The Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 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 CLXXVIII

[Sanjaya continues his narration started at section CLXVI]

"Bhishma said,

'Those virtuous ascetics then set themselves about their usual avocations, thinking all the while as to what they should do for that maiden.

And some amongst them said, 'Let her be taken to her father’s abode.'

And some amongst them set their hearts upon reproaching ourselves. And some thought that repairing to the ruler of the Salvas, he should be solicited to accept the maiden.

And some said, 'No, that should not be done, for she has been rejected by him.'

And after some time had passed thus, those ascetics of rigid vows once more said unto her,

'What, O blessed lady, can ascetics with senses under control do? Do not devote thyself to a life in the woods, renouncing the world! O blessed lady, listen to these words that are beneficial to you! Depart hence, blessed be you, to your father’s mansion! The king, your father, will do what should next be done. O auspicious one, surrounded by every comfort, you mayest live there in happiness. You are a woman! At present, therefore, O blessed one, you have no other protector save your father.

O you of the fairest complexion, as regards a woman, she has her father for her protector or her husband. Her husband is her protector when she is in comfortable circumstances, but when plunged in misery, she has her father for her protector. A life in the woods is exceedingly painful, especially to one that is delicate. You are a princess by birth; over this, you are, again, very delicate, O beautiful dame! O blessed lady, there are numerous discomforts and difficulties attaching to a life in a (woody) retreat, none of which, O you of the fairest complexion, shalt you have to bear in your father’s abode!'

Other ascetics, beholding that helpless girl said to her,

’seeing you alone in deep and solitary woods, kings may court you! Therefore, set not your heart upon such a course!'

"Hearing these words, Amva said,

'I am incapable of going back to my father’s abode in the city of Kasi, for without doubt I shalt then be disregarded by all my relatives. You ascetics, I lived there, in my father’s abode, during my childhood. I cannot, however, now go to thither where my father is. Protected by the ascetics, I desire to practise ascetic austerities, so that in even future life of mine such sore afflictions may not be mine! You best of ascetics, I desire, therefore, to practise ascetic austerities!'

"Bhishma continued,

'When those Brahmanas were thinking thus about her, there came into that forest that best of ascetics, the royal sage Hotravahana. Then those ascetics reverenced the king with worship, enquiries of welcome and courtesy, a seat, and water. And after he was seated and had rested for a while, those denizens of the forest once more began to address that maiden in the hearing of that royal sage. Hearing the story of Amva and the king of Kasi, that royal sage of great energy became very anxious at heart. Hearing her speak in that strain, and beholding her (distressed), that royal sage of rigid austerities, viz., the high-souled Hotravahana, was filled with pity. Then, O lord, that maternal grandsire of her rose up with trembling frame and causing that maiden to sit on his lap, began to comfort her. He then acquired of her in details about that distress of hers from its beginning. And she, thereupon, represented to him minutely all that had happened. Hearing all she said, the royal sage was filled with pity and grief. And that great sage settled in mind what she would do.

Trembling from agitation he addressed the afflicted maiden sunk in woe, saying,

'Do not go back to your father’s abode, O blessed lady! I am the father of your mother. I will dispel your grief. Rely on me, O daughter! Great, indeed, must your affliction he when you are so emaciated! At my advice, go unto the ascetic Rama, the son of Jamadagni. Rama will dispel this great affliction and grief of thine. He will slay Bhishma in battle if the latter obeys not his behest. Go, therefore, unto that foremost one of Bhrigu’s race who resembles the Yuga-fire itself in energy! That great ascetic will place you once more on the right track!'

Hearing this, that maiden, shedding tears all the while, saluted her maternal grandsire, Hotravahana, with a bend of her head and addressed him, saying,

'Go I will at your command! But shall I succeed in obtaining a sight of that reverend sire celebrated over the world? How will he dispel this poignant grief of mine? And how shall I go to that descendant of Bhrigu? I desire to know all this.'

