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

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_Maharshis_; and on it progressed in the company of Bhrigu, Angiras and
others. And behind all these rode Rudra in his white chariot,
re-assuring the gods with the exhibition of his powers. And rivers and
lakes and seas, _Apsaras, Rishis_, Celestials, _Gandharvas_ and
serpents, stars, planets, and the children of gods, as also many women,
followed him in his train. These handsome-looking ladies proceeded
scattering flowers all around; and the clouds marched, having made their
obeisance to that god (Mahadeva) armed with the _Pinaka_ bow. And some
of them held a white umbrella over his head, and Agni (the Fire god) and
Vayu (the god of winds) busied themselves with two hairy fans (emblems
of royalty). And, O king, he was followed by the glorious Indra
accompanied by the _Rajarshis_, and singing the praise of that god with
the emblem of the bull. And Gauri, Vidya, Gandhari, Kesini, and the lady
called Mitra in company with Savitri, all proceeded in the train of
Parvati, as also all the Vidyas (presiding deities of all branches of
knowledge) that were created by the learned. The _Rakshasa_ spirit who
delivers to different battalions the commands which are implicitly
obeyed by Indra and other gods, advanced in front of the army as
standard-bearer. And that foremost of _Rakshasas_, by name Pingala, the
friend of Rudra, who is always busy in places where corpses are burnt,
and who is agreeable to all people, marched with them merrily, at one
time going ahead of the army, and falling behind again at another, his
movements being uncertain. Virtuous actions are the offerings with which
the god Rudra is worshipped by mortals. He who is also called Siva, the
omnipotent god, armed with the Pinaka bow, is Maheswara. He is
worshipped in various forms.

[40] A kind of missile.

[41] Another kind of weapon.

"'The son of Krittika, the leader of the celestial army, respectful to
Brahmanas, surrounded by the celestial forces, also followed that lord
of the gods. And then Mahadeva said these weighty words to Mahasena, "Do
thou carefully command the seventh army corps of the celestial forces."

"'Skanda replied, "Very well, my lord! I shall command the seventh army
corps. Now tell me quickly if there is anything else to be done."

"'Rudra said, "Thou shall always find me in the field of action. By
looking up to me and by devotion to me shalt thou attain great

"Markandeya continued, 'With these words Maheswara received him in his
embrace, and then dismissed him. And, O great king, after the dismissal
of Skanda, prodigies of various kinds occurred to disturb the equanimity
of the gods.

"'The firmament with the stars was in a blaze, and the whole universe in
a state of utter confusion. The earth quaked and gave forth a rumbling
sound, and darkness overspread the whole world. Then observing this
terrible catastrophy, Sankara with the estimable Uma, and the
celestials with the great _Maharshis_, were much exercised in mind. And
when they had fallen into this state of confusion, there appeared before
them a fierce and mighty host armed with various weapons, and looking
like a mass of clouds and rocks. Those terrible and countless beings,
speaking different languages directed their movements towards the point
where Sankara and the celestials stood. They hurled into the ranks of
the celestial army flights of arrows in all directions, masses of rock,
maces, _sataghnis, prasas_ and _parighas_. The celestial army was thrown
into a state of confusion by a shower of these terrible weapons and
their ranks were seen to waver. The _Danavas_ made a great havoc by
cutting up their soldiers, horses, elephants, chariots and arms. And the
celestial troops then seemed as if they were about to turn their backs
upon the enemy. And numbers of them fell, slain by the _Asuras_, like
large trees in a forest burnt in a conflagration. Those dwellers of
heaven fell with their heads separated from their bodies, and having
none to lead them in that fearful battle, they were slaughtered by the
enemy. And then the god Purandara (Indra), the slayer of Vala, observing
that they were unsteady and hard-pressed by the _Asuras_, tried to rally
them with this speech, "Do not be afraid, ye heroes, may success attend
your efforts! Do ye all take up your arms, and resolve upon manly
conduct, and ye will meet with no more misfortune, and defeat those
wicked and terrible-looking _Danavas_. May ye be successful! Do ye fall
upon the _Danavas_ with me."

