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...

Canto 9 - Jarasandha Challenges Lord Krishna

1. Jarasandha, considering himself as unconquerable in the three worlds, respectable to gods and demons, blinded by pride, and rejecting the strength of all other kings as useless, behaved improperly everywhere.

2. There also, blinded with rage, bearing a body became strong with the flesh of goats, having particular enmity, and his desire unfulfilled, he openly abused even the lord of the three worlds Krishna, the enemy of his son-in-law.

3. All his friends in evil deeds, the inauspicious minded Shishupala etc., having heard this truly great enmity, immediately assembled there.

4. Jarasandha was captured immediately by Chaitya and others who surrounded him, and served him at the behest of Sumantra, offering falsely sweet strong advices.

5. His radiance circled by the evil group of the moving kings like the king of Kashi, Shalva, Shishupala, Paundraka etc., the king fed evil schemes every day, became averse to the advice of the good council of ministers.

6. Even though his heart was the crookedly evil disc, that proud one, who found residence in the palace of the grace of Shiv never insulted the Brahmins, who purified the three worlds because of his birth in the eminence of the ancient law.

7. Once sage Narad, while wandering the three worlds visited him, who was ruling at will thus tyrannical heart being the source for hundreds of thorns of violent strokes.

8. On seeing the Brahmin, the purifier of the worlds, who placed his foot on the earth with kindness, with joy unbound, Jarasandha went forward to welcome the honourable one with due hospitality.

9. The king, the slayer of the lion and the one devoted to Shiv, respectfully made the guest sit on his royal throne considering the Brahmin as Shiv.

10. As the sage was seated comfortably on the seat, the proud king with a smile asked him thus: “O son of Brahma, the unblemished one, why have you come to our palace wandering around the worlds?

11. "Why my palace has been made a sacred place with your footsteps which can purify the three worlds?“As he was asked thus, the sage, who knew everything, with a smile thus replied to the king.

12. “O king, by the grace of Hari, I am usually safe and sound without any problem. Please listen carefully as I tell you why I have come here now.

13. "I’ve heard strange news that passed from mouth to ear of the people, during the course of my tour of the earth that you have been spreading ill and harshness about Krishna who killed your son-in-law.

14. "O, one worthy of courage, this indeed is an unworthy infamy that has spread, even when considering that rumours contain no truth in them. You also should not utter mean words. The noble do not unnecessarily create controversies through allegations.

15. "Unbridled wasteful blabber will not bestow eminence on strong people like you whose bees of fame murmur in all the quarters, whose elephants drench in ever flowing rut (whose hands are moistened with waters of continuous donation), and who are triumphant in the battles.

16. "O lord of the earth, know that the path of spreading rumours about others is condemned by the brave in this world. O lord of Magadha, don’t put your foot in vain in that way by following it quickly, which is fit for the mean only.

17. "So abandon immediately this wasteful criticism of the enemy, and O lord of Magadha, if you have strength, do fight. The brave do not indulge in boasting. Only victory becomes the touchstone for manly prowess.

18. "With your own prowess very soon having defeated the enemy in the battle, enjoy great and pure fame in this world. Or silently adopting the middle path, make peace and stay without being puffed up with a happy mind.

19. "Offered this advice, O king, so that without any reason ill reputation should not spread in the world. For, the indifferent noble people do not speak uselessly even though they are on the side of deeds done truly?"

20. As the sage became silent, Jarasandha, who was highly arrogant suddenly swelled by people mouthing sweet and pleasing praises that were half true, laughed a bit and spoke haughtily thus.

21. "Fortunately O sage, truly on your own, generously you have advised me beneficially for my sake. But I am not able to do that. The noble become well wishers always by the greatness of their nature only.[1]

22. "O this is strange. But I did not hear anything by rumour or from you when I started the vow of Girisha, which is extraordinary in the three worlds, even when widely known.

23. "I have abandoned all the riches that are attainable by the kings, and having taken up the yearlong vow, I have worshipped Shiv well.

24. "As I stayed on the hill thus, having considered the difficulty of the penance, and the devotion of his devotee, unable to stop the great generosity of his mind, the pleased Shiv had bestowed on me the ability to defeat Hari.

25. "Now, all at once I, who can wander in the three worlds have thus become the opponent in this world to defeat Hari by the boon of Shiv. O Brahmin, what is strange if I can do anything?

26. "But what you said about keeping quiet, how can even a sleeping warrior consider that? Thus when we take up the acceptance and prohibition rule, the acceptance will be for fight by the law of the remaining one.

27. "O divine sage, your meaningful advice helps me, the undisciplined one, at the right time. The noble are praised for helping others always.” Saying so the king bowed to Narad.

28. Having heard that the divine sage, whose mind was untouched by anything, spoke to Jarasandha. “You are not capable of defeating the noble one. But who will call you a fool, O devotee of Shiv?

29. "Still, going to battle without a reason is not proper. So find a pretext to defeat Hari. Or by taking refuge with Hari be prosperously happy. Enjoy comforts on the earth. Enough with enmity.

30. "May good happen to you! O king, the auspicious shall be started quickly. May Shiv remove all your misfortunes everywhere.“Having said this, not considering the bowing one, the sage disappeared immediately with his hand stretched upwards.

31. As thus the sage had left, the king consulted his ministers regarding victory over the enemy, and having decided that it was time to make war, ordered that his army should be prepared very soon.

32. Having made his youthful son the heir-prince, as he was not sure about the time of victory, the battle-proud Jarasandha, with his drumbeating army marched towards Mathura.

33. Jarasandha, the arrogant one in the battles, very soon attacked Krishna, the killer of his son-in-law, who was staying in the city with his people, expecting no harm. He surrounded the city.

