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 LXXX

"Vaisampayana said, 'That lady of eyes like lotus petals, having indulged in copious lamentations, and burning with grief, at last lost her senses and fell down on the Earth. Regaining consciousness and seeing Ulupi, the daughter of the snake chief, queen Citrangada endued with celestial beauty, said unto her these words, 'Behold. O Ulupi, our ever-victorious husband slain in battle, through you, by my son of tender years. Art you conversant with the practices of the respectable? Art you a wife devoted to your lord? It is through your deed that your husband is laid low, slain in battle. If Dhananjaya has offended against you in every respect, do you forgive him I solicit you, do you revive that hero. O righteous lady, you are conversant with piety. You are, O blessed one, known (for your virtues) over the three worlds. How is it that having caused your husband to be slain by my son, you dost not indulge in grief? O daughter of the snake chief, I do not grieve for my slain son. I grieve for only my husband who has received this hospitality from his son.' Having said these words unto the queenly Ulupi, the daughter of the snake chief, the illustrious Citrangada proceeded to where her husband lay on the Earth and addressing him, said, 'Rise, O dear lord, you occupiest the foremost place in the affections of the Kuru king (Yudhishthira). Here is that steed of thine. It has been set free by me. Verily, O puissant one, this sacrificial steed of king Yudhishthira the just, should be followed by you. Why then dost you lie still on the Earth? My life-breaths depend on you, O delighter of the Kurus. How is it that he who is the giver of other people’s life-breaths casts off his own life-breaths today? Behold, O Ulupi, this goodly sight of your husband lying prostrate on the ground. How is it that you dost not grieve, having caused him to be slain through my son when you didst excite with your words? It is fit that this boy should succumb to the power of death and lie thus on the ground beside his own sire. Oh, let Vijaya, let him that is called Gudakesa, let this hero with reddish eyes, come back O life. O blessed lady, polygamy is not fault with men. Women only incur fault by taking more than one husband. Do not, therefore, harbour such thoughts (of vengeance).[1] This relationship was ordained by the Supreme ordainer himself. It is, besides, an eternal and unchangeable one. Do you attend to that relationship. Let your union (with Dhananjaya) be made true. If, having slain your husband through my son, you dost not revive him today before my eyes, I shall then cast off my life-breaths. Without doubt, O reverend lady, afflicted as I am with grief and deprived as I am of both husband and son, I shall sit here today in Praya in your very sight!' Having said so unto the daughter of the snake chief, who was a co-wife with her to Arjuna, the princess Caitravahini sat in Praya, O king, restraining speech.'[2]

