The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said. 'Then, O mighty-armed king, Sikhandin's mother represented unto her lord the truth about her daughter, Sikhandin. And she said, 'Childless, O great king, as I was, from fear of my co-wives, when Sikhandini, my daughter, was born, I represented unto you that it was a son! For thy love of me, thou also hadst corroborated it, and, O bull among kings, thou hadst performed all the rites prescribed for a son in respect of this daughter of mine! Thou then didst marry her, O king, to the daughter of the king of the Dasarnakas. I also approved of this act, remembering the words of the (great) god! Indeed, I did not prevent it, remembering the words of Siva,--Born a daughter, she will become a son!' Hearing all this, Drupada, otherwise called Yajnasena, informed all his counsellors of these facts. And, O monarch, the king then took counsel with ministers for the proper protection of his subjects (from the would-be invader). Although he had himself deceived the king of the Dasarnakas, yet giving it out that the alliance he had made was proper, he began to settle his plans with undivided attention. King Drupada's city was, O Bharata, naturally well-protected. Yet at the advent of danger, O monarch, they began to protect it all the more carefully and fortify it (with defensive works). The king, however, with his queen, was greatly afflicted, thinking of how a war might not take place with his brother. Reflecting on this, he began to pay his adorations to the gods. His respected wife, beholding him relying on the god and paying his adorations to them, than addressed him, O king, and said, 'Homage to the gods is productive of benefits! It is, therefore, approved by the righteous. What shall I say, again, of those that are sunk in an ocean of distress? Therefore, pay homage to those that are thy superiors and let all the gods also be worshipped, making large presents the while (unto the Brahmanas)! Let oblations be poured on the fire for pacifying the ruler of the Dasarnakas. O lord, think of the means by which, without a war, thou mayst be able to pacify thy brother! Through the grace of the gods all this will happen. For the preservation of this city, O thou of large eyes, thou hast taken counsel with thy ministers. Do all, O king, that those counsels seem to indicate, for reliance on the gods, when supported by human exertion, always, O king, leadeth to success, If these two do not go hand-in-hand, success becometh unattainable. Therefore, with all thy advisers, make such arrangements in thy city as are proper, and pay homage, O monarch, as thou pleasest, to the gods.' While husband and wife were conversing with each other thus, both filled with grief, their helpless daughter, Sikhandini, was filled with shame. She then reflected, saying, 'It is for me that these two are plunged into grief!' Thinking so, she resolved upon putting an end to her own life. Having formed this determination, she left home, filled with heavy sorrow, and went into a dense and solitary forest that was
the haunt, O king, of a very formidable Yaksha called Sthunakarna. From fear of that Yaksha men never went into that forest. And within it stood a mansion with high walls and a gateway, plastered over with powdered earth, and rich with smoke bearing the fragrance of fried paddy. Entering that mansion, Sikhandini, the daughter of Drupada, O king, began to reduce herself by foregoing all food for many days. Thereupon, the Yaksha named Sthuna, who was endued with kindness, showed himself unto her. And he enquired of her, saying, 'For what object is this endeavour of thine? I will accomplish it, tell me without delay!' Thus asked, the maiden answered him, repeatedly saying, 'Thou art unable to accomplish it!' The Guhyaka, however, rejoined, without a moment's delay, saying, 'Accomplish it I will! I am a follower of the Lord of treasures, I can, O princess, grant boons! I will grant thee even that which cannot be given! Tell me what thou hast to say!' Thus assured, Sikhandini represented in detail everything that had happened, unto that chief of Yakshas called Sthunakarna. And she said, 'My father, O Yaksha, will soon meet with destruction. The ruler of the Dasarnakas marcheth against him in rage. That king eased in golden mail is endued with great might and great courage. Therefore, O Yaksha, save me, my mother, and my father! Indeed, thou hast already pledged thyself to relieve my distress! Through thy grace, O Yaksha, I would become a perfect man! As long as that king may not depart from my city, so long, O great Yaksha, show me grace, O Guhyaka!'"
Next: Section CXCV