Home03. ARANYAKA PARVA (Page 2)


Vasudeva continued, Thus addressed, the son of Suta race replied in hasteunto Pradyumna, that foremost of all endued with strength, in these sweetwords, ‘O son of Rukmini, I fear not to guide the horses on the field ofbattle, and I am acquainted also with the customs of the Vrishnis in war!

“Markandeya continued, ‘Having exterminated the thieves and robbers,Kalki will, at a great Horse-sacrifice, duly give away this earth to

Janamejaya said, “It behoveth thee to narrate to me in full the greatnessof the Brahmanas even as the mighty ascetic Markandeya had expounded itto the sons of Pandu.”

Vaisampayana said, “The Rishis, the Brahmanas, and Yudhishthira thenasked Markandeya, saying, ‘How did the Rishi Vaka become so long lived?’

Vaisampayana said, “Then the sons of Pandu again addressed Markandeyasaying, ‘Thou hast told us of greatness of Brahmanas. We desire now tohear of the greatness of the royal Kshatriyas!”

Markandeya continued, “Listen now to another story. One day as kingYayati, the son of Nahusha, was sitting on his throne, surrounded by thecitizens, there came unto him a Brahmana desirous of soliciting wealthfor his preceptor, and approaching the king, the Brahmana said,

Vaisampayana said, “The son of Pandu again addressed the Rishi and said,’Speak thou unto us of the high fortune of royal Kshatriyas!’

“Markandeya said, ‘One day it was resolved by the gods that they shoulddescend on the earth and try the goodness and virtue of king Sivi, theson of Usinara. And addressing each other,–‘Well’–Agni and Indra cameto the earth.

Vaisampayana said, “And the son of Pandu once more addressed Markandeya,saying, ‘Tell us again of the great good fortune of kings.’ AndMarkandeya said, ‘There came unto the horse-sacrifice of king Ashtaka ofViswamitra’s race, many kings.

Vaisampayana said, “The sons of Pandu and those Rishis then askedMarkandeya, ‘Is there anybody that is blessed with longer life thanthou?’

Vaisampayana said, “King Yudhishthira, hearing from the illustriousMarkandeya the story of the royal sage Indradyumna’s regaining of Heaven,again asked the Muni, saying, ‘O great Muni, tell me in what conditionshould a man practise charity in order to gain admission into the regionsof Indra?

“Vaisampayana said, ‘When that night passed away and day broke in, thoseBrahmamas who supported themselves by mendicancy, stood before thePandavas of exalted deeds, who were about to enter the forest.

“Vasudeva said, ‘When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I returnedto it, O king, on the completion of thy great Rajasuya sacrifice!

Vaisampayana said, “Having, O great king, heard from the illustriousMarkandeya the history of the attainment of heaven by the royal

Markandeya said, “O king, after the death of Ikshvaku, a highly virtuousking of the name of Sasada, ascending the throne of Ayodhya ruled thisearth. And from Sasada was descended Kakutstha of great energy.

“Markandeya said, ‘Thus addressed by Utanka, that unvanquished royalsage, with joined hands, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, replied untoUtanka, saying, ‘This visit of thine, O Brahmana, will not be in vain.

“Markandeya said, ‘The illustrious Dhundhu, O king, was the son of Madhuand Kaitabha, and possessed of great energy and prowess, he underwentascetic

Vaisampayana said, “O thou foremost of the Bharata race, king Yudhisthirathen asked the illustrious Markandeya a difficult question aboutmorality, saying, ‘I desire to hear, O holy one, about the high andexcellent virtue of women.

“Markandeya said, ‘There was, O Bharata, a virtuous ascetic of the nameof Kausika and endued with wealth of asceticism and devoted to the studyof the Vedas, he was a very superior Brahmana and that best of Brahmanasstudied all the

“Markandeya said, ‘Continually reflecting upon that wonderful discourseof the woman, Kausika began to reproach himself and looked very much likea guilty person and meditating on the subtle ways of morality and virtue,he said to himself,

“Markandeya continued, ‘The pious fowler, O Yudhishthira, then said tothat Brahmana, ‘Undoubtedly my deeds are very cruel, but, O Brahmana,Destiny is all-powerful and it is difficult to evade the consequence ofour past actions.

Markandeya continued, “O Yudhishthira, the virtuous fowler, eminent inpity, then skilfully addressed himself again to that foremost ofBrahmanas, saying,

“Markandeya continued, ‘Hear, O king Yudhishthira what the virtuousfowler, thus interrogated by that Brahmana, said to him in reply. Thefowler said, ‘Men’s minds are at first bent on the acquisition ofknowledge.

“Vasudeva said, ‘O thou tiger among men, my great enemy king Salwa, thusencountered by me in battle, again ascended the sky.

