Chapter 16

Mahabharata English - SAUPTIKA PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “Understanding that that weapon was thrown (into thewombs of the Pandava women) by Drona’s son of sinful deeds, Hrishikesha,with a cheerful heart, said these words unto him: A certain brahmana ofpious vows, beholding Virata’s daughter who is now daughter-in-law toArjuna, while she was at Upaplavya, said, “While the Kuru line willbecome extinct, a son will be born to thee. This thy son for that reason,will be called by the name of Parikshit.” The words of that pious manshall become true: the Pandavas shall have a son called Parikshit. UntoGovinda, that foremost one of the Satvata race, while he was saying thesewords, Drona’s son, filled with wrath, replied, saying, This, O Keshava,that thou sayest from thy partiality for the Pandavas, shall not happen.O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, my words cannot but be fulfilled.Uplifted by me, this weapon of mine shall fall on the foetus that is inthe womb of Virata’s daughter, upon that foetus which thou, O Krishna,art desirous of protecting.’

The holy one said, “The fall of this mighty weapon will not be fruitless.The foetus will die. But being dead, it will live again and have a longlife! As regards thyself, all wise men know thee for a coward and asinful wretch! Always engaged in sinful acts, thou art the slayer ofchildren. For this reason, thou must have to bear the fruit of these thysins. For 3,000 years thou shalt wander over this earth, without acompanion and without being able to talk with anyone. Alone and withoutanybody by thy side, thou shalt wander through diverse countries, Owretch, thou shalt have no place in the midst of men. The stench of pusand blood shall emanate from thee, and inaccessible forests and drearymoors shall be thy abode! Thou shalt wander over the Earth, O thou ofsinful soul, with the weight of all diseases on thee.

The heroic Parikshit, attaining to age and a knowledge of the Vedas andthe practice of pious vows, shall obtain all weapons from the son ofSharadvata. Having obtained a knowledge of all high weapons, andobservant of all kshatriya duties, that righteous-souled king shall rulethe earth for sixty years. More than this, that boy shall become themighty-armed king of the Kurus, known by the name of Parikshit, beforethy very eyes, O thou of wicked soul! Though burnt by the energy of thyweapon’s fire, I shall revive him. O lowest of men, behold the energy ofmy austerities and my truth.”

Vyasa said, “Since, disregarding us, thou hast perpetrated thisexceedingly cruel act, and since thy behaviour is such although thou arta good brahmana (by birth), therefore, those excellent words thatDevaki’s son has said, will, without doubt, be realised in thy case, anadopter as thou hast been of kshatriya usages!”

Ashvatthama said, “With thyself among all men, O holy one, I shall live!Let the words of this illustrious and foremost of men become true!”

Vaishampayana continued, “Drona’s son, then, having made over his gem tothe high-souled Pandavas, cheerlessly proceeded, before their eyes, tothe forest. The Pandavas who had killed and chastised all their foes,placed Govinda and the island-born Krishna and the great ascetic Naradaat their head, and taking the gem that was born with Ashvatthama, quicklycame back to the intelligent Draupadi who was sitting in observance ofthe praya vow.

Those tigers among men, borne by their excellent steeds resembling thewing in fleetness, came back with him of Dasharha’s race to theirencampment. Speedily alighting from their cars, those great car-warriors,themselves much more afflicted, beheld, Drupada’s daughter Krishnaafflicted with woe. Approaching the cheerless princess stricken withsorrow and grief, the Pandavas with Keshava, sat round her.

Then the mighty Bhimasena, desired by the king, gave that celestial gemunto her and said these words: “This gem, O amiable lady, is thine. Theslayer of thy sons hath been vanquished. Rise, casting off thy sorrow,and recollect the duties of a kshatriya lady. O thou of black eyes, whenVasudeva was about to set out (from Upaplavya) on his mission of peace,thou hadst, O timid lady, said even these words unto the slayer of Madhu,”I have no husbands! I have no sons, nor brothers! Nor art thou alive, OGovinda, since the king desires for peace!” Those bitter words wereaddressed by thee to Krishna, that foremost of persons! It behoveth theeto recollect those words of thine that were so consistent with kshatriyausages.

The wretched Duryodhana, that obstacle on the way of our sovereignty, hasbeen slain. I have quaffed the blood of the living Duhshasana. We havepaid off the debt we owed to our enemy. People, while talking, will notbe able to censure us any longer. Having vanquished Drona’s son, we haveset him free for the sake of his being a brahmana and of the respect thatshould be shown to our deceased preceptor. His fame hath been destroyed,O goddess, only his body remains! He has been divested of his gem and onearth he has been reft of his weapons!”

Draupadi said, “I desired to only pay off our debt for the injury we havesustained. The preceptor’s son is worthy of my reverence as the preceptorhimself. Let the king bind this gem on his head, O Bharata!” The kingthen, taking that gem, placed it on his head, at the desire of Draupadiand regarding it as a gift from the preceptor. Holding on his head thatexcellent and celestial gem, the puissant king looked beautiful like amountain with the moon above it. Though stricken with grief on account ofthe death of her sons, the princess Draupadi, possessed of great mentalstrength, gave up her vow. Then king Yudhishthira enquired of themighty-armed Krishna, saying the following words.”

Chapter 15
Chapter 17
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