Adi Parva - Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa
"Saunaka said, 'O son, thou hast narrated to me this extensive and great history commencing from the progeny of Bhrigu. O son of Suta, I have been much gratified with thee. I ask thee again, to recite to me, O son of a Suta, the history composed by Vyasa. The varied and wonderful narrations that were recited amongst those illustrious Sadasyas assembled at the sacrifice, in the intervals of their duties of that long-extending ceremony, and the objects also of those narrations, I desire to hear from thee, O son of a Suta! Recite therefore, all those to me fully.'
'Sauti said, 'The Brahmanas, in the intervals of the duties, spoke of many things founded upon the Vedas. But Vyasa recited the wonderful and great history called the Bharata.'
"Saunaka said, 'That sacred history called the Mahabharata, spreading the fame of the Pandavas, which Krishna-Dwaipayana, asked by Janamejaya, caused to be duly recited after the completion of the sacrifice. I desire to hear duly. That history hath been born of the ocean-like mind of the great Rishi of soul purified by yoga. Thou foremost of good men, recite it unto me, for, O son of a Suta, my thirst hath not been appeased by all thou hast said.'
'Sauti said, 'I shall recite to thee from the beginning of that great and
excellent history called the Mahabharata composed by Vyasa. O Brahmana, listen to it in full, as I recite it. I myself feel a great pleasure in reciting it.'"
'Sauti said, 'Hearing that Janamejaya was installed in the snake-sacrifice, the learned Rishi Krishna-Dwaipayana went thither on the occasion. And he, the grand-father of the Pandavas, was born in an island of the Yamuna, of the virgin Kali by Sakti's son, Parasara. And the illustrious one developed by his will alone his body as soon as he was born, and mastered the Vedas with their branches, and all the histories. And he readily obtained that which no one could obtain by asceticism, by the study of the Vedas, by vows, by fasts, by progeny, and by sacrifice. And the first of Veda-knowing ones, he divided the Vedas into four parts. And the Brahmana Rishi had knowledge of the supreme Brahma, knew the past by intuition, was holy, and cherished truth. Of sacred deeds and great fame, he begot Pandu and Dhritarashtra and Vidura in order to continue the line of Santanu.
"And the high-souled Rishi, with his disciples all conversant with the Vedas and their branches, entered the sacrificial pavilion of the royal sage, Janamejaya. And he saw that the king Janamejaya was seated in the sacrificial region like the god Indra, surrounded by numerous Sadasyas, by kings of various countries whose coronal locks had undergone the sacred bath, and by competent Ritwiks like unto Brahman himself. And that foremost one of Bharata's race, the royal sage Janamejaya, beholding the Rishi come, advanced quickly with his followers and relatives in great joy. And the king with the approval of his Sadasyas, gave the Rishi a golden seat as Indra did to Vrihaspati. And when the Rishi, capable of granting boons and adored by the celestial Rishis themselves, had been seated, the king of kings worshipped him according to the rites of the scriptures. And the king then offered him--his grandfather Krishna--who fully deserved them, water to wash his feet and mouth, and the Arghya, and kine. And accepting those offerings from the Pandava Janamejaya and ordering the kine also not to be slain, Vyasa became much gratified. And the king, after those adorations bowed to his great-grandfather, and sitting in joy asked him about his welfare. And the illustrious Rishi also, casting his eyes upon him and asking him about his welfare, worshipped the Sadasyas, having been before worshipped by them all. And after all this, Janamejaya with all his Sadasyas, questioned that first of Brahmanas, with joined palms as follows:
'O Brahmana, thou hast seen with thy own eyes the acts of the Kurus and the Pandavas. I am desirous of hearing thee recite their history. What was the cause of the disunion amongst them that was fruitful of such
extraordinary deeds? Why also did that great battle, which caused the death of countless creatures occur between all my grandfathers--their clear sense over-clouded by fate? O excellent Brahmana, tell me all this in full as everything had happened.'
"Hearing those words of Janamejaya, Krishna-Dwaipayana directed his disciple Vaisampayana seated by his side, saying, 'The discord that happened between the Kurus and the Pandavas of old, narrate all to the king even as thou hast heard from me.'
"Then that blessed Brahmana, at the command of his preceptor recited the whole of that history unto the king, the Sadasyas, and all the chieftains there assembled. And he told them all about the hostility and the utter extinction of the Kurus and the Pandavas.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Bowing down in the first place to my preceptor with the eight parts of my body touching the ground, with devotion and reverence, and with all my heart, worshipping the whole assembly of Brahmanas and other learned persons, I shall recite in full what I have heard from the high-souled and great Rishi Vyasa, the first of intelligent men in the three worlds. And having got it within thy reach, O monarch, thou also art a fit person to hear the composition called Bharata. Encouraged by the command of my preceptor my heart feeleth no fear.
"Hear, O monarch, why that disunion occurred between the Kurus and the Pandavas, and why also that exile into the woods immediately proceeding from the game at dice prompted by the desire (of the Kurus) for rule. I shall relate all to thee who askest it thou best of the Bharata race!
