Chapter 1

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA
Om! Having bowed down to Narayana and Nara, the most exalted male being,and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Ugrasrava, the son of Lomaharshana, surnamed Sauti, well-versed in thePuranas, bending with humility, one day approached the great sages ofrigid vows, sitting at their ease, who had attended the twelve years’sacrifice of Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, in the forest of Naimisha. Thoseascetics, wishing to hear his wonderful narrations, presently began toaddress him who had thus arrived at that recluse abode of the inhabitantsof the forest of Naimisha. Having been entertained with due respect bythose holy men, he saluted those Munis (sages) with joined palms, evenall of them, and inquired about the progress of their asceticism. Thenall the ascetics being again seated, the son of Lomaharshana humblyoccupied the seat that was assigned to him. Seeing that he wascomfortably seated, and recovered from fatigue, one of the Rishisbeginning the conversation, asked him, ‘Whence comest thou, O lotus-eyedSauti, and where hast thou spent the time? Tell me, who ask thee, indetail.’

Accomplished in speech, Sauti, thus questioned, gave in the midst of thatbig assemblage of contemplative Munis a full and proper answer in wordsconsonant with their mode of life.

“Sauti said, ‘Having heard the diverse sacred and wonderful stories whichwere composed in his Mahabharata by Krishna-Dwaipayana, and which wererecited in full by Vaisampayana at the Snake-sacrifice of the high-souledroyal sage Janamejaya and in the presence also of that chief of Princes,the son of Parikshit, and having wandered about, visiting many sacredwaters and holy shrines, I journeyed to the country venerated by theDwijas (twice-born) and called Samantapanchaka where formerly was foughtthe battle between the children of Kuru and Pandu, and all the chiefs ofthe land ranged on either side. Thence, anxious to see you, I am comeinto your presence. Ye reverend sages, all of whom are to me as Brahma;ye greatly blessed who shine in this place of sacrifice with thesplendour of the solar fire: ye who have concluded the silent meditationsand have fed the holy fire; and yet who are sitting–without care, what,O ye Dwijas (twice-born), shall I repeat, shall I recount the sacredstories collected in the Puranas containing precepts of religious dutyand of worldly profit, or the acts of illustrious saints and sovereignsof mankind?”

“The Rishi replied, ‘The Purana, first promulgated by the great RishiDwaipayana, and which after having been heard both by the gods and theBrahmarshis was highly esteemed, being the most eminent narrative thatexists, diversified both in diction and division, possessing subtilemeanings logically combined, and gleaned from the Vedas, is a sacredwork. Composed in elegant language, it includeth the subjects of otherbooks. It is elucidated by other Shastras, and comprehendeth the sense ofthe four Vedas. We are desirous of hearing that history also calledBharata, the holy composition of the wonderful Vyasa, which dispelleththe fear of evil, just as it was cheerfully recited by the RishiVaisampayana, under the direction of Dwaipayana himself, at thesnake-sacrifice of Raja Janamejaya?’

“Sauti then said, ‘Having bowed down to the primordial being Isana, towhom multitudes make offerings, and who is adored by the multitude; whois the true incorruptible one, Brahma, perceptible, imperceptible,eternal; who is both a non-existing and an existing-non-existing being;who is the universe and also distinct from the existing and non-existinguniverse; who is the creator of high and low; the ancient, exalted,inexhaustible one; who is Vishnu, beneficent and the beneficence itself,worthy of all preference, pure and immaculate; who is Hari, the ruler ofthe faculties, the guide of all things moveable and immoveable; I willdeclare the sacred thoughts of the illustrious sage Vyasa, of marvellousdeeds and worshipped here by all. Some bards have already published thishistory, some are now teaching it, and others, in like manner, willhereafter promulgate it upon the earth. It is a great source ofknowledge, established throughout the three regions of the world. It ispossessed by the twice-born both in detailed and compendious forms. It isthe delight of the learned for being embellished with elegantexpressions, conversations human and divine, and a variety of poeticalmeasures.

In this world, when it was destitute of brightness and light, andenveloped all around in total darkness, there came into being, as theprimal cause of creation, a mighty egg, the one inexhaustible seed of allcreated beings. It is called Mahadivya, and was formed at the beginningof the Yuga, in which we are told, was the true light Brahma, the eternalone, the wonderful and inconceivable being present alike in all places;the invisible and subtile cause, whose nature partaketh of entity andnon-entity. From this egg came out the lord Pitamaha Brahma, the one onlyPrajapati; with Suraguru and Sthanu. Then appeared the twenty-onePrajapatis, viz., Manu, Vasishtha and Parameshthi; ten Prachetas, Daksha,and the seven sons of Daksha. Then appeared the man of inconceivablenature whom all the Rishis know and so the Viswe-devas, the Adityas, theVasus, and the twin Aswins; the Yakshas, the Sadhyas, the Pisachas, theGuhyakas, and the Pitris. After these were produced the wise and mostholy Brahmarshis, and the numerous Rajarshis distinguished by every noblequality. So the water, the heavens, the earth, the air, the sky, thepoints of the heavens, the years, the seasons, the months, thefortnights, called Pakshas, with day and night in due succession. Andthus were produced all things which are known to mankind.

