63(D). Birth of drivers of war

“Vaishampaayana continued, “Then Bhishma, of great energy and fame and of immeasurable glory, and sprung from the component parts of the Vasus (eight Vasus also known as Ashtavasus – Dhaaraa, Analaa, Anilaa, Ahaa, Pratyushaa, Prabhaasa, Somaa and Dhruvaa), was born in the womb of Ganga through king Shantanu.

“There was a Rishi of the name of Aanimandavya of great fame. He was familiar with the interpretations of the Vedas, was respected, gifted with great energy, and of great reputation. Accused of theft, though innocent, the old Rishi (Aanimandavya) was pierced. He immediately summoned Dharma (God of justice) and told him these words, ‘In my childhood I had pierced a little fly on a blade of grass, O Dharma! I recollect that one sin: but I cannot call to mind any other. I have, however, since practised Tapas a thousandfold. Has not that one sin been conquered by this my Tapas? Because the killing of a Brahmana is more evil than that of any other living thing, therefore, you have, O Dharma, been sinful. You shall, therefore, be born on earth in the Shudra varna.’ For that curse Dharma was born a Shudra in the form of the learned Vidura of pure body who was perfectly sinless.

“The son was born of Kunti in her maidenhood through Surya (Sun God). He came out of his mother’s womb with a natural coat of armour and face brightened by ear-rings.

“(Lord) Vishnu Himself, of world-wide fame, and worshipped of all the worlds, was born of Devaki through Vasudeva, for the benefit of the three worlds. He is without birth and death, of radiant splendour, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of all! Indeed, He who is the invisible cause of all, who knows no deterioration, who is the all-pervading soul, the centre round which everything moves, the substance in which the three attributes (Guna in Sanskrit) of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas exist together, the universal soul (Paramaatma in Sanskrit), the immutable, the material out of which has been created this universe, the Creator Himself, the controlling lord, the invisible dweller in every object, parent of this universe of five elements, who is united with the six high attributes (Gnana, Vairagya, Aishwarya, Bala, Sri and Keerti), is the Pranava or Om of the Vedas, is infinite, incapable of being moved by any force except His own will, illustrious, the embodiment of the mode of life called Sannyasa, who floated on the waters before the creation, who is the source from where has sprung this mighty frame, who is the great combiner, the uncreated, the invisible essence of all, the great immutable, devoid of those attributes (Guna in Sanskrit) that are knowable by the senses, who is the universe itself, without beginning, birth, and decay,–is possessed of infinite wealth, that Pitamaha of all creatures, became incarnate in the race of the Andhaka-Vrishnis for the increase of Dharma.

“Saatyaki and Kritavarma, familiar with (the use of) weapons possessed of mighty energy, well-versed in all branches of knowledge, and obedient to (Lord) Narayana in everything and competent in the use of weapons, had their births from Saatyaka and Hridika.

“The seed (semen) of the Maharishi Bharadwaja of severe penances, kept in a pot, began to develop. From that seed came Drona (the pot-born).

“From the seed of Gautama, fallen upon a group of reeds, were born two that were twins, the mother of Aswatthama (called Kripi), and Kripa of great strength.

“Then was born Dhrishtadyumna, of the splendour of Agni himself, from the yagnaagni. The mighty hero was born with bow in hand for the destruction of Drona.

“From the yagna kund was born Krishna (Draupadi) brilliant and handsome, of bright features and excellent beauty.

“Then was born the disciple of Prahlada, viz., Nagnajit, and also Subala.

“From Subala was born a son, Shakuni, who from the curse of Devas became the slayer of creatures and the enemy of Dharma.

“To him (Subala) was also born a daughter (Gandhari), the mother of Duryodhana. Both were well-versed in the arts of acquiring worldly wealth.

“From Krishna Dwaipaayana (Rishi Vyaasa) was born, in the soil of Vichitraveerya (to the wives of Vichitraveerya), Dhritarashtra, the lord of men, and Paandu of great strength.

“From Dwaipaayana (Rishi Vyasa) also born, in the Shudra varna, the wise and intelligent Vidura, familiar with both Dharma and Arthaa, and free from all sins.

“To Paandu by his two wives were born five sons like Devas. The eldest of them was Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira was born (of the seed) of Dharma (Yama, the god of justice); and Bhima of the wolf’s stomach was born of Marut (the god of wind), and Dhananjaya (Arjuna), blessed with good fortune and the first of all wielders of weapons, was born of (Lord) Indra; and Nakula and Sahadeva, of handsome features and ever engaged in the service of their superiors, were born of the twin Ashwins (Ashwini Devas).

“To the wise Dhritarashtra were born a hundred sons, viz., Duryodhana and others, and another, named Yuyutsu, who was born (to Dhritarashtra) of a Vaishya woman.

“Amongst those hundred and one, eleven, viz., Duhshaasana, Duhsaha, Durmarshana, Vikarna, Chitrasena, Vivinsati, Jaya, Satyavrata, Purumitra, and Yuyutsu by a Vaishya wife, were all Maharathas (great chariot-warriors).

“Abhimanyu was born of Subhadra, the sister of Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) through Arjuna, and was, therefore, the grandson of the illustrious Paandu.

“To the five Paandavaas were born five sons by (their common wife) Paanchaali. These princes were all very handsome and familiar with all branches of knowledge. From Yudhishthira was born Pritivindhya; from Vrikodara (Bhimasena) – Sutasoma; from Arjuna – Srutakirti; from Nakula – Satanika; and from Sahadeva – Srutasena of great skills;

“Bhima, in the forest father on Hidimba a son named Ghatotkacha.

“From Drupada was born a daughter Shikhandi who was afterwards transformed into a male child. Shikhandini was so transformed into a male by Yaksha named Sthuna from the desire of doing her good.

“In that great battle of the Kurus came hundreds of thousands of monarchs for fighting against one another. The names of the innumerable army I am unable to recount even in ten thousand years. I have named, however, the principal ones who have been mentioned in this history.’“

SUMMARY

Vaishampaayana briefly narrates to Janamejaya about the birth of main drivers of war starting from Bhishma to Ghatotkacha.

Author: Prasanna TG on

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