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Chapter 5

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Girding their waists with swords, and equipped withfinger-protectors made of iguana skins and with various weapons, thoseheroes proceeded in the direction of the river Yamuna. And those bowmendesirous of (speedily) recovering their kingdom, hitherto living ininaccessible hills and forest fastnesses, now terminated theirforest-life and proceeded to the southern bank of that river. And thosemighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the livesof hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through Yakrillomaand Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country of thePanchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasarnas. And those bowmen,looking wan and wearing beards and equipped with swords, entered Matsya’sdominions leaving the forest, giving themselves out as hunters. And onarriving at that country, Krishna addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ‘We seefootpaths here, and various fields. From this it appears that Virata’smetropolis is still at a distance. Pass we here what part of the night isstill left, for great is my fatigue.”

Yudhishthira answered, “O Dhananjaya of Bharata’s race, do thou take upPanchali and carry her. Just on emerging from this forest, we arrive atthe city.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thereupon like the leader of a herd ofelephants, Arjuna speedily took up Draupadi, and on coming to thevicinity of the city, let her down. And on reaching the city, Ruru’s son(Yudhishthira), addressed Arjuna, saying, ‘Where shall we deposit ourweapons, before entering the city? If, O child, we enter it with ourweapons about us, we shall thereby surely excite the alarm of thecitizens. Further, the tremendous bow, the Gandiva, is known to all men,so that people will, without doubt, recognise us soon. And if even one ofus is discovered, we shall, according to promise, have to pass anothertwelve years in the forest.'”

Arjuna said, “Hard by yon cemetery and near that inaccessible peak is amighty Sami tree, throwing-about its gigantic branches and difficult toascend. Nor is there any human being, who, I think, O Pandu’s son, willespy us depositing our arms at that place. That tree is in the midst ofan out-of-the way forest abounding in beasts and snakes, and is in thevicinity of a dreary cemetery. Stowing away our weapons on the Sami tree,let us, O Bharata, go to the city, and live there, free from anxiety!”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having O bull of the Bharata race spoken thus toking Yudhishthira the just, Arjuna prepared to deposit the weapons (onthe tree). And that bull among the Kurus, then loosened the string of thelarge and dreadful Gandiva, ever producing thundering twang and alwaysdestructive of hostile hosts, and with which he had conquered, on asingle car, gods and men and Nagas and swelling provinces. And thewarlike Yudhishthira, that represser of foes, unfastened the undecayingstring of that bow with which he had defended the field of Kurukshstra.And the illustrious Bhimasena unstrung that bow by means of which thatsinless one had vanquished in fight the Panchals and the lord of Sindhu,and with which, during his career of conquest, he had, single-handed,opposed innumerable foes, and hearing whose twang which was like unto theroar of the thunder or the splitting of a mountain, enemies always fly(in panic) from the field of battle. And that son of Pandu of copperycomplexion and mild speech who is endued with great prowess in the field,and is called Nakula in consequence of his unexampled beauty in thefamily, then unfastened the string of that bow with which he hadconquered all the regions of the west. And the heroic Sahadeva also,possessed of a mild disposition, then united the string of that bow withwhich he had subjugated the countries of the south. And with their bows,they put together their long and flashing swords, their precious quivers,and their arrows sharp as razors. And Nakula ascended the tree, anddeposited on it the bows and the other weapons. And he tied them fast onthose parts of the tree which he thought would not break, and where therain would not penetrate. And the Pandavas hung up a corpse (on thetree), knowing that people smelling the stench of the corpse wouldsay–here sure, is a dead body, and avoid the tree from a distance. Andon being asked by the shepherds and cowherds regarding the corpse, thoserepressers of foes said unto them, ‘This is our mother, aged one hundredand eighty years. We have hung up her dead body, in accordance with thecustom observed by our forefathers.’ And then those resisters of foesapproached the city. And for purposes of non-discovery Yudhisthira keptthese (five) names for himself and his brothers respectively, viz., Jaya,Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena, and Jayatvala. Then they entered the greatcity, with the view to passing the thirteenth year undiscovered in thatkingdom, agreeably to the promise (to Duryodhana).”

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