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Home02. SABHAKRIYA PARVA

02. SABHAKRIYA PARVA (78)

Om! After having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted malebeing, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Narada said,–‘Possessed of great splendour, the assembly house ofVaisravana, O king, is a hundred yojanas in length and seventy yojanas inbreadth. It was built, O king, by Vaisravana himself using his asceticpower.

“Narada said,–Listen to me, O child, as I tell thee of the assemblyhouse of the Grandsire, that house which none can describe, saying it issuch.

“Yudhishthira said,–‘O thou foremost of eloquent men, as thou hastdescribed the different Sabhas unto me, it appeareth that almost all themonarchs of the earth are to be found in the Sabha of Yama.

Vaisampayana said,–“Yudhishthira, having heard these words of Narada,began to sigh heavily. And, O Bharata, engaged in his thoughts about theRajasuya, the king had no peace of mind.

“Krishna said,–‘O great king, thou art a worthy possessor of all thequalities essential for the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice. Thouknowest everything, O Bharata. I shall, however, still tell theesomething.

“Yudhishthira said,–“Intelligent as thou art, thou hast said what noneelse is capable of saying. There is none else on earth who is settler ofall doubts. Behold, there are kings in every province employed inbenefiting their respective selves. But no one amongst them hath beenable to achieve the imperial dignity.

“Yudhishthira said,–‘Desirous of the imperial dignity but acting fromselfish motives and relying upon courage alone, how, O Krishna, can Idespatch ye (unto Jarasandha)? Both Bhima and Arjuna, I regard as myeyes, and thee, O Janardana as my mind.

“Vasudeva said,–‘Arjuna hath indicated what the inclination should be ofone that is born in the Bharata race, especially of one who is the son ofKunti. We know not when death will overtake us, in the night or in theday.

“Krishna continued,–‘hearing these words of the king, the Rakshasa womananswered–Blessed be thou, O king of kings. Capable of assuming any format will. I am a Rakshasa woman called Jara. I am living, O king, happilyin thy house, worshipped by all.

“Krishna said,–some time after this, the great ascetic, the exaltedChandakausika, again came into the country of the Magadhas. Filled withjoy at the advent of the Rishi, king Vrihadratha, accompanied by hisministers and priest and wives and son, went out to receive him.

“Vaisampayana said,–“Janardana deserving the worship of all, havinglived happily at Khandavaprastha for some time, and having been treatedall the while with respectful love and affection by the sons of Pritha,became desirous one day of leaving Khandavaprastha to behold his father.

“Krishna said,–both Hansa and Dimvaka have fallen; Kansa also with allhis followers has been slain. The time hath, therefore come for thedestruction of Jarasandha. He is incapable of being vanquished in battleeven by all the celestials and the Asuras (fighting together).

“Vasudeva said,–‘behold, O Partha, the great capital of Magadha,standing in all its beauty.

“Jarasandha said,–‘I do not recollect if I ever acted injuriouslytowards ye! Even upon a careful mental scrutiny I fail to see the injuryI did unto ye. When I have never done ye an injury, why, ye Brahmanas doye regard me, who am innocent, as your foe? O, answer me truly, for this,indeed, is the rule followed by the honest.

Vaisampayana said,–‘then that foremost of all speakers, Krishna of theYadava race, addressing king Jarasandha who was resolved upon fighting,said,–‘O king, with whom amongst us three dost thou desire to fight? Whoamongst us shall prepare himself for battle (with thee)?’

Vaisampayana said,–Arjuna, having obtained that best of bows and thatcouple of inexhaustible quivers and that car and flag-staff, as also thatassembly-house, addressing Yudhisthira said,–Bow, weapons, great energy,allies, territory, fame, army-those, O king, difficult of acquisitionhowever desirable, have all been obtained by me.

Vaisampayana continued,–thus addressed, Dhananjaya replied untoBhagadatta, saying,–‘If thou wilt give thy promise to do this, thou hastdone all I desire. And having thus subjugated the king of Pragjyotisha,Dhananjaya of long arms, the son of Kunti, then marched towards thenorth–the direction presided over by the lord of treasures.

Vaisampayana said,–“that heroic and foremost of the Pandavas endued withgreat energy, crossing the White mountains, subjugated the country of theLimpurushas ruled by Durmaputra, after a collision involving a greatslaughter of Kshatriyas, and brought the region under his complete sway.

Vaisampayana said,–in the meantime, Bhimasena also endued with greatenergy, having obtained the assent of Yudhishthira the just marchedtowards the eastern direction.

