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 XLII

"Uttara said,

'To what warrior of fame does this excellent bow belong, on which are a hundred golden bosses and which has such radiant ends?

Whose is this excellent bow of good sides and easy hold, on the staff of which shine golden elephants of such brightness?

Whose is this excellent bow, adorned with three scores of Indragoapkas[1] of pure gold, placed on the back of the staff at proper intervals?

Whose is this excellent bow, furnished with three golden suns of great effulgence, blazing forth with such brilliancy?

Whose is this beautiful bow which is variegated with gold and gems, and on which are golden insects set with beautiful stones?

Whose are these arrows furnished with wing around, numbering a thousand, having golden heads, and cased in golden quivers? Who owns these large shafts, so thick, furnished with vulturine wings whetted on stone, yellowish in hue, sharp-pointed, well-tempered, and entirely made of iron?

Whose is this sable quiver,[2] bearing five images of tigers, which holds shafts intermixed with boar-eared arrows altogether numbering ten?

Whose are these seven hundred arrows, long and thick, capable of drinking (the enemy’s) blood, and looking like the crescent-shaped moon?[3]

Whose are these gold-crested arrows whetted on stones, the lower halves of which are well-furnished with wings of the hue of parrots' feather and the upper halves, of well-tempered steels?[4]

Whose is this excellent sword irresistible, and terrible to adversaries, with the mark of a toad on it, and pointed like a toad’s head?[5] Cased in variegated sheath of tiger-skin, whose is this large sword of excellent blade and variegated with gold and furnished with tinkling bells?

Whose is this handsome scimitar of polished blade and golden hilt? Manufactured in the country of the Nishadas, irresistible, incapable of being broken, whose is this sword of polished blade in a scabbard of cow-skin?

Whose is this beautiful and long sword, sable in hue as the sky, mounted with gold, well-tempered, and cased in a sheath of goat-skin? Who owns this heavy, well-tempered, and broad sword, just longer than the breadth of thirty fingers, polished by constant clash with other’s weapons and kept in a case of gold, bright as fire?

Whose is this beautiful scimitar of sable blade covered with golden bosses, capable of cutting through the bodies of adversaries, whose touch is as fatal as that of a venomous snake which is irresistible and excites the terror of foes? Asked by me, O Vrihannala, do you answer me truly. Great is my wonder at the sight of all these excellent objects.'"

Footnotes and references:


Indian insects of a particular kind.


Most editions read chapas which is evidently wrong. The correct reading is avapas, meaning quiver. The Burdwan Pandits give this latter reading.


Some read chandrargha-darsanas. The correct reading is chandrardha-darsanas.


Most editions read hema-punkha and silasita in the instrumental plural; the correct reading is their nominative plural forms.


Sayaka means here, as explained by Nilakantha, a sword, and not a shaft.


This concludes Section XLII 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.

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