Tuesday, January 25, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book I; Sections CLI~CLX
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'About this time, the learned Vidura had sent into those woods a man of pure character and much trusted by him. This person going to where he had been directed, saw the Pandavas with their mother in the forest employed in a certain place in measuring the depth of a river. The design that the wicked Duryodhana had formed had been, through his spies, known to Vidura of great intelligence, and, therefore, he had sent that prudent person unto the Pandavas. Sent by Vidura unto them, he showed the Pandavas on the sacred banks of the Ganga a boat with engines and flags, constructed by trusted artificers and capable of withstanding wind and wave and endued with the speed of the tempest or of thought.
He then addressed the Pandavas in these words to show that he had really been sent by Vidura, 'O Yudhishthira, he said, "listen to these words the learned Vidura had said (unto thee) as a proof of the fact that I come from him. Neither the consumer of straw and the wood nor the drier of dew ever burneth the inmates of a hole in the forest. He escapeth from death who protecteth himself knowing this, etc.' By these credentials know me to be the person who has been truly sent by Vidura and to be also his trusted agent. Vidura, conversant with everything, hath again said, 'O son of Kunti, thou shalt surely defeat in battle Karna, and Duryodhana with his brothers, and Sakuni.' This boat is ready on the waters, and it will glide pleasantly thereon, and shall certainly bear you all from these regions!' "Then beholding those foremost of men with their mother pensive and sad he caused them to go into the boat that was on the Ganga, and accompanied them himself.
Addressing them again, he said, 'Vidura having smelt your heads and embraced you (mentally), hath said again that in commencing your auspicious journey and going alone you should never be careless.' "Saying these words unto those heroic princes, the person sent by Vidura took those bulls among men over to the other side of the Ganga in his boat. And having taken them over the water and seen them all safe on the opposite bank, he uttered the word 'Jaya' (victory) to their success and then left them and returned to the place whence he had come. "The illustrious Pandavas also sending through that person some message to Vidura, began, after having crossed the Ganga, to proceed with haste and in great secrecy.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then, when the night had passed away, a large concourse of the townspeople came there in haste to see the sons of Pandu. After extinguishing the fire, they saw that the house just burnt down had been built of lac in materials and that (Duryodhana's) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death. And the people began to bewail aloud saying, 'Indeed, this had been contrived by the sinful Duryodhana for the destruction of the Pandavas. There is little doubt that Duryodhana hath, with Dhritarashtra's knowledge, burnt to death the heirs of Pandu, else the prince would have been prevented by his father. There is little doubt that even Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and Drona and Vidura and Kripa and other Kauravas have not, any of them, followed the dictates of duty. Let us now send to Dhritarashtra to say, 'Thy great desire hath been achieved! Thou hast burnt to death the Pandavas!'
"They then began to extinguish the members to obtain some trace of the Pandavas, and they saw the innocent Nishada woman with her five sons burnt to death. Then the miner sent by Vidura, while removing the ashes, covered the hole he had dug with those ashes in such a way that it remained unnoticed by all who had gone there. "The citizens then sent to Dhritarashtra to inform him that the Pandavas along with (Duryodhana's) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death. King Dhritarashtra, on hearing the evil news of the death of the Pandavas, wept in great sorrow. And he said, 'King Pandu, my brother of great fame, hath, indeed, died today when those heroic sons of his together with their mother have been burnt to death.
Ye men, repair quickly to Varanavata and cause the funeral rites to be performed of those heroes and of the daughter of Kuntiraj! Let also the bones of the deceased be sanctified with the usual rites, and let all the beneficial and great acts (usual on such occasions) be performed. Let the friends and relatives of those that have been burnt to death repair thither. Let also all other beneficial acts that ought, under the circumstances, to be performed by us for the Pandavas and Kunti be accomplished by wealth.' "Having said this, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, surrounded by his relatives, offered oblations of water to the sons of Pandu. And all of them, afflicted with excessive sorrow, bewailed aloud, exclaiming, 'O Yudhishthira! Oh prince of the Kuru race!'--While others cried aloud, 'Oh, Bhima!--O Phalguna!'--while some again,--'Oh, the twins!--Oh, Kunti!'--Thus did they sorrow for the Pandavas and offer oblations of water unto them. The citizens also wept for the Pandavas but Vidura did not weep much, because he knew the truth.
"Meanwhile the Pandavas endued with great strength with their mother forming a company of six going out of the town of Varanavata arrived at the banks of the Ganga. They then speedily reached the opposite bank aided by the strength of the boatmen's arms, the rapidity of the river's current, and a favourable wind. Leaving the boat, they proceeded in the southern direction finding their way in the dark by the light of the stars. After much suffering they at last reached, O king, a dense forest. They were then tired and thirsty; sleep was closing their eyes every moment. Then Yudhishthira, addressing Bhima endued with great energy, said, 'What can be more painful than this? We are now in the deep woods. We know not which side is which, nor can we proceed much further. We do not know whether that wretch Purochana hath or hath not been burnt to death. How shall we escape from these dangers unseen by others? O Bharata, taking us on thyself, proceed thou as before. Thou alone amongst us art strong and swift as the wind.' "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira the just, the mighty Bhimasena, taking up on his body Kunti and his brothers, began to proceed with great celerity.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said," As the mighty Bhima proceeded, the whole forest with its trees and their branches seemed to tremble, in consequence of their clash with his breast. The motion of his thighs raised a wind like unto that which blows during the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha (May and June). And the mighty Bhima proceeded, making a path for himself, but treading down the trees and creepers before him. In fact, he broke (by the pressure of his body) the large trees and plants, with their flowers and fruits, standing on his way. Even so passeth through the woods breaking down mighty trees, the leader of a herd of elephants, of the age of sixty years, angry and endued with excess of energy, during the season of rut when the liquid juice trickle down the three parts of his body. Indeed, so great was the force with which Bhima endued with the speed of Garuda or of Marut (the god of wind), proceeded that the Pandavas seemed to faint in consequence.
