The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose Vana Parva, Part 1 online

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directly I heard it with a heart sore agitated by grief, have I speedily
come here wishing to see thee, O king! Alas! O bull of the Bharata race,
ye have all fallen into dire distress! I see thee with thy brothers
plunged in misfortune!'"


"Yudhishthira said, 'O Krishna, why wert thou absent (from the Anartta
country)? And, O descendant of the Vrishni race, while thou wert away,
where didst thou dwell? And what didst thou do while out of thy

"Krishna said, 'O bull of the Bharata race, I had gone for the purpose
of destroying the (ranging) city Salwa. And, O foremost of the
Kauravas, listen to the reasons I had for so doing! The heroic son of
Damaghosha, the well-known king Sisupala of mighty arms and great
energy, was slain by me, O best of Bharatas, at thy _Rajasuya_
sacrifice, because that wicked one could not from anger bear to see the
first worship offered to me! Hearing that he had been slain, Salwa,
burning with fierce anger, came to Dwaraka, while, O Bharata, it was
empty, myself being away, residing with you here. And having arrived
there on a car made of precious metals and hence called the _Souva_, he
had an encounter with the youthful princes of the Vrishni race - those
bulls of that line - and fought with them mercilessly. And slaughtering
many youthful Vrishnis of heroic valour, the wicked one devastated all
the gardens of the city. And, O thou of mighty arms, he said, "Where is
that wretch of the Vrishni race, Vasudeva, the evil-souled son of
Vasudeva? I will humble in battle the pride of that person so eager for
fight! Tell me truly, _O Anarttas_! I will go there where he is. And
after killing that slayer of Kansa and Kesi, will I return! By my weapon
I swear that I will not return without slaying him!" And exclaiming
repeatedly - _Where is he? Where is he?_ the lord of Saubha rusheth to
this place and that, desirous of encountering me in battle. And Salwa
also said, "Impelled by wrath for the destruction of Sisupala I shall
today send to the mansion of Yama that treacherous miscreant of mean
mind." And, O king, he further said, "That Janardana shall I slay, who,
wretch that he is, hath killed my brother who was but a boy of tender
years, and who was slain not on the field of battle, unprepared as he
was!" Having, O great king, wailed thus, and having, O son of the Kuru
race, abused me thus, he rose into the sky on his car of precious metals
capable of going anywhere at will! On returning (to my kingdom) I heard
what, O Kaurava, the evil-minded and wicked king of Maticka had said
regarding myself! And, O descendant of the Kuru race, I was agitated
with wrath, and, O king, having reflected upon everything, I set my
heart upon slaying him! And, learning, O Kauravya, of his oppression of
the _Anarttas_, of his abuse of myself, and of his excessive arrogance,
I resolved upon the destruction of that wretch! And, O lord of earth, I
accordingly set out (from my city), for slaying the (lord of) the
Saubha. And searching him here and there, I found him in an island in
the midst of the ocean! Then, O king, blowing my conch called the
_Panchajanya_ obtained from the sea, and challenging Salwa to combat, I
stood for the fight! At that instant, I had an encounter with numerous
Danavas, all of whom, however, I subdued and prostrated on the ground. O
mighty-armed one, it was owing to this affair that I could not then come
(unto thee)! As soon as I heard of the unfair game of dice at
Hastinapura, I have come here desirous of seeing ye who have been
plunged in distress.'"


"Yudhishthira said, 'O illustrious Vasudeva of mighty arms, tell thou in
detail of the death of the lord of Saubha. My curiosity hath not been
appeased by thy narration.'