"On the death of their father those heroes (the Pandavas) came to their own home. And within a short time they became well-versed in archery. And the Kurus beholding the Pandavas gifted with physical strength, energy, and power of mind, popular also with the citizens, and blessed with good fortune, became very jealous. Then the crookedminded Duryodhana, and Karna, with (the former's uncle) the son of Suvala began to persecute them and devise means for their exile. Then the wicked Duryodhana, guided by the counsels of Sakuni (his maternal uncle), persecuted the Pandavas in various ways for the acquirement of undisputed sovereignty. The wicked son of Dhritarashtra gave poison to Bhima, but Bhima of the stomach of the wolf digested the poison with the food. Then the wretch again tied the sleeping Bhima on the margin of the Ganges and, casting him into the water, went away. But when Bhimasena of strong arms, the son of Kunti woke, he tore the strings with which he had been tied and came up, his pains all gone. And while asleep and in the water black snakes
of virulent poison bit him in every part of his body. But that slayer of foes did not still perish. And in all those persecutions of the Pandavas by their cousins, the Kurus, the high-minded Vidura attentively engaged himself neutralising those evil designs and rescuing the persecuted ones. And as Sakra from the heavens keeps in happiness the world of men, so did Vidura always keep the Pandavas from evil.
"When Duryodhana, with various means, both secret and open, found himself incapable of destroying the Pandavas who were protected by the fates and kept alive for grave future purposes (such as the extermination of the Kuru race), then called together his counsellors consisting of Vrisha (Karna), Duhsasana and others, and with the knowledge of Dhritarashtra caused a house of lac to be constructed. And king Dhritarashtra, from affection for his children, and prompted by the desire of sovereignty, sent the Pandavas tactfully into Varanavata. And the Pandavas then went away with their mother from Hastinapura. And when they were leaving the city, Vidura gave them some idea of impending danger and how they could come out of it.
'The sons of Kunti reached the town of Varanavata and lived there with their mother. And, agreeably to the command of Dhritarashtra, those illustrious slayers of all enemies lived in the palace of lac, while in that town. And they lived in that place for one year, protecting themselves from Purochana very wakefully. And causing a subterranean passage to be constructed, acting according to the directions of Vidura, they set fire to that house of lac and burnt Purochana (their enemy and the spy of Duryodhana) to death. Those slayers of all enemies, anxious with fear, then fled with their mother. In the woods beside a fountain they saw a Rakshasa. But, alarmed at the risk they ran of exposure by such an act the Pandavas fled in the darkness, out of fear from the sons of Dhritarashtra. It was here that Bhima gained Hidimva (the sister of the Rakshasa he slew) for a wife, and it was of her that Ghatotkacha was born. Then the Pandavas, of rigid vows, and conversant with the Vedas wended to a town of the name of Ekachakra and dwelt there in the guise of Brahmacharins. And those bulls among men dwelt in that town in the house of a Brahmana for some time, with temperance and abstinence. And it was here that Bhima of mighty arms came upon a hungry and mighty and man-eating Rakshasa of the name of Vaka. And Bhima, the son of Pandu, that tiger among men, slew him speedily with the strength of his arms and made the citizens safe and free from fear. Then they heard of Krishna (the princess of Panchala) having become disposed to select a husband from among the assembled princes. And, hearing of it, they went to Panchala, and there they obtained the maiden. And having obtained Draupadi (as their common wife) they then dwelt there for a year. And after they became known, those chastisers of all enemies went back to Hastinapura. And they were then told by king Dhritarashtra and the son of Santanu (Bhishma) as
follows: 'In order, O dear ones, dissensions may not take place between you and your cousins, we have settled that Khandavaprastha should be your abode. Therefore, go ye, casting off all jealousy, to Khandavaprastha which contains many towns served by many broad roads, for dwelling there.' And accordingly the Pandavas went, with all their friends and followers, to Khandavaprastha taking with them many jewels and precious stones. And the sons of Pritha dwelt there for many years. And they brought, by force of arms, many a prince under their subjection. And thus, setting their hearts on virtue and firmly adhering to truth, unruffled by affluence, calm in deportment, and putting down numerous evils, the Pandavas gradually rose to power. And Bhima of great reputation subjugated the East, the heroic Arjuna, the North, Nakula, the West; Sahadeva that slayer of all hostile heroes, the South. And this having been done, their domination was spread over the whole world. And with the five Pandavas, each like unto the Sun, the Earth looked as if she had six Suns.
