Vaishampayana said: “When the thirty-sixth year (after the battle) was reached, the delighter of the Kurus, Yudhishthira, beheld many unusual portents. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from every side. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The great rivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to be always covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on the Earth from the sky. The Suns disc, O king, seemed to be always covered with dust. At its rise, the great luminary of day was shorn of splendour and seemed to be crossed by headless trunks (of human beings). Fierce circles of light were seen every day around both the Sun and the Moon.
“At that time the Vrishni ladies dreamed every night that a woman of black complexion and white teeth, entering their abodes, laughed aloud and ran through Dvaraka, snatching from them the auspicious threads in their wrists. The men dreamt that terrible vultures, entering their houses and fire-chambers, gorged themselves on their bodies. Their ornaments and umbrellas and standards and armour were seen to be taken away by terrible Rakshasas. In the very sight of the Vrishnis, the discus of Krishna, given by Agni, made of iron and having its nave composed of hardest adamant, ascended into the firmament. In the very sight of Daruka, the excellent car of Vasudeva, of solar effulgence, and properly equipped, was taken away by the horses yoked unto it. Those foremost of steeds, numbering four, (Saivya, Sugriva, Meghapushpa and Valahaka), and endued with the speed of thought, fled away, dragging the car after them along the surface of the ocean. The two great standards of Krishnas car and Valadevas car, that with the device of Garuda and that bearing the device of the palmyra, which were reverently worshipped by those two heroes, were taken away by Apsaras who, day and night, called upon the Vrishnis and the Andhakas to set out on a pilgrimage to some sacred water.
‘Santanu duly ruled this Earth. Similarly, Vichitraviryya also, protected by Bhishma, ruled you. Without doubt, all this is known to you. It is also known to you how Pandu, my brother, was dear to me as also to you. He also ruled you duly. Ye sinless ones, I have also served you. Whether those services have come up to the mark or fallen short of it, it behoveth you to forgive me, for I have attended to my duties without heedlessness.
Duryodhana also enjoyed this kingdom without a thorn in his side. Foolish as he was and endued with wicked understanding, he did not, however, do any wrong to you. Through the fault, however, of that prince of wicked understanding, and through his pride, as also through my own impolicy, a great carnage has taken place of persons of the royal order.
Whether I have, in that matter, acted rightly or wrongly, I pray you with joined hands to dispel all remembrance of it from your hearts–This one is old; this one has lost all his children; this one is afflicted with grief; this one was your king; –this one is a descendant of former kings;–considerations like these should induce you to forgive me.
This Gandhari also is cheerless and old. She too has lost her children and is helpless. Afflicted with grief for the loss of her sops, she solicits you with me. Knowing that both of us are old and afflicted and destitute of children, grant us the permission we seek. Blessed be you, we seek your protection.
“Bhishma said, ‘Listen truly in detail, O son of Pritha, how in olden times Viswamitra attained to the status of a Brahmana Rishi. There was, O foremost of Bharata’s descendants, in the race of Bharata, a king of the name of Ajamida, who performed many sacrifices and was the best of all virtuous men. His son was the great king named Jahnu. Ganga was the daughter of this high-minded prince. The far-famed and equally virtuous
Sindhudwipa was the son of this prince. From Sindhudwipa sprung the great royal sage Valakaswa. His son was named Vallabha who was like a second Dharma in embodied form. His son again was Kusika who was refulgent with glory like unto the thousand-eyed Indra.
Kusika’s son was the illustrious King Gadhi who, being childless and desiring to have a son born unto him, repaired to the forest. Whilst living there, a daughter was born unto
him. She was called Satyavati by name, and in beauty of appearance she had no equal on Earth. The illustrious son of Chyavana, celebrated by the name of Richika, of the race of Bhrigu, endued with austere penances, sought the hand of this lady. Gadhi, the destroyer of his enemies, thinking him to be poor, did not bestow her in marriage upon the high-souled Richika. But when the latter, thus dismissed, was going away, the excellent king, addressing him said,–‘If thou givest me a marriage dower thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.’
Vaisampayana said, “Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and set with lapis lazuli, and holding them below his arm-pit, king Yudhishthira,–that illustrious lord of men–that high-souled perpetuator of the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might, and like unto a snake of virulent poison,–that bull among men, endued with strength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, and resembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped in dense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance when the famous king Virata was seated in his court.
And beholding with his followers that son of Pandu in his court, looking like the moon hid in clouds and possessed of a face beautiful as the full moon, king Virata addressed his counsellors and the twice-born ones and the charioteers and the Vaisyas and others, saying, “Enquire ye who it is, so like a king that looketh on my court for the first time. He cannot be a Brahmana. Methinks he is a man of men, and a lord of earth. He hath neither slaves, nor cars, nor elephants with him, yet he shineth like the very Indra. The marks on his person indicate him to be one whose coronal locks have undergone the sacred investiture. Even this is my belief. He approacheth me without any hesitation, even as an elephant in rut approacheth an assemblage of lotuses!’
‘Saying this, the weeping king sat himself down upon the ground. Then a learned Brahmana, Saunaka by name versed in self-knowledge and skilled in the Sankhya system of yoga, addressed the king, saying, ‘Causes of grief by thousands, and causes of fear by hundreds, day after day, overwhelm the ignorant but not the wise. Surely, sensible men like thee never suffer themselves to be deluded by acts that are opposed to true knowledge, fraught with every kind of evil, and destructive of salvation. O king, in thee, dwelleth that understanding furnished with the eight attributes which is said to be capable of providing against all evils and which resulteth from a study of the Sruti (Vedas) and scriptures! And men like unto thee are never stupefied, on the accession of poverty or an affliction overtaking their friends, through bodily or mental uneasiness!
Listen, I shall tell the slokas which were chanted of old by the illustrious Janaka touching the subject of controlling the self! This world is afflicted with both bodily and mental suffering. Listen now to the means of allaying it as I indicate them both briefly and in detail. Disease, contact with painful things, toil and want of objects desired–these are the four causes that induce bodily suffering. And as regards disease, it may be allayed by the application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to forget them yoga-meditation. For this reason, sensible physicians first seek to allay the mental sufferings of their patients by agreeable converse and the offer of desirable objects And as a hot iron bar thrust into a jar maketh the water therein hot, even so doth mental grief bring on bodily agony. And as water quencheth fire, so doth true knowledge allay mental disquietude. And the mind attaining ease, the body findeth ease also. It seemeth that affection is the root of all mental sorrow. It is affection that maketh every creature miserable and bringeth on every kind of woe.
Vaisampayana said –
While the illustrious Pandavas were seated in that Sabha along with the principal Gandharvas, there came, O Bharata, unto that assembly the celestial Rishi Narada, conversant with the Vedas and Upanishadas, worshipped by the celestials acquainted with histories and Puranas, well-versed in all that occurred in ancient kalpas (cycles), conversant with Nyaya (logic) and the truth of moral science, possessing a complete knowledge of the six Angas (viz., pronunciation, grammar, prosody, explanation of basic terms, description of religious rites, and astronomy).
He was a perfect master in reconciling contradictory texts and differentiating in applying general principles to particular cases, as also in interpreting contraries by reference to differences in situation, eloquent, resolute, intelligent, possessed of powerful memory. He was acquainted with the science of morals and politics, learned, proficient in distinguishing inferior things from superior ones, skilled in drawing inference from evidence, competent to judge of the correctness or incorrectness of syllogistic statements consisting of five propositions.
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.