At Hastinaapura, Suyodhana came to know that all Pandavas were alive; the brahmin youth who hit Matsya yantra was none other than Arjuna; all the five Pandavas married Droupadi and all are living happily in Drupada Pura. His heart was burning with jealousy because the Pandavas were alive and were living happily with their wife.Vidura who came to know about the welfare of Pandavas conveyed this happy news to Dhrutarashtra. Dhrutarashtra also felt very happy because with the marriage of Draupadi with Pandavas, they got valuable friendship with Drupada who was a powerful king.
One day, Suyodhana along with Karna approached Dhrutarashtra at a time when Vidura was not there. Suyodhana told his father, Dhrutarashtra--- “My beloved father, Pandavas are alive. Knowing fully well that Vidura is always the well-wisher of Pandavas, you always attach much importance to his words and advices. It is our misfortune” said Suyodhana.
“My beloved son, Suyodhana, though I always pretend that I am in favour of Pandavas, I never reveal the same before Vidura. But one thing you should remember. Pandavas are having muscle power as well as divine power. You cannot cause any harm to them.” said Dhrutarashtra. “Its ok father. They are now living in Drupadapura in their father-in-law’s house. King Drupada is in their favour and protecting them. Because of Sri Krishna and Balarama, the Yadava Kings, Vrushni, Bhoja, Andhaka Kings are also in favour of Pandavas. As you said, they are more powerful than before.
Our immediate aim is to separate them
from Drupada and make them helpless. This is one method. The second one
is, we have to create differences between the sons of Kunti and sons of
Madri and foment ill feelings between them and separate them. The third
one is to turn Pandavas as womanizers by sending beautiful, young, lustful
ladies to Pandavas and create differences between Pandavas and Droupadi.
Last but not least is again attempting to kill Bheema by hook or crook
by which Pandavas will become weak and helpless. Find out the correct
path and execute it” said Suyodhana to his father.
Karna did not agree for any of these methods.
“Suyodhana, why should King Drupada leave the well-mannered, virtuous
and valiant warriors like Pandavas who are no other than his sons-in-law.
This is impossible. Besides that, all Pandavas always follow one word
and do one deed. They will never trangress the word of Dharmaja. Therefore,
no one can create differences between them. Droupadi, is a virtuous lady,
born from the sacred fire, married all the five Pandavas out of her own
volition. Why should she discard them for simple reason of womanisation.
Lastly, you have been trying to do away with Bheema since his childhood.
All your attempts to kill him were foiled and became futile. Now how can
you kill him at this age? Therefore all your ideas are of no use for the
present. The only alternative left is to wage a war against King Drupada,
defeat him, and separate Pandavas from Drupada and bring them back to
Hastinapura.” said Karna with firm voice.
Dhrutarastra heard all this conversation with patience. “let us discuss with elders like Bheeshma and take a final decision tomorrow” said Dhrutarashtra. Next day, Dhrutarashtra convened a high level meeting with Bheeshma, Drona, Vidura and other well wishers and solicited their opinion about Pandavas.At the outset, Bheeshma expressed his opinion. “Suyodhana, I do not have any difference of opinion either with regard to you or with Pandavas. All are equal for me. But I never agree to wage a war against King Drupada and Pandavas. Pandavas are legal heirs for this Kuru kingdom.Therefore, it is just and proper to divide the Kingdom and give them their due half share. It is also the prevailing dharma. Follow Dharma and acquire eternal fame as the Crescent King and Emperor of Kuru Dyansty” said Bheeshma.
Their Guru Drona also expressed the same opinion “Suyodhana, follow the valuable opinion of your Grandparents. Don't think about war. It is always disastrous. Send your brothers to King Drupada and offer him many presents and gifts. With his permission, bring Pandavas to Hastinapura and live happily.”said Drona. Karna grew angry. “My friend Suyodhana, these are all cowards. They are trying to deceive you and do injustice to you and grab your wealth and fame. Don't believe their words.” said Karna. “What? Are we deceiving the King, as if you are the only wellwisher. With your advent only, the peace and prosperity of Kuru Dynasty began deteriorating day by day.” retarted Drona.
