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

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the invasion of the city by Salwa, and his subsequent departure from it.
And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, hearing all, even then I made up my
mind to slay Salwa. And encouraging the citizens, O best of Bharatas, I
cheerfully addressed king Ahuka, and Anakdundhuvi, and the chief heroes
of the Vrishni race, saying, "Do ye, O bulls among the Yadavas, stay in
the city, taking every care, and know that I go to slay Salwa! I return
not to the city of Dwaravati without slaying him. I will again come to
ye having compassed the destruction of Salwa together with his car of
precious metals. Do ye strike up the sharp and middle and flat notes of
the Dundhuvi so dreadful to foes!" And O thou bull of the Bharata race,
thus adequately encouraged by me, those heroes cheerfully said unto me,
"Go and slay the enemies!" And thus receiving the benedictions of those
warriors with glad hearts, and causing the Brahmanas to utter auspicious
words and bowing down to the best of the regenerate ones, and to Siva
also, I set out on my car unto which were yoked the horses _Saivya_, and
_Sugriva_, filling all sides with the clatter (of my wheels) and blowing
that best of conchs, the _Panchajanya_! And, O king, O tiger among men,
accompanied by my redoubted and victorious army consisting of the four
kinds of the forces so persevering in battle, I set out. And leaving
many countries, and mountains, crowned with trees, and pieces of water,
and streams, I at last arrived at the country of Matrikavarta. It is
there, O thou tiger among men, that I heard that Salwa was coursing on
his car of precious metals near the ocean, and I followed in his
pursuit. And, O thou slayer of thy foes, having reached the main, Salwa
on his car of costly metals was in the midst of the deep heaving with
billows! And on seeing me from a distance, O Yudhishthira, that one of
wicked soul himself challenged me repeatedly to the fight. And many
arrows capable of piercing to the quick, discharged from my bow reached
not his car. And at this I was wroth! And, O king, that essentially
sinful wretch of a Daitya's son of irrepressible energy, on his part
began to shoot thousand upon thousands of arrows in torrents! And, O
Bharata, he rained shafts upon my soldiers and upon my charioteer and
upon my steeds! But without thinking of the shafts, we continued the
conflict. Then the warriors following Salwa poured on me straight arrows
by thousands. And the Asuras covered my horses and my car and Daruka
with arrows capable of piercing the very vitals. And, O hero, I could
not at that time see either my horses, or my car, or my charioteer
Daruka! And I with my army was covered with weapons. And, O son of
Kunti, superhumanly skilled in weapons, I also let fly from my bow
arrows by tens of thousands, inspiring them with _mantras_! But as that
car of costly metals was in the sky, full two miles off, it could not, O
Bharata, be seen by my troops. They could therefore only remaining on
the field of battle look on like spectators in a place of amusement,
cheering me on by shouts loud as the roar of the lion, and also by the
sound of their clapping. And the tinted arrows shot by the fore-part of
hand penetrated into the bodies of the Danavas like biting insects. And
then arose cries in the car of precious metals from those that were
dying of wounds by those sharp arrows and falling into the waters of the
mighty ocean. And the Danavas deprived of their arms, necks, and wearing
the form of _Kavandhas_, - fell, sending up tremendous roars. And as they
fell they were devoured by animals living in the waters of the ocean.
And then I powerfully blew the _Panchajanya_ obtained from the waters
and graceful as the lotus-stalk and white as milk or the _Kunda_ flower
or the moon or silver. And seeing his soldiers fall, Salwa the possessor
of the car of precious metals, began to fight with the help of illusion.
And then he began to ceaselessly hurl at me maces, and ploughshares, and
winged darts and lances, and javelins, and battle-axes, and swords and
arrows blazing like javelins and thunderbolts, and nooses, and broad
swords, and bullets from barrels, and shafts, and axes, and rockets. And
permitting them to come towards me, I soon destroyed them all by
counter-illusion. And on this illusion being rendered ineffectual, he
began the contest with mountain peaks. And, O Bharata, then there was
darkness and light alternately, and the day was now fair, and now
gloomy, and now hot, and now cold. And there was a perfect shower of
coals, and ashes, and weapons. And creating such illusion the enemy
fought with me. And ascertaining it I destroyed his illusion by
counter-illusion. And in the due time I showered arrows all round. And
then, O mighty king, the dome of heaven blazed as with a hundred suns,
and, O son of Kunti, with one hundred moons, and thousands and ten
thousands of stars! And then none could ascertain whether it was day or
night, or distinguish the points of the horizon. And, becoming
bewildered, I fixed on my bowstring the weapon called _Pragnastra_. And,
O son of Kunti, the weapon went like unto flakes of pure cotton blown
away by the winds! And a great fight took place, calculated to make the
down on one's body stand on end. And O best of monarchs, having regained
light, I again fought with the enemy!'"


