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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

21. This is a very difficult sloka. I am not sure that I have understood it alright. Both Nilakantha and Arjuna Misra are silent. Instead of depending, however, on my own intelligence, I have consulted several friends who have read the Mahabharata thoroughly. The grammatical structure is easy. The only difficulty consists in the second half of the sloka. The meaning, however, I have given is consistent with the tenor of Bhishma’s advice.
22. Indicating the unobstructed completion of the sacrifice.
23. The word tirtha here means, as Nilakantha rightly explains spies and not holy spots.
24. Satram is explained by Nilakantha to mean here ‘false disguise.’ I think, however, such an interpretation to be far-fetched. It evidently means ‘forest’,–the use of ‘pravisteshu’ in connection with it almost settles the point.
25. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have seen. The reading that I adopt is that the second word is the participle of the root budh and not the instrumental of budhi; the last word again of the second line is a compound of valavatsu and avaleshu instead of (as printed in many books) valavatswavaleshu. Any other reading would certainly be incorrect. I have not consulted the Bombay text.
26. Bhagasas lit., each in its proper place. It may also mean, ‘according to their respective division.’
27. Kalyana-patalam is explained by Nilakantha to mean suvarna pattachchaditam.
28. One of the generals of Virata.
29. Some differences of reading are noticeable here, for Yasaswinau some texts read Manaswinau, and for Vahusamravdhau-Vahusanrambhat; and for Nakha-naki–Ratha-rathi.
30. Some texts read Ghanabiva for Ghanarva. The latter is unquestionably better in form.
31. The word in the original is Muhurta equal to 48 minutes. Nilakantha points out very ingeniously that the night being the seventh of the dark fortnight, the moon would not rise till after 14 Dandas from the hour of sunset, a Danda being equal to 24 minutes. A Muhurta, therefore implies not 48 minutes exactly, but some time.
32. Some Vikshyainam, Nilakantha explains Sama as a word spoken by Bhima for assuring the captive Virata, and Vikshya as ‘assuring’ or ‘consoling by a glance.’ Perhaps this is right.
33. The adjective Bhima-sankasas as explained by Nilakantha is in this sense, quoting the celebrated simile of Valmiki.
34. To understand the comparison would require in the reader a knowledge of the mechanism of the Indian Vina. Briefly, the Vina consists of a bamboo of about cubits attached to two gourds towards its ends. Along the bamboo which serves the purpose of a finger-board, is the main chord and several thinner wires. All these pass over a number of frets, two and a half heptachords, representing the total compass of the instrument. The wires rest towards their ends on two pieces of ivory called Upadhanas in Sanskrit or Swaris in Urdu.
35. Some read kaniasi for vaviasi. Both words are the same, and mean the same thing.
36. Vedi-Vilagna madhya–Vedi in this connection means a wasp and not, as explained by Mallinatha in his commentary of the Kumarasambhava, a sacrificial platform. I would remark in passing that many of the most poetic and striking adjectives in both the Raghu and the Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa are borrowed unblushingly from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
37. Padma patrabha-nibha may also mean ‘of the splendour of the gem called Marakata.’ Nilakantha, however, shows that this would militate against the adjective Kankojwalatwacham below.
38. The princess being of the complexion of burnished gold and Arjuna dark as a mass of clouds, the comparison is exceedingly appropriate. The Vaishnava poets of Bengal never tire of this simile in speaking of Radha and Krishna in the groves of Vrindavana.
39. The words in the original is pranayam, lit., love. Nilakantha, however, explains it as meaning modesty, humility. I think, Nilakantha is right. The relations between Arjuna and the princess were like those between father and daughter.
40. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have seen. The Burdwan Pandits read tat-samim. This I think, is correct, but then asasada in the singular when the other verbs are all dual seems to be correct. The poet must have used some other verb in the dual for asasada.
41. Some texts read Diptasya for Diptayam.
42. This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by Sanskrit writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in the present instance consists in Drona’s unwillingness to identify the solitary hero with Arjuna, in the midst of all his hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation referring to Bhishma, the son of the river Ganga. Lankesa-vanari-ketu is simply ‘ape-bannered,’ or as rendered in the text, having the devastator of the gardens of Lanka’s lord for the sign of his banner. Nagahvaya is ‘named after tree’ for Arjuna is the name of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu is ‘Indra’s son’,–Indra being the foe of mountain, for formerly it was he who cut off the wings of all mountains and compelled them to be stationary. He failed only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.
43. Indian insects of a particular kind.
44. Most editions read chapas which is evidently wrong. The correct reading is avapas, meaning quiver. The Burdwan Pandits give this latter reading.
45. Some read chandrargha-darsanas. The correct reading is chandrardha-darsanas.
46. Most editions read hema-punkha and silasita in the instrumental plural; the correct reading is their nominative plural forms.
47. Sayaka means here, as explained by Nilakantha, a sword, and not a shaft.
48. From the colour of his steeds.
49. Nilakantha spends much learning and ingenuity in making out that sixty-five years in this connection means thirty-two years of ordinary human computation.
50. Some texts read,–‘One large meteor fell.’
51. In some editions read,–Bharata dwijam, and Maha-hardam for maha-drumam. The meaning would then be,–‘The banners (of the hostile army) began to tremble in the sky, and large lakes were agitated.”
52. Some texts read Maharatham (incorrectly) for hiranmayan. Indeed, Maharatham would give no meaning in this connection. The incomplete edition of the Roy Press under the auspices of the Principal of the Calcutta Sanskrit College abounds with such incorrect readings and misprints.
53. The Roy Press edition adds here a line which looks very much like an interpolation.
54. The true reading is Acharya in the dual number, meaning Drona and Kripa. Some texts read the word in the singular form. Nilakantha notices both these reading, but prefers the dual to the singular.
55. The meaning is rather doubtful. Duryodhana seems to say that ‘the hostile appearance of Arjuna has been an act of imprudence on his part. The Pandavas, after the expiry of the thirteenth year, would claim their kingdom. I, Duryodhana, may or may not accede to their demand. When, therefore, it was not certain that Arjuna would be refused by me, his hostile appearance is unwise. He has come sure of victory, but he may yet be defeated.’
56. The sense seems to be that when moralists even are puzzled in judging of the propriety or otherwise of their acts, it can easily be imagined that the Pandavas, however virtuous, have, in the matter of this their appearance, acted wrongly, for, after all, the thirteenth year may not have really been over as believed by them. Or, it may mean, that as regards our presence here, we have not acted imprudently when even moralists cannot always arrive at right conclusion. It seems that for this Duryodhana proceeds to justify that presence in the following sentences

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