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Ceasing to lament, the cheerless queen, taking upon her lap the feet of her husband, sat there, sighing heavily and wishing also the restoration of her son to life. King Vabhruvahana then, regaining consciousness, saw his mother seated in that guise on the field of battle. Addressing her he said, 'What can be more painful than the sight of my mother, who has been brought up in luxury, lying on the bare ground beside her heroic husband stretched thereon? Alas, this slayer of all foes, this foremost of all wielders of weapons, has been slain by me in battle, It is evident that men do not die till their hour comes.[3] Oh, the heart of this princess seems to be very hard since it does not break even at the sight of her mighty-armed and broad-chested husband lying dead on the ground. It is evident that one does not die till one’s hour comes, since neither myself, nor my mother is deprived of life (at even such a sight). Alas, alas, the golden coat of mail of this foremost hero of Kuru’s race, slain by me, his son, knowingly, is lying on the ground, cut off from his body. Alas, you Brahmanas, behold my heroic sire lying prostrate on the Earth, on a hero’s bed, slain by his son. What benefit is done to this hero, slain by me in battle, by those Brahmanas who were commissioned to attend upon this foremost one of Kuru’s race engaged in following the steed? Let the Brahmanas direct what expiation should now be undergone by me, a cruel and sinful wretch, that has slain his own sire in battle. Having slain my own sire, I should, suffering every kind of misery, wander over the Earth, cruel that I am, covering myself with his skin. Give me the two halves of my sire’s head to day, (so that I may wander over the Earth with them for that period), for there is no other expiation for me that have slain my own sire. Behold, O daughter of the foremost of snakes, your husband slain by me. Verily, by slaying Arjuna in battle I have accomplished what is agreeable to you. I shall today follow in the track by which my sire has gone. O blessed one, I am unable to comfort myself. Be happy today, O mother, seeing myself and the wielder of Gandiva both embrace death today. I swear to you by truth itself (that I shall castoff my life-breaths).' Having said these words, the king, deeply afflicted with grief, O monarch, touched water, and exclaimed in sorrow, 'Let all creatures, mobile and immobile, listen to me. Do you also listen to me, O mother. I say the truth, O best of all daughters of the snakes. If this best of men, Jaya, my sire, does not rise up, I shall emaciate my own body, sitting on the field of battle. Having slain my sire, there is no rescue for me (from that dire sin). Afflicted as I am with the sin of slaying my sire, I shall without doubt have to sink in Hell. By slaying a heroic Kshatriya one becomes cleansed by making a gift of a hundred kine. By slaying my sire, however, so dire has been my sin that my I rescue is impossible. This Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, was the one hero endued with mighty energy. Possessed of righteous soul, he was the author of my being. How can I be rescued after having slain him? Having uttered these lamentations, the high-souled son of Dhananjaya, king Vabhruvahana, touched water and became silent, vowing to starve himself to death.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the king of Manipura, that chastiser of foes, afflicted with grief, along with his mother, sat down to starve himself to death, Ulupi then thought of the gem that has the virtue of reviving a dead man. The gem, the great refuge of the snakes, thus thought of, came there. The daughter of the prince of snakes taking it up, uttered these words that highly gladdened the combatants standing on the field. 'Rise up, O son. Do not grieve. Jishnu has not been vanquished by you. This hero is incapable of being vanquished by men as also by the deities with Vasava himself at their head I have exhibited this illusion, deceiving your senses, for the benefit of this foremost of men, viz., your illustrious sire. O you of Kuru’s race, desirous of ascertaining the prowess of thyself, his son, this slayer of hostile heroes, O king, came here for battling with you. It was for that reason, O son, that you were urged by me to do battle. O puissant king, O son, do not suspect that you have committed any, even the least, fault, by accepting his challenge. He is a Rishi, of a mighty soul, eternal and indestructible. O dear son, Sakra himself is incapable of vanquishing him in battle. This celestial gem has been brought by me, O king. It always revives the snakes as often as they die. O puissant king, do you place this gem on the breast of your sire. You shalt then see the son of Pandu revived.' Thus addressed, the prince who had committed no sin, moved by affection for his sire, then placed that gem on the breast of Pritha’s son of immeasurable energy. After the gem had been placed on his breast; the heroic and puissant Jishnu became revived. Opening his red eyes he rose up like one who had slept long. Beholding his sire, the high-souled hero of great energy, restored to consciousness and quite at his ease, Vabhruvahana worshipped him with reverence. When that tiger among men, O puissant one, awoke from the slumber of death with every auspicious sign of life, the chastiser of Paka rained down celestial flowers. Kettle-drums struck by nobody, produced their music deep as the roar of the cloud. A loud uproar was heard in the welkin consisting of the words—Excellent, Excellent! The mighty-armed Dhananjaya, rising up and well-comforted, embraced Vabhruvahana and smelled his head. He saw sitting at a distance from his son, this latter’s mother afflicted with grief, in the company of Ulupi. Dhananjaya asked,—'Why is it that every thing in the field of battle seems to bear the indications of grief, wonder, and joy? If, O slayer of foes, the cause is known to you, do you then tell me. Why has your mother come to the field of battle? Why also has Ulupi, the daughter of the prince of snakes, come here? I know that you had fought this battle with me at my own command. I desire to know what the cause is that has brought out the ladies.' The intelligent ruler of Manipura, thug questioned by Dhananjaya, gratified him by bending his head in reverence, and then said,—'Let Ulupi be questioned.'

Footnotes and references:


Yahubharyata, meaning polygamy in the first line, should, as the noun of reference for Eshah be taken as vahunam bharyata, i.e., polyandry, in the second line.


To sit in Praya is to remain seated in a particular spot, abstaining from food and drink with a view to cast off one’s life-breaths.


The sense is, that 'grief does not kill; one does not die till one’s hour comes. If it were otherwise, I would have died, so heavy is the load of my affliction.'


This concludes Section LXXX of Book 14 (Ashvamedha 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 14 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

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