Wednesday, January 26, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book I; Sections CLXI~CLXX
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'On hearing these words of her afflicted parents, the daughter was filled with grief, and she addressed them, saying, 'Why are you so afflicted and why do you so weep, as if you have none to look after you? O, listen to me and do what may be proper. There is little doubt that you are bound in duty to abandon me at a certain time. Sure to abandon me once, O, abandon me now and save every thing at the expense of me alone. Men desire to have children, thinking that children would save them (in this world as well as in the region hereafter). O, cross the stream of your difficulties by means of my poor self, as if I were a raft. A child rescueth his parents in this and the other regions; therefore is the child called by the learned Putra (rescuer).
The ancestors desire daughter's sons from me (as a special means of salvation). But (without waiting for my children) I myself will rescue them by protecting the life of my father. This my brother is of tender years, so there is little doubt that he will perish if thou diest now. If thou, my father, diest and my brother followeth thee, the funeral cake of the Pitris will be suspended and they will be greatly injured. Left behind by my father and brother, and by my mother also (for she will not survive her husband and son) I shall be plunged deeper and deeper in woe and ultimately perish in great distress. There can be little doubt that if thou escape from this danger as also my mother and infant brother, then thy race and the (ancestral) cake will be perpetuated.
The son is one's own self; the wife is one's friend; the daughter, however, is the source of trouble. Do thou save thyself, therefore, by removing that source of trouble, and do thou thereby set me in the path of virtue. As I am a girl, O father, destitute of thee, I shall be helpless and plunged in woe, and shall have to go everywhere. It is therefore that I am resolved to rescue my father's race and share the merit of that act by accomplishing this difficult task. If thou, O best of Brahmanas, goest thither (unto the Rakshasa), leaving me here, then I shall be very much pained. Therefore, O father, be kind to me. O thou best of men, for our sake, for that of virtue and also thy race, save thyself, abandoning me, whom at one time thou shall be constrained to part from.
There need be no delay, O father, in doing that which is inevitable. What can be more painful than that, when thou hast ascended to heaven, we shall have to go about begging our food, like dogs, from strangers. But if thou art rescued with thy relations from these difficulties, I shall then live happily in the region of the celestials. It hath been heard by us that if after bestowing thy daughter in this way, thou offerest oblations to the gods and the celestials, they will certainly be propitious.' p. 331 "Vaisampayana continued, 'The Brahmana and his wife, hearing these various lamentations of their daughter, became sadder than before and the three began to weep together. Their son, then, of tender years, beholding them and their daughter thus weeping together, lisped these words in a sweet tone, his eyes having dilated with delight, 'Weep not, O father, nor thou, O mother, nor thou O sister!' And smilingly did the child approach each of them, and at last taking up a blade of grass said in glee, 'With this will I slay the Rakshasa who eateth human beings!' Although all of them had been plunged in woe, yet hearing what the child lisped so sweetly, joy appeared on their faces. Then Kunti thinking that to be the proper opportunity, approached the group and said these words. Indeed, her words revived them as nectar reviveth a person that is dead.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued}
'Kunti said, 'I desire to learn from you the cause of this grief, for I will remove it, if possible.' "The Brahmana replied, 'O thou of ascetic wealth, thy speech is, indeed worthy of thee. But this grief is incapable of being removed by any human being. Not far from this town, there liveth a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka, which cannibal is the lord of this country and town. Thriving on human flesh, that wretched Rakshasa endued with great strength ruleth this country. He being the chief of the Asuras, this town and the country in which it is situate are protected by his might. We have no fear from the machinations of any enemy, or indeed from any living soul. The fee, however, fixed for that cannibal is his food, which consists of a cart-load of rice, two buffaloes, and a human being who conveyeth them unto him. One after another, the house-holders have to send him this food. The turn, however, cometh to a particular family at intervals of many long years. If there are any that seek to avoid it, the Rakshasa slayeth them with their children and wives and devoureth them all. There is, in this country, a city called Vetrakiya, where liveth the king of these territories. He is ignorant of the science of government, and possessed of little intelligence, he adopts not with care any measure by which these territories may be rendered safe for all time to come. But we certainly deserve it all, inasmuch as we live within the dominion of that wretched and weak monarch in perpetual anxiety. Brahmanas can never be made to dwell permanently within the dominions of any one, for they are dependent on nobody, they live rather like birds ranging all countries in perfect freedom. It hath been said that one must secure a (good) king, then a wife, and then wealth. It is by the acquisition of these three that one can rescue his relatives and sons. But