The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose Vana Parva, Part 2 online

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attaineth all the regions of Agni, Vishnu, and the Sun. There is nothing
so eternal as a gift. Where, therefore, in the three worlds is anything
that is more auspicious? It is for this, O king, that they who have
great intelligence say that there is nothing higher and greater in the
three worlds than gift!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Having, O great king, heard from the illustrious
Markandeya the history of the attainment of heaven by the royal sage
Indradyumna, Yudhishthira, that bull of the Bharata race, once more
asked that sinless _Muni_ endued with great ascetic merit and long life,
saying, 'Thou knowest, O virtuous one, the entire host of the gods, the
_Danavas_, and the _Rakshasas_. Thou art acquainted also with various
royal genealogies and many eternal lines of _Rishis_! O best of
Brahmanas, there is nothing in this world that thou dost not know! Thou
knowest also, O _Muni_, many delightful stories about _men, Snakes_ and
_Rakshasas_; about gods, _Gandharvas_, and _Yakshas_, and about
_Kinnaras_ and _Apsaras_! I desire now to hear from thee, O best of
Brahmanas, as to why Kuvalaswa - that unvanquished king of Ikshavaku's
race changed his name, assuming another, viz., _Dhundhumara_. O thou
best of Bhrigu's line, I desire to know in detail why the name of
Kuvalaswa of great intelligence underwent such a change!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the great
_Muni_ Markandeya, O Bharata, then began the history of Dhundhumara!"

"Markandeya said, 'O royal Yudhishthira, listen to me, I will tell thee
all! The story of Dhundhumara is a moral one. Listen to it then! Listen
now, O king, to the story of how the royal Kuvalaswa of Ikshvaku's race
came to be known as Dhundhumara. O son, O Bharata, there was a
celebrated _Rishi_ of the name of Utanka and, O thou of the Kuru race,
Utanka had his hermitage in a delightful wilderness. And, O great king,
the _Rishi_ Utanka underwent ascetic austerities of the severest kind
and the lord Utanka underwent those penances for numberless years with
the object of obtaining the favours of Vishnu, and gratified with his
penances that illustrious Lord presented himself before Utanka. And
beholding the Deity, the _Rishi_ in all humility began to gratify him
with many hymns, and Utanka said, "O thou of great effulgence all
creatures with the gods, _Asuras_ and human beings, all things that are
mobile or immobile, even _Brahma_ himself, the Vedas, and all things
that are capable of being known, have, O lord, been created by thee! The
firmament is thy head, O god, and the sun and the moon are thy eyes!
And, O Unfading One, the winds are thy breath and fire thy energy! The
directions of the horizon constitute thy arms and the great ocean thy
stomach! And, O god, the hills and mountains constitute thy thigh and
the sky thy hips, O slayer of Madhu! The earth constitutes thy feet, and
the plants the bristles on thy body. And, O lord, Indra and Soma and
Agni and Varuna, indeed all the gods, the _Asuras_ and the great Snakes
all wait upon thee with humility, adoring thee with various hymns! O
Lord of the Universe, created things are pervaded by thee. The great
_Rishis_ of high energy and ever plunged in ascetic meditation, always
adore thee. When thou art gratified, the universe is in peace. And when
thou art angry, terror pervadeth every soul. Thou art, O Lord, the great
dispeller of all terrors and thou art the One Supreme Male Being! Thou
art the cause of happiness of both gods and human beings! And, O Lord,
by three steps of thine thou didst cover the three worlds! And it was by
thee that the _Asuras_ in the height of their power were destroyed! It
is owing to thy prowess, O God, that the celestials obtained peace and
happiness and, O thou of great effulgence, it was thy anger that
destroyed hundred great _Daitya_ chiefs. Thou art the Creator and
destroyer of all creatures in the world. It is by adoring thee that the
gods have obtained happiness." It was thus, O Yudhishthira, that the
high-souled Utanka praised the Lord of the senses. And Vishnu,
therefore, said unto Utanka, "I am gratified with thee. Ask thou the
boon that thou desirest." And Utanka said, "This indeed hath been a
great boon to me, in that I have been able to behold Hari, that eternal
Being, that divine Creator, that Lord of the universe!" Thus addressed
Vishnu said, "I am gratified with this absence of all desires on thy
part and with thy devotion, O thou best of men! But, O Brahmanas, O
regenerate one, thou shouldst of a certainty accept some boon from me!"
Thus requested by Hari to accept a boon Utanka then, O thou best of
Bharatas, with joined hands begged a boon saying, "O illustrious one, O
thou of eyes like lotus leaves, if thou hast been gratified with me,
then let my heart always rest on virtue, truth, and self-content. And, O
Lord, let my heart always turn to thee in devotion." And hearing these
words of Utanka, the holy one said, "O regenerate one, all this shall
happen to thee through my grace. And there will also appear in thee a
_yoga_ power endued with which thou shalt achieve a great thing for the
dwellers of Heaven, as also for the triple world. Even now a great
_Asura_ of the name of Dhundhu is undergoing ascetic penances of fierce
austerity with the object of destroying the triple world. Hear now as to
who will slay that _Asura_. O son, there will appear a king of
invincible energy and great prowess and he will be born in the race of
Ikshvaku and will be known by the name of Vrihadaswa who will have a son
of the name of Kuvalaswa endued with great holiness and self-control and
celebrity. And that best of kings will be furnished with _yoga_ power
springing from me and urged and commended by thee, O regenerate _Rishi_,
that king will be the slayer of the Asura Dhundhu." And having said
these words unto that Brahmana, Vishnu disappeared there and then.'"


