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...
"Janamejaya said, 'O worshipful one, I wish to hear from you in detail about the birth, among men, of the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the lions, the tigers, and the other animals, the snakes, the birds, and in fact, of all creatures. I wish also to hear about the acts and achievements of those, in due order, after they became incarnate in human forms.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'O king of men, I shall first tell you all about those celestials and Danavas that were born among men—The first of Danavas, who was known by the name of Vipracitti, became that bull among men, noted as Jarasandha.
And, O king, that son of Diti, who was known as Hiranyakasipu, was known in this world among men as the powerful Sisupala. He who had been known as Samhlada, the younger brother of Prahlada, became among men the famous Salya, that bull amongst Valhikas. The spirited Anuhlada who had been the youngest became noted in the world as Dhrishtaketu.
And, O king, that son of Diti who had been known as Sivi became on earth the famous monarch Druma. And he who was known as the great Asura Vashkala became on earth the great Bhagadatta. The five great Asuras gifted with great energy, Ayahsira, Asvasira, the spirited Aysanku, Gaganamurdhan, and Vegavat, were all born in the royal line of Kekaya and all became great monarchs.
That other Asura of mighty energy who was known by the name of Ketumat became on earth the monarch Amitaujas of terrible deeds. That great Asura who was known as Svarbhanu became on earth the monarch Ugrasena of fierce deeds. That great Asura who was known as Asva became on earth the monarch Asoka of exceeding energy and invincible in battle.
And, O king, the younger brother of Asva who was known as Asvapati, a son of Diti, became on earth the mighty monarch Hardikya. The great and fortunate Asura who was known as Vrishaparvan became noted on earth as king Dirghaprajna.
And, O king, the younger brother of Vrishaparvan who was known by the name of Ajaka became noted on earth as king Salva. The powerful and mighty Asura who was known as Asvagriva became noted on earth as king Rocamana.
And, O king, the Asura who was known as Sukshma, endued with great intelligence and whose achievements also were great, became on earth the famous king Vrihadratha. And that first of Asuras who was known by the name of Tuhunda, became noted on earth as the monarch, Senavindu. That Asura of great strength who was known as Ishupa became the monarch Nagnajita of famous prowess.
The great Asura who was known as Ekacakra became noted on earth as Pritivindhya. The great Asura Virupaksha capable of displaying various modes of fight became noted on earth as king Citravarman. The first of Danavas, the heroic Hara, who humbled the pride of all foes became on earth the famous and fortunate Suvahu.
The Asura Suhtra of great energy and the destroyer of foemen, became noted on earth as the fortunate monarch, Munjakesa. That Asura of great intelligence called Nikumbha, who was never vanquished in battle was born on earth as king Devadhipa, the first among monarchs. That great Asura known amongst the sons of Diti by the name of Sarabha became on earth the royal sage called Paurava.
And, O king, the great Asura of exceeding energy, the fortunate Kupatha, was born on earth as the famous monarch Suparswa.
The great Asura, O king, who was called Kratha, was born on earth as the royal sage Parvateya of form resplendent like a golden mountain. He amongst the Asura who was known as Salabha the second, became on earth the monarch Prahlada in the country of the Valhikas. The foremost, among the sons of Diti known by the name of Candra and handsome as the lord of the stars himself, became on earth noted as Candravarman, the king of the Kamvojas.
That best of Asuras who was known as Mritapa became on earth, O best of kings, the monarch, Pascimanupaka. That great Asura of surpassing energy known as Garishtha became noted on earth as king Drumasena. The great Asura who was known as Mayura became noted on earth as the monarch Visva. He who was the younger brother of Mayura and called Suparna became noted on earth as the monarch, Kalakirti. The mighty Asura who was known as Candrahantri became on earth the royal sage Sunaka. The great Asura who was called Candravinasana became noted on earth as the monarch, Janaki.
