Tuesday, January 25, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book I; Sections CLXLI~CC
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When the king (Drupada) expressed his desire of bestowing his daughter on that Brahmana (who had shot the mark), all those monarchs who had been invited to the Swayamvara, looking at one another, were suddenly filled with wrath. And they said, 'Passing us by and treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to bestow his daughter--that first of women,--on a Brahmana! Having planted the tree he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch regardeth us not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect nor the veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall, therefore, slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son. Inviting all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto himself?
The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for the Kshatriyas. The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection of husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth not to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath, from officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should not yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must be done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire of maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras may not terminate in this way.' "Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed at Drupada to slay him then and there.
And Drupada beholding those monarchs all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows, sought, from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty bowmen (Bhima and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all foes, advanced to oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously like elephants in the season of rut. Then the monarchs with gloved fingers and upraised weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima and Arjuna, to slay them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary achievements, endued with the strength of thunder, tore up like an elephant a large tree and divested it of its leaves. And with that tree, the strong-armed Bhima, the son of Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood, like unto the mace-bearing king of the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce mace, near Arjuna that bull amongst men. And beholding that feat of his brother, Jishnu of extraordinary intelligence, himself also of inconceivable feats, wondered much. And equal unto Indra himself in achievements, shaking off all fear he stood with his bow ready to receive those assailants. And beholding those feats of both Jishnu and his brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman intelligence and inconceivable feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha (Valadeva) of fierce energy, said, 'That hero there, of tread like that of a mighty lion, who draweth the large bow in his hand four full cubits in length, is Arjuna!
There is no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I am Vasudeva. That other hero who having speedily torn up the tree hath suddenly become ready to drive off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no one in the world, except Vrikodara, could today perform such a feat in the field of battle. And that other youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals, of full four cubits height, of gait like that of a mighty lion, and humble withal, of fair complexion and prominent and shining nose, who had, a little before, left the amphitheatre, is Dharma's son (Yudhishthira). The two other youths, like unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the twin Aswins. I heard that the sons of Pandu along with their mother Pritha had all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.' Then Halayudha of complexion like unto that of clouds uncharged with rain, addressing his younger brother (Krishna), said with great satisfaction, 'O, I am happy to hear, as I do from sheer good fortune, that our father's sister Pritha with the foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped (from death)!'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those bulls among Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins and water-pots made of cocoanut-shells exclaimed, 'Fear not, we will fight the foe!' Arjuna smilingly addressing those Brahmanas exclaiming thus, said, 'Stand ye aside as spectators (of the fray) Showering hundreds of arrows furnished with straight points even I shall check, like snakes with mantras, all those angry monarchs.' Having said this, the mighty Arjuna taking up the bow he had obtained as dower accompanied by his brother Bhima stood immovable as a mountain. And beholding those Kshatriyas who were ever furious in battle with Karna ahead, the heroic brothers rushed fearlessly at them like two elephants rushing against a hostile elephant. Then those monarchs eager for the fight fiercely exclaimed, 'The slaughter in battle of one desiring to fight is permitted.'
And saying this, the monarchs suddenly rushed against the Brahmanas. And Karna endued with great energy rushed against Jishnu for fight. And Salya the mighty king of Madra rushed against Bhima like an elephant rushing against another for the sake of a she-elephant in heat; while Duryodhana and others engaged with the Brahmanas, skirmished with them lightly and carelessly. Then the illustrious Arjuna beholding Karna, the son of Vikartana (Surya), advancing towards him, drew his tough bow and pieced him with his sharp arrows. And the impetus of those whetted arrows furnished with fierce energy made Radheya (Karna) faint. Recovering consciousness Karna attacked Arjuna with greater care than before. Then Karna and Arjuna, both foremost of victorious warriors, desirous of vanquishing each other, fought madly on. And such was the lightness of hand they both displayed that (each enveloped by the other's shower of arrows) they both became invisible (unto the spectators of their encounter).
