The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "Jayadratha flying for his life upon beholding those two brothers with upraised arms, was sorely grieved and bolted off with speed and coolness. But the mighty and indignant Bhimasena, descending from his chariot, ran after him thus fleeing, and seized him by the hair of his head. And holding him high up in the air, Bhima thrust him on the ground with violence. And seizing the prince by the head, he knocked him about. And when the wretch recovered consciousness, he groaned aloud and wanted to get up on his legs. But that hero endued with mighty arms kicked him on the head. And Bhima pressed him on the breast with his knees as well as with his fists. And the prince thus belaboured, soon became insensible. Then Falguna dissuaded the wrathful Bhimasena from inflicting further chastisement on the prince, by reminding him of what Yudhishthira had said regarding (their sister) Dussala. But Bhima replied, saying, 'This sinful wretch hath done a cruel injury to Krishna, who never can bear such treatment. He, therefore, deserveth to die at hands! But what can I do? The king is always overflowing with mercy, and thou, too, art constantly putting obstacles in my way from a childish sense of virtue!' Having said these words, Vrikodara, with his crescent-shaped arrow, shaved the hair of the prince's head, heaving five tufts in as many places. Jayadratha uttered not a word at this. Then Vrikodara, addressing the foe said, 'If thou wishest to live, listen to me. O fool! I shall tell thee the means to attain that wish! In public assemblies and in open courts thou must say,--I am the slave of the Pandavas.--on this condition alone, I will pardon thee thy life! This is the customary rule of conquest on the field of battle.' Thus addressed and treated, king Jayadratha said to the mighty and fierce warrior who always looked awful, 'Be it so!' And he was trembling and senseless and begrimed with dust. Then Arjuna and Vrikodara, securing him with chains, thrust him into a chariot. And Bhima, himself mounting that chariot, and accompanied by Arjuna, drove towards the hermitage. And approaching Yudhishthira seated there, he placed Jayadratha in that condition before the king. And the king, smiling, told him to set the Sindhu prince at liberty. Then Bhima said unto the king, 'Do thou tell Draupadi that this wretch hath become the slave of the Pandavas.' Then his eldest brother said unto him affectionately, 'If thou hast any regard for us, do thou set this wretch at liberty!' And Draupadi too, reading the king's mind, said, 'Let him off! He hath become a slave of the king's and thou, too, hast disfigured him by leaving five tufts of hair on his head.' Then that crest-fallen prince, having obtained his liberty, approached king Yudhishthira
and bowed down unto him. And seeing those Munis there, he saluted them also. Then the kind-hearted king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, beholding Jayadratha in that condition, almost supported by Arjuna, said unto him, 'Thou art a free man now; I emancipate thee! Now go away and be careful not to do such thing again; shame to thee! Thou hadst intended to take away a lady by violence, even though thou art so mean and powerless! What other wretch save thee would think of acting thus?" Then that foremost king of Bharata's race eyed with pity that perpetrator of wicked deeds, and believing that he had lost his senses, said, 'Mayst thy heart grow in virtue! Never set thy heart again on immoral deeds! Thou mayst depart in peace now with thy charioteers, cavalry and infantry.' Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the prince, O Bharata, was overpowered with shame, and bending down his head, he silently and sorrowfully wended his way to the place where the Ganga debouches on the plains. And imploring the protection of the god of three eyes, the consort of Uma, he did severe penance at that place. And the three-eyed god, pleased with his austerities deigned to accept his offerings in person. And he also granted him a boon! Do thou listen, O monarch, how the prince received that boon! Jayadratha, addressing that god, asked the boon, 'May I be able to defeat in battle all the five sons of Pandu on their chariots!' The god, however, told him 'This cannot be.' And Maheswara said, 'None can slay or conquer them in battle. Save Arjuna, however, thou shall be able to only check them (once) on the field of battle! The heroic Arjuna, with mighty arms, is the god incarnate styled Nara. He practised austerities of old in the Vadari forest. The God Narayana is his friend. Therefore, he is unconquerable of the very gods. I myself have given him the celestial weapon called Pasupata. From the regents also of all the ten cardinal points, he has acquired the thunder-bolt and other mighty weapons. And the great god Vishnu who is the Infinite Spirit, the Lord Preceptor of all the gods, is the Supreme Being without attributes, and the Soul of the Universe, and existeth pervading the whole creation. At the termination of a cycle of ages, assuming the shape of the all-consuming fire, he consumed the whole Universe with mountains and seas and islands and hills and woods and forests. And after the destruction of the Naga world also in the subterranean regions in the same way, vast masses of many-coloured and loud-pealing clouds, with streaks of lightning, spreading along the entire welkin, had appeared on high. Then pouring down water in torrents thick as axles of cars, and filling the space everywhere, these extinguishing that all-consuming fire! When at the close of four thousand Yugas the Earth thus became flooded with water, like one vast sea, and all mobile creatures were hushed in death, and the sun and the moon and the winds were all destroyed, and the Universe was devoid of planets and stars, the Supreme Being called Narayana, unknowable by the senses, adorned with a thousand heads and as many eyes and legs, became desirous of rest. And the serpent Sesha, looking terrible with his thousand hoods, and shining with the splendour of ten thousand suns, and white as the Kunda flower or the moon or a string of pearls, or the white lotus, or milk, or the fibres of a lotus stalk, served
