Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book1; Sections XCI ~ C
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Ashtaka said, 'Those cognisant of the Vedas differ in opinion as to how the followers of each of the four modes of life, viz., Grihasthas, Bhikshus, Brahmacharins, and Vanaprashthas, should conduct themselves in order to acquire religious merit." "Yayati answered, 'These are what a Brahmacharin must do. While dwelling in the abode of his preceptor, he must receive lessons only when his preceptor summons him to do so; he must attend to the service of his preceptor without waiting for the latter's command; he must rise from his bed before his preceptor riseth, and go to bed after his preceptor hath gone to bed.
He must be humble, must have his passions under complete control, must be patient, vigilant, and devoted to studies. It is then only that he can achieve success. It hath been said in the oldest Upanishad that a grihastha, acquiring wealth by honest means, should perform sacrifices; he should always give something in charity, should perform the rites of hospitality unto all arriving at his abode, and should never use anything without giving a portion thereof to others. A Muni, without search for woods, depending on his own vigour, should abstain from all vicious acts, should give away something in charity, should never inflict pain on any creature. It is then only that he can achieve success.
He, indeed, is a true Bhikshu who doth not support himself by any manual arts, who possesseth numerous accomplishments, who hath his passions under complete control, who is unconnected with worldly concerns, who sleepeth not under the shelter of a householder's roof, who is without wife, and who going a little way every day, travelleth over a large extent of the country. A learned man should adopt the Vanaprastha mode of life after performance of the necessary rites, when he hath been able to control his appetites for enjoyment and desire of acquiring valuable possessions. When one dieth in the woods while leading the Vanaprastha mode of life, he maketh his ancestors and the successors, numbering ten generations including himself, mix with the Divine essence.' "Ashtaka asked, 'How many kinds of Munis are there (observers of the vow of the silence)?'
"Yayati answered, 'He is, indeed, a Muni who, though dwelling in the woods, hath an inhabited place near, or who, though dwelling in an inhabited place, hath the woods near.' "Ashtaka enquired what is meant by Muni.' Yayati replied, 'A Muni withdrawing himself from all worldly objects liveth in the woods. And though he might never seek to surround himself with those objects that are procurable in an inhabited place, he might yet obtain them all by virtue of his ascetic power. He may truly be said to dwell in the woods having an inhabited place near to himself
. Again a wise man withdrawn from all earthly objects, might live in a hamlet leading the life of a hermit. He may never exhibit the pride of family, birth or learning. Clad in the scantiest robes, he may yet regard himself as attired in the richest vestments. He may rest content with food just enough for the support of life. Such a person, though dwelling in an inhabited place, liveth yet in the woods. "The person again, who, with passions under complete control, adopteth the vow of silence, refraining from action and entertaining no desire, achieveth success. Why shouldst thou not, indeed, reverence the man who liveth on clean food, who refraineth from ever injuring others, whose heart is ever pure, who stands in the splendour of ascetic attributes, who is free from the leaden weight of desire, who abstaineth from injury even when sanctioned by religion?
Emaciated by austerities and reduced in flesh, marrow and blood, such a one conquereth not only this but the highest world. And when the Muni sits in yoga meditation, becoming indifferent to happiness and misery, honour and insult, he then leaveth the world and enjoyeth communion with Brahma. When the Muni taketh food like wine and other animals, i. e., without providing for it beforehand and without any relish (like a sleeping infant feeding on the mother's lap), then like the all-pervading spirit he becometh identified with the whole universe and attaineth to salvation.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Ashtaka asked, 'Who amongst these, O king, both exerting constantly like the Sun and the Moon, first attaineth to communion with Brahma, the ascetic or the man of knowledge?' "Yayati answered, 'The wise, with the help of the Vedas and of Knowledge, having ascertained the visible universe to be illusory, instantly realises the Supreme Spirit as the sole existent independent essence. While they that devote themselves to Yoga meditation take time to acquire the same knowledge, for it is by practice alone that these latter divest themselves of the consciousness of quality. Hence the wise attain to salvation first.
Then again if the person devoted to Yoga find not sufficient time in one life to attain success, being led astray by the attractions of the world, in his next life he is benefited by the progress already achieved, for he devoteth himself regretfully to the pursuit of success. But the man of knowledge ever beholdeth the indestructible unity, and, is, therefore, though steeped in worldly enjoyments, never affected by them at heart. Therefore, there is nothing to impede his salvation. He, however, who faileth to attain to knowledge, should yet devote himself to piety as dependent on action (sacrifices &c.). But he that devoteth himself to such
piety, moved thereto by desire of salvation, can never achieve success. His sacrifices bear no fruit and partake of the nature of cruelty. Piety which is dependent on action that proceedeth not from the desire of fruit, is, in case of such men Yoga itself.' "Ashtaka said, 'O king, thou lookest like a young man; thou art handsome and decked with a celestial garland. Thy splendour is great! Whence dost thou come and where dost thou go? Whose messenger art thou? Art thou going down into the Earth?' "Yayati said, 'Fallen from heaven upon the loss of all my religious merits, I am doomed to enter the Earth-hell. Indeed, I shall go there after I have finished my discourse with you.
Even now the regents of the points of the universe command me to hasten thither. And, O king, I have obtained it as a boon from Indra that though fall I must upon the earth, yet I should fall amidst the wise and the virtuous. Ye are all wise and virtuous that are assembled here.' "Ashtaka said, 'Thou art acquainted with everything. I ask thee, O king, are there any regions for myself to enjoy in heaven or in the firmament? If there be, then, thou shalt not fall, though falling.' "Yayati answered, 'O king, there are as many regions for thee to enjoy in heaven even as the number of kine and horses on Earth with the animals in the wilderness and on the hills.' "Ashtaka said, 'If there are worlds for me to enjoy, as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven, O king, I give them all unto thee.
Therefore, though falling, thou shalt not fall. O, take thou soon all those, wherever they be, in heaven or in the firmament. Let thy sorrow cease.' "Yayati answered, 'O best of kings, a Brahma-knowing Brahmana alone can take in gift, but not one like ourselves. And, O monarch, I myself have given away to Brahmanas as one should. Let no man who, is not a Brahmana and let not the wife of a learned Brahmana ever live in infamy by accepting gifts. While on earth, I ever desired to perform virtuous acts. Having never done so before, how shall I now accept a gift?' "Pratardana who was amongst them asked, 'O thou of the handsomest form, I am Pratardana by name. I ask thee if there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament? Answer me, thou art acquainted with everything.' "Yayati said, 'O king, numberless worlds, full of felicity, effulgent like the solar disc, and where woe can never dwell, await thee.
If thou dwellest in each but for seven days, they would not yet be exhausted.' "Pratardana said, 'These then I give unto thee. Therefore, though falling, thou must not fall. Let the worlds that are mine be thine, whether they be in the firmament or heaven. O, soon take them. Let thy woes cease.' "Yayati answered, 'O monarch, no king of equal energy should ever desire to receive as gift the religious merits of another king acquired by Yoga austerities. And no king who is afflicted with calamity through the fates should, if wise, act in a censurable way.
