(Subhadra-harana Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then Dhananjaya, informed of the assent of Yudhishthira, and ascertaining, O Janamejaya, that the maiden had gone to the Raivataka hill, obtained the assent of Vasudeva also, after having settled in consultation with him all that required to be done. Then that bull of Bharata’s race, that foremost of men, with Krishna’s assent, riding in his well-built car of gold equipped with rows of small bells and with every kind of weapon and the clatter of whose wheels resembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like unto that of a blazing fire and which struck terror into the hearts of all foes and unto which were yoked the steeds Saivya and Sugriva, himself accoutred in mail and armed with sword and his fingers encased in leathern gloves, set out, as it were, on a hunting expedition.
Meanwhile Subhadra, having paid her homage unto that prince of hills, Raivataka and having worshipped the deities and made the Brahmanas utter benedictions upon her, and having also walked round the hill, was coming towards Dwaravati. The son of Kunti, afflicted with the shafts of the god of desire, suddenly rushed towards that Yadava girl of faultless features and forcibly took her into his car. Having seized that girl of sweet smiles, that tiger among men proceeded in his car of gold towards his own city (Indraprastha). Meanwhile, the armed attendants of Subhadra, beholding her thus seized and taken away, all ran, crying towards the city of Dwaraka. Reaching all together the Yadava court called by the name of Sudharma, they represented everything about the prowess of Partha unto the chief officer of the court. The chief officer of the court, having heard everything from those messengers, blew his gold-decked trumpet of loud blare, calling all to arms. Stirred up by that sound, the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, and the Andhakas began to pour in from all sides. Those that were eating left their food, and those that were drinking left their drink. Those tigers among men, those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, took their seats upon their thousand thrones of gold covered with excellent carpets and variegated with gems and corals and possessed of the lustre of blazing fire. Indeed they took their seats upon those thrones, like blazing fires receiving faggots to increase their splendour.
And after they were seated in that court which was like unto a conclave of the celestials themselves, the chief officer of the court, assisted by those that stood at his back, spoke of the conduct of Jishnu. The proud Vrishni heroes, of eyes red with wine, as soon as they heard of it, rose up from their seats, unable to brook what Arjuna had done. Some amongst them said, ‘Yoke our cars’, and some, ‘Bring our weapons’ and some said, ‘Bring our costly bows and strong coats of mail; and some loudly called upon their charioteers to harness their cars, and some, from impatience, themselves yoked their horses decked with gold unto their cars.
And while their cars and armours and standards were being brought, loud became the uproar of those heroes. Then Valadeva, white and tall as the peak of Kailasa, decked with garlands of wild flowers and attired in blue robes, and proud and intoxicated with drink, said these words:
‘Ye senseless men, what are ye doing, when Janardana sitteth silent? Without knowing what is in his mind, vainly do we roar in wrath! Let the high-souled Krishna give out what he proposeth. Accomplish promptly what he desireth to do.’ Then all of them, hearing those words of Halayudha that deserved to be accepted, exclaimed, ‘Excellent! Excellent!’ They then all became silent. Silence having been restored by the words of the intelligent Valadeva, they took their seats once more in that assembly.
Then Rama, that oppressor of foes, spoke unto Vasudeva, saying, ‘Why, O Janardana, sittest thou, gazing silently? O Achyuta, it was for thy sake that the son of Pritha had been welcomed and honoured by us. It seemeth, however, that that vile wretch deserved not our homage. What man is there born of a respectable family that would break the plate after having dined from it! Even if one desireth to make such an alliance, yet remembering all the services he hath received, who is there, desirous of happiness, that acts so rashly? That Pandava disregarding us and thee too hath today outraged Subhadra, desiring (to compass) his own death.
He hath placed his foot on the crown of my head. How shall I, O Govinda, tamely bear it? Shall I not resent it, even like a snake that is trodden upon? Alone shall I today make the earth destitute of Kauravas! Never shall I put up with this transgression by Arjuna.’ Then all the Bhojas, Vrishnis, and Andhakas, present there, approved of everything that Valadeva had said, deeply roaring like unto a kettle-drum or the clouds.'”
