel father departed. If I must now flee, whom shall I take, and who will inherit this final disaster? What is my duty? How can I act properly?"

Thus overwhelmed, she could not find within her mind a way to save her sons from the fire, and she continued to speak and lament until her children, the little Sarngakas, replied to their mother, "Dear mother, give up this sentiment and fly away from the fire! Even when we perish, you will beget other sons, but if you perish, mother, we will be too young to survive and perpetuate our family line. Understand these two options, and do what is best for our family, for now is your last chance to act, mother. You must not let your affection for your sons destroy the family. Our father begot us so that he could attain the higher planets, and his endeavor must not go in vain."

Jarita said:

Here is a mouse hole, near the tree. Enter it quickly now, so that the fire will not harm you! Then I shall cover the hole with dirt, my sons. I think this is the solution to the raging fire. When the fire is over, I will return and remove the pile of dirt. Isn't this the solution to save you from the fire?

The Sarngakas said:

We have not developed our feathers and flesh. The carniverous rat would devour us. Considering this certain danger, we could not possibly live in that hole. How will the fire not burn us? How will the rat not eat us? How will our father's life not be in vain? How will our mother take care of us? We birds must perish in the rat hole or from the fire, and considering the two options, burning in the fire is better than being eaten alive. It is an abominable death to be eaten alive by a rat in a hole. The learned have ordained that one should relinquish one's body unto fire.

Jarita said:

When the small rat came out of the hole, a hawk carried it away in his talons. There is no further danger.

The Sarngakas said:

There is no way that we can definitely know that the hawk took away the mouse. Anyway, there will be others in the hole that will threaten us. There is some doubt that the fire will come, for we can see that the wind is dying. But there is no doubt, mother, that the hole-dwellers will kill us. A doubtful death, mother, is better than a doubtless one. Take to the skies, as you must, and you will find other beautiful sons.

Jarita said:

I myself saw the hawk coming, for I was nearby, and the mighty bird walked around, then grabbed the mouse out of the hole and took it away. As the hawk flew away, I quickly followed it, pronouncing blessings upon the bird for having taken the mouse out of the hole.

"O king of hawks, you have taken away our enemy, and now you go on your way. May you move through the heavens in a golden form, free of enemies."

When the hungry bird had eaten the mouse, I got his permission and returned home. Now, my sons, go into the hole with full confidence; there is no danger for you. The hawk took the mouse before my eyes; there's no doubt about it.

The Sarngakas said:

We still don't know, mother, if the mouse was taken from the hole, and until we clearly know that, we are unable to enter the hole.

Jarita said:

But I do know it--the hawk took the mouse! Thus there is no danger, please do what I say.

The Sarngakas said:

You cannot dispell our great fear by trying to help us in this deceitful way. When a person's faculties are fully disturbed, he does not act rationally.

We have never done anything for your benefit, nor do you know our real identity. Who are you, so good and dutiful that you are willing to be tortured by caring for us? Who are we to you? You are young and beautiful and capable of satisfying the desires of your husband. Go along now to your husband, and you will have other beautiful children. By entering the fire, we are sure to attain the worlds of the blessed. Or if the fire does not burn us, you will come to us again.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

At these words, the Sarngaka mother left her sons in the Khandava forest and quickly went to a safe place where Fire had not settled. Thereupon the raging fire, with its harsh, cutting flames, headed straight for the little Sarngaka sons of the sage Mandapala. When the children saw the fire blazing with its power, the eldest child, Jaritari, spoke to his brothers so that Fire could hear him.

AP 223

Jaritari said:

Before the time of troubles, a wise man awakens, and when the difficult times come, he never succumbs to pain. However, one who remains dull and unaware as long as troubles are not directly upon him and does not awaken beforehand is shaken in time of trouble, and does not comprehend anything.

Sarisrkva said:

Sober you are and wise, for a life-threatening problem comes fast upon us. Surely out of many people, only one is actually brave and learned.

Stambamitra said:

The eldest is truly the savior, for the eldest saves one from troubles. If the eldest does not understand, what will the younger do?

Drona said:

The fire-god of golden seed comes quickly blazing to our abode. The lank fire comes crawling, licking with his seven flaming tongues.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by his brothers, Jaritari folded his hands in humility. Now hear, O king, how he was able to satisfy the mighty Fire.

Jaritari said:

You are the soul of the wind, you are its purifying power, and you are the body of green growing things. O Fire, water is your source, and you are the source of the water. Your flames, O powerful one, go upward and downward and seep out to the sides, like the wide rays of the sun.

