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Vana Parva

third book of the Mahabharata

Vana Parva or Aranya Parva (c. 400 BCE) also known as the Book of the Forest, is the third of eighteen parvas of the Indian epic Mahabharata. It is one of the longest books in the Epic. It contains numerous discourses on ethics, virtues, character development, prophecies about the Kali Yuga, and legends of Lord Krishna, Arjuna, and other sons of the great king & warrior, Pandu in ancient India.

Sauti recites the slokas of the Mahabharata
Subhadra, the half sister of Krishna, drives a chariot away from Dwarka with Arjuna and Krishna inside
The Pandava prince Arjuna chooses to have the unarmed Krishna as his charioteer rather than the reinforcement of Krishna's large army
In Kali-Yuga vice increases to such a point that at the termination of the yuga the Supreme Lord Himself appears as the Kalki Avatar, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees, and commences another Satya-yuga. ~A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Eighteenth century Vaishnava painting depicting Vishnu, on the serpent Anant Shesha with consort Lakshmi, pressing his feet; sage Markandeya paying his respects to Vishnu
Thus the food that supporteth the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is, therefore, the father of all creatures.
Lord Krishna talking with Yudhishthira and his brothers
Suryathe "eye of the universe, soul of all existence, origin of all life, goal of the Samkhyas and Yogis, and symbolism for freedom and spiritual emancipation. ~Roshen Dalal
Sage Maitreya advises Duryodhana
The deity Vishnu reclines on the coil of the great serpent Shesha, while the four-headed Brahma springs from his navel. Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, caresses his feet with devotion.
Drupadi and Her attendants
...It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed) act [of marriage of all five brothers with Draupadi] as virtuous. - Yudhishtira.
Arishtanemi Sahadeva
The Kshatriyas [military caste]... will become the thorns of the earth... attacking and repeating their attacks upon the good and the honest, and feeling no pity for the latter... Men abandoning the countries and directions and towns and cities... will seek for new ones... uttering, 'O father, O son', and such other frightful and rending cries.
Covetousness and avarice will overwhelm them all. And wedded to avarice and wrath and ignorance and lust men will entertain animosities towards one another...
The Kalki Avatar... the final incarnation of Vishnu in the current Maha Yuga, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current epoch.
Maitreya corresponds to the Kalki Avatar in Hinduism (the "White Horse Avatar"—see the Revelation of St. John), and to the Messiahs of all nations. ~Helena Roerich

QuotesEdit

Mahabharata, Book 3, Vana Parva ~400 BCEEdit

full text online

Section IEdit

  • Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara the foremost of male beings, and the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.
  • "Janamejaya said, 'O thou foremost of regenerate ones, deceitfully defeated at dice by the sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors, incensed by those wicked ones that thus brought about a fierce animosity, and addressed in language that was so cruel, what did the Kuru princes, my ancestors--the sons of Pritha--(then) do? How also did the sons of Pritha, equal unto Sakra in prowess, deprived of affluence and suddenly over whelmed with misery, pass their days in the forest? Who followed the steps of those princes plunged in excess of affliction? And how did those high souled ones bear themselves and derive their sustenance, and where did they put up? And, O illustrious ascetic and foremost of Brahmanas, how did those twelve years (of exile) of those warriors who were slayers of foes, pass away in the forest? And undeserving of pain, how did that princess, the best of her sex, devoted to her husbands, eminently virtuous, and always speaking the truth, endure that painful exile in the forest? O thou of ascetic wealth tell me all this in detail, for, O Brahmana, I desire to hear thee narrate the history of those heroes possessed of abundant prowess and lustre. Truly my curiosity is great.'
  • "Vaisampayana said, 'Thus defeated at dice and incensed by the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors, the sons of Pritha set out from Hastinapura. And issuing through Vardhamana gate of the city, the Pandavas bearing their weapons and accompanied by Draupadi set out in a northernly direction. Indrasena and others, with servants numbering altogether fourteen, with their wives, followed them... And the citizens learning of their departure became overwhelmed with sorrow, and began to censure Bhishma and Vidura and Drona and Gautama. And having met together they thus addressed one another fearlessly.
  • 'Alas, our families, we ourselves, and our homes are all gone, when the wicked Duryodhana, backed by the son of Suvala, by Karna and Dussasana, aspireth to this kingdom. And, Oh, our families, our (ancestral) usages, our virtue and prosperity, are all doomed where this sinful wretch supported by wretches as sinful aspireth to the kingdom! And, Oh, how can happiness be there where these are not! Duryodhana beareth malice towards all superiors, hath taken leave of good conduct, and quarreleth with those that are near to him in blood. Covetous and vain and mean, he is cruel by nature. The whole earth is doomed when Duryodhana becometh its ruler. Thither, therefore, let us proceed whither the merciful and high-minded sons of Pandu with passions under control and victorious over foes, and possessed of modesty and renown, and devoted to pious practices, repair!'
  • Ye bulls among men, listen as we indicate the merits and demerits springing respectively from association with what is good and bad! As cloth, water, the ground, and sesame seeds are perfumed by association with flowers, even so are qualities ever the product of association. Verily association with fools produceth an illusion that entangleth the mind, as daily communion with the good and the wise leadeth to the practice of virtue. Therefore, they that desire emancipation should associate with those that are wise and old and honest and pure in conduct and possessed of ascetic merit.
  • Devoid of the religious acts as we are, we shall yet reap religious merit by association with the righteous, as we should come by sin by waiting upon the sinful. The very sight and touch of the dishonest, and converse and association with them; cause diminution of virtue, and men (that are doomed to these), never attain purity of mind. Association with the base impaireth the understanding, as, indeed, with the indifferent maketh it indifferent, while communion with the good ever exalteth it. All those attributes which are spoken of in the world as the sources of religious merit, of worldly prosperity and sensual pleasures, which are regarded by the people, extolled in the Vedas, and approved by the well-behaved, exist in you, separately and jointly! Therefore, desirous of our own welfare, we wish to live amongst you who possess those attributes!

