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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
And taking up the five arrows he shot the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground through the hole in the machine above which it had been placed. Then there arose a loud uproar in the firmament, and the amphitheatre also resounded with a loud clamour. And the gods showered celestial flowers on the head of Partha the slayer of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began to wave their upper garments in joy. And all around, the monarchs who had been unsuccessful, uttered exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers were rained from the skies all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians struck up in concert.
Bards and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the praises (of the hero who accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna, Drupada–that slayer of foes,–was filled with joy. And the monarch desired to assist with his forces the hero if the occasion arose. And when the uproar was at its height, Yudhishthira, the foremost of all virtuous men, accompanied by those first of men the twins, hastily left the amphitheatre for returning to his temporary home.
And Krishna beholding the mark shot and beholding Partha also like unto Indra himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy, and approached the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers. And Arjuna the accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by his success in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the Brahmanas. And he soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus became his wife.’”
And they said, ‘Passing us by and treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to bestow his daughter–that first of women,–on a Brahmana! Having planted the tree he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch regardeth us not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect nor the veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall, therefore, slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son.
Inviting all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto himself? The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for the Kshatriyas.
The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection of husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth not to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath, from officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should not yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must be done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire of maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras may not terminate in this way.’
“Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed at Drupada to slay him then and there. And Drupada beholding those monarchs all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows, sought, from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty bowmen (Bhima and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all foes, advanced to oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously like elephants in the season of rut.
Then the monarchs with gloved fingers and upraised weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima and Arjuna, to slay them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary achievements, endued with the strength of thunder, tore up like an elephant a large tree and divested it of its leaves. And with that tree, the strong-armed Bhima, the son of Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood, like unto the mace-bearing king of the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce mace, near Arjuna that bull amongst men. And beholding that feat of his brother, Jishnu of extraordinary intelligence, himself also of inconceivable feats, wondered much. And equal unto Indra himself in achievements, shaking off all fear he stood with his bow ready to receive those assailants. And beholding those feats of both Jishnu and his brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman intelligence and inconceivable feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha (Valadeva) of fierce energy, said, ‘That hero there, of tread like that of a mighty lion, who draweth the large bow in his hand four full cubits in length, is Arjuna! There is no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I am Vasudeva.
That other hero who having speedily torn up the tree hath suddenly become ready to drive off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no one in the world, except Vrikodara, could today perform such a feat in the field of battle. And that other youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals, of full four cubits height, of gait like that of a mighty lion, and humble withal, of fair complexion and prominent and shining nose, who had, a little before, left the amphitheatre, is Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira). The two other youths, like unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the twin Aswins.
I heard that the sons of Pandu along with their mother Pritha had all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.’ Then Halayudha of complexion like unto that of clouds uncharged with rain, addressing his younger brother (Krishna), said with great satisfaction, ‘O, I am happy to hear, as I do from sheer good fortune, that our father’s sister Pritha with the foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped (from death)!’”