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...

"Sanjaya said,

'After the high-souled Pandavas, O king, had encamped by the side of the Hiranvati, the Kauravas also fixed their camps. And king Duryodhana having strongly posted his troops and paid homage to all the kings (on his side) and planted outposts and bodies of soldiers for the protection of warriors, summoned those rulers of men, viz., Karna and Dussasana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and began O Bharata, to consult with them. And king Duryodhana, O Bharata, having (first) consulted with Karna, and (next), O monarch, with Karna and his (own) brother Dussasana, and Suvala’s son all together, then summoned, O bull among men, Uluka and bringing him into his presence in private, told him, O king, these words, 'O Uluka, O son of an adept at dice, repair you unto the Pandavas and the Somakas. And repairing thither, repeat these my words (unto Yudhishthira) in the hearing of Vasudeva.

That terrible battle between the Kurus and the Pandavas which had been expected from a long time back has, at last come. Those boastful words which Sanjaya brought to me, in the midst of the Kurus and which you had, with Vasudeva and your younger brothers, uttered in deep roar,—the time, O son of Kunti, has at last come for making them good. Do you achieve, therefore, all which you have pledged yourselves to achieve.

Unto the eldest son of Kunti you must say, as my words, the following,

'Virtuous as you are, how canst then, with all your brothers, with the Somakas, and the Kekayas, set your heart upon unrighteousness? How canst you wish the destruction of the universe, when, as I think you should be the dispeller of the fears of all creatures. O bull of Bharata’s race, this sloka sung of old by Prahlada when his kingdom had been wrested from him by the gods, has been heard by us,—You gods, that person whose standard of righteousness is always up, but whose sins are always concealed is said to adopt the behaviour of the cat (in the story).'

I will here repeat to you, O king, this excellent story recited by Narada to my father. A wicked cat, O king, once on a time took up his abode on the banks of the Ganges, abandoning all work and with his hands upraised (after the manner of a devotee). Pretending to have purified his heart, he said unto all creatures these words, for inspiring confidence in them, viz.,—I am now practising virtue. After a long time, all oviparous creatures reposed trust in him, and coming unto him all together, O monarch, they all applauded that cat. And worshipped by all feathery creatures, that devourer of feathery creatures, regarded his purpose already accomplished, as also the purpose of his austerities. And after some more time, the mice went to that place.

And these also all beheld him to be a virtuous person engaged in the observance of vows, and proudly exerting himself in a grand act. And having arrived at that settled conviction, they entertained the following wish, O king,—'Many foes we have. Let this one, therefore, become our maternal uncle, and let him always protect all the old and young ones of our race. And going at last to the cat, all of them said, 'Through your grace we desire to roam in happiness. You are our gracious shelter, you are our great friend. For this, all of us place ourselves under your protection. You are always devoted to virtue, you are always engaged in the acquisition of virtue. O you of great wisdom, protect us, therefore, like the wielder of the thunderbolt protecting the celestials.'

Thus addressed, O king, by all the mice, the cat answered them, saying,

'I do not see the consistency of these two, viz., my ascetic pursuits and this protection (that I am called upon to grant). I cannot avoid, however, doing good to you agreeably to your request. You all, at the same time, should always obey my words. Staying as I am in the observance of a severe vow, I am weakened by my ascetic practices. I do not, therefore, see the means of my moving from place to place. You all should, therefore, bear me hence every day to the river-side.'

Saying, ’so be it,' the mice then, O bull of Bharata’s race, made over all their old and young ones to that cat.

Then that sinful creature of wicked soul, feeding on mice, gradually became fat and of good complexion and strong in his limbs. And thus while the mice began to be reduced in number, the cat began to grow in vigour and strength.

Then all the mice, coming together, said unto one another, 'Our uncle is daily growing stout, while we are being daily reduced (in number)!'

Then a certain mouse endued with wisdom, named Dindika, said, O king these words unto the large swarm of mice gathered there,

'Go all of you to the river-side together. I will follow you, accompanying our uncle.'

'Excellent, Excellent,' they said, and applauded that one of their number.

And they all did just as those words of grave import spoken by Dindika seemed to indicate. The cat, however, not knowing all this, ate up Dindika that day. All the mice then, without losing much time, began to take counsel of one another.

Then a very old mouse, named Kilika, said these just words, O king, in the presence of all his kinsfolk,

'Our uncle is not really desirous of earning virtue. He has, like a hypocrite, become our friend when in reality he is our enemy. Indeed, the excreta of a creature that lives only upon fruits and roots never contains hair of fur. Then again, while his limbs are growing, our number is decaying. Besides, Dindika cannot be seen for these eight days.'