Section IIEdit

  • Vaisampayana said, 'When that night passed away and day broke in, those Brahmamas who supported themselves by mendicancy, stood before the Pandavas of exalted deeds, who were about to enter the forest. Then king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressed them, saying, "Robbed of our prosperity and kingdom, robbed of everything, we are about to enter the deep woods in sorrow, depending for our food on fruits and roots, and the produce of the chase. The forest too is full of dangers, and abounds with reptiles and beasts of prey. It appeareth to me that ye will certainly have to suffer much privation and misery there. The sufferings of the Brahmanas might overpower even the gods. That they would overwhelm me is too certain. Therefore, O Brahmana, go ye back whithersoever ye list!'
  • The Brahmanas replied, 'O king, our path is even that on which ye are for setting out! It behoveth thee not, therefore, to forsake us who are thy devoted admirers practising the true religion! The very gods have compassion upon their worshippers,--specially upon Brahmanas of regulated lives!'
  • 'Let no anxiety, O king, in respect of our maintenance, find a place in thy heart! Ourselves providing our own food, we shall follow thee, and by meditation and saying our prayers we shall compass thy welfare while by pleasant converse we shall entertain thee and be cheered ourselves.'
  • Yudhishthira said, 'Without doubt, it must be as ye say, for I am ever pleased with the company of the regenerate ones! But my fallen condition maketh me behold in myself an object of reproach! How shall I behold you all, that do not deserve to bear trouble, out of love for me painfully subsisting upon food procured by your own toil? Oh, fie upon the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra!'
  • Then a learned Brahmana, Saunaka by name versed in self-knowledge and skilled in the Sankhya system of yoga, addressed the king, saying, 'Causes of grief by thousands, and causes of fear by hundreds, day after day, overwhelm the ignorant but not the wise. Surely, sensible men like thee never suffer themselves to be deluded by acts that are opposed to true knowledge, fraught with every kind of evil, and destructive of salvation. O king, in thee dwelleth that understanding furnished with the eight attributes which is said to be capable of providing against all evils and which resulteth from a study of the Sruti (Vedas) and scriptures! And men like unto thee are never stupefied, on the accession of poverty or an affliction overtaking their friends, through bodily or mental uneasiness! Listen, I shall tell the slokas which were chanted of old by the illustrious Janaka touching the subject of controlling the self! This world is afflicted with both bodily and mental suffering. Listen now to the means of allaying it as I indicate them both briefly and in detail. Disease, contact with painful things, toil and want of objects desired.--these are the four causes that induce bodily suffering.
  • And as regards disease, it may be allayed by the application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to forget them yoga-meditation. For this reason, sensible physicians first seek to allay the mental sufferings of their patients by agreeable converse and the offer of desirable objects And as a hot iron bar thrust into a jar maketh the water therein hot, even so doth mental grief bring on bodily agony. And as water quencheth fire, so doth true knowledge allay mental disquietude. And the mind attaining ease, the body findeth ease also. It seemeth that affection is the root of all mental sorrow. It is affection that maketh every creature miserable and bringeth on every kind of woe. Verily affection is the root of all misery and of all fear, of joy and grief of every kind of pain. From affection spring all purposes, and it is from affection that spring the love of worldly goods! Both of these (latter) are sources of evil, though the first (our purposes) is worse than the second. And as (a small portion of) fire thrust into the hollow of a tree consumeth the tree itself to its roots, even so affection, ever so little, destroyeth both virtue and profit.
  • He cannot be regarded to have renounced the world who hath merely withdrawn from worldly possessions. He, however, who though in actual contact with the world regardeth its faults, may be said to have truly renounced the world. Freed from every evil passion, soul dependent on nothing with such a one hath truly renounced the world. Therefore, should no one seek to place his affections on either friends or the wealth he hath earned. And so should affection for one's own person be extinguished by knowledge. Like the lotus-leaf that is never drenched by water, the souls of men capable of distinguishing between the ephemeral and the everlasting, of men devoted to the pursuit of the eternal, conversant with the scriptures and purified by knowledge, can never be moved by affection. The man that is influenced by affection is tortured by desire; and from the desire that springeth up in his heart his thirst for worldly possessions increaseth.