“Vaisampayana said, ‘When the heroes of the Vrishni race began to speak repeatedly in this strain, Vasudeva uttered these words pregnant with deep import and consistent with true morality. Gudakesa (the conqueror of sleep or he of the curly hair), by what he hath done, hath not insulted our family. He hath without doubt, rather enhanced our respect. Partha knoweth that we of the Satwata race are never mercenary. The son of Pandu also regardeth a self-choice as doubtful in its results.
Who also would approve of accepting a bride in gift as if she were an animal? What man again is there on earth that would sell his offspring? I think Arjuna, seeing these faults in all the other methods took the maiden away by force, according to the ordinance. This alliance is very proper. Subhadra is a renowned girl. Partha too possesseth renown. Perhaps, thinking of all this, Arjuna hath taken her away by force. Who is there that would not desire to have Arjuna for a friend, who is born in the race of Bharata and the renowned Santanu, and the son also of the daughter of Kuntibhoja? I do not see, in all the worlds with Indra and the Rudras, the person that can by force vanquish Partha in battle, except the three-eyed god Mahadeva.
His car is well-known. Yoked thereunto are those steeds of mine. Partha as a warrior is well-known; and his lightness of hand is well-known. Who shall be equal to him? Even this is my opinion: go ye cheerfully after Dhananjaya and by conciliation stop him and bring him back. If Partha goes to his city after having vanquished us by force, our fame will be gone. There is no disgrace, however, in conciliation.’ Hearing, O monarch, those words of Vasudeva, they did as he directed.
Stopped by them, Arjuna returned to Dwaraka and was united in marriage with Subhadra. Worshipped by the sons of Vrishni’s race, Arjuna, sporting there as he pleased, passed a whole year in Dwaraka. The last year of his exile the exalted one passed at the sacred region of Pushkara. After the twelve years were complete he came back to Khandavaprastha. He approached the king first and then worshipped the Brahmanas with respectful attention. At last the hero went unto Draupadi. Draupadi, from jealousy, spoke unto him, saying, ‘Why tarriest thou here, O son of Kunti? Go where the daughter of the Satwata race is! A second tie always relaxeth the first one upon a faggot!’ And Krishna lamented much in this strain. But Dhananjaya pacified her repeatedly and asked for her forgiveness.
And returning soon unto where Subhadra, attired in red silk, was staying, Arjuna, sent her into the inner apartments dressed not as a queen but in the simple garb of a cowherd woman. But arrived at the palace, the renowned Subhadra looked handsomer in that dress. The celebrated Bhadra of large and slightly red eyes first worshipped Pritha. Kunti from excess of affection smelt the head of that girl of perfectly faultless features, and pronounced infinite blessing upon her.
Then that girl of face like the full moon hastily went unto Draupadi and worshipped her, saying, ‘I am thy maid!’ Krishna rose hastily and embraced the sister of Madhava from affection, and said, ‘Let thy husband be without a foe!’ Bhadra then, with a delighted heart, said unto Draupadi, ‘So be it!’ From that time, O Janamejaya, those great warriors, the Pandavas, began to live happily, and Kunti also became very happy.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When that scorcher of foes, viz., Kesava of pure soul and eyes, like lotus-petals, heard that the foremost of the Pandavas, viz., Arjuna, had reached his own excellent city of Indraprastha, he came thither accompanied by Rama and the other heroes and great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes, and by his brothers and sons and many other brave warriors. And Saurin came accompanied by a large army that protected him.
And there came with Saurin, that oppressor of foes, viz., the exceedingly liberal Akrura of great intelligence and renown, the generalissimo of the brave Vrishni host. And there also came Anadhrishti of great prowess, and Uddhava of great renown, of great intelligence, of great soul, and a disciple of Vrihaspati himself. And there also came Satyaka and Salyaka and Kritavarman and Satwata; and Pradyumna and Samva and Nisatha and Sanku; and Charudeshna, and Jhilli of great prowess, and Viprithu also and Sarana of mighty arms and Gada, the foremost of learned men.
