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Chapter 2

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“The Rishis said, ‘O son of Suta, we wish to hear a full andcircumstantial account of the place mentioned by you as Samanta-panchaya.’

“Sauti said, ‘Listen, O ye Brahmanas, to the sacred descriptions I utterO ye best of men, ye deserve to hear of the place known asSamanta-panchaka. In the interval between the Treta and Dwapara Yugas,Rama (the son of Jamadagni) great among all who have borne arms, urged byimpatience of wrongs, repeatedly smote the noble race of Kshatriyas. Andwhen that fiery meteor, by his own valour, annihilated the entire tribeof the Kshatriyas, he formed at Samanta-panchaka five lakes of blood. Weare told that his reason being overpowered by anger he offered oblationsof blood to the manes of his ancestors, standing in the midst of thesanguine waters of those lakes. It was then that his forefathers of whomRichika was the first having arrived there addressed him thus, ‘O Rama, Oblessed Rama, O offspring of Bhrigu, we have been gratified with thereverence thou hast shown for thy ancestors and with thy valour, O mightyone! Blessings be upon thee. O thou illustrious one, ask the boon thatthou mayst desire.’

“Rama said, ‘If, O fathers, ye are favourably disposed towards me, theboon I ask is that I may be absolved from the sins born of my havingannihilated the Kshatriyas in anger, and that the lakes I have formed maybecome famous in the world as holy shrines.’ The Pitris then said, ‘Soshall it be. But be thou pacified.’ And Rama was pacified accordingly.The region that lieth near unto those lakes of gory water, from that timehath been celebrated as Samanta-panchaka the holy. The wise have declaredthat every country should be distinguished by a name significant of somecircumstance which may have rendered it famous. In the interval betweenthe Dwapara and the Kali Yugas there happened at Samanta-panchaka theencounter between the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. In thatholy region, without ruggedness of any kind, were assembled eighteenAkshauhinis of soldiers eager for battle. And, O Brahmanas, having comethereto, they were all slain on the spot. Thus the name of that region, OBrahmanas, hath been explained, and the country described to you as asacred and delightful one. I have mentioned the whole of what relateth toit as the region is celebrated throughout the three worlds.’

“The Rishis said, ‘We have a desire to know, O son of Suta, what isimplied by the term Akshauhini that hath been used by thee. Tell us infull what is the number of horse and foot, chariots and elephants, whichcompose an Akshauhini for thou art fully informed.’

“Sauti said, ‘One chariot, one elephant, five foot-soldiers, and threehorses form one Patti; three pattis make one Sena-mukha; threesena-mukhas are called a Gulma; three gulmas, a Gana; three ganas, aVahini; three vahinis together are called a Pritana; three pritanas forma Chamu; three chamus, one Anikini; and an anikini taken ten times forms,as it is styled by those who know, an Akshauhini. O ye best of Brahmanas,arithmeticians have calculated that the number of chariots in anAkshauhini is twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy. The measureof elephants must be fixed at the same number. O ye pure, you must knowthat the number of foot-soldiers is one hundred and nine thousand, threehundred and fifty, the number of horse is sixty-five thousand, sixhundred and ten. These, O Brahmanas, as fully explained by me, are thenumbers of an Akshauhini as said by those acquainted with the principlesof numbers. O best of Brahmanas, according to this calculation werecomposed the eighteen Akshauhinis of the Kaurava and the Pandava army.Time, whose acts are wonderful assembled them on that spot and havingmade the Kauravas the cause, destroyed them all. Bhishma acquainted withchoice of weapons, fought for ten days. Drona protected the KauravaVahinis for five days. Kama the desolator of hostile armies fought fortwo days; and Salya for half a day. After that lasted for half a day theencounter with clubs between Duryodhana and Bhima. At the close of thatday, Aswatthaman and Kripa destroyed the army of Yudishthira in the nightwhile sleeping without suspicion of danger.

‘O Saunaka, this best of narrations called Bharata which has begun to berepeated at thy sacrifice, was formerly repeated at the sacrifice ofJanamejaya by an intelligent disciple of Vyasa. It is divided intoseveral sections; in the beginning are Paushya, Pauloma, and Astikaparvas, describing in full the valour and renown of kings. It is a workwhose description, diction, and sense are varied and wonderful. Itcontains an account of various manners and rites. It is accepted by thewise, as the state called Vairagya is by men desirous of final release.As Self among things to be known, as life among things that are dear, sois this history that furnisheth the means of arriving at the knowledge ofBrahma the first among all the sastras. There is not a story current inthis world but doth depend upon this history even as the body upon thefoot that it taketh. As masters of good lineage are ever attended upon byservants desirous of preferment so is the Bharata cherished by all poets.As the words constituting the several branches of knowledge appertainingto the world and the Veda display only vowels and consonants, so thisexcellent history displayeth only the highest wisdom.

‘Listen, O ye ascetics, to the outlines of the several divisions (parvas)of this history called Bharata, endued with great wisdom, of sections andfeet that are wonderful and various, of subtile meanings and logicalconnections, and embellished with the substance of the Vedas.