Section IIIEdit

  • Vaisampayana said, 'Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, thus addressed by Saunaka, approached his priest and in the midst of his brothers said, 'The Brahmanas versed in the Vedas are following me who am departing for the forest. Afflicted with many calamities I am unable to support them. I cannot abandon them, nor have I the power to offer them sustenance: Tell me, O holy one, what should be done by me in such a pass.'
  • Vaisampayana said, 'After reflecting for a moment seeking to find out the (proper) course by his yoga powers, Dhaumya, that foremost of all virtuous men, addressed Yudhishthira, in these words, 'In days of old, all living beings that had been created were sorely afflicted with hunger. And like a father (unto all of them), Savita (the sun) took compassion upon them. And going first into the northern declension, the sun drew up water by his rays, and coming back to the southern declension, stayed over the earth, with his heat centered in himself. And while the sun so stayed over the earth, the lord of the vegetable world (the moon), converting the effects of the solar heat (vapours) into clouds and pouring them down in the shape of water, caused plants to spring up.
  • Thus it is the sun himself, who, drenched by the lunar influence, is transformed, upon the sprouting of seeds, into holy vegetable furnished with the six tastes. And it is these which constitute the food of all creatures upon the earth. Thus the food that supporteth the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is, therefore, the father of all creatures. Do thou, hence, O Yudhishthira, take refuge even in him. All illustrious monarchs of pure descent and deeds are known to have delivered their people by practising high asceticism. The great Karttavirya, and Vainya and Nahusha, had all, by virtue of ascetic meditation preceded by vows, delivered their people from heavy afflictions. Therefore, O virtuous one, as thou art purified by the acts do thou likewise, entering upon a file of austerities. O Bharata, virtuously support the regenerate ones.'
  • Janamejaya said, 'How did that bull among the Kurus, king Yudhishthira, for the sake of the Brahmanas adore the sun of wonderful appearance?"
  • Vaisampayana said, 'Listen attentively, O king, purifying thyself and withdrawing thy mind from every other thing. And, O king of kings, appoint thou a time. I will tell thee everything in detail, And, O illustrious one, listen to the one hundred and eight names (of the sun) as they were disclosed of old by Dhaumya to the high-souled son of Pritha. Dhaumya said, 'Surya, Aryaman, Bhaga, Twastri, Pusha,Gabhastimat, Aja, Kala, Mrityu, Dhatri, Prabhakara, Prithibi, Apa, Teja, Kha, Vayu, the sole stay, Soma, Vrihaspati, Sukra, Budha, Angaraka, Indra, Vivaswat, Diptanshu, Suchi, Sauri, Sanaichara, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Skanda, Vaisravana, Yama, Vaidyutagni, Jatharagni, Aindhna, Tejasampati, Dharmadhwaja, Veda-karttri, Vedanga, Vedavahana, Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali, full of every impurity, Kala, Kastha, Muhurtta, Kshapa, Yama, and Kshana; Samvatsara-kara, Aswattha, Kalachakra, Bibhavasu, Purusha, Saswata, Yogin, Vyaktavyakta, Sanatana, Kaladhyaksha, Prajadhyaksha, Viswakarma, Tamounda, Varuna, Sagara, Ansu, Jimuta, Jivana, Arihan, Bhutasraya, Bhutapati, Srastri, Samvartaka, Vanhi, Sarvadi, Alolupa, Ananta, Kapila, Bhanu, Kamada, Sarvatomukha, Jaya, Visala, Varada, Manas, Suparna, Bhutadi, Sighraga, Prandharana, Dhanwantari, Dhumaketu, Adideva, Aditisuta, Dwadasatman, Aravindaksha, Pitri, Matri, Pitamaha, Swarga-dwara, Prajadwara, Mokshadwara, Tripistapa, Dehakarti, Prasantatman, Viswatman, Viswatomukha, Characharatman, Sukhsmatman, the merciful Maitreya.
  • These are the hundred and eight names of Surya of immeasurable energy, as told by the self-create (Brahma). For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to thee, O Bhaskara, blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshipped of the gods and the Pitris and the Yakshas, and who is adored by Asuras, Nisacharas, and Siddhas. He that with fixed attention reciteth this hymn at sunrise, obtaineth wife and offspring and riches and the memory of his former existence, and by reciting this hymn a person attaineth patience and memory. Let a man concentrating his mind, recite this hymn. By doing so, he shall be proof against grief and forest-fire and ocean and every object of desire shall be his.'
  • Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard from Dhaumya these words suitable to the occasion, Yudhishthira the just, with heart concentrated within itself and purifying it duly, became engaged in austere meditation, moved by the desire of supporting the Brahmanas. And worshipping the maker of day with offerings of flowers and other articles, the king performed his ablutions. And standing in the stream, he turned his face towards the god of day. And touching the water of the Ganges the virtuous Yudhishthira with senses under complete control and depending upon air alone for his sustenance, stood there with rapt soul engaged in pranayama. 1 And having purified himself and restrained his speech, he began to sing the hymn of praise (to the sun).'

