Saint Vaisampayana told King Janamejaya, the story of Maha Bharata.
35 years elapsed after enthronement of Yudhishtira as Emperor of Kuru kingdom. In 36th year, there were some unusual and strange incidents. Severe gales were blown suddenly and sand winds rose to the sky. Thunder bolts fallen without clouds. Reddish circles were seen around sun and moon. Cold breeze was blown during hot summer. Daily some strange incident or other was occurring indicating a great catastrophe.
While Dharmaja was worrying without knowing the reason for these strange occurrences, he received a message from Dwaraka that all yadavas were killed as a result of fighting with each other. Dharmaja passed on this message to his brothers. All drowned in great grief.” said Saint Vaisampayana to King Janamejaya.
“O Saint Vaisampayana! it is quite strange to hear that all Yadavas were killed suddenly, that too by fighting with each other. What had happened? How it happened? Kindly tell me.” asked Janamejaya eagerly.
Saint Vaisampayana said thus: “O King Janamejaya! This incident was not of that day’s affair. It had got a link to a previous incident, occurred long time back. Once Saints Narada, Kanva, Visvamitra arrived at Dwaraka to have Darshan of Sri Krishna. Beholding those saints, the Yadava youth got a childish and foolish idea. They wanted to tease those saints for fun sake. The youngest of all was Sambu. Others decorated him in the attire of a lady. Other yadava youth took Samba to those saints and asked them:
“O Saints! you are aware of past and future. Kindly tell whether this lady begets a child.” asked Yadava youth, controlling their fun forcibly.
Those saints realised the foolish act of those Yadava Youth. “We know that he is a male not a female. He is the son of Sri Krishna. Still we dont spare them. This Samba will give birth to a pestle ( Musalam) which will destroy the entire Yadava community. But Yadava King Balarama will leave his mortal body and enters the sea. Sri Krishna will be killedl by a demon called Jara. This is the punishment for your foul play with saints like us.”
After cursing the Yadava community, all the saints returned back, without visiting Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna came to know about this. He thought that what will destine to happen it will happen and kept quiet.
As a result of the curse of Saints, next day itself Samba delivered a pestle(Musalam) . All Yadavas surprised. They have taken that pestle and Samba to King Vasudeva. Vasudeva was very much worried about this. He ordered the Yadava youth to crush and grind that pestle into powder and mix it in the sea waters. Accordingly, all Yadavas made that pestle into powder and mixed it in sea waters.
Several years elapsed. Maha Bharata war was fought. Having come to know that Sri Krishna was the root cause for the entire war and destruction of her one hundred sons, Gandhari cursed Sri Krishna that he will also meet such tragic death like his sons. Oflate, several strange incidents happened in Dwaraka. Some have seen Yama moving around Dwaraka, mounting a buffaloe. Parrots were crying like owls. Goats were howling like jackals. Yadavas were addicted to drinking and debauchery. Yadavas were insulting brahmins and saints. Even Yadava ladies were not caring their own husbands and leading wayward life. Beholding all these strange incidents, Krishna thought that the glory of Yadavas came to an end. Krishna thought that both the curses of Saints and Gandhari began to workout.
Hence, Sri Krishna declared a great festival on the seashore and proclaimed it in Dwaraka. All Yadavas made arrangements for the festival. On the festive day, several kinds of eatables were prepared. Plenty of wine was stored. All eatables and wine and other snacks were loaded into number of carts. All the cart loads as well as Yadavas arrived at the sea shore. Sri Krishna also followed them to the sea shore. Even Balarama also followed them with bare foot after removing all his ornaments.
All yadava ladies decorated themselves with beautiful clothes and costly ornamnets and followed their husbands in palanquins to the sea shore. Numerous pandals were erected on the sea shore for their temporary stay. All were seated under the Pandals in their respective seats. Balarama sat under a tree at a distance. Balarama entered into yoga samadhi..
All yadavas consumed liquor to their content and talking
as they like, without following any norms and countesies. They distributed
the eatable meant for brahmins to monkeys. Their bodies were not under
their control. They were all under the influence of liquor.
“O Kritavarma! even enemies would not have killed while in sleep. But you killed the sons of Pandavas while they were sleeping. How you committed that heinous act. Hai Pradyumna! is it not. Tell me. How that Kritavarma did that act. Was it heorism. Is he a hero? Does it amount to killing enemies in war.” Satyaki insinuated Kritavarma.