‘The first parva is called Anukramanika; the second, Sangraha; thenPaushya; then Pauloma; the Astika; then Adivansavatarana. Then comes theSambhava of wonderful and thrilling incidents. Then comes Jatugrihadaha(setting fire to the house of lac) and then Hidimbabadha (the killing ofHidimba) parvas; then comes Baka-badha (slaughter of Baka) and thenChitraratha. The next is called Swayamvara (selection of husband byPanchali), in which Arjuna by the exercise of Kshatriya virtues, wonDraupadi for wife. Then comes Vaivahika (marriage). Then comesViduragamana (advent of Vidura), Rajyalabha (acquirement of kingdom),Arjuna-banavasa (exile of Arjuna) and Subhadra-harana (the carrying awayof Subhadra). After these come Harana-harika, Khandava-daha (the burningof the Khandava forest) and Maya-darsana (meeting with Maya the Asuraarchitect). Then come Sabha, Mantra, Jarasandha, Digvijaya (generalcampaign). After Digvijaya come Raja-suyaka, Arghyaviharana (the robbingof the Arghya) and Sisupala-badha (the killing of Sisupala). After these,Dyuta (gambling), Anudyuta (subsequent to gambling), Aranyaka, andKrimira-badha (destruction of Krimira). The Arjuna-vigamana (the travelsof Arjuna), Kairati. In the last hath been described the battle betweenArjuna and Mahadeva in the guise of a hunter. After thisIndra-lokavigamana (the journey to the regions of Indra); then that mineof religion and virtue, the highly pathetic Nalopakhyana (the story ofNala). After this last, Tirtha-yatra or the pilgrimage of the wise princeof the Kurus, the death of Jatasura, and the battle of the Yakshas. Thenthe battle with the Nivata-kavachas, Ajagara, and Markandeya-Samasya(meeting with Markandeya). Then the meeting of Draupadi and Satyabhama,Ghoshayatra, Mirga-Swapna (dream of the deer). Then the story ofBrihadaranyaka and then Aindradrumna. Then Draupadi-harana (the abductionof Draupadi), Jayadratha-bimoksana (the release of Jayadratha). Then thestory of ‘Savitri’ illustrating the great merit of connubial chastity.After this last, the story of ‘Rama’. The parva that comes next is called’Kundala-harana’ (the theft of the ear-rings). That which comes next is’Aranya’ and then ‘Vairata’. Then the entry of the Pandavas and thefulfilment of their promise (of living unknown for one year). Then thedestruction of the ‘Kichakas’, then the attempt to take the kine (ofVirata by the Kauravas). The next is called the marriage of Abhimanyuwith the daughter of Virata. The next you must know is the most wonderfulparva called Udyoga. The next must be known by the name of ‘Sanjaya-yana'(the arrival of Sanjaya). Then comes ‘Prajagara’ (the sleeplessness ofDhritarashtra owing to his anxiety). Then Sanatsujata, in which are themysteries of spiritual philosophy. Then ‘Yanasaddhi’, and then thearrival of Krishna. Then the story of ‘Matali’ and then of ‘Galava’. Thenthe stories of ‘Savitri’, ‘Vamadeva’, and ‘Vainya’. Then the story of’Jamadagnya and Shodasarajika’. Then the arrival of Krishna at the court,and then Bidulaputrasasana. Then the muster of troops and the story ofSheta. Then, must you know, comes the quarrel of the high-souled Karna.Then the march to the field of the troops of both sides. The next hathbeen called numbering the Rathis and Atirathas. Then comes the arrival ofthe messenger Uluka which kindled the wrath (of the Pandavas). The nextthat comes, you must know, is the story of Amba. Then comes the thrillingstory of the installation of Bhishma as commander-in-chief. The next iscalled the creation of the insular region Jambu; then Bhumi; then theaccount about the formation of islands. Then comes the ‘Bhagavat-gita’;and then the death of Bhishma. Then the installation of Drona; then thedestruction of the ‘Sansaptakas’. Then the death of Abhimanyu; and thenthe vow of Arjuna (to slay Jayadratha). Then the death of Jayadratha, andthen of Ghatotkacha. Then, must you know, comes the story of the death ofDrona of surprising interest. The next that comes is called the dischargeof the weapon called Narayana. Then, you know, is Karna, and then Salya.Then comes the immersion in the lake, and then the encounter (betweenBhima and Duryodhana) with clubs. Then comes Saraswata, and then thedescriptions of holy shrines, and then genealogies. Then comes Sauptikadescribing incidents disgraceful (to the honour of the Kurus). Then comesthe ‘Aisika’ of harrowing incidents. Then comes ‘Jalapradana’ oblationsof water to the manes of the deceased, and then the wailings of thewomen. The next must be known as ‘Sraddha’ describing the funeral ritesperformed for the slain Kauravas. Then comes the destruction of theRakshasa Charvaka who had assumed the disguise of a Brahmana (fordeceiving Yudhishthira). Then the coronation of the wise Yudhishthira.The next is called the ‘Grihapravibhaga’. Then comes ‘Santi’, then’Rajadharmanusasana’, then ‘Apaddharma’, then ‘Mokshadharma’. Those thatfollow are called respectively ‘Suka-prasna-abhigamana’,’Brahma-prasnanusana’, the origin of ‘Durvasa’, the disputations withMaya. The next is to be known as ‘Anusasanika’. Then the ascension ofBhishma to heaven. Then the horse-sacrifice, which when read purgeth allsins away. The next must be known as the ‘Anugita’ in which are words ofspiritual philosophy. Those that follow are called ‘Asramvasa’,’Puttradarshana’ (meeting with the spirits of the deceased sons), and thearrival of Narada. The next is called ‘Mausala’ which abounds withterrible and cruel incidents. Then comes ‘Mahaprasthanika’ and ascensionto heaven. Then comes the Purana which is called Khilvansa. In this lastare contained ‘Vishnuparva’, Vishnu’s frolics and feats as a child, thedestruction of ‘Kansa’, and lastly, the very wonderful ‘Bhavishyaparva'(in which there are prophecies regarding the future).