Section VIEdit

  • And while Yudhishthira was on his way to the delightful city of Virata, he began to praise mentally the Divine Durga, the Supreme Goddess of the Universe, born on the womb of Yasoda, and fond of the boons bestowed on her by Narayana, sprung from the race of cowherd Nanda, and the giver of prosperity, the enhancer (of the glory) of (the worshipper's) family, the terrifier of Kansa, and the destroyer of Asuras,--and saluted the Goddess--her who ascended the skies when dashed (by Kansa) on a stony platform, who is the sister of Vasudeva, one who is always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial robes,--who is armed with scimitar and shield, and always rescues the worshipper sunk in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of distress calls upon that eternal giver of blessings for relieving him of their burdens.
  • And the king, desirous with his brothers of obtaining a sight of the Goddess, invoked her and began to praise her by reciting various names derived from (approved) hymns. And Yudhishthira said, 'Salutations to thee, O giver of boons. O thou that art identical with Krishna, O maiden, O thou that hast observed the vow of Brahmacharya, O thou of body bright as the newly-risen Sun, O thou efface beautiful as the full moon. Salutations to thee, O thou of four hands and four faces, O thou of fair round hips and deep bosom, O thou that wearest bangles made of emeralds and sapphires, O thou that bearest excellent bracelets on thy upper arm. Thou shinest, O Goddess, as Padma, the consort of Narayana. O thou that rangest the etherial regions, thy true form and thy Brahmacharya are both of the purest kind. Sable as the black clouds, thy face is beautiful as that of Sankarshana. Thou bearest two large arms long as a couple of poles raised in honour of Indra. In thy (six) other arms thou bearest a vessel, a lotus, a bell, a noose, a bow, a large discus, and various other weapons. Thou art the only female in the universe that possesses! the attribute of purity. Thou art decked with a pair of well-made ears graced with excellent rings.
  • O Goddess, thou shinest with a face that challengeth the moon in beauty. With an excellent diadem and beautiful braid with robes made of the bodies of snakes, and with also the brilliant girdle round thy hips, thou shinest like the Mandara mountain encircled with snakes. Thou shinest also with peacock-plumes standing erect on thy head, and thou hast sanctified the celestial regions by adopting the vow of perpetual maiden-hood. It is for this, O thou that hast slain the Mahishasura, 1 that thou art praised and worshipped by the gods for the protection of the three worlds. O thou foremost of all deities, extend to me thy grace, show me thy mercy, and be thou the source of blessings to me. Thou art Jaya and Vijaya, and it is thou that givest victory in battle.
  • Grant me victory, O Goddess, and give me boons also at this hour of distress. Thy eternal abode is on Vindhya--that foremost of mountains. O Kali, O Kali, thou art the great Kali, ever fond of wine and meat and animal sacrifice. Capable of going everywhere at will, and bestowing boons on thy devotees, thou art ever followed in thy journeys by Brahma and the other gods. By them that call upon thee for the relief of their burdens, and by them also that bow to thee at daybreak on Earth, there is nothing that cannot be attained in respect either of offspring or wealth. And because thou rescuest people from difficulties whether when they are afflicted in the wilderness or sinking in the great ocean, it is for this that thou art called Durga 1 by all.