Frequently swimming across streams difficult of being crossed, the Pandavas disguised themselves on their way from fear of the sons of Dhritarashtra. And Bhima carried on his shoulder his illustrious mother of delicate sensibilities along the uneven banks of rivers. Towards the evening, O bull of Bharata's race, Bhima (bearing his brothers and mother on his back) reached a terrible forest where fruits and roots and water were scarce and which resounded with the terrible cries of birds and beasts. The twilight deepened the cries of birds and beasts became fiercer, darkness shrouded everything from the view and untimely winds began to blow that broke and laid low many a tree large and small and many creepers with dry leaves and fruits.
The Kaurava princes, afflicted with fatigue and thirst, and heavy with sleep, were unable to proceed further. They then all sat down in that forest without food and drink. Then Kunti, smitten with thirst, said unto her sons, 'I am the mother of the five Pandavas and am now in their midst. Yet I am burning with thirst!' Kunti repeatedly said this unto her sons. Hearing these words, Bhima's heart, from affection for his mother, was warmed by compassion and he resolved to go (along as before). Then Bhima, proceeding through that terrible and extensive forest without a living soul, saw a beautiful banian tree with wide-spreading branches.
Setting down there his brothers and mother, O bull of Bharata's race; he said unto them, 'Rest you here, while I go in quest of water. I hear the sweet cries of aquatic fowls. I think there must be a large pool here.' Commanded, O Bharata, by his elder brother who said unto him, 'Go', Bhima proceeded in the direction whence the cries of those aquatic fowls were coming. And, O bull of Bharata's race, he soon came upon a lake and bathed and slaked his thirst. And affectionate unto his brothers, he brought for them, O Bharata, water by soaking his upper garments. Hastily retracing his way over those four miles
I he came unto where his mother was and beholding her he was afflicted with sorrow and began to sigh like a snake. Distressed with grief at seeing his mother and brothers asleep on the bare ground, Vrikodara began to weep, 'Oh, wretch that I am, who behold my brothers asleep on the bare ground, what can befall me more painful than this? Alas, they who formerly at Varanavata could not sleep on the softest and costliest beds are now asleep on the bare ground! Oh, what more painful sight shall I ever behold than that of Kunti--the sister of Vasudeva, that grinder of hostile hosts--the daughter of Kuntiraja,--herself decked with every auspicious mark, the daughter-in-law of Vichitravirya,--the wife of the illustrious Pandu,--the mother of us (five brothers),--resplendent as the filaments of the lotus and delicate and tender and fit to sleep on the costliest bed--thus asleep, as she should never be, on the bare ground!
Oh, she who hath brought forth these sons by Dharma and Indra and Maruta--she who hath ever slept within palaces--now sleepeth, fatigued, on the bare ground! What more painful sight shall ever be beheld by me than that of these tigers among men (my brothers) asleep on the ground! Oh, the virtuous Yudhishthira, who deserveth the sovereignty of the three worlds, sleepeth, fatigued, like an ordinary man, on the bare ground! This Arjuna of the darkish hue of blue clouds, and unequalled amongst men sleepeth on the ground like an ordinary person! Oh, what can be more painful than this? Oh the twins, who in beauty are like the twin Aswins amongst the celestials, are asleep like ordinary mortals on the bare ground!
He who hath no jealous evil-minded relatives, liveth in happiness in this world like a single tree in a village. The tree that standeth single in a village with its leaves and fruits, from absence of other of the same species, becometh sacred and is worshipped and venerated by all. They again that have many relatives who, however, are all heroic and virtuous, live happily in the world without sorrow of any kind. Themselves powerful and growing in prosperity and always gladdening their friends and relatives, they live, depending on each other, like tall trees growing in the same forest. We, however, have been forced in exile by the wicked Dhritarashtra and his sons having escaped with difficulty, from sheer good fortune, a fiery death.
Having escaped from that fire, we are now resting in the shade of this tree. Having already suffered so much, where now are we to go? Ye sons of Dhritarashtra of little foresight, ye wicked fellows, enjoy your temporary success. The gods are certainly auspicious to you. But ye wicked wretches, ye are alive yet, only because Yudhishthira doth not command me to take your lives. Else this very day, filled with wrath, I would send thee, (O Duryodhana), to the regions of Yama (Pluto) with thy children and friends and brothers, and Karna, and (Sakuni) the son of Suvala! But what can I do, for, ye sinful wretches, the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, is not yet angry with you?' "Having said this, Bhima of mighty arms, fired with wrath, began to squeeze his palms, sighing deeply in affliction. Excited again with wrath like an extinguished fire blazing up all on a sudden, Vrikodara once more beheld his brothers sleeping on the ground like ordinary persons sleeping in trustfulness.