Sarisrkva said:

Our mother has gone to save herself, and we do not know our father. Our wings are not yet grown, and we have no other savior, Fire, but you. Thus it is clear that you, who are a unique hero, must fully protect us.

O Fire, with your benevolent form, made beautiful by seven shooting flames, protect us now who worship you, seeking your shelter. Because you are the sacred fire, into which offerings are made to the Supreme Lord, you alone are the instrument by which the austerities of sages become offerings to the Lord. It is fire that digests our food, and thus you give strength to the senses. O lord, care for us, for we are but infant sages. Your duty is to carry oblations to the Lord, and our duty is to offer them, so kindly pass us by and go elsewhere.

Stambamitra said:

O Fire, the whole universe depends on you, for you sustain all creatures. You maintain the world, and thus you alone are all things. You, Fire, carry the religious offerings to the Lord, and you are yourself the highest offering. The wise worship you in many ways, although you are one.

As the source of vision, you manifest the three worlds, and when the time has come, you devour them in your blazing heat. You are the source of heat, and therefore birth depends on you.Thus you are the foundation of the whole living world. Dwelling within the embodied souls, O lord of the world, you ever flourish by burning the food they eat, and thus everything depends on you.

Drona said:

O sacred Fire, you are the rays of the sun, and thus you take all the waters of the earth and all the earth's juices, and again at the time of creation you send them forth as rain, nourishing all the world, O luminous one.

O bright one, from you all the herbs and vines again garb themselves in green, and the lotus ponds, and the sea and the great ocean arise. Our dwelling, O sharp-rayed one, is dedicated to Varuna, lord of waters, and it should not be consumed by fire. Please, be our benevolent savior and do not destroy us now! O yellow-eyed, red-throated, oblation-eating Fire, blazing the black path, go beyond and let us be, as you spare the ocean mansions.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed by Drona, who had never put anyone into trouble, the sacred Fire was pleased, and keeping his promise to Mandapala, he said to Drona, "You are a sage, Drona, for you have spoken spiritual wisdom. I shall do as you desire; you have nothing to fear. Mandapala has previously entrusted all of you to me, for he said, `You must spare my little sons when you go to burn the forest.' I respect very much both his words and yours. Tell me now what I can do to help you. O powerful brahmana, you have pleased me greatly by your prayer. And may you be blessed."

Drona said:

O Fire, these cats always threaten and disturb us. O sacred fire, please place them and their relatives between your ferocious teeth.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

The fire did just that, O Janamejaya, and giving leave to the Sarngakas, he went on blazing and burned the Khandava forest.

AP 224

Sri Vaisampayana said:

My dear Kauravya, in the meantime Mandapala went on worrying for his sons. Although he had appealed to the god of fire and received assurances, he thought, "Fire may not stop himself from burning them."

Constantly worrying about his sons, he said to Lapita, "My little sons are not even able to fly, Lapita. When the sacred fire swells and the wind is whipping about, my children will be unable to escape. And their mother is certainly unable to save them. When she fails to find a way to save them, she will be overcome by grief. Burning with sorrow over my helpless sons, who can neither run nor fly, she must be screaming in aguish and racing about. What about my son Jaritari, and what about my Sarisrkva, and what about Stambamitra and Drona, and their poor suffering mother?"

As the sage Mandapala continued to lament in the forest, O Bharata, Lapita said to him as if with envy, "There is no need to think of your sons. You yourself said they are all brilliant and powerful sages who have nothing to fear from the fire. And in my presence, you entrusted them to the fire-god, and that great soul promised to spare them. Fire is a world ruler and he would never speak a lie. Your sons are quite capable of explaining themselves. Your concern is not really for them. You are really suffering because you worry about that woman who is my rival. I know you don't love me the way you once loved her. Even if a man has given his love to another and doesn't care for his own family, he is not indifferent when he has the power to help them. Just go to Jarita, the one you for whom you lament. I shall wander about alone, like all the women who have bad men.

Mandapala said:

I am not acting as you so proudly imagine. I am thinking about my progeny, for they are in trouble. The world derides a fool who gives up his actual wealth and then depends on future profit. You may do as you wish. The fire is blazing, eagerly lapping up the trees, and it causes conflict and anguish in my heart.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When the fire had passed over that region, Jarita rushed back to her sons, eager to care for them. When she came to the forest and saw they were all healthy and had been saved from the fire, the poor mother cried out with emotion at this most unbelievable sight. Again and again she went up to her sons, one by one, all the time weeping.

