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unto them of diverse kinds of food and garlands and drinks
and diverse auspicious articles of enjoyment."' Gold and
Other precious metals should be given as Dakshina. The
names should then be taken of all the deities as also of Nara

* 'Muflga' is the Phaseolus Mungo of Roxburgh.— T.
[ 4 ]


and Naravana.'' Then, adorning the persons of some fore-
ino3t of Brahmanas with scents and garlands, they should bo
gratified with diverse kinds of gifts of enjoyable and very
superior or costly articles. ''' By doing this, one attains to
the merits of the Atiratra sacrifice. Indeed, at each succes-
sive Parva, he acquires the merits that attach to the per-
formance of a sacrifice.'*' The reciter, O chief of the Bha-
ratas, should be possessed of Jearning and endued with a good
voice and a clear utterance respecting both letters and words.
Even such a man .should, O chi^f of the Bharatas, recite the
Bharata,*^ After entertaining a number of foremost Brah-
^nanaa, presents should be made unto them according to th©
ordinances. The reciter also, O chief of the Bharatas, should
be decked with ornaments and fed sumptuously.** The reciter
being gratified, the house-holder attains to an excellent and
auspicious contentment. If the Brahmanas are gratified, all
the deities are gratified." After this. chief of the Bharatas,
Brahmanas should be duly entertained with diverse kind*
of enjoyable articles and superior things.®*

"I have thus indicated the ordinances, O foremost of men,
(about the manner of reciting these scriptures) in answer to
thy enquiries. Thou shouWst observe them ivith faith.** lis
listening to a recitation of the Bharata and at each Parana,
O best of kings, one that desires to attain to the highest good
should listen with the greatest care and attention.** One
should listen to the Bharata every day. One should proclaim
the merits of the Bharata every day. One in whose house
the Bharata occurs, has in his hands all those scriptures which
fire known by the name of Jaya.*^' The Bharata is cleans-
ing and sacred. In the Bharata are diverse topics. The Bha-
rata is worshipped by the very gods. The Bharata is the
highest goal.®^ The Bharata, O chief of the Bharatas, is the
foremost of all scriptures. One attains to Emancipation

* Maya' ir the name given to certain Kciiptnrps. Tlie 3^harata ia
♦»qn'vale>tt to t'oose scriptures. One, tlierefore, that has a copy of the
Bhirata in one's house, ia rerrarded as liaving lill those scriptures which
fire named J«ya. The word 'Java' does not mean here victory or
6UCce33 — T.


through the Bharata. This that I tell thee is certarri truth.^*
One that proclaims the merits of this history called the
Mahabharata, of the Earth, of the cow, of Saraswati (the
goddess of speech), of Brahmanas, and of Ke9ava, has never
to languish.^® In the Veda, in the Ramajana, and iia the
sacred Bharata, chief of Bharata's race, Hari is sung in
the beginning, the middle, and the end." That in which
occurs excellent statements relating to Vishnu, and the
eternal Crutis, should be listened to by men desirous of at-
taining to the highest goal."*' This treatise is sanctifying ;
This is the highest indicator as regards duties ; this is endued
with every merit. One desirous of prosperity should listen to
it.'* Sins committed by means of the body, by means of
words, and by means of the mind, are all destroyed (through
listening to the Bharata) as Darkness at sunrise.'* One de-
voted to Vishnu acquires (through this) that merit which is
acquired by listening to the eighteen Puranas. There is no
doubt in this.'^ Men and women (by listening to this) would
certainly attain to the status of Vishnu. Women desirous of
children should certainly listen to this which proclaims the
iame of Vishnu.** One desirous of attaining to the fruits
ithat attach to a recitation of the Bharata should, according
to one's power, give unto the reciter Dakshina as also an
bonorarium in gold.'' One desirous of ore's own good should
give u.nto the reciter a Kapila cow with horns cased in gold
and accompanied by her calf, covered with a cloth.'" Orna-
ments, O chief of Bharata's race, for the arm.s, as also those
for the ears, should be given. Besides these, other kinds of
wealth shouild be presented.*" Unto the reciter, king of
jiien, gift of land should be made. No gift like that of land
could ever be or will be.^*"* The man that listens (to the
Bharata) or that i^citos it to other people, becomes cleansed
of all his sins and attains at last to the status of Vishnu. ^°*
Such a man rescues his ancestors to the eleventh degree as
also himself with his wives and sons, O chief of Bharata's

♦ Tlie Bengal texts reati 'punyoh' for 'pAnyoh.' Tlieu, aj^'ain, in the
BocoaJ line, tke true readiu;^ L» 'dLaiiam' auJ not 'dauam.' — T.

