Wednesday, January 26, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book I; Sections CLXXXI~CLXL
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vasishtha continued, 'The Brahmana lady, thus addressed by them, said, 'Ye children, I have not robbed you of your eye-sight, nor am I angry with you. This child, however, of the Bhrigu race hath certainly been angry with you. There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been robbed of your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been kindled at the remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children, while ye were destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child was held by me in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the prosperity of Bhrigu's race might be restored, the entire Vedas with their branches came unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is plain that this scion of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his fathers, desireth to slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your eyes have been scorched. Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my excellent child born of my thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may restore your eye-sight.' "Vasishtha continued, 'Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all these princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, 'Be propitious!'
And the child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana Rishis, in consequence of his having been born after tearing open his mother's thigh, came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name of Aurva (thigh-born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went away. But the Muni Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the whole world. And the high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the destruction of every creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu race, for paying homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors, devoted himself to the austerest of penances with the object of destroying the whole world. And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the Rishi afflicted by his severe asceticism the three worlds with the celestials, the Asuras and human beings.
The Pitris, then, learning what the child of their race was about, all came from their own region unto the Rishi and addressing him said: 'Aurva, O son, fierce thou hast been in thy asceticism. Thy power hath been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control thy wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls under complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own destruction at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we grew weary of the long periods of life allotted to us, it was then that we desired our own destruction through the instrumentality of the Kshatriyas. The wealth that the Bhrigus had placed in their house underground had been placed only with the object of enraging the Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel with them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as we were desirous of heaven, of what use could wealth be to us? The treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a large treasure for us. When we found that death could not, by any means, overtake us all, it was then, O child, that we regarded this as the best means (of compassing our desire). They who commit suicide never attain to regions that are blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-destruction. That which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable to us. Restrain thy mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the whole world. O child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds. O, kill this wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva said, 'Vasishtha after this, continued the narration saying, 'Hearing these words of the Pitris, Aurva, O child, replied unto them to this effect: 'Ye Pitris, the vow I have made from anger for the destruction of all the worlds, must not go in vain. I cannot consent to be one whose anger and vows are futile. Like fire consuming dry woods, this rage of mine will certainly consume me if I do not accomplish my vow. The man that represseth his wrath that hath been excited by (adequate) cause, becometh incapable of duly compassing the three ends of life (viz., religion, profit and pleasure). The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain the wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother's thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas.
Ye Pitris, when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the Bhrigus together with unborn children of their race, it was then that wrath filled my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in an advanced state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed, found not in all the worlds a single protector. Then when the Bhrigu women found not a single protector, my mother held me in one of her thighs. If there be a punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the worlds would dare commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the number of sinners becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent or punish sin doth not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is himself defiled by that sin.
When kings and others, capable of protecting my fathers, protect them not, postponing that duty preferring the pleasures of life, I have just cause to be enraged with them. I am the lord of the creation, capable of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable of obeying your command. Capable of punishing this crime, if I abstain from so doing, men will once more have to undergo a similar persecution. The fire of my wrath too that is ready to consume the worlds, if repressed, will certainly consume by its own energy my own self. Ye masters, I know that ye ever seek the good of the worlds: direct me, therefore, as to what may benefit both myself and the worlds.' "Vasishtha continued, 'The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire that is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the waters. That will do thee good.
The worlds, indeed, are all dependent on water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth water, indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best of Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If, therefore, thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath abide in the great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been said that the worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one, thy word will be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be destroyed.' "Vasishtha continued, 'Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of the great ocean, became like unto a large horse's head which persons conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean. Blest be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of wise men!'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Gandharva continued, 'The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed by the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the worlds. But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy--the son of Saktri--the foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas--performed a grand Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father) Saktri, the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in the sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing this second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth fire. And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds, illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then Vasishtha and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as if he were the second Sun.
Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul desirous of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for others,--came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all foes, Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great sacrifices, all influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O thou bull of the Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas had already been slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of all enemies: 'There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child! Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father's death. It behoveth thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice?
It behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was well-acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to extirpate any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha's race, that which befell thy father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own fault that Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was capable of devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And, O Parasara, Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both Saktri and Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great happiness. And, the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were younger than Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the celestials. And, O child, O offspring of Vasishtha's son, thou hast also been, in this sacrifice, only an instrument in the destruction of these innocent Rakshasas. O, blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice of thine. Let it come to an end.' "The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni--the son of Saktri then brought that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had ignited for the purpose of the Rakshasas' sacrifice into the deep woods on the north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Arjuna asked, 'What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command his queen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas--the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and great Rishi Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of morality know a woman he should not have known? O friend, was this an act of sin on the part of Vasishtha? It behoveth thee to remove the doubts I entertain and refer to thee for solution.' "The Gandharva replied, saying, 'O irrepressible Dhananjaya, listen to me as I answer the question thou hast asked in respect of Vasishtha and king Kalmashapada that cherisher of friends. O thou best of the Bharatas, I have told thee all about the curse of king Kalmashapada by Saktri, the illustrious son of Vasishtha. Brought under the influence of the curse, that smiter of all foes--king Kalmashapada--with eyes whirling in anger went out of his capital accompanied by his wife.
And entering with his wife the solitary woods the king began to wander about. And one day while the king under the influence of the curse was wandering through that forest abounding in several kinds of deer and various other animals and overgrown with numerous large trees and shrubs and creepers and resounding with terrible cries, he became exceedingly hungry. And the monarch thereupon began to search for some food. Pinched with hunger, the king at last saw, in a very solitary part of the woods, a Brahmana and his wife enjoying each other. Alarmed at beholding the monarch the couple ran away, their desire ungratified. Pursuing the retreating pair, the king forcibly seized the Brahmana. Then the Brahmani, beholding her lord seized, addressed the monarch, saying, 'Listen to what I say, O monarch of excellent vows!
It is known all over the world that thou art born in the solar race, and that thou art ever vigilant in the practice of morality and devoted to the service of thy superiors. It behoveth thee not to commit sin, O thou irrepressible one, deprived though thou hast been of thy senses by (the Rishi's) curse. My season hath come, and wishful of my husband's company I was connected with him. I have not been gratified yet. Be propitious unto us, O thou best of kings! Liberate my husband.' The monarch, however, without listening p. 368 to her cries cruelly devoured her husband like a tiger devouring its desirable prey. Possessed with wrath at this sight, the tears that that woman shed blazed up like fire and consumed everything in that place.
Afflicted with grief at the calamity that overtook her lord, the Brahmani in anger cursed the royal sage Kalmashapada, 'Vile wretch, since thou hast today cruelly devoured under my very nose my illustrious husband dear unto me, even before my desires have been gratified, therefore shall thou, O wicked one afflicted by my curse, meet with instant death when thou goest in for thy wife in season. And thy wife, O wretch, shall bring forth a son uniting herself with that Rishi Vasishtha whose children have been devoured by thee. And that child, O worst of kings, shall be the perpetuator of thy race.' And cursing the monarch thus, that lady of Angira's house bearing every auspicious mark, entered the blazing fire in the very sight of the monarch. And, O thou oppressor of all foes, the illustrious and exalted Vasishtha by his ascetic power and spiritual insight immediately knew all. And long after this, when the king became freed from his curse, he approached his wife Madayanati when her season came. But Madayanati softly sent him away. Under the influence of passion the monarch had no recollection of that curse. Hearing, however, the words of his wife, the best of kings became terribly alarmed. And recollecting the curse he repented bitterly of what he had done. It was for this reason, O thou best of men, that the monarch infected with the Brahmani's curse, appointed Vasishtha to beget a son upon his queen.'"
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Arjuna asked, 'O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell us, therefore, which Vedaknowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as our priest.' "The Gandharva replied, 'There is in these woods a shrine of the name of Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest." "Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that had happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, 'O thou best of Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time. When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.' Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other, left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they desired.
Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents of wild fruits and p. 369 [paragraph continues] (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And the Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata race, having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule of morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas, made them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples).
And that Brahmana, beholding those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance like unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of their own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom. Then those kings of men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana, resolved to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of Panchala.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those tigers among men--those brothers--the five Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi and the festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among men--those oppressors of all enemies--in going along with their mother, saw on the way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those Brahmanas who were all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked them, 'Where are ye going to? Whence also are ye come?' And Yudhishthira replied unto them, saying, 'Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are uterine brothers proceeding together with our mother. We are coming even from Ekachakra.' The Brahmanas then said, 'Go ye this very day to the abode of Drupada in the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara takes place there, on which a large sum of money will be spent.