Suddenly Mandapala arrived there, O Bharata, but not a single one of his sons welcomed him. Though he eagerly and repeatedly spoke to them, one by one, and to Jarita, they would say nothing to the sage, good or bad.

Mandapala said:

Which is the eldest son, and which one is next? Who is the middle son, and who is the youngest among you? Why don't you answer me when I am speaking to you with such anguish in my heart? I cannot find any peace in my life since I left you to the fire.

Jarita said:

What do you want with your eldest son? What do you have to do with your next son? What business do you have with your middle son, or with the youngest, who is an ascetic? When I was completely helpless, you rejected me and went your way. Go to that Lapita. Go to the young one with the pretty smile.

Mandapala said:

Apart from an illicit lover, nothing ruins a woman's character as much as rivalry with another woman. The whole world has heard of Arundhati, a most faithful and noble woman, who lost all faith in her husband, Vasistha, although he was an exalted sage of pure character who was always devoted to her welfare and happiness. But she began to think badly of him, even though he was one of the seven sages of heaven and a courageous thinker, and by her contempt she became like the red dawn when it is covered by smoke. Sometimes visible, sometimes not, she is not a handsome sight, for she appears like a strange omen.

You took me as your husband to beget progeny in this world, and if you reject me, whom you once desired, now that it has come to this, then you will become like that lady. It is impossible for men to trust their wives, for once they have children, even chaste women forget their duties to their men.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

My dear king, all the sons then properly welcomed and revered him, and he began to comfort and reassure his own begotten children.

AP 225

Mandapala said:

I informed the fire-god about you, so that you would be saved, and he agreed and gave his word. Thus knowing of Fire's promise, of your mother's knowledge of duty, and of your own supreme heroism, I did not come sooner. You should not have worried about dying, my sons, for even the god of fire recognizes the wise sages, and all of you have learned the Vedic wisdom.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus comforting his sons and taking them and his wife, O Bharata, Mandapala then went from that land to another land.

The hot-rayed lord of fire, along with Krsna and Arjuna, then burned up the blazing Khandava forest, and by doing so, he relieved the whole world of fear. The fire drank up waves of marrow and fat, cleansing the earth. Completely satisfied, he revealed himself to Arjuna.

The lord of the celestials, Indra, then came down from inner space, surrounded by the hosts of wind gods, and said to Arjuna and Sri Krsna, "You two have performed a task which even the immortal gods could hardly accomplish. Such is my satisfaction that I wish to bestow gifts upon you. Choose whatever you wish, even if it is difficult to obtain and beyond the scope of human beings."

Arjuna chose from Indra all sorts of weapons, and Indra established a time in which Arjuna could take possession of them. "When in the future the mighty god Siva is pleased, Pandava, he will bestow upon you all these weapons. I alone know when that time will come, O child of the Kurus, and because of your great austerities I shall see that you obtain all the weapons you requested. You will take possession of all the fire weapons, wind weapons, and all of my own weapons, Dhananjaya."

Lord Krsna chose eternal loving friendship with His devotee Arjuna, and the king of gods happily granted this boon. Having awarded the two heroes their wishes, and pleased with the whole situation, Lord Indra took leave of the fire-god and returned with the gods, to the heavenly abode.

Fire was quite satiated, for he had burned the forest, with its fated birds and beasts, for five days and one, and now he rested. Cleansing the world of the flesh and marrow of those fated creatures, Fire felt the greatest joy, and he said to Lord Krsna and Arjuna, "All my desires have been fulfilled by you two, who are the best of all personalities. I beg to grant you leave. You are true heroes, and you may go where your desire takes you."

When the glorious Fire had thus bid them farewell, Arjuna, Sri Krsna, and the mystic Danava named Maya all circumambulated the god, O Bharata king, and together they sat at their leisure on the charming bank of the river.

This last chapter of the First Canto, Adi-parva, of the Mahabharata, was completed on the eve of the Appearance Day of Sri Advaita Acarya, February 1, 1990, in the area of New Dvaraka Dhama, Los Angeles, California, by the mercy of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Their Lordships Sri Sri Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa.

(c) 1991 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Fuentes - Fonts


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

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

free counters

Disculpen las Molestias
Conceptos Hinduistas (1428)SC

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


Correo Vaishnava

Mi foto
Correo Devocional

Archivo del blog