mahabharatam website by markandeyaprasad in memory of vyshnavi


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"After praying to Naaraayana, Nara,Vyaasa and Sarasvathi, then one should recite the Jayam."

***** VIRAATA PARVA *****



( The meaning of the name of the parva is ' the parva of entry of paandavas)

Sootha continued his narration to the congregation of saints gathered at the Nymisha forest for the great sacrifice performed by Shounaka and others.

Janamejaya asked Vyshampaayana. "Most revered Sir! How did my great-grand-fathers spend their 13 th year of exile incognito in the city of king Viraata? How could they dispel the fear of being traced by Duryodhana? And how did the true and noble queen Droupadi live unrecognised, suffering all the troubles that accosted ? The Paandavas were very famous and honoured princes of pride and valour . How was it that they could lead secret life with their common queen accompanying them, yet unrecognised ?"

Vyshampaayana answered.

"My son! Listen how your ancestor-emperror spent his incognito with his queen and his brothers at Viraata's place."


As I told you, Yudhishthira brought back the Braahmana's Arani (=a fire generator of 2 woodden pieces) and handed it over to him. Also he told how he was given boons by the God Yama granting them assured success in the coming year of incognito. Dispersing the Braahmana group, he called all his brothers for counselling on the strategy to be adopted for the forthcoming 13 th year of exile . Yudhishthira said," Brothers ! We have lived for 12 years in the forests after losing our kingdom. Come is the crucial 13 th year to live untraced by others. Needless to say, this is going to be extremely difficult for us. Arjuna! where do you think can we choose to live unfound for this decisive year?"

Arjuna replied,"As was granted by God Yama ,we will no doubt complete our term successfully. I will suggest,with your permission, some kingdoms where we may consider to live this year. Your Majesty may accord the one of your pleasure. Many rich and beautiful countries are there around and away from our Kuru land,Paanchaalam,Chedi,Mathsya,Dashaarna,Navaraashtra,Malla,Saalva,Yugandhara,Kunthi,Suraashtra, Avanthi etc. Choice of Your Highness pleases us too."

Yudhishthira said," Yes,Arjuna. God Yama's word can only become true. Yet, we, on our part, should discretely select a safe and convenient place to pass this critical period far from danger. All the places you named are known to us. Though all can fit our purpose, I feel Mathsya land is the best. Its ruler Viraata is a noble man of advanced years and is naturally sympathetic to us. We will live there for this year serving him. Now, you all may come up with your individual plans of employment in his court."

Arjuna said,"Your Majesty! You have been an emperor of great respect. You enjoyed the obedient services of all the kings. You are only accustomed to issue commands but have never received one. You are the one that gives but not the one who asks for. You are known throughout the world as righteous, truthful and generous. Having been such a ruler of a high order, how can you employ yourself at another king like a common man does? How can you remain unrecognised?"

Yudhishthira replied,"I'll name myself Kanka and join the king's court as a dice player. I'll please him with my talent in that game using my various dice made of many valuable materials. When asked about my past, I will tell him that I had been a close associate of king Yudhishthira in his court as a counsellor and dice player. Thus, I will manage my concealed career till the end."

Then Yudhishthira looked at Bheema and asked,"Dear Bheema! You are more heroic and valorous than patient. Many a time, you have been our saviour. Your deeds of heroism on the Gandhamaadana, in Ekachakrapura, in the forests, in the wax-house and elsewhere are unparellel. It is sad that such a person like you too is going to be a humble servant to a foreign king due to my silly errors. How are you going to conceal your identity and safely complete this term? What job are you going to undertake at Viraata's?"

Bheema calmly replied," I will approach Viraata for the job of a cook in his palace. I will name myself Valala. You know my expertise in cuisine. The variety I offer will no doubt please him. Besides being a cook, I will be fighting wrestlers, for that matter bulls or elephants, to cheer him. But, I am not going to harm any one beyond devitalising in the fight. If asked for past reference, I will tell him that I had worked for the great king Yudhishthira in Indraprashtham as chef master and tamer of rough elephants. This keeps me unrecognised. and I will be on continuous guard of concealing my identity."

Then Yudhishthira regarded Arjuna and said," You have been a born hero. Your deeds surpass anyone's. It was not a human achievement to raze the Khaandavaprastham to ashes, at the reqest of lord Agni, standing against none other than Indra . And for the sake of the very Indra, you killed thousands of demons single handed. You have been in the Heaven for five years serving the Gods. As is the Sun among the celestial bodies, the Braahmana among men, the cobra snake among the reptiles, the fire among the consuming powers, the sea among the water-sources, Garuda among the birds,so are you among archers, above all, wielding the great bow Gaandeevam with dexterity. How can you serve another king like a humble servant does for survival?"

Arjuna answered," Your Majesty need not worry about me. As you mentioned, while I was in the heaven, I was instructed in dance and music by my associate Chithrasena, a Gandharva. I was also cursed by the divine damsel Oorvashi, to be a eunuch for a year. I will use that curse at this opportune moment. I will get an employment as a teacher of dance and music to the royal girls in Viraata's palace. when the queen or the king asks me about my past life, I will pose that I had been a lady-chamberlain in the palace of queen Droupadi in Indraprastham. My name will be Brihannala. This strategy saves my identity as most of my time will be spent in the internal apartments with royal ladies."

Yudhishthira seemed satisfied with this and then looked at Nakula. "Dear Nakula, you are accustomed to royal luxuries and very gentle and handsome. What assignment at Viraata will suit you? "

Nakula instantly replied," O king, I am an expert horse trainer and horse doctor too. I will join Viraata's court as a horse superintendant to his pleasure and satisfaction. I will name myself Daamagranthi. If asked what I did earlier, I will refer that I had so served the Paandavas. My coming into public will be less and that will keep me from being recognised."

Then the king turned to Sahadeva. " You are the youngest and fondest to all of us. What are your plans for your service at Viraata?"

Sahadeva soon answered," Sir, I will solicit Viraata for the animal husbandry job. Your Majesty knows that I have been a good care-taker of your cow herds. I will refer that I had been the chief cowhand of Yudhishthira when asked what my past job was. I will assume the name of Thanthripaala. I will be far less in the town or public and there will be no chance of my being recognised."

With this all the Paandavas came out with a draft plan for the coming year. Now remained the queen Droupadi. Yudhishthira's voice trembled as he looked at Droupadi. He said gravely," This noble lady of us has since birth lived a royal luxurious life befitting queens. But she has been subject to troubles and discomforts beyond tolerance for the past 12 years due to our misfortune. A queen that had been served but never knows any thing as serving others like a common woman. She is as respectable to us as our mother and elder sister. I am worried asto what work she can find suitable in a stranger's palace."

But Droupadi was ready with a plan too. She said to her husband," Sir, I will be living as a Syrandhri in the queen Sudheshna's palace. People know that Syrandhris are strict followers of certain ascetic rules of personal life. I will prepare various cosmetic pastes and garlands for her. My hair-styling expertise too comes handy. If they ask me where I was serving previously, I will report myself as an erstwhile attendant-maid of queen Droupadi."

Yudhishthira seemed relieved and praised her for her shrewd thinking. He suggested to her to be careful to avoid impolite people in the palace which she asserted.

Then, Yudhishthira continued," It has been well planned by all of us. A few things remain to be settled. Our honorable priest (purohith), Dhoumya, with the Braahmana group and work force, shall leave for Paanchaalam to live at Drupada's, untill we return from exile, guarding our ritual equipments. All the servants of Droupadi too shall go there with them. Our attendants lead by Indrasena shall move to Dvaaraka with our empty cars and coaches. If any one asks them about us, they shall answer," Paandavas left us in the Dvytha forest. Their track is not known since then."


This was approved and accordingly,Yudhishthira ordered all the followers to get ready to go to the determined places. Then all of them went to Dhoumya to take leave from him. They bowed to him and said," Sir! We have enjoyed your divine protection all these years in the unsafe forests for our good. Now the time for our secret mission has come. We beg for leave and your everlasting blessings to us for our success in the tough term."

Dhoumya spoke affectionately. "Dear disciples ! You are all learned ones and little need be taught to you. Yet, it is customary to remind you of certain things, not that you don't know, but that it is a duty on my part as your wellwisher. Till now, you have been independent, though deprived of wealth and luxuries. Now you are going to serve someone as his employees. That makes all the difference. It is within anybody's knowledge, how difficult it is to serve the kings. He who is aware of the difficulty in a King's service can overcome all the troubles that it creates. Mind not honour or dishonour. Just pass an year and a world of good will be yours. You shall constantly keep in mind two things. The first one, protection to Droupadi .You and Arjuna shall provide continuous protection to her. And the second one, the royal code of conduct and courtesy to follow. Keep on remembering these points .

"Never try to visit the king unpermitted. Maintain good terms with the close associates of the king. Never vie with others for positions. Luring for prominent place in the hall can be troublesome. Do not acquire any assets without the king's knowledge . Avoid moving around disreputable places. Never advise the king unless sought for. Be true, since a king discards liers soon, though they are of high rank. Keep away from the queens' quarters or workers there. Company of disgruntled employees lands the sincere ones in trouble. Even a minute piece of work shall be done within the king's knowledge. Even granted privileges should be enjoyed only after being allowed by the king. He should be treated like a fire or a God since he can destroy the misbehaving. Only assigned duties shall be fulfilled error-free without pride or disgust. Flattering the king is the worst thing a true servant could do. Nor should he blatently oppose the king's views. A tactful conveyance of a beneficial advice to the king is the essence of a bona fide service to him.

" A wise servant shall never get proud believing that the king favours him because of his gallantry or scholarship or efficiency. Rulers don't mind even blood relation for the sake of their good. King's demerits shall never be leaked out to any one. Such a thing displeases even a commoner, what to talk of a king ! Any impolite physical movements like yawning, giggling and stretching in the court hall invites the king's wrath. Expression of feelings shall be to the minimum except when thanking the king. A conferment on oneself or an infliction on others by the king shall not be the cause to enjoy. Never try to enforce opinions on the king. Such an effort throws the employee out of service. A true servant shall always foloow his master, more so when he is a king, like a shadow, to his pleasure. When on a king's mission forget personal pleasures.Adversities suffered for the king pave your way to comfort. Always account for the king's revenues that pass through you. Embezzelement results in capital punishment. Never displease the king by deed or word. At every opportune moment, highlight his grace shown to you. A servant following this pattern of conduct will be a long and successful employee with the kings. Control yourselves during this pivotal year. You will prosper. May the Almighty's grace protect you always. "

The Paandavas intently listened to their mentor. Yudhishthira immensely thanked him for his deep interest in their well-being. He said, " Sir, we are best advised by you. Only our mother Kunthi or our uncle Vidura could have done like this. We respectfully pray to you to kindly carry out all the required rites for our setting out and overcoming possible hurdles in our task."

Dhoumya then performed the necessary auspicious rites to propitiate the gods for their success and signalled for their start. The Paandavas offered oblations in the sacrificial fire, circumambulated the ritual fires, their Guru and other Braahmanas and set out for Mathsya land with Droupadi in the front.

After they disappeared, Dhoumya sent the retinue to Dvaaraka under Indrasena's captaincy and he lead the rest to the Paanchaalam as was ordained by Yudhishthira.


The armed Paandavas continued their walk towards the city of Viraata . They followed the south bank of the river Yamuna , to the north of Dashaarna and south of Paanchaala , sticking to a course between Shoorasena and Yakrilloma

They supported themselves by hunting during the journey and posed themselves as Vyaadhas ( = a hunter class) . After a tedious travel of many days, they entered the Mathsya land . All were thoroughly tired and discoloured.

Droupadi was totally debilitated. She said to Yudhishthira , " Sir, I am extremely tired. Can't even walk a step further. Green fields and narrow foot-paths all around here show that the city is not that near. I prefer to stay here for this night."

Yudhishthira looked at his brothers. He understood that the twins ( Nakula and Sahadeva ) too were as much tired and so he ordered Arjuna to bodily carry her until they near the city . Arjuna did so. When they sighted the city from its northern front, they stopped for consulting. Yudhishthira said to Arjuna , " We had better take shelter in the city this night than here. But, we need hide our weapons safe somewhere here out of others' sight . Entering the city armed , we will surely cause a commotion in the public. Also, this conspicuous Gaandeevam of yours will disclose us instantly. If even one of us gets disclosed before the completion of this year, we will have to run the 13 year term again, you all are quite aware. That makes us take every precaution to avoid such penalty."

Arjuna nodded his head, looked around and said, "Your Majesty, See that huge and dense Shami tree there with large branches, with numerous creepers woven around it . The sorroundings are full of mole-hills and snake holes, making it difficult to reach or climb. Nearby is a necropolis too. All these factors make this tree a secluded place enough for hiding all our weapons." Yudhishthira approved .

Then, all of them detached the strings from the bows. Together with all the other weapons and accessories, Arjuna bundled them into the shape of a corpse, covered with a long cloth and tied fast with an intention to make it look creepy in case any person stumbled upon it . Yudhishthira ordered Nakula to deposit the bundle on the tree . Nakula climbed up the tree with the bundle and positioned it securely safe from the rain in a big rift of one of the sturdy branches well above the ground and dismounted. Incidentally, some sheperds and cowhands passing that way accosted them. Yudhishthira told them that they were safe-keeping the corpse of their 180 year old mother on that tree as was their family custom and thus staved the curiosity of the strangers.

They all resumed their walk towards the city. While walking, Yudhishthira talked to the rest. " We shall have secret code names to ourselves to allude to one another in case of need, without others knowing. Our names shall be Jaya, Jayantha, Vijaya, Jayathsena and Jayadbala. "

( NOTE : But, no name was given to Droupadi. The reason is unknown. Might be, they thought that no occasion would arise for them to allude to Droupadi before other people ) .

As they neared the city, all of them stopped at a place. Yudhishthira prayed to the goddess Durga for her bleesings to make their efforts fruitful. She appeared before him and benedicted them with success assuring that no one would recognise any of them. Then he invoked the god Yama for having a suitable guise and attire to him. Instantly, he turned into a handsome young braahmana in a saffron garb. All the others too got transformed into the forms they had intended to get earlier. Then they entered the city severally as if they were unknown to each other.

( NOTE : Here, the narration suggests that the Paandavas entered the court hall of Viraata one after the other without much time gap. But it might be so that each approached the king with certain reasonable intervel of time so as not to give any scope to the audience for suspicion. This is only a hypothesis, as there is not even the least suggestion about that in the story . Or, it should be considered that the boons given by god Yama and goddess Durga made none suspect anything . Also, the order of their entry differs in some texts as well as in the Telugu translation . )

Yudhishthira was the first to approach the king . The king and the courtiers saw the resplendent figure nearing them like a fire covered with ash. Viraataa said in astonishment to his courtiers," See the man there coming here ! He looks royally dignified. Though alone and uncrowned, he surpasses the grandeure of a king. "

As Viraata was in his talk with his men, Yudhishthira approached him, bowed and said, " O King, I am a Dvija (=ruler class or priestly cass).I have lost all my wealth. Presently I am looking for a decent job to support my self. If Your Majesty pleases, a suitable accomodation may kindly be provided. I am conversant with all faculties of knowledge and know a bit of warfare too."

Viraata spoke . " Welcome to my court. Young man, where are you from? Which king and his land have had the misfortune of losing your company? Which art are you a specialist in? What creed and clan are you of ? My inner sense doesn't agree that you are a braahmana . It is apparent that you are of royal lines ."

Yudhishthira smiled and replied , " Sir, I have been with the king Yudhishthira for a long time. I was one of his counsellors . He very often enjoyed playing dice game with me . And he was all praise for my expertise in that game . People call me Kanka . "
Viraata was only pleased . He looked affectionately at the newcomer and said, " What a pleasant coincidence ! Dice game is my sixth life . I take you as my courtier . You will be a congenial companion to me for time-pass . But it appears to me that you will better fit the throne than an ordinary place in the court. I will be pleased if you undertake to administer my entire kingdom ."
Yudhishthira bowed again and said, " Your Highness is very kind to me. I am a common personality and thus too small to your offer . May your Lordship allow that no one who loses to me in the game shall remain a debtor . That will be to my fullest satisfaction ."
Viraata assured, " As you wish. No one shall displease you. You will enjoy a place next to me in all comforts. You will have the palace gates open for you , day in and day out . "
Yudhishthira spoke his thanks in a decent style and bowed to the king and took the seat assigned to him. None of the audience could see through his appearance. Then, after a while, Bheema entered the hall carrying a ladle, a paddle and a bare sword, sporting a black attire. He was walking like a lion, to the pleasure and surprise of the audience. Viraata saw him and wondered at his appearance. He spoke to his men, " Who can this handsome young man be ? He looks like a demi-God. Not an ordinary human being can be of this elegant structure and look. I fail to guess who he might be. Go ask who he is and what his need is. That shall be fulfilled. Haste ! "
The king's attendants rushed to Bheema and told the king's mind to him. He approached the king, bowed and said, " Your Majesty shall be victorious. My name is Valala. I am good at all kinds of cuisines. My culinary expertise satisfied many kings . Please grace me with a position in your palace as a chef. " Viraata said, " Young man ! your looks and movements militate against your claim to be a cook. Whence did you come and what are your abilities? "
Bheema replied, "Sir, I have been in service of the kouravas king Yudhishthira for a long time. I enjoyed his appreciation of my dishes. I also pleased him with my wrestling skills. I remained unbeaten till now. If employed by you, I will please you and your courtiers with my fighting with not only the strongest wrestlers but with elephants, tigers and lions too. "
Viraata was much pleased and assured Bheema , " So it shall be , mighty young man. Be my chief cook and take care of the running of the royal kitchen . "

Bheema thanked the king and left the place for the royal cooking hall , showing happiness on his face . No one could suspect his originality .

Out there in the streets of the city of Viraata, Droupadi was wandering about . She tied up her long soft hair into a right-ward chignon on her head . Her soiled dress and Syrandhri get-up suggested to every one that she was in some trouble and looking for help. Some of the citizens enquired her whatabouts and she replied that she was a Syrandhri, looking for a place somewhere to support herself. But they did not believe that she was a prospective servant as her dominating looks, walk, voice and beauty allowed them to suppose that she was of a high class birth.

Sudeshna, the consort of Viraata, saw Droupadi from the balcony of the top of her palace. She was fancied with the strange figure and got her brought to her presence. Then the queen fondly asked " Lady ! Who could you be ? What are you looking for ? "
Droupadi replied, " Dear queen ! I am a syrandhri. I am loking for a suitable place of service for me."
Sudeshna was incredulous. " How can any one believe that a lady like you is a servant ? From foot to forehead, I see the best characteristics in your body as prescribed by the Saamudrika science of physiognomy. you excel in beauty even the divine damsels. Tell me , truly, aren't you a demi-goddess ? "
Droupadi earnestly answered, " Madam ! I am just a human woman. I live by attending to queens as a syrandhri. Previously, I was in the service of Krishna's wife Sathya at Dvaaraka and Paandavas' queen Droupadi at Indraprastham. Droupadi named me Maalini. I am an expert maker of things of beautification like collyrium, vermellion, cosmetic pastes etc. My speciality is in hairstyling. Making-up of royal ladies with stunning beautification on occasions is my art. Please accomodate me . I need no more than food shelter and clothes."
Sudeshna was more happy from the references. She said, " That is nice. I will keep you in my palace. But, it is your unearthly beauty that worries me. Even the women folk around here are bound by it. What to talk of the men and our king ! Men, naturally fall for beauty of women, you know. I say no man can restrain himself from desiring you. Your eyes throw out such looks that will infatuate any man . "
Droupadi smiled and spoke. " That need not worry you any more. No man , though an emperror, can trouble me. I have five Gandharva husbands. They protect me day and night . None trying to molest me can escape the terrible wrath of my invisible husbands. I am ready to serve those royal ladies who don't give me defiled remnants of food and who don't ask me to touch or wash or massage feet."
Sudeshna felt relieved. She assured Droupadi, " As you wish, you shall not touch the feet of any one. Nor shall you get remnants of left-over foods. Live in our palace, serving me to my pleasure."

Droupadi thus settled in the palace of Viraata's queen. She remained unidentified there .

In the king's court, again, there appeared Sahadeva, in the form of a cowherd. He was speaking like a cow-hand, fitting to his form. The king's eyes fell on him and he bowed to the king. Viraata asked Sahadeva, " Who are you ? where are you from ? What do you need? You are a stranger, it is clear."
Sahadeva replied in an asserting tone, "Your Majesty ! I am a Vyshya. My name is Arishtanemi. I am called Thanthreepala too. I came to your land in search of a job for my livelihood. I am an animal husbandry expert. Formerly I worked for the Paandavas at Indraprashtham. There I looked after their innumerable herds of cows and bullocks . They were quite pleased with my performance. I am good at breeding the cows. I know all the systems of increasing virility of bulls and lactation in cows. I am wellversed with the ways of keeping the herds away from deseases. My know-how was so famous that people around hundreds of miles used to come to me for advice. As the Paandavas have now gone unknown, I kept on searching for a suitable king to support me."
Viraata ordered, " I am pleased. You shall be the person in charge of all my cows and bulls that number in lakhs. Take control of all the herds and their caretakers. Your remuneration shall be whatever you need."
Sahadeva bowed and took leave from the king. Thus he got himself employed there without being recognised by any one including the king.

Then after a while , a strange personality , a well built manly figure in a woman's attire and ornaments, appeared near the court hall . He walked into the hall with heavy strides that gave his strong hands and long hair a rythematic wavy movement . Viraata looked at the unusual yet interesting appearance that walked gracefully towards him . He questioned his courtiers if they knew him . Learning that he was a total stranger to them , he asked the newcomer , " Who are you young man ? You look as strong as a young tusker . Your looks beat the divine figures . The conch-shell bangles, ear rings, hanging braided hair, garlands and funny attire suggest that you are unfortunately a neuter gender . But I doubt you are one . Never can be a person of this radiance and grace can be a third gender. Disclose yourself and you shall get a suitable post in royal administration . "

Arjuna coolly replied , " Your Majesty , I am an expert in hair styling , adorning , garland-making and attending the persons of high rank. No woman can be a better hand than me in this faculty . I am an instructor of dance and music too ."