  • Thou art the sole refuge of men when attacked by robbers or while afflicted in crossing streams and seas or in wilderness and; forests. Those men that remember thee are never prostrated, O great Goddess. Thou art Fame, thou art Prosperity, thou art Steadiness, thou art Success; thou art the Wife, thou art men's Offspring, thou art Knowledge, and thou art the Intellect. Thou art the two Twilights, the Night Sleep, Light--both solar and lunar, Beauty, Forgiveness, Mercy, and every other thing. Thou dispellest, worshipped by the devotees their fetters, ignorance, loss of children and loss of wealth, disease, death, and fear. I, who have been deprived of my kingdom, seek thy protection. And as I bow to thee with bended head, O Supreme Goddess, grant me protection, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves. And be thou as boon-giving Truth unto us that are acting according to Truth. And, O Durga, kind as thou art unto all that seek thy protection, and affectionate unto all thy devotees, grant me protection!'"
  • ...Thus praised by the son of Pandu, the Goddess showed herself unto him. And approaching the king, she addressed him in these words, 'O mighty armed king, listen, O Lord, to these words of mine. Having vanquished and slain the ranks of the Kauravas through my grace, victory in battle will soon be thine. Thou shalt again lord it over the entire Earth, having made thy dominions destitute of thorns. And, O king, thou shalt also, with thy brothers, obtain great happiness. And through my grace, joy and health will be thine. And they also in the world who will recite my attributes and achievements will be freed from their sins, and gratified. I will bestow upon them kingdom, long life, beauty of person, and offspring. And they, O king, who will invoke me, after thy manner, in exile or in the city, in the midst of battle or of dangers from foes, in forests or in inaccessible deserts, in seas or mountain fastnesses, there is nothing that they will not obtain in this world. And ye sons of Pandu, he will achieve success in every business of his that will listen to, or himself recite with devotion, this excellent hymn. And through my grace neither the Kuru's spies, nor those that dwell in the country of the Matsyas, will succeed in recognising you all as long as ye reside in Virata's city!' And having said these words unto Yudhishthira, that chastiser of foes, and having arranged for the protection of the sons of Pandu, the Goddess disappeared there and then."

Section VIIIEdit

  • Vaisampayana said, "Then another endued with the dreadful strength and blazing in beauty, approached king Virata, with the playful gait of the lion. And holding in hand a cooking ladle and a spoon, as also an unsheathed sword of sable hue and without a spot on the blade, he came in the guise of a cook illumining all around him by his splendour like the sun discovering the whole world. And attired in black and possessed of the strength of the king of mountains, he approached the king of the Matsyas and stood before him.
  • And beholding that king-like person before him, Virata addressed his assembled subjects saying, 'Who is that youth, that bull among men, with shoulders broad like those of a lion, and so exceedingly beautiful? That person, never seen before, is like the sun. Revolving the matter in my mind, I cannot ascertain who he is, nor can I with even serious thoughts guess the intention of that bull among men (in coming here).
  • Beholding him, it seems to me that he is either the king of the Gandharvas, or Purandara himself. Do ye ascertain who it is that standeth before my eyes. Let him have quickly what he seeks.' Thus commanded by king Virata, his swift-footed messengers went up to the son of Kunti and informed that younger brother of Yudhishthira of everything the king had said. Then the high-souled son of Pandu, approaching Virata, addressed him in words that were not unsuited to his object, saying, 'O foremost of kings, I am a cook, Vallava by name. I am skilled in dressing dishes. Do thou employ me in the kitchen!'"
  • Virata said, "I do not believe, O Vallava, that cooking is thy office. Thou resemblest the deity of a thousand eyes; and in grace and beauty and prowess, thou shinest among these all as a king!"