Vaisampayana said,–that chastiser of all foes then vanquished kingSrenimat of the country of Kumara, and then Vrihadvala, the king ofKosala. Then the foremost of the sons of Pandu, by performing featsexcelling in fierceness, defeated the virtuous and mighty kingDirghayaghna of Ayodhya.

“Vaisampayana said,–“Then Maya Danava addressed Arjuna, that foremost of successful warriors, saying,–‘I now go with thy leave, but shall comeback soon.

Vaisampayana said,–“thus also Sahadeva, dismissed with affection by kingYudhisthira the just, marched towards the southern direction accompaniedby a mighty host. Strong in strength, that mighty prince of the Kururace, vanquishing completely at the outset the Surasenas, brought theking of Matsya under his sway.

Vaisampayana said,–“I shall now recite to you the deeds and triumphs ofNakula, and how that exalted one conquered the direction that had oncebeen subjugated by Vasudeva.

Vaisampayana said,–“in consequence of the protection afforded byYudhisthira the just, and of the truth which he ever cherished in hisbehaviour, as also of the check under which he kept all foes, thesubjects of that virtuous monarch were all engaged in their respectiveavocations.

Vaisampayana said,–“the ever-victorious Nakula, the son of Pandu, havingreached Hastinapura, formally invited Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. Theelder of the Kuru race with the preceptor at their head, invited with dueceremonies, came with joyous hearts to that sacrifice, with Brahmanaswalking before them.

Vaisampayana said,–“then, O king, Yudhishthira, having approached andworshipped his grandfather and his preceptor, addressed Bhishma and Dronaand Kripa and the son of Drona and Duryyodhana and Vivingsati, andsaid,–‘Help me ye all in the mater of this sacrifice. This largetreasure that is here is yours. Consult ye with one another and guide meas ye desire.

“Vaisampayana said,–On the last day of the sacrifice when the king wasto be sprinkled over with the sacred water, the great Brahmana Rishisever deserving of respectful treatment, along with the invited kings,entered together the inner enclosure of the sacrificial compound.

“Sisupala said–‘O thou of the Kuru race, this one of the Vrishni racedoth not deserve royal worship as if he were a king, in the midst of allthese illustrious monarchs. O son of Pandu, this conduct of thine in thuswillingly worshipping him with eyes like lotus-petals is not worthy ofthe illustrious Pandavas.

“Vaisampayana said,–Then the king Yudhishthira hastily ran afterSisupala and spoke unto him sweetly and in a conciliating tone thefollowing words,–‘O lord of earth, what thou hast said is scarcelyproper for thee.

“Vaisampayana said,–The mighty Bhishma ceased, having said this.Sahadeva then answered (Sisupala) in words of grave import, saying,–‘Ifamongst ye there be any king that cannot bear to see Kesava of dark hue,the slayer of Kesi, the possessor of immeasurable energy, worshipped byme, this my foot is placed on the heads of all mighty ones (like him).

“Vaisampayana said,–Beholding that vast assembly of kings agitated withwrath, even like the terrific sea agitated by the winds that blow at thetime of the universal dissolution, Yudhishthira addressing the agedBhishma, that chief of intelligent men and the grandsire of the Kurus,even like Puruhita (Indra) that slayer of foes, of abundant energyaddressing Vrihaspati, said,–‘This vast ocean of kings, hath beenagitated by wrath.

“Vaisampayana said,–“Then that chief of men, king Yudhishthira, enteredthat palatial sabha having first fed ten thousand Brahmanas withpreparations of milk and rice mixed with clarified butter and honey withfruits and roots, and with pork and venison.

‘Sisupala said,–‘Old and infamous wretch of thy race, art thou notashamed of affrighting all these monarchs with these numerous falseterrors! Thou art the foremost of the Kurus, and living as thou dost inthe third state (celibacy) it is but fit for thee that thou shouldst givesuch counsel that is so wide of morality.

“Sisupala said,–“That mighty king Jarasandha who desired not to fightwith Krishna, saying ‘He is a slave,’ was worthy of my greatest esteem.

“Bhishma said,–This Sisupala was born in the line of the king of Chediwith three eyes and four hands. As soon as he was born, he screamed andbrayed like an ass. On that account, his father and mother along withtheir relatives, were struck with fear.

“Bhishma said,–The will under which the ruler of Chedi summoneth thee tofight though thou art of strength that knoweth no deterioration, isscarcely his own intention. Assuredly, this is the purpose of Krishnahimself, the lord of the universe.