SECTION XXI

"Vasudeva said, 'O thou tiger among men, my great enemy king Salwa, thus
encountered by me in battle, again ascended the sky. And O mighty
monarch, inspired with the desire of victory, that wicked one hurled at
me _Sataghnis_, and mighty maces, and flaming lances, and stout clubs,
and as the weapons came along the sky, I speedily resisted them with my
swift arrows, and cut them in two or three pieces before they came at
me. And there was a great noise in the welkins. And Salwa covered
Daruka, and my steeds, and my car also with hundreds of straight shafts.
Then, O hero, Daruka, evidently about to faint, said unto me, "Afflicted
with the shafts of Salwa I stay in the field, because it is my duty to
do so. But I am incapable of doing so (any longer). My body hath become
weak!" Hearing these piteous words of my charioteer, I looked at him,
and found the driver wounded with arrows. Nor was there a spot on his
breasts or the crown of his head, or body or his arms which was not, O
thou foremost of sons of Pandu, covered with shafts! And blood flowed
profusely from his wounds inflicted by arrows, and he looked like unto a
mountain of red chalk after a heavy shower. And, O thou of mighty arms,
seeing the charioteer with the reins in his hands thus pierced and
enfeebled by the shafts of Salwa in the field of battle, I cheered him
up!

"'And, O Bharata, about this time, a certain person, having his home in
Dwaraka quickly coming to my car, addressed me like a friend, delivering
to me, O hero, a message from Ahuka! He seemed to be one of Ahuka's
followers. And sadly and in a voice choked in sorrow, know, O
Yudhishthira, he said words - "O warrior, Ahuka, the lord of Dwaraka,
hath said these words unto thee! O Kesava, hear what thy father's friend
sayeth: _O son of the Vrishni race, O thou irrepressible one, in thy
absence today Salwa, coming to Dwaraka, hath by main force killed
Vasudeva! Therefore, no need of battle any more. Cease, O Janardana! Do
thou defend Dwaraka! This is thy principal duty!_" - Hearing these words
of his, my heart became heavy, and I could not ascertain what I should
do and what I should not. And, O hero, hearing of that great misfortune,
I mentally censured Satyaki, and _Baladeva_, and also that mighty
Pradyumna. Having reposed on them the duty of protecting Dwaraka and
Vasudeva, I had gone, O son of the Kuru race, to effect the destruction
of Salwa's city. And in a sorrowful heart, I asked myself, - Doth that
destroyer of foes, the mighty-armed _Baladeva_, live, and Satyaki, and
the son of Rukmini and Charudeshna possessed of prowess, and Shamva and
others? For, O thou tiger among men, these living, even the bearer
himself of the thunderbolt could by no means destroy Suta's son
(Vasudeva)! And, thought I, _It is plain that Vasudeva is dead and
equally plain that the others with Baladeva at their head have been
deprived of life_ - This was my certain conclusion. And, O mighty king,
thinking of the destruction of those all, I was overwhelmed with grief!
And it was in this state of mind that I encountered Salwa afresh. And
now I saw, O great monarch, Vasudeva himself falling from the car of
precious metals! And, O warrior I swooned away, and, O king of men, my
sire seemed like unto Yayati after the loss of his merit, falling
towards the earth from heaven! And like unto a luminary whose merit hath
been lost saw my father falling, his head-gear foul and flowing loosely,
and his hair and dress disordered. And then the bow _Sharanga_ dropped
from my hand, and, O son of Kunti I swooned away! I sat down on the side
of the car. And, O thou descendant of the Bharata race, seeing me
deprived of consciousness on the car, and as if dead, my entire host
exclaimed _Oh_! and _Alas_! And my prone father with out-stretched arms
and lower limbs, appeared like a dropping bird. And him thus falling, O
thou of mighty arms, O hero, the hostile warriors bearing in their hands
lances and axes struck grievously! And (beholding this) my heart
trembled! and soon regaining my consciousness, O warrior, I could not
see in that mighty contest either the car of costly metals, or the enemy
Salwa, or my old father! Then I concluded in my mind that it was
certainly illusion. And recovering my senses, I again began to discharge
arrows by hundreds.'"


