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Chapter 157

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressedher, saying, ‘Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adoptingdeceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O Hidimva,go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.’

Then Yudhishthirabeholding Bhima in rage, said, ‘O Bhima, O tiger among men, howeverenraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is ahigher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with theobject of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sisterof that Rakshasa, what can she do to us even if she were angry?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti andher son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, ‘O revered lady, thouknowest the pangs that women are made to feel at the hands of the deityof love. Blessed dame, these pangs, of which Bhimasena hath been thecause, are torturing me. I had hitherto borne these insufferable pangs,waiting for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is nowcome, when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends andrelations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen thisson of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, Oillustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either, Iwill no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairestcomplexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as verysilly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thyson, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me gotaking him with me wherever I like. Trust me, O blessed lady, I willagain bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come toyou immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I willrescue you from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and unevenregions. I will carry you on my back whenever ye desire to proceed withswiftness. O, be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath beensaid that in a season of distress one should protect one’s life by anymeans. He, that seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple aboutthe means. He, that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is theforemost of virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger tovirtue and virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore isvirtue called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or theobservance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.’

“Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. ‘It is even so, OHidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of slenderwaist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hathwashed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual propitiatoryrites, pay his attentions to thee till the sun sets. Sport thou with himas thou likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed ofthe mind! But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day atnightfall.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all thatYudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, ‘Listen to me, O Rakshasawoman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay withthee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.’ Then Hidimva,saying, ‘So be it,’ took Bhima upon her body and sped through the sides.On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the gods,abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of featheredtribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornamentand pouring forth at times mellifluous strains. Hidimva sported with thePandava and studied to make him happy. So also, in inaccessible regionsof forests, and on mountain-breasts overgrown with blossoming trees onlakes resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and theirpebbly banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks andmountain-currents, in picturesque woods with blossoming trees andcreepers in Himalayan bowers, and various caves, on crystal pools smilingwith lotuses, on sea-shores shining with gold and pearls, in beautifultowns and fine gardens, in woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, inthe regions of Guhyakas and ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovaraabounding with fruits and flowers of every season Hidimva, assuming thehandsomest form, sported with Bhima and studied to make him happy. Enduedwith the speed of the mind, she sported with Bhima in all these regions,till in time, she conceived and brought forth a mighty son begotten uponher by the Pandava. Of terrible eyes and large mouth and straight arrowyears, the child was terrible to behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharpteeth and loud roar, of mighty arms and great strength and excessiveprowess, this child became a mighty bowman. Of long nose, broad chest,frightfully swelling calves, celerity of motion and excessive strength,he had nothing human in his countenance, though born of man. And heexcelled (in strength and prowess) all Pisachas and kindred tribes aswell as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a little child, he grew upa youth the very hour he was born. The mighty hero soon acquired highproficiency in the use of all weapons. The Rakshasa women bring forth thevery day they conceive, and capable of assuming any forms at will, theyalways change their forms. And the bald-headed child, that mighty bowman,soon after his birth, bowing down to his mother, touched her feet and thefeet also of his father. His parents then bestowed upon him a name. Hismother having remarked that his head was (bald) like unto a Ghata(water-pot), both his parents thereupon called him Ghatotkacha (thepot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas,became a great favourite with them, indeed almost one of them.

“Then Hidimva, knowing that the period of her stay (with her husband) hadcome to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment withthem went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha also–thatforemost of Rakshasas–promising unto his father that he would come whenwanted on business, saluted them and went away northward. Indeed, it wasthe illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) themighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of unrivalledenergy, in consequence of the dart he had given unto Karna (and which wassure to kill the person against whom it would be hurled).'”

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