Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XXXIX

"Vaisampayana said, 'Beholding that bull among men seated on the car in the habit of a person of the third sex, driving toward the Sami tree, having taken (the flying) Uttara up, all the great car-warriors of the Kurus with Bhishma and Drona at their head, became affrighted at heart, suspecting the comer to be Dhananjaya.

And seeing them so dispirited and marking also the many wonderful portents, that foremost of all wielders of arms, the preceptor Drona, son of Bharadvaja, said,

'Violent and hot are the winds that below, showering gravels in profusion. The sky also is overcast with a gloom of ashy hue. The clouds present the strange sight of being dry and waterless. Our weapons also of various kinds are coming out of their cases. The jackals are yelling hideously affrighted at the conflagrations on all sides.[1] The horses too are shedding tears, and our banners are trembling though moved by none. Such being the inauspicious indications seen, a great danger is at hand. Stay you with vigilance, Protect you your own selves and array the troops in order of battle. Stand you, expecting a terrible slaughter, and guard you well the kine. This mighty bowman, this foremost of all wielders of weapons, this hero that has come in the habit of a person of the third sex, is the son of Pritha. There is no doubt of this.'

Then addressing Bhishma, the preceptor continued,

'O offspring of the Ganges, apparelled as a woman, this is Kiriti called after a tree, the son of the enemy of the mountains, and having on his banner the sign of devastator of the gardens of Lanka’s lord. Vanquishing us he will surely take away the kine today![2] This chastiser of foes is the valiant son of Pritha surnamed Savyasachin. He does not desist from conflict even with the gods and demons combined. Put to great hardship in the forest he comes in wrath. Taught by even Indra himself, he is like unto Indra in battle. Therefore, you Kauravas, I do not see any hero who can withstand him. It is said that the lord Mahadeva himself, disguised in the attire of a hunter, was gratified by this son of Pritha in battle on the mountains of Himavat.'

Hearing these words, Karna said,

'You always censure us by speaking on the virtues of Phalguna, Arjuna, however, is not equal to even a full sixteenth part of myself or Duryodhana!'

And Duryodhana said,

'If this be Partha, O Radheya, then my purpose has already been fulfilled, for then, O king, if traced out, the Pandavas shall have to wander for twelve years again. Or, if this one be any other person in a eunuch’s garb, I will soon prostrate him on the earth with keen-edged arrows.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, having said this, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son all applauded his manliness!'"

Footnotes and references:


Some texts read Diptasya for Diptayam.


This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by Sanskrit writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in the present instance consists in Drona's unwillingness to identify the solitary hero with Arjuna, in the midst of all his hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation referring to Bhishma, the son of the river Ganga. Lankesa-vanari-ketu is simply 'ape-bannered,' or as rendered in the text, having the devastator of the gardens of Lanka's lord for the sign of his banner. Nagahvaya is 'named after tree' for Arjuna is the name of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu is 'Indra's son',--Indra being the foe of mountain, for formerly it was he who cut off the wings of all mountains and compelled them to be stationary. He failed only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.


This concludes Section XXXIX of Book 4 (Virata Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 4 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in Section XXXIX of Book 4 of the Mahabharata?

The most relevant definitions are: Drona, Pritha, Bhishma, Vaisampayana, Duryodhana, Indra; since these occur the most in Book 4, Section XXXIX. There are a total of 25 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 35 times.

What is the name of the Parva containing Section XXXIX of Book 4?

Section XXXIX is part of the Goharana Parva which itself is a sub-section of Book 4 (Virata Parva). The Goharana Parva contains a total of 47 sections while Book 4 contains a total of 4 such Parvas.

Can I buy a print edition of Section XXXIX as contained in Book 4?

Yes! The print edition of the Mahabharata contains the English translation of Section XXXIX of Book 4 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the latest edition (including Section XXXIX) is from 2012.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: