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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
“Janamejaya said, ‘O Brahmana, I have now heard from thee this great history of my ancestors. I had also heard from thee about the great monarchs that were born in this line. But I have not been gratified, this charming account being so short. Therefore, be pleased, O Brahmana, to recite the delightful narrative just in detail commencing from Manu, the lord of creation. Who is there that will not be charmed with such an account, as it is sacred? The fame of these monarchs increased by their wisdom, virtue, accomplishments, and high character, hath so swelled as to cover the three worlds. Having listened to the history, sweet as nectar, of their liberality, prowess, physical strength, mental vigour, energy, and perseverance, I have not been satiated!’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hear then, O monarch, as I recite in full the auspicious account of thy own race just as I had heard it from Dwaipayana before.
“Daksha begat Aditi, and Aditi begat Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begat Manu, and Manu begat Ha and Ha begat Pururavas. And Pururavas begat Ayus, and Ayus begat Nahusha, and Nahusha begat Yayati. And Yayati had two wives, viz., Devayani, the daughter of Usanas, and Sarmishtha the daughter of Vrishaparvan. Here occurs a sloka regarding (Yayati’s) descendants, ‘Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu; and Vrishaparvan’s daughter, Sarmishtha gave birth to Druhyu, Anu, and Puru., And the descendants of Yadu are the Yadavas and of Puru are the Pauravas. And Puru had a wife of the name of Kausalya, on whom he begat a son named Janamejaya who performed three horse-sacrifices and a sacrifice called Viswajit.
And then he entered into the woods. And Janamejaya had married Ananta, the daughter of Madhava, and begat upon her a son called Prachinwat. And the prince was so called because he had conquered all the eastern countries up to the very confines of the region where the Sun rises. And Prachinwat married Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named Sanyati. And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon her a son named Ahayanti. And Ahayanti married Bhanumati, the daughter of Kritavirya and begat upon her a son named Sarvabhauma. And Sarvabhauma married Sunanda, the daughter of the Kekaya prince, having obtained her by force. And he begat upon her a son named Jayatsena, who married Susrava, the daughter of the Vidarbha king and begat upon her Avachina, And Avachina also married another princess of Vidarbha, Maryada by name. And he begat on her a son named Arihan. And Arihan married Angi and begat on her Mahabhauma. And Mahabhauma married Suyajna, the daughter of Prasenajit. And of her was born Ayutanayi. And he was so called because he had performed a sacrifice at which the fat of an Ayuta (ten thousands) of male beings was required.
And Ayutanayi took for a wife Kama, the daughter of Prithusravas. And by her was born a son named Akrodhana, who took to wife Karambha, the daughter of the king of Kalinga. And of her was born Devatithi, and Devatithi took for his wife Maryada, the princess of Videha. And of her was born a son named Arihan. And Arihan took to wife Sudeva, the princess of Anga, and upon her he begat a son named Riksha. And Riksha married Jwala, the daughter of Takshaka, and he begat upon her a son of the name of Matinara, who performed on the bank of Saraswati the twelve years’ sacrifice said to be so efficacious. On conclusion of the sacrifice, Saraswati appeared in person before the king and chose him for husband. And he begat upon her a son named
“Tansu was born of Saraswati by Matinara. And Tansu himself begat a son named Ilina on his wife, the princess Kalingi.
“Ilina begat on his wife Rathantari five sons, of whom Dushmanta was the eldest. And Dushmanta took to wife Sakuntala, the daughter of Viswamitra. And he begat on her a son named Bharata. Here occurs two slokas about (Dushmanta’s) descendants.
“The mother is but the sheath of flesh in which the father begets the son. Indeed the father himself is the son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, support thy son and insult not Sakuntala. O god among men, the father himself becoming the son rescueth himself from hell. Sakuntala hath truly said that thou art the author of this child’s being.