“Vaisampayana said,–Hearing these words of Bhishma, the ruler of Chediendued with exceeding prowess, desirous of combating with Vasudevaaddressed him and said,–O Janarddana, I challenge thee. Come, fight withme until I slay thee today with all the Pandavas.

Vaisampayana said,–“when that foremost of sacrifices, the Rajasuya sodifficult of accomplishment, was completed, Vyasa surrounded by hisdisciples presented himself before Yudhishthira.

Vaisampayana said,–“That bull among men, Duryodhana, continued to dwellin that, assembly house (of the Pandavas).

“Sakuni said.–‘O Duryodhana, thou shouldst not be jealous ofYudhishthira. The sons of Pandu are enjoying what they deserve inconsequence of their own good fortune.

Vaisampayana said–“O king, impressed with the great Rajasuya sacrificeof king Yudhishthira, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, having learnt before theintentions of Duryodhana, while accompanying him in the way from theassembly house, and desirous of saying what was agreeable to him,approached Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom,

Janamejaya said,–“O thou foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, howdid that game at dice take place, fraught with such evil to the cousinsand through which my grand-sires, the son of Pandu, were plunged intosuch sorrow?

“Vaisampayana said,–“While the illustrious Pandavas were seated in thatSabha along with the principal Gandharvas, there came, O Bharata, untothat assembly the celestial Rishi Narada, conversant with the Vedas and Upanishadas, worshipped by the celestials acquainted with histories and Puranas, well-versed in all that occurred in ancient kalpas (cycles), conversant with Nyaya (logic) and the truth of moral science, possessinga complete knowledge of the six Angas (viz., pronunciation, grammar,prosody, explanation of basic terms, description of religious rites, andastronomy).

Duryodhana said,–‘Listen now, O Bharata, about all the most costlyarticles I saw, belonging unto the sons of Pandu, and brought one afteranother by the kings of the earth.

Duryodhana said,–‘O sinless one, listen to me as I describe that largemass of wealth consisting of various kinds of tribute presented untoYudhishthira by the kings of the earth.

Duryodhana said,–“Those king that are revered over all the world, whoare devoted to truth and who are pledged to the observance of rigid vows,

“Dhritrashtra said,–Thou art my eldest son and born also of my eldestwife. Therefore, O son, be not jealous of the Pandavas. He that isjealous is always unhappy and suffereth the pangs of death.

“Duryodhana said,–‘He that is devoid of intellect but hath merely heardof many things, can scarcely understand the real import of thescriptures, like the spoon that hath no perception of the taste of thesoup it toucheth.

“Sakuni said,–O thou foremost of victorious persons, I will snatch (forthee) this prosperity of Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, at the sight ofwhich thou grievest so.

Vaisampayana said,–“King Dhritarashtra, ascertaining the inclinations ofhis son and knowing that Fate is inevitable, did what I have said.

Vaisampayana said,–“Vidura then, thus commanded against his will by kingDhritarashtra, set out, with the help of horses of high mettle and enduedwith great speed and strength, and quiet and patient, for the abode ofthe wise sons of Pandu.

Vaisampayana said,–“The sons of Pritha with Yudhishthira at their head,having entered that assembly house, approached all the kings that werepresent there.

Vaisampayana said,–“When the play commenced, all those kings withDhritarashtra at their head took their seats in that assembly.

“Vaisampayana said,–At the conclusion of Narada’s words, kingYudhishthira the just worshipped him duly; and commanded by him themonarch began to reply succinctly to the questions the Rishi had asked.

Yudhishthira said,–“Thou hast won this stake of me by unfair means. Butbe not so proud, O Sakuni. Let us play staking thousands upon thousands.I have many beautiful jars each full of a thousand Nishkas in mytreasury, inexhaustible gold, and much silver and other minerals. This, Oking, is the wealth with which I will stake with thee!'”

Vaisampayana said,–“During the course of this gambling, certain to bringabout utter ruin (on Yudhishthira), Vidura, that dispeller of all doubts,(addressing Dhritarashtra) said, ‘O great king,

“Vidura said,–“Gambling is the root of dissensions. It bringeth aboutdisunion. Its consequences are frightful. Yet having recourse to this,Dhritarashtra’s son Duryodhana createth for himself fierce enmity.

Duryodhana said,–‘O Kshatta, thou art always boasting of the fame of ourenemies, deprecating the sons of Dhritarashtra. We know, O Vidura, ofwhom thou art really fond.