'Behold the strength of my arms.'--'Mark, how I have counteracted that feat,'--those were the words--intelligible to heroes alone--in which they addressed each other. And incensed at finding the strength and energy of Arjuna's arms unequalled on the earth, Karna, the son of Surya, fought with greater vigour. And parrying all those impetuous arrows shot at him by Arjuna, Karna sent up a loud shout. And this feat of his was applauded by all the warriors. Then addressing his antagonist, Karna said, 'O thou foremost of Brahmanas, I am gratified to observe the energy of thy arms that knoweth no relaxation in battle and thy weapons themselves fit for achieving victory. Art thou the embodiment of the science of weapons, or art thou Rama that best of Brahmanas, or Indra himself, or Indra's younger brother Vishnu called also Achyuta, who for disguising himself hath assumed the form of a Brahmana and mustering such energy of arms fighteth with me? No other person except the husband himself of Sachi or Kiriti, the son of Pandu, is capable of fighting with me when I am angry on the field of battle.'
Then hearing those words of his, Phalguna replied, saying, 'O Karna, I am neither the science of arms (personified) , nor Rama enbued with superhuman powers. I am only a Brahmana who is the foremost of all warriors and all wielders of weapons. By the grace of my preceptor I have become accomplished in the Brahma and the Paurandara weapons. I am here to vanquish thee in battle. Therefore, O hero, wait a little.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by Arjuna), Karna the adopted son of Radha desisted from the fight, for that mighty chariot-fighter thought that Brahma energy is ever invincible. Meanwhile on another part of the field, the mighty heroes Salya and Vrikodara, well-skilled in battle and possessed of great strength and proficiency, challenging each other, engaged in fight like two elephants in rut. And they struck each other with their clenched fists and knees. And sometimes pushing each other forward and sometimes dragging each other near, sometimes throwing each other down; face downward, and sometimes on the sides, they fought on, striking, each other at times with their clenched fists. And encountering each other with blows hard as the clash of two masses of granite, the lists rang with the sounds of their combat.
Fighting with each other thus for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes taking up Salya on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that bull amongst men, surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though he threw Salya on the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when Salya was thus thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other monarchs were all alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima and exclaimed, 'Surely these bulls amongst Brahmanas are excellent (warriors)! Ascertain in what race they have been born and where they abide. Who can encounter Karna, the son of Radha, in fight, except Rama or Drona, or Kiriti, the son of Pandu? Who also can encounter Duryodhana in battle except Krishna, the son of Devaki, and Kripa, the son of Saradwan? Who also can overthrow in battle Salya, that first of mighty warriors, except the hero Valadeva or Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, or the heroic Duryodhana?
Let us, therefore, desist from this fight with the Brahmanas. Indeed, Brahmanas, however offending, should yet be ever protected. And first let us ascertain who these are; for after we have done that we may cheerfully fight with them.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'And Krishna, having beheld that feat of Bhima, believed them both to be the son of Kunti. And gently addressing the assembled monarchs, saying, 'This maiden hath been justly acquired (by the Brahmana),' he induced them to abandon the fight. Accomplished in battle, those monarchs then desisted from the fight. And those best of monarchs then returned to their respective kingdoms, wondering much. And those who had come there went away saying. 'The festive scene hath terminated in the victory of the Brahmanas. The princess of Panchala hath become the bride of a Brahmana.' And surrounded by Brahmanas dressed in skins of deer and other wild animals, Bhima and Dhananjaya passed with difficulty out of the throng.
And those heroes among men, mangled by the enemy and followed by Krishna, on coming at last out of that throng, looked like the full moon and the sun emerging from the clouds. "Meanwhile Kunti seeing that her sons were late in returning from their eleemosynary round, was filled with anxiety. She began to think of various evils having overtaken her sons. At one time she thought that the sons of Dhritarashtra having recognised her sons had slain them. Next she feared that some cruel and strong Rakshasas endued with powers of deception had slain them. And she asked herself, 'Could the illustrious Vyasa himself (who had directed my sons to come to Panchala) have been guided by perverse intelligence?' Thus reflected Pritha in consequence of her affection for her offspring. Then in the stillness of the late afternoon, Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode of the potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'"
SECTION CLXLIII (Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those illustrious sons of Pritha, on returning to the potter's abode, approached their mother. And those first of men represented Yajnaseni unto their mother as the alms they had obtained that day. And Kunti who was there within the room and saw not her sons, replied, saying, 'Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).' The moment after, she beheld Krishna and then she said, 'Oh, what have I said?' And anxious from fear of sin, and reflecting how every one could be extricated from the situation, she took the cheerful Yajnaseni by the hand, and approaching Yudhishthira said, 'The daughter of king Yajnasena upon being represented to me by thy younger brothers as the alms they had obtained, from ignorance, O king, I said what was proper, viz., 'Enjoy ye all what hath been obtained. O thou bull of the Kuru race, tell me how my speech may not become untrue; how sin may not touch the daughter of the king of Panchala, and how also she may not become uneasy.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother that hero among men, that foremost scion of the Kuru race, the intelligent king (Yudhishthira), reflecting for a moment, consoled Kunti, and addressing Dhananjaya, said, 'By thee, O Phalguna, hath Yajnaseni been won. It is proper, therefore, that thou shouldst wed her. O thou withstander of all foes, igniting the sacred fire, take thou her hand with due rites.' "Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'O king, do not make me a participator in sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed by the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strongarmed Bhima of inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all, Sahadeva endued with great activity.
Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins and this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the king of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou likest.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the princess of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked at one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi alone. Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at Draupadi, the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush all their senses. As the lavishing beauty of Panchali who had been modelled by the Creator himself, was superior to that of all other women on earth, it could captivate the heart of every creature.
And Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, beholding his younger brothers, understood what was passing in their minds. And that bull among men immediately recollected the words of Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king, then, from fear of a division amongst the brothers, addressing all of them, said, 'The auspicious Draupadi shall be the common wife of us all.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The sons of Pandu, then, hearing those words of their eldest brother, began to revolve them in their minds in great cheerfulness. The hero of the Vrishni race (Krishna suspecting the five persons he had seen at the Swayamvara to be none else than the heroes of the Kuru race), came accompanied by the son of Rohini (Valadeva), to the house of the potter where those foremost of men had taken up their quarters. On arriving there, Krishna and Valadeva beheld seated in that potter's house Ajatasanu (Yudhishthira) of well developed and long arms, and his younger brothers passing the splendour of fire sitting around him.
Then Vasudeva approaching that foremost of virtuous men--the son of Kunti--and touching the feet of that prince of the Ajamida race, said, 'I am Krishna.' And the son of Rohini (Valadeva) also approaching Yudhishthira, did the same. And the Pandavas, beholding Krishna and Valadeva, began to express great delight. And, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, those heroes of the Yadu race thereafter touched also the feet of Kunti, their father's sister. And Ajatasatru, that foremost of the Kuru race, beholding Krishna, enquired after his well-being and asked, 'How, O Vasudeva, hast thou been able to trace us, as we are living in disguise?' And Vasudeva, smilingly answered, 'O king, fire, even if it is covered, can be known. Who else among men than the Pandavas could exhibit such might? Ye resisters of all foes, ye sons of Pandu, by sheer good fortune have ye escaped from that fierce fire. And it is by sheer good fortune alone that the wicked son of Dhritarashtra and his counsellors have not succeeded in accomplishing their wishes. Blest be ye! And grow ye in prosperity like a fire in a cave gradually growing and spreading itself all around. And lest any of the monarchs recognise ye, let us return to our tent.' Then, obtaining Yudhishthira's leave, Krishna of prosperity knowing no decrease, accompanied by Valadeva, hastily went away from the potter's abode.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When the Kuru princes (Bhima and Arjuna) were wending towards the abode of the potter, Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchala prince followed them. And sending away all his attendants, he concealed himself in some part of the potter's house, unknown to the Pandavas. Then Bhima, that grinder of all foes, and Jishnu, and the illustrious twins, on returning from their eleemosynary round in the evening, cheerfully gave everything unto Yudhishthira. Then the kind-hearted Kunti addressing the daughter of Drupada said, 'O amiable one, take thou first a portion from this and devote it to the gods and give it away to Brahmanas, and feed those that desire to eat and give unto those who have become our guests. Divide the rest into two halves. Give one of these unto Bhima, O amiable one, for this strong youth of fair complexion--equal unto a king of elephants--this hero always eateth much. And divide the other half into six parts, four for these youths, one for myself, and one for thee.' Then the princess hearing those instructive words of her mother-in-law cheerfully did all that she had been directed to do.
And those heroes then all ate of the food prepared by Krishna. Then Sahadeva, the son of Madri, endued with great activity, spread on the ground a bed of kusa grass. Then those heroes, each spreading thereon his deer-skin, laid themselves down to sleep. And those foremost of the Kuru princes lay down with heads towards the south. And Kunti laid herself down along the line of their heads, and Krishna along that of their feet. And Krishna though she lay with the sons of Pandu on that bed of kusa grass along the line of their feet as if she were their nether pillow, grieved not in her heart nor thought disrespectfully of those bulls amongst the Kurus. Then those heroes began to converse with one another. And the conversations of those princes, each worthy to lead an army, was exceedingly interesting they being upon celestial cars and weapons and elephants, and swords and arrows, and battle-axes.