And what is seen in the universe, whether animate or inanimate, ofcreated things, will at the end of the world, and after the expiration ofthe Yuga, be again confounded. And, at the commencement of other Yugas,all things will be renovated, and, like the various fruits of the earth,succeed each other in the due order of their seasons. Thus continuethperpetually to revolve in the world, without beginning and without end,this wheel which causeth the destruction of all things.

The generation of Devas, in brief, was thirty-three thousand,thirty-three hundred and thirty-three. The sons of Div were Brihadbhanu,Chakshus, Atma Vibhavasu, Savita, Richika, Arka, Bhanu, Asavaha, andRavi. Of these Vivaswans of old, Mahya was the youngest whose son wasDeva-vrata. The latter had for his son, Su-vrata who, we learn, had threesons,–Dasa-jyoti, Sata-jyoti, and Sahasra-jyoti, each of them producingnumerous offspring. The illustrious Dasa-jyoti had ten thousand,Sata-jyoti ten times that number, and Sahasra-jyoti ten times the numberof Sata-jyoti’s offspring. From these are descended the family of theKurus, of the Yadus, and of Bharata; the family of Yayati and ofIkshwaku; also of all the Rajarshis. Numerous also were the generationsproduced, and very abundant were the creatures and their places of abode.The mystery which is threefold–the Vedas, Yoga, and Vijnana Dharma,Artha, and Kama–also various books upon the subject of Dharma, Artha,and Kama; also rules for the conduct of mankind; also histories anddiscourses with various srutis; all of which having been seen by theRishi Vyasa are here in due order mentioned as a specimen of the book.

The Rishi Vyasa published this mass of knowledge in both a detailed andan abridged form. It is the wish of the learned in the world to possessthe details and the abridgement. Some read the Bharata beginning with theinitial mantra (invocation), others with the story of Astika, others withUparichara, while some Brahmanas study the whole. Men of learning displaytheir various knowledge of the institutes in commenting on thecomposition. Some are skilful in explaining it, while others, inremembering its contents.

The son of Satyavati having, by penance and meditation, analysed theeternal Veda, afterwards composed this holy history, when that learnedBrahmarshi of strict vows, the noble Dwaipayana Vyasa, offspring ofParasara, had finished this greatest of narrations, he began to considerhow he might teach it to his disciples. And the possessor of the sixattributes, Brahma, the world’s preceptor, knowing of the anxiety of theRishi Dwaipayana, came in person to the place where the latter was, forgratifying the saint, and benefiting the people. And when Vyasa,surrounded by all the tribes of Munis, saw him, he was surprised; and,standing with joined palms, he bowed and ordered a seat to be brought.And Vyasa having gone round him who is called Hiranyagarbha seated onthat distinguished seat stood near it; and being commanded by BrahmaParameshthi, he sat down near the seat, full of affection and smiling injoy. Then the greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi,said, “O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatlyrespected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have beenexplained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas;the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named afterthe three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determinationof the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, adescription of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the fourcastes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism andof the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon,the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of thefour ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciencescalled Nyaya, Orthoephy and Treatment of diseases; charity andPasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; alsoa description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers,mountains, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the artof war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of themanners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;–all these have beenrepresented. But, after all, no writer of this work is to be found onearth.’

“Brahma said. ‘I esteem thee for thy knowledge of divine mysteries,before the whole body of celebrated Munis distinguished for the sanctityof their lives. I know thou hast revealed the divine word, even from itsfirst utterance, in the language of truth. Thou hast called thy presentwork a poem, wherefore it shall be a poem. There shall be no poets whoseworks may equal the descriptions of this poem, even, as the three othermodes called Asrama are ever unequal in merit to the domestic Asrama. LetGanesa be thought of, O Muni, for the purpose of writing the poem.’

“Sauti said, ‘Brahma having thus spoken to Vyasa, retired to his ownabode. Then Vyasa began to call to mind Ganesa. And Ganesa, obviator ofobstacles, ready to fulfil the desires of his votaries, was no soonerthought of, than he repaired to the place where Vyasa was seated. Andwhen he had been saluted, and was seated, Vyasa addressed him thus, ‘Oguide of the Ganas! be thou the writer of the Bharata which I have formedin my imagination, and which I am about to repeat.”