"Vasudeva said, 'O mighty-armed king, hearing that the son of
Srutaslavas (Sisupala) had been slain by me, Salwa, O best of the
Bharata race, came to the city of Dwaravati! And, O son of Pandu, the
wicked king, stationing his forces in array, besieged that city around
and above. And stationing himself in the upper regions, the king began
his fight with the city. And that encounter commenced with a thick
shower of weapons from all sides. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the
city at that time was well-fortified on all sides, according to the
science (of fortification), with pennons, and arches, and combatants,
and walls and turrets, and engines, and miners, and streets barricaded
with spiked wood-works and towers and edifices with gate-ways
well-filled with provisions, and engines for hurling burning brands and
fires, and vessels of deer-skins (for carrying water), and trumpets,
tabors, and drums, lances and forks, and _Sataghnis_, and plough-shares,
rockets, balls of stone and battle-axes and other weapons and shield
embossed with iron, and engines for hurling balls and bullets and hot
liquids! And the city was also well-defended by numerous cars, and, O
tiger among Kurus, by Gada and Shamva and Uddhava and others, and by
warriors of prowess tried in battle, all well-born and capable of
encountering any foe! And these all placing themselves on commanding
posts, aided by cavalry and standard-bearers, began to defend the town.
And Ugrasena and Uddhava and others, to prevent carelessness, proclaimed
throughout the city that nobody should drink. And all the Vrishnis and
the Andhakas, well-knowing that they would be slain by Salwa if they
behaved carelessly, remained sober and watchful. And the police soon
drove out of the city all mimes and dancers and singers of the Anartta
country. And all the bridges over rivers were destroyed, and boats
forbidden to ply, and the trenches (around the city) were spiked with
poles at the bottom. And the land around the city for full two miles was
rendered uneven, and holes and pits were dug thereon, and combustibles
were secreted below the surface. Our fort, O sinless one, is naturally
strong and always well-defended and filled with all kinds of weapons!
And in consequence of the preparations made, our city was more prepared
than ever to meet the foe. And, O chief of the Bharatas, in consequence
of all this, the city looked like that of Indra himself. And, O king, at
the time of Salwa's approach, nobody could either enter or leave the
town of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas without presenting the sign that
had been agreed upon. And all the streets of the town and the open
spaces were filled with numerous elephants and horses! And, O thou of
mighty arms, the combatants were all specially gratified with allowances
and wages, and rations, and weapons, and dresses! And amongst the
combatants there was none who was not paid in gold, and none who was not
paid at all, and none who was not somehow obliged, and none who was not
of tried valour! And, O thou of eyes like lotus-leaves, it was thus
Dwaraka, abounding in well-ordered arrangements, was defended by Ahuka


"Vasudeva continued, 'O king of kings, Salwa, the lord of Saubha, came
towards our city with an immense force consisting of infantry, cavalry
and elephants! And the army headed by king Salwa, consisting of four
kinds of forces, occupied a level ground commanding a copious
water-supply. And forsaking cemeteries and temples dedicated to the
gods, and sacred trees, and grounds covered by ant-hills, that host
occupied every other place. And the roads (leading to the city) were
blocked up by the divisions of the army, and the secret entrances also
were all blocked up by the enemy's camp. And, O Kauravya, like unto the
lord of birds (Garuda), the ruler of Saubha rushed towards Dwaraka,
bringing with him, O bull among men, his host equipped with all kinds of
arms, skilled in all weapons, consisting of a dense display of cars and
elephants and cavalry abounding in banners, and well-paid and well-fed
foot-soldiers possessed of great strength and bearing every mark of
heroism and furnished with wonderful chariots and bows. And beholding
the army of Salwa, the youthful princes of the Vrishni race resolved to
encounter it sallying out of the city. And, O king, Charudeshna, Samva,
and the mighty warrior Pradyumna, O descendant of the Kuru race, sallied
out, ascending on their chariots, and clad in mail, and decked with
ornaments, with colours flying, resolved to encounter the mighty and
countless host of Salwa! And Samva taking up his bows eagerly attacked
on the field of battle Kshemavriddhi, the commander of Salwa's forces
and his chief counsellor also! And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, the son
of Jambavati then began to shower arrows in a continuous stream even as
Indra showereth down rain! And, O mighty king, then Kshemavriddhi, the
commander of Salwa's forces, bore that shower of arrows, immovable as
the Himavat! And, O foremost of kings, Kshemavriddhi on his part,
discharged at Samva a mightier volley of shafts, aided by his powers of
illusion! And dispersing by counter illusion that discharge inspired by
illusion, Samva showered on his (adversary's) car a thousand arrows!
Then pierced by the shafts of Samva and overwhelmed there with those of
Kshemavriddhi, the commander of the hostile host, left the field by the
help of his fleet steed! And when the wicked general of Salwa had left
the field, a mighty Daitya called Vegavat rushed at my son! And, O best
of monarchs, thus attacked, the heroic Samva, the perpetuator of the
Vrishni race, bore that onset of Vegavat, keeping his ground. And, O son
of Kunti, the heroic Samva, of prowess incapable of being baffled,
whirling a quickly-going mace, hurled it speedily at Vegavat! And, O
king, struck with that mace, Vegavat fell down on the ground, like a
weather-beaten and faded lord of the forest of decayed roots! And on
that heroic Asura of mighty energy, being slain with the mace, my son
entered within that mighty host and began to fight with all. And, O
great king, a well-known Danava named Vivindhya, a mighty warrior
wielding a large and powerful bow, encountered Charudeshna! And, O
monarch, the encounter between Charudeshna and Vivindhya was as fierce
as that in days of yore between Vritra and Vasava! And enraged with each
other the combatants pierced each other with their arrows, uttering loud
roars like unto two powerful lions! Then the son of Rukmini fixed on his
bow-string a mighty weapon possessing the splendour of fire or the sun,
and capable of destroying all foes, having first vivified it with
incantations! Then, O monarch, that mighty warrior my son, fired with
wrath, challenged Vivindhya and discharged the weapon at him. And the
Danava struck with that weapon, fell down on the ground a lifeless
corpse! And beholding Vivindhya slain, and the whole host waver, Salwa
advanced again on his beautiful car capable of going everywhere. And, O
king of mighty arms, beholding Salwa on that beautiful car of his, the
combatants of Dwaraka wavered with fear! But, O thou of the Kuru race,
Pradyumna sallied out, and, O great king, bidding the Anarttas be of good
cheer, said, "Waver ye not, and staying behold me fight! Even I shall,
by force, repel that car with Salwa on it! Ye Yadavas, this day, I
shall, with my weapons like unto serpents discharged from my bow with my
hand, destroy this host of the lord of Saubha! Be of good cheer, ye all!
Fear not! The lord of Saubha will be slain today! Attacked by me, the
wretch will meet with destruction together with his car!" O son of
Pandu, upon Pradyumna speaking thus with cheerful heart, the Yadava
host, O hero, remained on the field, and began to fight cheerfully!'"