"Hotravahana said,

'O blessed maiden, you will behold Jamadagni’s son, Rama, who is devoted to truth and endued with great might and engaged in austere penances in the great forest. Rama always dwells in that foremost of the mountains called Mahendra. Many Rishis, learned in the Vedas, and many Gandharvas and Apsaras also dwell there. Go, blessed be you, and tell him these words of mine, having saluted with your bent head that sage of rigid vows and great ascetic merit. Tell him also, O blessed girl, all that you seeks. If you namest me, Rama will do everything for you, for Rama, the heroic son of Jamadagni, that foremost of all bearers of arms, is a friend of mine highly pleased with me, and always wishes me well!'

And while king Hotravahana, was saying all this unto that maiden, thither appeared Akritavrana, a dear companion of Rama. And on his advent those Munis by hundreds, and the Srinjaya king Hotravahana, old in years, all stood up. And those denizens of the forest, uniting with one another, did him all the rites of hospitality. And they all took their seats surrounding him. And filled, O monarch, with gratification and joy, they then started various delightful, laudable, and charming subjects of discourse.

And after their discourse was over, that royal sage, the high-souled Hotravahana enquired of Akritavrana about Rama that foremost of great sages, saying,

'O you of mighty arms, where, O Akritavrana, may that foremost of persons acquainted with the Vedas, viz., Jamadagni’s son of great prowess be seen?'

Akritavrana answered him saying,

'O lord, Rama always speaks of you, O king, saying,—That royal sage of the Srinjayas is my dear friend,—I believe, Rama will be here tomorrow morning. You will see him even here when he comes to behold you. As regards this maiden, for what, O royal sage, has she come to the wood? Whose is she, and what is she to you? I desire to know all this.'

Hotravahana said,

'The favourite daughter of the ruler of Kasi, she is, O lord, my daughter’s child! The eldest daughter of the king of Kasi, she is known by the name of Amva. Along with her two younger sisters, O sinless one, she was in the midst of her Swayamvara ceremonies. The names of her two younger sisters are Amvika and Amvalika, O you endued with wealth of asceticism! All the Kshatriya kings of the earth were assembled together at the city of Kasi. And, O regenerate Rishi, great festivities were going on there on account of (the self-choice of) these maidens. In the midst of these, Santanu’s son, Bhishma, of mighty valour, disregarding all the kings, abducted the girls.

Vanquishing all the monarchs, the pure-souled prince Bhishma of Bharata’s race then reached Hastinapura, and representing everything unto Satyavati, ordered his brother Vicitravirya’s marriage to take place with the girls he had brought. Beholding the arrangements for those nuptials complete, this maiden, O bull among Brahmanas, then addressed Ganga’s son in the presence of his ministers and said,—I have, O hero, within my heart chosen the lord of the Salvas to be my husband. Conversant as you are with morality, it behoves you not to bestow me on your brother, whose heart is given away to another!—Hearing these words of hers, Bhishma took counsel with his ministers.

Deliberating on the matter, he, at last, with Satyavati’s consent, dismissed this maiden, Permitted thus by Bhishma, this girl gladly repaired to Salva, the lord of Saubha, and approaching him said,—Dismissed I have been by Bhishma. See that I do not fall off from righteousness! In my heart, I have chosen you for my lord, O bull among kings. Salva, however, rejected her, suspecting the purity of her conduct. Even she has come to these woods, sacred for asceticism, being ardently inclined to devote herself to ascetic penances! She was recognised by me from the account that she gave of her parentage. As regards her sorrow, Bhishma is considered by her to be its root!'

After Hotravahana had ceased, Amva herself said,

'O holy one, it is even so as this lord of earth, this author of my mother’s body, Hotravahana of the Srinjaya race has said. I cannot venture to go back to my own city, O you that art endued with wealth of asceticism, for shame and fear of disgrace, O great Muni! At present, O holy one, even this is what has been my determination, viz., that that would be my highest duty which the holy Rama, O best of Brahmanas, might point out to me!'"

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