"Markandeya said, 'O king, after the death of Ikshvaku, a highly
virtuous king of the name of _Sasada_, ascending the throne of Ayodhya
ruled this earth. And from _Sasada_ was descended Kakutstha of great
energy. And Kakutstha had a son of name Anenas. And Anenas had a son
named Prithu and Prithu had a son named Viswagaswa and from Viswagaswa
sprang Adri and from Adri sprang Yuvanaswa and from Yuvanaswa sprang
Sravastha and it was by this Sravastha that the city called _Sravasthi_
was built and from Sravastha was descended Vrihadaswa and from
Vrihadaswa sprang Kuvalaswa and Kuvalaswa had twentyone thousand sons
and all these sons were fierce and powerful and skilled in learning. And
Kuvalaswa excelled his father in every quality. And when the time came,
his father Vrihadaswa installed him - the brave and highly virtuous
Kuvalaswa - on the throne. And having thus made over the royal dignity to
his son, that slayer of foes - king Vrihadaswa of great intelligence -
retired into the woods for asceticism.'

"Markandeya continued, 'O king, when the royal sage Vrihadaswa was about
to retire into the woods, that best of Brahmanas, Utanka heard of it.
And Utanka who was possessed of great energy and immeasurable soul,
approached that foremost of all wielders of weapons and best of men. And
approaching him, the _Rishis_ began to persuade him to give up
asceticism. And Utanka said, "O king, to protect (the people) is thy
duty. It behoveth thee to do that duty of thine. Let us be free from all
anxiety through thy grace. Possessed as thou art of a great soul,
protected by thee, the earth will be freed from all dangers. Therefore,
it behoveth thee, not to retire into the woods. Great merit attaches to
the act of protecting people in this world. Such merit can never be
acquired in the woods. Let not thy heart, therefore, turn to this
course. The merit, great king, that was acquired in days of old by great
royal sages by protecting their subjects was so great that nothing equal
to it could be seen. The king should always protect his subjects. It
behoveth thee, therefore, to protect thy people. O lord of the earth, I
cannot (at present) perform my ascetic devotions peacefully. Close to my
asylum there is a sea of sands known by the name of _Ujjalaka._ And it
occupies a level country and is without any water. And it extends many
_yojanas_ in length and breadth and in that desert dwells a chief of the
_Danavas_ called Dhundhu by name. And Dhundhu is the son of Madhu and
Kaitabha, and is fierce and terrible and possessed of great prowess. And
endued with immeasurable energy, that _Danava_, O king, dwelleth under
the ground, and, O king, it behoveth thee to retire into the woods,
having first slain that _Asura_. That _Asura_ is now lying still in the
observance of an ascetic penance of great austerity and, O king, the
object he hath in view is sovereignty over the celestials as also of the
three worlds. And, O king, having obtained a boon from the Grandsire of
all creatures, that _Asura_ hath become incapable of being slain by the
gods and _Daityas_ and _Rakshasas_ and _Gandharvas_. Slay though him, O
king, and blessed be thou and let not thy heart turn to any other
course. By slaying him thou wilt without doubt, achieve a great thing
and thou wilt also obtain eternal and undying fame. And O king, when at
the end of every year that wicked _Asura_ lying covered with sands,
wakes up and begins to breathe, then the whole earth with her mountains,
forests and woods begins to tremble. And his breath raiseth up clouds of
sands, and shroudeth the very sun, and for seven days continually the
earth tremble all over, and sparks and flames of fire mixed with smoke
spread far around and for all this, O king, I cannot rest in peace in my
asylum. Slay thou him, O king, for the good of the world. Indeed, when
that _Asura_ is slain the triple world will be in peace and happiness.
That thou art competent, O king, to slay that _Asura_, I fully believe.
Thy energy will be enhanced by Vishnu with the addition of his own. In
days of old, O king, Vishnu gave this boon that the king who should slay
this fierce and great _Asura_ would be pervaded by the invincible energy
of Vishnu himself. Bearing that invincible _Vaishnava_ energy in
thyself, slay thou, O great king, that _Daitya_ of fierce prowess.
Possessed as Dhundhu is of mighty energy, no one, O king, that is endued
with small energy himself will be capable of consuming him, even if he
were to strive for a hundred years."'"


