Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mahabharata Ch 61-65, Adi Parva, Sambhava Parva

[Ch 59-60 « Ch 61-65  » Ch 66-70]
Parva:Adi; Upa-parva:Sambhava; Chapter:61; Shlokas:102
Janamejaya now wanted to hear from Vaishampayana about the divine origins of the warriors. Vaishampayana told him that the danava Viprachittihad became Jarasandha, Hiranyakashyipu Shishupala, Prahlada's younger brother Samhrada as Shalya, the asura Bashkala as Bhagadatta, the asura Svarbhanu as King Ugrasena, and so on.

Vaishampayana continued, and said that Drona was not born from a womb, and was a part of Brihaspati, while his son Ashvatthama was "born from three parts of Mahadeva that merged into one - yama, kama, and krodha." Kripa was born from the group of rudras, Satyaki, King Drupada, Kritavarma, and rajrishi Virata were born from parts of the divine maruts. Duryodhana was born from Kali's part, while his brothers were born from Pulastya's sons.
Thus Vaishampayana described the origins of the various warriors in the epic.

Parva:Adi; Upa-parva:Sambhava; Chapter:62; Shlokas:14
Janamejaya now wished to hear from Vaishampayana, "from the beginning", of the origins of the Kuru lineage. Vaishampayana said that the "founder of the Pourava dynasty was the valorous Duhshanta. (also spelled Dushyanta)." Vaishampayana then told Janamejaya of the qualities of Duhshanta.

Parva:Adi; Upa-parva:Sambhava; Chapter:63; Shlokas:26
Continuing, Vaishampayana said that once Duhshanta went to the forest, accompanied by many horses and elephants and men. Duhshanta and his retinue proceeded into a dense forest, where he killed many deer, animals, and tigers.

Parva:Adi; Upa-parva:Sambhava; Chapter:64; Shlokas:42
In this way, thousands of animals were killed. Soon, Duhshanta became hungry and thirsty. Travelling alone into the deep woods, Dushanta came across a beautiful wood that had a charming hermitage. This was Sage Kanva's hermitage, descendant of Kashyapa. So refreshing was the hermitage that Duhshanta forgot about his thirst and hunger, and entered only with his priest and advisor. Inside, the king heard sounds of all four Vedas, Brahmanas reciting mantras, debating, etc...

Parva:Adi; Upa-parva:Sambhava; Chapter:65; Shlokas:42
Duhshanta left his advisers behind and went inside the hermitage, but found it empty. Upon calling out aloud, a maiden emerged and welcomed the king and offered him a seat and water. Dazzled by her beauty, the king wanted to know who she was. She informed him that she was Shakuntala and the daughter of Sage Kanva. The king was surprised to hear this and wanted to know how she could be the daughter of the sage who was steadfast in his vows (of celibacy). Shakuntala then told him the story of her birth, that she had heard earlier. Fearful of Vishwamitra's austerities, Indra sent for the celestial apsara Menaka and asked her to seduce him. Menaka told Indra that Vishwamitra was "prone to anger", and that she was fearful of him. She asked for assistance, and said that as she went before him, that Marut (the wind-god) should "strip me of my garments" and Manmatha (the god of love, Kama) "be there to help me in my work."

[In many ways, the proper story of the Mahabharata as most of us know begins only with chapter 62 - with the meeting of Duhshanta and Shakuntala. Some retellings begin even further, with the meeting of Ganga and Shantanu. The first 61 chapters are in many ways a lengthy prelude to the actual story itself. It is a matter of speculation as to how many of these chapters are later additions. One suspects many.]

These chapter summaries are based on the unabridged translation of the Mahabharata done by Dr Bibek Debroy, and published by Penguin Books India, and which I have been reviewing on my blog. The Sanskrit shlokas are from the electronic text of the Mahabharata - based on John Smith's revision of Prof. Muneo Tokunaga's version of the Mahabharata Critical Edition of the text from and copyright of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.

© 2013, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.