Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam

by Pankaj L. Jani | 2010 | 82,365 words

The English translation of the Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam: a Sanskrit epic poem written by Goswami Hariraiji. The story revolves around the story of Krishna’s vanquishing of the Magadha King, Jarasandha. The soul message of this epic Jarasandhavadha is “where there is righteousness there is victory”. The sources for this story include the Mahabhar...

Part 4 - Story of the Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam

The Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam is a great epic written in Sanskrit by a contemporary poet Goswami Hariraiji. The story of the Jarasandhavadha is based on the Mahabharata, the Harivansha Puran and the Bhagvat Puran. Originally the Mahabharata and the Purans are written by Ved Vyasji in Sanskrit. Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam is an epic in the true sense. It maintains all the traits and possesses all characteristics that an epic normally contains. Hariraiji created the epic, Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam, which relates to the story of Krishna’s vanquishing of the Magadha King, Jarasandha.

The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are two gems in Indian literature. Both these epics are the bases of Indian culture and Sumeru mountain of gold of the Sanskrit literature. The Mahabharata holds the place of pride and it is the most popular epic after the Ramayana. The Mahabharata has a great literary importance. It is like an ocean which carries out all types of compositions pertaining to all kinds of knowledge. Indeed it is a beautiful poetic work on the one hand and a code of conduct on the other. It is really a specimen of literary art, exercising a tremendous influence on different forms of subsequent literary compositions in Sanskrit.

Yudhishtira intended to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice. Therefore he sought the advice of Shri Krishna. Krishna informed him that without killing Jarasandha, he could not perform the 'Rajsuya Yajna'. Jarasandha had conquered many kings and held them in subjection. The wicked Kansa, Shishupal and many others were afraid of his prowess and were submissive to him. Even Lord Krishna could not defeat him. Yudhishthira wanted to know about the strength and prowess of Jarasandha. Shri Krishna narrated the story of Jarasandha.

Jarasandha was the king of Magadha. His father, Brihadratha was a valourous, mighty and matchlessly powerful ruler of Magadha. He had the army of three 'Akshauhinis' of soldiers. He married the two beautiful twin-daughters of the king of Kashi. He was fortunate that in the company of his two wives he passed away his youth in the enjoyment of his wealth. But it was his misfortune that no son was born to him to further his line. Brihadratha and his queens were very god fearing and religious minded so they performed many yajnas and other rites to get a son.

One day the Chandakaushika Rishi, the son of Kakshivana of the Gautama race, came to his city. The king knew about the miraculous power of the sage and thus in the company of his wives went to greet him with the intention to get blessings from him. They gratified the Rishi with presents of Jewels. He was pleased with their 'bhakti'. The Rishi gave a mango fruit to the king as the means of his obtaining a son. The king gave that fruit to his two wives. The queens divided the fruit into two equal parts and ate the mango. That resulted in happiness and joy for all the members of the family.

Sometime later when the proper season came, each of the two queens delivered two fragmentary bodies having one eye, one arm, one leg, half a stomach, half a face, and half an anus. Seeing the fragmentary bodies, the queens trembled much. They were stunned to see the half parts of the human body. The two sisters finally decided to throw away the fragments of the body. Once again a very unusual instance took place. A 'Rakshas' woman, whose name was Jara found the fragments lying there. She was also surprised to see this unusual thing. She took those parts in her hand and united the fragments to make them easier to carry.

As soon as the fragments were united, they formed into a heroic child of one body which was as hard and strong as the thunderbolt. Even Jara was unable to carry that child. The child roared as terribly as the clouds charged with rains. The king, the queens and others came out to see what the matter was. When Jara saw the helpless, disappointed and the sad queens and also the king at the same time, she hands over the child to the king.

Having obtained the child, the king and the queens were filled with joy. The occasion was celebrated in a grand manner. As the fragments of the body of the child were united by Jara, he was named Jarasandha. The child was growing day by day like the moon in the white-fortnight. Sometime later, the Rishi Chandakaushika came again to the kingdom of Magadha. The Rishi made prophecy that Jarasandha would grow in prosperity and no king would be able to equal him in prowess. The weapons hurled upon him even by the celestials will not be able to make any impression on him. He will seize the growing prosperity of all the kings. All the kings will remain obedient to him.

Under his father’s able guidance he killed a monster named Rishabh 'Rakshas' who was a menace to the state. Thus the king of Magadha finally summoned all his friends and relatives, and declared Jarasandha as the king of Magadha. When Jarasandha was installed as the king he brought numerous kings under his sway by his valour. After his father and mother had retired into the forest, as told by Kaushika, the king Jarasandha literally ruled over the whole world. He was married to the daughter of Kashi Naresh. He was blessed with two daughters and a son named Sahdeva. His daughters were married to Kansa whom Lord Krishna killed. Sometime after, when the king Kansa was killed by Vasudeva (Krishna), an enmity arose between him and Krishna. Jarasandha decided to kill Lord Krishna.