“Markandeya continued, ‘O Bharata, the Brahmana, thus interrogated by thevirtuous fowler, resumed again this discourse so pleasing to the mind.

Markandeya continued, “O Bharata, the fowler having expounded theseabstruse points, the Brahmana with great attention again enquired of himabout these subtle topics.

“The Brahmana enquired, ‘How is it that fire (vital force) in combinationwith the earthly element (matter), becomes the corporeal tenement (ofliving creatures), and how doth the vital air (the breath of life)according to

“Markandeya said, ‘When, O Yudhishthira, all this mystery of salvationwas explained to that Brahmana, he was highly pleased and he saidaddressing the fowler,

“Markandeya continued, ‘The virtuous fowler, having introduced his (both)parents to that Brahmana as his highest gurus, again spoke to him asfollows, ‘Mark thou the power of this virtue of mine, by which my innerspiritual vision is extended.

“The fowler continued, ‘Thus cursed by that rishi, I sought to propitiatehim with these words: ‘Pardon me, O muni, I have done this wicked deedunwittingly.

Vaisampayana continued, “The virtuous king Yudhishthira, having listenedto this excellent religious discourse, again addressed himself to therishi Markandeya saying,

Markandeya continued, ‘O ornament of Kuru’s race, he (Angiras) who wasthe third son of Brahma had a wife of the name of Subha. Do thou hear ofthe children he had by her.

“Markandeya continued, ‘Vrishaspati had a wife (called Tara) belonging tothe lunar world. By her, he had six sons partaking of the energy of fire,and one daughter.

“Markandeya continued, ‘He (Uktha) performed a severe penance lasting formany years, with the view of having a pious son equal unto Brahma inreputation.

“Vasudeva continued, ‘Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking upmy beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of theenemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals!

“Markandeya continued, ‘The fire called Bharata was bound by severe rulesof asceticism. Pushtimati is another name of his fire; for when he issatisfied he vouchsafes pushti (development) to all creatures, and forthis reason he is called Bharata (or the Cherisher).

Markandeya continued, “Mudita, the favourite wife of the fire Swaha, usedto live in water. And Swaha who was the regent of the earth and sky begetin that wife of his a highly sacred fire called Advanta.

“Markandeya continued, ‘O sinless scion of Kuru’s race, I have describedto thee the various branches of the race of Agni. Listen now to the storyof the birth of the intelligent Kartikeya.

“The lady replied, ‘I am a daughter of Prajapati (the lord of allcreatures, Brahma) and my name is Devasena. My sister Daityasena has erethis been ravished by Kesin.

“Markandeya continued, ‘O lord of men, the beautiful Siva endowed withgreat virtues and an unspotted character was the wife of Angiras (one ofthe seven Rishis).

“Markandeya continued, ‘When that powerful, high-souled, and mighty beingwas born, various kinds of fearful phenomena occurred. And the nature ofmales and females, of heat and cold, and of such other pairs ofcontraries, was reversed.

“Markandeya continued, The planets with their satellites, the Rishis andthe Mothers, Agni and numerous other blazing courtiers and many otherdwellers of heaven of terrible mien, waited on Mahasena along with theMothers.

“Markandeya continued, ‘Now hear of those terrible and curious-lookingfollowers of Skanda. A number of male children came into being whenSkanda was struck with the thunder-bolt,–those terrific creatures

“Markandeya continued, ‘Skanda was adorned with a golden amulet andwreath, and wore a crest and a crown of gold; his eyes weregolden-coloured, and he had a set of sharp teeth; he was dressed in a redgarment and looked very handsome;

“Markandeya continued, ‘Those six ladies, the wives of the seven Rishiswhen they learned that good fortune had smiled on Mahasena and that hehad been made leader of the celestial forces,[79] repaired to his camp.

Vaisampayana continued, “After the chief of the Dasharhas had departed,the heroic Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, eachlooking like unto Shiva, and Krishna, and their priest, ascending costlycars unto which were yoked excellent steeds, together went into theforest.

Markandeya continued, “When Skanda had bestowed these powers, Swahaappeared to him and said, ‘Thou art my natural son,–I desire that thoushalt grant exquisite happiness to me.”

Vaisampayana said, “After those Brahmanas and the illustrious sons ofPandu had taken their seats, Draupadi and Satyabhama entered thehermitage. And with hearts full of joy the two ladies laughed merrily andseated themselves at their ease.

“Draupadi said, ‘I shall now indicate to thee, for attracting the heartof thy husbands a way that is free from deceit.

Vaisampayana said, “Then Kesava, the slayer of Madhu, also calledJanardana, having conversed on various agreeable themes with theillustrious sons of Pandu and with those Brahmanas that were headed byMarkandeya and having bid them farewell, mounted his car and called forSatyabhama.