"Then, for some reason, Yudhishthira the just, gifted with great energy and prowess, sent his brother Arjuna who was capable of drawing the bow with the left hand, dearer unto him than life itself, into the woods. And Arjuna, that tiger among men, of firm soul, and gifted with every virtue, lived in the woods for eleven years and months. And during this period, on a certain occasion, Arjuna went to Krishna in Dwaravati. And Vibhatsu (Arjuna) there obtained for a wife the lotus-eyed and sweet-speeched younger sister of Vasudeva, Subhadra by name. And she became united, in gladness, with Arjuna, the son of Pandu, like Sachi with the great Indra, or Sri with Krishna himself. And then, O best of monarchs, Arjuna, the son of Kunti, with Vasudeva, gratified Agni; the carrier of the sacrificial butter, in the forest of Khandava (by burning the medicinal plants in that woods to cure Agni of his indigestion). And to Arjuna, assisted as he was by Kesava, the task did not at all appear heavy even as nothing is heavy to Vishnu with immense design and resources in the matter of destroying his enemies. And Agni gave unto the son of Pritha the excellent bow Gandiva and a quiver that was inexhaustible, and a war-chariot bearing the figure of Garuda on its standard. And it was on this occasion that Arjuna relieved the great Asura (Maya) from fear (of being consumed in the fire). And Maya, in gratitude, built (for the Pandavas) a celestial palace decked with every sort of jewels and precious stones. And the wicked Duryodhana, beholding that building, was tempted with the desire of possessing it. And deceiving Yudhishthira by means of the dice played through the hands of the son of Suvala, Duryodhana sent the Pandavas into the woods for twelve years and one additional year to be passed in concealment, thus making the period full thirteen.
"And the fourteenth year, O monarch, when the Pandavas returned and claimed their property, they did not obtain it. And thereupon war was declared, and the Pandavas, after exterminating the whole race of Kshatriyas
and slaying king Duryodhana, obtained back their devastated kingdom.
"This is the history of the Pandavas who never acted under the influence of evil passions; and this the account, O first of victorious monarchs of the disunion that ended in the loss of their kingdom by the Kurus and the victory of the Pandavas.'"
"Janamejaya said, 'O excellent Brahmana, thou hast, indeed, told me, in brief, the history, called Mahabharata, of the great acts of the Kurus. But, O thou of ascetic wealth, recite now that wonderful narration fully. I feel a great curiosity to hear it. It behoveth thee to recite it, therefore, in full. I am not satisfied with hearing in a nutshell the great history. That could never have been a trifling cause for which the virtuous ones could slay those whom they should not have slain, and for which they are yet applauded by men. Why also did those tigers among men, innocent and capable of avenging themselves upon their enemies, calmly suffer the persecution of the wicked Kurus? Why also, O best of Brahmanas, did Bhima of mighty arms and of the strength of ten thousand elephants, control his anger, though wronged? Why also did the chaste Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, wronged by those wretches and able to burn them, not burn the sons of Dhritarashtra with her wrathful eyes? Why also did the two other sons of Pritha (Bhima and Arjuna) and the two sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva), themselves injured by the wretched Kurus, follow Yudhishthira who was greatly addicted to the evil habit of gambling? Why also did Yudhishthira, that foremost of all virtuous men, the son of Dharma himself, fully acquainted with all duties, suffer that excess of affliction? Why also did the Pandava Dhananjaya, having Krishna for his charioteer, who by his arrows sent to the other world that dauntless host of fighting men (suffer such persecution)? O thou of ascetic wealth, speak to me of all these as they took place, and everything that those mighty charioteers achieved.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'O monarch, appoint thou a time for hearing it. This history told by Krishna-Dwaipayana is very extensive. This is but the beginning. I shall recite it. I shall repeat the whole of the composition in full, of the illustrious and great Rishi Vyasa of immeasurable mental power, and worshipped in all the worlds. This Bharata consists of a hundred thousand sacred slokas composed by the son of Satyavati, of immeasurable mental power. He that reads it to others, and they that hear it read, attain to the world of Brahman and become equal to the very gods. This Bharata is equal unto the Vedas, is holy and excellent; is the worthiest of all to be listened to, and is a Purana worshipped by the Rishis.
[paragraph continues] It contains much useful instruction on Artha and Kama (profit and pleasure). This sacred history maketh the heart desire for salvation. Learned persons by reciting this Veda of Krishna-Dwaipayana to those that are liberal, truthful and believing, earn much wealth. Sins, such as killing the embryo in the womb, are destroyed assuredly by this. A person, however cruel and sinful, by hearing this history, escapes from all his sins like the Sun from Rahu (after the eclipse is over). This history is called Jaya. It should be heard by those desirous of victory. A king by hearing it may bring the whole world under subjection and conquer all his foes. This history in itself is a mighty act of propitiation, a mighty sacrifice productive of blessed fruit. It should always be heard by a young monarch with his queen, for then they beget a heroic son or a daughter to occupy a throne. This history is the high and sacred science of Dharma, Artha, and also of Moksha; it hath been so said by Vyasa himself of mind that is immeasurable. This history is recited in the present age and will be recited in the future. They that hear it, read, have sons and servants always obedient to them and doing their behests. All sins that are committed by body, word, or mind, immediately leave them that hear this history. They who hear, without the spirit of fault finding, the story of the birth of the Bharata princes, can have no fear of maladies, let alone the fear of the other world.
"For extending the fame of the high-souled Pandavas and of other Kshatriyas versed in all branches of knowledge, high spirited, and already known in the world for their achievements, Krishna-Dwaipayana, guided also by the desire of doing good to the world, hath composed this work. It is excellent, productive of fame, grants length of life, is sacred and heavenly. He who, from desire of acquiring religious merit, causeth this history to be heard by sacred Brahmanas, acquireth great merit and virtue that is inexhaustible. He that reciteth the famous generation of the Kurus becometh immediately purified and acquireth a large family himself, and becometh respected in the world. That Brahmana who regularly studies this sacred Bharata for the four months of the rainy season, is cleansed from all his sins. He that has read the Bharata may be regarded as one acquainted with the Vedas.
