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 CLXXIX

"The Gandharva continued,

'Beholding his asylum bereft of his children, the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainy season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its margin.

Beholding this, O you of Kuru’s race, the distressed Muni thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters of that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung himself, under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty stream.

But, O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast the Rishi ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords with which he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken off by the violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the name of Vipasa (the cord-breaker).

For his grief the Muni could not, from that time, stay in one place; he began to wander over mountains and along rivers and lakes.

And beholding once again a river named Haimavati (flowing from Himavat) of terrible aspect and full of fierce crocodiles and other (aquatic) monsters, the Rishi threw himself into it, but the river mistaking the Brahmana for a mass of (unquenchable) fire, immediately flew in a hundred different directions, and has been known ever since by the name of the Satadru (the river of a hundred courses).

Seeing himself on the dry land even there he exclaimed,

'O, I cannot die by my own hands!'

Saying this, the Rishi once more bent his steps towards his asylum. Crossing numberless mountains and countries, as he was about to re-enter his asylum, he was followed by his daughter-in-law named Adrisyanti.

As she neared him, he heard the sound from behind of a very intelligent recitation of the Vedas with the six graces of elocution. Hearing that sound, the Rishi asked,

'Who is it that follows me?'

His daughter-in-law then answered,

'I am Adrisyanti, the wife of Saktri.
I am helpless, though devoted to asceticism.'

Hearing her, Vasishtha said,

'O daughter, whose is this voice that I heard, repeating the Vedas along with the Angas like unto the voice of Saktri reciting the Vedas with the Angas?'

Adrisyanti answered,

'I bear in my womb a child by your son Saktri. He has been here full twelve years.
The voice you hearest is that of the Muni, who is reciting the Vedas.'

"The Gandharva continued,

'Thus addressed by her the illustrious Vasishtha became exceedingly glad. And saying,

'O, there is a child (of my race)!'

– he refrained, O Partha, from self-destruction. The sinless one accompanied by his daughter-in-law, then returned to his asylum. And the Rishi saw one day in the solitary woods (the Rakshasa) Kalmashapada.

The king, O Bharata, possessed by fierce Rakshasa, as he saw the Rishi, became filled with wrath and rose up, desiring to devour him. And Adrisyanti beholding before her that the Rakshasa of cruel deeds, addressed Vasishtha in these words, full of anxiety and fear,

'O illustrious one, the cruel Rakshasa, like unto Death himself armed with (his) fierce club, comes towards us with a wooden club in hand!

There is none else on earth, except you, O illustrious one, and, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas to restrain him today.

Protect me, O illustrious one, from this cruel wretch of terrible mien. Surely, the Rakshasa comes hither to devour us'

Vasishtha, hearing this, said,

'Fear not, O daughter, there is no need of any fear from any Rakshasa. This one is no Rakshasa from whom you apprehendest such imminent danger.

This is king Kalmashapada endued with great energy and celebrated on earth. That terrible man dwells in these woods.'

"The Gandharva continued,

'Beholding him advancing, the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha, endued with great energy, restrained him, O Bharata, by uttering the sound Hum. Sprinkling him again with water sanctified with incantations the Rishi freed the monarch from that terrible curse.

For twelve years the monarch had been overwhelmed by the energy of Vasishtha’s son like Surya seized by the planet (Rahu) during the season of an eclipse.

Freed from the Rakshasa the monarch illumined that large forest by his splendour like the sun illumining the evening clouds. Recovering his power of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with joined palms and said,

'O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and your disciple, O best of Munis! O, tell me what is your pleasure and what I am to do.'

Vasishtha replied, saying,

'My desire has already been accomplished. Return now to your kingdom and rule your subjects. And, O chief of men, never insult Brahmanas any more.'

The monarch replied,

'O illustrious one, I shall never more insult superior Brahmanas. In obedience to your command I shall always worship Brahmanas.

But, O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain from you that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku!

O best of men, it behoves you to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku’s race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good behaviour.'

"The Gandharva continued,

'Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch, saying,

'I will give you.'

After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha, accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter’s capital known all over the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven coming out to receive their chief.

The monarch, accompanied by Vasishtha, re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the rising sun.

The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled by his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling by his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the rows of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the monarch’s heart.

And, O prince of Kuru’s race, the city filled as it was with joyous and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay like Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After the royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king’s command, approached Vasishtha.

The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little while, when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the reverential salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time.

When she saw that she did not bring forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.'"


This concludes Section CLXXIX of Book 1 (Adi 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 1 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

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