The Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,309,022 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 III

"Vaisampayana said, 'Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, thus addressed by Saunaka, approached his priest and in the midst of his brothers said,

'The Brahmanas versed in the Vedas are following me who am departing for the forest. Afflicted with many calamities I am unable to support them. I cannot abandon them, nor have I the power to offer them sustenance: Tell me, O holy one, what should be done by me in such a pass.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'After reflecting for a moment seeking to find out the (proper) course by his yoga powers, Dhaumya, that foremost of all virtuous men, addressed Yudhishthira, in these words,

'In days of old, all living beings that had been created were sorely afflicted with hunger. And like a father (unto all of them), Savita (the sun) took compassion upon them. And going first into the northern declension, the sun drew up water by his rays, and coming back to the southern declension, stayed over the earth, with his heat centered in himself. And while the sun so stayed over the earth, the lord of the vegetable world (the moon), converting the effects of the solar heat (vapours) into clouds and pouring them down in the shape of water, caused plants to spring up.

Thus it is the sun himself, who, drenched by the lunar influence, is transformed, upon the sprouting of seeds, into holy vegetable furnished with the six tastes. And it is these which constitute the food of all creatures upon the earth. Thus the food that supports the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is, therefore, the father of all creatures. Do you, hence, O Yudhishthira, take refuge even in him.

All illustrious monarchs of pure descent and deeds are known to have delivered their people by practising high asceticism. The great Karttavirya, and Vainya and Nahusha, had all, by virtue of ascetic meditation preceded by vows, delivered their people from heavy afflictions. Therefore, O virtuous one, as you are purified by the acts do you likewise, entering upon a file of austerities. O Bharata, virtuously support the regenerate ones.'

"Janamejaya said, 'How did that bull among the Kurus, king Yudhishthira, for the sake of the Brahmanas adore the sun of wonderful appearance?"

"Vaisampayana said, 'Listen attentively, O king, purifying thyself and withdrawing your mind from every other thing. And, O king of kings, appoint you a time. I will tell you everything in detail, And, O illustrious one, listen to the one hundred and eight names (of the sun) as they were disclosed of old by Dhaumya to the high-souled son of Pritha. Dhaumya said,

  1. surya,
  2. Aryaman,
  3. Bhaga,
  4. Twastri,
  5. Pusha,
  6. Arka,
  7. Savitri,
  8. Ravi,
  9. Gabhastimat,
  10. Aja,
  11. Kala,
  12. Mrityu,
  13. Dhatri,
  14. Prabhakara,
  15. Prithibi,
  16. Apa,
  17. Teja,
  18. Kha,
  19. Vayu, the sole stay,
  20. Soma,
  21. Vrihaspati,
  22. Sukra,
  23. Budha,
  24. Angaraka,
  25. Indra,
  26. Vivasvat,
  27. Diptanshu,
  28. Suchi,
  29. Sauri,
  30. Sanaichara,
  31. Brahma,
  32. Vishnu,
  33. Rudra,
  34. Skanda,
  35. Vaisravana,
  36. Yama,
  37. Vaidyutagni,
  38. Jatharagni,
  39. Aindhna,
  40. Tejasampati,
  41. Dharmadhvaja,
  42. Veda-karttri,
  43. Vedanga,
  44. Vedavahana,
  45. Krita,
  46. Treta,
  47. Dvapara,
  48. Kali, full of every impurity,
  49. Kala,
  50. Kastha,
  51. Muhurtta,
  52. Kshapa,
  53. Yama,
  54. and Kshana;
  55. Samvatsara-kara,
  56. Asvattha,
  57. Kalacakra,
  58. Bibhavasu,
  59. Purusha,
  60. Sasvata,
  61. Yogin,
  62. Vyaktavyakta,
  63. Sanatana,
  64. Kaladhyaksha,
  65. Prajadhyaksha,
  66. Visvakarma,
  67. Tamounda,
  68. Varuna,
  69. Sagara,
  70. Ansu,
  71. Jimuta,
  72. Jivana,
  73. Arihan,
  74. Bhutasraya,
  75. Bhutapati,
  76. Srastri,
  77. Samvartaka,
  78. Vanhi,
  79. Sarvadi,
  80. Alolupa,
  81. Ananta,
  82. Kapila,
  83. Bhanu,
  84. Kamada,
  85. Sarvatomukha,
  86. Jaya,
  87. Visala,
  88. Varada,
  89. Manas,
  90. Suparna,
  91. Bhutadi,
  92. Sighraga,
  93. Prandharana,
  94. Dhanvantari,
  95. Dhumaketu,
  96. Adideva,
  97. Aditisuta,
  98. Dwadasatman,
  99. Aravindaksha,
  100. Pitri,
  101. Matri,
  102. Pitamaha,
  103. Svarga-dwara,
  104. Prajadwara,
  105. Mokshadwara,
  106. Tripistapa,
  107. Dehakarti,
  108. Prasantatman,
  109. Visvatman,
  110. Visvatomukha,
  111. Characaratman,
  112. Sukhsmatman,
  113. the merciful Maitreya.