as regards the acquisition of these three, the course of my actions hath been the reverse. Hence, plunged into a sea of danger, am suffering sorely. That turn, destructive of one's family, hath now devolved upon me. I shall have to give unto the Rakshasa as his fee the food of the aforesaid description and one human being to boot. I have no wealth to buy a man with. I cannot by any means consent to part with any one of my family, nor do I see any way of escape from (the clutches of) that Rakshasa. I am now sunk in an ocean of grief from which there is no escape. I shall go to that Rakshasa today, attended by all my family in order that that wretch might devour us all at once'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Kunti said, Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger. I see a way by which to rescue thee from that Rakshasa. Thou hast only one son, who, besides, is of very tender years, also only one daughter, young and helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or even thyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, let one of them go, carrying in thy behalf tribute of that Rakshasa.' "Hearing this, the Brahmana replied, 'To save my own life I shall never suffer this to be done. I shall never sacrifice, to save myself, the life of a Brahmana or of a guest. Indeed, even those that are of low origin and of sinful practices refuse to do (what thou askest me to do). It is said that one should sacrifice one's self and one's offspring for the benefit of a Brahmana. I regard this advice excellent and I like to follow it too. When I have to choose between the death of a Brahmana and that of my own, I would prefer the latter. The killing of a Brahmana is the highest sin, and there is no expiation for it.
I think a reluctant sacrifice of one's own self is better than the reluctant sacrifice of a Brahmana. O blessed lady, in sacrificing myself I do not become guilty of self-destruction. No sin can attach to me when another will take my life. But if I deliberately consent to the death of a Brahmana, it would be a cruel and sinful act, from the consequence of which there is no escape. The learned have said that the abandonment of one who hath come to thy house or sought thy protection, as also the killing of one who seeketh death at thy hands, is both cruel and sinful. The illustrious among those conversant with practices allowable in seasons of distress, have before now said that one should never perform an act that is cruel and censurable. It is well for me that I should today perish myself with my wife, but I would never sanction the death of a Brahmana.' "Kunti said, 'I too am firmly of opinion, O Brahmana, that Brahmanas should ever be protected.
As regards myself, no son of mine would be less dear to me even if I had a hundred instead of the five I have. But this Rakshasa will not be able to kill my son, for that son of mine is endued with great prowess and energy, and skilled in mantras. He will faithfully deliver to the Rakshasa his food, but will, I know to a certainty, rescue himself. I have seen before many mighty Rakshasas of huge bodies engaged in combat with my heroic son and killed too by him. But, O Brahmana, do not disclose this fact to anybody, for if it be known, persons desirous of obtaining this power, will, from curiosity, always trouble my sons. The wise have said that if my son imparteth any knowledge, without the assent of his preceptor, unto any person, my son himself will no longer be able to profit by that knowledge.' "Thus addressed by Pritha, the Brahmana with his wife became exceedingly glad and assented to Kunti's speech, which was unto them as nectar. Then Kunti, accompanied by the Brahmana, went unto the son of Vayu (Bhima) and asked him to accomplish (that difficult task). Bhima replied unto them, saying, 'So be it.'"
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhima had pledged himself to accomplish the task, saying, 'I will do it,' the Pandavas, O Bharata, returned home with the alms they had obtained during the day. Then Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu from Bhima's countenance alone, suspected the nature of the task he had undertaken to accomplish. Sitting by the side of his mother, Yudhishthira asked her in private, 'What is the task, O mother, that Bhima of terrible prowess seeketh to accomplish? Doth he do so at thy command or of his own accord?' Kunti replied, 'Bhima, that chastiser of foes, will at my command, do this great deed for the good of the Brahmana and the liberation of this town.' "Yudhishthira said, 'What rash act hast thou done, O mother! It is difficult of being performed and almost amounteth to suicide! The learned never applaud the abandonment of one's own child. Why dost thou, O mother, wish to sacrifice thy own child for the sake of another's?
Thou hast, O mother, by this abandonment of thy child, acted not only against the course of human practices but also against the teachings of the Vedas, That Bhima, relying on whose arms we sleep happily in the night and hope to recover the kingdom of which we have been deprived by the covetous son of Dhritarashtra, that hero of immeasurable energy, remembering whose prowess Duryodhana and Sakuni do not sleep a wink during the whole night and by whose prowess we were rescued from the palace of lac and various other dangers, that Bhima who caused the death of Purochana, and relying on whose might we regard ourselves as having already slain the sons of Dhritarashtra and acquired the whole earth with all her wealth, upon what considerations, O mother, hast thou resolved upon abandoning him? Hast thou been deprived of thy reason? Hath thy understanding been clouded by the calamities thou hast undergone?'
