(WRITTEN BY TIKKANA SOMAYAJI)
Saint Vaisampaayana continued to tell Janamejaya the story of Mahabharata.
While Susharma, along with his army, caputured the cows of Virata and while Virata was fighting with Susharma on southern side, Suyodhana along with Bheeshma, Drona, Krupaacaarya, Asvathaama, accompanied by Karna, and Dussasana, invaded the dominions of Virata and captured the cows. They have driven away the cowherds and the army guarding the cows, and forcibly took away the cows.
The chief of the cowherds and the chief of the army stationed there greatly frightened, speedily proceeded to the City of Virata. And beholding the proud son of Matsya, named Bhuminjaya,(also called Uttara Kumara) he told him everything about the seizure of the royal kine.
And he said, " O Prince, the Kauravas are taking away sixty thousand kine. Rise, therefore, for brining back thy cattle. Indeed, you are alone in the empty city. The king (your father) boast of you before others, saying, 'My son, equal unto me, is a hero and is the supporter of the glory of my race. My son is a warrior skilled in arrows and weapons and is always possessed of great courage.'-- let the words of that your father be true! Even like Arjuna, you are , without doubt, the refuge of those dwelling within these dominions. Indeed, we, the subjects of this realm, have our protector in you. Therefore, bring back the cows after vanquishing the Kurus" said the Chief of cowherd.
Thus addressed by the chief of cowherd in the presence of the females, the prince indulging in self-commendation within the female apartments, Uttara said,
"Firm as I am in the use of the bow, I would set out this very day in the track of the cows if only some one skilled in the driving of horses becomes my charioteer. I do not, however, know the man who may be my charioteer. I will bring back the kine this very moment, affrighting in battle Duryodhana and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa and Drona with his son, and other mighty bowmen assembled for fight. I do not, however, know the man who may be my charioteer. My own charioteer was killed in the great battle. I will immediately penetrate into the midst of the Kourava army, and will bring back the cows, having vanquished the Kurus who are feeble in strength and weak in weapons. The assembled Kurus shall witness my prowess today. And they shall say one another, 'Is it Arjuna himself who is opposing us?'
Look therefore, without delay, for a charioteer for me."said Uttara boasting high of himself.
Sairandhri (Droupadi) on hearing these words of UttaraKumara, comparing himself with Arjuna, smiled for herself. Immediately she approached Brihannala and told him what had happened.
Arjuna having calculated carefully the period they had spent in forests and in disguise, found that the thirteen years period was completed on the previous day itself and decided that that was the proper time to expose themselves in their true forms.
Arjuna said: "Do you, at my request, say to Uttara without delay, " Brihannala was formerly the accomplished charioteer of Arjuna. He will be your charioteer. It was by him that the reins were held of Arjuna's excellent horses when Agni consumed the forest of Khandava. In fact, there is no charioteer equal unto him." You should see that I should be the charioteer for UttaraKumara." said Brihannala.
Accordingly, Sairandhri approached Princess Uttara and said:
"It appears that your brother is in search of a charioteer. Your teacher, Brihannala got excellent experience in driving chariot. He was the charioteer for Arjuna while Khandava forest was consumed by Agni. Kindly tell Uttara Kumara about this" requested Sairandhri.
Without delay, Uttara approached her brother Uttara Kumara and told him about Brihannala. Uttara Kumara laughed loudly.
"O Sairandhri, why you are heckling me like this. I never inclined even to look at the face of Brihannala. How can I accept him as my charioteer in the battle with kouravas. All will laugh at me if Brihannala drives my chariot. Oh! what is this. Is there such a draught in our realm for charioteers" exclaimed Uttara Kumara.
Then Sairandhri said, "Brihannala, will without doubt obey the words of Uttara, your younger sister. If he consents to be your charioteer, you will, without doubt, return, having vanquished the Kurus and rescued your cows. For some reason orother, he may be moving here in this netural sex. That does not mean that he lost his vigour and valour' said Sairandhri.
Uttara Kumara spoke unto his sister, 'Go yourself, and bring Brihannala here?'
Uttara hastily went to the dancing-hall where Brihannala was staying in disguise and bowed before Brihannala."
Brihannala blessed Uttara and asked her "What brings you here? Why are you in such a hurry. Tell me" asked Brihannala.
"The cows of this realm are being driven away by the Kurus and it is to conquer them, my brother, Uttara Kumara, is ready to attack them but his charioteer was dead in a battle and there is none equal to that charioteer that can act as my brother's charioteer. Sairandhri said that you are a skilled charioteer and you were formerly the favourite charioteer of Arjuna and it was with you Arjuna had alone subjugated the whole earth. Do you therefore act as the charioteer of my brother. By this time our cows have surely been driven away by the Kurus to a long distance. I am asking this favour out of affection. If you donot accept my words, I will give up my life." said Uttara.