Viraata was surprised . He said , " Your claim unfitting your apearance perplexes me. You resemble lord Shiva with all these misfit articles . Persons like you are worthy of high places. I feel a bow is appropriate than these bangles to your long arms . Take a part in my royal affairs like a prince. "

Arjuna replied, " Sir, pardon me for confuting what you spoke . I can only sing , dance or teach them . Why mention my bodily disgrace only to sadden me ? You may consider me an unfortunate son or daughter deprived of parental support . You can call me Brihannala. Kindly appoint me a dance teacher to your daughter Uththara . My word to you sir , you will see her the best dancer in no time. "

Viraata consented . " As you desire , Brihannala . Teach dance to the princess Uththara and her companions . I still hold this work inferior to your latent abilities. " Saying this, he ordered the lady attendants of the inner apartments of the palace to test Brihannala and after getting confirmation of truth in his words, sent him to the princesss' palace , where Arjuna adopted the assignment of training the royal girls in dance . None in the hall could see through his guise .

After a while more , Nakula made his appearance there. A glorious figure like the moon uncovered by the clouds , he slowly walked towards the assembly hall . On his way , he looked at every horse tied to the posts outside the court and examined them thoroughly as an expert would do to assess their quality .
Viraata saw him and remarked , " Who may that be ? Look the divinely charm in him ! He is scrutinizing all our horses on his volition . Surely , he must have been an equestrian expert . Suggests like a good hand too . Fetch him near ."

Brought near the king , Nakula bowed and said , " May the king be victorious . I am an eminent connoisseur of equestrian management. Many kings employed me in their service as a horse trainer . If Your Highness allows me , I am at your service . "

Viraata nodded his head and said , " May it be so . You look fit to be trainer or rider of my horses . But , tell me, whence are you from ? Whom did you serve earlier ? What made you search for a new master ? what are you a specialist in ? "

Nakula answered , " Your majesty , I have last served the Paandavas at Indraprastham . There I have superintended their department of horses to their satisfaction . For my service done to lakhs of his horses , the great king Yudhishthira was all praise for me . I set out in search of a suitable king after the Paandavas were deprived of their kingdom . People call me Daamagranthi . One shouldn't praise oneself , but , as a matter of fact , any horse, however rude or of whatever creed , turns docile to me . The mind of a horse is an open book to me . Not a single thing I don't know of deseases that may affect the horses and their quick remedies. A colt or a filly , a gelding or a stallion , a mare or a pony - let it be just an equine being - That will never turn unworthy in my hands , I assure you sir . As did Maathali to Indra , Sumanthra to Dasharatha, Sumaha to Parashuraama , so will I care for your horses."

Viraata was all happy . " I order you to take care of all my horses, their caretakers and drivers . The rows of our stables shall henceforth be under your able supervision . You deserve a more decent job, I feel . You shall be remunerated to your pleasure . I feel like seeing Yudhishthira himself by seeing you . I wonder how hard it was for him to live in the lonely forests incurring absence of followers like you . "

Nakula bowed and took leave . Nor did any doubt occur to anybody's mind asto his fake identity .

Thus did the Paandavas , who once commanded the sea-bound territory , and their consort settle in Viraata's service .



( The name of the parva means 'the parva of spending of the time or meeting of the commitment by paandavas)

Janamejaya asked with interest, " It was wonderful . My dear Sir , How did they live there since then ? How could they all keep their secret life unidentified by others ?"

Vyshampaayana continued . " Dear son, listen the latter course of things .
By the grace of god Yama , the Paandavas were not identified by anybody . But they were all careful in not giving any scope to any one for doubt. They satisfied Viraata with their knowledge, service and dignity . Yudhishthira became a favourite of the king, his clan and the courtiers too . Viraata often played dice game with him to please himself .He wondered at Yudhishthira's skill in the game . Yudhishthira won most often and he used to give the earnings to his brothers when they met secretly . Bheema, on his part , pleased Viraata with his delicious dishes . He used to give the remaining food items to his brothers at an opportune time . Arjuna pretended like selling the used garments rewarded to him by the queen or princess , thus meeting and making his brothers happy . Nakula and Sahadeva too, joined their brothers and appraised them of the things . Droupadi , seeing her dear husbands suffer like that, felt sad within . All the five , excercised care about Droupadi's safety . Thus, they were spending their tough days , as if they were in mother's womb again ,all the while being alert about any possible danger from their formidable adversary Duryodhana .


Things going like that , in the fourth month after they settled there , there took place a state-sponsored routine public celebration , called Brahma-uthsava . As a part of that celebration, many entertaining events were conducted and the king proclaimed an open wrestling competetion too . Hundreds of wrestlers, looking like bulls in stature and like elephants in strength , gathered from all over . A stalwart wrestler among them, called Jeemootha , stood unbeaten and the rest of them dared not accept his challenge . Seeing all the other wrestlers unwilling to fight him , Viraata sent for his cook Valala and ordered him to defeat Jeemootha. Unwilling himself too for his own reasons , Bheema had only to accept the assignment given by the king . Then Bheema entered the arena like a tiger . He girt up his waist band and invited Jeemootha .The audience plentily cheered him . An exciting fight between Bheema and Jeemootha followed . The two gigantic persons held each other like a pair of sixty-year old tuskers in a tussel for a female in the forest . The way they attacked and defended with a will to win was scintillating to one and all . Each tried to find an opening in the other's technique , each looking exceeding the other . They fell and rose , pulled and pushed back and forth ,hit and dragged , squeezed and choked , tangled and freed , esxhibiting every bit of art in fist-fighting . Each hit the other with his palms, fists, elbows, knees and head . The matchless fight took the onlookers to the highest heights of pleasures . One looked winning at a moment and the other at another moment . Bheema amused the king thus for a long time and then decided that it was enough . He showered a series of blows on his opponent with lightening speed and accuracy , making him enervated . He finally held the tired and less responding Jeemootha by the neck and the waist and lifted into the air . Cheers of the audience rending the air , he roared like a lion , rotated him several times , then threw on the floor with a thud and crushed to death with his heavy feet . Witnessing Bheema's enormous strength , Viraata and his people felt very much pleased . Viraataa rewarded Bheema with a lot of gold .

From then onwards , Viraata used to arrange Bheema's fights with famous wrestlers around . At times when no suitable hand among wrestlers was found , Viraata engaged Bheema in fights with elephants ,tigers and even lions , not only in the public arena but in the harem's palace too . Bheema made it a routine to win and please him .

Arjuna won the hearts of the harem members and their young royal ladies with his divine music and dance . Viraata appreciated the talent shown by Nakula in nice maintenamnce of horses . Sahadeva made his master feel his mark in the development and wellbeing of cows and bulls . Droupadi's heart was filled with anguish that her husbands were far from their befitting comforts. She herself was suffering the grave burden of attending on queen Sudeshna to her satisfaction .

As they lived there so , containing themselves, the year came to a close . The eleventh month started . And that brought a trouble with it too.



( The name of the parva means 'the parva of slaying of Keechaka')


After a few days passed in the eleventh month , queen Sudeshna's elder half-brother Keechaka, who was also the chief of Mathsya army , paid a visit to his sister's . He accosted Droupadi by serendipity . No sooner did his eyes fell upon her than he lost all his senses . Her superhuman beaty and gracious movements made him mad with lust . He stood for a while as if stunned by her charming glamour and somehow moved away to the queen's chambers . After the formal enquiries about each other were over , he asked his sister, all the while throwing leers at Droupadi. " Sister , who is this divine beauty in your service ? I haven't seen her before here . Is she a new worker ? With that beauty and such body scent , she is not born to be a worker ! She summarily stole my heart in an instant and the only punishment to her for that can be to surrender myself to her with all that I have - my palaces, my gold , my elephants , horses and all . She will best beautify my abode ." The flow of his speech ran like a flooding river in the rainy season . At last, he took leave from the queen and approached Droupadi like a jackal does a lioness in the forest .

Keechaka ran his eyes all over her and talked .

" O dear angel of unimaginable beauty ! Who are you and whose are you ? Whence did you appear here ? I have never seen before a luscious beauty like you . Your form , lustre and grace beat even the divine damsels . Your eyes gleam like damp petals of lotus. Your sweet voice pleases my ears like a young cuckoo's soft cooing in the early spring . Are you the wife of Cupid ? Aren't you really a goddess ? You steal my heart like the light of a ripe moon on a full moon night ! Who won't fall flat for your glorious shooting looks ? Your bosom deserves pendants of pearls and gems . You strain your fist-fitting thin waist with unworthy jobs . The Cupid is shooting me with the arrows of your looks to destabilise my mind and body alike. The fire of desire is burning high in my heart . The only remedy can be your gracing me with your lively sidelong glance . What is one's life worth if one can't have pleasures with you ? And you, a golden figure on this earth , are unjust in putting your gentle body to this filthy work . Be my queen and rule nay me alone, rule the whole kingdom . All my wives don't match even your toe-nail . And I will be a poor slave of you forever . "

Droupadi flinched with fear at first for the unforeseen flow of laudatory epithets from the apparantly undesirable fellow but she gathered courage and replied calmly . " Keechaka , You long for the undesirable. Who wishes to move with a syrandhri, just a servant ? Don't you think it unseemly of you to want a slovenly attendant ? Also, it is not for one's good to hover around others' wives . Wives are the dearest among the kin . None should disparage one's wives as you did just now . Nor is it right to do so others' wives either . All our scriptures prohibit being after other women . Enjoying with wives and begetting sons from them is the accepted custom . Such sons get social respect and they do good for their parents in this world and the other world too . Why do you deviate from the right path ? I am the wife of another man . Trying to molest another's wife is neither righteous nor safe . That brings disgrace and danger alike . Surely , that sends you to the hell too . The wise and learned taught us that concupiscence is against dharma, which must have been within your knowledge . Please know that you are getting off the right track and behave yourself . "

Droupadi's vivid and long reply of rejection did not reach Keechaka's mind . He still persisted . " My dear goddess of my heart ! Why don't you take my words to heart ? Don't be so flippant to my praying . If you reject my earnest proposal, you will lament later , at least . I am the de facto king of this land . Viraata is just a puppet in my hands . I have no equal to me in this country .All in this country is mine and that will become yours just at the cost of a nod from you . You are not to be a worker . You deserve a retinue yourself . Be wise and accept my love . you will lead a queen's life forever . "

Droupadi turned exasparated at his obstinacy . She made no effor to conceal her wrath . She spoke to him in a harsh reproach . " You sinful reprobate ! Why can't you understand my words ? Do you think I am a cheap woman ? Do you take me to be an orphan ? I have five valorous Gandharva husbands . They always protect me . Once they know of your misbehaviour, you are a gone man . You will not be spared wherever you may hide, in the deep sea or in the high sky , or in the dense forests . Talking to me like this once again , you will perish with all your kin and kith . May that not happen to you . May queen Sudeshna not be bereft of her brother . Never be foolish to believe that you can grasp at the moon . By being unwisely bold to speak out to me like this, you are like one wearing oil-drenched attire and trying to walk safely through a flaming forest fire in the middle of a scalding summer day. You fell off your good senses and just chose to meet the end of your life in the hands of my invincible husbands . "

Thus receiving a rough rebuff from the queen of the Paandavas , Keechaka went away , only to invoke to Sudeshna . He said to her, half requesting and half demanding . " Sister, do something to send that stupefying beauty syrandhri to my house . I will have her even against all the world . Find a way and save my life . "

Sudeshna took pity on her brother , but she gently but earnestly tried to mend his mind . " She has come to stay in my service . I gave her shelter for safety . She is strongly strict in character . I can't direct her for unworthy things like this. Nor is she available to humans due to her five strong and ferrocious Gandharva husbands . She told me about this in her first visit itself . Even the king , once attracted by her luring looks, learnt the facts and lost hopes on her . Be wise my dear brother , in this case . Don't incur the wrath of the Gandharvas and bring harm to you and all your people too . Please keep out of this , for my sake even . "

Keechaka was not in a mood to listen to her soothing words . He roared out , " What of a five fellows ? I care not thousands of such creatures . Send her to me . And don't mind any thing or anyone ."

Sudeshna couldn't help . She answered to him in despair , " It is sure that you are going to perish yourself and destroy all your innocent clan too . Lust has killed your good senses . What else can I do ? Out of my fond sorrority to you , I will try to do what you wish . Will you be happy with the destruction of all ? I will send her to your house at an opportune moment . Wait for some time ." Thus placating his eager demand, she sent him home .

Since then , Keechaka would come there everyday, implore Droupadi to accept his proposal , get a strong rebuff and go to the queen to demand to send Maalini to his palace . After a few days of procrastination on some pretexts , Sudeshna had no more answers to evade . Keechaka was stubborn on that day about his demand . Then she thought for a while about his incorrigible adamance , the possible plight to come if she did not oblige him and also about Maalini's sufficient self-protection . She suggested to him , " Declare an occasion in your house and invite us for dinner . Get wine and food prepared . I will send Maalini to you on the pretext of bringing some wine for me . Try to coax her . If you are lucky enough , she may consent ."

Keechaka was beside himself with joy and left for home .

In no time , he invented some occasion to invite Sudeshna for dinner . He ordered his best cooks to prepare delicious dishes . Leading brewers were called to prepare different tasty wines that were suitable for royal dinners . He got his palace well decorated . His inner apartments were adorned beautifully . Then he went to queen Sudeshna , informed of his good preparations , described the dishes and the wines that were prepared and urged her to send Maalini to his palace immediately . She sighed and nodded . Keechaka was only happy and left in a hurry all the while thinking about Maalini .

Sudeshna called Maalini to her and softly told her to go to fetch a good quality wine for her from Keechaka's palace . Syrandhri said ," I cannot go there . You too know how rude he has been to me . He will surely insult me there . I am not one without character . It is not my idea to be unfaithful to my husbands . Don't you remember what I told you on the first day ? Please send some one from the lot of servants ."

Sudeshna prevailed upon Maalini saying that Keechaka would not resort to any unworthy action against a woman sent by his sister and handed a golden bowl and lid to her . Droupadi took it and slowly moved out . She heartly feared danger from Keechaka . Having no one to save her then , she invoked to the Sun god for necessary protection . The sun god sent a demon to follow her invisibly and protect her if needded . Droupadi entered Keechaka's hall like a frightened doe goes into a hungry tiger's den . Keechaka's joy knew no bounds when he saw her right before him . He scooted into air and fondly welcomed her unmindful of her mood .

" Come on dear beauty, what a good day of me ! The mistress of my life has come at last . Now my pleasure is at your will . See there what is brought specially for you . Pendants, bangles, rings , muslins , jewels , food , wine , and dresses in their lots . The well-decorated inner chamber is waitng to be graced by your entrance . You adorn my bed and taste the tastiest ever wines . "

Droupadi curtly replied, " Keechaka , you should understand that I am as unreachable to you as a Braahmana lady to a man of lower creed . May you not meet with the fate of taking birth as an insect in the filth , which awaits the molestors of others' wives ! Your sister sent me here to bring some wine for her. She was quite thirsty of it too ."

Keechaka minded not her words and answered , " There are lot many others to take the promised wine to her . You stay here with me ." Saying thus, he grabbed her hand." Droupadi pulled off her hand and roared at him, " You unworthy idiot ! The power of my true and humble faithfulness to my husbands will see you fall dead ! "

Keechaka could not hold himself . He caught hold of her upper garment, but she pulled it back and pushed him off with all her strength . He fell on the ground like a felled down tree . Droupadi quickly ran out and sped into the king's court hall where Yudhishthira and Bheema too were present . Keechaka sprang up and ran after her along the streets . He entered the court hall , caught her by her hair , dragged on to the floor and kicked her on the face , all right under Viraata's nose .Then the demon who was invisibly following Droupadi whirled Keechaka away like the wind does a fallen leaf . Keechaka went reeling on the floor . All the audience and the king were surprised . Seeing Droupadi dragged on the floor and kicked , the courtiers cried in pity and horror . Some of them decried Keechaka .

Both Yudhishthira and Bheema witnessed the worst insult of Droupadi with anger flaming in their eyes . Bheema could not contain himself . He gnashed his teeth . Eyes fuming with rage , brows corrugated, sweating all over the forehead , he stood up and looked at a tree nearby . Yudhishthira promptly alerted him by pressing on his toe with his, to avoid possible identification . He said to him , " Valala, just for the purpose of firewood , why wish to uproot a tree that shelters a lot of birds ? Fell the other trees outside at your convenience . It is immoral to cause harm even to the leaf of a tree whose shade we rest in . "

Bheema got the message and remained calm . Droupadi saw Bheema's agitation and Yudhishthira's supressing it . She flushed with anger .Weeping loudly for her injury and insult , she neared the king and wailed , looking all the while at her helpless husbands . " O King, a true ruler of power , who is committed to truth and justice should protect his subjects as carefully as he does his children . A king on the throne should be impartial to his friends and foes in judging the disputes . Such a king wins both this world and the other one. You, the Mathsya kings are known for their righteousness . But, you today could not prevent your kin harrasing a pious woman right before your eyes in your court . A king becomes a sinner by doing or not doing unworthy and worthy things as were ordained by the God . Punishing the miscreants is your ordained duty as a king . You must be stubborn in acting against the erring people, whoever it may be. "

Viraata had no voice against the unruly Keechaka . Instead, he sent him away by pleading with soft requests . Droupadi saw the king not awarding suitable punishment to his criminal relative and her anger rose to the maximum. She looked staright at the king and spoke, half crying and half shouting, " O king ! Do you think it is justified if one of your relatives molested an innocent woman in the regal court in your presence . You did injustice to your kingship altogether, by not acting like a king . If the king himself violates the path of justice, what can we the common people do ? This state of yours seems to be following the barbarian principles in your reign . This Sootha today insulted me, a righteous woman, whose husbands are so ferrocious that their enemy cannot sleep safely even beyond five countries from them . My husbands are able both to see the end of any wicked enemy and to guard those who approached them for protection. But I don't know why they remained indifferent to me like incompetent fellows , leaving me in this intolerable predicament . Nor are you alone to be tainted. Even your courtiers who didn't oppose this unruly behaviour are as faulty as you and your Keechaka are. O all courtiers ! See how our king ignores the justice . Won't any of you dare correct the erring king ? "

Viraata had no suitable answer to her severe allegations . He was taken aback more by her fearlessness than her words. He said in a low voice, " Maalini, We don't have knowledge of what has earlier happened between you and Keechaka out of our presence . Then how can I be a better judge of the dispute? "

But the courtiers saw her point and the king's fault. They derided Keechaka and apllauded Droupadi for her courage and rightful indignance . They all said , " She looks to be very pious . Her body structure , countenance , looks , movements and speech all speak of her clean and honorable origin . Never does a woman of this stature befit to be kicked with foot . She must be of a superhuman source . We believe that she has been here out of some mysterious reason passing like a servant , which she truly cannot be . "

Thus winning the hearts of the audience, Droupadi stood there , anger still fuming through her looks . Yudhishthira till then had been silent , though angry within . His forehead bore beads of sweat . He looked at Droupadi and said , " Maalini, You had better leave for the queen's quarters . Don't you know that women derive their honor, respect , pleasure and all by just following their husbands ? You yourself have said that your husbands are all powerful who can see the end of your troubles . You only should know better why those mighty Gandharvas remained inactive now . Maybe,they have their own moment to act . Patience pays for everything . Only fools tempt to be eager at the end of an year-long journey of tough troubles . It is not for your good to stand in the court like an actress or a dancer and weep and wail disturbing the good King's pleasant mood . Don't you know the time and place for anything ? Your husbands will do good to you . Your king orders you to leave. Haste ! "

Droupadi answered him , " Yes, Kanka . My husband is a dancer and a gambler too . How can I fell ashamed to stand in the public court ? Such soft people as my husbands are vulnerable to any one who just wishes to harass them . " Saying this , she ran off towards the queen's palace . Her husbands observed severe patience on account of the stringent terms of their exile .

Droupadi entered the queen's palace . Coated with dust and burning within with insult and anger , she looked like the moon covered by the clouds . Sudeshna asked her , " Dear Maalini, what is this ? Why do you weep ? Who hurt you ? Who dared trouble you to invite his own peril ? "

Droupadi sighed and replied, " Madam ! Why do you ask about what you knew very well about ? You intentionally sent me to your cousin but now feign innocence . Me, there on your errand, your Keechaka insulted in his house. Even in the king's court, he kicked me with his foot . I met with insult like an orphan in a lonely forest . " Sudeshna spoke in consolation , " Don't worry, Maalini . Do you want me to get the lustful Keechaka punished for his trying to molest you ? " Droupadi replied , " Queen ! No much trouble to you asto his punishment . There are other people who will do that . You only have to take care of his advance funeral rites. Surely , he is not going to see many mornings from hence ." Saying this to the queen , she moved away , firmly decided upon bringing Keechaka's end . She did not care for bath or food even prevailed upon by the inmates of the palace . Looking her graceful body wet with blood and sweat , her wide catchy eyes damp with tears , her dainty hands and legs trembling with fear and rage, every woman in the palace heartily wished the death of Keechaka .