The high-souled Vyasa composed these hundred parvas of which the above isonly an abridgement: having distributed them into eighteen, the son ofSuta recited them consecutively in the forest of Naimisha as follows:

‘In the Adi parva are contained Paushya, Pauloma, Astika, Adivansavatara,Samva, the burning of the house of lac, the slaying of Hidimba, thedestruction of the Asura Vaka, Chitraratha, the Swayamvara of Draupadi,her marriage after the overthrow of rivals in war, the arrival of Vidura,the restoration, Arjuna’s exile, the abduction of Subhadra, the gift andreceipt of the marriage dower, the burning of the Khandava forest, andthe meeting with (the Asura-architect) Maya. The Paushya parva treats ofthe greatness of Utanka, and the Pauloma, of the sons of Bhrigu. TheAstika describes the birth of Garuda and of the Nagas (snakes), thechurning of the ocean, the incidents relating to the birth of thecelestial steed Uchchaihsrava, and finally, the dynasty of Bharata, asdescribed in the Snake-sacrifice of king Janamejaya. The Sambhava parvanarrates the birth of various kings and heroes, and that of the sage,Krishna Dwaipayana: the partial incarnations of deities, the generationof Danavas and Yakshas of great prowess, and serpents, Gandharvas, birds,and of all creatures; and lastly, of the life and adventures of kingBharata–the progenitor of the line that goes by his name–the son bornof Sakuntala in the hermitage of the ascetic Kanwa. This parva alsodescribes the greatness of Bhagirathi, and the births of the Vasus in thehouse of Santanu and their ascension to heaven. In this parva is alsonarrated the birth of Bhishma uniting in himself portions of the energiesof the other Vasus, his renunciation of royalty and adoption of theBrahmacharya mode of life, his adherence to his vows, his protection ofChitrangada, and after the death of Chitrangada, his protection of hisyounger brother, Vichitravirya, and his placing the latter on the throne:the birth of Dharma among men in consequence of the curse of Animondavya;the births of Dhritarashtra and Pandu through the potency of Vyasa’sblessings (?) and also the birth of the Pandavas; the plottings ofDuryodhana to send the sons of Pandu to Varanavata, and the other darkcounsels of the sons of Dhritarashtra in regard to the Pandavas; then theadvice administered to Yudhishthira on his way by that well-wisher of thePandavas–Vidura–in the mlechchha language–the digging of the hole, theburning of Purochana and the sleeping woman of the fowler caste, with herfive sons, in the house of lac; the meeting of the Pandavas in thedreadful forest with Hidimba, and the slaying of her brother Hidimba byBhima of great prowess. The birth of Ghatotkacha; the meeting of thePandavas with Vyasa and in accordance with his advice their stay indisguise in the house of a Brahmana in the city of Ekachakra; thedestruction of the Asura Vaka, and the amazement of the populace at thesight; the extra-ordinary births of Krishna and Dhrishtadyumna; thedeparture of the Pandavas for Panchala in obedience to the injunction ofVyasa, and moved equally by the desire of winning the hand of Draupadi onlearning the tidings of the Swayamvara from the lips of a Brahmana;victory of Arjuna over a Gandharva, called Angaraparna, on the banks ofthe Bhagirathi, his contraction of friendship with his adversary, and hishearing from the Gandharva the history of Tapati, Vasishtha and Aurva.This parva treats of the journey of the Pandavas towards Panchala, theacquisition of Draupadi in the midst of all the Rajas, by Arjuna, afterhaving successfully pierced the mark; and in the ensuing fight, thedefeat of Salya, Kama, and all the other crowned heads at the hands ofBhima and Arjuna of great prowess; the ascertainment by Balarama andKrishna, at the sight of these matchless exploits, that the heroes werethe Pandavas, and the arrival of the brothers at the house of the potterwhere the Pandavas were staying; the dejection of Drupada on learningthat Draupadi was to be wedded to five husbands; the wonderful story ofthe five Indras related in consequence; the extraordinary anddivinely-ordained wedding of Draupadi; the sending of Vidura by the sonsof Dhritarashtra as envoy to the Pandavas; the arrival of Vidura and hissight to Krishna; the abode of the Pandavas in Khandava-prastha, and thentheir rule over one half of the kingdom; the fixing of turns by the sonsof Pandu, in obedience to the injunction of Narada, for connubialcompanionship with Krishna. In like manner hath the history of Sunda andUpasunda been recited in this. This parva then treats of the departure ofArjuna for the forest according to the vow, he having seen Draupadi andYudhishthira sitting together as he entered the chamber to take out armsfor delivering the kine of a certain Brahmana. This parva then describesArjuna’s meeting on the way with Ulupi, the daughter of a Naga (serpent);it then relates his visits to several sacred spots; the birth ofVabhruvahana; the deliverance by Arjuna of the five celestial damsels whohad been turned into alligators by the imprecation of a Brahmana, themeeting of Madhava and Arjuna on the holy spot called Prabhasa; thecarrying away of Subhadra by Arjuna, incited thereto by her brotherKrishna, in the wonderful car moving on land and water, and throughmid-air, according to the wish of the rider; the departure forIndraprastha, with the dower; the conception in the womb of Subhadra ofthat prodigy of prowess, Abhimanyu; Yajnaseni’s giving birth to children;then follows the pleasure-trip of Krishna and Arjuna to the banks of theJamuna and the acquisition by them of the discus and the celebrated bowGandiva; the burning of the forest of Khandava; the rescue of Maya byArjuna, and the escape of the serpent,–and the begetting of a son bythat best of Rishis, Mandapala, in the womb of the bird Sarngi. Thisparva is divided by Vyasa into two hundred and twenty-seven chapters.These two hundred and twenty-seven chapters contain eight thousand eighthundred and eighty-four slokas.

The second is the extensive parva called Sabha or the assembly, full ofmatter. The subjects of this parva are the establishment of the grandhall by the Pandavas; their review of their retainers; the description ofthe lokapalas by Narada well-acquainted with the celestial regions; thepreparations for the Rajasuya sacrifice; the destruction of Jarasandha;the deliverance by Vasudeva of the princes confined in the mountain-pass;the campaign of universal conquest by the Pandavas; the arrival of theprinces at the Rajasuya sacrifice with tribute; the destruction ofSisupala on the occasion of the sacrifice, in connection with offering ofarghya; Bhimasena’s ridicule of Duryodhana in the assembly; Duryodhana’ssorrow and envy at the sight of the magnificent scale on which thearrangements had been made; the indignation of Duryodhana in consequence,and the preparations for the game of dice; the defeat of Yudhishthira atplay by the wily Sakuni; the deliverance by Dhritarashtra of hisafflicted daughter-in-law Draupadi plunged in the sea of distress causedby the gambling, as of a boat tossed about by the tempestuous waves. Theendeavours of Duryodhana to engage Yudhishthira again in the game; andthe exile of the defeated Yudhishthira with his brothers. Theseconstitute what has been called by the great Vyasa the Sabha Parva. Thisparva is divided into seventh-eight sections, O best of Brahmanas, of twothousand, five hundred and seven slokas.