Pradyumna tried to pacify them. But Kritavarma retarted the comments of Satyaki: “O Satyaki! I know who I am. But you are a shameless creature. When Arjuna cut his hand, Bhurisravasa sat on the chariot in meditation. At that time, you killed him by cutting his head. Have you forgotten that incident? Does that amount to heorism? Are you a hero or warrior.” retarted Kritavarma.
Sri Krishna intervened and controlled Kritavarma.
“O brother Sri Krishna! everybody knows about his character. To grab the diamond from Satrajit, this Kritavarma killed his brother, Satadhanva.” commented Satyaki.
Having heard these comments, Satya Bhama cried aloud.
Having heard the crying of his wife, Satyabhama, Sri Krishna enraged
with great wrath. Having seen the wrath of Sri Krishna, Satyaki jumped
upon Kritavarma and caught him. “Listen! This Kritavarma killed
all the sons of Pandavas during sleep. He is a wretch. He shall not
be spared for a moment. He shall be killed in the same manner.”
so saying Satyaki cut the head of Kritavarma with his long sword.
Krishna remained as a silent spectator. As they have come to the sea shore for a plealsure, they did not carry any weapons along with them. They saw the long grown grass in abundance along the sea shore. They picked up the grass stems and beat and killed each other.
Those grass stems are no other than the grass grown out of the powder of the peastle, born to Samba several years past which was powdered and mixed in the waters of sea. Thus the curse of saints fructified.
Every Yadava was picking up one stem and beating others. With each blow delivered with the grass stem, several are killed. All Yadavas were beating with grass stems till all are dead. All the Yadavas belonging to Vrishni Vamsa to which Satyaki belongs, were dead and some in Bhoja and Andhaka Vamsa survived.
Pradyumna, Samba, Satyaki, Gadha were killed. Having seen this, Krishna grew angry. He picked up some grass stems and beat and killed the remaining Bhoja and Andhaka people. Except Krishna, all Yadavas were killed. Krishna’s charioteer Daruka and another one called Babhru only survived.
Theyboth approached Sri Krishna and said: “O Krishna! all Yadavas were killed. Whereabouts of Balarama are not known. It is better to search for him.” said Daruka.
Krishna, Daruka and Babhru went in search of Balarama. At that time, Balarama was in deep meditation under a tree. Beholding this, Krishna told Daruka thus:
“O Daruka! you immediately go to Hastinapura and inform Dharmaja about the mass massacre of Yadavas and bring Arjuna here. He will look after everything.” said Krishna. Accordingly, Daruka rushed towards Hastinapura in a chariot.
Then Krishna told Babhru” “O Babhru! you go to the sea shore and bring back all the women folk, aged and children to Dwaraka.”
While Babhru was proceeding towards sea shsore, one hunter carrying the grass stems happened to come opposite to him. One grass stem touched Babhru. Babhru fell down and died. Krishna was astonished “How powerful the curse of saints is?” Krishna thought.
Then Krishna went near Balarama and said: “O brother Balarama! except me and yourself, all yadavas are dead. I will go to sea shore and bring back all womenfolk and children to Dwaraka. Kindly remain here.” so saying Krishna left for sea shore.
Krishna picked up all women folk and children and
brought them back to Dwaraka. Then Krishna went to his father, Vasudeva:
“O my father, Vasudeva! During great war, I have seen the mass
massacre of Kouravas and 18 Akshouhini army. To day I have seen all
Yadavas killing each other. None survived except me and Balarama. I
cannot remain in Dwaraka without our kith and kin. Balarama is in deep
meditation. I also sit along with him in deep meditation. You kindly
look after the affairs of Dwaraka. Tomorrow or day after, Arjuna will
arrive and he will be helpful to you.” so saying Krishna saluted
Vasudeva and left that place.
But there was no reply from Balarama. A long serpent came out of the face of Balarama. Balarama left this mortal body. His soul travelled into the sky through the sea. As Balarama was the incarnation of Adi Sesha, Naga community welcomed back Balarama. Balarama attained Vishnu Loka and joined Vishnu. Krishna saw Balarama putting an end to his incarnation.
Krishna thought that time has come for him to leave this world and go back to his original abode. He was thinking about the ways and means to leave this body. He remembered the words of Saint Durvasa.
Once, as per the wish of saint Durvasa, he applied Payasam (liquid food prepared with milk, sugar and rice) through out his body. As his legs were resting on ground, he could not apply to the underfeet. Durvasa observed it and said: “Krishna! you have not applied Payasam to my foot. Your death is in your foot.” said Saint Durvasa.
Krishna remembered those words. Krishna laid down
under a tree and controlled his sense organs and went into Yoga Samadhi.
At that time demon Jara entered that forest in the form of a hunter.
