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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
These others (within the cave) had at one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of you shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having achieved many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again by the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra. Ye shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds of work.
‘ Then those Indras, of their shorn glory said, ‘We shall go from our celestial regions even unto the region of men where salvation is ordained to be difficult of acquisition. But let the gods Dharma, Vayu, Maghavat, and the twin Aswins beget us upon our would-be mother. Fighting with men by means of both celestial and human weapons, we shall again come back into the region of Indra.’
“Vyasa continued, ‘Hearing these words of the former Indras, the wielder of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying, ‘Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou assignest) to form the fifth among these!’ Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And he also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else than celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in the world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without limits. Narayana approved of everything.
Those Indras then were born in the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one of these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair that was black was born as Kesava’s self, Krishna. And those Indras of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a portion of Sakra.’
“Vyasa continued, ‘Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary beauty. How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the moon, whose fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any other than an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue of the sacrificial rites? Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this other boon in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti endued with their sacred and celestial bodies of old!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial bodies, with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and statures measuring about five cubits.
Endued with every accomplishment, and decked with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of excellent making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods (Mahadeva), or Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves. And observing the Pandavas in the forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form of Indra sprung from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial power under deep disguise.
The king looking at his daughter, that foremost of women endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel and possessed of the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the worthy wife of those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and fame. And beholding that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of Satyavati’s son, exclaiming, ‘O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in thee!’ The Rishi then cheerfully continued, ‘In a certain hermitage there was an illustrious Rishi’s daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, obtained not a husband. The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances, the god Sankara (Mahadeva).
The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances, told her himself. ‘Ask thou the boon thou desirest’ Thus addressed, the maiden repeatedly said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, ‘I desire to obtain a husband possessed of every accomplishment. Sankara, the chief of the gods, gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, ‘Thou shall have, amiable maiden, five husbands.’ The maiden, who had succeeded in gratifying the god, said again, ‘O Sankara, I desire to have from thee only one husband possessed of every virtue?’ The god of gods, well-pleased with her, spake again, saying,
‘Thou hast, O maiden, addressed me five full times, repeating, ‘Give me a husband.’ Therefore, O amiable one, it shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All this, however, will happen in a future life of thine!’
“Vyasa continued, ‘O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata’s race hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the celestials, as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of five husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.’”
The knot of destiny cannot be untied. Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which had been appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had repeatedly said, ‘O, give me a husband!’ the great god himself even gave her the boon she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of this. As regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong, no sin can attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained, the hand of Krishna with the rites.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing Yudhishthira the just, said, ‘This day is an auspicious day, O son of Pandu! This day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya. Take thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!’ When Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for the wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as marriage presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked, after a bath, with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the wedding all the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state, and many Brahmanas and citizens.
And they all took their seats according to their respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men, with its yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and beautified with lines of troops, king Drupada’s palace, festooned around with diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour of fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen.
Then Dhaumya, well-conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united him with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took each other’s hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya, taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the palace.
Then those mighty car-warriors,–those perpetuators of the Kuru line,–those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king, the celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing in connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess of slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous marriage. After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those mighty car-warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave unto them one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four steeds with golden bridles. And he gave them one hundred elephants all possessing auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a hundred mountains with golden peaks.
He also gave them a hundred female servants all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments and floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave unto each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments of great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after their wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a second Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and happiness, like so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the Panchalas,’”