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 17 - Departure for Magadha

1. Thereafter, both, Bhima and Arjuna left to kill the enemy through Lord Krishna and for the auspicious act before setting out to achieve victory.

2. To kill the son of female demon Jara, the two fearless brothers, Bhima and Arjuna, one after the other boarded the chariot and left with Krishna.

3. Thus, all the three astride the Chariot, started breathing fire to burn down for complete destruction of the noisy, wild or the boisterous group of people belonging to wicked lineage.

4. On seeing the threesome, glowing in radiance of fire, moon and sun, the wise people understood that the end of Jarasandha is in sight, as the enemy of noble men never lives in peace or happiness.

5. These three, due to seething anger against their enemy, failed to appreciate the beauty of the forest on the way, because hatred disturbs the mind.

6. Thus crossing the Kaurava’s border, they entered Magadha. And thereafter, saw Girivraja town, situated afar from the Peak of Goratha Mountain.

7. Even after viewing the magnificent and prosperous Magadha Kingdom’s capital with the fluttering flag atop, they could not feel happy because who will be interested in a person they hate?[1]

8. After this, the brave men of the universe, parked their chariot on the Goratha mountain safely, and walked up to the Chaitya mountain with their chariot driver.

9. On reaching there, those three enemy-destroyer men, who looked like the peak of a mountain holding collectively all the glory of the three worlds, saw three leather-made drums of the demons.

10. They had a good look of the tall peak of the renowned Chaitya Mountain properly, where the famous Brihadratha, riding a big chariot had killed a demon in a battlefield.

11. After thoroughly viewing the scene, these three men, who were confident of their strength, even while following restraint, could not tolerate their enemy’s fury that was pronounced more famously than his personality.

12. Thereafter, suddenly overcome by intense emotion, they began beating the three drums very loudly.

13. Finally they broke the drums that were made on the orders of King Brihadratha and were spread over the mountain

14. The furious and noisy sound that spread across the sky deafened the mind of the King of Magadha and all other citizens of the town.

15. Then the three hid their bows and weapons in the small cavity of an old Banyan tree, covered by its large branches, located in the valley.

16. Shedding their Kshatriya attire cautiously, they transformed themselves into Brahmin’s get-up, in which they were looking very handsome.

17. Killers of this strange Brahmin-lover demon, in their disguised form as Brahmins, these three checked themselves of their appearances and entered Magadha with confidence.

18. Soon after, to inspect more carefully, the threesome took their steps one-by-one, strolling outside the town in confidence, as if they had already defeated their enemy, entered the town from the Western gate.

19. When these warriors entered the town, the devout Brahmins of the town saw the dangerous portents of Magadha and with great sense of regret they explained it to the King of Magadha.

20. Soon after, the spies also gave a new information to Jarasandha about three aggressive Brahmins, who were like fire personified and who had arrived from some unknown place.

21. Mentally agitated with the sounds of three drums, the King (Jarasandha) after hearing that sad news, got engaged in worshipping lord Shankara for driving away the probable calamity.

22. Here the determined and resolute (towards Jarasandha), the warriors in the god-like get-up observed the palace.

23. The flag on the top of the Palace, that was white-washed with the bright touch of moon-light and stars of 'Pausha Month' of Hindu Calendar, was fluttering in the air that was following the unsteadiness of river water.

24. The palace that was located in the middle of the town seemed as though the luster of the gem woven in between the string of pearls and which had the splendour like the peak of Himalaya Mountain.

25. Thus the Royal palace surrounded by many houses and palaces looked as if it was like a fully glowing Moon amidst a cluster of stars on a Full Moon night of the Season of Sharada.

26. On the palace walls, the mural paintings depicted scenes reflecting the battle-field and the various postures were revealing the secrets related to the special art of wrestling, which were an outcome of day and night labour of various artists.

27. On viewing directly the white peak of the palace, which was as elevated as the mountain Indra of the Paradise, its various features aroused curiosity in abundance.

28. In the Magadha Kingdom, all Brahmins manifest like divine beings, enjoyed freedom everywhere. As per the prevailing orders of the King, none of his attendants could stop the men in Brahmin’s robes.

29. Respecting the royal order, the sentinels of the royal gate also did not stop them on their way to the palace. Thus, strolling freely and seeing the palace they entered the royal palace.