Section IXEdit

  • Vaisampayana said, "Binding her black, soft, fine, long and faultless tresses with crisped ends into a knotted braid, Draupadi of black eyes and sweet smiles, throwing it upon her right shoulders, concealed it by her cloth. And she wore a single piece of a black and dirty though costly cloth. And dressing herself as a Sairindhri, she began to wander hither and thither in seeming affliction. And beholding her wandering, men and women came to her hastily and addressed her, saying, 'Who are you? And what do you seek?' And she replied, 'I am a king's Sairindhri. I desire to serve any one that will maintain me.' But beholding her beauty and dress, and hearing also her speech that was so sweet, the people could not take her for a maid-servant in search of subsistence.
  • And it came to pass that while looking this way and that from the terrace, Virata's beloved queen, daughter of the king of Kekaya, saw Draupadi. And beholding her forlorn and clad in a single piece of cloth, the queen addressed her saying, 'O beautiful one, who are you, and what do you seek?' Thereupon, Draupadi answered her, saying, 'O foremost of queen, I am Sairindhri. I will serve anybody that will maintain me.'
  • Then Sudeshna said, 'What you say (regarding your profession) can never be compatible with so much beauty. (On the contrary) you might well be the mistress of servants both, male and female. Your heels are not prominent, and your thighs touch each other. And your intelligence is great, and your navel deep, and your words solemn. And your great toes, and bust and hips, and back and sides, and toe-nails, and palms are all well-developed. And your palms, soles, and face are ruddy. And your speech is sweet even as the voice of the swan. And your hair is beautiful, and your bust shapely, and you are possessed of the highest grace. And your hips and bust are plump. And like a Kashmerean mare you are furnished with every auspicious mark. And your eye-lashes are (beautiful) bent, and your nether-lip is like the ruddy ground. And your waist is slender, and your neck bears lines that resemble those of the conch. And your veins are scarcely visible. Indeed, your countenance is like the full moon, and your eyes resemble the leaves of the autumnal lotus, and your body is fragrant as the lotus itself.
  • Verily, in beauty you resemble Sri herself, whose seat is the autumnal lotus. Tell me, O beautiful damsel, who thou art. Thou canst never be a maidservant. Art thou a Yakshi, a Goddess, a Gandharvi, or an Apsara? Art thou the daughter of a celestial, or art thou a female Naga? Art thou the guardian goddess of some city, a Vidyadhari, or a Kinnari,--or art thou Rohini herself? Or art thou Alamvusha, or Misrakesi, Pundarika, or Malini, or the queen of Indra, or of Varuna? Or, art thou the spouse of Viswakarma, or of the creative Lord himself? Of these goddesses who art renowned in the celestial regions, who art thou, O graceful one?'

Section XEdit

  • "Vaisampayana said, 'Then clad in a cowherd's dress, and speaking the dialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata's city. And beholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king was struck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva. And when the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, 'To whom dost thou belong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I have never seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about thee.'
  • 'Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered in accents deep as the roar of the cloud, 'I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi by name. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of the Kuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to live beside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons of Pritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not like to enter into the service of anyone else save thee.'
  • "Hearing these words, Virata said, 'Thou must either be a Brahmana or a Kshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earth surrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes. The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions of what king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity thou wouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.'
  • "Sahadeva answered, 'Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu, had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, and another, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. I was employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala. I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living within ten Yojanas, and whose tale has been taken. My merits were known to that illustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased with me. I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in multiplying within a short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity from disease. Also these arts are known to me. I can also single out bulls having auspicious marks for which they are worshipped by men, and by smelling whose urine, the barren may conceive.'
  • "Virata said, 'I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinct herds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge. Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.'