"On hearing these words of her son, Kunti said, 'O Yudhishthira, thou needst not be at all anxious on account of Vrikodara. I have not come to this resolve owing to any weakness of understanding. Respected by him, and with our sorrows assuaged, we have, O son, been living in the house of this Brahmana, unknown to the sons of Dhritarashtra. For requiting, O son, that Brahmana, I have resolved to do this. He, indeed, is a man upon whom good offices are never lost. The measure of his requital becometh greater than the measure of the services he receiveth. Beholding the prowess of Bhima on the occasion of (our escape from) the house of lac, and from the destruction also of Hidimva, my confidence in Vrikodara is great. The might of Bhima's arms is equal unto that of ten thousand elephants. It was, therefore, that he succeeded in carrying you all, each heavy as an elephant, from Varanavata.
There is no one on earth equal unto Bhima in might; he may even overcome that foremost of warriors, the holder of the thunderbolt himself. Soon after his birth he fell from my lap on the breast of the mountain. By the weight of his body the mass of stone on which he fell down broke in pieces. From this also, O son of Pandu, I have come to know Bhima's might. For this reason have I resolved to set him against the Brahmana's foe. I have not acted in this from foolishness or ignorance or from motive of gain. I have deliberately resolved to do this virtuous deed. By this act, O Yudhishthira, two objects will be accomplished; one is a requital of the services rendered by the Brahmana and the other is the acquisition of high religious merit. It is my conviction that the Kshatriya who rendereth help unto a Brahmana in anything acquireth regions of bliss hereafter. So also a Kshatriya who saveth the life of a Kshatriya achieveth that great fame in this world as in the other.
A Kshatriya rendering help unto a Vaisya also on this earth certainly acquires world-wide popularity. One of the kingly tribe should protect even the Sudra who cometh to him for protection. If he doeth so, in his next life he receiveth his birth in a royal line, commanding prosperity and the respect of other kings. O scion of Puru's race, the illustrious Vyasa of wisdom acquired by hard ascetic toil told me so in bygone days. It is therefore, that I have resolved upon accomplishing this.'
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Having heard these words of his mother, Yudhishthira said, 'What thou, O mother, hast deliberately done, moved by compassion for the afflicted Brahmana, is, indeed, excellent Bhima will certainly come back with life, after having slain the cannibal, inasmuch as thou art, O mother, always compassionate unto Brahmanas. But tell the Brahmana, O mother, that he doth not do anything whereby the dwellers in this town may know all about it. and make him promise to keep thy request.' p. 335 "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, when the night passed away, Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, taking with him the Rakshasa's food set out for the place where the cannibal lived. The mighty son of Pandu, approaching the forest where the Rakshasa dwelt, began to eat himself the food he carried, calling loudly to the Rakshasa by name. The Rakshasa, inflamed with anger at Bhima's words, came out and approached the place where Bhima was. "Of huge body and great strength, of red eyes, red beard, and red hair, he was terrible to behold, and he came, pressing deep the earth with his tread.
The opening of his mouth, was from ear to ear and his ears themselves were straight as arrows. Of grim visage, he had a forehead furrowed into three lines. Beholding Bhima eating his food, the Rakshasa advanced, biting his nether lip and expanding his eyes in wrath. And addressing Bhima he said, 'Who is this fool, who desiring to go to the abode of Yama, eateth in my very sight the food intended for me?' Hearing these words, Bhima, O Bharata, smiled in derision and disregarding the Rakshasa, continued eating with averted face. Beholding this, the cannibal uttered a frightful yell and with both arms upraised ran at Bhima desiring to kill him. there and then. Even then disregarding the Rakshasa and casting only a single glance at him, Vrikodara, that slayer of hostile heroes continued to eat the Rakshasa's food. Filled with wrath at this, the Rakshasa struck, from behind with both his arms a heavy blow on the back of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti. But Bhima, though struck heavily by the mighty Rakshasa, with both his hands, did not even look up at the Rakshasa but continued to eat as before. Then the mighty Rakshasa, inflamed with wrath, tore up a tree and ran at Bhima for striking him again. Meanwhile the mighty Bhima, that bull among men had leisurely eaten up the whole of that food and washing himself stood cheerfully for fight.