"Vasudeva continued, 'O bull of the Bharata race, having spoken thus
unto the Yadavas, the son of Rukmini (Pradyumna) ascended his golden
car. And the car he rode was drawn by excellent steeds in mail. And over
it stood a standard bearing the figure of a _Makara_ with gaping mouth
and fierce as Yama. And with his steeds, more flying than running on the
ground, he rushed against the foe. And the hero equipped with quiver and
sword, with fingers cased in leather, twanged his bow possessed of the
splendour of the lightning, with great strength, and transferring it
from hand to hand, as if in contempt of the enemy, spread confusion
among the Danavas and other warriors of the city of Saubha. And as hot
in contempt of the foe, and continuously slew the Danavas in battle, no
one could mark the slightest interval between his successive shafts. And
the colour of his face changed not, and his limbs trembled not. And
people only heard his loud leonine roars indicative of wonderful valour.
And the aquatic monster with mouth wide open, that devourer of all
fishes, placed on golden flag-staff of that best of cars, struck terror
into the hearts of Salwa's warriors. And, O king, Pradyumna, the mower
of foes rushed with speed against Salwa himself so desirous of an
encounter! And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, braved by the heroic
Pradyumna in that mighty battle, the angry Salwa could ill bear the
challenge! And that conqueror of hostile cities, Salwa, maddened by
anger, descended from his beautiful car of unchecked speed, resolved to
encounter Pradyumna. And the people beheld the fight between Salwa and
the foremost of Vrishni heroes, which was even like unto the encounter
between Vasava with Vali. And, O hero, mounting on his beautiful car
decked with gold and furnished with flags and flag-staffs and quivers,
the illustrious and mighty Salwa began to discharge his arrows at
Pradyumna! Pradyumna also by the energy of his arms, overwhelmed Salwa
in the combat by a thick shower of arrows. The king of Saubha, however,
thus attacked in battle by Pradyumna, endured him not, but discharged at
my son arrows that were like blazing fire. But the mighty Pradyumna
parried off that arrowy shower. Beholding this, Salwa rained on my son
other weapons of blazing splendour. Then, O foremost of monarchs,
pierced by the shafts of Salwa, the son of Rukmini discharged without
loss of time an arrow that was capable of entering the vitals of a foe
in fight. And that winged shaft shot by my son, piercing Salwa's mail,
entered his heart - whereupon he fell down, in a swoon. And beholding the
heroic king Salwa fallen down deprived of sense, the foremost of the
Danavas fled away rending the ground beneath their feet. And, O lord of
the earth, the army of Salwa sent up exclamations of _Oh!_ and _Alas!_
seeing their king, the lord of Saubha, drop down bereft of sense! And O
son of the Kuru race, regaining his senses, the mighty Salwa rose and
all of a sudden discharged his arrows on Pradyumna. Then the heroic and
mighty armed Pradyumna, sorely pierced by his adversary about his
throat, was enfeebled on his car. And, O mighty king, wounding the son
of Rukmini, Salwa sent up a shout like unto the roar of a lion, and
filling the entire earth with it! And, O Bharata, when my son became
senseless, Salwa, without losing a moment, again discharged at him other
shafts difficult to bear. And pierced with numberless arrows and
deprived of his senses, Pradyumna, O chief of the Kuru race, became
motionless on the field of battle!'"