These and many other Vrishnis and Bhojas, and Andhakas came to Indraprastha, bringing with them many nuptial presents. King Yudhishthira, hearing that Madhava had arrived, sent the twins out to receive him. Received by them, the Vrishni host of great prosperity entered Khandavaprastha well-adorned with flags and ensigns. The streets were well-swept and watered and decked with floral wreaths and bunches. These were, again, sprinkled over with sandalwood water that was fragrant and cooling. Every part of the town was filled with the sweet scent of burning aloes. And the city was full of joyous and healthy people and adorned with merchants and traders. That best of men, viz., Kesava of mighty arms, accompanied by Rama and many of the Vrishnis, Andhakas and Bhojas, having entered the town, was worshipped by the citizens and Brahmanas by thousands. At last Kesava entered the palace of the king which was like unto the mansion of Indra himself. Beholding Rama, Yudhishthira received him with due ceremonies. The king smelt the head of Kesava and embraced him. Govinda, gratified with the reception, humbly worshipped Yudhishthira.
He also paid homage unto Bhima, that tiger among men. Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then received the other principal men of the Vrishni and the Andhaka tribes with due ceremonies. Yudhishthira reverentially worshipped some as his superiors, and welcomed others as equals. And some he received with affection and by some he was worshipped with reverence. Then Hrishikesa of great renown gave unto the party of the bridegroom much wealth. And unto Subhadra he gave the nuptial presents that had been given to her by her relatives. Krishna gave unto the Pandavas a thousand cars of gold furnished with rows of bells, and unto each of which were put four steeds driven by well-trained charioteers. He also gave unto them ten thousand cows belonging to the country of Mathura, and yielding much milk and all of excellent colour. Well-pleased, Janardana also gave them a thousand mares with gold harnesses and of colour white as the beams of the moon. He also gave them a thousand mules, all well-trained and possessing the speed of the wind, of white colour with black manes. And he of eyes like lotus-petals also gave unto them a thousand damsels well-skilled in assisting at bathing and at drinking, young in years and virgins all before their first-season, well-attired and of excellent complexion, each wearing a hundred pieces of gold around her neck, of skins perfectly polished, decked with every ornament, and well-skilled in every kind of personal service. Janardana also gave unto them hundreds of thousands of draft horses from the country of the Valhikas as Subhadra’s excellent dower.
That foremost one of Dasarha’s race also gave unto Subhadra as her peculium ten carrier-loads of first class gold possessing the splendour of fire, some purified and some in a state of ore. And Rama having the plough for his weapon and always loving bravery gave unto Arjuna, as a nuptial present, a thousand elephants with secretions flowing in three streams from the three parts of their bodies (the temple, the ears, and the anus) each large as a mountain summit, irresistible in battle, decked with coverlets and bells, well-adorned with other golden ornaments, and equipped with excellent thrones on their backs. And that large wave of wealth and gems that the Yadavas presented, together with the cloths and blankets that represented its foam, and the elephants its alligators and sharks, and the flags its floating weeds swelling into large proportions, mingled with the Pandu ocean and filled it to the brim, to the great sorrow of all foes. Yudhishthira accepted all those presents and worshipped all those great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races. Those illustrious heroes of the Kuru, the Vrishni, and the Andhaka races passed their days in pleasure and merriment there like virtuous men (after death) in the celestial regions.