We also are proceeding thither. Let us all go together. Extraordinary festivities will take place (in Drupada's abode). The illustrious Yajnasena, otherwise called Drupada, had a daughter risen from the centre of the sacrificial altar. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and intelligence, she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like unto that of the blue lotus for two full miles around, is the sister of the strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted with great prowess--the (would-be) slayer of Drona--who was born with natural mail and sword and bow and arrows from the blazing fire, himself like unto the second Fire. And that daughter of Yajnasena will select a husband from among the invited princes. And we are repairing thither to behold her and the festivities on the occasion, p. 370 like unto the festivities of heaven.
And to that Swayamvara will come from various lands kings and princes who are performers of sacrifices in which the presents to the Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to study, are holy, illustrious, and of rigid vows; who are young and handsome; and who are mighty car-warriors and accomplished in arms. Desirous of winning (the hand of) the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth and kine and food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will give away and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities, we shall go wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that Swayamvara, from various countries, actors, and bards singing the panegyrics of kings, and dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds, and powerful athletes. And beholding all these sights and taking what will be given away to illustrious ones, ye will return with us. Ye are all handsome and like unto the celestials!
Beholding you, Krishna may, by chance, choose some one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy brother of mighty arms and handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in (athletic) encounters, may, by chance, earn great wealth.' "On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden's Swayamvara--that excellent jubilee.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruled over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the illustrious Dwaipayana--that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless. And duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation was over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada's abode. And those mighty chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time within those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along their way. Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and sweet-speeched, the Pandavas at last entered the country of the Panchalas. And beholding the capital, as also the fort, they took up their quarters in the house of a potter, Adopting the Brahmanical profession, they began to lead an eleemosynary life. And no men recognised those heroes during their stay in Drupada's capital.
"Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on Kiriti (Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna. Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark p. 371 attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, 'He that will string this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine shall obtain my daughter.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words king Drupada proclaimed the Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands came to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and the Kurus accompanied by Kama. There also came many superior Brahmanas from every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with reverence by the illustrious Drupada.
Desirous of beholding the Swayamvara, the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on the platforms that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch entered the grand amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the amphitheatre which itself had been erected on an auspicious and level plain to the northeast of Drupada's capital, was surrounded by beautiful mansions. And it was enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat with arched doorways here and there. The vast amphitheatre was also shaded by a canopy of various colours. And resounding with the notes of thousands of trumpets, it was scented with black aloes and sprinkled all over with water mixed with sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of flowers. It was surrounded with high mansions perfectly white and resembling the cloud-kissing peaks of Kailasa. The windows of those mansions were covered with net works of gold; the walls were set with diamonds and precious costly carpets and cloths.
All those mansions adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers and rendered fragrant with excellent aloes, were all white and spotless, like unto the necks of swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be perceived from the distance of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were each furnished with a hundred doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons; they were adorned with costly beds and carpets, and beautified with various metals; they resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those seven-storied houses of various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by Drupada whose persons were adorned with every ornament and who were possessed with the desire of excelling one another. And the inhabitants of the city and the country who had come to behold Krishna and taken their seats on the excellent platforms erected around, beheld seated within those mansions those lions among kings who were all endued with the energy of great souls. And those exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the fragrant paste of the black aloe.
Of great liberality, they were all devoted to Brahma and they protected their kingdoms against all foes. And for their own good deeds they were loved by the whole world. "The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas and beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And that concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the performances of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of wealth being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted, O king, several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full, the daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of the lunar race--a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras--ignited the sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified butter.
