The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 103 - The episode of Kṛṣṇa concluded

Vyāsa said:

1. Arjuna found out the cast off physical bodies of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and performed the requisite consecratory rites. He did the same for others too.

2. The eight crowned queens of Kṛṣṇa, Rukmiṇī and others, took the dead body of Kṛṣṇa and entered fire.

3. Revatī the excellent lady, embraced the body of Balarāma and entered the blazing fire which cooled and delighted her by the mere touch of her body.

4. On hearing about this, Ugrasena, Ānakadundubhi, Devakī and Rohiṇī entered fire.

5. Arjuna performed their funeral rites in accordance with the injunctions. Taking all the people and Vajra with him he left Dvārakā.

6. Thousands of wives of Kṛṣṇa went out of Dvāravatī. Looking after Vajra and the people, the son of Kuntī went ahead slowly.

7. O brahmins, the assembly chamber Sudharmā, that had been brought to the mortal world by Kṛṣṇa went back to heaven. So also the Pārijāta tree.

8. It was on the day on which Kṛṣṇa left the Earth and went to heaven that the Kali age, with time for its body set in.

9. The great ocean flooded Dvārakā. The sea did not engulf the house of the most excellent one among the descendants of Yadu. This was the only thing it did not envelop in its waters.

10. Since Kṛṣṇa the lord, is permanently present there, O brahmins, the great ocean does not even today, go beyond the limit (of this house).

11. It is an abode of great merit. īt destroys all sins. It is a place where Viṣṇu sports about. On seeing it one is liberated from sins.

12. O excellent sages, in the land of Pañcanada (watered by five rivers), equipped with much of wealth and food-grains, Arjuna made arrangements for the residence of all the people.

13-14. The ladies whose husbands had been killed in the battle-field were being led by Arjuna who had the bow in his hand. On seeing them led by Arjuna, robbers felt greedy. The Ābhīras (cowherds)who were very haughty, who committed sinful deeds and whose minds were afflicted by covetousness gathered together and consulted one another.

The Ābhīras said:

15-17. Here is Arjuna armed with his bow. Alone he is leading the women-folk whose husbands had been killed. He is taking them beyond us. Let his strength be reduced and ridiculed. By killing Bhīṣma, Droṇa, Jayadratha, Karṇa, and others he has become arrogant. He is not aware of the strength of the rural folk. He treats others with contempt regarding them inferior to him in strength, especially the people of villages.

Vyāsa said:

18. Thereafter Dasyus who hurled lumps of clay and who struck with their staffs rushed at those womenfolk whose husbands had been killed. They attacked them in their thousands. Turning back, the son of Kuntī spoke to the Ābhīras laughingly:

19-24. “Return, O unrighteous ones, if you are not desirous of dying”.

Vyāsa said:

They disregarded his words and seized the wealth and the womenfolk from the son of Kuntī, the womenfolk who had been the wives of Kṛṣṇa.

Then Arjuna began to string up his bow Gāṇḍīva that never became infirm in battle. But that powerful hero could not string it up.

With great difficulty he tied up the string but it became loose again. Although he racked his brain the son of Pāṇḍu could not remember the mantras with which they had to be discharged.

Arjuna discharged the remaining arrows against these. But, though they were discharged from the Gāṇḍīva bow they did not inflict any injury. The everlasting arrows received from the god of fire became exhausted. Thus when he fought with the cowherds Arjuna was defeated and exhausted.

25-26. Arjuna thought—“It was really Kṛṣṇa’s strength whereby the various kings were conquered by me through volleys of arrows”.

Even as the son of Pāṇḍu was watching with wide open eyes, those excellent ladies were abducted by Ābhīras. Others went away as they desired.

27. When the arrows were exhausted Arjuna struck them with the tip of his bow. O brahmins, at the blow the Dasyus laughed derisively.

28. Even as Arjuna was watching, O excellent sages, those Mlecchas seized the excellent women of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas and carried them to their places all round.

29. Arjuna became dejected saying—“Alas; Alas, I have been abandoned by that lord.” He lamented.

Arjuna said:

30. That bow, those miraculous missiles, that chariot and those horses—all these are destroyed at one stroke like the charitable gift to one who is not learned in the Vedas.

31. O, fate indeed is very powerful. Without that Ātman, I am devoid of all efficiency. I have been led to ignoble defeat.