Vidura intervened and pacified Drona and told Duryodhana-- “Suyodhana, Bheeshma and Drona are elders and well wishers of this kingdom. You have to follow their valuable advise. Besides that, Pandavas themselves are unconquerable. Now they acquired the political support of King Drupada, and Yadava King Sri Krishna, Satyaki and other Yadava kingdoms. Now it is highly difficult to conquer them in a proclaimed war. Inspite of Purochana setting fire to their house, they escaped the fire accident. Vanish the bad name got through Purochana.Invite Pandavas and offer their share in the Kingdom to which they are legally entitled. It will be the only better solution for the present.” said Vidura.
Dhrutarashtra left with no other alternative but to accept the advise of Bheeshma, Drona and Vidura. Immediately, Dhrutarashtra sent Vidura with innumerable invaluable presents and gifts to King Drupada to bring back Pandavas to Hastinapura. By that time, Sri Krishna was with Pandavas. Vidura offered many presents to Drupada. In the presence of all, Vidura said:“King Drupada, Our King Dhrutarashtra, the Eldest of all-- Bheeshma, guru Drona and Krupaacarya and me also are very happy to have your friendship and relationship by performing the marriage of Pandavas with your Daughter, Droupadi. Our blessings are always with them. King Dhrutarashtra is feeling very much for not having Pandavas and Kunti and his daughter-in-law Droupadi, among them, in his capital, on this happy occasion. All are eagerly waiting to see them as early as possible. Hence I seek your kind permission to send Pandavas and Droupadi to Hastinapura. I have come here only for that purpose. It will be a great pleasure for me if you send them along with me to Hastinapura” requested Vidura.
“Vidura, you have come here at
the instance of King Dhrutarashtra. I know that Bheeshma, Drona, Sri krishna
are always the well wishers of Pandavas.Whatever you do, it will always
be for the welfare of Pandavas” said Drupada. Sri Krishna immediately
clarified “King Drupada, Vidura is always the well wisher of Pandavas.
There is no doubt about it. Let us not think more than that. Pandavas
will get what they want.” said Sri Krishna. Dharmaja paid heed to
all their words. With folded hands he replied to Vidura. “Bheeshma,
Drona, yourself are elders and are also my well wishers always. Sri Krishna
is our friend, phisosopher and guide. Your words are always acceptable
and adaptable for me and my brothers. We will follow them with utmost
respect and devotion” said Dharmaja.
Dharmaja decided to go Hastinapura. After
taking permission from King Drupada, Dharmaja, with his four brothers,
their wife Droupadi, mother Kunti followed Vidura to Hastinapura. Vikarna,
Citrasena, Drona and Krupaacharya welcomed Pandavas at the outskirts of
Hastinapura and brought them to the palace with due honours. The citizens
of Hastinapura, standing on either of the main street and praised Pandavas.
“Pandavas have divine power and physical valour. Therefore, they
could overcome all the hurdles and obstacles and returned to Hastinapura.
We always wish that Dharmaja should stay in Hastinapura and rule this
kingdom, allowing dharma to walk on four feet.” so saying the citizens
of Hastinapuram extended warm welcome to Pandavas.
Receiving their warm welcome, Pandavas and Droupati entered the palace. They bowed before their Grandfather, Bheeshma, paternal uncle Dhrutarashtra, paternal aunt Gaandhari. They greeted Suyodhana and other brothers. All the brothers were moving like friends as before and spent their time happily for a period of five years. One day, Dhrutarashtra assembled Bheeshma, Drona, Vidura and Sri Krishna, Suyodhana and their brothers.
In the presence of all Dhrutarashtra told Dharmaja-- “You are the sons of my brother King Pandu. My brother served me with great devotion. Hence I wanted to give you your due share in the Kingdom. You are entitled to half of the kingdom.You make Khandavaprastha as your Capital and rule half of this kingdom to the praise of one and all.”. Bheeshma and Drona also gladly agreed for the same. Dharmaja along with his brothers, their wife, mother Kunti proceeded to Khandavaprastha. Sri Krishna called Indra and asked him to construct one Capital City for Pandavas. Devendra entrusted the work to one Mayaa, who was an Architect for Devatas. The Divine Architect constructed one beautiful posh city called Indraprastha. Dharma Raja, with the permission of Saint Vyasa and Lord Sri Krishna entered the new capital, Indraprastha, accompanied by his brothers and their wife Droupati.
