The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Hearing these words of the god of wind, Arjuna remained silent. At this, the god of wind once more addressed him, saying, 'When the denizens of heaven, with Indra at their head, found
themselves within the mouth of the Asura Mada, at that time Chyavana took away from them the earth. Deprived previously of heaven and now shorn of the earth also, the gods became very cheerless. Indeed, those high-souled ones, afflicted with grief, then threw themselves unreservedly upon the Grandsire's protection.'
"The gods said, 'O thou that art adored by all creatures of the universe, the earth has been taken away from us by Chyavana, while we have been deprived of heaven by the Kapas, O puissant one!'
"Brahmana said, 'Ye denizens of heaven, do you, with Indra at your head, repair quickly and seek the protection of the Brahmanas. By gratifying them you will succeed in regaining both the regions as before.' Thus instructed by the Grandsire, the deities repaired to the Brahmanas and became suppliants for their protection. The Brahmanas replied, enquiring, 'Whom shall we subjugate?' Thus asked, the deities said unto them, 'Do ye subjugate the Kapas.' The Brahmanas then said, 'Bringing them down on the earth first, we shall speedily subjugate them.' After this, the Brahmanas commenced a rite having for its object the destruction of the Kapas. As soon as this was heard of by the Kapas, they immediately despatched a messenger of theirs, named Dhanin, unto those Brahmanas. Dhanin, coming to them as they sat on the earth, thus delivered to them the message of the Kapas. The Kapas are even like you all! (They are not inferior to any of you). Hence, what will be the effect of these rites which you seem to be bent upon achieving? All of them are well-conversant with the Vedas and possessed of wisdom. All of them are mindful of sacrifices. All of them have Truth for their vow, and for these reasons all of them are regarded as equal to great Rishis. The goddess of Prosperity sports among them, and they, in their turn, support her with reverence. They never indulge in acts of fruitless congress with their wives, and they never eat the flesh of such animals as have not been killed in sacrifices. They pour libations on the blazing sacrificial fire (every day) and 'are obedient to the behests of their preceptors and seniors. All of them are of souls under perfect control, and never take any food without dividing it duly among their children. They always proceed on cars and other vehicles together (without any of them riding his own vehicle while others journey on foot). They never indulge in acts of congress with their spouses when the latter are in midst of their functional period. They all act in such a way as to attain to regions of felicity hereafter. Indeed, they are always righteous in their deeds. When women quick with child or old men have not eaten, they never eat anything themselves. They never indulge in play or sports of any kind in the forenoon. They never sleep during the day. When the Kapas have these and many other virtues and accomplishments, why, indeed, would you seek to subjugate them? You should abstain from the endeavour! Verily, by such abstention ye would achieve what is for your good.'
"The Brahmanas said, 'Oh, we shall subjugate the Kapas! In this matter, we art one with the deities. Hence, the Kapas deserve slaughter at your hands. As regards Dhanin, he should return whence he came! After this, Dhanin, returning to the Kapas, said unto them, 'The Brahmanas are not disposed to do you any good! 'Hearing this, all the Kapas took up their weapons and proceeded towards the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas, beholding the Kapas advancing against them with the standards of their cars upraised, forthwith created certain blazing fires for the destruction of the Kapas. Those eternal fires, created with the aid of Vedic Mantras, having effected the destruction of the Kapas, began to shine in the firmament like so many (golden) clouds. The gods, having assembled together in battle, slew many of the Danavas. They did not know at that time that it was the Brahmanas who had effected their destruction. Then Narada of great energy, coming there, O king, informed the deities how their foes; the Kapas, had been really slain by the Brahmanas of mighty energy (and not by deities themselves). Hearing these words of Narada, the denizens of heaven became highly gratified. They also applauded those regenerate allies of theirs that were possessed of great fame. The energy and prowess of the deities then began to increase, and worshipped in all the worlds, they acquired also the boon of immortality!' After the god of wind had said these words, king Arjuna worshipped him duly and addressing him answered in these words, 'Hear, O mighty armed monarch, what Arjuna said.'
"Arjuna said, O puissant god, always and by all means do I live for the Brahmanas! Devoted to them, I worship them always! Through the grace of Dattatreya I have obtained this might of mine! Through his grace have I been able to accomplish great feats in the world and achieve high merit! Oh, I have, with attention, heard of the achievements, O god of the wind, of the Brahmanas with all their interesting details as recited by thee truly.'
"The god of wind said, 'Do thou protect and cherish the Brahmanas, in the exercise of those Kshatriya duties which are thine by birth. Do thou protect them even as thou protectest thy own senses! There is danger to thee from the race of Bhrigu! All that, however, will take place on a distant day.'"
Next: Section CLVIII