"This work presents an account of the gods and royal sages and sacred regenerate Rishis, the sinless Kesava; the god of gods, Mahadeva and the goddess Parvati; the birth of Kartikeya who sprang from union of Parvati with Mahadeva and was reared by many mothers; the greatness of Brahmanas and of kine. This Bharata is a collection of all the Srutis, and is fit to be heard by every virtuous person. That learned man who reciteth it to Brahmanas during the sacred lunations, becometh cleansed of all sins, and, not caring for heaven as it were, attaineth to a union with Brahma. He that causeth even a single foot of this poem to be heard by Brahmanas during the performance of a Sraddha, maketh that Sraddha
inexhaustible, the Pitris becoming ever gratified with the articles once presented to them. The sins that are committed daily by our senses or the mind, those that are committed knowingly or unknowingly by any man, are all destroyed by hearing the Mahabharata. The history of the exalted birth of the Bharata princes is called the Mahabharata. He who knoweth this etymology of the name is cleansed of all his sins. And as this history of the Bharata race is so wonderful, that, when recited, it assuredly purifieth mortals from all sins. The sage Krishna-Dwaipayana completed his work in three years. Rising daily and purifying himself and performing his ascetic devotions, he composed this Mahabharata. Therefore, this should be heard by Brahmanas with the formality of a vow. He who reciteth this holy narration composed by Krishna (Vyasa) for the hearing of others, and they who hear it, in whatever state he or they may be, can never be affected by the fruit of deeds, good or bad. The man desirous of acquiring virtue should hear it all. This is equivalent to all histories, and he that heareth it always attaineth to purity of heart. The gratification that one deriveth from attaining to heaven is scarcely equal to that which one deriveth from hearing this holy history. The virtuous man who with reverence heareth it or causeth it to be heard, obtaineth the fruit of the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. The Bharata is said to be as much a mine of gems as the vast Ocean or the great mountain Meru. This history is sacred and excellent, and is equivalent to the Vedas, worthy of being heard, pleasing to the ear, sin-cleansing, and virtue-increasing. O monarch, he that giveth a copy of the Bharata to one that asketh for it doth indeed make a present of the whole earth with her belt of seas. O son of Parikshit, this pleasant narration that giveth virtue and victory I am about to recite in its entirety: listen to it. The sage Krishna-Dwaipayana regularly rising for three years, composed this wonderful history called Mahabharata. O bull amongst the Bharata monarchs, whatever is spoken about virtue, wealth, pleasure, and salvation may be seen elsewhere; but whatever is not contained in this is not to be found anywhere.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a king of the name of Uparichara. That monarch was devoted to virtue. He was very much addicted also to hunting. That king of the Paurava race, called also Vasu, conquered the excellent and delightful kingdom of Chedi under instructions from Indra. Some time after, the king gave up the use of arms and, dwelling in a secluded retreat, practised the most severe austerities. The gods with Indra at their head once approached the monarch during this period, believing that he
sought the headship of the gods, by those severe austerities of his. The celestials, becoming objects of his sight, by soft speeches succeeded in winning him away from his ascetic austerities.'
"The gods said, 'O lord of the earth, thou shouldst take care so that virtue may not sustain a diminution on earth! Protected by thee, virtue itself will in return protect the universe.' And Indra said, 'O king, protect virtue on earth attentively and rigidly. Being virtuous, thou shalt, for all time, behold (in after life) many sacred regions. And though I am of Heaven, and thou art of earth, yet art thou my friend and dear to me. And, O king of men, dwell thou in that region on earth which is delightful, and aboundeth in animals, is sacred, full of wealth and corn, is well-protected like heaven, which is of agreeable climate, graced with every object of enjoyment, and blessed with fertility. And, O monarch of Chedi, this thy dominion is full of riches, of gems and precious stones, and containeth, besides, much mineral wealth. The cities and towns of this region are all devoted to virtue; the people are honest and contented; they never lie even in jest. Sons never divide their wealth with their fathers and are ever mindful of the welfare of their parents. Lean cattle are never yoked to the plough or the cart or engaged in carrying merchandise; on the other hand, they are well-fed and fattened. In Chedi the four orders are always engaged in their respective vocations. Let nothing be unknown to thee that happens in the three worlds. I shall give thee a crystal car such as the celestials alone are capable of carrying the car through mid air. Thou alone, of all mortals on earth, riding on that best of cars, shall course through mid-air like a celestial endued with a physical frame. I shall also give thee a triumphal garland of unfading lotuses, with which on, in battle, thou shall not be wounded by weapons. And, O king, this blessed and incomparable garland, widely known on earth as Indra's garland, shall be thy distinctive badge.