"Markandeya said, 'Thus addressed by Utanka, that unvanquished royal
sage, with joined hands, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, replied unto
Utanka, saying, "This visit of thine, O Brahmana, will not be in vain.
This my son, O holy one, known by the name of Kuvalaswa is endued with
steadiness and activity. In prowess also he is unequaled on earth.
Without doubt he will accomplish all this that is agreeable to thee,
aided by all his brave sons endued with arms like unto iron maces. Give
me leave to retire, O Brahmana, for I have now given up my weapons."
Thus addressed by the king, that _Muni_ of immeasurable energy replied
unto him, saying, "So be it." And the royal sage Vrihadaswa then, having
commended his son to obey the behest of the high-souled Utanka saying,
"Let it be done by thee," himself retired into an excellent forest.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O holy one, O thou possessed of the wealth of
asceticism, who was this _Daitya_ of great energy? Whose son and whose
grandson was he? I desire to know all this; O thou possessed of the
wealth of asceticism I never heard of this mighty _Daitya_ before. I
desire to know all this truly, O holy one, and with all particulars in
detail, O thou of great wisdom and ascetic wealth!'

"Markandeya said, 'O monarch, know everything as it happened, O ruler of
men, as I narrate the particulars truly, O thou of great wisdom! When
the world became one broad expanse of water and creatures mobile and
immobile were destroyed, when, O bull of the Bharata race, the entire
creation came to its end, He who is the Source and Creator of the
Universe, viz., the Eternal and unfading Vishnu, He who is called by
_Munis_ crowned with ascetic success as the Supreme Lord of the
Universe, that Being of great holiness, then lay in _Yoga_ sleep on the
wide hood of the Snake Sesha of immeasurable energy, and the Creator of
the Universe, that highly-blessed and holy Hari, knowing no
deterioration, lay on the hood of that Snake encircling the whole Earth
and as the Deity lay asleep on that bed, a lotus, endued with great
beauty and effulgence equal unto that of the Sun, sprang from his navel.
And from that lotus possessed of effulgence like unto the Sun's, sprang
the Grandsire _Brahma_, that lord of the worlds who is the four _Vedas_,
who hath four forms and four faces, who is invincible in consequence of
his own energy and who is endued with mighty strength and great prowess
and as the Lord Hari of wondrous frame, possessed of great lustre and
decked with a crown and the _Kaustubha_ gem and attired in purple silk,
lay stretched for many a _yojana_ on that excellent bed furnished by the
hood of the snake itself extending far and wide, blazing, O king, in his
beauty and the lustre of his own body like a thousand Suns concentrated
in one mass. He was beheld some time after by two _Danavas_ of great
prowess named Madhu and Kaitabha and beholding Hari (in that posture)
and the Grandsire with eyes like lotus-leaves seated on that lotus, both
Madhu and Kaitabha wandered much and they began to terrify and alarm
Brahma of immeasurable prowess, and the illustrious Brahma alarmed by
their continued exertions trembled on his seat, and at his trembling the
stalk of the lotus on which he was seated began to tremble and when the
lotus-stalk trembled, Kesava awoke. And awakened from his slumber,
Govinda beheld those _Danavas_ of mighty energy, and beholding them the
Deity said unto them, "Welcome, ye mighty ones! I am gratified with you!
Therefore, I will grant you excellent boons!" And thereupon both those
proud and mighty _Danavas_, O king, laughingly replied unto Hrishikesa,
saying, "Ask boons of us, O Divine one! O thou that art the Supreme
Deity, we are disposed to grant thee a boon. Indeed, we will grant thee
a boon! Therefore, ask thou of us anything that cometh to thy mind."
Thus addressed by them the holy one spoke, "Ye brave ones, I will accept
a boon from you. There is a boon that I desire. Both of you are
possessed of mighty energy. There is no male person like unto any of
you. O ye of unbaffled prowess, submit ye to be slain by me. Even that
is what I desire to accomplish for the good of the world." Hearing these
words of the Deity, both Madhu and Kaitabha said, "We have never before
spoken an untruth; no, not even in jest; what shall we say of other
occasions! O thou foremost of male Beings, know that we have ever been
firm in truth and morality. In strength, in forms, in beauty, in virtue,
in asceticism, in charity, in behaviour, in goodness, in self control,
there is no one equal unto either of us. A great danger, O Kesava, hath
approached us. Accomplish thou, therefore, what thou hast said. No one
can prevail over Time. But, O Lord, there is one thing that we desire to
be done by thee. O thou best and foremost of all Deities, thou must slay
us at a spot that is absolutely uncovered. And, O thou of excellent
eyes, we also desire to become thy sons. This is the boon that we
desire, know then, O chief of the gods! Let not that, O Deity, be false
which thou hadst at first promised to us." The Holy One then replied
unto them saying, "Yes, I will do as ye desire. Everything will be as ye