And the son of the Panchala king listened (from his place of concealment) unto all they said. And all those who were with him beheld Krishna in that state. "When morning came, the prince Dhristadyumna set out from his place of concealment with great haste in order to report to Drupada in detail all that had happened at the potter's abode and all that he had heard those heroes speak amongst themselves during the night. The king of Panchala had been sad because he knew not the Pandavas as those who had taken away his daughter. And the illustrious monarch asked Dhristadyumna on his return, 'Oh, where hath Krishna gone? Who hath taken her away? Hath any Sudra or anybody of mean descent, or hath a tribute-paying Vaisya by taking my daughter away, placed his dirty foot on my head? O son, hath that wreath of flowers been thrown away on a graveyard? Hath any Kshatriya of high birth, or any one of the superior order (Brahmana) obtained my daughter? Hath any one of mean descent, by having won Krishna, placed his left foot on my head? I would not, O son, grieve but feel greatly happy, if my daughter hath been united with Partha that foremost of men! O thou exalted one, tell me truly who hath won my daughter today? O, are the sons of that foremost of Kurus, Vichitravirya's son alive? Was it Partha (Arjuna) that took up the bow and shot the mark?'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of the Lunar princes, cheerfully said unto his father all that had happened and by whom Krishna had been won. And the prince said, 'With large, red eyes, attired in deer-skin, and resembling a celestial in beauty, the youth who strung that foremost of bows and brought down to the ground the mark set on high, was soon surrounded by the foremost of Brahmanas who also offered him their homage for the feat he had achieved. Incapable of bearing the sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to exert his prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the thunder-wielding Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the Rishis. And like a she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna cheerfully followed that youth catching hold of his deer-skin. Then when the assembled monarchs incapable of bearing that sight lose up in wrath and advanced for fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large tree rushed at p. 384 that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like Yama himself smiting down creatures endued with life.
Then, O monarch, the assembled kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes, while they, resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them, left the amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs of the town, and there at the potter's abode sat a lady like unto a flame of fire who, I think, is their mother. And around her also sat three other foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of heroes having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said unto Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those foremost of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time after when they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained as alms, devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion away (in gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a portion to that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those five foremost of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last of all. Then, O monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna lying along the line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on which they lay was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their deer-skins.
And before going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in voices deep as of black clouds. The talk of those heroes indicated them to be neither Vaisyas nor Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O monarch, they are bulls amongst Kshatriyas, their discourse having been on military subjects. It seems, O father, that our hope hath been fructified, for we have heard that the sons of Kunti all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac. From the way in which the mark was shot down by that youth, and the strength with which the bow was strung by him, and the manner in which I have heard them talk with one another proves conclusively, O monarch, that they are the sons of Pritha wandering in disguise.' "Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad, and he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were and whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu.
Thus directed, the king's priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the king's message duly, saying, 'Ye who are worthy of preference in everything, the boon-giving king of the earth-- Drupada--is desirous of ascertaining who ye are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye your feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was the dear friend of Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu as his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna of strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better; nothing more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as Drupada is concerned.'
"Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded Bhima who sat near, saying, 'Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya be offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada's priest and, therefore, worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary reverence.' Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the worship thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his ease. Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, 'The king of the Panchalas hath, by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by satisfying that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing now to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by doing what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away Krishna from among the assembled monarchs.
In these circumstances, the king of the Lunar race should not indulge in any regrets which can only make him unhappy without mending matters in the least. The desire that king Drupada hath all along cherished will be accomplished for his handsome princess who beareth, I think, every auspicious mark. None that is weak in strength could string that bow, and none of mean birth and unaccomplished in arms could have shot down the mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of the Panchalas to grieve for his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the world undo that act of shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not grieve for what must take its course.' "While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the king of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, 'The (nuptial), feast is ready.'"
SECTION CLXLVI (Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The messenger said, 'King Drupada hath, in view of his daughter's nuptials prepared a good feast for the bride-groom's party. Come ye thither after finishing your daily rites. Krishna's wedding will take place there. Delay ye not. These cars adorned with golden lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on them, come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those bulls among the Kurus, dismissing the priest and causing Kunti and Krishna to ride together on one of those cars, themselves ascended those splendid vehicles and proceeded towards Drupada's place. Meanwhile, O Bharata, hearing from his priest the words that Yudhishthira had said, king Drupada, in order to ascertain the order to which those heroes belonged, kept ready a large collection of articles (required by the ordinance for the wedding of each of the four orders).