At this juncture, Janamejaya intervened . " Revered Sir ! My heart melts out of sympathy to the great queen . But , I have two doubts . One, the great queen Droupadi was known for her right womanship, righteousness and penance and for her great power derived out of those qualities . Why didn't she curse Keechaka to death on the spot ? What made her bear the insult of being dragged by hair and being kicked in the court ? It was reasonable for her not doing so in case of Dushshaasana and Jayadratha since they were the relatives of her husbands and she must have chosen not to displease her husbands . When not so in Keechaka's case , why at all to spare him ? Secondly , Who was this Keechaka ? What gave him such power to molest such powerful lady as Droupadi with impunity ? How could he get hold of the king Viraata's powers ? I feel interested in learning about this . "

Vyshampaayana told : " Listen my dear young king . First about Keechaka . You know, among the four orders of the mankind, marriages are permited between a man of higher order and a woman of the same or lower order . If any woman of a higher order marries a man of the lower order , such marriages are called converse marriages . If a converse marriage takes plaee between a Braahmana woman and a Kshathriya man, their offspring are called Soothas. Of all the converse products , only soothas are accorded the dvija ( Braahana and Kshathriya sects ) culture . Their status is considered to be below the kshathriyas' and above the vyshyas' . They often undertake the duty of building and driving the chariots for the kings . Though marital relations of the kings with the soothas are not uncommon , the soothas are not termed 'kings' . Yet, once there was a sootha who served the kings and got from them a state for the sootha community . The state was called sootha country after them .

One of their rulers Kekaya was prominent during those days . He married two Maalava princesses. From the elder queen he got 105 sons who were incarnations of the demons Kaaleyas . The eldest of the demons , Baana , took birth as Keechaka . Keechaka was strong, courageous , valorous and cruel and unruly too .
From the second queen , Kekaya got a daughter named Chithra, also known as Sudeshna . When Viraata's queen named Suratha , mother of Svetha died, Kekaya gave Sudeshna to Viraata in marriage from whom he later got a son Uththara and a daughter Uththara . Keechaka and his brothers relocated to Mathsya land following their cousin . Since then, they served Viraata and helped him expand his kingdom, winning many other kings . Keechaka thus became the corner pillar of Viraata's kingdom. All the brothers and sons of Viraata too followed Keechaka. That was the source of his arrogance and unruliness .

Then to your second question, asto why Droupadi did not curse Keechaka . You know, Janamejaya, one's powers of penance get reduced by cursing , since cursing is nothing but the power of penance . That is why even the sages won't waste their powers derived out of their penance and virtues . They prefer to exhibit patience rather . Patience is the noblest of the virtues. Patience is the best dharma for everyone . Patience exceeds all pilgrimages and all sacrifices . Patience wins this world and the other . Knowing that her husbands were in moments of trouble where impatience would lead them into still deeper troubles , Droupadi chose to bear the suffering without resorting to cursing Keechaka , thereby not destroying her husbands' future and not reducing her powers too . This should calrify your doubts."

Vyshampaayana continued, " Janamejaya, Bheema, thus warned and calmed down by Yudhishthira left the court but he was all the while heaving heavily like a hissing snake with unvented anger . He was trying hard to sleep that night in his kitchen .

There in the queen's quarters , Droupadi too was seriously thinking of Keechaka's killing . Her thoughts rested on Bheema. She believed that none other than him would be able to see Keechaka's end in those circumstances . She gathered herself somehow, bathed and went secretely to Bheema's place . She neared his bed , goaded him with her hand and said to him, " How could you sleep like a shamelss or a dead one , when that bloody molester of mine , Keechaka is still alive? Or, he must have thought me a widow, otherwise he couldn't have dared to insult me . "

Bheema sprang to his feet and regarded her . He said , " You don't look yourself . I see you agitated and disturbed . How could you come here unwatched and on what purpose ? Tell me whatever you want to tell and leave for your quarters quickly, so that none will see us and suspect . I believe I can do what is needded as I did for you previously on many occasions. "

Tears rushed out of Droupadi's eyes . She spoke in a choking voice interspersed with sobs . " What shall I tell you afresh about my troubles? Don't you know yourself ? Why do you still ask me to tell ? In fact , will there be dearth of troubles to the woman , whose husband is Yudhishthira ? Shall I tell you about the insult of being dragged into the court by a fellow ? Or, shall I remind you about the vulgar words thrown by Karna and Duryodhana within your audibility ? Shall I bring back to your memory the attempt of Jayadratha's abducting me in the forest ? Which royal lady other than me affords to live even after being subject to such grave insults ? Having my five mighty husbands alive too , I was to walk around through dense forests for tweleve years . Now I have been a servant of another queen . Eversince I was born form the altar fire , I have never walked on the floor except on palanquins . But I now spend my time preparing pastes and powders for Sudeshna and her husband . Added to these , I am being harassed by the queen's brother Keechaka who insists on my courting with him . His very words rend my heart . I can no more bear his trouble . If he sees next sunrise, you may reckon me dead . You are my saviour and protector always . That makes me weep before you for remedy . Ignore your great brother Yudhishthira who is the source of all these bloody troubles of me . He befits any blame in the world .Can we see any other man who gambles with the kingdom and wife only to foist endless troubles on his family ? If gambling is his pastime, he could have persued it morning and evening , everyday , for a good number of years staking his gold, elephants, horses and jewels , yet not running short of them . He lost such a wealth of a monarch in his unworthy obsession of dice game and now remains silent as a fool with no idea of what to do for his future . Once surrounded by thousands of chariots , elephants , horses , servants , bards and followers , he now awaits another king . Having been supporter of 88,000 vedic scholars, he now sports another king with his games . Once dignified acceptor of tributes from all the kings , he now lives like an ordinary courtier . What made him slip into this unseemly disaster except his own folly ?

"Did his unwise acts do harm to him alone ? What about you ? Known all over for your might and valour , you are made to work as a cook at a small king . Whenever the king sends you to fight against lions and tigers , I remain horrified until you return victorious . My concern arises suspicion in the minds of the queen and the servant maids there , about our earlier acquaintance and nothing makes me more worried . I am destined to see you in this state and live yet . And Arjuna , a warrior with no match among men or gods , he wears conch bangles assuming a neuter gender and spends his time pitifully in teaching dance and music to girls . The hands that have wielded the Gaandeevam are now playing the musical instruments . Can anybody expect such a disaster to such a marvalleous archer ? Nakula , the most lovely of the Kurus, is reduced to a horseman of Viraata. And Sahadeva, your dearest younger brother ? He is now a cowman attempting to please Viraata with his performance . And the single origin of all the plights of all of us is our peace-loving patient soverign Yudhishthira! Getting deprived of wealth and luxury is not the point now, but it is a question of my primary pride , dignity , prestige and security . Unless you ignore Yudhishthira and get rid of Keechaka tomorrow , you will not see me alive . My anger sprouting from insult makes me birst out like this . Don't blame me , a poor neglected woman of no care and protection ." Lamentations thus flowing out , she rested her head on Bheema's shoulders and wept profusely .

Bheema too was moved with his sweetheart's intimidation. He took her hands by his and spoke in a soothing and consoling voice . " Dear ! It is definitely a shame on our part if your smooth palms have got rough with blisters out of hard labour . I was about to pounce upon Keechaka in the court this morning , but as you must have seen, our king warned me to keep away and silent . That added another thorn in my heart already boiling with the burden of shame for not killing the kouravass.html">kouravass with Karna . Yet, I advise , my royal lady , to observe a little more of patience . This incognito year is about to close in less than a month . Getting disclosed from silly haste acts can be the worst mistake we can commit . Had Yudhishthira heard your bitter ratiocinative rebuke , he would have left his life out of shame or grief . That would have made all of us meet the same fate . Could there be any other disgrace to us ? You must have heard, of many virtuous ladies like you, having suffered like this in the days gone . Chyavana's young wife Sukanya followed her senile husband ; Raama's wife Seetha , suffered the abduction by a demon but looked forward hopefully to see him again ; the lovely Lopaamudra strictly obeyed her husband Agasthya, foregoing all luxuries in life ; and Saavithri fought against the god Yama himself to regain her husband Satyavaan's life . All those women were known for their patience and virtues. You too are a match to them and you will surely reestablish your queenhood in a few days . Be calm and composed . "

Droupadi collected herself and said , " No,I am only agitated from my recent trouble . I don't mean disrespect to our soverign . Anyway, what is the use of talking about the past ? See what is to be done now to get rid of this bloody Keechaka . Sudeshna always entertains the unnecessary fears of the king's falling for me . Keechaka could see her fears and being himself a lustful fellow , forces me for pleasures . The queen's covert approval is evident since that would save her the trouble of worrying about her husaband . Despite my threatening the rougue with the danger of death from Gandharvas , he cared not a bit . And this morning Sudeshna sent me to his house on the pretext of bringing some nice wine to her . There he pressurised me again . When persuasion failed he resorted to force . I ran to the king's court . Rest of the things occurred right before you . This fellow is a slave of lust greed and anger . No one in the state can stand against him . The king is no exception either . Unless you recognise the right and duty of a true husband and kill him tomorrow , take it from me that your dear Droupadi will be a gone one for you . " Saying this amidist sobs, she again burst into a bitter cry .

Bheema too was equally disturbed and angry with Keechaka . He dabbed her wet eyes and cheeks and talked compassionately . " Droupadi , I promise for your pleasure , Keechaka will be slain tomorrow . My word is my deed. But you too know, we need do this unknown to others . A trick on him seems necessary . Tomorrow when he comes to you and asks as was his wont , conceal your wrath and pretend acceptance . Talk to him privately . And taking pretext of secrecy , tell him to come alone to the royal dance hall late in the night . You know , that hall is crowdy and noisy with the girls' songs and dances during daytime but it is all silent at nights . There I will show him his dead forefathers . Don't worry . It is time you left . " He sympathytically suggested to her to go . Droupadi was just happy that Bheema took the affair into his hands . She took leave from him and surreptitiously reached her apartments . Both of them did somehow pass the rest of the night .


Next day when Droupadi was busy in the queen's palace with her normal work , Keechaka purposely went there . He stood erect boastfully before her and said to her , "Dear beauty , it must have been clear to you by this time that Keechaka is unopposed in this kingdom . Could anyone including the king come to your rescue when I dragged and kicked you in the king's court ? The king in fact is a nominal one . It is I who supports him and his throne . Come into my embrace and surpass the queen herself . I promise you hundreds of gold coins, cars , horses , elephants and anything that you demand . Just accept my wish . "

Droupadi was well aware of her husband's plan . She swallowed her rising anger and changed her tone to a lovely one that blinds the listener from other things . " Keechaka, it is true that you are the mightiest in this kingdom . But it seems you are the least wise too . Could any dignified woman be ever enjoyed forcibly ? Can a woman bound to her husbands afford to openly maintain contacts with other men ? I am afraid of my husbands and a possible public scandal too . If you promise me to keep me safe from both these, I will be yours . "

Keechaka was bewildered at first . Soon after he understood what she said , he became enraptured . His joy soon took him to high spirits . He wasted no time to promise her . " What a luck awaited me today ! You accepted my proposal ! I promise you even the heaven . You are only to name that you need . Tell me , what do you require me to do to make my life joyful with you ? "

Droupadi contained a smile and said, " All I want is absolute secrecy . Neither the queen , nor others in the palace should know about our meeting . My husbands anyway should not know . The best way I could see to assure both is this . The great dance hall is situated in the inner quarters of the palace aloof from other ones . All the day , it remains noisy with the dances and songs of the girls but at nights it is a lonely and silent place of nobody . That will be a suitable rendezvous for us to meet without the knowledge of others including my Gandharva husbands . Nor do I like your people to know of this . Come alone late tonight and own heavenly enjoyment . I hope you can understand the importance of keeping this clandestine affair a secret to all others , even your dearest ."

Keechaka happily assured. " I will come alone to that lonely dance hall tonight . Fear not your poor Gandharvas . Nor do have fears of leaking of this secret . You chose the best fitting place for us . " Saying some more cheap words to show his happines and satisfaction , he left for his palace . Droupadi managed with all her ability to play her role in the plot like that . Seeing him swallow the story , she felt pleased but remained tense thinkimg asto what would happen that night .

Keechaka too was equally tense at home. He least doubted syrandhri's words . He was only eager to meet her at the appointed place without any impediment . Fond of ornaments and garlands by nature, he made an overuse of them that day . Thinking of Maalini every moment , he felt that the day was as long as a month for him . He lost himself in thoughts of Maalini and his enjoyment he was going to have with her that night .

Droupadi went to Bheema's place on some fake errand and talked to him . " All was arranged as was planned . He comes alone to that place tonight . Kill him , make a paste of him and uproot the thorn of insult from my heart . And take care of yourself all the while . "

Bheema was happy . " That is a nice news from you . Leave the rest of the things to me . I feel such happiness as I felt when I killed Hidimba long ago . Upon my honour , my brothers and the Dharma , I promise , dear Droupadi , I will kill Keechaka secretly or openly . Even if all the Viraata's men come against me , they will have to follow Keechaka . Next I will kill Duryodhana, the first source of all our troubles and grab our kingdom back . Let Yudhishthira happily serve Viraata here ."

Droupadi was a bit afraid . "No , no , " She protested , " Do not get disclosed in the rush of anger . Please terminate the enemy , yourself unidentified ."

Bheema smiled and assured her of secrecy . Then she left for her apartments. Bheema after finishing his work and dispersing his assistants , went to the dance hall early that night , ahead of Keechaka . Droupadi too was there already . Bheema told her to stand away under cover and keep watching the events . Then he made to the bed there and sat on it covering himself with a woman's sarry , looking like a sitting woman . And he kept on awaiting the arrival of his wanted person .

Keechaka adorned himself fully with jewellery and garlands , annointed his body with aromatic pastes and dressed in splendid garments . He joyfully reached the dance hall, which was not unknown to him . He slowly and confidently walked to the bed in the darkness . With Maalini all over his mind , he approached the figure on the bed and touched it . In his spirit of joy and lust , he spoke amidst laughs ." I have arranged for you my beautiful palace filled with all luxurious things , with several scores of attendants looking after those always for you . All kinds of garments, jewels and gold are kept in it for your graceful consideration . Keeping all that ready for you, I rushed here to meet you . Not caring for the many young and beautiful ladies that gather around me for my grace, praising me for my looks ,dress and wealth , I came over to you to keep my word given to you . "

Bheema said mimicking a female voice , " Truly you are the one ,good to look at . I am glad to see you here too . You will have such a touch from me that you haven't ever had before or will ever have . You best know the pleasure in the sweet touch . And you are the best pleaser of women . Come on here ." Having said this, Bheema sprang to his feet, threw his covering sarry afar , laughed aloud and said again. " Today your sister will see you dragged dead on the floor like an elephant dragged by a lion . And today syrandhri will get rid of her trouble . " Before Keechaka could comprehend the situation , Bheema jumped at him and pulled him catching by his garlanded hair . Keechaka too was ferrocious over the unforeseen attack on him and shook Bheema away and freed himself in an instant . And in a moment he twined Bheema with his strong hands .

Then followed a great and fierce fight between the two, one burning with anger out of his wife's insult and the other angry with the fall of the castle of desires . That fight resembled a tussel between two wild rutty tuskers in the spring for a female . Their long and strong hands flew in the air like five-headed serpents . They dragged, pushed, pulled, kicked,hit ,scratched and dashed each other . Both got entwined and detached . They fell down , rose up , ran around , jumped over and stood fast . The clash of the hands and shoulders sounded like a bamboo getting rent . Bheema lifted Keechaka bodily into the air and threw down. Keechaka was on his feet in a wink and pulled Bheema down . Soon he kicked Bheema with his knees and sent him to the ground . Bheema sprang up and hit on Keechaka's chest with all his might . Keechaka did not care the shot and jumped into the air and kicked on Bheema's chest .

The terrible fight went on for a long time and Keechaka became tired and weaker . His attacks reduced into defences and defences gave place to endurance . Understanding the clear weakness of his enemy , Bheema plunged upon him with vigour . He tied up the enemy with his hands and pressed hard to choke . Keechaka looked like a frightened deer under a tiger's paw . Bheema lifted Keechaka up into the air and whirled him round and round numerous times . Then he threw the fainting enemy on the floor and crushed his body with his heavy feet . Keechaka's eyes rolled up and his body was nearly a bloody mass . Bheema pounded Keechaka's shoulders, waist and thighs with his knees . That was more than more and Keechaka died under Bheema 's feet .

Bheema could not hold his spirits. He cried out, " I am now a man . I am now free from my debts to my wife and brothers by killing the molester of Droupadi ." Saying thus,he rose up from the enemy's dead body . His anger was still hot and he grinded his teeth looking at the slain enemy . He stoved the head, hands and legs of the corpse into the stomach and made it look like a lump of flesh and blood .

Satisfied with that torturing killing , he lit a lamp and called Droupadi to see the result of her anger . "See Droupadi , it was he who desired you ." He kicked the lump with his foot and again said , " This is the result if any one eyes upon you . " Droupadi was happy and she bade a hearty farewell to her beloved husband . Bheema , with his anger placated , went to his kitchen .

Droupadi concealed her happy mood and called out to the guards out there . " This is your army chief . He harassed me and was killed in the hands of my Gandharva husband . Come and see this lustful fellow's corpse." The guards rushed to the spot and saw him . They were all frightened first at the ghastly sight of the dead body . Then they wondered too. "Where is the head ? Where is the neck ? What happened to the hands ? Where did the legs go ? Is this the way the Gandharvas kill their enemies ? " They were confused with terror and hurry . Somehow, they took the news to the relatives of Keechaka .


All the brothers and wives of Keechaka arrived sad and wailing over the death of their lead person . They gathered around the dead body of Keechaka . By seeing the shape of the corpse which resembled that of a turtle on the ground with its legs withdrawn, they shuddered with fear . After some time , the brothers of Keechaka recovered from the grief and began to arrange for the funeral rituals to their dead brother . While carrying the badly shaped corpse out of the dance hall , they saw Droupadi standing there leaning against a pillar and watching them curiously . The very sight of the woman who caused the murder of their brother made them mad with rage . Some of them attempted to kill her then and there but the others opined that she should be tied with their brother's dead body and burnt alive , thereby achieving their revenge and pleasing the dead man's soul too . Soon they ran to Viraata and asked to allow them to burn Maalini with Keechaka's corpse , pleading the ground that she had caused his death . Unable to oppose the powerful Keechaka brothers, he assented . The brothers of Keechaka then caught the helpless Droupadi and tied her up with their brother's dead body on the bier . The funeral procession moved towards the funeral ground .

Droupadi was horrified and she wept aloud bitterly calling in vain for rescue . She cried aloud and called out her husbands with their secret names ." O Jaya, Jayantha, Vijaya, Jayathsena and Jayadbala ! The brothers of Keechaka are taking me to funeral ground to burn me alive with the dead body of their brother. You the matchless mighty should show yourselves and save me from danger ."

Both her shouts and the citizens' clamour reached Bheema's ears . His fury rose high . In a moment , he changed his appearance and jumped over the palace wall . He ran off along a different course towards the funeral ground . He reached the pyre ahead of the keechakas . He sighted a tall tree with big branches and uprooted it to use as a weapon . Wielding that ten-fathom long tree with its branches, he rammed into the approaching Keechakas , razing the bushes and trees in the way . Seeing the gigantic figure whirling that huge object , the keechakas thought that the Gandharva attacked them . They cautioned one another to let go Maalini , the root of their trouble and ran helter skelter in utter fear like the rabbits that run away from a roaring lion . But Bheema chased them in every direction and killed all the one hundred and five junior Keechakas . Thus deracinating the Keechakas , he released Droupadi from the ties and consoled her . He said to her , " I told you , one who troubles you is only to die in my hands . Have no fears. Please go into the town . I will reach my place by another route . "

Droupadi was happy . She thanked Bheema and walked slowly towards the city . Bheema too went to his place carefully , unnoticed by others . The citizens of the city learnt the slaying of one hundred and five Keechakas by a single person in a few minutes and they ran there in all curiousity to see the scene of dead Keechakas lying astray over a large field . They remained speechless for a while . After recovering from their surprise, they began to feel fear and returned all the while talking about those superhuman happenings .

The citizens obtained Viraata's audience and pleaded with hm . " Sir, all the Keechakas lay slain like the pieces of a hill hit by a thunder bolt . Syrandhri is all safe and is returning to the palace . Dear king, it seems our city as a whole is in danger . As long as she is so beautiful and her Gandharvas are so dreadful and as long as men are fond of sensual pleasures , none seems to be sure of his life during her stay here . Please arrange for a remedy for this dangerous lady and save you as well as us . "

Viraata assured them of safety and dispersed. He ordered his attendants to arrange for funeral rituals of the keechakas with all royal formalities . He was very sad that his strong followers were all masacarred in a flash . He was a bit frightened too . He went to the queen's apartments and told her , " Tell Maalini , as my word ,to leave the palace and town immediately . Convey to her that the whole city is afraid of her and her husbands . I would have told myself but I dislike to speak to that woman protected by the irate Gandharvas . As a woman, you need not hesitate to talk to her . Hence I chose you to tell her . "

Droupadi , freed by Bheema there in the funeral ground , bathed thoroughly in a tank and returned to the queen's palace , half hesitant and half confident . The men who accosted her in the way ran afar with fear . Some men closed their eyes to avoid looking at her , dreading the wrath of the terrible Gandharvas . She passed by the royal kitchen and saw Bheema standing at the entrance like a tusker in a forest . She spoke out asif to nobody , within his hearing , " I am ever thankful to my husband Gandharva who rescued me from danger . " Bheema too responded looking casual , " May the ones who adored you before, remain free from troubles hereafter ."

Droupadi entered the quarters where Arjuna was with the princesses . Arjuna and the girls came out eagerly to see her . The young girls greeted her with joy and congratulated her on being freed from the keechakas . Arjuna asked , " How was it that you got released from them? I wish to know from you ."
Droupadi smiled and answered , " What troubles you Brihannala ! Why should Maalini's plights concern you ? You spend your time happily with the girls all the while , safe from the sun and the wind ! You don't share my agony but ask me musingly ? "
Arjuna replied, " Syrandhri , no one throughly knows other's mnd . So you do not mine . We have been together long since . How cannot any one feel sorrow for your troubles ? But Brihannala can do little now , being what she is ." Droupadi smiled at him and went to Sudeshna's apartments .