28 ' ' •liiHA.BHi.Ri.TA. ■ >

race.^''* After coti eluding a recitation of the Bharata, one
siioiild, O king, perform a Noma with all its ten parts.

"I have thus, chief of men, told everything in thy pre-
sence.^*" He that listens with devotion to this Bharata from
the beginning becomes cleansed of every sin even if he be
guilty of Brahmanicide or the violation of his preceptor's bed,
or even if he be a drinker of alcohol or a robber of other
people's wares, or even if he be born in the Chandala order.*"*
Destroying all his sins like the maker of day destroying dark-
ness, such a man, without doubt, sports in felicity in the
region of Vishnu like Vishnu himself."***^



are thus completed.





Janamejaya enquires about the regions in the
other world attained by his deceased grand-

S1F6S ••• ••• D.. ,,^ ^

Arrived at Heaven, Yudhishthira beholds Dur-
yodhana blazing with effulgence and seated
in the midst of Saddhas ... ... ilj.

Tudhishthira's indignation at the sight of

Duryodhana's prosperity ... ... i\y

Yudhishthira loudly expresses his indignation ... i\y

Ditto expresses the wish of going thither where
. his brothers are ... o'

Narada solicits him to cast off his wrath ... i\y

Tudhishthira's reply to Narada in which he

re-iterates his desire of seeing his brothers ... jb

Tudhishthira's appeal to the gods for sending
him there where his brothers are ...

The gods order a celestial messenger to lead
Yudhishthira to the region attained by

his brothers

■ ■•• ...

The painful sights seen by Tudhishthira on
■ his way ... ... ... ^^^ .^

Tudhishthira hears voices of pain which he

recognises to be those of his brothers and

relatives ...

* * • • a

Those voices request him to stay there
Tudhishthira's lament at finding his brothers
and relatives in Hell ...

• • • •

Dharma comes to Yudhishiihira and the illusion

of Hell disappears
The deities surround and honour Yudhishthira
lodra explains to Yudhishthira the cause of the
. ! illusion ' ... . ' ...









Indn i'iforrD^ YndliislULira of the rfgions

reserveti for lam ... ... ...

Yiiihi^iuiij: n jihihge; iiilo ihe releMial Gaiiga

:i':tl li - ^' .V'tih ri CCfie.-.! i:'.' Lwdy ... ... jb

T r-iiii-^'itii'Mv; a-.i'ivojteij L\ tl.e ccii v of >"I;;'.it-

G' /li * I . O '^^ ••• •-• ••• *r* ••J

US !il > I'lij'j ! i)-t . - ... ... lb

Yufihi.>'';I:ir;, r-.?'")'nr!'i.'iiefi 1)V TJIim tnfi, the

ii '-i-it i. L-'ifi r'C'Ie-tr;.i iii.-liis, :iii'i tiie

deiii'Jo. (i?'.)"ppUs :«• Lie vlaie wliOfe I.ii

bf^Dlieir; Aiid i-,il;'.i.v.ei veiily aie ... ... 10

Yu jUi-slit-hin I-j'o.M; GoviiiJa r.i i.i.-> l)!i::ii!£j

I>rihr>vi-r<»!ia ... ... ... ib

efi'ii'geucc ... ... ... ... 31

Diito *r:''.;.M.i Kr^rj'a ... ... ... ib

Ditto be!iv<!,l< lj}-.i!>i.T, ?.'i'' N-'kuli mk! Sahn-

rlev.i .'ui.! Dr-iiiiiuli ill tl-crr l.'.izii g (ornis ... ib

Ditfo be'.i'»ld=- tKe five (I'udliv.ivrr.s lliat took

b'ri-^i ;i.> tiie smis of Drai.pidi ... ... iS

Diutii beli'll-s Diiri'firri- htr.'; ... ... i'i

Dit.tu liHhv.''l.s f'c Viislnii aiid l!«e Aifihsika
heioG^ i!.n..«'!ii<: ihe Sa. l'lliy:is, tl.e Vi(;\\e-
deva;'.. i\i;d liui Maruis... ... ... 12

Dltt I b^liold.s x\bliiuraii\ u, Fandu, Kiiiiti ai.d

Mruiri ... ... ... .,. ib

Ditto bel;olds tiie ot?ier ltejoe.s who hud warred

oil either .side ... ... ,., ib

Janatiiej uM enouires of VaiciiTiD.av.aiia as to
the (hir.itioii.s tor whioh the heroes of Kuru-
ki'ierra «o ild remain in the regions attain-
ed by them ... ... •.. ib