"The slayer of Vritra (Indra) also gave the king, for his gratification, a bamboo pole for protecting the honest and the peaceful. After the expiry of a year, the king planted it in the ground for the purpose of worshipping the giver thereof, viz., Sakra. From that time forth, O monarch, all kings, following Vasu's example, began to plant a pole for the celebration of Indra's worship. After erecting the pole they decked it with golden cloth and scents and garlands and various ornaments. And the god Vasava is worshipped in due form with such garlands and ornaments. And the god, for the gratification of the illustrious Vasu, assuming the form of a swan, came himself to accept the worship thus offered. And the god, beholding the auspicious worship thus made by Vasu, that first of monarchs, was delighted, and said unto him, 'Those men, and kings also, who will worship me and joyously observe this festival of mine like the king of Chedi, shall have glory and victory for their countries and kingdom. Their cities also shall expand and be ever in joy.'
"King Vasu was thus blessed by the gratified Maghavat, the high-souled chief of the gods. Indeed, those men who cause this festivity of Sakra to be observed with gifts of land, of gems and precious stones, become the respected of the world. And king Vasu, the lord of Chedis bestowing boons and performing great sacrifices and observing the festivity of Sakra, was much respected by Indra. And from Chedi he ruled the whole world virtuously. And for the gratification of Indra, Vasu, the lord of the Chedis, observed the festivity of Indra.
"And Vasu had five sons of great energy and immeasurable prowess. And the emperor installed his sons as governors of various provinces.
"And his son Vrihadratha was installed in Magadha and was known by the name of Maharatha. Another son of his was Pratyagraha; and another, Kusamva, who was also called Manivahana. And the two others were Mavella, and Yadu of great prowess and invincible in battle.
"These, O monarch, were the sons of that royal sage of mighty energy. And the five sons of Vasu planted kingdoms and towns after their own names and founded separate dynasties that lasted for long ages.
"And when king Vasu took his seat in that crystal car, with the gift of Indra, and coursed through the sky, he was approached by Gandharvas and Apsaras (the celestial singers and dancers). And as he coursed through the upper regions, he was called Uparichara. And by his capital flowed a river called Suktimati. And that river was once attacked by a life-endued mountain called Kolahala maddened by lust. And Vasu, beholding the foul attempt, struck the mountain with his foot. And by the indentation caused by Vasu's stamp, the river came out (of the embraces of Kolahala). But the mountain begat on the river two children that were twins. And the river, grateful to Vasu for his having set her free from Kolahala's embraces, gave them both to Vasu. And the son was made the generalissimo to his forces by Vasu, that best of royal sages and giver of wealth and punisher of enemies. And the daughter called Girika, was wedded by Vasu.
'And Girika, the wife of Vasu, after her menstrual course, purifying herself by a bath, represented her state unto her lord. But that very day the Pitris of Vasu came unto that best of monarchs and foremost of wise men, and asked him to slay deer (for their Sraddha). And the king, thinking that the command of the Pitris should not be disobeyed, went a-hunting thinking of Girika alone who was gifted with great beauty and like unto another Sri herself. And the season being the spring, the woods within which the king was roaming, had become delightful like unto the gardens of the king of the Gandharvas himself. There were Asokas and Champakas and Chutas and Atimuktas in abundance: and there were Punnagas and Karnikaras and Vakulas and Divya Patalas and Patalas and Narikelas and Chandanas and Arjunas and similar other beautiful and sacred trees resplendent with fragrant flowers and sweet fruits. And the whole forest was maddened by the sweet notes of the kokila and echoed
with the hum of maddened bees. And the king became possessed with desire, and he saw not his wife before him. Maddened by desire he was roaming hither and thither, when he saw a beautiful Asoka decked with dense foliage, its branches covered with flowers. And the king sat at his ease in the shade of that tree. And excited by the fragrance of the season and the charming odours of the flowers around, and excited also by the delicious breeze, the king could not keep his mind away from the thought of the beautiful Girika. And beholding that a swift hawk was resting very near to him, the king, acquainted with the subtle truths of Dharma and Artha, went unto him and said, 'Amiable one, carry thou this seed (semen) for my wife Girika and give it unto her. Her season hath arrived.'
"The hawk, swift of speed, took it from the king and rapidly coursed through the air. While thus passing, the hawk was seen by another of his species. Thinking that the first one was carrying meat, the second one flew at him. The two fought with each other in the sky with their beaks. While they were fighting, the seed fell into the waters of the Yamuna. And in those waters dwelt an Apsara of the higher rank, known by the name of Adrika, transformed by a Brahmana's curse into a fish. As soon as Vasu's seed fell into the water from the claws of the hawk, Adrika rapidly approached and swallowed it at once. That fish was, some time after, caught by the fishermen. And it was the tenth month of the fish's having swallowed the seed. From the stomach of that fish came out a male and a female child of human form. The fishermen wondered much, and wending unto king Uparichara (for they were his subjects) told him all. They said, 'O king, these two beings of human shape have been found in the body of a fish!' The male child amongst the two was taken by Uparichara. That child afterwards became the virtuous and truthful monarch Matsya.
"After the birth of the twins, the Apsara herself became freed from her curse. For she had been told before by the illustrious one (who had cursed her) that she would, while living in her piscatorial form, give birth to two children of human shape and then would be freed from the curse. Then, according to these words, having given birth to the two children, and been killed by the fishermen, she left her fish-form and assumed her own celestial shape. The Apsara then rose up on the path trodden by the Siddhas, the Rishis and the Charanas.
