The Mahabharata Home
"Krishna said,--'O great king, thou art a worthy possessor of all the qualities essential for the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice. Thou knowest everything, O Bharata. I shall, however, still tell thee something. Those persons in the world that now go by the name of Kshatriyas are inferior (in everything) to those Kshatriyas that Rama, the son of Jamadagnya, exterminated.' O lord of the earth, O bull of the Bharata race, thou knowest what form of rule these Kshatriyas, guided by the instructions traditionally handed down from generation to generation, have established amongst their own order, and how far they are competent to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. The numerous royal lines and other ordinary Kshatriyas all represent themselves to be the descendants of Aila and Ikshwaku. The descendants of Aila, O king, as, indeed, the kings of Ikshwaku's race, are, know O bull of the Bharata race, each divided into a hundred separate dynasties. The descendants of Yayati and the Bhojas are great, both in extent (number) and accomplishments. O king, these last are to-day scattered all over the earth. And all the Kshatriyas worship the prosperity of those monarchs. At present, however, O monarch, king Jarasandha, overcoming that prosperity enjoyed by their whole order, and overpowering them by his energy hath set himself over the heads of all these kings. And Jarasandha, enjoying the sovereignty over the middle portion of the earth (Mathura), resolved to create a disunion amongst ourselves. O monarch, the king who is the lord paramount of all kings, and in whom alone the dominion of the universe is centered, properly deserves to be called an emperor. And, O monarch, king Sisupala endued with great energy, hath placed himself under his protection and hath become the generalissimo of his forces. And, O great king, the mighty Vaka, the king of the Karushas, capable of fighting by putting forth his powers of illusion, waiteth, upon Jarasandha, as his disciple. There are two others, Hansa and Dimvaka, of great energy and great soul, who have sought the shelter of the mighty Jarasandha. There are others also viz., Dantavakra, Karusha, Karava, Meghavahana, that wait upon Jarasandha. He also that beareth on his head that gem which is known as the most wonderful on earth, that king of the Yavanas, who hath chastised Muru and Naraka, whose power is unlimited, and who ruleth the west like another Varuna, who is called Bhagadatta, and who is the old friend of thy father, hath bowed his head before Jarasandha, by speech and specially by act. In his heart, however,
tied as he is by affection to thee, he regardeth thee as a father regardeth his child. O king, that lord of the earth who hath his dominions on the west and the south, who is thy maternal uncle and who is called Purujit, that brave perpetuator of the Kunti race, that slayer of all foes, is the single king that regardeth thee from affection. He whom I did not formerly slay, that wicked wretch amongst the Chedis, who represented himself in this world as a divine personage and who hath become known also as such, and who always beareth, from foolishness, the signs that distinguish me that king of Vanga Pundra and the Kiratas, endowed with great strength, and who is known on earth by the names of Paundraka and Vasudeva hath also espoused the side of Jarasandha. And, O king of kings, Bhishmaka, the mighty king of the Bhojas--the friend of Indra--the slayer of hostile heroes--who governs a fourth part of the world, who by his learning conquered the Pandyas and the Kratha-Kausikas, whose brother the brave Akriti was like Rama, the son of Jamdagni, hath become a servitor to the king of Magadha. We are his relatives and are, therefore, engaged everyday in doing what is agreeable unto him. But although we regard him much, still he regardeth us not and is engaged in doing us ill. And, O king, without knowing his own strength and the dignity of the race to which he belongeth, he hath placed himself under Jarasandha's shelter at sight of the latter's blazing fame alone. And, O exalted one, the eighteen tribes of the Bhojas, from fear of Jarasandha, have all fled towards the west; so also have the Surasenas, the Bhadrakas, the Vodhas, the Salwas, the Patachchavas, the Susthalas, the Mukuttas, and the Kulindas, along with the Kuntis. And the king of the Salwayana tribe with their brethren and followers; and the southern Panchalas and the eastern Kosalas have all fled to the country of the Kuntis. So also the Matsyas and the Sannyastapadas, overcome with fear, leaving their dominions in the north, have fled into the southern country. And so all the Panchalas, alarmed at the power of Jarasandha, have left their own kingdom and fled in all directions. Some time before, the foolish Kansa, having persecuted the Yadavas, married two of the daughters of Jarasandha. They are called Asti and Prapti and are the sister of Sahadeva. Strengthened by such an alliance, the fool persecuting his relatives gained an ascendency over them all. But by this conduct he earned great obloquy. The wretch also began to oppress the old kings of the Bhoja tribe, but they, to protect themselves from the persecution of their relative, sought our help. Having bestowed upon Akrura the handsome daughter of Ahuka, with Sankarshana as my second I did a service to my relatives, for both Kansa and Sunaman were slain by me assisted by Rama. But after the immediate cause of fear was removed (by the death of Kansa), Jarasandha, his father-in-law, took up arms. Ourselves consisting of the eighteen younger branches of the Yadavas arrived at the conclusion that even if we struck our enemies continually with excellent weapons capable of taking the lives of the foes, we should