Hearing these words, the mice ran away in all directions. And that cat also of wicked soul returned to whence he came. O you of wicked soul, you too art a practiser of such feline behaviour. You behavest towards your kinsmen after the manner of the cat (in the story) towards the mice. Your speech is of one kind, and your conduct is of another. Your (devotion to) scripture and your peacefulness of behaviour are only for display before men. Giving up this hypocrisy, O king, adopt the practices of a Kshatriya and do all that one should do as such. Art you not virtuous, O bull among men? Acquiring the earth by means of the prowess of your arms, make gifts, O best of the Bharatas, unto the Brahmanas and to the means of your deceased ancestors as one should. Seeking the good of that mother of thine who has been afflicted with distress for a series of years, dry up her tears, and confer honours on her by vanquishing (your foes) in battle. You had with great abjectness, solicited only five villages. Even that was rejected by us, for how could we bring about a battle, how could we succeed in angering the Pandavas, was all that we sought.

Remembering that it was for you that the wicked Vidura was driven (by us) and that we had tried to burn you all in the house of lac, be a man now; at the time of Krishna’s setting out (from Upaplavya) for the Kuru court, you had through him communicated this message (to us), viz.,—Hear, O king, I am prepared for either war or peace! Know, O monarch, that the hour has come for battle. O Yudhishthira, I have made all these preparations in view of that. What does a Kshatriya regard as a more estimable accession (of good fortune) than battle? Born you have beer in the Kshatriya order. Known also you are in the world. Having obtained weapons again from Drona and Kripa, why, O bull of the Bharata race, dost you rely on Vasudeva who belongs to the same order of life as thyself and who is, not superior to you in might.'

'You must also say unto Vasudeva in the presence of the Pandavas these words,—For your own sake, as also for the sake of the Pandavas, withstand me in battle to the best of your power! Assuming once more that form which you had assumed before in the Kuru court, rush you with Arjuna against me (on the field)! A conjuror’s tricks or illusions may (sometimes) inspire fright. But as regards the person that stands armed for fight, such deceptions (instead of inspiring fight) only provoke anger! We also are competent, by our powers of illusion, to ascend to heaven or the firmament, or penetrate into the nether region, or the city of Indra! We also can display various forms in our own body! The great Ordainer brings all creatures to subjection by a flat of His will (and never by such conjuror’s tricks)! You always sayest, O you of Vrishni’s race, these words, viz.,—Causing the sons of Dhritarashtra to be slain in battle, I will confer undisputed sovereignty on the sons of Pritha!—These words of thine were brought to me by Sanjaya.

You had also said, 'Know, you Kauravas that it is with Arjuna, having me for his second, you have provoked hostilities!'

Truthfully adhering to that pledge, put forth your energy for the Pandavas and fight now in battle to the best of your power! Show us that you canst be a man! He is said to be truly alive, who, having ascertained (the wight of his) foes inspires grief in them by resorting to true manliness! Without any reason, O Krishna, great has been your fame spread in the world! It will, however, presently be known that there are many persons, in the world that are really eunuchs though possessed of the signs of manhood. A slave of Kansa, especially as you are, a monarch like me should not cover himself in mail against you!

'Say (next) repeatedly, from me, O Uluka, unto that stupid, ignorant, gluttonous Bhimasena, who is even like a bull though divested of horns, these words, viz.,—O son of Pritha, a cook you had become, known by the name of Vallabha, in the city of Virata! All this is evidence of your manliness! Let not the vow you had made before in the midst of the Kuru court be falsified! Let Dussasana’s blood be drunk if you are able! O son of Kunti, you often sayest,—Speedily shall I slay Dhritarashtra’s sons in battle!—The time for accomplishing it has now come! O Bharata, you deserves to be rewarded in cookery! The difference, however, is very great between dressing food and fighting! Fight now, be a man! Indeed, you shalt have to lie down, deprived of life, on the earth, embracing your mace, O Bharata! The boast in which you had indulged in the midst of your assembly is all vain, O Vrikodara!

'Say, O Uluka, unto Nakula, from me, these words, viz.,—Fight now, O Bharata, patiently! We desire, O Bharata, to behold your manliness, your reverence for Yudhishthira, and your hatred of myself! Recall to mind the sufferings in their entirety that Krishna had suffered!