Then, O Bharata, possessed of great energy, Bhima, smiling in derision, caught with his left hand the tree hurled at him by the Rakshasa in wrath. Then that mighty Rakshasa, tearing up many more trees, hurled them at Bhima, and the Pandava also hurled as many at the Rakshasa. Then, O king, the combat with trees between that human being and the Rakshasa, became so terrible that the region around soon became destitute of trees. Then the Rakshasa, saying that he was none else than Vaka, sprang upon the Pandava and seized the mighty Bhima with his arms. That mighty hero also clasping with his own strong arms the strong-armed Rakshasa, and exerting himself actively, began to drag him violently. Dragged by Bhima and dragging Bhima also, the cannibal was overcome with great fatigue. The earth began to tremble in consequence of the strength they both exerted, and large trees that stood there broke in pieces. Then Bhima, beholding the cannibal overcome with fatigue, pressed him down on the earth with his knees and began to strike him with great force. Then placing one knee on the middle of the Rakshasa's back, Bhima seized his neck with his right hand and the cloth on his waist with his left, and bent him double with great force. The cannibal then roared frightfully. And, p. 336 [paragraph continues] O monarch, he also began to vomit blood while he was being thus broken on Bhima's knee.'
(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said 'Then Vaka, huge as a mountain, thus broken (on Bhima's knee), died, uttering frightful yells. Terrified by these sounds, the relatives of that Rakshasa came out, O king, with their attendants. Bhima, that foremost of smiters, seeing them so terrified and deprived of reason, comforted them and made them promise (to give up cannibalism), saying, 'Do not ever again kill human beings. If ye kill men, ye will have to die even as Vaka.' Those Rakshasas hearing this speech of Bhima, said, 'So be it,' and gave, O king, the desired promise. From that day, O Bharata, the Rakshasas (of the region) were seen by the inhabitants of that town to be very peaceful towards mankind. Then Bhima, dragging the lifeless cannibal, placed him at one of the gates of the town and went away unobserved by any one. The kinsmen of Vaka, beholding him slain by the might of Bhima, became frightened and fled in different directions. "Meanwhile Bhima, having slain the Rakshasa, returned to the Brahmana's abode and related to Yudhishthira all that had happened, in detail. The next morning the inhabitants of the town in coming out saw the Rakshasa lying dead on the ground, his body covered with blood. Beholding that terrible cannibal, huge as a mountain cliff, thus mangled and lying on the ground, the hair of the spectators stood erect.
Returning to Ekachakra, they soon gave the intelligence. Then, O king, the citizens by thousands accompanied by their wives, young and old, all began to come to the spot for beholding the Vaka and they were all amazed at seeing that superhuman feat. Instantly, O monarch, they began to pray to their gods. Then they began to calculate whose turn it had been the day before to carry food to the Rakshasa. And ascertaining this, they all came to that Brahmana and asked him (to satisfy their curiosity). Thus asked by them repeatedly, that bull among Brahmanas, desirous of concealing the Pandavas, said these words unto all the citizens, 'A certain high-souled Brahmana, skilled in mantras, beheld me weeping with my relatives after I had been ordered to supply the Rakshasa's food. Asking me the cause and ascertaining the distress of the town, that first of Brahmanas gave me every assurance and with smiles said, 'I shall carry the food for that wretched Rakshasa today. Do not fear for me.' Saying this he conveyed the food towards the forest of Vaka. This deed, so beneficial unto us all, hath very certainly been done by him.' Then those Brahmanas and Kshatriyas (of the city), hearing this, wondered much. And the Vaisyas and the Sudras also became exceedingly glad, and they all established a festival in which the worship of Brahmanas was the principal ceremony (in remembrance of this Brahmana who had relieved them from their fears of Vaka).