"Markandeya continued, 'Then Govinda began to reflect but uncovered
space found he none and when he could not discover any spot that was
uncovered on earth or in the sky, that foremost Deity then beheld his
thighs to be absolutely uncovered. And there, O king, the illustrious
Deity cut off the heads of Madhu and Kaitabha with his keenedged


"Markandeya said, 'The illustrious Dhundhu, O king, was the son of Madhu
and Kaitabha, and possessed of great energy and prowess, he underwent
ascetic penances of great austerity and he stood erect on one leg and
reduced his body to a mass of only veins and arteries, and Brahma,
gratified with him, gave him a boon. And the boon he had asked of the
lord Prajapati was in these words, "Let no one among the gods, the
_Danavas_, the _Rakshas_, the Snakes, the _Gandharvas_ and the
_Rakshasas_ be capable of slaying me. Even this is the boon that I ask
of thee." And the Grandsire replied unto him saying, "Let it be as thou
wishest. Go thy way." And thus addressed by the Grandsire, the _Danava_
placed the feet of the Deity on his head and having thus touched with
reverence the Deity's feet he went away and possessed of mighty energy
and prowess. Dhundhu, having obtained the boon hastily approached Vishnu
remembering the death of his father at the hands of that Deity, and the
wrathful Dhundhu having vanquished the gods with the _Gandharvas_ began
to distress all the celestials with Vishnu at their head. And at last O
bull of the Bharata race, that wicked souled _Asura_ arriving at a sea
of sands known by the name of Ujjalaka, began to distress to the utmost
of his might the asylum of Utanka. And endued with fierce energy,
Dhundhu, the son of Madhu and Kaitabha, lay in his subterranean cave
underneath the sands in the observance of fierce ascetic and severe
austerities with the object of destroying the triple world, and while
the _Asura_ lay breathing near the asylum of Utanka that _Rishi_
possessed of the splendour of fire, king Kualaswa with his troops,
accompanied by the Brahmana Utanka, as also by all his sons set out for
that region, O bull of the Bharata race! And after that grinder of foes,
the royal Kuvalaswa, had set out, accompanied by his twenty-one thousand
sons all of whom were exceedingly powerful, the illustrious Lord Vishnu
filled him with his own energy at the command of Utanka and impelled by
the desire of benefiting the triple world and while that invincible hero
was proceeding on his way a loud voice was heard in the sky repeating
the words, "This fortunate and unslayable one will become the destroyer
of Dhundhu to-day." And the gods began to shower upon him celestial
flowers. And the celestial kettle drums began to sound their music
although none played upon them. And during the march of that wise one,
cool breezes began to blow and the chief of the celestials poured gentle
showers wetting the dust on the roads and, O Yudhishthira, the cars of
the celestials could be seen high over the spot where the mighty _Asura_
Dhundhu was. The gods and _Gandharvas_ and great _Rishis_ urged by
curiosity, came there to behold the encounter between Dhundhu and
Kuvalaswa and, O thou of the Kuru race, filled by Narayana with his own
energy, king Kuvalaswa, aided by his sons, soon surrounded that sea of
sands and the king ordered that wilderness to be excavated and after the
king's sons had excavated that sea of sands for seven days, they could
see the mighty _Asura_ Dhundhu. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the
huge body of that _Asura_ lay within those sands, effulgent in its own
energy like the Sun himself. And Dhundhu, O king, was lying covering the
western region of the desert and surrounded on all sides by the sons of
Kuvalaswa, the _Danava_ was assaulted with sharp-pointed shafts and
maces and heavy and short clubs and axes and clubs, with iron spikes and
darts and bright and keen-edged swords, and thus assaulted, the mighty
_Danava_ rose from his recumbent posture in wrath. And enraged, the
_Asura_ began to swallow those various weapons that were hurled at him
and he vomited from his mouth fiery flames like unto those of the fire
called _Samvarta_ that appeareth at the end of the _Yuga_ and by those
flames of his, the _Asura_ consumed all the sons of the king and, O
tiger among men, like the Lord Kapila of old consuming the sons of king
Sagara, the infuriated _Asura_ overwhelming the triple world with the
flames vomited from his mouth, achieved that wonderful feat in a moment.
And, O thou best of the Bharatas, when all those sons of king Kuvalaswa
were consumed by the fire emitted by the _Asura_ in wrath, the monarch,
possessed as he was of mighty energy, then approached the _Danava_ who,
like unto a second Kumbhakarna of mighty energy, had come to the
encounter after waking from his slumbers. From the body of the king, O
monarch, then began to flow a mighty and copious stream of water and
that stream soon extinguished, O king, the fiery flames emitted by the
_Asura_. And, O great king, the royal Kuvalaswa, filled with _Yoga_
force, having extinguished those flames by the water that issued from
his body, consumed that _Daitya_ of wicked prowess with the celebrated
weapon called _Brahma_ for relieving the triple world of its fears, and
the royal sage Kuvalaswa, having consumed that great _Asura_, that foe
of the celestials and slayer of all enemies, by means of that weapon
became like unto a second chief of the triple world and the high-souled
king Kuvalaswa having slain the _Asura_ Dhundhu, became from that
time known by the name of _Dhundhumara_ and from that time he came to be
regarded as invincible in battle, and the gods and the great _Rishis_
who had come to witness that encounter were so far gratified with him
that they addressed him saying, "Ask thou a boon of us!" And thus
solicited by the gods, the king bowed to them and filled with joy, the
king said unto them, with joined hands these words, "Let me be always
able to give wealth unto superior Brahmanas! Let me be invincible as
regards all foes! Let there be friendship between myself and Vishnu! Let
me have no ill-feeling towards any creature! Let my heart always turn to
virtue! And let me (finally) dwell in heaven for ever!" And the gods and
the _Rishis_ and Utanka, hearing this were exceedingly gratified and all
of them said, "Let it be as thou wishest!" And, O king, having also
blessed him with many other speeches, the gods and the great _Rishis_
then went away to their respective abodes. And, O Yudhishthira, after
the slaughter of all his sons, king Kuvalaswa had still three sons left,
and, O thou of the Bharata race, they were called _Dridaswa_ and
_Kapilaswa_ and _Chandraswa_. It is from them, O king, that the
illustrious line of kings belonging to Ikshvaku's race, all possessed of
immeasurable prowess, hath sprung.

