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Mahabharata English

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How, O Bharata, should a person act who desires toadhere to virtue? O bull of Bharata’s race, possessed as thou art oflearning, tell me this, questioned by me.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to tell me what arethe highest, the most beneficial, and the most certain fruit of all hindsof fasts k this world.’

“Sauti continued ‘The Dundubha then said, ‘In former times, I had afriend Khagama by name.

“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.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Kshatta, I am desirous to hear of the destructionof Kirmira! Do thou tell me how the encounter took place between theRakshasa and Bhimasena!’

“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.

“Salya said, ‘Then all the Rishis and the superior gods said, “Let thehandsome Nahusha be crowned as king of the gods. He is powerful andrenowned, and devoted to virtue ever more.’

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Thou hast, O Sanjaya, duly described Jamvukhandato me. Tell me now its dimensions and extent truly.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Hear, O Sanjaya, the celestial feats of Vasudeva,feats that Govinda achieved and the like of which no other person hathever been able to achieve.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After having obtained the command of the army, andafter he had been addressed by the king himself in those sweet andbrotherly words, and after he had ordered the troops to be arrayed at thehour of sunrise, tell me, O Sanjaya, what did Vikartana’s son Karna do?’

Sanjaya said, “When the troops, slaughtered by one another, were thusagitated, when many of the warriors fled away and the elephants began toutter loud cries, when the foot-soldiers in that dreadful battle began toshout and wail aloud, when the steeds,

Vaishampayana said, “Beholding his sons, grandsons, and friends all slainin battle, the king’s soul became overwhelmed with great grief, OJanamejaya!

Vaishampayana said, “Dhritarashtra had not proceeded for more than twomiles when he met with those three great car-warriors, Sharadvatas sonKripa, Dronas son (Ashvatthama), and Kritavarma.

“Arjuna said, ‘In this connection an old history is cited, viz., thediscourse between certain ascetics and Sakra, O bull of Bharata’s race!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, in what kind of man or woman,O chief of the Bharatas, does the goddess of prosperity always reside?’

Vaisampayana said, “When Vyasa of wonderful achievements had concludedhis speech to the king, the highly-puissant son of Vasudeva (Krishna)also addressed him.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After that night had passed away, Dhritarashtra, theson of Amvika, despatched Vidura to Yudhishthira’s mansion.

“Bhishma said, ‘This our celebrated race, resplendent with every virtueand accomplishment, hath all along sovereignty over all other monarchs onearth.

Vaisampayana said, “O chief of the Bharata race! then the son of Kuntiwent at a slow pace to the two rivers Nanda and Aparananda, which had thevirtue of destroying the dread of sin.

“Garuda said, ‘This quarter is the favourite one of king Varuna, theruler of the ocean. Indeed, the lord of the waters had his origin here,and it is hither that sovereignty lieth.

Dhritarashtra said, “How did Sikhandin the prince of the Panchalas,excited with wrath, rushed in battle against the grandsire, viz., Ganga’sson of righteous soul and regulated vows.

“Sanjaya said, ‘O king, when Yuyudhana, from desire of battle proceededagainst thy troops, king Yudhishthira, surrounded by his forces, followedYuyudhana for reaching the car of Drona.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Creatures are seen to be afflicted by diverse meansand almost continually. Tell me, O grandsire, in what way can oneovercome all those difficulties.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Approaching the Kuru grandsire, venerable in years,viz., Bhishma, who was then lying on his bed of arrows, Yudhishthirapossessed of great wisdom put the following question.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘There was amongst the Yadavas a chief namedSura. He was the father of Vasudeva. And he had a daughter called Pritha,who was unrivalled for beauty on earth.

“Lomasa said, ‘O descendant of Bharata! she in order to compass theobject of the king, prepared a floating hermitage, both because the kinghad ordered so, and also because it exactly accorded with her plan.