The Kurus and the Vrishnis with joyous hearts amused themselves there, setting up at times loud shouts mingled with clappings of the hand. Spending many days in sports and merriment there, and worshipped by the Kurus all the while, the Vrishni heroes endued with great energy then returned to the city of Dwaravati. And the great warriors of the Vrishni and the Andhaka races set out with Rama in the van, carrying with them those gems of the purest rays that had been given them by those foremost ones of Kuru’s race. And, O Bharata, the high-souled Vasudeva remained there with Arjuna in the delightful city of Indraprastha. And the illustrious one wandered over the banks of the Yamuna in search of deer. And he sported with Arjuna piercing with his shafts deer and wild boars. Then Subhadra, the favourite sister of Kesava, gave birth to an illustrious son, like Puloma’s daughter, (the queen of heaven) bringing forth Jayanta. And the son that Subhadra brought forth was of long arms, broad chest, and eyes as large as those of a bull. That hero and oppressor of foes came to be called Abhimanyu. And the son of Arjuna, that grinder of foes and bull among men, was called Abhimanyu because he was fearless and wrathful. And that great warrior was begotten upon the daughter of the Satwata race by Dhananjaya, like fire produced in a sacrifice from within the sami wood by the process of rubbing. Upon the birth of this child, Yudhishthira, the powerful son of Kunti, gave away unto Brahmanas ten thousand cows and coins of gold. The child from his earliest years became the favourite of Vasudeva and of his father and uncles, like the moon of all the people of the world.
Upon his birth, Krishna performed the usual rites of infancy. The child began to grow up like the Moon of the bright fortnight. That grinder of foes soon became conversant with the Vedas and acquired from his father the science of weapon both celestial and human, consisting of four branches and ten divisions.
“Endued with great strength, the child also acquired the knowledge of counteracting the weapons hurled at him by others, and great lightness of hand and fleetness of motion forward and backward and transverse and wheeling. Abhimanyu became like unto his father in knowledge of the scriptures and rites of religion. And Dhananjaya, beholding his son, became filled with joy. Like Maghavat beholding Arjuna, the latter beheld his son Abhimanyu and became exceedingly happy. Abhimanyu possessed the power of slaying every foe and bore on his person every auspicious mark. He was invisible in battle and broad-shouldered as the bull. Possessing a broad face as (the hood of) the snake, he was proud like the lion. Wielding a large bow, his prowess was like that of an elephant in rut. Possessed of a face handsome as the full-moon, and of a voice deep as the sound of the drum or the clouds, he was equal unto Krishna in bravery and energy, in beauty and in features. The auspicious Panchali also, from her five husbands, obtained five sons all of whom were heroes of the foremost rank and immovable in battle like the hills. Prativindhya by Yudhishthira, Sutasoma by Vrikodara, Srutakarman by Arjuna, Satanika by Nakula, and Srutasena by Sahadeva,–these were the five heroes and great warriors that Panchali brought forth, like Aditi bringing forth the Adityas.
And the Brahmanas, from their foreknowledge, said unto Yudhishthira that as the son of his would be capable of bearing like the Vindhya mountains the weapons of the foe, he should be called Prativindhya. And because the child that Draupadi bore to Bhimasena was born after Bhima had performed a thousand Soma sacrifices, he came to be called Sutasoma. And because Arjuna’s son was born upon his return from exile during which he had achieved many celebrated feats, that child came to be called Srutakarman. While Nakula named his son Satanika after a royal sage of that name, in the illustrious race of Kuru. Again the son that Draupadi bore to Sahadeva was born under the constellation called Vahni-daivata (Krittika), therefore was he called after the generalissimo of the celestial host, Srutasena (Kartikeya). The sons of Draupadi were born, each at the interval of one year, and all of them became renowned and much attached to one another. And, O monarch, all their rites of infancy and childhood, such as Chudakarana and Upanayana (first shave of the head and investiture with the sacred threads) were performed by Dhaumya according to the ordinance. All of them, of excellent behaviour and vows, after having studied the Vedas, acquired from Arjuna a knowledge of all the weapons, celestial and human.
And, O tiger among kings, the Pandavas, having obtained sons all of whom were equal unto the children of the celestials and endued with broad chests, and all of whom became great warriors, were filled with joy.'”