A king keeping his eye fixed for ever on virtue should walk along the path of virtue like myself and, knowing what his duties are, should not act so meanly as thou directest. When others desirous of acquiring religious merits do not accept gifts, how can I do what they themselves do not? On the conclusion of this speech, that best of kings, Yayati, was then addressed by Vasumat in the following words.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vasumat said, 'I am Vasumat, the son of Oshadaswa. I would ask thee, O king, whether there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament. Thou art, O highsouled one, acquainted with all holy regions.' "Yayati answered, 'There are as many regions for thee to enjoy in heaven as the number of places in the firmament, the Earth and the ten points of the universe illumined by the Sun.' "Vasumat then said, 'I give them to thee. Let those regions that are for me be thine. Therefore, though falling, thou shall not fall. If to accept them as gift be improper for thee, then, O monarch, buy them for a straw?' "Yayati answered, 'I do not remember having ever bought and sold anything unfairly.
This has never been done by other kings. How shall I therefore do it?' "Vasumat said, 'If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as improper, then take them as gilt from me. For myself I answer that I will never go to those regions that are for me. Let them, therefore, be thine.' "Sivi then addressed the king thus, I am, O king, Sivi by name, the son of Usinara. O father, are there in the firmament or in heaven any worlds for me to enjoy? Thou knowest every region that one may enjoy as the fruit of his religious merit.' "Yayati said, 'Thou hast never, by speech or in mind, disregarded the honest and the virtuous that applied to thee.
There are infinite worlds for thee to enjoy in heaven, all blazing like lightning.' Sivi then said, 'If thou regardest their purchase as improper, I give them to thee. Take them all, O king! I shall never take them, viz., those regions where the wise never feel the least disquiet.' Yayati answered, 'O Sivi, thou hast indeed, obtained for thyself, possessed of the prowess of Indra, infinite worlds. But I do not desire to enjoy regions given to me by others. Therefore, I accept not thy gift.' "Ashtaka then said, 'O king, each of us has expressed his desire to give thee worlds that each of us has acquired by his religious merits. Thou acceptest not them. But leaving them for thee, we shall descend into the Earth-hell.'
"Yayati answered, 'Ye all are truth-loving and wise. Give me that which I deserve. I shall not be able to do what I have never done before.' "Ashtaka then said, 'Whose are those five golden cars that we see? Do men that repair to these regions of everlasting bliss ride in them?' "Yayati answered, 'Those five golden cars displayed in glory, and blazing as fire, would indeed, carry you to regions of bliss.' "Ashtaka said, 'O king, ride on those cars thyself and repair to heaven. We can wait. We follow thee in time.' "Yayati said, 'We can now all go together. Indeed, all of us have conquered heaven.
Behold, the glorious path to heaven becomes visible." "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then all those excellent monarchs riding in those cars set out for heaven for gaining admittance into it, illuminating the whole firmament by the glory of their virtues.' "Then Ashtaka, breaking the silence asked, 'I had always thought that Indra was my especial friend, and that I, of all others, should first obtain admittance into heaven. But how is it that Usinara's son, Sivi hath already left us behind?' "Yayati answered, 'This Usinara's son had given all he possessed for attaining to the region of Brahman.
Therefore, is he the foremost among us. Besides, Sivi's liberality, asceticism, truth, virtue, modesty, forgiveness, amiability, desire of performing good acts, have been so great that none can measure them!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Ashtaka, impelled by curiosity, again asked his maternal grandfather resembling Indra himself, saying, 'O king, I ask thee, tell me truly, whence thou art, who thou art, and whose son? Is there any other Brahmana or Kshatriya who hath done what thou didst on earth?' Yayati answered, 'I tell thee truly, I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru.
I was lord of all the Earth. Ye are my relatives; I tell thee truly, I am the maternal grandfather of you all. Having conquered the whole earth, I gave clothes to Brahmanas and also a hundred handsome horses fit for sacrificial offering. For such acts of virtue, the gods became propitious to those that perform them. I also gave to Brahmanas this whole earth with her horses and elephants and kine and gold all kinds of wealth, along with a hundred Arbudas of excellent milch cows. Both the earth and the firmament exist owing to my truth and virtue; fire yet burneth in the world of men owing to my truth and virtue. Never hath a word spoken by me been untrue.
It is for this that the wise adore Truth. O Ashtaka, all I have told thee, Pratardana, and Vasumat, is Truth itself. I know it for certain that the gods and the Rishis and all the mansions of the blessed are adorable only because of Truth that characteriseth them all. He that will without malice duly read unto good Brahmanas his account of our ascension to heaven shall himself attain to the same worlds with us.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'It was thus that the illustrious king Yayati of high achievements, rescued by his collateral descendants, ascended to heaven, leaving the earth and covering the three worlds with the fame of his deeds.'"
Amongst them, Pravira was the perpetuator of the dynasty. Pravira had by his wife Suraseni a son named Manasyu. And the latter of eyes like lotus-petals had his sway over the whole Earth bounded by the four seas. And Manasyu had for his wife Sauviri. And he begat upon her three sons called Sakta, Sahana, and Vagmi. And they were heroes in battle and mighty car-warriors. The intelligent and virtuous Kaudraswa begat upon the Apsara Misrakesi ten sons who were all great bowmen. And they all grew up into heroes, performing numerous sacrifices in honour of the gods. And they all had sons, were learned in all branches of knowledge and ever devoted to virtue.
They are Richeyu, and Kaksreyu and Vrikeyu of great prowess; Sthandileyu, and Vaneyu, and Jaleyu of great fame; Tejeyu of great strength and intelligence; and Satyeyu of the prowess of Indra; Dharmeyu, and Sannateyu the tenth of the prowess of the celestials. Amongst them all, Richeyu became the sole monarch of the whole earth and was known by the name of Anadhrishti. And in prowess he was like unto Vasava amongst the celestials. And Anadhristi had a son of the name of Matinara who became a famous and virtuous king and performed the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. And Matinara had four sons of immeasurable prowess, viz., Tansu, Mahan, Atiratha, and Druhyu of immeasurable glory. (Amongst them, Tansu of great prowess became the perpetrator of Puru's line).
And he subjugated the whole earth and acquired great fame and splendour. And Tansu begat a son of great prowess named Ilina. And he became the foremost of all conquerors and brought the whole world under his subjection. And Ilina begat upon his wife Rathantara five sons with Dushmanta at their
head, all equal in might unto the five elements. They were Dushmanta, Sura, Bhima, Pravasu, and Vasu. And, O Janamejaya, the eldest of them, Dushmanta, became king. And Dushmanta had by his wife Sakuntala an intelligent son named Bharata who became king. And Bharata gave his name to the race of which he was the founder. And it is from him that the fame of that dynasty hath spread so wide. And Bharata begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them. Their mothers, therefore, became angry and slew them all. The procreation of children by Bharata, therefore, became vain. The monarch then performed a great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son named Bhumanyu. And then Bharata, the great descendant of Puru, regarding himself as really possessing a son, installed, O foremost one of Bharata's race, that son as his heir-apparent.
And Bhumanyu begat upon his wife, Pushkarini six sons named Suhotra, Suhotri, Suhavih, Sujeya, Diviratha and Kichika. The eldest of them all, Suhotra, obtained the throne and performed many Rajasuyas and horse-sacrifices. And Suhotra brought under his sway the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas and full of elephants, kine and horses, and all her wealth of gems of gold. And the earth afflicted with the weight of numberless human beings and elephants, horses, and cats, was, as it were, about to sink. And during the virtuous reign of Suhotra the surface of the whole earth was dotted all over with hundreds and thousands, of sacrificial stakes. And the lord of the earth, Suhotra, begat, upon his wife Aikshaki three sons, viz., Ajamidha, Sumidha, and Purumidha.