“Garuda said, ‘O Brahmanas, since this quarter saveth from sin, and sinceone attaineth to salvation here, it is for this saying (Uttarana) powerthat it is called the north (uttara).

Sanjaya said, “Arjuna then, O king, beholding the prowess of Bhishma inbattle, addressed Sikhandin saying, ‘Proceed towards the grandsire.

“Dhritarashtra said, Our army is equally possessed of many excellences.It is equally regarded as superior.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Many persons here that are not really of tranquilsouls appear in outward form as men of tranquil souls. There are againothers that are really of tranquil souls but that appear to be otherwise.How, O sire, shall we succeed in knowing these people?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom and conversant with all the scriptures. I desire to know thoseexcellent ordinances in consequence of which mortal creatures have totravel through their rounds of rebirth.

“Vaisampayana said. ‘The large-eyed daughter of Kuntibhoja, Pritha byname, was endued with beauty and every accomplishment. Of rigid vows, shewas devoted to virtue and possessed of every good quality.

“Vaisampayana said. ‘The large-eyed daughter of Kuntibhoja, Pritha byname, was endued with beauty and every accomplishment. Of rigid vows, shewas devoted to virtue and possessed of every good quality.

‘Rishyasringa said, ‘Here came to-day a religious student with a mass ofhair on his head. And he was neither short nor tall. And he was of aspirited look and a golden complexion, and endued with eye large aslotuses; and he was shining and graceful as a god.

“Galava said, ‘O Garuda, O slayer of foremost snakes, O thou of beautifulfeathers, O son of Vinata, carry me, O Tarkhya, to the east where the twoeyes of Dharma are first opened. O,

Sanjaya said, “The mighty bowman (Alamvusha) the son of Rishyasringa, inthat battle, resisted Satyaki clad in mail and proceeding towardsBhishma.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen with undivided attention, O king. After the routof that force by the high-souled son of Hridika, and upon the

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What acts should be done by a king, and what arethose acts by doing which a king may become happy? Tell me this indetail, O thou that art the foremost of all persons acquainted withduties.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast told me, O regenerate one, what the end isof unrighteousness or sin. I desire now to hear, O foremost of speakers,of what the end is of Righteousness.

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Some time after, Bhishma the intelligent son ofSantanu set his heart upon getting Pandu married to a second wife.

“Vibhandaka said, ‘Those are, O son! Rakshasas. They walk about in thatwonderfully beautiful form.

“Narada said, ‘Alighting then on the peak of the Rishabha, the Brahmanaand the Bird beheld a Brahmana lady of the name of Sandili, engaged thereon ascetic penances.

Sanjaya said, “The heroic Drona, that great bowman endued with theprowess of an infuriate elephant, that foremost of men possessed of greatmight,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Shooting clouds of arrows, all those warriors,accomplished in smiting, carefully, O monarch, encountered Yuyudhana.Drona struck him with seven and seventy shafts of great keenness.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me O bull of Bharata’s race, how a king,without the usual aids, having obtained a kingdom that is so precious apossession, behave himself towards a powerful foe.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Abstention from injury, the observance of the Vedicritual, meditation, subjugation of the senses, penances, and obedientservices rendered to the preceptors,–which amongst these is fraught withthe greatest merit with respect to a person?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Pandu, then, at the command of Dhritarashtra,offered the wealth he had acquired by the prowess of his arms to Bhishma,their grand-mother Satyavati and their mothers. And he sent portion ofhis wealth to Vidura also.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then, O Janamejaya, the son of Pandu started fromthe river Kausiki and repaired in succession to all the sacred shrines.

“Narada said, ‘Garuda then, that foremost of winged beings, addressed thecheerless Galava and said, ‘Because it is created by Agni, in the bowelsof the earth and augmented by Vayu, and because also the earth itself issaid to be Hiranmaya, therefore, is wealth called Hiranya.

