Sauti said, ‘And Ruru, on hearing those words, replied, ‘My wife, dear tome as life, was bit by a snake; upon which, I took, O snake, a dreadfulvow, viz., that I would kill every snake that I might come across.Therefore shall I smite thee and thou shalt be deprived of life.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘O monarch, after the nuptials were over, kingSantanu established his beautiful bride in his household. Soon after wasborn of Satyavati an intelligent and heroic son of Santanu namedChitrangada. He was endued with great energy and became an eminent man.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘O thou of Kuru’s race, after Chitrangada was slain,his successor Vichitravirya being a minor, Bhishma ruled the kingdom,placing himself under the command of Satyavati. When he saw that hisbrother, who was the foremost of intelligent men, attained to majority, Bhishma set his heart upon marrying Vichitravirya.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘The unfortunate Satyavati then became plunged ingrief on account of her son. And after performing with herdaughters-in-law the funeral rites of the deceased, consoled, as best shecould, her weeping daughters-in-law and Bhishma, that foremost of allwielders of weapons.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Soon after the monthly season of the princess ofKosala had been over, Satyavati, purifying her daughter-in-law with abath, led her into the sleeping apartment. There seating her upon aluxurious bed, she addressed her, saying, ‘O Princess of Kosala, thyhusband hath an elder brother who shall this day enter thy womb as thychild.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Meanwhile, O Janamejaya, Dhritarashtra begat uponGandhari a hundred sons, and upon a Vaisya wife another besides thosehundred. And Pandu had, by his two wives Kunti and Madri, five sons whowere great charioteers and who were all begotten by the celestials forthe perpetuation of the Kuru line.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘After the death of that deer, king Pandu with hiswives was deeply afflicted and wept bitterly. And he exclaimed, ‘Thewicked, even if born in virtuous families, deluded by their own passions,become overwhelmed with misery as the fruit of their own deeds.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘The godlike Rishis, wise in counsels, beholding thedeath of Pandu, consulted with one another, and said, ‘The virtuous andrenowned king Pandu, abandoning both sovereignty, and kingdom came hitherfor practising ascetic austerities and resigned himself to the asceticsdwelling on this mountain. He hath hence ascended to heaven, leaving hiswife and infant sons as a trust in our hands. Our duty now is to repairto his kingdom with these his offspring, and his wife.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Dhritarashtra then said, ‘O Vidura, celebratethe funeral ceremonies of that lion among kings viz., Pandu, and of Madrialso, in right royal style. For the good of their souls, distributecattle, cloths, gems and diverse kinds of wealth, every one receiving asmuch as he asketh for.
“Saunaka said, ‘For what reason did that tiger among kings, the royalJanamejaya, determine to take the lives of the snakes by means of asacrifice? O Sauti, tell us in full the true story. Tell us also whyAstika, that best of regenerate ones, that foremost of ascetics, rescuedthe snakes from the blazing fire. Whose son was that monarch whocelebrated the snake-sacrifice? And whose son also was that best ofregenerate ones?’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Arrived at Hastinapura, that best of Brahmanas, theson of Bharadwaja, continued to live privately in the house of Gautama(Kripa). His mighty son (Aswatthaman) at intervals of Kripa’s teaching,used to give the sons of Kunti lessons in the use of arms. But as yetnone knew of Aswatthaman’s prowess.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘O thou of Bharata’s race, beholding the sons ofDhritarashtra and Pandu accomplished in arms, Drona, O monarch, addressedking Dhritarashtra, in the presence of Kripa, Somadatta, Valhika, thewise son of Ganga (Bhishma), Vyasa, and Vidura, and said, ‘O best of Kurukings, thy children have completed their education.
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Upon the Kuru king and Bhima, the foremost ofall endued with strength, having entered the arena, the spectators weredivided into two parties in consequence of the partiality swaying theiraffections. Some cried, ‘Behold the heroic king of theKurus!’–some–‘Behold Bhima!’–And on account of these cries, there was,all on a sudden, a loud uproar.
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When the spectators, with eyes expanded withwonder, made way for that subjugator of hostile cities, Karna, that herowith his natural mail and face brightened with ear-rings, took up his bowand girded on his sword, and then entered the spacious lists, like awalking cliff.
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After the expiration, O king, of a year fromthis, Dhritarashtra, moved by kindness for the people, installedYudhishthira, the son of Pandu, as the heir-apparent of the kingdom onaccount of his firmness, fortitude, patience, benevolence, frankness andunswerving honesty (of heart).
“Vaisampayana said, Then prince Duryodhana, along with his brothers beganto gradually win over the people to his side by grants of wealth andhonours. Meanwhile, some clever councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra,one day began to describe (in court) the town of Varanavata as a charmingplace.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘The wicked Duryodhana became very pleased when theking, O Bharata, had said so unto Pandavas. And, O bull of Bharata’srace, Duryodhana, then, summoning his counsellor, Purochana in private,took hold of his right hand and said, ‘O Purochana, this world, so fullof wealth, is mine.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Meanwhile the Pandavas got into their cars, yokingthereto some fine horses endued with the speed of wind. While they wereon the point of entering their cars, they touched, in great sorrow, thefeet of Bhishma, of king Dhritarashtra, of the illustrious Drona, ofKripa, of Vidura and of the other elders of the Kuru race.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then all the citizens (of Varanavata) on hearingthat the son of Pandu had come, were filled with joy at the tidings,speedily came out of Varanavata, in vehicles of various kinds numberingby thousands, taking with them every auspicious article as directed bythe Sastras, for receiving those foremost of men. And the people of Varanavata, approaching the sons of Kunti blessed them by uttering theJaya and stood surrounding them.