And the Bharata princes were beaten by the troops of enemies. And the Panchalas setting out to invade the whole earth with their four kinds of troops soon brought the whole earth under their sway. And with their ten Akshauhinis the king of the Panchalas defeated the Bharata prince. Samvarana then with his wife and ministers, sons and relatives, fled in fear, and took shelter in the forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the mountains. There the Bharatas lived for a full thousand years, within their fort. And after they had lived there a thousand years, one day the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha approached the exiled Bharatas, who, on going out, saluted the Rishi and worshipped him by the offer of Arghya.
[paragraph continues] And entertaining him with reverence, they represented everything unto that illustrious Rishi. And after he was seated on his seat, the king himself approached the Rishi and addressed him, saying, 'Be thou our priest, O illustrious one! We will endeavour to regain our kingdom.' And Vasishtha answered the Bharatas by saying, 'Om' (the sign of consent). It hath been heard by us that Vasishtha then installed the Bharata prince in the sovereignty of all the Kshatriyas on earth, making by virtue of his Mantras this descendant of Puru the veritable horns of the wild bull or the tusks of the wild elephants. And the king retook the capital that had been taken away from him and once more made all monarchs pay tribute to him.
The powerful Samvarana, thus installed once more in the actual sovereignty of the whole earth, performed many sacrifices at which the presents to the Brahmanas were great. "Samvarana begat upon his wife, Tapati, the daughter of Surya, a son named Kuru. This Kuru was exceedingly virtuous, and therefore, he was installed on the throne by his people. It is after his name that the field called Kuru-jangala has become so famous in the world. Devoted to asceticism, he made that field (Kurukshetra) sacred by practising asceticism there. And it has been heard by us that Kuru's highly intelligent wife, Vahini, brought forth five sons, viz., Avikshit, Bhavishyanta, Chaitraratha, Muni and the celebrated Janamejaya. And Avikshit begat Parikshit the powerful, Savalaswa, Adhiraja, Viraja, Salmali of great physical strength, Uchaihsravas, Bhangakara and Jitari the eighth. In the race of these were born, as the fruit of their pious acts seven mighty car-warriors with Janamejaya at their head. And unto Parikshit were born sons who were all acquainted with (the secrets of) religion and profit.
And they were named Kakshasena and Ugrasena, and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Indrasena and Sushena and Bhimasena. And the sons of Janamejaya were all endued with great strength and became celebrated all over the world. And they were Dhritarashtra who was the eldest, and Pandu and Valhika, and Nishadha endued with great energy, and then the mighty Jamvunada, and then Kundodara and Padati and then Vasati the eighth. And they were all proficient in morality and profit and were kind to all creatures. Among them Dhritarashtra became king. And Dhritarashtra had eight sons, viz., Kundika, Hasti, Vitarka, Kratha the fifth, Havihsravas, Indrabha, and Bhumanyu the invincible, and Dhritarashtra had many grandsons, of whom three only were famous.
They were, O king, Pratipa, Dharmanetra, Sunetra. Among these three, Pratipa became unrivalled on earth. And, O bull in Bharata's race, Pratipa begat three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu, and the mighty car-warrior Valhika. The eldest Devapi adopted the ascetic course of life, impelled thereto by the desire of benefiting his brothers. And the kingdom was obtained by Santanu and the mighty car-warrior Valhika. "O monarch, besides, there were born in the race of Bharata numberless other excellent monarchs endued with great energy and like unto the celestial Rishis themselves in virtue and ascetic power. And so also in the race of Manu were born many mighty car-warriors like unto the celestials themselves, who by their number swelled the Aila dynasty into gigantic proportions.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, I have now heard from thee this great history of my ancestors. I had also heard from thee about the great monarchs that were born in this line. But I have not been gratified, this charming account being so short. Therefore, be pleased, O Brahmana, to recite the delightful narrative just in detail commencing from Manu, the lord of creation. Who is there that will not be charmed with such an account, as it is sacred? The fame of these monarchs increased by their wisdom, virtue, accomplishments, and high character, hath so swelled as to cover the three worlds. Having listened to the history, sweet as nectar, of their liberality, prowess, physical strength, mental vigour, energy, and perseverance, I have not been satiated!'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hear then, O monarch, as I recite in full the auspicious account of thy own race just as I had heard it from Dwaipayana before. "Daksha begat Aditi, and Aditi begat Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begat Manu, and Manu begat Ha and Ha begat Pururavas. And Pururavas begat Ayus, and Ayus begat Nahusha, and Nahusha begat Yayati. And Yayati had two wives, viz., Devayani, the daughter of Usanas, and Sarmishtha the daughter of Vrishaparvan. Here occurs a sloka regarding (Yayati's) descendants, 'Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu; and Vrishaparvan's daughter, Sarmishtha gave birth to Druhyu, Anu, and Puru., And the descendants of Yadu are the Yadavas and of Puru are the Pauravas.
And Puru had a wife of the name of Kausalya, on whom he begat a son named Janamejaya who performed three horse-sacrifices and a sacrifice called Viswajit. And then he entered into the woods. And Janamejaya had married Ananta, the daughter of Madhava, and begat upon her a son called Prachinwat. And the prince was so called because he had conquered all the eastern countries up to the very confines of the region where the Sun rises. And Prachinwat married Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named Sanyati. And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon her a son named Ahayanti. And Ahayanti married Bhanumati, the daughter of Kritavirya and begat upon her a son named Sarvabhauma. And Sarvabhauma married Sunanda, the daughter of the Kekaya prince, having obtained her by force. And
he begat upon her a son named Jayatsena, who married Susrava, the daughter of the Vidarbha king and begat upon her Avachina, And Avachina also married another princess of Vidarbha, Maryada by name. And he begat on her a son named Arihan. And Arihan married Angi and begat on her Mahabhauma. And Mahabhauma married Suyajna, the daughter of Prasenajit. And of her was born Ayutanayi. And he was so called because he had performed a sacrifice at which the fat of an Ayuta (ten thousands) of male beings was required. And Ayutanayi took for a wife Kama, the daughter of Prithusravas. And by her was born a son named Akrodhana, who took to wife Karambha, the daughter of the king of Kalinga. And of her was born Devatithi, and Devatithi took for his wife Maryada, the princess of Videha.
And of her was born a son named Arihan. And Arihan took to wife Sudeva, the princess of Anga, and upon her he begat a son named Riksha. And Riksha married Jwala, the daughter of Takshaka, and he begat upon her a son of the name of Matinara, who performed on the bank of Saraswati the twelve years' sacrifice said to be so efficacious. On conclusion of the sacrifice, Saraswati appeared in person before the king and chose him for husband. And he begat upon her a son named Tansu. Here occurs a sloka descriptive of Tansu's descendants. "Tansu was born of Saraswati by Matinara. And Tansu himself begat a son named Ilina on his wife, the princess Kalingi. "Ilina begat on his wife Rathantari five sons, of whom Dushmanta was the eldest. And Dushmanta took to wife Sakuntala, the daughter of Viswamitra.