That bull amongst the Danavas, O prince of the Kuru race, who was called Dhirghajihva, became noted on earth as Kasiraja. The Graha who was brought forth by Sinhika and who persecuted the Sun and the Moon became noted on earth as the monarch Kratha. The eldest of the four sons of Danayu, who was known by the name of Vikshara, became known on earth the spirited monarch, Vasumitra. The second brother of Vikshara, the great Asura, was born on earth as the king of the country, called Pandya.
That best of Asuras who was known by the name of Valina became on earth the monarch Paundramatsyaka.
And, O king, that great Asura who was known as Vritra became on earth the royal sage known by the name of Manimat. That Asura who was the younger brother of Vritra and known as Krodhahantri became noted on earth as king Danda. That other Asura who was known by the name Krodhavardhana became noted on earth as the monarch, Dandadhara.
The eight sons of the Kaleyas that were born on earth all became great kings endued with the prowess of tigers.
- The eldest of them all became king Jayatsena in Magadha.
- The second of them, in prowess, like Indra, became noted on earth as Aparajita.
- The third of them, endued with great energy and power of producing deception, was born on earth as the king of the Nishadas gifted with great prowess.
- That other amongst them who was known as the fourth was noted on earth as Srenimat, that best of royal sages.
- That great Asura amongst them who was the fifth, became noted on earth as king Mahanjas, the oppressor of enemies.
- That great Asura possessing great intelligence who was the sixth of them became noted on earth as Abhiru, that best of royal sages.
- The seventh of them became known throughout earth, from the centre to the sea, as king Samudrasena well acquainted with the truths of the scriptures.
- The eighth of the Kaleyas known as Vrihat became on earth a virtuous king ever engaged in the good of all creatures.
The mighty Danava known by the name of Kukshi became on earth as Parvatiya from his brightness as of a golden mountain. The mighty Asura Krathana gifted with great energy became noted on earth as the monarch Suryaksha. The great Asura of handsome features known by the name of Surya, became on earth the monarch of the Valhikas by name Darada, that foremost of all kings.
And, O king, from the tribe of Asuras called Krodhavasa, of whom I have already spoken to you, were born many heroic kings on earth.
Madraka, and Karnaveshta, Siddhartha, and also Kitaka;
Suvira, and Suvahu, and Mahavira, and also Valhika, Kratha, Vicitra, Suratha, and the handsome king Nila;
and Chiravasa, and Bhumipala;
and Dantavakra, and he who was called Durjaya;
that tiger amongst kings named Rukmi;
and king Janamejaya, Ashada, and Vayuvega, and also Bhuritejas;
Ekalavya, and Sumitra, Vatadhana, and also Gomukha;
the tribe of kings called the Karushakas, and also Khemadhurti;
Srutayu, and Udvaha, and also Vrihatsena; Kshema, Ugratirtha, the king of the Kalingas;
and Matimat, and he was known as king Isvara;
these first of kings were all born of the Asura class called Krodhavasa.
"There was also born on earth a mighty Asura known amongst the Danavas by the name of Kalanemi, endued with great strength, of grand achievements, and blessed with a large share of prosperity. He became the mighty son of Ugrasena and was known on earth by the name of Kansa. And he who was known among the Asuras by the name of Devaka and was besides in splendour like unto Indra himself, was born on earth as the foremost king of the Gandharvas.
And, O monarch, know you that Drona, the son of Bharadvaja, not born of any woman, sprung from a portion of the celestial Rishi Vrihaspati of grand achievements. And he was the prince of all bowmen, conversant with all weapons, of mighty achievements, of great energy. You should know he was also well-acquainted with the Vedas and the science of arms. And he was of wonderful deeds and the pride of his race.
And, O king, his son the heroic Asvatthaman, of eyes like the lotus-petals, gifted with surpassing energy, and the terror of all foes, the great oppressor of all enemies, was born on earth, of the united portions of Mahadeva, Yama, Kama, and Krodha. And from the curse of Vasishtha and the command also of Indra, the eight Vasus were born of Ganga by her husband Santanu.
