Chapter 11

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Next appeared at the gate of the ramparts anotherperson of enormous size and exquisite beauty decked in the ornaments ofwomen, and wearing large ear-rings and beautiful conch-bracelets overlaidwith gold. And that mighty-armed individual with long and abundant hairfloating about his neck, resembled an elephant in gait. And shaking thevery earth with his tread, he approached Virata and stood in his court.And beholding the son of the great Indra, shining with exquisite lustreand having the gait of a mighty elephant,–that grinder of foes havinghis true form concealed in disguise, entering the council-hall andadvancing towards the monarch, the king addressed all his courtiers,saying, ‘Whence doth this person come? I have never heard of him before.’And when the men present spoke of the newcomer as one unknown to them,the king wonderingly said, ‘Possessed of great strength, thou art likeunto a celestial, and young and of darkish hue, thou resemblest theleader of a herd of elephants. Wearing conch-bracelets overlaid withgold, a braid, and ear-rings, thou shinest yet like one amongst thosethat riding on chariots wander about equipped with mail and bow andarrows and decked with garlands and fine hair. I am old and desirous ofrelinquishing my burden. Be thou like my son, or rule thou like myselfall the Matsyas. It seemeth to me that such a person as thou can never beof the neuter sex.’

“Arjuna said, ‘I sing, dance, and play on instruments. I am proficient indance and skilled in song. O lord of men, assign me unto (the princess)Uttara. I shall be dancing-master to the royal maiden. As to how I havecome by this form, what will it avail thee to hear the account which willonly augment my pain? Know me, O king of men, to be Vrihannala, a son ordaughter without father or mother.’

“Virata said, ‘O Vrihannala, I give thee what thou desirest. Instruct mydaughter, and those like her, in dancing. To me, however, this officeseemeth unworthy of thee. Thou deserves! (the dominion of) the entireearth girt round by the ocean.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The king of the Matsyas then tested Vrihannalain dancing, music, and other fine arts, and consulting with his variousministers forthwith caused him to be examined by women. And learning thatthis impotency was of a permanent nature, he sent him to the maiden’sapartments. And there the mighty Arjuna began giving lessons in singingand instrumental music to the daughter of Virata, her friends, and herwaiting-maids, and soon won their good graces. And in this manner theself-possessed Arjuna lived there in disguise, partaking of pleasures intheir company, and unknown to the people within or without the palace.'”

Chapter 12
Chapter 10
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