Yai} implyaiia explain^ ^vho atuoi)^ tfieni
became merged in liie original essence
from whicli be liad sprung ... ... 13

^he conclusion of J^nrjiieja^ a's Sii^^lie-saciince ,,» 15



Aatika filled with joy at having rescued th«

Snakes ... ... ••• ••• **»

The Mcrilicial priests dismissed with large

presents ... ... ... •.• lb

Jan'\mejaja returns to his capital from

Taksha(jila, the place of Sacrifice ... ... ib

The merits of the Mahabharata ,.. ... ib

The Savittri of the Mahabharata. ... ... 17

The ordinances with respect to the manner

in whioh a recitation of the Mahabharata

should be listened ... ... ... 18

Craddhi offerings should be made after hearing

the Mahabharata ... ... ... 19

The gifts in general that should be made after

hearing a recitation of the Mahabharata ... ib

The qualifications of the person to be engaged

as reciter ... ... ... ... 20

The rainner iu which the recitation should be

«iade ... ... ... ... il>

Ths fruit? won at the conclusion of each ffiranti.., 21

The gifts that should be made at the conclusion

ofcachParvan ... ... ... 2.1

The merits of the Mahabharata ... ... 2&

By listening to the Mahabharata one becomea

cleansed of eveo the gravest sins ... ... 2S


<•• • V — •• •• ••%

' * .

• ♦. .«



t. »

V. :<

( I


If. s

..J I . .» » J . -•

. J

1 " "' ■ ^


Through the grace of Vasudeva, the English translation
of the Mahabharata, consisting of eighteen Parvas or books,
is brought to a close. Large or small, the eighteen Parva ^
may be compared to as many seas. Practically, therefore,
the other end has been reached of what had at first appeared
as an interminable ocean of eighteen divisions. The joy, how-
ever, that I feel at the completion is very largely mixed with
sorrow. The one object upon which my husband had set his
heart is today accomplished. For twelve long years he had
incessantly laboured for bringing it about. Those who watched
him know that for twelve long years he had scarcely any relish
for food and sleep. The diflficulties with which he had to
struggle were simply formidable. At times he despaired of
success, but though despairing he did not cease to work. His
self-imposed task has at last reached completion. That which
he had hoped for, that which he had often wished, has noAv
come to pass. The last verse of the Mahabharata has been
translated and published, and the translator has written the
word Finis at the conclusion of the eighteenth Parva. Joy
penetrates and illumines my heart. But, alas, that illumina-
tion is transient, very transient, indeed ! It is —

Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, — behold !
The jaws of darkness do devour it up.

Yes, the darkness of sorrow comes and extinguishes the
ray of joy as it darts through my heart. Where is he today
that would have contemplated this completion with feelings of
ineffable bliss ? The tree has today borne fruit. But where
is he who had planted it with diflfidence and nurtured it with
so much care ? He saw the tree about to flower, but he was
not spared to see the actual flowers, far less the fruit into
which they have developed. My sorrow knows no bounds.
Life seems to ebb away from the body Avhen I think of my
misfortune. If he were alive,— alive on even his last bed of

( 2 )

sickness, — I venture to think that shattered as his health was,
the effect of joy would have revived and renovated him. I
dare sa}', the feelings of his numerous friends and patrons
today are like mine. Theirs also is a melancholy joy. Sym-
pathy lessens sorrow. It is such sympathy that sustains me
amid the weight of my grief.

The Mahabharata is completed. That which at one time
had seemed impossible has today become a fait accomjM.
When the idea first arose in his mind, upon the receipt of the
letter written to him by the late lamented Dr. Rost in behalf
of the Duke of Devonshire (then Marquis of Hartington,
Secretary of State for India), my husband consulted many
persons of note and experience. Almost all of them dis-
suaded him, suggesting the enormous difficulties that lay in
the way of accomplishing the project. Some said that it was
impossible; some said it was offensive to the Hindu religion.
Pandit Iswara Chandra Vidyasagara, for whom my husband
had the greatest respect, laughed outright when he heard of
it, and doubted my husband's sanity. Whence was the money
to come ? Where could a translatox be had, having such pati-
ence, if uniformity of style was to be secured ? My husband
had one answer. "The work," he said, "was either an Emir's
or a Faqueer's. He was no Emir, but then who could pre-
vent him from becoming a Faqueer ?" Now that the work has
' been completed, nobody Avould maintain that my husband was
actually insane. Alas, where are both my husband and
Vidyasagara today ? If both of them were alive, how much
would they have to say to each other ?