"'The dwellers of heaven were re-assured on hearing this speech from
Sakra; and under his leadership, they again rushed against the
_Danavas_. And then the thirty-three crores of gods and all the powerful
_Marutas_ and the _Sadhyas_ with the _Vasus_ returned to the charge. And
the arrows which they angrily discharged against the enemy drew a large
quantity of blood from the bodies of the _Daityas_ and of their horses
and elephants. And those sharp arrows passing through their bodies fell
upon the ground, looking like so many snakes falling from the sides of a
hill. And, O king, the _Daityas_ pierced by those arrows fell fast on
all sides, looking like so many detached masses of clouds. Then the
_Danava_ host, struck with panic at that charge of the celestials on the
field of battle, wavered at that shower of various weapons. Then all the
gods loudly gave vent to their joy, with arms ready to strike; and the
celestial bands too struck up various airs. Thus took place that
encounter, so fearful to both sides: for all the battle-field was
covered with blood and strewn with the bodies of both gods and _Asuras_.
But the gods were soon worsted all on a sudden, and the terrible
_Danavas_ again made a great havoc of the celestial army. Then the
_Asuras_ drums struck up and their shrill bugles were sounded; and the
_Danava_ chiefs yelled their terrific war-cry.

"'Then a powerful _Danava_, taking a huge mass of rock in his hands,
came out of that terrible _Daitya_ army. He looked like the sun peering
forth from against a mass of dark clouds. And, O king, the celestials,
beholding that he was about to hurl that mass of rock at them, fled in
confusion. But they were pursued by Mahisha, who hurled that hillock at
them. And, O lord of the world, by the falling of that mass of rock, ten
thousand warriors of the celestial army were crushed to the ground and
breathed their last. And this act of Mahisha struck terror into the
hearts of the gods, and with his attendant _Danavas_ he fell upon them
like a lion attacking a herd of deer. And when Indra and the other
celestials observed that Mahisha was advancing to the charge, they fled,
leaving behind their arms and colours. And Mahisha was greatly enraged
at this, and he quickly advanced towards the chariot of Rudra; and
reaching near, he seized its pole with his hands. And when Mahisha in a
fit of rage had thus seized the chariot of Rudra, all the Earth began to
groan and the great _Rishis_ lost their senses. And _Daityas_ of huge
proportions, looking like dark clouds, were boisterous with joy,
thinking that victory was assured to them. And although that adorable
god (Rudra) was in that plight, yet he did not think it worth while to
kill Mahisha in battle; he remembered that Skanda would deal the
deathblow to that evil-minded _Asura_. And the fiery Mahisha,
contemplating with satisfaction the prize (the chariot of Rudra) which
he had secured, sounded his war-cry, to the great alarm of the gods and
the joy of the _Daityas_. And when the gods were in that fearful
predicament, the mighty Mahasena, burning with anger, and looking grand
like the Sun advanced to their rescue. And that lordly being was clad in
blazing red and decked with a wreath of red flowers. And cased in armour
of gold he rode in a gold-coloured chariot bright as the Sun and drawn
by chestnut horses. And at his sight the army of the daityas was
suddenly dispirited on the field of battle. And, O great king, the
mighty Mahasena discharged a bright _Sakti_ for the destruction of
Mahisha. That missile cut off the head of Mahisha, and he fell upon the
ground and died. And his head massive as a hillock, falling on the
ground, barred the entrance to the country of the Northern Kurus,
extending in length for sixteen _Yojanas_ though at present the people
of that country pass easily by that gate.