'Next, you must say these words of mine unto Sahadeva in the presence of the (assembled) monarchs,—Fight in battle now, to the best of your power! Remember all your woes!

'Say next, from me, unto both Virata and Drupada, these words, viz.,—Since the beginning of the creation, slaves, endued even with great accomplishments, have never been able to fully understand their masters. Nor have affluent kings been always able to understand their slaves! This king deserves no praise,—possibly, under such a belief, you have come against me! United together, fight you, therefore, against me for achieving my death, and accomplish the objects you have in view, as also those that the Pandavas have!

Say also, from me, unto Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of Pancalas, these words, viz.,—The hour has now come for you, and you also hast come for your hour! Approaching Drona in battle you will know what is best for you! Achieve you the business of your friend! Accomplish that feat which is difficult of accomplishment!

'Tell, next, repeatedly from me, O Uluka, unto Sikhandin, these words, viz.,—The mighty-armed Kaurava, foremost of all bowmen, Ganga’s son (Bhishma), will not slay you, knowing you to be only a female! Fight now without any fear! Achieve in battle what canst to the best of your power! We desire to behold your prowess!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, king Duryodhana laughed aloud. And addressing Uluka again, he said,

'Say once more unto Dhananjaya in the bearing of Vasudeva these words, viz.,—O hero, either vanquishing us rule you this world, or vanquished by us lie you down on the field (deprived of life)! Recalling to your mind the sufferings occasioned by your banishment from the kingdom, the woes of your sojourn in the woods, and the affliction of Krishna, be a man, O son of Pandu! That for which a Kshatriya lady brings forth a son is now arrived! Displaying, therefore, in battle, your might, energy, courage, manliness, and great dexterity and speed in the use of weapons, appease your wrath! Afflicted with woe, and dispirited and exiled (from home) for a long time, and driven from his kingdom, who is there whose heart would not break? Who is there, well-born, and brave, and uncovetous of other’s wealth, that would not have his wrath excited when his kingdom descending from generation to generation is attacked? Realise in deeds those high words that you had said! One that only boasts without being able to do anything is regarded as a worthless man by those that are good.

Recover your kingdom and those possessions that are now owned by your foes! Even these two are the purposes which a person desirous of war has in view. Exert, therefore, your manliness! You were won (as a slave) at dice! Krishna was caused by us to be brought into the assembly! One that regards himself a man should certainly display his wrath at this! For twelve long years hadst you been exiled from home into the woods, and one whole year hadst you passed in Virata’s service! Remembering the pangs of banishment from the kingdom and of your sojourn in the woods, as also those which Krishna had suffered, be you a man! Display your wrath towards those that repeatedly utter harsh words at you and your brothers! indeed, wrath (such as that) would consist in manliness! Let your anger, your might and prowess, and knowledge, and your lightness of hand in the use of weapons, be exhibited? Fight, O son of Pritha, and prove to be a man! The incantations in respect of all your weapons have been performed.

The field of Kurukshetra is free from mire. Your steeds are hale and strong. Your soldiers have received their pay. With Kesava, therefore, as (your) second, fight (with us)! Without encountering Bhishma as yet, why dost you indulge in such boasts? Like a fool, who, without having ascended the Gandhamadana mountains, boasts (of his would-be feat), you, O son of Kunti, art indulging in a similar bragging, be a man! Without having vanquished in battle the invincible Karna of the Suta race, or Salya, that foremost of persons, or Drona, the first of all mighty warriors and equal unto the lord of Sachi in battle, how canst you, O Partha, covet for your kingdom? He that is a preceptor of both Vedic lore and bowmanship, he that has crossed both those branches of learning, he that is foremost in battle and imperturbable (as a tower), he whose might knows no diminution, that commander of armies, Drona of great effulgence,—him, O Partha, you wishest in vain to conquer! It is never heard that the Sumeru peak has been crushed by the wind. Yet even the wind will bear away Sumeru, heaven itself will fall down on the earth, the very Yugas will be altered in respect of their course, if what you have said unto me becomes true!

What man is there, desirous of life, be it Partha or any body else, who having approached that grinder of foes, would be able to return home with sound body? What person is there, treading upon the earth with his feet, who, encountered by Drona and Bhishma and struck with their arrows, would escape from the battle with life? Like a frog having its abode in a well, why art you not able to realise the might of this vast army of the assembled monarchs, invincible, looking like the very celestial host, and protected by these lords of men, as the heavenly host by the gods themselves,—protected that is, by the kings of the East, the West, the South and the North, by the Kamvojas, the Sakas, the Khasas, the Salvas, the Matsyas, the Kurus of the middle country, the Mlecchas, the Pulindas, the Dravidas, the Andhras, and the Kanchis,—this host of many nations, ready for battle, and resembling the uncrossable current of the Ganga.

