The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'About this time, there came into the Pandava camp Bhishmaka's son, foremost among all persons of truthful resolution, and known widely by the name of Rukmi. The high-souled Bhishmaka, who was otherwise called king Hiranyaroman, was the friend of Indra. And he was most illustrious among the descendants of Bhoja and was the ruler of the whole southern country. And Rukmi was a disciple of that lion among the Kimpurushas who was known by the name of Drona, having his abode on the mountains of Gandhamadana. And he had learnt from his preceptor the whole science of weapons with its four divisions. And that mighty-armed warrior had obtained also the bow named Vijaya of celestial workmanship, belonging to the great Indra, and which was equal to Gandiva in energy and to also Sarnga (held by Krishna). There were three celestial bows owned by the denizens of heaven, viz., Gandiva owned by Varuna, the bow called Vijaya owned by Indra, and that other celestial bow of great energy said to have been owned by Vishnu. This last (Sarnga), capable of striking
fear into the hearts of hostile warriors, was held by Krishna. The bow called Gandiva was obtained by Indra's son (Arjuna) from Agni on the occasion of the burning of Khandava, while the bow called Vijaya was obtained from Drona by Rukmi of great energy. Baffling the nooses of Mura and slaying by his might that Asura, and vanquishing Naraka, the son of the Earth, Hrishikesa, while recovering the begemmed ear-rings (of Aditi), with sixteen thousand girls and various kinds of jewels and gems, obtained that excellent bow called Sarnga. And Rukmi having obtained the bow called Vijaya whose twang resembled the roar of the clouds came to the Pandavas, as if inspiring the whole universe with dread. Formerly, proud of the might of his own arms, the heroic Rukmi could not tolerate the ravishment of his sister Rukmini by wise Vasudeva. He had set out in pursuit, having sworn that he would not return without having slain Janardana. And accompanied by a large army consisting of four kinds of forces that occupied (as it marched) a very large portion of the earth, accoutred in handsome coats of mail and armed with diverse weapons and resembling the swollen current of the Ganga, that foremost of all wielders of weapons set out in pursuit of Vasudeva of Vrishni's race. And having come up to him of Vrishni's race who was lord and master of everything obtainable by ascetic austerities, Rukmi, O king, was vanquished and covered with shame. And for this he returned not to (his city) Kundina. And on the spot where that slayer of hostile heroes was vanquished by Krishna, he built an excellent city named Bhojakata. And, O king, that city filled with large forces and teeming with elephants, steeds., is widely known on the earth by that name. Endued with great energy, that hero, cased in mail and armed with bows, fences, swords and quivers, quickly entered the Pandava camp, surrounded by an Akshauhini of troops. And Rukmi entered that vast army, under a standard effulgent as the sun, and made himself known to the Pandavas, from desire of doing what was agreeable to Vasudeva. King Yudhishthira, advancing a few steps, offered him worship. And duly worshipped and eulogised by the Pandavas, Rukmi saluted them in return and rested for a while with his troops. And addressing Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti in the midst of the heroes there assembled, he said, 'If, O son of Pandu, thou art afraid, I am here to render thee assistance in the battle. The assistance I will give thee will be unbearable by thy foes. There is no man in this world who is equal to me in prowess. I will slay those foes of thine whom thou, O son of Pandu, wilt assign to me. I will slay one of those heroes, viz., Drona and Kripa, and Bhishma, and Karna. Or, let all these kings of the earth stand aside. Slaying in battle thy foes myself, I will give thee Earth.' And he said this in the presence of king Yudhishthira the Just and of Kesava and in the hearing of the (assembled) monarchs and all others (in the camp). Then casting his eyes on Vasudeva and Pandu's son king Yudhishthira the Just, Dhananjaya the intelligent son of Kunti smilingly but in a friendly voice said these words, 'Born in the
race of Kuru, being especially the son of Pandu, naming Drona as my preceptor, having Vasudeva for my ally, and bearing, besides the bow called Gandiva, how can I say that I am afraid? O hero, when on the occasion of the tale 'of cattle, I fought with the mighty Gandharvas, who was there to assist me? In that terrific encounter also with the Gods and Danavas banded together in great numbers at Khandava, who was my ally when I fought? When, again, I fought with the Nivatakavachas and with those other Danavas called Kalakeyas, who was my ally? When, again, at Virata's city I fought with the numberless Kurus, who was my ally in that battle? Having paid my respects, for battle's sake, to Rudra, Sakra, Vaisravana, Yama, Varuna, Pavaka, Kripa, Drona, and Madhava, and wielding that tough celestial bow of great energy called Gandiva, and accoutred with inexhaustible arrows and armed with celestial weapons, how can a person like me, O tiger among men, say, even unto Indra armed with the thunderbolt, such words as I am afraid!--words that rob one of all his fame? O thou of mighty arms, I am not afraid, nor have I any need of thy assistance. Go therefore, or stay, as it pleaseth or suiteth thee.' Hearing these words of Arjuna, Rukmi taking away with him his army vast as the sea, repaired then, O bull of Bharata's race, to Duryodhana. And king Rukmi, repairing thither, said the same words unto Duryodhana. But that king proud of his bravery, rejected him in the same way.
'Thus, O king, two persons withdrew from the battle, viz., Rohini's son (Rama) of Vrishni's race and king Rukmi. And after Rama had set out on his pilgrimage to the tirthas, and Bhishmaka's son Rukmi had departed thus, the sons of Pandu once more sat down for consulting with one another. And that conclave presided over by king Yudhishthira the Just, abounding with numerous monarchs, blazed forth like the firmament bespangled with lesser luminaries with the moon in their midst.'"
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