And Bhima said unto himself, 'I think there is some town not far off from this forest. These all are asleep, so I will sit awake. And this will slake their thirst after they rise refreshed from sleep.' Saying this, Bhima sat there awake, keeping watch over his sleeping mother and brothers.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Not far from the place where the Pandavas were asleep, a Rakshasa by name Hidimva dwelt on the Sala tree. Possessed of great energy and prowess, he was a cruel cannibal of visage that was grim in consequence of his sharp and long teeth. He was now hungry and longing for human flesh. Of long shanks and a large belly, his locks and beard were both red in hue. His shoulders were broad like the neck of a tree; his ears were like unto arrows, and his features were frightful. Of red eyes and grim visage, the monster beheld, while casting his glances around, the sons of Pandu sleeping in those woods. He was then hungry and longing for human flesh. Shaking his dry and grizzly locks and scratching them with his fingers pointed upwards, the large-mouthed cannibal repeatedly looked at the sleeping sons of Pandu yawning wistfully at times. Of huge body and great strength, of complexion like the colour of a mass of clouds, of teeth long and sharp-pointed and face emitting a sort of lustre, he was ever pleased with human flesh. And scenting the odour of man, he addressed his sister, saying, 'O sister, it is after a long time that such agreeable food hath approached me! My mouth waters at the anticipated relish of such food.
My eight teeth, so sharp-pointed and incapable of being resisted by any substance, I shall, today, after a long time, put into the most delicious flesh. Attacking the human throat and even opening the veins, I shall (today) drink a plentiful quantity of human blood, hot and fresh and frothy. Go and ascertain who these are, lying asleep in these woods. The strong scent of man pleaseth my nostrils. Slaughtering all these men, bring them unto me. They sleep within my territory. Thou needest have no fear from them. Do my bidding soon, for we shall then together eat their flesh, tearing off their bodies at pleasure. And after feasting to our fill on human flesh we shall then dance together to various measures!'
"Thus addressed by Hidimva in those woods, Hidimva, the female cannibal, at the command of her brother, went, O bull of Bharata's race, to the spot where the Pandavas were. And on going there, she beheld the Pandavas asleep with their mother and the invincible Bhimasena sitting awake. And beholding Bhimasena unrivalled on earth for beauty and like unto a vigorous Sala tree, the Rakshasa woman immediately fell in love with him, and she said to herself, 'This person of hue like heated gold and of mighty arms, of broad shoulders as the lion, and so resplendent, of neck marked with three lines like a conch-shell and eyes like lotus-petals, is worthy of being my husband. I shall not obey the cruel mandate of my brother.
A woman's love for her husband is stronger than her affection for her brother. If I slay him, my brother's gratification as well as mine will only be momentary. But if I slay him not, I can enjoy, with him for ever and ever.' Thus saying, the Rakshasa woman, capable of assuming form at will, assumed an excellent human form and began to advance with slow steps towards Bhima of mighty arms. Decked with celestial ornaments she advanced with smiles on her lips and a modest gait, and addressing Bhima said, 'O bull among men, whence hast thou come here and who art thou? Who, besides, are these persons of celestial beauty sleeping here? Who also, O sinless one, is this lady of transcendent beauty sleeping so trustfully in these woods as if she were lying in her own chamber? Dost thou not know that this forest is the abode of a Rakshasa.
Truly do I say, here liveth the wicked Rakshasa called Hidimva. Ye beings of celestial beauty, I have been sent hither even by that Rakshasa--my brother--with the cruel intent of killing you for his food. But I tell thee truly that beholding thee resplendent as a celestial, I would have none else for my husband save thee! Thou who art acquainted with all duties, knowing this, do unto me what is proper. My heart as well as my body hath been pierced by (the shafts of) Kama (Cupid). O, as I am desirous of obtaining thee, make me thine. O thou of mighty arms, I will rescue thee from the Rakshasa who eateth human flesh. O sinless one, be thou my husband. We shall then live on the breasts of mountains inaccessible to ordinary mortals.
I can range the air and I do so at pleasure. Thou mayest enjoy great felicity with me in those regions.' "Hearing these words of hers, Bhima replied, 'O Rakshasa woman, who can, like a Muni having all his passions under control, abandon his sleeping mother and elder and younger brothers? What man like me would go to gratify his lust, leaving his sleeping mother and brothers as food for a Rakshasa?' "The Rakshasa woman replied, 'O, awaken all these, I shall do unto you all that is agreeable to thee! I shall certainly rescue you all from my cannibal brother?' "Bhima then said, 'O Rakshasa woman, I will not, from fear of thy wicked brother, awaken my brothers and mother sleeping comfortably in the woods. O timid one, Rakshasas are never able to bear the prowess of my arms. And, O thou of handsome eyes, neither men, nor Gandharvas, nor Yakshas are able to bear my might. O amiable one, thou mayst stay or go as thou likest, or mayst even send thy cannibal brother, O thou of delicate shape. I care not.'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hidimva, the chief of the Rakshasas, seeing that his sister returned not soon enough, alighted from the tree, proceeded quickly to the spot where the Pandavas were. Of red eyes and strong arms and the arms and the hair of his head standing erect, of large open mouth and body like unto a mass of dark clouds, teeth long and sharp-pointed, he was terrible to behold. And Hidimva, beholding her brother of frightful visage alight from the tree, became very much alarmed, and addressing Bhima said, 'The wicked cannibal is coming hither in wrath. I entreat thee, do with thy brothers, as I bid thee. O thou of great courage, as I am endued with the powers of a Rakshasa, I am capable of going whithersoever I like. Mount ye on my hips, I will carry you all through the skies. And, O chastiser of foes, awaken these and thy mother sleeping in comfort.