And he begat on her a son named Bharata. Here occurs two slokas about (Dushmanta's) descendants. "The mother is but the sheath of flesh in which the father begets the son. Indeed the father himself is the son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, support thy son and insult not Sakuntala. O god among men, the father himself becoming the son rescueth himself from hell. Sakuntala hath truly said that thou art the author of this child's being. "It is for this (i.e., because the king supported his child after hearing the above speech of the celestial messenger) that Sakuntala's son came to be called Bharata (the supported). And Bharata married Sunanda, the daughter of Sarvasena, the king of Kasi, and begat upon her the son named Bhumanyu. And Bhumanyu married Vijaya, the daughter of Dasarha.
And he begat upon her a son Suhotra who married Suvarna, the daughter of Ikshvaku. To her was born a son named Hasti who founded this city, which has, therefore, been called Hastinapura. And Hasti married Yasodhara, the princess of Trigarta. And of her was born a son named Vikunthana who took for a wife Sudeva, the princess of Dasarha. And by her was born a son named Ajamidha. And Ajamidha had four wives named Raikeyi, Gandhari, Visala and Riksha. And he begat on them two thousand and four hundred sons. But amongst them all, Samvarana became the perpetuator of the dynasty. And Samvarana took for his wife
[paragraph continues] Tapati, the daughter of Vivaswat. And of her was born Kuru, who married Subhangi, the princess of Dasarha. And he begat on her a son named Viduratha, who took to wife Supriya, the daughter of the Madhavas. And he begat upon her a son named Anaswan. And Anaswan married Amrita, the daughter of the Madhavas. And of her was born a son named Parikshit, who took for his wife Suvasa, the daughter of the Vahudas, and begat upon her a son named Bhimasena. And Bhimasena married Kumari, the princess of Kekaya and begat upon her Pratisravas whose son was Pratipa. And Pratipa married Sunanda, the daughter of Sivi, and begat upon her three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu and Valhika. And Devapi, while still a boy, entered the woods as a hermit. And Santanu became king. Here occurs a sloka in respect of Santanu.
"Those old men that were touched by this monarch not only felt an indescribable sensation of pleasure but also became restored to youth. Therefore, this monarch was called Santanu. "And Santanu married Ganga, who bore him a son Devavrata who was afterwards called Bhishma. And Bhishma, moved by the desire of doing good to his father, got him married to Satyavati who was also called Gandhakali. And in her maidenhood she had a son by Parasara, named Dwaipayana. And upon her Santanu begat two other sons named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. And before they attained to majority, Chitrangada had been slain by the Gandharvas. But Vichitravirya became king, and married the two daughters of the king of Kasi, named Amvika and Amvalika. But Vichitravirya died childless. Then Satyavati began to think as to how the dynasty of Dushmanta might be perpetuated. Then she recollected the Rishi Dwaipayana.
The latter coming before her, asked, 'What are thy commands?' 'She said, 'Thy brother Vichitravirya hath gone to heaven childless. Beget virtuous children for him.' Dwaipayana, consenting to this, begat three children, viz., Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. King Dhritarashtra had a hundred sons by his wife, Gandhari in consequence of the boon granted by Dwaipayana. And amongst those hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, four became celebrated. They are Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Chitrasena. And Pandu had two jewels of wives, viz., Kunti, also called Pritha, and Madri. One day Pandu, while out a-hunting, saw a deer covering its mate.
That was really a Rishi in the form of a deer. Seeing the deer in that attitude, he killed it with his arrows, before its desire was gratified. Pierced with the king's arrow, the deer quickly changed its form and became a Rishi, and said unto Pandu, 'O Pandu, thou art virtuous and acquainted also with the pleasure derived from the gratification of one's desire. My desire unsatisfied, thou hast slain me! Therefore, thou also, when so engaged and before thou art gratified, shalt die!' Pandu, hearing this curse, became pale, and from that time would not go in unto his wives. And he told them these words, 'Through my own fault, I have been cursed! But I have heard that for the childless there are no regions hereafter.'
Therefore, he solicited Kunti to have offspring raised for him. And Kunti said, 'Let it be', So she raised up offspring. By Dharma she had Yudhishthira; by Maruta, Bhima: and by Sakra, Arjuna. And Pandu, well-pleased with her, said, 'This thy co-wife is also childless. Therefore, cause her also to bear children.' Kunti saying, 'So be it,' imparted unto Madri the mantra of invocation. And on Madri were raised by the twin Aswins, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva. And (one day) Pandu, beholding Madri decked with ornaments, had his desire kindled. And, as soon as he touched her, he died. Madri ascended the funeral pyre with her lord. And she said unto Kunti, 'Let these twins of mine be brought up by thee with affection.'
After some time those five Pandavas were taken by the ascetics of the woods to Hastinapura and there introduced to Bhishma and Vidura. And after introducing them, the ascetics disappeared in the very sight of all. And after the conclusion of the speech of those ascetics, flowers were showered down upon the spot, and the celestial drums also were beaten in the skies. The Pandavas were then taken (by Bhishma). They then represented the death of their father and performed his last honours duly. And as they were brought up there, Duryodhana became exceedingly jealous of them. And the sinful Duryodhana acting like Rakshasa tried various means to drive them away. But what must be can never be frustrated. So all Duryodhana's efforts proved futile. Then Dhritarashtra sent them, by an act of deception to Varanavata, and they went there willingly.
There an endeavour was made to burn them to death; but it proved abortive owing to the warning counsels of Vidura. After that the Pandavas slew Hidimva, and then they went to a town called Ekachakra. There also they slew a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka and then went to Panchala. And there obtaining Draupadi for a wife they returned to Hastinapura. And there they dwelt for some time in peace and begat children. And Yudhishthira begat Prativindhya; Bhima, Sutasoma; Arjuna, Srutakriti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva, Srutakarman. Besides these, Yudhishthira, having obtained for his wife Devika, the daughter of Govasana of the Saivya tribe, in a self-choice ceremony, begat upon her a son named Yaudheya.
And Bhima also obtaining for a wife Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, offered his own prowess as dower and begat upon her a son named Sarvaga. And Arjuna also, repairing to Dwaravati, brought away by force Subhadra. the sweet-speeched sister of Vasudeva, and returned in happiness to Hastinapura. And he begat upon her a son named Abhimanyu endued with all accomplishments and dear to Vasudeva himself. And Nakula obtaining for his wife Karenumati, the princess of Chedi, begat upon her a son named Niramitra. And Sahadeva also married Vijaya, the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, obtaining her in a self-choice ceremony and begat upon her a son named Suhotra. And Bhimasena had some time before begat upon Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. These are the eleven sons of the Pandavas.
Amongst them all, Abhimanyu was the perpetuator of the family. He married Uttara, the daughter of Virata, who brought forth a dead child whom Kunti took up on her lap at the command of Vasudeva who said, 'I will revive this child of six months.' And though born before time, having been burnt by the fire of (Aswatthaman's weapon and, therefore, deprived of strength and energy he was revived by Vasudeva and endued with strength, energy and prowess. And after reviving him, Vasudeva said, 'Because this child hath been born in an extinct race, therefore, he shall be called Parikshit'. And Parikshit married Madravati, thy mother, O king, and thou art born to her, O Janamejaya! Thou hast also begotten two sons on thy wife Vapushtama, named Satanika and Sankukarna.
And Satanika also hath begotten one son named Aswamedhadatta upon the princess of Videha. "Thus have I, O king, recited the history of the descendants of Puru and of the Pandavas. This excellent, virtue-increasing, and sacred history should ever be listened to by vow-observing Brahmanas, by Kshatriyas devoted to the practices of their order and ready to protect their subjects; by Vaisyas with attention, and by Sudras with reverence, whose chief occupation is to wait upon the three other orders. Brahmanas conversant in the Vedas and other persons, who with attention and reverence recite this sacred history or listen to it when recited, conquer the heavens and attain to the abode of the blessed.