32. These are the same arms as before; this is the same fìst of mine. This is the same spot. I am the same Arjuna but without merit everything has gone worthless.

33. My superior powers and those of Bhīma were certainly effected by Lord Kṛṣṇa. Without him, I have been conquered by the cowherds. How can it happen otherwise?

Vyāsa said:

34. Saying thus, Arjuna went to Indraprastha. There he crowned as king, the Yādava scion Vajra.

35. Arjuna saw there the highly blessed sage Vyāsa with his abode in the forest. He approached him humbly and saluted the sage.

36-41. As Arjuna bowed down to his feet, the sage closely looked at him. He spoke “Why are you so exceedingly pale and colourless? Did you follow a column of dust kicked up and raised by goats? Was the murder of a brahmin committed by you? Are you miserable because your hopes of victory have been shattered? Surely you don’t have brilliant lustre (in your face) now. Were your offsprings and others rebuked while they were begging? Have you taken any lustful interest in any woman who cannot be carnally approached? You are lacking lustre thereby. Are you in the habit of eating sweets alone without giving a portion to brahmins? Or were the riches of any miser removed by you? I hope, O Arjuna, you have not been affected by the glare of the sun or the gust of wind? Has the evil eye struck you? How can you be devoid of splendour otherwise? Are you defiled in the water from the nail or have you been sprinkled by the water from a jar? Why do you very much lack in lustre? Or have you been defeated by base men in battle.”

Vyāsa said:

42. Arjuna who was thus addressed took a deep breath and said. “O holy sir, may it be heard”. O brahmins, he mentioned about his mortification precisely.

43. He who had been our strength, our splendour, our prowess, our exploit, our glory, our lustre—lord Kṛṣṇa—has left us.

44-45. Without him, O sage, we are like stumps and pegs. He had been one who used to speak smilingly to us. He, the best of men, had been the cause of strength of our missiles, of our arrows and of my bow Gāṇḍīva.

46. It was due to his supervision that glory, victory and increase of wealth never forsook us. But to our misfortune, the lord himself has forsaken us now.

47. It was through the power of Kṛṣṇa that Bhīṣma, Droṇa, Karṇa, Duryodhana and others were destroyed. But that Kṛṣṇa has left off the Earth.

48. To me the Earth appears like a lady who has lost her blooming youth, whose splendour is destroyed and whose lustre has vanished. O dear one, I am not the only one to suffer from the bereavement of the discus-bearing lord.

49. Due to the power and magnificence of Kṛṣṇa I was able to kill Bhīṣma and others. I was like fire and they were like moths. But today, without lord Kṛṣṇa, I have been defeated by cowherds.

50. My bow Gāṇḍīva is well known in the three worlds due

to his magnificence. But without him, it has been slighted by the cowherds by means of mere sticks.

51. O great sage, thousands of helpless ladies have been carried off, in spite of my endeavour, by the Dasyus who had batons for their weapons.

52. All the womenfolk of Kṛṣṇa, while being brought over here by me, have been carried away by the cowherds who carried sticks as their weapons.

53. It is not surprising that I am devoid of splendour. The fact that I am alive is miraculous. I have been marked by the mud in the form of insults at the hands of base men. I have been ashamed, O grand-father.

Vyāsa said:

54. On hearing the words of the noble-minded Arjuna, who was dejected and miserable, O excellent brahmins, I spoke thus:

55. Enough of your being ashamed, O Arjuna, it does not behove you to bewail. Understand that the working of time in all living beings is like this.

56. O Arjuna, Kāla is conducive to the nativity of living beings as well as to their non-existence. Knowing that Kāla is at the root of everything, be steady-minded.

57-58. Rivers, oceans, mountains, Earth, Devas, human beings, animals, trees and reptiles are created by Kāla and later they attain dissolution through Kāla. Knowing that all this is of the nature of Kāla you shall attain mental peace.

59. O Arjuna, the greatness of Kṛṣṇa is just as you say. He had taken up incarnation on Earth for reducing its burden.

60. Formerly, the Earth that had been afflicted by burden had gone to Devas. It was for that purpose that Viṣṇu who could assume any form that he desired had taken up incarnation.

61. That task has been achieved, the kings have been killed. The family of Vṛṣṇis and Andhakas has been duly finished.

62. O Arjuna, there was nothing else to be done by him on the face of the Earth. So the contented lord went away as he wished.

