The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'O best of monarchs, within a few days after this, there commenced on the Raivataka mountain, a grand festival of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. At the mountain-festival of the Bhojas, the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, the heroes of those tribes began to give away much wealth unto Brahmanas by thousands. The region around that hill, O king was adorned with many a mansion decked with gems and many an artificial tree of gaudy hue. The musicians struck up in concert and the dancers began to dance and the vocalists to sing. And the youth of the Vrishni race, endued with great energy, adorned with every ornament, and riding in their gold-decked cars, looked extremely handsome. The citizens, some on foot and some in excellent cars, with their wives and followers were there by hundreds and thousands. And there was the lord Haladhara (Valarama), roving at will, hilarious with drink, accompanied by (his wife) Revati, and followed by many musicians and vocalists. There came Ugrasena also, the powerful king of he Vrishni race, accompanied by his thousand wives and followed by sweet singers. And Raukmineya and Shamva also,
ever furious in battle, roved there, excited with drink and adorned with floral wreaths of great beauty and with costly attires, and disported themselves like a pair of celestials. And Akrura and Sarana and Gada, and Vabhru, and Nisatha, and Charudeshna, and Prithu, Viprithu, and Satyaka, and Satyaki, and Bhangakara, and Maharava, and Hardikya, and Uddhava, and many others whose names are not given, accompanied by their wives that followed by bands of singers, adorned that mountain-festival. When that delightful festival of immense grandeur commenced, Vasudeva and Partha went about, together, beholding everything around. While wandering there, they saw the handsome daughter of Vasudeva, Bhadra by name, decked with every ornament, in the midst of her maids. As soon as Arjuna beheld her he was possessed by the god of desire. Then, O Bharata, that tiger among men, Krishna, observing Partha contemplate her with absorbed attention, said with a smile, 'How is this? Can the heart of one that rangeth the woods be agitated by the god of desire? This is my sister, O Partha, and the uterine sister of Sarana. Blest be thou, her name is Bhadra and she is the favourite daughter of my father. Tell me if thy heart is fixed upon her, for I shall then speak to my father myself.'
"Arjuna answered, 'She is Vasudeva's daughter and Vasudeva's (Krishna) sister; endued with so much beauty, whom can she not fascinate? If this thy sister, this maid of the Vrishni race, becometh my wife, truly may I win prosperity in everything. Tell me, O Janardana, by what means I may obtain her. To get her I will achieve anything that is achievable by man.'
"Vasudeva answered, 'O bull amongst men, self-choice hath been ordained for the marriage of Kshatriyas. But that is doubtful (in its consequences), O Partha, as we do not know this girl's temper and disposition. In the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Therefore O Arjuna, carry away this my beautiful sister by force, for who knows what she may do at a self-choice.' Then Krishna and Arjuna, having thus settled as to what should be done sent some speedy messengers unto Yudhishthira at Indraprastha, informing him of everything. The strong-armed Yudhishthira, as soon as he heard it, gave his assent to it.'"
Next: Section CCXXII