These are the hundred and eight names of Surya of immeasurable energy, as told by the self-create (Brahma). For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to you, O Bhaskara, blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshipped of the gods and the Pitris and the Yakshas, and who is adored by Asuras, Nisacaras, and Siddhas. He that with fixed attention recites this hymn at sunrise, obtaines wife and offspring and riches and the memory of his former existence, and by reciting this hymn a person attains patience and memory. Let a man concentrating his mind, recite this hymn. By doing so, he shall be proof against grief and forest-fire and ocean and every object of desire shall be his.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard from Dhaumya these words suitable to the occasion, Yudhishthira the just, with heart concentrated within itself and purifying it duly, became engaged in austere meditation, moved by the desire of supporting the Brahmanas. And worshipping the maker of day with offerings of flowers and other articles, the king performed his ablutions. And standing in the stream, he turned his face towards the god of day. And touching the water of the Ganges the virtuous Yudhishthira with senses under complete control and depending upon air alone for his sustenance, stood there with rapt soul engaged in pranayama.[1] And having purified himself and restrained his speech, he began to sing the hymn of praise (to the sun).'

'Yudhishthira said,

"You are, O sun, the eye of the universe.
You are the soul of all corporeal existences.
You are the origin of all things.
You are the embodiment of the acts of all religious men.
You are the refuge of those versed in the Sankhya philosophy (the mysteries of the soul), and you are the support of the Yogins.
You are a door unfastened with bolts.
You are the refuge of those wishing for emancipation.
You sustainest and discoverest the world, and sanctifiest and supportest it from pure compassion.

Brahmanas versed in the Vedas appearing before you, adore you in due time, reciting the hymns from the respective branches (of the Vedas) they refer. You are the adored of the Rishis. The Siddhas, and the Charanas and the Gandharvas and the Yakshas, and the Guhyakas, and the Nagas, desirous of obtaining boons follow your car coursing through the skies.

The thirty-three gods[2] with Upendra (Vishnu) and Mahendra, and the order of Vaimanikas[3] have attained success by worshipping you. By offering you garlands of the celestial Mandaras[4] the best of the Vidyadharas have obtained all their desires. The Guhyas and the seven orders of the Pitris—both divine and human—have attained superiority by adoring you alone.

The Vasus, the Manilas, and the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Marichipas, the Valikhilyas, and the Siddhas, have attained pre-eminence by bowing down unto you. There is nothing that I know in the entire seven worlds, including that of Brahma which is beyond you. There are other beings both great and endued with energy; but none of them has your lustre and energy. All light is in you, indeed, you are the lord of all light. In you are the (five) elements and all intelligence, and knowledge and asceticism and the ascetic properties.[5]

The discus by which the wielder of the Saranga[6] humbles the pride of Asuras and which is furnished with a beautiful nave, was forged by Visvakarman with your energy. In summer you drawest, by your rays, moisture from all corporeal existences and plants and liquid substances, and pourest it down in the rainy season. Your rays warm and scorch, and becoming as clouds roar and flash with lightning and pour down showers when the season comes. Neither fire nor shelter, nor woolen cloths give greater comfort to one suffering from chilling blasts than your rays.

You illuminest by your rays the whole Earth with her thirteen islands. You alone are engaged in the welfare of the three worlds. If you dost not rise, the universe becomes blind and the learned cannot employ themselves in the attainment of virtue, wealth and profit. It is through your grace that the (three) orders of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are able to perform their various duties and sacrifices.[7] Those versed in chronology say that you are the beginning and you the end of a day of Brahma, which consists of a full thousand Yugas.

You are the lord of Manus and of the sons of the Manus, of the universe and of man, of the Manvantaras, and their lords. When the time of universal dissolution comes, the fire Samvartaka born of your wrath consumes the three worlds and exists alone And clouds of various hues begotten of your rays, accompanied by the elephant Airavata and the thunderbolt, bring about the appointed deluges. And dividing thyself into twelve parts and becoming as many suns, you drinkest up the ocean once more with your rays.

You are called Indra, you are Vishnu, you are Brahma, you are Prajapati.
You are fire and you are the subtle mind.
And you are lord and the eternal Brahma.
You are Hansa, you are Savitri, you are Bhanu, Ansumalin, and Vrishakapi.
You are Vivasvan, Mihira, Pusha, Mitra, and Dharma.
You are thousand-rayed, you are Aditya, and Tapana, and the lord of rays.
You are Martanda, and Arka, and Ravi, and Surya and Saranya and maker of day, and Divakara and Suptasaspti, and Dhumakeshin and Virocana.