34. The clever Krishna, the lord of all sentient and insentient beings immediately came to know about the evil deed of the evil one from his spies, and along with brave soldiers, and also Balrama, came out of the city to fight with him.

35. Thus tumultuous battle, with roaring army clouds broke out between the army of the mighty Jarasandha, who was encircled by the snake of vain pride and the army of Krishna which had Balrama, and who was surrounded by the whole worlds.

36. In the battle thus, facing a great army, the Supreme One, with divine weapons pierced the heart of the victor of the quarters.

37. Thus tasting the fear of defeat, his chariot of desire broken, failed in his attempt, along with some well advertised devoted soldiers, who were bent on running away crushed under the weight of fear,

38. Pleaded, and taken away from the battle field, his mind unpleasant, riding a speed horse, heavy with strong enmity, reached Magadha much disgraced.

39. After some time passed, with his full force, again the arrogant one, who was attracted towards unhappy deeds, got ready. Even the Brahmins, who were asked for their opinion, permitted him for battle with minds full of anxiety.

40. Having worshipped according to the rites the Brahmins who uttered words of blessings on the occasion of the journey, and considering the affectionate feelings of the womenfolk, desirous of victory, Jarasandha again marched towards Mathura.

41. Having learnt again about the advance of the king of Magadha from his agents, Krishna along with Balrama and army, came out to the battle fields immediately to fight the enemy who had a difficult time.

42. As again a tumultuous fight occurred, Krishna killed the army of Jarasandha with his disc. The angry Balrama destroyed the chariot. The horses slumped and the flag fell down.

43. Jarasandha who was blinded with pride did not accept defeat just as a snake that was beaten up. Getting down from his chariot he faced Krishna and Balrama, uttering a deafening 'humkara'.

44. Balrama forcibly caught the enemy clutching at his hair and dragged him down from the chariot. And he raised his plough to hit the arrogant one.

45. Meanwhile, Hari with tender compassion ran towards Balrama quickly saying, “O Balrama, don’t hit Jarasandha with your plough”, and having pacified him, released him kindly as if he sought his protection.

46. Having tasted such a defeat, which he never experienced, having lost his horses, elephants and soldiers, alone like an orphan, the lord of Magadha went away from the battle field verily disgraced.

47. The wretched king, living for days in caves, afflicted by hunger, eating roots and fruits, running on the path, and taking rest during nights entered the forest of Chaitya mountain.

48. Having spent there some days somehow, the mean and wretched one became silent and peaceful. And time moved gradually.

49. While the people slept at night, the king entered the capital through the western gate. Covering his face with shame the emaciated one reached the royal palace.

50. “Long time since he set out for war,” thus thinking about him his son had been waiting. Sahadeva was not happy imagining something undesirable.

51. On seeing Jarasandha, who appeared unexpectedly at night, weakened in body by not eating for a long time, his face distorted with the overgrown beard, and who was not in danger, his son became comforted.

52. Thus even though, he was defeated in the battle, as again he went to attack Hari, the evil who are like the tail of the dog, obstinate in minds do not bend.

53. As one whose boat wrecked forcibly, and who was desirous of crossing the ocean of unfortunate calamities, Jarasandha tolerated the intolerable pain, somehow spent some time.

54. Later one day, Sahadeva, who was distressed at the loss of fame of his father, on observing Jarasandha, the one warrior in the three worlds, who was bent on defeating Hari, but whose heart was broken, spoke to him thus.

55. "O father, how were you, who are capable of tearing the arrogant ones, and the one warrior in the world even though having a great army, defeated by a child? For this reason with astonishment I am disappointed in my heart.

56. "O king, thinking by what reason it has to happen like this, I have understood that Krishna, who has been accepted by the scholars as the Supreme Man, even though a child is very powerful along with Balrama.

57. "Even Lord Shiva, who was well worshipped by you through austerities, has become dissociated from you. Whom anyone approaches in private through meditation, meditating upon him, O king, be released from births.

58. "I suppose that you have unnecessarily gone to war with Lord Krishna with obstinate heart. Wasn’t Kansa killed by his own sins being a killer of children for no reason?

59. "Father, this is my opinion. Hence I plead with you.” Saying so, Sahadeva became silent. The noble do not speak sweetly for the sake of accomplishment.

60. Having heard his son’s words, which supported the enemy, Jarasandha, blinded by rage and filled with hatred, shouted at Sahadeva thus.

61. "Ho fool, indirect enemy, you praise now my sworn enemy. How can it will be acceptable to someone like me, the one without any competitor in this world?

62. "O Alas, great misfortune, it is really strange that even to me, the great warrior in the world, how come a son like you, who are meek, not interested in fighting, a devotee of the enemy of your father,

63. "An advisor in vain, a minister not truly, fearful of the enemy, an advocate of peace, having no foresight and of foolish behaviour. O Shiv!

64. "O evil one, if you want happiness, then don’t speak such enemypraising words to me. O fool, the self-prided ones die happily rather than bending."

65. Thus censured by his arrogant father, Sahadeva, his heart full of great suffering, silently went away.

66. The stone-hearted father, having thus rebuffed with unreasonable anger his learned son, himself decided again on battle with Krishna. The proud do not stop because of obstacles.

67. Even though his own army was destroyed, the arrogant one, whose pride was puffed up with Chaitya etc, started his efforts to build army. What is impossible to the striving ones in this world?

68. To defeat his enemy Hari, the unconquerable one with whom he did not want peace, the intelligent Jarasandha appointed the king of Saubha, who was efficient in stealthy activities and the best of the crafty people.

Footnotes and references:


Or the noble do not become well wishers always by the greatness of their nature only, if we take the negative ? ?? ?ऽ ?: with the last line.

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