“Ganesa, upon hearing this address, thus answered, ‘I will become thewriter of thy work, provided my pen do not for a moment cease writing.”And Vyasa said unto that divinity, ‘Wherever there be anything thou dostnot comprehend, cease to continue writing.’ Ganesa having signified hisassent, by repeating the word Om! proceeded to write; and Vyasa began;and by way of diversion, he knit the knots of composition exceedingclose; by doing which, he dictated this work according to his engagement.

I am (continued Sauti) acquainted with eight thousand and eight hundredverses, and so is Suka, and perhaps Sanjaya. From the mysteriousness oftheir meaning, O Muni, no one is able, to this day, to penetrate thoseclosely knit difficult slokas. Even the omniscient Ganesa took a momentto consider; while Vyasa, however, continued to compose other verses ingreat abundance.

The wisdom of this work, like unto an instrument of applying collyrium,hath opened the eyes of the inquisitive world blinded by the darkness ofignorance. As the sun dispelleth the darkness, so doth the Bharata by itsdiscourses on religion, profit, pleasure and final release, dispel theignorance of men. As the full-moon by its mild light expandeth the budsof the water-lily, so this Purana, by exposing the light of the Srutihath expanded the human intellect. By the lamp of history, whichdestroyeth the darkness of ignorance, the whole mansion of nature isproperly and completely illuminated.

This work is a tree, of which the chapter of contents is the seed; thedivisions called Pauloma and Astika are the root; the part calledSambhava is the trunk; the books called Sabha and Aranya are the roostingperches; the books called Arani is the knitting knots; the books calledVirata and Udyoga the pith; the book named Bhishma, the main branch; thebook called Drona, the leaves; the book called Karna, the fair flowers;the book named Salya, their sweet smell; the books entitled Stri andAishika, the refreshing shade; the book called Santi, the mighty fruit;the book called Aswamedha, the immortal sap; the denominatedAsramavasika, the spot where it groweth; and the book called Mausala, isan epitome of the Vedas and held in great respect by the virtuousBrahmanas. The tree of the Bharata, inexhaustible to mankind as theclouds, shall be as a source of livelihood to all distinguished poets.”

“Sauti continued, ‘I will now speak of the undying flowery and fruitfulproductions of this tree, possessed of pure and pleasant taste, and notto be destroyed even by the immortals. Formerly, the spirited andvirtuous Krishna-Dwaipayana, by the injunctions of Bhishma, the wise sonof Ganga and of his own mother, became the father of three boys who werelike the three fires by the two wives of Vichitra-virya; and having thusraised up Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura, he returned to his recluseabode to prosecute his religious exercise.

It was not till after these were born, grown up, and departed on thesupreme journey, that the great Rishi Vyasa published the Bharata in thisregion of mankind; when being solicited by Janamejaya and thousands ofBrahmanas, he instructed his disciple Vaisampayana, who was seated nearhim; and he, sitting together with the Sadasyas, recited the Bharata,during the intervals of the ceremonies of the sacrifice, being repeatedlyurged to proceed.

Vyasa hath fully represented the greatness of the house of Kuru, thevirtuous principles of Gandhari, the wisdom of Vidura, and the constancyof Kunti. The noble Rishi hath also described the divinity of Vasudeva,the rectitude of the sons of Pandu, and the evil practices of the sonsand partisans of Dhritarashtra.

Vyasa executed the compilation of the Bharata, exclusive of the episodesoriginally in twenty-four thousand verses; and so much only is called bythe learned as the Bharata. Afterwards, he composed an epitome in onehundred and fifty verses, consisting of the introduction with the chapterof contents. This he first taught to his son Suka; and afterwards he gaveit to others of his disciples who were possessed of the samequalifications. After that he executed another compilation, consisting ofsix hundred thousand verses. Of those, thirty hundred thousand are knownin the world of the Devas; fifteen hundred thousand in the world of thePitris: fourteen hundred thousand among the Gandharvas, and one hundredthousand in the regions of mankind. Narada recited them to the Devas,Devala to the Pitris, and Suka published them to the Gandharvas, Yakshas,and Rakshasas: and in this world they were recited by Vaisampayana, oneof the disciples of Vyasa, a man of just principles and the first amongall those acquainted with the Vedas. Know that I, Sauti, have alsorepeated one hundred thousand verses.