for his conch. And that adorable and omnipotent God thus slept on the bosom of the deep, enveloping all space with nocturnal gloom. And when his creative faculty was excited, he awoke and found the Universe denuded of everything. In this connection, the following sloka is recited respecting the meaning of Narayana. "Water was created by (the Rishi) Nara, and it formed his corpus; therefore do we hear it styled as Nara. And because it formed his Ayana (resting-place) therefore is he known as Narayana." As soon as that everlasting Being was engaged in meditation for the re-creation of the Universe, a lotus flower instantaneously came into existence from his navel, and the four-faced Brahma came out of that navel-lotus. And then the Grandsire of all creatures, seating himself on that flower and finding that the whole Universe was a blank, created in his own likeness, and from his will, the (nine) great Rishis, Marichi and others. And these in their turn observing the same thing, completed the creation, by creating Yakshas, Rakshas, Pisachas, reptiles, men, and all mobile and immobile creatures. The Supreme Spirit hath three conditions. In the form of Brahma, he is the Creator, and in the form of Vishnu he is the Preserver, and in his form as Rudra, he is the Destroyer of the Universe! O king of Sindhu, hast thou not heard of the wonderful achievements of Vishnu, described to thee by the Munis and the Brahmanas learned in the Vedas? When the world was thus reduced to one vast sea of water, with only the heavens above, the Lord, like a fire-fly at night-time during the rainy season, moved about hither and thither in search of stable ground, with the view of rehabilitating his creation, and became desirous of raising the Earth submerged in water. What shape shall I take to rescue the Earth from this flood?--So thinking and contemplating with divine insight, he bethought himself of the shape of a wild boar fond of sporting in water. And assuming the shape of a sacrificial boar shining with effulgence and instinct with the Vedas and ten Yojanas in length, with pointed tusks and a complexion like dark clouds, and with a body huge as a mountain, and roaring like a conglomeration of clouds, the Lord plunged into the waters, and lifted up the Earth with one of his tusks, and replaced it in its proper sphere. At another time, the mighty Lord, assuming a wonderful form with a body half lion, half man, and squeezing his hands, repaired to the court of the ruler of the Daityas. That progenitor of the Daityas, the son of Diti, who was the enemy of the (gods), beholding the Lord's peculiar form, burst out into passion and his eyes became inflamed with rage. And Hiranya-Kasipu, the war-like son of Diti and the enemy of the gods, adorned with garlands and looking like a mass of dark clouds, taking up his trident in hand and roaring like the clouds, rushed on that being half lion, half man. Then that powerful king of wild beasts, half man, half lion, taking a leap in the air, instantly rent the Daitya in twain by means of his sharp claws. And the adorable lotus-eyed Lord of great effulgence, having thus slain the Daitya king for the well-being of all creatures, again took his birth in the womb of Aditi as son of Kasyapa. And at the expiration of a thousand years she was delivered of that superhuman conception. And then was born that Being, of the hue of rain-charged clouds with bright eyes and of dwarfish stature.
[paragraph continues] He had the ascetic's staff and water-pot in hand, and was marked with the emblem of a curl of hair on the breast. And that adorable Being wore matted locks and the sacrificial thread, and he was stout and handsome and resplendent with lustre. And that Being, arriving at the sacrificial enclosure of Vali, king of the Danavas, entered the sacrificial assembly with the aid of Vrihaspati. And beholding that dwarf-bodied Being, Vali was well-pleased and said unto him, 'I am glad to see thee, O Brahmana! Say what is it that thou wantest from me!' Thus addressed by Vali, the dwarf-god replied with a smile, saying, 'So be it! Do thou, lord of the Danavas, give me three paces of ground!' And Vali contented to give what that Brahmana of infinite power had asked. And while measuring with his paces the space he sought. Hari assumed a wonderful and extraordinary form. And with only three paces he instantly covered this illimitable world. And then that everlasting God, Vishnu, gave it away unto Indra. This history which has just been related to thee, is celebrated as the 'Incarnation of the Dwarf', And from him, all the gods had their being, and after him the world is said to be Vaishnava, or pervaded by Vishnu. And for the destruction of the wicked and the preservation of religion, even He hath taken his birth among men in the race of the Yadus. And the adorable Vishnu is styled Krishna. These, O king of Sindhu, are the achievements of the Lord whom all the worlds worship and whom the learned describe as without beginning and without end, unborn and Divine! They call Him, the unconquerable Krishna with conchshell, discus and mace, and adorned with the emblem of a curl of hair, Divine, clad in silken robes of yellow hue, and the best of those versed in the art of war. Arjuna is protected by Krishna the possessor of these attributes. That glorious and lotus-eyed Being of infinite power, that slayer of hostile heroes, riding in the same chariot with Pritha's son, protecteth him! He is, therefore, invincible; the very gods cannot resist his power, still less can one with human attributes vanquish the son of Pritha in battle! Therefore, O king, thou must let him alone! Thou shalt, however, be able to vanquish for a single day only, the rest of Yudhishthira's forces along with thine enemies--the four sons of Pandu!"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having said these words unto that prince, the adorable Hara of three eyes, the destroyer of all sins, the consort of Uma, and lord of wild beasts, the destroyer of (Daksha's) sacrifice, the slayer of Tripura and He that had plucked out the eyes of Bhaga, surrounded by his dwarfish and hunch-backed and terrible followers having frightful eyes and ears and uplifted arms, vanished, O tiger among kings, from that place with his consort Uma! And the wicked Jayadratha also returned home, and the sons of Pandu continued to dwell in the forest of Kamyaka."
Next: Section CCLXXI