63. This lord of Devas performs creation at the beginning and sustains during its maintenance. He is competent to annihilate as well, as has been done now.

64. Hence, O Arjuna, you must not feel aggrieved due to this discomfiture. At the moment of creative activity men will have exploits.

65. It is exemplified by the fact that Bhīṣma, Droṇa and other beings were killed by you alone. O Arjuna, is not this attack a deficiency in their case, as brought about by Kāla?

66. Just as their mortification was brought about by the magnificence of Viṣṇu and through you, so also is your mortification at the hands of Dasyus. It is caused by the magnificence of Viṣṇu.

67. That lord, the lord of the universe, permeates other bodies and performs the task of dissolving all living beings in the end.

68. During the origin of this creative process the lord was your ally, O son of Kuntī. At the close of created beings those who are viewed with sympathy by the lord had been your adversaries.

69. Who could have believed at the beginning that you could kill Kauravas including Bhīṣma? Who could have believed your discomfiture at the hands of cowherds?

70-71. Arjuna, this is only a peculiar type of activity of Kṛṣṇa in respect of all living beings. The fact that Kauravas and others were defeated by you in the battle and that the women under your protection were carried away by Dasyus—this is only the lord’s sport.

I shall tell you an anecdote, O Arjuna, in the manner it had occurred.

72. O Arjuna, formerly the brahmin Aṣṭāvakra was interested in staying under water for many years even as he was worshipping the eternal lord.

73. When Asuras had been defeated, there was a great festival on the top of Meru. The celestial damsels saw him on their way to the festival.

74. O Arjuna, Rambhā, Tilottamā and hundreds and thousands of other ladies eulogised and praised that great soul.

75. They praised the sage who wore weighty matted hair and who was standing immersed in water upto his neck. With humility they bent down their heads. They were eager in repeating the hymns.

76. They eulogised him so much that he became pleased with them. O most excellent among the descendants of Kuru, they eulogised that most excellent brahmin.

Aṣṭāvakra said:

77. O highly blessed ladies, I am delighted. Whatever is wished for by you, may be requested for from me. I shall grant it even if it is very difficult to grant.

Vyāsa said:

78-82. Rambhā, Tilottamā and other celestial damsels said:

The Apsaras said:

If you are pleased, O brahmins, grant what is not achieved by us?

Others said—“O brahmin, if you are pleased we wish to obtain Kṛṣṇa as our husband”.

Vyāsa said:

Saying, “It will be so”, the sage got up from water. As he got up they saw that he was deformed with crookedness in eight ways

O scion of the family of Kuru, on seeing the deformed sage the celestial damsels laughed. Some concealed their laughter. But some laughed openly. The infuriated sage cursed them.

Aṣtāvakra said:

83-85. Considering me ugly and deformed you have laughed derisively at me. Hence I curse you.

Due to my favour, you will obtain Kṛṣṇa as your husband. But afflicted by my curse, you will fall into the hands of Dasyus.

Vyāsa said:

86. On hearing these words, the sage was propitiated by them. He said, “You will go once again to the world of the lord of Devas.”

87. Hence, O Arjuna, even the least bit of sorrow need not be felt by you. Everything has already been ordained by the lord of all.

88. Your strength, splendour, prowess and greatness have been condensed by the lord desirous of annihilating you all.

89. Death is inevitable to one who is born; fall is a sequal to rise. Close contact leads to separation in the end; hoarding leads to destruction.

90-92. After knowing all these things the learned men neither feel sorry nor elated. There are others like them who derive lessons from such events.

Hence, O excellent among men, know this. Eschew the entire kingdom. Along with your brothers, go to the forest for performing penance.

Hence go. Intimate to Dharmarāja (Yudhiṣṭhira) these words of mine. O heroic one, day after tomorrow attain the ultimate goal along with your brothers.

Vyāsa said:

93-95. Thus advised, Arjuna approached his elder brother and informed him and the other brothers including the twins Nakula and Sahadeva what he had seen and experienced. On hearing the words of Vyāsa uttered by Arjuna, the sons of Pāṇḍu crowned Parīkṣit in the kingdom and went to the forest.

Thus, O excellent sages, the activities of Vāsudeva, born in the family of Yadu, have been mentioned by me in detail.

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