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Chapter 190

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When all the monarchs had desisted fromstringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd ofBrahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing thecomplexion of Indra’s banner, advancing towards the bow, the principalBrahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour.

And while somewere displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some therewere, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one anothersaid, ‘Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms andweak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas asSalya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science andpractice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in thisuntried task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyishunsteadiness, the entire body of Brahmanas here will be renderedridiculous in the eyes of the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid thisBrahmana that he may not go to string the bow which he is even nowdesirous of doing from vanity, childish daring, or mere unsteadiness.’Others replied, ‘We shall not be made ridiculous, nor shall we incur thedisrespect of anybody or the displeasure of the sovereigns. Someremarked, ‘This handsome youth is even like the trunk of a mightyelephant, whose shoulders and arms and thighs are so well-built, who inpatience looks like the Himavat, whose gait is even like that of thelion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of an elephant in rut, andwho is so resolute, that it is probable that he will accomplish thisfeat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none, he would never goof his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the three worlds thatBrahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining from all foodor living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their vows, andemaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy. Oneshould never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong, bysupposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little, orthat is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated inbattle, all the Kshatriyas. Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off thefathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, ‘Let this youth bend the bow andstring it with ease’ (and many said), ‘So be it.’ And the Brahmanascontinued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjunaapproached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking roundthat bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons–the lordIsana–and remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow whichRukma, Sunitha, Vakra, Radha’s son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many otherkings accomplished in the science and practice of arms, could not evenwith great exertion, string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost ofall persons endued with energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra(Vishnu) in might, strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up thefive arrows he shot the mark and caused it to fall down on the groundthrough the hole in the machine above which it had been placed. Thenthere arose a loud uproar in the firmament, and the amphitheatre alsoresounded with a loud clamour. And the gods showered celestial flowers onthe head of Partha the slayer of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas beganto wave their upper garments in joy. And all around, the monarchs who hadbeen unsuccessful, uttered exclamations of grief and despair. And flowerswere rained from the skies all over the amphitheatre. And the musiciansstruck up in concert. Bards and heralds began to chant in sweet tones thepraises (of the hero who accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna,Drupada–that slayer of foes,–was filled with joy. And the monarchdesired to assist with his forces the hero if the occasion arose. Andwhen the uproar was at its height, Yudhishthira, the foremost of allvirtuous men, accompanied by those first of men the twins, hastily leftthe amphitheatre for returning to his temporary home. And Krishnabeholding the mark shot and beholding Partha also like unto Indrahimself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy, and approached theson of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers. And Arjuna theaccomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by his successin the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the Brahmanas. Andhe soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus became hiswife.'”
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