Shri Krishna was sure that all the celestials and the 'Asuras' were incapable to vanquish Jarasandha in battle. Therefore, he decided to defeat him in a single combat. Lord Krishna’s plan was that they three (he along with Arjuna and Bhima) could collectively kill Jarasandha. They decided to go secretly to that king, as he was sure that the king would be engaged in a single combat with one of them. From the fear of disgrace, from covetousness, and from the pride of strength of arms, he would certainly challenge Bhima to a single combat. Bhima would surely bring about the fatal fall of the king (Jarasandha). Yudhishthira could visualise that Jarasandha was already killed, that the kings kept prisoner by him had already been liberated and that the Rajasuya sacrifice was already accomplished by him. Looking to the prowess of these three even the people also considered that Jarasandha was already killed.

Finally they reached the great city of Magadha standing in all its beauty. They entered the city of Magadha. On Chaityaka hill Jarasandh, under the guidance of Brihadratha, had killed a cannibal, called Rishabha. Three drums were made from the skin of that monster. He then kept these drums in his city. They were such that, if once played upon, their sound lasted for one full month. The brothers broke down the Chaityaka, ever charming to all the people, at the place where these drums, covered with celestial flowers, sent forth their continuous sound. Attacking with their powerful arms that immovable, huge, high, old and famous peak, ever worshipped with perfumes and garlands, those heroes broke it down. They then with joyful hearts entered the city. At that very time the Brahmins saw many evil omens which they duly reported to Jarasandha.

Lord Krishna, Bhima and Arjun entered the city in the guise of Snataka Brahmins in order to fight with Jarasandha. They kept their weapons outside the city. Jarasandha received his visitors with proper ceremonies. Seeing the strange attire of his guests, Jarasandha was astonished, but he waited upon them with all respect. Jarasandha was sure that they were not the Brahmins. How could he believe the people adorned with flowers and with hands that bear the marks of the bow-string and also who broke the strong drums as Brahmins? Jarasandha was astonished to see such Brahmins and said that he did not recollect that he had done them any injury. When he had never done them any harm, they should not consider him, as their enemy.

Lord Krishna reminded him that he had done cruel deed by making the Kshatriyas of the world captive and put in the prison. After persecuting them, he would offer them as sacrifices to Rudra. Having done this cruel wrong how can a person consider himself innocent? Lord Krishna is the protector of the whole world. He practices virtue and he knew protecting virtue. Lord Krishna tells him on the face that they are desirous of helping all distressed people. They will liberate all the captive monarchs.

Thus he challenged Jarasandha for a single combat. He informed him that they were certainly not the Brahmins. On the other hand Jarasandha was also a brave king he did not agree to liberate the kings captured for the purpose of the sacrifice. He was ready to fight with troops or alone against one. Finally it was decided that he would fight with Bhimasen. The fight began on the first day of the month of Kartika, and those two heroes fought on continuously without food, and without intermission of day or night till the thirteenth day. Roaring like clouds, they grasped and struck each other like two mad elephants fighting with their trunks. Becoming angry at each other's blow they dragged and pushed each other, and they fought on, looking fiercely at each other like two angry lions.

Thousands of citizens, consisting of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and 'Sevakas', and also women and even old men, came out and assembled there to witness the fight. The sound they made by the slapping of arms, by the seizing of each other's necks, and by the grasping of each other's legs became so loud that it resembled the roar of thunder or the noise of a falling cliff. Both of them were foremost of strong and powerful men, and both took great delight in such fights. Each was eager to vanquish the other, and each was on the alert to take advantage of the slightest carelessness of the other. It was on the night of the fourteenth day, the Magadha king stopped from fatigue. Bhima was determined to kill him. Bhima mustered all his strength and courage with the desire of vanquishing the unvanquished Jarasandha.

Bhima raised up the strong Jarasandha and whirled him high one hundred times, Bhima pressed his knee against Jarasandha's backbone and broke his body into two parts. Having thus killed him, he roared aloud. The roar of Bhima, mingled with that of Jarasandha while he was being broken by Bhima's knee, raised such a loud roar that it struck fear into the heart of every creature. The people of Magadha became dumb with fear; and even many women were prematurely delivered due to the roars of Bhima and Jarasandha. Hearing the roars of Bhima, the people of Magadha thought that the Himalayas were coming down on the earth.

Thus they liberated all the captive kings. Seeing Krishna there the people of Magadha became very much astonished. The captive kings were grateful to Lord Krishna and were prepared to do anything for him. They were all prepared whole heartedly to take part in the Rajsuya Yajna, performed by Yudhishthira. Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha, who was always against his father’s wrong deeds, worshipped Lord Krishna. Krishna instated Sahadeva the son of Jarasandha on the throne of Magadha.

Krishna, accompanied by the two Pandavas -Bhima and Arjuna, arrived at Indraprastha and went to Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira was informed that the powerful Jarasandha was killed by Bhima and all the kings, confined at Girivraja, were liberated. Yudhishthira worshipped Krishna as he deserved and he embraced Bhima and Arjuna in joy. Having obtained victory through the agency of his brothers by the death of Jarasandha, Ajatashatru (Yudhishthira) passed his time with his brothers in great merriment. Krishna took leave of Yudhishthira, Kunti, Draupadi, Subhadra, Bhimasena, Arjuna, and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva and he started for his own city (Dvarika).

Whatever is consistent with 'Dharma, Artha and Kama' continued at that time to be properly performed by king Yudhishthira in the exercise of his duties in protecting his subjects.

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