Yudhishthira is a vast tree, formed of religion and virtue; Arjuna is itstrunk; Bhimasena, its branches; the two sons of Madri are its full-grownfruit and flowers; and its roots are Krishna, Brahma, and the Brahmanas.

Pandu, after having subdued many countries by his wisdom and prowess,took up his abode with the Munis in a certain forest as a sportsman,where he brought upon himself a very severe misfortune for having killeda stag coupling with its mate, which served as a warning for the conductof the princes of his house as long as they lived. Their mothers, inorder that the ordinances of the law might be fulfilled, admitted assubstitutes to their embraces the gods Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, and thedivinities the twin Aswins. And when their offspring grew up, under thecare of their two mothers, in the society of ascetics, in the midst ofsacred groves and holy recluse-abodes of religious men, they wereconducted by Rishis into the presence of Dhritarashtra and his sons,following as students in the habit of Brahmacharis, having their hairtied in knots on their heads. ‘These our pupils’, said they, ‘are as yoursons, your brothers, and your friends; they are Pandavas.’ Saying this,the Munis disappeared.

When the Kauravas saw them introduced as the sons of Pandu, thedistinguished class of citizens shouted exceedingly for joy. Some,however, said, they were not the sons of Pandu; others said, they were;while a few asked how they could be his offspring, seeing he had been solong dead. Still on all sides voices were heard crying, ‘They are on allaccounts welcome! Through divine Providence we behold the family ofPandu! Let their welcome be proclaimed!’ As these acclamations ceased,the plaudits of invisible spirits, causing every point of the heavens toresound, were tremendous. There were showers of sweet-scented flowers,and the sound of shells and kettle-drums. Such were the wonders thathappened on the arrival of the young princes. The joyful noise of all thecitizens, in expression of their satisfaction on the occasion, was sogreat that it reached the very heavens in magnifying plaudits.

Having studied the whole of the Vedas and sundry other shastras, thePandavas resided there, respected by all and without apprehension fromany one.

The principal men were pleased with the purity of Yudhishthira, thecourage of Arjuna, the submissive attention of Kunti to her superiors,and the humility of the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva; and all the peoplerejoiced in their heroic virtues.

After a while, Arjuna obtained the virgin Krishna at the swayamvara, inthe midst of a concourse of Rajas, by performing a very difficult feat ofarchery. And from this time he became very much respected in this worldamong all bowmen; and in fields of battle also, like the sun, he was hardto behold by foe-men. And having vanquished all the neighbouring princesand every considerable tribe, he accomplished all that was necessary forthe Raja (his eldest brother) to perform the great sacrifice calledRajasuya.

Yudhishthira, after having, through the wise counsels of Vasudeva and bythe valour of Bhimasena and Arjuna, slain Jarasandha (the king ofMagadha) and the proud Chaidya, acquired the right to perform the grandsacrifice of Rajasuya abounding in provisions and offering and fraughtwith transcendent merits. And Duryodhana came to this sacrifice; and whenhe beheld the vast wealth of the Pandavas scattered all around, theofferings, the precious stones, gold and jewels; the wealth in cows,elephants, and horses; the curious textures, garments, and mantles; theprecious shawls and furs and carpets made of the skin of the Ranku; hewas filled with envy and became exceedingly displeased. And when hebeheld the hall of assembly elegantly constructed by Maya (the Asuraarchitect) after the fashion of a celestial court, he was inflamed withrage. And having started in confusion at certain architectural deceptionswithin this building, he was derided by Bhimasena in the presence ofVasudeva, like one of mean descent.

And it was represented to Dhritarashtra that his son, while partaking ofvarious objects of enjoyment and diverse precious things, was becomingmeagre, wan, and pale. And Dhritarashtra, some time after, out ofaffection for his son, gave his consent to their playing (with thePandavas) at dice. And Vasudeva coming to know of this, becameexceedingly wroth. And being dissatisfied, he did nothing to prevent thedisputes, but overlooked the gaming and sundry other horriedunjustifiable transactions arising therefrom: and in spite of Vidura,Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, the son of Saradwan, he made the Kshatriyaskill each other in the terrific war that ensued.’

“And Dhritarashtra hearing the ill news of the success of the Pandavasand recollecting the resolutions of Duryodhana, Kama, and Sakuni,pondered for a while and addressed to Sanjaya the following speech:–

‘Attend, O Sanjaya, to all I am about to say, and it will not become theeto treat me with contempt. Thou art well-versed in the shastras,intelligent and endowed with wisdom. My inclination was never to war, notdid I delight in the destruction of my race. I made no distinctionbetween my own children and the children of Pandu. My own sons were proneto wilfulness and despised me because I am old. Blind as I am, because ofmy miserable plight and through paternal affection, I bore it all. I wasfoolish alter the thoughtless Duryodhana ever growing in folly. Havingbeen a spectator of the riches of the mighty sons of Pandu, my son wasderided for his awkwardness while ascending the hall. Unable to bear itall and unable himself to overcome the sons of Pandu in the field, andthough a soldier, unwilling yet to obtain good fortune by his ownexertion, with the help of the king of Gandhara he concerted an unfairgame at dice.