They are also always respected and adored by the gods, Brahamanas, and other men. This holy history of Bharata hath been composed by the sacred and illustrious Vyasa. Veda-knowing Brahmanas and other persons who with reverence and without malice hear it recited, earn great religious merits and conquer the heavens. Though sinning, they are not disregarded by any one. Here occurs a sloka, 'This (Bharata) is equal unto the Vedas: it is holy and excellent. It bestoweth wealth, fame, and life. Therefore, it should be listened to by men with rapt attention.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'There was a king known by the name of Mahabhisha born in the race of Ikshvaku. He was the lord of all the earth, and was truthful (in speech) and of true prowess. By a thousand horse-sacrifices and a hundred Rajasuyas he had gratified the chief of the celestials and ultimately attained to heaven. "One day the celestials had assembled together and were worshipping Brahman. Many royal sages and king Mahabhisha also were present on the spot. And Ganga, the queen of rivers, also came there to pay her adorations to the Grandsire. And her garments white as the beams of the moon was displaced by the action of the wind. And as her person became exposed, the celestials bent down their heads.
But the royal sage Mahabhisha rudely stared at the queen of rivers. And Mahabhisha was for this cursed by Brahman, who said, 'Wretch, as thou hast forgotten thyself at the sight of Ganga, thou shalt be re-born on earth. But thou shall again and again attain to these regions. And she, too, shall be born in the world of men and shall do thee injuries. But when thy wrath shall be provoked, thou shalt then be freed from my curse.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'King Mahabhisha then recollecting all the monarchs and ascetics on earth, wished to be born as son to Pratipa of great prowess. And the queen of rivers, too, seeing king Mahabhisha lose his firmness, went away, thinking of him wishfully. And on her way, she saw those dwellers in heaven, the Vasus, also pursuing the same path.
And the queen of rivers beholding them in the predicament, asked them, 'Why look ye so dejected? Ye dwellers in heaven, is everything right with you?' Those celestials, the Vasus, answered her, saying, 'O queen of rivers, we have been cursed, for a venial fault, by the illustrious Vasishtha in anger. The foremost of excellent Rishis, Vasishtha, had been engaged in his twilight adorations and seated as he was, he could not be seen by us. We crossed him in ignorance. Therefore, in wrath he hath cursed us, saying, Be ye born among men!' It is beyond our power to frustrate what hath been said by that utterance of Brahma. Therefore, O river, thyself becoming a human female make us the Vasus, thy children. O amiable one, we are unwilling to enter the womb of any human female.'
Thus addressed, the queen of rivers told them, 'Be it so and asked them, 'On earth, who is that foremost of men whom ye will make your father?' "The Vasus replied, 'On earth, unto Pratipa shall be born a son, Santanu, who will be a king of world-wide fame.' Ganga then said, 'Ye celestials, that is exactly my wish which ye sinless ones hav expressed. I shall, indeed, do good to that Santanu. That is also your desire as just expressed.'
The Vasus then said, 'It behoveth thee to throw thy children after birth, into the water, so that, O thou of three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean) we may be rescued soon without having to live on earth for any length of time.' Ganga then answered, 'I shall do what ye desire. But in order that his intercourse with me may not be entirely fruitless, provide ye that one son at least may live.' The Vasus then replied, 'We shall each contribute an eighth part of our respective energies With the sum thereof, thou shall have one son according to thy and his wishes. But this son shall not begat any children on earth. Therefore, that son of thine endued with great energy, shall be childless.' "The Vasus, making this arrangement with Ganga, went away without Waiting to the place they liked.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said. 'There was a king of the name of Pratipa, who was kind to all creatures. He spent many years in ascetic penances at the source of the river Ganga. The accomplished and lovely Ganga, one day, assuming the form of a beautiful female, and rising from the waters, made up to the monarch. The celestial maiden, endued with ravishing beauty, approached the royal sage engaged in ascetic austerities, and sat upon his right thigh that was, for manly strength, a veritable Sala tree. When the maiden of handsome face had so sat upon his lap, the monarch said unto her, 'O amiable one, what dost thou desire?
What shall I do?' The damsel answered, 'I desire thee, O king, for my husband! O foremost one of the Kurus, be mine! To refuse a woman coming of her own accord is never applauded by the wise.' Pratipa answered, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, moved by lust, I never go in unto others' wives or women that are not of my order. This, indeed, is my virtuous vow.' The maiden rejoined, 'I am not inauspicious or ugly. I am every way worthy of being enjoyed. I am a celestial maiden of rare beauty; I desire thee for my husband. Refuse me not, O king.' To this Pratipa answered, 'I am, 'O damsel, abstaining from that course to which thou wouldst incite me.
If I break my vow, sin will overwhelm and kill me. O thou of the fairest complexion, thou hast embraced me, sitting on my right thigh. But, O timid one, know that this is the seat for daughters and daughters-in-law. The left lap is for the wife, but thou hast not accepted that. Therefore, O best of women, I cannot enjoy thee as an object of desire. Be my daughter-in-law. I accept thee for my son!' "The damsel then said, 'O virtuous one, let it be as thou sayest. Let me be united with thy son. From my respect for thee, I shall be a wife of the celebrated Bharata race. Ye (of the Bharata race) are the refuge of all the monarchs on earth! I am incapable of numbering the virtues of this race even within a hundred years. The greatness and goodness of many celebrated monarchs of this race are limitless.
O lord of all, let it be understood now that when I become thy daughter-in-law, thy son shall not be able to judge of the propriety of my acts. Living thus with thy son, I shall do good to him and increase his happiness. And he shall finally attain to heaven in consequence of the sons I shall bear him, and of his virtues and good conduct.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, having said so, the celestial damsel disappeared then and there. And the king, too, waited for the birth of his son in order to fulfil his promise.' "About this time Pratipa, that light of the Kuru race, that bull amongst Kshatriyas, was engaged, along with his wife, in austerities from desire of
offspring. And when they had grown old, a son was born unto them. This was no other than Mahabhisha. And the child was called Santanu because he was born when his father had controlled his passions by ascetic penances. And the best of Kurus, Santanu, knowing that region of indestructible bliss can be acquired by one's deeds alone, became devoted to virtue. When Santanu grew up into a youth, Pratipa addressed him and said, 'Some time ago, O Santanu, a celestial damsel came to me for thy good. If thou meetest that fair-complexioned one in secret and if she solicit thee for children, accept her as thy wife.
And, O sinless one, judge not of the propriety or impropriety of her action and ask not who she is, or whose or whence, but accept her as thy wife at my command!'" Vaisampayana continued, 'Pratipa, having thus commanded his son Santanu and installed him on his throne, retired into the woods. And king Santanu endued with great intelligence and equal unto Indra himself in splendour, became addicted to hunting and passed much of his time in the woods. And the best of monarchs always slew deer and buffaloes. And one day, as he was wandering along the bank of the Ganges, he came upon a region frequented by Siddhas and Charanas.
