Chapter 46

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, ‘Having thus sent away the Gandharva successful in hismission, Urvasi of luminous smiles, moved by the desire of possessingPhalguna, took a bath. And having performed her ablutions, she deckedherself in charming ornaments and splendid garlands of celestial odour.And inflamed by the god of love, and her heart pierced through andthrough by the shafts shot by Manmatha keeping in view the beauty ofArjuna, and her imagination wholly taken up by the thoughts of Arjuna,she mentally sported with him on a wide and excellent bed laid over withcelestial sheets. And when the twilight had deepened and the moon was up,that Apsara of high hips sent out for the mansions of Arjuna. And in thatmood and with her crisp, soft and long braids decked with bunches offlowers, she looked extremely beautiful. With her beauty and grace, andthe charm of the motions of her eye-brows and of her soft accents, andher own moon like face, she seemed to tread, challenging the moonhimself. And as she proceeded, her deep, finely tapering bosoms, deckedwith a chain of gold and adorned with celestial unguents and smeared withfragrant sandal paste, began to tremble. And in consequence of the weightof her bosoms, she was forced to slightly stoop forward at every step,bending her waist exceedingly beautiful with three folds. And her loinsof faultless shape, the elegant abode of the god of love, furnished withfair and high and round hips and wide at their lower part as a hill, anddecked with chains of gold, and capable of shaking the saintship ofanchorites, being decked with thin attire, appeared highly graceful. Andher feet with fair suppressed ankles, and possessing flat soles andstraight toes of the colour of burnished copper and dorsum high andcurved like tortoise back and marked by the wearing of ornamentsfurnished with rows of little bells, looked exceedingly handsome. Andexhilarated with a little liquor which she had taken, and excited bydesire, and moving in diverse attitudes and expressing a sensation ofdelight, she looked more handsome than usual. And though heaven aboundedwith many wonderful objects, yet when Urvasi proceeded in this manner,the Siddhas and Charanas and Gandharvas regarded her to be the handsomestobject they had cast their eyes upon. And the upper half of her body cladin an attire of fine texture and cloudy hues, she looked resplendent likea digit of the moon in the firmament shrouded by fleecy clouds. Andendued with the speed of the winds or the mind, she of luminous smilessoon reached the mansion of Phalguna, the son of Pandu. And, O best ofmen, Urvasi of beautiful eyes, having arrived at the gate of Arjuna’sabode, sent word through the keeper in attendance. And (on receivingpermission), she soon entered that brilliant and charming palace. But, Omonarch, upon beholding her at night in his mansion, Arjuna, with afearstricken heart, stepped up to receive her with respect and as soon ashe saw her, the son of Pritha, from modesty, closed his eyes. Andsaluting her, he offered the Apsara such worship as is offered unto asuperior. And Arjuna said, ‘O thou foremost of the Apsaras, I reverencethee by bending my head down. O lady, let me know thy commands. I waitupon thee as thy servant.'”

Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Phalguna, Urvasi becamedeprived of her senses. And she soon represented unto Arjuna all that hadpassed between her and the Gandharva, Chitrasena. And she said, ‘O bestof men, I shall tell thee all that hath passed between me and Chitrasena,and why I have come hither. On account of thy coming here, O Arjuna,Mahendra had convened a large and charming assembly, in which celestialfestivities were held. Unto that assembly came, O best of men, the Rudrasand the Adityas and the Aswins and the Vasus. And there came also numbersof great Rishis and royal sages and Siddhas and Charanas and Yakshas andgreat Nagas. And, O thou of expansive eyes, the members of the assemblyresplendent as fire or the sun or the moon, having taken their seatsaccording to rank, honour, and prowess, O son of Sakra, the Gandharvasbegan to strike the Vinas and sing charming songs of celestial melody.And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, the principal Apsaras also commencedto dance. Then, O son of Pritha, thou hadst looked on me only with asteadfast gaze. When that assembly of the celestials broke, commanded bythy father, the gods went away to their respective places. And theprincipal Apsaras also went away to their abodes, and others also, Oslayer of foes, commanded by thy father and obtaining his leave. It wasthen that Chitrasena sent to me by Sakra, and arriving at my abode. Othou of eyes like lotus leaves, he addressed me, saying, ‘O thou of thefairest complexion, I have been sent unto thee by the chief of thecelestials. Do thou something that would be agreeable to Mahendra andmyself and to thyself also. O thou of fair hips, seek thou to pleaseArjuna, who is brave in battle even like Sakra himself, and who is alwayspossessed of magnanimity.’ Even these, O son of Pritha, were his words.Thus, O sinless one, commanded by him and thy father also, I come to theein order to wait upon thee, O slayer of foes. My heart hath beenattracted by thy virtues, and am already under the influence of the godof love. And, O hero, even this is my wish, and I have cherished it forever!”