Taking them all on my body, I will convey you through the skies.' "Bhima then said, 'O thou of fair hips, fear not anything. I am sure that as long as I am here, there is no Rakshasa capable of injuring any of these, O thou of slender waist. I will slay this (cannibal) before thy very eyes. This worst of Rakshasas, O timid one, is no worthy antagonist of mine, nor can all the Rakshasas together bear the strength of my arms. Behold these strong arms of mine, each like unto the trunk of an elephant. Behold also these thighs of mine like unto iron maces, and this broad and adamantine chest. O beautiful one, thou shall today behold my prowess like unto that of Indra. O thou of fair hips, hate me not, thinking that I am a man.' "Hidimva replied saying, 'O tiger among men, O thou of the beauty of a celestial, I do not certainly hold thee in contempt. But I have seen the prowess that Rakshasas exert upon men.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Bharata, the wrathful Rakshasa eating human flesh heard these words of Bhima who had been talking in that way. And Hidimva beheld his sister disguised in human form, her head decked with garlands of flowers and her face like the full moon and her eyebrows and nose and eyes and ringlets all of the handsomest description, and her nails and complexion of the most delicate hue, and herself wearing every kind of ornament and attired in fine transparent robes. The cannibal, beholding her in that charming human form, suspected that she was desirous of carnal intercourse and became indignant.
And, O best of the Kurus, becoming angry with his sister, the Rakshasa dilated his eyes and addressing her said, 'What senseless creature wishes to throw obstacles in my path now that I am so hungry? Hast thou become so senseless, O Hidimva, that thou fearest not my wrath? Fie on thee, thou unchaste woman! Thou art even now desirous of carnal intercourse and solicitous of doing me an injury. Thou art ready to sacrifice the good name and honour of all the Rakshasas, thy ancestors! Those with whose aid thou wouldst do me this great injury, I will, even now, slay along with thee.'
Addressing his sister thus, Hidimva, with eyes red with anger and teeth pressing against teeth, ran at her to kill her then and there. But beholding him rush at his sister, Bhima, that foremost of smiter, endued with great energy, rebuked him and said, Stop--Stop!" "Vaisampayana continued, 'And Bhima, beholding the Rakshasa angry with his sister, smiled (in derision), and said, addressing him, 'O Hidimva, what need is there for thee to awaken these persons sleeping so comfortably? O wicked cannibal, approach me first without loss of time. Smite me first,--it behoveth thee not to kill a woman, especially when she hath been sinned against instead of sinning. This girl is scarcely responsible for her act in desiring intercourse with me. She hath, in this, been moved by the deity of desire that pervadeth every living form. Thou wicked wretch and the most infamous of Rakshasas, thy sister came here at thy command. Beholding my person, she desireth me.
In that the timid girl doth no injury to thee. It is the deity of desire that hath offended. It behoveth thee not to injure her for this offence. O wicked wretch, thou shalt not slay a woman when I am here. Come with me, O cannibal, and fight with myself singly. Singly shall I send thee today to the abode of Yama (Pluto). O Rakshasa, let thy head today, pressed by my might, be pounded to pieces, as though pressed by the tread of a mighty elephant. When thou art slain by me on the field of battle, let herons and hawks and jackals tear in glee thy limbs today on the ground. In a moment I shall today make this forest destitute of Rakshasas,--this forest that had so long been ruled by thee, devourer of human beings! Thy sister, O Rakshasa, shall today behold thyself, huge though thou art like a mountain, like a huge elephant repeatedly dragged by a lion, O worst of Rakshasas, thyself slain by me, men ranging these woods will henceforth do so safely and without fear.'
"Hearing these words, Hidimva said, 'What need is there, O man, for this thy vaunt and this thy boast? Accomplish all this first, and then mayst thou vaunt indeed. Therefore, delay thou not. Thou knowest thyself to be strong and endued with prowess, so thou shalt rightly estimate thy strength today in thy encounter with me. Until that, I will not slay these (thy brothers). Let them sleep comfortably. But I will, as thou art a fool and the utterer of evil speeches, slay thee first. After drinking thy blood, I will slay these also, and then last of all, this (sister of mine) that hath done me an injury.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, the cannibal, extending his arms ran in wrath towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes. Then Bhima of terrible prowess quickly seized, as though in sport, with great force, the extended arms of the Rakshasa who had rushed at him.