And there he saw a lovely maiden of blazing beauty and like unto another Sri herself; of faultless and pearly teeth and decked with celestial ornaments, and attired in garments of fine texture that resembled in splendour the filaments of the lotus. And the monarch, on beholding that damsel, became surprised, and his raptures produced instant horripilation. With steadfast gaze he seemed to be drinking her charms, but repeated draughts failed to quench his thirst.
The damsel also beholding the monarch of blazing splendour moving about in great agitation, was moved herself and experienced an affection for him. She gazed and gazed and longed to gaze on him evermore. The monarch then in soft words addressed her and said, 'O slender-waisted one, be thou a goddess or the daughter of a Danava, be thou of the race of the Gandharvas, or Apsaras, be thou of the Yakshas or the Nagas, or be thou of human origin, O thou of celestial beauty, I solicit thee to be my wife!'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'The maiden then, hearing those soft and sweet words of the smiling monarch, and remembering her promise to the Vasus, addressed the king in reply. Of faultless features, the damsel sending a thrill of pleasure into the heart by every word she uttered, said, 'O king, I shall become thy wife and obey thy commands. But, O monarch, thou must not interfere with me in anything I do, be it agreeable or disagreeable. Nor shall thou ever address me unkindly. As long as thou shalt behave
kindly I promise to live with thee. But I shall certainly leave thee the moment thou interferest with me or speakest to me an unkind word.' The king answered, 'Be it so.' And thereupon the damsel obtaining that excellent monarch, that foremost one of the Bharata race for her husband, became highly pleased. And king Santanu also, obtaining her for his wife, enjoyed to the full the pleasure of her company. And adhering to his promise, he refrained from asking her anything. And the lord of earth, Santanu, became exceedingly gratified with her conduct, beauty, magnanimity, and attention to his comforts.
And the goddess Ganga also, of three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean) assuming a human form of superior complexion and endued with celestial beauty, lived happily as the wife of Santanu, having as the fruit of her virtuous acts, obtained for her husband, that tiger among kings equal unto Indra himself in splendour. And she gratified the king by her attractiveness and affection, by her wiles and love, by her music and dance, and became herself gratified. And the monarch was so enraptured with his beautiful wife that months, seasons, and years rolled on without his being conscious of them.
And the king, while thus enjoying himself with his wife, had eight children born unto him who in beauty were like the very celestials themselves. But, O Bharata, those children, one after another, as soon as they were born, were thrown into the river by Ganga who said, 'This is for thy good.' And the children sank to rise no more. The king, however, could not be pleased with such conduct. But he spoke not a word about it lest his wife should leave him. But when the eighth child was born, and when his wife as before was about to throw it smilingly into the river, the king with a sorrowful countenance and desirous of saving it from destruction, addressed her and said, 'Kill it not! Who art thou and whose? Why dost thou kill thy own children? Murderess of thy sons, the load of thy sins is great!'"
His wife, thus addressed, replied, 'O thou desirous of offspring, thou hast already become the first of those that have children. I shall not destroy this child of thine. But according to our agreement, the period of my stay with thee is at an end. I am Ganga, the daughter of Jahnu. I am ever worshipped by the great sages; I have lived with thee so long for accomplishing the purposes of the celestials. The eight illustrious Vasus endued with great energy had, from Vasishtha's curse, to assume human forms. On earth, besides thee, there was none else to deserve the honour of being their begetter. There is no woman also on earth except one like me, acelestial of human form, to become their mother. I assumed a human form to bring them forth. Thou also, having become the father of the eight Vasus, hast acquired many regions of perennial bliss. It was also agreed between myself and the Vasus that I should free them from their human forms as soon as they would be born. I have thus freed them from the curse of the Rishi Apava. Blest be thou; I leave thee, O king! But rear thou this child of rigid vows. That I should live with thee so ong was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let this child be called Gangadatta.'" long was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let this child be called Gangadatta.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Santanu asked, 'What was the fault of the Vasus and who was Apava, through whose curse the Vasus had to be born among men? What also hath this child of thine, Gangadatta, done for which he shall have to live among men? Why also were the Vasus, the lords of the three worlds, condemned to be born amongst men? O daughter of Jahnu, tell me all.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the celestial daughter of Jahnu, Ganga, then replied unto the monarch, her husband, that bull amongst men, saying, 'O best of Bharata's race, he who was obtained as son by Varuna was called Vasishtha, the Muni who afterwards came to be known as Apava. He had his asylum on the breast of the king of mountains called Meru.
The spot was sacred and abounded with birds and beasts. And there bloomed at all times of the year flowers of every season. And, O best of Bharata's race, that foremost of virtuous men, the son of Varuna, practised his ascetic penances in those woods abounding with sweet roots and water. "Daksha had a daughter known by the name of Surabhi, who, O bull of Bharata's race, for benefiting the world, brought forth, by her connection with Kasyapa, a daughter (Nandini) in the form of a cow. That foremost of all kine, Nandini, was the cow of plenty (capable of granting every desire). The virtuous son of Varuna obtained Nandini for his Homa rites.
And Nandini, dwelling in that hermitage which was adored by Munis, roamed about fearlessly in those sacred and delightful woods. "One day, O bull of Bharata's race, there came into those woods adored by the gods and celestial Rishis, the Vasus with Prithu at their head. And wandering there with their wives, they enjoyed themselves in those delightful woods and mountains. And as they wandered there, the slender-waisted wife of one of the Vasus, O thou of the prowess of Indra, saw in those woods Nandini, the cow of plenty. And seeing that cow possessing the wealth of all accomplishments, large eyes, full udders, fine tail, beautiful hoofs, and every other auspicious sign, and yielding much milk, she showed the animal to her husband Dyu.
O thou of the prowess of the first of elephants, when Dyu was shown that cow, he began to admire her several qualities and addressing his wife, said, 'O black-eyed girl of fair thighs, this excellent cow belongeth to that Rishi whose is this delightful asylum. O slender-waisted one, that mortal who drinketh the sweet milk of this cow remaineth in unchanged youth for ten thousand years.' O best of monarchs, hearing this, the slender-waisted goddess of faultless features
then addressed her lord of blazing splendour and said, 'There is on earth a friend of mine, Jitavati by name, possessed of great beauty and youth. She is the daughter of that god among men, the royal sage Usinara, endued with intelligence and devoted to truth. I desire to have this cow, O illustrious one, with her calf for that friend of mine. Therefore, O best of celestials, bring that cow so that my friend drinking of her milk may alone become on earth free from disease and decrepitude. O illustrious and blameless one, it behoveth thee to grant me this desire of mine.
There is nothing that would be more agreeable to me.' On hearing these words of his wife, Dyu, moved by the desire of humouring her, stole that cow, aided by his brothers Prithu and the others. Indeed, Dyu, commanded by his lotus-eyed wife, did her bidding, forgetting at the moment the high ascetic merits of the Rishi who owned her. He did not think at the time that he was going to fall by committing the sin of stealing the cow. "When the son of Varuna returned to his asylum in the evening with fruits he had collected, he beheld not the cow with her calf there. He began to search for them in the woods, but when the great ascetic of superior intelligence found not his cow on search, he saw by his ascetic vision that she had been stolen by the Vasus.
His wrath was instantly kindled and he cursed the Vasus, saying, 'Because the Vasus have stolen my cow of sweet milk and handsome tail, therefore, shall they certainly be born on earth!' "O thou bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Rishi Apava thus cursed the Vasus in wrath. And having cursed them, the illustrious one set his heart once more on ascetic meditation. And after that Brahmarshi of great power and ascetic wealth had thus in wrath cursed the Vasus, the latter, O king, coming to know of it, speedily came into his asylum. And addressing the Rishi, O bull among kings, they endeavoured to pacify him. But they failed, O tiger among men, to obtain grace from Apava--that Rishi conversant, with all rules of virtue.
