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Chapter 309

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Janamejaya said, “Having felt great affliction on account of theabduction of their wife and having rescued Krishna thereafter, what didthe Pandavas next do?”

Vaisampayana said, “Having felt great affliction on account of theabduction of Krishna, king Yudhishthira of unfading glory, with hisbrothers, left the woods of Kamyaka and returned to the delightful andpicturesque Dwaitavana abounding in trees and containing delicious fruitsand roots. And the sons of Pandu with their wife Krishna began to residethere, living frugally on fruits and practising rigid vows. And whilethose repressers of foes, the virtuous king Yudhishthira, the son ofKunti, and Bhimasena, and Arjuna, and those other sons of Pandu born ofMadri, were dwelling in Dwaitavana, practising rigid vows, theyunderwent, for the sake of a Brahmana, great trouble, which, however, wasdestined to bring about their future happiness. I will tell thee allabout the trouble which those foremost of Kurus underwent while living inthose woods, and which in the end brought about their happiness. Do thoulisten to it! Once on a time, as a deer was butting about, it chancedthat the two sticks for making fire and a churning staff belonging to aBrahmana devoted to ascetic austerities, struck fast into its antlers.And, thereupon, O king, that powerful deer of exceeding fleetness withlong bounds, speedily went out of the hermitage, taking those articlesaway. And, O foremost of Kurus, seeing those articles of his thus carriedaway, the Brahmana, anxious on account of his Agnihotra, quickly camebefore the Pandavas. And approaching without loss of time Ajatasatruseated in that forest with his brothers, the Brahmana, in great distress,spake these words, ‘As a deer was butting about, it happened, O king,that my fire-sticks and churning staff which had been placed against alarge tree stuck fast to its antlers. O king, that powerful deer ofexceeding fleetness hath speedily gone out of the hermitage with longbounds, taking those articles away. Tracking that powerful deer, O king,by its foot-prints, do ye, ye sons of Pandu, bring back those articles ofmine, so that my Agnihotra may not be stopped!’ Hearing these words ofthe Brahmana, Yudhishthira became exceedingly concerned. And the son ofKunti taking up his bow sallied out with his brothers. And putting ontheir corselets and equipped with their bows, those bulls among men,intent upon serving the Brahmana, swiftly sallied out in the wake of thedeer. And descrying the deer at no great distance, those mighty warriorsdischarged at it barbed arrows and javelins and darts, but the sons ofPandu could not pierce it by any means. And as they struggled to pursueand slay it, that powerful deer became suddenly invisible. And losingsight of the deer, the noble-minded sons of Pandu, fatigued anddisappointed and afflicted with hunger and thirst, approached a baniantree in that deep forest, and sat down in its cool shade. And when theyhad sat down, Nakula stricken with sorrow and urged by impatience,addressed his eldest brother of the Kuru race, saying, ‘In our race, Oking, virtue hath never been sacrificed, nor hath there been loss ofwealth from insolence. And being asked, we have never said to anycreature, Nay! Why then in the present case have we met with thisdisaster?”

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