30. After entering the palace, these so called Brahmins, saw the son of Jara (i.e., Jarasandha) sitting on the large throne along with his ministers in one of the sections of the palace.

31. They saw Jarasandha in his entire attributes of a strong armed wrestler, a benign figure of a devout of Lord Shiv, blissful because of being a worshipper of Brahmins and the evil-minded person, who performs human sacrifice ritual.

32. They (the Brahmins) saw, the devout of Lord Shankara, wearing three stripes mark of ash on his forehead, with a face blinded by the strength of arrogance and dense hair over forehead and eyebrows akin to a twisted serpent;

33. With small pupils and naturally dilated eyes with angry looking rotund figure with red eyes and who looked like a drunken elephant, the fearsome Jarasandha.

34. The disguised Brahmins saw that Jarasandha, who had an ugly face, a big jaw with uneven teeth, fat and long neck and (body’s) central part which was lean. The Brahmins saw such Jarasandha.

35. These so-called Brahmins saw the wayward and extremely brave Jarasandha, whose chest looked like a big rock, shoulders resembling the splendor of a mountain, and arms as if capable of plucking the trunk of elephant Airawat.[2]

36. The Brahmins in disguise saw Jarasandha, who alone was fit to lift the club and swirl around in the battlefield, which others failed to do, and the one whose strong and sturdy arms were like lightening.

37. Jarasandha, who is a devout of Shankara, and who has a strong body and has thighs as strong as two big pillars and who can shake and destroy the roots of the earth by just kicking. (the three disguised Brahmins saw him)!

38. They saw Jarasandha, who looked like the moving black clouds, a figure with thick skin like that of an elephant, the one who could destroy his enemies and shatter the clouds with just his angry sighs. The Brahmins saw such an aggressive and sagacious Jarasandha.

39. The Brahmins saw Jarasandha, a fearless and broad-chested, well built person, who would kill anybody at will, breaking into laughter without reason on any matter with his servants and dear ones.

40. Thus, seeing the well developed body of Jarasandha, these three brave creatures were excited upon learning about his restless nature, felt that they can accomplish their task comfortably.

41. Peace loving and glowing like sacred fire, these three extraordinary men, noticed the disturbances as per advance information provided by the spies (on the happenings in Jarasandha’s kingdom) and the King (Jarasandha) also went by his spies’ advance information (about the entry of these Brahmins into his kingdom).[3]

42. King Jarasandha was a bit upset with the entry of these unexpected guest Brahmins in the kingdom, on which issue a debate had ensued between learned men and astrologers and the destruction of the drums.

43. "Those whom I have not seen before—yet they seem like familiar people (the three Brahmins)—who are causing confusion in my mind-and why have they come here (in my kingdom) in the guise of Brahmins—(With this thought) many doubts have arisen in my mind.

44. "Suspicion is a sin, and by nature a wicked and fickle mind restricts the wisdom. But, I should not succumb to the vacillating mind and ever show disrespect to these respectful Brahmins."

45. It is only a Brahmin’s blessing that really helps one to overcome difficulties. So, one should not imagine a blemish in these Brahmins, whose nature is as pure as a cow’s milk. These Brahmin’s blessings are really capable of destroying all the hardships–therefore like naturally pure cow and naturally pure water, one should not entertain any doubt about naturally pure Brahmins.

46. Thus King Jarasandha pacified his mind and with pleasant feelings prepared himself to greet the guests with the traditional offerings befitting the stature of Brahmins.

47. Brihadratha’s son Jarasandha, with love and respect, duly offered them things that are worth offering a deity, and Jarasandha, the eloquent, knowledgeable about discrimination and differentiation, spoke to them on meaningful matters.

48. "O sacred Brahmins! Your face has the same splendor and glow that a King has, I bow to thee and please tell me whatever purpose you have come to me now.

49. "With the grace of lord Shankara, people like you, who are born for this land are worthy of worshipping. Therefore, please say quickly whatever you have come to me for, so that people like me get redemption from our miseries."

50. This way, on hearing Jarasandha’s deceptive and peculiar words, Bhima, forgetting his resolve, started getting angry, because fighters always have the habit of getting excited.

51. Lord Krishna, who is capable of accomplishing all tasks through secret signals, deliberating rationally pacified Bhima and smilingly answered King Jarasandha.