Brihannala smiled at her and said "I doubt I had such a skil in charioteering. Any how, as you are requesting, I will come. Let us go" said Brihannala and followed Uttara to the presence of Prince Uttara Kumara.
Beholding Arjuna from a distance, Uttara Kumara said "O Brihannala! I heard that with you as a charioteer, Dhananjaya had gratified Agni at Khandava forest and subjugated the whole world. Sairandhri spoke about you. Do you, therefore, act as my charioteer, in rescuing our cows." asked Uttara Kumara. Arjuna obediently replied "What ability I have to act as a charioteer in the field of battle? If it is song or dance of musical instruments or such otherthings, I can entertain you but where is my skill for becoming a charioteer" said Brihannala.
"Brihannala! I heard much about you. Without loss of time, take the reins of my excellent horses and be my charioteer. Be ready for the war" ordered Uttara Kumara.
Pretending as if he was unwilling, Brihannala accepted his offer. Although Arjuna was acquainted with everything, he made many mistakes for the sake of fun. He put the coat of mail on his body by raising it upwards, the maidens burst into laughter. Uttara Kumara himself equipped Brihannala with a costly coat of mail.
Brihannala hoisted the lion flag. He set out necessary
bows and arrows, swords etc necesaary for the battle.
"O Princecess Uttara! Uttara Kumara will vanquish
those mighty warriors in battle and will certainly bring excellent and
beautiful clothes for your dolls" said Brihannala.
On hearing these words of Prince Uttara Kumara, Brihannala drove the chariot with great speed and sighted the army of the powerful Kurus.
On looking at that mighty army, abounding in elephants,
horses and chariots, protected by Karna and Duryodhana and Kripa and
Bheeshma, with Drona and Asvatthaama, Prince Uttara Kumara agitated
with fear spoke to Brihannala.
"Why do you look so pale through fear and enhance the joy of our enemies. How can I drive the chariot into the mighty Kuru army. Let us rescue the cows first. Having, at the time of setting out, talked before both men and women so highly of your manliness, why would you desist from the fight? If you should return home without recapturing the cows, even women, will laugh at you." said Brihannala.
"My father has gone out to meet the Trigartas,
taking with him his whole army, leaving me in the empty city. There
are no troops to assist me. Alone and a mere boy who has not undergone
much exercise in arms, I am unable to encounter these innumerable warriors
and all skilled in weapons. Do you, therefore, O Brihannala, cease to
advance!'" said Prince Uttara Kumara.
"Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas off all their wealth. Let men and women, O Brihannala, laugh at me. Let my cows perish, let the city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is no need of battle." said Uttara Kumara shivering with fear.
Saying this, that much frightened prince jumped down from his chariot, and throwing down his bow and arrows began to flee.
Brihannala, coming down from that excellent chariot, ran after that prince thus running away, his own long braid and pure red garments fluttering in the air. And some soldiers, not knowing that it was Arjuna who was thus running with his braid fluttering in the air, burst out into laughter at the sight.
Brihannala caught the Prince Uttara Kumaara. "Brihannala! please leave me. I will give you gold coins and gold chariots and elephants. My mother will be waiting for me I have to go. Please leave me" said Uttara Kumara.
"O Prince! if you are unable to fight with Kurus, be my chariot driver. I will fight with Kurus and rescue the cattle." said Brihannala.
So saying, Brihannala brought Uttara Kumara to the
chariot and drove the chariot to the Sami Tree where they concealed
all their arms, bows and arrows.
"Stay with vigilance, Protect your own selves and array the troops in order of battle. Stand firm, expecting a terrible slaughter, and guard the cattle" Drona cautioned the army.
Drona looked at Bhishma and said "He appears to be so proud We have to find out who he is"
Bheeshma told Suyodhana, to the hearing of Drona.
"Suyodhana! we have crossed the intricate point which is favourable to our enemies. Now it is the time to show our prowess. We need not worry about our enemies".
Drona understood the inner meaning of those words.
(The inner meaning may be like this:
"We have crossed the intricate point which is favourable to our enemies" means "Pandavas successfully completed the 13 years period which is favourable to Suyodhana",
(2) "Now it is the time to show our prowess." means "It is time to come out in their true forms as Pandavas",
(3) "We need not worry about our enemies" means "Even if they come out, Suyodhana cannot do anything as they have successfully completed the Aranya and Ajnaatavaasa."