Vaisampayana continued, “While in heaven, hearing her speak in thisstrain, Arjuna was overcome with bashfulness. And shutting his ears withhis hands, he said, ‘O blessed lady, fie on my sense of hearing, whenthou speakest thus to me. For, O thou of beautiful face, thou artcertainly equal in my estimation unto the wife of a superior. Even asKunti here even this is my wish, and I have cherished it for ever!”

[Some text is obviously missing here–JBH] of high fortune or Sachi thequeen of Indra, art thou to me, O auspicious one, of this there is nodoubt! That I had gazed particularly at thee, O blessed one, is true.There was a reason for it. I shall truly tell it to thee, O thou ofluminous smiles! In the assembly I gazed at thee with eyes expanded indelight, thinking, ‘Even this blooming lady is the mother of the Kauravarace.’ O blessed Apsara, it behoveth thee not to entertain other feelingstowards me, for thou art superior to my superiors, being the parent of myrace.'”

“Hearing these words of Arjuna, Urvasi answered, saying, ‘O son of Thechief of the celestials, we Apsaras are free and unconfined in ourchoice. It behoveth thee not, therefore, to esteem me as thy superior.The sons and grandsons of Puru’s race, that have come hither inconsequence of ascetic merit do all sport with us, without incurring anysin. Relent, therefore, O hero, it behoveth thee not to send me away. Iam burning with desire. I am devoted to thee. Accept me, O thou giver ofproper respect.'”

“Arjuna replied, ‘O beautiful lady of features perfectly faultless,listen. I truly tell thee. Let the four directions and the transversedirections, let also the gods listen. O sinless one, as Kunti, or Madri,or Sachi, is to me, so art thou, the parent of my race, an object ofreverence to me. Return, O thou of the fairest complexion: I bend my headunto thee, and prostrate myself at thy feet. Thou deservest my worship asmy own mother; and it behoveth thee to protect me as a son.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Partha, Urvasi was deprived ofher senses by wrath. Trembling with rage, and contracting her brows, shecursed Arjuna, saying, ‘Since thou disregardest a woman come to thymansion at the command of thy father and of her own motion–a woman,besides, who is pierced by the shafts of Kama, therefore, O Partha, thoushalt have to pass thy time among females unregarded, and as a dancer,and destitute of manhood and scorned as a eunuch.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having cursed Arjuna thus, Urvasi’s lips stillquivered in anger, herself breathing heavily all the while. And she soonreturned to her own abode. And that slayer of foes, Arjuna also soughtChitrasena without loss of time. And having found him, he told him allthat had passed between him and Urvasi in the night. And he toldChitrasena everything as it had happened, repeatedly referring to thecurse pronounced upon him. And Chitrasena also represented everythingunto Sakra. And Harivahana, calling his son unto himself in private, andconsoling him in sweet words, smilingly said, ‘O thou best of beings,having obtained thee, O child, Pritha hath to-day become a truly blessedmother. O mighty-armed one, thou hast now vanquished even Rishis by thepatience and self-control. But, O giver of proper respect, the curse thatUrvasi hath denounced on thee will be to thy benefit,

O child, and stand thee in good stead. O sinless one, ye will have onearth to pass the thirteenth year (of your exile), unknown to all. It isthen that thou shalt suffer the curse of Urvasi. And having passed oneyear as a dancer without manhood, thou shalt regain thy power on theexpiration of the term.'”

“Thus addressed by Sakra, that slayer of hostile heroes, Phalguna,experienced great delight and ceased to think of the curse. AndDhananjaya, the son of Pandu, sported in regions of heaven with theGandharva Chitrasena of great celebrity.”

“The desires of the man that listeneth to this history of the son ofPandu never run after lustful ends. The foremost of men, by listening tothis account of the awfully pure conduct of Phalguna, the son of the lordof the celestials, become void of pride and arrogance and wrath and otherfaults, and ascending to heaven, sport there in bliss.”

Chapter 45
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