SECTION XXII

"Vasudeva continued, 'Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking
up my beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of the
enemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals! And I
began to discharge from the _Sharanga_ many well-looking arrows of the
forms of snakes, capable of going at a great height and possessing
intense energy. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I could not then
see the car of costly metals, for it had vanished, through illusion! I
was then filled with wonder! That host of Danavas then, O Bharata, of
frightful visages and hair, set up a loud howl while I was waiting for
it, in that fierce battle. I then, with the object of destroying them,
fixed on my bow-string the weapon capable of piercing the foes if but
his sound was inaudible. Upon this, their shouts ceased. But those
Danavas that had sent up that shout were all slain by those shafts of
mine blazing as the Sun himself, and capable of striking at the
perception of sound alone. And after the shout had ceased at one place,
O mighty king, another yell proceeded from another quarter. Thitherto
also I sent my shafts. In this way, O Bharata, the Asuras began to send
up yells in all the ten quarters above and across. These were all slain
by me, _viz_., those that were in the skies and that were invisible,
with arrows of diverse forms, and celestial weapons inspired with
_mantras_. Then, O hero, that car of precious metals capable of going
anywhere at will, bewildering my eyes, reappeared at Pragjyotisha! And
then the destroying Danavas of fierce forms suddenly drowned me with a
mighty shower of rocks. And, O thou foremost of monarchs, torrents of
rocks falling upon me covered me up, and I began to grow like an
ant-hill (with its summits and peaks)! And covered along with my horses
and charioteer and flagstaffs, with crags on all sides, I disappeared
from sight altogether. Then those foremost of heroes of the Vrishni race
who were of my army were struck with panic, and all on a sudden began to
fly in all directions. And beholding me in that plight, O king, the
heaven, the firmament, and the earth were filled with exclamation of
_Oh!_ and _Alas!_ And then, O monarch, my friends filled with sorrow and
grief began to weep and wail with heavy hearts! And delight filled the
hearts of the enemies. And O thou who never waverest, I heard of this
after I had defeated the foe! And then wielding the thunderbolt, that
favourite (weapon) of Indra, capable of riving stones, I destroyed that
entire mass of crags! But my steeds, afflicted with the weight of the
stones and almost on the point of death began to tremble. And beholding
me, all my friends rejoiced again even as men rejoice on seeing the sun
rise in the sky, dispersing the clouds. And seeing my horses almost in
their last gasp for breath, afflicted with that load of stones, my
charioteer said unto me in words suitable to the occasion, "O thou of
the Vrishni race, behold Salwa the owner of the car of precious metals
sitting (yonder). Do not disregard him! Do thou exert thyself! Do thou
abandon thy mildness and consideration for Salwa. Slay Salwa, O thou of
mighty arms! O Kesava, do not let him live! O hero, O thou destroyer of
those that are not thy friends (enemies), an enemy should be slain with
every exertion! Even a weak enemy who is under the feet of a man endued
with strength, should not be disregarded by the latter: what (shall I
say) of one that dareth us to the fight? Therefore, O thou tiger among
men, putting forth every exertion, slay him, O lord, O thou foremost of
the Vrishni race! Do thou not delay again! This one is not capable of
being vanquished by milder measures. And he cannot in my opinion be thy
friend who is fighting thee and who devastated Dwaraka!" O Kaunteya,
hearing such words of my charioteer, and knowing that what he said was
true, I directed my attention to the fight (afresh), with the view of
slaying Salwa and destroying the car of costly metals! And, O hero,
saying unto Daruka, "_Stay a moment_" I fixed on my bow-string my
favourite weapon of fire, blazing and of celestial origin, of
irresistible force, and incapable of being baffled, bursting with
energy, capable of penetrating into everything, and of great splendour!
And saying, "_Destroy the car of precious metals together with all those
enemies that are in it_" I launched with the might of my arms and in
wrath with _mantras_, the great powerful discus _Sudarsana_ which
reduceth to ashes in battle Yakshas and Rakshasas and Danavas and kings
born in impure tribes, sharp-edged like the razor, and without stain,
like unto Yama the destroyer, and incomparable, and which killeth
enemies. And rising into the sky, it seemed like a second sun of
exceeding effulgence at the end of the _Yuga_. And approaching the town
of Saubha whose splendour had disappeared, the discus went right through
it, even as a saw divideth a tall tree. And cut in twain by the energy
of the Sudarsana it fell like the city of Tripura shaken by the shafts
of Maheswara. And after the town of Saubha had fallen, the discus came
back into my hands. And taking it up I once more hurled it with force
saying, "_Go thou unto Salwa_." The discus then cleft Salwa in twain who
in that fierce conflict was at the point of hurling a heavy mace. And
with its energy it set the foe ablaze. And after that brave warrior was
slain, the disheartened Danava women fled in all directions, exclaiming
_Oh!_ and _Alas!_ And taking my chariot in front of the town of Saubha I
cheerfully blew my conch and gladdened the hearts of my friends. And
beholding their town, high as the peak of the Meru, with its palaces and
gate-ways utterly destroyed, and all ablaze, the Danavas fled in fear.
And having thus destroyed the town of Saubha and slain Salwa, I returned
to the Anarttas and delighted my friends. And, O king, it is for this
reason that I could not come to the city named after the elephant
(Hastinapura), O destroyer of hostile heroes! O warrior, if I had come,
Suyodhana would not have been alive or the match at dice would not have
taken place. What can I do now? It is difficult to confine the waters
after the dam is broken!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having addressed the Kaurava thus, that
foremost of male persons, of mighty arms, the slayer of Madhu, possessed
of every grace, saluting the Pandavas, prepared for departure. And the
mighty-armed hero reverentially saluted Yudhishthira the just, and the
king in return and Bhima also smelt the crown of his head. And he was
embraced by Arjuna, and the twins saluted him with reverence. And he was
duly honoured by Dhaumya, and worshipped with tears by Draupadi. And
causing Subhadra and Abhimanyu to ascend his golden car, Krishna mounted
it himself, worshipped by the Pandavas. And consoling Yudhishthira,
Krishna set out for Dwaraka on his car resplendent as the sun and unto
which were yoked the horses _Saivya_ and _Sugriva_. And after he of the
Dasharha race had departed, Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, also set
out for his own city, taking with him the sons of Draupadi. And the king
of Chedi, Dhrishtaketu also, taking his sister with him set out for his
beautiful city of Suktimati, after bidding farewell to the Pandavas.
And, O Bharata, the Kaikeyas also, with the permission of Kunti's son
possessed of immeasurable energy, having reverentially saluted all the
Pandavas, went away. But Brahmanas and the Vaisyas and the dwellers of
Yudhishthira's kingdom though repeatedly requested to go, did not leave
the Pandavas. O foremost of kings, O bull of the Bharata race, the
multitude that surrounded those high-souled ones in the forest of
Kamyaka looked extraordinary. And Yudhishthira, honouring those
high-minded Brahmanas, in due time ordered his men, saying '_Make ready
the car_.'"