Then comes the third parva called Aranyaka (relating to the forest) Thisparva treats of the wending of the Pandavas to the forest and thecitizens, following the wise Yudhishthira, Yudhishthira’s adoration ofthe god of day; according to the injunctions of Dhaumya, to be giftedwith the power of maintaining the dependent Brahmanas with food anddrink: the creation of food through the grace of the Sun: the expulsionby Dhritarashtra of Vidura who always spoke for his master’s good;Vidura’s coming to the Pandavas and his return to Dhritarashtra at thesolicitation of the latter; the wicked Duryodhana’s plottings to destroythe forest-ranging Pandavas, being incited thereto by Karna; theappearance of Vyasa and his dissuasion of Duryodhana bent on going to theforest; the history of Surabhi; the arrival of Maitreya; his laying downto Dhritarashtra the course of action; and his curse on Duryodhana;Bhima’s slaying of Kirmira in battle; the coming of the Panchalas and theprinces of the Vrishni race to Yudhishthira on hearing of his defeat atthe unfair gambling by Sakuni; Dhananjaya’s allaying the wrath ofKrishna; Draupadi’s lamentations before Madhava; Krishna’s cheering her;the fall of Sauva also has been here described by the Rishi; alsoKrishna’s bringing Subhadra with her son to Dwaraka; and Dhrishtadyumna’sbringing the son of Draupadi to Panchala; the entrance of the sons ofPandu into the romantic Dwaita wood; conversation of Bhima, Yudhishthira,and Draupadi; the coming of Vyasa to the Pandavas and his endowingYudhishthira with the power of Pratismriti; then, after the departure ofVyasa, the removal of the Pandavas to the forest of Kamyaka; thewanderings of Arjuna of immeasurable prowess in search of weapons; hisbattle with Mahadeva in the guise of a hunter; his meeting with thelokapalas and receipt of weapons from them; his journey to the regions ofIndra for arms and the consequent anxiety of Dhritarashtra; the wailingsand lamentations of Yudhishthira on the occasion of his meeting with theworshipful great sage Brihadaswa. Here occurs the holy and highlypathetic story of Nala illustrating the patience of Damayanti and thecharacter of Nala. Then the acquirement by Yudhishthira of the mysteriesof dice from the same great sage; then the arrival of the Rishi Lomasafrom the heavens to where the Pandavas were, and the receipt by thesehigh-souled dwellers in the woods of the intelligence brought by theRishi of their brother Arjuna staving in the heavens; then the pilgrimageof the Pandavas to various sacred spots in accordance with the message ofArjuna, and their attainment of great merit and virtue consequent on suchpilgrimage; then the pilgrimage of the great sage Narada to the shrinePutasta; also the pilgrimage of the high-souled Pandavas. Here is thedeprivation of Karna of his ear-rings by Indra. Here also is recited thesacrificial magnificence of Gaya; then the story of Agastya in which theRishi ate up the Asura Vatapi, and his connubial connection withLopamudra from the desire of offspring. Then the story of Rishyasringawho adopted Brahmacharya mode of life from his very boyhood; then thehistory of Rama of great prowess, the son of Jamadagni, in which has beennarrated the death of Kartavirya and the Haihayas; then the meetingbetween the Pandavas and the Vrishnis in the sacred spot called Prabhasa;then the story of Su-kanya in which Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, made thetwins, Aswinis, drink, at the sacrifice of king Saryati, the Soma juice(from which they had been excluded by the other gods), and in whichbesides is shown how Chyavana himself acquired perpetual youth (as a boonfrom the grateful Aswinis). Then hath been described the history of kingMandhata; then the history of prince Jantu; and how king Somaka byoffering up his only son (Jantu) in sacrifice obtained a hundred others;then the excellent history of the hawk and the pigeon; then theexamination of king Sivi by Indra, Agni, and Dharma; then the story ofAshtavakra, in which occurs the disputation, at the sacrifice of Janaka,between that Rishi and the first of logicians, Vandi, the son of Varuna;the defeat of Vandi by the great Ashtavakra, and the release by the Rishiof his father from the depths of the ocean. Then the story of Yavakrita,and then that of the great Raivya: then the departure (of the Pandavas)for Gandhamadana and their abode in the asylum called Narayana; thenBhimasena’s journey to Gandhamadana at the request of Draupadi (in searchof the sweet-scented flower). Bhima’s meeting on his way, in a grove ofbananas, with Hanuman, the son of Pavana of great prowess; Bhima’s bathin the tank and the destruction of the flowers therein for obtaining thesweet-scented flower (he was in search of); his consequent battle withthe mighty Rakshasas and the Yakshas of great prowess including Hanuman;the destruction of the Asura Jata by Bhima; the meeting (of the Pandavas)with the royal sage Vrishaparva; their departure for the asylum ofArshtishena and abode therein: the incitement of Bhima (to acts ofvengeance) by Draupadi. Then is narrated the ascent on the hills ofKailasa by Bhimasena, his terrific battle with the mighty Yakshas headedby Hanuman; then the meeting of the Pandavas with Vaisravana (Kuvera),and the meeting with Arjuna after he had obtained for the purpose ofYudhishthira many celestial weapons; then Arjuna’s terrible encounterwith the Nivatakavachas dwelling in Hiranyaparva, and also with thePaulomas, and the Kalakeyas; their destruction at the hands of Arjuna;the commencement of the display of the celestial weapons by Arjuna beforeYudhishthira, the prevention of the same by Narada; the descent of thePandavas from Gandhamadana; the seizure of Bhima in the forest by amighty serpent huge as the mountain; his release from the coils of thesnake, upon Yudhishthira’s answering certain questions; the return of thePandavas to the Kamyaka woods. Here is described the reappearance ofVasudeva to see the mighty sons of Pandu; the arrival of Markandeya, andvarious recitals, the history of Prithu the son of Vena recited by thegreat Rishi; the stories of Saraswati and the Rishi Tarkhya. After these,is the story of Matsya; other old stories recited by Markandeya; thestories of Indradyumna and Dhundhumara; then the history of the chastewife; the history of Angira, the meeting and conversation of Draupadi andSatyabhama; the return of the Pandavas to the forest of Dwaita; then theprocession to see the calves and the captivity of Duryodhana; and whenthe wretch was being carried off, his rescue by Arjuna; here isYudhishthira’s dream of the deer; then the re-entry of the Pandavas intothe Kamyaka forest, here also is the long story of Vrihidraunika. Herealso is recited the story of Durvasa; then the abduction by Jayadratha ofDraupadi from the asylum; the pursuit of the ravisher by Bhima swift asthe air and the ill-shaving of Jayadratha’s crown at Bhima’s hand. Hereis the long history of Rama in which is shown how Rama by his prowessslew Ravana in battle. Here also is narrated the story of Savitri; thenKarna’s deprivation by Indra of his ear-rings; then the presentation toKarna by the gratified Indra of a Sakti (missile weapon) which had thevirtue of killing only one person against whom it might be hurled; thenthe story called Aranya in which Dharma (the god of justice) gave adviceto his son (Yudhishthira); in which, besides is recited how the Pandavasafter having obtained a boon went towards the west. These are allincluded in the third Parva called Aranyaka, consisting of two hundredand sixty-nine sections. The number of slokas is eleven thousand, sixhundred and sixty-four.

