The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said,--This Sisupala was born in the line of the king of Chedi with three eyes and four hands. As soon as he was born, he screamed and brayed like an ass. On that account, his father and mother along with their relatives, were struck with fear. And beholding these extraordinary omens, his parents resolved to abandon him. But an incorporeal voice, about this time, said unto the king and his wife with their ministers and priest, all with hearts paralysed by anxiety, those words,--'This thy son, O king, that hath been born will become both fortunate and superior in strength. Therefore thou hast no fear from him. Indeed cherish the child without anxiety. He will not die (in childhood). His time is not yet come. He that will slay him with weapons hath also been born.' Hearing these words, the mother, rendered anxious by affection for her son, addressed the invisible Being and said,--I bow with joined hands unto him that hath uttered these words respecting my son; whether he be an exalted divinity or any other being, let him tell me another word, I desire to hear who will be the slayer of this my son. The invisible Being then said,--'He upon whose lap this child being placed the superfluous arms of his will fall down upon the ground like a pair of five-headed snakes, and at the sight of whom his third eye on the forehead will disappear, will be his slayer?' Hearing of the child's three eyes and four arms as also of the words of the invisible Being, all the kings of the earth went to Chedi to behold him. The king of Chedi worshipping, as each deserved, the monarchs that came, gave his child upon their laps one after another. And though the child was placed upon the laps of a thousand kings, one after another, yet that which the incorporeal voice had said
came not to pass. And having heard of all this at Dwaravati, the mighty Yadava heroes Sankarshana and Janarddana also went to the capital of the Chedis, to see their father's sister--that daughter of the Yadavas (the queen of Chedi) And saluting everybody according to his rank and the king and queen also, and enquiring after every body's welfare, both Rama and Kesava took their seats. And after those heroes had been worshipped, the queen with great pleasure herself placed the child on the lap of Damodara. As soon as the child was placed on his lap, those superfluous arms of his fell down and the eye on his forehead also disappeared. And beholding this, the queen in alarm and anxiety begged of Krishna a boon. And she said,--'O mighty-armed Krishna, I am afflicted with fear; grant me a boon. Thou art the assurer of all afflicted ones and that the dispeller of everybody's fear. Thus addressed by her. Krishna, that son of the Yadu race, said--'Fear not, O respected one. Thou art acquainted with morality. Thou needest have no fear from me. What boon shall I give thee? What shall I do, O aunt? Whether able or not, I shall do thy bidding.'--Thus spoken to by Krishna, the queen said, 'O thou of great strength, thou wilt have to pardon the offences of Sisupala for my sake. O tiger of the Yadu race. Know O lord, even this is the boon that I ask.' Krishna then said, 'O aunt, even when he will deserve to be slain, I will pardon an hundred offences of his. Grieve thou not.'
"Bhishma continued,--'Even thus, O Bhima, is this wretch of a king--Sisupala of wicked heart, who, proud of the boon granted by Govinda, summons thee to battle!'"
Next: Section XLIII