He was ruling the half share of Kourava Kingdom from Indraprastha. During his rule, all the people were feeling happy. After Dharmaja was enthroned as the King of Indraprastha, later, Sri Krishna left for Dwaraka. One day, Saint Narada, visited King Dharmaja. Dharmaja invited him, offered Arghyam and paadyam with great devotion and worshipped his feet. “Saint Narada, with the virtuous deeds of our previous births, we could have your presence in our city. We and our citizens are blessed.” said Dharmaja. Saint Narada took the five pandavas to a lonely place and told them “You know each and every dharma. I need not tell you any more. As against the prevailing custom and pracrtice, you five married one lady. In view of this, differences may arise between you. Previously, for the sake of one beautiful lady, two brothers called Sundu and Upasundu, fought with each other and died. I will tell you their story.
One Nikumbha got two sons. They are Sundu and Upasundu. They both worshipped Brahma with great devotion. Brahma appeared and asked them what they want. They asked Brahma that they should be given enormous powers like travelling any where and everywhere, to have any shape, form and physique as they like, they should not have death at the hands of others, or, for that matter, they should not have death at all. Brahma agreed for all their wants, except the last one, and said “Death is imminent for all. You cannot escape it. The rest you can have” said Brahma. With those enormous powers given by Brahma, they began to tease each and everybody, including Brahmins, sages, saints, Devatas etc.
Unable to bear this torture, all the sages and saints went to Brahma and sought for redress from Sundu and Upasundu. Brahma thought for a while. He got an idea. What all they want was not to be killed by others. So, they can be killed by each other. He called Visvakarma and directed him to create one beautiful lady, which beauty shall be second to none. Accordingly, Visvakarma created one beautiful lady called Tilottama with divine beauty. She bowed before Brahma and sought his blessings. Brahma told her “There are two brothers, Sundu and Upasundu who are creating havoc both on earth and heaven.You instigate them to develop lust and passion on you; create differences between them on account of you and made them to fight with each other and die one at the hands of another.” said Brahma. Tilottama agreed for that. She went round Brahma to have a pradakshan. Brahma also was admired by the beauty of Tilottama. His head moved along with Tilottama on four sides. Since then, Brahma had four heads on four sides and was called as Chaturmukha Brahma.
Mahendra was not satisfied with his two eyes. He made his total body with eyes and swallowed her beauty. Since then, he was called Sahasraaksha. Then Tilottama proceeded to the place where Sundu and Upasundu were staying. On seeing Tilottama they lost their senses. They became slaves to her beauty. Each of them wanted her to be of his own. Sundu and Upasundu caught her hands and were dragging her on either side requesting her to tell “whom do you love? Its me. Is it not?” Tilottama smiled at them and said. “You both are equally beaituful, strong and vigorous Therefore, First of all you decide among yourselves, whom I have to love and marry. You fight with each other. The winner will have my love and hand” said Tilotta with husky passionate lustful voice.
They lost their common sense and reasoning power. They both fell in her trap. They began to fight with each other vigorously and both of them died one at the hands of other. The mission of Tilottama was accomplished. Therefore, however wise, intelligent and valiant he may be, because of ladies, they may develop ill feelings and jealousy between themselves which will lead to bitter enemity.” said Saint Narada. Pandavas could realise the inner meaning of the words of Saint Narada. They themsleves decided and imposed a self restraint upon themselves. Droupadi should stay in each brother’s house for one year. While she is staying in one brother’s house, the other brothers should not even look at that house. If they fail to do so, they have to leave the capital and spend 12 months away from the capital on pilgrimage, visiting holy places. All the five brothers promised before Saint Narada accordingly.