"'It was thus, O best of king, that that great _Daitya_ of the name
Dhundhu, the son of Madhu and Kaitabha was slain by Kuvalaswa and it was
for this also that king came to be called by the name of _Dhundhumara_.
And indeed, the name he assumed was no empty one but was literally true.

"'I have now told thee all that thou hadst asked me, viz., all about
that person in consequence of whose act the story of Dhundhu's death
hath become famous. He that listeneth to this holy history connected
with the glory of Vishnu, becometh virtuous and obtaineth children. By
listening to this story on particular lunations, one becometh blessed
with long life and great good fortune. And freed from every anxiety one
ceaseth to have any fear of diseases.'"


Vaisampayana said, "O thou foremost of the Bharata race, king
Yudhishthira then asked the illustrious Markandeya a difficult question
about morality, saying, 'I desire to hear, O holy one, about the high
and excellent virtue of women. I desire to hear from thee, O Brahmana,
discourse about the subtle truths of morality. O regenerate _Rishi_, O
best of men, the Sun, the Moon, the Wind, the Earth, the Fire, the
father, the mother, the preceptor - these and other objects ordained by
the gods, appear to us as Deities embodied! All these that are reverend
ones are worthy of our best regard. So also is the woman who adoreth one
lord. The worship that chaste wives offer unto their husbands appeareth
to me to be fraught with great difficulty. O adorable one, it behoveth
thee to discourse to us of the high and excellent virtue of chaste
wives - of wives who restraining all their senses and keeping their
hearts under complete control regard their husbands as veritable gods. O
holy and adorable one, all this appears to me to be exceedingly
difficult of accomplishment. O regenerate one, the worship that sons
offer to their mothers and fathers and that wives offer to their
husbands, both seem to me to be highly difficult. I do not behold
anything that is more difficult than the severe virtue of chaste women.
O Brahmana, the duties that women of good behaviour discharge with care

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