‘Hear, O Sanjaya, all that happened thereupon and came to my knowledge.And when thou hast heard all I say, recollecting everything as it fellout, thou shall then know me for one with a prophetic eye. When I heardthat Arjuna, having bent the bow, had pierced the curious mark andbrought it down to the ground, and bore away in triumph the maidenKrishna, in the sight of the assembled princes, then, O Sanjaya I had nohope of success. When I heard that Subhadra of the race of Madhu had,after forcible seizure been married by Arjuna in the city of Dwaraka, andthat the two heroes of the race of Vrishni (Krishna and Balarama thebrothers of Subhadra) without resenting it had entered Indraprastha asfriends, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard thatArjuna, by his celestial arrow preventing the downpour by Indra the kingof the gods, had gratified Agni by making over to him the forest ofKhandava, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard thatthe five Pandavas with their mother Kunti had escaped from the house oflac, and that Vidura was engaged in the accomplishment of their designs,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna,after having pierced the mark in the arena had won Draupadi, and that thebrave Panchalas had joined the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. When I heard that Jarasandha, the foremost of the royal lineof Magadha, and blazing in the midst of the Kshatriyas, had been slain byBhima with his bare arms alone, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that in their general campaign the sons of Panduhad conquered the chiefs of the land and performed the grand sacrifice ofthe Rajasuya, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heardthat Draupadi, her voice choked with tears and heart full of agony, inthe season of impurity and with but one raiment on, had been dragged intocourt and though she had protectors, she had been treated as if she hadnone, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that thewicked wretch Duhsasana, was striving to strip her of that singlegarment, had only drawn from her person a large heap of cloth withoutbeing able to arrive at its end, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten by Saubala at the game ofdice and deprived of his kingdom as a consequence thereof, had still beenattended upon by his brothers of incomparable prowess, then, O Sanjaya, Ihad no hope of success. When I heard that the virtuous Pandavas weepingwith affliction had followed their elder brother to the wilderness andexerted themselves variously for the mitigation of his discomforts, then,O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