"The fish-smelling daughter of the Apsara in her piscatorial form was then given by the king unto the fishermen, saying, 'Let this one be thy daughter.' That girl was known by the name of Satyavati. And gifted with great beauty and possessed of every virtue, she of agreeable smiles, owing to contact with fishermen, was for some time of the fishy smell. Wishing to serve her (foster) father she plied a boat on the waters of the Yamuna.
"While engaged in this vocation, Satyavati was seen one day by the great Rishi Parasara, in course of his wanderings. As she was gifted with great
beauty, an object of desire even with an anchorite, and of graceful smiles, the wise sage, as soon as he beheld her, desired to have her. And that bull amongst Munis addressed the daughter of Vasu of celestial beauty and tapering thighs, saying, 'Accept my embraces, O blessed one!' Satyavati replied, 'O holy one, behold the Rishis standing on either bank of the river. Seen by them, how can I grant thy wish?'
"Thus addressed by her, the ascetic thereupon created a fog (which existed not before and) which enveloped the whole region in darkness. And the maiden, beholding the fog that was created by the great Rishi wondered much. And the helpless one became suffused with the blushes of bashfulness. And she said, 'O holy one, note that I am a maiden under the control of my father. O sinless one, by accepting your embraces my virginity will be sullied. O best of Brahmanas, my virginity being sullied, how shall I, O Rishi, be able to return home? Indeed, I shall not then be able to bear life. Reflecting upon all this, O illustrious one, do that which should be done.' That best of Rishis, gratified with all she said, replied, "Thou shall remain a virgin even if thou grantest my wish. And, O timid one, O beauteous lady, solicit the boon that thou desirest. O thou of fair smiles, my grace hath never before proved fruitless.' Thus addressed, the maiden asked for the boon that her body might emit a sweet scent (instead of the fish-odour that it had). And the illustrious Rishi thereupon granted that wish of her heart.
"Having obtained her boon, she became highly pleased, and her season immediately came. And she accepted the embraces of that Rishi of wonderful deeds. And she thenceforth became known among men by the name of Gandhavati (the sweet-scented one). And men could perceive her scent from the distance of a yojana. And for this she was known by another name which was Yojanagandha (one who scatters her scent for a yojana all around). And the illustrious Parasara, after this, went to his own asylum.
"And Satyavati gratified with having obtained the excellent boon in consequence of which she became sweet-scented and her virginity remained unsullied conceived through Parasara's embraces. And she brought forth the very day, on an island in the Yamuna, the child begot upon her by Parasara and gifted with great energy. And the child, with the permission of his mother, set his mind on asceticism. And he went away saying, 'As soon as thou rememberest me when occasion comes, I shall appear unto thee.'
"And it was thus that Vyasa was born of Satyavati through Parasara. And because he was born in an island, he was called Dwaipayana (Dwaipa or islandborn). And the learned Dwaipayana, beholding that virtue is destined to become lame by one leg each yuga (she having four legs in all) and that the period of life and the strength of men followed the yugas, and moved by the desire of obtaining the favour of Brahman and the Brahmanas, arranged the Vedas. And for this he came to be called Vyasa (the arranger or compiler).
[paragraph continues] The boon-giving great one then taught Sumanta, Jaimini, Paila, his son Suka, and Vaisampayana, the Vedas having the Mahabharata for their fifth. And the compilation of the Bharata was published by him through them separately.
"Then Bhishma, of great energy and fame and of immeasurable splendour, and sprung from the component parts of the Vasus, was born in the womb of Ganga through king Santanu. And there was a Rishi of the name of Animandavya of great fame. And he was conversant with the interpretations of the Vedas, was illustrious, gifted with great energy, and of great reputation. And, accused of theft, though innocent, the old Rishi was impaled. He thereupon summoned Dharma and told him these words, 'In my childhood I had pierced a little fly on a blade of grass, O Dharma! I recollect that one sin: but I cannot call to mind any other. I have, however, since practised penances a thousandfold. Hath not that one sin been conquered by this my asceticism? And because the killing of a Brahmana is more heinous than that of any other living thing, therefore, hast thou, O Dharma, been sinful. Thou shalt, therefore, be born on earth in the Sudra order.' And for that curse Dharma was born a Sudra in the form of the learned Vidura of pure body who was perfectly sinless. And the Suta was born of Kunti in her maidenhood through Surya. And he came out of his mother's womb with a natural coat of mail and face brightened by ear-rings. And Vishnu himself, of world-wide fame, and worshipped of all the worlds, was born of Devaki through Vasudeva, for the benefit of the three worlds. He is without birth and death, of radiant splendour, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of all! Indeed, he who is the invisible cause of all, who knoweth no deterioration, who is the all-pervading soul, the centre round which everything moveth, the substance in which the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas co-inhere, the universal soul, the immutable, the material out of which hath been created this universe, the Creator himself, the controlling lord, the invisible dweller in every object, progenitor of this universe of five elements, who is united with the six high attributes, is the Pranava or Om of the Vedas, is infinite, incapable of being moved by any force save his own will, illustrious, the embodiment of the mode of life called Sannyasa, who floated on the waters before the creation, who is the source whence hath sprung this mighty frame, who is the great combiner, the uncreate, the invisible essence of all, the great immutable, bereft of those attributes that are knowable by the senses, who is the universe itself, without beginning, birth, and decay,--is possessed of infinite wealth, that Grandsire of all creatures, became incarnate in the race of the Andhaka-Vrishnis for the increase of virtue.