The virtuous Apava, however, said, 'Ye Vasus, with Dhava and others, ye have been cursed by me. But ye shall be freed from my curse within a year of your birth among men. But he for whose deed ye have been cursed by me he, viz., Dyu, shall for his sinful act, have to dwell on earth for a length of time. I shall not make futile the words I have uttered in wrath. Dyu, though dwelling on Earth, shall not beget children. He shall, however, be virtuous and conversant with the scriptures. He shall be an obedient son to his father, but he shall have to abstain from the pleasure of female companionship.' "Thus addressing the Vasus, the great Rishi went away. The Vasus then together came to me. And, O king, the begged of me the boon that as soon as they would be born, I should throw them into the water. And, O best of kings, I did as they desired, in order to free them from their earthly life. And O best of kings, from the Rishi's curse, this one only, viz., Dyu, himself, is to live on earth for some time.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the goddess disappeared then and there. And taking with her the child, she went away to the region she chose. And that child of Santanu was named both Gangeya and Devavrata and excelled his father in all accomplishments. "Santanu, after the disappearance of his wife, returned to his capital with a sorrowful heart. I shall now recount to thee the many virtues and the great good fortune of the illustrious king Santanu of the Bharata race. Indeed, it is this splendid history that is called the Mahabharata.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued ) "Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Santanu, the most adored of the gods and royal sages, was known in all the worlds for his wisdom, virtues, and truthfulness (of speech). The qualities of self-control, liberality, forgiveness, intelligence, modesty, patience and superior energy ever dwelt in that bull among men, viz., Santanu, that great being endued with these accomplishments and conversant with both religion and profit, the monarch was at once the protector of the Bharata race and all human beings. His neck was marked with (three) lines, like a conch-shell; his shoulders were broad, and he resembled in prowess an infuriated elephant. It would seem that all the auspicious signs of royalty dwelt in his person, considering that to be their fittest abode.
Men, seeing the behaviour of that monarch of great achievements came to know that virtue was ever superior to pleasure and profit. These were the attributes that dwelt in that great being--that bull among men--Santanu. And truly there was never a king like Santanu. All the kings of the earth, beholding him devoted to virtue, bestowed upon that foremost of virtuous men the title of King of kings. And all the kings of the earth during the time of that lordprotector of the Bharata race, were without woe and fear and anxiety of any kind. And they all slept in peace, rising from bed every morning after happy dreams. And owing to that monarch of splendid achievements resembling Indra himself in energy, all the kings of the earth became virtuous and devoted to liberality, religious acts and sacrifices. And when the earth was ruled by Santanu and other monarchs like him, the religious merits of every order increased very greatly.
The Kshatriyas served the Brahmanas; the Vaisyas waited upon the Kshatriyas, and the Sudras adoring the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, waited upon the Vaisyas. And Santanu residing in Hastinapura, the delightful capital of the Kurus, ruled the whole earth bounded by seas. He was truthful and guileless, and like the king of the celestials himself conversant with the dictates of virtue. And from the combination in him of liberality, religion and asceticism, he acquired a great good fortune. He was free from anger and malice, and was handsome
in person like Soma himself. In splendour he was like the Sun and in impetuosity of valour like Vayu. In wrath he was like Yama, and in patience like the Earth. And, O king, while Santanu ruled the earth, no deer, boars, birds, or other animals were needlessly slain. In his dominions the great virtue of kindness to all creatures prevailed, and the king himself, with the soul of mercy, and void of desire and wrath, extended equal protection unto all creatures. Then sacrifices in honour of the gods, the Rishis, and Pitris commenced, and no creature was deprived of life sinfully. And Santanu was the king and father of all-- of those that were miserable and those that had no protectors, of birds and beasts, in fact, of every created thing. And during the rule of the best of Kurus--of that king of kings-- speech became united with truth, and the minds of men were directed towards liberality and virtue.
And Santanu, having enjoyed domestic felicity for six and thirty years, retired into the woods. "And Santanu's son, the Vasu born of Ganga, named Devavrata resembled Santanu himself in personal beauty, in habits and behaviour, and in learning. And in all branches of knowledge worldly or spiritual his skill was very great. His strength and energy were extraordinary. He became a mighty car-warrior. In fact he was a great king. "One day, while pursuing along the banks of the Ganges a deer that he had struck with his arrow, king Santanu observed that the river had become shallow. On observing this, that bull among men, viz., Santanu, began to reflect upon this strange phenomenon. He mentally asked why that first of rivers ran out so quickly as before.
And while seeking for a cause, the illustrious monarch beheld that a youth of great comeliness, well-built and amiable person, like Indra himself, had, by his keen celestial weapon, checked the flow of the river. And the king, beholding this extraordinary feat of the river Ganga having been checked in her course near where that youth stood, became very much surprised. This youth was no other than Santanu's son himself. But as Santanu had seen his son only once a few moments after his birth, he had not sufficient recollection to identify that infant with the youth before his eyes. The youth, however, seeing his father, knew him at once, but instead of disclosing himself, he clouded the king's perception by his celestial powers of illusion and disappeared in his very sight.
"King Santanu, wondering much at what he saw and imagining the youth to be his own son then addressed Ganga and said, 'Show me that child.' Ganga thus addressed, assuming a beautiful form, and holding the boy decked with ornaments in her right arm, showed him to Santanu. And Santanu did not recognise that beautiful female bedecked with ornaments and attired in fine robes of white, although he had known her before. And Ganga said, 'O tiger among men, that eighth son whom thou hadst some time before begat upon me is this. Know that this excellent child is conversant with all weapons, O monarch, take him now. I have reared
him with care. And go home, O tiger among men, taking him with thee. Endued with superior intelligence, he has studied with Vasishtha the entire Vedas with their branches. Skilled in all weapons and a mighty bowman, he is like Indra in battle. And, O Bharata, both the gods and the Asuras look upon him with favour. Whatever branches of knowledge are known to Usanas, this one knoweth completely. And so is he the master of all those Sastras that the son of Angiras (Vrihaspati) adored by the gods and the Asuras, knoweth. And all the weapons known to the powerful and invincible Rama, the son of Jamadagni are known to this thy illustrious son of mighty arms. O king of superior courage, take this thy own heroic child given unto thee by me.
He is a mighty bowman and conversant with the interpretation of all treatises on the duties of a king.' Thus commanded by Ganga, Santanu took his child resembling the Sun himself in glory and returned to his capital. And having reached his city that was like unto the celestial capital, that monarch of Puru's line regarded himself greatly fortunate. And having summoned all the Pauravas together, for the protection of his kingdom he installed his son as his heir-apparent. And O bull of Bharata's race, the prince soon gratified by his behaviour his father and the other members of the Paurava race: in fact, all the subjects of the kingdom. And the king of incomparable prowess lived happily with that son of his. "Four years had thus passed away, when the king one day went into the woods on the bank of the Yamuna.