‘When I heard that Yudhishthira had been followed into the wilderness bySnatakas and noble-minded Brahmanas who live upon alms, then, O Sanjaya,I had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna, having, in combat,pleased the god of gods, Tryambaka (the three-eyed) in the disguise of ahunter, obtained the great weapon Pasupata, then O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. When I heard that the just and renowned Arjuna after havingbeen to the celestial regions, had there obtained celestial weapons fromIndra himself then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heardthat afterwards Arjuna had vanquished the Kalakeyas and the Paulomasproud with the boon they had obtained and which had rendered theminvulnerable even to the celestials, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that Arjuna, the chastiser of enemies, having goneto the regions of Indra for the destruction of the Asuras, had returnedthence successful, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard that Bhima and the other sons of Pritha (Kunti) accompanied byVaisravana had arrived at that country which is inaccessible to man then,O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that my sons, guided bythe counsels of Karna, while on their journey of Ghoshayatra, had beentaken prisoners by the Gandharvas and were set free by Arjuna, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Dharma (the god ofjustice) having come under the form of a Yaksha had proposed certainquestions to Yudhishthira then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. WhenI heard that my sons had failed to discover the Pandavas under theirdisguise while residing with Draupadi in the dominions of Virata, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the principal men ofmy side had all been vanquished by the noble Arjuna with a single chariotwhile residing in the dominions of Virata, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. When I heard that Vasudeva of the race of Madhu, who coveredthis whole earth by one foot, was heartily interested in the welfare ofthe Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heardthat the king of Matsya, had offered his virtuous daughter Uttara toArjuna and that Arjuna had accepted her for his son, then, O Sanjaya, Ihad no hope of success. When I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten at dice,deprived of wealth, exiled and separated from his connections, hadassembled yet an army of seven Akshauhinis, then, O Sanjaya, I had nohope of success. When I heard Narada, declare that Krishna and Arjunawere Nara and Narayana and he (Narada) had seen them together in theregions of Brahma, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard that Krishna, anxious to bring about peace, for the welfare ofmankind had repaired to the Kurus, and went away without having been ableto effect his purpose, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard that Kama and Duryodhana resolved upon imprisoning Krishnadisplayed in himself the whole universe, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. Then I heard that at the time of his departure, Pritha(Kunti) standing, full of sorrow, near his chariot received consolationfrom Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heardthat Vasudeva and Bhishma the son of Santanu were the counsellors of thePandavas and Drona the son of Bharadwaja pronounced blessings on them,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Kama said unto Bhishma–Iwill not fight when thou art fighting–and, quitting the army, went away,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Vasudeva andArjuna and the bow Gandiva of immeasurable prowess, these three ofdreadful energy had come together, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that upon Arjuna having been seized withcompunction on his chariot and ready to sink, Krishna showed him all theworlds within his body, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard that Bhishma, the desolator of foes, killing ten thousandcharioteers every day in the field of battle, had not slain any amongstthe Pandavas then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard thatBhishma, the righteous son of Ganga, had himself indicated the means ofhis defeat in the field of battle and that the same were accomplished bythe Pandavas with joyfulness, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.When I heard that Arjuna, having placed Sikhandin before himself in hischariot, had wounded Bhishma of infinite courage and invincible inbattle, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that theaged hero Bhishma, having reduced the numbers of the race of shomaka to afew, overcome with various wounds was lying on a bed of arrows, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that upon Bhishma’s lyingon the ground with thirst for water, Arjuna, being requested, had piercedthe ground and allayed his thirst, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When Bayu together with Indra and Suryya united as allies forthe success of the sons of Kunti, and the beasts of prey (by theirinauspicious presence) were putting us in fear, then, O Sanjaya, I had nohope of success. When the wonderful warrior Drona, displaying variousmodes of fight in the field, did not slay any of the superior Pandavas,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that theMaharatha Sansaptakas of our army appointed for the overthrow of Arjunawere all slain by Arjuna himself, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that our disposition of forces, impenetrable byothers, and defended by Bharadwaja himself well-armed, had been singlyforced and entered by the brave son of Subhadra, then, O Sanjaya, I hadno hope of success. When I heard that our Maharathas, unable to overcomeArjuna, with jubilant faces after having jointly surrounded and slain theboy Abhimanyu, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heardthat the blind Kauravas were shouting for joy after having slainAbhimanyu and that thereupon Arjuna in anger made his celebrated speechreferring to Saindhava, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard that Arjuna had vowed the death of Saindhava and fulfilled his vowin the presence of his enemies, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that upon the horses of Arjuna being fatigued,Vasudeva releasing them made them drink water and bringing them back andreharnessing them continued to guide them as before, then, O Sanjaya, Ihad no hope of success. When I heard that while his horses were fatigued,Arjuna staying in his chariot checked all his assailants, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Yuyudhana of therace of Vrishni, after having thrown into confusion the army of Dronarendered unbearable in prowess owing to the presence of elephants,retired to where Krishna and Arjuna were, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. When I heard that Karna even though he had got Bhima withinhis power allowed him to escape after only addressing him in contemptuousterms and dragging him with the end of his bow, then, O Sanjaya, I had nohope of success. When I heard that Drona, Kritavarma, Kripa, Karna, theson of Drona, and the valiant king of Madra (Salya) suffered Saindhava tobe slain, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard thatthe celestial Sakti given by Indra (to Karna) was by Madhava’smachinations caused to be hurled upon Rakshasa Ghatotkacha of frightfulcountenance, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard thatin the encounter between Karna and Ghatotkacha, that Sakti was hurledagainst Ghatotkacha by Karna, the same which was certainly to have slainArjuna in battle, then, O Sanjaya. I had no hope of success. When I heardthat Dhristadyumna, transgressing the laws of battle, slew Drona whilealone in his chariot and resolved on death, then, O Sanjaya, I had nohope of success. When I heard that Nakula. the son of Madri, having inthe presence of the whole army engaged in single combat with the son ofDrona and showing himself equal to him drove his chariot in circlesaround, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When upon the death ofDrona, his son misused the weapon called Narayana but failed to achievethe destruction of the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope ofsuccess. When I heard that Bhimasena drank the blood of his brotherDuhsasana in the field of battle without anybody being able to preventhim, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that theinfinitely brave Karna, invincible in battle, was slain by Arjuna in thatwar of brothers mysterious even to the gods, then, O Sanjaya, I had nohope of success. When I heard that Yudhishthira, the Just, overcame theheroic son of Drona, Duhsasana, and the fierce Kritavarman, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the brave king ofMadra who ever dared Krishna in battle was slain by Yudhishthira, then, OSanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the wicked Suvala ofmagic power, the root of the gaming and the feud, was slain in battle bySahadeva, the son of Pandu, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.When I heard that Duryodhana, spent with fatigue, having gone to a lakeand made a refuge for himself within its waters, was lying there alone,his strength gone and without a chariot, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hopeof success. When I heard that the Pandavas having gone to that lakeaccompanied by Vasudeva and standing on its beach began to addresscontemptuously my son who was incapable of putting up with affronts,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that while,displaying in circles a variety of curious modes (of attack and defence)in an encounter with clubs, he was unfairly slain according to thecounsels of Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Iheard the son of Drona and others by slaying the Panchalas and the sonsof Draupadi in their sleep, perpetrated a horrible and infamous deed,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Aswatthamanwhile being pursued by Bhimasena had discharged the first of weaponscalled Aishika, by which the embryo in the womb (of Uttara) was wounded,then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the weaponBrahmashira (discharged by Aswatthaman) was repelled by Arjuna withanother weapon over which he had pronounced the word “Sasti” and thatAswatthaman had to give up the jewel-like excrescence on his head, then,O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that upon the embryo inthe womb of Virata’s daughter being wounded by Aswatthaman with a mightyweapon, Dwaipayana and Krishna pronounced curses on him, then, O Sanjaya,I had no hope of success.

