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The Mahabharata - Second Book

Sabha Parva

Section XLI

"Sisupala said,--

"That mighty king Jarasandha who desired not to fight with Krishna, saying 'He is a slave,' was worthy of my greatest esteem.

Who will regard as praiseworthy the act which was done by Kesava, as also by Bhima and Arjuna, in the matter of Jarasandha's death? Entering by an improper gate, disguised as a Brahmana, thus Krishna observed the strength of king Jarasandha.

And when that monarch offered at first unto this wretch water to wash his feet, it was then that he denied his Brahmanahood from seeming motives of virtue.

And when Jarasandha, O thou of the Kuru race, asked Krishna and Bhima and Dhananjaya to eat, it was this Krishna that refused that monarch's request.

If this one is the lord of the universe, as this fool representeth him to be, why doth he not regard himself as a Brahmana? This, however, surpriseth me greatly that though thou leadest the Pandavas away from the path of the wise, they yet regard thee as honest.

Or, perhaps, this is scarcely a matter of surprise in respect of those that have thee, O Bharata, womanish in disposition and bent down with age, for their counsellor in everything."

"Vaisampayana continued,--Hearing these words of Sisupala, harsh both in import and sound, that foremost of mighty men, Bhimasena endued with energy became angry. And his eyes, naturally large and expanding and like unto lotus leaves became still more extended and red as copper under the influence of that rage. And the assembled monarchs beheld on his forehead three lines of wrinkles like the Ganga of treble currents on the treble-peaked mountain.

When Bhimasena began to grind his teeth in rage, the monarchs beheld his face resembling that of Death himself, at the end of the Yuga, prepared to swallow every creature. And as the hero endued with great energy of mind was about to leap up impetuously, the mighty-armed Bhishma caught him like Mahadeva seizing Mahasena (the celestial generalissimo).

And, O Bharata, Bhima's wrath was soon appeased by Bhishma, the grand-sire of the Kurus, with various kinds [Page 84] of counsel. And Bhima, that chastiser of foes, could not disobey Bhishma's words, like the ocean that never transgresseth (even when swollen with the waters of the rainy season) its continents.

But, O king, even though Bhima was angry, the brave Sisupala depending on his own manhood, did not tremble in fear. And though Bhima was leaping up impetuously every moment, Sisupala bestowed not a single thought on him, like a lion that recks not a little animal in rage.

The powerful king of Chedi, beholding Bhima of terrible prowess in such rage, laughingly said,--

'Release him, O Bhishma! Let all the monarchs behold him scorched by my prowess like an insect in fire.'

Hearing these words of the ruler of the Chedis, Bhishma, that foremost of the Kurus and chief of all intelligent men, spoke unto Bhima these words."

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