Sanjaya said, “Hearing these words of the high-souled Drona, Bhagadattaand Kripa and Salya and Kritavarman, and Vinda and Anuvinda of

“Sanjaya said, ‘While the (Kuru) host was shaken by the grandson of Siniin these places (through which he proceeded), the son of Bharadwajacovered him with a dense shower of arrows.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How, O Bharata, should a learned man adorned withmodesty behave, O chastiser of foes, when assailed with harsh speeches inthe midst of assemblies by an ignorant person swelling with conceit?'[346]

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After this, king Yudhishthira, endued with greatenergy, and the foremost of eloquent men, addressed his grandsire lyingon his bed of arrows, in the following words.’

“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, ‘The protector of the earth spent there a singlenight, and with his brothers, paid the highest honours to the religiousmen.

“Narada said, ‘Thus addressed by Suparna in excellent words fraught withtruth, that performer of thousand sacrifices, that foremost of givers,that liberal ruler of all the

Sanjaya said, “Arjuna covered with his straight shafts the mightycar-warrior Salya who was struggling vigorously in battle.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having vanquished Drona and other warriors of thy army,headed by the son of Haridika, that foremost of men, viz., that bullamongst the Sinis,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom, I have one great doubt that perplexes me.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast told it many times that abstention frominjury is the highest religion. In Sraddhas, however, that are performedin honour of the Pitris, persons for their own good should make offeringsof diverse kinds of meat.

“Janamejaya said, ‘O sinless one, thou hast narrated to me from thebeginning all about the birth of Dhritarashtra’s hundred sons owing tothe boon granted by the Rishi. But thou hast not told me as yet anyparticulars about the birth of the daughter.

“Akritavrana said, ‘Jamadagni devoted himself to the study of the Vedaand the practice of sacred penances, and became famous for his greatausterities.

“Narada said, ‘That best of monarchs, king Haryyaswa, after reflectingfor a long while and breathing a long and hot sigh about the birth of ason, at last said,

Dhritarashtra said, “How, O Sanjaya, did Santanu’s son Bhishma of mightyenergy fight on the tenth day of battle, with the Pandavas and theSrinjayas? How also did the Kurus resist the Pandavas in battle? Describeto me the great battle fought by Bhishma, that ornament of battle.”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then that bull of Vrishni’s race, viz., the high-souledSatyaki of great intelligence, having slain Sudarsana, once moreaddressed his driver, saying,

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the following history ofolden times.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, those cruel men, who, discarding diverse kindsof food, covet only flesh, are really like great Rakshasas!

“Janamejaya said, ‘Please recite the names of Dhritarashtra’s sonsaccording to the order of their birth.’

“Rama said, ‘The blame is mine, O father, that like a stag in the wood,thou hast been shot dead with arrows, by those mean and stupidwretches–the sons of Kartavirya.

“Narada said, ‘Galava then, addressing Madhavi, said, The ruler of theKasis is an illustrious king known by the name of Divodasa. He is the sonof Bhimasena, is endued with great prowess, and is a mighty sovereign.

Sanjaya said, “Abhimanyu, O king, displaying his prowess for the sake ofBhishma, fought with thy son who was supported by a large force.

“Sanjaya said, Having the vanquished the Yavanas and the Kamvojas thatforemost of car-warriors, viz., Yuyudhana, proceeded towards Arjuna,right through the midst of thy troops.

“Bhishma said, ‘The dog transformed into a tiger, gratified with theflesh of slain beasts, slept at his ease.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Desiring to die or desiring to live, many personsgive up their lives in the great sacrifice (of battle).

“Janamejaya said, ‘O utterer of Brahma, thou hast recited (everythingabout) the extraordinary birth among men, of the sons of Dhritarashtra inconsequence of the Rishi’s grace. Thou hast also said what their namesare, according to the order of their birth.

Vaisampayana said, “The magnanimous monarch pursued his journey, and atdifferent spots on the shore of the sea visited the various bathingplaces, all sacred and pleasant and frequented by men of the sacerdotalcaste.