"Vasudeva continued, 'O king, afflicted with the arrows of Salwa, when
Pradyumna became senseless the Vrishnis who had come to the fight were
all disheartened and filled with grief! And the combatants of the
Vrishni and Andhaka races burst into exclamations of _Oh!_ and _Alas!_
while great joy was felt by the enemy and beholding him thus deprived of
sense, his trained charioteer, the son of Daruka, soon carried him off
the field by the help of his steeds. The car had not gone far when that
best of warriors regained his senses, and taking up his bow addressed
his charioteer, saying, "O son of the Suta tribe, what hast thou done?
Why dost thou go leaving the field of battle? This is not the custom of
the Vrishni heroes in battle! O son of a Suta, hast thou been bewildered
at the sight of a Salwa in that fierce encounter? Or hast thou been
disheartened, beholding the fight? O! tell me truly thy mind!" The
charioteer answered, "O son of Janardana, I have not been confounded,
nor hath fear taken possession of me. On the other hand, O son of
Kesava, the task, I ween, of vanquishing Salwa is difficult for thee!
Therefore, O hero, I am slowly retiring from the field. This wretch is
stronger than thou art! It behoveth a charioteer to protect the warrior
on the car, however, when he is deprived of his senses! O thou gifted
with length of days, thou shouldst always be protected by me, even as it
behoveth thee to protect me! Thinking that the warrior on the car should
always be protected (by his charioteer), I am carrying thee away!
Further, O thou of mighty arms, thou art alone, while the Danavas are
many. Thinking, O son of Rukmini, that thou art not equal to them in the
encounter, I am going away!"'

"Vasudeva continued, 'When the charioteer had spoken thus, he, O
Kauravya, who hath the _makara_ for his mark replied unto him, saying,
"Turn the car! O son of Daruka, never do so again; never, O Suta, turn
thou from the fight, while I am alive! He is no son of the Vrishni race
who forsaketh the field or slayeth the foe fallen at his feet and crying
_I am thine!_ or killeth a woman, a boy, or an old man, or a warrior in
distress, deprived of his car or with his weapons broken! Thou art born
in the race of charioteers and trained to thy craft! And, O son of
Daruka, thou art acquainted with the customs of the Vrishnis in battle!
Versed as thou art with all the customs of the Vrishnis in battle, do
thou, O Suta, never again fly from the field as thou hast done! What
will the irrepressible Madhava, the elder brother of Gada, say to me
when he heareth that I have left the field of battle in bewilderment or
that I have been struck on the back - a run-away from the combat! What
will the elder brother of Kesava, the mighty-armed Baladeva, clad in
blue and inebriate with wine, say, when he returneth? What also, O Suta,
will that lion among men, the grand-son of Sini (Satyaki), that great
warrior, say on hearing that I have forsaken the fight? And, O
charioteer, what will the ever-victorious Shamva, the irrepressible
Charudeshna, and Gada, and Sarana, and Akrura also of mighty arms, say
unto me! What also will the wives of the Vrishni heroes when they meet
together, say of me who had hitherto been considered as brave and
well-conducted, respectable and possessed of manly pride? They will even
say _This Pradyumna is a coward who cometh here, leaving the battle! Fie
on him!_ They will never say, _Well done!_ Ridicule, with exclamation of
_Fie_, is to me or a person like me, O Suta, more than death! Therefore,
do thou never again leave the field of battle! Reposing the charge on
me, Hari the slayer of Madhu, hath gone to the sacrifice of the Bharata
lion (Yudhishthira)! Therefore, I cannot bear to be quiet now! O Suta,
when the brave Kritavarman was sallying out to encounter Salwa, I
prevented him, saying _I will resist Salwa. Do thou stay!_ For honouring
me the son of Hridika desisted! Having left the field of battle, what
shall I say unto that mighty warrior when I meet him? When that
irrepressible one of mighty arms - the holder of the conch, the discus,
and the mace - returneth, what shall I say unto him of eyes like lotus
leaves? Satyaki, and Valadeva, and others of the Vrishni and Andhaka
races always boast of me! What shall I say unto them? O Suta, having
left the field of battle and with wounds of arrows on my back while
being carried away by thee, I shall, by no means, be able to live!
Therefore, O son of Daruka, turn that car speedily, and never do so
again even in times of greatest danger! I do not, O Suta, think life
worth much, having fled from the field like a coward, and my back
pierced, with the arrows (of the enemy)! Hast thou ever seen me, O son
of Suta, fly in fear from the field of battle like a coward? O son of
Daruka, it behoved thee not to forsake the battle, while my desire of
fight was not yet gratified! Do thou, therefore, go back to the


