The Mahabharata Home
"Uttara said, 'It hath been heard by us that a corpse is tied in this tree. How can I, therefore, being a prince by birth, touch it with my hands? Born in the Kshatriya order, and the son of a great king, and always observant of mantras and vows, it is not becoming of me to touch it. Why shouldst thou, O Vrihannala, make me a polluted and
unclean bearer of corpses, by compelling me to come in contact with a corpse?'
"Vrihannala said, 'Thou shalt, O king of kings, remain clean and unpolluted. Do not fear, there are only bows in this tree and not corpses. Heir to the king of the Matsyas, and born in a noble family, why should I, O prince, make thee do such a reproachable deed?'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Partha, Virata's son, decked in ear-rings, alighted from the car, and climbed up that Sami tree reluctantly. And staying on the car, Dhananjaya, that slayer of enemies, said, unto him, 'Speedily bring thou down those bows from the top of the tree. And cutting off their wrappings first and then the ropes with which they were tied, the prince beheld the Gandiva there along with four other bows. And as they were united, the splendour of those bows radiant as the sun, began to shine with great effulgence like unto that of the planets about the time of their rising. And beholding the forms of those bows, so like unto sighing snakes, he become afflicted with fear and in a moment the bristles of his body stood on their ends. And touching those large bows of great splendour, Virata's son, O king, thus spake unto Arjuna!'"
Next: Section XLII