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Chapter 40

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Mahadeva said, ‘Thou wert in thy former life Nara, the friend ofNarayana. In Vadari wert thou engaged in fierce ascetic austerities forseveral thousands of years. In thee as well as in Vishnu–that first ofmale beings–dwelleth great might. Ye both, by your might, hold theuniverse; O lord, taking up that fierce bow whose twang resembled thedeep roar of the clouds, thou, as well as Krishna, chastisedest theDanavas during the coronation of Indra. Even this Gandiva is that bow, Oson of Pritha, fit for thy hands. O foremost of male beings, I snatchedit from thee, helped by my powers of illusion. This couple of quivers,fit for thee, will again be inexhaustible, O son of Pritha! And, O son ofthe Kuru race, thy body will be free from pain and disease. Thy prowessis incapable of being baffled. I have been pleased with thee. And, Ofirst of male beings, ask thou of me the boon that thou desirest. Ochastiser of all foes, O giver of proper respect, (to those deserving it)not even in heaven is there any male being who is equal to thee, nor anyKshatriya who is thy superior.’

“Arjuna said, ‘O illustrious god having the bull for thy sign, if thouwilt grant me my desire, I ask of thee, O lord that fierce celestialweapon wielded by thee and called Brahmasira–that weapon of terrificprowess which destroyeth, at the end of the Yuga the entireuniverse–that weapon by the help of which, O god of gods, I may underthy grace, obtain victory in the terrible conflict which shall take placebetween myself (on one side), and Karna and Bhishma and Kripa and Drona(on the other)–that weapon by which I may consume in battle Danavas andRakshasas and evil spirits and Pisachas and Gandharvas and Nagas–thatweapon which when hurled with Mantras produceth darts by thousands andfierce-looking maces and arrows like snakes of virulent poison, and bymeans of which I may fight with Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna ofever abusive tongue, O illustrious destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, eventhis is my foremost desire, viz., that I may be able to fight with themand obtain success.’

Bhava replied, ‘O powerful one. I will give to thee that favourite weaponof mine called the Pasuputa. O son of Pandu, thou art capable of holding,hurling, and withdrawing it. Neither the chief himself of the gods, norYama, nor the king of the Yakshas, nor Varuna, nor Vayu, knoweth it. Howcould men know anything of it? But, O son of Pritha, this weapon shouldnot be hurled without adequate cause; for if hurled at any foe of littlemight it may destroy the whole universe. In the three worlds with alltheir mobile and immobile creatures, there is none who is incapable ofbeing slain by this weapon. And it may be hurled by the mind, by the eye,by words, and by the bow.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words, the son of Pritha purifiedhimself. And approaching the lord of the universe with rapt attention, hesaid, ‘Instruct me!’ Mahadeva then imparted unto that best of Pandu’s sonthe knowledge of that weapon looking like the embodiment of Yama,together with all the mysteries about hurling and withdrawing it. Andthat weapon thence began to wait upon Arjuna as it did upon Sankara, thelord of Uma. And Arjuna also gladly accepted it. And at the moment thewhole earth, with its mountains and woods and trees and seas and forestsand villages and towns and mines, trembled. And the sounds of conchs anddrums and trumpets by thousands began to be heard. And at that momenthurricanes and whirlwinds began to blow. And the gods and the Danavasbeheld that terrible weapon in its embodied form stay by the side ofArjuna of immeasurable energy. And whatever of evil there had been in thebody of Phalguna of immeasurable energy was all dispelled by the touch ofthe three-eyed deity. And the three eyed god then commanded Arjuna,saying, ‘Go thou into heaven.’ Arjuna then, O king, worshipping the godwith bent head, gazed at him, with joined hands. Then the lord of all thedwellers of heaven, the deity of blazing splendour having his abode onmountain-breasts, the husband of Uma, the god of passions under completecontrol, the source of all blessings, Bhava gave unto Arjuna, thatforemost of men, the great bow called Gandiva, destructive of Danavas andPisachas. And the god of gods, then leaving that blessed mountain withsnowy plateaus and vales and caves, favourite resort of sky-ranging greatRishis, went up, accompanied by Uma into the skies, in the sight of thatforemost of men.”

Chapter 39
Chapter 41
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