“Sakuni said,–‘Thou hast, O Yudhishthira, lost much wealth of thePandavas. If thou hast still anything that thou hast not yet lost to us,O son of Kunti, tell us what it is!”

Duryodhana said,–‘Come, Kshatta, bring hither Draupadi the dear andloved wife of the Pandavas. Let her sweep the chambers, force herthereto, and let the unfortunate one stay where our serving-women are.’

Vaisampayana said,–“Intoxicated with pride, the son of Dhritarashtraspake,–‘Fie on Kshatta! and casting his eyes upon the Pratikamin inattendance, commanded him, in the midst of all those reverend seniors,saying,–‘Go Pratikamin, and bring thou Draupadi hither. Thou hast nofear from the sons of Pandu. It is Vidura alone that raveth in fear.Besides, he never wisheth our prosperity!'”

Draupadi said,–‘Wait a little, thou worst of men, thou wicked-mindedDussasana. I have an act to perform–a high duty that hath not beenperformed by me yet. Dragged forcibly by this wretch’s strong arms, I wasdeprived of my senses. I salute these reverend seniors in this assemblyof the Kurus. That I could not do this before cannot be my fault.'”

Vaisampayana said,–“The kings present in that assembly, from tear ofDuryodhana, uttered not a word, good or ill, although they beheldDraupadi crying piteously in affliction like a female osprey, andrepeatedly appealing to them.

“Karna said,–‘Of all the persons in the assembly, three, viz., Bhishma,Vidura, and the preceptor of the Kurus (Drona) appear to be independent;for they always speak of their master as wicked, always censure him, andnever wish for his prosperity.

“Narada said,–the celestial assembly room of Sakra is full of lustre. Hehath obtained it as the fruit of his own acts. Possessed of the splendourof the sun, it was built, O scion of the Kuru race, by Sakra himself.

“Karna said,–‘We have never heard of such an act (as this one ofDraupadi), performed by any of the women noted in this world for theirbeauty.

“Yudhishthira said,–‘O king, thou art our master. Command us as to whatwe shall do. O Bharata, we desire to remain always in obedience to thee.

Janamejaya said,–“How did the sons of Dhritarashtra feel, when they cameto know that the Pandavas had, with Dhritarashtra’s leave, leftHastinapore with all their wealth and jewels?”

Vaisampayana said,–‘O monarch, it was then that the virtuous Gandhari,afflicted with grief on account of her affection for her sons, addressedking Dhritarashtra and said, “When Duryodhana was born, Vidura of greatintelligence had said,

Vaisampayana said,–‘The royal messenger, agreeably to the commands ofthe intelligent king Dhritarashtra, coming upon Yudhishthira, the son of Pritha who had by that time gone a great way, addressed the monarch and said,–‘Even these are the words of thy father-like uncle, O Bharata,spoken unto thee, ‘The assembly is ready.

Vaisampayana said,–“Then the vanquished sons of Pritha prepared fortheir exile into the woods. And they, one after another, in due order,casting off their royal robes, attired themselves in deer-skins.

Yudhishthira said,–‘I bid farewell unto all the Bharatas, unto my oldgrand-sire (Bhishma), king Somadatta, the great king Vahlika, Drona,Kripa, all the other kings, Aswathaman, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, all thesons of Dhritarashtra, Yayutsu, Sanjaya, and all the courtiers, I bidfare well, all of ye and returning again I shall see you.”

Vaisampayana said,–‘Then when Draupadi was about to set out she wentunto the illustrious Pritha and solicited her leave. And she also askedleave of the other ladies of the household who had all been plunged intogrief. And saluting and embracing every one of them as each deserved, shedesired to go away.

Vaisampayana said,–“As soon as Vidura endued with great foresight cameunto him king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, timidly asked hisbrother,–‘How doth Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, proceed along?

Vaisampayana said,–“defeated at dice, after the Pandavas had gone to thewoods, Dhritarashtra, O king, was overcome with anxiety.

“Narada said,–‘O Yudhisthira, I shall now describe the assembly house ofYama, the son of Vivaswat, which, O son of Pritha, was built byViswakarma. Listen now to me. Bright as burnished gold, that assemblyhouse, O monarch, covers an area of much more than a hundred yojanas.

‘Narada said–O Yudhishthira, the celestial Sabha of Varuna isunparalleled in splendour. In dimensions it is similar to that of Yama.Its walls and arches are all of pure white. It hath been built byViswakarma (the celestial architect) within the waters.

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