Janamejaya said, “While those foremost of men–the sons of Pritha–werepassing their days in the forest exposed to the inclemencies of thewinter, the summer, the wind and the sun, what did they do, O Brahmana,after they had reached the lake and woods going by the name of Dwaita?”

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing those words of Dhritarashtra, Sakuni, whenthe opportunity presented itself, aided by Kama, spoke unto Duryodhanathese words,

Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of Karna, king Duryodhanabecame highly pleased. Soon after, however, the prince became melancholyand addressing the speaker said, ‘What thou tellest me, O Karna, isalways before my mind.

Vaisampayana said, “They then all saw king Dhritarashtra, O Janamejaya,and having seen him, enquired after his welfare, and were, in return,asked about their welfare.

Vaisampayana said, “King Duryodhana then moving from forest to forest, atlast approached the cattle-stations, and encamped his troops.

Vaisampayana said, “Those soldiers then, O king, all went back toDuryodhana and repeated to him every word that the Gandharvas had said.

Vaisampayana said, “After they had departed, Yudhishthira the virtuousson of Kunti, unwavering in his promises, addressed all his brothers,saying, ‘We shall have to dwell in the solitary forest for these twelveyears.

Vaisampayana said, “After that great warrior Karna had been routed by theGandharvas, the whole of the Kuru army, O monarch, fled from the field inthe very sight of Dhritarashtra’s son.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O child, why dost thou use language such as this,towards the frightened Kurus, who are now in adversity and who have cometo us, solicitous of protection! O Vrikodara, disunions and disputes dotake place amongst those that are connected in blood.

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing the words of Yudhishthira, those bulls amongmen, headed by Bhimasena, rose up with faces beaming in joy.

Vaisampayana said, “Then those Gandharvas decked in golden garlands andaccomplished in celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts,encountered the Pandavas from every side.

Vaisampayana said, “Then that mighty bowman of blazing splendour, Arjuna,smilingly said unto Chitrasena in the midst of the Gandharva host, ‘Whatpurpose dost thou serve, O hero, in punishing the Kauravas? O, why alsohath Suyodhana with his wives been thus punished?’

Janamejaya said, “After his defeat and capture by the foe and hissubsequent liberation by the illustrious sons of Pandu by force of arms,it seemeth to me that the entry into

“Duryodhana said, ‘O Radheya, thou knowest not what hath happened.Therefore, I do not resent thy words. Thou thinkest the hostileGandharvas to have been vanquished by me with my own energy.

Duryodhana said, “That slayer of hostile heroes, Arjuna, then approachingChitrasena, smilingly addressed him in these manly words: ‘O hero, Oforemost of the Gandharvas, it behoveth thee to set my brothers atliberty.

“Kama continued, ‘O king, this conduct of thine to-day appeareth to bechildish. O hero, O slayer of foes, what is to be wondered at in thisthat the Pandavas liberated thee when thou wert vanquished by the foe?

Vaisampayana said, “Beholding king Duryodhana, incapable of putting upwith an insult, seated with the resolution of giving up life by forgoingfood, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, said these words to comfort him. Sakunisaid,

Vaisampayana said, “Having fallen into distress, those princes thusobtained at last a pleasant habitation in that forest. And there in thosewoods abounding with Sala trees and washed by the Saraswati, they whowere like so many Indras, began to sport themselves.

“The Danavas said, ‘O Suyodhana, O great king? O perpetuator of the raceof Bharata, thou art ever surrounded by heroes and illustrious men. Whyhast thou, then, undertaken to do such a rash act as the vow ofstarvation?

Janamejaya said, “When the high-souled sons of Pritha were living in theforest, what did those foremost of men and mighty archers–the sons ofDhritarashtra–do?

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O bull among the Bharatas, that mightybowman, Karna, surrounded by a large army, besieged the beautiful city ofDrupada.

Vaisampayana continued, “O king, O lord of men, that slayer of hostileheroes, the Suta’s son, said these words to Duryodhana, ‘O KauravaDuryodhana, do thou lay unto thy heart the words that I shall tell thee;and, O represser of foes, after having heard my words, it behoveth theeto act accordingly every way.

Vaisampayana continued, “Then all the artisans, the principalcounsellors, and the highly wise Vidura said unto Dhritarashtra’s son,”All the preparations for the excellent sacrifice have been made, O king;and the time also hath come, O Bharata.

Vaisampayana said, “While, O great king, Duryodhana was entering (thecity), the panegyrists eulogized the prince of unfailing prowess. Andothers also eulogized that mighty bowman and foremost of kings.

Janamejaya said, ‘After having delivered Duryodhana, what did the mightysons of Pandu do in that forest? It behoveth thee to tell me this.’