That hunter misunderstood the moving foot of Krishna as a lurking deer.
That hunter shot an arrow to kill the deer. That arrow pierced into
the foot of Krishna. Sri Krishna left the mortal body and went back
to his Original abode, Vaikuntha. All saints, Sidhas, Sadhyas, Rudras,
Vasuvus, Maruts, Visvedevatas, Devendra welcomed Krishna.
Sri Krishna heard those words with a smile. In this manner, Sri Maha Vishnu again restored to his original position.
Daruka, sent by Sri Krishna, arrived at Hastina and met Pandavas and informed them about the tragic death of all Yadavas. On hearing this, Pandavas plunged into great grief. Subhadra and Droupadi were crying aloud. After some time, Daruka told Arjuna about the wish of Krishna. After taking suitable instructions from Dharmaja, Arjuna followed Daruka to Dwarka.
Both Daruka and Arjuna arrived at Dwaraka. Dead silence was prevailing in Dwaraka. None were moving in the streets. Sri Krishna and Balarama were not seen anywhere. Arjuna suspected something untoward. Arjuna followed Daruka to the palace. All the wives of Sri Krishna were weeping. Arjuna also could not control his grief. Rukmini and satyaBhama were rolling on the floor, grieving for the death of their own kith and kin. Arjuna consoled them. Then Arjuna went to Vasudeva. Arjuna was searching for Krishna every corner. Daruka also could not give any information about the welfare of Krishna.
Beholding Arjuna, Vasudeva also was weeping loudly, naming each and every Yadava died. After controlling himself, Vasudeva told Arjuna thus:
“O Arjuna! Famous Yadavas were killed , by fighting with each other. Your Sishyas, Satyaki and Pradyumna also were killed. Still I am alive to tell you about this disaster. All had happened due to the curse of those saints. None can be blamed. Arjuna! all these fightings happened right in the presence of Krishna. But Krishna did not pacify them nor stopped them from fighting with each other. Is Krishna not capable of stopping this fight? Destiny is such, none can avert it. Krishna knows pretty well that Yadava community shall perish. It perished....” Vasudeva was going on talking about the incidents took placle in Dwaraka.
There was no reference about Krishna. Hence Arjuna thought that Krishna was safe. Vasudeva continued to say:
“O Arjuna! when all Yadavas were killed , Sri Krishna brought back the entire womenfolk and children to Dwaraka.” said Vasudeva. .
Unable to control his anxiety, Arjuna asked: “O Vasudeva! where is Krishna. I want to see him atonce.” asked Arjuna.
“Yes. After bringing back the women folk, Krishna met me and informed me what had happened on the sea shore and about the killings of Yadavas. Krishna also told me:
“O beloved father! I sent Daruka to Hastina to bring Arjuna. They might be coming to Dwaraka. Arjuna is your devotee. He follows your instructions. Arjuna is capable of doing anything. With the help of Arjuna, you lookafter the welfare of womenfolk and children in Dwaraka. Somedays later, there will be a sudden surge in seawaters and the entire Dwaraka will be inundated and drowned in the sea. At present Balarama is in Yoga Samadhi. I also go and join him. Kindly permit me.”
And after taking permission from me, Krishna went to meet Balarama. Now you have come to see me. I do not know any more about Krishna. O Arjuna! When all my relations, sons, grand sons fought with each other and died without any reason, how can I withstand this grief, Kindly tell me. I am unable to take food or even water. My soul is unable to leave this body. What can I do. I cannot help it. You have to protect Dwaraka and womenfolk, children and other forces. Krishna put this burden on your shouldlers.” said Vasudeva.
Arjuna decided not to stay in Dwaraka without Krishna. Hence Arjuna told Vasudeva: “O great Vasudeva! Emperor Dharmaja has already taken a decision in this regard. As per that decision, all the women in inner apartments, Yadava ladies, children, aged and disabled will be moved to Hastinapura. They live in Hastina happily. Kindly accept this offer as everything is destined by God.” said Arjuna.
Beholding Daruka, Arjuna said: “O Daruka! Let us give instructions to the people of Dwaraka. Kindly gather all of them at the main assembly hall.” said Arjuna.
Daruka got assembled all ministers, brahmins, kshatriyas, Vysyas and Sudras, prominent personalities, in Sudharma Hall. Arjuna addressed them thus:
“From today on wards, on seventh day, City of Dwarka will be washed away by sea. We have heard this message from sky. Hence we have to leave Dwaraka within seven days. Let us all proceed to Indraprastha. You can live happily there. Therefore make all arrangements for your journey to Indra prastha with all your belongings. Pack all necessary materials into bundles. Arrange carts, chariots, palanquins for ladies, children and aged. You have to leave Dwaraka immediately, a day in advance..” said Arjuna.