And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast amphitheatre, O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed of a voice deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold of his sister's arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with a voice loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of excellent import, 'Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the mark, and these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed of lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great feat shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.' Having thus spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada's son then addressed his sister, reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of those assembled lords of the earth.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Dhrishtadyumna said, 'Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha and Dushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu and Vayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana, Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and Vahusali, and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of Dhritarashtra--all heroes--accompanied by Karna, have come for thy hand. Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas-- have also come for thee. Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrisaka, and Vrihadvala,--these sons of the king Gandhara-- have also come. Foremost of all wielders of weapons--the illustrious Aswatthaman and Bhoja, adorned with every ornament have also come for thee. Vrihanta, Manimana, Dandadhara, Sahadeva, Jayatsena, Meghasandhi, Virata with his two sons Sankha and Uttara, Vardhakshemi, Susarma, Senavindu, Suketu with his two sons Sunama and Suvarcha, Suchitra, Sukumara, Vrika, Satyadhriti, Suryadhwaja, Rochamana, Nila, Chitrayudha, Agsuman, Chekitana, the mighty Sreniman,
Chandrasena the mighty son of Samudrasena, Jarasandha, Vidanda, and Danda--father and son, Paundraka, Vasudeva, Bhagadatta endued with great energy, Kalinga, Tamralipta, the king of Pattana, the mighty car-warrior Salya, the king of Madra, with his son, the heroic Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta of the Kuru race with his three sons, all mighty chariot-fighters and heroes, viz., Bhuri, Bhurisrava, and Sala, Sudakshina, Kamvoja of the Puru race, Vrihadvala, Sushena, Sivi, the son of Usinara, Patcharanihanta, the king of Karusha, Sankarshana (Valadeva), Vasudeva (Krishna) the mighty son of Rukmini, Samva, Charudeshna, the son of Pradyumna with Gada, Akrura, Satyaki, the high-souled Uddhava, Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, Prithu, Viprithu, Viduratha, Kanka, Sanku with Gaveshana, Asavaha, Aniruddha, Samika, Sarimejaya, the heroic Vatapi Jhilli Pindaraka, the powerful Usinara, all these of the Vrishni race, Bhagiratha, Vrihatkshatra, Jayadratha the son of Sindhu, Vrihadratha, Valhika, the mighty charioteer Srutayu, Uluka, Kaitava, Chitrangada and Suvangada, the highly intelligent Vatsaraja, the king of Kosala, Sisupala and the powerful Jarasandha, these and many other great kings--all Kshatriyas celebrated throughout the world--have come, O blessed one, for thee. Endued with prowess, these will shoot the mark. And thou shalt choose him for thy husband who amongst these will shoot the mark.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-rings, vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in arms and gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. And intoxicated with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth, and youth, they were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut with crowns split from excess of temporal juice. And beholding each other with jealousy and influenced by the god of desire, they suddenly rose up from their royal seats, exclaiming 'Krishna shall be mine.' And the Kshatriyas assembled in that amphitheatre, each desirous of winning the daughter of Drupada, looked like the celestial (of old) standing round Uma, the daughter of the King of mountains. Afflicted with the shafts of the god of the flowery bow and with hearts utterly lost in the contemplation of Krishna, those princes descended into the amphitheatre for winning the Panchala maiden and began to regard even their best friends with jealousy.
And there came also the celestials on their cars, with the Rudras and the Adityas, the Vasus and the twin Aswins, the Swadhas and all the Marutas, and Kuvera with Yama walking ahead. And there came also the Daityas and the Suparnas, the great Nagas and the celestial Rishis, the Guhyakas and the Charanas and Viswavasu and Narada and Parvata, and the principal Gandharvas with Apsaras. And Halayudha (Valadeva) and Janardana (Krishna) and the chief of the Vrishni, Andhaka, and Yadava tribes who obeyed the leadership of Krishna were also there, viewing the scene. And beholding those elephants in rut--the five (Pandavas)--attracted towards Draupadi like mighty elephants towards a lake overgrown with lotuses, or like fire covered with ashes, Krishna the foremost of Yadu heroes began to reflect. And he said unto Rama (Valadeva), 'That is Yudhishthira; that is Bhima with Jishnu (Arjuna); and those are the twin heroes.'
And Rama surveying them slowly cast a glance of satisfaction at Krishna. Biting their nether lips in wrath, the other heroes there--sons and grandsons of kings--with their eyes and hearts and thoughts set on Krishna, looked with expanded eyes on Draupadi alone without noticing the Pandavas. And the sons of Pritha also, of mighty arms, and the illustrious twin heroes, beholding Draupadi, were all likewise struck by the shafts of Kama. And crowded with celestial Rishis and Gandharvas and Suparnas and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas, and filled with celestial perfumes and scattered over with celestial flowers, and resounding with the kettle-drum and the deep hum of infinite voices, and echoing with the softer music of the flute, the Vina, and the tabor, the cars of the celestials could scarcely find a passage through the firmament. Then those princes--Karna, Duryodhana, Salwa, Salya, Aswatthaman, Kratha, Sunitha, Vakra, the ruler of Kalinga and Banga, Pandya, Paundra, the ruler of Videha, the chief of the Yavanas, and many other sons and grandsons of kings,--sovereigns of territories with eyes like lotus-petals,--one after another began to exhibit prowess for (winning) that maiden of unrivalled beauty.