‘Alas! Gandhari, destitute of children, grand-children, parents,brothers, and kindred, is to be pitied. Difficult is the task that hathbeen performed by the Pandavas: by them hath a kingdom been recoveredwithout a rival.

‘Alas! I have heard that the war hath left only ten alive: three of ourside, and the Pandavas, seven, in that dreadful conflict eighteenAkshauhinis of Kshatriyas have been slain! All around me is utterdarkness, and a fit of swoon assaileth me: consciousness leaves me, OSuta, and my mind is distracted.”

“Sauti said, ‘Dhritarashtra, bewailing his fate in these words, wasovercome with extreme anguish and for a time deprived of sense; but beingrevived, he addressed Sanjaya in the following words.

“After what hath come to pass, O Sanjaya, I wish to put an end to my lifewithout delay; I do not find the least advantage in cherishing it anylonger.”

“Sauti said, ‘The wise son of Gavalgana (Sanjaya) then addressed thedistressed lord of Earth while thus talking and bewailing, sighing like aserpent and repeatedly tainting, in words of deep import.

“Thou hast heard, O Raja, of the greatly powerful men of vast exertions,spoken of by Vyasa and the wise Narada; men born of great royal families,resplendent with worthy qualities, versed in the science of celestialarms, and in glory emblems of Indra; men who having conquered the worldby justice and performed sacrifices with fit offerings (to theBrahmanas), obtained renown in this world and at last succumbed to thesway of time. Such were Saivya; the valiant Maharatha; Srinjaya, greatamongst conquerors. Suhotra; Rantideva, and Kakshivanta, great in glory;Valhika, Damana, Saryati, Ajita, and Nala; Viswamitra the destroyer offoes; Amvarisha, great in strength; Marutta, Manu, Ikshaku, Gaya, andBharata; Rama the son of Dasaratha; Sasavindu, and Bhagiratha;Kritavirya, the greatly fortunate, and Janamejaya too; and Yayati of gooddeeds who performed sacrifices, being assisted therein by the celestialsthemselves, and by whose sacrificial altars and stakes this earth withher habited and uninhabited regions hath been marked all over. Thesetwenty-four Rajas were formerly spoken of by the celestial Rishi Naradaunto Saivya when much afflicted for the loss of his children. Besidesthese, other Rajas had gone before, still more powerful than they, mightycharioteers noble in mind, and resplendent with every worthy quality.These were Puru, Kuru, Yadu, Sura and Viswasrawa of great glory; Anuha,Yuvanaswu, Kakutstha, Vikrami, and Raghu; Vijava, Virihorta, Anga, Bhava,Sweta, and Vripadguru; Usinara, Sata-ratha, Kanka, Duliduha, and Druma;Dambhodbhava, Para, Vena, Sagara, Sankriti, and Nimi; Ajeya, Parasu,Pundra, Sambhu, and holy Deva-Vridha; Devahuya, Supratika, andVrihad-ratha; Mahatsaha, Vinitatma, Sukratu, and Nala, the king of theNishadas; Satyavrata, Santabhaya, Sumitra, and the chief Subala;Janujangha, Anaranya, Arka, Priyabhritya, Chuchi-vrata, Balabandhu,Nirmardda, Ketusringa, and Brhidbala; Dhrishtaketu, Brihatketu,Driptaketu, and Niramaya; Abikshit, Chapala, Dhurta, Kritbandhu, andDridhe-shudhi; Mahapurana-sambhavya, Pratyanga, Paraha and Sruti. These,O chief, and other Rajas, we hear enumerated by hundreds and bythousands, and still others by millions, princes of great power andwisdom, quitting very abundant enjoyments met death as thy sons havedone! Their heavenly deeds, valour, and generosity, their magnanimity,faith, truth, purity, simplicity and mercy, are published to the world inthe records of former times by sacred bards of great learning. Thoughendued with every noble virtue, these have yielded up their lives. Thysons were malevolent, inflamed with passion, avaricious, and of veryevil-disposition. Thou art versed in the Sastras, O Bharata, and artintelligent and wise; they never sink under misfortunes whoseunderstandings are guided by the Sastras. Thou art acquainted, O prince,with the lenity and severity of fate; this anxiety therefore for thesafety of thy children is unbecoming. Moreover, it behoveth thee not togrieve for that which must happen: for who can avert, by his wisdom, thedecrees of fate? No one can leave the way marked out for him byProvidence. Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain all have Timefor their root. Time createth all things and Time destroyeth allcreatures. It is Time that burneth creatures and it is Time thatextinguisheth the fire. All states, the good and the evil, in the threeworlds, are caused by Time. Time cutteth short all things and createththem anew. Time alone is awake when all things are asleep: indeed, Timeis incapable of being overcome. Time passeth over all things withoutbeing retarded. Knowing, as thou dost, that all things past and futureand all that exist at the present moment, are the offspring of Time, itbehoveth thee not to throw away thy reason.’

