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 13 - The Brahmin Reaches Dvarika

1. Shri Krishna, who has the powers to wipe out the sorrow of all the people in the universe, who in the human form is laudable, transcending the senses and unattached with mundane world like unaffected by water despite being surrounded by it.

2. He heard the prayers of the forlorn and helpless Kings in the prisons of Magadha, as if it were implored by Brahma himself.

3. He showed his concern for the helpless devout kings in the custody of Magadha King like a weakened bull forcibly overpowered and anticipating its death.

4. With a deep sense of concern, like day-break kindles fresh hopes in the birds, for quickly rescuing kinsfolk by granting boon like the Kalpavruksha,[1] Hari (Krishna) started thinking about the unthinkable subject.

5. Magadha King had intensely prayed to Lord Shiv and unsuspecting Shiv must have definitely granted him second boon.

6. Thus Magadha King must have received a boon from Shiv for his victory, and by going against the same how can I kill him, as Lord always supports the actions of his own clan.

7. The Supreme self, who finds solution both ways, will certainly kill Magadha King, the devotee of Shiv, by some other means.

8. With such thoughts in the mind, the one who controls the wisdom of learned-distinguished men of the three worlds inspired few devout Kings who were engrossed in intense meditation.

9. Just as the kings were pondering, the supreme Yogiraj, Yadupati Lord Krishna, true to his reputation, started thinking on some remedy.

10. Then, after a long contemplation, soon with the hope of their survival the Kings came to the guards and told Upashruti,

11. "You with the right sense of time, prescient of fortune, may your arrival be auspicious, impressed with your work the King may evaluate your efficiency and give you promotion.

12. "When the downfall comes, even the wise men get carried away by pride. Unfortunately, the fate of Magadha King appears to be similar.

13. "He has organized this wrong act of performing a sacrifice. This king has kept thousands of Kings captive like animals for sacrifice.

14. "Hey supreme commander! Though you are adept in your work and able minded, still is there no approval from you on the violence suffered by hundreds of kings?[2]

15. "Great men have said that even the ones helping those commit wrong are also considered to be sinners—there is no doubt about this.

16. "This fearsome misdeed is being committed by Magadha King. You should not support this, if you love Brahmins, otherwise, good people will also be provoked to indulge in misdeeds.

17. "We the innocent kings, surrounded by the guards, if somehow we are able to escape from this cruel imprisonment, then Hey Guard! The follower of dharma, please do not get angry with us today."

18. Thus, listening to the innocent kings’ inexpedient but solicitous statement, the supreme guard became perturbed.

19. Not only it is just said, but actually such an act against powerful men is not proper, yet killing may be fair in a battle due to enmity with Shri Krishna, but not during a religious sacrifice.

20. "We also do not heartily agree with the slaying of the Kings in this manner, but our appointment is for guarding these prisons and we are performing our duty.

21. "You should give up the idea of escaping from this place and if you have another wish you may say that could be achieved because by failing in his duty no person can attain salvation."

22. Listening to such words of wisdom from the guard, the kings became sad for a moment but because of their resolute mind and belief in Yadupati (Krishna) they understood the words of the guards.

23. Please understand calmly that condemned by the materialistic minded Magadha King who is lacking farsightedness, the death of the kings is hovering before them.

24. "Hey friend! If our death is certain, then despite being weak, if we are hoping for a life, we must have done some act of benevolence–we want to do some more good deeds.

25. "By some misfortune if we are destined to die before our time, then Hey Friend! If our acquittals in this life become a waste we still will be hoping for fruits of our benevolent deeds in the nether world.

26. "We, who worship Brahmins with unfailing respect to rituals, want to continue with our offerings to them until our death.

27. "You should fulfill this ultimate wish of ours and at the appropriate time you must convey our just appeal to the Magadha Raja—Hey Noble man! You go.

28. "In this world, even a person awarded death sentence by a king earns the right to express his last wish. This is just. You should try to express our appeal.

29. "Your commitment to your duty as a guard is praise worthy. Performing your duty with love and regard and your continued belief in your responsibility may further fortify your resolute mind."

30. With good hope, the kings sent such a kind hearted guard immediately.

31. The success is very near—with this pleasant thought, the kings spent the crucial night of fear assuming as if the darkness vanishes before the bright sun.

32. After this, riding his horse in a lightning speed and bearing the heat from the sun on the way, he went to the royal court.

33. After entering the court, the guard saluted the king on the seat with deer skin and paid his utmost respect to him.

34. Before even the guard, whose unexpected arrival raised suspicion in the mind of the otherwise cautious king and much before the guard could say anything he asked him.

35. "O ever alert supreme guard! Tell me why have you come here suddenly? Hope you have maintained the protection of the impregnable prison intact."

36. To his polite enquiry, the obedient guard, who enjoys the regard of his master, told the Magadha King with a smile -

37. "Hey Magadha King! Who can break out of the strong gate and the impregnable prison of Magadha kingdom? Who can dare attack it?

38. "Hey Dev! I have come to convey truthfully as to what I have ultimately determined for those kings kept in the dark and deep cells."

39. Thus, after proper deliberation of the appropriate and inappropriate, the guard presented the facts in an unimpaired manner before the ruler of Magadha, who was present in the royal assembly along with Sahadeva.

40. On hearing from the guard what the Kings desired to convey, Magadha King, with a frown and looking enraged and with large teeth, said in a raised voice.