Vaisampayana continued, “Dwelling in the woods, O bull of the Bharatarace, the high-souled Pandavas spent one and ten years in a miserableplight.

Yudhishthira said, “Why did that high-souled one give away a drona ofcorn? And, O eminently pious one, to whom and in what prescribed way didhe give it? Do thou tell me this.

“The messenger of the gods said, ‘O great sage, thou art of simpleunderstanding; since, having secured that celestial bliss which bringethgreat honour, thou art still deliberating like an unwise person.

Vaisampayana said, “While the illustrious son of Pandu continued to dwellin the Dwaita woods, that great forest became filled with Brahmanas. Andthe lake within that forest, ever resounding with Vedic recitations,became sacred like a second region of Brahma.

Janamejaya said, “While the high-souled Pandavas were living in thosewoods, delighted with the pleasant conversation they held with the Munis,and engaged in distributing the food they obtained from the sun, withvarious kinds of venison to

Vaisampayana said, “One day, having previously ascertained that thePandavas were all seated at their ease and that Krishna was reposingherself after her meal, the sage Durvasa, surrounded by ten thousanddisciples repaired to that forest.

Vaisampayana said, “These great warriors of the race of Bharata sojournedlike immortals in the great forest of Kamyaka, employed in hunting andpleased with the sight of numerous wild tracts of country and widereaches of woodland, gorgeous with flowers blossoming in season.

Kotika said, “Excellent lady, who art thou that standest alone, leaningon a branch of the Kadamva tree at this hermitage and looking grand likea flame of fire blazing at night time, and fanned by the wind?Exquisitely beautiful as thou art, how is it that thou feelest not anyfear in these forests?

Vaisampayana continued, “The princess Draupadi, thus questioned by thatornament of Sivi’s race, moved her eyes gently, and letting go her holdof the Kadamva blanch and arranging her silken apparel she said,

Vaisampayana said, “O Bharata, Kotikakhya related to those princes whohad been waiting, all that had passed between him and Krishna.

Vaisampayana said, “The daughter of Drupada, though naturally handsome,was suffused with crimson arising from a fit of anger.

Vaisampayana said, “Meanwhile those foremost of bowmen on the face of theearth, having wandered separately and ranged in all directions, andhaving slain plenty of deer and buffaloes, at length met together.

Vaisampayana said, “The hostile Kshatriyas, incensed at sight ofBhimasena and Arjuna, sent up a loud shout in the forest.

Vaisampayana said, “Meanwhile, the king of Sindhu was giving orders tothose princes, saying, ‘Halt, strike, march, quick’, and like.

Vaisampayana said, “Exiled to the woods the sons of Pritha with Krishnaseated in the evening, conversed with one another afflicted with sorrowand grief.

Vaisampayana said, “Jayadratha flying for his life upon beholding thosetwo brothers with upraised arms, was sorely grieved and bolted off withspeed and coolness.

Janamejaya said, “What did those tigers among men, the Pandavas, do,after they had suffered such misery in consequence of the ravishment ofDraupadi?”

“Markandeya said, ‘O bull of the Bharata race, even Rama sufferedunparalleled misery, for the evil-minded Ravana, king of the Rakshasas,having recourse to deceit and overpowering the vulture Jatayu, forciblycarried away his wife Sita from his asylum in the woods.

Markandeya said, “The Muni named Visrava, who was begotten of half thesoul of Pulastya, in a fit of passion, began to look upon Vaisravana withgreat anger.

“Markandeya said, ‘Then the Brahmarshis, the Siddhas and the Devarshis,with Havyavaha as their spokesman, sought the protection of Brahma. AndAgni said, ‘That powerful son of Visrava, the Ten-headed cannot be slainon account of thy boon!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O adorable one, thou hast described to me in detailthe history of the birth of Rama and others. I wish to learn the cause oftheir exile. Do thou, O Brahmana, relate why the sons of Dasaratha–thebrothers Rama and Lakshmana–went to the forest with famous princess ofMithila.’

“Markandeya said, ‘Beholding Ravana come, Maricha received him with arespectful welcome, and offered him fruits and roots.

“Markandeya said, ‘That heroic king of the vultures, Jatayu, havingSampati for his uterine brother and Arjuna himself for his father, was afriend of Dasaratha.

“Markandeya said, ‘Afflicted with grief at the abduction of Sita, Ramahad not to go much further before he came upon Pampa–that lake whichabounded with lotuses of various kinds.

“Markandeya said, ‘And while the chaste Sita was dwelling there afflictedwith melancholy and grief on account of her lord, attired in mean garb,with but a single jewel (on the marital thread on her wrist), andincessantly weeping, seated on a stone, and waited upon by

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