52. "It is your duty to properly greet and offer hospitality to your guests–still O King! Is it not that the wise men of your kingdom are satisfied just listening to your affectionate words? (i.e., learned and Brahmins are contended with your affectionate speech–then where is the necessity for other things?)

53. "Like a person, who is hungry needs food–like a poor person needs money from the King and like a warrior wants a battle–in the same manner is it not a Brahmin who seeks donations befitting his stature etc.?

54. "O thoughtful! Although the very secret desire of Brahmins like us, who are interested in accepting donations, is worth disclosing in a secluded place, but it is not proper to reveal it right now before you.

55. "O King! Who entertains his guests in the above manner, although the way you have welcomed us is worth remembering, please offer us a peaceful and sacred place."

56. After listening to the wishes of the Brahmins, Jarasandha said like this: "O Brahmins! Now all of you please come to my Yajna Mandapa."[4]

57. "Where at the end of the day, O supreme Brahmins! There is absolute solitude and peace. I myself will come there and meet you at proper time."

58. Thereafter, as befitting the most sacred and respectful Brahmins, after greeting the King (Jarasandha) of unworthy character, in their own style, they left for the Yajnashala through the passage guided by the security guards.

59. After the three disguised Brahmins left, with great difficulty and efforts, the suspicious minded King, started softening his heart filled with strong hatred towards the Brahmins.

60. From here, the three clever (Brahmins) reached the Yajnashala and secretly started thinking of discreet plans that would bring a definite end to the sinful demon called Jarasandha.

61. With his knowledge about underhand maneuverings, lord Krishna thinking that it is not wrong to deal with the wicked in cunning manner and to be kind to the good souls, preached Bhima and Arjuna that like Draupadi had implored with utmost devotion:

62. "O Partha! (Bhima and Arjuna), it is not proper now (to take any step to attack Jarasandha), but we have come in the garb of Brahmins to use tact to kill the enemy.

63. "King Jarasandha punishes only the bad elements and enemies and does not entertain any suspicion towards Brahmins. For that the reason we have taken a vow to fight with him in the disguise of Brahmins.

64. "We shall send him forcibly to Yamraja, (the lord of death) when his right time comes. But this is not that right time, because the virtue of those, who are unnecessarily excited to do the work without opportunity, becomes a noose of rope.

65. "Both of you, please listen. I am going to tell you that important secret which relates to Bhima and how to vanquish Jarasandha—whose body is unshatterable even by a fatal weapon—through the tactics adopted in a battlefield.

66. "Dwaipayan was kind enough to come to my place and share the secrets of Jarasandha’s life with me and my elder brother.

67. "Earlier, due to the efforts of his father and as a consequence the effect of powerful Muni’s split fruit and seed, this child was born in the night to two mothers in two portions.

68. "Wandering in the night, a female demon named Jara with an accursed form, used her magic powers to bind the two sections of the strong body like Vajra, of this wicked child.

69. "He (the child), with the effect of Kaushika Rishi’s speech, was joined (Sandhi) into one body by the female demon Jara, from his own two sections, was thus came to be known as Jarasandha, a name given by his father.

70. "O! Accomplished wrestler Bhima, you may definitely and very easily succeed in attacking Jarasandha, who has a strong body like a fatal weapon, by choosing to hit him suddenly on the mark found in the middle part of his body.

71. "It is not correct to think that by attacking in a deceptive manner the terrorizing King Jarasandha, we will be committing a betrayal. Because, with the death of a terrorist ruler like this, lives of thousands of people could be saved and it will actually be a good deed."

72. Thus, lord Krishna explained to Bhima and Arjuna about adopting such tactics as per the norms of governing fighting the enemy and destroying him, which contained the remedy for all ill effects.

73. Thus, rationalizing the wrong consequences of even an untruthful means to free the world from the cruelty of Magadha King (Jarasandha) by his early destruction, the strategic thinking smart warriors disguised as Brahmins, spent the day in peace.

Footnotes and references:


No one has a feeling of love for a hated man—Jarasandha was also like this hated person, for whom no one can have love.


Divine elephant of God Indra.


These three Brahmins sensed Jarasandha’s intent to disturb the peace and Jarasandha also realized the possibility of disturbance to peace due to the entry of these three Brahmins, as informed by the Brahmins of the kingdom and secret intelligence information.


A place where sacrifice is performed.

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