The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "After all those illustrious ascetics had gone away, that wielder of the Pinaka and cleanser of all sins--the illustrious Hara--assuming the form of a Kirata resplendent as a golden tree, and with a huge and stalwart form like a second Meru, and taking up a hand some bow and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, and looking like an embodiment of fire, came quickly down on the breast of Himavat. And the handsome god of gods was accompanied by Uma in the guise of a Kirata woman, and also by a swarm of merry spirits of various forms and attire, and by thousands of women in the form and attire of Kiratas. And, O king, that region suddenly blazed up in beauty, in consequence of the arrival of the god of gods in such company. And soon enough a solemn stillness pervaded the place. The sounds of springs, and water-courses, and of birds suddenly ceased. And as the god of gods approached Pritha's son of blameless deeds, he beheld a wonderful sight, even that of a Danava named Muka, seeking, in the form of a boar, to slay Arjuna. Phalguna, at the sight of the enemy seeking to slay him, took up the Gandiva and a number of arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison. And stringing his bow and filling the air with its twang, he addressed the boar and said, 'I have come here but done thee no injury. As thou seekest to slay me, I shall certainly send thee to the abode of Yama.' And beholding that firm wielder of the bow--Phalguna--about to slay the boar, Sankara in the guise of a Kirata suddenly bade him stop saying, 'The boar like the mountain of Indrakila in hue hath been aimed at by me first'; Phalguna, however, disregarding these words, struck the boar. The Kirata also blazing splendour, let fly an arrow like flaming fire and resembling the thunderbolt at the same object. And the arrows thus shot by both fell at the same instant of time upon the wide body of Muka, hard as adamant. And the two shafts fell upon the boar with a loud sound, even like that of Indra's thunderbolt and the thunder of the clouds falling together upon the breast of a mountain. And Muka, thus struck by two shafts which produced numerous arrows resembling snakes of blazing mouths, yielded up his life, assuming once more his terrible Rakshasa form. Jishnu--that slayer of foes--then beheld before him that person, of form blazing as god, and attired in the dress of a Kirata and accompanied by many women. And beholding him, the son of Kunti with a joyous heart addressed him smilingly and said,
[paragraph continues] 'Who art thou that thus wanderest in these solitary woods, surrounded by women? thou of the splendour of gold, art thou not afraid of this terrible forest? Why, again, didst thou shoot the boar that was first aimed at by me? This Rakshasa that came hither, listlessly or with the object, of slaying me, had been first aimed at by me. Thou shalt not, therefore, escape from me with life. Thy behaviour towards me is not consistent with the customs of the chase. Therefore, O mountaineer, I will take thy life.' Thus addressed by the son of Pandu, the Kirata, smiling replied unto his capable of wielding the bow with his left hand, in soft words, saying, 'O hero, thou needst not be anxious on my account. This forest land is proper abode for us who always dwell in the woods. Respecting thyself, however, I may inquire, why thou hast selected thy abode here amid such difficulties. We, O ascetic, have our habitation in these woods abounding in animals of all kinds. Why dost thou, so delicate and brought up in luxury and possessed of the splendour of fire, dwell alone in such a solitary region?' Arjuna said, 'Depending on the Gandiva and arrows blazing like fire, I live in this great forest, like a second Pavaki. Thou hast seen how this monster--this terrible Rakshasa--that came hither in the form of an animal, hath been slain by me.' The Kirata replied, 'This Rakshasa, first struck with the shot from my bow, was killed and sent to the regions of Yama by me. He was first aimed at by me. And it is with my shot that he has been deprived of life. Proud of thy strength, it behoveth thee not to impute thy own fault to others. Thou art thyself in fault, O wretch, and, therefore, shalt not escape from me with life. Stay thou: I will shoot at thee shafts like thunderbolts. Strive thou also and shoot, to the best of thy power, thy arrows at me.' Hearing these words of the Kirata, Arjuna became angry, and attacked him with arrows. The Kirata, however, with a glad heart received all those shafts upon himself, repeatedly saying, 'Wretch, wretch, shoot thou best arrows capable of piercing into the very vitals.' Thus addressed, Arjuna, began to shower his arrows on him. Both of them then became angry and, engaging in fierce conflict, began to shoot at each other showers of arrows, each resembling a snake of virulent poison. And Arjuna rained a perfect shower of arrows on the Kirata, Sankara, however, bore that downpour on him with a cheerful heart. But the wielder of the Pinaka, having borne that shower of arrows for a moment, stood unwounded, immovable like a hill. Dhananjaya, beholding his arrowy shower become futile, wondered exceedingly, repeatedly saying, 'Excellent! Excellent! Alas, this mountaineer of delicate limbs, dwelling on the heights of the Himavat, beareth, without wavering, the shafts shot from the Gandiva! Who is he? Is he Rudra himself, or some other god, or a Yaksha, or an Asura? The gods sometimes do descend on the heights of the Himavat. Except the god who wieldeth the Pinaka, there is none rise that can bear the impetuosity of the thousands of arrows shot by
