Vaishampayana said, “At the very sight, O tiger among men, of those tworishis possessed of splendour like that of fire, Dhananjaya quicklyresolved to withdraw his celestial shaft. Joining his hands, he addressedthose rishis, saying, I used this weapon, saying, “Let it neutralise the(enemy’s) weapon!” If I withdraw this high weapon, Drona’s son of sinfuldeeds will then, without doubt, consume us all with the energy of hisweapon. Ye two are like gods! It behoveth you to devise some means bywhich our welfare as also that of the three worlds may be secured!’
Having said these words Dhananjaya withdrew his weapon. The withdrawal ofthat weapon by the gods themselves in battle is exceedingly difficult.Not excepting the great Indra himself, there was nobody save the son ofPandu, who was capable of withdrawing that high weapon after it had oncebeen let off. That weapon was born of Brahma energy. No person ofuncleansed soul can bring it back after it is once let off. Only one thatleads the life of a brahmacari can do it. If one who has not practisedthe vow of brahmacarya seeks to bring it back after having shot it, itstrikes off his own head and destroys him with all his equipments. Arjunawas a brahmacari and an observer of vows. Having obtained that almostunobtainable weapon, he had never used it even when plunged intosituations of the greatest danger. Observant of the vow of truth,possessed of great heroism, leading the life of a brahmacari, the son ofPandu was submissive and obedient to all his superiors. It was for thisthat he succeeded in withdrawing his weapon.
Drona’s son, beholding those two rishis standing before him, could not byhis energy withdraw his own terrible weapon. Unable to withdraw the highweapon in battle, Drona’s son, O king, with a cheerless heart, said untothe island-born rishi these words, Threatened by a great danger, anddesirous of protecting my life, I let off this weapon, through fear ofBhimasena, O sage! This Bhimasena of false behaviour, acted sinfully, Oholy one, while slaying the son of Dhritarashtra in battle! It is forthis, O regenerate one, that of uncleansed soul as I am I let off thisweapon. I dare not, however, withdraw it now. Having inspired thisirresistible and celestial weapon with the energy of fire, I let it offfor the destruction of the Pandavas. Contrived for the destruction of thePandavas, that weapon, therefore, will take away the lives of all thesons of Pandu. O regenerate one, I have, in wrath, done this sinful deed.I invoked this weapon in battle for the destruction of the Pandavas.’
Vyasa said, “Pritha’s son Dhananjaya, O child, was acquainted with theweapon called brahmashira. Neither from wrath, nor for thy destruction inbattle, did he shoot this weapon. Arjuna, on the other hand, used it forbaffling thy weapon. He has again withdrawn it. Having obtained even thebrahmastra through thy sire’s instructions, the mighty-armed Dhananjayadid not fall off from a kshatriya’s duties. Arjuna is possessed of suchpatience, and such honesty. He is, besides, conversant with every weapon,Why dost thou seek to compass the destruction of such a person with allhis brothers? That region where the weapon called brahmashira is baffledby another high weapon suffers a drought for twelve years, for the cloudsdo not pour a drop of water there for this period. For this reason, themighty-armed son of Pandu, although he had the power, would not, fromdesire of doing good to living creatures, baffle thy weapon with his. ThePandavas should be protected; thy own self should be protected; thekingdom also should be protected. Therefore, O thou of mighty arms,withdraw this celestial weapon of thine. Dispel this wrath from thy heartand let the Pandavas be safe. The royal sage Yudhishthira never desiresto win victory by perpetrating any sinful act. Give unto these that gemwhich is on thy head. Taking that, the Pandavas will in return grant theethy life!”
Drona’s son said, “This my gem is more valuable than all the wealth thathas ever been earned by the Pandavas and the Kauravas. If this gem isworn, the wearer ceases to have any fear from weapons or disease orhunger! He ceases to have any fear of gods and danavas and nagas! Hisapprehensions from rakshasas as also from robbers will cease. Even theseare the virtues of this gem of mine. I cannot, by any means, part withit. That, however, O holy one, which thou sayest, should be done by me.Here is this gem. Here is myself. This blade of grass (inspired into afatal weapon) will, however, fall into the wombs of the Pandava women,for this weapon is high and mighty, and incapable of being frustrated. Oregenerate one, I am unable to withdraw it, having once let it off. Iwill now throw this weapon into the wombs of the Pandava women. Asregards thy commands in other respects, O holy one, I shall certainlyobey them.”
Vyasa said, “Do then this. Do not, however, entertain any other purpose,O sinless one! Throwing this weapon into the wombs of the Pandava women,stop thyself.”
Vaishampayana continued, “The son of Drona, having heard these words ofthe island-born, threw that uplifted weapon into the wombs of the Pandavawomen.”