Chapter 153

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Vaisampayana said,” As the mighty Bhima proceeded, the whole forest withits trees and their branches seemed to tremble, in consequence of theirclash with his breast. The motion of his thighs raised a wind like untothat which blows during the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha (May andJune).

And the mighty Bhima proceeded, making a path for himself, buttreading down the trees and creepers before him. In fact, he broke (bythe pressure of his body) the large trees and plants, with their flowersand fruits, standing on his way. Even so passeth through the woodsbreaking down mighty trees, the leader of a herd of elephants, of the ageof sixty years, angry and endued with excess of energy, during the seasonof rut when the liquid juice trickle down the three parts of his body.Indeed, so great was the force with which Bhima endued with the speed ofGaruda or of Marut (the god of wind), proceeded that the Pandavas seemedto faint in consequence. Frequently swimming across streams difficult ofbeing crossed, the Pandavas disguised themselves on their way from fearof the sons of Dhritarashtra. And Bhima carried on his shoulder hisillustrious mother of delicate sensibilities along the uneven banks ofrivers. Towards the evening, O bull of Bharata’s race, Bhima (bearing hisbrothers and mother on his back) reached a terrible forest where fruitsand roots and water were scarce and which resounded with the terriblecries of birds and beasts. The twilight deepened the cries of birds andbeasts became fiercer, darkness shrouded everything from the view anduntimely winds began to blow that broke and laid low many a tree largeand small and many creepers with dry leaves and fruits. The Kauravaprinces, afflicted with fatigue and thirst, and heavy with sleep, wereunable to proceed further. They then all sat down in that forest withoutfood and drink. Then Kunti, smitten with thirst, said unto her sons, ‘Iam the mother of the five Pandavas and am now in their midst. Yet I amburning with thirst!’ Kunti repeatedly said this unto her sons. Hearingthese words, Bhima’s heart, from affection for his mother, was warmed bycompassion and he resolved to go (along as before). Then Bhima,proceeding through that terrible and extensive forest without a livingsoul, saw a beautiful banian tree with widespreading branches. Settingdown there his brothers and mother, O bull of Bharata’s race; he saidunto them, ‘Rest you here, while I go in quest of water. I hear the sweetcries of aquatic fowls. I think there must be a large pool here.’Commanded, O Bharata, by his elder brother who said unto him, ‘Go’, Bhimaproceeded in the direction whence the cries of those aquatic fowls werecoming. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, he soon came upon a lake andbathed and slaked his thirst. And affectionate unto his brothers, hebrought for them, O Bharata, water by soaking his upper garments. Hastilyretracing his way over those four miles he came unto where his mother wasand beholding her he was afflicted with sorrow and began to sigh like asnake. Distressed with grief at seeing his mother and brothers asleep onthe bare ground, Vrikodara began to weep, ‘Oh, wretch that I am, whobehold my brothers asleep on the bare ground, what can befall me morepainful than this? Alas, they who formerly at Varanavata could not sleepon the softest and costliest beds are now asleep on the bare ground! Oh,what more painful sight shall I ever behold than that of Kunti–thesister of Vasudeva, that grinder of hostile hosts–the daughter ofKuntiraja,–herself decked with every auspicious mark, thedaughter-in-law of Vichitravirya,–the wife of the illustriousPandu,–the mother of us (five brothers),–resplendent as the filamentsof the lotus and delicate and tender and fit to sleep on the costliestbed–thus asleep, as she should never be, on the bare ground! Oh, she whohath brought forth these sons by Dharma and Indra and Maruta–she whohath ever slept within palaces–now sleepeth, fatigued, on the bareground! What more painful sight shall ever be beheld by me than that ofthese tigers among men (my brothers) asleep on the ground! Oh, thevirtuous Yudhishthira, who deserveth the sovereignty of the three worlds,sleepeth, fatigued, like an ordinary man, on the bare ground! This Arjunaof the darkish hue of blue clouds, and unequalled amongst men sleepeth onthe ground like an ordinary person! Oh, what can be more painful thanthis? Oh the twins, who in beauty are like the twin Aswins amongst thecelestials, are asleep like ordinary mortals on the bare ground! He whohath no jealous evil-minded relatives, liveth in happiness in this worldlike a single tree in a village. The tree that standeth single in avillage with its leaves and fruits, from absence of other of the samespecies, becometh sacred and is worshipped and venerated by all. Theyagain that have many relatives who, however, are all heroic and virtuous,live happily in the world without sorrow of any kind. Themselves powerfuland growing in prosperity and always gladdening their friends andrelatives, they live, depending on each other, like tall trees growing inthe same forest. We, however, have been forced in exile by the wickedDhritarashtra and his sons having escaped with difficulty, from sheergood fortune, a fiery death. Having escaped from that fire, we are nowresting in the shade of this tree. Having already suffered so much, wherenow are we to go? Ye sons of Dhritarashtra of little foresight, ye wickedfellows, enjoy your temporary success. The gods are certainly auspiciousto you. But ye wicked wretches, ye are alive yet, only becauseYudhishthira doth not command me to take your lives. Else this very day,filled with wrath, I would send thee, (O Duryodhana), to the regions ofYama (Pluto) with thy children and friends and brothers, and Karna, and(Sakuni) the son of Suvala! But what can I do, for, ye sinful wretches,the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, is not yetangry with you?’

“Having said this, Bhima of mighty arms, fired with wrath, began tosqueeze his palms, sighing deeply in affliction. Excited again with wrathlike an extinguished fire blazing up all on a sudden, Vrikodara once morebeheld his brothers sleeping on the ground like ordinary persons sleepingin trustfulness. And Bhima said unto himself, ‘I think there is some townnot far off from this forest. These all are asleep, so I will sit awake.And this will slake their thirst after they rise refreshed from sleep.’Saying this, Bhima sat there awake, keeping watch over his sleepingmother and brothers.'”

Chapter 154
Chapter 152
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