Then seizing the struggling Rakshasa with violence, Bhima dragged him from that spot full thirty-two cubits like a lion dragging a little animal. Then the Rakshasa, thus made to feel the weight of Bhima's strength, became very angry and clasping the Pandava, sent forth a terrible yell. The mighty Bhima then dragged with force the Rakshasa to a greater distance, lest his yells should awaken his brothers sleeping in comfort. Clasping and dragging each other with great force, both Hidimva and Bhimasena put forth their prowess. Fighting like two full-grown elephants mad with rage, they then began to break down the trees and tear the creepers that grew around. And at those sounds, those tigers among men (the sleeping Pandavas) woke up with their mother, and saw Hidimva sitting before them.'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Roused from sleep, those tigers among men, with their mother, beholding the extraordinary beauty of Hidimva, were filled with wonder. And Kunti, gazing at her with wonder at her beauty, addressed her sweetly and gave her every assurance. She asked, 'O thou of the splendour of a daughter of the celestials, whose art thou and who art thou? O thou of the fairest complexion, on what business hast thou come hither and whence hast thou come? If thou art the deity of these woods or an Apsara, tell me all regarding thyself and also why thou stayest here?' Thereupon Hidimva replied, 'This extensive forest that thou seest, of the hue of blue cloud, is the abode of a Rakshasa of the name of Hidimva. O handsome lady, know me as the sister of that chief of the Rakshasa. Revered dame, I had been sent by that brother of mine to kill thee with all thy children.
But on arriving here at the command of that cruel brother of mine, I beheld thy mighty son. Then, O blessed lady, I was brought under the control of thy son by the deity of love who pervadeth the nature of every being, and I then (mentally) chose that mighty son of thine as my husband. I tried my best to convey you hence, but I could not (because of thy son's opposition). Then the cannibal, seeing my delay, came hither to kill all these thy children. But he hath been dragged hence with force by that mighty and intelligent son of thine--my husband. Behold now that couple--man and Rakshasa--both endued with great strength and prowess, engaged in combat, grinding each other and filling the whole region with their shouts.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words of hers, Yudhishthira suddenly rose up and Arjuna also and Nakula and Sahadeva of great energy and they beheld Bhima and the Rakshasa already engaged in fight, eager to overcome each other and dragging each other with great force, like two lions endued with great might.
The dust raised by their feet in consequence of that encounter looked like the smoke of a forest-conflagration. Covered with that dust their huge bodies resembled two tall cliffs enveloped in mist. Then Arjuna, beholding Bhima rather oppressed in the fight by the Rakshasa, p. 322 slowly, said with smiles on his lips, 'Fear not, O Bhima of mighty arms! We (had been asleep and therefore) knew not that thou wast engaged with a terrible Rakshasa and tired in fight. Here do I stand to help thee, let me slay the Rakshasa, and let Nakula and Sahadeva protect our mother.' Hearing him, Bhima said, 'Look on this encounter, O brother, like a stranger. Fear not for the result. Having come within the reach of my arms, he shall not escape with life.'
Then Arjuna said, 'What need, O Bhima, for keeping the Rakshasa alive so long? O oppressor of enemies, we are to go hence, and cannot stay here longer. The east is reddening, the morning twilight is about to set in. The Rakshasa became stronger by break of day, therefore, hasten, O Bhima! Play not (with thy victim), but slay the terrible Rakshasa soon. During the two twilights Rakshasas always put forth their powers of deception. Use all the strength of thy arms. "Vaisampayana continued, 'At this speech of Arjuna, Bhima blazing up with anger, summoned the might that Vayu (his father) puts forth at the time of the universal dissolution. And filled with rage, he quickly raised high in the air the Rakshasa's body, blue as the clouds of heaven, and whirled it a hundred times. Then addressing the cannibal, Bhima said, 'O Rakshasa, thy intelligence was given thee in vain, and in vain hast thou grown and thriven on unsanctified flesh.
Thou deservest, therefore, an unholy death and I shall reduce thee today to nothing. I shall make this forest blessed today, like one without prickly plants. And, O Rakshasa, thou shalt no longer slay human beings for thy food.' Arjuna at this juncture, said, 'O Bhima, if thou thinkest it a hard task for thee to overcome this Rakshasa in combat, let me render thee help, else, slay him thyself without loss of time. Or, O Vrikodara, let me alone slay the Rakshasa. Thou art tired, and hast almost finished the affair. Well dost thou deserve rest.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Bhima was fired with rage and dashing the Rakshasa on the ground with all his might slew him as if he were an animal. The Rakshasa, while dying, sent forth a terrible yell that filled the whole forest, and was deep as the sound of a wet drum.
Then the mighty Bhima, holding the body with his hands, bent it double, and breaking it in the middle, greatly gratified his brothers. Beholding Hidimva slain, they became exceedingly glad and lost no time in offering their congratulations to Bhima, that chastiser of all foes. Then Arjuna worshipping the illustrious Bhima of terrible prowess, addressed him again and said, 'Revered senior, I think there is a town not far off from this forest. Blest be thou, let us go hence soon, so that Duryodhana may not trace us.' "Then all those mighty car-warriors, those tigers among men, saying, 'So be it,' proceeded along with their mother, followed by Hidimva, the Rakshasa woman.'"