After this citizens returned to their respective houses and the Pandavas continued to dwell at Ekachakra as before. "Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, what did those tigers among men, the Pandavas, do after they had slain the Rakshasa Vaka?' "Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, O king, after slaying the Rakshasa Vaka, continued to dwell in the abode of that Brahmana, employed in the study of the Vedas. Within a few days there came a Brahmana of rigid vows unto the abode of their host to take up his quarters there. Their host, that bull among Brahmanas, ever hospitable unto all guests, worshipping the newly-arrived Brahmana with due ceremonies, gave him quarters in his own abode. Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, with their mother Kunti, solicited the new lodger to narrate to them his interesting experiences. The Brahmana spake to them of various countries and shrines and (holy) rivers, of kings and many wonderful provinces and cities. And after this narration was over, that Brahmana, O Janamejaya, also spoke of the wonderful self-choice of Yajnasena's daughter, the princes of Panchala, and of the births of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandi, and of the birth, without the intervention of a woman, of Krishna (Draupadi) at the great sacrifice of Drupada. "Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, hearing of these extraordinary facts regarding that illustrious monarch (Drupada), and desiring to know the details thereof, asked the Brahmana, after his narration was concluded, to satisfy their curiosity. The Pandavas said, 'How, O Brahmana, did the birth of Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupada, take place from the (sacrificial) fire? How also did the extraordinary birth of Krishna take place from the centre of the sacrificial platform? How also did Drupada's son learn all weapons from the great bowman Drona? And, O Brahmana, how and for whom and for what reason was the friendship between Drona and Drupada broken off?' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus questioned, O monarch, by those bulls among men, the Brahmana narrated all the particulars about the birth of Draupadi.'
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Brahmana said, 'At that region where the Ganga entered the plains there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigid p. 338 vows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming to the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi, who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over. And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi's vital fluid came out. And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid thus preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the pot-born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches. And Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas.
And about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son named Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata's son, going every day to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona. And after Prishata's death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona about this time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of his retiring into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth. Hearing this, the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to retire into the woods and addressing him, said, 'O best of Brahmanas, know me to be Drona who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.' Rama replied, saying, 'I have given away everything. All that I now have is this body of mine and my weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one of these two, either my body or my weapons.' Then Drona said, 'It behoveth thee, sir, to give me all thy weapons together with (the mysteries of) their use and withdrawal.'
"The Brahmana continued, 'Then Rama of Bhrigu's race, saying, 'So be it,' gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired a decided superiority over all men. Then the son of Bharadwaja, endued with great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that tiger among men, said, 'Know me for thy friend.' Hearing this Drupada said, 'One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is pure, nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his friend. So also one who is not a king cannot have a king as his friend. Why dost thou, therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?' "The Brahmana continued, 'Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the Kurus, called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona, desirous of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and addressed them, 'Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been accomplished in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my heart.'
Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, 'So be it.'--After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure aims, demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words, 'Drupada, the son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from him his kingdom, and give it unto me.' Then the Pandavas, defeating Drupada in battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers, offered him unto Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, 'O king, I again solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king deserveth to be the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am resolved to divide thy kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king of the country to the south of Bhagirathi (Ganga), I will rule the country to the north.' "The Brahmana continued, 'The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by the wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of all persons conversant with weapons, these words, 'O highsouled son of Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal friendship between us as thou desirest!' Thus addressing each other and establishing a permanent bond between themselves, Drona and the king of Panchala, both of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king's mind for a single moment. Sad at heart, the king began to waste away.'
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Brahmana continued, 'King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart, wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanas well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly yearning for children, the king always said, 'Oh, I have no offspring surpassing all in accomplishments.' And the monarch, from great despondency, always said 'Oh, fie on those children that I have and on my relatives!' And ever thinking of revenging himself on Drona, the monarch sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona. Wandering along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once came upon a sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no Brahmana who was not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and none who was not virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two Brahmana sages named Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under complete control and belonging to the most superior order.
They were both devoted to the study of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race of Kasyapa. And those best of Brahmanas were well-able to help the king in the attainment of his object. The king then, with great assiduity and singleness of purpose, began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas. Ascertaining the superior accomplishments of the younger of the two the king courted in private Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every desirable acquisition. Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja, always addressing in sweet words and offering him every object of human desire, Drupada, after worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one day), saying, 'O Upayaja, O Brahmana, if thou, performest those sacrificial rites by (virtue of) which I may obtain a son who may slay Drona, I promise thee ten thousand kine, or whatever else may be agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly am I ready to make gifts to thee.'
Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi replied, saying, 'I cannot (perform such rites).' But Drupada without accepting this reply as final, once more began to serve and pay homage unto that Brahmana. Then, after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that first of Brahmanas, O monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said, 'My elder brother (Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods, took up a fruit that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he cared not to enquire about. I was following him (at the time) and observed this unworthy act of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting things impure. In accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety of sinful nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is not very likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in the house of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always used to eat (impure) remnants of other people's feasts. He always speaks approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing from these, I believe that my brother covets earthy acquisitions.
