The Mahabharata 2
Vyāsa
Hindu
9:00 h
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa. It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life” or puruṣārtha (12.161). Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, and the story of Ṛṣyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.
The Mahabharata
Book 2: Sabha Parva
Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Section I

(Sabhakriya Parva)

Om! After having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted male being, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Vaisampayana said, “Then, in the presence of Vasudeva, Maya Danava, having worshipped Arjuna, repeatedly spoke unto him with joined hands and in amiable words, ‘O son of Kunti, saved have I been by thee from this Krishna in spate and from Pavaka (fire) desirous of consuming me. Tell me what I have to do for thee.”

“Arjuna said, “O great Asura, everything hath already been done by thee (even by this offer of thine). Blest be thou. Go whithersoever thou likest. Be kind and well-disposed towards me, as we are even kind to and well-pleased with thee!”

“Maya said, “O bull amongst men, what thou hast said is worthy of thee, O exalted one. But O Bharata, I desire to do something for thee cheerfully. I am a great artist, a Viswakarma among the Danavas. O son of Pandu, being what I am, I desire to do something for thee.”

“Arjuna said,—‘O sinless one, thou regardest thyself as saved (by me) from imminent death. Even if it hath been so, I cannot make thee do anything for me. At the same time, O Danava, I do not wish to frustrate thy intentions. Do thou something for Krishna. That will be a sufficient requital for my services to thee.’

Vaisampayana said, “Then, O bull of the Bharata race, urged by Maya, Vasudeva reflected for a moment as to what he should ask Maya to accomplish. Krishna, the Lord of the universe and the Creator of every object, having reflected in his mind, thus commanded Maya, ‘Let a palatial sabha (meeting hall) as thou choosest, be built (by thee), if thou, O son of Diti, who art the foremost of all artists, desirest to do good to Yudhishthira the just. Indeed, build thou such a palace that persons belonging to the world of men may not be able to imitate it even after examining it with care, while seated within. And, O Maya, build thou a mansion in which we may behold a combination of godly, asuric and human designs.’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard those words, Maya became exceedingly glad. And he forthwith built a magnificent palace for the son of Pandu like unto the palace of the celestials themselves. Then Krishna and Partha (Arjuna) after having narrated everything unto king Yudhishthira the just, introduced Maya unto him. Yudhishthira received Maya with respect, offering him the honour he deserved. And, O Bharata, Maya accepted that honour thinking highly of it. O monarch of the Bharata race, that great son of Diti then recited unto the sons of Pandu the history of the Danava Vrisha-parva, and that foremost of artists then, having rested awhile, set himself after much thoughtful planning to build a palace for the illustrious sons of Pandu. Agreeably to the wishes of both Krishna and the sons of Pritha, the illustrious Danava of great prowess, having performed on an auspicious day the initial propitiatory rites of foundation and having also gratified thousands of well-versed Brahmanas with sweetened milk and rice and with rich presents of various kinds, measured out a plot of land five thousand cubits square, which was delightful and exceedingly handsome to behold and which was favourable for construction of a building well-suited to the exigencies of every season.”


