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Chapter 190

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Then all those ascetics (that dwell in Vatsabhumi),beholding the princess of Kasi firmly resolved on ascetic austerities,dissuaded her and enquired of her, saying, ‘What is thy business?’ Thusaddressed, the maiden answered those ascetics, old in ascetic penances,saying, ‘Expelled I have been by Bhishma, prevented by him from thevirtue that would have been mine by living with a husband! My observanceof this vow is for his destruction and not for the sake of regions ofbliss, ye that are endued with wealth of asceticism! Having compassed thedeath of Bhishma, peace will be mine. Even this is my resolve. He forwhom mine hath been this state of continuous grief, he for whom I havebeen deprived of the region that would have been mine if I could obtain ahusband, he for whom I have become neither woman nor man, without slayingin battle that son of Ganga I will not desist, ye that are endued withwealth of asceticism. Even this that I have said is the purpose that isin my heart. As a woman, I have no longer any desire. I am, however,resolved to obtain manhood, for I will be revenged upon Bhishma. I shouldnot, therefore, be dissuaded by you.’ Unto them she said these wordsrepeatedly. Soon, the divine lord of Uma, bearing the trident, showedhimself in his own form unto that female ascetic in the midst of thosegreat Rishis. Being asked to solicit the boon she wished, she begged ofthe deity my defeat. Thou shalt slay him,–were the words the god saidunto that lady of great force of mind. Thus assured, the maiden, however,once more said unto Rudra, ‘How can it happen, O god, that being a womanI shall yet be able to achieve victory in battle. O lord of Uma, as awoman, my heart is quite stilled. Thou hast, however, promised me, O lordof creatures, the defeat of Bhishma. O lord, having the bull for thymount, act in such a way that promise of thine may become true, thatencountering Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in battle I may be able to slayhim.’ The god of gods, having the bull for his symbol, then said untothat maiden, ‘The words I have uttered cannot be false. O blessed lady,true they will be. Thou shalt slay Bhishma, and even obtain manhood. Thoushalt also remember all the incidents (of this life) even when thou shaltobtain a new body. Born in the race of Drupada, thou shalt become aMaharatha. Quick in the use of weapons and a fierce warrior, thou shaltbe well-skilled in battle. O blessed lady, all that I have said will betrue. Thou shalt become a man at the expiration of sometime (from thybirth)!’ Having said so, the god of gods, called also Kapardin, havingthe bull for his symbol, disappeared then and there, in the very sight ofthose Brahmanas. Upon this, that faultless maiden of the fairestcomplexion, the eldest daughter of the king of Kasi, procuring wood fromthat forest in the very sight of those great Rishis, made a large funeralpyre on the banks of the Yamuna, and having set fire to it herself,entered that blazing fire, O great king, with a heart burning with wrath,and uttering, O king, the words,–(I do so) for Bhishma’s destruction!'”

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