And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles and implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch, every article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and apparatus of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail and shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and beautiful chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold. And he also kept ready darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And there were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada's abode, Kunti taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of the king. The ladies of the king's household with joyous hearts worshipped the queen of the Kurus.
Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their upper garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and long-hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and the king's ministers, and the king's son, and the king's friends and attendants, all became exceedingly glad. Those heroes sat on excellent seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and hesitation. And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After those heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and became well-pleased. And after the dinner was over, those heroes among men, passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada's son and Drupada himself, along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the sons of Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.'"
SECTION CLXLVII (Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressing prince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfully enquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, 'Are we to know you as Kshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials who disguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come hither for the hand of Krishna? O tell us truly, for we have great doubts! Shall we not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of enemies, have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly! Truth becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks. Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of a celestial, O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall make arrangements for my daughter's wedding according to the order to which ye belong.' "Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying 'Be not cheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by thee hath certainly been accomplished.
We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons of the illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti and these to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won amid the concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti wait where Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy heart, for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus been transferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our revered superior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words, the king Drupada's eyes rolled in ecstasy. And. filled with delight the king could not, for some moments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort, that chastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words.
The virtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town of Varanavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in detail of their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything that the son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler of men. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to restore Yudhishthira to his paternal throne. "Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded by the king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Then king Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened, approaching Yudhishthira, said, 'O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjuna take with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day, and let him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuous king Yudhishthira replied, saying, 'O great king, I also shall have to marry.' Hearing him, Drupada said, 'If it pleaseth thee, take thou the hand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in marriage unto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.' Yudhishthira said, 'Thy daughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hath been ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhima also is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hath been won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoy equally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule of conduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become the wedded wife of us all.
Let her take our hands, one after another before the fire.' 'Drupada answered, 'O scion of Kuru's race, it hath been directed that one man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one woman may have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquainted with the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that is sinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thy understanding become so?' Yudhishthira said in reply, 'O monarch, morality is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the way trodden by the illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never uttered an untruth. My heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mother commandeth so; and my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, that is quite conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without any scruples. Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.' "Drupada said, 'O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna and thyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me the result of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however, the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of his wanderings.'"
SECTION CLXLVIII (Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the Pandavas and the illustrious king of the Panchalas and all others there present stood up and saluted with reverence the illustrious Rishi Krishna (Dwaipayana). The high-souled Rishi, saluting them in return and enquiring after their welfare, sat down on a carpet of gold. And commanded by Krishna (Dwaipayana) of immeasurable energy, those foremost of men all sat down on costly seats. A little after, O monarch, the son of Prishata in sweet accents asked the illustrious Rishi about the wedding of his daughter. And he said, 'How, O illustrious one, can one woman become the wife of many men without being defiled by sin? O, tell me truly all about this.' Hearing these words Vyasa replied, 'This practice, O king, being opposed to usage and the Vedas, hath become obsolete. I desire, however, to hear what the opinion of each of you is upon this matter.'
"Hearing these words of the Rishi, Drupada spoke first, saying, 'The practice is sinful in my opinion, being opposed to both usage and the Vedas. O best of Brahmanas, nowhere have I seen many men having one wife. The illustrious ones also of former ages never had such a usage amongst them. The wise should never commit a sin. I, therefore, can never make up mind to act in this way. This practice always appeareth to me to be of doubtful morality. "After Drupada had ceased, Dhrishtadyumna spoke, saying 'O bull amongst Brahmanas, O thou of ascetic wealth, how can, O Brahmana, the elder brother, if he is of a good disposition, approach the wife of his younger brother? The ways of morality are ever subtle, and, therefore, we know them not. We cannot, therefore, say what is conformable to morality and what not.
We cannot do such a deed, therefore, with a safe conscience. Indeed, O Brahmana, I cannot say, 'Let Draupadi become the common wife of five brothers.' "Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth and my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious. Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost. Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed) act as virtuous.'