41. "Learned people do not trust the enemies. The hooded snakes, even though immobilized, do not deserve our sympathy. And they are strong and cunning. No, it is no possible. They are bad people."

42. As he was uttering these words, Maharshi (Narad), progeny of the fourfaced Brahma, arrived there before the King with the Vichitra Veena in his hands.

43. Thereafter, seeing the king’s eagerness to greet him, Narad told the King with a smiling face—

44. "Though Yajna (sacrifice) by itself is a good deed, but since the welfare or happiness and killing of the imprisoned kings is linked to the evil and inauspicious, it will not help in improving the welfare of the people of Magadha.

45. "Hey Rajan! Please realize that if you have evil intentions, the consequence will be destructing for you. Sooner, the world will stop worshiping the Brahmins, Gurus and divine beings and it will end up in the shunning of righteousness or virtues.

46. "To sacrifice such kings, who worship the Brahmins and keeping them in custody, Hey Rajan! Will not offering them as sacrifice for the Narmedha Yajna (Human Sacrifice), be a greater sin!

47. "Besides, despite considered just and appropriate to kill those sentenced to death for grave offences, their last wish is sought to be fulfilled. This has been an accepted duty of the Kings.

48. "By stopping that sinful act, Hey Learned! not only will bring prosperity to the kings, but you will also gain. Do not get angry."

49. When such benevolent words were spoken by Devarshi Narad, the Magadha King remained silent for a moment. Such wisdom from an ascetic (Narad), put some sense into the head of misguided King.

50. He thought for a while and said–"O noble guard! Go and tell the kings that they should make all arrangements tomorrow itself for deifying the Brahmins." Thus the King gave his order.

51. Acknowledging what Narad said, the King extended a pleasant welcome to him. The guest left for his abode after accepting his hospitality.

52. After sage Narad left, the Magadha King dispersed the assembly after happily sanctioning the right to worship. The Chief Guard bowed his head to pay his regards.

53. In this manner, after obtaining the Magadha King’s orders, to fulfill the kings’ desired goal, sentinel left the shining palace for the high prison in the blazing heat.

54. As the night broke, the guard musing over the fact that a sincere employee never neglects his responsibility reached the prison astride his speeding horse.

55. After reaching the prisons, the guard narrated King’s version of happy and pleasant words to the sad and powerless kings.

56. Despite the deceptive countenance of Brahmin friendly King of Magadha, the kings heartily offered prayers to Shri Krishna.

57. Thereafter, as per regular norms, the Brahmins were extended traditional honour in the prison cells itself and were profusely rewarded with 'dakshina'.

58. Brahmins also responded by blessing the kings with long life.

59. There in the prison, the kings were receiving the Brahmins endowed with powers of sages and celestial beings and as if they had been sent by Krishna were blessing them in the prison day in day out.

60. After this, the kings offered their worships in the traditional manner to the powerful Brahmins. Pleased with this, the Brahmins also gave their blessings for their victory.

61. The imprisoned kings secretly expressed their wish that the Brahmins should give such blessings that will truly strengthen their life.

62. 'Oh Brahmin! Please do not waste your beautiful blessings. Sooner, we are going to be done to death by Magadha King. Even Brahma cannot protect us."

63. Listening to the words of the kings, who had lost any hope of fighting out of the throes of death, the superior Brahmin with a radiance on his face smilingly said:

64. "Oh, please do not think in this manner. In this world you will be saved by Lord Krishna, whose power transcends that of destiny."

65. "For us the Magadha King is like God, though he is like us mortals but because of his powers and blinded by lust for power assumes himself to be divine. This is his mistake."

66. Feeling pleased with such pleasant words and reflecting on the wisdom of Brahmins, the Kings happily said -

67. "Hey 'Bhudev'! You are great, learned and wise. You have a kind heart. Brahmins by nature are kind.

68. "Hey Eternal Spirit! You can understand the plight of us innocent.

69. "Without the protector Hari in this world there is no saviour of us, who have been pushed into the cruel hands of death.

70. "Hey respectful, it is difficult for us to break the Chakravyuh (impregnable battle-array) and reach Krishna to convey our plight. For us you are having a privileged position.

71. "You are the right means to take our message from here secretly, because Brahmins are all powerful to do anything.

72. "In this, there is no possibility of being untruthful towards Magadha King. Because you will earn a lot of goodwill by preventing the destruction of lives.

73. "So, Hey Lord of the Earth! The most divine, please do go to Dvarika in your eternal guise. May your journey be pleasant!"

74. Saying this and writing out their request and handing over the same to Jagadeeshwar, the kings exchanged the letter amongst themselves.

75. This letter was sent through trusted Brahmin by the kings.

76. Promising he will hand over the letter to Krishna, the courageous Brahmin left after exchanging pleasantries with the guards.

77. Intoning the versions of Krishna as Bhagwan, Saharaanshu, Vibhu, the Brahmin left the prison.

78. The kings carried out this exercise with such secrecy that even the guards keeping a day and night vigil could not find out.

79. Assured that the confidential letter will be delivered by the Brahmin, the kings became contented.

80. Following their invocation of Krishna, the kings, wishing for a pleasant journey of the Brahmin, they once again relieved of trepidation.

81. Carrying the letter given by the Kings, the Brahmin, secretively swiftly left for Dvarikapuri, the abode of Krishna.

Footnotes and references:


A mythological tree that is supposed to grant all desires.


It means you (Krishna) also have a role in this unjust act.

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