The youngest of them was Bhishma, the dispeller of the fears of the Kurus, gifted with great intelligence, conversant with the Vedas, the first speakers, and the thinner of the enemy’s ranks. And possessed of mighty energy and the first of all persons acquainted with weapons, he encountered the illustrious Rama himself, the son of Jamadagni of the Bhrigu race.
And the mighty chariot-fighter and king who on earth was known by the name of Sakuni, that crusher of foes, you should know, O king, was Dvapara himself (the third yuga). And he who was Satyaki of sure aim, that upholder of the pride of Vrishni race, that oppressor of foes, begotten of the portion of gods called the Maruts. And that royal sage Drupada who on earth was a monarch, the first among all persons bearing arms, was also born of the same tribe of the celestials.
And, O king, you should also know that Kritavarman, that prince among men, of deeds unsurpassed by any one, and the foremost of all bulls amongst Kshatriyas, was born of the portion of the same celestials. And that royal sage also, Virata by name, the scorcher of the kingdoms of others, and the great oppressor of all foes, was born of the portion of the same gods. That son of Arishta who was known by the name of Hansa, was born in the Kuru race and became the monarch of the Gandharvas.
He who was known as Dhritarashtra born of the seed of Krishna-Dvaipayana, and gifted with long arms and great energy, also a monarch, of the prophetic eye, became blind in consequence of the fault of his mother and the wrath of the Rishi. His younger brother who was possessed of great strength and was really a great being known as Pandu, devoted to truth and virtue, was Purity’s self.
And, O king, you should know that he who was known on earth as Vidura, who was the first of all virtuous men, who was the god of Justice himself, was the excellent and greatly fortunate son of the Rishi Atri. The evil-minded and wicked king Duryodhana, the destroyer of the fair fame of the Kurus, was born of a portion of Kali on earth.
He it was who caused all creatures to be slain and the earth to be wasted; and he it was who fanned the flame of hostility that ultimately consumed all. They who had been the sons of Pulastya (the Rakshasas) were born on earth among men of Duryodhana’s brothers, that century of wicked individuals commencing with Duhasasana as their first.
And, O bull among the Bharata princes, Durmukha, Duhsaha, and others whose names I do not mention, who always supported Duryodhana (in all his schemes), were, indeed, the sons of Pulastya. And over and above these hundred, Dhritarashtra had one son named Yuyutsu born of a Vaisya wife.'
"Janamejaya said, 'O illustrious one, tell me the names of Dhritarashtra’s sons according to the order of their birth beginning from the eldest.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'O king, they are as follows:
Duryodhana, and Yuyutsu, and also Duhsasana;
Duhsaha and Duhshala, and then Durmukha;
Vivinsati, and Vikarna, Jalasandha, Sulochna, Vinda and Anuvinda, Durdharsha, Suvahu, Dushpradharshana;
Durmarshana, and Dushkarna, and Karna;
Citra and Vipacitra, Citraksha, Carucitra, and Angada, Durmada, and Dushpradharsha, Vivitsu, Vikata, Sama;
Urananabha, and Padmanabha, Nanda and Upanandaka;
Sanapati, Sushena, Kundodara;
Citravahu, and Citravarman, Suvarman, Durvirocana;
Ayovahu, Mahavahu, Citrachapa and Sukundala, Bhimavega, Bhimavala, Valaki, Bhimavikrama, Ugrayudha, Bhimaeara, Kanakayu, Dridhayudha, Dridhavarman, Dridhakshatra Somakirti, Anadara;
Jarasandha, Dridhasandha, Satyasandha, Sahasravaeh;
Ugrasravas, Ugrasena, and Kshemamurti;
Aprajita, Panditaka, Visalaksha, Duradhara, Dridhahasta, and Suhasta, Vatavega, and Suvarchasa;
Adityaketu, Vahvasin, Nagadatta and Anuyaina;
Nishangi, Kuvaci, Dandi, Dandadhara, Dhanugraha;
Ugra, Bhimaratha, Vira, Viravahu, Alolupa;
Abhaya, and Raudrakarman, also he who was Dridharatha;
Anadhrishya, Kundaveda, Viravi, Dhirghalocana;
Kundaja and Citraka.