Sudeshna looked as much sad as agitated . As soon as she saw Droupadi , she told her , " Maalini , the king dislikes your presence here . You should leave this place immediately . Go wherever you wish . The king suspects some trouble to his subjects from the Gandharvas if you continue to stay here . Your tempting beauty and power of cupid over men's mind might cause harm to any man here , given the terrible wrath of your husbands . "
Droupadi calmly replied as if soothing the queen bereft of her beloved brother , " Madam ! You too knew what happened why . Am I at fault ? However , let the king bear my presence here for just thirteen days . Then my husbands will have their cause served and will take me back . They are not ungreatful . They reward you and your husband with great fruits for the help you did to me in an hour of need . Kindly bear with me for those many days and you will see good of it . "
Sudeshna sighed and said sadly , " Maalini , as you wish . But keep a soft look on my husband and sons , I beseech you . "
Droupadi then consoled the queen for her berievement and got herself engaged in her routine business .



( The name of the parva means 'the parva of seizing the kine ie cows.')


The death of Keechaka and his brothers in the hands of an anonymous person devitalised Viraata . He felt sad and helpless. All his followers too flung into great depression . Everyehere in the city , the citezens flocked in groups and discussed the horrendous murder of the mighty Keechaka in such a piquant fashion and so secretely in the hands of Gandharva . The news spread far and wide and the entire Mathsya kingdom echoed with the clamor about the horrible news . In a few days the news made its entry into the surrounding provinces too .

The spies of Duryodhana sent all over on the mission of tracing the Paandavas searched for their target in hamlets , villages , towns , cities , forests , hills and caves . Returning to their king at the close of the thirteenth year , they too heard the strange news of brutal murder of Keechaka by Gandharvas out of a dispute over a woman . They collected the details and went to Duryodhana . They obtained the audience of the king in his court membered by the elders like Bheeshma , Drona , Kripa etc. , the king's brothers , his friend Karna , his associates Thrigarthas and many others .

They bowed to the king and said , " The king be victorious . We evinced our best efforts in tracing the Paandavas, Sir , in the great and dense forest they last lived . We searched every inch of it by tracing their tracks . They were not found . Once we met a convoy of empty chariots lead by their drivers . We followed them hoping to find the Paandavas in it but they were not in it . The chariots went to Dvaaraka . Then we searched for them in all lands, frests, hills, towns and villages . They were nowhere found . We presume Sir, they must have perished somewhere . While returning here, we heard a news that will surely please Your Majesty . The arch rival of the Thrigarthas , brother-in-law of king Viraata of Mathsya , was brutally killed by a Gandharva in an unarmed hand-to-hand nocturnal fight because of a dispute in the case of a syrandhri woman . The next day , his one hundred and five brothers were also killed by the same adversary . Now Viraata is weakened . With this good news about your enemy's disaster , we await Your Majesty's further commands ."

Duryodhana appreciated his envoys and ordered his attendants to reward them and granted them leave . He thought for a long while and talked to his men . " It is a very difficult matter to decide things like this . You all speak out your views on this and tell me what you think is proper strategy to trace the Paandavas before they complete their thirteenth year which as nearing its end . It is more than certain that the bound-to-their-word Paandavas will pounce upon us after this thirtennth year like angry cobras . We must track and trace them to send them back to the forests . That will make our kingdom free of formidable enemies and safely enjoyable to us . "

Karna spoke to Duryodhana. " O King , let us send a big number of guised spies in all directions . They will search through all provinces , in villages ,in cities , in halls, in choultries , in hermitages , in pilgrim centers and in all ports . Thourough search will definitely find them for your pleasure . "

Dushshaasana said to his brother . " Brother ! What Karna said is right . I agree with him . We will send able spies , fabulously paid , all over . If their best searches do not give us any clue about Paandavas , we can conclude two ways . First , they are living utmost secretely , as far as beyond the seas , which I think is not probable . Second , they must have perished somewhere in the dense forests , falling prey to the wild animals . Or, the still lesser probable thing is , they must have decided it impossible to make the terms of the wagger and remained in the unreachable deep woods forever . Hence, be calm and happy . Undertake with zeal what you feel fit to do ."

Then spoke their great teacher Drona . " Boys ! Never will it be possible that such learned and valorous as the Paandavas meet such fate as you expressed . They are true followers of truth and righteousness . They are all experts of devising and following policies suitable to them according to the times . They are masters of their own minds . The word of Yudhishthira is the law to them and he honours the opinions of his brothers too . I feel that they are safe somewhere , untraced even by our rigorous efforts , waiting for their best moment to declare themselves . By virtue of their penance , divine grace and their own ability , they remain unrecognised even when seen right before . You may continue your efforts to find the gallant and heroic Paandavas by despatching Braahmanas, ambassadors and such able people . Quickly do what you deem fit to do . "

After Drona concluded his spech , the grandsire Bheesma talked . " For me, both Paandavas and kouravas are equal . A member of the regal court shall sincerely speak the truth when asked . Since Duryodhana asked us to tell about the existence of Paandavas , I will speak what I feel is justified , but not with a view to promote any harm to them ; since people like us do never counsel for harmful intenders . Our great braahmana Drona rightly expressed about Paandavas . Paandavas are pefect in all respects . They are well-mannered, cultured , obedient to elders, bound by truth and righteousness , and are ardent followers of the scriptural guidelines . I believe that they are safe somewhere guarded by their virtues and valour . They well know the apt time for their coming out into public . Their well devised policies cannot transpire to normal strategies of their adversaries . As I know, wherever Yudhishthira lives , the people of that country follow the right path ordained by their dharma , honour justice, observe penance , perform desired sacrifices , evince zeal in alms-giving , stick to truth , remain self-controled and content . Jealousy , greed and arrogance do not appear . Uninterrupted recitation of vedas , performance of all sacrifices on a grand scale , timely rains , ample yield of crops , best levels of quality in grains , fruits and flowers are symptoms of the land where he lives . The most notable significance is that cows get tremendously nurtured in his land and they are healthy and yielding . Lying , cheating , bragging and premature deaths do not occur where he lives . People are happy in all respects and their character is worthy by elite qualities . Such a great personality cannot be located and recognised even by the braahmanas, what to talk of common spies then ? I am sure that he must have been living in such a place with these qualities . Keeping all this in mind , you proceed to do what you like to do ."

After Bheeshma's vivid sppech , Kripa began to speak to Duryodhana . " Dear king ! Bheeshma's words are rational , right and impartial . Nothing more need be said, but listen to a few words from me too . We should continue our efforts through our spies to find out where the Paandavas are . Adopt the right and juducious policy . A king desirous of his well being shall not ignore an enemy of even the least stature , then what to speak of such formidable and valorous foes as the Paandavas ! They are living hidden somewhere , bound by their words . Surely they will come out after the agreed term expires , only to get even with you , with their moral spirits high and anger unsupressed . No doubt , they will have their own supporters too . We should correctly assess our strengths and weaknesses , estimate the possibilities of other rulers joing us or them . After a thorough study of the things and circumstances , we may opt for war or truce with them . Employing the proper policy of compromise or atack or other techniques , as are appropriate to the opponents , will result in the good of the king and his kingdom . Thus, keeping these things in view , you think of the situation and state of affairs and come to a suitable conclusion asto what need be done ."

Duryodhana intently heard all their speeches . He remained in deep thoughts for a long while and said , " We should analyse the information received and come to reasonable conclusions . What you all said is true . But , asto where the Paandavas are hiding now , this is my idea . People say that Bheema,Balaraama , Shalya and Keechaka are equal to one another in physical strength and stamina . Not a fifth person can be clubbed with them , all through the world comprising humans and demons . Also , they are all interested in exceeding the others and each of them wishes to prove his superiority among themselves . Thus I understand that the slayer of Keechaka can only be Bheema , since the others have no chance of involving . The Syrandhri woman who caused the quarrel must have been Droupadi herself . The mighty Bheema must have killed Keechaka in the guise of a Gandharva ,in a dark night , for Droupadi's cause . Who else can fight and kill too Keechaka in a hand to hand fight , in such a horrible way ? Yes, there is no second thought . Paandavas are alive , no doubt. They are right in the city of Viraata too. Also , the reports brought by our men identify the Mathsya land with the characteristics now described by the grandsire . It confirms my conclusion . We should therfore take a campaign against the Masthya king and seize his cow herds . That will give us a two-way benifit . One, we can drag out the Paandavas who will surely come out to defend if they are there . Being recognised before the expiry of the incognito year will send them back to the forest for another span of twelve years . Two , winning against Viraata will strengthen our treasury and teach him a lesson for his much-often outspoken support to the Paandavas against me . If you all vote for this , I think we should proceed . "

Vyshampaayana continued to Janamejaya .

Then , after king Duryodhana declared his decision , the Thrigartha king Susharma spoke to him . " Duryodhana , While Keechaka was the army chief of Viraata , he troubled us many times by plundering my border areas and insulting my associates. We tried to retaliate but were thwarted by the strong and cruel Keechaka every time . Now that he was killed by Gandharvas , Viraata must have become weaker . Let us use this oppertunity for taking revenge . I feel it timely to go against Viraata . We shall attack him dividedly on multiple fronts . We the Thrigarthas and you kouravas attack him severally and seize his cow herds numbering in lakhs . That increases your wealth and weakens our common enemy too . I believe that the elders will approve my idea ." Karna heard Susharma's words and spoke to Duryodhana . " Susharma is right . This strategy is beneficial to us . Our elders Bheeshma , Drona and Kripa may decide asto how we may go , unitedly or independently . I agree for this campaign , though not for the unreckonable Paandavas, even for the surely resulting growth of our revenues . "

Duryodhana was happy over the response and said to his ever faitful brother Dushshaasana . " Consult the elders and get the armies ready for campaign . We will lead a two-sided attack . Susharma will lead his armies first and attack Viraatacity on the Southern side . The next day , we will attack on the Northern front . Our forces shall seize all of Viraata's cow herds on both the fronts . That necessitates Viraata to deploy all his resources and Paandavas , if present , must show themselves . "

Thus deciding to go against the Mathsya territory , they carried out two attacks on two different sides . Susharama lead his Thrigartha forces to the southern front of Viraata city ,planning to seize the cows there on the seventh day of half-moon . The kouravas went for an attack on the Northern side planning to seize the cows there on the eigth half-moon lunar day .

Vyshanpaayana continued .

Janamejaya ! Back there in the viraata city , the secretely living Paandavas had completed their incognito year fully , without any further trouble , continuing in their adopted positions . King Viraata , on his part , was despirited by the murder of his protector Keechaka. He felt that Kanka was the person to depend upon in case of troubles and threats . Thus, after the end of the thirteenth year , Susharma seized his cows on the South side .


The Thrigarthas made a lightening attack on the cow stocks taking the guards in surprise . However , the guards knew what was happening in a moment and put up resistence . But , the lightly armed small group of guards could not stand against the heavy army copious with archers , knightsmen and elephants . They sorrrounded the attacking horsemen and attacked with their sticks , rods , axes and spears . Despite their best possible resistence, they were unable to stand against the fierce waves of army that showered weapons on them from all sides . Severely wounded by the shots , they at last ran helter-skelter . Thrigarthas took hold of the herds of cows and began to lead them away .

The chief cow-man in charge of the protection of the cows understood that the situation was beyond his stature . In an instant , he took up a chariot and drove fast towards the capital . He got down before the palace , obtained a quick permission to see the king and went into the royal court where the resplendant king Viraata was in a council with all his ministers , army leaders and his counsellors like Kanka etc . He bowed to the king and explained what had happened to their cow stock . " Your Majesty , the Thrigarthas stole our cows attacking us all of a sudden . Your Highness may quickly arrange for their regaining . "

Viraata became furious by learning about the attack . He ordered his generals to arrange for proceeding with all the army at his disposal . No sooner were the orders carried out than they were spoken . Viraata , his brothers Shathaaneeka, Madiraaksha and Sooryadaththa as well as his eldest son Shankha put on armours made of gold and embedded with diamonds . They all got the best horses harnessed to their war-chariots made of wood and covered with gold wrappers . All the chariots were bearing their fluttering flags . Thus getting equipped , all the fighters stood awaiting Viraata's command to move .

At that moment , Yudhishthira approached Viraata and said ," Sir , We have been under your care for a year and I feel it is but natural to serve your cause when the suitable occasion arose . I had the grace of a sage that allowed me some talent in archery . Let me follow you in a chariot to the war to do my possible effort in securing your victory . Your Majesty knows how strong the cook Valala is . His energies may be of some use to us in the battle . The horse superintendant Daamagranthi and the cattle care-taker Thanthreepaala too in my opinion are fit to bear a bow in the field . Kindly allow them too to come with you ."

Viraata approved the proposal and said ," You are true . They can be good fighters indeed .Shathaaneeka ! Arrange chariots, weapons and armours to these four good men too ." Shathaaneeka did accordingly arrange for the four Paandavas . The delighted quartet of the Paandavas got into their chariots and stood ready to follow Viraata . The king sent garlands and sandal pastes to the lead warriors and gave orders to move forward . Ranks of huge elephants , swift horses , armed chariots and brave soldiers followed the king . The troups comprising a thousand elephants , eight thousand chariots and sixty thousand horses left the city and walked towards where the adversary was taking away their riches . In a few hours , they fell upon the Thrigartha army .The Sun was well up in the sky by then .

The Thrigarthas saw the approaching enemy and turned back to take up . Both the armies dashed into each other with vigour and anger , driven by their zeal for win . Chariots engaged chariots, elephants did elephants, horses took up with horses and soldiers ran against soldiers . Gigantic elephants , mounted by valorous warriors and driven by dextrous drivers with goads and spears , ran along and across the field , disturbing the opponents' formations . Archers wielded their bows once with their left hands and once with their right hands , shooting countless arrows that looked like a flying line of birds in the air . Missiles flying in all directions obstructed the sunlight . Dust arisen by the feet of the soldiers and animals made the flying birds blind . Blood oozing out from the wounded bodies dampened the entire battle field . Parts of bodies fell all over the field . Ear-ringed heads, braceleted wrists , bejeweled shoulders and trunks covered with golden armours looked splendid everywhere . The shouts of men , neighing of horses , trumpeting of elephants and clamour of running vehicles rent the ears . Not a single person did step back on either side . The war increased the population in the heaven by each minute . That terrific melee continued till well past noon but victory was not decided .

Then Yudhishthira took the initiative . He arranged his forces in the Crouncha (Heron)-formation . He occupied the beak position , stood Bheema in the tail , Sahadeva and Nakula in the wings position and Viraata in the center. Yudhishthira himself lead the attack in which he claimed the lives of a thousand charioters. Bheema killed two thousand warriors . Nakula wiped off three hundred and Sahadeva cleared four hundred off the field . Shathaaneeka killed a hundred opponents and Vishaalaaksha crushed four hundred enemies . Sooryadaththa and Madiraaksha stood as their front and hind guards . The king Viraata himself killed a band of five hundred charioters , eight hundred horses and five lead vehicles of the enemy .Then he faced Susharma himself .


The two kings in their golden chariots fought for a long while , with all varieties of movements of cars, showing skill in archery in the most pleasing way .Their fight resembled that of a pair of angry bulls. Each showered arrows on the other like a watery cloud pours down upon a hill . Viraata shot ten arrows into Susharma's body and hit his four horses with with five arrows each. Susharma retaliated with fifty sharp arrows . Neither of the two could exceed his opponent . The fight went on until dusk , when the dust and darkness dimmed the vision . Both the armies took an intermission until the moon rose ( upto nearly midnight , since that was 7 th half moon day.). The moon came up in the sky , pleasing the willing warriors . The paused war resumed .

Both Susharma and his brothers advanced . They took up maces and got down from their cars . Backed by their troops , they pierced into Viraata's army and created havoc in it . Leading his troops by performance , Susharma killed the entire front guard of Viraata . The brothers killed Viraata's driver and horses . In an instant , they caught him alive and forced into Susharma's car . Seeing their king himself captured , Viraata's forces got panic and ran off in fear and terror .

Understanding the grave situation , Yudhishthira called Bheema aside and said . " See Bheema , Viraata is unfortunately taken captive by his enemies right before us . You should get him released as a token of our gratitude towards his accomodating us for a good length of time . That can be our best repayment to his hearty honours given to us .

Bheema answered , " Sir ,as you ordered . You just remain here and watch my actions in the field .This tall tree here with its stout stem looks like a mace to me . I wll uproot this and drive the enemies away with this.

Yudhishthira prevented him from doing so and said , " Such an act will instantly reveal who you are . This is neither the best time nor the best way to get ourselves disclosed . So , fight using normal weapons like bow, sword , spear or mace . Sahadeva and Nakula will be your side-guards . Haste ! "

Thus directed by Yudhishthira, Bheema took a strong bow , ran after Susharma's car and hailed him to stop . Susharma looked back at the speeding Bheema and expected a severe fight .Soon he turned back with his brothers and attacked Bheema . Bheema did not least care their arrows and missiles that fell on him in their hundreds . He nonchalantly went on hitting the lines of elephants , horses and men with his huge mace .Hundreds and thousands of warriors and animals fell dead in the field like felled down trees . Susharma was afraid of a total devastation . He advanced with his bow looking bent round all the while with a continuous discharge of arrows at Bheema . All the Thrigarthas too joined their king in support .Viraata's son Shvetha lead a fierce attack on the enemy ranks .Yudhishthira , Bheema , Nakula and Sahadeva killed one thousand ,seven thousand , seven hundred and three hundred charioters respectively . Yudhishthira went straight against Susharma and hit him with several arrows . Susharma too shot Yudhishthira with nine arrows and hit his horses with four each . Meanwhile , Bheema went ahead of others and killed Susharma's horses , drivers and side-guards . Madiraaksha attacked the carless Susharma and hit him with many arrows . Viraata took a mace from Susharma's chariot and jumped off onto the ground . Though a man of advanced years , he moved around like a young man and ran towards Susharma , who took to his heels to protect himself from the squadron of those powerful fighters .

Bheema saw Susharma running and hailed him teasingly . " Dear king , retreating doesn't befit your valour . Is it with this courage that you dared to attack and grab our cows ? How do you think it fit to leave your followers in the war and run for your life ? "
Hearing this censure , Susharma turned back and fell furiously on Bheema . Bheema did not mind the shower of the arrows but ran swiftly towards Susharma and caught him by the hair . He dragged him out of the car , threw down on the ground and kicked him with his feet and knees until he fainted with pain .The plight of the Thrigartha king made his forces run off in fear in every direction .

Then Yudhishthira and others got the cattle herds redirected towards their original locations . Thus defeating the enemies and securing the cows ,they stood before Viraata for his pleasure . Bheema caught Susharma by his neck and dragged him to where Yudhishthira was . Yudhishthira admired Bheema for his heroism and told him to let the defeated king go free alive . Bheema released him and warned , " You are set free on the words of this learned scholar .You should admit everywhere that you are a slave . That will save your life ."
Yudhishthira warded off Bheema's speech . " Valala , leave him in the name of our king Viraata .He is already as worse as a slave . Susharma , you are free . Go away .Never be audacious to repeat blunders like this ." A thoroughly insulted Susharma silently bowed to Viraata and set out for his home land .

After Susharma left , all the four valorous Paandavas stood before Viraataa , waiting for his further commands. Viraata was all praise for them and he promised them many things as rewards for their performance in the war .He said , " We are saved by your unparrallel valour today . We owe all our possessions to you . I declare you my equals in all enjoyments . I promise you all - lots of gold, cows, women and servants."

The Paandavas replied with their hands folded, " Your Majesty, We have just done our duty . It is for our great pleasure that our little services appealed to Your Majesty's heart . We feel that your defeating he enemies and getting yourself free can be the greatest gifts to us."

Viraata said , " Dear Braahmana, It is due to your help that we could come out of the great trouble and see our kin and kith safe . All that belongs to us belongs to you too, be it the land or other riches . I still wonder how this cook Valala could become such a ferrocious fighter ! He was my saviour in fact . What doesn't fit your faith and gallantry ? Choose whatever you wish and it will be yours."
Yudhishthira smiled and said, "Sir, Your getting released from the enemies itself is our biggest gift . we are all happy that you return to your capital with victory . May Your Majesty dispatch runners to the Capital to proclaim your victorious return . "

Viraata was pleased with the words. He called for the messengers and ordered them to ride to the capital to declare their return and get things arranged for welcoming the returning king and troops . The messengers left for the city immediately and reached there by sun-rise . They proclaimed the win and return of the king in the streets and at the junctions of the city . "


Vyshanpaayana continued his narration.

"Janamejaya! A day after Susharma left for the Mathsya land to seize their cows , Duryodhana led his men to attack on the Northern front of Viraata city . Bheeshma, Drona , Kripa , Ashvaththaama , Karna - none less than the best - followed him . Dushshaasana , Durmukha , Dushshala , Vivimshathi, Vikarna , Chithrasena , Shakuni and many others were among the lead fighters . The troops in the lead of those great warriors reached the place where Viraata's cows were herded. The kouravas army surrounded the cow herds and attacked the guards . The cattle guards resisted with all their might but in a few minutes they all bit the dust in the hands of the enemy soldiers and soon their sixty thousand herds of cows were walking away from them led by the attackers. The frightened chief of the guards took to his heels crying helplessly and drove his chariot to the city in full speed to report the attack and sieze to their king.