They were following that self-imposed condition scrupulously. One day, while Arjuna was roaming in the garden outside the palace, one Brahmin came to him weeping and said that his cow was stolen by some miscreants and asked Arjuna to punish that miscreant and bring back the cow to him. Arjuna was just roaming in the garden. He was not having his bow and arrows. They are in the armoury room. But Dharamaja and Droupadi were in armoury room. If he enters, it will be in violation of their self-imosed condition. But the requirement of brahmin is paramount. So thinking, Arjuna entered the armoury, picked up his bow and arrows, came out, searched for the culprit, over powered the culprit, recovered the cow from him and handed over the same to the Brahmin.
He then went to Dharamaja and narrated what had happened. “Brother Dharmaja, I violated our condition. I have to spend 12 months outside the capital on pilgrimage. Kindly permit me” asked Arjuna. “What is this Arjuna? You have not done this wantonly or with any ulterior motive. You have done it only to save the cow of a brahmin. Protecting Brahmins and Cows is the Kshatriya Dharma. While dicharging your duty, this had happened. It is not at all a violation. Dont worry about it” said Dharmaja. Arjuna smiled “Brother, we ourselves formulated that condition. For some reason or other which suits us, can we violate it? Is it proper? No. Kindly permit me to go out on pilgrimage” said Arjuna. Dharmaja has no voice. “Yes. You can do so at your will” said Dharmaja.
Arjuna with some brahmins left Indraprasta for pilgrimage. First he went to the banks of ganges, had a holy dip and was hearing the stories of his ancestors and spending time. One day, one Naga lady called Uloochi, was roaming on the banks of Ganges. She saw Arjuna. She fell in love with him. Without wasting time, she approached Arjuna and asked him to satisfy her lust. “Who are you? Why should you develop love and lust on me?” asked Arjuna. “I am Uloochi, a Naga girl. I fell in love with you. Come and have me and satisfy my lust” asked Ulooci. “No. As per the command of my brother, I am on pilgrimage and observing Brahmacarya. How can I satisfy your lust?” said Arjuna.
“I know everything about you. You are only on pilgrimage. No need to observe Brahmacarya. If you dont satisfy me I will commit suicide. That sin will not leave you. Therefore, please satisfy me”.asked Uluchi. Arjuna was convinced. He spent that night with Ulooci, as a result, she became pregnant and gave birth to a male child, called Iraavanta.Then Arjuna continued his pilgrimate. He visited, Gaya, confluence of Ganges with Sea and other sacred places and reached a city called Manipura. King Chitraangada was ruling that city Manipura. King Chintrangada welcomed Arjuna and extended due hospitalities. Arjuna met Chindraganda, daughter of King Chitrangada.
He fell in love with Chitrangada. King Chintrangada came to know about it. “Arjuna, I will gladly give my daughter to you in marriage. But there is one difficulty. In our family, with the blessings of Lord Eswara, only one son will born and succeed to the throne. Unfortunately, I got a daughter. There are no successors to my throne. If you give your son to be born to Chindrangada, he will succeed to my throne. If you agree for this, I will perform your marriage.” said Chintrangada. Arjuna gladly agreed for this. The marriage of Arjuna with Chintrangada was performed. Chintrangada became pregnant and gave birth to a son called Babhruvaahana. As per his word, Arjuna retained Babhruvahana and his wife Chintrangada with King Chindrangada.He further proceeded on his pilgrimage.
He reached the city Dwaraka, the holy abode of Lord Sri Krishna. “I can meet Sri Krishna in Dwaraka. Subhadra, beloved sister of Sri Krishna, who is known to be a beautiful girl. I can have a glimse of that eternal beauty. With the blessings of Sri Krishna, I can marry her also” so thinking, Arjuna reached the outskirts of City of Dwaraka. “How to enter the city? Yadavas generally respect Sanyasis. It would be better to enter the city in a Sanyasi attire.” So thinking, Arjuna transformed into a Sanyasi and entered the city chanting the name of Srikrishna.