“The extensive Parva that comes next is called Virata. The Pandavasarriving at the dominions of Virata saw in a cemetery on the outskirts ofthe city a large shami tree whereon they kept their weapons. Here hathbeen recited their entry into the city and their stay there in disguise.Then the slaying by Bhima of the wicked Kichaka who, senseless with lust,had sought Draupadi; the appointment by prince Duryodhana of cleverspies; and their despatch to all sides for tracing the Pandavas; thefailure of these to discover the mighty sons of Pandu; the first seizureof Virata’s kine by the Trigartas and the terrific battle that ensued;the capture of Virata by the enemy and his rescue by Bhimasena; therelease also of the kine by the Pandava (Bhima); the seizure of Virata’skine again by the Kurus; the defeat in battle of all the Kurus by thesingle-handed Arjuna; the release of the king’s kine; the bestowal byVirata of his daughter Uttara for Arjuna’s acceptance on behalf of hisson by Subhadra–Abhimanyu–the destroyer of foes. These are the contentsof the extensive fourth Parva–the Virata. The great Rishi Vyasa hascomposed in these sixty-seven sections. The number of slokas is twothousand and fifty.

“Listen then to (the contents of) the fifth Parva which must be known asUdyoga. While the Pandavas, desirous of victory, were residing in theplace called Upaplavya, Duryodhana and Arjuna both went at the same timeto Vasudeva, and said, “You should render us assistance in this war.” Thehigh-souled Krishna, upon these words being uttered, replied, “O ye firstof men, a counsellor in myself who will not fight and one Akshauhini oftroops, which of these shall I give to which of you?” Blind to his owninterests, the foolish Duryodhana asked for the troops; while Arjunasolicited Krishna as an unfighting counsellor. Then is described how,when the king of Madra was coming for the assistance of the Pandavas,Duryodhana, having deceived him on the way by presents and hospitality,induced him to grant a boon and then solicited his assistance in battle;how Salya, having passed his word to Duryodhana, went to the Pandavas andconsoled them by reciting the history of Indra’s victory (over Vritra).Then comes the despatch by the Pandavas of their Purohita (priest) to theKauravas. Then is described how king Dhritarashtra of great prowess,having heard the word of the purohita of the Pandavas and the story ofIndra’s victory decided upon sending his purohita and ultimatelydespatched Sanjaya as envoy to the Pandavas from desire for peace. Herehath been described the sleeplessness of Dhritarashtra from anxiety uponhearing all about the Pandavas and their friends, Vasudeva and others. Itwas on this occasion that Vidura addressed to the wise king Dhritarashtravarious counsels that were full of wisdom. It was here also thatSanat-sujata recited to the anxious and sorrowing monarch the excellenttruths of spiritual philosophy. On the next morning Sanjaya spoke, in thecourt of the King, of the identity of Vasudeva and Arjuna. It was thenthat the illustrious Krishna, moved by kindness and a desire for peace,went himself to the Kaurava capital, Hastinapura, for bringing aboutpeace. Then comes the rejection by prince Duryodhana of the embassy ofKrishna who had come to solicit peace for the benefit of both parties.Here hath been recited the story of Damvodvava; then the story of thehigh-souled Matuli’s search for a husband for his daughter: then thehistory of the great sage Galava; then the story of the training anddiscipline of the son of Bidula. Then the exhibition by Krishna, beforethe assembled Rajas, of his Yoga powers upon learning the evil counselsof Duryodhana and Karna; then Krishna’s taking Karna in his chariot andhis tendering to him of advice, and Karna’s rejection of the same frompride. Then the return of Krishna, the chastiser of enemies fromHastinapura to Upaplavya, and his narration to the Pandavas of all thathad happened. It was then that those oppressors of foes, the Pandavas,having heard all and consulted properly with each other, made everypreparation for war. Then comes the march from Hastinapura, for battle,of foot-soldiers, horses, charioteers and elephants. Then the tale of thetroops by both parties. Then the despatch by prince Duryodhana of Ulukaas envoy to the Pandavas on the day previous to the battle. Then the taleof charioteers of different classes. Then the story of Amba. These allhave been described in the fifth Parva called Udyoga of the Bharata,abounding with incidents appertaining to war and peace. O ye ascetics,the great Vyasa hath composed one hundred and eighty-six sections in thisParva. The number of slokas also composed in this by the great Rishi issix thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight.