And Duryodhana said:"If this is Arjuna, O Radheya, then my purpose has already been fulfilled, for, if traced out, the Pandavas shall have to wander for twelve years again in forests. Or, if this one be any other person in a eunuch's garb, I will soon conquer him."
On hearing these words of Suyodhana, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona's son all applauded his manliness!'"
Arjuna drove the chariot to the Sami Tree and stopped there.
"Prince Uttara Kumara! these bows are unable to bear my strength. In this tree are tied the bows and arrows and banners and excellent coats of mail of the heroic sons of Pandu, viz., Yudhishthira and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins. There also is that bow of great energy, the Gandiva of Arjuna, which singly is equal to many thousands of other bows. Climb this tree and bring Gandeeva.
Uttara Kumara said, 'It appears to be a corpse tied
in this tree. How can I, being a prince by birth, touch it with my hands?
Having satisfied with the words of Brihanala, Uttara Kumara climbed up the tree and untied the corpse like bundle. All the arms appear to UTTara Kumara as great serpants. Uttara Kumara shivered with fear.
"O Brihannala! here are serpants not bows and arrows" cried Uttara Kumara.
Brihannala said "Dont worry! they will appear to others like that." and prayed them to appear in their original form.
Now Uttara Kumara could see Gaandeevam.
"O Brihannala! here is a big bow like a big serpant. Who will use it?" asked Uttara Kumara with great surprise.
"That is Gaandeevam. Arjuna will use it. With the power of Gandeevam, Arjuna could conquer all Devatas and Danavas.
In the past, Shiva held it first for a thousand years. Afterwards Prajapati held it for five hundred and three years. After that Sakra, for five and eighty years. And then Soma held it for five hundred years. And after that Varuna held it for a hundred years. Partha obtained this beautiful bow from Varuna. And finally Partha that is myself, will hold it for five and sixty years." said Arjuna.
Arjuna also explained Uttara Kumara about other weapons, bows and arrows held by other Pandavas. Uttarakumara entertained a doubt.
"Brihannalaa! where are that Arjuna, and Yudhishthira,and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons of Pandu? Having lost their kingdom at dice, Pandavas are no longer heard of. Where also is Draupadi, who followed the sons of Pandu after their defeat at dice to the forest? After keeping their weapons on this tree, where have they gone?. They are my relatives. If you know, kindly tell me" asked Uttara Kumara.
"You need not worry about them, said Arjuna. "I am Arjuna, called also Partha. Your father's courtier is Yudhishthira and your father's cook Vallava is Bhimasena, the groom of horses is Nakula, and Sahadeva is spending time as cowherd. Sairindhri is Draupadi, for whose sake the Kichakas have been killed." said Arjuna.
Uttara Kumara was very much astonished. Still small doubt was lingering in his mind.
"Brihannalaa! I would believe all this if you can enumerate the ten names of Arjuna, previously heard by me!" asked Uttara Kumara.
Arjuna said, 'I will, O son of Virata, tell you my ten names. Listen and compare them with what you have heard before.
They are Arjuna, Falguna,Partha, Jishnu, Kiriti, Swetavahana, Bibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachi and Dhananjaya.These are my ten names." said Arjuna.
Still the clouds of doubt did not vanish in his mind.
"I have heard before about the origin of the ten names of that hero, and I can put faith in you words if you can tell me all about them." asked Uttara Kumara.
"Arjuna said thus:
They called me Vijaya because when I go out to battle with invincible kings, I never return without vanquishing them.
I am called Swetavahana because when battling with the foe, white horses are always yoked to my chariot.
They call me Falguna because I was born on the Uttara Falguni star.
I am named Kiriti, for a Crown having been placed of on my head by Indra during my encounter with the powerful Danavas.
I am known as Bibhatsu for my never having committed
a detestable deed on the battle-field.
All the Devatas gave me this Conch. Hence it is called
"Uttara Kumara! I will fight with Kuru army.
Let your fearsbe dispelled" said Arjuna.
"I am observing this vow for one year agreeable
to the command of my elder brother, Yudhishtira. I am not one of the
neuter sex. When I visited Indra lOka, I refused to have sexual contact
with Urvasi and she cursed me to be of neuter sex. Devendra blessed
me that it will be useful during the period of our disguise. Hence I
am acting as Brihannala" said Arjuna.
"Uttara Kumara! It is already late. Take our chariot around this Sami Tree and proceed towards the Kuru Army." said Arjuna.
Accordingly, Uttara Kumara drove the chariot around the Sami Tree and proceeded further.
On hearing the sound twang of Gaandeeva, and Devadattam,
the horses tied to the chariot dropped down on the ground on their knees.