Sri Krishna came to know about the arrival of Arjuna. He immediately rushed to the place where Arjuna was staying. He enquired about the welfare of Dharamaja and Kunti and other Pandavas. Sri Krishna kept Arjuna in a cave of Raivatakaadri. Sri Krishna went back to his palace.With the permission of his brother Balarama, Krishna proclaimed the Raivatakaadri festival. All yaadavas proceeded to Raivatakaadri, went round the hill and worshipped the hill. Sri Krishna along with his wife also visited Raivatakaadri. Sarana, Satyaki, Akroora, Ugrasena, Uddhava also followed Sri Krishna. Balarama, his wife, his sister Subhadra, also went there to see the festival.
In fact, Subhadra heard about Arjuna and his valiant deeds. Arjuna was no other than his aunt’s son, a marriageable alliance. She began to admire Arjuna and was dreaming about him. Balarama, his wife, his sister Subhadra was making “pradakshin” by going round the hill. At that time, Arjuna concentrated his passionate looks on Subhadra and also on her beautiful figure. Sri krishna was observing Arjuna and his behaviour with regard to Subhadra “Swamijee, sanyaasis should not look at beautiful girls like that. Control yourself” smilingly said Krishna. Arjuna felt shy. “Arjuna, I know that your mind is fixed on my sister Subhadra. Dont worry. I will tell my parents, Devaki and Vasudeva and also the elders and see that your desire is fulfilled” said Krishna.
In the meanwhile, Balarama came there. Balaraka thought that Arjuna was a real saint. He bowed before Arjuna. “Swamijee, now it is rainy season. You may stay here and continue your “chaaturmaasya vrata”. We will make all arranements for your stay and Vrata” said Balarama. Arjuna gladly accepted the offer. Balarama engaged Subhadra for making all arrangements to Arjuna who is in disguise. Subhadra was serving Arjuna with great devotion. Sri Krishna sent a message to Indraprastha about the welfare of Arjuna. While serving Arjuna, Subhadra entertained a doubt about his beautiful handsome body and also about his passionate behaviour towards her. She wanted to clear off her doubt.
One day Subhadra asked Arjuna “Swamijee, you might have seen many places. I heard my aunt’s son Arjuna was also roaming around holy places. Have you ever seen him? How does he look? Is he handsome and beutiful? I am in love with Arjuna. How can I reveal it to him” wittingly she asked that fake Sanyasi. Arjuna could not control himself. He removed his sanyasi clothes and appeared before her as real Arjuna and said “Hey Subhadra, my love. I am Arjuna” Subhadra looked at him amazingly and admiringly. Her mind filled with full of joy and shy. Arjuna asked Subhadra to marry him in Gaandharva method, without the intervention of elders. But Subhadra did not agree. “Elders are ready to perform our marriage. Ask them” so saying she went away.
Sri krishna talked to his parents Devaki and Vasudeva and other elders and they also consented for the marriage of Subhadra and Arjuna. The only hurdle is Balarama. Of course, he may not agree. Hence Sri Krishna proclaimed a Siva festival at Antara Dweepa and asked all Yadavas to proceed to Antara dveepa for worshipping Siva. Krishna also took Balarama and other Yadavas to Antara dweepa. But Krishna came back immediately to Dwaraka. Sri Krishna sent for Devendra. In the presence of Devendra, Vasudeva, Devaki, other yadava elders, the marriage of Subhadra with Arjuna was performed at Dwaraka. Devendra gave many gifts and presentations to Arjuna.Then Krishna asked Arjuna to immediately leave Dwaraka with Subhadra on a golden chariot. Krishna turned back to Antara Dveepa and appeared before Balarama as if he was there in Antaravadveepaa throughout.
While Arjuna was going on a golden chariot with Subhadra, the Sentries and Guards of Dwaraka thought that somebody was kidnaping their pincess Subhara. They began to fight with Arjuna. Arjuna killed them and proceeded to Hastinapuram. This information reached Balarama at Antaradveepa in no time. Balarama along with Krishna returned to Dwaraka and convened a meeting with Yadava elders. Yadavas are shivering with anger. Their blood was boiling. They sought the permission of Balarama to go to Hastina, wage a war on Arjuna and bring back Subhadra.