SECTION XXIII

Vaisampayana continued, "After the chief of the Dasharhas had departed,
the heroic Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, each
looking like unto Shiva, and Krishna, and their priest, ascending costly
cars unto which were yoked excellent steeds, together went into the
forest. And at time of going they distributed _Nishkas_ of gold and
clothes and kine unto Brahmanas versed in _Siksha_ and _Akshara_ and
_mantras_. And twenty attendants followed them equipped with bows, and
bowstrings, and blazing weapons, and shafts and arrows and engines of
destruction. And taking the princess's clothes and the ornaments, and
the nurses and the maid-servants, Indrasena speedily followed the
princes on a car. And then approaching the best of Kurus, the
high-minded citizens walked round him. And the principal Brahmanas of
Kurujangala cheerfully saluted him. And together with his brothers,
Yudhishthira the just, on his part saluted them cheerfully. And the
illustrious king stopped there a little, beholding the concourse of the
inhabitants of Kurujangala. And the illustrious bull among the Kurus
felt for them as a father feeleth for his sons, and they too felt for
the Kuru chief even as sons feel for their father! And that mighty
concourse, approaching the Kuru hero, stood around him. And, O king,
affected, with bashfulness, and with tears in their eyes, they all
exclaimed, 'Alas, O lord! O Dharma!' And they said, 'Thou art the chief
of the Kurus, and the king of us, thy subjects! Where dost thou go, O
just monarch, leaving all these citizens and the inhabitants of the
country, like a father leaving his sons? Fie on the cruel-hearted son of
Dhritarashtra! Fie on the evil-minded son of Suvala! Fie on Karna! For,
O foremost of monarchs, those wretches ever wish unto thee who art firm
in virtue! Having thyself established the unrivalled city of
Indraprastha of the splendour of Kailasa itself, where dost thou go,
leaving it, O illustrious and just king, O achiever of extraordinary
deeds! O illustrious one, leaving that peerless palace built by Maya,
which possesseth the splendour of the palace of the celestials
themselves, and is like unto a celestial illusion, ever guarded by the
gods, where dost thou go, O son of Dharma?' And Vibhatsu knowing the
ways of virtue, pleasure, and profit said unto them in a loud voice,
'Living in the forest, the king intendeth to take away the good name of
his enemies! O ye with the regenerate ones at your head, versed in
virtue and profit, do you approaching the ascetics separately and
inclining them to grace, represent unto them what may be for our supreme
good!' Upon hearing these words of Arjuna, the Brahmanas and the other
orders, O king, saluting him cheerfully walked round the foremost of
virtuous men! And bidding farewell unto the son of Pritha, and
Vrikodara, and Dhananjaya and Yajnaseni, and the twins, and commanded by
Yudhishthira, they returned to their respective abodes in the kingdom
with heavy hearts."