“Then is recited the Bhishma Parva replete with wonderful incidents. Inthis hath been narrated by Sanjaya the formation of the region known asJambu. Here hath been described the great depression of Yudhishthira’sarmy, and also a fierce fight for ten successive days. In this thehigh-souled Vasudeva by reasons based on the philosophy of final releasedrove away Arjuna’s compunction springing from the latter’s regard forhis kindred (whom he was on the eve of slaying). In this the magnanimousKrishna, attentive to the welfare of Yudhishthira, seeing the lossinflicted (on the Pandava army), descended swiftly from his chariothimself and ran, with dauntless breast, his driving whip in hand, toeffect the death of Bhishma. In this, Krishna also smote with piercingwords Arjuna, the bearer of the Gandiva and the foremost in battle amongall wielders of weapons. In this, the foremost of bowmen, Arjuna, placingShikandin before him and piercing Bhishma with his sharpest arrows felledhim from his chariot. In this, Bhishma lay stretched on his bed ofarrows. This extensive Parva is known as the sixth in the Bharata. Inthis have been composed one hundred and seventeen sections. The number ofslokas is five thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four as told by Vyasaconversant with the Vedas.

“Then is recited the wonderful Parva called Drona full of incidents.First comes the installation in the command of the army of the greatinstructor in arms, Drona: then the vow made by that great master ofweapons of seizing the wise Yudhishthira in battle to please Duryodhana;then the retreat of Arjuna from the field before the Sansaptakas, thenthe overthrow of Bhagadatta like to a second Indra in the field, with theelephant Supritika, by Arjuna; then the death of the hero Abhimanyu inhis teens, alone and unsupported, at the hands of many Maharathasincluding Jayadratha; then after the death of Abhimanyu, the destructionby Arjuna, in battle of seven Akshauhinis of troops and then ofJayadratha; then the entry, by Bhima of mighty arms and by that foremostof warriors-in-chariot, Satyaki, into the Kaurava ranks impenetrable evento the gods, in search of Arjuna in obedience to the orders ofYudhishthira, and the destruction of the remnant of the Sansaptakas. Inthe Drona Parva, is the death of Alambusha, of Srutayus, of Jalasandha,of Shomadatta, of Virata, of the great warrior-in-chariot Drupada, ofGhatotkacha and others; in this Parva, Aswatthaman, excited beyondmeasure at the fall of his father in battle, discharged the terribleweapon Narayana. Then the glory of Rudra in connection with the burning(of the three cities). Then the arrival of Vyasa and recital by him ofthe glory of Krishna and Arjuna. This is the great seventh Parva of theBharata in which all the heroic chiefs and princes mentioned were sent totheir account. The number of sections in this is one hundred and seventy.The number of slokas as composed in the Drona Parva by Rishi Vyasa, theson of Parasara and the possessor of true knowledge after muchmeditation, is eight thousand, nine hundred and nine.

“Then comes the most wonderful Parva called Karna. In this is narratedthe appointment of the wise king of Madra as (Karna’s) charioteer. Thenthe history of the fall of the Asura Tripura. Then the application toeach other by Karna and Salya of harsh words on their setting out for thefield, then the story of the swan and the crow recited in insultingallusion: then the death of Pandya at the hands of the high-souledAswatthaman; then the death of Dandasena; then that of Darda; thenYudhishthira’s imminent risk in single combat with Karna in the presenceof all the warriors; then the mutual wrath of Yudhishthira and Arjuna;then Krishna’s pacification of Arjuna. In this Parva, Bhima, infulfilment of his vow, having ripped open Dussasana’s breast in battledrank the blood of his heart. Then Arjuna slew the great Karna in singlecombat. Readers of the Bharata call this the eighth Parva. The number ofsections in this is sixty-nine and the number of slokas is four thousand,nine hundred and sixty-tour.

“Then hath been recited the wonderful Parva called Salya. After all thegreat warriors had been slain, the king of Madra became the leader of the(Kaurava) army. The encounters one after another, of charioteers, havebeen here described. Then comes the fall of the great Salya at the handsof Yudhishthira, the Just. Here also is the death of Sakuni in battle atthe hands of Sahadeva. Upon only a small remnant of the troops remainingalive after the immense slaughter, Duryodhana went to the lake andcreating for himself room within its waters lay stretched there for sometime. Then is narrated the receipt of this intelligence by Bhima from thefowlers: then is narrated how, moved by the insulting speeches of theintelligent Yudhishthira, Duryodhana ever unable to bear affronts, cameout of the waters. Then comes the encounter with clubs, betweenDuryodhana and Bhima; then the arrival, at the time of such encounter, ofBalarama: then is described the sacredness of the Saraswati; then theprogress of the encounter with clubs; then the fracture of Duryodhana’sthighs in battle by Bhima with (a terrific hurl of) his mace. These allhave been described in the wonderful ninth Parva. In this the number ofsections is fifty-nine and the number of slokas composed by the greatVyasa–the spreader of the fame of the Kauravas–is three thousand, twohundred and twenty.