“Narada said, ‘The illustrious Madhavi, faithful to her promise,abandoning that prosperity and once more becoming a maiden, followed thefootsteps of the Brahmana Galava.

Sanjaya said,–Sikhandin, O bull among men, approaching Bhishma inbattle, struck him in the centre of the chest with ten broad-headedarrows

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Beholding the grandson of Sini proceeding towardsArjuna, grinding as he went that large force, what, indeed, O Sanjaya,did those shameless sons of mine do?

“Bhishma said, ‘Having once more assumed his proper form, the dog becamevery cheerless. The Rishi, reproving him, drove the sinful creature fromhis hermitage.

“Vyasa said, ‘It is in consequence of a meritorious act, O worm, thatthou, though born in the intermediate order of being, art not stupefied.

“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.

Janamejaya said, “O thou of ascetic wealth! when the sons of Pandu andthe Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, what did they do and whatconversation was held there by them, for all of them were of mightysouls, proficient in all the branches of science and both the Vrishnisand the sons of Pandu held one another in friendly estimation.”

“Narada said, ‘Seeing Galava, Vinata’s son smilingly addressed him,saying, ‘By good luck it is, O Brahmana, that I behold thee successful.’Galava, however, hearing the words spoken by Garuda informed him that afourth part of the task was still un-finished.’

Sanjaya said, “When the combatants of both armies, strong in number, werethus disposed in battle array, all those unretreating heroes, O Bharata,set their heart upon the region of Brahma.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Duhsasana’s car staying near his, the son ofBharadwaja, addressing Duhsasana, said these words, ‘Why, O Duhsasana,are all these cars flying away?

“Bhishma said, ‘That king who, guided by the lesson to be drawn from thestory of the dog, appoints his servants to offices for which each is fit,succeeds in enjoying the happiness that is attached to sovereignty.

“Bhishma said, ‘Having cast off the status of a worm and taken birth as aKshatriya of great energy, the person (of whom I am speaking),remembering his previous transformations, O monarch, began to undergosevere austerities.

“Sauti continued, ‘Ruru then asked, ‘O best of Dwijas, why was kingJanamejaya bent upon destroying the serpents?–And why and how were theysaved by the wise Astika? I am anxious to hear all this in detail.’

“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, ‘Hearing that the Pandavas had been banished, theBhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas went to those heroes residing inaffliction in the great forest.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After a while, another powerful son of Pandu wasseen making towards king Virata in haste. And as he advanced, he seemedto everyone like solar orb emerged from the clouds.

“Salya said, ‘Seeing Nahusha enraged, the gods led by the saints spokeunto him, ‘Who was now their king of awful mien? O king of gods, quit thywrath.

“Sanjaya said, ‘O Kauravya, that which is heard about the islands in thenorth, I will recount to thee, O Great king. Listen to me now. (Thitherin the north) is the ocean whose waters are clarified butter.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Yes, as I saw everything with my own eyes, I willdescribe to thee how Drona fell down, slain by the Pandavas and theSrinjayas.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then those two vast armies, teeming with rejoicing menand steeds and elephants, resembling in splendour the celestial and theAsura hosts, meeting together,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Seeing his driver fallen, Shalya, O king, quickly took uphis mace made wholly of iron and stood immovable as a bull.

Vaishampayana said, “After the irresistible Bhimasena had set out, thatbull of Yadu’s race, possessed of eyes like lotus-petals, addressedKuru’s son Yudhishthira, saying,

Vaishampayana said, “After all the warriors had been slaughtered, kingYudhishthira the just heard that his uncle Dhritarashtra had set out fromthe city called after the elephant.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing these words of Arjuna, O chastiser of foes,Nakula of mighty arms and a broad chest, temperate in speech andpossessed of great wisdom, with face whose colour then resembled that ofcopper, looked at the king, that foremost of all righteous persons, andspoke these words, besieging his brother’s heart (with reason).’

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