Therefore, O king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.' Hearing these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion of Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still) worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, 'O master, perform thou spiritual offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine! Enmity with Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool that heart of mine. Foremost of those conversant with the Vedas, Drona is also skilled in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in a contest arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great intelligence, the son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the Kurus. There is no Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is full six cubits long and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of slaying every living being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, habited as a Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all over the earth. Indeed, he is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the extermination of the Kshatriya race.
There is no man on earth who can overcome the terrible force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with clarified butter, Drona, possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with Kshatriya might, consumeth every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma force is greater in itself than (Drona's) Brahma force united with Kshatriya might. Therefore, as I am inferior in consequence of my possession of Kshatriya might alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma force, having obtained thee so superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma. O Yaja, perform that sacrifice by means of which I may obtain a son invincible in battle and capable of slaying Drona. Ready am I to give thee ten thousand kine.' Hearing these words of Drupada, Yaja said, 'So be it.' Yaja then began to recollect the various ceremonies appertaining to the particular sacrifice. And knowing the affair to be a very grave one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja who coveted nothing. Then Yaja promised to perform the sacrifice for the destruction of Drona.
Then the great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king Drupada of everything required for the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire) from which the king was to obtain offspring. And he said, 'O king, a child shall be born unto thee, endued, as thou desirest, with great prowess, great energy, and great strength.' "The Brahmana continued, 'Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his wish, to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was complete) Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!' Hearing this, the queen said, 'O Brahmana, my mouth is yet filled with saffron and other perfumed things. My body also beareth many sweet scents; I am hardly fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which is to give me offspring). Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that happy consummation.' Yaja, however, replied, 'O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should not the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja's invocations?' "The Brahmana continued, 'Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child resembling a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was terrible to behold.
With a crown on this head and his body encased in excellent armour, sword in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he frequently sent forth loud roars. And immediately after his birth, he ascended an excellent chariot and went about in it for some time. Then the Panchalas in great joy shouted, 'Excellent, Excellent.' The very earth seemed at that time unable to bear the weight of the Panchalas mad with joy. Then, marvellous to say, the voice of some invisible spirit in the skies said, 'This prince hath been born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the king.' And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blest with great good fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. Her nails were beautifully convex, and bright as burnished copper; her eye-brows were fair, and bosom was deep. Indeed, she resembled the veritable daughter of a celestial born among men.
Her body gave out fragrance like that of a blue lotus, perceivable from a distance of full two miles. Her beauty was such that she had no equal on earth. Like a celestial herself, she could be desired (in marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a: Yaksha. When this girl of fair hips was born an incorporeal voice said, 'This dark-complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the cause of the destruction of many Kshatriyas. This slender-waisted one will, in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a danger will overtake the Kauravas.' On hearing these words, the Panchalas uttered a loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the weight of that joyous concourse. Then beholding the boy and the girl, the daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and said, 'Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.' Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, 'So be it!' Then the Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed names upon the new-born pair, 'Let this son of king Drupada, they said, be called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because of his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.' And they also said, 'Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be called Krishna (the dark).' "The Brahmana continued, 'Thus were born those twins of the great sacrifice of Drupada. And the great Drona, bringing the Panchala prince into his own abode, taught him all weapons in requital of half the kingdom he had formerly taken from Drupada. The high-souled son of Bharadwaja, regarding destiny to be inevitable, did what would perpetuate his own great deeds.'
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, the sons of Kunti seemed to be, as it were, pierced with darts. Indeed, all those mighty heroes lost their peace of mind. Then the truthful Kunti, beholding all her sons listless and inattentive, addressed Yudhishthira and said, 'We have now lived many nights in the abode of this Brahmana. We have passed our time pleasantly in this town, living on the alms obtained from many honest and illustrious persons. O oppressor of foes, as we have now seen often and often all the agreeable woods and gardens that are in this part of the country, seeing them again would no longer give any pleasure. O heroic scion of Kuru's race, alms also are not now obtainable here as easily as before. If thou wishest it would be well for us now to go to Panchala; we have not seen that country, it will, no doubt, O hero, prove delightful to us. O crusher of foes, it hath been heard by us that alms are obtainable in the country of the Panchala, and that Yajnasena, the king thereof, is devoted to Brahmanas. I am of opinion that it is not good to live long in one place. Therefore, O son, if thou likest, it is good for us to go there.' "Hearing these words, Yudhishthira said, 'It is our duty to obey thy command, which, besides, must be for our good, I do not, however, know whether my younger brothers are willing to go.'