“It is for this (i.e., because the king supported his child after hearing the above speech of the celestial messenger) that Sakuntala’s son came to be called Bharata (the supported). And Bharata married Sunanda, the daughter of Sarvasena, the king of Kasi, and begat upon her the son named Bhumanyu. And Bhumanyu married Vijaya, the daughter of Dasarha. And he begat upon her a son Suhotra who married Suvarna, the daughter of Ikshvaku. To her was born a son named Hasti who founded this city, which has, therefore, been called Hastinapura. And Hasti married Yasodhara, the princess of Trigarta.
And of her was born a son named Vikunthana who took for a wife Sudeva, the princess of Dasarha. And by her was born a son named Ajamidha. And Ajamidha had four wives named Raikeyi, Gandhari, Visala and Riksha. And he begat on them two thousand and four hundred sons. But amongst them all, Samvarana became the perpetuator of the dynasty. And Samvarana took for his wife Tapati, the daughter of Vivaswat. And of her was born Kuru, who married Subhangi, the princess of Dasarha. And he begat on her a son named Viduratha, who took to wife Supriya, the daughter of the Madhavas. And he begat upon her a son named Anaswan. And Anaswan married Amrita, the daughter of the Madhavas. And of her was born a son named Parikshit, who took for his wife Suvasa, the daughter of the Vahudas, and begat upon her a son named Bhimasena. And Bhimasena married Kumari, the princess of Kekaya and begat upon her Pratisravas whose son was Pratipa. And Pratipa married Sunanda, the daughter of Sivi, and begat upon her three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu and Valhika. And Devapi, while still a boy, entered the woods as a hermit. And Santanu became king. Here occurs a sloka in respect of Santanu.
“Those old men that were touched by this monarch not only felt an indescribable sensation of pleasure but also became restored to youth. Therefore, this monarch was called Santanu.
“And Santanu married Ganga, who bore him a son Devavrata who was afterwards called Bhishma. And Bhishma, moved by the desire of doing good to his father, got him married to Satyavati who was also called Gandhakali. And in her maidenhood she had a son by Parasara, named Dwaipayana. And upon her Santanu begat two other sons named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. And before they attained to majority, Chitrangada had been slain by the Gandharvas. But Vichitravirya became king, and married the two daughters of the king of Kasi, named Amvika and Amvalika. But Vichitravirya died childless. Then Satyavati began to think as to how the dynasty of Dushmanta might be perpetuated. Then she recollected the Rishi Dwaipayana. The latter coming before her, asked, ‘What are thy commands?’ ‘She said, ‘Thy brother Vichitravirya hath gone to heaven childless. Beget virtuous children for him.’ Dwaipayana, consenting to this, begat three children, viz., Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. King Dhritarashtra had a hundred sons by his wife, Gandhari in consequence of the boon granted by Dwaipayana. And amongst those hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, four became celebrated. They are Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Chitrasena. And Pandu had two jewels of wives, viz., Kunti, also called Pritha, and Madri. One day Pandu, while out a-hunting, saw a deer covering its mate. That was really a Rishi in the form of a deer. Seeing the deer in that attitude, he killed it with his arrows, before its desire was gratified.
