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Chapter 1

Mahabharata English - MAUSALA 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.

Vaishampayana said: “When the thirty-sixth year (after the battle) wasreached, the delighter of the Kurus, Yudhishthira, beheld many unusualportents. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from everyside. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The greatrivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to bealways covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on theEarth from the sky. The Suns disc, O king, seemed to be always coveredwith dust. At its rise, the great luminary of day was shorn of splendourand seemed to be crossed by headless trunks (of human beings). Fiercecircles of light were seen every day around both the Sun and the Moon.These circles showed three hues. Their edges seemed to be black and roughand ashy-red in colour. These and many other omens, foreshadowing fearand danger, were seen, O king, and filled the hearts of men with anxiety.A little while after, the Kuru king Yudhishthira heard of the wholesalecarnage of the Vrishnis in consequence of the iron bolt. The son ofPandu, hearing that only Vasudeva and Rama had escaped with life,summoned his brothers and took counsel with them as to what they shoulddo. Meeting with one another, they became greatly distressed upon hearingthat the Vrishnis had met with destruction through the Brahmanas rod ofchastisement. The death of Vasudeva, like the drying up of the ocean,those heroes could not believe. In fact the destruction of the wielder ofSaranga was incredible to them. Informed of the incident about the ironbolt, the Pandavas became filled with grief and sorrow. In fact, they satdown, utterly cheerless and penetrated with blank despair.”

Janamejaya said: “Indeed, O holy one, how was it that the Andhakas alongwith Vrishnis, and those great car-warriors, the Bhojas, met withdestruction in the very sight of Vasudeva?”

Vaishampayana continued: “When the thirty-sixth year was reached (afterthe great battle) a great calamity overtook the Vrishnis. Impelled byTime, they all met with destruction in consequence of the iron bolt.”

Janamejaya said: “Cursed by whom did those heroes, the Vrishnis, theAndhakas, and the Bhojas, met with destruction? O foremost regeneratepersons, do thou tell me this in detail.

Vaishampayana continued: “One day, the Vrishni heroes numbering Saranaamongst them, saw Vishvamitra and Kanwa and Narada arrived at Dwaraka.Afflicted by the rod of chastisement wielded by the deities, thoseheroes, causing Samva to be disguised like a woman, approached thoseascetics and said, This one is the wife of Vabhru of immeasurable energywho is desirous of having a son. Ye Rishis, do you know for certain whatthis one will bring forth?

“Hear now, O king, what those ascetics, attempted to be thus deceived,said: This heir of Vasudeva, by name Samva, will bring forth a fierceiron bolt for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. Ye wickedand cruel ones, intoxicated with pride, through that iron bolt ye willbecome the exterminators of your race with the exception of Rama andJanarddana. The blessed hero armed with the plough will enter the ocean,casting off his body, while a hunter of the name of Jara will pierce thehigh-souled Krishna while lying on the ground.

“Endeavoured to be deceived by those wicked ones, those ascetics, witheyes red in wrath, looked at each other and uttered those words. Havingsaid so they then proceeded to see Keshava. The slayer of Madhu, informedof what had taken place, summoned all the Vrishnis and told them of it.Possessed of great intelligence and fully acquainted with what the end ofhis race would be, he simply said that that which was destined wouldsurely happen. Hrishikesa having said so, entered his mansion. The Lordof the universe did not wish to ordain otherwise. When the next day came,Samva actually brought forth an iron bolt through which all theindividuals in the race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas became consumedinto ashes. Indeed, for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas,Samva brought forth, through that curse, a fierce iron bolt that lookedlike a gigantic messenger of death. The fact was duly reported to theking. In great distress of mind, the king (Ugrasena) caused that ironbolt to be reduced into fine powder. Men were employed, O king, to castthat powder into the sea. At the command of Ahuka, of Janarddana, ofRama, and of the high-souled Vabhru, it was, again, proclaimed throughoutthe city that from that day, among all the Vrishnis and the Andhakas noone should manufacture wines and intoxicating spirits of any kind, andthat whoever would secretly manufacture wines and spirits should beimpaled alive with all his kinsmen. Through fear of the king, and knowingthat it was the command of Rama also of unimpeachable deeds, all thecitizens bound themselves by a rule and abstained from manufacturingwines and spirits.”

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