still be unable to do anything unto him even in three hundred years. He hath two friends that are like unto the immortals, and in point of strength the foremost of all men endued with might. They are called Hansa and Dimvaka who are both incapable of being slain by weapons. The mighty Jarasandha, being united with them, becomes incapable, I think, of being vanquished by even the three worlds. O thou foremost of all intelligent men, this is not our opinion alone but all other kings also are of the same mind. There lived, O monarch, a king of the name of Hansa, who was slain by Rama (Valadeva) after a battle of eighteen days. But, O Bharata, hearing people say that Hansa had been killed, Dimvaka, O king, thought that he could not live without Hansa. He accordingly jumped into the waters of the Yamuna and killed himself. Afterwards when Hansa, the subjugator of hostile heroes, heard that Dimvaka, had killed himself, he went to the Yamuna and jumped into its waters. Then, O bull of the Bharata race, king Jarasandha, hearing that both Hansa and Dimvaka had been killed, returned to his kingdom with an empty heart. After Jarasandha had returned, O slayer of all foes, we were filled with pleasure and continued to live at Mathura. Then the widow of Hansa and the daughter of Jarasandha, that handsome woman with eyes like lotus-petals, grieved at the death of her lord, went unto her father, and repeatedly urged, O Monarch, the king of Magadha, saying,--O slayer of all foes, kill thou the slayer of my husband.--Then, O great king, remembering the conclusion to which we had come of old we became exceedingly cheerless and fled from Mathura. Dividing our large wealth into small portions so as to make each portion easily portable, we fled from fear of Jarasandha, with our cousins and relatives. Reflecting upon everything, we fled towards the west. There is a delightful town towards the west called Kusasthali, adorned by the mountains of Raivata. In that city, O monarch, we took up our abode. We rebuilt its fort and made it so strong that it has become impregnable even to the Gods. And from within it even the women might fight the foe, what to speak of the Yadava heroes without fear of any kind? O slayer of all foes, we are now living in that city. And, O tiger of the Kuru race, considering the inaccessibility of that first of mountains and regarding themselves as having already crossed the fear of Jarasandha, the descendants of Madhu have become exceedingly glad. Thus, O king, though possessed of strength and energy, yet from the oppressions of Jarasandha we have been obliged to repair to the mountains of Gomanta, measuring three Yojanas in length. Within each yojana have been established one and twenty posts of armed men. And at intervals of each yojana are hundred gates with arches which are defended by valourous heroes engaged in guarding them. And innumerable Kshatriyas invincible in war, belonging to the eighteen younger branches of the Yadavas, are employed in defending these works. In our race, O king, there are full eighteen thousand brothers and cousins. Ahuka hath had a hundred sons, each of
whom is almost like a god (in prowess), Charudeshna with his brother Chakradeva, Satyaki, myself, Valadeva the son of Rohini, and my son Samva who is equal unto me in battle--these seven, O king are Atirathas. Besides these, there are others, O king, whom I shall presently name. They are Kritavarman, Anadhrishti, Samika, Samitinjaya, Kanka, Sanku and Kunti. These seven are Maharathas. There are also two sons of Andhakabhoja, and the old king himself. Endued with great energy these are all heroes, each mighty as the thunderbolt. These Maharathas, choosing the middle country, are now living amongst the Vrishnis. O thou best of the Bharata line, thou alone art worthy of being an emperor. It behoveth thee, O Bharata, to establish thy empire over all the Kshatriyas. But this is my judgment, O king, that thou wilt not be able to celebrate the Rajasuya sacrifice as long as the mighty Jarasandha liveth. By him have been immured in his hillfort numerous monarchs, like a lion that hath deposited the slain bodies of mighty elephants within a cave of the king of mountains. O slayer of all enemies, king Jarasandha, desirous of offering in sacrifice hundred monarchs, adored for his fierce ascetic penances the illustrious god of gods, the lord of Uma. It is by this means that the kings of the earth have been vanquished by Jarasandha. And, O best of monarchs, he hath by that means been able to fulfil the vow he had made relative to his sacrifice. By defeating the kings with their troops and bringing all of them as captives into this city, he had swelled its crowds enormously. We also, O king, from fear of Jarasandha, at one time had to leave Mathura and fly to the city of Dwaravati. If, O great king, thou desirest to perform this sacrifice, strive to release the kings confined by Jarasandha, as also to compass his death. O son of the Kuru race, otherwise this undertaking of thine can never be completed. O thou foremost of intelligent men if the Rajasuya is to be performed by thee, you must do this in this way and not otherwise. This, O king, is my view (on the matter). Do, O sinless one, as thou thinkest. Under these circumstances, O king, having reflected upon everything, taking note of causes, tell us what thou thyself thinkest proper."
Next: Section XV