me from the Gandiva. Whether he is a god or a Yaksha, in fact, anybody except Rudra, I shall soon send him, with my shafts, to the regions of Yama.' Thus thinking, Arjuna, with a cheerful heart, began, O king, to shoot arrows by hundreds, resembling in splendour the rays of the sun. That downpour of shafts, however, the illustrious Creator of the worlds--the wielder of the trident--bore with a glad heart, like a mountain bearing a shower of rocks. Soon, however, the arrows of Phalguna were exhausted. And noticing this fact, Arjuna became greatly alarmed. And the son of Pandu then began to think of the illustrious god Agni who had before, during the burning of the Khandava, given him a couple of inexhaustible quivers. And he began to think, 'Alas, my arrows are all exhausted. What shall I shoot now from my bow? Who is this person that swalloweth my arrows? Slaying him with the end of my bow, as elephants are killed with lances, I shall send him to the domains of the mace-bearing Yama.' The illustrious Arjuna then, taking up his bow and dragging the Kirata with his bow-string, struck him some fierce blows that descended like thunderbolts. When, however, that slayer of hostile heroes--the son of Kunti--commenced the conflict with the end of the bow, the mountaineer snatched from his hands that celestial bow. And beholding his bow snatched from him, Arjuna took up his sword, and wishing to end the conflict, rushed at his foe. And then the Kuru prince, with the whole might of his arms, struck that sharp weapon upon the head of the Kirata, a weapon that was incapable of being resisted even by solid rocks. But that first of swords, at touch of the Kirata's crown, broke into pieces. Phalguna then commenced the conflict with trees and stones. The illustrious god in the form of the huge-bodied Kirata, however, bore that shower of trees and rocks with patience. The mighty son of Pritha then, his mouth smoking with wrath, struck the invincible god in the form of a Kirata, with hi clenched fists, blows that descended like thunderbolts. The god in the Kirata form returned Phalguna's blows with fierce blows resembling the thunderbolts of Indra. And in consequence of that conflict of blows between the son of Pandu and the Kirata, there arose in that place loud and frightful sounds. That terrible conflict of blows, resembling the conflict of yore between Vritra and Vasava, lasted but for a moment. The mighty Jishnu clasping the Kirata began to press him with his breast, but the Kirata, possessed of great strength pressed the insensible son of Pandu with force. And in consequence of the pressure of their arms and of their breasts, their bodies began to emit smoke like charcoal in fire. The great god then, smiting the already smitten son of Pandu, and attacking him in anger with his full might, deprived him of his senses. Then, O Bharata, Phalguna, thus pressed by the god of the gods, with limbs, besides, bruised and mangled, became incapable of motion and was almost reduced to a ball of flesh. And struck by the
illustrious god, he became breathless and, falling down on earth without power of moving, looked like one that was dead. Soon, however, he regained consciousness, and, rising from his prostrate position, with body covered with blood, became filled with grief. Mentally prostrating himself before the gracious god of gods, and making a clay image of that deity, he worshipped it, with offerings of floral garlands. Beholding, however, the garland that he had offered to the clay image of Bhava, decking the crown of the Kirata, that best of Pandu's sons became filled with joy and regained his ease. And he prostrated himself thereupon at the feet of Bhava, and the god also was pleased with him. And Hara, beholding the wonder of Arjuna and seeing that his body had been emaciated with ascetic austerities, spake unto him in a voice deep as the roaring of the clouds, saying, 'O Phalguna, I have been pleased with thee for thy act is without a parallel. There is no Kshatriya who is equal to thee in courage, and patience. And, O sinless one, thy strength and prowess are almost equal to mine. O mighty-armed one, I have been pleased with thee. Behold me, O bull of the Bharata race! O large-eyed one! I will grant thee eyes (to see me in my true form). Thou wert a Rishi before. Thou wilt vanquish all thy foes, even the dwellers of heaven; I will as I have been pleased with thee, grant thee an irresistible weapon. Soon shall thou be able to wield that weapon of mine."
Vaisampayana continued, "Phalguna then beheld him--Mahadeva--that god of blazing splendour-that wielder of the Pinaka-that one who had his abode on the mountains (of Kailasa)--accompanied by Uma. Bending down on his knee and bowing with his head, that conqueror of hostile cities-the son of Pritha-worshipped Hara and inclined him to grace. And Arjuna said, 'O Kapardin, O chief of all gods, O destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, O god of gods, O Mahadeva, O thou of blue throat, O thou of matted locks, I know thee as the Cause of all causes. O thou of three eyes, O lord of all! Thou art the refuge of all the gods! This universe hath sprung from thee. Thou art incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds of the celestials, the Asuras, and men. Thou art Siva in the form of Vishnu, and Vishnu in the form of Siva. Thou destroyedest of old the great sacrifice of Daksha. O Hari, O Rudra, I bow to thee. Thou hast an eye on thy forehead. O Sarva, O thou that rainest objects of desire, O bearer of the trident, O wielder of the Pinaka, O Surya, O thou of pure body, O Creator of all, I bow to thee. O lord of all created things, I worship thee to obtain thy grace. Thou art the lord of the Ganas, the source of universal blessing, the Cause of the causes of the universe. Thou art beyond the foremost of male beings, thou art the highest, thou art the subtlest, O Hara! O illustrious Sankara, it behoveth thee to pardon my fault. It was even to obtain a sight of thyself that I came to this great mountain, which is dear to thee and which is the excellent abode of ascetics. Thou art worshipped of all
worlds. O lord, I worship thee to obtain thy grace. Let not this rashness of mine be regarded as a fault--this combat in which I was engaged with thee from ignorance. O Sankara, I seek thy protection. Pardon me all I have done."
Vaisampayana continued, "Endued with great might, the god whose sign was the bull, taking into his the handsome hands of Arjuna, smilingly replied unto him, saying, 'I have pardoned thee. And the illustrious Hara, cheerfully clasping Arjuna with his arms, once more consoling Arjuna said as follows."
Next: Section XL