Chapter 159

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘About this time, there came into the Pandava campBhishmaka’s son, foremost among all persons of truthful resolution, andknown widely by the name of Rukmi. The high-souled Bhishmaka, who wasotherwise called king Hiranyaroman, was the friend of Indra. And he wasmost illustrious among the descendants of Bhoja and was the ruler of thewhole southern country. And Rukmi was a disciple of that lion among theKimpurushas who was known by the name of Drona, having his abode on themountains of Gandhamadana. And he had learnt from his preceptor the wholescience of weapons with its four divisions. And that mighty-armed warriorhad obtained also the bow named Vijaya of celestial workmanship,belonging to the great Indra, and which was equal to Gandiva in energyand to also Sarnga (held by Krishna). There were three celestial bowsowned by the denizens of heaven, viz., Gandiva owned by Varuna, the bowcalled Vijaya owned by Indra, and that other celestial bow of greatenergy said to have been owned by Vishnu. This last (Sarnga), capable ofstriking fear into the hearts of hostile warriors, was held by Krishna.The bow called Gandiva was obtained by Indra’s son (Arjuna) from Agni onthe occasion of the burning of Khandava, while the bow called Vijaya wasobtained from Drona by Rukmi of great energy. Baffling the nooses of Muraand slaying by his might that Asura, and vanquishing Naraka, the son ofthe Earth, Hrishikesa, while recovering the begemmed ear-rings (ofAditi), with sixteen thousand girls and various kinds of jewels and gems,obtained that excellent bow called Sarnga. And Rukmi having obtained thebow called Vijaya whose twang resembled the roar of the clouds came tothe Pandavas, as if inspiring the whole universe with dread. Formerly,proud of the might of his own arms, the heroic Rukmi could not toleratethe ravishment of his sister Rukmini by wise Vasudeva. He had set out inpursuit, having sworn that he would not return without having slainJanardana. And accompanied by a large army consisting of four kinds offorces that occupied (as it marched) a very large portion of the earth,accoutred in handsome coats of mail and armed with diverse weapons andresembling the swollen current of the Ganga, that foremost of allwielders of weapons set out in pursuit of Vasudeva of Vrishni’s race. Andhaving come up to him of Vrishni’s race who was lord and master ofeverything obtainable by ascetic austerities, Rukmi, O king, wasvanquished and covered with shame. And for this he returned not to (hiscity) Kundina. And on the spot where that slayer of hostile heroes wasvanquished by Krishna, he built an excellent city named Bhojakata. And, Oking, that city filled with large forces and teeming with elephants,steeds., is widely known on the earth by that name. Endued with greatenergy, that hero, cased in mail and armed with bows, fences, swords andquivers, quickly entered the Pandava camp, surrounded by an Akshauhini oftroops. And Rukmi entered that vast army, under a standard effulgent asthe sun, and made himself known to the Pandavas, from desire of doingwhat was agreeable to Vasudeva. King Yudhishthira, advancing a few steps,offered him worship. And duly worshipped and eulogised by the Pandavas,Rukmi saluted them in return and rested for a while with his troops. Andaddressing Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti in the midst of the heroes thereassembled, he said, ‘If, O son of Pandu, thou art afraid, I am here torender thee assistance in the battle. The assistance I will give theewill be unbearable by thy foes. There is no man in this world who isequal to me in prowess. I will slay those foes of thine whom thou, O sonof Pandu, wilt assign to me. I will slay one of those heroes, viz., Dronaand Kripa, and Bhishma, and Karna. Or, let all these kings of the earthstand aside. Slaying in battle thy foes myself, I will give thee Earth.’And he said this in the presence of king Yudhishthira the Just and ofKesava and in the hearing of the (assembled) monarchs and all others (inthe camp). Then casting his eyes on Vasudeva and Pandu’s son kingYudhishthira the Just, Dhananjaya the intelligent son of Kunti smilinglybut in a friendly voice said these words, ‘Born in the race of Kuru,being especially the son of Pandu, naming Drona as my preceptor, havingVasudeva for my ally, and bearing, besides the bow called Gandiva, howcan I say that I am afraid? O hero, when on the occasion of the tale ‘ofcattle, I fought with the mighty Gandharvas, who was there to assist me?In that terrific encounter also with the Gods and Danavas banded togetherin great numbers at Khandava, who was my ally when I fought? When, again,I fought with the Nivatakavachas and with those other Danavas calledKalakeyas, who was my ally? When, again, at Virata’s city I fought withthe numberless Kurus, who was my ally in that battle? Having paid myrespects, for battle’s sake, to Rudra, Sakra, Vaisravana, Yama, Varuna,Pavaka, Kripa, Drona, and Madhava, and wielding that tough celestial bowof great energy called Gandiva, and accoutred with inexhaustible arrowsand armed with celestial weapons, how can a person like me, O tiger amongmen, say, even unto Indra armed with the thunderbolt, such words as I amafraid!–words that rob one of all his fame? O thou of mighty arms, I amnot afraid, nor have I any need of thy assistance. Go therefore, or stay,as it pleaseth or suiteth thee.’ Hearing these words of Arjuna, Rukmitaking away with him his army vast as the sea, repaired then, O bull ofBharata’s race, to Duryodhana. And king Rukmi, repairing thither, saidthe same words unto Duryodhana. But that king proud of his bravery,rejected him in the same way.

‘Thus, O king, two persons withdrew from the battle, viz., Rohini’s son(Rama) of Vrishni’s race and king Rukmi. And after Rama had set out onhis pilgrimage to the tirthas, and Bhishmaka’s son Rukmi had departedthus, the sons of Pandu once more sat down for consulting with oneanother. And that conclave presided over by king Yudhishthira the Just,abounding with numerous monarchs, blazed forth like the firmamentbespangled with lesser luminaries with the moon in their midst.'”

Chapter 160
Chapter 158
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