Then Arjuna conducted separate meeting with all ministers. “Kindly make arrangements for the journey. Carts and chariots driven by horses shall be made ready. Chalk out a plan to carry the belongings of all the people of Dwaraka and how to reach Indraprasha. Arrange carts, chariots and palanquins to womenfolk, children and aged. Do everything patiently. Dont lose your temper. Even if you lament, your own kith and kin will never come back alive. You will live happily in Indra prastha under the rule of Dharmaja. Vajradeva, grand son of Sri Krishna will be made the King of Indraprashta. You need not worry about this.” said Arjuna.
By that time, it was sunset. All of them spent that night in meditation and bhajans. Next day morning, Arjuna heard a very bad news that Vasudeva left this mortal body and attained heaven. All the womenfolk in inner apartments were crying aloud for the death of Vasudeva. Arjuna made arrangements for the last rituals of Vasudeva. All the wives of Vasudeva were made ready to follow Vasudeva to heaven by observing Sati. The body of Vasudeva was bathed in rose water and decorated with silk clothes, gold ornaments and flower garlands. The dead body was taken to the burial ground in a procession. His wives Devaki, Rohini, Bhadra and Madira followed the dead body to burial ground. The entire Dwaraka followed the dead body, deeply mourning for the death of their King. The cremation was held in the private garden of Vasudeva, at the outskirts of Dwaraka.
The pyre was prepared with sandal wood logs. The body of Vasudeva was kept on the pyre, while priests were chanting Veda Mantras. The four wives of Vasudeva also sat by his side on the pyre. The pyre was lit with fire. Ghee was pourn to blaze the flames. The five bodies were consinged to flames. Vajra and others offered Tarpanas to Vasudeva. All have returned back to Dwaraka.
Then Arjuna had taken the priests to the seashore where Yadavas fought and died. The relatives of those who died in the fight also arrived there. They identified the dead bodies and were crying aloud for their tragic death. Arjuna consoled them. Then Arjuna performed the last rituals to all those dead bodies as per Veda hymns. All relatives offered Tarpanas to the departed souls. The obsequies were held in collective manner.
Arjuna was very eager to see Sri Krishna. After entrusting the supervision of travel arrangements to Ministers, Arjuna went into forest in search of Krishna. Arjuna was madly searching for Sri Krishna in the forest. One day, a hunter lead them to the place where the body of Sri Krishna was lying. Beholding the mortal body of Sri Krishna, Arjuna fell down with great grief. Arjuna hugged the body of Sri Krishna and began to cry loudly. Arjuna lost all his courage and crying like a child.
The priests who followed Arjuna told him to take the body of Krishna to Dwaraka or to bring the women folk to the forest area. Arjuna controlled his grief and thought for a while. He counted the days spent in search of Krishna. It was sunset at that time. Arjuna realised that by next day morning, Dwaraka will be washed away. So Dwaraka shall be vacated by next day morning. Then he addressed his followers thus: “Listen carefully! By tomorrow morning, entire Dwaraka will be inundated into the sea. We have to go back to Dwaraka by tonight. Dont reveal about the death of Sri Krishna to anybody. We have to make arrangements to leave Dwaraka by tomorrow Sunrise.Otherwise, there will be heavy loss of life and properties. Therefore, we have to perform the last rituals to Sri Krishna now and here only.” said Arjuna.
Accordingly, Arjuna cremated the mortal body of Sri Krishna in the deep forest. Then they went in search of Balarama and found the dead body of Balarama. Arjuna cremated the dead body of Balarama also in the forest. Arjuna did not even find time to cry aloud for the death of Balarama and Sri Krishna. Then, Arjuna returned back to Dwaraka. On the way Arjuna told Dwaraka: “O Daruka! I believe what I did is correct. Otherwise, we cannot control the grief of Rukmini, Satyabhama and other wives of Sri Krishna. If I am engaged in consoling them, meanwhile entire Dwaraka will be inundated. The entire world will accuse me for not saving Dwaraka. Hence I took such a decision to cremate the dead bodies of Sri Krishna and Balarama in the forest itself.” said Arjuna.
