Chapter 179

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Akritavrana said, ‘Of these two afflictions of thine, for which, Oblessed lady, dost thou seek a remedy? Tell me this. Is it thy wish thatthe lord of Saubha should be urged to wed thee, the high-souled Rama willcertainly urge him from desire of doing thee good? Or, if thou wishest tobehold Ganga’s son, Bhishma, defeated in battle by intelligent RamaBhargava will gratify even that wish of thine. Hearing what Srinjaya hasto say, and what thou also, O thou of sweet smiles, may have to say, letthat be settled this very day what should be done for thee.’ Hearingthese words, Amva said, ‘O holy one, abducted I was by Bhishma actingfrom ignorance, for, O regenerate one, Bhishma knew not that my heart hadbeen given away to Salwa. Thinking of this in thy mind, let that beresolved upon by thee which is consistent with justice, and let steps betaken for accomplishing that resolution. Do that, O Brahmana, which isproper to be done towards either that tiger among the Kurus, viz.,Bhishma, singly, or towards the ruler of the Salwas, or towards both ofthem! I have told thee truly about the root of my grief. It behoveththee, O holy one, to do that which is consistent with reason.’

“Akritavrana said, ‘This, O blessed lady, O thou of the fairestcomplexion, that thou sayest with eyes fixed upon virtue, is, indeed,worthy of thee. Listen, however, to what I say! If Ganga’s son had nevertaken thee to the city called after the elephant, then, O timid girl,Salwa would have, at Rama’s behest, taken thee on his head! It is becauseBhishma bore thee away by force that king Salwa’s suspicions have beenawakened in respect of thee, O thou of slender-waist! Bhishma is proud ofhis manliness and is crowned with success. Therefore, thou shouldst causethy vengeance to fall upon Bhishma (and no other)!’ Hearing these wordsof the sage, Amva said, ‘O regenerate one, this desire hath beencherished by me also in my heart, viz., that, if possible. Bhishma shouldbe caused by me to be slain in battle! O thou of mighty arms, be itBhishma or be it king Salwa, punish that man whom thou thinkest to beguilty and through whose act I have been so miserable!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘In conversation such as this, that day passed andthe night also, O best of Bharata’s race, with its delicious breeze whichwas neither cold nor hot. Then Rama appeared there, beaming with energy.And that sage wearing matted-locks on his bead and attired in deer-skinswas surrounded by his disciples. And endued with magnanimous soul, he hadhis bow in hand. And bearing also a sword and a battle-axe, that sinlessone, O tiger among kings, approached the Srinjaya king (Hotravahana) inthat forest. And the ascetics dwelling there and that king also who wasendued with great ascetic merit, beholding him, all stood up and waited,O king, with joined hands. And that helpless maiden too did the same. Andthey all cheerfully worshipped Bhargava with the offer of honey andcurds. Being worshipped duly by them, Rama sat with them seated roundhim. Then, O Bharata, Jamadagni’s son and Hotravahana, seated thustogether, began to discourse. And after their discourse was over, thesage Hotravahana opportunately said in a sweet voice these words of graveimport unto that foremost one of Bhrigu’s race, viz., Rama of mightystrength, ‘O Rama, this is my daughter’s daughter, O lord, being thedaughter of the king of Kasi.

She hath something to be done for her! Oh, listen to it duly, O thou thatart skilled in all tasks!’ Hearing these words of his friend, Ramaaddressed that maiden saying. ‘Tell me what thou hast to say.’ At thesewords, Amva approached Rama who resembled a blazing fire, and worshippingboth his feet with her bent head, touched them with her two hands thatresembled, in radiance, a couple of lotuses and stood silently beforehim. And filled with grief, she wept aloud, her eyes bathed in tears. Andshe then sought the protection of that descendant of Bhrigu, who was therefuge of all distressed persons. And Rama said, ‘Tell me what grief isin thy heart. I will act according to thy words!’ Thus encouraged, Amvasaid, ‘O thou of great vows, O holy one, today I seek thy protection! Olord, raise me from this unfathomable ocean of sorrow.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Beholding her beauty and her youthful body and itsgreat delicacy, Rama began to think,–What will she say? And thatperpetuator of Bhrigu’s line, thinking inwardly of this, sat long insilence, filled with pity. He then addressed that maiden of sweet smilesagain, saying, ‘Tell us what thou hast to say!’ Thus encouraged, sherepresented everything truly unto Bhargava. And Jamadagni’s son, hearingthese words of the princess, and having first settled what he should do,addressed that damsel of the fairest complexion, saying, ‘O beautifullady, I will send word unto Bhishma, that foremost one of Kuru’s race.Having beard what my behest is, that king will certainly obey it. If,however, the son of Jahnavi do not act according to my words, I will thenconsume him in battle, O blessed girl, with all his counsellors! Or, Oprincess, if thou desirest it, I may even address the heroic ruler of theSalwas to the matter in hand.’ Hearing these words of Rama, Amva said,’Dismissed I was by Bhishma, O son of Bhrigu’s race, as soon as he heardthat my heart had previously been freely given away to the ruler of theSalwas. Approaching then the lord of Saubha, I addressed him in languagethat was unbecoming. Doubtful of the purity of my conduct, he refused toaccept me. Reflecting on all this, with the aid of thy own understanding,it behoveth thee, O son of Bhrigu’s race, to do that which should be donein view of these circumstances. Bhishma, however, of great vows is theroot of my calamity, for he brought me under his power taking me up (onhis car) by violence! Slay that Bhishma, O thou of mighty arms, for whosesake, O tiger of Bhrigu’s race, overwhelmed with such distress, I suffersuch poignant misery! Bhishma, O thou of Bhrigu’s race, is covetous, andmean, and proud of his victory. Therefore, O sinless one, thou shouldstgive him his deserts. While, of lord, I was being abducted by him, eventhis was the desire that I cherished in my heart, viz., that I shouldcause that hero of great vows to be slain. Therefore, O sinless Rama,gratify this desire of mine! O thou of mighty arms, slay Bhishma, even asPurandara slew Vritra.'”

Chapter 180
Chapter 178
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