“Then shall I describe the Parva called Sauptika of frightful incidents.On the Pandavas having gone away, the mighty charioteers, Kritavarman,Kripa, and the son of Drona, came to the field of battle in the eveningand there saw king Duryodhana lying on the ground, his thighs broken, andhimself covered with blood. Then the great charioteer, the son of Drona,of terrible wrath, vowed, ‘without killing all the Panchalas includingDrishtadyumna, and the Pandavas also with all their allies, I will nottake off armour.’ Having spoken those words, the three warriors leavingDuryodhana’s side entered the great forest just as the sun was setting.While sitting under a large banian tree in the night, they saw an owlkilling numerous crows one after another. At the sight of this,Aswatthaman, his heart full of rage at the thought of his father’s fate,resolved to slay the slumbering Panchalas. And wending to the gate of thecamp, he saw there a Rakshasa of frightful visage, his head reaching tothe very heavens, guarding the entrance. And seeing that Rakshasaobstructing all his weapons, the son of Drona speedily pacified byworship the three-eyed Rudra. And then accompanied by Kritavarman andKripa he slew all the sons of Draupadi, all the Panchalas withDhrishtadyumna and others, together with their relatives, slumberingunsuspectingly in the night. All perished on that fatal night except thefive Pandavas and the great warrior Satyaki. Those escaped owing toKrishna’s counsels, then the charioteer of Dhrishtadyumna brought to thePandavas intelligence of the slaughter of the slumbering Panchalas by theson of Drona. Then Draupadi distressed at the death of her sons andbrothers and father sat before her lords resolved to kill herself byfasting. Then Bhima of terrible prowess, moved by the words of Draupadi,resolved, to please her; and speedily taking up his mace followed inwrath the son of his preceptor in arms. The son of Drona from fear ofBhimasena and impelled by the fates and moved also by anger discharged acelestial weapon saying, ‘This is for the destruction of all thePandavas’; then Krishna saying. ‘This shall not be’, neutralisedAswatthaman’s speech. Then Arjuna neutralised that weapon by one of hisown. Seeing the wicked Aswatthaman’s destructive intentions, Dwaipayanaand Krishna pronounced curses on him which the latter returned. Pandavathen deprived the mighty warrior-in-chariot Aswatthaman, of the jewel onhis head, and became exceedingly glad, and, boastful of their success,made a present of it to the sorrowing Draupadi. Thus the tenth Parva,called Sauptika, is recited. The great Vyasa hath composed this ineighteen sections. The number of slokas also composed (in this) by thegreat reciter of sacred truths is eight hundred and seventy. In thisParva has been put together by the great Rishi the two Parvas calledSauptika and Aishika.

“After this hath been recited the highly pathetic Parva called Stri,Dhritarashtra of prophetic eye, afflicted at the death of his children,and moved by enmity towards Bhima, broke into pieces a statue of hardiron deftly placed before him by Krishna (as substitute of Bhima). ThenVidura, removing the distressed Dhritarashtra’s affection for worldlythings by reasons pointing to final release, consoled that wise monarch.Then hath been described the wending of the distressed Dhritarashtraaccompanied by the ladies of his house to the field of battle of theKauravas. Here follow the pathetic wailings of the wives of the slainheroes. Then the wrath of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra and their loss ofconsciousness. Then the Kshatriya ladies saw those heroes,–theirunreturning sons, brothers, and fathers,–lying dead on the field. Thenthe pacification by Krishna of the wrath of Gandhari distressed at thedeath of her sons and grandsons. Then the cremation of the bodies of thedeceased Rajas with due rites by that monarch (Yudhishthira) of greatwisdom and the foremost also of all virtuous men. Then upon thepresentation of water of the manes of the deceased princes havingcommenced, the story of Kunti’s acknowledgment of Karna as her son bornin secret. Those have all been described by the great Rishi Vyasa in thehighly pathetic eleventh Parva. Its perusal moveth every feeling heartwith sorrow and even draweth tears from the eyes. The number of sectionscomposed is twenty-seven. The number of slokas is seven hundred andseventy-five.

“Twelfth in number cometh the Santi Parva, which increaseth theunderstanding and in which is related the despondency of Yudhishthira onhis having slain his fathers, brothers, sons, maternal uncles andmatrimonial relations. In this Parva is described how from his bed ofarrows Bhishma expounded various systems of duties worth the study ofkings desirous of knowledge; this Parva expounded the duties relative toemergencies, with full indications of time and reasons. By understandingthese, a person attaineth to consummate knowledge. The mysteries also offinal emancipation have been expatiated upon. This is the twelfth Parvathe favourite of the wise. It consists of three hundred and thirty-ninesections, and contains fourteen thousand, seven hundred and thirty-twoslokas.

“Next in order is the excellent Anusasana Parva. In it is described howYudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, was reconciled to himself on hearingthe exposition of duties by Bhishma, the son of Bhagirathi. This Parvatreats of rules in detail and of Dharma and Artha; then the rules ofcharity and its merits; then the qualifications of donees, and thesupreme ride-regarding gifts. This Parva also describes the ceremonialsof individual duty, the rules of conduct and the matchless merit oftruth. This Parva showeth the great merit of Brahmanas and kine, andunraveleth the mysteries of duties in relation to time and place. Theseare embodied in the excellent Parva called Anusasana of varied incidents.In this hath been described the ascension of Bhishma to Heaven. This isthe thirteenth Parva which hath laid down accurately the various dutiesof men. The number of sections, in this is one hundred and forty-six. Thenumber of slokas is eight thousand.

“Then comes the fourteenth Parva Aswamedhika. In this is the excellentstory of Samvarta and Marutta. Then is described the discovery (by thePandavas) of golden treasuries; and then the birth of Parikshit who wasrevived by Krishna after having been burnt by the (celestial) weapon ofAswatthaman. The battles of Arjuna the son of Pandu, while following thesacrificial horse let loose, with various princes who in wrath seized it.Then is shown the great risk of Arjuna in his encounter with Vabhruvahanathe son of Chitrangada (by Arjuna) the appointed daughter of the chief ofManipura. Then the story of the mongoose during the performance of thehorse-sacrifice. This is the most wonderful Parva called Aswamedhika. Thenumber of sections is one hundred and three. The number of slokascomposed (in this) by Vyasa of true knowledge is three thousand, threehundred and twenty.

“Then comes the fifteenth Parva called Asramvasika. In this,Dhritarashtra, abdicating the kingdom, and accompanied by Gandhari andVidura went to the woods. Seeing this, the virtuous Pritha also, everengaged in cherishing her superiors, leaving the court of her sons,followed the old couple. In this is described the wonderful meetingthrough the kindness of Vyasa of the king (Dhritarashtra) with thespirits of his slain children, grand-children, and other princes,returned from the other world. Then the monarch abandoning his sorrowsacquired with his wife the highest fruit of his meritorious actions. Inthis Parva, Vidura after having leaned on virtue all his life attainethto the most meritorious state.