"Vasudeva continued, 'Thus addressed, the son of Suta race replied in
haste unto Pradyumna, that foremost of all endued with strength, in
these sweet words, "O son of Rukmini, I fear not to guide the horses on
the field of battle, and I am acquainted also with the customs of the
Vrishnis in war! It is not otherwise in the least! But, O thou blest
with length of days, those that guide the car are taught that the
warrior on the car is, by all means, to be protected by his charioteer!
Thou wert also much afflicted! Thou wert much wounded by the arrows shot
by Salwa. Thou wert also deprived of thy senses, O hero! Therefore is it
that I retired from the field. But, O chief of the Satwatas, now that
thou hast regained thy senses without much ado, do thou, O son of
Kesava, witness my skill in guiding the horses! I have been begotten by
Daruka, and I have been duly trained! I will now penetrate into the
celebrated array of Salwa without fear!"'

"Vasudeva continued, 'Saying this, O hero, the charioteer, pulling the
reins, began to lead the horses with speed towards the field of battle.
And, O king, struck with the whip and pulled by the reins those
excellent steeds seemed to be flying in the air, performing various
beautiful motions, now circular, now similar, now dissimilar, now to the
right, now to the left. And, O king, those steeds understanding as it
were the intention of Daruka's son endued with such lightness of hand,
burned with energy, and seemed to go without touching the ground with
their feet! That bull among men wheeled round Salwa's host so easily
that they who witnessed it wondered exceedingly. And the lord of Saubha,
unable to bear that manoeuvre of Pradyumna, instantly sent three shafts
at the charioteer of his antagonist! The charioteer, however, without
taking any note of the force of those arrows, continued to go along the
right. Then the lord of Saubha, O hero, again discharged at my son by
Rukmini, a shower of various kinds of weapons! But that slayer of
hostile heroes, the son of Rukmini, showing with a smile his lightness
of hand, cut all those weapons off as they reached him. Finding his
arrows cut by Pradyumna, the lord of Saubha, having recourse to the
dreadful illusion natural to _Asuras_ began to pour a thick shower of
arrows. But cutting into pieces those powerful Daitya weapons shot at
him in mid-career by means of his _Brahma_ weapon, Pradyumna discharged
winged shafts of other kings. And these delighting in blood, warding off
the shafts of Daitya, pierced his head, bosom and face. And at those
wounds Salwa fell down senseless. And on the mean-minded Salwa falling
down, afflicted with Pradyumna's arrows, the son of Rukmini aimed
another arrow at him, capable of destroying every foe. And beholding
that arrow worshipped by all the Dasarhas, and flaming like fire and
fatal as a venomous snake, fixed on the bow-string, the firmament was
filled with exclamations of _Oh!_ and _Alas!_ Then all the celestials
with Indra and the lord of treasures (Kubera) at their head sent Narada
and the god of wind endued with the speed of the mind. And these two
approaching the son of Rukmini delivered unto him the message of the
celestial, saying, O hero, king Salwa is not to be slain by thee! Do
thou draw back the arrow. He is unslayable by thee in fight! There
breatheth not a person who cannot be killed by that arrow! O thou of
mighty arms, the Creator hath ordained his death at the hands of
Krishna, the son of Devaki! Let this be not falsified! - Thereupon with a
glad heart, Pradyumna withdrew that best of arrows from his excellent
bow and deposited it back in his quiver. And then, O foremost of kings,
the mighty Salwa, afflicted with the arrows of Pradyumna, rose
disheartened, and speedily went away. Then O king, the wicked Salwa,
thus afflicted by the Vrishnis, mounted on his car of precious metals,
and leaving Dwaraka scudded through the skies!'"


"Vasudeva said, 'When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I
returned to it, O king, on the completion of thy great _Rajasuya_
sacrifice! On my arrival I found Dwaraka shorn of its splendour, and, O
great monarch, there were not sounds of Vedic recitation or sacrificial
offering. And the excellent damsels were all destitute of ornaments, and
the gardens were devoid of beauty. And alarmed by the aspect, I asked
the son of Hridika saying, "Why is it that the men and women of the city
of the Vrishnis are so woe-begone, O tiger among men?" O thou best of
kings thus asked the son of Hridika (Kritavarman) relate to me in detail

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