He ran non-stop to the capital and gained entrance into the king's palace to appraise him of the untoward occurance to his wealth . But he could only see the prince Uththara in stead but told him the entire story about the state disaster and loss of his herds to the kouravas .The panic guard also added, " Young Master ! All your sixty thousand herds of cow on the northern front of our city are being lead away by the mighty kouravas . Please get off to regain them , you the state's protector .Do as fit to you, who are kept in guard of the capital in the absence of the great king himself .And your great father would always praise you in his full house of the court that you are a worthy son to him. He would appreciate your skills in archery and warfare. Now, you got the oppertunity to make those words true in deed. Attack the great kouravas and return victorious with our cattle-herds. Burn the flock of the enemies into ashes in the fire of your valour. May your arrows rend the hearts of the adversaries ! Play the harp of bow with the string of rope and with the bridge of shaft , delivering the notes of arrows, producing the fierce sounds to dishearten the enemies. Order for getting ready your golden chariot harnessed with silver-white mares and adorned with resplendant lion-flag."

Shower your sharp-tipped and gold-stumped arrows to hinder the enemy kings and the sun-rays as well. Defeat the famous kouravas like Indra did the demons and regain our cows. Return proud with victory, fame and wealth to make your father feel happier. You are to our kingdom like the celebrated Arjuna is to the Paandavas .We all have but you to save us now."

Thus exaulted by the frightened cow-hand in the presence of harem, the young prince Uththara was beside himself with joy and proud. He burst out a rodomontade ,more childish than manly. " What a petty job this is for me ! " He shouted out . " Not a matter to defeat the kouravas .I will alone go and fight them to get back my cows.I will make them run helterskelter in fear of my showering arrows. The king Duryodhana , his brothers, the guru Drona ,his son Ashvaththaama , the grandsire Bheeshma ,Kripa ,the great Karna , everyone will see my prowess exceeding Arjuna 's and surrender the herds to me.I can do that in a wink of the eye. How nice if I were ther when they attacked ! Yet, they will learn today what I am and wonder if they were attacked by none other than the celebrated Arjuna himself .But ,I am now in want of nothing but a good charioteer. My driver died in a big battle a month or so ago. Where and how can I get a charioteer suitable to my valour in this possibly fierce war ? "

Arjuna was listening all the boasting of prince from an inner apartment. He well knew that their incognito period was just over. He thought for a while and found a way to act rightly.He callesd aside Maalini , none but his wife Droupadi in guise and told her pleasingly, " Dear, our one year of concealed living is just all over.I see a royal way of disclosing ourselves to the king and the public.You go to the prince and tell him that I was the charioteer to Arjuna in many great battles and I am now ready for his service as a driver in this battle too .See that he chooses me and I will steer the course of things from then onwards."

Droupadi was already a bit irritated from hearing the prince compariing himself with Arjuna .Yet, she returned to him calmly and said like hesitating, " Young prince ! You need not worry over such a small problem as the unavailability of a driver to you. Our young dance master Brihannala was once Arjuna 's driver in many battles. His role was pivotal when Arjuna defeated Indra to allow Agni to consume the Khaandavaprastham forest. He is a good hand in archery too.I know him so when I was serving the Paandavas . You cannot find a charioteer like him anywhere."

.I will alone go and fight them to get back my cows.I will make them run helterskelter in fear of my showering arrows. The king Duryodhana , his brothers, the guru Drona ,his son Ashvaththaama , the grandsire Bheeshma ,Kripa ,the great Karna , everyone will see my prowess exceeding Arjuna 's and surrender the herds to me.I can do that in a wink of the eye. How nice if I were there when they attacked ! Yet, they will learn today what I am and wonder if they were attacked by none other than the celebrated Arjuna himself .But ,I am now in want of nothing but a good charioteer. My driver died in a big battle a month or so ago. Where and how can I get a charioteer suitable to my valour in this possibly fierce war ? "

Arjuna was listening all the boasting of prince from an inner apartment. He well knew that their incognito period was just over. He thought for a while and found a way to act rightly.He called aside Maalini , none but his wife Droupadi in guise and told her pleasingly, " Dear, our one year of concealed living is just all over.I see a royal way of disclosing ourselves to the king and the public.You go to the prince and tell him that I was the charioteer to Arjuna in many great battles and I am now ready for his service as a driver in this battle too .See that he chooses me and I will steer the course of things from then onwards."

Droupadi was already a bit irritated from hearing the prince compariing himself with Arjuna .Yet, she returned to him calmly and said like hesitating, " Young prince ! You need not worry over such a small problem as the unavailability of a driver to you. Our young dance master Brihannala was once Arjuna 's driver in many battles. His role was pivotal when Arjuna defeated Indra to allow Agni to consume the Khaandavaprastham forest. He is a good hand in archery too.I know him so when I was serving the Paandavas . You cannot find a charioteer like him anywhere."

Uththara replied in a deriding manner," Maalini,You say Brihannala is a man and master of war.We know him to be a eunuch.Maybe so. However, I can't myself ask a eunuch to be my driver in battle, more so when I am to face such great heroes as Bheeshma and Drona."

Droupadi smiled at him and said, Prince ! you need not ask Brihannala. Let us send his disciple and your dear younger sister Princesss Uththara herself to him. The fond teacher cannot refuse his student's request. Dont forget that it is now importaint to defeat the kouravas, who ever the driver be.That task will be a sure success if you could secure Brihannala as your charioteer. "

Thus advised and prevailed upon, the prince told his sister to go to Brihannala and bring him before him. The young princess rushed to her dance room where Arjuna was in the guise of a eunuch and reverendly bowed to him . Arjuna looked at her with his usual smile and said," What dear princess ! You seem to be in a hurry .What's the matter? What made you run here unexpectedly? " The princess obediently explained the present crisis her brother was facing. " O teacher ! The kouravas seized our herds of cows all of a sudden. My brother who is alone in guard of the capital is going to fight them to regain our wealth. His driver was killed in a recent war. Not a man now could be found fit to be his driver in the ensuing battle with the kouravas. Then, Maalini told about your skill in chariot-driving.She said you were once charioteer to the great Arjuna himself, who could win against the Gods with your assistance. You are that skillful.Please be driver of my brother's chariot this time and help him save our pride and wealth. Haste ! Lest the cows should be never ours again."

Arjuna listened to her long and eager speech intently and nodded his head in agreement. He followed his disciple to theplace where the prince Uththara was sitting rather impatient. Even before they reached him, Uththara spoke out," Brihannala ! Maalini told us about your driving skills that helped Arjuna in his victorious campaign against Indra . Ofcourse, she knowns the Paandavas verywell. Now hold my reigns in the battle against the kouravas to save our cows and prestige. "

Arjuna looked smiling at the prince and said, "O Prince ! how can I do such a great job as driving your chariot? Maybe, I am good at singing or dancing. But what is chariot driving to me ?"

Uththara replied ," be a singer or dancer as you like later, but not now. You must do this job for us at present. It is an order."

Then Arjuna looked obliging the prince. Uththara ordered the servents to bring armours for them. Arjuna pretended as if it was new to him to wear an armour around his body. He wrapped it around his cheast in a crazy fashion, making all the girls and womem laugh. Uththara himself arranged the armour to Arjuna's body and he himself wore a gold one. He then ordered Aujuna to hoist his lion-flag on his car, to harness the horses and take the reigns. "

When they are about to set out, princess Uththara and her friends asked Brihannala to bring the colourful pieces ofcloths from the bodies of defeated enemy stalwarts for their making og dolls to play. Arjuna smiled and replied. "Given Uthathara defeats them in the battle, I will surely bring those ones for you."

All the women, girls and brahmins there circumambulated their chariot and blessed thus."

O Brihannala ! May our prince Uththara too be blessed with the same benefit from your chorioteership as Arjuna himself was during his campaigns."

Their car started and slowly left the palace and the city and began to speed towards the path of the kouravas. The young prince Uththara repeatedly prompted Arjuna, "Be fast ! Fast ! Let us reach our cows quickly. I shall just defeat the fleet of chariots of the kouravas and get our cows back."

Then Arjuna let the horses run at their best speed and in a short time , they both passed past the burriel ground and beheld the great army of the mighty kouravas."

The army with the colourful outlook looked like a dense forest moving into the sky. The dust raised by the walk of the troops looked as if it were touching the clouds and it hindered the looks of the spectators all around.

The very sight of that great army full of chariots, elephants and horses, well guarded and led by such famous and invincible archers as Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa, Karna,Ashvaththaama,Dushshaasana and Duryodhana himself, made Uththara get goose-pimpled and he trembled with fear. The unimagined size of the enemy force and the array of stalwarts sent waves of fear through his spine. He said to Arjuna in a shrinking voice," Brihannala! See me shuddering with fear. I cannot face these great variours of no match with huge army.It seems unattackable even to the gods themselves. The enemy camp is full of warfare-experts like Drona, Bheeshma,Kripa, Karna, Ashvaththaama and the very Duryodhana , each being unmatched himself. My father was to go to defeat the Thrigarthas with all his forces and kept me alone in guard of the capital with no army to my aid. A young enthusiast like me can noway dare attack these great archers followed by their swarming troups. What to talk of winning against them ? The right thing to do now for us is to turn back. Run the car back to the city. Quick."

Arjuna listened to the panic Uththara's cries and said containing a smile, " Young Prince ! Why are you untimely and unnecessarily afraid? The enemy did not even start his attack.It was you who prompted me to take to the enemies to defeat them. I will do just so even if they are here to grab the cows or the very kingdom itself. Having said that much before the harem and coming here in great zeal, why don't you fight ? If you go back without getting our cows back, we will be laughet at by all the men and women. Remember what Maalini told about me. Having been highlighted that way, how can I go back without making the kouravas bite the dust? You just keep yourself and behave like a king's son in a crisis like this."

Uththara was not to be convinced. He went on pouring out his invokations. " Brihannala ! Let the kouravas clinch away our wealth. And let the girls and guys laugh at me. Not do I mind the least.I have nothing to do with the battle. I prefer guarding the capital per the king's orders , to fighting for the cows. My city is sans protection and my father will be angry with me for leaving the capital unguarded in persuit of unentrusted ventures."

Saying this, Uththara threw the weapons in the car, jumped down and took to his heels not caring for his royal presitige. Arjuna bawled out at him, " Uththara ! this is not the way a prince should behave before the enemies in the battle field.Retreating is unbecoming of valorous heroes.A brave death is better than a cowardly retreat."

Shouting out like this, Arjuna tied the reigns to the hook , jumped down and chased the prince, letting his long hair and red garment flag and flutter in the air due to his speedy run .

Some of the soldiers in the kouravas side saw Arjuna running after Uththara like that and jested at him saying that the driver and the warrior both matched each other in courage. Some wiser fellows said to one another, " Who can this be ? He looks like a great fire covered by layers of ash. He looks like a man and woman alike. His physique resembles that of Arjuna. The long and strong arms, the sprightly walk and the face look more like Arjuna's. He resembles Indra among the gods. Also, who in this world but Arjuna dare alone reach the kouravas to fight? Maybe, Viraata's son, in his father's absence created by us, might have childishly darted off to us to regain their cows but got frightened by the sight of our great heroes. Surely, he might have taken this guised great Arjuna as his charioteer, all in ignorance of his true identity. Ten to one, he is running away from us,not with fear but to bring the terrified chap back to the battle field."

Thus,the people on the kouravas side could not decide who he was. Nor was anyone able to confirm or confront.There were as many propositions as objections. All remained in confusion.

Duryodhana noticed the scene and understood his soldiers' thoughts and words.He said," Whether he may be Arjuna or Krishna or Balaraama, he cannot win us or escape from us now. Or, if it is some other one in the guise of eunuch, my arrows will make him fall on the ground. How can a single fighter, whoever he may be, win against all of us together ?"

Even after the king's heroic words, the kouravas soldiers could not be calm. Some said that it was verily Arjuna and some said that it might not be he. ' If not Arjuna, then, who might be this audacious warrior that could come to fare a single-handed battle with the great kouravas ? If it is Arjuna, all our lives are in danger.' Thus, the arguments and counter-arguments were going on with no clear conclusion. All were excited and confused.

There, Arjuna ran after the prince like a flash and caught hold of him before he could make a hundred paces. No sooner was Uththara caught than he burst into a cry.

He beseeched," O dear good Brihannala,please listen to me.Turn our car back qucckly.One's life saved will give one all good.I will reward you with a hundred gold coins.I promise you a packet of priceless gems!If you take me back now before the enemies attack,I will give you a car of golden yoke with fast horses.You will get ten majestic tuskers as a gift if you let me go.Pray Brihannala, let us run back for our dear lives."

Vyshampaayana continued."Arjuna gently held the frightened prince and brought him back to the chariot all the while smiling at him and talking to him in an encouraging manner, to dispel his fear. "Dear prince, does it befit you to do like this with fear right in the view of the enemy? If you choose not to fight these archers,do drive the car for me and I will attack them. Be assured that you are well guarded under my arms. come on, drive towards the unparalled fighters there standing before us.You will soon see your cattle regained and the foes running in defeat."

Thus consoling the terrified prince with his senses driven out of him, Arjuna seated him in the driver's deck and he himself mounted the car. Uththara was half senseful but he obeyed Arjuna's orders as he had no other way out. Arjuna told him, "Uththara, be cool and brave. Do not fear any harm from any one as long as I am here to protect you.It is time we moved.Drive staright to that big shami tree over there near the funeral ground."Uththara helplessly followed the instructions.

There on the kourava side, deliberations were still going on. Seeing Arjuna changing places with Uththara, their fears rose higher and most of them nearly concluded that the stranger could only be Arjuna. all the soldiers were out of their spirits and became dull.Even the veteran stalwarts were no exception to the agitation.

Drona assessed the situation and spoke, "My dear brave soldiers! Listen to me carefully.Hard winds are blowing unpleasantly.Dazzling clouds appear in dense Comets fall repeatedly. Foxes howl on all sides. Our horses shed tears. Flags shake without excuse. All these omens indicate a terrible danger ahead. Be all alert and beware. Guard the arrays.Take good care of yourselves and all the things. Pay special attention to the captured lots of cows.Here comes the greatest archer and undefeated warrior in the guise of a eunuch, none but the very celebrated Arjuna. No doubt. Bheeshma,(Here, the original text is equivocal.Drona's words to Bheeshma clearly mean that he was identifying Arjuna, but the composition of the words is misleading by usage of funny phrases like, nadeeja,lankesha-vanaari-kethu,nagaahvayo naama nagaari-soonuh etc . They apparently mean river water, vishnu etc though the right meaning is ' o son of a river,the one with the destroyer of garden of the king of Lanka on his banner' , all meaning "Arjuna". The scholars interpret that Drona used those ambiguous words so as not to disclose Arjuna to the public, fearing trouble to Arjuna. No further aloberation is being made, in favour of simplicity to the young readers. ) Arjuna himself turned up to defeat us and win back the cow herds.Plan to protect Duryodhana from him.You know, he will not return without victory even if the Gods and Demons together fight against him.His heart burns from the sufferings of exile.He who defeated Lord Shiva himself will not spare us.I see none among us to stand before him."

Karna could not tolerate Drona's praising Arjuna.He derided Drona, "Master, you always highlight Arjuna and his valor before us.In fact,he doesn't match even a sixteenth part of Duryodhana or me."

Soon Duryodhana added, "Karna, if it is Arjuna, our job is done! He should once again go for twelve years exile for being identified before the due date.No need to fight at all.Or, if it is some other person guised as eunuch, he will bite dust in my hands."

Hearing the king's words, Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa and Ashvaththaama admired his spirits.

And on the other side,Arjuna reached the Shami tree and said to Uththara,"My dear Prince! The weapons you brought with you are all of ordinary class. They are unfit to my hands and their dexterity to engage myself ina fight with ones like the Kouravas . On this tree were kept the great divine weapons of the Paandavas . And among those is Arjuna's grteat bow Gaandeevam too, which is equal to a hundred thousand ordinary bows in strength. that can withstand all sorts of war excerces in my hands.We need that un breakable, lomg and heavy bow adorned with gold and jewels. Of course,all the weapons of the Paandavas are like that. You hurry, climb that tree and get me that bow."

Uththara protested, "Brihannala! We hear that there is a dead body tied on the branches of this tree.Being a Prince, I can't touch such an object and become defiled..How can you move with me if I touched a corpse?"

Arjuna answered, "Shall I tell you to do such unbecoming things? No danger of untouchable things here.Those are all weapons but not corpses.Please proceed."

Uththara had nothing to tell.He jumped down from the chariot and climbed up the tree. Arjuna was instructing him sitting in his seat."Just reach the bundle between the branches. Untie the ropes and remove the cover.Take off the concealments."

Uththara did as he was told. Once the bundle was opend, a great shimmer of flashing light emerged from the weapons that appeared like rising serpents. Uththara was afraid and excited, getting goose-pimpled. He could somehow manage to touch those bows and asked Arjuna with bewilderment.

"Arjuna, Here is a great bow with hundred gold color spots sculpted on its back.Whose is this? And this bow here is decorated with golden elephants with a fine grip and good wings. Whose can this be? This one is adorned with sixty figures of scarlet insects. Who uses this? Shining with three bright figures of Sun,this bow steals my fancy.Whose bow is this? One more great bow with a hundred locusts drawn on it shines here. Who owns this one? Another bow looks splendid with five tigers carved on it. Who is master of this ? Thousands os straight and sharpened eagle-quilled arrows are bound up here. Whoses are these? Made of iron, coated with gold,tipped with sharp edges, whose are these great arrows?I see a strong and long iron sword with the blade bent in the shape of a frog's back. Who wields this? Three more such swords kept in sheaths made of tiger, bull and goat skins. Who uses these? Another sword more than thirty inches long,is in a golden sheath. Whose are these swords? Please let me know if you have knoledge of these weapons and their bearers?"

Arjuna replied. "The first bow you asked about is Arjuna's.It is nothing but the great divine Gaandeevam.It is well-known in all the worlds. This is Arjuna's favourite weapon.It was with the help of this that he defeated humans,demons and gods alike with great ease. that makes the enemies shiver and brings joy and pride to the bearer's side.this unbeaten bow was built by and was revered by the celestials for ages. Among the divines, Lord Brahma himself used this for a thousand years, Prajaapathi for five hundred and three years,Indra for eighty five years,Chandra for five hundred years and Varuna for a hundred years. The only mortal privileged to use this, Arjuna got this from Varuna through Agni. He will bear it with him for sixty five years. The other bows you asked are of King Yudhishthira, Bheema, Arjuna ,Nakula and Sahadeva. The sturdy arrows tied in bundles are Arjuna's. Those fly like winged serpents in the warfield, bringing devastation on the enemy's side. They never miss their targets. The yellow arrows are Bheema's. Those in the quiver made of tiger skin are Nakula's.The annointed arrows are Sahadeva's. Those arrows with three nodes are of Yudhishthira. The long sword belongs to Arjuna. Thje one in tiger skin sheath is Bheema's. that one in golden case is Yudhishthira's. The one kept in goat skin sheath is Nakaula's. And the one in bull skin case is Sahadeva's."

Uththara was excited at the identification of the great weapons of the Paandavas. He said, "What glorious weapons are these! I am greatly pleased to see these great weapons of those matchless warriors. But, alas! Having kept these here, where might the Pandavas have gone? We heard that the valorous Princes lost their kingdom to their foes in the dice game and went to forests for long exile alongwith their pious queen Droupadi too. Nothing about them was known since then. Where can they be spending their bad times now?"

Arjuna answered . " Uththara, listen. I am that Arjuna. Kanka in your father's court is Yudhishthira himself. Valala is Bheema.Daamagranthi , the horse-tamer is Nakula. The cattle care-taker Thanthreepaala is Sahadeva. Your mother's attendant Maalini is queen Droupadi, because of whom your uncle Keechaka and all his brothers were slain."

Uththara was not sure to believe that the eunuch before him was Arjuna. He asked ," Then Brihannala, if you are Arjuna himself,can you tell me his ten epithets? That makes your claim believable."

Arjuna said smiling, " Yes, you are right. I have ten different names for different reasons. People call me Arjuna,Phalguna,Jishnu,Kireeti,Svethavaahana,Savyasachi,Dhananjaya,Beebhathsu, Vijaya and Krishna. I am called Paartha too."

Uththara was still skeptical." I too know these names. You too might know them just as any other person in the world. But I know the reasons too for his getting those names. Can you tell me how he got those epithets?"

Arjuna explained, " Listen, dear boy. I am called Arjuna as my body color resembles that of a Sal tree and also because I do only commendable acts always. I was born in the hours of the star Phalguna and thus people named me Phalguna . Lord Indra presented me with a divine crown in honour of my victory over the demons Kaalakeyas that were not defeatable to the gods themselves.Hence I am known as Kiriti, one with the crown. I always return victorious in the wars and as such am known as Vijaya, one who wins. My chariot is yoked with four divine white horses in the battle field. That brought me the name Svethavahna. Never in battles do I resort to mean acts. So I am known as Beebhathsu, one who abhors undignified acts. None among the mortals,demons and gods can win me in battles and that made me called Jishnu, one who is unbeatable. As I wield my Gaandeevam in the battle as easily with the left hand as the right one, people named me Savyasaachi, meaning one who is laevodextrous. I undertook many campaigns against many kingdoms all of which I won and brought huge lots of tributes to our king. Hence I am called Dhananjaya, the winner of riches. Because my dark body color , my father called me Krishna , meaning the dark one, when I was a baby. I am also referred to as Paartha, from my mother's name Pritha Thus did all my names come."

With this, Uththara was truly convinced that the strange personality before him was in deed Arjuna.He at once ran down to Arjuna and bowed to him respectfully. " O great Arjuna, I am Uththara also known as Bhoominjaya ,at your disposal now. I know not how pleased and excited I am to behold you great Sir. I heartfully appologise for what I might have said or done to you without knowing who you actually are.Who does not know the valourous deeds you achieved in the past? I am your disciple now. With you beside me, all my fears are gone.My courage is renewed. Please instruct me as to what should be done. But sir, how was it that a great person like you became what you are now? This is unthinkable in your case, if you are really Arjuna. I am yet to understand this mystery. My little senses could not catch this."

