Chapter 12

Mahabharata English - SAUPTIKA PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “After the irresistible Bhimasena had set out, thatbull of Yadu’s race, possessed of eyes like lotus-petals, addressedKuru’s son Yudhishthira, saying, O son of Pandu, this brother of thine,overwhelmed with grief at the slaughter of his sons, proceedeth alone tobattle, from desire of slaying the son of Drona. O bull of Bharata’srace, of all thy brothers, Bhima is thy dearest! Beholding him falleninto a great danger why dost thou not stir thyself? The weapon calledbrahmashira, which that subjugator of hostile towns, Drona, communicatedto his son, is capable of consuming the whole world. The illustrious andhighly blessed preceptor, that foremost of all wielders of bows,delighted with Dhananjaya, had given him that very weapon. Unable toendure it, his only son then begged it of him. Unwillingly he impartedthe knowledge of that weapon to Ashvatthama. The illustrious Drona knewthe restlessness of his son. Acquainted with all duties, the preceptorlaid this command on him, saying, “Even when overtaken by the greatestdanger, O child in the midst of battle, thou shouldst never use thisweapon, particularly against human beings.” Even thus the preceptor Dronaspoke unto his son. A little while after he again spoke, saying, “O bullamong men, thou wilt not, it seems, walk in the path of the righteous.”Hearing those bitter words of his sire, the wicked-souled Ashvatthama, indespair of obtaining every kind of prosperity, began in grief to wanderover the earth.

Then, O chief of the Kurus, while you were living in the woods, OBharata, he came to Dvaraka and took up his abode there, worshipped bythe Vrishnis. One day, after he had taken up his abode in Dvaraka, hecame to me, without a companion and when I myself was without anybody bymy side, on the seacoast, and there smilingly addressing me said, “OKrishna, that weapon, called brahmashira, worshipped by gods andgandharvas, which my sire, the preceptor of the Bharatas, of prowessincapable of being baffled, and obtained from Agastya after performingthe austerest penances, is now with me, O Dasharha, as much as it is withmy sire. O foremost one of Yadu’s race, in exchange for that celestialweapon, give me thy discus which is capable of slaying all foes inbattle.”

While he with joined palms and great importunity thus begged of me mydiscus, myself, O bull of Bharata’s race, from desire of gladdening him,told him these words: “Gods, danavas, gandharvas, men, birds and snakes,assembled together, are not equal to even a hundredth part of my energy.I have this bow, this dart, this discus, and this mace. I will give theewhichever amongst these thou desirest to have from me. Without giving methe weapon thou wishest to give, take from among these weapons of minewhichever thou mayest be able to wield and use in battle.”

Thus addressed, the illustrious son of Drona, as if challenging me,solicited at my hands my discus of excellent nave and hard as thunder,possessed of a 1,000 spokes, and made of iron “Take it.” I said unto him.Thus addressed, he rose suddenly and seized the discus with his lefthand. He failed, however, to even move the weapon from the spot on whichit lay. He then made preparations for seizing it with his right hand.Having seized it then very firmly and having put forth all his strength,he still failed to either wield or move it. At this, Drona’s son becamefilled with sorrow. After he was tired with the exertions he made, heceased, O Bharata!

When he withdrew his heart from that purpose, I addressed the anxious andsenseless Ashvatthama and said, “He who is always regarded as theforemost of all human beings, that wielder of gandiva, that warriorhaving white steeds yoked unto his car, that hero owning the prince ofapes for the device on his standard, that hero who, desirous ofvanquishing in a wrestling encounter the god of gods, the blue-throatedlord of Uma, gratified the great Shankara himself, that Phalguna thanwhom I have no dearer friend on earth, that friend to whom there isnothing that I cannot give including my very wives and children, thatdear friend Partha of unstained acts, never said unto me, O brahmana,such words as these which thou hast uttered.

That son whom I obtained through ascetic penances and observances ofaustere brahmacarya for twelve years on the breast of Himavati whither Ihad gone for the purpose, that son of mine, Pradyumna, of great energyand a portion of Sanat-kumara himself, begotten by me upon my wifeRukmini who had practised vows as austere as mine, that hero even neversolicited this best of objects, this unrivalled discus, which thou oflittle understanding had solicited!

Rama of great might never said such words to me! Neither Gada nor Sambahas ever asked that of me which thou hast asked! No one among the othergreat car-warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka race residing inDvaraka has ever asked this of me which thou hast asked! Thou art the sonof the preceptor of the Bharatas, thou art held in high respect by allthe Yadavas. Let me ask thee, O foremost of car-warriors, with whomwouldst thou fight using this weapon?”

Thus addressed by me, Drona’s son replied, saying, “After offeringworship to thee, O Krishna, it was my intention to fight thee, O thou ofunfading glory! It was for this, O Krishna that I solicited thee for thydiscus which is adored by gods and danavas. If I had got it I would thenbecome invincible in the world. Having failed, O Keshava, in obtaining myalmost unattainable wish, I am about to leave thee, O Govinda! Address mein fair words now. This terrible weapon is held by thee that art theforemost of all terrible persons. Unrivalled art thou for this weapon!There is none else in this world capable of possessing it.”

Having said these words unto me, the son of Drona, taking many couples ofsteeds and much wealth and diverse kinds of gems, left Dvaraka. He iswrathful, wicked-souled, restless, and very cruel. He knows the weaponcalled brahmashira. Vrikodara should be protected from him!”

Chapter 11
Chapter 13
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