Uttara Kumara also was greatly frightened, sat down on the chariot.
He embraced Uttara Kumara and encouraged him "Fearnot! Kumara! you might have heard many sounds of conches. Why are you so frightened on hearing the sound of my conch. You are a warrior, not an ordinary person" spoke Arjuna.
"O Arjuna! I heard many sounds of conches. But never before I heard such a thunderous sound. Nor have I heard also the twang of a bow such as Gaandeevam. With the sound of this conch, the twang of this bow and the cries of the creatures around the banner—Kapi Dhvaja, my mind is greatly disturbed I am very much confused. My ears also have been deafened with the sound of Gaandeeva." said Uttara Kumara.
Arjuna smiled at Uttara Kumara and again blew the conch.
On hearing the terrible sound of Devadattam, Drona said:
"Look at that chariot. Hear that sound of conch! Is it not Devadatta? Hear the sound of that bow. Is it not Gaandeeva? Look at that crown. Is it not the one given to Arjuna by Indra. This warrior can be none else than Arjuna. Move quickly. Let us attack Arjuna" and looking at Krupacharya and Asvathaama, Drona said:
"First King Suyodhana will proceed first with part of army. Then we will send the cows with some army. At the back, we will move. If at all Arjuna comes, we will fight with him." said Drona.
On hearing these words of Acharya Drona, Suyodhana said:
" Even this was the pledge of the sons Pandavas that if defeated at the dice game, they would reside to our knowledge in woods for twelve years, and one more year unknown to us. That thirteenth year, instead of being over, is yet running. Arjuna, who is still to live undiscovered, has appeared before us. And if Arjuna has come before the term of exile is at end, the Pandavas shall have to pass another twelve years in the woods. Whether it is due to forgetfulness (on their part) induced by desire , or whether it is a mistake of ours, it is for Bhishma to calculate the shortness or excess of the promised period.
As regards ourselves, we have come here to fight with
the Matsyas and to seize their cows stationed towards the north. If,in
he meanwhile, if Arjuna comes, we will fight with him.
At present there is nothing better than fighting. Therefore, make up your minds. If, for the cattle we have seized, an encounter takes place with the Indra or even with Yama, we will fight.
How can a single Arjuna can fight with the vast Kuru
army? Why Drona should praise Arjuna beore me? It is not good and proper
on his part to praise Arjuna like a Vandi. Any how, Dronacharya will
be supervising the warfare from a distance. Let us not consult him about
On hearing these words, Asvathaama, son of Drona grew
Karna gave a retart to the words of Krupacharya. "Knowing
fully well that you have got partisan attitude towards Pandavas, Suyodhana
innocently invited you for the war. Children, relatives will always
be ready to enjoy the royal plealsures. Please go back to your residence
and enjoy the plealsures. Unnecessarily you are invited for the battle.
If I take the bow to my hand, the entire universe will shiver. Afterall,
Arjuna is nothing before me" said Karna.
Then Drona addressed the other warriors:
Uttara kumara was driving the chariot with great speed. Arjuna blowing his conch Devadattam reached the Kuru army.
"Look at the army Uttara Kumara! Part of the army is proceeding in front. Another part is proceeding behind. We should know where Suyodhana is? Take our chariot to the left side of the army. If we are able to catch Suyodhana, the entire Kuru army will shatter. Our task will become easier. We will return to city with our cows. Otherwise, let us go to the place where cows are stationed. If we recover our cows, Suyodhana will come there to capture them again." said Arjuna.
Uttara Kumara drove the chariot to the left side of the army. Arjuna glanced at the entire kuru army. "Kumara! Suyodhana is not here. It is unnecessary to fight with them. Let us go towards the cows." said Arjuna. Accordingly, Uttara Kumara drove the chariot towards the cowss.
Arjuna shot two shafts each to Bheeshma, Drona and Krupacharya, falling at their feet, saluting them with the arrows.
Bheeshma, Drona and Krupacharya were very much pleased for his respect and devotion towards elders and Gurus.
Bheeshma told Drona "Acharya! Arjuna, having seen us, is proceeding further without fighting with us. It is evident that he is searching for Suyodhana. Suyodhana cannot alone fight with Arjuna. If Arjuna enters in between Suyodhana and us, it is highly dangerous. King is in danger. Let us save him." so saying Bheeshma drove the army towards Suyodhana. Meanwhile, Arjuna reached the cattle.
"Uttara Kumara! now I will attack the army guarding
the cattle. Suyodhana will certainly come to their rescue. Drive our
chariot eastwards" said Arjuna.
The entire Kuru army surrounded Arjuna.
MAHA BHARAT – VIRATA PARVA