"And Satyaki and Kritavarma, conversant with (the use of) weapons possessed of mighty energy, well-versed in all branches of knowledge, and obedient to Narayana in everything and competent in the use of weapons, had their births from Satyaka and Hridika. And the seed of the great Rishi
[paragraph continues] Bharadwaja of severe penances, kept in a pot, began to develop. And from that seed came Drona (the pot-born). And from the seed of Gautama, fallen upon a clump of reeds, were born two that were twins, the mother of Aswatthaman (called Kripi), and Kripa of great strength. Then was born Dhrishtadyumna, of the splendour of Agni himself, from the sacrificial fire. And the mighty hero was born with bow in hand for the destruction of Drona. And from the sacrificial altar was born Krishna (Draupadi) resplendent and handsome, of bright features and excellent beauty. Then was born the disciple of Prahlada, viz., Nagnajit, and also Suvala. And from Suvala was born a son, Sakuni, who from the curse of the gods became the slayer of creatures and the foe of virtue. And unto him was also born a daughter (Gandhari), the mother of Duryodhana. And both were well-versed in the arts of acquiring worldly profits. And from Krishna was born, in the soil of Vichitravirya, Dhritarashtra, the lord of men, and Pandu of great strength. And from Dwaipayana also born, in the Sudra caste, the wise and intelligent Vidura, conversant with both religion and profit, and free from all sins. And unto Pandu by his two wives were born five sons like the celestials. The eldest of them was Yudhishthira. And Yudhishthira was born (of the seed) of Dharma (Yama, the god of justice); and Bhima of the wolf's stomach was born of Marut (the god of wind), and Dhananjaya, blessed with good fortune and the first of all wielders of weapons, was born of Indra; and Nakula and Sahadeva, of handsome features and ever engaged in the service of their superiors, were born of the twin Aswins. And unto the wise Dhritarashtra were born a hundred sons, viz., Duryodhana and others, and another, named Yuyutsu, who was born of a vaisya woman. And amongst those hundred and one, eleven, viz., Duhsasana, Duhsaha, Durmarshana, Vikarna, Chitrasena, Vivinsati, Jaya, Satyavrata, Purumitra, and Yuyutsu by a Vaisya wife, were all Maharathas (great car-warriors). And Abhimanyu was born of Subhadra, the sister of Vasudeva through Arjuna, and was, therefore, the grandson of the illustrious Pandu. And unto the five Pandavas were born five sons by (their common wife) Panchali. And these princes were all very handsome and conversant with all branches of knowledge. From Yudhishthira was born Pritivindhya; from Vrikodara, Sutasoma; from Arjuna, Srutakirti; from Nakula, Satanika; and from Sahadeva, Srutasena of great prowess; and Bhima, in the forest begot on Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. And from Drupada was born a daughter Sikhandin who was afterwards transformed into a male child. Sikhandini was so transformed into a male by Yaksha named Sthuna from the desire of doing her good.
"In that great battle of the Kurus came hundreds of thousands of monarchs for fighting against one another. The names of the innumerable host I am unable to recount even in ten thousand years. I have named, however, the principal ones who have been mentioned in this history.'"
"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, those thou hast named and those thou hast not named, I wish to hear of them in detail, as also of other kings by thousands. And, O thou of great good fortune, it behoveth thee to tell me in full the object for which those Maharathas, equal unto the celestials themselves, were born on earth.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that what thou askest is a mystery even to the gods. I shall, however, speak of it unto thee, after bowing down (to the self-born). The son of Jamadagni (Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth bereft of Kshatriyas wended to that best of mountains Mahendra and there began his ascetic penances. And at that time when the earth was bereft of Kshatriyas, the Kshatriya ladies, desirous of offspring, used to come, O monarch, to the Brahmanas and Brahmanas of rigid vows had connection with them during the womanly season alone, but never, O king, lustfully and out of season. And Kshatriya ladies by thousands conceived from such connection with Brahmanas. Then, O monarch, were born many Kshatriyas of greater energy, boys and girls, so that the Kshatriya race, might thrive. And thus sprang the Kshatriya race from Kshatriya ladies by Brahmanas of ascetic penances. And the new generation, blessed with long life, began to thrive in virtue. And thus were the four orders having Brahmanas at their head re-established. And every man at that time went in unto his wife during her season and never from lust and out of season. And, O bull of the Bharata race, in the same way, other creatures also, even those born in the race of birds went in unto their wives during the season alone. And, O protector of the earth, hundreds of thousands of creatures were born, and all were virtuous and began to multiply in virtue, all being free from sorrow and disease. And, O thou of the elephant's tread, this wide earth having the ocean for her boundaries, with her mountains and woods and towns, was once more governed by the Kshatriyas. And when the earth began to be again governed virtuously by the Kshatriyas, the other orders having Brahmanas for their first were filled with great joy. And the kings giving up all vices born of lust and anger and justly awarding punishments to those that deserved them protected the earth. And he of a hundred sacrifices, possessed also of a thousand eyes, beholding that the Kshatriya monarchs ruled so virtuously, poured down vivifying showers at proper times and places and blessed all creatures. Then, O king, no one of immature years died, and none knew a woman before attaining to age. And thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the earth, to the very coasts of the ocean, became filled with men that were all long-lived. The Kshatriyas performed great sacrifices bestowing much wealth. And the Brahmanas also all studied the Vedas