O you of little understanding, how canst you, O fool, venture to fight with me when stationed in the midst of my elephant-host? Your inexhaustible quivers, your car given you by Agni, and your celestial banner, O Partha, will all, O Bharata, be tested by us in battle! Fight, O Arjuna, without bragging! Why dost you indulge in too much boast! Success in battle results from the method in which it is fought. A battle is never gained by bragging.

If, O Dhananjaya, acts in this world succeeded in consequence of vauntings, all persons would then have succeeded in their objects, for who is there that is not competent to brag? I know that you have Vasudeva for your ally. I know that your Gandiva is full six cubits long. I know that there is no warrior equal to you. Knowing all this, I retain your kingdom yet! A man never wins success in consequence of the attributes of lineage. It is the Supreme Ordainer alone who by his fiat of will makes things (hostile) friendly subservient. For these thirteen years, I have enjoyed sovereignty while you were weeping. I shall continue to rule in the same way, slaying you with your kinsmen. Where was your Gandiva then, when you were made slave won at stake? Where, O Phalguni, was Bhima’s might then? Your deliverance then came neither from Bhimasena, armed with mace, nor from you armed with Gandiva, but from the faultless Krishna. It was she, the daughter to Prishata’s house, that delivered you all, sunk in slavery, engaged in occupations worthy only of the low, and working as servitors. I characterised you all as sesame seeds without kernel. That is true. For, did not Partha (some time after) bear a braid when living in Virata’s city?

In the cooking apartments of Virata, Bhimasena was fatigued with doing the work of a cook. Even this, O son of Pritha, is (evidence of) my manliness! Flying from an encounter with hips and braids and waist-bands, thyself binding your hair, were engaged in teaching the girls to dance? It is thus that Kshatriyas always inflict punishment on Kshatriyas! From fear of Vasudeva, or from fear of thyself, O Phalguni, I will not give up the kingdom! Fight with Kesava as your ally! Neither deception, nor conjuror’s tricks, nor jugglery, can terrify the armed man addressed for fight. On the other hand, these provoke only his wrath. A thousand Vasudevas, a hundred Falgunis, approaching me whose arms and weapons never go for nothing, will surely fly away in all directions.

Encounter Bhishma in combat, or strike the hill with your head, or cross with the aid of your two arms alone the vast and deep main! As regards my army, it is a veritable main with Saradvat’s son as its large fish, Vivingsati as its huge snake, Bhishma as its current of immeasurable might, Drona as its unconquerable alligator, Karna and Salva and Salya its fishes and whirlpools, the ruler of the Kamvojas its equine head emitting fire, Vrihadvala its fierce waves, Somadatta’s son its whale, Yuyutsu and Durmarshana its waters, Bhagadatta its gale, Srutayus and Hridika’s son its gulfs and bays, Dussasana its current, Sushena and Citrayuda its water-elephants (hippopotamus) and crocodile, Jayadratha its (submarine) rock, Purumitra its depth, and Sakuni its shores!

When having plunged into this surging ocean with its inexhaustible waves of weapons, you will, from fatigue, be deprived of senses and have all your relatives and friends slain, then will repentance possess your heart! Then also will your heart turn away from the thought of ruling the earth, like the heart of a person of impure deeds turning away from (hope of) heaven. Indeed, for you to win a kingdom to rule is as impossible as for one not possessed of ascetic merit to obtain heaven!'"


This concludes Section CLXI of Book 5 (Udyoga 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 5 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in Section CLXI of Book 5 of the Mahabharata?

The most relevant definitions are: Bharata, Pandavas, Vasudeva, Krishna, Uluka, Kshatriya; since these occur the most in Book 5, Section CLXI. There are a total of 85 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 188 times.

What is the name of the Parva containing Section CLXI of Book 5?

Section CLXI is part of the Uluka Dutagamana Parva which itself is a sub-section of Book 5 (Udyoga Parva). The Uluka Dutagamana Parva contains a total of 39 sections while Book 5 contains a total of 4 such Parvas.

Can I buy a print edition of Section CLXI as contained in Book 5?

Yes! The print edition of the Mahabharata contains the English translation of Section CLXI of Book 5 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the latest edition (including Section CLXI) is from 2012.

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