Arjuna coolly explained. " My son, Once I happened to go to the abode of the gods on my errand to eradicate two races of demons known as Nivaathakavachas and Kaalakeyas. There was a dance performance by the divine damsels. Oorvashi was one of those. As she was mother of my ancesstor king Bharatha, I looked unwinking at her with respect and in admiration of her graceful performance. On that night, she came to my camp expressing sensual desires.But. I refused reminding her of her stature and my relation to her. She was infuriated at that humiliating disappointment from a mortal being and cursed me to become a eunuch. After her departure, Lord Indra consoled me and graced that the curse would be effective only for one year of my choice in future so that it would be of help to me in the year of incognito.That way, I was to be like this for one year unidentified by anyone. I am neither a eunuch nor a servant but verily the Arjuna. As our conditions are fulfilled, now I disclosed our true identities."

Uththara spoke. "Truly sir. People like you can never be eunuchs.Now the protection I have in battle is matchless, I am ready to drive your chariot against the enemy of your choice.I was well discplined in charioteering. you can reckon me as a fitting driver to you as Maathali to Indra, as Daaruka to Krishna. Please see these my favourite horses yoked to your car. The Front-Right gallops in such a way that its hoofs are not seen either on the ground or in the air.The Front-Left is unequalled in pulling heavy weights.This Back-Left is the fastest of all. And this Back-Right is the strongest of its class.These four horses in your service are no less than the four horses of Krishna's chariot itself.this well equipped chariot fits you well in the battle and you are of course, the most suitable warrior to mount this."

Arjuna, while listening to Uththara's excited exclamations, removed the bangles from his arms and wore gold-coated wrist-guards. He tied up his black curly hair with a white ribbon.Then he turned to the east and prayed to the ruling deities of all the asthras. those deities soon appeared before him and reported their readiness to serve him. He bowed to them, touched them with his palm and prayed, " Please be at my disposal and attain my mind,at my control." Thus acquiring his great asthras, he became pleasant.He told Uththara to bring down the Gaandeevam and long sword from the tree.Uththara promptly obeyed the instructions. Arjuna took his beloved great Gaandeevam into his hands respectfully ,tied the string and pulled it off once. A sky-rending sound from its vibrations spread out in all directions. The sound resembled that from a clash of two big hills. Bitter winds flew in all directions. even the largest trees were shaken like dry leaves in a gale.The kouravas heard that terrific sound and got disheartened, unpleasantly concluding that the guest was none other than Arjuna. But ,the still diffident Uththara said, " Arjuna, you are alone while our enemies are numerous stalwarts with great armies and full equipment.This still leaves doubts in me."

Arjuna laughed and said. " Who was with me when I faced the great demons Kaalakeyas, when I faced Shiva, when I drove off all the adversaries in Droupadi's svayamvaram or when I fought with the magically powered Gandharvas to save the kourava King? Having been a disciple of Kripa, Drona,Shiva,Indra and other Lords of the directions, how do I need a second hand to face these mortal enemies? Don't worry about the enemies. You will soon see them run in every direction. Let us proceed. It is time we attacked."

Uththara secured the remaining weapons on the tree and came back to the chariot.Arjuna told him to remove the lion flag from the flag post of the chariot. He then prayed to God Agni for awarding him his divine accessories. Soon a dazzling Hanumaan flag with numerous roaring deities occupying it appeared on the chariot. They both respectfully circumambulated to it and offerd prayers to it and mounted. Arjuna then prayed to Lord Indra. Instantly, a bejeweled divine crown appeared on his head. A pair of unexausting quivers hung to his shoulders. A moon-white conch with undescribable decorations came into his hand. Then Arjuna ordered Uththara to take the reigns. The chariot moved and he appeared in it like prowess personified, attired with all those super-human arms and equipment.

While the chariot was proceeding towards the enemies, Arjuna pulled his bow's string once ahain and blew his conch Devadaththam at its highest pitch with all his breath. The terrible sound of the conch made the horses fumble and fall. Even Uththara startled and dropped the reigns and slid back in his seat. Arjuna set the horses right and consoled the prince. " Prince ! what is this to you ? You must not become nervous before the enemies. Are conches and drums new to one like you ? Neighs and trumpets should not bother you in the battle of armies."

Uththara answered," Sir, I have heard many times a number of sounds of conches earlier. The sounds of horses and elephants are not new to me either.But, great ! This conh , this flag, this bow,its string, these deities, everything makes me sick. Arjuna said, " Well, get ready ,once again I am going to blow this." Saying this, he blew the conch in different pitches, sending their horrible reverberations in all directions. Uththara couched in his seat with excitement. He restored to his normalcy in a few moments and ran the chariot towards the kouravas at flashing speed.


There at the kouravas', Drona announced, "By the chariot's rumble, string's sound and finally the conch, I judge the person is verily Arjuna. No other one has these celestial accessories of arms. I see very bad omens.Our weapons became dull. Even the fire is not bright. Animals crane their necks towards the sky and wail in dry tones. Crows sit on the flag staffs.Birds fly towards our left.Foxes run crying among our army ranks.The sun is getting dimmed to us.You all yourselves are unduly excited. Many comets fell right in the middle of our forces.The horses and elephants look sad as if they are weeping.Eagles fly over our cow-herds. All these sinister omens portend a great battle costing many dear lives.Our chiefs are out of spirits. Thus we are half-lost already. Let us dispatch our cow herds to the capital and all of us face Arjuna with our arrays arranged impregnably."

Hearing this,Duryodhana said to Drona and Kripa."Dear Sirs, Karna and I talked about it already but I repeat.And I will do so any number of times if need be. The stake between us and the Paandavas at the time of game was that the losing party should live in the forests for twelve years and one year incognito. If traced in the thirteenth year,the exile shall restart.When this is the bet, how could Arjuna come before us even as the thirteenth year is not yet over? So, per the terms of the bet, they should again begin their exile and anonimity. If due to anxiety or anger or greed, they could not notice, or if we ourselves are mistaken, grandsire Bheeshma is just the authority to clarify. Leaving it apart, as you all know, we planned a two-sided attack on Viraata. The Thrigathas would attack on the southern side and the next day we would attack on the northern side of the city. The plan was carried out accordingly. If won, Thrigarthas will join us with the gained cow stock, or if defeated, will join us here. But we are yet to know about the course of war over there. May be, Viraata dispelled the attack and turned his attention to this side.One of the lead warriors might have advanced alone to tackle us in the first instance. Or, it could be Viraata himself. In either case, we should fight united as we planned in the beginning. Then, why do the stalwarts like you,Bheeshma,Kripa and Ashvaththaama seem out of spirits? War is the only course before us it is only the best for us. None of us returns without securing the cows, even if Indra or .Yama stand against us."

Karna said, "King,you are right in that we should only fight the attacker. We will fight and we too. But I opine that Drona should be kept away from battle affairs. He is clearly and openly biased in favour of the Paandavas.Though he is physically with us, he always speaks and acts in their favour. He always acts as an agent appointed by them to promote their interests from within us.He likes Arjuna and his words now clearly prove that he will act causing benefit to Arjuna.He praises Arjuna so greatly that our soldiers get demoralised.If Drona stands in the forefront, his pro-opponent tactics will land us in defeat since the very beginning. Birds always fly,animals always cry and winds always blow.Nor are thunders and comets new ever.Why should he invent an opportunity to praise Arjuna and degrade our own people? Teachers, scholars,connoisseuers and pedagogues like him are welcome at the cermonies,functions,debates,rituals,studies,celebrations,discourses and feasts where they very well shine. But, never should we allow them to take part in state policies or war affairs. These areas are not their usual lots. We should disregard the enemy-praisers and take good guard of the cows adopting strong strategy to defeat the enemy, whoever he may be."

Karna continued."Duryodhana,it seems all these great people of long longevity are afraid of and reluctant to war.Let the attacker be Viraata or Arjuna, I am here to drive him away. My unfailing arrows like flying serpents will cloud around the enemy and choke him to defeat.Arjuna, presenting himself before us after thirteen hard years for a fight,is a fitting person to me like a good Braahmana for offering alms. May he receive showers of my arrows. Surely, he is a famous archer,but I am no inferior to him. Today, in fact, I have got a chance to repay the debts of love and favour that the kouravas made me incur. I am going to become a showering cloud to the flames of Arjuna's prowess.You all will see in a while the great Arjuna wounded all over from my arrows, trapped like a snake by an eagle .His Hanumaan flag will be seen chopped off and fallen on the ground.He will be seen helpless, with his horses and driver lost, having no way to stand before me except hissing like an incompetent snake, much to the delight of the kouravas. The kouravas may proceed to the capital with the cows or they may choose to watch how I defeat Arjuna with ease."

Then Kripa spoke."Karna, your crooked mind is always war-oriented.You are not able either to assess the nature of the target or the consequences of the actions.The administrative policies prescribed many means of achieving the king's aims of which war was mentioned to be the worst that should be resorted to only when it is a must.The fitness in attempting for a war are decided by the location,the time, the opponent and the degree of favourability in circumstances but not by sheer boastings of an immature charioteer. Valour and prowess employed only at the right time and the right place will bring honor and benefit. Otherwise, they will bring unwarranted destruction. We all know Arjuna's achievements. Alone, he satisfied Agni for the Khaandava. Alone, he brought Subhadra from Dvaaraka.Alone, he stood against Shiva . Alone, he destroyed the races of the demons Nivaathakavachas and Kaalakeyas. Alone did he pleased Indra and learnt many celebrated celestial asthras from him for five years. Alone did he took up a successful campaign of the entire northern side of the country. With all these unimaginable credits to him, can you show one instance of your success singlehandedly? Don't think that you can defeat Arjuna. Never try to pluck the fangs from the mouth of an angry snake. How can you think of mounting a wild elephant in rut without a goad and reach home safe? Can you saunter amidst the flames of fire with a ghee-soaked attire and still be safe? Who can attempt to swim across the ocean successfully, with a rock tied to his neck? If anyone declares that he can fight against the much aggrieved Arjuna alone, he should be sent to the assylum for his good.We are really in great trouble by exposing ourselves to him. My opinon is that we all six should stand together with a collective array of all our forces to face him. Then only there can be any chance of staving the defeat. Personal glory should take second place now when the King's honor and pride are at stake. We cannot afford to lose this battle and the besiezed cows."

At this juncture, Ashvaththaama intervened."Karna, the cattle are only captured.Nor are they won forever,nor did you reach home safe with them and the king. Why do you boast of yourself even as nothing is accomplished? Fire burns silently. Clouds rain but never speak of it. Earth bears everything but nothing is spoken about it.Likewise, great warriors never boast of even their greatest successes. The creator ordained different duties to the four different sections of the humans. Braahmanas are to study , themselves perform sacrificial rites and conduct such ones done by others; kshthriyas are to administer, do sacrificial rites but not to conduct those done by others; Vyshyas are to trade and Shoodras are to assist these three sects in their duties. A true kshathriya shall earn and live by his valor. Still he should respect his mentors. But you and your king , alas ! boast of yourselves for snatching the kingdom of relatives through a game of dice. Nothing can be more shameful. And you deride your teachers and elders too! It is told that disciples are next to their sons for teachers.Arjuna is well known everywhere. He fights the humans in human style and the celestials in the celestial style. He faces asthra with asthra. Such a student is a pride to any teacher. Thus Drona is right in praising his student for his proven abilities. How can you understand such a noble practice? Even animals and birds have limits to their patience. A noble human like Arjuna , after receiving bitter humiliations from you for many years,will not tolerate you anymore. He will not leave even a trace of us in this battle. He who stands before him will fall like a tree trampled by Garuda with all his strength. Duryodhana, remember how you stole the Paandavas' kingdom through a strategem of dice aided by your uncle Shakuni here. You and he may get ready to face Arjuna with your own strategies, but Arjuna will not dart dice from his bow. why should we indeed fight against Arjuna? We seized the wealth of king Viraata and he should be our opponent. As Karna said,leave us, we don't fight. You may win as you may if you can."

Bheeshma understood that Ashvaththaama was justifiedly indignant. He took up the task of concilliation. He spoke to Duryodhana."Grandson, Kripa and Ashvaththaama are right.Karna's view is confined to war only, which is not panacea at all times and places.A wise man should not disregard his teachers who wish him good.Everyone is prone to misestimate when it comes to his own affairs. That is why counselling is needded.None can igore the threat from the glory of five great adversaries who stood united through thick and thin. We are now in tough hours. Ashvaththaama should pardon Karna's words which should only be treated as an encouraging speech. In the context of present crisis, you too both Drona and Kripa, please forgive everything. Who does not know that you are as good at vedas as at archery? Drona is only next to sage Parashuraama in being dextrous with the vedas and warfare alike. Dear Ashvaththaama, this is not time for internal rifts. Let us jointly fight Arjuna. It is not unknown to you that internal differences are the worst reasons for weakness of the forces."

Ashvaththaama replied, "Sir, this is not fair. The merits of foes too are to be praised and the demerits of even one's own teacher are to be mentioned. Drona just spoke about Arjuna's merits out of his sympathy to his disciple. And one should always tell one's student or son what is good to him."

Duryodhana then approached Drona and Ashvaththaama to appologise . Alongwith Kripa ,Bheeshma and karna, he pleaded Drona to pardon the earlier speeches. Drona said grandly, " My anger was gone with Bheeshma's word itself. Now we should take care that Arjuna should not attack Duryodhana. He wouldn't show himself before us if the exile is not over. Duryodhana expressed a view that their term of incognito is not yet over. Bheeshma is to clear his doubt for the knowledge of all.

Bheeshma said, "Now to Duryodhana's question as to the completion of the schedule of exile and incognito." He continued."Time is measured with the movements of the celestial bodies like stars and planets. It is measured in many units ranging from such a small one as a moment to such a large one as a creation-cycle or the kalpa.Due to the variation in the durations taken by the stars and planets in their revolutions and also due to the different standards adopted by people like lunar and solar measures, there occurs an additional time of two months in lunar system than in the solar system , for every five years. Including these supernumerary months, I opine that the Paandavas spent five months and twelve days more than their prescribed exile and incognito periods. We need not entertain any doubts about the correctness in adhering to the agreed terms. How can those whose leader is Yudhishthira can cross the limits of dharma? They would never be greedy . Or they will never try to grab their kingdom by unlawful means. And asto the present question, it is none but Arjuna himself on the other side. Never was it assured that war brings only victory. And surely only one side wins. No way to tell which side. So, you may consider to fight or you may go for a truce as well."

But Duryodhana instantly protested, "No. I am not going to give them any share.Please get arrangements ready for battle."

Bheeshma said, "If you decide so, listen to my strategy. You take a fourth of the force and proceed to the capital. Another quadrant of the force shall lead the cows to our country. We all five with the remaining half of the army will take up with Arjuna. May it be Viraata or Indra himself, I will stop him as the shore does the sea's waves."

Duryodhana agreed to his grandsire's proposal. Bheeshma dispatched the king and the cows to the capital and arranged his arrays. ", you are to stand in the middle wing. Ashvaththaama leads the left wing. guards the right wing. Karna stands in the foreground well equipped and alert. I will stand in the rear gurad directing and protecting all the wings. Beware of Arjuna's skills. Make all out efforts to stall him from advancing. Do not be lenient. Take care of yourselves and others as well." Thus forming a formidable array in various formations, Bheeshma took his stand in the rear, in his chariot with his fluttering golden palm-tree flag outstanding.

By now the Kouravas could hear again and again the ear-rending sound of Arjuna's conch. In no time, they could see his Hanumaan flag. Drona shouted, "You all see! It is his famous flag! He pulls and pulls the string of the Gaandeevam sounding like a thunder. A pair of arrows whizzed past my ears and another pair fell near my feet. After his return from exile, he pays respects to me and wishes me. He is seen after a long time! Looks resplendant with his car, conch,quivers,bow and mail . He shines like the flames in the altar. Get ready to attack." The enemies could not even behold Arjuna due to his divine guarding.

Even as was alerting his men, Arjuna glanced through the enemy formations and said to his driver," Uththara, hold for a while within shooting distance. Let us see who is where. We must spot the mean king Duryodhana and directly attack him regardless of others. His defeat means that of all. See the stalwarts before us. is already seen afront. Ashvaththaama, Kripa, karna and Bheeshma are seen . Duryodhana is not among these. maybe, he is rushing back for his life with the cow herds . Circumvent all these heroes and speed astraight towards the king himself. Fight here is useless, We will defeat the king and bring back the cows."

Uththara did accordingly. Seeing Arjuna bye-pass them, Kripa shouted, "He seems to be aiming at the king himself, but no others. Let us haste chase him to prevent trouble to our king. How can Duryodhana alone face Arjuna whom even Krishna or Indra or Drona with his son's help may not be sure of standing against ? Once the king is trapped by Arjuna, what are the cows for ? All hands to rush to the king's rescue."

Kripa's warnings were hardly responded to when Arjuna darted towards main guard of the king's array, declaring himself and showering arrows that fell in all directions like swarms of locusts. The enemies could not distinguish the ground from the sky, as both were seen filled with arrows emanating from his bow,looking flying from anywhere to anywhere. Soldiers were falling like trees in a cyclone. They couldn't even think of attacking, out of their admiration of his sleight of hands. Thus delivering the first blow, Arjuna blew his conch again and again. He pulled his string and provoked the deities on the flag. With all that clamour , the earth seemed to be shaken. The cows could feel that a rescue had come and they galloped southwards, lowing with lifted tails. Seeing the cows turn, Arjuna directed his car towards Duryodhana. By that time, the main wing of array chasing Arjuna reached him. Soon it surrounded him with shouts and whistles.

Arjuna said to Uththara,"Boy, see how the warriors come to save their king. Karna is in the lead.Run straight to him through these ranks. They will get reward for their bravery."

Uththara whipped the horses and drove the chariot accross and along the enemy ranks with terrible speed. Soon followed a mingled fight of one with many. Firstly, Chithrasena,Sangraamajith, Shatrusaha and Jaya together with a view to shield Karna, attacked Arjuna pouring lots of different arrows on him all over. Arjuna absorbed their arrows and in a rage,issued powerful missiles to burn their charriots into ashes. Then Vikarna attacked Arjuna delivering hard sharped arrows from his gold coated bow aith a strong string. Arjuna cut his bow into pieces, chopped off his flag staff. Thus insulted in the fight and failing to reattack, Vikarna fled away. Next came Shathrunthapa getting impatient with Arjuna's advancements. Arjuna dispelled off the falling showers of his arrows and hit him hard with five strong arrows which pierced throgh his armour and body. Shatrunthapa fell dead on the ground from his vehicle, as a tree falling down from the top of a hill , uprooted by winds.Likewise, many warriors came forward to attack Arjuna and fell dead before him in a wink. Arjuna ran his car from one corner to the other in the enemy ranks and tore their formations into pieces. That resembled a great wind blowing off dry leaves in the forest on a summer day.

Bejeweled corpses of kings clad in iron and gold armours fell all around the battle field appearing like full grown elephants resting in the Himalayan lowlands. In that devastating run, Arjuna killed the red horses of the chariot of Karna 's brother and cut his head off with an arrow.

Seeing his own brother killed right under his nose, Karna got infuriated and he pounced upon Arjuna like a tiger jumps onto a bull. He hit Arjuna with twelve arrows , and hit all the horses as well as Uththara with many . Arjuna held Karna 's speed like an eagle stalls a snake's. All the Kourava warriors curiously stood ready to watch the fight between the arch rivals who each had many victories to his credit. Arjuna was both happy and angry seeing his offender and in a moment plunged him with bunches of arrows so that Karna, his car ,horses, driver and the flag too were unvisible. His arrows so totally covered the opponents'ranks that all of them including Bheeshma were not seen. Karna too, retaliated the attack in a fitting manner. He withstood Arjuna's fierce attack rebuffing the falling arrows with his own and stood with his bow and arrows active all the while, looking like a fire emanating sparkles in every direction. The Kourava warriors applauded Karna's deeds with claps, shouts, drums and conches. Karna shouted at Arjuna and continued his attack more vigourously. Arjuna retorted with euqal vigour looking at Karna on one side and looking from the corner of an eye at Kripa , Drona and Bheeshma on another side. They both rained arrows on each other looking like the sun and moon screened by the clouds to the excited spectators. Karna hit all four of Arjuna's horses with four arrows, hit the driver with three and the flag with another three. Arjuna got irritated at his opponent's speed and responded like a provoked snake. He exhibited his best skills in shooting arrows and pulling his string completely upto his ear, shot numerous missiles that looked like the rays coming from the sun. His arrows wounded Karna in the head, hands,legs forehead ,arms and at all sensitive points. Thus hit and wound, Karna fled off the field like an elephant driven by another stronger elephant.

With Karna showing his back, Duryodhana's front lines ran against Arjuna. Arjuna halted their progress and delivered innumerable missiles at them .His arrows so extensively wounded them that the entre force looked like an asoka forest in its fullest blosm. The parasols and flags of the army blewn off by his arrows flew high in the air. Horses ran with yokes when the chariots were broken . Elephants were hit in the legs, forehead, trunk,tusks, tails and back making them fall all over the ground causing obstacles to their own soldiers. The enemies could see Arjuna's chariot just for a fraction of a moment. Only his arrows reached them to free the lives from their bodies. His arrows pierced through the bodies of the fighting soldiers as his chariot ran through the lines unstoppable. The horrible sounds of the flag deities and his conch adding to Uththara's dextrous driving left the enemies bewildered with both fear and appreciation. His charriot appeared everywhere but its status was beyond recognition thus disabling the opponentd to hit at him. Hundreds of his unerring arrows coming out of his ever-round bow hit each and every opponent and his carrier, not leaving an inch in their bodies .

Delighted with Karna's defeat, and the following devastation of the enemy force, Uththara exclaimed. "Marvellous, Sir. Now tell me whom should we run against."