There was also a daughter named Duhsala who was over and above the hundred. And Yuyutsu who was Dhritarashtra’s son by a Vaisya wife, was also over and above the hundred.
Thus, O king, have I recited the names of the hundred sons and also that of the daughter (of Dhritarashtra). You have now known their names according to the order of their births. All of them were heroes and great car-warriors, and skilled in the art of warfare.
Besides, all of them were versed in the Vedas, and, O king, all of them had got through the scriptures. All of them were mighty in attack and defence, and all were graced with learning.
And, O monarch, all of them had wives suitable to them in grace and accomplishments.
"And, O monarch, learn that king Yudhishthira was a portion of Dharma; that Bhimasena was of the deity of wind; that Arjuna was of Indra, the chief of the celestials; and that Nakula and Sahadeva, the handsomest beings among all creatures, and unrivalled for beauty on earth, were similarly portions of the twin Asvins. And he who was known as the mighty Varchas, the son of Soma, became Abhimanyu of wonderful deeds, the son of Arjuna.
And before his incarnation, O king, the god Soma had said these words to the celestials,
'I cannot give (part with) my son. He is dearer to me than life itself. Let this be the compact and let it be not transgressed. The destruction of the Asuras on earth is the work of the celestials, and, therefore, it is our work as well. Let this Varchas, therefore, go thither, but let him not stay there long. Nara, whose companion is Narayana, will be born as Indra’s son and indeed, will be known as Arjuna, the mighty son of Pandu.
This boy of mine shall be his son and become a mighty car-warrior in his boyhood. And let him, you best of immortals, stay on earth for sixteen years. And when he attains to his sixteenth year, the battle shall take place in which all who are born of your portions shall achieve the destruction of mighty warriors. But a certain encounter shall take place without both Nara and Narayana (taking any part in it).
And, indeed, your portions, you celestials, shall fight, having made that disposition of the forces which is known by the name of the Cakra-vyuha. And my son shall compel all foes to retreat before him.
The boy of mighty arms having penetrated the impenetrable array, shall range within it fearlessly and send a fourth part of the hostile force, in course of half a day, unto the regions of the king of the dead. Then when numberless heroes and mighty car-warriors will return to the charge towards the close of the day, my boy of mighty arms, shall reappear before me. And he shall beget one heroic son in his line, who shall continue the almost extinct Bharata race.'
Hearing these words of Soma, the dwellers in heaven replied, ’so be it.' And then all together applauded and worshipped (Soma) the king of stars. Thus, O king, have I recited to you the (particulars of the) birth of your father’s father.
And, O bull in Bharata’s race, they who became the five sons of Draupadi, those bulls amongst the Bharata princes, were the celestials known as the Visvas. Their names were Pritivindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakirti, Satanika, Nakula, and Srutasena, endued with mighty energy.
"Sura, the foremost of the Yadus, was the father of Vasudeva. He had a daughter called Pritha, who for her beauty, was unrivalled on earth. And Sura, having promised in the presence of fire that he would give his firstborn child to Kuntibhoja, the son of his paternal aunt, who was without offspring, gave his daughter unto the monarch in expectation of his favours.
Kuntibhoja thereupon made her his daughter. And she became, thenceforth, in the house of her (adoptive) father, engaged in attending upon Brahmanas and guests. One day she had to wait upon the wrathful ascetic of rigid vows, Durvasa by name, acquainted with truth and fully conversant with the mysteries of religion. And Pritha with all possible care gratified the wrathful Rishi with soul under complete control. The holy one, gratified with the attentions bestowed on him by the maiden, told her,
'I am satisfied, O fortunate one, with you! By this mantra (that I am about to give you), you shall be able to summon (to your side) whatever celestials you likest. And, by their grace, shall you also obtain children.'