"'It was observed both by the gods and the _Danavas_ that Skanda hurled
his _sakti_ again and again on the field of battle, and that it returned
to his hands, after killing thousands of the enemy's forces. And the
terrible _Danavas_ fell in large numbers by the arrows of the wise
Mahasena. And then a panic seized them, and the followers of Skanda
began to slay and eat them up by thousands and drink their blood. And
they joyously exterminated the _Danavas_ in no time, just as the sun
destroys darkness, or as fire destroys a forest, or as the winds drive
away the clouds. And in this manner the famous Skanda defeated all his
enemies. And the gods came to congratulate him, and he, in turn, paid
his respects to Maheswara. And that son of Krittika looked grand like
the sun in all the glory of his effulgence. And when the enemy was
completely defeated by Skanda and when Maheswara left the battle-field,
Purandara embraced Mahasena and said to him, "This Mahisha, who was made
invincible by the favour of Brahma hath been killed by thee. O best of
warriors, the gods were like grass to him. O strong-limbed hero, thou
hast removed a thorn of the celestials. Thou hast killed in battle
hundreds of Danavas equal in valour to Mahisha who were all hostile to
us, and who used to harass us before. And thy followers too have
devoured them by hundreds. Thou art, O mighty being, invincible in
battle like Uma's lord; and this victory shall be celebrated as thy
first achievement, and thy fame shall be undying in the three worlds.
And, O strong-armed god, all the gods will yield their allegiance to
thee." Having spoken thus to Mahasena, the husband of Sachi left the
place accompanied by the gods and with the permission of the adorable
three-eyed god (Siva). And Rudra returned to Bhadravata, and the
celestials too returned to their respective abodes. And Rudra spoke,
addressing the gods, "Ye must render allegiance to Skanda just as ye do
unto me." And that son of the Fire-god, having killed the Danavas hath
conquered the three worlds, in one day, and he hath been worshipped by
the great _Rishis_. The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this
story of the birth of Skanda, attaineth to great prosperity in this
world and the companionship of Skanda hereafter.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O good and adorable Brahmana, I wish to know the
different names of that high-souled being, by which he is celebrated
throughout the three worlds.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by the Pandava in that assembly
of _Rishis_, the worshipful Markandeya of high ascetic merit replied,
'Agneya (Son of Agni), Skanda (Cast-off), Diptakirti (Of blazing fame),
Anamaya (Always hale), Mayuraketu (Peacock-bannered), Dharmatman (The
virtuous-souled), Bhutesa (The lord of all creatures), Mahishardana (The
slayer of Mahisha), Kamajit (The subjugator of desires), Kamada (The
fulfiller of desires), Kanta (The handsome), Satyavak (The truthful in
speech), Bhuvaneswara (The lord of the universe), Sisu (The child),
Sighra (The quick), Suchi (The pure), Chanda (The fiery), Diptavarna
(The bright-complexioned), Subhanana (Of beautiful face), Amogha
(Incapable of being baffled), Anagha (The sinless), Rudra (The
terrible), Priya (The favourite), Chandranana (Of face like the moon),
Dipta-sasti (The wielder of the blazing lance), Prasantatman (Of
tranquil soul), Bhadrakrit (The doer of good), Kutamahana (The chamber
of even the wicked), Shashthipriya (True favourite of Shashthi), Pavitra
(The holy), Matrivatsala (The reverencer of his mother), Kanya-bhartri
(The protector of virgins), Vibhakta (Diffused over the universe),
Swaheya (The son of Swaha), Revatisuta (The child of Revati), Prabhu
(The Lord), Neta (The leader), Visakha (Reared up by Visakha), Naigameya
(Sprang from the Veda), Suduschara (Difficult of propitiation), Suvrata
(Of excellent vows), Lalita (The beautiful), Valakridanaka-priya (Fond
of toys), Khacharin (The ranger of skies), Brahmacharin (The chaste),
Sura (The brave), Saravanodbhava (Born in a forest of heath), Viswamitra
priya (The favourite of Viswamitra), Devasena-priya (The lover of
Devasena), Vasudeva-priya (The beloved of Vasudeva), and Priya-krit (The
doer of agreeable things) - these are the divine names of Kartikeya.
Whoever repeateth them, undoubtedly secureth fame, wealth, and

"Markandeya continued, 'O valiant scion of Kuru's race, I shall now with
due devotion pray to that unrivalled, mighty, six-faced, and valiant
Guha who is worshipped by gods and _Rishis_, enumerating his other
titles of distinction: do thou listen to them: Thou art devoted to
_Brahma_, begotten of Brahma, and versed in the mysteries of _Brahma_.
Thou art called _Brahmasaya_, and thou art the foremost of those who are
possessed of _Brahma_. Thou art fond of _Brahma_, thou art austere like
the Brahmanas and art versed in the great mystery of _Brahma_ and the
leader of the Brahmanas. Thou art _Swaha_, thou art _Swadha_, and thou
art the holiest of the holy, and art invoked in hymns and celebrated as
the six-flamed fire. Thou art the year, thou art the six seasons, thou
art the months, the (lunar) half months, the (solar) declinations, and
the cardinal points of space. Thou art lotus-eyed. Thou art possessed of
a lily-like face. Thou hast a thousand faces and a thousand arms. Thou
art the ruler of the universe, thou art the great Oblation, and thou art
the animating spirit of all the gods and the _Asuras_. Thou art the
great leader of armies. Thou art _Prachanda_ (furious), thou art the
Lord, and thou art the great master and the conqueror of thine enemies.
Thou art _Sahasrabhu_ (multiform), _Sahasratusti_ (a thousand times
content), _Sahasrabhuk_ (devourer of everything), and _Sahasrapad_ (of a
thousand legs), and thou art the earth itself. Thou art possessed of
infinite forms and thousand heads and great strength. According to thine
own inclinations thou hast appeared as the son of Ganga, Swaha, Mahi, or
Krittika. O six-faced god, thou dost play with the cock and assume
different forms according to thy will. Thou art Daksha, Soma, the
Maruta, Dharma, Vayu, the prince of mountains, and Indra, for all time.
Thou art mighty, the most eternal of all eternal things, and the lord of
all lords. Thou art the progenitor of Truth, the destroyer of Diti's
progeny (_Asuras_), and the great conqueror of the enemies of the
celestials. Thou art the personation of virtue and being thyself vast
and minute, thou art acquainted with the highest and lowest points of
virtuous acts, and the mysteries of _Brahma_. O foremost of all gods and
high-souled lord of the Universe, this whole creation is over-spread
with thy energy! I have thus prayed to thee according to the best of my
power. I salute thee who art possessed of twelve eyes and many hands.
Thy remaining attributes transcend my powers of comprehension!'