Section II

“Vaisampayana said, “Janardana deserving the worship of all, having lived happily at Khandavaprastha for some time, and having been treated all the while with respectful love and affection by the sons of Pritha, became desirous one day of leaving Khandavaprastha to behold his father. That possessor of large eyes, unto whom was due the obeisance of the universe, then saluted both Yudhishthira and Pritha and made obeisance with his head unto the feet of Kunti, his father’s sister. Thus revered by Kesava, Pritha smelt his head and embraced him. The illustrious Hrishikesa approached his own sister Subhadra affectionately, with his eyes filled with tears, and spoke unto her words of excellent import and truth, terse proper, unanswerable and fraught with good. The sweet-speeched Subhadra also, saluting him in return and worshipping him repeatedly with bent head, told him all that she wished to be conveyed to her relatives on the paternal side. And bidding her farewell and uttering benedictions on his handsome sister, he of the Vrishni race, next saw Draupadi and Dhaumya. That best of men duly made obeisance unto Dhaumya, and consoling Draupadi obtained leave from her. Then the learned and mighty Krishna, accompanied by Partha, went to his cousins. And surrounded by the five brothers, Krishna shone like Sakra in the midst of the celestials. He whose banner bore the figure of Garuda, desirous of performing the rites preparatory to the commencement of a journey, purified himself by a bath and adorned his person with ornaments. The bull of the Yadu race then worshipped the gods and Brahmanas with floral wreaths, mantras, bows of the head, and excellent perfumes. Having finished all these rites, that foremost of steady and virtuous persons then thought of setting out. The chief of the Yadu race then came out of the inner to the outer apartment, and issuing thence he made unto Brahmanas, deserving of worship, offerings of vessel-fulls of curd and fruits, and parched-grain and caused them to pronounce benedictions upon him. And making unto them presents also of wealth, he went round them. Then ascending his excellent car of gold endued with great speed and adorned with banner bearing the figure of Tarkhya (Garuda) and furnished also with mace, discus, sword, his bow Sharnga and other weapons, and yoking thereunto his horses Saivya and Sugriva, he of eyes like lotuses set out at an excellent moment of a lunar day of auspicious stellar conjunction. And Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, from affection, ascended the chariot after Krishna, and causing that best charioteer Daruka to stand aside, himself took the reins. And Arjuna also, of long arms, riding on that car, walked round Krishna and fanned him with a white chamara furnished with a handle of gold. And the mighty Bhimasena accompanied by the twin brothers Nakula and Sahadeva and the priests and citizens all followed Krishna from behind. And Kesava, that slayer of hostile heroes, followed by all the brothers, shone like a preceptor followed by his favourite pupils. Then Govinda spoke unto Arjuna and clasped him firmly, and worshipping Yudhisthira and Bhima, embraced the twins. And embraced in return by the three elder Pandavas, he was reverentially saluted by the twins. After having gone about half a Yojana (two miles), Krishna, that subjugator of hostile towns, respectfully addressed Yudhishthira and requested him, O Bharata, to stop following him further. And Govinda, conversant with every duty, then reverentially saluted Yudhishthira and took hold of his feet. But Yudhishthira soon raised Kesava and smelt his head. King Yudhishthira the just, the son of Pandu, having raised Krishna endued with eyes like lotus-petals and the foremost of the Yadava race, gave him leave, saying,—‘Good bye!’ Then the slayer of Madhu, making an appointment with them (about his return) in words that were proper, and preventing with difficulty the Pandavas from following him further on foot, gladly proceeded towards his own city, like Indra going towards Amravati. Out of the love and affection they bore him, the Pandavas gazed on Krishna as long as he was within sight, and their minds also followed him when he got out of sight. And Kesava of agreeable person soon disappeared from their sight, unsatiated though their minds were with looking at him. Those bulls among men, the sons of Pritha, with minds fixed on Govinda, desisted (from following him further) and unwillingly returned to their own city in haste. And Krishna in his car soon reached Dwaraka followed by that hero Satyaki. Then Sauri, the son of Devaki, accompanied by his charioteer Daruka reached Dwaraka with the speed of Garuda.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Meanwhile king Yudhishthira of unfading glory, accompanied by his brothers and surrounded by friends, entered his excellent capital. And that tiger among men, dismissing all his relatives, brothers, and sons, sought to make himself happy in the company of Draupadi. And Kesava also, worshipped by the principal Yadavas including Ugrasena, entered with a happy heart his own excellent city. And worshipping his old father and his illustrious mother, and saluting (his brother) Valadeva, he of eyes like lotus-petals took his seat. Embracing Pradyumna, Shamva, Nishatha, Charudeshna, Gada, Aniruddha and Bhanu, and obtaining the leave of all the elderly men, Janardana entered the apartments of Rukmini.”


