“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then Bhishma and Kunti with their friends celebratedthe Sraddha of the deceased monarch, and offered the Pinda. And theyfeasted the Kauravas and thousands of Brahmanas unto whom they also gavegems and lands.
Then the citizens returned to Hastinapura with the sonsof Pandu, now that they had been cleansed from the impurity incident tothe demise of their father. All then fell to weeping for the departedking. It seemed as if they had lost one of their own kin.
“When the Sraddha had been celebrated in the manner mentioned above, thevenerable Vyasa, seeing all the subjects sunk in grief, said one day tohis mother Satyavati, ‘Mother, our days of happiness have gone by anddays of calamity have succeeded. Sin beginneth to increase day by day.The world hath got old. The empire of the Kauravas will no longer endurebecause of wrong and oppression. Go thou then into the forest, and devotethyself to contemplation through Yoga. Henceforth society will be filledwith deceit and wrong. Good work will cease. Do not witness theannihilation of thy race, in thy old age.’
“Acquiescing in the words of Vyasa, Satyavati entered the innerapartments and addressed her daughter-in-law, saying, ‘O Ambika, I hearthat in consequence of the deeds of your grandsons, this Bharata dynastyand its subjects will perish. If thou permit, I would go to the forestwith Kausalya, so grieved at the loss of her son.’ O king, saying thisthe queen, taking the permission of Bhishma also, went to the forest. Andarriving there with her two daughters-in-law, she became engaged inprofound contemplation, and in good time leaving her body ascended toheaven.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then the sons of king Pandu, having gonethrough all the purifying rites prescribed in the Vedas, began to grow upin princely style in the home of their father. Whenever they were engagedin play with the sons of Dhritarashtra, their superiority of strengthbecame marked. In speed, in striking the objects aimed at, in consumingarticles of food, and scattering dust, Bhimasena beat all the sons ofDhritarashtra. The son of the Wind-god pulled them by the hair and madethem fight with one another, laughing all the while. And Vrikodara easilydefeated those hundred and one children of great energy as if they wereone instead of being a hundred and one. The second Pandava used to seizethem by the hair, and throwing them down, to drag them along the earth.By this, some had their knees broken, some their heads, and some theirshoulders. That youth, sometimes holding ten of them, drowned them inwater, till they were nearly dead. When the sons of Dhritarashtra got upto the boughs of a tree for plucking fruits, Bhima used to shake thattree, by striking it with his foot, so that down came the fruits and thefruitpluckers at the same time. In fact, those princes were no match forBhima in pugilistic encounters, in speed, or in skill. Bhima used to makea display of his strength by thus tormenting them in childishness but notfrom malice.
“Seeing these wonderful exhibitions of the might of Bhima, the powerfulDuryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, began to conceive hostilitytowards him. And the wicked and unrighteous Duryodhana, through ignoranceand ambition, prepared himself for an act of sin. He thought, ‘There isno other individual who can compare with Bhima, the second son of Pandu,in point of prowess. I shall have to destroy him by artifice. Singly,Bhima dares a century of us to the combat. Therefore, when he shall sleepin the garden, I shall throw him into the current of the Ganga.Afterwards, confining his eldest brother Yudhishthira and his youngerbrother Arjuna, I shall reign sole king without molestation.’ Determinedthus, the wicked Duryodhana was ever on the watch to find out anopportunity for injuring Bhima. And, O Bharata, at length at a beautifulplace called Pramanakoti on the banks of the Ganga, he built a palacedecorated with hangings of broad-cloth and other rich stuffs. And hebuilt this palace for sporting in the water there, and filled it with allkinds of entertaining things and choice viands. Gay flags waved on thetop of this mansion. The name of the house was ‘the water-sport house.’Skilful cooks prepared various kinds of viands. When all was ready, theofficers gave intimation to Duryodhana. Then the evil-minded prince saidunto the Pandavas, ‘Let us all go to the banks of the Ganga graced withtrees and crowned with flowers and sport there in the water.’ And uponYudhishthira agreeing to this, the sons of Dhritarashtra, taking thePandavas with them, mounted country-born elephants of great size and carsresembling towns, and left the metropolis.
“On arriving at the place, the princes dismissed their attendants, andsurveying the beauty of the gardens and the groves, entered the palace,like lions entering their mountain caves. On entering they saw that thearchitects had handsomely plastered the walls and the ceilings and thatpainters had painted them beautifully. The windows looked very graceful,and the artificial fountains were splendid. Here and there were tanks ofpellucid water in which bloomed forests of lotuses. The banks were deckedwith various flowers whose fragrance filled the atmosphere. The Kauravasand the Pandavas sat down and began to enjoy the things provided forthem. They became engaged in play and began to exchange morsels of foodwith one another. Meanwhile the wicked Duryodhana had mixed a powerfulpoison with a quantity of food, with the object of making away withBhima. That wicked youth who had nectar in his tongue and a razor in hisheart, rose at length, and in a friendly way fed Bhima largely with thatpoisoned food, and thinking himself lucky in having compassed his end,was exceedingly glad at heart. Then the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandutogether became cheerfully engaged in sporting in the water. Their sporthaving been finished, they dressed themselves in white habiliments, anddecked themselves with various ornaments. Fatigued with play, they feltinclined in the evening to rest in the pleasurehouse belonging to thegarden. Having made the other youths take exercise in the waters, thepowerful second Pandava was excessively fatigued. So that on rising fromthe water, he lay down on the ground. He was weary and under theinfluence of the poison. And the cool air served to spread the poisonover all his frame, so that he lost his senses at once. Seeing thisDuryodhana bound him with chords of shrubs, and threw him into the water.The insensible son of Pandu sank down till he reached the Naga kingdom.Nagas, furnished with fangs containing virulent venom, bit him bythousands. The vegetable poison, mingled in the blood of the son of theWind god, was neutralised by the snake-poison. The serpents had bittenall over his frame, except his chest, the skin of which was so tough thattheir fangs could not penetrate it.
“On regaining consciousness, the son of Kunti burst his bands and beganto press the snakes down under the ground. A remnant fled for life, andgoing to their king Vasuki, represented, ‘O king of snakes, a man drownedunder the water, bound in chords of shrubs; probably he had drunk poison.For when he fell amongst us, he was insensible. But when we began to bitehim, he regained his senses, and bursting his fetters, commenced layingat us. May it please Your Majesty to enquire who is.’
“Then Vasuki, in accordance with the prayer of the inferior Nagas, wentto the place and saw Bhimasena. Of the serpents, there was one, namedAryaka. He was the grandfather of the father of Kunti. The lord ofserpents saw his relative and embraced him. Then, Vasuki, learning all,was pleased with Bhima, and said to Aryaka with satisfaction, ‘How are weto please him? Let him have money and gems in profusion.”
“On hearing the words of Vasuki, Aryaka said, ‘O king of serpents, whenYour Majesty is pleased with him, no need of wealth for him! Permit himto drink of rasakunda (nectar-vessels) and thus acquire immeasurablestrength. There is the strength of a thousand elephants in each one ofthose vessels. Let this prince drink as much as he can.’
“The king of serpents gave his consent. And the serpents thereupon beganauspicious rites. Then purifying himself carefully, Bhimasena facing theeast began to drink nectar. At one breath, he quaffed off the contents ofa whole vessel, and in this manner drained off eight successive jars,till he was full. At length, the serpents prepared an excellent bed forhim, on which he lay down at ease.'”