Arjuna said, "Do you see over there an elderly man in a chariot with red horses, black flag and tiger-skin covers? He is none but Kripa,my elementary teacher in archery, respected by all. And on the middle wing, in the chariot bearing a pitcher flag , is our guru Drona. He is the first of the best ever archers . Don't forget to circumambulate him when we meet. I shall hit him anly after he does me, lest he should feel disrespected. Not far away from him is his son Ashvaththaama in a chariot with the lion-tail flag. He has no equal to him in warfare. It is difficult to stand before him without taking aback again and again. In the third line of defence, sitting in the golden chariot with the elephant flag is the Kourava king Duryodhana. He too is Drona's student , very good at arms of all types. A little away beside him is Karna whom you know already. He always vies with me in battles. Beyond all these, sitting in a golden vehicle with five-star flag is our great grandsire Bheeshma. His presence on the other side makes me sad. He should be tackled only in the end lest we should be interrupted. Be cautious while fighting with him. He is old only in years but not valour. Now, let us first fight with our desr teacher Kripa ."

Uththara listened intently and lead the chariot towards Kripa. Arjuna reached Kripa declaring him and rending the sky with the sounds of his conch. Kripa too advanced blowing his conch accepting the challenge. All the divine beings in their fliers gathered in the sky to watch the fight between them.

Kripa and Arjuna shone in the field like two white clouds in a clear sky. Kripa took the lead and hit Arjuna with ten sharp arrows.Arjuna responded with a flow of arrows from his Gaandeevam. Kripa broke the coming arrows into many pieces even as they were in the air. Arjuna could not bear with this and released hundreds of arrows onto Kripa, creating an umbrella of arrows all over the battle field. Kripa too got enraged with his disciple's valour and delivered such a great shower of missiles that he shadowed Arjuna with a continuous flow of ten thousand arrows.Thus exhibiting an uncommon achievement against Arjuna, Kripa roared out at him. Arjuna stood against that fierce attack and hit Kripa's four horses with four arrows. The horses got stumbled due to those shots and Kripa slipped off from his place. Arjuna did not shoot until Kripa settled, sticking to the code of war. Kripa restored and shot ten darts at Arjuna, who in his turn, broke Kripa's bow into two pieces and dismantled his arm-guard with one shot.Soon he broke Kripa.s armour too into small pieces, but not hurting his body, making him look like a snake casting off its skin. No sooner did Kripa took another bow than his first one was broken and stringed it. His sleight of hand was admired by all.But Arjuna's arrows broke that bow too. Many bows were broken like that in sequence. Then Kripa threw a shakthi at Arjuna which the latter cut into ten pieces in the midway. Meanwhile,Kripa restored his bow and shot ten arrows at a time.Arjuna returned with thirteen shots. In an instant, Arjuna broke Kripa.s yoke with one arrow,killed the four horses with four, cut the driver's head off with the sixth. With another three, he broke down the roof of Kripa's chariot and with another couple of arrows, broke the axle of Kripa's car. The twelveth arrow cut off the flag staff and the thirteenth hit hard on Kripa's chest. Kripa, deprived off his vehicle, driver and weapons, lifted his mace, jumped down from his vehicle and hurled it at Arjuna. Arjuna's arrows flung it off right in the air. Seeing Kripa unarmed on the ground, all his follwers surrounded Arjuna to save Kripa. Uththara ran the chariot in criss-cross line to confuse the attackers. With great difficulty, the lieutinents of Kripa could take him to safety.

With Kripa taken away defeated, Drona advanced to face Arjuna. Arjuna saw him coming and told Uththara to direct his vehicle towards Drona's altar flagged chariot. Drona too, blew his conch and let his chariot run head-on towards Arjuna's as near as almost hitting Arjuna's white horses with his own red ones.The kourava forces shouted out in excitement seeing the master attacking his dearest disciple, neither less than the other. Then Arjuna bowed to his teacher from his chariot there itself and said to him in an obedient tone," O invincible master ! My respects to you. I am here after completing the exile.I pray you not to be angry with me for my audacity to be forcibly ready to fight you. I will start only if you hit me first. Please proceed."

Drona shot twenty one arrows at him, which Arjuna cut into pieces midway. Drona deftly shot a thousand arrows at Arjuna covering his chariot, horses and driver , as if he was provoking Arjuna's temper. Seeing the teacher and his student fighting that way with each other, the spectators got fascinated with their skillful exhibition of warfare, showering innumerable arrows at each other, each defying the other's attack and neither giving chance to the other . Shouts rose from all over the field, all praising Arjuna." Who else, other than Arjuna, can stand before Drona in hand-to-hand fight? How cruel is kshathriya duty , but for which Arjuna would never have chosen to fight his revered teacher."

Both of them were keen on winning and showered arrows on each other. Drona's arrows fell on Arjuna's car like the sun's rays fall on the ground. Arjuna's missiles fell on Drona like the showers of a watery cloud on a hill. At one stage, Drona's car was totally invisible and looked like a hill burning on all over. Drona pulled his bow off and cut off all the falling arrows, causing a sound resembling that of bamboos exploding in a fire. His arrows made a shadow on the entire battle-field, hindering even the sun's rays from the sky.Drona's arrows, delivered in bundles in a flash, appeared like a single long arrow in the sky. The space looked like filled with torches from the flying arrows. The quills tied to their arrows flew everywhere in the sky loking like groups of flying swans.

Thus the duel ran for a long time wherein both made use of divine-powered missiles. Arjuna looked unstoppable with his incessant shooting but Drona rebuffed the attack with effortless ease. Whatever divine missile Drona darted at Arjuna, the latter warded off with a suitable counter missile. Even while continuing his attack on Drona, Arjuna simultaneously shot hundreds of arrows at the enemies' soldiers,elephants,horses making them look scarlet red with nascent wounds oozing warm blood. The battle field appeared adorned with the bejewelled heads, hands,necks and legs of the enemy soldiers scattered all around. Various parts of the animals and vehicles fell in heaps everywhere.

Even as Arjuna was creating havoc in the enemy army, the gods observing the battle from the sky were all praising Drona for his spirit, courage and skill that held Arjuna for such a long duration. But Drona himself was heartily admiring his own disciple for his swiftness, sleight ,accuracy and indefatigability.

Then Arjuna decided to put an end to his battle with his master. He wielded his bow sometime with the left hand some time with the right. Arrows looked like emanating by themselves from his bow. His enemies could not distinguish the actions of his hand. Taking the arrow, loading it, pulling the bow, aiming at the target, releasing the arrow and hitting the target all looked done in a single movement. All that was seen constantly was a thick cage of arrows around the entire enemy formation. As his speed got increased, even the air could not get its way through his arrows.Several thousands of arrows were seen falling on and around Drona's vehicle, making him invisible under them. All the kourava forces shouted in fear and anxiety. Indra and the gods exalted Arjuna's abilities and skills.

Ashvaththaama understood that his father was cornered by Arjuna and he forwarded leading a large group of chariots. He ran his vehicle towards Arjuna's , releasing bunches of arrows in their hundreds, like a rainy-day cloud showers water on a hill. Arjuna turned towards Ashvaththaama, thus giving scope to Drona to slip away. Drona used the chance and slid back, with his armour,flag and weapons all broken by his student's arrows.

Arjuna took on Ashvaththaama obstructing the great flow of arrows. The two super class archers filled the space with their arrows. Even while engaging Ashvaththaama,Arjuna maintained his attacks on the enemy army. The cries of the falling soldiers resembled that of the burning trees in a forest fire. Arjuna hit at Ashvaththaama's horses blinding them for a while. Ashvaththaama felt insulted and attacked with doubled vigour. He could at last find an opening in Arjuna's defence and snapped his bow-string off . That incredible achievement against Arjuna was admired by not only the stalwarts like Bheeshma,Drona,Kripa and Karna in the kourava side, but even by the gods watching their fight from the sky. Ashvaththaama got thrilled at his own performance and attacked with increased alacrity. He hit Arjuna straight on the chest with a bunch of quilled arrows. Then Arjuna laughed aloud and stringed his bow in a wink of an eye. He attacked Ashvaththaama like a wild elephant attacking its rival. The battle that took place then between those two unmatched heroes of the day enthralled the spectators .They both hit each other with sharp and blazing arrows, making each other shed blood from all over the body.Though Ashvaththaama could present as great and stiff an attack as Arjuna,no inferior to him at any point,yet Arjuna's unemptying quivers gave him an edge over his great opponent, whose arrows got consumed after some time. Seeing Ashvaththaama nearing defeat in Arjuna's hands, Karna took up his bow and pulled the string with a roar,getting ready to face Arjuna for the second time. Arjuna looked at the source of the roaring sound only to manifold his anger by the sight of his arch rival. He looked at Karna with his eyes reddening, as if to consume him with his anger. As soon as Arjuna got diverted, many warriors forwarded and took Ashvaththaama out of Arjuna's attack.

Arjuna hailed Karna."Karna ! You always boasted about yourself that you had no match. Now ,you have a chance to prove your words. You will learn what your class is and will never insult others henceforth. Also, you prattled a lot intimidating the queen Droupadi too in your unworthy king's court for his pleasure. I was not to react then, bounded by justice. Today, you are going to reap the fruit of your filthy pratings in the form of defeat in my hands. I will repay you suitably for all our long troubles in the forests.Remind what you spoke in my absence and fight with me to support your boastings. All your colleagues and your king will see and enjoy your performance."

Karna too gave a hot reply. " We know that you talk more than fitting to your deeds. You bore with all that you suffered due to your inability but not bounded by justice. As you very truly suffered the exile due to the bond of justice, come on and fight against me due to the same bond of justice. It is your long cherished desire to have a duel with me. Dare enjoy the chance now. Not you alone,even Indra may stand with you , I care not, or spare not. Truly you will know what Karna is."

Arjuna burst into alaughter and said," You mean braggart ! Just a while ago you ran off from me and you still have face to stand before me and talk ! You shamelessly turned your back even unmindfull of your brother's killing in my hands. Who other than you can brag after saving himself with the lives of his brother?"

Censuring like this, Arjuna approached Karna sending arrows that pierced his armour and body in one go. Karna too boldly stood to defend.Both discharged numerous missiles on each other. Arrows were seen here and there, near and far. Each hit the other with strong shots. Arjuna became impatient. He hit Karna's four horses, wounded his hands, broke the wrist-guards and cut the quiver's belt too. Karna drew arrows from his spare quiver in the chariot and shot fiercefully.He hit Arjuna's fist slackening its grip. Arjuna regained his hold and broke Karna's bow. Karna hurled a great Shakthi at Arjuna which he cut into pieces in the air. Many followers of Karna advanced to guard him but they all fell to his shots. After a while, Arjuna killed Karna's horses. Soon, with a sharp arrow, he hit him on the chest. The shot penetrated through his mail and body to come out through his back. That severe shot sent Karna reeling into a corner of the chariot. He could not bear the pain and ran off accepting defeat.

Thus driving Karna away for the second time,Arjuna stood like a burning flame. He told Uththara to run the vehicle towards Bheeshma's palm-flagged chariot.Uththara looked at the huge army before him and said to Arjuna," Sir, I am severely hit by enemies' arrows. It is impossible to do this job anymore. My energy is gone and my body is shivering. It is becoming very difficult to handle the reigns and the whip in such a great battle as yours with these heroes.The foul smell from the dead bodies with blood and flesh in their lots makes me sick. The clamour from the sounds of the animals, fighters, clattering vehicles and above all your Gaandeevam, deafen my ears. Your movements bewilder me. Your angry countenance in the batle field is unbeholdable to me. I feel as if the earth around me is shaking."

Arjuna heard the enervated Uththara's words with compassion and said to him consolingly. " Dear prince, you are a well-known prince from Viraata's clan. I know you yourself are a good fighter.This should not be an uncommon affair to you. Till now, you have been doing an excellent job of yours. You did see but a little of the great skills in archery in my fights. Compose yourself and hold on for a little while more. You will see wonders in the art of bow fight. With me here, fear nothing. Just watch me show my prowess with the divine missiles that I got from the lords of the heaven. The techniques I learnt from them will fancy you surely.Let us make a river of blood flow in the field.Be ready to see the ground full of bodies of the enemy soldiers. We have more than hundred ways to defeat the enemies. Even hills falling on us will be powdered with my arrows. You did not see how I killed the great sixty thousand demons of nivaathakavachas for the gods' cause. Now, you have the chance of witnessing me drive the kouravas off their chariots, like a hunter drives the birds from their safe nests. Hold yourself for a short while. Only a little part remains to be done. Carry on , good prince ! "

Thus encouraged and rekindled by Arjuna, Uththara got his energies rejuvenated. He resumed his job and drove the vehicle staright towards Bheeshma's. The great-grand old man of the kourava side saw his grandson coming to win him. The grandsire resisted the young Arjuna with simple ease. But, in the meanwhile, four kourava brothers Dushshaasana, Vikarna, Dussaha and Vivimshathi together came to the forefront to guard their grandfather. Dushshaasana hit Uththara with one arrow and Arjuna with another on his chest.Arjuna ,in return, broke Dushshaasana's bow and hit hard on his chest with five arrows. He could not stand that and fled away.Vikarna hit Arjuna with many arrows. Arjuna hit him on the forehead with a noded arrow.Vikarna fell unconcious from his chariot.Then, Dussaha and Vivimshathi together attacked their cousin with many shots. Arjuna hit them simultaneously with eagle-quilled arrows and killed their horses too. Their followers ran forward to their rescue and took them away in another chariot.

Arjuna again moved unbeaten among the hostile ranks. His arrows tore the bodies of the soldiers, their horses, elephants and their metal armours too. Riders fell from their carriers and most of them ran for their lives.All the field was full of heaps of bodies of men and animals. Heads adorned with turbains and ear-rings shone everywhee on the ground. Long hands with armlets and rings looked like sleeping snakes. Continuous fall of heads cut off from the bodies looked like a rain of stones. Blood flew like a river. Bows, shields, armours and swords floated in it. The enemies thought that Arjuna let loose his anger kept suppressed for thirteen long years. With no one to stop him, Arjuna looked like freely roaming in the battle field. At that time, all the leading hands made a unified attack on him.Duryodhana, Karna,Dushshaasana, Vivimshathi,Drona, his son and Kripa - all seven - pounced upon Arjuna from all directions. Like a group of rainy-season clouds vomiting showers of water, they discharged arrows on him in a flow. Astonishingly, Arjuna's chariot appeared to them in every direction with his hanuman flag outstanding. He retorted to their attacks from every direction. Drona, Kripa and Karna together moved ahead and halted Arjuna's advance for a few paces. Their arrows totally covered Arjuna, without leaving a gap of even an inch. Arjuna continued his attack . His speed became so great that his bow all the while remained in a semi-circle form, continuously throwing arrows in their hundreds on all sides. It shined like a rain-bow in the sky. It glittered like a fire on a hill. Arjuna employed a divine missile named Ayndra which assumed the form of multiple missiles and hit every attacker , dazzling them. Thus, even the common attack too was proved futile before Arjuna. Seeing his lead fighters defeated thoroughly and the riders running away, the grandsire Bheeshma moved towards Arjuna.

Bheeshma took hold of his golden bow and sharp arrows. With a white parasol over him, he looked like a hill with the morning sun on it.He blue his conch and advanced with a right-ward movement to stop Arjuna. Arjuna was only glad to face the great fighter and turned to him.Bheeshma sent eight arrows onto Arjuna's banner. The arrows flew like hissing snakes and hit the Hanumaan and other deities of the banner. Arjuna delivered a long arrow to cut off Bheeshma's parasol which fell off on the ground. In the same instance, he hit Bheeshma's flag and wounded the side-guard too. Bheeshma got angry and discharged many divine missiles at Arjuna, knowing that it was like goading an elephant. Arjuna too retaliated with similar missiles, withstanding his speed like a hill does a cloud's showers. In a short while, their fight developed into a fierce one which all the spectators heartily enjoyed.Their arrows hit each other in the air and broke into pieces which fell all over the field shining like fire-flys. Arjuna's Gaandeevam moved from left to right and right to left in his hands, delivering showers of arrows that submerged Bheeshma. Bheeshma rebuffed the great fall of arrows like the sea-shore withstands the waves. He not only warded off Arjuna's attack but showered countless arrows on him nearly suffocating him. Both employed divine Asthras like Rudra, Vaayavya, Koubera, Yaamya Ayndra,Vaaruna and the like.Each sending showers of arrows on the other, cutting them off into pieces, they both won the praises of the onlookers. Everybody exclaimed, "What a great valour of these two ! Bheeshma performed an excellent feat in standing against Arjuna. Only Krishna or Drona can do this. It is impossible to other human beings to employ such great divine missiles as easily as these two did."

Bheeshma took hold of his golden bow and sharp arrows. With a white parasol over him, he looked like a hill with the morning sun on it.He blue his conch and advanced with a right-ward movement to stop Arjuna. Arjuna was only glad to face the great fighter and turned to him.Bheeshma sent eight arrows onto Arjuna's banner. The arrows flew like hissing snakes and hit the Hanumaan and other deities of the banner. Arjuna delivered a long arrow to cut off Bheeshma's parasol which fell off on the ground. In the same instance, he hit Bheeshma's flag and wounded the side-guard too. Bheeshma got angry and discharged many divine missiles at Arjuna, knowing that it was like goading an elephant. Arjuna too retaliated with similar missiles, withstanding his speed like a hill does a cloud's showers. In a short while, their fight developed into a fierce one which all the spectators heartily enjoyed.Their arrows hit each other in the air and broke into pieces which fell all over the field shining like fire-flys. Arjuna's Gaandeevam moved from left to right and right to left in his hands, delivering showers of arrows that submerged Bheeshma. Bheeshma rebuffed the great fall of arrows like the sea-shore withstands the waves. He not only warded off Arjuna's attack but showered countless arrows on him nearly suffocating him. Both employed divine Asthras like Rudra, Vaayavya, Koubera, Yaamya Ayndra,Vaaruna and the like.Each sending showers of arrows on the other, cutting them off into pieces, they both won the praises of the onlookers. Everybody exclaimed, "What a great valour of these two ! Bheeshma performed an excellent feat in standing against Arjuna. Only Krishna or Drona can do this. It is impossible to other human beings to employ such great divine missiles as easily as these two did."

Again, they resumed their fight with normal arrows.Arjuna broke Bheeshma's bow with a wide-faced arrow. In less than wink, the grandsire took up another bow , stringed it and threw numerous missiles at Arjuna. Arjuna continued his attack more rigourously. Many of Bheeshma's followers came forward and were instantly killed by Arjuna's arrows that appeared to come from nowhere. Once Bheeshma exceeds Arjuna and once Arjuna exceeds Bheeshma, causing pleasure to the onlooking gods who enjoyed and exulted them. Arjuna's arrows looked tied to one another without any gap, appearing like rows of flying swans in the air.

Then a Gandharva chief Chithrasena remarked to Indra, "Sir, see the sleight of these stalwarts.Could you see any distinct action like drawing, loading, aiming and releasing the arrows? Either of these is as terrific as the midday sun to look at.

Bheeshma got a chance and hit Arjuna on his left side. Arjuna laughed aloud and broke Bheeshma's bow into two pieces. And, before Bheeshma could regain his stature,he hit him hard on the chest with ten iron-tipped arrows. With those unbearable shots, even the great Bheeshma too got fumbled and supported himself against the centre shaft of the chariot , remaining thus, motionless, for a long while. His driver, understanding that Bheeshma was unconscious, drove the chariot away, promptly realising the need and his duty of saving his rider.

Seeing Bheeshma taken away from the field, Duryodhana got his banner hoisted and took his bow to attack Arjuna. He approached Arjuna with high speed and hit him with a fully-pulled-off arrow in the center of the forehead. With the golden shaft arrow struck in the middle of his forehead, Arjuna appeared like a tall hill with a lone bamboo tree on the top of its summit.Warm blood trickled from the fresh wound. Arjuna too discharged several arrows at Duryodhana. Both of them hurt each other with razor sharp arrows. In the meanwhile, Vikarna again intervened, mounted on a ferrocious tusker followed by its four foot-guards. Arjuna loaded an iron shaft arrow , pulled it fully upto his ear and hit the fast coming elephant on its forehead right between the protuberances. The quilled arrow penetrated into the elephant's head upto the tip of its shaft as the thunder-bolt does into a mountain. The great elephant was severely hurt with that and fell dead on the ground like a fallen mountain. Vikarna managed to get onto the ground safe and fled as far as eight hundred yards . He slipped into Vivimshathi's vehicle and escaped. All his companions and followers too took to their heels, unable to stand against Arjuna's arrows. Arjuna delivered many such arrows hitting Duryodhana all over his body, particularly on the chest. Witnessing the elephant killed and all the fighters runnig away, Dhuryodhana too drove away, bleeding profusly from the wounds caused by his younger cousin.

Arjuna censured the running king, "O Dhuryodhana, king of kuru empire! Here I am, the third of the Paandavas, dictated by the deprived king Yudhishthira, calling you for battle. Why do you stake your kingly honour and run off from me? Why are your victory-trumpets silent now? Think of a kingly behavour in wars. Turn back and face me for your dignity. If you run away like this, how can you call yourself Duryodhana? You are literally not Duryodhana(one difficult to fight with). The name is unfit to you. I see no one around to save you. Haste run away for saving your dear lives from the third of the Paandavas."

Duryodhana could not tolerate being censured like that. He turned back like an elephant goaded up. He gallantly attacked Arjuna like a trodden snake.Karna stopped the advancing king and came ahead of him to fight with Arjuna. Bheeshma ran forward and stood behind Duryodhana to protect him from the hind .

Soon, Drona,Kripa, Vivimshathi and Dushshaasana all returned to join the attack in defence of thier king. Arjuna treated the reversing forces as the midday sun scalds the clouds coming near him. All the enemy fighters surrounded Arjuna and delivered various normal and divine missiles at him. Arjuna refuted all thier weapons and with a view to disgracing them all in the war, he took up a celestial missile named Sammohanam (that brings a soporific effect ), that was awarded to him by Kubera. He discharged that missile on to the adverseries and blew his conch at the highest pitch. All the opponents fell unconscious in their carriers. The clamarous army of the kouravas became like a calm sea in a moment.