"Kunti then said, 'The act is even so as the virtuous Yudhishthira hath said. I greatly fear, O Brahmana, lest my speech should become untrue. How shall I be saved from untruth?' "When they had all finished speaking, Vyasa said, 'O amiable one, how shall thou be saved from the consequence of untruth? Even this is eternal virtue! I will not, O king of the Panchalas, discourse on this before you all. But thou alone shalt listen to me when I disclose how this practice hath been established and why it is to be regarded as old and eternal. There is no doubt that what Yudhishthira hath said is quite conformable to virtue.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa--the master Dwaipayana--rose, and taking hold of Drupada's hand led him to a private apartment. The Pandavas and Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata's race sat there, waiting for the return of Vyasa and Drupada. Meanwhile, Dwaipayana began his discourse with illustrious monarch for explaining how the practice of polyandry could not be regarded as sinful.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Vyasa continued, 'In days of yore, the celestials had once commenced a grand sacrifice in the forest of Naimisha. At that sacrifice, O king, Yama, the son of Vivaswat, became the slayer of the devoted p. 390 animals. Yama, thus employed in that sacrifice, did not (during that period), O king, kill a single human being. Death being suspended in the world, the number of human beings increased very greatly. Then Soma and Sakra and Varuna and Kuvera, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vasus, the twin Aswins,--these and other celestials went unto Prajapati, the Creator of the universe. Struck with fear for the increase of the human population of the world they addressed the Master of creation and said, 'Alarmed, O lord, at the increase of human beings on earth, we come to thee for relief. Indeed, we crave thy protection.'
Hearing those words the Grandsire said, 'Ye have little cause to be frightened at this increase of human beings. Ye all are immortal. It behoveth you not to take fright at human beings.' The celestials replied, 'The mortals have all become immortal. There is no distinction now between us and them. Vexed at the disappearance of all distinction, we have come to thee in order that thou mayest distinguish us from them.' The Creator then said, 'The son of Vivaswat is even now engaged in the grand sacrifice. It is for this that men are not dying. But when Yama's work in connection with the sacrifice terminates, men will again begin to die as before. Strengthened by your respective energies, Yama will, when that time comes, sweep away by thousands the inhabitants on earth who will scarcely have then any energy left in them.' "Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the first-born deity, the celestials returned to the spot where the grand sacrifice was being performed. And the mighty one sitting by the side of the Bhagirathi saw a (golden) lotus being carried along by the current. And beholding that (golden) lotus, they wondered much.
And amongst them, that foremost of celestials, viz., Indra, desirous of ascertaining whence it came, proceeded up along the course of the Bhagirathi. And reaching that spot whence the goddess Ganga issues perennially, Indra beheld a woman possessing the splendour of fire. The woman who had come there to take water was washing herself in the stream, weeping all the while. The tear-drops she shed, falling on the stream, were being transformed into golden lotuses. The wielder of the thunderbolt, beholding that wonderful sight, approached the woman and asked her, 'Who art thou, amiable lady? Why dost thou weep? I desire to know the truth. O, tell me everything.' "Vyasa continued, 'The woman thereupon answered, 'O Sakra, thou mayest know who I am and why, unfortunate that I am, I weep, if only, O chief of the celestials, thou comest with me as I lead the way. Thou shall then see what it is I weep for."
Hearing these words of the lady, Indra followed her as she led the way. And soon he saw, not far off from where he was, a handsome youth with a young lady seated on a throne placed on one of the peaks of Himavat and playing at dice. Beholding that youth, the thief of the celestials said, 'Know, intelligent youth, that this universe is under my sway.' Seeing, however, that the person addressed was so engrossed in dice that he took no notice of what he said, Indra was possessed by p. 391 anger and repeated, 'I am the lord of the universe. The youth who was none else than the god Mahadeva (the god of the gods), seeing Indra filled with wrath, only smiled, having cast a glance at him. At that glance, however, the chief of the celestials was at once paralysed and stood there like a stake. When the game at dice was over, Isana addressing the weeping woman said, 'Bring Sakra hither, for I shall soon so deal with him that pride may not again enter his heart.' As soon as Sakra was touched by that woman, the chief of the celestials with limbs paralysed by that touch, fell down on the earth.
