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Chapter 118

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Janamejaya said, ‘O utterer of Brahma, thou hast recited (everythingabout) the extraordinary birth among men, of the sons of Dhritarashtra inconsequence of the Rishi’s grace. Thou hast also said what their namesare, according to the order of their birth.

O Brahmana, I have heard allthese from thee. But tell me now all about the Pandavas. While recitingthe incarnations on earth of the celestial, the Asuras, and the beings ofother classes, thou saidst that the Pandavas were all illustrious andendued with the prowess of gods, and that they were incarnate portion ofthe celestials themselves. I desire, therefore, to hear all about thosebeings of extraordinary achievements beginning from the moment of theirbirth. O Vaisampayana, recite thou their achievements.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘O king, one day Pandu, while roaming about in thewoods (on the southern slopes of the Himavat) that teemed with deer andwild animals of fierce disposition, saw a large deer, that seemed to bethe leader of a herd, serving his mate. Beholding the animals, themonarch pierced them both with five of his sharp and swift arrows wingedwith golden feathers. O monarch, that was no deer that Pandu struck at,but a Rishi’s son of great ascetic merit who was enjoying his mate in theform of a deer. Pierced by Pandu, while engaged in the act ofintercourse, he fell down to the ground, uttering cries that were of aman and began to weep bitterly.

“The deer then addressed Pandu and said, ‘O king, even men that areslaves to lust and wrath, and void of reason, and ever sinful, nevercommit such a cruel act as this. Individual judgment prevaileth notagainst the ordinance, the ordinance prevaileth against individualjudgment. The wise never sanction anything discountenanced by theordinance. Thou art born, O Bharata, in a race that hath ever beenvirtuous. How is it, therefore, that even thou, suffering thyself to beoverpowered by passion and wrath losest thy reason?’ Hearing this, Pandureplied, ‘O deer, kings behave in the matter of slaying animals of thyspecies exactly as they do in the matter of slaying foes. It behoveththee not, therefore, to reprove me thus from ignorance. Animals of thyspecies are slain by open or covert means. This, indeed, is the practiceof kings. Then why dost thou reprove me? Formerly, the Rishi Agastya,while engaged in the performance of a grand sacrifice, chased the deer,and devoted every deer in the forest unto the gods in general. Thou hastbeen slain, pursuant to the usage sanctioned by such precedent. Whereforereprovest us then? For his especial sacrifices Agastya performed the homawith fat of the deer.’

“The deer then said, ‘O king, men do not let fly their arrows at theirenemies when the latter are unprepared. But there is a time for doing it(viz., after declaration of hostilities). Slaughter at such a time is notcensurable.’

“Pandu replied, ‘It is well-known that men slay deer by various effectivemeans without regarding whether the animals are careful or careless.Therefore, O deer, why dost thou reprove me?’

“The deer then said, ‘O, king, I did not blame thee for thy having killeda deer, or for the injury thou hast done to me. But, instead of acting socruelly, thou shouldst have waited till the completion of my act ofintercourse. What man of wisdom and virtue is there that can kill a deerwhile engaged in such an act? The time of sexual intercourse is agreeableto every creature and productive of good to all. O king, with this mymate I was engaged in the gratification of my sexual desire. But thateffort of mine hath been rendered futile by thee. O king of the Kurus, asthou art born in the race of the Pauravas ever noted for white (virtuous)deeds, such an act hath scarcely been worthy of thee. O Bharata, this actmust be regarded as extremely cruel, deserving of universal execration,infamous, and sinful, and certainly leading to hell. Thou art acquaintedwith the pleasures of sexual intercourse. Thou art acquainted also withthe teaching of morality and dictates of duty. Like unto a celestial asthou art, it behoveth thee not to do such an act as leadeth to hell. Obest of kings, thy duty is to chastise all who act cruelly, who areengaged in sinful practices and who have thrown to the winds religion,profit, and pleasure as explained in the scriptures. What hast thou done,O best of men, in killing me who have given thee no offence? I am, Oking, a Muni who liveth on fruits and roots, though disguised as a deer.I was living in the woods in peace with all. Yet thou hast killed me, Oking, for which I will curse thee certainly. As thou hast been cruel untoa couple of opposite sexes, death shall certainly overtake thee as soonas thou feelest the influence of sexual desire. I am a Muni of the nameof Kindama, possessed of ascetic merit. I was engaged in sexualintercourse with this deer, because my feelings of modesty did not permitme to indulge in such an act in human society. In the form of a deer Irove in the deep woods in the company of other deer. Thou hast slain mewithout knowing that I am a Brahmana, the sin of having slain a Brahmanashall not, therefore, be thine. But senseless man, as you have killed me,disguised as a deer, at such a time, thy fate shall certainly be evenlike mine. When, approaching thy wife lustfully, thou wilt unite with hereven as I had done with mine, in that very state shalt thou have to go tothe world of the spirits. And that wife of thine with whom thou mayst beunited in intercourse at the time of thy death shall also follow theewith affection and reverence to the domains of the king of the dead. Thouhast brought me grief when I was happy. So shall grief come to thee whenthou art in happiness.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying this, that deer, afflicted with griefgave up the ghost; and Pandu also was plunged in woe at the sight.'”



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