SECTION CLVII (Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressed her, saying, 'Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adopting deceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O Hidimva, go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.' Then Yudhishthira beholding Bhima in rage, said, 'O Bhima, O tiger among men, however enraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is a higher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with the object of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sister of that Rakshasa, what can she do to us even if she were angry?' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti and her son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, 'O revered lady, thou knowest the pangs that women are made to feel at the hands of the deity of love.
Blessed dame, these pangs, of which Bhimasena hath been the cause, are torturing me. I had hitherto borne these insufferable pangs, waiting for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is now come, when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends and relations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen this son of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, O illustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either, I will no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairest complexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as very silly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thy son, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me go taking him with me wherever I like. Trust me, O blessed lady, I will again bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come to you immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I will rescue you from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and uneven regions. I will carry you on my back whenever ye desire to proceed with swiftness.
O, be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath been said that in a season of distress one should protect one's life by any means. He, that seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple about the means. He, that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is the foremost of virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger to virtue and virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore is virtue called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or the observance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.' "Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. 'It is even so, O Hidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of slender waist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hath washed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual propitiatory rites, pay his attentions to thee till the sun sets. Sport thou with him as thou likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed of the mind!
But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day at nightfall.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all that Yudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, 'Listen to me, O Rakshasa woman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay with thee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.' Then Hidimva, saying, 'So be it,' took Bhima upon her body and sped through the sides. On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the gods, abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of feathered tribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornament and pouring forth at times mellifluous strains. Hidimva sported with the Pandava and studied to make him happy.
So also, in inaccessible regions of forests, and on mountain-breasts overgrown with blossoming trees on lakes resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and their pebbly banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks and mountain-currents, in picturesque woods with blossoming trees and creepers in Himalayan bowers, and various caves, on crystal pools smiling with lotuses, on sea-shores shining with gold and pearls, in beautiful towns and fine gardens, in woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, in the regions of Guhyakas and ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovara abounding with fruits and flowers of every season Hidimva, assuming the handsomest form, sported with Bhima and studied to make him happy.
Endued with the speed of the mind, she sported with Bhima in all these regions, till in time, she conceived and brought forth a mighty son begotten upon her by the Pandava. Of terrible eyes and large mouth and straight arrowy ears, the child was terrible to behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharp teeth and loud roar, of mighty arms and great strength and excessive prowess, this child became a mighty bowman. Of long nose, broad chest, frightfully swelling calves, celerity of motion and excessive strength, he had nothing human in his countenance, though born of man.
And he excelled (in strength and prowess) all Pisachas and kindred tribes as well as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a little child, he grew up a youth the very hour he was born. The mighty hero soon acquired high proficiency in the use of all weapons. The Rakshasa women bring forth the very day they conceive, and capable of assuming any forms at will, they always change their forms. And the bald-headed child, that mighty bowman, soon after his birth, bowing down to his mother, touched her feet and the feet also of his father. His parents then bestowed upon him a name. His mother having remarked that his head was (bald) like unto a Ghata (water-pot), both his parents thereupon called him Ghatotkacha (the pot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas, became a great favourite with them, indeed almost one of them.
"Then Hidimva, knowing that the period of her stay (with her husband) had come to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment with them went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha also--that foremost of Rakshasas--promising unto his father that he would come when wanted on business, saluted them and went away northward. Indeed, it was the illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) the mighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of unrivalled energy, in consequence of the dart he had given unto Karna (and which was sure to kill the person against whom it would be hurled).'"
(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the heroic Pandavas, then went, O king, from forest to forest killing deer and many animals (for their food). And in the course of their wanderings they saw the countries of the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Panchalas and then of the Kichakas, and also many beautiful woods and lakes therein. And they all had matted locks on their heads and were attired in barks of trees and the skins of animals. Indeed, with Kunti in their company those illustrious heroes were attired in the garbs of ascetics. And those mighty car-warriors sometimes proceeded in haste, carrying their mother on their backs; and sometimes they proceeded in disguise, and sometimes again with great celerity. And they used to study the Rik and the other Vedas and also all the Vedangas as well as the sciences of morals and politics.
And the Pandavas, conversant with the science of morals, met, in course of their wanderings their grandfather (Vyasa). And saluting the illustrious Krishna-Dwaipayana, those chastisers of enemies, with their mother, stood before him with joined hands.' "Vyasa then said, 'Ye bulls of Bharata's race, I knew beforehand of this affliction of yours consisting in your deceitful exile by the son of Dhritarashtra. Knowing this, I have come to you, desirous of doing you some great good. Do not grieve for what hath befallen you. Know that all this is for your happiness. Undoubtedly, the sons of Dhritarashtra and you are all equal in my eye. But men are always partial to those who are in misfortune or of tender years. It is therefore, that my affection for you is greater now. And in consequence of that affection, I desire to do you good. Listen to me! Not far off before you is a delightful town where no danger can overtake you. Live ye there in disguise, waiting for my return.' 'Vaisampayana continued, 'Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, thus comforting the Pandavas, led them into the town of Ekachakra.
And the master also comforted Kunti, saying, 'Live, O daughter! This son of thine, Yudhishthira, ever devoted to truth, this illustrious bull among men, having by his justice conquered the whole world, will rule over all the other monarchs of the earth. There is little doubt that, having by means of Bhima's and Arjuna's prowess conquered the whole earth with her belt of seas, he will enjoy the sovereignty thereof. Thy sons as well as those of Madri--mighty car-warriors all--will cheerfully sport as pleaseth them in their dominions. These tigers among men will also perform various sacrifices, such as the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice, in which the presents unto the Brahmanas are very large.