Those who said that the task was impossible were not
wanting in intelligence. Who will not admit that enormous
difficulties lay in the way of success ? It is very much to be
doubted whether anybody else, tha: was not so poor as my
husband and that was not so free from false pride, could have
achieved this gigantic task. His OAvn estimate of the capacity
of one who can act the Faqueer, seems, after all, to have
been correct-. He believed that he laboured for a high cause,
— the cause, viz., of the diffusion of the ancient intellectual
wealth of India over the whole civilised world. He believed

( 3 )

that as he had effaced self as completely as is possible in this-
world, he would succeed in utilising the charity of the princes
and the people of India for that great cause. He believed also
that the enlightened Government of the country would not
allow him to drudge on without substantial help. He had
courage, patience, and perseverance. It is for these reasons
that a task which had seemed impossible to so many sensible
men has today been completed.

He was poor. It was well known that he had no mer-
cenary motives in undertaking the publication. It was for
this reason that Reis and Rayyet, great and small, prince and
peasant, rich and poor, all came forward to assist him. Assist-
ance, thus derived from all quarters, enabled him to accom-
plish so much. Assistance obtained from the same sources has-
enabled me to complete the portion left unfinished by my
husband. Those who had discouraged my husband, saying
that the task was opposed to the dictates of the Hindu
religion, were not certainly insincere. To them I say that
reflection would convince them that, in reality, the transla-
tion of the Mahabharata into a foreign tongue cannot be
fraught with any demerit. The Mahabharata is the Hindu's
great store- house of Religion, Profit, and Pleasure. It is his
Dharma-Qastra ; it is his history and biography ; it is his
astronomy ; it is his arithmetic ; it is the means of his self-
knowledge ; it is the means of his acquisition of Emancipa-
tion. It is regarded as the supplement of the Vedas in the
matter of understanding Brahma. In brief, the Mahabharata
is the one book that is held to be of very great value in
India. In consequence of the gradual decadence of Sanskrit
in this country, this treatise had become unintelligible to the
main body of the people. Speaking of Bengal, the people
had to be content with the versified translation of Ka9idasa.
Ka^idasa's is not a faithful rendering, whatever other ex-
cellencies (and they are many) it may possess. Then came
the late Babu Kali Prasanna Singha who gave the public,
at an enormous cost, a translation in prose, and after him
Maharajah Mahtab Chand Bahadur of Burdwan gave his
version. A third Bengali version, in simpler style, was

( 4 )

presented to Bengali readers by my husband. It is not for
me to speak of the excellencies or deficiencies of those
versions. These showed the people of Bengal what the true
contents are of Vyasa's great work. Successive editions of
all these versions were exhausted as sr on as they came out of
the press, thus showing that the respect the people of Benga,!
cherish for the Mahabharata is deep. It may be truly said
that the English translation of the Mahabharata has done for
the entire people of India what the three Bengali versions
have done for the people of Bengal, The number of those
who in India can read the Mahabharata in original is few.
The number is very great who can read it in English trans-
lation. There cannot be the slightest doubt, therefore, that
the work which has just been completed Avill prove a source
of joy and solid instruction to a large number of my country-
men. Then, again, as English is understood in other coun-
tries of the globe, the Mahabharata in an English garb will
be read by a still larger number of people. The diffusion of
the immortal truths, contained in this immortal work, over so
large a portion of the world, cannot be viewed with indiffer-
ence by any Indian patriot. With the loss of their independ-
ence the Hindus have lost many things. They have lost the
esteem of foreign nations. It is believed that they will regain
that esteem as a consequence of this literary undertaking.
Those foreign nations who now think the Hindus as a worth-
less race, will, from a perusal of the Mahabharata, find how
elevated the character was of the progenitors of the present
Hindus, and what the progress was which they made in
philosophy both mental and moral. A perusal of the Maha-
bharata will show that the Rishis of ancient India, clad
in deer-skins and barks of trees, subsisting on fruits and roots
of the wilderness, protected against the inclemencies of the
weather by mountain caves and huts made of branches and
leaves of trees, and lying on the bare ground, had made great
discoveries in many departments of knowledge. Many of those
discoveries have visibly added to the happiness of mankind.
Many sciences were carried by them to a point whence suc-
ceeding ages have not been able to advance them by even one

