Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Their Allies Visit the Pandavas


This episode is from [Maha:3.12-3.23].

Hearing that the Pandavas were now residing in the Kamyaka forest, their allies, the Bhojas, the Vrishnis and the Andhakas came to take counsel with them. They were accompanied by Dhrishtaketu, the king of Chedi, the Kaikeyas and the Panchalas.

These Kings had often enjoyed the hospitality of Yudhishtra at Indraprastha. Having always seen the King at his court, surrounded by wealth and splendor, the sight of the Pandavas, seated around a Banyan tree, clad in roots and barks like mendicants, they were overcome by grief, and for quite a while, none of them were able to utter any words.

At last, Krishna spoke: "This earth shall drink the evil blood of Duryodhana and Karna. Its thirst shall be quenched by the life blood of the wicked Dushasana and wily Shakuni. You may have given your word that you will live in exile for thirteen years, it does not bind us. Let us, your allies, invade Hastinapura, slay the Kauravas and their kinsmen, and restore your throne to you!"

With these words, Krishna got into a terrible passion. There were evil portents to be seen in the sky and the very earth shook with his anger. Even his friends were afraid that he may, in a fit of anger, destroy the whole world with his divine missiles. Only Arjuna was unperturbed. He got up and embraced his dear friend.

He said, "Dear Keshava, it is well known to all of us that you are single handedly capable of routing the very army of the immortals, even if Indra were to lead them armed with his thunderbolt! What then will be the fate of the Kauravas, who can only boast of Drona and Bhishma in their ranks? In this birth, you live among us mortals, but I know that you are endowed with the power of Vishnu, and know full well that you are his incarnation. In days of yore, in a previous birth, you were a Muni who performed terrible penances on the Gandhamadana mountains for ten thousand years. You are the slayer of Madhu and Kaitabha. You have slain the powerful Narakusara. Time and again have you aided the celestials in their war against the Daityas. Indeed if I were to list all your wondrous feats, my lifetime will not be enough! It behooves you not to give way to anger, for Yudhishtra the just has given his word that he will reside in exile for thirteen years. When that period comes to an end, I shall remind you of the promise you made now, so control your anger till then."

The momentary fit of passion exhibited by Krishna ended, and he regained control over himself. With a smile, he said, "O Dhananjaya, there is none dearer in this world to me than you, not even my wives, not even my first-born Pradyumna. All that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine. Very well, it will be hard, but I shall hold in my anger till you and your brothers are released from the conditions of exile. Remember my words, for on the thirteenth year from now, there shall be carnage, the likes of which have never been seen before, nor is likely to be seen hence. And I shall be at your side, in your quest to regain your kingdom."

His words were applauded by the assembled allies. All of them repeated a solemn oath to assist the Pandavas to regain their patrimony, to fight by their side in the war that was sure to be, for no one believed that the Kauravas would yield without a fight.

Panchali, who was standing with downcast eyes in a corner while these events were going on, put herself forward. She now walked up to Krishna and said, "Dear cousin, Parashurama had told me that you are an incarnation of Vishnu, the protector of the three worlds. It is said that you are Omnipresent, the soul of all things. How is it that, while I was under your protection, me, the wife of the heroic sons of Kunti, the sister of Dhrishtadhyumna sprung from the sacrificial fire, was dragged to the assembly? How could I be so insulted, having been dragged in front of the Kurus while clad in a single piece of cloth, and in my season? Bitterly weeping, and trembling all over, I was dragged to the Kuru court, stained with blood! The wicked sons of Dhritharashtra laughed at me! While all my kinsmen and protectors lived, they wanted to enslave me by force! What is the use of the mighty arms of Bheema, the invincible Gandiva of Arjuna, if they could not protect me against such vile insults? Is it not the first duty of a husband, however weak he may be, to protect his wife from all harm? O Keshava, afflicted with numerous griefs, and in great distress, I am living here in the forest like a mendicant, deprived of the company of Kunti! Am I to suffer in silence for all the rest of my days? When will my sufferings come to an end?"

Overcome by her feelings, Draupadi wept bitterly. Krishna wiped away her tears, and said, "Fair lady, the wives of those who have reduced you to such straits, shall weep more bitterly than this, when they shall behold their husbands and sons and brothers and fathers dead on the ground, weltering in their own blood! Weep not, dear cousin, for I shall exert all my powers in aid of the Pandavas. I promise that you shall once again by the Queen of Queens. The heavens may fall, the ocean may dry up, the Mountains may cease to exist, but my words thus uttered shall not be rendered futile!"

Dhrishtadhyumna embraced his sister and said, "I shall slay Drona, Shikandi shall bring death to Bhishma. Bheema will slay all the Kauravas and Arjuna shall slay Karna. You will be able to tie your tresses again, soaked in the blood of those slain warriors! Weep not, dear sister, for you shall be avenged!"

Krishna then turned towards the assembled kings and said, "It is a great pity that I was away when the invitation to dice and the unfortunate gambling match took place. Had I been at Dwaraka, I would have been able to avert the evil consequences of that ill-fated dice-match. Unfortunately, I was away on important business. When I arrived at Dwaraka a short while ago, I learned of the misfortunes that had befallen my cousins, and rushed here to assure you that you had my support."

Yudhishtra said, "Krishna, I was not aware that you were not in Dwaraka all this while. Where had you gone? What was the business that took you away?"

Keshava replied, "I had gone to destroy the city of Shalwa. He had been cherishing an animosity towards me, for I had slain his friends, especially Shishupala. You might remember that I had been residing with you at Indraprastha after your Rajasooya sacrifice. Having heard that I was away from Dwaraka, that evil King attacked my Kingdom at that time. Unfortunately, none of the experienced Vrishni heroes were in the city then, all having accompanied me to Indraprastha for the sacrifice. Only youths were there, who were skilled enough, but lacking any experience in combat.

"These young heroes were no match for the experienced king of Saubha. He slew a great number of them in battle, and devastated all the gardens and fountains in the city. After having uttered many vain boasts and insulted our race, he issued a challenge to me, and retired back to his Kingdom.

"When I returned to Dwaraka, I was met by the sorrowing mothers of those young princes who had been sent to the abode of Yama by Shalwa. I immediately set forth to destroy that evil King. To escape my wrath, he had fled from his Kingdom and took refuge in an island in the middle of the ocean, protected by some Danavas who were his friends.

"I followed him there and challenged him to fight. Seeing that he was cornered, he emerged from his hiding place and fought with me. The battle was exceedingly fierce, and he was assisted by his demon-friends. I slew innumerable numbers of those enemies of the celestials with my unerring arrows. Finally, having subdued his allies, I slew the evil Shalwa with my divine discus, the Sudarsana.

When I returned to my city, I was met by evil tidings. My ministers informed me about the events that had taken place in Hastinapura in connection with the wretched game of dice. Having learnt from them that you were now residing in this forest, I came here as soon as I could. Dear cousins, had I not been away, I could have prevented all these misfortunes that have befallen you. What can be done now? After all, the waters cannot be confined once the dam has broken."

Yudhishtra thanked all his friends who had come to condole with him. He then, with the help of his priest Dhaumya, offered proper worship to those heroes who had come to his aid. After talking about old times for a while, one by one, his allies took their leave.

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Last Modified At: Sun Apr 17 12:28:19 2005