Adorned with crowns, garlands, bracelets, and other ornaments, endued with mighty arms, possessed of prowess and vigour and bursting with strength and energy, those princes could not, even in imagination, string that bow of extraordinary stiffness. "And (some amongst) those kings in exerting with swelling lips each according to his strength, education, skill, and energy,--to string that bow, were tossed on the ground and lay perfectly motionless for some time. Their strength spent and their crowns and garlands loosened from their persons, they began to pant for breath and their ambition of winning that fair maiden was cooled. Tossed by that tough bow, and their garlands and bracelets and other ornaments disordered, they began to utter exclamations of woe. And that assemblage of monarchs, their hope of obtaining Krishna gone, looked sad and woeful. And beholding the plight of those monarchs, Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to where the bow was, and quickly raising it strung it and placed the arrows on the string. And beholding the son of Surya--Karna of the Suta tribe--like unto fire, or Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the mark, those foremost of bowmen--the sons of Pandu--regarded the mark as already shot and brought down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi loudly said, 'I will not select a Suta for my lord.'
Then Karna, laughing in vexation and casting glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already drawn to a circle. Then when all those Kshatriyas gave up the task, the heroic king of the Chedis--mighty as Yama (Pluto) himself--the illustrious and determined Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa, in endeavouring to string the bow, himself fell upon his knees on the ground. Then king Jarasandha endued with great strength and powers, approaching the bow stood there for some moment, fixed and motionless like a mountain. Tossed by the bow, he too fell upon his knees on the ground, and rising up, the monarch left the amphitheatre for (returning to) his kingdom. Then the great hero Salya, the king of Madra, endued with great strength, in endeavouring to string the bow fell upon his knees on the ground. At last when in that assemblage consisting of highly respectable people, all the monarchs had become subjects of derisive talk that foremost of heroes--Jishnu, the son of Kunti--desired to string the bow and placed the arrows on the bow-string.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When all the monarchs had desisted from stringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd of Brahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing the complexion of Indra's banner, advancing towards the bow, the principal Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour. And while some were displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some there were, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one another said, 'Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms and weak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas as Salya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science and practice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in this untried task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyish unsteadiness, the entire body of Brahmanas here will be rendered ridiculous in the eyes of the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid this Brahmana that he may not go to string the bow which he is even now desirous of doing from vanity, childish daring, or mere unsteadiness.'
Others replied, 'We shall not be made ridiculous, nor shall we incur the disrespect of anybody or the displeasure of the sovereigns. Some remarked, 'This handsome youth is even like the trunk of a mighty elephant, whose shoulders and arms and thighs are so well-built, who in patience looks like the Himavat, whose gait is even like that of the lion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of an elephant in rut, and who is so resolute, that it is probable that he will accomplish this feat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none, he would never go of his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the three worlds that Brahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining from all food or living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their vows, and emaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy. One should never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong, by supposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little, or that is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated in battle, all the Kshatriyas.
Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off the fathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, 'Let this youth bend the bow and string it with ease' (and many said), 'So be it.' And the Brahmanas continued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjuna approached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking round that bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons--the lord Isana--and remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow which Rukma, Sunitha, Vakra, Radha's son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other kings accomplished in the science and practice of arms, could not even with great exertion, string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of all persons endued with energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra (Vishnu) in might, strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up the five arrows he shot the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground through the hole in the machine above which it had been placed.
Then there arose a loud uproar in the firmament, and the amphitheatre also resounded with a loud clamour. And the gods showered celestial flowers on the head of Partha the slayer of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began to wave their upper garments in joy. And all around, the monarchs who had been unsuccessful, uttered exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers were rained from the skies all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians struck up in concert. Bards and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the praises (of the hero who accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna, Drupada--that slayer of foes,--was filled with joy. And the monarch desired to assist with his forces the hero if the occasion arose.
And when the uproar was at its height, Yudhishthira, the foremost of all virtuous men, accompanied by those first of men the twins, hastily left the amphitheatre for returning to his temporary home. And Krishna beholding the mark shot and beholding Partha also like unto Indra himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy, and approached the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers. And Arjuna the accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by his success in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the Brahmanas. And he soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus became his wife.'"