( 5 )

step. Their conceptions regarding many things were singular-
ly accurate. If one reads the exposition, of Bhrigu to Bhara-
dwaja, of the extent of the universe, one cannot fail to be
struck with the singularly correct notions which the Rishi
entertained of the heavenly bodies. The science of computing
Time by the motions of the heavenly bodies, had been brought
to perfection by Gargya and others. Many truths of deep
import lie scattered here and there in rich profusion. Politics
was understood by them in that remote period as well as
in this decade of the nineteenth century. An eminent scholar
of the United States of America wrote to my husband, on the
completion of the Canti Parva, that he had never read any
other book in any language in which the science of kingly,,
duties had been better expounded than in the Rajadharma
sections of that Parva. Kanika had laid down all those doc- .
trines which Macchiavelli first enunciated many centuries
afterwards in Europe. Bhishma unfolds the duties of kings
so copiously and so minutely that the Chancellors and PrimeT,,
ministers of modern European states may listen with rever-
ance to the exposition with advantage to their reputations.

Now, however, that the whole book is before the public,
it is scarcely necessary for me, a woman, to pass an opinion on
its merits. Others infinitely more competent than myself will
judge of them. In saying what I have said on the question, I
have only repeated the opinions commonly expressed by well-
informed judges. Of the indirect effects of an English trans^
lation of the Mahabharata I shall not speak here. I would-
refer the reader, for an adequate understanding of these, tof
the preface with which my husband put forth the first fasci-
culus of the translation. Western scholars have compared the.
Mahabharata to a national bank of unlimited resources upon
which succeeding poets and prose-writers of India have freely
drawn without being able to bring about a sensible diminu-
tion. A knowledge of the Mahabharata helps one to unders-
tand without any difficulty the plots of nearly all the dramas
and poems written either in Sanskrit or in the Indian verna-
culars in later times. References to the Mahabharata occur in
uoarly all the ballads and songs that are current in India.

( 6 )

Then, again, as India is a highly conservative country where
changes in habits of thought as also in manners and customs
arc seldom brought about by even the most powerful causes, it
may be truly said that an acquaintance with the Mahabharata
helps one to understand the Hindus of even the present day.
If a knowledge of the mind of the people is of value to the
administration of the country, who will deny the utility of an
English translation of the Mahabharata to the British Govern-
ment of India ?

These considerations will show that the money and the
labour bestowed upon this work have not been thrown away.
Indeed, few people will be disposed to say that my husband
wasted his life and energies on the accomplishment of an
undertaking that is not fraught with beneficial consequences
to the people of India as also to the world at large.

The Mahabharata has been completed. The last injunction
of my husband I have somehow carried out. In carrying it
out I have incurred some debts. These, added to those which
my husband left, come up to about Rs. 10,000. The thought
that disturbs me now is how shall I succeed in freeing my
husband from his debts and how pay my own ? The Secretary
of State for India, the Supreme Government, and the various
local Governments have aided the work materially. Almost
all the princes and chiefs also of India have assisted it more
or less. It pains me to think that only two noblemen, upon
whose help both my husband and myself had relied, have no*
cast a kind eye on the work. No harm can arise to them if
I name them here. They are Maharaja Sir Luchmeswar Sing
Bahadur, K. C s. i., of Durbhanga, and Maharaja Sir Gajapati
RaO; K. c. s. I., of Vizianagram. Both of them are enlight-
ened. Both are liberal and far-seeing. Indeed, their refusal
to render any help to an undertaking that has been helped by
so many persons and personages, is difficult of being reconciled
with their known character. Maharaja Sir Gajapati Rao had
promised a good sum to my husband. That promise was
repeated through an eminent official of the Government
of India. To my misfortune, when recently reminded by
another high official of his former promise, the Maharaja

( 7 )

recollected nothing, and the result, accordingly, has been a
continuation of neglect. Maharaja Sir Luchmeswar was ap-
proached several times both by my husband and myself. All
our applications, however, failed to move him. To me, in
especial, the courtesy of even a reply has never been vouch-
safed. I look upon this as my own misfortune, for why should
one who was dubbed by the late Dr. Sambhu O. Mookerjee in
liels and Rayyet as "the Premier nobleman of Bengal" be
unwilling, notwithstanding his well-known liberality, to aid a
work that has been aided by so many of his equals in India
and other lands as also by so many who are his superiors in
respectability ? The fault must be in my husband and myself.
It may also be due to the unique arrangements of the Dur-
bhanga Sherista in consequence of which persons of far higher
consequence than ourselves fail to obtain replies from the
Maharaja to even their most urgent communications.

I am sory to state that another eminent Zemindar of Ben-
gal, recently ennobled, viz., Maharaja Govinda Lai Roy of
Tajhat in Rungpore, having promised to aid the work with a
contribution of Bs. 5,000, forgot all about it after paying only
Ua. 500. More than a decade ago when the offer of this

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