And these thy sons will rule their ancestral kingdom, maintaining their friends and relatives in luxury and affluence and happiness.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words Vyasa introduced them into the dwelling of a Brahmana. And the island-born Rishi, addressing the eldest of the Pandavas, said, 'Wait here for me! I will come back to you! By adapting yourselves to the country and the occasion you will succeed in becoming very happy.' "Then, O king, the Pandavas with joined hands said unto the Rishi, 'So be it.' And the illustrious master, the Rishi Vyasa, then went away to the region whence he had come.'"
"Janamejaya asked, 'O first of Brahmanas, what did the Pandavas, those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, do after arriving at Ekachakra?' "Vaisampayana said, 'Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, on arriving at Ekachakra, lived for a short time in the abode of a Brahmana. Leading an eleemosynary life, they behold (in course of their wanderings) various delightful forests and earthly regions, and many rivers and lakes, and they became great favourites of the inhabitants of that town in consequence of their own accomplishments. At nightfall they placed before Kunti all they gathered in their mendicant tours, and Kunti used to divide the whole amongst them, each taking what was allotted to him. And those heroic chastisers of foes, with their mother, together took one moiety of the whole, while the mighty Bhima alone took the other moiety. In this way, O bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Pandavas lived there for some time.
"One day, while those bulls of the Bharata race were out on their tour of mendicancy, it so happened that Bhima was (at home) with (his mother) Pritha. That day, O Bharata, Kunti heard a loud and heartrending wail of sorrow coming from within the apartments of the Brahmana. Hearing the inmates of the Brahmana's house wailing and indulging in piteous lamentations, Kunti, O king, from compassion and the goodness of her heart, could not bear it with indifference. Afflicted with sorrow, the amiable Pritha, addressing Bhima, said these words full of compassion. 'Our woes assuaged, we are, O son, living happily in the house of this Brahmana, respected by him and unknown to Dhritarashtra's son. O son, I always think of the good I should do to this Brahmana, like what they do that live happily in others' abodes!
O child, he is a true man upon whom favours are never lost. He payeth back to others more than what he receiveth at their hands. There is no doubt, some affliction hath overtaken this Brahmana. If we could be of any help to him, we should then be requiting his services.' "Hearing these words of his mother, Bhima said, 'Ascertain, O mother the nature of the Brahmana's distress and whence also it hath arisen. Learning all about it, relieve it I will however difficult may the task prove.' "Vaisampayana continued 'While mother and son were thus talking with each other, they heard again, O king, another wail of sorrow proceeding from the Brahmana and his wife.
Then Kunti quickly entered the inner apartments of that illustrious Brahmana, like unto a cow running towards her tethered calf. She beheld the Brahmana with his wife, son and daughter, sitting with a woeful face, and she heard the Brahmana say, 'Oh, fie on this earthly life which is hollow as the reed and so fruitless after all which is based on sorrow and hath no freedom, and which hath misery for its lot! Life is sorrow and disease; life is truly a record of misery! The soul is one: but it hath to pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure. And because these are pursued at one and the same time, there frequently occurs a disagreement that is the source of much misery. Some say that salvation is the highest object of our desire. But I believe it can never be attained.
The acquisition of wealth is hell; the pursuit of wealth is attended with misery; there is more misery after one has acquired it, for one loves one's possessions, and if any mishap befalls them, the possessor becomes afflicted with woe. I do not see by what means I can escape from this danger, nor how I can fly hence, with my wife to some region free from danger. Remember, O wife, that I endeavoured to migrate to some other place where we would be happy, but thou didst not then listen to me. Though frequently solicited by me, thou, O simple woman, said to me, 'I have been born here, and here have I grown old; this is my ancestral homestead.' Thy venerable father, O wife, and thy mother also, have, a long time ago, ascended to heaven. Thy relations also had all been dead. Oh why then didst thou yet like to live here? Led by affection for thy relatives thou didst not then hear what I said. But the time is now come when thou art to witness the death of a relative.
Oh, how sad is that spectacle for me! Or perhaps the time is come for my own death, for I shall never be able to abandon cruelly one of my own as long as I myself am alive. Thou art my helpmate in all good deeds, self-denying and always affectionate unto me as a mother. The gods have given thee to me as a true friend and thou art ever my prime stay. Thou hast, by my parents, been made the participator in my domestic concerns. Thou art of pure lineage and good disposition, the mother of children, devoted to me, and so innocent; having chosen and wedded thee with due rites, I cannot abandon thee, my wife, so constant in thy vows, to save my life. How shall I myself be able to sacrifice my son a child of tender years and yet without the hirsute appendages (of manhood)?