Section III

“Vaisampayana said, “Then Maya Danava addressed Arjuna, that foremost of successful warriors, saying, “I now go with thy leave, but shall come back soon. On the north of the Kailasa peak near the mountains of Mainaka, while the Danavas were engaged in a sacrifice on the banks of Vindu lake, I gathered a huge quantity of delightful and variegated vanda (a kind of rough materials) composed of jewels and gems. This was placed in the mansion of Vrishaparva ever devoted to truth. If it be yet existing, I shall come back, O Bharata, with it. I shall then commence the construction of the delightful palace of the Pandavas, which is to be adorned with every kind of gems and celebrated all over the world. There is also, I think, O thou of the Kuru race, a fierce club placed in the lake Vindu by the King (of the Danavas) after slaughtering therewith all his foes in battle. Besides being heavy and strong and variegated with golden knobs, it is capable of bearing great weight, and of slaying all foes, and is equal in strength unto an hundred thousand clubs. It is a fit weapon for Bhima, even as the Gandiva is for thee. There is also (in that lake) a large conch-shell called Devadatta of loud sound, that came from Varuna. I shall no doubt give all these to thee. Having spoken thus unto Partha, the Asura went away in a north-easterly direction. On the north of Kailasa in the mountains of Mainaka, there is a huge peak of gems and jewels called Hiranya-sringa. Near that peak is a delightful lake of the name of Vindu. There, on its banks, previously dwelt king Bhagiratha for many years, desiring to behold the goddess Ganga, since called Bhagirathee after that king’s name. And there, on its banks, O thou best of the Bharatas, Indra the illustrious lord of every created thing, performed one hundred great sacrifices. There, for the sake of beauty, though not according to the dictates of the ordinance, were placed sacrificial stakes made of gems and altars of gold. There, after performing those sacrifices, the thousand-eyed lord of Sachi became crowned with success. There the fierce Mahadeva, the eternal lord of every creature, has taken up his abode after having created all the worlds and there he dwelleth, worshipped with reverence by thousands of spirits. There Nara and Narayana, Brahma and Yama and Sthanu the fifth, perform their sacrifices at the expiration of a thousand yugas. There, for the establishment of virtue and religion, Vasudeva, with pious devotion, performed his sacrifices extending for many, many long years. There were placed by Keshava thousands and tens of thousands of sacrificial stakes adorned with golden garlands and altars of great splendour. Going thither, O Bharata, Maya brought back the club and the conch-shell and the various crystalline articles that had belonged to king Vrishaparva. And the great Asura, Maya, having gone thither, possessed himself of the whole of the great wealth which was guarded by Yakshas and Rakshasas. Bringing them, the Asura constructed therewith a peerless palace, which was of great beauty and of celestial make, composed entirely of gems and precious stones, and celebrated throughout the three worlds. He gave unto Bhimasena that best of clubs, and unto Arjuna the most excellent conch-shell at whose sound all creatures trembled in awe. And the palace that Maya built consisted of columns of gold, and occupied, O monarch, an area of five thousand cubits. The palace, possessing an exceedingly beautiful form, like unto that of Agni or Suryya, or Soma, shone in great splendour, and by its brilliance seemed to darken even the bright rays of the sun. And with the effulgence it exhibited, which was a mixture of both celestial and terrestrial light, it looked as if it was on fire. Like unto a mass of new clouds conspicuous in the sky, the palace rose up coming into view of all. Indeed, the palace that the dexterous Maya built was so wide, delightful, and refreshing, and composed of such excellent materials, and furnished with such golden walls and archways, and adorned with so many varied pictures, and was withal so rich and well-built, that in beauty it far surpassed Sudharma of the Dasarha race, or the mansion of Brahma himself. And eight thousand Rakshasas called Kinkaras, fierce, huge-bodied and endued with great strength, of red coppery eyes and arrowy ears, well-armed and capable of ranging through the air, used to guard and protect that palace. Within that palace Maya placed a peerless tank, and in that tank were lotuses with leaves of dark-coloured gems and stalks of bright jewels, and other flowers also of golden leaves. And aquatic fowls of various species sported on its bosom. Itself variegated with full-blown lotuses and stocked with fishes and tortoises of golden hue, its bottom was without mud and its water transparent. There was a flight of crystal stairs leading from the banks to the edge of the water. The gentle breezes that swept along its bosom softly shook the flowers that studded it. The banks of that tank were overlaid with slabs of costly marble set with pearls. And beholding that tank thus adorned all around with jewels and precious stones, many kings that came there mistook it for land and fell into it with eyes open. Many tall trees of various kinds were planted all around the palace. Of green foliage and cool shade, and ever blossoming, they were all very charming to behold. Artificial woods were laid around, always emitting a delicious fragrance. And there were many tanks also that were adorned with swans and Karandavas and Chakravakas (Brahminy ducks) in the grounds lying about the mansion. And the breeze bearing the fragrance of lotuses growing in water and (of those growing on land) ministered unto the pleasure and happiness of the Pandavas. And Maya having constructed such a palatial hall within fourteen months, reported its completion unto Yudhishthira.”