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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
Incapable of bearing the sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to exert his prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the thunder-wielding Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the Rishis. And like a she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna cheerfully followed that youth catching hold of his deer-skin.
Then when the assembled monarchs incapable of bearing that sight lose up in wrath and advanced for fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large tree rushed at that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like Yama himself smiting down creatures endued with life. Then, O monarch, the assembled kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes, while they, resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them, left the amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs of the town, and there at the potter’s abode sat a lady like unto a flame of fire who, I think, is their mother.
And around her also sat three other foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of heroes having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said unto Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those foremost of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time after when they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained as alms, devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion away (in gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a portion to that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those five foremost of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last of all. Then, O monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna lying along the line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on which they lay was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their deer-skins. And before going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in voices deep as of black clouds.
The talk of those heroes indicated them to be neither Vaisyas nor Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O monarch, they are bulls amongst Kshatriyas, their discourse having been on military subjects. It seems, O father, that our hope hath been fructified, for we have heard that the sons of Kunti all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.
From the way in which the mark was shot down by that youth, and the strength with which the bow was strung by him, and the manner in which I have heard them talk with one another proves conclusively, O monarch, that they are the sons of Pritha wandering in disguise.’
“Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad, and he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were and whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed, the king’s priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the king’s message duly, saying, ‘Ye who are worthy of preference in everything, the boon-giving king of the earth–Drupada–is desirous of ascertaining who ye are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye your feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of Panchala mid his men and mine also.
King Pandu was the dear friend of Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu as his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna of strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better; nothing more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as Drupada is concerned.’
“Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded Bhima who sat near, saying, ‘Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya be offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada’s priest and, therefore, worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary reverence.’ Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the worship thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his ease. Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, ‘The king of the Panchalas hath, by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to the practice of his order and not freely.
This hero hath, by satisfying that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing now to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by doing what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away Krishna from among the assembled monarchs. In these circumstances, the king of the Lunar race should not indulge in any regrets which can only make him unhappy without mending matters in the least. The desire that king Drupada hath all along cherished will be accomplished for his handsome princess who beareth, I think, every auspicious mark.
None that is weak in strength could string that bow, and none of mean birth and unaccomplished in arms could have shot down the mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of the Panchalas to grieve for his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the world undo that act of shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not grieve for what must take its course.’
“While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the king of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, ‘The (nuptial), feast is ready.’”
Delay ye not. These cars adorned with golden lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on them, come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.’
And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles and implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch, every article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and apparatus of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail and shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and beautiful chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold.
And he also kept ready darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And there were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada’s abode, Kunti taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of the king. The ladies of the king’s household with joyous hearts worshipped the queen of the Kurus. Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their upper garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and long-hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and the king’s ministers, and the king’s son, and the king’s friends and attendants, all became exceedingly glad.
Those heroes sat on excellent seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and hesitation. And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After those heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and became well-pleased.
And after the dinner was over, those heroes among men, passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada’s son and Drupada himself, along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the sons of Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.’”