with their branches and the Upanishads. And, O king, no Brahmana in those days ever sold the Vedas (i.e., taught for money) or ever read aloud the Vedas in the presence of a Sudra. The Vaisyas, with the help of bullocks, caused the earth to be tilled. And they never yoked the cattle themselves. And they fed with care all cattle that were lean. And men never milked kine as long as the calves drank only the milk of their dams (without having taken to grass or any other food). And no merchant in those days ever sold his articles by false scales. And, O tiger among men, all persons, holding to the ways of virtue, did everything with eyes set upon virtue. And, O monarch, all the orders were mindful of their own respective duties. Thus, O tiger among men, virtue in those days never sustained any diminution. And, O bull of the Bharata race, both kine and women gave birth to their offspring at the proper time. And trees bore flowers and fruit duly according to the seasons. And thus, O king, the krita age having then duly set in, the whole earth was filled with numerous creatures.
"And, O bull of the Bharata race, when such was the blessed state of the terrestrial world, the Asuras, O lord of men, began to be born in kingly lines. And the sons of Diti (Daityas) being repeatedly defeated in war by the sons of Aditi (celestials) and deprived also of sovereignty and heaven, began to be incarnated on the earth. And, O king, the Asuras being possessed of great powers, and desirous of sovereignty began to be born on earth amongst various creatures, such as kine, horses, asses, camels, buffaloes, among creatures such as Rakshasas and others, and among elephants and deer. And, O protector of the earth, owing to those already born and to those that were being born, the earth became incapable of supporting herself. And amongst the sons of Diti and of Danu, cast out of heaven, some were born on the earth as kings of great pride and insolence. Possessed of great energy, they covered the earth in various shapes. Capable of oppressing all foes, they filled the earth having the ocean for its boundaries. And by their strength they began to oppress Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras and all other creatures also. Terrifying and killing all creatures, they traversed the earth, O king, in bands of hundreds and thousands. Devoid of truth and virtue, proud of their strength, and intoxicated with (the wine of) insolence, they even insulted the great Rishis in their hermitages.
"And the earth, thus oppressed by the mighty Asuras endued with great strength and energy and possessed of abundant means, began to think of waiting on Brahman. The united strength of the creatures (such as Sesha, the Tortoise, and the huge Elephant), and of many Seshas too, became capable of supporting the earth with her mountains, burdened as she was with the weight of the Danavas. And then, O king, the earth, oppressed with weight and afflicted with fear, sought the protection of the Grandsire of all creatures. And she beheld the divine Brahman--the Creator of the worlds who knoweth no deterioration--surrounded by the gods, Brahmanas,
and great Rishis, of exceeding good fortune, and adored by delighted Gandharvas and Apsaras always engaged in the service of the celestials. And the Earth, desirous of protection, then represented everything to him, in the presence, O Bharata, of all the Regents of the worlds. But, O king, the Earth's object had been known beforehand to the Omniscient, Self-create, and Supreme Lord. And, O Bharata, Creator as he is of the universe, why should he not know fully what is in the minds of his creatures including the very gods and the Asuras? O king, the Lord of the Earth, the Creator of all creatures, also called Isa, Sambhu, Prajapati, then spake unto her. And Brahman said, 'O holder of wealth, for the accomplishment of the object for which thou hast approached me, I shall appoint all the dwellers in the heavens.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Earth, O king, the divine Brahman bade her farewell. And the Creator then commanded all the gods saying, 'To ease the Earth of her burden, go ye and have your births in her according to your respective parts and seek ye strife (with the Asuras already born there)'. And the Creator of all, summoning also all the tribes of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, spake unto them these words of deep import, 'Go ye and be born amongst men according to your respective parts in forms that ye like.'
"And all the gods with Indra, on hearing these words of the Lord of the celestials--words that were true, desirable under the circumstances, and fraught with benefit,--accepted them. And they all having resolved to come down on earth in their respected parts, then went to Narayana, the slayer of all foes, at Vaikunth--the one who has the discus and the mace in his hands, who is clad in purple, who is of great splendour, who hath the lotus on his navel, who is the slayer of the foes of the gods, who is of eyes looking down upon his wide chest (in yoga attitude), who is the lord of the Prajapati himself, the sovereign of all the gods, of mighty strength, who hath the mark of the auspicious whirl on his breast, who is the mover of every one's faculties and who is adored by all the gods. Him, Indra the most exalted of persons, addressed, saying, "Be incarnate." And Hari replied,--'Let it be.'"