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Chapter 191

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Duryodhana said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, how Sikhandin, O Ganga’s son,having before been born a daughter, afterwards became a man, O foremostof warriors.’

“Bhishma said, ‘O great king, the eldest and beloved queen of kingDrupada was, O monarch, childless (at first). During those years, kingDrupada, O monarch, paid his adoration to the god Sankara for the sake ofoffspring, resolving in his mind to compass my destruction and practisingthe austerest of penances. And he begged Mahadeva, saying, ‘Let a son,and not a daughter, be born unto me. I desire, O god, a son for revengingmyself upon Bhishma.’ Thereupon, that god of gods said unto him, ‘Thoushalt have a child who will be a female and male. Desist, O king, it willnot be otherwise.’ Returning then to his capital, he addressed his wife,saying, ‘O great goddess, great hath been the exertion made by me.Undergoing ascetic austerities, I paid my adorations to Siva, and I wastold by Sambhu that my child becoming a daughter (first) wouldsubsequently become a male person. And though I solicited him repeatedly,yet Siva said,–This is Destiny’s decree. It will not be otherwise. Thatwhich is destined must take place!’ Then that lady of great energy, thequeen of king Drupada, when her season came, observing all theregulations (about purity), approached Drupada. And in due time the wifeof Prishata conceived, agreeably to Destiny’s decree, as I was informed,O king, by Narada. And that lady, of eyes like lotus-petals, continued tohold the embryo in her womb. And, O son of Kuru’s race, the mighty-armedking Drupada, from paternal affection, attended to every comfort of thatdear wife of his. And, O Kaurava, the wife of that lord of earth, theroyal Drupada, who was childless, had all her wishes gratified. And indue time, O monarch, that goddess, the queen of Drupada, gave birth to adaughter of great beauty. Thereupon, the strong-minded wife of that king,the childless Drupada, gave out, O monarch, that the child she hadbrought forth was a son. And then king Drupada, O ruler of men, causedall the rites prescribed for a male child to be performed in respect ofthat misrepresented daughter, as if she were really a son. And sayingthat the child was a son, Drupada’s queen kept her counsels verycarefully. And no other man in the city, save Prishata, knew the sex ofthat child. Believing these words of that deity of unfading energy, hetoo concealed the real sex of his child, saying,–She is a son. And, Oking, Drupada caused all the rites of infancy, prescribed for a son, tobe performed in respect of that child, and he bestowed the name ofSikhandin on her. I alone, through my spies and from Narada’s words, knewthe truth, informed as I previously was of the words of the god and ofthe ascetic austerities of Amva!'”

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