Balarama pacified them and asked Krishna “Oh my beloved brother, Krishna, tell me one thing. Has Arjuna took away Subhadra along with him without your knowledge and consent?” Krishna smiled. “Brother Balarama, Arjuna took away his aunt’s daughter. Is it wrong? Is it possible to fight with Arjuna, student of Drona, and overpower him? Have you not seen his valour and vigour at the time of Droupadi Svayamvara?” Balarama kept quiet.
There, Arjuna along with Subhadra reached the outskirts of Indra prastha city . “Subhadra, if we both enter the palace together, Droupadi will curse us and speak some harsh words. Therefore, first you go to palace like a Yadava girl along with other Yadava girls and seek the blessings of Kunti and Droupadi. Then I enter the scene and convince them all” said Arjuna. Subhadra obeyed the orders of her husband and proceeded to the palace along wth some yadava girls. She saw Kunti and Droupadi in the palace. She prostrated before Kunti and Droupadi. They both blessed Subhadra with health, wealth and prosperity and also with sons and grandsons.
Later Arjuna entered the city and revealed everything to his mother, brother and wife and convinced them. Sri Krishna and Balarama also came from Dwaraka with innumerable gifts to Subhadra and Arjuna and also to Dharmaja and his brothers. Dharmaja bowed before Balarama, and other Yadava kings and got their blessings. Later Subhadra became pregnant and delivered a male child called Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu learnt Vedas, Upanishads and other sciences from Dhoumya. Arjuna taught all the archery skills to Abhimanyu and he became equal to his father. Through Droupadi, Pandavas beget five sons. They are Prativindhya, SrutasOma, Srutakeerti, Sataaneekaa, and SrutasEna. They are also called Upa-Pandavas.
Sri Krishna also was staying at Indraprastha all throughout. One day, Arjuna told Sri Krishna “Krishna, the summer is very hot at Indraprastha. Why cannot we go to some forest areas where it is cool and avoid this hot summer”. Krishna agreed for the same.They both went to a forest nearby Khandavaprastha. While they were roaming in the forest, Agni in the form of a brahmin came to them. Arjuna welcomed the Brahmin and extended due honours. “I am so hungry. Please give me sumptuous food” asked the Brahmin. “Please tell what kind of food you want. We will give” said Arjuna. Now Agnideva stood before them in his original form. “I am Agni, I intend to consume this “Khandava Vana” forest by consigning the same to my flames. But Indra is causing all kinds of obstacles for my work because his friend, Takshaka, is living in this forest. If you are able to remove those obstacles, I will consume this forest” said Agni.
Arjuna was puzzled. “Why should you consume this forest and destroy these green trees? asked Arjuna. “Arjuna, one Rajarshi called Svethaki intended to perform Satra Yaga. It will run for over one hundred years. No body has accepted to be the chief priest. Svethaki asked Maheswara to be the Chief Priest for the Satra yaga. “Svethakee, it is the duty of Brahmins to perform Yagnas. Saint Doorvaasa will be the Chief Priest for your Satra yaga. Perform the Yaaga for hundred years by uninterruptedly offering pure ghee to Agni.” said Parameswara.
Accordingly, Svethaki performed Satrayaga for one hundred years. As I have consumed so much of pure ghee for hundred years, I was affected with indigestion. I approached Brahma for remedy. He suggested me to consume all the herbs, plants and trees of medici¥ nal value in Khandava vana forest. Hence I want to consume the entire Khandava Vana Forest.” said Agni. “It is ok. But we have come for pleasure trip. We are not having any bows, arrows or chariot. How can we help you?” said Arjuna. Agni called Varuna and asked him to provide bow, arrows and chariot to Arjuna and Krishna. Varuna gave one strong bow called Gaandeevam to Arjuna along with Akshayatooneeram (arrow pouch) and also a chariot with a maruti mounted flag (kapi dhwaja). Varuna also gave Sudarsana Chakra and Koumodaki (mace like weapon) to Sri Krishna. “Arjuna and Sri Krishna, kindly receive these weapons and chariot and give protection for me from Mahendra” requested Agni. “Agni, you need not fear when we are here. You can swallow the entire forest as you like. We will provide sufficient protection” Arjuna promised.
