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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his wish, to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was complete) Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada’s queen, saying, ‘Come hither, O queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!’ Hearing this, the queen said, ‘O Brahmana, my mouth is yet filled with saffron and other perfumed things. My body also beareth many sweet scents; I am hardly fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which is to give me offspring). Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that happy consummation.’ Yaja, however, replied, ‘O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should not the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja’s invocations?’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child resembling a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was terrible to behold. With a crown on this head and his body encased in excellent armour, sword in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he frequently sent forth loud roars. And immediately after his birth, he ascended an excellent chariot and went about in it for some time. Then the Panchalas in great joy shouted, ‘Excellent, Excellent.’ The very earth seemed at that time unable to bear the weight of the Panchalas mad with joy.

Then, marvellous to say, the voice of some invisible spirit in the skies said, ‘This prince hath been born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the king.’ And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blest with great good fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. Her nails were beautifully convex, and bright as burnished copper; her eye-brows were fair, and bosom was deep. Indeed, she resembled the veritable daughter of a celestial born among men. Her body gave out fragrance like that of a blue lotus, perceivable from a distance of full two miles. Her beauty was such that she had no equal on earth. Like a celestial herself, she could be desired (in marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a: Yaksha. When this girl of fair hips was born an incorporeal voice said, ‘This dark-complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the cause of the destruction of many Kshatriyas.

This slender-waisted one will, in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a danger will overtake the Kauravas.’ On hearing these words, the Panchalas uttered a loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the weight of that joyous concourse. Then beholding the boy and the girl, the daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and said, ‘Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.’ Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, ‘So be it!’ Then the Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed names upon the new-born pair, ‘Let this son of king Drupada, they said, be called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because of his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.’ And they also said, ‘Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be called Krishna (the dark).’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Thus were born those twins of the great sacrifice of Drupada. And the great Drona, bringing the Panchala prince into his own abode, taught him all weapons in requital of half the kingdom he had formerly taken from Drupada. The high-souled son of Bharadwaja, regarding destiny to be inevitable, did what would perpetuate his own great deeds.’”

SECTION CLXX
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing these words of the Brahmana, the sons of Kunti seemed to be, as it were, pierced with darts. Indeed, all those mighty heroes lost their peace of mind. Then the truthful Kunti, beholding all her sons listless and inattentive, addressed Yudhishthira and said, ‘We have now lived many nights in the abode of this Brahmana. We have passed our time pleasantly in this town, living on the alms obtained from many honest and illustrious persons. O oppressor of foes, as we have now seen often and often all the agreeable woods and gardens that are in this part of the country, seeing them again would no longer give any pleasure. O heroic scion of Kuru’s race, alms also are not now obtainable here as easily as before. If thou wishest it would be well for us now to go to Panchala; we have not seen that country, it will, no doubt, O hero, prove delightful to us. O crusher of foes, it hath been heard by us that alms are obtainable in the country of the Panchala, and that Yajnasena, the king thereof, is devoted to Brahmanas. I am of opinion that it is not good to live long in one place. Therefore, O son, if thou likest, it is good for us to go there.’

“Hearing these words, Yudhishthira said, ‘It is our duty to obey thy command, which, besides, must be for our good, I do not, however, know whether my younger brothers are willing to go.’”

SECTION CLXXI
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)


“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Kunti spoke unto Bhimasena and Arjuna and the twins regarding the journey to Panchala. They all said, ‘So be it.’ Then, O king, Kunti with her sons saluted the Brahmana (in whose house they had dwelt) and set out for the delightful town of the illustrious Drupada.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘While the illustrious Pandavas were living disguised in the abode of the Brahmana, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, once went to see them. Those chastisers of foes, beholding him coming rose up and stepped onward to receive him. Saluting him reverentially and worshipping him also the Pandavas stood in silence with joined hands. Thus worshipped by them the sage became gratified. He asked them to be seated, and cheerfully addressing them said, ‘Ye slayers of foes, are ye living in the path of virtue and according to the scriptures? Do ye worship the Brahmanas? Ye are not, I hope, backward in paying homage unto those that deserve your homage?’ The illustrious Rishi, after this, spoke many words of virtuous import, and after discoursing upon many topics of great interest, he said, ‘An illustrious Rishi, living in a certain hermitage, had a daughter of tender waist, fair lips, and fine eye-brows, and possessing every accomplishment. As a consequence of her own acts (in a past life) the fair maid became very unfortunate.

Though chaste and beautiful, the damsel obtained not a husband. With a sorrowful heart she thereupon began to practise ascetic penances with the object of obtaining a husband. She soon gratified by her severe asceticism the god Sankara (Mahadeva), who became propitious unto her and said unto that illustrious damsel, ‘Ask thou the boon thou desirest! Blest be thou! I am Sankara prepared to give thee what thou wilt ask.’ Desirous of benefiting herself, the maid repeatedly said unto the supreme lord, ‘O give me, a husband endued with every accomplishment.’ Then Isana (Mahadeva), that foremost of all speakers, replied unto her, saying, ‘O blessed one, thou shall have five husbands from among the Bharata princes.’ Thus told, the maiden said unto the god who had given her that boon, ‘O lord, I desire to have only one husband through thy grace.’ The god then addressed her again and said these excellent words, ‘Thou hast, O girl, said full five times, ‘Give me (a) husband.’ Thou shalt, therefore, in another life have five husbands!’ Ye princes of Bharata’s line, that damsel of celestial beauty hath been born in the line of Drupada. The faultless Krishna of Prishata’s line hath been appointed to be the wife of you all. Ye mighty ones, go therefore, to the capital of the Panchalas and dwell ye there. There is no doubt that having obtained her as wife ye shall be very happy.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said so unto the Pandavas, the illustrious and blessed grandsire then bade them farewell. The great ascetic then left them and went to the place whence he had come.’”

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