"'The Brahmana who with due attention readeth this story of the birth of
Skanda, or relateth it unto Brahmanas, or hears it narrated by
regenerate men, attaineth to wealth, long life, fame, children, as also
victory, prosperity and contentment, and the companionship of Skanda.'"


(_Draupadi-Satyabhama Samvada_)

Vaisampayana said, "After those Brahmanas and the illustrious sons of
Pandu had taken their seats, Draupadi and Satyabhama entered the
hermitage. And with hearts full of joy the two ladies laughed merrily
and seated themselves at their ease. And, O king, those ladies, who
always spake sweetly to each other, having met after a long time, began
to talk upon various delightful topics arising out of the stories of the
Kurus and the Yadus. And the slender-waisted Satyabhama, the favourite
wife of Krishna and the daughter of Satrajit, then asked Draupadi in
private, saying, 'By what behaviour is it, O daughter of Drupada, that
thou art able to rule the sons of Pandu - those heroes endued with
strength and beauty and like unto the _Lokapalas_ themselves? Beautiful
lady, how is it that they are so obedient to thee and are never angry
with thee? Without doubt the sons of Pandu, O thou of lovely features,
are ever submissive to thee and watchful to do thy bidding! Tell me, O
lady, the reason of this. Is it practice of vows, or asceticism, or
incantation or drug at the time of the bath (in season) or the efficacy
of science, or the influence of youthful appearance, or the recitation
of particular formulae, or _Homa_, or collyrium and other medicaments?
Tell me now, O princess of Panchala, of that blessed and auspicious
thing by which, O Krishna, Krishna may ever be obedient to me.'