You are spoken of as swift of speed and the destroyer of darkness, and the possessor of yellow steeds. He that reverentially adores you on the sixth or the seventh lunar day with humility and tranquillity of mind, obtaines the grace of Lakshmi. They that with undivided attention adore and worship you, are delivered from all dangers, agonies, and afflictions. And they that hold that you are everywhere (being the soul of all things) living long, freed from sin and enjoying an immunity from all diseases.

O lord of all food, it behoves you to grant food in abundance unto me who am desirous of food even for entertaining all my guests with reverence. I bow also to all those followers of thine that have taken refuge at your feet—Mathara and Aruna and Danda and others, including Asani and Kshuva and the others. And I bow also to the celestial mothers of all creatures, viz., Kshuva and Maitri and the others of the class. O, let them deliver me their supplient.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus, O great king, was the sun that purifier of the world, adored (by Yudhishthira). And pleased with the hymn, the maker of day, self-luminous, and blazing like fire showed himself to the son of Pandu. And Vivasvan said,

'You shall obtain all that you desirest. I shall provide you with food for five and seven years together. And, O king, accept this copper-vessel which I give unto you. And, O you of excellent vows, as long as Pancali will hold this vessel, without partaking of its contents fruits and roots and meat and vegetables cooked in your kitchen, these four kinds of food shall from this day be inexhaustible. And, on the fourteenth year from this, you shall regain your kingdom.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the god vanished away. He that, with the desire of obtaining a boon, recites this hymn concentrating his mind with ascetic abstraction, obtaines it from the sun, however difficult of acquisition it may be that he asks for. And the person, male or female, that recites or hears this hymn day after day, if he or she desires for a son, obtaines one, and if riches, obtaines them, and if learning acquires that too. And the person male or female, that recites this hymn every day in the two twilights, if overtaken by danger, is delivered from it, and if bound, is freed from the bonds. Brahma himself had communicated this hymn to the illustrious Sakra, and from Sakra was it obtained by Narada and from Narada, by Dhaumya. And Yudhishthira, obtaining it from Dhaumya, attained all his wishes. And it is by virtue of this hymn that one may always obtain victory in war, and acquire immense wealth also. And it leads the reciter from all sins, to the solar region.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having obtained the boon, the virtuous son of Kunti, rising from the water, took hold of Dhaumya’s feet and then embraced his brother’s. And, O exalted one, wending then with Draupadi to the kitchen, and adored by her duly, the son of Pandu set himself to cook (their day’s) food. And the clean food, however little, that was dressed, furnished with the four tastes, increased and became inexhaustible. And with it Yudhishthira began to feed the regenerate ones. And after the Brahmanas had been fed, and his younger brothers also, Yudhishthira himself ate of the food that remained, and which is called Vighasa. And after Yudhishthira had eaten, the daughter of Prishata took what remained. And after she had taken her meal, the day’s food became exhausted.

'And having thus obtained the boon from the maker of day, the son of Pandu, himself as resplendent as that celestial, began to entertain the Brahmanas agreeably to their wishes. And obedient to their priest, the sons of Pritha, on auspicious lunar days and constellations and conjunctions, performed sacrifices according to the ordinance, the scriptures, and the Mantras. After the sacrifices, the sons of Pandu, blessed by the auspicious rites performed by Dhaumya and accompanied by him, and surrounded also by the Brahmanas set out for the woods of Kamyaka.'"

Footnotes and references:


A form of Yoga that is said to consist in the mingling of some of the air supposed to exist in every animal body. These airs are five: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.


The 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara.


An order of celestials.


Celestial flowers of much fragrance.


The ascetic properties are Anima, Laghima, etc.


The bow of Vishnu, as that of Siva is called Pinaka.


The words of the text are Adhana, Pashubandha, Ishti Mantra, Yajana and Tapa-kriya.


This concludes Section III of Book 3 (Vana 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 3 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in Section III of Book 3 of the Mahabharata?

The most relevant definitions are: Yudhishthira, Brahmanas, Dhaumya, Vaisampayana, Brahma, Pandu; since these occur the most in Book 3, Section III. There are a total of 153 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 228 times.

What is the name of the Parva containing Section III of Book 3?

Section III is part of the Aranyaka Parva which itself is a sub-section of Book 3 (Vana Parva). The Aranyaka Parva contains a total of 10 sections while Book 3 contains a total of 13 such Parvas.

Can I buy a print edition of Section III as contained in Book 3?

Yes! The print edition of the Mahabharata contains the English translation of Section III of Book 3 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the latest edition (including Section III) is from 2012.

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