Thus addressed, the girl (a little while after), seized with curiosity, summoned, during the period of her maiden-hood, the god Surya. And the lord of light thereupon made her conceive and begot on her a son who became the first of all wielders of weapons. From fear of relatives she brought forth in secrecy that child who had come out with ear-rings and coat of mail. And he was gifted with the beauty of a celestial infant, and in splendour was like unto the maker of day himself. And every part of his body was symmetrical and well-adorned.
And Kunti cast the handsome child into the water. But the child thus thrown into the water was taken up by the excellent husband of Radha and given by him to his wife to be adopted by her as their son. And the couple gave him the name of Vasusena, by which appellation the child soon became known all over the land. And, as he grew up, he became very strong and excelled in all weapons. The first of all successful persons, he soon mastered the sciences. And when the intelligent one having truth for his strength recited the Vedas, there was nothing he would not then give to the Brahmanas.
At that time Indra, the originator of all things, moved by the desire of benefiting his own son Arjuna, assumed the guise of a Brahmana, came to him, and begged of the hero his ear-rings and natural armour. And the hero taking off his ear-rings and armour gave them unto the Brahmana. And Sakra (accepting the gift) presented to the giver a dart, surprised (at his open handedness), and addressed him in these words,
'O invincible one, amongst the celestials, Asuras, men, Gandharvas, Nagas, and Rakshasas, he at whom you hurlest (this weapon), that one shall certainly be slain.'
And the son of Surya was at first known in the world by the name of Vasusena. But, for his deeds, he subsequently came to be called Karna. And because that hero of great fame had taken off his natural armour, therefore was he—the first son of Pritha—called Kama.
And, O best of kings, the hero began to grow up in the Suta caste.
And, O king, know you that Kama—the first of all exalted men—the foremost of all wielders of weapons—the slayer of foes—and the best portion of the maker of day—was the friend and counsellor of Duryodhana. And he, called Vasudeva, endued with great valour, was among men a portion of him called Narayana—the god of gods—eternal. And Valadeva of exceeding strength was a portion of the Naga, Sesha.
And, O monarch, know that Pradyumna of great energy was Sanatkumara. And in this way the portion of various other dwellers in heaven became exalted men in the race of Vasudeva, increasing the glory thereof.
And, O king, the portions of the tribe of Apsaras which I have mentioned already, also became incarnate on earth according to Indra’s commands—And sixteen thousand portions of those goddesses became, O king, in this world of men, the wives of Vasudeva. And a portion of Sri herself became incarnate on earth, for the gratification of Narayana, in the line of Bhishmaka. And she was by name the chaste Rukmini.
And the faultless Draupadi, slender-waisted like the wasp, was born of a portion of Sachi (the queen of the celestials), in the line of Drupada. And she was neither low nor tall in stature. And she was of the fragrance of the blue lotus, of eyes large as lotus-petals, of thighs fair and round, of dense masses of black curly hair.
And endued with every auspicious feature and of complexion like that of the emerald, she became the charmer of the hearts of five foremost of men. And the two goddesses Siddhi and Dhriti became the mothers of those five, and were called Kunti and Madri. And she who was Mati became the daughter (Gandhari) of Suvala.
"Thus, O king, have I recited to you all about the incarnation, according to their respective portions, of the gods, the Asuras, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, and of the Rakshasas. They who were born on earth as monarchs invincible in battle, those high-souled ones who were born in the wide extended line of the Yadus, they who were born as mighty monarchs in other lines, they who were born as Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, have all been recited by me duly.
And this account of the incarnation (of superior beings according to their respective portions) capable of bestowing wealth, fame, offspring, long life, and success, should always be listened to in a proper frame of mind. And having listened to this account of incarnation, according to their portions, of gods, Gandharvas, and Rakshasas, the hearer becoming acquainted with the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe and acquiring wisdom, is never cast down even under the most engrossing sorrows.'"