“Sauti said, ‘The son of Gavalgana having in this manner administeredcomfort to the royal Dhritarashtra overwhelmed with grief for his sons,then restored his mind to peace. Taking these facts for his subject,Dwaipayana composed a holy Upanishad that has been published to the worldby learned and sacred bards in the Puranas composed by them.

“The study of the Bharata is an act of piety. He that readeth even onefoot, with belief, hath his sins entirely purged away. Herein Devas,Devarshis, and immaculate Brahmarshis of good deeds, have been spoken of;and likewise Yakshas and great Uragas (Nagas). Herein also hath beendescribed the eternal Vasudeva possessing the six attributes. He is thetrue and just, the pure and holy, the eternal Brahma, the supreme soul,the true constant light, whose divine deeds wise and learned recount;from whom hath proceeded the non-existent and existent-non-existentuniverse with principles of generation and progression, and birth, deathand re-birth. That also hath been treated of which is called Adhyatma(the superintending spirit of nature) that partaketh of the attributes ofthe five elements. That also hath been described who is purusha beingabove such epithets as ‘undisplayed’ and the like; also that which theforemost yatis exempt from the common destiny and endued with the powerof meditation and Tapas behold dwelling in their hearts as a reflectedimage in the mirror.

“The man of faith, devoted to piety, and constant in the exercise ofvirtue, on reading this section is freed from sin. The believer thatconstantly heareth recited this section of the Bharata, called theIntroduction, from the beginning, falleth not into difficulties. The manrepeating any part of the introduction in the two twilights is duringsuch act freed from the sins contracted during the day or the night. Thissection, the body of the Bharata, is truth and nectar. As butter is incurd, Brahmana among bipeds, the Aranyaka among the Vedas, and nectaramong medicines; as the sea is eminent among receptacles of water, andthe cow among quadrupeds; as are these (among the things mentioned) so isthe Bharata said to be among histories.

“He that causeth it, even a single foot thereof, to be recited toBrahmanas during a Sradha, his offerings of food and drink to the manesof his ancestors become inexhaustible.

“By the aid of history and the Puranas, the Veda may be expounded; butthe Veda is afraid of one of little information lest he should it. Thelearned man who recites to other this Veda of Vyasa reapeth advantage. Itmay without doubt destroy even the sin of killing the embryo and thelike. He that readeth this holy chapter of the moon, readeth the whole ofthe Bharata, I ween. The man who with reverence daily listeneth to thissacred work acquireth long life and renown and ascendeth to heaven.

“In former days, having placed the four Vedas on one side and the Bharataon the other, these were weighed in the balance by the celestialsassembled for that purpose. And as the latter weighed heavier than thefour Vedas with their mysteries, from that period it hath been called inthe world Mahabharata (the great Bharata). Being esteemed superior bothin substance and gravity of import it is denominated Mahabharata onaccount of such substance and gravity of import. He that knoweth itsmeaning is saved from all his sins.

‘Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the ordinance of the Vedasprescribed for all the tribes are harmless, the acquisition of wealth byexertion is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it isthen that they become sources of evil.'”

Chapter 2
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