“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed, Kunti replied unto her heroic lord,king Pandu, that bull amongst the Kurus, saying, ‘O virtuous one, itbehoveth thee not to say so unto me. I am, O thou lotus-eyed one, thywedded wife, devoted to thee.
O, Bharata of mighty arms, thyself shalt,in righteousness, beget upon me children endued with great energy. Then Ishall ascend to heaven with thee; O prince of Kuru’s race, receive me inthy embrace for begetting children. I shall not certainly, even inimagination, accept any other man except thee in my embraces. What otherman is there in this world superior to thee? O virtuous one, listen tothis Pauranic narrative that hath been, O thou of large eyes, heard byme, and that I shall presently narrate.
“There was, in ancient times, a king in the race of Puru, known by thename of Vyushitaswa. He was devoted to truth and virtue. Of virtuous souland mighty arms, on one occasion, while he was performing a sacrifice thegods with Indra and the great Rishis came to him, and Indra was sointoxicated with the Soma juice he drank and the Brahmanas with the largepresents they received, that both the gods and the great Rishis beganthemselves to perform everything appertaining to that sacrifice of theillustrious royal sage. And thereupon Vyushitaswa began to shine aboveall men like the Sun appearing in double splendour after the season offrost is over. And the powerful Vyushitaswa, who was endued with thestrength of ten elephants very soon performed the horse-sacrifice,overthrowing, O best of monarchs, all the kings of the East, the North,the West and the South, and exacted tributes from them all. There is ananecdote, O best of the Kurus, that is sung by all reciters of thePuranas, in connection with that first of all men, the illustriousVyushitaswa.–Having conquered the whole Earth up to the coast of thesea, Vyushitaswa protected every class of his subjects as a father doeshis own begotten sons.–Performing many great sacrifices he gave awaymuch wealth to the Brahmanas. After collecting unlimited jewels andprecious stones he made arrangements for performing still greater ones.And he performed also the Agnishtoma, and other special Vedic sacrifices,extracting great quantities of Soma juice. And, O king, Vyushitaswa hadfor his dear wife, Bhadra, the daughter of Kakshivat, unrivalled forbeauty on earth. And it hath been heard by us that the couple loved eachother deeply. King Vyushitaswa was seldom separated from his wife. Sexualexcess, however, brought on an attack of phthisis and the king diedwithin a few days, sinking like the Sun in his glory. Then Bhadra, hisbeautiful queen, was plunged into woe, and as she was sonless, O tigeramong men, she wept in great affliction. Listen to me, O king, as Inarrate to you all that Bhadra said with bitter tears trickling down hercheeks. ‘O virtuous one’, she said, ‘Women serve no purpose when theirhusbands are dead. She who liveth after her husband is dead, draggeth ona miserable existence that can hardly be called life. O bull of theKshatriya order, death is a blessing to women without husbands. I wish tofollow the way thou hast gone. Be kind and take me with thee. In thyabsence, I am unable to bear life even for a moment. Be kind to me, Oking and take me hence pretty soon. O tiger among men, I shall followthee over the even and uneven ground. Thou hast gone away, O lord, neverto return. I shall follow thee, O king, as thy own shadow. O tiger amongmen, I will obey thee (as thy slave) and will ever do what is agreeableto thee and what is for thy good. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals,without thee, from this day, mental agonies will overwhelm me and eatinto my heart. A wretch that I am, some loving couple had doubtless beenseparated by me in a former life, for which, in this life, I am made tosuffer the pangs of separation from thee. O king, that wretched woman wholiveth even for a moment separated from her lord, liveth in woe andsuffereth the pangs of hell even here. Some loving couple had doubtlessbeen separated by me in a former life, for which sinful act I amsuffering this torture arising from my separation from thee. O king, fromthis day I will lay myself down on a bed of Kusa grass and abstain fromevery luxury, hoping to behold thee once more. O tiger among men, showthyself to me. O king, O lord, command once more thy wretched andbitterly weeping wife plunged in woe.’
“Kunti continued, ‘It was thus, O Pandu, that the beautiful Bhadra weptover the death of her lord. And the weeping Bhadra clasped in her armsthe corpse in anguish of heart. Then she was addressed by an incorporealvoice in these words, “Rise up, O Bhadra, and leave this place. O thou ofsweet smiles, I grant thee this boon. I will beget offspring upon thee.Lie thou down with me on thy own bed, after the catamenial bath, on thenight of the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon.’ Thus addressed bythe incorporeal voice, the chaste Bhadra did, as she was directed, forobtaining offspring. And, O bull of the Bharatas, the corpse of herhusband begat upon her seven children viz., three Salwas and four Madras.O bull of the Bharatas, do thou also beget offspring upon me, like theillustrious Vyushitaswa, by the exercise of that ascetic power which thoupossessest.'”