"When the celebrated Satyabhama, having said this, ceased, the chaste
and blessed daughter of Drupada answered her, saying, 'Thou askedest me,
O Satyabhama, of the practices of women that are wicked. How can I
answer thee, O lady, about the cause that is pursued by wicked females?
It doth not become thee, lady, to pursue the questions, or doubt me,
after this, for thou art endued with intelligence and art the favourite
wife of Krishna. When the husband learns that his wife is addicted to
incantations and drugs, from that hour he beginneth to dread her like a
serpent ensconced in his sleeping chamber. And can a man that is
troubled with fear have peace, and how can one that hath no peace have
happiness? A husband can never be made obedient by his wife's
incantations. We hear of painful diseases being transmitted by enemies.
Indeed, they that desire to slay others, send poison in the shape of
customary gifts, so that the man that taketh the powders so sent, by
tongue or skin, is, without doubt, speedily deprived of life. Women have
sometimes caused dropsy and leprosy, decrepitude and impotence and
idiocy and blindness and deafness in men. These wicked women, ever
treading in the path of sin, do sometimes (by these means) injure their
husbands. But the wife should never do the least injury to her lord.
Hear now, O illustrious lady, of the behaviour I adopt towards the
high-souled sons of Pandu. Keeping aside vanity, and controlling desire
and wrath, I always serve with devotion the sons of Pandu with their
wives. Restraining jealousy, with deep devotion of heart, without a
sense of degradation at the services I perform, I wait upon my husbands.
Ever fearing to utter what is evil or false, or to look or sit or walk
with impropriety, or cast glances indicative of the feelings of the
heart, do I serve the sons of Pritha - those mighty warriors blazing like
the sun or fire, and handsome as the moon, those endued with fierce
energy and prowess, and capable of slaying their foes by a glance of the
eye. Celestial, or man, or Gandharva, young or decked with ornaments,
wealthy or comely of person, none else my heart liketh. I never bathe or
eat or sleep till he that is my husband hath bathed or eaten or
slept, - till, in fact, our attendants have bathed, eaten, or slept.
Whether returning from the field, the forest, or the town, hastily
rising up I always salute my husband with water and a seat. I always
keep the house and all household articles and the food that is to be
taken well-ordered and clean. Carefully do I keep the rice, and serve
the food at the proper time. I never indulge in angry and fretful
speech, and never imitate women that are wicked. Keeping idleness at
distance I always do what is agreeable. I never laugh except at a jest,
and never stay for any length of time at the house-gate. I never stay
long in places for answering calls of nature, nor in pleasure-gardens
attached to the house. I always refrain from laughing loudly and
indulging in high passion, and from everything that may give offence.
Indeed, O Satyabhama, I always am engaged in waiting upon my lords. A
separation from my lords is never agreeable to me. When my husband
leaveth home for the sake of any relative, then renouncing flowers and
fragrant paste of every kind, I begin to undergo penances. Whatever my
husband drinketh not, whatever my husband eateth not, whatever my
husband enjoyeth not, I ever renounce. O beautiful lady, decked in
ornaments and ever controlled by the instruction imparted to me, I
always devotedly seek the good of my lord. Those duties that my
mother-in-law had told me of in respect of relatives, as also the duties
of alms-giving, of offering worship to the gods, of oblations to the
diseased, of boiling food in pots on auspicious days for offer to
ancestors and guests of reverence and service to those that deserve our
regards, and all else that is known to me, I always discharge day and
night, without idleness of any kind. Having with my whole heart recourse
to humility and approved rules I serve my meek and truthful lords ever
observant of virtue, regarding them as poisonous snakes capable of being
excited at a trifle. I think that to be eternal virtue for women which
is based upon a regard for the husband. The husband is the wife's god,
and he is her refuge. Indeed, there is no other refuge for her. How can,
then, the wife do the least injury to her lord? I never, in sleeping or
eating or adorning any person, act against the wishes of my lord, and
always guided by my husbands, I never speak ill of my mother-in-law. O
blessed lady, my husbands have become obedient to me in consequence of
my diligence, my alacrity, and the humility with which I serve
superiors. Personally do I wait every day with food and drink and
clothes upon the revered and truthful Kunti - that mother of heroes.
Never do I show any preference for myself over her in matters of food
and attire, and never do I reprove in words that princess equal unto the
Earth herself in forgiveness. Formerly, eight thousand Brahmanas were
daily fed in the palace of Yudhishthira from off plates of gold. And
eighty thousand Brahmanas also of the _Snataka_ sect leading domestic
lives were entertained by Yudhishthira with thirty serving-maids
assigned to each. Besides these, ten thousand _yatis_ with the vital
seed drawn up, had their pure food carried unto them in plates of gold.
All these Brahmanas that were the utterers of the _Veda_, I used to
worship duly with food, drink, and raiment taken from stores only after
a portion thereof had been dedicated to the Viswadeva.[42] The
illustrious son of Kunti had a hundred thousand well-dressed
serving-maids with bracelets on arms and golden ornaments on necks, and
decked with costly garlands and wreaths and gold in profusion, and
sprinkled with sandal paste. And adorned with jewels and gold they were
all skilled in singing and dancing. O lady, I knew the names and
features of all those girls, as also what they are and what they were,
and what they did not. Kunti's son of great intelligence had also a
hundred thousand maid-servants who daily used to feed guests, with
plates of gold in their hands. And while Yudhishthira lived in
Indraprastha a hundred thousand horses and a hundred thousand elephants
used to follow in his train. These were the possessions of Yudhishthira
while he ruled the earth. It was I however, O lady, who regulated their
number and framed the rules to be observed in respect of them; and it
was I who had to listen to all complaints about them. Indeed, I knew
everything about what the maid-servants of the palace and other classes
of attendants, even the cow-herds and the shepherds of the royal
establishment, did or did not. O blessed and illustrious lady, it was I
alone amongst the Pandavas who knew the income and expenditure of the
king and what their whole wealth was. And those bulls among the
Bharatas, throwing upon me the burden of looking after all those that
were to be fed by them, would, O thou of handsome face, pay their court
to me. And this load, so heavy and incapable of being borne by persons
of evil heart, I used to bear day and night, sacrificing my ease, and
all the while affectionately devoted to them. And while my husbands were
engaged in the pursuit of virtue, I only supervised their treasury
inexhaustible like the ever-filled receptacle of Varuna. Day and night
bearing hunger and thirst, I used to serve the Kuru princes, so that my
nights and days were equal to me. I used to wake up first and go to bed
last. This, O Satyabhama, hath ever been my charm for making my husbands
obedient to me! This great art hath ever been known to me for making my

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