“Sauti said, ‘O foremost of persons acquainted with Brahma, the mother ofthe snakes had cursed them of old, saying, ‘He that hath the Wind for hischarioteer (viz., Agni) shall burn you all in Janamejaya’s sacrifice!’ Itwas to neutralise that curse that the chief of the snakes married hissister to that high-souled Rishi of excellent vows.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Seeing the Pandavas living there cheerfully andwithout suspicion for a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad. Andbeholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira, the virtuous son ofKunti, addressing Bhima and Arjuna and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva)said, ‘The cruel-hearted wretch hath been well-deceived.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘About this time, the learned Vidura had sent intothose woods a man of pure character and much trusted by him. This persongoing to where he had been directed, saw the Pandavas with their motherin the forest employed in a certain place in measuring the depth of ariver.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then, when the night had passed away, a largeconcourse of the townspeople came there in haste to see the sons ofPandu. After extinguishing the fire, they saw that the house just burntdown had been built of lac in materials and that (Duryodhana’s)counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death.
“Vaisampayana said,” As the mighty Bhima proceeded, the whole forest withits trees and their branches seemed to tremble, in consequence of theirclash with his breast. The motion of his thighs raised a wind like untothat which blows during the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha (May andJune).
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing those words of hers, Yudhishthirasuddenly rose up and Arjuna also and Nakula and Sahadeva of great energyand they beheld Bhima and the Rakshasa already engaged in fight, eager toovercome each other and dragging each other with great force, like twolions endued with great might.
“Saunaka said, ‘O Sauti, relate once more in detail this history of thelearned and virtuous Astika. Our curiosity for hearing it is great. Oamiable one, thou speakest sweetly, with proper accent and emphasis; andwe are well-pleased with thy speech. Thou speakest even as thy father.Thy sire was ever ready to please us. Tell us now the story as thy fatherhad related it.’
“Vaisampayana said, “On hearing these words of the Brahmana, his wifesaid, ‘Thou shouldst not, O Brahmana, grieve like an ordinary man. Nor isthis the time for mourning. Thou hast learning; thou knowest that all menare sure to die; none should grieve for that which is inevitable. Wife,son, and daughter, all these are sought for one’s own self.
“Kunti said, Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger. Isee a way by which to rescue thee from that Rakshasa. Thou hast only oneson, who, besides, is of very tender years, also only one daughter, youngand helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or eventhyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, letone of them go, carrying in thy behalf tribute of that Rakshasa.’
“Having heard these words of his mother, Yudhishthira said, ‘What thou, Omother, hast deliberately done, moved by compassion for the afflictedBrahmana, is, indeed, excellent Bhima will certainly come back with life,after having slain the cannibal, inasmuch as thou art, O mother, alwayscompassionate unto Brahmanas.
“Vaisampayana said ‘Then Vaka, huge as a mountain, thus broken (onBhima’s knee), died, uttering frightful yells. Terrified by these sounds,the relatives of that Rakshasa came out, O king, with their attendants.Bhima, that foremost of smiters, seeing them so terrified and deprived ofreason, comforted them and made them promise (to give up cannibalism),saying, ‘Do not ever again kill human beings.
“The Brahmana said, ‘At that region where the Ganga entered the plainsthere lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigidvows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming tothe Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi,who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over.
“The Brahmana continued, ‘King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart,wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanaswell-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerlyyearning for children, the king always said, ‘Oh, I have no offspringsurpassing all in accomplishments.’
“Sauti said, ‘O ascetic, about this time the two sisters saw approachingnear, that steed of complacent appearance named Uchchaihsravas who wasworshipped by the gods, that gem of steeds, who arose at the churning ofthe Ocean for nectar. Divine, graceful, perpetually young, creation’smaster-piece, and of irresistible vigour, it was blest with everyauspicious mark.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Kunti spoke unto Bhimasena and Arjuna andthe twins regarding the journey to Panchala. They all said, ‘So be it.’Then, O king, Kunti with her sons saluted the Brahmana (in whose housethey had dwelt) and set out for the delightful town of the illustriousDrupada.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘That bull among the Bharatas, Arjuna, hearing thesewords of the Gandharva, was inspired with feelings of devotion and stoodshes (???–JBH), killing deer and wild boars. Once on a time, while outin quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst.
“The Gandharva continued, ‘There was, O Partha, a king in this world,named Kalmashapada, who was of the race of Ikshvaku and was unequalled onearth for prowess. One day the king went from his capital into the woodsfor purposes of hunting, and this grinder of foes pierced (with hisarrows) many deer and wild boars.
“The Gandharva continued, ‘Beholding his asylum bereft of his children,the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of hiswandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainyseason, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on itsmargin.
“The Gandharva continued, ‘The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed bythe illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying theworlds. But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy–the son ofSaktri–the foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas–performeda grand Rakshasa sacrifice.
“Arjuna asked, ‘What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command hisqueen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with theVedas–the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and greatRishi Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of moralityknow a woman he should not have known?
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, OJanamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruledover by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld theillustrious Dwaipayana–that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless.
“Dhrishtadyumna said, ‘Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha andDushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu andVayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana,Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and Vahusali, and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of Dhritarashtra–all heroes–accompanied by Karna, have come for thy hand.Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas–havealso come for thee.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-rings,vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in armsand gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. Andintoxicated with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth,and youth, they were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut withcrowns split from excess of temporal juice.