The illustrious Isana of fierce energy then said unto him, 'Act not, O Sakra, ever again in this way. Remove this huge stone, for thy strength and energy are immeasurable, and enter the hole (it will disclose) where await some others possessing the splendour of the sun and who are all like unto thee.' Indra, then, on removing that stone, beheld a cave in the breast of that king of mountains, within which were four others resembling himself. Beholding their plight, Sakra became seized with grief and exclaimed, 'Shall I be even like these?' Then the god Girisha, looking full at Indra with expanded eyes, said in anger, 'O thou of a hundred sacrifices, enter this cave without loss of time, for thou hast from folly insulted me.' Thus addressed by the lord Isana, the chief of the celestials, in consequence of that terrible imprecation, was deeply pained, and with limbs weakened by fear trembled like the wind-shaken leaf of a Himalayan fig. And cursed unexpectedly by the god owning a bull for his vehicle, Indra, with joined hands and shaking from head to foot, addressed that fierce god of multi-form manifestations, saving, 'Thou art, O Bhava, the over-looker of the infinite Universe!'
Hearing these words the god of fiery energy smiled and said, 'Those that are of disposition like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the cave) had at one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of you shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having achieved many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again by the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra. Ye shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds of work.' Then those Indras, of their shorn glory said, 'We shall go from our celestial regions even unto the region of men where salvation is ordained to be difficult of acquisition. But let the gods Dharma, Vayu, Maghavat, and the twin Aswins beget us upon our would-be mother.
Fighting with men by means of both celestial and human weapons, we shall again come back into the region of Indra.' "Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the former Indras, the wielder of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying, 'Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou assignest) to form the fifth among these!' Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And he also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else than celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in the world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without limits. Narayana approved of everything.
Those Indras then were born in the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one of these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair that was black was born as Kesava's self, Krishna. And those Indras of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a portion of Sakra.' "Vyasa continued, 'Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary beauty. How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the moon, whose fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any other than an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue of the sacrificial rites?
Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this other boon in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti endued with their sacred and celestial bodies of old!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial bodies, with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and statures measuring about five cubits. Endued with every accomplishment, and decked with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of excellent making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods (Mahadeva), or Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves.
And observing the Pandavas in the forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form of Indra sprung from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial power under deep disguise. The king looking at his daughter, that foremost of women endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel and possessed of the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the worthy wife of those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and fame. And beholding that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of Satyavati's son, exclaiming, 'O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in thee!' The Rishi then cheerfully continued, 'In a certain hermitage there was an illustrious Rishi's daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, obtained not a husband. The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances, the god Sankara (Mahadeva). The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances, told her himself. 'Ask thou the boon thou desirest' Thus addressed, the maiden repeatedly said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, 'I desire to obtain a husband possessed of every accomplishment. Sankara, the chief of the gods, gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, 'Thou shall have, amiable maiden, five husbands.' The maiden, who had succeeded in gratifying the god, said again, 'O Sankara, I desire to have from thee only one husband possessed of every virtue?'
The god of gods, well-pleased with her, spake again, saying, 'Thou hast, O maiden, addressed me five full times, repeating, 'Give me a husband.' Therefore, O amiable one, it shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All this, however, will happen in a future life of thine!' "Vyasa continued, 'O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata's race hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the celestials, as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of five husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.'" Next: Section CC
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Drupada, on hearing this, observed, O great Rishi, it was only when I had not heard this from thee that I had sought to act in the way I told thee of. Now, however, that I know all, I cannot be indifferent to what hath been ordained by the gods. Therefore do I resolve to accomplish what thou hast said. The knot of destiny cannot be untied. Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which had been appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had repeatedly said, 'O, give me a husband!' the great god himself even gave her the boon she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of this. As regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong, no sin can attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained, the hand of Krishna with the rites.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing Yudhishthira the just, said, 'This day is an auspicious day, O son of Pandu! This p. 394 day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya. Take thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!'
When Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for the wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as marriage presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked, after a bath, with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the wedding all the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state, and many Brahmanas and citizens. And they all took their seats according to their respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men, with its yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and beautified with lines of troops, king Drupada's palace, festooned around with diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour of fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen.
Then Dhaumya, well-conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united him with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took each other's hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya, taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the palace. Then those mighty car-warriors,--those perpetuators of the Kuru line,--those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king, the celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing in connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess of slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous marriage. After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those mighty car-warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave unto them one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four steeds with golden bridles.
And he gave them one hundred elephants all possessing auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a hundred mountains with golden peaks. He also gave them a hundred female servants all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments and floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave unto each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments of great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after their wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a second Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and happiness, like so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the Panchalas,'"