How shall I sacrifice my daughter whom I have begotten myself, who hath been placed, as a pledge, in my hands by the Creator himself for bestowal on a husband and through whom I hope to enjoy, along with my ancestors, the regions attainable by those only that have daughters' sons? Some people think that the father's affection for a son is greater; others, that his affection for a daughter is greater, mine, however, p. 328 is equal. How can I be prepared to give up the innocent daughter upon whom rest the regions of bliss obtainable by me in after life and my own lineage and perpetual happiness? If, again, I sacrifice myself and go to the other world, I should scarcely know any peace, for, indeed, it is evident that, left by me these would not be able to support life. The sacrifice of any of these would be cruel and censurable. On the other hand, if I sacrifice myself, these, without me, will certainly perish. The distress into which I have fallen is great; nor do I know the means of escape. Alas, what course shall I take today with my near ones. It is well that I should die with all these, for I can live no longer.'" Next: Section CLX file:///C|/a/mahabharata/m01/m01160.htm (2 of 2)7/1/2006 9:20:56 AM The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Vaka-vadha Parva: Section CLX Table of Contents Index Previous Next
SECTION CLX (Vaka-vadha Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, "On hearing these words of the Brahmana, his wife said, 'Thou shouldst not, O Brahmana, grieve like an ordinary man. Nor is this the time for mourning. Thou hast learning; thou knowest that all men are sure to die; none should grieve for that which is inevitable. Wife, son, and daughter, all these are sought for one's own self. As thou art possessed of a good understanding, kill thou thy sorrows. I will myself go there. This indeed, is the highest and the eternal duty of a woman, viz., that by sacrificing her life she should seek the good of her husband. Such an act done by me will make thee happy, and bring me fame in this world and eternal bliss hereafter.
This, indeed, is the highest virtue that I tell thee, and thou mayest, by this, acquire both virtue and happiness. The object for which one desireth a wife hath already been achieved by thee through me. I have borne thee a daughter and a son and thus been freed from the debt I had owed thee. Thou art well able to support and cherish the children, but I however, can never support and cherish them like thee. Thou art my life, wealth, and lord; bereft of thee, how shall these children of tender years--how also shall I myself, exist? Widowed and masterless, with two children depending on me, how shall I, without thee, keep alive the pair, myself leading an honest life?
If the daughter of thine is solicited (in marriage) by persons dishonourable and vain and unworthy of contracting an alliance with thee, how shall I be able to protect the girl? Indeed, as birds seek with avidity for meat that hath been thrown away on the ground, so do men solicit a woman that hath lost her husband. O best of Brahmanas, solicited by wicked men, I may waver and may not be able to continue in the path that is desired by all honest men. How shall I be able to place this sole daughter of thy house-- this innocent girl--in the way along which her ancestors have always walked? How shall I then be able to impart unto this child every desirable accomplishment to make him virtuous as thyself, in that season of want when I shall become masterless? Overpowering myself who shall be masterless, unworthy persons will demand this daughter of thine, like Sudras desiring to hear the Vedas. And if I bestow not upon them this girl possessing thy blood and qualities, they may even take her away by force, like crows carrying away the sacrificial butter. And beholding thy son become so unlike to thee, and thy daughter placed under the control of some unworthy persons, I shall be despised in the world by even persons that are dishonourable, and I will certainly die.
These children also, bereft of me and thee, their father, will, I doubt not, perish like fish when the water drieth up. There is no doubt that bereft of thee the three will perish: therefore it behoveth thee to sacrifice me. O Brahmana, persons conversant with morals have said that for women that have borne children, to predecease their lords is an act of the highest merit. Ready am I to abandon this son and this daughter, these my relations, and life itself, for thee. For a woman to be ever employed in doing agreeable offices to her lord is a higher duty than sacrifices, asceticism, vows, and charities of every description. The act, therefore, which I intend to perform is consonant with the highest virtue and is for thy good and that of thy race. The wise have declared that children and relatives and wife and all things held dear are cherished for the purpose of liberating one's self from danger and distress.
One must guard one's wealth for freeing one's self from danger, and it is by his wealth that he should cherish and protect his wife. But he must protect his own self both by (means of) his wife and his wealth. The learned have enunciated the truth that one's wife, son, wealth, and house, are acquired with the intention of providing against accidents, foreseen or unforeseen. The wise have also said that all one's relations weighed against one's own self would not be equal unto one's self. Therefore, revered sir, protect thy own self by abandoning me. O, give me leave to sacrifice myself, and cherish thou my children. Those that are conversant with the morals have, in their treatises, said, that women should never be slaughtered and that Rakshasas are not ignorant of the rules of morality. Therefore, while it is certain that the Rakshasa will kill a man, it is doubtful whether he will kill a woman.
It behoveth thee, therefore, being conversant with the rules of morality, to place me before the Rakshasa. I have enjoyed much happiness, have obtained much that is agreeable to me, and have also acquired great religious merit. I have also obtained from thee children that are so dear to me. Therefore, it grieveth not me to die. I have borne thee children and have also grown old; I am ever desirous of doing good to thee; remembering all these I have come to this resolution. O revered sir, abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife. By her thou mayest again acquire religious merit. There is no sin in this.
For a man polygamy is an act of merit, but for a woman it is very sinful to betake herself to a second husband after the first. Considering all this, and remembering too that sacrifice of thy own self is censurable, O, liberate today without loss of time thy own self, thy race, and these thy children (by abandoning me).' p. 330 "Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by her, O Bharata, the Brahmana embraced her, and they both began to weep in silence, afflicted with grief.'"