Section CLXXXIXEdit

Kali Yuga PredictionsEdit

  • O thou foremost of all speakers, O Muni of Bhrigu's race, that which we have heard from thee about the destruction and re-birth of all things at the end of the Yuga, is, indeed, full of wonder! I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect of what may happen in the Kali age. When morality and virtue will be at an end, what will remain... tell me all in detail, O Muni, for all that thou narratest is varied and delightful... (Section CLXXXIX, p. 387)
  • Thus addressed, that foremost of Munis began his discourse... listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during the sinful age. O bull of the Bharata race, in the Krita age, everything was free from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and morality like a bull was among men, with all the four legs complete... In the dark age (of Kali)... morality mixed with three parts of sin liveth by the side of men... men in general will deceive their fellows...
  • And men with false reputation of learning will... cause truth to be contracted and concealed. And in consequence of the shortness of their lives they will not be able to acquire much knowledge. And in consequence of the littleness of their knowledge, they will have no wisdom. And for this, covetousness and avarice will overwhelm them all. And wedded to avarice and wrath and ignorance and lust men will entertain animosities towards one another, desiring to take one another's lives. (Section CLXXXIX, p. 387)
  • And the lowest orders of men will rise to the position of the intermediate ones, and those in intermediate stations will, without doubt, descend to the level of the lowest ones... And towards that period, even they that are always observant of vows, will become covetous... People will become atheists and thieves... the kings of the earth, with hearts wedded to sin without knowledge and always boastful of their wisdom, will challenge one another... (Section CLXXXIX, p. 388)
  • And the Kshatriyas [military caste] also towards the end of such a period will become the thorns of the earth. And filled with avarice and swelling with pride and vanity... And attacking and repeating their attacks upon the good and the honest, and feeling no pity for the latter.. the Kshatriyas will, O Bharata, rob these of their wives and wealth...
  • And no one will ask for a girl (for purposes of marriage) and no one will give away a girl (for such purposes), but the girls will themselves choose their lords, when the end of the Yuga comes...
  • And the kings of the earth with souls steeped in ignorance, and discontented with what they have, will at such a time, rob their subjects by every means in their power..., the right hand will deceive the left; and the left, the right....
  • And men with false reputation of learning will contract Truth and the old will betray the senselessness of the young, and the young will betray the dotage of the old. (Section CLXXXIX, p. 388)
  • And cowards will have the reputation of bravery and the brave will be cheerless like cowards... men will cease to trust one another... full of avarice... sin will increase and prosper, while virtue will fade and cease to flourish.

Section CLXLEdit

  • And Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas will disappear, leaving, O king, no remnants of their orders... jealousy and malice will fill the world. And no one will, at that time, be a giver (of wealth or anything else) in respect to any one else... men will... become omnivorous without distinction, and cruel in all their acts... urged by avarice, men will, at that time, deceive one another when they sell and purchase. And when the end of the Yuga comes, urged by their very dispositions, men will act cruelly, and speak ill of one another.. people will, without compunction, destroy trees and gardens. p. 392)
  • And men will be filled with anxiety as regards the means of living... overwhelmed with covetousness, men will kill... and enjoy the possessions of their victims... And when men become fierce and destitute of virtue and carnivorous and addicted to intoxicating drinks, then doth the Yuga come to an end... friends and relatives and kinsmen will perform friendly offices for the sake of the wealth only that is possessed by a person... When the end of the Yuga comes, men abandoning the countries and directions and towns and cities of their occupation, will seek for new ones, one after another. And people will wander over the earth, uttering, 'O father, O son', and such other frightful and rending cries. p. 392)

After Kali YugaEdit

  • And when those terrible times will be over, the creation will begin anew. And men will again be created and distributed..and about that time, in order that men may increase, Providence, according to its pleasure, will once more become propitious... And the clouds will commence to shower seasonably, and the stars and stellar conjunctions will become auspicious. And the planets, duly revolving in their orbits, will become exceedingly propitious. And all around, there will be prosperity and abundance and health and peace... p. 392
  • And commissioned by Time, a Brahmana of the name of Kalki will take his birth. And he will glorify Vishnu and possess great energy, great intelligence, and great prowess.... vehicles and weapons, and warriors and arms, and coats of mail will be at his disposal as soon as he will think of them. And he will be the king of kings, and ever victorious with the strength of virtue. And he will restore order and peace in this world crowded with creatures and contradictory in its course. And that blazing Brahmana of mighty intellect... will be the Destroyer of all, and will inaugurate a new Yuga. And surrounded by the Brahmanas, that Brahmana will exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge. p. 392
  • Markandeya continued, Having exterminated the thieves and robbers... and having established anew the blessed rectitude ordained by the Self-create, Kalki, of sacred deeds and illustrious reputation... the people of this earth will imitate his conduct... there will be prosperity everywhere (on earth). And as the countries of the earth will one after another be subjugated... p. 392
  • Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Markandeya, the royal head of the Kurus... spoke... 'O muni, if I am to protect my subjects, to what course of conduct should I adhere? And how should I behave so that I may not fall away from the duties of my order?' Markandeya, hearing this, answered, 'Be merciful to all creatures, and devoted to their good. Love all creatures, scorning none. Be truthful in speech, humble, with passions under complete control, and always devoted to the protection of thy people. Practise virtue and renounce sin, and worship thou the manes and the god and whatever thou mayst have done from ignorance or carelessness, wash them off and expiate them by charity. p. 393
  • Renouncing pride and vanity, be thou possessed to humility and good behaviour. And subjugating the whole earth, rejoice thou and let happiness be thine. This is the course of conduct that accords with virtue. I have recited to thee all that was and all that will be regarded as virtuous. There is nothing appertaining to the past or the future that is unknown to thee. Therefore, O son, take not to heart this present calamity of thine. They that are wise are never overwhelmed when they are persecuted by Time. O thou of mighty arms, the very dwellers of heaven cannot rise superior to Time. Time afflicts all creatures. p. 393