Pierced with the king’s arrow, the deer quickly changed its form and became a Rishi, and said unto Pandu, ‘O Pandu, thou art virtuous and acquainted also with the pleasure derived from the gratification of one’s desire. My desire unsatisfied, thou hast slain me! Therefore, thou also, when so engaged and before thou art gratified, shalt die!’ Pandu, hearing this curse, became pale, and from that time would not go in unto his wives. And he told them these words, ‘Through my own fault, I have been cursed! But I have heard that for the childless there are no regions hereafter.’ Therefore, he solicited Kunti to have offspring raised for him. And Kunti said, ‘Let it be’, So she raised up offspring. By Dharma she had Yudhishthira; by Maruta, Bhima: and by Sakra, Arjuna. And Pandu, well-pleased with her, said, ‘This thy co-wife is also childless. Therefore, cause her also to bear children.’ Kunti saying, ‘So be it,’ imparted unto Madri the mantra of invocation. And on Madri were raised by the twin Aswins, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva. And (one day) Pandu, beholding Madri decked with ornaments, had his desire kindled. And, as soon as he touched her, he died. Madri ascended the funeral pyre with her lord. And she said unto Kunti, ‘Let these twins of mine be brought up by thee with affection.’ After some time those five Pandavas were taken by the ascetics of the woods to Hastinapura and there introduced to Bhishma and Vidura. And after introducing them, the ascetics disappeared in the very sight of all. And after the conclusion of the speech of those ascetics, flowers were showered down upon the spot, and the celestial drums also were beaten in the skies. The Pandavas were then taken (by Bhishma). They then represented the death of their father and performed his last honours duly. And as they were brought up there, Duryodhana became exceedingly jealous of them. And the sinful Duryodhana acting like Rakshasa tried various means to drive them away. But what must be can never be frustrated. So all Duryodhana’s efforts proved futile. Then Dhritarashtra sent them, by an act of deception to Varanavata, and they went there willingly. There an endeavour was made to burn them to death; but it proved abortive owing to the warning counsels of Vidura. After that the Pandavas slew Hidimva, and then they went to a town called Ekachakra. There also they slew a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka and then went to Panchala.
And there obtaining Draupadi for a wife they returned to Hastinapura. And there they dwelt for some time in peace and begat children. And Yudhishthira begat Prativindhya; Bhima, Sutasoma; Arjuna, Srutakriti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva, Srutakarman. Besides these, Yudhishthira, having obtained for his wife Devika, the daughter of Govasana of the Saivya tribe, in a self-choice ceremony, begat upon her a son named Yaudheya. And Bhima also obtaining for a wife Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, offered his own prowess as dower and begat upon her a son named Sarvaga. And Arjuna also, repairing to Dwaravati, brought away by force Subhadra. the sweet-speeched sister of Vasudeva, and returned in happiness to Hastinapura.
And he begat upon her a son named Abhimanyu endued with all accomplishments and dear to Vasudeva himself. And Nakula obtaining for his wife Karenumati, the princess of Chedi, begat upon her a son named Niramitra. And Sahadeva also married Vijaya, the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, obtaining her in a self-choice ceremony and begat upon her a son named Suhotra. And Bhimasena had some time before begat upon Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. These are the eleven sons of the Pandavas. Amongst them all, Abhimanyu was the perpetuator of the family. He married Uttara, the daughter of Virata, who brought forth a dead child whom Kunti took up on her lap at the command of Vasudeva who said, ‘I will revive this child of six months.’ And though born before time, having been burnt by the fire of (Aswatthaman’s weapon) and, therefore, deprived of strength and energy he was revived by Vasudeva and endued with strength, energy and prowess. And after reviving him, Vasudeva said, ‘Because this child hath been born in an extinct race, therefore, he shall be called Parikshit’. And Parikshit married Madravati, thy mother, O king, and thou art born to her, O Janamejaya! Thou hast also begotten two sons on thy wife Vapushtama, named Satanika and Sankukarna. And Satanika also hath begotten one son named Aswamedhadatta upon the princess of Videha.
“Thus have I, O king, recited the history of the descendants of Puru and of the Pandavas. This excellent, virtue-increasing, and sacred history should ever be listened to by vow-observing Brahmanas, by Kshatriyas devoted to the practices of their order and ready to protect their subjects; by Vaisyas with attention, and by Sudras with reverence, whose chief occupation is to wait upon the three other orders. Brahmanas conversant in the Vedas and other persons, who with attention and reverence recite this sacred history or listen to it when recited, conquer the heavens and attain to the abode of the blessed. They are also always respected and adored by the gods, Brahamanas, and other men. This holy history of Bharata hath been composed by the sacred and illustrious Vyasa. Veda-knowing Brahmanas and other persons who with reverence and without malice hear it recited, earn great religious merits and conquer the heavens. Though sinning, they are not disregarded by any one. Here occurs a sloka, ‘This (Bharata) is equal unto the Vedas: it is holy and excellent. It bestoweth wealth, fame, and life. Therefore, it should be listened to by men with rapt attention.’”