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Chapter 1

Mahabharata English - MAHAPRASTHANIKA PARVA

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana, and to Nara, the foremost of men, asalso to the goddess Sarasvati, should the word “Jaya” be uttered.

Janamejaya said: “Having heard of that encounter with iron bolts betweenthe heroes of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races, and having been informedalso of Krishnas ascension to Heaven, what did the Pandavas do?”

Vaishampayana said: “Having heard the particulars of the great slaughterof the Vrishnis, the Kaurava king set his heart on leaving the world. Headdressed Arjuna, saying, O thou of great intelligence, it is Time thatcooks every creature (in his cauldron). I think that what has happened isdue to the cords of Time (with which he binds us all). It behoveth theealso to see it.

“Thus addressed by his brother, the son of Kunti only repeated the wordTime, Time! and fully endorsed the view of his eldest brother gifted withgreat intelligence. Ascertaining the resolution of Arjuna, Bhimasena andthe twins fully endorsed the words that Arjuna had said. Resolved toretire from the world for earning merit, they brought Yuyutsu beforethem. Yudhishthira made over the kingdom to the son of his uncle by hisVaisya wife. Installing Parikshit also on their throne, as king, theeldest brother of the Pandavas, filled with sorrow, addressed Subhadra,saying, This son of thy son will be the king of the Kurus. The survivorof the Yadus, Vajra, has been made a king. Parikshit will rule inHastinapura, while the Yadava prince, Vajra, will rule in Shakraprastha.He should be protected by thee. Never set thy heart on unrighteousness.

“Having said these words, king Yudhishthira the just, along with hisbrothers, promptly offered oblations of water unto Vasudeva of greatintelligence, as also unto his old maternal uncle and Rama and others. Hethen duly performed the Sraddhas of all those deceased kinsmen of his.The king, in honour of Hari and naming him repeatedly, fed theIsland-born Vyasa, and Narada, and Markandeya possessed of wealth ofpenances, and Yajnavalkya of Bharadwajas race, with many deliciousviands. In honour of Krishna, he also gave away many jewels and gems, androbes and clothes, and villages, and horses and cars, and female slavesby hundreds and thousands unto foremost of Brahmanas. Summoning thecitizens. Kripa was installed as the preceptor and Parikshit was madeover to him as his disciple, O chief of Bharatas race.

“Then Yudhishthira once more summoned all his subjects. The royal sageinformed them of his intentions. The citizens and the inhabitants of theprovinces, hearing the kings words, became filled with anxiety anddisapproved of them. This should never be done, said they unto the king.The monarch, well versed with the changes brought about by time, did notlisten to their counsels. Possessed of righteous soul, he persuaded thepeople to sanction his views. He then set his heart on leaving the world.His brothers also formed the same resolution. Then Dharmas son,Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, casting off his ornaments, worebarks of trees. Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, and Draupadi also ofgreat fame, similarly clad themselves in bark of trees, O king. Havingcaused the preliminary rites of religion, O chief of Bharatas race, whichwere to bless them in the accomplishment of their design, those foremostof men cast off their sacred fires into the water. The ladies, beholdingthe princes in that guise, wept aloud. They seemed to look as they hadlooked in days before, when with Draupadi forming the sixth in numberthey set out from the capital after their defeat at dice. The brothers,however, were all very cheerful at the prospect of retirement.Ascertaining the intentions of Yudhishthira and seeing the destruction ofthe Vrishnis, no other course of action could please them then.

“The five brothers, with Draupadi forming the sixth, and a dog formingthe seventh, set out on their journey. Indeed, even thus did kingYudhishthira depart, himself the head of a party of seven, from the citynamed after the elephant. The citizen and the ladies of the royalhousehold followed them for some distance. None of them, however, couldventure to address the king for persuading him to give up his intention.The denizens of the city then returned; Kripa and others stood aroundYuyutsu as their centre. Ulupi, the daughter of the Naga chief, O thou ofKuntis race, entered the waters of Ganga. The princess Chitrangada setout for the capital of Manipura. The other ladies who were thegrandmothers of Parikshit centered around him. Meanwhile the high-souledPandavas, O thou of Kurus race, and Draupadi of great fame, havingobserved the preliminary fast, set out with their faces towards the east.Setting themselves on Yoga, those high-souled ones, resolved to observethe religion of Renunciation, traversed through various countries andreached diverse rivers and seas. Yudhishthira, proceeded first. Behindhim was Bhima; next walked Arjuna; after him were the twins in the orderof their birth; behind them all, O foremost one of Bharatas race,proceeded Draupadi, that first of women, possessed of great beauty, ofdark complexion, and endued with eyes resembling lotus petals. While thePandavas set out for the forest, a dog followed them.

“Proceeding on, those heroes reached the sea of red waters. Dhananjayahad not cast off his celestial bow Gandiva, nor his couple ofinexhaustible quivers, actuated, O king, by the cupidity that attachesone to things of great value. The Pandavas there beheld the deity of firestanding before them like a hill. Closing their way, the god stood therein his embodied form. The deity of seven flames then addressed thePandavas, saying, Ye heroic sons of Pandu, know me for the deity of fire.O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, O Bhimasena that art a scorcher of foes, OArjuna, and ye twins of great courage, listen to what I say! Ye foremostones of Kurus race, I am the god of fire. The forest of Khandava wasburnt by me, through the puissance of Arjuna and of Narayana himself. Letyour brother Phalguna proceed to the woods after casting off Gandiva,that high weapon. He has no longer any need of it. That precious discus,which was with the high-souled Krishna, has disappeared (from the world).When the time again comes, it will come back into his hands. Thisforemost of bows, Gandiva, was procured by me from Varuna for the use ofPartha. Let it be made over to Varuna himself.

“At this, all the brothers urged Dhananjaya to do what the deity said. Hethen threw into the waters (of the sea) both the bow and the couple ofinexhaustible quivers. After this, O chief of Bharatas race, the god ofthe fire disappeared then and there. The heroic sons of Pandu nextproceeded with their faces turned towards the south. Then, by thenorthern coast of the salt sea, those princes of Bharatas race proceededto the south-west. Turning next towards the west, they beheld the city ofDwaraka covered by the ocean. Turning next to the north, those foremostones proceeded on. Observant of Yoga, they were desirous of making around of the whole Earth.”

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