SECTION CLXIEdit

  • The lord of treasures said, 'O Yudhishthira, patience, ability, (appropriate) time and place and prowess--these five lead to success in human affairs. O Bharata, in the Krita Yuga, men were patient and able in their respective occupations and they knew how to display prowess. And, O foremost of the Kshatriyas, a Kshatriya that is endued with patience and understandeth the propriety regarding place and time and is versed in all mortal regulations, can alone govern the world for a long time,--nay, in all transactions. He that behaveth thus, acquireth, O hero, fame in this world and excellent state in the next. And by having displayed his prowess at the proper place and time, Sakra with the Vasus hath obtained the dominion of heaven. He that from anger cannot see his fall and he that being naturally wicked and evilminded followeth evil and he that knoweth not the propriety relative to acts, meet with destruction both in this world and the next. The exertions of that stupid person become fruitless, who is not conversant with the expediency regarding time and acts, and he meeteth with destruction both in this world and the next. And the object of that wicked and deceitful persons is vicious, who, aiming at mastery of every kind, committeth some rash act. O best of men, Bhimasena is fearless, and ignorant of duties, and haughty, and of the sense of a child, and unforbearing. Do thou, therefore, check him.
  • Repairing again to the hermitage of the pious sage Arshtisena, do thou reside there during the dark fortnight, without fear or anxiety. O lord of men, deputed by me, all the Gandharvas residing at Alaka, as also those dwelling in this mountain, will, O mighty-armed one, protect thee, and these best of the Brahmanas. And, O king, O chief among virtuous men, knowing that Vrikodara hath come hither out of rashness, do thou check him. Henceforth, O monarch, beings living in the forest will meet you, wait upon you and always protect you all. And, ye foremost of men, my servants will always procure for you various meats and drinks of delicious flavour. And, O son, Yudhishthira, even as by reason of your being the progeny of spiritual intercourse, Jishnu is entitled to the protection of Mahendra, and Vrikodara, of the Wind-god, and thou, of Dharma, and the twins possessed of strength, of the Aswins,--so ye all are entitled to my protection. That one next by birth to Bhimasena, Phalguna, versed in the science of profit and all mortal regulations, is well in heaven.
  • And, O child, those perfections that are recognised in the world as leading to heaven, are established in Dhananjaya even from his very birth. And self-restraint, and charity, and strength, and intelligence, and modesty, and fortitude, and excellent energy--even all these are established in that majestic one of magnificent soul. And, O Pandava, Jishnu never committed any shameful act through poverty of spirit. And in the world, none ever say that Partha hath uttered an untruth. And, O Bharata, honoured by the gods, pitris, and the Gandharvas, that enhancer of the glory of the Kurus is learning the science of weapons in Sakra's abode. And, O Partha, in heaven he that with justice had brought under his subjection all the rulers of the earth, even that exceedingly powerful and highly energetic monarch, the grandsire of thy father, Santanu himself, is well-pleased with the behaviour of that wielder of the Gandiva--the foremost of his race. And, O king, abiding in Indra's regions, he who on the banks of the Yamuna had worshipped the gods, the pitris, and the Brahmanas, by celebrating seven grand horse sacrifices, that great grandsire of thine, the emperor Santanu of severe austerities, who hath attained heaven, hath enquired of thy welfare.'"
  • Vaisampayana said, "Having heard these words of the dispenser of wealth, the Pandavas were well-pleased with them. Then lowering his club and mace and sword and bow, that foremost of the Bharatas bowed down unto Kuvera. And that giver of protection, the lord of treasures, seeing him prostrate, said, 'Be thou the destroyer of the pride of foes, and the enhancer of the delight of friends. And ye oppressors of enemies, do ye live in our romantic region. The Yakshas will not cross your desires. Gudakesa, after having acquired mastery over weapons, will come back soon. Bidden adieu by Maghavat himself, Dhananjaya will join you.'

See alsoEdit

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