“The learned son of Gavalgana, Sanjaya, also of passions under fullcontrol, and the foremost of ministers, attained, in the Parva, to theblessed state. In this, Yudhishthira the just met Narada and heard fromhim about the extinction of the race of Vrishnis. This is the verywonderful Parva called Asramvasika. The number of sections in this isforty-two, and the number of slokas composed by Vyasa cognisant of truthis one thousand five hundred and six.

“After this, you know, comes the Maushala of painful incidents. In this,those lion-hearted heroes (of the race of Vrishni) with the scars of manya field on their bodies, oppressed with the curse of a Brahmana, whiledeprived of reason from drink, impelled by the fates, slew each other onthe shores of the Salt Sea with the Eraka grass which (in their hands)became (invested with the fatal attributes of the) thunder. In this, bothBalarama and Kesava (Krishna) after causing the extermination of theirrace, their hour having come, themselves did not rise superior to thesway of all-destroying Time. In this, Arjuna the foremost among men,going to Dwaravati (Dwaraka) and seeing the city destitute of theVrishnis was much affected and became exceedingly sorry. Then after thefuneral of his maternal uncle Vasudeva the foremost among the Yadus(Vrishnis), he saw the heroes of the Yadu race lying stretched in deathon the spot where they had been drinking. He then caused the cremation ofthe bodies of the illustrious Krishna and Balarama and of the principalmembers of the Vrishni race. Then as he was journeying from Dwaraka withthe women and children, the old and the decrepit–the remnants of theYadu race–he was met on the way by a heavy calamity. He witnessed alsothe disgrace of his bow Gandiva and the unpropitiousness of his celestialweapons. Seeing all this, Arjuna became despondent and, pursuant toVyasa’s advice, went to Yudhishthira and solicited permission to adoptthe Sannyasa mode of life. This is the sixteenth Parva called MaushalaThe number of sections is eight and the number of slokas composed byVyasa cognisant of truth is three hundred and twenty.

“The next is Mahaprasthanika, the seventeenth Parva.

“In this, those foremost among men the Pandavas abdicating their kingdomwent with Draupadi on their great journey called Mahaprasthana. In this,they came across Agni, having arrived on the shore of the sea of redwaters. In this, asked by Agni himself, Arjuna worshipped him duly,returned to him the excellent celestial bow called Gandiva. In this,leaving his brothers who dropped one after another and Draupadi also,Yudhishthira went on his journey without once looking back on them. Thisthe seventeenth Parva is called Mahaprasthanika. The number of sectionsin this is three. The number of slokas also composed by Vyasa cognisantof truth is three hundred and twenty.

“The Parva that comes after this, you must know, is the extraordinary onecalled Svarga of celestial incidents. Then seeing the celestial car cometo take him, Yudhishthira moved by kindness towards the dog thataccompanied him, refused to ascend it without his companion. Observingthe illustrious Yudhishthira’s steady adherence to virtue, Dharma (thegod of justice) abandoning his canine form showed himself to the king.Then Yudhishthira ascending to heaven felt much pain. The celestialmessenger showed him hell by an act of deception. Then Yudhishthira, thesoul of justice, heard the heart-rending lamentations of his brothersabiding in that region under the discipline of Yama. Then Dharma andIndra showed Yudhishthira the region appointed for sinners. ThenYudhishthira, after leaving the human body by a plunge in the celestialGanges, attained to that region which his acts merited, and began to livein joy respected by Indra and all other gods. This is the eighteenthParva as narrated by the illustrious Vyasa. The number of slokascomposed, O ascetics, by the great Rishi in this is two hundred and nine.

“The above are the contents of the Eighteen Parvas. In the appendix(Khita) are the Harivansa and the Vavishya. The number of slokascontained in the Harivansa is twelve thousand.”

These are the contents of the section called Parva-sangraha. Sauticontinued, “Eighteen Akshauhinis of troops came together for battle. Theencounter that ensued was terrible and lasted for eighteen days. He whoknows the four Vedas with all the Angas and Upanishads, but does not knowthis history (Bharata), cannot be regarded as wise. Vyasa of immeasurableintelligence, has spoken of the Mahabharata as a treatise on Artha, onDharma, and on Kama. Those who have listened to his history can neverbear to listen to others, as, indeed, they who have listened to the sweetvoice of the male Kokila can never hear the dissonance of the crow’scawing. As the formation of the three worlds proceedeth from the fiveelements, so do the inspirations of all poets proceed from this excellentcomposition. O ye Brahman, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous,oviparous, born of hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on spacefor their existence, so the Puranas depend upon this history. As all thesenses depend for their exercise upon the various modifications of themind, so do all acts (ceremonials) and moral qualities depend upon thistreatise. There is not a story current in the world but doth depend onthis history, even as body upon the food it taketh. All poets cherish theBharata even as servants desirous of preferment always attend uponmasters of good lineage. Even as the blessed domestic Asrama can never besurpassed by the three other Asramas (modes of life) so no poets cansurpass this poem.

“Ye ascetics, shake off all inaction. Let your hearts be fixed on virtue,for virtue is the one only friend of him that has gone to the otherworld. Even the most intelligent by cherishing wealth and wives can nevermake these their own, nor are these possessions lasting. The Bharatauttered by the lips of Dwaipayana is without a parallel; it is virtueitself and sacred. It destroyeth sin and produceth good. He thatlisteneth to it while it is being recited hath no need of a bath in thesacred waters of Pushkara. A Brahmana, whatever sins he may commit duringthe day through his senses, is freed from them all by reading the Bharatain the evening. Whatever sins he may commit also in the night by deeds,words, or mind, he is freed from them all by reading Bharata in the firsttwilight (morning). He that giveth a hundred kine with horns mounted withgold to a Brahmana well-posted up in the Vedas and all branches oflearning, and he that daily listeneth to the sacred narrations of theBharata, acquireth equal merit. As the wide ocean is easily passable bymen having ships, so is this extensive history of great excellence anddeep import with the help of this chapter called Parva sangraha.”

Thus endeth the section called Parva-sangraha of the Adi Parva of theblessed Mahabharata.



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