The Mahabharata/Book 1: Adi Parva/Section CXXI
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(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed, Kunti replied unto her heroic lord, king Pandu, that bull amongst the Kurus, saying, 'O virtuous one, it behoveth thee not to say so unto me. I am, O thou lotus-eyed one, thy wedded wife, devoted to thee. O, Bharata of mighty arms, thyself shalt, in righteousness, beget upon me children endued with great energy. Then I shall ascend to heaven with thee; O prince of Kuru's race, receive me in thy embrace for begetting children. I shall not certainly, even in imagination, accept any other man except thee in my embraces. What other man is there in this world superior to thee? O virtuous one, listen to this Pauranic narrative that hath been, O thou of large eyes, heard by me, and that I shall presently narrate.
"There was, in ancient times, a king in the race of Puru, known by the name of Vyushitaswa. He was devoted to truth and virtue. Of virtuous soul and mighty arms, on one occasion, while he was performing a sacrifice the gods with Indra and the great Rishis came to him, and Indra was so intoxicated with the Soma juice he drank and the Brahmanas with the large presents they received, that both the gods and the great Rishis began themselves to perform everything appertaining to that sacrifice of the illustrious royal sage. And thereupon Vyushitaswa began to shine above all men like the Sun appearing in double splendour after the season of frost is over. And the powerful Vyushitaswa, who was endued with the strength of ten elephants very soon performed the horse-sacrifice, overthrowing, O best of monarchs, all the kings of the East, the North, the West and the South, and exacted tributes from them all. There is an anecdote, O best of the Kurus, that is sung by all reciters of the Puranas, in connection with that first of all men, the illustrious Vyushitaswa.--Having conquered the whole Earth up to the coast of the sea, Vyushitaswa protected every class of his subjects as a father does his own begotten sons.--Performing many great sacrifices he gave away much wealth to the Brahmanas. After collecting unlimited jewels and precious stones he made arrangements for performing still greater ones. And he performed also the Agnishtoma, and other special Vedic sacrifices, extracting great quantities of Soma juice. And, O king, Vyushitaswa had for his dear wife, Bhadra, the daughter of Kakshivat, unrivalled for beauty on earth. And it hath been heard by us that the couple loved each other deeply. King Vyushitaswa was seldom separated from his wife. Sexual excess, however, brought on an attack of phthisis and the king died within a few days, sinking like the Sun in his glory. Then Bhadra, his beautiful queen, was
plunged into woe, and as she was sonless, O tiger among men, she wept in great affliction. Listen to me, O king, as I narrate to you all that Bhadra said with bitter tears trickling down her cheeks. 'O virtuous one', she said, 'Women serve no purpose when their husbands are dead. She who liveth after her husband is dead, draggeth on a miserable existence that can hardly be called life. O bull of the Kshatriya order, death is a blessing to women without husbands. I wish to follow the way thou hast gone. Be kind and take me with thee. In thy absence, I am unable to bear life even for a moment. Be kind to me, O king and take me hence pretty soon. O tiger among men, I shall follow thee over the even and uneven ground. Thou hast gone away, O lord, never to return. I shall follow thee, O king, as thy own shadow. O tiger among men, I will obey thee (as thy slave) and will ever do what is agreeable to thee and what is for thy good. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, without thee, from this day, mental agonies will overwhelm me and eat into my heart. A wretch that I am, some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me in a former life, for which, in this life, I am made to suffer the pangs of separation from thee. O king, that wretched woman who liveth even for a moment separated from her lord, liveth in woe and suffereth the pangs of hell even here. Some loving couple had doubtless been separated by me in a former life, for which sinful act I am suffering this torture arising from my separation from thee. O king, from this day I will lay myself down on a bed of Kusa grass and abstain from every luxury, hoping to behold thee once more. O tiger among men, show thyself to me. O king, O lord, command once more thy wretched and bitterly weeping wife plunged in woe.'
"Kunti continued, 'It was thus, O Pandu, that the beautiful Bhadra wept over the death of her lord. And the weeping Bhadra clasped in her arms the corpse in anguish of heart. Then she was addressed by an incorporeal voice in these words, "Rise up, O Bhadra, and leave this place. O thou of sweet smiles, I grant thee this boon. I will beget offspring upon thee. Lie thou down with me on thy own bed, after the catamenial bath, on the night of the eighth or the fourteenth day of the moon.' Thus addressed by the incorporeal voice, the chaste Bhadra did, as she was directed, for obtaining offspring. And, O bull of the Bharatas, the corpse of her husband begat upon her seven children viz., three Salwas and four Madras. O bull of the Bharatas, do thou also beget offspring upon me, like the illustrious Vyushitaswa, by the exercise of that ascetic power which thou possessest.'"
Next: Section CXXII