Arjuna saw all his enemies fainted due to his asthra's power. He then recollected the request of his stuent princess Uththara. He told his driver Uththara, " Prince ! Go quick and bring the turbains of all the swooned opponents before they come back to their senses. Drona's and Kripa's are white, Karna's is yellow, Ashvaththaama's and Duryodhana's are blue. Bheeshma knows the counter to this missile. So he lies awake. Do not go near him. Walk only towards his right,duly respecting him."

Uththara hung the reigns to the hook ,swiftly did as he was told and returned to his place. He drove the chariot a bit away from the defeated armies. While they were moving away, Bheeshma stood up and showered arrows at Arjuna.Arjuna killed Bheeshma's horses, wounded the driver and hit Bheeshma himself with ten shots. Thus defeating the grandsire, he moved out of he enemy ranks and stood some distance away, like the sun emerging out of a swarming group of clouds.

After a while, all the kouravas regained their senses. Duryodhana saw Arjuna standing alone away and yelled at Bheeshma, " Grandsire ! How could Arjuna slip off from right before your eyes ? Attack and kill him."

Bheeshma laughed and said," Boy ! What happened to your valour when you lay unconcious dropping off your arms ? Arjuna did not intend to be cruel to do unbecoming things. That is why all of us are left alive now. You had better leave for our city. Let Arjuna return with his retrieved cow-herds.Don't be blind to the factual situation and bring total destruction by being imprudently spiteful."

Duryodhana heard his grandfather's good advice. He gulped the lump of insult and remained sighing in disgust. all the other people too understood that Arjuna was invincible and saw the point in Bheeshma's words. They decided to return home with their king safe with them. Arjuna looked at the returning foes for a while and hailed his dear teacher Drona and grandfather Bheeshma and bowed to them . He shot some arrows in such a wonderful way to greet those two and Kripa that the arrows fell at their feet . He took leave from all the other kourava warriors. In particular, he hit Duryodhana's bejewelled crown with a blunt arrow, knocking out its gems. He then blew his Devadaththam sending waves of fear in the minds of the enemies. The kouravas did not engage the thoughts of fighting him and left for their place in retreat. After seeing the kouravas withdraw totally, Arjuna happily said to Uththara, " Uththara, The enemies are thoroughly defeated. We won back our wealth. Let us go back to the city. "

Uththara gladly took the return course. All the celestials in the sky too left for their own places, talking about the heroic deeds of Arjuna in the battle. Still some of the kourava soldiers who ran helter-skelter, began to return to their forces. They saw Arjuna and prayed him with fear, " Sir, Please leave us and kindly save our lives. We are your slaves. Order us what to do for you. We are helpless and unprotected."

Arjuna smiled and assured," Fear not from me. I wont kill the frightened, incapacitated, debilitated or refugees. Take my word for your lives and go safe as you like." All the soldiers immensely thanked him for his kindness and blessed him heartily.

Uththara and Arjuna leisurely drove back to city. In the midway, Arjuna told Uththara," You know that we all took shelter in your father's court without his knowledge. But do not reveal that to him when we go home. I am afraid he may get shocked. You tell the king that you wourself defeated the kouravas and won back the cows."

Uththara was shy. " Sir, How can I claim your unimaginable achievement as mine? That is beyond my ability even in my deams. Yet, since you wish not to be revealed, I will not dsclose your identity until you tell me to do."

They reached the great shami tree near the burrial ground. Arjuna stood there for a while, with wounds all over his body. He then prayed to the deities of the banner to take leave. Soon, Hanumaan and the other deities vanished. The lion-flag appeared on the chariot as earlier. Uththara redeposited the arms on the tree. Arjuna transformed into his earlier attire and figure.He said to Uththara, " Prince, We won and returned. It is late in the day. First you dispatch messengers to the city to proclaim victory. Order the cow-guards to drive the herds to their original locations. We will comfort the fatigued horses and start our jorney."

Uththara accordingly sent the men on the two errands. After resting for some time, they two set out towards the city.

There in the city, king Viraata returned after retrieving his cow-stocks from Susharma, along with the four Paandavas.He sat in the court hall served by the triumphant warriors and the four of the Paandavas.The braahmanas and other citizens blessed and congratulated him for his luck and victory. Viraata presented them with high-valued gifts and sent off. Then he enquired about where the prince utthara was. The women folk in the palace detailed him the incident of attack of the Kouravas and Uththara's action of going to defend ,taking Brihannala as his charioteer. Viraata was shocked. He exclaimed anxiously. " What a puerile act ! Such great archers as Bheeshma,Drona,Kripa,Karna,Ashvaththaama and Duryodhana on the other side and Uththara alone went to fight with them ! That too with the eunuch Brihannala as driver to the chariot in the battle! Generals ! Quick ! Take all the available army and go to help my son. All those who were not hurt in the last battle should move to the battle field. Run all the elephants,chariots and horses in a lot. Let me be first informed of safety of my son. I doubt if the eunuch driver is still alive. "

Thus paasing orders out of concern about his son, Viraata sunk into deep grief. His anxiety grew into fear.He was lamenting about the incidents that occured.

Yudhishthira laughed at the king's fear and said, " Dear king, Don't loose courage. Be calm. No need of panicing. If Brihannala is the charioteer, your son is safe. Probably, he must be returning with the wealth saved. Any enemy cannot do any harm to Uththara as long as Brihannala is with him. With his help, your son can win even the demons and gods, what to talk of the Kouravas ? "

Just then, the messengers from Uththara arrived and informed the king's ministers about the victory in the battle. The news was flashed to the agitated king. Viraata was besides himself by listening the news. He was overwhelmed with joy that his son defeated the mighty enemies, restored the cows and returned safe with the charioteer. He looked at Yudhishthira asif for approval of the credit to his son.

Yudhishthira said to him, " Didn't I tell you, Sir? It is really our fortune that the cows were saved and all the Kouravas were defeated. It is not a wonder for a fighter whose charioteer is Brihannala, who exceeds even Indra's charioteer Maathali or Krishna's driver Daaruka."

Viraata went into a buoyant mood. He ordered the ministers to award gifts to the messengers of the good news. He pronounced, " Let all the main streets of the city be adorned with banners and arches. Arrange for a great welcome for the victorious prince with music bands and courtesans.Send batches of the youth to greet him at the city gates. Princess Uththara should join the group to welcome her brither. Proclaim the news all over the city."

His orders were carried out. A big band of dancers and trumpets went to receive Uththara. the whole city was ordered to be decorated.

Then the high-spirited king said, " Maalini ! Bring the dice. Kanka, Let us have a game to sport ourselves on this nice occasion."

Yudhishthira replied, " Sir, you are in a beaming mood now.An elated gambler is a very dangerous thing to face. But, let your majesty have the pleasure."

Viraata said, " I enjoy dice game more than I do my gold, money,cows or women. Come on. We will have a round of dice."

Yudhishthira replied, " O King ! Why do you go for the dangerous gambling? It is full of vices.Better keep yourself away from it. You might have heard fo the king Yudhishthira who lost in dice game, his dear brothers and wife besides the entire kingdom. He must have profusely lamented later.The moralists say that gambling can deprive one of one's wealth in a single day.A gambler has no control over his tounge or mind or actions.Hence it was proscribed by the elders. Yet, let your will prevail."

And they started playing. During the course of the game, the rejoicing king remarked, " Kanka, See how my son brought glory to us today ! He registered victory against none other than the great Kouravas themselves. "

Yudhishthira said in a calm voice, " Yes, Sir. With Brihannala as the charioteer, how can it be otherwise?"

Viraata got impatient. " Kanka, don't you know what to speak and what not to speak? Aren't you insulting my son and me? Why can't my son defeat like Bheeshma and others ? I spare you for this time due to your association with me. Never dare repeat such words if you love to be alive. "

Yudhishthira maintained his stand. " Even Indra cannot stand against the congregation of stalwarts comprising Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa, Ashvaththaama, Karna and Duryodhana. Only Brihannala can win against them severally or jointly.Nor was one equal to Brihannala, nor will one be . He who is just fond of war, he who dispelled the prowess of the demons and the divines , not to say mortals, is the charioteer to Uththara and how couldn't he win? "

Viraata became exasperated. He yelled at Yudhishthira." You twerp ! What meaningless you talk ! Despite my warnings, you keep letting your tongue loose. Is it the fighter or the driver that wins ? People like you need a control to know their limits. Never speak in praise of the eunuch deriding my son ." Shouting aloud thus, Viraata threw the dice at on Yudhishthira's face. It wounded him hard on the nose and blood sprang out. Yudhishthira held the blood with his palms and looked at Droupadi standing nearby.She understood his mind and brought a water goblet and collected the blood into that vessel.

At the same moment, prince Uththara reached the palace. People showered flowers and scents on him blessing and praising. The news of his arrival with Brihannala was sent to the king who eagerly ordered to admit them immediately. But, Yudhishthira privately whispered to the messenger, " Bring the prince alone, not Brihannala now. If Brihannala sees me wounded, he will destroy the entire clan and wealth of the king. It was his vow not to spare any one that wounds me except in war." Viraata was not in a mood to observe that.

Accordingly, the prince was ushered to the king. Uththara bowed to his father and Kanka too. He observed Kanka wounded and sitting on the floor with Maalini attending his oozing wound. He became agitated and asked his father asto who did that blunder of hurting him. Viraata1 said, "I did that to him to teach a lesson for deminishing your valour and highlighting the unworthy eunuch driver as the source of your prestigious victory."

Uththara looked worried and told his father. " Your Majesty has done the worst thing that could ever be done. Please appologize him immediately. A Braahmana like him , if made angry, will ruin your entire lineage."

Viraata listened his son's words and approached Yudhishthira to appologize. Yudhishthira said to hom. " Nothing wrong with you, dear king. I am not unhappy with this incident. I did not mind it at all.I am already normal with you. If my blood falls on the ground, that will cause troubles to you. That is why I and Maalini tried to stop it from falling. I do not find fault with you, as I know that rulers sometimes act like this out of displeasure, though they know that an unguilty person shall not be punished."

Afetr the blood was washed, Brihannala was brought in. He bowed to the king and to Kanka and stood aside. Viraata admired Brihannala for taking part in his son's campaign and right before him asked Uththara with enthusiasm to relate the course of the battle. " Dear son !" he said fondly," Today I am really a father of a fitting son. You made me and your mother both very happy with your heroic victory. You are the best of all my sons. Now tell me boy, how did you overcome the attack of the great Karna who is such a sure shot that never fails the aim even while shooting at a thousand moving targets simultaneously? It is known that Bheeshma is an unparalleled archer on the earth. How was he subdued? Drona is the preceptor of all the Kshathriya clans of today. How was such a hero too defeated ? Ashvaththaama is invincible and is an object of terror even to the best warriors in the world.In what way did you tame him? Enemies dread Kripa and become like wrecked merchants at the sight of his figure in the battle. What technique did you employ to win against him ? The ferrocious Duryodhana can even split a hill with his deadly shots. How could you drive him off in the fight ? My joy knows no bounds that you won the great Kouravas and restored our wealth and prestige, like the tiger snatching the flesh from other animals."

Uththara clearly but cautiously replied. " Father, it is not I that won in the battle against the Kouravas and retrieved the herds. A divine youth did all this. Initially, I was terrified and ran back. He appeared before me, stopped me, encouraged me and stood in my chariot. He made me his driver and defeated the group of six great fighters Drona, Kripa,Ashvaththaama,Karna,Duryodhana and Bheeshma. He also challenged the retreating king , goading him with caustic taunts for his cowardice and invited back to fight and be a true Kshathriya, rather than fleeing only to disgrace his own dignity. Duryodhana felt offended and turned back to fight only to be defeated and driven away in a short while. The divine youth drove away all the enemies like a lion does the petty animals in the forest and got their turbains looted in token of their ignominous defeat. Al the success is entirely due only to him. I have nothing to claim."

Viraata became dejected at that unexpected report, but soon asked Uththara." Where is that great divine person, then? I should thank and honour him for his unsolicited service of saving my wealth and son from the enemies."

Uththara answered." He vanished there itself after the job was over. I understand that he may herald himself in a day or two." Even then, the king could not guess asto who could be the stranger or who Brihannala really was. He permitted all to disperse.

With Viraata's permission, Arjuna took all the turbains and he himself gave them to princess Uththara in person. She was immensely pleased with the presentation and bowed respectfully to her teacher.

Then, Arjuna privately talked to Uththara asto how Yudhishthira should disclose himself and told him to take care of the arrangements needded for that. Uththara organised everything and all the Paandavas felt very happy about that.



( The name of the parva means 'the parva of marriage')


And on the third day, the Paandavas and Droupadi bathed, wore fine white silk dresses, annointed with perfumes adorned thouroughly with jewellery and went to Viraata's court hall . There, unlike routine, they took the royal seats meant for the kings. They shone there like fires on the altar. And, as usual, Viraata came to conduct the court. He saw the resplendent Paandavas in the royal line and kept thinking for a moment asif he could not believe what he saw. He became annoyed and curtly questioned Yudhishthira, " Kanka, I appointed you as an ordinary courtier to entertain me with dice. How dare you take a royal chair and still more,won't move even in my presence ? "

Arjuna heard his words and said to him with a calm smile." Dear king ! This great man of highest wisdom on one hand and prowess of top order on the other, deserves even the chair of Indra, what to talk of a small position like this? He knows such divine missiles as are not known to the celestials and demons. He is the dharma personified. Learned and righteous. Liked and respected equally by the folks and the kings. As kingly as saintly. Known for his venerable veracity.He was attended by a retinue of ten thousand tuskers and thirty thousand golden chariots. A band of eight thousand ornamented soothas sung his fame when he was in the kuru empire. All the kings awaited his orders, like paid servants, at his palace. He made all kings tributaries to him. A troup of eighty eight thousand scholars lived on him admiring his character and godliness. He took care of the invalid and the disabled as affectionately as own offspring. It is him that the Kourava king Duryodhana and his evil friends Karna and Shakuni dread and envy . No one can describe his qualities to the end. He is the great emperor Yudhishthira himself. How couldn't he , dear king, befit a position like this?"

Viraata was as credulous as confused. He asked with more doubt than belief, " If he is Yudhishthira himself, where are the other Paandavas, then ? Where is their queen Droupadi? We did not hear of them since they were reported to have lost their kingdom in the dice game."

Arjuna explained. " Sir, He whom you employed as your cook , Valala, is Bheema . He killed many Yakshas on the Gandhamaadanam mountain and brought the divine Sougandhikam flowers for Droupadi. The Gandharva who killed your general Keechaka and his brothers is none other than Bheema himself. Didn't he amuse you in your palace fighting and killing many tuskers and cruel tigers? The demons Baka met their end in his hands. You might remember, the great Jaraasandha was his victim. Now, your horse superintendent Daamagranthi is Nakula himself. Your cattle doctor Thanthreepaala is Sahadeva. These twins are handsome and valourous. Either can win against thousands of skiled chariot-riders at a time in battles. The marvelous lady standing there behind them is the queen Droupadi herself. It was for her that Keechaka forewent his life and his brothers. I am Arjuna myself. You might have heard of me. I am elder to the twins and younger to Bheema. We all must thank you for your giving us shelter at the time when we most needded. We could safely pass our tough time in your shade as the foetus in the womb."

Viraata could not soon speak anything due to his bewilderment. Uththara began to tell his father about them. " Father ! See the tall figure with pure gold coloured body , with long hands, high nose and wide eyes. He is the great Paandava king Yudhishthira. And the strong person beside him, with sturdy hands, round shoulders and wide chest, is the great Bheema. Look at him ! The next man to him, dark in colour,with hands like tusker's trunk, elevated shoulders and a lionly gait, is verily Arjuna himself. The two handsome ones next to their king are the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, both matchless among mortals, in form ,qualities, behaviour and valour. A little bit away from them, stands the honoured queen Droupadi herself, as resplendent as goddess Lakshmi in a human transformation. "

Thus introducing the Paandavas to his father, to his satisfaction,Uththara continued. " Father, He, the great Arjuna, is the divine youth I told you of. In my place, He fought with the Kouravas. He moved like a lion among the insignificant animals in the forest.None among the enemies was left unhurt with his arrows. With a single stroke of an arrow, he knocked down a strong tusker. The twangs of his bow and sirens of his conch made my ears deaf. It is he who drove all the enemies in every direction and saved our cows for us."

Viraata could not recover from that shocking disclosure. He remained silent for a long while as if repenting for disgracing Yudhishthira the other day. At last, he came back to normalcy and talked to Uththara, " My son ! I am astonished with these facts. I was saved from the captivity by these heroes. You and your cows were also saved by their brother. We won only due to their valour. We should appologize and honour Yudhishthira for our good. May the noble king Yudhishthira pardon us for our deeds done unto him without knowing who he actually is."

Saying this, Viraata went to Yudhishthira and embraced with affection. He awarded all his wealth and kingdom as gratification for their help to him. He repeatedly expressed his happiness that he could see all of them at last and he treated them all with love and respect.He was not satisfied with anything to do in their favour. He grandly said to Yudhishthira, " My son, we are all glad that you returned safe from the forests. Luckily, you could succeed in the incognito year too , without being traced by the evil enemies. All my fellows are at your service. All my kingdom is yours. You can enjoy as freely as you do yours. How can I repay my saviours even with all my kingdom, which is not strange to you ? "

Then he turned to Uthhara and said, " son, we shall suitably honour and gift our benefactors. If you agree, we will give away your sister Uththara to Arjuna in marriage. " And he requested Yudhishthira too, " Young friend, let your brother Arjuna accept my daughter Uththara as wife. "

Yudhishthira regarded Arjuna who answered Viraata. " Sir, You are kind and affectionate in making this offer. We should not displease you. But, I will gladly accept your daughter as wife to my son Abhimanyu . The alliance between us will be a nice one."

Viraata did not comprehend Arjuna's mind. He queried," Why Arjuna? What made you unpleasant in acepting my daughter as your wife , when I myself offer ? "

Arjuna elucidated. " This a question of honor and character. I lived in your harem for a considerable duration where your daughter in her youth has had the occasions to move with me publicly and privately. All the while she respectfully looked upon me just as her dance and music instructor. I too considered her simply as my student. If I accept your offer even out of my respect towards you, people may cast aspersions on you, me and your daughter too. Even you might entertain doubts about my attitude towards her, if I oblige you with acceptance. I am afraid of public rumour that unnecessarily blemishes my character. Hence I request you to give your daughter as wife to my son Abhimanyu. He is an expert archer, dear nephew of Krishna himself. He is a fitting son-in-law to you and the best suitable husband to your daughter too. This will establish her purity as well as my forbearance too. I leave the decision to you , Sir."

Viraata agreed and said. " What you said is right. A right man like you can see things just this way. What among the moral principles is unknown to you? I am glad to do as you desire. It is like fulfilling all my wishes to get alliance with Arjuna."

Yudhishthira was very happy at the proposal and endorsed arjuna's view for the relation between the Mathsyas and the Paandavas. He dspatched messengers and Braahmanas to Dvaaraka to inform and invite Krishna and other members of his clan for the marriage.

Meanwhile, the Paandavas settled in one of Viraata's nearby towns, Upaplaavyam. Viraata arranged for all the royal aminities for their comfortable stay there. And, within a few weeks, Krishna and Balaraama arrived alongwith Subhadra , the junior Paandavas and Abhimanyu, followed by other principal Yaadavas like Krithavarma, Saathyaki, Akroora, Nishatha, Saamba, Anaadhrishti etc. A force comprising ten thousand elephants, twenty thousand horses and ten thousand chariots walked with them. The retinues of the Paandavas , numbering to fourteen thousand, lead by Indrasena too came with them. Krishna presented many valuble jewels, clothes,maids and other gifts to each of the Paandavas and Droupadi. All the close relatives met one another after a long interval and spent the time joyfully reminiscing about their association of yester years.

On an auspicious day selected by astrologists, the marriage celebration was inagurated according to the procedure prescribed in the scripts.Drums, trumpets and conches were blown everywhere in the city during the celebration days. All varieties of delectable foods and drinks were arranged for all the guests as suitable to them. Singers, dancers, musicians, story-tellrs, actors and minstrels swarmed to serve the Paandavas.

On the day of marriage, Sudeshna and other royal ladies brought Uththara, adorned like a divine damsel, to the palace where Paandavas and Droupadi were waiting. Among the bejewelled and well dressed royal women, Droupadi surpassed all with her stunning beauty and resplendent adornation. Viraata's priests conducted the marriage ceremony as prescribed. Viraata performed the necessary oblations himself first and then let the bride and groom too do the same. Next, Arjuna accepted Uththara as his son's wife. Then the marriage formalities were carried out in detail. On the occasion of the marriage, Viraata awarded two hundred elephants, seven thousand horses and countless wealth to his son-in-law. Many invaluble gifts were given to the kinsmen and Braahmanas on that happy context. Yudhishthira too was very happy on that auspicious programme. He donated most of the monies brought by Krishna to the scholars and Braahmanas as gifts. Thousands of cows, jewels,dresses, ornaments, vehicles and other useful things were distributed as alms to the suitable Braahmanas. Food and drinks were given abundantly to everybody day and night. All the people in the entire city were full of joy during those festive celebrations. Paandavas spent a good time with their near and dear sharing their experiences with them.

Sootha said to the sages at the Nymisha forest, "Thus did Vyshampaayana narrate to Janamejaya about the paandavas' incognito term of life at Viraata city.

"After praying to Naaraayana, Nara,Vyaasa and Sarasvathi, then one should recite the Jayam."


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12:12 AM 12/23/2012