By early morning, they reached Dwaraka. By that time, all arrangements were made to leave Dwaraka. Rukmini, Satyabhama and other wives of Sri Krishna, inner apartment ladies, people of Dwaraka, were ready to leave Dwaraka on chariots, carts, palanquins etc. Arjuna gave a green signal. All started and left Dwaraka. After they left Dwaraka, there was sunrise. By sunrise, the tides of sea rose to the sky and fell upon Dwaraka. To the sight of the people of Dwaraka, the city of Dwaraka washed away and dragged into the sea. Arjuna and others witnessed that incident. With tearful eyes, they all proceeded towards Indraprastha.
On the way, that night, they stayed at a plain place. On that night, some bandits, large in number, plundered them. All gold ornaments were taken away by the thieves. Arjuna tried his level best to attack those bandits. Surprisingly, none of his Astras and Sastras did not work out. His ordinary arrows could not control the bandits. As a result, all were looted during that night and they remained with mere wearing apparel.
At last, they all arrived at Kurushetra. People from Hastina already arrived there and made arrangements for food and shelter to the people of Dwaraka. Arjuna made arrangements for the mother and son of Kritavarma at Mrittikavata city. Arjuna enthroned the son of Kritavarma as King of Mrittikavata. Arjuna enthroned the son of Sakyaki as the King of Sarasvathi city.
Arjuna took along with him the remaining people to Indraprashta. Vajra, grand son of Sri Krishna was enthroned as King of Indraprastha. Akroora along with his wife and children was kept under the protection of Vajra. Only the eight queens of Krishna, wives of Balarama and their personal servants, remained with Arjuna. Arjuna was thinking how to reveal the information about the death of Balarama and Sri Krishna to them.
One day he controlled his mind and told them about his search for Krishna, and about the information given by hunter and then kept quiet with sorrowful face. The womenfolk realised that Sri Krishna and Balarama left this world. They all began to cry aloud with great grief.
After some time, Arjuna continued to say: “O revered ladies! while searching for Sri Krishna, I have forgotten about the fate of Dwaraka. I counted the days and realised that next day Dwaraka will be drowned into sea. If I inform all of you about the death of Sri Krishna and Balarama, time will be spent in lamenting and making arrangements for last rituals, by which time all of us along with Dwaraka will be drowned. Hence I took a decision to cremate the dead bodies in the forest itself and to proceed to Dwaraka. In that manner, I could save the life and property of the people of Dwaraka. I have taken that decision only to save all of you. But I feel guilty in my mind about what I have done. I was helpless at that time. Afer realising the above, kindly pardon me and see that no sin is afflicted to me.” said Arjuna with folded hands.
“O Arjuna! when destiny was such, what can you do. You have not done anything, for your benefit or wantonly. Hence you are not at all at fault.” said Rukmini and others.
Rukmini and Jambavati decided to observe Sati. A pyre was prepared and Rukmini and Jambavati were brought in a procession. They both jumped into fire and were consigned to flames. Satya Bhama and others went to forests for meditation.
Arjuna went to Saint Vyasa and informed him what had happened. “O Saint Vyasa! all yadavas fought with each other and died. Sri Krishna and Balarama left their mortal bodies and returned back to their original abodes. Dwaraka was inundated into sea. I brought all the people of Dwaraka. On the way, some bandits plundered us. At that time, none of my Astras and Sastras worked out. I could not even attack those thieves. I enthroned the sons of Kritavarma and Satyaki. Kindly direct me about our future.” prayed Arjuna.
“O Arjuna! the words of Durvasa, curse given by saints and curse given by Gandhari to Krishna had cumulative effect. Krishna knows about the destruction of yadava community. Hence he remained silent. Even while you were fighting in Maha Bharata war, Sri Krishna was sitting in front of you and with the help of Rudra, he killed all your enemies. But you thought that your enemies were killed as a result of your Astras and Sastras. Because, Krishna was not by your side, you could not even attack ordinary thieves. Sri Krishna was incarnated only to eradicate evil from this world. After accomplishing his task, Krishna returned back to his original abode. Having heard Geeta from Krishna, you need not worry for his departure. Gandiva, your Astras, Sastras, were meant only to eradicate evil from this world. After that task was over, they became ineffective. You have to realise that either any powerful astra or sastra, and whatever be your manual effort, they will shine only with the influence of God and none else. You are aware of all these things. Time has come for all pandavas to leave their mortal bodies and attain heavenly pleasures. Therefore, make arrangements for your Maha Prasthana.” said Vyasa.
The mind of Arjuna was completely freed from sorrow, passion and desires. His mind was filled with eternal happiness. Arjuna returned back to Hastina. Arjuna informed Dharmaja and other brothers about the preachings of Vyasa.” said Saint Vaisampayana to Janamejaya, the story of Mahabharata.