Agni started spreading his flames on Khandava Vana Forest. On either side of the forest, Krishna and Arjuna were standing and protecting Agni while burning the forest. The forest guards protecting the forest obstructed Agni from bunning it. Arjuna and Krishna killed them. All kinds of animals, snakes, birds living in that forest were burning in the flames. All the Devatas went to Devendra and told him about this burning. Devendra’s friend Takshaka was living in that forest. Devendra was mostly worried about him. He immediately summoned dark water-bearing clouds and directed them to have a continous downpour on Khandava Vana forest.
To avert this downpour, Arjuna, with the arrows, formed an umbrella like cover on the forest. Not even a drop of water was falling on the forest. In the meanwhile, Asvasena, son of Takshaka, was escaping the flames by flying in the air, catching the tail of his mother. Arjuna saw this and hit Asvasena and his mother with his arrows. On seeing this Mahendra grew angry. Mahendra saved Asvasena and his mother by using Mohini Maaya. He was afraid about the fate of Takshaka. He fought with Arjuna and Krishna. There was fierce battle between Arjuna and Mahendra. While admiring the archery skills of his son, Arjuna, Mahendra was fighting with him for the sake of Takshaka.
Nobody could control them. Now a Divine Vice from heaven spoke: “Mahendra, Do you know with whom you are fighting. They are Nara and Naarayana. You cannot defeat them. Takshaka is not in the forest. He already escaped and reached Kurukshetra. You need not worry about him. Stop battle with Arjuna and Krishna”. On hearing this, Devendra stopped fighting with Arjuna and Krishna and returned to Devaloka. One Mayaa, brother of Namuchi was caught in the flames. He sought refuge from Arjuna. Arjuna saved him. Like that, Mayaa, Asvasena, the four saarangkas (birds) sons of Mandapala, escaped from the flames.
Janamejaya who was hearing the story of Mahabharat got a doubt. “Saint Vaisampaayana, you told me how Maya and Asvasena were escaped from Agni. But who are these four birds? How they escaped from flames of Agni? Who is this Mandapala? Kindly enlighten us.” requested Janamejaya. Saint Vaisampaayana continued to say: There was a great saint called Mandapaala. He observed Brahmacharya and did great Tapassu (penance). But as he was not having children, he could not go to punya lokas. He wanted to have children quickly.He took birth as a bird. He married one lady bird, Jarita. He got four sons through her. They were living in Khandava Vana forest. Before Agni consuming Khandava Vana Forest, Mandapala approached him and requested him not to kill his four sons. Agni gave him a word that he will not touch the four birds. While the flames were approaching them, Mandapala asked his four sons to hide in a hole. “Even if we hide in the hole, the rats in the hole will consume us. It would be better to be consumed by Agnideva than by rats.” said the four birds.
Then Mandapala and his wife Jarita flew away from the flames. The four sons of MandaPala were chanting Veda Mantras seeking protection from Agni. Agni heard the chanting of Vedas by four birds. He thought that they are the sons of Mandapala. As per the word given to Mandapala, Agni did not burn the tree on which the four birds are staying and diverted his flames to otherside. Thus the four sons of Mandapala escaped from the flames of Agni. Mandapala also was very glad that his sons escaped from the flames. He went to Punya Lokas. AgniDeva completely burnt away the Khandava Vana Forest and got rid of his indigestion disease. He paid thanks and blessed Krishna and Arjuna for their help.
Mahendra was very much satisfied about
the vigour and valour of his son Arjuna. He gave AgnEya Astra, Vaaruna
Astra, and Vaayavya Astra to Arjuna. Krishna and Arjuna, along with Mayaa,
went to Indraprastha and told Dharmaja about the request of Agni and their
protecting Agni while burning Khandava Vana forest. They introduced Mayaa,
the divine architect, whom they saved from the flames, to Dharmaja. All
were living happily. Maha Bharat - Adi Parva Ashtamaasvaasaa (Eighth chapter)