SECTION XXIV

Vaisampayana said, "After they had departed, Yudhishthira the virtuous
son of Kunti, unwavering in his promises, addressed all his brothers,
saying, 'We shall have to dwell in the solitary forest for these twelve
years. Search ye, therefore, in this mighty forest for some spot
abounding in birds and deer and flowers and fruits, beautiful to behold,
and auspicious, and inhabited by virtuous persons and where we may dwell
pleasantly for all these years!' Thus addressed by Yudhishthira,
Dhananjaya replied unto the son of Dharma, after reverencing the
illustrious king as if he were his spiritual preceptor. And Arjuna said,
'Thou hast respectfully waited upon all the great and old _Rishis_.
There is nothing unknown to thee in the world of men. And O bull of the
Bharata race, thou hast always waited with reverence upon Brahmanas
including Dwaipayana and others, and Narada of great ascetic merit, who
with senses under control, ever goeth to the gates of all the world from
the world of the gods unto that of Brahma, including that of the
Gandharvas and Apsaras! And thou knowest, without doubt, the opinions of
the Brahmanas, and, O king, their prowess also! And O monarch, thou
knowest what is calculated to do us good! And O great king, we will live
wherever thou likest! Here is this lake, full of sacred water, called
_Dwaitavana_, abounding with flowers, and delightful to look at, and
inhabited by many species of birds. If, O king, it pleaseth thee, here
should we like to dwell these twelve years! Thinkest thou otherwise?'
Yudhishthira replied, 'O Partha, what thou hast said recommendeth itself
to me! Let us go that sacred and celebrated and large lake called
_Dwaitavana_!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then the virtuous son of Pandu, accompanied by
numerous Brahmanas, all went to the sacred lake called _Dwaitavana_. And
Yudhishthira was surrounded by numerous Brahmanas some of whom
sacrificed with fire and some without it and some of whom, devoted to
the study of the Vedas, lived upon alms or were of the class called
_Vanaprasthas_. And the king was also surrounded by hundreds of
_Mahatmas_ crowned with ascetic success and of rigid vows. And those
bulls of the Bharata race, the sons of Pandu setting out with those
numerous Brahmanas, entered the sacred and delightful woods of _Dwaita_.
And the king saw that mighty forest covered on the close of summer with
_Salas_, and palms, and mangoes, and _Madhukas_, and _Nipas_ and
_Kadamvas_ and _Sarjjas_ and _Arjunas_, and _Karnikars_, many of them
covered with flowers. And flocks of peacocks and _Datyuhas_ and
_Chakoras_ and _Varhins_ and _Kokilas_, seated on the tops of the
tallest trees of that forest were pouring forth their mellifluous notes.
And the king also saw in that forest mighty herds of gigantic elephants
huge as the hills, with temporal juice trickling down in the season of
rut, accompanied by herds of she-elephants. And approaching the
beautiful Bhogavati (Saraswati), the king saw many ascetics crowned with
success in the habitations in that forest, and virtuous men of
sanctified souls clad in barks of trees and bearing matted locks on
their heads. And descending from their cars, the king that foremost of
virtuous men with his brothers and followers entered that forest like
Indra of immeasurable energy entering heaven. And crowds of _Charanas_
and _Siddhas_, desirous of beholding the monarch devoted to truth, came
towards him. And the dwellers of that forest stood surrounding that lion
among kings possessed of great intelligence. And saluting all the
_Siddhas_, and saluted by them in return as a king or a god should be,
that foremost of virtuous men entered the forest with joined hands
accompanied by all those foremost of regenerate ones. And the
illustrious and virtuous king, saluted in return by those virtuous
ascetics that had approached him, sat down in their midst at the foot of
a mighty tree decked with flowers, like his father (Pandu) in days
before. And those chiefs of the Bharata race _viz_., Bhima and
Dhananjaya and the twins and Krishna and their followers, all fatigued,
leaving their vehicles, sat themselves down around that best of kings.



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