And while the king was rambling there, he perceived a sweet scent coming from an unknown direction. And the monarch, impelled by the desire of ascertaining the cause, wandered hither and thither. And in course of his ramble, he beheld a black-eyed maiden of celestial beauty, the daughter of a fisherman. The king addressing her, said, 'Who art thou, and whose daughter? What dost thou do here, O timid one?' She answered, 'Blest be thou! I am the daughter of the chief of the fishermen. At his command, I am engaged for religious merit, in rowing passengers across this river in my boat.' And Santanu, beholding that maiden of celestial form endued with beauty, amiableness, and such fragrance, desired her for his wife. And repairing unto her father, the king solicited his consent to the proposed match.
But the chief of the fishermen replied to the monarch, saying, 'O king, as soon as my daughter of superior complexion was born, it was of course, understood that she should be bestowed upon a husband. But listen to the desire I have cherished all along in my heart. O sinless one, thou art truthful: if thou desirest to obtain this maiden as a gift from me, give, me then this pledge. If, indeed, thou givest the pledge, I will of course bestow my daughter upon thee for truly I can never obtain a husband for her equal to thee.' "Santanu, hearing this, replied, 'When I have heard of the pledge thou askest, I shall then say whether I would be able to grant it. If it is capable of being granted, I shall certainly grant it. Otherwise how shall I
grant it.' The fisherman said, 'O king, what I ask of thee is this: the son born of this maiden shall be installed by thee on thy throne and none else shall thou make thy successor.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'O Bharata, when Santanu heard this, he felt no inclination to grant such a boon, though the fire of desire sorely burnt him within. The king with his heart afflicted by desire returned to Hastinapura, thinking all the way of the fisherman's daughter. And having returned home, the monarch passed his time in sorrowful meditation. One day, Devavrata approaching his afflicted father said, 'All is prosperity with thee; all chiefs obey thee; then how is it that thou grievest thus? Absorbed in thy own thoughts, thou speakest not a word to me in reply.
Thou goest not out on horse-back now; thou lookest pale and emaciated, having lost all animation. I wish to know the disease thou sufferest from, so that I may endeavour to apply a remedy.' Thus addressed by his son, Santanu answered, 'Thou sayest truly, O son, that I have become melancholy. I will also tell thee why I am so. O thou of Bharata's line, thou art the only scion of this our large race. Thou art always engaged in sports of arms and achievements of prowess. But, O son, I am always thinking of the instability of human life. If any danger overtake thee, O child of Ganga, the result is that we become sonless. Truly thou alone art to me as a century of sons.
I do not, therefore, desire to wed again. I only desire and pray that prosperity may ever attend thee so that our dynasty may be perpetuated. The wise say that he that hath one son hath no son. Sacrifices before fire and the knowledge of the three Vedas yield, it is true, everlasting religious merit, but all these, in point of religious merit, do not, come up to a sixteenth part of the religious merit attainable on the birth of a son. Indeed, in this respect, there is hardly any difference between men and the lower animals. O wise one, I do not entertain a shadow of doubt that one attains to heaven in consequence of his having begotten a son. The Vedas which constitute the root of the Puranas and are regarded as authoritative even by the gods, contain numerous proof of this. O thou of Bharata's race, thou art a hero of excitable temper, who is always engaged in the exercise of arms. It is very probable that thou wilt be slain on the field of battle.
If it so happen, what then will be the state of the Bharata dynasty, It is this thought that hath made me so melancholy. I have now told thee fully the causes of my sorrow.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Devavrata who was endued with great intelligence, having ascertained all this from the king, reflected within himself for a while. He then went to the old minister devoted to his father's welfare and asked him about the cause of the king's grief. O bull of Bharata's race, when the prince questioned the minister, the latter told him about the boon that was demanded by the chief of the fishermen in respect of his daughter Gandhavati. Then Devavrata, accompanied by many Kshatriya chiefs of venerable age, personally repaired to the chief of the fishermen
and begged of him his daughter on behalf of the king. The chief of the fishermen received him with due adorations, and, O thou of Bharata's race, when the prince took his seat in the court of the chief, the latter addressed him and said, 'O bull among the Bharatas, thou art the first of all wielders of weapons and the only son of Santanu. Thy power is great. But I have something to tell thee. If the bride's father was Indra himself, even then he would have to repent of rejecting such an exceedingly honourable and desirable proposal of marriage. The great man of whose seed this celebrated maiden named Satyavati was born, is, indeed, equal to you in virtue.
He hath spoken to me on many occasions of the virtues of thy father and told me that, the king alone is worthy of (marrying) Satyavati. Let me tell you that I have even rejected the solicitations of that best of Brahmarshis--the celestial sage Asita--who, too, had often asked for Satyavati's hand in marriage. I have only one word to say on the part of this maiden. In the matter of the proposed marriage there is one great objection founded on the fact of a rival in the person of a co-wife's son. O oppressor of all foes, he hath no security, even if he be an Asura or a Gandharva, who hath a rival in thee. There is this only objection to the proposed marriage, and nothing else. Blest be thou! But this is all I have to say in the matter of the bestowal or otherwise, of Satyavati.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'O thou of Bharata's race, Devavrata, having heard these words, and moved by the desire of benefiting his father thus answered in the hearing of the assembled chiefs, 'O foremost of truthful men, listen to the vow I utter! The man has not been or will not be born, who will have the courage to take such a vow! I shall accomplish all that thou demandest! The son that may be born of this maiden shall be our king.' Thus addressed, the chief of the fishermen, impelled by desire of sovereignty (for his daughter's son), to achieve the almost impossible, then said, 'O thou of virtuous soul, thou art come hither as full agent on behalf of thy father Santanu of immeasurable glory; be thou also the sole manager on my behalf in the matter of the bestowal of this my daughter.
But, O amiable one, there is something else to be said, something else to be reflected upon by thee. O suppressor of foes, those that have daughters, from the very nature of their obligations, must say what I say. O thou that art devoted to truth, the promise thou hast given in the presence of these chiefs for the benefit of Satyavati, hath, indeed, been worthy of thee. O thou of mighty arms, I have not the least doubt of its ever being violated by thee. But I have my doubts in respect of the children thou mayst beget.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, the son of Ganga, devoted to truth, having ascertained the scruples of the chief of the fishermen, then said, moved thereto by the desire of benefiting his father, 'Chief of fishermen, thou best of men, listen to what I say in the presence of these assembled kings. Ye kings, I have already relinquished my right to the throne, I shall now settle the matter of my children. O fisherman, from this day
[paragraph continues] I adopt the vow of Brahmacharya (study and meditation in celibacy). If I die sonless, I shall yet attain to regions of perennial bliss in heaven!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon these words of the son of Ganga, the hair on the fisherman's body stood on end from glee, and he replied, 'I bestow my daughter!' Immediately after, the Apsaras and the gods with diverse tribes of Rishis began to rain down flowers from the firmament upon the head of Devavrata and exclaimed, 'This one is Bhishma (the terrible).' Bhishma then, to serve his father, addressed the illustrious damsel and said, 'O mother, ascend this chariot, and let us go unto our house.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, Bhishma helped the beautiful maiden into his chariot.
On arriving with her at Hastinapura, he told Santanu everything as it had happened. And the assembled kings, jointly and individually, applauded his extraordinary act and said, 'He is really Bhishma (the terrible)!' And Santanu also, hearing of the extraordinary achievements of his son, became highly gratified and bestowed upon the high-souled prince the boon of death at will, saying, 'Death shall never come to thee as long as thou desirest to live. Truly death shall approach thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.'